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History, Fiction, and Where the Two Meet

 NOTE: Last fall for the launch of The Loyalist’s Luck I guest posted on a number of sites through the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour. Today’s post is an updated version of one of those posts.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.inddSuddenly voices sounded ahead of him and he clenched his weapon. Not fifty feet away a tall red-jacketed officer wearing a brightly coloured sash and a hat decked out with gold braid and a white ostrich feather broke out of the trees and ran toward him. Robert dug in his feet and with shaking hands fired his weapon. Back into the thicket he flew, the falling white-haired officer filling his mind as he tore down the path to the shelter below. His chest heaved and his heart threatened to leap out of it, both for the running and for his fear, which grew and grew. He thought he recognized the man he had felled.                                                                     From The Loyalist’s Luck by Elaine Cougler

History doesn’t record who killed Sir Isaac Brock at the battle of Queenston Heights on the thirteenth of October, 1812. When I came upon that fact as I did research for The Loyalist’s Luck, a light clicked on in my head. Why not suggest that one of Lucy’s sons did the deed? She would be appalled.

My character, Robert Garner, in the years leading up to the War of 1812, met and married a young American woman and subsequently fought for the opposite side when war came. I imagined what the war would have been like for him as he climbed the heights at Queenston, knowing full well that his brothers might be shooting down at him. Or worse, he might very well see his own musket ball fell William or Thomas.

But I went farther. I had him shoot the beloved British commander. Of course Robert is a lesser fictional character in this novel but I’ve connected him to the history with this minor scene and in that way told some of the actual history of Sir Isaac Brock at Queenston Heights.

To give the reader clues about who the officer might be, I’ve added actual details about Brock’s attire. He wore the British red uniform, his hat sported gold braid and a white ostrich feather, and Tecumseh had recently given him the gaudy sash in recognition of Brock’s bravery.

But I didn’t actually say that Robert had shot Brock although in the very next paragraphs the point of view switches back to the British with William thinking about Brock’s death. The reader is welcome to surmise Robert has killed the British commander.

Sneak Peek at The Loyalist Legacy:

Today I wrote about Robert in the third book of the Loyalist trilogy, The Loyalist Legacy, and his tricky situation in the aftermath of the War of 1812. It’s 1818 and he is back on American soil after a harrowing escape across the Niagara River. I can’t tell you any more than that. (Spoiler Alert) What I can tell you is that though he is a fictional character he experiences the unsettled and downright unhealthy situation after the War of 1812 in Upper Canada which made life at best uncertain and at worst downright life-threatening for those real people who chose to live under British rule. In this third book their struggles against oppressive and cruel laws and grasping and selfish administrators are at times just as bad for the inhabitants as the war was. And that’s all I’m going to say! (The Loyalist Legacy will be published in the fall of 2016.)

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

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

The Loyalist’s Luck, 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.

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Writing Tips, Writing Journey

 

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Writing, Reading and Maybe My Appendix

The phone keeps ringing, there’s a nagging pain in my side (misplaced appendix?), and feet and hammers are pounding on my roof just above my head.Hammer

How is a writer to concentrate???

I’ve written only one of my allotted three pages today. So far. I thought writing my weekly blog post might get me going.

What do you do when the world conspires against your writing? Do you give up? Snatch the excuse with a secret bit of relief? Or do you push through like any good athlete when running out of breath?

I left off my writing to allow my new plot points to percolate and launched into writing this blog, an activity I absolutely love. And I disconnected my phone. Temporarily, of course. I took a walk around our condo, did a bit of tidying, started the dishwasher, and somehow eased the funny ache in my side. (I guess my half hour walk this morning wasn’t enough exercise.) Finally I found this post from over a year ago about the benefits of reading. And it’s summer, the season of reading.

Read, Read, and Read some More: The Best Advice

photo by Elaine Cougler

What is the one piece of advice we hear over and over? The one that annoys quite a few people out there in the real world?

No, it’s not “get eight hours sleep every night” or “eat healthy all your life” although variations of those suggestions fill bookstores. Our friends, relatives, and especially our parents iterate those maxims again and again.

The advice I’ve been given all my life is simple. When you want to learn, read. When you want to relax, read. When you want to write, read.

