Author, Barbara Studham

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

Painting of Thumper by author Barbara Studham. www.barbara.studham.com


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New Post: Sooty, my pet rabbit, by Barbara Studham

Two rabbits, sixty-years apart!

Painting of Thumper by author Barbara Studham. www.barbara.studham.com

Painting of Thumper copyright Barbara Studham

I recently painted a picture of my granddaughter’s pet rabbit named Thumper. When I showed the draft to my friend, her comment stopped me in my tracks. “Does the bunny remind you of Sooty?”

Sooty was a pet rabbit I owned at around the age of ten. I wrote a vignette on that experience when I attended a memoir writing class, and eventually included the segment in my memoir Two Decades of Diapers describing the twenty years I parented grandkids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Upon reading the vignette to the members of the memoir class, I was embarrassed by their silence which I mistakenly took for disinterest. However, I quickly discovered their hush was due to shock over the gory details of my anecdote. Following, is that vignette taken from my memoir Two Decades of Diapers available from AMAZON.

Sooty, my pet rabbit, by Barbara Studham

The following vignette was originally printed in the copyrighted memoir Two Decades of Diapers,

by Barbara Studham. Available from AMAZON.

As a kid, I was not keen on schedules, but every Saturday would see me up and out by 7:00 am, cycling like crazy to the local farm to purchase fresh straw for my rabbit.

 “Bring a bigger bag next time,” the farmer would urge while watching me stuff handfuls into my school satchel.

“I will,” I always promised then, throwing the bag over my shoulder, I would cycle as recklessly home, run to the back yard, and unload the straw.

“Look, Sooty, this is for you,” I would squeal as he nervously backed away.

Sooty had belonged to a neighbor who no longer wanted the bother of his upkeep. “He comes with a hutch,” she had explained to my mother, who sighed and shook her head.

“No thanks, Mrs Pond. I don’t need a rabbit,” Mom had muttered then, nodding toward me, added, “I have enough trouble with this one.”

“But, Mom, he’s so beautiful!” I gasped. “Please can we have him, Mom? I promise to look after him!”

After several hours of my pleading and empty promises, Mom finally relented and so I raced to my back yard where my neighbor was working in her yard.

“Mrs. Pond! Mrs. Pond!” I yelled over the fence, “Mom said—yes—I can have the rabbit!”

Her smile widened. “Here you go then.” She picked Sooty up in his cage and handed it to me. “I’ve got a sack of straw in the garage. I’ll get it for you.”

As she passed the hutch over the fence and into my eager hands, I thought I would burst with excitement. I looked around for the perfect place to display him, like an award I had received for reaching the age of ten and therefore deserving of a rabbit. But, as I scanned the yard, I heard the living room window open and my Mom yell.

“He’s your responsibility, now!”

“I know Mom,” I called, having no idea what responsibility meant.

For the next year or so, I groomed and petted Sooty, changed his straw, and with every opportunity showed him off to the neighborhood kids. They envied my having a rabbit with soft, shiny black fur, a bobbing tail, and sharp appealing eyes. I delighted in their arguing over who would hold him next, feeling much older than my years as I made them line up to take a turn. I truly loved Sooty and knew he loved me.

Then, one Saturday, my uncle came to visit. When he arrived, I was in the garden cleaning Sooty’s hutch, and feeding him fresh lettuce leaves I had stolen from my Dad’s garden. I noticed my mom standing a way off watching me. She had recently complained over the cost of Sooty’s upkeep so I intuitively sensed danger, but was surprised when she calmly turned and walked back inside the house. When convinced Sooty was clean and fed, I gave him one last kiss, locked his cage, and headed off to play.

“Be back at one for lunch,” my Mother shrieked from the kitchen window.

“I will Mom!” I yelled back, running as fast as my legs would take me to avoid being grabbed by the long-legged spiders inhabiting the high, green, privet hedge that surrounded our house. “I promise!”

So, at one o’clock I was back home, sitting at the table, innocently swinging my legs waiting for lunch to be served, but noticed the table was only set for one. Hearing my mother, sister, and uncle in the kitchen whispering and giggling, I called, “Isn’t anyone else having lunch?”

“Nope, only you,” called Mom, bringing in a large bowl of steaming stew and setting it down before me. “Eat up while it’s hot.”

