Today I’m giving my readers a second look at a post from a year and a half ago which gives suggestions on how to increase sales of our books. A few things have changed since then but the basic advice is still very timely. Click here to go directly to the post. Enjoy!

 

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For today’s post I bring you a little bit of history and a little bit of real people’s stories. I’ve chosen to give personalities to William and Catherine (Cain) Garner, my great great great grandparents and to interview them. I’ve given them the ability to see into the future, you’ll notice, for I think these stalwart Loyalists who settled in Upper Canada have a lot to say about how we Canadians got here today, having just celebrated our sesquicentennial (150 years).

I’ve come to know William and Catherine having used their names, their situation, family tales, and the characteristics of my own father in writing my trilogy, especially in the second and third books. In the picture at left William is seated with Catherine to his right. The other two are their son, William, and his wife, Rosabella (Cass) Garner. The first William never got to see Confederation in 1867 when Canada was formed but Catherine did. This family settled in Nissouri township on a 200 acre farm which straddled the Thames River.

William and Catherine were there when most people traveled by an old Indian trail which crisscrossed their land.  Why? The roads marked out on the township maps were in varying states of disrepair relying as they did on the settlers to maintain the road along their acreages. There were just not enough settlers to have this be a viable way to keep up the roads. I wonder how we would like this system today? Aren’t we glad we have public works organizations? Makes you think taxes actually help us.

Ouch! Catherine just pinched me and William is glowering as he must have when he saw the condition of the so-called roads in Nissouri Township. We had better get started.

Elaine: I am most pleased to meet both of you even though the situation is very strange for all of us. What was it like moving away from Niagara and all of your family after the war was over in 1812?

William: Tough, it was. We both suffered a lot. I was part of the militia for about nine months during the war. Did you know that?

E: I did. I’ve read about some of those battles you must have been in. Can you tell me any details?

Catherine: First I need to say how sick I felt at leaving my parents’ graves and my little Catt’s. No one to say a prayer over them, pull the weeds around the piles of stones.

W: Hush, Catherine. Think of more pleasant times. Remember that barn raising on the lot south of us? We danced all night on the pounded earth. There’s a good girl. A smile.

E: Did you have a lot of times like that? I mean the dancing and partying.

C: No, not really. Mostly we worked from sunup to sundown and sometimes into the wee hours.

W: Sundays, though. We tried to rest on Sundays.

E: I heard about the Chippewa Indians. We call them Natives or First Nations people now, by the way. Do you have any stories about them?

W: The British conquered them. Put them on reserved lands and expected them to stay there. Not just the Chippewas. Mohawks and the others, what you now call Six Nations. All of them were given lands of their own.

E: We’re facing the consequences of that now.

C: I should tell her about that Indian woman, do you think, William?

W: That was a terrible thing.

C: It was a fine spring day. She came to visit with her little one–papoose–she called him. All wrapped up and tied on a board to sleep…..Oh, this part is hard. We left him on the front veranda. In the fresh air, you see.

E: What happened?

C: We were inside, my two china teacups on the table….smiling, talking. As women do.

Chippewa Indians Genealogy: FamilySearch Wiki

W: You’ll have to tell it, Catherine.

C: The baby. Screaming. So loud I can hear it now….we ran out and watched a lynx jump off the porch and run away…looked for the baby. Only the board and the broken strings. Blood. Lots of blood. On the porch, the grass. And silence. No baby screams now.

W: Here now. Don’t cry. It’s all in the past.

E: Um, I…William, what did you think of the Family Compact?

W: The what?….Oh, I remember. A bunch of privileged sons of–

C: William!

W. They had all the power and used it to feather their own nests. Gave the perks to their sons and cousins. Kept it all to their families. Made us so angry…some talked about overthrowing the government. The British! Others tried going to England and pleading. No good. Finally, rebellion. That was after I was gone but Catherine told me about it. Robert was part of it.

E: Who is Robert? Your son?