Yes, I slipped that last one in because I’ve seen it time and again. And it’s true. There is a magical process that happens in our brains when we read. We take in the story, the language, the length and variety of sentences, the way to effectively draw characters, and any number of other writing lessons which we just seem to learn. Like sponges we soak up such a wealth of knowledge both in the how-to sphere and in the enjoyment realm, that when we write our own works, those lessons make themselves known.

I’ve written all my life. And I’ve read even longer. Well, only if you believe I took in the lessons of my mother’s reading in the womb. :-)

All the lessons I taught my English students, and there were a lot, are not nearly so effective as the simple practice of reading, especially good writers. When I sit down to write every day, my own style comes pouring onto the pages, whether I’m writing a blog post, an email to my distant friends, or my daily pages of my historical novels.

Where did that style come from? Well, some of it came from me being a talker. Another portion finds its roots in what I’ve learned on my writing journey. But the bulk of it comes from the reading I’ve done my whole life, whether it be lessons from great writers on how to write well or from not-so-great writers on what not to do.

I’ve laughed and cried, shaken my head and even stopped reading, but I’ve always learned from my reading. My shelves of books are treasured friends and I hope I live long enough to reread them over and over. Would that some of my readers might one day feel the same about my books. (By the way, the pounding has stopped. I guess my dryer vents are all fixed!)

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

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

The Loyalist’s Luck, 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.

 

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7 Winning Ways to Get Your Writing and Book Marketing Done

Winter in Ontario

Winter in Ontario

Today I’m looking at winter pictures to keep cool as the temperature is way up there and with the humidity feels even higher. Note to travelers: if you plan on visiting southern Ontario, come in spring or fall, unless you love heat. Just looking at the ice covering these trees cools me down, though, and so I share them with you.

People often ask me just how I managed to get one book written, let alone two. (The third is underway.) Apparently for some finding the energy and stick-to-it-iveness is almost impossible. Here are some of the things I do to keep myself motivated to keep writing and marketing.

  1. If at all possible I keep to my writing schedule and plunk myself down before my computer first thing in the morning. After checking email and dispensing with any important matters, I open The Loyalist Legacy (or whatever my current project is) and find where I left off, usually by 8 a.m. That gives me at least three and a half hours before  lunch plans start to niggle at my stomach. desktop

  2. If I’m ready to write I read over the day before’s pages and just carry on. If not I leave the pages open on my desktop, go have my shower or whatever, and come back to my WIP ready and waiting. If I’m lucky I’ve already started thinking the characters’ lives and just sit down and start.

  3. Some days getting my creativity tap turned on is really hard. On those days I revert to my English teacher days and go back and edit. Oh, I know lots of writers tell you not to do that but just going over what’s written and perfecting it awakens my writing muse and I’m soon seeing ways to improve and go on with my story.

  4.  On a tough writing day I might go back and send out that email response to a query for speaking somewhere. Once I’ve set up a place where I’ll be presenting my books, working on the next one just naturally follows. (I do one marketing thing every day, no matter what, and I really enjoy it.)

  5. I remind myself of the pleasure writing well affords me and try to think of all the sessions where I’ll be rereading and rewriting to effect changes that really improve my work. “There’s gold in them thar hills!” And even though it’s not the spendable kind, it brings so much satisfaction. Just get the story down, I tell myself, remembering that later polishing away the dross will give me the shine I want.The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

  6. I forgive myself on those days that my time is more researching than writing as that is the delightful bonus in historical fiction. And I want to get the facts right. If I only get one page written but I’ve worked on that page for two and a half hours, I’ve learned to accept my disappointment as part of the deal. One well-researched page is better than a dozen full of erroneous factoids.

  7. In this second half of my life I finally know that doing a little each day will definitely get a task done. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or making a difficult piece of jewelry or writing an historical fiction novel, slow and steady does win the race.

Ronda delighted me by coming to a reading in April. Wonderful clever person!

Ronda delighted me by coming to a reading in April. Wonderful clever person!

Bonus: If I’m really having trouble I go to my accomplishments file and run my hands and my eyes over cards, mementos and even a handmade storybook (from a student, about me!). These items immediately show me that I can. I will is not far away. And I do is now.

