Tag Archives: historical novels

Research, Writing and Reality

Eight years ago when I started writing seriously, three hours in my morning were dedicated to working on my first book. Then I carried on with the rest of my day, puttering, reading for pleasure, gallivanting with my husband, riding my bicycle, hitting the gym and the coffee shop afterwards with my friends, and just doing what I pleased. Oh, and I had time for a bit of housework. I was retired.

Fast forward to today. I wake and grab my iPad to see what new writing messages have come in, I respond, I read new web posts, I get up and get my breakfast, and I take it to my computer where I deal with emails and marketing. This takes about an hour and a half. Then I shower and get ready for the day. Maybe some dishes hit the dishwasher or some bathroom cleanup happens but by 9 I’m back at my computer turning off my email and my phone and closing the door. It’s time to write.

A couple of hours later I surface and plug in to the world again letting my patient husband know my door is open and stretching up out of my chair to prepare lunch. There’s a sense of freedom and definitely a great feeling of accomplishment even if I’ve only written 2 pages. On good days it’s 3.

In the afternoons or on the weekends sometimes we get away from our computers and hit the road. I like nothing better than to walk the sites where my characters might have walked and even more I love to find places that will work their way into my writing. The Angel Inn is one such place.

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

This venerable old establishment found its way into my second book in the Loyalist trilogy and is also a pivotal place in the third which I’m writing now. Can you not just see Lucy carrying a pitcher to waiting patrons? This is where research is really mixed with reality and on our visits to present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake we love to lunch here. It’s a unique kind of research when you sit in a building which was rebuilt in 1815 after the fire two years earlier in the War of 1812.

Photo credit Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

The other day I was speaking at a local Rotary club and I read about the Americans burning the town before hightailing it back across the river ahead of the British. I told the story of my research where I found the story of a sick old woman carried bed and all out into the snow-filled street to watch the Canadian volunteers torch her home.

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Can’t you just see Lucy running from the door under the flag, her arms full of sheets and pots and anything else she could gather in the hour the townspeople had before the flames would destroy their town? Imagine snow and cold and very soon flames pursuing the poor people. Here is my description from The Loyalist’s Luck:

People howled in the streets. When the torchers reached the
house next door they learned that the old woman who lived there
was sick and could not leave her bed. The soldier gave the order
to carry her, bed and all, outside into the snow where she lay shivering
under her blankets as her house burned to the ground. Lucy
ran to the bed and heaped her spare blankets on the woman but
they gave no comfort to the woman or to Lucy.
As dusk came the flames lit up the night sky and for a while the
heat warmed the watchers so that they did not immediately begin
to look for shelter. When they did, there was none. The Fort was
still held by the Americans and all the buildings in the town were
burning. A cry went up as the church tower collapsed with a flaming
shower of sparks, most of which landed in the snow and were
extinguished. Others, however, fell on the townspeople, and one
wee boy’s coat was fully flaming before his mother screamed and
rolled him in the snow to douse the fire.

Today Niagara-on-the-Lake is a popular tourist town with little hint of what happened there just over two hundred years ago. The history does make a wonderful story though. And a great place for this writer to visit. It’s all research, you know?

How About an Authors and History Cruise? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

***Need more information? We’re doing a webinar! Click for details.***

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

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 Canada 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 June 24, 2015 in Historical Fiction


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The World of History Buffs: Behind the Scenes of Everyday Life

IMG_0803I went to high school in the days when our curriculum was laid out for us and there was very little choice about what subjects we studied; hence, History was on my timetable for four years!  And I barely endured it. Learning facts such as the number of Roundheads fighting in 1641 England (I had to look them up again!) and spouting them back on foolscap was pure drudgery for me. I preferred perfecting my French accent or writing stories.

Who knew that as I got older my tastes would completely change? My reading of historical fiction led to reading history books themselves which eventually led to writing my first historical novel. Along the way the subculture of history buffs became apparent.

I treasure the conversations with those who love my genre. We share great book titles and spectacular authors, spreading the words like breadcrumbs, each of us anxious to follow the paths of history as we learn more and more. I scrounge for everyday details that show how ordinary people lived. I own cookbooks bought in museums and have used them when deciding just what specific dishes John and Lucy (The Loyalist’s Wife) might be eating or the way to skin a raccoon out in the wilds.

My most interesting discovery has been the world of re-enactors. A couple of weeks ago I signed up to sell my books at a historical museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While the number of people through the museum that day was disappointing to say the least, those that I did meet were amazing.

