Today I’m lucky enough to be interviewed on the incomparable Don Massenzio’s website. He asked very good questions which prompted me to tell my readers things they’ve never heard before. Come join us for a few moments!

 

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Click above for your chance to win! February 20-26 Don’t wait.

The first book in the Loyalist Trilogy.

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Think a moment. What is one thing you would never do? You probably have quite a list, if you’re anything like me, but for our purposes as authors we need to pick the one thing our characters would never do. And then make them do it. This lets our readers empathize with our characters in a very personal way.

Lucy is a good person. A city girl from Boston, she married John and took up farming with him with great enthusiasm. When he leaves her to fight for the British and do it all herself, she manages nicely. Until the revolution catches up to her. She escapes to Niagara where she and John eventually raise their family to adulthood. John is thrown into prison for no legal reason and Lucy sees him disintegrate before her very eyes. Will this good, strong woman take the only step she can and help to break John out?

“In here,” she said, the lantern streaking into the outer room where her sons held the jailer between them, his eyes wide. Robert held the man’s one arm twisted around behind and from the side William gripped him around the neck, his hand clamped over the frightened fellow’s mouth. The man whom she had bribed with many meals these last months gasped for air. John pulled himself up against the bars and Lucy rushed to him.

Aaron brushed past her in the tight space. “Let me,” he said. He slipped John’s arm over his shoulder and followed Lucy from the cell. William and Robert pushed the jailer in but before they could tie a neckerchief over his mouth, the man shouted. “I can help you.” He twisted away from William’s hand. “A back way.”

“Wait,” Lucy said. William dropped the neckerchief.

The jailer quickly blurted out the whereabouts of the secret stairs that led to a tunnel opening near the lake. They soon decided to send Aaron out to move the wagon while William tied the jailer up for his own safety and locked him in the cell.

Lucy turned back to the jailer. “We will never forget this, sir. You are a kind man.”

His mouth gagged, the man nodded and Lucy hurried after her sons who now supported their father. She held the lantern as high as she could but her short reach didn’t light the three ahead. A few feet into the darkness they stopped to allow her to go first with the lantern, then followed on her heels. She stumbled and skirted rocks and boulders—the way was certainly not smooth—and prayed the jailer had told the truth as she walked farther and farther into the black. Water dripped more and more from the ceiling. Were they under the river now? Surely not.

But at her feet water about an inch deep soon had her skirts sopping and her shoes drenched. To make matters worse, she couldn’t see the rocks but stumbled along splashing herself with every step.

“Mama. Take my arm.” Robert moved up beside her and she passed him the lantern. She could hear William’s labored breathing and John’s huffing and puffing but couldn’t look back. Her heavy skirts slowed her pace but she clung to Robert’s arm and ignored the spidery webs clinging to her hair. The water deepened. Her legs were cold and stiff. Robert held tight. They staggered on together. Just when she was sure she could not take another step she glanced up. “Light.” She tried to point ahead.

“Yes,” Robert whispered. “Just a little farther.”

The tunnel sloped upward and, as the light grew brighter, they left the water behind. First out of the hole, Lucy watched as Robert turned back to help William tug their father, blinking, up into the sunshine. Aaron pulled her to the waiting wagon, and parted the hay to reveal a hiding place. She crawled inside, John came after and then her sons. They were almost blind in the shadowy half-light, brown with the sun filtered through the layered hay. A bright spot of light opened where they had crawled in and Aaron shoved a jug of water toward them. “Godspeed,” he whispered and was gone. She prayed his part in this would never be known. The wagon lurched and they were off, the three escapees and her, now just as guilty in the eyes of the law as her men, and whoever was driving the wagon.

–The Loyalist Legacy #3 in the Loyalist Trilogy.

What is the effect of this plot device on the reader? Does this scene make our readers think of something in their own life that went against their beliefs? If it does, I have helped my readers personalize the event.

Lucy’s son, William, having fought in the War of 1812 and carried his brother’s dead body back home, never wants to go to war again. He puts up with all kinds of trouble from the Family Compact, even turning against his remaining brother. He knows Robert is right. Their situation is untenable. But he will not join the rebels with Robert.

