Welcome

Welcome to the world of adventure, love and war. You’ve entered 17th Century England. It’s a time of civil war, social upheaval, conspiracies and intrigue. In the world of historical fiction, this is gold.

Join me in this journey. I intend to pique your interest.

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Footnotes in History: Major Peter Burgoine

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Diving into the minutiae of history. Some call it research while others, procrastination. I prefer to think of it as inspiration.

History is my source for inspiration, and it tends to be the small things that attract my attention. The information you can find in footnotes can be veritable gold. There’s the main historical account and then there are these nuggets of information that don’t quite fit in with the  narrative, but were fascinating for the historian nonetheless. It’s like a impromptu “by the way did you know” anecdote; an invitation to explore the rabbit warren. The gaps in history and the ‘what if’s’ send my muse off like Nancy Drew.

Allow me to share with you an interesting skeleton of a story that I uncovered in a footnote of history. I was researching gaols one day and idly trolling through British History Online (aka Historical Fiction Procrastinators Anonymous)…wait, why gaols you ask? When your main character is a highwayman, you become very fascinated with them. No spoilers, but they tend to be an occupational hazard. Clears throat and continues. 

So there I was flipping through references to Warwickshire gaols, and I come across an entry in the Calendar of State Papers. The Calendar of State Papers was a record of the government’s business, motions and decisions, and not a court of law. This particular entry was made on September 12, 1650 (British History Online).

“To write Col. Purefoy to examine the charge against Major Burgoine of Coventry, upon the articles enclosed to him.”

“40s. To be paid to James Grayle, who came from Coventry to inform Council of the disturbances there by Major Burgoine, about proclaiming the King of Scots King of England.”

To give a bit of background, the King of Scots is a reference to Charles Stuart, later Charles II. In 1650, he was an exile trying to reclaim his late father’s English throne. King Charles I had been executed a year and a half earlier by his Parliamentarian enemies, and the twenty year old Charles Stuart had made a bargain with Scotland, two months prior to this entry, to help him get his crown back. The closest that the Parliamentarians came to acknowledging his kingship was as the Scottish King, which was ironic because Charles was more English than Scottish.

But this wasn’t what actually intrigued me. Who was Major Burgoine and why would this James Grayle make the troublesome journey from Warwickshire to London to sell the man out? Clearly, Grayle had initiated this trip. He hadn’t been summoned to Whitehall to chat about the state of Coventry.

So why did James Grayle, Informant, feel that this was the juiciest piece of information and hightailed it to London to share with the merry men at Whitehall? They were grateful for the news, judging by the compensation they awarded Grayle for his troubles. 40s represented roughly a month’s wages for a labourer.

I had to dig into this further. The hunt was on.

The next entry regarding the matter of Major Burgoine was on October 9, 1650 in the Calendar of State Papers (British History Online) and there was a neat little twist:

To write the Militia Commissioners for Coventry that Council is much dissatisfied with Burgoyne’s escape, and particularly as the gaoler who suffered him to escape is not proceeded against; and to desire them to re-examine the business and the informer, and commit the gaoler, until he gives good bail to appear at the next assizes for trial, and to bind over the prosecutor and witnesses to appear and prosecute, and to return an account to Council.”

Within a space of a month, our Major Burgoine/Burgoyne (creative spelling was a thing then) had been arrested, locked up in Coventry gaol and then engineered an escape! Even better, the gaoler had been implicated as his accomplice. Now, this would not really have been a shocker of a revelation at that time. Gaolers were usually local men who were paid a very nominal fee by the town to guard the prisoners. The majority of their pay would have come from the prisoners themselves. The more well off the prisoner, the better the lodgings. Those who couldn’t afford to pay were at the mercy of the parish and were kept in the worst lodgings, the ‘two penny’ ward. Many gaolers were not above a bit of free trade and were willing to consider a better offer. But in this situation, there was a further twist: the authorities in Coventry had not bothered to arrest the gaoler for his dereliction. Did they feel sorry for the man, having to support a wife and (possibly) multiple children, or instead, were their sympathies with the prisoner?

