Author, Barbara Studham

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

My painting of Mrs Beech's view from her window overlooking Hope Bay on the Isle of Wight. This is how I imagine her place to be: tatty curtains, cats, and old rattling windows. Poor Milly Mullan, her neighbor, who has to listen to those windows rattling on stormy nights. A description from A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. www.barbarastudham.com


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Bringing fiction to life, by Barbara Studham

Using My Imagination!

My painting of Mrs Beech's  view from her window overlooking Hope Bay on the Isle of Wight. This is how I imagine her place to be: tatty curtains, cats, and old rattling windows. Poor Milly Mullan, her neighbor, who has to listen to those windows rattling on stormy nights. A description from A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. www.barbarastudham.com

I painted this picture with Mrs Beech in mind. As an elderly resident of flat number 4 in the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach on the Isle of Wight, she has spent most of her life looking out over the bay. During the fifties, net curtains (sheers) grew popular as people could spy on others without being spotted. I’m certain Mrs Beech picked up these tatty green curtains with red dots from a thrift store, along with the, almost matching, yellow glass vase. As the seasons change, she picks a flower from her neighbor’s yard (what harm can one do?) and places it in the jar. Never without less than two cats, her current felines Shadow and Tibbles, love to laze on the sill to catch a few rays. Her windows, however, could do with an upgrade. According to her neighbor, Milly Mullan, of flat number 6, Mrs Beech refuses to update her windows, and so poor Milly is forced to contend with the endless rattling on stormy nights. Milly Mullan and Mrs Beech are characters in my book, A Hint of Spring. The following is the opening paragraph of the first chapter which brings light to Milly’s stormy nights plight. A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham http://www.barbarastudham.com


Milly Mullan and Mrs Beech are characters in my book, A Hint of Spring. The following is the opening paragraph of the first chapter which brings light to Milly’s stormy nights plight regarding Mrs. Beech’s old windows.

Chapter 1 (copyrighted)

A furious winter storm screamed inland, whipping up the waves of the seaside town of Shanklin located on the Isle of Wight. The ancient windows of the Old Stone House situated only yards from the sea on Hope Beach vibrated from the gale force winds.

Before turning in that evening, Milly Mullan, a widowed retiree who recently moved from London to purchase flat number six in the old building, locked her balcony door against the storm’s wrath. She closed the curtains and went through to the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate.

Having applied her many years’ experience of interior design to renovate her flat’s décor, which included installing double-glazed windows, she resented her neighbor, Mrs Beech of number four, who staunchly refused to alter the character of the Old Stone House by keeping the original, ill-fitting windows. Therefore, every windy day and, worse, every stormy night, a ceaseless rattling echoed throughout the building.

Though Milly adored the soft breezes of Shanklin summers, she was not a big fan of dreary English winters. Given she was travelling the road to seventy years of age, she resented being holed up in her flat for several months every year while waiting for spring to arrive; a waste of what short time she had left that could otherwise be spent actively socializing outdoors.

Checking the balcony door one last time, she finished her hot chocolate and climbed into bed. Snuggling into the covers, she held her hot water bottle close. To drown out the clattering of Mrs Beech’s windows, she did what most people would do; she sunk her head deep into her pillow, pulled it tight around her ears, and thought happy thoughts. One of those thoughts was the upcoming fundraising gala she was soon to attend…..

A simple gala, you might say, but you would be wrong! Discover the ups and downs and insides and outs, including embezzling and murder during another Milly Mullan adventure in The Hint of Spring.

A Hint of Spring is the fourth in the Under the Shanklin sky English seaside series by Barbara Studham. . Milly is a retiree from London England who moves to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Soon after moving, she is caught up in the locals’ activity and finds herself sleuthing her way through her golden years by the sea. Available from AMAZON.

A Hint of Spring, by Barbara Studham. Part of the Under The Shanklin Sky series. Available from Amazon.

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.


Barbara Studham’s bio.

