Author, Barbara Studham

Creator of memoir, fiction, and the children's picture book, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Leave a comment

New cover for Under the Shanklin sky

A new cover for my English seaside adventure

Under the Shanklin sky!

When you visit my Amazon author page here, http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham, you will discover my new front cover for my English seaside adventure titled Under the Shanklin sky. I painted the picture, applied the title and my author name, and uploaded it to Amazon to replace the original.

Here is the old cover and its replacement.

As of now, the new book cover is only available at AMAZON. Soon, the new cover will also be available for Under the Shanklin sky at other ebook distributors. But, don’t lament, the story under the two covers are the same so you won’t be missing out on any adventurous gems!

Book blurb. Meet Milly Mullan.

Milly Mullan is a retiree from London with delightful childhood memories of holidays spent at the scenic seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. As an adult, she intended to vacation there often, but with a successful career as an interior designer to oversee, and hubby being top chef at a popular up-scale London restaurant, holiday time was denied them. Not until retired, did Milly return to Shanklin, by which time Harry had died from health complications, and their daughter, Rosie, had grown up and married. Still, Milly has only one regret: losing touch with a young boy, Jonathan, she had met when only ten years of age during one of her childhood Shanklin vacations. Now retired, her hope to find him absorbed her thoughts until, one day, while tending her balcony flowers in her new Shanklin flat; she found a valuable silver fob watch in a flowerpot. Determined to find its owner, she set out on a search which brings her face-to-face with her lost love, but is it really Jonathan? To find out, join Milly—Under the Shanklin Sky.

Relax, kick your feet up, and enjoy

Under the Shanklin sky. Available from Amazon. $0.99 cents usd.

Purchase from the following link

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham 

 

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Seventy years of age, and still going!

Happy Birthday to me!

I am 70 today! I can’t believe I made it to 70, especially after all the emotional junk life emptied on me. But, here I am, still standing, and looking forward to my bonus years. Whatever time is left me is surplus, so I am curious as to what life will bring my way. Today, I decided, for the first time in my life, to keep a journal of my special days.Within an hour, my car of six months broke down, so the first record in my journal contained a few choice words. Oh well, that’s life. And I hope I have a lot more to come.

Good stuff also happened. As my journal is an open book, take a read and discover how a bonus day looks. Sorry, you won’t find any obligations there, as I’m no longer expected to work, jog, or be nice. I can say “NO” if I don’t want to babysit someone’s kids, I can say “cook it yourself” if I’m not in the mood to make supper, and if I am feeling really lazy I can let the dog poo in the back yard instead of walking him at the park. Wow, bonus years are great!

First page of my journal

Oh, I forgot to mention the silly cartoon I created.


Leave a comment

FREE Basic Book Promotion

Discover FREE ways to promote your

self-published book.

You’ve written and self-published your book, and now you are looking for promotion ideas. No need to spend a fortune on sales promoters: authors who have been there, done that, and now want to sell you their expertise. Their claims include selling thousands of books and spiraling to the top of their trade by using their little-known methods.

“Follow my six steps to fame!”

“Ten easy ways to promote your book!”

 “Increase your book sales a thousand-fold!”

It’s tempting, until the price tag rears its ugly head. Especially when most of the paid-for suggestions are free elsewhere on the Internet. If you are just starting out, it pays (YOU) to spend time browsing for basic promotion projects.

Spend time browsing for free advice

Spend time searching.

The Internet offers hundreds, if not thousands, of writing websites offering FREE book promotion ideas. The only thing you need is time and patience to surf the Internet to find projects right for you and your book. Start with the basics, and within time, you will gain confidence to chase after more professional promotions. But first, think BLOG, and SOCIAL MEDIA. Blogging and social media are your two basic methods for promotion. FACEBOOK offers individual PAGES, and if you are on AMAZON, complete your author page at AUTHOR CENTRAL. There are also sites offering FREE REVIEWS. Check out the following links.

http://www.bookbloggerlist.com 

http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers 

Ask friends for suggestions.