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Who was Major Burgoine? If he had proclaimed Charles the King of England, surely he had been a Royalist?

I caught up with Major Burgoine in a House of Lords Journal dated February 4, 1643 (British History Online), the first winter of the civil war. The record listed the Parliamentarian business for their war effort. For the raising of troops for Parliament, our major (then a sergeant major) was given this commission for the “city and county” of Coventry in Warwickshire. Our man was a Parliamentarian!

The next reference to the major was another House of Lords Journal dated May 26, 1645 (British History Online) when he was offered the governorship of Coventry. He had responded to their promotion with a letter dated May 16th addressed to the Speaker of the House of Commons:

“Honourable Sir,

“I cannot but take Notice of a Report of my being appointed Governor of Coventry by both the Honourable Houses. In the First Place, to return my most humble Thanks for so high an Honour conferred upon me, whereby I am ever obliged to lay out myself, as hitherto I have done my best Endeavours, so hereafter in my heartiest Prayers for your Honours, and your good Successes in all your pious Counsels and Undertakings; for that I must needs become an humble Suitor to your Honours (as with much Favour you have conferred this Place upon me), so you will please to take into Consideration my ingenuous Acknowledgement of mine utter Insufficiency to undergo so great a Burthen and Charge, by reason of mine Age, and the Infirmities that of late have beyond Expectation extraordinarily accompanied it; which, though it no Whit lessens the Vigour of my Will and Affections to the Cause and your Service, yet I must needs acknowledge my Disability of Body to be such, as that I am not only minded to beg Leave to resign this Employment newly conferred upon me; but am inforced, by the sensible Increase of my bodily Dispositions, to take my Ease, and very shortly to bid Farewell to all the Activity of Soldiery, though with my best Advice I shall still continue to serve the State, jointly with the rest of the Committee, for the Preservation of this Town and County, according to the Trust reposed in me; which is all I humbly pray may be expected from me, or imposed upon me; for which Favour I shall be yet further obliged to remain,

“Your Honour’s humble and ever devoted Servant,

Covent. May 16th, 1645.

“Peter Burgoyne.”

This would have been near the end of the first civil war and things were not going well for Parliament (though that would reverse a few weeks later at Naseby, which was a huge victory for Parliament and a major kick in the teeth for the king). After years of fighting was our major ill and shattered? It’s not unreasonable to suppose he was. They even offered up prayers for the man.

Perhaps the answer lies in the next record I found was under the December 2, 1648 Acts and Ordinances (British History Online). Peter Burgoine was once again listed as one of the commissioners for raising the militia in his county, though without a rank. Presumably, his health improved, or in their need, Parliament didn’t care and forced him to break his retirement. For you see, they were facing a crisis. King Charles I had been captured in 1648 and his negotiation for terms caused a divide in Parliament.

The moderates favoured a negotiated treaty with their monarch so everyone could make up and play nice again. The king would get his crown back, albeit with curtailed powers. On the other side, the New Model Army grandees were opposed to treating with the king; they simply did not trust his word, which was fair as he had no intention of honouring any agreement that would restrict his kingship. The General Council of the army lobbied to end the negotiations and put the king on trial. Naturally, the moderates were horrified and rejected their demands. What they forgot was that he who controls the army, wins.

English Civil War Society re-enacts Charles I's trial and execution

London, United Kingdom. 25th January 2015 — Every year on the last week end of January the English Civil War Society re-enactors retrace Charles I’s trial and execution.

The army marched on London and occupied it on December 2nd, the day that Parliament was naming commissioners to raise troops. Four days later, Colonel Pride of the New Model Army stormed into a sitting session of Parliament and arrested all the moderate Members of Parliament, an act known as Pride’s Purge. A month later, Parliament (or those who were left) voted themselves supreme authority without having to answer to the King or to the House of Lords. Their first action was to order the King’s Trial. He was found guilty on January 27, 1649 and beheaded two days later.