For over twenty years, Barbara Studham has parented grandchildren diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky, set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first two in the series titled THE SCHOOL DAY, and, FIDGET!

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 


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Is BAD publicity GOOD?

Author appreciates all publicity!

I submitted my ebook cover, Under the Shanklin sky for review to The Book Designer re the e-Book Cover Design Awards, November 2017. The opportunity for publicity overshadowed winning an award, so I entered an ebook cover to attract attention to my work.

Link: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2017/12/e-book-cover-design-awards-november-2017

Well, my cover attracted attention, but not the kind I crave. While I appreciate its listing in JR’s The Book Designer Awards, his comment was not so pleasing. Here is the cover I submitted along with his comment.

Under the Shanklin sky, by Barbara Studham. The first in the Milly Mullan adventure series. Milly is a retiree who moves from London to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Caught up in the locals' activity, she soon finds herself sleuthing through her golden years. Available on AMAZON.

Under the Shanklin sky, by Barbara Studham

JF: It might, if you let a professional design the cover.

Here the type is confused and the whole effect is underwhelming.

Is BAD publicity good?

I welcome the response, but I do not have the means to hire a professional, so I cannot act upon JR’s suggestion. Moreover, the publicity overrides the bad review.  After all, my book was posted and mentioned (good publicity), despite his comment, some readers will like my cover and even check it out on Amazon (good publicity), and my name being recognized as an author on another website is excellent publicity.

The last point is the most important, because, a book’s cover is not what sells books, but rather the author’s name. My favorite author, Rachel Joyce, could sell me a book with a blank cover simply because I adore her writing. Becoming known is what is important. An attractive book cover will garner eyes, but when those eyes are browsing hundreds of thousands of book titles on Amazon, chances of them landing on my book are miniscule. Conversely, if the reader is searching for a specific author, namely me, the odds improve.

Author appreciates all publicity.

So, how do I attract attention to my work? Take up with a toy boy and prance around town in low-cut dresses and cause a scene until noticed? How about I dye my hair blue and wear funny hats. What if I hold a knife to someone’s throat and hope journalists include ‘author’ when reporting the details. Not bad ideas, as ALL publicity is good publicity.

Meanwhile, I will stick to a traditional publicity route. On Sunday, February 18th 2018, I will join local radio host Bernadette Rule on Art Waves to speak about my children’s FASD picture book titled Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The book is aimed at ages 5-12, is full color, twenty-six pages, and available on AMAZON. Art Waves is an arts-interview radio program airing live every Sunday evening from 7 to 8 at 101.5 FM. Google “1015 The Hawk.”

To listen to my previous Art Waves podcast when I spoke on my FASD memoirs Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, visit this link:

https://archive.org/details/279BarbaraStudhamMar.132016

Barbara Studham’s bio:

For the past twenty years, Barbara Studham parented four grandchildren, all diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years, and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky; set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry  & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first in the series titled The School Day.

All Barbara Studham’s books are available from your AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham


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Author, Barbara Studham: Memories of Steam Engines

Riding the steam train to Grandmother’s home.

Whoo—ooo!

Riding the Steam Train. Painting by Barbara Studham 2017. www.barbarastudham.com

Riding the Steam Train. Painting by Barbara Studham 2017

I was a shy child, preferring to stay in my room rather than venture outside for play.

“You are so quiet,” people would say as if it was a bad thing.

They failed to notice their annoying chatter blocked out the sweeter sounds of nature: raindrops falling, leaves rustling, birds chirping. Mother Nature, not people, stirred my senses. There was no sound more exciting, however, than the bellowing steam train as it pulled into the station to take me to my grandmother’s house.

As a fifties kid, I grew up in a home with no family car. A trip to grandma’s house, or anywhere, for that matter, meant a train ride. We would arrive at the station with enough time to spare for a cup of tea in the railway’s cafeteria. Dad called it weak, but it was hot, and sweet, and went down a treat. Sometimes, Mum would fork out for a biscuit. We would then wait on the platform for the train to arrive. Glancing at his watch, Dad would say, “Won’t be long, now.”

