Author, Barbara Studham

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


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Author’s trip to England

Out with the old, in with the new!

In the summer of 2018, I will be taking a trip back to England. It will have been 44 years since I have returned to my homeland. Not because I did not want to go, but life got busy and there just was not time. Now that my grandchildren (who I parented) are teens and their lives have somewhat settled, it is quieter in the Studham household and so next year I am flying home for a visit.

My son, a Canadian citizen is coming with me. There, he will meet his English family for the first time, and I will meet up with my niece who I have not seen since she was two years of age. She now has a family of her own and I cannot wait to meet them all. It is strange thinking about going back, especially as I never dreamed it would happen.

Another event I never thought would happen was my recent decision to ditch my landline and rely solely on my cell phone. I remember the first phone I owned. I was young, newly married, and still living in England. The phone was green, large, and cumbersome; attached to a coiling cord, and with a ring loud enough to summon me if I lived in a three-winged mansion. RING! RING! RING! RING! With no volume setting, voicemail, or answering machines in those days, it relentlessly attacked my eardrums until answered.

Not-so-sweet memories.

I remember the first person to call when our phone was installed—my mother-in-law. I admit there were days when I let that baby ring until exhausted simply because I wanted to avoid her. Okay, enough said. When answering machines came into our lives, I believe I was the first to buy one, and set it to turn on after only two rings.

Despite the evolution of landlines with their sleek designs and numerous features, their choice of obnoxious musical rings left much to the imagination. Since cancelling the darn thing, peace reigns in my household. When someone now calls, a soft melodic tune plays on my cell phone. I chose that particular music, as it is easy to ignore.

See me on Amazon 
http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham
and my FASD blog
http://www.challengedhope.com
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eBook: Strawberry and Cracker, Twins with FAS

eBook Now Available!

In a few weeks, I will be celebrating my 70th birthday. Wow, I never expected to make it this far, but now I have, I am finding it fun. When I was in my thirties, I believed my becoming old would mean ill-health, dentures, wrinkles, and crepey thighs. Okay, so the thighs are a bit on the crepey side, but apart from that I look fine. And, who cares about old-lady looks anyway? What I am excited about is the recent launch of my children’s picture book. Already available in print, it is now a downloadable eBook on Amazon. Who knew retirement could be so busy?

Children's Picture Book

Children’s Picture Book

Information

Strawberry & Cracker: Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is now available in both print and ebook from Amazon. Category: Family & Relationships/Children with special needs. Printed version priced at $9.99 (usd). Ebook $4.99 (usd).

Introduction

Meet Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)! With over twenty years of experience parenting four grandchildren with FAS, I have created the children’s picture book through my perception of the disorder. Illustrated in the first of the Strawberry & Cracker series titled, The School Day, is the twins’ use of visual aids, the necessity to attend a special needs class, and living with a caregiver other than a biological parent. Initially featuring Strawberry and Cracker’s strengths, the story subsequently introduces the reader to a typical school day in the life of a child with FAS, and the supports required for a successful outcome. Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the picture book series, is designed to be enjoyed by children with FAS, for caregivers with a desire to introduce their children to FAS, and for the public to learn about the challenges associated with the disorder.

Illustrator

It is difficult to judge a book by its cover, so visit this link http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham to take a peek at the story and Heather Lamb’s, fabulous illustrations. Without a doubt Heather has captured the essence of FAS in her paintings, and done the book proud. 

 

 

 


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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!

(This memoir snippet was featured on WOW! Women on Writing!)

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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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