Spend time with friends.

Chances are, if you have written a book, you will know others who have. When I completed my first memoir Two Decades of Diapers, my friend, who was also my memoir teacher, offered me many suggestions on how to promote my self-published memoir: BOOK FAIRS, LOCAL RADIO SHOW, LIBRARY PRESENTATIONS,  and SPEAKING EVENTS.  She had self-published  books and learned the promotion ropes. She is an avid PODCASTER, and swears by its power to promote. If you are not friends with people in the know, join writing circles and clubs, and attend book talks and fairs to garner advice from other writers. Visit my friend’s link. 

http://www.vigaboland.com. 

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Don’t pay–ask!

It also pays to reach outside of your friendship circle and ASK for ideas. For example, following the recent release of my children’s FASD picture book titled Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I contacted an FASD school social worker. I wanted to let her know the book was available, and to ask for suggestions on how to get the book placed within school libraries. Not only did she love the book, but suggested a fabulous way to promote. She is in the process of organizing an FASD seminar and suggested my children’s book for door prizes! What a fantastic idea, and one I can use to further promote my book by contacting FASD committees and explaining my book makes wonderful door prizes at FASD conferences, and other meetings. 

FREE basic book promotion!

On the surface, these suggestions might appear tiny drops of promotion  in the vast sea of methods, but most  paid-for ideas include approaching corporate sponsors, and TV producers, which I consider much farther-down-the-road promotions; ones to consider at a later date when you gain confidence and your book is selling. I’m all about getting started, so in the meantime, for free confidence-building promotional ideas, don’t pay now, and regret it later—simply search and ask for FREE.

See my books, including my new children’s picture book

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,

The School Day

at Amazon, and the following link. 

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 


2 Comments

FASD: The Teen Years

1. Does TIME really HEAL?

I decided this week to offer my memoir Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years in print. Now available in ebook format, due to its popularity, print form would make it viable for libraries and book fairs. Wanting to be sure the manuscript is up to date, I clicked on the file to edit. Big mistake!

The adage Time Heals is a misnomer, a fake, a big fat lie! Time does not heal; at least, not in my case. When I read the first chapter, I thought my heart would break. Tears streamed down my face. Time heals—what a joke. 

Reading that chapter resurfaced memories from my years parenting grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The stress, the sadness, the worry; it all flooded back. Here is a peek into part of that chapter.

Chapter 1
My Eldest Grandson, Rocky,
Placement # 1

I am in line at the information desk of Hamilton Police Station. As I wait for my turn, I gaze through the heavy, glass double-doors. Rain pelts down. People hurriedly step over puddles to push their way inside. A woman shakes out her umbrella, careful to avoid those of us patiently waiting.

        With eyes on the entrance, I watch for my fourteen-year-old grandson, Rocky, to arrive with his Children’s Aid caseworker. Five minutes later, they step inside out of the rain. Rocky tosses raindrops from his blond, curly hair.

        Dread surges through me. He is about to face a grueling interview and I am uncertain how he will react. His worried gaze scans the lobby searching for me then brightens as he smiles my way. He knows I love him and will be there for him no matter the outcome.    

        Arrested for criminal activity the previous evening, Rocky was removed from our home and placed into the care of the Children’s Aid Society. Now, he is at the station to discover his fate. He and his worker join me in line until the information officer directs us to a specific department. A detective approaches and dismisses the CAS worker but instructs me to stay. She leads us to a small, brightly lit room where she explains our interview will be videotaped and everything we say recorded. I glance at Rocky and my heart pounds. His face is pale. I sense his nervousness.

        For the next hour, the detective addresses Rocky and the reason for his arrest. The facts that emerge sicken me until I feel I will pass out. My mind screams. “Get up and get out; don’t come back, don’t even look back. This is too much, even for you. After everything you have been through, you do not deserve this. Come back later, when he is an adult and you are no longer his guardian. Come back then and simply be Grandma.”