After my busy morning, I was hungry and so tucked into the stew but, after a spoonful, muttered, “It tastes funny.” I glanced at my mom and uncle who were standing in the kitchen doorway smirking. I sensed something was up, but I was too afraid of my mom to refuse to finish my meal, so downed the whole bowl, and then ran back outside to play.

Later that evening when my uncle had left and I lay on my bed exhausted from play, my sister came to my room. “I have a secret to tell you,” she murmured enticingly, and leaned in. She whispered in my ear.

Startled by her words I jumped up, raced downstairs, and out to my rabbit’s hutch, but Sooty was gone.

“Sooty, where are you?” I cried. I frantically searched the garden, all the time calling his name. “Sooty, Sooty, where are you?” But, there was not a murmur, nor a squeak. I ran back inside.

“Mom! Mom! Do you know where Sooty is?” I cried, hoping my sister’s revelation was a lie.

But, when I saw my Mom’s expression, I knew it was true. Mom had asked my uncle to kill Sooty, skin him, and prepare him for the stew.

My heart died. “Mom, where is Sooty?” I whispered.

Staring defiantly, she smirked, “In your stomach.”

A CRAZY THING JUST HAPPENED! AS I FINISHED SOOTY’S STORY, THUMPER’S PAINTING FELL FROM THE WALL BEHIND ME AND CRASHED TO THE FLOOR! COINCIDENCE OR SUPERNATURAL? YOU DECIDE.

Sooty’s demise was traumatizing. More so were the twenty years I devoted to parenting four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Two Decades of Diapers, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, describe those years. Available from AMAZON, my memoirs are essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about the disorder.

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.

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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Handy Writing Tips!

Getting it Right!

Writing is fun … punctuation and grammar, not so much. When I wrote my first manuscript, I admit, my punctuation was poor, and I struggled with corrections. Then, an author shared a page of writing tips with me, and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the source of the following tips, but hope they help you as much as they did me.

Using numbers in a manuscript:

  • Numerals from 99 and under are spelled out (twelve days, fourteen pounds)
  • Numerals from 100 and up are spelled numerically (100 days, 500 pounds)
  • Numerals of 1,000 and up are spelled numerically, with comma inserted (1,250)
  • Numerals of 1 million and up are spelled with both numerals and text (1.2 million)
  • Always spell out the word “percent” (52.5 percent). Do not use the symbol unless the section or entire book contains many statistics.

These tips are especially pertinent if you forward your manuscript to a publisher as they expect perfection. It is equally important if you self-publish as errors reflect on your ability as an author. I will share more tips over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

My ebooks:

In the meantime, why not check out my ebook, titled, The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old: only .99 cents (USD), and available from your Amazon, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

The Look of a Twelve-Year Old

The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old

Fiction:  The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old

Meet Claire Peters. From seemingly innocent youngster to evil conniver, she takes you on her journey from lowly Saturday Girl working at The Glass Stiletto located in small town Heatherly, to executive for a leading company: SLATES Inc. of London. While working at The Glass Stiletto, she set her sights on winning the Stiletto Award for achieving the highest annual sales. But, a nasty rival bent on defeating her, stood in the way. Refusing to be deterred from reaching her goal, Claire took drastic action against her opponent. From there, Claire Peters joined the ranks of executives but on the way to the top, lost track of who she was and what she hoped to achieve. Many years later, recently fired from her executive position at SLATES Inc, she traded common sense for the sake of bloody revenge against the team responsible for her dismissal.

Available now from:

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors

 


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Painting a Seascape

My first assignment!

Painting a Seascape

Painting a Seascape

Painting a Seascape

Talk about throwing me in the deep end (pardon the deliberate pun!). Despite my mistake by registering for the wrong class, I was able to go back and register for the beginners’ class. As I enjoyed the intermediate session where I picked up painting tips, and met new people, which is always fun, I decided to enroll in both intermediate and beginners. So, for the next few weeks I will have my hands full. From my attempts so far, I need a lot of help with shading. It seems to be my worst point. “Practice, practice, practice,” advised the art teacher.

Describing a Seascape

It’s the same with writing. Wanting to describe the seascape and doing it well are two different things. It takes lots of practice to make the reader believe he/she is there on the beach. Like painting, writing is a work in progress. No author wants their writing career to be judged on their first attempt, any more than an artist wants their first picture to represent their absolute potential. That’s the wonderful thing about practice, it improves our work.