“Why can’t you see Robert’s side for once, William?”

“He’s going to get himself killed, that’s why.” He looked across the table. “Don’t you think I know he is right on so many of these points?”

“Then why don’t you tell him?” Catherine resisted the urge to reach for her husband. Instead she kept her tone strong and her words stronger. “He’s your brother. Can’t you see how hard all of this is for him?”

“For him? What about me? I had to watch Thomas die right beside me fighting those Americans, ride all night to take his body to my parents, and watch my mother wrap her arms around his mangled body. I tried to free my father and landed in jail with him, escaped with my parents inside a load of straw where every breath filled our lungs with chaff and our heads with terror. I watched him die simply because he wrote letters to help others fight for justice against that Family Compact. Oh, yes. I know.” He reached for her hands. “But I want peace. For you, for our children And now for our grandchild.”

She watched his green eyes fill up and understood, finally, his pain, but she had to go on. “But peace at what price? He only asked you to join a lodge.”

He jumped to his feet, eyes blazing. “Only? It’s another way to cross Strachan and the rest of them. Don’t you think I know that?”

–The Loyalist Legacy #3 in the Loyalist Trilogy.

The one thing William never wants to do is fight in another war but as rebellion comes closer and closer his choices shrink. Again, I put him in that position where he has to chose and in so doing I’ve heightened the tension to the breaking point in the novel. We can all identify with his situation, making the climax believable for us as readers.

 

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

 

 

 

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The United States is famous for its Statue of Liberty, its beacon to the tired, the homeless and the poor, to paraphrase Emma Lazarus’ poem, which, along with the statue, is well known as a proud welcoming image for immigrants to the United States of America. A short time ago my husband and I had occasion to see this statue for the first time.

October, 2015, E. Cougler

The poor quality of my picture belies the thrill this Canadian felt as our ship cruised past an icon which I’ve admired from afar for many years. The magnificent country to the south of us grew from the daring exploits of all kinds of people whose varied roots and beliefs added to the richness of the new country just as a patchwork quilt is more beautiful because of the diversity of its parts.

My Loyalist Trilogy tells another story of dispossessed peoples rising again, this time in Ontario, Canada. Over 200 years ago those people chose to stay loyal to Britain, a decision which cost them dearly but which led them to be part of the exciting beginning of what is today Ontario, Canada.

They were Canada’s first refugees and over 100,000 fled from the Thirteen Colonies, soon to be the United States. About half of those landed in Canada, the rest going back to Britain or seeking sanctuary in the West Indies and other parts of the world. The point is, they were refugees. They needed shelter. They needed help. They needed to find ways to survive. And many of them found help from those First Nations peoples who were here before.

Our world today is not much different for many, many people. Fathers, mothers, children, aunts, uncles, new brides and old grannies, lonely men and put-upon women–people of all colors and religions, dreams and skill sets–all need help in one way or another. Refugees. I don’t have to mention all of the refugees created in the last few years but especially in the news these days.

Just now I’m reading a book which has opened my eyes to the meaning behind words I’ve heard about for many years: Gaza Strip, Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, Bedouin, Hebrew, Israeli, Arab-Israeli, Sephardic Jews and many more. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish has written I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey with the voice of truth and a sensitivity to the subject matter which only someone with his mindset could manifest. He chooses to look for answers to the Middle East tragedy, a decision which cuts into my heart for one main reason. Three of his daughters died because of the unending fighting between Arabs and Israelis.

“If I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss.” (Words on the cover.)

And this week all of Canada is reeling from the senseless bombing of a mosque simply because it is a mosque, I guess. Six people are dead and many more injured. They were worshiping, for Heaven’s sake! Our country prides itself on opening its doors to people from all parts of the world who truly want to start a new and good life here. Oh, I’m sure we have restrictions and I’m not saying many cannot get in, but the point is we try to accept as many as we can. And Canada is stronger for it.