C: One of them. A good boy, too. Didn’t deserve to be hounded after that fiasco in Norwich. Those rebels never even got further than 10 miles before they turned back.

E: What do you mean, hounded?

W: Terrorized the little village looking for those whose names they found on a list. Most escaped. Others stood trial. A few died because of it.

C: That was such a bad business. Robert made it home but spent the rest of his days looking behind him.

E: What do you think when you look at us now a hundred and fifty years since Canada was born. Do you have any feelings?

C: I’m glad Canada turned out so well. For everyone. But especially for our family. William, we started something, didn’t we?

W: Yes, my dear. We surely did….and it was good.

E: Well, this has been fabulous, meeting my relatives, getting to know you–you’re real people. And, William, I can see my Dad in you. You would have liked him. Thank you both.

W: Just remember we’re looking down on you all.

C: No nasty tricks, no drinking or missing church. We’ll be watching.

E: So, there we have it. Two stalwart people. My relatives. I hope I get to meet them again.

 

The whole trilogy with these and many other characters is available on Amazon. Just double click on the book cover below.

“…ordinary people somehow finding the inner resources to shape new lives and a new country.”

 

 

 

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Rosemary A Johns Urban Portraits

Today we’re looking at history in a very different way. Author Rosemary A Johns has joined me here to give her take on the links between history and–can you believe it?–vampires. Yes, you read that right. Vampires. Ever since Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat, readers have loved to take a journey into the nether worlds created by authors walking a bit on the dark side. Don’t you just love how the imagination grabs an idea and wonderful books are born?

Make sure you read through to the end as there I’ve linked to her book trailer for the series. You’ll love it. Thanks so much, Rosemary, for joining us here today.

I’m passionate about history – I always have been. My Postgrad is in history from Oxford University. I’m also a fantasy writer who loves to challenge the world around me by seeing it through the eyes of the paranormal. Luckily for me (?) history and fantasy weave together beautifully, just like Beauty and the Beast.

Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by vampires. The myths. The history behind the myths. Living for centuries and witnessing the best and worst of all humanity but only as the outsiders looking in. Once human but never being able to be human again.

A bit like historians, if I’m honest.

Rebel Vampires my new fantasy series is set in the supernatural world of Blood Life, in a hidden London of vampires, rebels and romance. The world is divided between Blood Lifers (vampires) and First Lifers (humans). And vampires are both predator and prey.

I wanted to write a vampire book for adults. A whole new urban fantasy twist on the myth – or as Light would say: ‘You know those vampire myths? Holy water, entry by invitation only and sodding crucifixes? Bollocks to them.’

Blood Dragons (Rebel Vampires Volume 1) is out now (e-book and paperback). Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodDragons

Blood Dragons was sparked by the idea of a British Rocker vampire with a photographic memory called Light. Light’s extraordinary memory is based on my son’s. My son is an autistic savant – meaning he has a photographic memory. I wondered whether being a vampire with such a gift would be a blessing or a curse.

Light is caught between his century old love for a savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer and his forbidden human lover in 1960s London.

You have two of my favourite British time periods right there: Elizabethan (a powerful, fascinating, inventive but secretive period overflowing with plots…and my personal top monarch of them all – Elizabeth I), and the 1960s.

The 1960s London music scene? If I could go back to one time period only, that would be it.

Light is elected into Blood life in Victorian England. This gave me 150 years to paint – the glories and the horrors. Because Light remembers it all with the clarity of a photograph.

Research for a writer is essential. But the key? To make it invisible. The reader should feel like they’re in that Victorian warehouse, trapped in a stinking hole during World War One or lounged in the fug of a 1960s bar with a pint and a ciggie. It should be vivid and real. Research worn with a light touch.

Once Blood Lifers are elected they choose to hold onto what they love best about the times they pass through. The clothes, hair or mannerisms of speech.

Ruby – Light’s Author and lover – (‘Ruby. My red-haired devil, Author, muse, liberator, guide: my gorgeous nightmare’), is an Elizabethan.

‘A copper tuppeny bit landed on the grass at Ruby’s feet. There were sniggers.

