Author, Barbara Studham

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


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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 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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More Writing Tips

Keep your manuscript professional

Two posts ago, I offered some handy writing tips which were well received, so I am offering more. I wish I could say the following list was compiled by me, but I received it years ago from someone whose name I cannot remember. Nevertheless, that does not change its importance to writers who want their manuscripts to appear professionally written.

Periods in abbreviations.

  • There are no periods between the letters in acronyms such as CBC, HIV, AA; nor in countries/provinces/states (US, UK, ON, BC)
  • There are no periods following: Mr Mrs Dr PhD but after Prof. there is a period.
  • There are no periods following measurement abbreviations: km m cm ft in
  • Use periods between abbreviations such as a.m. and p.m. and a.k.a.; also use between initials of a person’s name, such as W.C. Fields, W.H. Auden, or J.R.R. Tolkien, with no spaces between the initials.

Hope this helps you as much as it did me. Don’t forget to file this info somewhere close to your fingertips while writing. In the meantime, why not check out the first in my seaside series ebooks: Under the Shanklin Sky: only .99 cents (usd) and available from your Amazon or the following links. The second in the series: The Faring Foxglove, and the third: The Bathing Beauty, are also available. Please watch for my next three in the Series: A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, and Mann Overboard, coming soon in 2017.

Under The Shanklin Sky

Under The Shanklin Sky

Genre: Fiction/Adventure. Title: Under the Shanklin Sky

Milly Mullan is a retiree from London with delightful childhood memories of holidays spent at the scenic seaside town of Shanklin, located 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, time to holiday was denied them. Not until retired, did Milly return to Shanklin, by which time Harry had died from health complications. 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 old during one of her Shanklin vacations. When retired, her hope to see him again absorbed her thoughts until, one day, while tending her balcony flowers; she found a valuable silver fob watch in a flowerpot. Determined to find its owner, she begins a search and finally locates her lost love, but is it Jonathan? To find out, join Milly—Under the Shanklin Sky.

The first in the seaside series, Under the Shanklin Sky is available at your Amazon and the following links:

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com


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Author, Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A friend recently lent me a book, titled, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, written by Rachel Joyce. What a delight this book is. Just the kind I love to read. Set in Britain (well, I am an English girl), and emotionally driven, the story surrounds the lives of an elderly couple. The husband, Harold Fry, hears from an old colleague who is dying. Having kept secret that he had once betrayed this friend, Harold embarks on a mission to speak with her before she dies.

Knowing the British as well as I do, one of the wonderful aspects of the story is that Harold’s decision to walk the hundreds of miles to her hospital bedside, albeit eccentric, is totally feasible. The story had me laughing, crying, and page-turning to read more. If you enjoy a light, well written read, you will love The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Update on my children’s picture book.

I recently mentioned that I am creating a children’s picture book, due to be released sometime in 2017. Recently, my friend, and talented artist, Heather Lamb, who is illustrating the book, showed me her initial sketches. Wait until you see them, folks, they are wonderful, and I am so pleased to be working with Heather on this project. More to come!

My Books

Meanwhile, you can view my memoirs and fiction at the following links.

Barbara Studham's ebooks

Barbara Studham’s ebooks

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

http://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com


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What is a cozy mystery?

Well, for a start, a cozy mystery is a fiction genre.

I have to admit, not until someone who had read my book, The Bathing Beauty, said, “Barbara, I loved your cozy mystery” had I ever heard the word cozy used in relation to a book. As a writer, I should have known what a cozy was, but, too embarrassed to ask, I thanked her for the compliment then turned to the Internet for help.

“Cozy… cozy… hmm… let’s see,” I said as I googled—What is a cozy?

Fifteen million, eight hundred thousand results came up. Which means, that amount of people and probably more know what a cozy is. Pathetically, though I had written several, I was not one of them.

So, just what is a cozy mystery?