One of the authors used the event for his book launch and he brought in about twenty people in period costume, my period! Many came to my table and some bought my book but more exciting was the feeling of shared interests. With wide eyes we talked about the Loyalists and how they came to be. I even met the author of a book which mentions my Garner ancestors. Gail Woodruff knew immediately the story of my people. I was enthralled.

I have yet to connect with the awesome lady who offered to take me to a re-enactment this fall. Of course we’re into the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812-1814 and The Loyalist’s Luck (book two in the Loyalist Trilogy) covers that period so I am ecstatic about that whole idea. I have to finish this post and send off an email to her.

What intellectual excitement it is to meet these people who, like me, thrill at the discovery of our history. I just wish that History class in high school had held the kind of emotional pull that discovering my Loyalist roots does now.

Find The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler

on Amazon and in many other fine bookstores.

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500


Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Authors, General, History


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An Invitation From John And Lucinda

IMG_7304“Mrs. Cougler, Mrs. Cougler!”

Wow, that’s formal. Who’s yelling at me?

“Hello, hello. Can you hear me?”

Well, yes, you’re yelling inside my head. Is that you, Lucy?

 Yes. John and I were just wondering if you would interview us before my book launch this Sunday?”

Your book launch? Didn’t I write The Loyalist’s Wife?

 Of course you did, Mrs. Cougler. We had no intention of making off with your glory.”

Well, John, you’re in on this, too, I see.

“He is just excited about the book, you understand. May we do an interview? Just a short one?”

I guess that might work. Will you answer all my questions truthfully?

 “We promise, don’t we, John?”


Does that grunt mean you agree, John? You strong, silent types crack me up. Well, here are your questions.

1.  What is your book about?

A young Loyalist couple living in the wilds of New York State have to fight for their very lives as he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her behind to look after their isolated farm.

The pigheaded man goes off and abandons her to face the war all by herself, you mean, John!

2.  Ah, was that a problem, Lucy?

Of course it was, you know because you wrote in as many terrible trials as you could. I still haven’t forgiven you for any of it, especially what you did to my father.

Hush, Lucy. She had to make it exciting, didn’t she?

3.  John, why did you choose to fight for the British anyhow?

Ah, you would ask that. Let’s just say there are things in my past that affect what I do today.

Or let’s say you have your reasons and I, as your wife, must abide by your decisions, no matter what it costs me as well as you. You’re lucky I’m so obedient.

4.  Will you both be at the book launch on Sunday?

Of course we will. It’s for us, isn’t it?

We will be most pleased to join your guests, Mrs. Cougler.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2:00-4:00


2:00 Meet Elaine: Cash Bar; Snacks Provided

2:30 Readings from The Loyalist’s Wife

Lynne Dunlop

Matt Holmes

Sally Moore

Elaine Cougler

3:00 Mingle. Refresh. Snack. Relax. Enjoy.

Quality Inn, Woodstock, ON

The Loyalist’s Wife

by Elaine Cougler

Come out and help Elaine celebrate book 1 of The Loyalist Trilogy.

Watch for book 2,The Loyalist’s Luck, in 2014.

No Admission. Everyone Welcome!!

Door Prizes.

Elaine will be pleased to sign copies of her book.

The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler

Available at and many other places

including the launch on Sunday!

Put in links and the flyer Ron made up.


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Where Do New Historicals Come From?

attawondaronkJ.R. Montgomery is not a household name. Yet.

His first book, however, is ground-breaking for its telling of the Attawondaronks who lived in Southern Ontario at the beginning of the sixteenth century. And Rick adds to the excitement with his story of a life-long preoccupation with these early peoples, so much so that he is an authority on the topic.

I have known Rick for many years but I never knew about his writing or his interest in history, two interests that we definitely share. Today I take great pleasure in giving my readers the gift of a new historical author about whom we shall definitely hear more.

EC: People often want to know how long the writing of a book takes. Would you discuss that but include all the work and research that went on before you ever started writing, perhaps even telling the story of Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Authors, General, Publishing


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7 Sites Re Historical Fiction

A writing friend of mine pointed out a couple of days ago that historical fiction is not a genre and that got me thinking. Just what is this category of books I’ve spent most of my life loving to read? My own definition goes like this: historical fiction books are about actual historical events and people brought to life through fictional characters and events set against the backdrop of history. Some of my favorite historical writers over the years have found their way into my posts before today. Check out Favorite Historical Fiction Authors which elicited a lot more excellent suggestions for HF books in the comments section.

Wikipedia defines the category this way:  Historical fiction tells a story that is Read the rest of this entry »


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