Where did that leave Major Peter Burgoine? Sometime over the next six to eight months, he must have suffered a change in conscience in order to switch sides. Was it the execution of the king that tipped it for him or was it the high handed way that the army seized control? Many of the Parliamentarians had, after all, fought the king to force a constitutional monarchy. Pride’s Purge was essentially a military coup. Whatever his reasons, Peter Burgoine had enough. His anti-government activities clearly shocked the Council. If Parliament could lose such a faithful and highly respected servant to their cause, this did not bode well for them. No wonder James Grayle rushed to London to tip them off.

What happened to Peter Burgoine? There is no further mention of him. Very likely he made good on his escape, otherwise, there may have been a followup entry that the prisoner had been caught. Did he leave England and join Charles II in The Hague as many exiles did, or did his age and ill health finally catch up to him?

We’ll never know. Therein lies the gold.

For another story that I stumbled on while procrastinating researching in British History Online, check out Puzzles in the Historical Record: The Highwayman Did it?

 

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Tudor House: 17th century life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step back into the 17th century? Last summer, I had the pleasure of getting a guided tour of the English Civil War era landmarks in Weymouth by local historian, Mark Vine. What was then the twin towns of Weymouth and Melcombe, separated by the quayside and a bridge, today it’s simply Weymouth.

One of the must see haunts is the Tudor House, a beautifully preserved Elizabethan home. It’s situated by Brewers Quay on the harbour, and if you account for the fact that the quayside has been expanded in modern times, in the 17th century, the house would have fronted right onto the harbour.

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By Ajsmith141 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Tudor House is a three story home built around 1600 and believed to have been a merchant’s house. Today, the Weymouth Civic Society offers tours that allow you to step back into the 17th century to see a glimpse of what live was like back then. Here are some highlights.

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On this wooden dresser, some of the favourite games of the time are displayed. Cards were popular by this time along with the inevitable wagering that were integral to the game. The cards had no letters or numbers, only symbols, for not everyone could read, though literacy did improve significantly as the century progressed. One of the favourite card games of the time was a game called Ruff, a trick taking game which became the precursor to the popular 18th century game of whist.

The wooden board with the pegs is another popular game, Fox and Geese. The object of the game is to trap your opponents pieces. One person plays the fox, with one peg, while the other player is the goose with multiple pegs. The geese try to hem in the fox while the fox gobbles up the geese and removes them from play. Fox and Geese is a very old game and a variation of the game was adopted for outdoor play.

We take mirrors for granted, but in the 16th and early 17th century, they were very much a luxury item. It was during the 16th century when Venice took their expertise in glass making and extended it, with some technological advancements, to mirror making. At that time, Venice dominated the market and most mirrors had to be imported, but by the mid-17th century, mirror manufacturing had extended to England.

The above mirror was displayed in one of the bedrooms in the Tudor House. The wooden frame is gilded and hand decorated with roses–perhaps a nod to the Tudor monarchs?

 

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And now for some practical household items. The mallet and wooden dowel-like device was used to tighten the ropes that supported the bed mattress. Over time, without our modern box mattress, the ropes would loosen as people slept on them. A maid would have periodically performed this duty when she was straightening up the bedding. To freshen up the sheets, they often sprinkled dried lavender between the linen.

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Besides the bed, another piece of important furniture was the press, or what we would call the wardrobe. 17th century clothing optional. A far cry from our modern walk-in closet, with its cubbies for shoes and purses, but still functional. Not unlike the typical 17th century woman’s wardrobe.