I remained in the shadows, waiting for my cue.

‘Faith, you are foolish slaves. Nothing but base beasts. By this hand, you will cry mercy before this night is over.’

The laughter died.’

Blood Shackles (Rebel Vampires Volume 1) is out now (e-book and paperback). Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodShackles

Whereas Hartford? He’s a powerful American Long-lived. But the jazz age? Those were the years of his greatest joy and freedom. They spoke to his Soul – and his beautiful voice. It’s Hartford’s voice, which sets the other slaves free with its hope, when they’re abducted by the secret human Blood Club in Blood Shackles. Like Taken but with vampires.

‘ ‘Groupies,’ Donovan sighed dreamily.

Hartford shook his nut. ‘Jazz babies: now there was a treat! All those blotto dolls in loose dresses, with looser morals, wanting to have a good time. I was in Chicago when it was the hard-boiled gangsters running the cabarets and the dance clubs; now they knew how to throw a party. Later the place to be was New York, where I’d hunt The Cotton Club to the throb of Duke Ellington. Have a smoke. Some skirt up for some nookie and then… Pulse of the blood and the jazz in synchronicity…’ Hartford’s peepers shuddered closed, as we all licked our lips in sympathetic memory. ‘I’d sneak into the Rosewood Ballroom to hear Louis Armstrong play, even when I wasn’t on the hunt.’ ’ Blood Shackles (Rebel Vampires Volume 2)

Blood Renegades, the third book in the trilogy, which has just come out, is at heart a book about evolution: how our two species have evolved side by side through history…and what happens if the Blood Lifers finally step into the light?

Mostly the books are about London: its dark and its glory. Researching historical London? No chore at all.

‘I studied the bloke’s earnest bespectacled mush, as he weaved his small hands animatedly. A single brunette curl fell over his right peeper; he brushed at it with a quick smile. Not quite up at Oxford yet, Edmond was only just younger than me.

Yet it felt like centuries separated us.

We strolled in the early autumn evening along London Bridge, which arched elegantly across the Thames; the moon was masked by mist. The air was sharp; my nostrils stung.

Even in the dark the roadway was alive with bustle and roar: broughams, growlers, whinnying nags and drivers hollering.

My London: thriving and thrusting.

Birds hurried with bundles of umbrella frames and cages of hats, mingling with dirty coster girls and oily sackmakers. Waifs. Strays. Roughs. Working men and women ebbing and flowing across the great river, whilst the rich rode in their carriages.

Then there was us: one First Lifer and one Blood, in the black freeze of the evening.’ Blood Renegades (Rebel Vampires Volume 3) http://viewbook.at/BloodRenegades

History and vampires: Beauty and the Beast. Now that’s something I’m passionate about…

Escape into Blood Life now…

~Blood Dragonshttp://viewbook.at/BloodDragons

~Blood Shackleshttp://viewbook.at/BloodShackles

~Blood Renegades: http://viewbook.at/BloodRenegades

 

ABOUT ROSEMARY A JOHNS

WINNER OF SILVER AWARD in the National Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

ROSEMARY A JOHNS is a music fanatic and a paranormal anti-hero addict who creates spellbinding worlds, thrilling action, gripping suspense and passionate romances, all uniquely told. She wrote her first fantasy novel at the age of ten, when she discovered the weird worlds inside her head were more exciting than double swimming. Since then she’s studied history at Oxford University, run a theatre company (her critically acclaimed plays have been described as “uncomfortable, unsettling and uneasily true to life”), and worked with disability charities.

When Rosemary’s not falling in love with the rebels fighting their way onto the page, she heads the Oxford writing group Dreaming Spires.

Email Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ0kMX

Fantasy website: https://rosemaryajohns.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15571684.Rosemary_A_Johns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryAnnJohns

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosemaryajohns

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-A-Johns/e/B01JOJVTNE

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosemary-a-johns

 

Yay! Book 2 of the Loyalist Trilogy earned a new award!

