NEW RELEASE FROM ELAINE COUGLER

the-loyalist-legacy_webToday, I welcome Elaine Cougler back to my blog. This post marks her fifth appearance since 2013 when she introduced the first of her Loyalist books. Amazing!

Elaine and I set this date a few months back to coincide with the release of her third book in her Loyalist trilogy. The Loyalist Legacy continues the saga of a little-known part of Canadian and U.S. history.

It really is a coincidence that I’m publishing this post today, one week after the presidential election in the United States where loyalties are being questioned, and some folks talk about moving to Canada. Elaine takes us back to the time of the Revolutionary War when not everyone wished to leave the British Empire. The parallels are stunning. Here’s Elaine Cougler to explain:

 

Who Were the Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War?

The phenomenon of Loyalists—those loyal to a certain person or cause—is definitely not new, but during the American Revolutionary War it took on a special significance. Many of the settlers in the Thirteen Colonies did not want their government to separate from the British even though they, too, experienced the bitter taste of the Stamp Act and other debilitating measures.

Today, Britain, the United States, and Canada are great allies so it is hard to believe that two hundred years ago such was not the case. My trilogy follows the story of how the Loyalists came to be and their difficult journey to what is Canada today.

These Loyalists chose to escape from the Colonies rather than be harried and hounded for their beliefs as the Patriots grew ever more powerful. Many (about half of those who left the Thirteen Colonies) went to the new land that came to be called Canada.

The British government chose to reward their choice by giving them land and the bare necessities needed to start anew but also went on to allow these Loyalists to use the initials U.E. after their names. Unity of the Empire is the strict legal meaning although today U.E.L. is often used. This is translated to United Empire Loyalist in the vernacular.

Many people wonder why these people chose as they did, a question I’ve used in my trilogy to explain John’s decision to join Butler’s Rangers (in the first book, The Loyalist’s Wife) and fight for the British. By this third book, he has not fully explained his reasons, and on his deathbed whispers the story of his youth, which caused his loyalty to remain through all the trials he and his family have withstood. Lucy and two of his grown sons are with him as he begins to tell of a certain British officer who saved his young life.

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Here is part of John’s story from The Loyalist Legacy:

He followed a long line of prisoners up the gangplank and along the deck where he could see heads bobbing down into the hold; if they didn’t move smartly a sailor smacked them with a club.

“Stay by me, boy,” the harlot twisted around to whisper. “I’ll see no harm comes to ye.”

He didn’t answer. The harlot stepped into the hatch. Just as his bare foot slipped on the treacherous decking, a hand clapped onto his shoulder and stopped him. The harlot jerked to a stop also as they were still chained together. She wheeled around. “What trick is that, boy?” She gnashed her blackened teeth at him.

“Hush, woman.” A soft voice from behind John silenced her. He righted himself on the slippery decking. “Come. All of you.” He indicated the two behind still connected to their snaking line.

“Hold!” Three muskets jabbed toward the prisoners who stopped like the pawns they were in this elaborate game that had been playing forever. “Release ‘em!” Beside John the musket jabbed into his friend’s British red chest.

“I want the boy!”

“You’ll not get ‘im.” The guard pushed John toward the gaping hole and into the harlot who had stepped back up to the deck. The weight of the chain on the other two kept them both from careening down into the depths of the ship. This was hopeless, John thought, but just as he resigned himself to entering that foul hold his friend spoke again.

“Cut the chains.” He dangled a cloth purse bulging and clinking in front of the man’s eyes, suddenly glinting from more than the morning sun.

“I can’t cut ‘em. Take all four or none. Yer pick.” From behind, shouts and shoving added urgency to the situation. John had a time keeping his footing but he wasn’t going below.

With a quick glance at the angry mob the redcoat thrust the purse into the guard’s eager hand and pulled his charges out of line. No one noticed the uniformed soldier who marched the four prisoners off the ship again and along a tightly packed alley surely full of pickpockets and all manner of the underbelly life of the great city of London. Suddenly John’s feet no longer hurt, the chains didn’t chafe, and the chamber pots being emptied up and down the alley couldn’t touch him.

At a hole-in-the-wall shop with its sign—Shoemaker—barely hanging on one rusted bolt his friend stopped and dragged them all inside. “Cut these chains off,” his soldier said.

The weight of the shackles gone, John dared to hope again.