Just a few weeks ago a wonderful Dutch Canadian lady died. She came here with her husband and child back in the fifties because my father needed help on our growing farms and his sons were too small. Arend (who died first) and Jenny were a wonderful couple who raised a large family here, every one of whom has contributed greatly to our Canadian way of life. When I read the obituary my eyes filled with tears as I remembered this kind and joyful couple from my childhood. My husband and I counted up the descendants who came after Arend and Jenny. Hundreds. (I think they had 111 great grandchildren.)

And I thought of all the immigrants to this country, just like my ancestors, and their huge contributions to the Canada we have today. The same goes for the United States. Imagine the blessed diversity simply because so many people came to settle in the United States and Canada looking for a new life. Even those who came to North America against their will have added much more than their varied gene pool. If only we could look at our neighbors near and far and see the strengths they offer!

Driving in my car Tuesday afternoon, I turned on CBC radio to hear a talk show with an Islamic woman talking about her pride and joy at living in Canada and pleading for others to see behind her clothing to the real person inside, a person with the same interests and needs, joys and heartaches, a person who has learned to come out of her shy persona and talk to people all around her. Why? She wants them to see she is like them.

I love the way that private individuals are speaking up for what they believe and support in these difficult times. Many write songs and articles, books and speeches, all manner of heartfelt expressions of sorrow at the injustices we hear about every day. The pictures on the news of bouquets of flowers marking outpourings of sympathy and women marching along with men to celebrate those women all give me hope. We have not lost our humanity nor our charity, Christian or otherwise.

Like the refugees that were our forefathers, let us fight against all odds to make this whole world the kind of place I dare say all of the good books from all of the religions want. If we could collectively do that the word refugee would disappear from our vocabulary. That’s what happens to all unnecessary words.

My Goodreads Review of this book: I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human DignityI Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity by Izzeldin Abuelaish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had this book on my to-read list for about 3 years and finally got to it this week. Wow! What an eye opener! Dr. Abuelaish has a way with words that allows his amazing personal beliefs to shine through his story. The book rates five stars not because its editing is perfect or its setup is the best it could be but because its human tale shines over and above all such mundane things. This is a must-read for those of us who have never truly understood the meaning of the Gaza Strip and its continuing struggles with Israel.
The author tells us from the outset about the tragic deaths of his three daughters and one niece when his home was targeted for bombing by Israeli insurgents but he amazes the world and the reader as he chooses not to hate in the wake of this despicable and avoidable act. A must read for all of us citizens of the world.

View all my reviews

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

 

 

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With much pleasure, today I welcome to my blog  author Wayne Turmel and his new novel, Acre’s Bastard. Wayne has a colorful and interesting background which you can read about here and that culminates in his now writing historical fiction. Acre’s Bastard is his second in the genre. For my Canadian readers, know that Wayne originates from Canada where he was a stand-up comedian in Yuk Yuks back in the eighties and now lives near Chicago. Let’s just jump into Wayne’s writing life!

Elaine Cougler:  When we talked about you guesting on my blog as an interviewee with your new book, Acre’s Bastard, you mentioned the disparity in our chosen times and places to write about. You even mentioned a link between the Crusades and my Loyalists created at the time of the American Revolution. What connection do you see?  

Wayne Turmel:  The thing about historical fiction is that it gives you a chance to tell a story from any “side.” What the Crusades and Revolutionary/Loyalist period have in common are huge audiences who see things from their side, while there are plenty of stories on the other. When I have a couple of pints in me, I love to tell Americans the “real” story of the revolution (godless terrorists driving law abiding, loyal citizens from their homes) while hearing all the time about the godless British oppressing the freedom fighters who claimed their birthright. Who’s right? The Crusades is a similar time. The events seem very different depending on whose material you’re reading. And I suspect most people (like Lucca in my book) aren’t really picking sides so much as trying to live through it for another day.EC:  Can you tell us which side in the Crusades you favored in Acre’s Bastard? Why did you pick that side?

WT:  Wow, that’s a loaded question because I’m of the belief that in any religious war, both sides are equally irrational. That said, Lucca was raised a Christian in an orphanage by the Knights of the Hospital of St John. He’s not religious at all, but finds himself siding with the Crusaders more by default than intention. He tries to save the Kingdom of Jerusalem, because that’s where his friends are, not out of spiritual conviction. In fact, he finds good and bad, evil and grace on both sides.

