Author, Barbara Studham


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Author on FASD

September 9th 2017 is International FASD Day.

Meet Strawberry and Cracker, twins on a mission to help spread the word on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). At present, the twins are staying tight-lipped about how they intend to educate the world on FAS, but rest assured, they know all the ordeals and struggles that kids with FAS face each day of their lives.

Intrigued? Would you like to know more about Strawberry and Cracker’s mission?

Stay tuned to www.barbarastudham.com, and, www.challengedhope.com.

 September 9th 2017, all will be revealed.

Twins, Strawberry & Cracker

Twins, Strawberry & Cracker

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on young and teenage lives, visit this link:

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

There, check out my two ebook memoirs on FASD: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years. Both describe the emotional side of how I became a grandmother raising grandchildren with FAS, and the heartbreak of having our family unit wrenched apart by the effects of the disorder. My memoirs are also available at most other ebook distributors. 


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Writing Tips: Dialogue

What a wonderful addition to narrative!

Hearing accents

Hearing accents

I love characters in books who talk too much. Despite their annoying chatter, they advance the storyline. Fiction requires dialogue. Without it, the story would read as boring. Now comes the “however.”

However, as most people do not speak perfect English, a writer needs to adapt to the accent/ class/tone/logic of the character who is speaking. A simple example: no English cockney character would speak in an affluent manner, unless that person had deliberately changed his style; in which case, that scenario should be added to the storyline.

Writing Tips: Dialogue

Look, for a moment, at the following characters. One says, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” The other replies with, “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Two different class of characters: the first completes his sentence with “at home”; the second leaves the preposition “in” hanging. If both characters were considered of the same class they would either say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you weren’t in.” with the reply being “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Alternatively, the first would say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” with the reply, “That’s strange. I assure you, I was home all day.”

Speaking styles reveal all. Amazingly, from how the character speaks, the reader can tell where he is from; his mode of upbringing; his class status; his principles; his personality, and his attitude. Invariably, readers are less drawn to a character by what he does, and more by what he says, and the way he speaks.

That is why authors should read books. Dissecting other authors’ work is part of being a good writer. It helps to avoid obvious mistakes when writing a manuscript. It also helps to learn how a character’s personality is revealed through their dialogue.

Keep Writing!

 


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Memoir Snippet #1

A memory most seniors will relate to!

As an author, I enjoy attending writing groups and circles. I meet many enthusiastic writers who love their craft. Promoting one’s work is tougher than the writing itself, but, despite the many drawbacks, most memoir writers have both sad and hilarious stores to tell. I’m not sure this memoir snippet would be considered hilarious but it might bring a smile to your face, especially if you wear glasses. It is a piece I wrote after returning home from a recent writing circle. Frustrated over what happened while attending, I decided to turn it into a laugh.

Memoir Snippet #1

Where are my glasses?

Where are my glasses?

Our writers’ circle gathered around the table with pens and paper at hand. All eyes turned to the teacher. Striving to get us writing, she displayed a large photograph. “My husband is the photographer,” she proudly announced. “But this session is not about him. It is about you. Getting you writing. So, look at this photo and write down the first thing you see.”

I reached in my purse for my reading glasses. As I rifled through its contents, my heart fluttered. Where are my glasses? Darn it! I forgot to bring them! I stare hard at the photo, but it’s a blur. I see shadowy, colorful objects but little else.

Our teacher continued. “What do you see; an object, a landscape, an event?”

I try to focus. There appears to be something hanging from sticks. Is it water? Yes, I’ll write water. Oh no, here comes a second photo and I see even less. Lot’s of pink, I get that, but what is the subject?” Glancing discreetly to the floor where my purse now sits open, I pray my glasses will glint back at me.

“And how about this photo?” she asks. She puts down the pink photo and raises the next. “What do you see?”

I glance around the table. All I see is the group furiously writing their answers. I stare at the new photo. There is a lot of orange, but I can’t make out the scene. I’ll write orange. After all, orange is the first thing I see, so orange it will be. For several agonizing minutes my ordeal continues. For each photo, I write a color. Purple… blue… green; darn it, how could I have forgotten my glasses?

Fifteen photos later and it is answer time. “I’m sure your answers are diverse,” the teacher says. “Who wants to share what they wrote?”

Not me. I shrink back in my chair and think. I need to appear I am not interested in sharing. I glance at the table and see my coffee. A long, slow sip will cover my disinterest, but as I reach for the cup, something from behind glints at me. It is my glasses! I must have laid them on the table when I first arrived. Darn it!