 

 

 

 

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Cpl. Frank Doxey

Last Friday I was thrilled to be in the Peace Tower at 11:00 a.m. when a very special Canadian ceremony took place. About a dozen or so of us slid behind grandiose pillars and in between glass cases holding large books as beautifully ornamented as those done by monks centuries ago. You can see from the photo here that I am wearing a badge. That is a clue. Visitors must go through strict security measures to get into the Centre Block of our Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario.

Each day a Canadian soldier, dressed with all spit and polish and clicking his or her shiny boots with every measured step from case to case around the grandiose room turns one page of each of the large books. My husband and I were there to see the page containing my uncle’s name be exposed to start its twenty-four hour sojourn in the light.

The room is called the Memorial Chamber–a commemoration to those who died in military service to Canada.

Looking back through the doorway I spied the beautiful stonework and the use of light and colour.

Before the ceremony I studied the case containing my Uncle Frank’s name. The lid has not yet been raised.

On one wall the words every school child of my generation memorized and repeated on November 11 each year–the poem penned by John MacRae, who himself ended up between the crosses during World War I.

I loved the way the sun coming through the gorgeous stained glass windows above anointed the names in each book.

The Second World War case is open in preparation for the ceremony.

Here is the soldier preparing to turn the page. I watched in anticipation of seeing my Uncle Frank’s name come to light. I never knew him. He died in August, 1944, in Italy two years before I was born. My whole life, though, I’ve revered the stories of my mother and those repeated at every Remembrance Day service I ever attended. I remember in high school wearing our cadet uniforms and lining up all up and down the main hall of Woodstock Collegiate Institute, our eyes turned to the showcases in the centre of the school where the ceremony took place. And I cried real tears, so moving were the moments.

Here is the gloved hand of the soldier doing this act of remembrance and homage. I did not cry. I nodded my head in unity with the soldier. These were not just names but real people with mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, families and friends, dreams and hopes and lives all dashed to dust. And we honour them.

My husband watches from across the room as the soldier bows his head.

After the clicking heels had rattled out of the tower room and down the corridor we were left with unimpeded views to the new day’s names. My Uncle Frank’s name–Cpl. Frank Gerald Doxey–is the second one on this page. He was a member of the Perth Regiment.

I quickly snapped a couple more shots; others were waiting behind me.

And here’s the best picture I took. I look at all the other names on Uncle Frank’s page and think of all the pages and all the books and all the deaths. And I am humbled and staggered by the loss.

Uncle Frank was 28 years old when he died. He left behind a wife and a young daughter, my cousin Peggy. Her lovely mother married again and birthed more children so that Peggy was raised in a wonderful family with a man who was every bit a father to her. Peggy loved to talk to my mother, though, and ask her questions about her father, the father she never really knew.

And still today as I write this, I shake my head at my tearing eyes and at all the floods of tears all over the world because of war. This is not the war I wrote about in my trilogy but the sentiments are the same.

And now as we celebrate on Saturday Canada’s 150th birthday since Confederation in 1867, I pray that we will need no more books of remembrance, no more beautiful calligraphy with each letter a tribute. After all, there is no more space in the Peace Tower memorial room for more cases or walls for wars. All the young men and women need to live their lives in peace, only at the end dying in their beds.

Lest We Forget

 

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Yay! Book 2 of the Loyalist Trilogy earned a new award!

The wonderful Pauline Barclay has announced that The Loyalist’s Luck has been awarded a Readers’ Award by her Chill With a Book site. I’m very happy about this because this site really takes the time and effort to make sure the books it praises deserve that praise. Thanks so much, Chill With a Book!

Here’s the whole gamut of awards given out by Chill With a Book. And now that I’ve told you about my newest award, I’m going to go chill with a 17th century book I’m reading at the moment.

Here’s where you can get your own copies of the Loyalist trilogy in Kindle and print.      Kobo.com also carries the trilogy.