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On the main floor you’ll find an interesting collection of household bowls atop a work surface. Pestle and mortar would have been used to grind spices and roots (used in home remedies). The wooden bowl that you see at the far end of the table was made of sycamore for the reason that when separating whey from milk, the sycamore didn’t taint the milk. One of the least pleasant (and most memorable) displays in this room would be the bottle of scents. The museum had vials of different materials to give visitors an idea of what smells they would have expected in a 17th century home: woodsmoke, laced with black tar and high notes of urine. I’m thinking that I’d rather crawl back into the lavender scented sheets in the bedroom.

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It’s no exaggeration that the hearth was the heart of the home. The fireplace was source of heat and light, where food was cooked and where people gathered especially during the dark days of winter. The iron backing you see behind the fire was there to protect the wall from being burnt (fires after all represented a huge risk) as well as to reflect the light back in the room. Very clever.

Late at night, when the master and his family were tucked upstairs in their lavender scented sheets, the maid would have banked the fire for the night, just enough to contain the fire, but not enough that she couldn’t coax it to start come the morning.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tour of Weymouth’s Tudor House. If you’re interested in learning more about Weymouth’s history during the English Civil War (and Tudor House would have been in the thick of it), check out Mark Vine’s blog, the Crabchurch Conspiracy.

 

Posted in 17th century | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Exploring the Banqueting House

This article was originally written for the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog (EHFA) and posted Feb 2, 2016. If you haven’t yet visited the EHFA blog, I encourage you to check out their website (click here) for high quality articles pertaining to English history.


 

On this anniversary of the execution of King Charles I in 1649, I am reminded of the place where this drama played out–the Banqueting House at Whitehall.

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Wikimedia commons- see Media below for attribution

Completed in 1622, the Banqueting House is the only remaining structure of Whitehall Palace and is situated across from the Horse Guards. During the Tudor age, the original Banqueting House was little better than a temporary venue. When King James I of England (VI of Scotland) succeeded Elizabeth on the throne in 1603 and ushered in the Stuart Age in England, he got down to work building a proper Banqueting House. His queen, Anne of Denmark, had been fond of masques and was a patroness of the arts.

The famous 17th century architect, Inigo Jones, was commissioned to design the building. What you have is a beautiful example of Palladian architecture with stately pillars and expansive high ceilings. Galleries line the upper hall. But what is truly a marvel in the Hall did not exist until King Charles I succeeded his father to the throne.

The Banqueting Hall

The Banqueting Hall- Photo by C.Bazos

Charles commissioned the great Flemish artist, Peter Paul Rubens, to create a series of paintings to grace the ceiling. The panels were completed in Ruben’s workshop before being shipped to England for installation.

The paintings were a delight of classical gods and motifs, the most noteworthy being the centre panel titled The Apotheosis of James I. The scene glorifies his late father, James I as though he were being crowned by the heavens. It is meant to reinforce the concept of the king being God’s representative on earth and his divine right to rule.

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These paintings remain the only work of Rubens on display outside of a museum. Fortunately for the preservation of the paintings, masques ceased to be performed following their installation. The smoke from the candles would have damaged them over time.

Below the Banqueting Hall is an area known as the Undercroft. During King James’s time, it was used as the royal party den, but in later years, they held other amusements such as lotteries. It’s curved ceilings gives the impression of a cosy cave. One can imagine how it once looked, crowded with men drinking and gambling while lit with golden torchlight.

The Undercroft (vaulted basement)

Undercroft- Photo by C.Bazos

Ironically, the Banqueting House, which evolved as a testament to the divinity of kings, would stand as a confirmation of their mortality.

On a cold winter day, on 30 January, 1649, a scaffold was erected outside the Banqueting House, accessed from a second story landing. King Charles I stepped out on the scaffold, clad in two shirts to keep warm. Facing his subjects, he left them with his famous parting words, “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown.” Here ended his reign.

There is so much art and history wrapped up in the Banqueting House. The next time you are visiting London, I encourage you to visit this marvellous building. You may even be greeted by a Parliamentary soldier.

