January’s Gifts to a Writer

Projects boardI love the new year. It’s the chance to start over, to etch my life on a fresh slate. Like the brand spankin’ new whiteboard my husband gave me for Christmas. Notice number one on the list? RESEARCH! That’s because I’m really stepping up the quest for the third book in my Loyalist trilogy and want to make research the first thing I see every morning and all day as I work at my desk. And because it’s a new year I seem to have renewed energy and excitement about finding my story through reading history.

The second thing on the list is Cruise Ideas. You’ll be hearing more about this VERY soon as it includes everyone.

The next things are all Read the rest of this entry »


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How to Keep the New Year From Getting Old

fireworksI gave up writing New Years’ resolutions years ago. Did you? Or do you still, as the old year parties itself out, struggle to put your hopes and dreams into some kind of list which will magically transform you into that person you always wanted to be?

Once you’ve seen the ball drop, watched the old man cavort in diapers, or wiped that slobbery party kiss off a few times, rethinking the whole holiday becomes paramount. Here are a few of the things I’ve done to keep the new year fresh and fruitful.

I never actually make a list of resolutions. Rather than think of the weight I’d like to lose or the invitation I’d like to receive from the prime minister of Canada or the Queen of England, I think of less specific and more attainable goals.

I don’t write them in a list because if I do that list will haunt my days (and nights) for much of the year to come.

Although in the past I have used my own 12 point programs to effect changes in my life with a fair amount of success, these days, I change my focus. Rather than think of what I don’t like about myself or my inabilities, I think of what I have accomplished. And I keep a list of kudos and joys that have come my way.

These things are for the times I forget where I’m going or why.

Here are a few of them:necklace

  • A hand-made story book written by one of my students about her appreciation of me as her teacher.

  • A card from my sister’s in-laws, in their nineties, congratulating me on my “first but not the last book”.

  • A natural garnet stone from a dear friend because she was wishing me success with my books.

  • A necklace from my daughter whose oak tree image means potential for greatness, given to me as I struggled the last few steps to publication.

  • Countless cards and jewelry pieces from the man who is the best gift I ever received.

  • Appreciative comments from readers which I’ve collected into a list.

  • The sound of my far-away granddaughter’s voice when she picks up the phone to talk to me and her drawings on my frig.

All of these things and more are there for me to touch for strength. They make my New Years’ hopes shine as they relate to what I’ve done and accomplished.

Just for the record, here are my writing plans at present: research and write the rough draft of The Loyalist Legacy, book three in the Loyalist trilogy, push on with marketing the trilogy via new methods (more to come on those), and make every day count not just in writing but in living my life. These things will make me happy. What are your happiness-inducing plans? And when the year winds down will you have a basket full of mementos of a successful year? I sincerely hope so.



Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Just For Fun


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7 Lessons Related To Being a Writer

20141019_132341Eight years ago (almost) when I first started my novelist’s journey, I knew I’d be using my love of words, my English teacher knowledge of grammar and spelling, my research abilities, and even my computer knowledge. Piece of cake, I told myself.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Heard that before? The expression refers to being blissfully ignorant of not only the how-to’s but of the fact that the how-to’s even exist. And after those eight years of conferences and workshops, writing groups and editing notes, rejections and suggestions, I am on a totally different piece of ground than when I began.

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Marketing Books, Writing Tips


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How My Workspace Fuels My Fires: 12 Points, With Pictures

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

When I step into my sunny office I’m surrounded by objects and remembrances I treasure and that fill my heart (and my head) with joy and thanks. Every morning I put my glass of water on a stone coaster imprinted with Eliot’s quote. This coaster has been a talisman for me for over eight years and each time I read it, I’m refreshed and ready to push on with my writing.

1-3.  The picture on my computer screen is bright and beautiful to me, my light, which I originally bought for beading, bathes my workspace, and a card on the left at the back tells me to Celebrate! I got it from a lovely couple at my first book launch.


4.  A bulletin board to the right of my desk holds pictures of many of my life’s treasures.

bulletin board in office

5-6.  I have a long table attached to my desk where I can assemble the projects I’m working on and, in the foreground, my book selling paraphernalia are stacked ready for the next person who comes to my door for a copy. Yes, they do that and it’s wonderful both for the sales and for the personal visits.

books on office table

7.  One evening my husband and I were dining in a new restaurant on a trip and this painting caught our attention. The local artist (the restaurant was in Orillia) had several of her paintings displayed there but we loved this one. My lovely husband promptly bought it for me and I painted my office  to match it. (My snapshot hasn’t rendered the colour of the paint at all correctly!)

office scene

8-9.  As we circle around the room past the door, my own framed photograph of a spot we found walking one day in Hilton Head, South Carolina hangs above my “imagine” sign. A perfect gift for a writer that sign, and I received it long before I’d published any books. How wonderful for writers to have people believe in us!