 

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June 19 was Loyalist Day here in Ontario, a most important remembrance for a good number of our 14,000,000 citizens whether they know it or not. To celebrate this day I went with my husband to a small village close to Turkey Point on Lake Erie and met other Loyalist descendants there. Vittoria boasts this fine building below, the present day Christ Church Anglican Church still standing on the site where the original judicial centre for London District was built at Tisdale’s Mills (Vittoria) in 1815.

When it burned 10 years later the judicial centre was moved to London. The present building was built on the previous foundation, the cornerstones of which can easily be seen today.

Inside this church we found a lovely old treasure, beautifully maintained, although certainly not air conditioned. For washrooms we had to walk a few hundred feet to go inside another of Vittoria’s historic buildings, the town hall, also lovingly maintained.

The Grand River Branch of U.E.L.A.C. provided this banner upon which I recognized a Mohawk Indian and a uniformed Butler’s Ranger as well as King George III’s badge.

Partway through the event we followed the piper across the lawns to raise the Loyalist flag on the property. I’ve even included a short video to give my readers the flavour of what we heard that day. There’s nothing like a piper in the great outdoors!

Most of the crowd tried to stay out of the sun for the presentation of this unveiling of the new Long Point Settlement Plaque and I did the same. That’s why my picture is from the side. Here local MPP Toby Barrett is bringing greetings from the province.

Upon completion of the ceremony I moved to a better vantage point and took my pictures. I dropped my camera away from my eyes when I noticed some of the artwork used. It is the same picture as I have on my third book cover!

After the formal part of the festivities, I had a moment to chat with MPP Toby Barrett about something he mentioned in his greetings. He was sad that our provincial legislature is doing nothing to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the creating of the Province of Ontario. He compared it to what his government did 25 years ago. I suspect those in power feel that the 200th anniversary was more of a moment but still, we need to celebrate our history. You can read more about it here.

For more reading about American and Canadian history told through a family’s experiences, try my historical fiction.

The Loyalist’s Wife 2nd edition

Second in the Loyalist Trilogy

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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William Lyon Mackenzie

Father of Responsible Government in Canada

Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, Queenston, Ontario. Photo by Elaine Cougler

A few weeks ago I was in Queenston, a small town along the Niagara River below Niagara Falls with a huge part in our Canadian history. In the building at right, which today houses the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, lived for a short time a man who is called the father of responsible government here, William Lyon Mackenzie.

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Outside the beautifully restored stone building this inoperable press stands guard, a stalwart signal that this is a place of importance. Indeed it is.

For this was the place where Mackenzie lived when he turned his newspaper, The Colonial Advocate, into a vehicle of truth about the government of the day.

‘The Family Compact’, so-called because they shared among themselves all the important posts in Britain’s government of Upper Canada, raised the ire of many, including Mackenzie. In my second book of the Loyalist trilogy, the Garner family suffer the injustices visited upon them and their neighbours by this self-serving group. Men like William Lyon Mackenzie began to speak up for a better government.

Mackenzie was only in this home during 1823 and 1824 but a wonderful committee of volunteers undertook to save the building and turn this into a premier remembrance of Mackenzie’s living here for that time and of spectacular exhibits of the history of printing. The two are closely linked because Mackenzie used that medium to spread his word among the rebels and others of his day.

Check out the backgrounds of those on the board for a who’s who in the printing world that have carried on this tradition of volunteering their time to preserve the past. I’ll leave their web pages to tell the story. The photos are fantastic!

Major General Sir Isaac Brock

Bravely Died At Queenston Heights

In The Loyalist’s Luck one of my characters is present when Brock is killed. Robert is fighting for the Americans while his family is on the British side. They are forced up from the Niagara River into the gunfire coming from Queenstown Heights.

Robert heard the constant barrage of guns off to his left as, alone, he stepped out of the thicket at the top of the hill, but all seemed quiet here. He crept along, hunched over, his hands gripping his rifle, barely breathing.

Suddenly 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.