        I ignore my mind and stay. After all, everything once again depends on me. I’m broken, exhausted, and overwhelmed by the fourteen years I have spent raising him and three of his siblings, all challenged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I am in no shape to absorb this new catastrophe.

To read more about Rocky’s rocky road in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, visit this link

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

2. Another seascape!

I love painting seascapes. Having recently taken up painting, I work on my pictures daily. Painting reduces my stress and offers me a break from writing and promoting my books: memoir, fiction, and children’s picture books.

Following our weekly meet-ups for updates on the second in the children’s picture book series, titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, illustrator, Heather Lamb kindly gave me tips on painting. I learned how to hold a brush for optimum detailing, to paint with tools other than brushes, and the importance of shading and highlighting.

Painting a Seascape with Acrylics.

Once a week for four weeks, Heather oversaw my seascape painting. It is now complete and added to my collection of beginner’s works. The reason I am posting the sequence of pictures here, is not because I see the final as a masterpiece (far from it), but to encourage readers to indulge in a new interest. Being a senior, I am constantly on the lookout for new projects, and love this one. Thanks, Heather!

During our London, England, trip in 2018, my son and I are planning to visit the National Art Gallery. It won’t be the first time for me as I was born in England and lived there until the age of 26. A few years before immigrating to Canada, I visited the National Gallery, and want my son to share the experience. If ever you get the opportunity to visit London, don’t miss the Gallery. The masterpieces are breathtaking. I can guarantee, you will leave the building a new person.

If you are looking for a relaxing experience, why not join me on my Amazon Author Page at the following link. There you will see my FASD memoirs, my fiction books including Under The Shanklin Sky English seaside series, and my children’s FASD picture book titled Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The School Day. 

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 


Leave a comment

Children’s Picture Book Illustrator

Strawberry & Cracker, Book 2

Heather Lamb, illustrator of the children’s books Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is seen here sketching the pictures for book #2 titled FIDGET!

It was my recent pleasure to visit Heather Lamb at work. Together, we share a vision of creating picture books specifically designed for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Hence, the recent release of the first in the Strawberry & Cracker series titled The School Day.

Heather Lamb, children’s picture book illustrator.

As author of the books, I am amazed how seamlessly Heather transforms my rough mock-ups into works of art. Her pictures capture the essence of children with FASD and the challenges they face on a daily basis. She is currently working on the second in the Strawberry & Cracker series titled FIDGET! The story and pictures emphasize hyperactivity in children with FASD, situations that cause fidgeting, and how people can offer support. The following is a blurb outlining FIDGET! 

Book Blurb

The two main characters in the book titled FIDGET! are Strawberry & Cracker, twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The twins live with their grandma and her dog, Thunder. The twins also struggle with fidgeting. All children fidget, but a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome frequently over-fidgets, thereby annoying people who do not understand impulsive behaviors. Fortunately, there are strategies to calm the child enough to control fidgeting.

The storyline of FIDGET! introduces the reader to Strawberry & Cracker’s typical fidgeting scenarios. While no one strategy to avoid fidgeting will work for every child, Grandma realizes the importance of discovering which ones work for the twins. By discussing those strategies with other adults, she hopes people will apply the calming methods and lessen the stress of fidgeting.

As with the first in the series titled The School Day, FIDGET! is designed to fulfill several needs:

  • To offer children with FASD a fun picture book highlighting daily challenges they can relate to.
  • To help children with FASD accept their diagnosis with dignity and self-respect.
  • To encourage children with FASD to read.
  • To offer caregivers a tool with which to introduce their child with FASD to the disorder.
  • To bring public awareness to FASD.

Where to purchase.

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The School Day

is available in print and eBook from Amazon, and from the following link

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

Genre: Family and relationships/special needs children. Glossy front and back cover. The picture book includes twenty-six inside pages with color images and large print. Size: 8.5” x 8.5”.

Price: $9.99 USD for print. $4.99 USD for eBook.

Coming in 2018!

The second children’s picture book in the

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, series,

titled,

FIDGET!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Self-Publishing

One joy of self-publishing!