EC:  In the research for Acre’s Bastard, what kind of surprising details did you come across that were new to you? Did any of them shape the fictional part of your story?

WT:  I’ve been a Crusades junkie since I was a kid (blame Ivanhoe if you must) so I didn’t think there was much to learn except details. The story really came together, though, when I learned about the Order of St Lazar. The idea of leper knights, and how Lucca becomes involved with them, made the story jump right out of my brain onto the page.

EC:  Was research easy or difficult for this book? Where did you find most of your golden nuggets that made their way into your book?

WT:  Good research on this period is hard to come by, and most of what I thought I knew was either tainted by the movies, or came from the same limited number of resources. Reading the Arab accounts (especially Malouf’s “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” helped counterbalance some of that. Then I found a couple of experts, like Helena P. Schrader who is not only a fine author (Envoy of Jerusalem) but runs the “Real Crusades History” network. She took me to the woodshed on some of the facts and recent research. Kept me from making some major mistakes.

EC:  How did you come to write historical fiction? Was this always your goal?

WT:  I’m certainly no scholar, but all my life I’ve preferred fiction that is set in other places and times (sometimes real, sometimes fantastic.) Reading a story usually drives me to learn more about the real time period and people, which drives me to read more and so on down the rabbit hole. One of my mottoes is “swords are cooler than guns”. At least so far, my stories have been set in the past, although my first novel (The Count of the Sahara) was only in the 1920s as opposed to 1187.

EC:  Do you think writing is easier or harder for those of us who come to being novelists later in our lives rather than earlier? How did your first jobs and experiences shape you as a writer? And did you always know some day you’d find your way to becoming a novelist?

WT:  It’s funny, I’ve written most of my life in one way or the other. I started out as a stand-up comedian. Your Canadian readers who remember Yuk Yuks in the 1980s may have seen me. Then after I moved to the US, I became involved in the training industry, and wrote articles, books and blog posts about business topics for nearly 20 years. When I turned 50, it dawned on me that I’d never be a “real” writer until I did at least one novel. I’m sure all that writing warmed me up, but fiction is a very different animal than cranking out business books about Webinars.

EC:  Tell us about your main character, especially about why we as readers will fall in love with this person. Do you follow the rule of always giving your heroes flaws and your antagonists at least one shining characteristic?

WT:  Lucca is a ten year old orphan, who is half “Frankish” (European) and half Syrian who runs the streets of Acre. He’s funny, and precocious, but also a bit of a liar and a brat. I mean chapter one starts with him and his friends trying to peak in a brothel window! I think audiences will really dig him. There are two main antagonists… Brother Idoneus is just evil…. Al Sameen is brilliant, if on the “wrong” side of things.

EC:  Have you tried writing any of your stories from one point of view and then tried it from another? From whose POV is Acre’s Bastard told?

WT:  For some reason I find myself drawn to first person POV a lot. Maybe because it’s easier to write jokes that way, and despite the action and drama there’s plenty of humor in my books. My first novel, The Count of the Sahara, alternates between first person (Count de Prorok’s assistant, Willy) and third person (following the Algerian expedition in flashbacks.) Acre’s Bastard is told entirely from Lucca’s point of view, which I think ramps up the stakes (he’s only 10 for heaven’s sake) and also made it challenging to put the history in, because what do kids know about politics and context? My beta readers seem to think I did okay. They like Lucca a lot, even if one of them told me he needs a good spanking.

EC:  What is the best piece of writing advice you were ever given and how did it shape you as the writer you are today?

WT:  Hmmmmm, I could be a smart aleck and say Hemingway (write drunk, edit sober) but the truth is more mundane than that. I think Louis L’Amour said “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

EC:  What is your best book marketing or author marketing tip?

WT:  Be shameless about asking for reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and wherever. People don’t understand how important the NUMBER of reviews is to how our robot overlords promote books inside those websites. I tell everyone who buys my book or tells me how much they enjoy it… “Don’t tell me, tell Amazon.” An online review is like applause for an author.