10. Here are more family pictures. I’m there at nine and at twelve, I think, posing for a record of our good times. I didn’t think much about it then but now I smile into the memories.


11-12. And on the other side of the window my siblings and I are posing for our last family photograph while we were all still alive. My family is so much a part of who I am. Oh, and on the filing cabinet beside my desk in a pottery dish I myself crafted is my collection of rocks and minerals which I and my wee grandson have rearranged thousands of times.


Things in and of themselves are not all that important I know, but these things glow with the memories they elicit and wonderful memories are worth everything. On a day when I have just a bit of an urge to chuck the revision and go walking or just watch a movie, being surrounded by my things and my people reminds me to keep working at being what I can be. Thanks, George Eliot.

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction, Just Out!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship


short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Self-Published Book Awards

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.

With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife here.


Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Authors, Awards, Writing Tips


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10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

IMG_7304We writers always smile when someone buys our books. Having other eyes on our words is a great reward, maybe the best, for all the hard work that goes into making an idea or a bunch of ideas into an actual book that’s out there for the world to discover. And, of course, we have a vested interest in encouraging people to read. Why not start with our own children and grandchildren?

10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

  1. Read to them from an early, early age. Some even say while they are still in the womb but I never went quite that far. I pictured myself sitting on the couch reading a story to my grandson while he was still in my daughter-in-law’s belly and that just felt weird. :-)

  2. Write a story yourself using photos of you and your spouse in the book. Create it on photo album software. We did that when our two grandchildren were about a year old. Both of them loved the big bear at our house. The book became Where Is Bear? and the children heard it many, many nights at bedtime, especially our granddaughter who lives so far away from us.Where Is Bear? 1

  3. Always make it fun. Let them stop you and ask about the pictures, why Uncle Kevin’s name is in the front of the old Dr. Seuss book, or if chickens lay green eggs. This is the best time. They open up to you and you see a lighted pathway right into their thoughts. Wonderful.

  4. Make a big deal about treasuring books. No, the kids don’t get to rip out pages or colour them. Run your hand over the words with reverence as your voice creates a magical imaginary world for their little heads to grasp. I stop on almost every page and ask questions. What would it be like to have duck feet? What is a wocket? Is there one in my pocket? What’s a grinch?

  5. Make a tradition out of reading and rereading a treasured Christmas book. If your tradition is something else, use a book about that.

  6. Go to the library and let them pick books. My daughter’s first library book was one of Beatrix Potter’s and she picked it because it was so small. She was about three so size was a big deal. Appley Dappley, I think it was. Now my daughter takes her daughter to the library and they bring home stacks of books to be treasured every night. She’s into books with fewer pictures now and at bedtime always wants another chapter. The kaleidoscope of action pictures runs in her head and, each night, she can hardly wait to start the movie.

  7. Let them see you read and treasure your reading time. Children ape our behaviour as we all know and preserving your own reading time is a good lesson for them. My mother used to go into the “parlour” every day after lunch and sit and read. We were not to bother her for that time as she transported herself to worlds within the pages. No wonder I became such a reader myself.

  8. Give books for gifts on all occasions. With the wealth of publications out there, finding something suitable is easy. Rather, limiting my purchases is the problem! Sign your child or grandchild up for a book or magazine subscription. I remember my kids having an OWL magazine come every month and, before that, a new Dr. Seuss came once a month. As they got older we had Time-Life Series books about famous people, all with a good story and a positive role model. They loved those books and we loved reading them with them.

  9. As the little ones start to recognize words and rhythms, stop at a pivotal repeated word and let them say it. This works especially if the word is the rhyming word at the end of a sentence. And if you draw their eyes to that word, soon they’ll actually be reading it. Such fun!

  10. And when your first published book arrives, take a picture with yourself and the book but also one with  your granddaughter and your book. She was part of the celebration for The Loyalist’s Wife as the picture above attests.

So, folks, it’s the holiday season, perfect book-buying time. HINT: Buy Christmas-themed books certainly but remember to buy books that go well all year as the holiday ones are only out for a month or maybe two.

And enjoy the time with the fresh new mind of the child you love.

P.S. If you don’t have kids of your own, go to the library and join a program to read to kids. Or go to an adult literacy class and help someone learn to read. The gift of reading is huge.

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book 1 of the Loyalist trilogy

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

The Loyalist’s Luck, Book 2 of the Loyalist trilogy


Posted by on November 19, 2014 in General, Readers


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How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

Elaine Cougler:

P.C. Zick has some great ideas for helping authors get the word out about their books. If you’d like to help me do that, and I hope you do, Patricia makes the whole process simple. Thanks to her and thanks to my readers who have left and will leave a review for The Loyalist’s Wife and The Loyalist’s Luck! :-)

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

Help an IndieHow to help Indie Authors – A Primer for family, friends, fans, and other Indie Writers

It’s not easy taking the route of Indie Author or any route as an author. The field is crowded, and it’s hard for readers to sift through it all. So in addition to writing, most of us Indies spend a great deal of time promoting our work. Most of us try not to annoy our friends and family, but it’s inevitable that many of them will see our promotional stuff. So as we move into the holiday season, I’d like to give some advice to anyone associated with an author. Also, there’s a little bit of advice for other authors as well. I wish you peace and relaxation during the coming season. Take the time to read a book, maybe even from an Indie Author in your life.