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

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

The Loyalist’s Luck, 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.

 

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I Met My Writing Heroes! #2

HNS2015-logo3Have you ever had such a good conference you just couldn’t contain it in one blog post?

Today is the continuation and final part of the wonderful Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver, CO. Already my life has filled in with writing, blogging, marketing books one and two and enjoying the small part of my life which doesn’t include being an author, but I wanted to finish off my comments about the conference.

Last week’s post talked about my all-time favorite author, Sharon Kay Penman. This week I bring  you the creator of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon. She spoke a few times during the large group gatherings and I was amazed at her low, scratchy voice. At times she was a little hard for me to understand but I didn’t mind. Her pleasant personality translated through and we all enjoyed her. I didn’t go to any small sessions with her as there just wasn’t time with so many events back-to-back. Gabaldon is another whose every book sits on my book treasure shelf. I just wish I could have transported them all to Denver for her to sign.

Diana GabaldonAuthor Mary Tod, the originator of the Historical Fiction Reader Survey, recognized me as I stepped into her elevator the first night at the conference. Wow! What a thrill. We stood and talked in the hall for about half an hour and I knew this Toronto lady was a writer I wanted to know better. The next two days we happily brushed by each other in sessions, even one where she was presenting. On Sunday she joined our group for a lunch which went on for about two hours. Great fun.

Mary Tod

Mary Tod who writes as M.K. Tod.

Saturday night brought out many in costume.

Saturday night brought out many in costume.

HNS costumed lady

One more event I must mention is the spur-of-the-moment appointment I had with an amazing fellow at BookFuel whose sessions were held for about 30 minutes and covered whatever the author needed, depending on just where we are in our writing journey. Mine was about my Amazon Author page and my books listed there on my sales page. It was fantastic. Bill VanOrsdel listened as well as he talked so that this session was extremely useful to me. It was one of the best things I did at the conference. I am still working on improving the things we talked about, although Bill did give me good marks on many of the items. The 2-page handout he gave us covered the following: Cover, Title, Reviews, Pricing, Book Description, Genre/Browse Category Placement, Keywords & Key Phrases, and Other Elements. This handout has pride of place on my desk just now.

Finally I attended Leslie Carroll/Juliet Grey’s workshop, Out Loud and Proud in Front of a Crowd: reading your work for an audience. She had lots of good tips which I will add to my readings to make them even better. I will be sure to mark up the text I’m reading aloud according to her suggestions.

So there you have it: another successful conference.

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

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

The Loyalist’s Luck, 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.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Authors, Conferences

 

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More Steps Along This Writer’s Road

the hollies

The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother HD HD-Mix by: I.T. (su24000) “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” is a popular music ballad written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell.

Writing a novel is like performing a song for a huge audience. Knowing you can never take it back. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and no matter what you wish you could change, you can’t.

Here’s a group called The Hollies a few years ago performing a song they’d sung in 1967. It was one of my favorites back then as my younger brother had fallen about 50 feet from the top of our silo to the cement floor and whenever I played and sang this song I sang of him. Thankfully he recovered after being unconscious for almost a week and has lived a pretty interesting life which includes two degrees, the last in music therapy, a field that capitalizes on all his talents.

The song is He’s Not Heavy He’s My Brother. (click here.)

Listen and watch before I connect this to my world today. Or read through the lyrics through the link below.

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where

But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Read more: Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Now think of switching out the person here for something you love to do but find very hard. It may even take a lot of dedication, courage or perseverance. Oh, it has its joys, but the road is long and, yes, it’s winding up and down, even round in circles sometimes.

I carry on. Do you?

Have you thought of something that relates to your own life? Dealing with teenage children? A pesky co-worker or worse, boss?

Is the burden your writing? For me that’s the load but it’s also the absolute joyous wonder. And I’ve realized I am strong enough to carry on. The load isn’t too heavy just as, back in the day,  my brother was not. Here’s to shouldering the load so regularly that it becomes lighter and lighter as your novel gets done and published. And then the load won’t weigh you down either.

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

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.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Authors, Writing Journey

 

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What is Your Potential for Greatness?

necklacePotential for Greatness

The oak tree is an emblem of strength,

endurance and prosperity. The acorn

signifies potential, power and luck.