Well, I hope that snippet made for a giggle. You might also giggle over Rosie’s antics. She is a secondary character in my seaside series, titled, Under the Shanklin Sky. The daughter of my main character, Milly, she exudes obnoxiousness, especially toward seniors. Milly and Rosie’s adventures can be found in Under the Shanklin Sky, The Bathing Beauty, The Faring Foxglove, and my soon to be published, A Hint of Spring

A percentage of each book can be read for free
at my Amazon author page at the following link.

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

 


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Writing Breaks

Life is not all writing!

Writing Breaks

I write too often, so I need frequent breaks to loosen up my mind and imagination. One of those breaks included a recent visit to my friend’s home to sample Rodan and Fields skin care line. She is a consultant for the company and highly recommends their products. Well, like every other woman, I was sceptical of yet another company’s claim that its products work wonders.  However, when I tried a sample of the REDEFINE renewing cream, I was in awe of the results. Within only a few days, my complexion was firmer, and less, well … wrinkled!  Yes, sad to say, I do have wrinkles, but am anticipating a more youthful skin over the next few weeks. In fact, I can see it heading that way now.

My friend, Viga Boland, is having a home party on May 31st in the Hamilton-Wentworth area. There, you will see many of the products Rodan and Fields offer. To contact Viga about the event, or for information on Rodan & Fields: go to http://vianvi.com/2017/03/rodan-fields-skin-care/

Writing Breaks

The reason I took a break from writing at that time, was due to editing my latest book in the Under the Shanklin Sky series, titled, A Hint of Spring. To be published this year, it will be available from your Amazon, or the following link: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

A Hint of Spring

A Hint of Spring

A Hint of Spring: A Hint of Spring is the fourth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, and offers Milly Mullan a new adventure. Rain, hail, sleet, gale; the petulant, English winter reluctantly gives way to spring by mercilessly battering the town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. Conversely, spring ushers in a new adventure for retiree, Milly Mullan, resident of flat number 6 in the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach. Anticipating an upcoming fundraising gala, she is shocked to discover the host, Evelyn Scott, is embezzling funds from its charitable agency: Triple-F. With little evidence, Milly drags her obnoxious daughter, Rosie, into the fray who witnesses Evelyn Scott’s murder and joins the list of suspects; all of whom hated Evelyn. For a while, Milly is at a loss as to whodunit. Was it Crystal, the receptionist at Triple-F, who holds a long-standing grudge against Evelyn; or, perhaps Evelyn’s love affair, married man, Fred Barker-Ford, of Barker-Ford dog foods, and suspected collaborator in crime. Or, was the killer Tom Fielding, a local health and fitness business owner who, for personal reasons, detests Evelyn Scott. As Milly delves deeper into the case, she inadvertently saves scores of seniors from Evelyn’s scheming and their financial ruin. Given that, and her eventual solving of Evelyn Scott’s murder, she is abruptly elevated to bees’ knees status in the eyes of Shanklin’s locals.

 


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Hit with Writer’s Block?

Hit with Writer's Block?

Hit with Writer’s Block?

Hit Back!

Writer’s block is a severe invasion of your writing. It can cause doubt in your ability to be an author, and set you back for days, sometimes weeks. But, don’t dismay, when you are aware of the various root causes of writer’s block, they can be overcome, and you will be back on track in no time.

  1. My own experience with writer’s block has taught me not to over-think my story. Over-thinking is a consequence of over-writing: too many hours in front of the page. All writers know that two hours per day expanding a manuscript is enough; more, and we lose focus, grow tired, and push our story and ourselves too hard. Writer’s fatigue equals writer’s block.
  2. Your story could be progressing down the wrong path. If so, it will read as boring. You will begin to question your character, his/her actions, the setting or location, or your ability to expand his/her personality and role in the story; hence, the onset of writer’s block. If so, take a break from writing and spend a few days reading.
  3. Read only books in the genre you are writing. Read your favorite authors of the genre. Make notes of their characters. Are they all evil, or all angelic? Usually neither: your characters should be a bit of both, so if you focus on one character in one way, you will hit writer’s block. Take the same attitude with your plot. Does your character “fit” into the story? Perhaps not: if so, is there an alternate character in your story who would make for a better fit? Writing is like character casting for a movie. We all know when an actor has been miscast as it diminishes the movie. Switching a secondary character into the main role of your story can trigger an intriguing “twist” in the plot, and surprise your reader.

Writer’s block can be the downfall of many a writer.

That is why I wrote a fictional tale on the subject called,

Not My Type. 