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Parliamentary Guard outside the Banqueting House- Photo by C. Bazos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Media:

Street view of the Banqueting House: “Banqueting House London” by en:User:ChrisO – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Apotheosis of James I: “Banqueting House 03” by The wub – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Posted in 17th century | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Mercurius Istoria

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hHere Ye! Here Ye! A new broadsheet is born! Hot off the presses.

The 17th century saw an explosion of printing and in particular the publication of newspapers, the most popular being Mercuius Politicus. In that tradition, I have started my own broadsheet.

Mercurius Istoria is a monthly newsletter offering the subscriber a brief flavour of my news, interesting historical links and images.

Subscribe now and receive Mercurius Istoria by email. You don’t even need to find an urchin on a street corner hawking a copy. Delivered straight to your inbox.

The December edition is now available. Click here to view.

 

 

 

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When did I become a pizza critic?

depositphotos_2593330_l-2015I’ve been a life-long reader and can’t imagine anything more satisfying than curling up with a book and losing yourself in its pages. If I were a foodie, it would be equivalent of eating my way through five star restaurants. As a child of immigrant parents, I had to wait until the first grade before someone taught me how to read. Before then, I would look at books and pretend I knew how. My older cousin once called my bluff, and I made up some story on the spot to convince him. And so a writer was born.

Imagine my despair when I realized that somewhere along the road, I’ve become a pizza critic. Figuratively, of course.

Early in my husband’s career, he went from a typical university student who lived on pizza to working in the food service industry as, yes, a pizza inspector. It was his job, over many years, and for a couple of major pizza chains, to go to these stores and check their product (and other things). For years, he couldn’t order a pizza without analysing the darned thing: from the rise and the stretch and the distribution of toppings and the quality of the cheese. Those of you in the industry are nodding your heads because these terms have meaning for you. But as a civilian, all you know is that the pizza tastes good (or not).

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I am a pizza critic but instead of analyzing the rise and stretch of the pie, I’m picking apart books for style, character, pacing and plot. I don’t mean to do it, but living and breathing story as a writer makes me more sensitive to gaps on the page. Where I may, as a civilian, have finished reading the book with a vague sense of ‘meh’, now I can’t help analyzing it. The character arc is weak. There is no ‘world normal’ in this, the pacing is off, etc. It’s diminished my reading experience in one way because I’m no longer able to slug through ‘meh’ anymore; on the other hand, it’s heightened my appreciation for well-crafted stories and the subtlety that underscores exquisite storytelling. Here are a couple of examples.

A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe

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If you want to learn how to weave backstory through a complex story, read Guy Vanderhaeghe and take notes. We all get tripped up with backstory; new writers especially want to throw in their character’s cereal eating preferences and family tree. But good backstory, really the only kind we should include on the page, matters to the story. It has a place in the character arc. It isn’t a nice to know; it’s a must understand. True masters know how to thread the backstory with perfect balance. Too much in the beginning and the reader is snoring. Too little, the writer is accused of withholding. The trick, having admired and picked apart A Good Man, is to give us as much as we need when we need it and no more.

In A Good Man, the story opens with the protagonist’s father, a man of wealth, has bought out his commission. We learn that the protagonist’s service record hasn’t been exemplary and there is a blemish that no one talks about. That’s all for now and that’s enough. But as the story progresses, we gradually learn more about this past action until the end we understand how deeply this has impacted the character’s sense of worth. We see how this backstory has driven the character. It’s a beautifully constructed and flawlessly revealed backstory.

The Crystal Cave (Merlin trilogy) by Mary Stewart

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I read this book to pieces in my late teenage through my twenties until the binding gave out. It took me twenty-five years to finally get another copy, and with a great deal of trepidation, I re-read it. Loved it! As well as re-discovering the magic of this story, I now saw it from fresh eyes. No one does description like Mary Stewart.