EC:  Talk about something close to your writing career which I haven’t mentioned. Show us why we should care about reading Acre’s Bastard.

WT:  I think the biggest thing about what I write, is that the “subject matter” isn’t as important as the story. I have a number of readers, especially women, who say they’d have never read a book about a war, or some obscure real life archaeologist, or about a little boy in the 1100s, but once they started, they really got caught up. That’s what I’m looking to hear. That they loved the story, and maybe learned something by accident. Lord knows it’s the only way I’ve ever learned anything valuable….

Super Important Links:

Amazon Author Page amazon.com/Wayne-Turmel/e/B00J5PGNWU/

Twitter @WTurmel

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wayne.turmel

Acre’s Bastard on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Acres-Bastard-Historical-Fiction-Crusades/dp/0982037759

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Acres-Bastard-Historical-Fiction-Crusades-ebook/dp/B01MU71I1U

Chapters https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Acre%27s%20Bastard

 

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

 

My second edition of The Loyalist’s Wife has won an award!

 

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My second edition of The Loyalist’s Wife has won this prestigious award!

 

Yesterday my InBox contained the delightful announcement from Pauline Barclay that The Loyalist’s Wife, second edition, has been honoured with a Chill’s Readers’ Award. She included in her email the following comments from the readers who voted to honour The Loyalist’s Wife with this award.

Here are comments from the readers…

I thoroughly enjoyed it, probably the first in a while that I found hard to put down.
A lovely read.
Very good.
Remarkable story of courage and resilience.
An insight into the cruelty of the American War of Independence.
A beautiful read.

Thanks so much to those readers who have collectively honoured me and The Loyalist’s Wife. I feel extremely privileged to be part of this illustrious group of writers! And please check out Pauline’s website to learn about other award winners and even to become one of her readers for this award.

 

 

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

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Welcome Author Sharon Clare!

 

History Recalls

I want to thank Elaine, for having me today. I’m a great fan of Elaine’s Loyalist’s novels.

I’m here today to introduce you to something a little different and talk about my new release, Trick Me Once, a light, paranormal romance.

Yes, my book is a little different from Elaine’s historicals, but it does have historical origins. I went way back in history to create my Magical Matchmaker Series, back to Celtic and Norse mythology.

In Trick Me Once, one of the main characters returns to Earth after being trapped in Alfheim, an Elven world, for a century. You may wonder how on Earth this is historical.

Well, I can’t say the idea sprung wholly from my imagination. I was inspired by the experience of Reverend Robert Kirk, born in 1644 in Aberfoyle, Scotland—a man who believed he’d been to the fairy world.

Although Kirk is known for one of the first translations of the bible into Scottish Gaelic, he’s also known for his private journal, The Secret Commonwealth, published a century after his death as The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies by Sir Walter Scott.

Kirk talks about his visit to the fairy realm in great detail as if it was all real. He describes being treated well by the Seelie Court, the good fairies, but when he broke a rule by venturing into the Unseelie Court, the evil fairies, he was punished. He had to make a choice between death or living forever in the fairy realm. He chose the latter. This was believed to explain his mysterious death.

Myths, folklore and fairy tales have inspired many twenty-first century novels. We can thank Geoffrey of Monmouth, author of the Arthurian tales, Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene, (I tell this story in my first book, Love of Her Lives), William Shakespeare, Hans Christian Andersen and others for preserving fairy myths and tales and elevating elves and fairies and other magical creatures to legendary status.

In Trick Me Once, the story opens with the hero’s return to Earth. Aiden MacAuley’s story starts here with this excerpt:

A curse ripped from Aiden’s throat as he slid down the mountainside. The heels of his boots caught then slipped. His hands clawed dirt, yet he skidded down, down, down toward the ragged edge.

Pray Caillech! Hold tight.

Stones loosened under his boots. He hooked his fingers over a rock, lost his grip, slid farther. His feet went over the edge. Calves. Knees.

A tree root ripped his thumb. He latched on.

