We summarize recent work on cool active stars in our programme. We carried out photometry at the canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) observatory, and high-resolution spectroscopy at Mt John University Observatory, as well as collecting data from other facilties. A combination of analysis methods, including our information limit optimization technique (ILOT) with physically realistic fitting functions, as well as other public-domain software packages, have been used to find reliable parameters. Stars in our recent programme include V1430 Aql, VI 034 Her, V340 Gem, SAO 62042, FI Cnc, V2075 Cyg, FG UMa and BM CVn. Light variations, sometimes over numerous consecutive cycles, were analysed. For AB Dor and CF Tuc, we compared broadband (B and V) maculation effects with emission features in the Ca II K and H-alpha lines. Broadband light curves typically show one or two outstanding maculae. These appear correlated with the main chromospheric activity sites ('faculae'), that occur at similar latitudes and with comparable size to the photometric umbrae, but sometimes with significant displacements in longitude. The possibility of large-scale bipolar surface structure is considered, keeping in mind solar analogies. Such optical work forms part of broader multiwavelength studies, involving X-ray and microwave observations, also mentioned.