The man sent the other prisoners on their way and hauled John out the door after them but not before grabbing a pair of shoes for him to wear. He threw coins on the counter in front of the astonished shoemaker and did not wait for anything else in return.

“Put those on.” He stopped for just a moment. “Come.” He pulled John to another ship and suddenly his newly shod feet halted on the slippery cobblestones. What was this? Was he saved only to go on a different ship?

 

When the War of 1812 is finally over William and Catherine Garner flee the desolation of Niagara and find, in the wild heart of Upper Canada, their two hundred acres straddling the Thames River. On this valuable land, dense forests, wild beasts, disgruntled Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William 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 the children, he hurries along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return in time for spring planting.

With realistic insights into the challenging lives of Ontario’s early settlers, Elaine Cougler once again draws readers into the Loyalists’ struggles to build homes, roads, and relationships, and their growing dissension as they move ever closer to another war. The Loyalist Legacy shows us the trials faced by ordinary people who conquer unbelievable hardships and become extraordinary in the process.

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AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – ELAINE COUGLER (Guest Post, 11-18-2015)

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – ELAINE COUGLER (Guest Post, 09-16-2015)

Author Wednesday – Elaine Cougler (The Loyalist’s Luck, 11-5-2014)

Author Wednesday – Elaine Cougler (The Loyalist’s Wife, 10-02-2013)

 

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – ELAINE COUGLER

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Welcome to this edition of Author Wednesday. I’m pleased to present a guest post from author Elaine Cougler, who’s been featured in the past on my blog. She’s the author The Loyalist’s Wife and the The Loyalist’s Luck. She hopes to publish the third in the series in a few months. Today she writes about one of my favorite topics. How do authors manage to write when real life keeps interfering? Here’s how Elaine manages!The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

Writing Under Adversity

by Elaine Cougler

I’m one of those perfectionist people for whom planning is second nature—well, maybe even first! When I have speaking engagements they go off pretty much like the proverbial clockwork as I plan well in advance and execute my plan. It gives me comfort to know I have with me what I need for all eventualities. I also plan my writing schedule where I write five days a week in the morning, and I work pretty hard not to have that interrupted.

Book Two

Similarly, I had the timing of my second book (The Loyalist’s Luck) launch all figured out. The cover was perfect, the printer was ready to go with a schedule that would allow me to actually have books at my launch, and my interior book designer was on board. By the time I left for my cruise/reward, the book would be off to the printer.

Now the way my book designer works is I send her the completed manuscript and with magic software she puts it into the actual format for a book. No more Word document. Next, my pages come back to be proofed. I read them most carefully and if I find any errors either in my work or in my designer’s work, I print the page, circle the error with the correction, and send a copy of that page back to my designer.

Simple process, right? For the first book the system worked well. For the second book, days passed before I’d get the next batch of pages. This all meant that I had to keep editing and sending corrections to France while I was on the cruise. My schedule till launch was tight. Too tight. And the email on the Alaska cruise ship was not always reliable. Never mind, I got it all corrected and the final proofed pages sent off to my printer, gem that he is, and the book got printed. We do what we must.

Another time when working under adversity could have derailed me was just over a year ago when my younger sister unfortunately lost her battle with cancer. Of course it was an unbelievably sad and stressful time, but every morning I buried myself in my work, revising, rewriting, rereading, and losing myself in the historical fiction world I’d created. You see, I didn’t have to think about the horrors in my real life. I could lose myself in my writing, and for a few blessed hours, forget. Rather than hinder my writing this personal crisis helped me finish my final manuscript.

Five weeks ago I wrote in my blog that maybe I had appendicitis because of the pain in my side while I was working on that post. Two days later I learned the truth. That dreaded disease, shingles, picked me as its next victim. Even though my skin ached and the nerves in my side and abdomen stabbed me constantly I found a way to prop myself in my chair with my hot water bottle and type. Again, I enjoyed the writing because I forgot what was happening in my real life for those two hours that I worked on the rough draft of the third book in the Loyalist trilogy, The Loyalist Legacy.

Writers, then, often have a choice when bad things happen and it is up to us how we face our problems. We can let them steer us completely away from our writing—and I’ve done that many times—or we can ‘man up’ and find the positive in order to keep going. Now that I know this other side to adversity, I’ll choose to work through it more often. I hope you will, too.