The weight of his legs dragged like anchors as he dangled in the air. Heart racing, he tilted his head over his shoulder to peer down. The sheer cliff fell in a concave swoop to a jagged plateau eighty feet below. He tightened his hold on the root.

Concentrate.

The pain prickling his hands, the strain tightening his muscles, the air sucking down into his lungs were all acute signs, if he harbored any doubt, that he was human once again.

He’d be damned if his return to Earth lasted a mere minute.

With a deep inhale, he swung his foot toward the mountain and tried to find purchase. The toe of his boot slipped.

Muscles bunched and pulled across his shoulders as he struggled to keep hold. Muscles of a man in his prime—a small blessing at the moment.

I didn’t come this great distance to fail.

Sweat dripped into his eye. He blinked and locked his gaze on a toehold in the wall of the cliff. Again he swung. Slipped. Scrabbled. Held. With his foot planted, the strain on his arms eased slightly. Grunting like a damn hog, he pulled his forearms back onto the ledge. When his elbows touched ground, he drew another breath and pulled his body to safety.

Bloody hell.

Collapsed on the ground, he waited for the pressure that squeezed his ribcage to ease. The last words he’d heard before Taranis sent him back to the human dimension still rang in his ears, the tone sharp, heartless and unexpected—“you’ll not survive to save them.”

Shutting it out for now, he scanned the woods.

The vista from the mountain panned out over endless layers of rippling wilderness where he could almost imagine the lilting tune of a Scottish flute calling him home to the Isle of Skye. Now, that was a fine realization. He was home. The resinous scents of the mountain were a balm to a soul that had constantly ached to draw a breath of Highland air.

Home.

It was both a treasure and a tragedy to have knowledge of the wife and child he’d left behind, to know they’d died without him, and to know the only family he had left was in danger.

Unease hit him as he took in the rounded mountaintops brushed in soft green woods. The scents, the look, the feel of the mountains wasn’t right. He listened for the call of the curlew and heard nothing but the ra-ta-tat of a woodpecker.

And then he knew.

Taranis had not sent him to the Isle of Skye as promised.

Where the hell was he?

He stood and raked his hand through his thick, damp hair. Two hawks circled overhead, swooping with an easy grace that taunted him. To conjure a pair of wings would be a blessed skill.

His skin cooled as he scanned the side of the mountain. There, far below, a flash of red in the valley—a roof perhaps. Promising.

As good as the earth felt beneath his feet, his legs carried him with all the gusto of a sinking ship. Hours passed as he descended and trudged through the woods, bemoaning the fact that while he should be rejoicing at his return, he was nowhere near his beloved home.

When he paused to check his bearings, the wind ruffled his hair and raised gooseflesh on his neck. He turned and braced, seeing the ripple of air he never would have noticed had he not spent the greatest portion of his life amongst the Alfar.

A tall, lean, white-haired male materialized in front of him. At first glance, this man looked human, but Aiden wasn’t fooled. This was no mortal.

Author Sharon Clare

Thanks again, Elaine! And thanks to you, Sharon. I love your books!

Trick Me Once is available at your favourite bookstores here: https://books2read.com/Trick-Me-Once

Blurb:

Magic pushes them together. Reality pulls them apart.

Humiliated radio show host Jessica Stirling is a survivor, yet nothing prepares her for the stage trick that delivers her across the country to a man suspiciously like the nineteenth-century folk hero idolized by Hollywood. About to lose her job, her life savings, and the home that matters to her more than love, she can’t stay stranded in the mountains with a dangerously appealing man who believes in elves.

Trapped in an Elvin world for a century, Scottish artist Aiden MacAuley is finally free and back on Earth. But he’s not home. He’s not safe. And he’s not alone. To prevent the destruction of his bloodline, he must get back to Scotland immediately. He can’t be distracted by the exasperating woman sent to him by a match-making elf, even if she does stir his lust like no woman has.

When she tries to heal the sins of his past, he can’t open his heart. There’s too much to lose and as the new guardian of the gate between the human and Elvin worlds, he isn’t free to fall in love.

About the author:

Sharon Clare writes light, paranormal romance with a little magic, a little suspense and a little humour.