Barbara Studham's ebooks

Barbara Studham’s ebooks

All my books are available at your Amazon store, the following links,

and at many other ebook distributors.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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Learn To Draw

It’s time I learn how to draw!

Learn to Draw

Learn to Draw

Learn to Draw: In the meantime, why not check out my ebook, Not My Type. Contrary to its title, it is not a romance, well, not in the fullest sense of the word, but, rather, a story about a non-fiction writer who craves the fame of her best-seller, fiction-writing, mother.

Not My Type

Not My Type

Not My Type offers a whimsical glimpse into how fictional characters invade an author’s mind: often to the detriment of their story. 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, 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 insist 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. However, 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 fictional characters’ skirmishes ultimately affect Lisa’s future.

Not My Type

Not My Type is available for only .99 cents (usd), from your Amazon ebook store,

the following links, and from most ebook distributors.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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A Hint Of Spring

A work in progress!

Milly Mullan's Mail

Milly Mullan’s Mail

A Hint Of Spring is my latest work in progress and will be available in 2017. It is the fourth in my–Under The Shanklin Sky Series–and falls into the same genre as the first three: cozy/amateur sleuth. If you have visited the town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight you will know its beauty. I’m a senior now, and born in England, but when only sixteen years of age, I spent two weeks vacation in Shanklin staying at The Shanklin Beach Hotel. I have never forgotten the seaside’s serenity, and amazing scenic views. My fond memories of the sandy beach, rushing waves, and high cliff top ripe for endless walks, is one reason why I chose Shanklin as the location for my series. I also chose to have my main character, Milly Mullan, be a senior, not because many people retire in Shanklin, but because Milly proves us seniors continue to live vibrant, productive lives.

A Hint Of Spring. So if you feel like lazing on the couch with your feet up for a few hours while reading a book from my series, here is where you can find Under The Shanklin Sky, The Faring Foxglove, and The Bathing Beauty. Don’t forget to watch for the release of Milly’s new adventure: A Hint Of Spring.

All my books are available from your Amazon store, the following links,

and from many other ebook distributors.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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FASD Memoirs

And now for something completely different!

All ebooks .99 cents (usd)

All ebooks .99 cents (usd)

I love to write fiction. It is fulfilling, fun, and frivolous, but I’m not all head-in-the-clouds. I do have a serious side.

 

FASD Memoirs. Take for example, the twenty years I spent raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). While fulfilling, and sometimes fun, it was far from frivolous, which you will discover if you read my two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years.

 

FASD Memoirs. Two Decades of Diapers describes the emotional turmoil associated with teen pregnancy, how I became a grandmother raising grandchildren, and the challenges FAS brought into our lives. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years offers insight into the struggles my grandchildren and I experienced while living with FAS throughout their teen years.

FASD Memoirs. Both memoirs are available in ebook format for only .99 cents (usd), and, given the generous amount of sales on Amazon, I am delighted readers are either learning about FAS for the first time, or are involved with FAS and relating to my experiences in some way.

FASD Memoirs. Also, follow my blog, www.challengedhope.com, to read of the issues and effects associated with FAS: a severe mental illness so easily prevented through the abstinence of alcohol by both parents during conception and pregnancy. For quick reference, you can check the sidebar of this blog for a peek at my FASD posts.

All my books, including my two FASD memoirs, are available at Amazon,
most ebook distributors, and the following links.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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Are you a churchgoer?

Enjoy the James Gossip fiction series.

If, like James Gossip, you are exasperated by the petty foibles of your fellow church members, then you will relate to his Christian adventures in the, I, Gossip series.

Like many worshipers, James’ faith is lukewarm, so it wouldn’t take much to convince him to abandon his church, until, one day, a speaker from One Road Ministries hits the small town of Ashton and recharges James’ conviction to serve God. Newly armed with knowledge that global governments have formed an agenda to wipe out Christianity, James joins One Road Ministries in the fight against Project Abaddon. What ensues includes, church bombings, love interests, jealousy, and government retaliation, all wrapped up in the fictional story line of I, Gossip, and its sequel: The Hugger-Mugger Heart.

James Gossip Stories

James Gossip Stories

I, Gossip, The Hugger-Mugger Heart, and all my ebooks are available from your Amazon store, most ebook distributors, and the following links.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com