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

 

 

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Author Wednesday – Elaine Cougler

cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgHello and welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome back Elaine Cougler for an interview about her latest historical novel, The Loyalist’s Luck, Book 2 in her Loyalist Trilogy.Loyalists Luck She visited one year ago to talk about her first novel The Loyalist’s Wife. Loyalists Wife

Welcome Elaine. It’s been one year since you visited me to talk about writing. So let’s start with you as the writer. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author”?

What a great question! It’s one everyone seems to face and I am no exception. When I first started working on The Loyalist’s Wife, my first historical novel, I didn’t call myself anything. I didn’t even tell anyone what I was working on. Only my husband knew. The more I researched and wrote and got involved online, the more I realized that in some way I had to meet my writer self head-on and talk about what I was doing. Then the question for me was just what you’ve asked, P.C. I had in my mind that an author was a writer who had climbed the steep slope to publication. If I wasn’t published I was a writer, not an author. Funny thing is, though, once I was published, this question which had consumed so much of my time on my six-year journey to publication just went away. Now I call myself either writer or author. I guess the proof is in the doing and not the naming.

So true. I called myself a writer first thinking “author” sounded too presumptuous of me. Now I don’t hesitate to call myself either. In your two novels, which are a part of a series, have you tried to convey a common message?

The things that intrigue me about the Loyalists and others who find themselves trapped by circumstances over which they have no control are varied. Kings and presidents make decisions and we, the little people, have to find ways to survive because of those decisions. John and Lucy are on the side of the British in both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. All they and their children want is to build their lives in safety on their property. This is impossible not once but many times over. The theme that is most interesting to me, then, is how ordinary people rise up against extraordinary circumstances and survive.

Why did you choose to write about the Loyalists?

I guess I have a great respect for the abilities of people once they decide to conquer their problems and just try. Here in Ontario, many of us are descended from Loyalists who wanted to stick with the King and fought to do just that. When their lands were confiscated with no recompense, they started again in different parts of Canada. I’ve focused on the Niagara Peninsula where my own people started out. The links between my own background and the fictional story of the Garner family in The Loyalist Trilogy have made this an eye-opening and delightful journey for me. I got so intrigued, I even did a photo book for my wee grandchildren showing them ten generations back. So, in a sense, writing about John and Lucy was writing about me and my family. Don’t get me wrong–these people are fictional. But what happens to them could have happened to my ancestors.

That is so interesting, and I love how you’re now providing something for the younger generation. Fiction is a wonderful way to educate while still entertaining, and you’ve managed to do that very well by bringing history alive. Talk about setting in your novels. It must play an extremely large role.

In historicals, setting is extremely important as wars can figure prominently, and they are most often about land. The first book in the trilogy sees John join Butler’s Rangers to fight for the British and leave Lucy behind on their farm in the wilds of New York State. Her job is to hold onto the land. His is to try to help the British keep their foothold in the thirteen colonies. Again, in the second book, land figures in the settling of the Niagara Peninsula and in the War of 1812. In many ways there would be no story in either book if not for the time period, the place and, indeed, the warring atmosphere.

What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

I’m not sure this is the best thing, but it’s one of the things for which I’m most grateful. I had occasion to meet Terry Fallis (www.terryfallis.com) several times through my writing journey, and he kindly agreed to read my manuscript and write a back cover comment for me. (Terry is the winner of the prestigious Stephen Leacock medal here in Canada.) Here is what he said about the first book in the trilogy: “Elaine Cougler has written a page-turning novel of the American Revolution through the eyes of a conflicted loyalist soldier and his indomitable wife. You’ll feel the hardship of homesteading, the fear of the enemy, the blows of battle, and the pain of separation. You’ll be transported through history. This is not just a novel written about another time, it seems written in another time.”

That is a wonderful comment, Elaine. I thank you for stopping by today and sharing a bit of your writing life with us. I hope you’ll come back when the third book is published.

ElaineAbout Elaine Cougler: A native of southern Ontario, Elaine taught high school and with her husband raised two children until she finally had time to pursue her writing career. A prize-winning author, she loves to research both family history and history in general for the tales of real people that emanate from the dusty pages. Telling the ongoing stories of Loyalists from the American Revolution and the War of 1812 is very natural as her personal roots are thoroughly enmeshed in those early struggles out of which arose both Canada and United States.

 

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Author Wednesday – Elaine Cougler

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Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today, I welcome Elaine Cougler the author of The Loyalist’s Wife, an historical novel set during the Revolutionary War years. The Loyalist's Wife_cover_Mar18.inddHere’s a blurb about the book taken from the back cover: “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.” 