No one really knows who killed General Brock. I used that fact to suggest that my fictional character, Robert, shot him in the above scene.

http://www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/brocks-monument/ website

And, of course, very close by is the huge monument erected in memory of Sir Isaac Brock after that day. The photo above belies the actual height of this monument at 56 metres (185 feet).

On the Mackenzie Printery site stands another monument, this one to a horse. That’s right, a horse. His name was “Alfred” and he was Sir Isaac Brock’s mount on his famous ride from Fort George across the seven miles to Queenston to repel the American attack of October 13, 1812.

Below is the printing that is on the plaque in the photo above. Alfred’s likeness is enclosed in the glass and just through the trees above, Brock’s monument stands on guard.

“Alfred”

Early on the morning of October 13, 1812, after galloping seven miles from Fort George, General Brock tethered his gray horse here in the village of Queenston in order to lead a charge on foot to repel the invading enemy. Brock was killed leading the attack.

Colonel Macdonell then took command until General Sheaffe could arrive from Fort George with reinforcements. Macdonell rode “Alfred” to lead another charge. He was mortally wounded and Alfred was killed, part of the price of saving Canada on that fateful day.

Both of these amazing historical figures found their way into my Loyalist Trilogy and are part of Canadian History. This year we Canadians are celebrating our sesquicentennial, 150 years since confederation in 1867. Brock and Mackenzie, in different ways and many years before, laid the groundwork for Canada coming into existence.

 

The Loyalist Trilogy

Available on Amazon

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Librarian Susan and I beside her display of my books featured this week.

This has been a particularly busy week for me and probably for all of my readers. We are living in exciting times but occasionally we run out of time. That happened to me this week so first and foremost I apologize to my readers for being late with my blog post.

One of the reasons for my busy week is that our local library has chosen to feature three Canadian writers each week for the whole year and this is week 22, my week. The wonderful Susan let me know about this a few weeks ago but I had forgotten until I was in the library and saw the display. I’m featured with Nino Ricci and Fred Stenson, two other Canadian writers and I’m doing as much to point to Susan’s efforts for us writers as I can.

Librarian Susan Earle’s reason for undertaking this project is that we Canadians are celebrating our sesquicentennial this year. Canada morphed from being a British colony to becoming our very own country and a member of the British Commonwealth on July 1, 1867. If you do the math, we’re 150!

All this year from British Columbia to Newfoundland we are celebrating even though it’s not 150 years for every province. Some came in later. Newfoundland was not part of confederation until 1949. Nevertheless we are one proud collection of provinces and territories the sum total of which makes up our country.

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Our actual day is July 1. As my own personal celebration I offered free copies of my first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, to those who are on my special newsletter list who got here first to pick them up. I’m sorry to say those copies are now gone but you can still buy that first edition on Amazon or buy the second edition from me or on Amazon. Thanks again to all my supporters who helped me celebrate Canada 150 in this way.

This seemed a fitting way to celebrate since my Loyalist trilogy was born to tell the story of a young couple in the wilds of 1778 New York State whose lives are forever changed when he decides to join Butler’s Rangers and fight for the British and leave his wife behind on their isolated farm to try to hold on to their land. The story of the fictional Garner family moves from there through two more books to 1838 here in Ontario. I loved researching and writing this historical fiction trilogy for its riveting history and its answer to the universal question, who are we?

Of course our story would not be complete without mentioning the indigenous peoples who were here long before we Loyalists and others arrived, as my wonderful friend, Raven Murphy, has reminded me. She has encouraged her audiences to take a wider view of history. I’m happy to do that.

Here are my listings as Susan put them in her brochure:

The Loyalist’s Wife 2nd edition

The Loyalist’s Wife

by Elaine A. Cougler
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.

Second in the Loyalist Trilogy

The Loyalist’s Luck

by Elaine Cougler
When the revolutionary war turns in favour 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. 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. 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.