 As a writer and as a person I count myself lucky because of the solid support I get from those near and dear to me, both literally and figuratively. Today’s post came to mind because of the necklace I chose to wear this morning. Given to me by my daughter as a support for me as I struggled to go the last months before publishing The Loyalist’s Wife, I wear it whenever I can and I take special pride in the fact that she wears an identical one.

Again today I took out the card which came with this gift and reread the poignant words printed above. What a fitting epithet to give to a writer!

We certainly need strength, both physical and mental, to do the daily pages so that, one day, the book will be done. Not for us the short task, done in an hour. My first book took me over six years, the second almost two, and the third will be about that length of time as well. I have learned that those two pages I wrote today, if repeated often enough, become a first draft which then becomes a work in revision which then becomes a work for beta readers which then becomes another revision in my hands and my editors’ hands until finally it satisfies. Endurance, for certain.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Authors, General, Writing Tips

 

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If You Build It, Will They Come?

I think we’re all a little like Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams.

“How could authors be like a baseball player with a besmirched name?” you ask.

Remember the plot of that great movie with Kevin Costner and Ray Liota, Amy Madigan and the incomparable James Earl Jones? That cornfield and those car lights stretching for miles will stay in my head forever and so will that voice Costner kept hearing. “If you build it, they will come.”

But Shoeless Joe waited until everything was perfect before he stepped out of the corn and brought his team with him. Luckily for him, Ray Kinsella, Kevin Costner’s character, was driven to sabotage his own corn crop and complete a perfect ball diamond. Jackson, however, didn’t come when the corn was plowed under. Or when the grass started to grow. Or at the building of the screens, the pitcher’s mound, the bases or the bleachers at the side. He came when everything was ready.

Are you like that? With your writing? Do you wait until everything is perfect before you write a word?

Last night I sat at a writers’ group meeting in a large city here in Ontario. I’ve belonged for a few years but my attendance has been spotty. When I first started to look at myself as a serious author, I traveled far and farther to learn what I needed to know. I flew across the country, drove hundreds of miles, started critique groups, crossed borders a few times and just went wherever I knew I could learn. And those travels led me to write books of which I am proud. I wanted to make them as perfect as they could be.

But back to last night. This group has not progressed; in fact, it has lost a lot of the people who were shakers and movers when my attendance was more regular a couple of years ago. As we did self introductions I was most interested to hear how many of those present (about 30) had never been there before. We went around the table telling a little about ourselves. Two things stood out. I was the only person who used her full name; the others just used their first name. And people seemed so apologetic and shy about what they were doing, even those who have been writing for years.

Members and visitors have in common a desire to write and, one assumes, to get published and known as writers. They should, therefore, introduce themselves with their full names. There is no place for bashfulness here. We must step up to the plate before the corn has reached full height or the cheering section is in place. A writer’s name is the shining light on the cover of her books or the byline of his articles. It’s marketing, people.

I belong to a second writing group whose meetings I travel miles to attend in snow, sleet and threat of flood. Well, not really. If the weather is horrid, I don’t drive the almost two hours to attend the Saturday morning breakfasts but usually it’s fine. This group has about 300 members, a vibrant executive, stunning guest speakers, a monthly breakfast meeting, workshops, courses in writing topics, its own magazine…the list goes on and on. I don’t attend everything and, because of the distance, some of the events are not possible for me to attend. When I go there, though, I see large groups of happy people delighted to be in a banquet room filled with others whose writing dreams are as magical as their own. Those people get what I’m doing and many of them help me, whether they know it or not.

And they are not apologetic!

The Writers’ Community of Durham Region has built a fine playing field. People are coming. In droves and flocks and buses. They even have an associate membership available so that those who are too far away can use the resources on their website. The current board members of this amazing group and those who came before have followed their own dreams and created something for the rest of us to use and enjoy. And, like Shoeless Joe, I’m stepping out of the cornfield and playing in a great game.

As for the first group, I’ve decided to try to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. So many people have helped me and I’m thankful. It’s time to give back. Do you belong to a writing group? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

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

 

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.

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Authors

 

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