Welcome to Author Wednesday, Elaine. I’m intrigued with your book already. Before we delve into the specifics about The Loyalist’s Wife, I’d like to know more about you as a writer. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

The term writer was easy to use as soon as I started writing for real. That means as soon as I set myself the goal to write a novel. Of course, my whole life I’ve been writing, but I was a student, a teacher, a mother, a singer, a friend, a wife, a lot of things that I easily called myself while never thinking of myself as a writer. The term author, however, was a harder label to give myself. In the spirit of fake it till you make it, I set up a Facebook Author page labeled ElaineCouglerAuthor a couple of years before publishing my first novel. Now author slips out really easily as in my own mind I’ve earned that label.

I am a firm believer in faking it until you make it. Good way to start visualizing your path. What’s going on with your current projects?

The Loyalist’s Wife was released in June; The Loyalist’s Luck is slated for next June (2014), and The Loyalist’s Legacy for the year following. Along with my research for my novels, I am creating a book of my own family’s history to leave for my grandchildren. This will be a photo book with pictures of tombstones and my ancestors themselves, where I have them, as well as anecdotal comments and explanations. This is taking way more time than I thought, but it is exciting as the research meshes very well with the research for my Loyalist series.

It’s so important to leave a record. Right now I’m in the process of formatting my great grandfather’s Civil War journal. It’s the only record I have of his life, and I’m very grateful to have it. You’ll have three historical novels when you’re finished. Why have you chosen to write about the beginnings of the United States and Canada?

I love reading historical fiction and have known of my own Loyalist background all my life so that writing a book about that just seemed natural. It has been a surprising journey of learning about the times of the American Revolution in general and then more specifically of my own family’s background in Canada.

That is very exciting and gives you even more motivation to share your family’s history with your grandchildren. Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre for your fiction?

Another book that is running around in my head is a memoir. This will be the story of a young girl growing up in a large family made up of way more boys than girls in rural Ontario with exceptional people for parents in a time of great growth and change in our world. And beyond that, I cannot think. Someday I may retire, I suppose. 🙂

We have a lot in common, except I grew up in Michigan. I’m curious about how you chose the title for the first book in the series. Has it been the title from the very beginning?

My working title, which I took to a writing conference, was Loyal to the Crown. I was dissatisfied with it, and my group of about twenty came up with another title, which just jumped out at me. The Loyalist’s Wife encompasses the Loyalist idea, the fact that there is a wife, and she’s pretty important, and the fact that there is a husband who is a Loyalist.

I like the current title. I also like that you asked for help in giving your “baby” its name. I’m sure you had to research quite a bit for The Loyalist’s Wife since it’s a historical novel. What type of research did you do?

My computer was a useful and convenient place to start researching with the library a close second. Then I visited local museums and bought books of the period. The best research, however, has been in visiting the actual places where many of the scenes in my novel take place. With my husband, I have taken day or two-three day trips to many forts in New York and the Niagara area, both on the American and the Canadian side of the border.

That makes the research much more interesting I’m sure. I did something similar this summer when we drove through many of the battle areas from my great grandfather’s journal. It made it all seem so much more real. You mention you took the trips with your husband. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

Support is what a writer needs, and that is what I get. My wonderful husband has been with me through all the ups and downs. My two adult children are clever and intuitive people to access when I want to ruminate about details or plot or history as they are both avid readers. The short answer is that they are appreciative and supportive, a pretty wonderful combination.

I agree. My grown daughter is one of my beta readers. I trust her because we read many of the same books and since she was very young we’ve discussed and shared our books with one another. My scientist husband thinks I’m the best writer he’s ever read. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t read novels very much – it’s the support that counts. You are a very fortunate woman indeed. I’m very pleased you stopped by for a visit today, and I wish you the best in your endeavors. I hope you’ll come back when the next Loyalist book is published.

6203edit (2)About Elaine Cougler:  A native of Southern Ontario, Elaine taught high school and with her husband raised two children until she finally had time to pursue her writing career. She loves to research both family history and history in general for the stories of real people that emanate from the dusty pages. These days writing is Elaine’s pleasure and her obsession. Telling the stories of Loyalists caught in the American Revolutionary War is very natural as her personal roots are thoroughly enmeshed in that struggle, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

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