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy

The Loyalist Legacy

by Elaine Cougler
After the crushing end of the War of 1812, William and Catherine Garner find their allotted two hundred acres in Nissouri Township by following the Thames River into the wild heart of Upper Canada. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William knows he
cannot take his family back to Niagara but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and their children,
he hurries back along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return home in time for spring planting. With spectacular scenes of settlers recovering from the wartime catasttophes in early Ontario, Elaine Cougler shows a different kind of battle, one of ordinary people somehow finding the inner resources to shape new lives and a new country. The Loyalist Legacy delves further into the history of the Loyalists as they begin to disagree on how to deal with the injustices of the powerful “Family Compact” and on just how loyal to Britain they want to remain.

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After Christmas this year I felt the need to do something other than sit at my computer all day so I was elated when I found this unopened jigsaw puzzle in my basement. It had been there so long its source was no longer known but I hauled it out and spread it across my dining room table. There would be no dinners there for a while!

Undaunted by the number of pieces–500 or was it 10,000?–I searched for the border to give the scene a shape, first and foremost. The colours called me and I started to see similar tones, grouping them together in bunches wherever I could find a clear spot on the table.

My husband soon abandoned the project.

I was diligent about sitting down to the task but counted myself lucky if I placed 5 pieces properly in a 20-minute session. The task seemed impossible and I soon wondered if I had bitten off more than I could comfortably chew; nevertheless, I found myself drawn to sit at that table four or five times a day or even just stand and stare at it until I saw something. Rarely did I walk away having found nothing.

The picture grew on my table but certain parts just wouldn’t come together. I couldn’t find the right pieces to complete them so I just worked on what did make sense. And I loved the struggle. Beautiful windows full of books and wine glasses and artwork fit together in one extended scene, like a bunch of comparative words filling in the subjects of a grand metaphor.

I took pictures, realizing that this was a work of art in progress and I would do well to record its birth as I do the rough drafts of my novels. By now February had whistled in with cold drafts that made sitting in the warmth at my table just a little more pleasant. And, of course, the puzzle began to reveal itself more clearly to me. I had to push on, excited at the thought of a finished work.

Finishing the puzzle lured me even more. My husband came back and put in the odd piece.

Back at my computer not much was happening with my writing. I had several ideas that went nowhere; I tried to decide just what project might excite both me and my readers; I consoled myself in my indecision by sitting at my dining room table and solving at least one puzzle. If I couldn’t decide on my next writing project I could certainly find the solution to that mass of pieces on my table.

And it calmed me. My need to be creative was sidetracked into that by now very beautiful work of art in my dining room. I felt anxious to finish it. Besides, I wanted to have a dinner party. It was time!

Near the end of my puzzle odyssey I invited my sister and her husband for dinner and actually laid newspapers across the almost finished puzzle and then placed my tablecloth over the top. They might have been just a little intimidated because I cautioned them against any spills!

By now the third month of the year had marched in and I longed to finish. Like a horse putting on that last burst of speed before the finish line, I sat longer at the table and actually laughed out loud at each piece that found its resting place.

Finally the day came. I grabbed my phone and recorded the finished puzzle just to prove I had done it. I’m sorry now I didn’t take a shot from the bottom of the scene but you get the idea. Notice how many extra pieces are on the table. None!

The finished work of art.

This is so like our journeys as writers. I learned to set myself a goal each day (3 pages) and watch the word count rise and the printed chapter pile get higher and higher. Putting finish to my novels took about two years for each one. My biggest accomplishment, I think, was to keep going little by little until I reached my goal.  I certainly remember the day my first box of books arrived in my home. The Loyalist’s Wife was no longer a dream but something I could hold in my hand. For some reason I can’t find that photo but, believe me, it’s engraved on my heart. Patience, persistence and perseverance paid off beautifully. I wish that feeling for each hard working writer out there.

 

The Loyalist Trilogy

The Loyalist's Wife 2nd edition

The Loyalist’s Wife 2nd edition Chill With a Book Award winner!