As writers, we are encouraged to use the five senses. Done well, it transports the reader into the fictional world. Done not so well, it overloads the reader with meaningless description. Think of a stew with every known spice thrown in willy-nilly.

Mary Stewart uses description not only to establish setting but also to show character. The protagonist in this trilogy, the Merlin of legend, is a man with psychic gifts and above average intelligence. He’s an herbalist, a naturalist, a bard and an engineer. No magic wand. He’s a character in tune with the world around him and the descriptions heighten that link. Instead of calling it a bird, the writer names it a marlin. She uses the specific rather than the general.

I’ve only covered two elements of craft: backstory and description. In my pizza analogy, these would be the equivalent of rise and stretch.

Now your turn. Do you have any examples that show good distribution of toppings and quality of cheese?

 

 

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The Household Cavalry

When the last king of England, your father, has been executed by his enemies and you are finally reclaiming the throne, the first thing you want to do is get yourself a professional bodyguard, a crack force entirely loyal to you.

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By John Michael Wright – Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

This is what Charles II did when he was restored to the throne of England, Ireland and Scotland. As the Prince of Wales, he had been living with civil war since the age of twelve. He had seen men turn against his father and fight against him on the battlefield and turn  him over to his enemies. It’s no surprise that Charles valued loyalty above all else.

Before the Restoration in 1660, Charles raised a bodyguard in Holland which consisted of Royalists who had been exiled with him. After the Restoration, they were recognized as his personal guard. The present Household Cavalry traces back to its history to this Life Guard as well as two other regiments, the Royal House Guards (the Blues) and the Royal Regiment of Dragoons (the Royals).

Today, the Household Cavalry is easily distinguished by the famous black horses accompanying the Queen in ceremonial parades, but the regiments have a long history of military service.

I can’t discuss the Horse Guards without mentioning something about these magnificent black horses. They come from Irish draught horse stock, and they were the standard mount of the Horse Guards at least from the latter part of the 17th century.

If you’re in London, the Household Cavalry Museum and Knightsbridge barracks are situated immediately across from the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Ironically, this is the place where Charles’s father was beheaded by Parliament. Or perhaps not so ironic.

Every time I visit London, I have to visit the Household Cavalry. This time, I was able to catch the changing of the Queen’s Guards. The Household Cavalry regiments ride from the Knightsbridge Barracks to Buckingham Palace. This changing of the Queen’s Guards happens at the Horse Guards Parade.

Here’s a fun question. If you were a King (or Queen) in exile and suddenly came into your own, what would be the first thing you’d do? Drop me a line and have fun with your answer.

Posted in 17th century, Charles Stuart | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Author Spotlight: Elaine Cougler

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It is my pleasure to introduce historical fiction Indie author, Elaine Cougler. Elaine is the author of The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and her third book, The Loyalist Legacy, just came out.

Elaine is a fellow Canadian whose trilogy covers the lives of British Loyalists from the American Revolution, beyond the  War of 1812 to the Rebellion of 1838. From these conflicts, Canada emerged as a nation.

Join me in welcoming Elaine as she shares her thoughts on the writing process.


Did you have any scene which was more difficult to write than the others? One that you pondered whether to include or not? 

Actually there were two scenes that I wondered whether to include. This book was so important to me for its fictional story but also for the way it had the ability to speak to some of the exciting and heartbreaking history going on in Upper Canada (Ontario) after the War of 1812. I put in a scene about a Chippewa couple and their struggles with the white people changing their way of life forever with the reservation system. And I knew that long before the American Civil War (1860-65) slavery was part of North America and I wanted to work some of that into my novel. Imagining what my characters might have been experiencing along these lines provided a way for me to present these issues in a natural way. These topics were not my main focus but they provided the backdrop to the central themes of pioneering and the vast differences in human nature.

What do you keep in mind as you write? An overarching question? A theme?