Anticipation increased as the minutes passed. I could hardly contain my excitement! Being taller than me, Dad would spot the train first, and shout There it is! See, in the distance! I would stare ahead along the winding track and watch the huge iron beast barrelling toward me, as an overhead intercom announced its arrival. My parents appeared indifferent to my standing too close to the edge, ready to jump aside as the engine pulled into the platform.

Sometimes, the noise was too loud for my young ears, and I feared I would faint clean away.  Steam enveloped me. The smell invaded my nostrils. Valves hissed as if impatient at having to stop again. Rumbling and clattering, the commotion lasted several minutes as the engine slowed. Carriages murmured loudly as they bumped and swayed to a halt. Several passengers would jump from the train before it fully stopped. “Idiots,” Mum would whisper. “One day, someone will fall!”

I’d climb into the carriage exhausted from the din, and sink into a padded bench seat. Within minutes, amid a loud whistle, a clatter and hiss, the engine would pull out from the station, and we would be on our way. What wonderful memories I have of my train rides to grandma’s house. 

Author, Barbara Studham: Memories of Steam Trains. Milly Mullan, the main character in my Under the Shanklin sky fiction series, also loved riding the steam train. Here, is part of the first chapter of book #1 Under the Shanklin sky, where she shares her memory.

 

Chapter 1

As a child of the fifties, Millicent Mullan treasured her summer holidays at the charming seaside town of Shanklin situated on the Isle of Wight. With anticipation soaring, at least two weeks before school ended for the summer, she would fetch her yellow, plastic bucket and spade stashed in the cupboard under the stairs, and chatter with excitement to school chums, friends, family, and anyone within earshot willing to listen. 

            “Soon I’ll be swimming! I do hope the weather is hot. You should feel the sand, it’s so smooth under your feet. And I often find shells. And the gulls scream so. We are staying two weeks in my favorite hotel. I wish we could stay longer. I never want to go home!” Rambling on, she’d twirl and whirl in her puffed-sleeved dress, until her mother would shout, “Shut up, Milly! You’re driving us nuts!”

            But, Mum understood her daughter’s delight, as she loved Shanklin too. Every winter Mr Mullan would reserve two rooms for their upcoming summer family vacation at the Shanklin Beach Hotel, one for himself and Mrs Mullan, and one for Milly. In those days, the furnishings were old and scratched and the beds lumpy. Each room had one basin with cold running water. To try their patience further, guests on the second floor shared a bathroom, but, overall, the Mullan family couldn’t care less, and simply agreed such outdated décor only added to the charm of their windswept surroundings.

            To Milly’s parents, Ron and Sandra, the most arduous part of their holiday was the daylong journey from their house to the hotel, especially if caught in a downpour. And, poor Mr Mullan had to bear those heavy, brown suitcases which a week ago he had laid out to air, before Mrs Mullan stuffed them with necessities. Huffing and puffing under their weight, he’d pray the handles would hold and not break as one had before, leaving him stumped as to how to get their things to the hotel. It had happened before boarding the ferry and they had no clue what to do, until several kind passengers offered them bags. The old, leather suitcase was abandoned and the bags filled, and Milly giggled and skipped behind her dad as he staggered along with one case and eight bags in hand.

            “Get out from under your dad’s feet,” Mum had chided with arms full of beach paraphernalia and her favorite deck chair.

            During Milly’s early years, they had no car so their journey would begin in the early morning on a bus from their home in Iver Village to Uxbridge, then a train from there to London with a switch at London’s Paddington Station to Southampton, for the ferry ride across the Channel to the Isle of Wight. There, another train would take them to Shanklin Station and finally they would splurge for a taxi to drive to Shanklin Beach Hotel. By the end of the journey Ron and Sandra would be exhausted and go to bed early that night, but Milly took it all in her stride especially loving the train ride from London to the south coast.

            Staring out the window and seeing what only children can, she’d delight in the beauty of the countryside and the speeding of the train past houses dotted along the way. The clammy smoke from the steam engine would fill her nostrils as it seeped into her carriage.