Besides buying the books of your…

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in General


What’s a Blog Tour and Why Do Writers Use Them?

04_The Loyalist's Luck_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

This week and next, my second book in the Loyalist trilogy is touring on the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour. A few writers in my LinkedIn group wanted to know more about blog tours.

What’s a Blog Tour?

Loads of bloggers cover the Internet with amazing blog posts on their blogs. This is my blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith. Through it I have met lots of writers, readers, and other publishing world people. If you want to start an online presence for your writing, a blog is a vehicle you might use. Of course the ultimate goal is to find a following for your writing.

If you don’t have a blog yet, now is a good time to start one. Mine is hosted by WordPress and I quite like that platform. It has lots of great templates and widgets so each person’s site can be personalized. My first blog was on Blogger and it worked quite well, too, especially for a beginner. Both of these are free versions.

Look at all the blogs other people have, especially in areas like yours. I’m a writer of historical fiction so I gravitated to blogs who talked about that. If you look at the tour list below, you’ll see that a lot of them are historical fiction blogs. Having my posts there helps me find READERS of my genre. This is why Amy Bruno’s Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour was my choice for this tour. Take a moment and click on the link to check out the list of blogs.

Once you have your own blog and are ready to promote your book you can set up your own blog tour. It’s just a matter of organizing sites to host you over a week, two weeks, whatever you like. Or you can pay someone who already has a huge list of appropriate sites to do it for you. With two historical novels out, I chose the latter as marketing, speaking, promoting, and researching book three take up all my time. Amy makes my life much easier. There are a few things you can do on these blogs. I mentioned four briefly in a previous post, The Loyalist’s Luck is on Tour!

Four Ways to Showcase Your Book/Writing on a Blog Tour.

  1. The blogger reviews your book and hopefully posts the review on Goodreads and maybe Amazon or wherever your books are for sale. This allows readers to easily buy your books. You wish for 5-star reviews but 4 is good, too. It’s important here to pick bloggers whose style and personality you like. You want to be sure they’ll like your work.

  2. The blogger interviews you and posts both the questions and the answers on their site. Of course all of these bloggers will post links to your website, your books on Amazon, your picture, your book cover, and many other links.

  3. You write a guest blog post for the bloggers who choose that. I always use a topic which somehow relates to something in my novel, and then I include a segment from the book which relates. (I’ve included a template below you might use to set this all up, putting in your own information.)

  4. Some bloggers use the term spotlight which just means they use all the information you give them about you and your book and put a spotlight on you.

With most of these different types of blog tour exposure, having a template already made up with all your links, pictures, etc. will save you hours. For my present tour I’m doing 6 guest blog posts and I set up a template for them. Notice I’ve put everything I want in each post and only have to change the novel quote and the post itself.

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Loyalist’s Luck by Elaine Cougler

[blogger intro here]

Post Title

Quote from The Loyalist’s Luck

Blog Post

Goodreads Button

When the Revolutionary War turns in favor of the Americans, John and Lucy flee across the Niagara River with almost nothing. They begin again in Butlersburg, a badly supplied British outpost surrounded by endless trees and rivers, and the mighty roar of the giant falls nearby. He is off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she is left behind with her young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy—her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy.

 With vivid scenes of heartbreak and betrayal, heroism and shattered hopes, Elaine Cougler takes us into the hearts and homes of Loyalists still fighting for their beliefs, and draws poignant scenes of families split by political borders. The Loyalist’s Luck shows us the courage of ordinary people who, in perilous times, become extraordinary.

Praise for book one, The Loyalist’s Wife:

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.”  Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

“….an intriguing story”                                             A Bookish Affair

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.”       Book Lovers Paradise

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.”                 Oh, for the Hook of a Book


Book 1: The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon

Book 2: The Loyalist’s Luck on Amazon


 A lifelong reader and high school teacher, Elaine found her passion for writing once her family was grown. She loves to read history for the stories of real people reacting to their world. Bringing to life the tales of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 is very natural as Elaine’s personal roots are in those struggles, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

Elaine Cougler, summer 2011







GIVEAWAY— US AND CANADA, The Loyalist’s Luck in e-book format, Kindle or Kobo.

I hope this helps everyone but especially those new to this format and these procedures. Feel free to borrow my template but make it your own with your links, your data. Use it to increase your online presence and hopefully further book sales. And please leave a comment!



Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Authors, Book Reviews, FAQ's, Marketing Books


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