She’s always been fascinated by the idea there’s more to the world than we perceive. That’s why she created Finn, a mischievous, match-making elf, from a world just a wee bit off Earth who believes every time love is experienced, energy empowers our worlds.

Life has enough difficult times, so it’s important to Sharon to write novels where happiness ultimately triumphs. She helps her characters overcome their demons, open their hearts, and find the love everyone deserves. When you reach the end, she strives to leave you in a happy place.

If you’d like a free book in the Magical Matchmaking series, please come visit Sharon at: www.sharonclare.com

 

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

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One of the gifts I received for Christmas shows yet again how closely my husband is tuned in to my writing life. He knows that having just launched the third in my Loyalist trilogy, I am working even harder on marketing. After all, what good is writing a great series if few people know about it?

While my next writing project is simmering in my mind, I’m going to step up my already busy book marketing life. My husband bought me this book: Online Marketing for Busy Authors. (Click to see it on Amazon.)

 

I have yet to crack this book open but soon!

Now I have a closet full of books on writing and even a few on marketing. The first book I read on the subject linked writing and selling right in the title so I know how important the selling part is to a writer’s career. And before I open Burke’s book I’m going to list my own marketing methods to date:

  1. Talk about your writing whenever you can. So many people will be thrilled that you’ve included them in your writing inner circle. (Of course, you don’t want to become annoying!) Believe it or not, having published books seems to give a writer the right to call herself an author and most people respect that.

  2. Get on as many social media outlets as you can handle comfortably and keep them up to date. I use Facebook, both my main page and my author page, sometimes I do ads on these; Twitter;  Pinterest; and, to a lesser extent, LinkedIn. I’m planning to step up my YouTube game in 2017 and post regular videos.

  3. Look for speaking gigs that relate to the subject matter of your book. Historical and Loyalist groups are delighted to hear about my Loyalist trilogy. Elementary schools would be excited to get in children’s book authors. Those with non-fiction books can look for their peeps among those who need/want their books about dog-grooming, lifestyle suggestions, or dating advice.

  4. Offer to do special presentations where your book is most suited. Last summer I did a July 1st (Canada Day) table at a wonderful museum in London. For that I did special games for kids that related to the history at the museum and in my books. Of course the woman who wanted to dumb my games down for her kids by giving them the answers kind of missed the point.

  5. Make it your goal to do at least one thing to market yourself and your books EVERY DAY. This keeps you on top of your marketing game and increases your chances of the world finding out about your books. It also results in all kinds of people knowing you. Just a few days ago I received a lovely thank you letter from a couple who subscribe to my twice monthly newsletter telling me how much they enjoy it and wishing me Merry Christmas. I so appreciated that both for the kindness it showed and for the feedback on what I am doing.

Here is a link to some blog posts related to this topic which will show you my journey along the marketing road. On that blog I really talk about my writing journey to publication and beyond so there may be other things there that interest budding writers. Whatever your interest I hope the articles help you. Meanwhile I am going to push on with marketing my Loyalist trilogy. For this morning? I’m going to go down my list of previous speaking venues and see if there is somewhere I might seek a return gig now that it’s almost four years since I’ve been to some of them. Happy New Year!

The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck, The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler

Available at Amazon.com and many other places.

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One question I was asked over and over as a teacher was “Does spelling count?” When I received the comment I’ve used in my title above on my website, I wished I were still teaching. The kids would have roared over that one and the lesson would have been easily learned.

Yes, spelling counts.

“Standardized spelling enables readers to understand writing, to aid communication and ensure clarity.” This quote from the Huffington Post Canada puts its case simply and leaves no room for all the dross of argument on the subject put forth by so many in our world of easily accessible technology today.

In a Lifestyle online article on the subject, eight reasons for an affirmative reply to the question of whether spelling counts include communication, standards, avoiding confusion, enabling future prospects, failures with SpellCheck, comprehension, distraction, and making a good impression. In spite of the Twitter-byte style of the type in that article, an annoying method of communication in my opinion, the points are well taken, even if the list is improperly set up with varying parts of speech describing the eight reasons why good spelling is important.