            “Close the window, Milly,” Mum would say. “The noise is too loud and it smells.”

            But if a passenger interrupted her delight—hello, little girl, are you enjoying the ride?—she’d get cross and frown at them rudely. Milly loved her vacations and all its intricacies and wanted no one to spoil it with mundane murmurings in her ear… ©BarbaraStudham

To read more, visit AMAZON 

Under the Shanklin sky

by Barbara Studham. 

Barbara Studham’s bio:

For the past twenty years, Barbara Studham parented four grandchildren, all diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years, and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky; set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series. The first, titled The School Day, is now available.

All Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

If you love steam engines, enjoy the following links.

http://www.rail.co.uk/locomotives-and-engines/steam-engines/

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/travel/uk/steam-trains-in-the-uk-britains-best-heritage-railways-11363903056455


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Author, Barbara Studham’s Book Series

Six books in the Under the Shanklin sky, English seaside series!

All six books in my Under the Shanklin sky Milly Mullan

adventure series are available on AMAZON!

Author, Barbara Studham’s Book Series

I doubt I will write more in the series so as I wind down, I can’t help feeling a sense of pride. My main character, Milly Mullan, is a retiree from London England who moves to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Soon after moving, she is caught up in the locals’ activity and finds herself sleuthing her way through her golden years by the sea.

Book blurbs

For all six book blurbs click on the menu title Fiction Series #1 then head over to AMAZON to download your selection. Format: ebook; Genre: Fiction/Crime, Mystery/Cozy; Price: only $0.99 cents (usd). Makes great holiday and birthday gift!

Barbara Studham’s blogs

Author: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD: http://www.challengedhope.com

Barbara Studham’s Amazon Author Page

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


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New Release: A Hint of Spring

The Launch of A Hint of Spring!

Another Milly Mullan Adventure.

A Hint of Spring

A Hint of Spring

I am so pleased to launch the fourth book in the Under The Shanklin Sky Milly Mullan series. My new ebook is available from AMAZON for only $0.99 cents USD. If you have read the first three adventures in the series titled Under The Shanklin Sky, The Bathing Beauty, and The Faring Foxglove, you will also enjoy my newest addition, A Hint of Spring. 

New Release: A Hint of Spring, Book Blurb.

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. Could the killer be 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.

Available from AMAZON.

Category: Fiction/Crime, Mystery & Detective/Cozy. $0.99 cents usd. 

Barbara Studham’s blogs

Author   http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD    http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page   http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 

 


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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 

 

 

 


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Seaford, East Sussex

A Great Place To Visit!

Seaford, East Sussex

Seaford, East Sussex

Retiree, Milly Mullan, is the main character in my fiction series, Under the Shanklin Sky. I enjoy interspersing her amateur sleuthing with descriptions of English coastal areas. The following is a paragraph taken from my latest manuscript: A Hint of Spring. Available in 2017, it will be the fourth in the series. Genre: cozy/amateur sleuth.

Seaford, East Sussex

… Waking early, she (Milly) slipped her feet into her pink slippers, pulled on her housecoat, and opened the balcony doors. Shading her eyes from the sun, she squinted at the ravaged shoreline ahead. Pebbles and broken shells interspersed with plastic bottles and brightly colored bits of garbage scattered the beach. Clumps of curly, brown seaweed, looking like masses of tangled hair hindered early morning swimmers. Despite the scene, Milly inhaled the fresh, intoxicating sea air purified by the storm, and anticipated the trip to Seaford that she and her daughter, Rosie, had planned for the day. A quick coffee with toast and jam, and a shower and change into her ‘perfect for iffy weather’ outfit consisting of gray pants, a rose-colored wool top, and comfortable walking shoes, left her with only a phone call to make…

Barbara Studham's ebooks

Barbara Studham’s ebooks

All my ebooks are available from your Amazon store, from the following links, and from most ebook distributors.

 

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com