Second in The Loyalist Trilogy

Second in the Loyalist Trilogy Discovering Diamonds Award Winner

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy Released November, 2016

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Author Maaja Wentz

Today I have the distinct pleasure of entertaining here on my historical fiction blog an author from a different genre. Maaja Wentz is a Toronto writer whose joyous smile shown at left is heightened in her lively guest post below. Welcome to Maaja! Enjoy, Everyone! And don’t forget to enter Maaja’s contest.

Just before you begin Maaja’s guest post I have to mention that last week my website let me down and even though I wrote my usual Wednesday blog post it didn’t send properly. Consequently my readers didn’t get their notification. After you finish reading Maaja’s interesting words below please consider checking out last week’s post, War on Our Doorstep! It’s got loads of photos in it. Ah, technology! And now read about inspiration—

How Do You Keep Your Inspiration?

Guest post by Maaja Wentz

When authors speak in public, readers and newbie writers alike ask the same question: Where do you get your inspiration? This weekend I attended Toronto’s Ad Astra science fiction and fantasy convention where I listened to authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, and Diana Whiting. None of them expressed difficulty getting ideas. In fact, Sanderson read us a story which he had written on the plane and in the airport on his way to Toronto.

There’s a little secret writers share. Most, myself included, have more story ideas then they have time to develop. Between life events, the news, and new discoveries in science and history, there will never be a dearth of story sparks. The challenge is to stay inspired through early drafts, revisions based on beta reader feedback, and multiple revisions after editorial review. For traditionally published authors this process often takes a year, leaving sequel-hungry fans waiting.

At least traditionally published authors have editors with deadlines to goad them into action. As an indie author, seeing things through to the end is lonelier because editors are freelance and deadlines are self-imposed. I love the exhilaration of writing a first draft. The blank page holds limitless possibilities and new scenes come quickly, but editing is a slow slog.

What is the secret to persevering from idea to polished book? For many, it’s the same element that drives actors, singers, and dancers — the joy of performing. Doing public readings where I can see the audience laugh or hold its breath is its own reward. On the Wattpad reading app my novel, Feeding Frenzy, has received over 124 000 reads to date. Winning a Watty Award and interacting with Wattpad readers online keeps me going because I know real people are enjoying my characters and their adventures.

When I can’t share my work, reading keeps me motivated. Writers get inspiration from the same source readers get entertainment and food for thought. We need to see what other writers are capable of, the creative challenges they set themselves, their differing voices and styles, and their solutions to technical puzzles. Reading fiction also helps us remember the pure pleasure of books from the reader’s point of view.

There is a danger inherent in this kind of inspiration according to Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer. At Ad Astra on Sunday, he read from his work-in-progress about the Manhattan project and the inventors of the atomic bomb. Sawyer said he wouldn’t read anything fictional featuring Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer, or Richard Feynman. He worried fictional depictions of historical figures might overlap with his own research-based ideas. For fear of accidental plagiarism, or of having to limit his imagination to avoid it, he is sticking to non-fiction for now.

Unlike Robert J. Sawyer, I’m still learning the craft and business of writing. My inspiration comes from reading my favourite genres: fantasy and science fiction. To stay current, and for the pleasure of reading, I purchased ten of the top fantasy and science fiction novels on the Amazon ebook charts. The idea is not that I will be inspired to write like these authors, but that their books will motivate me to keep revising, editing, and polishing to the end. If I never wrote another story, I would still have over seven novel drafts on my computer, waiting to be edited and published. All I need is sufficient motivation.

Want to win the chart-topping fantasy and science fiction novels I chose to inspire me?

Click on this link to enter the contest, but act now. Contest ends May 30, 2017.

Maaja Wentz is the award-winning author of poems, short stories, and her lighthearted supernatural thriller, Feeding Frenzy, coming soon. To find out more and get free stories, visit: maajawentz.com

 

The Loyalist Trilogy

The Loyalist's Wife 2nd edition

The Loyalist’s Wife 2nd edition Chill With a Book Award winner!

Second in The Loyalist Trilogy

Second in the Loyalist Trilogy Discovering Diamonds Award Winner

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy

Third in The Loyalist Trilogy Released November, 2016

 

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