  • Communication: We need to write correctly so that our words are clear and easy to understand.

  • Standards: It is our language and some of us would like to preserve its lovely idiosyncrasies and see those maintained.

  • Avoidance of confusion: “Suck” and “such” have entirely different meanings and while the humor is welcomed for the purposes of this post, spelling words incorrectly can result in hurt feelings, gross insults or worse.

  • The enabling of future prospects: Those resumes full of spelling mistakes don’t even get looked at, especially if the position is for a job which demands an excellent facility with language.

  • Failures with SpellCheck: No one can rely on a computer to know all the intricacies of language with impunity. We must be able to see when the computer is wrong and, believe me, that happens all the time. Just ask a novelist about all the green underlining in Word for items which the computer deems incorrect. Same for grammar checkers.

  • Comprehension: Sometimes words are spelled so badly or so many errors can be found that the intended meaning of the sentence is lost. Believe me, I’ve seen it in the classroom and in writing critique groups.

  • Distraction: Picture it. You’re really immersed in that great book and can hardly wait to turn the page. Suddenly a word is misspelled. And then another one. Maybe even a third. Your mind switches away from the hero’s last words to his best friend. Instead you wonder why those words are spelled incorrectly. You are distracted. Do we as authors want that? Absolutely not.

  • The creation of a good impression: You are meeting the person you’ve spent much of your life idolizing and write an email finalizing the details. You rush. You don’t reread it. You miss grammar and spelling errors and even leave out important details such as where the meeting will take place. Your idol will definitely form an impression of you before  ever seeing you. With an email like that, what do you suppose that impression will be?

Some of my dearest author friends make no secret of their lack of spelling acumen but their books shine with correctness and with intelligence, wit, and information. They know spelling is not their forte but they are smart enough to find someone to make sure their writing is correct. And that very action underlines the importance of correct spelling.

So, yes, spelling counts. I believe so strongly in this that I try very hard not to model bad spelling when I text my young grandchildren (8 years old). How can they learn what is correct if they don’t see it?

And now, I’m going to reread this post once more!

This is the cover of a storybook made for me by a superior student who knew very well the importance of correct spelling and excellent writing, Ronda Keller.

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Knowing that the third book in my Loyalist trilogy was launching in November, my husband and I planned a wonderful cruise for a couple of weeks beforehand. The story is in the pictures:

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In Florence, the Ponte Vecchio across the Arno was a photographer’s delight and we had to jostle for position. Well worth it.

I couldn't walk by David's butt without clicking one for posterity. Shied away from the front, though. ;-)

I couldn’t walk by David’s butt without clicking one for posterity. (Ha Ha) Shied away from the front, though. 😉

Street scene from a tour bus in beautiful Barcelona.

Street scene from a tour bus in beautiful Barcelona. We had fabulous weather there at the beginning of our trip.

Cute little birds in park.

Cute little monk parakeets in Barcelona park gardens of King’s summer palace.

Park fountain in Barcelona.

King’s summer palace fountain in Barcelona.

Sagrada Madre in Barcelona

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, always under construction. Fabulous testament to the absolute need for people to build monuments to their gods. Very beautiful.

Of course we saw the leaning tower of Pisa but didn’t know about the beautiful church right beside it. Lovely.

High up on the Isle of Capri we could see the shades in the water.

High up on the Isle of Capri we could see the shades in the water.

And the powerful volcano, Mount Etna, in the distance.

And the powerful volcano, Mount Vesuvius, in the distance.

The clouds scudded across the azure sky in a perfect picture over the Mediterranean Sea.

The clouds scudded across the azure sky in a perfect picture over the Mediterranean Sea.

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One of the most beautiful places was Monaco even though it is extremely crowded with buildings and streets built on top of one another.

And here rests Princess Grace in the lovely church visitors are welcomed at no charge.

And here rests Princess Grace in the lovely Monaco Cathedral where visitors are welcomed at no charge.

And now we’re back home with wonderful memories of our Mediterranean cruise. The Loyalist Legacy is launched and we can revisit our two week holiday with the pictures and our memories. Just what a good holiday should do for us!

 

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