Self-publishing—the very words arouse visions of independence, control, and yes… even sole proprietorship. Having self-published memoirs, fiction, and recently a children’s picture book, I had come to see self-publishing as speedy, inexpensive, and totally in my control.

Oh, how the proud fall.

With copies of my children’s book titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in hand, I arrived ten minutes early at an agreed upon place, at an agreed upon time, to meet up with a person with potential to influence the local board of education to consider my book for their libraries. After all, my children’s picture book depicts a typical school day in the life of a child with FASD, so I imagined schools falling over each other to grab one, and even better, several. Ah, life was good.

We met up, drank coffee, talked a reasonable amount of small talk, and then, just at the right moment, I produced the book from my bag. His eyes lit up; always a good sign. He leafed through the pages and smiled. “My contact will enjoy this,” he said. He took a pen from his inside jacket pocket. “Do you have another copy?” he asked. “I’d like you to sign one for my personal use.”

Red-faced horror!

Red-faced horror!

Mentally patting myself on the back for remembering to carry extras, I pulled another from my tote. Taking the pen, I opened the book to write. Horror struck! The pages were out of order. Page 13 was where page 1 was supposed to be; my introduction was located in the center of the book, the copyright faced page 7, the end was at the beginning, and so on and so on. I was mortified. My cheeks blushed. I felt small, and no longer in control. How could my POD service have done this to me, and, worse, to my customers? People are buying: from Amazon no less! I imagined purchasers trying to make sense of the arse-about-face pages; their expressions creased, my reputation ruined. I wanted to run home, click on the POD website, and give them a piece of my mind.

My guest smiled. He understood, or so he said, but the atmosphere had changed. He appeared less excited about the book. Would he still give a copy to his contact? Okay, so it’s a learning lesson. I know that, but I don’t want to hear it. I’m 70 years of age; I’ve learned enough! What I do want is for my POD service to GET IT RIGHT!

Barbara Studham has written FASD memoirs, fiction, and is currently working on the second in the

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol series, titled, FIDGET!

See her on Amazon at the following link.

http//:www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

Twitter: @barbarastudham

Also on: Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn,

Barbara Studham’s blogs:

www.barbarastudham.com

 www.challengedhope.com


Leave a comment

Writing Contest

Avoiding Writing Contests

Despite writing seriously for ten years, I have never entered a writing contest. Do not ask me why as there is no specific reason. Perhaps, therein lies the problem; there is not one reason, but many.

A contest I recently considered, laid out the rules along with a picture of the judge. She resembled my high school English teacher: short frizzy hair, thick-rimmed glasses, and sardonic smile. An award winning writer, she did not impress me as someone who would welcome my measly entry. I imagined her nose crinkle in disgust as she opened my envelope, her condescending glare at my name.

Okay, so she has specific judging rules to follow which rules out bias, but what if her friend enters the contest. Is she relationship-bound to announce her the winner. I envisioned sweat dampening her brow as she thought up numerous excuses to let her friend down lightly. Or worse, what if an entry with an attached note arrives from a relative—Psst, it’s Vera. I signed my entry under a false name, but it is really your mother-in-law. I ask you, what choice would she have other than to declare her the winner?

Before entering the contest, should I read her long list of books to get an idea of the style she prefers, or leave it to chance and hope she likes mine? What if she suffers a heart attack while reading my entry? Would someone gather the pages from off the floor, and replace them neatly in the envelope to be read at a later date, or, due to the urgency, would paramedics render it unreadable? What if I miscalculated the word count, would I suffer disqualification for one word over the limit …. I warned you, my reasons are endless.

Avoiding Writing Contests

So, there you have it. A few of my hesitations when it comes to contest writing, and why I don’t enter. Of course, you know it’s all baloney, don’t you. The REAL reason I avoid writing contests is because I am confident my writing is not good enough to win! But, you can be the judge of that by visiting the following link to download one of my ebooks.

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

Priced at around the dollar mark, they are very affordable. Oh, and please leave me a review when you have finished the book. Even a bad one is welcome!