Not My Type

Not My Type

In the fictional story, Not My Type, the main character, Lisa Paige, is a respected non-fiction writer who envies the accolades bestowed upon her fiction-writing mother, Madge Paige. So much so that, while desperately trying her hand at fiction, writer’s block hits, and Lisa begins to hallucinate, causing fictional characters to come to life and visit her home. Frantically offering her bribes in return for inclusion in her book, the characters explain her refusal would result in their deletion within the fictional world. As characters compete for billing, murder and mayhem ensues, as each are in conflict and equally determined to be forefront in Lisa’s novel. But is there an alternate motive for their brawling? Does Lisa complete her work of fiction and find the fame she so desperately yearns? In Not My Type, discover how her fictional characters’ skirmishes bring a life-changing twist to Lisa’s future.

Available as ebook for .99 cents (usd) from your Amazon, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 

 


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Blogging Tips for Writers

Solid reasons why an author should create a blog!

I recently had the pleasure of giving a presentation at the writers’ group I attend in Hamilton, Ontario. My topic was, The Benefits of Blogging. Anita, a fellow member, snapped this photo of me as I displayed a picture of my own author’s blog, and described the importance of themes, widgets, and SEO, etc.

blogging presentation at Hamilton ON writer's group

blogging presentation at Hamilton ON writer’s group

Why have a blog?

  • One reason to create an author blog is to build a following. If you intend to write a manuscript, whether you choose to self-publish, or contact a publisher, you need to attract followers who will buy your book. Don’t wait until you have completed the manuscript. The day you start that manuscript, is the day you should create a blog. If you post a minimum of twice a week to your blog, by the time your manuscript is ready to publish, you will have attracted followers who know you well, and are curious about your book. Hence, your first sales.
  • A blog can be set up in minutes, and be customized to reflect the look you want to present. Text is mostly the primary content; however, there are also blogs that are a combination of pictures, video, and audio. When choosing a blogging site, you need to do your homework to discover which one is the right one for you.
  • When you have created a blog, you need to post a minimum of once a week to be sure browsers are reading your blog. Don’t neglect your blog, or you will find your followers neglecting you.
  • Include a “follow me” widget on your sidebar. There, people can register their email and be assured of receiving your new posts. Why is this important? To maintain your following and hopefully attract new followers. When people open their email and see you have posted a new segment in your blog, they will automatically view the post. It’s like maintaining a long-distance relationship. Most of your followers you won’t know, and some will live in other countries, so it is up to you to be the dominant “friend” in the relationship and keep them up to date on what’s going on in your life. Your followers will most likely be your first purchasers of your book. So, keep them in your loop.
  • A blog is also essential to harvesting readers’ anticipation over your new book. Post a little about the storyline of your book. Offer teasers, a chapter, photos (whether included in the final manuscript or not), and ask for comments, ask your readers to share and click LIKE, and to ask for reviews of your chapter. They might not answer, but they will remember you.

There are so many more reasons why authors’ should blog. Too many to mention here. I will be posting more blogging tips in the future, so return soon. In the meantime, to see my books, take a look at my author page at the following link.

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


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Writing Style

What is your Style of Writing?

You are a unique individual. There is no one else in the world like you, and it should show in your style of writing. So often, we make the mistake of comparing our writing style with that of famous authors, and convince ourselves we are not famous because our style appears inferior to theirs. Take note, there is no story that has not yet been written; it is the style of writing, not the story, which determines success.  It is how the story is written that makes it unique.

If you are new to writing, it will take a while for your style to emerge. It cannot be forced or fabricated. You might even write several stories before your style develops, but when it does you will sense it forming. From then on, it will be difficult to ignore, and will make writing much easier.

What is style in writing?

Style has been described in many different ways. When my style emerged, I noticed one way was through my choice of words. I found myself choosing the same words to describe events, and when I used a thesaurus to find a similar word, I often chose the same one from the list of alternatives. The reason I chose those words was that I felt they “fit me.” They were the words I would choose when speaking to another individual. The word just “seemed right.”

I also noticed the similar lengths in my sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, and my consistency in punctuating narrative with dialogue. I had started out wanting my writing to speak to the reader, as if the individual and I were in the same room and I was telling the story. When my style emerged, I found it did just that in a casual easy-to-read manner, void of unnecessary add-ons or drawn-out descriptions.

Creating a style

Don’t be deceived into thinking a repetitive writing style will create boring stories. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It simply makes writing and editing less laborious, affording the author more time to develop and maintain the story line. My own style emerged during my writing of my seaside town series, Under The Shanklin Sky. I have written three in the series, and will release another three later this year. Discovering my writing style helped me grow the series and enjoy its creation.

Under The Shanklin Sky series includes

  • Under The Shanklin Sky
  • The Bathing Beauty
  • The Faring Foxglove

Available soon: A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, Mann Overboard

All available from your Amazon, the following links, and many other ebook distributors:

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com