I am most interested in our human ability to rise again, over and over, no matter what difficulties we must overcome. People can be so strong, so amazing. One of my favorite songs is We Rise Again, made popular a few years ago here in Canada by the Rankin Family; in fact, our family quartet sang that at several events, a joy to remember. (Yes, I’m a singer.:-)) And music has such a way of taking a theme and imprinting it on our minds. I try to do the same with my writing; hence, Lucy’s strength and John’s ability to find the positives reoccur with their children’s families in my latest book, The Loyalist Legacy.

Is there an aspect of writing that you favor over others, e.g. dialogue, exposition, description of a scene, setting, or character, etc.? Is there one that is more difficult for you?

The thing I most like about writing is getting so into my characters and their stories that I find myself completely shut off from the actual world around me. I picture the rushing rivers, the single furrow ploughs, and I smell the sweat of a day’s struggle to survive but most of all, I join my characters in heart-stopping danger and unimaginable sadness. At those times my fingers type the words while the tears run down my cheeks and my whole being is immersed in a baby dying or a strong woman finally brought to the brink because she just can’t take any more pain.

Indie authors need to do it all on their own. How do you balance writing, marketing, promoting, bookkeeping, family and work?

Thankfully, I am past the stage of having a day job because my days are spent doing all of the above. While I love the writing, the marketing can be great fun, too, but I have to watch that it doesn’t take over my life. Yesterday I took about four hours off in the middle of the day to accompany my husband on one of his business trips; I consciously did that to work on keeping balance in my life. I now have a trilogy, a second edition of my first book, an audio book, a writing blog, a twice-monthly newsletter to my subscribers and all of the marketing for said initiatives. It’s a lot. And November is launch month with this fabulous blog tour online and many appearances at events in person. Lucky I love people!

How did writing this book change you or change how you look at the world?

That’s a hard question but it has changed me. It’s given me a joy I never had before. Oh, I have always been a happy person but finding my writing legs has tapped into my innermost desires. I think I’ve touched on something that is just mine, just me, and people seem to love it. The rewards go to my soul. Oh, that just sounds mushy! This latest book I’ve dedicated to my great great great grandparents, whose names and whose farm are the heart of the story, and to my two grandchildren who are connected to that history through me. That makes me absolutely thankful.

What would you like my readers to know about you?

Although I loved raising my children, sharing my family’s life, and being a high school teacher, once I started my writing journey a new joy found its way into my heart. I love meeting readers and writers on my speaking tours. Hearing their questions as they share their unique perspectives feeds my adrenalin. Just now I’m working on doing Skype-type speaking gigs wherever book clubs and other groups will have me. But the most fun is sitting at my computer with my hands hovering over the keyboard as my thoughts jump onto my computer screen. It’s fabulous, especially when my words make me smile or laugh out loud or cry real tears, or they just sing out a lyric melody in their own unique way. I am a wordsmith.


About The Loyalist Legacy

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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.

In Praise for The Loyalist Trilogy

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.” ~ Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

“….an intriguing story” ~ A Bookish Affair

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.” ~ Book Lovers Paradise

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.” ~ Oh, for the Hook of a Book

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Elaine Cougler is the author of historical novels about the lives of settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution.

Cougler uses the backdrop of the conflict for page-turning fictional tales where the main characters face torn loyalties, danger and personal conflicts.

Her Loyalist trilogy: The Loyalist’s WifeThe Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy. The Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair selected The Loyalist’s Wife as a finalist in its Self-Publishing Awards. The Middlesex County Library selected the book as its choice for book club suggestions. The Writers Community of Durham Region presented Elaine with a Pay-It-Forward Award.

Elaine has led several writing workshops and has been called on to speak about the Loyalists to many groups. She writes the blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, about the journey to publication and beyond. She lives in Woodstock with her husband. They have two grown children.

Connect with Elaine on Twitter, Facebook Author Page, LinkedIn and her blog on her Website.

The Loyalist Legacy and Elaine’s other titles are available for purchase on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

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