Well, according to the first few of those fifteen million, eight hundred thousand results, a cozy is a fiction genre, usually a mystery. Some of the stipulations for a cozy are:

  • A cozy mystery does NOT drip with gore, blood, violence, nor vulgarity.
  • The emphasis of a cozy is on the whodunit aspect of the story, not the sensationalism of the crime.
  • The crime solver is an amateur sleuth, usually a woman.
  • The victim is often someone the amateur sleuth knows.
  • Evidence arouses the sleuth’s curiosity.
  • The amateur sleuth is a bit snoopy and actively seeks out gossip for clues.
  • She generally doesn’t stop until she solves the crime.
  • The activity takes place in villages or hamlets, where people know their neighbors and individual quirkiness is not only accepted but also often celebrated.

Given all those points, I was thrilled to come to the conclusion that Milly Mullan, amateur sleuth in my Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, who actually is a bit of a snoop, though she would never admit it, falls into the cozy mystery genre. She is also featured in my next two books in the series: The Faring Foxglove, and, The Bathing Beauty. Right now I am editing the manuscripts for the next three in the series, titled, A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, and Mann Overboard, which will be available in 2017.

Under the Shanklin Sky, The Faring Foxglove, and, The Bathing Beauty, are available now at your Amazon store, or the following links, and many other ebook distributors:

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Available in 2017 from your Amazon store:

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 a brand new adventure for Milly Mullan. Rain, hail, sleet, gale; the petulant, English winter reluctantly gives way to spring by mercilessly battering 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 the charitable agency: Triple-F. With little evidence, Milly drags her obnoxious daughter, Rosie, into the fray, who then witnesses Evelyn’s murder. With so many suspects, all of whom hated Evelyn, Milly is at a loss as to whodunit. Was it Crystal, the receptionist at Triple-F, who held a long-standing grudge against Evelyn; or, perhaps, Evelyn’s love affair, married man, Fred Barker-Ford, of Barker-Ford dog foods, and collaborator in crime? Or, was the killer Tom Fielding, a local health and fitness business owner who, for personal reasons, detested Evelyn Scott. As Milly delves deeper into the case, she inadvertently saves scores of seniors from financial ruin. Given that, and her solving the case of Evelyn Scott’s murder, she is abruptly elevated to bees’ knees status in the eyes of Shanklin’s locals.

The Spitting Image

The Spitting Image

The Spitting Image: To be, or not to be, that is definitely the question in the fifth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, The Spitting Image. When something is afoot, leave it to retiree, Milly Mullan, to be forefront in solving the case. Residing in flat number six of the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach in the seaside town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, she ruthlessly hunts down the suspect until all is revealed. This time, the suspects are an attractive church-going couple, Sarah and Martin Kendall, who turn into greedy, trigger-happy blackmailers. However, Martin suddenly goes missing, but, in place of grief, Milly senses Sarah’s relief. Piecing clues together, she completes the puzzle to Martin’s disappearance during her visit to Windsor’s Theatre Royal where snobby guest presenter Sir Nigel Evans introduces a play… but is it really Sir Nigel? Suspicious, Milly relentlessly searches for clues until all is exposed and the Kendalls get what they deserve.

 

Mann Overboard

Mann Overboard

Mann Overboard: In Mann Overboard, the sixth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, a howling storm rages through the town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, but not before retiree, Milly Mullan, amateur sleuth, eavesdrops on two young women, one of whom is seeking revenge on her ex-boyfriend. Feeling foolish for listening to teenage gossip, when the young man is found washed up on the beach the next day, Milly reluctantly confesses to her daughter, Rosie, that she believes foul play is afoot. Two witnesses, however, admit to seeing the young lad, the evening before, tossing stones into the raging surf, causing police to believe he was overcome by the sea. But, Milly knows better. So, how does a lost, silver, charm bracelet eventually lead her to the truth? Does it belong to the young man’s killer, or is it just coincidence that the revenge seeker was seen wearing it the night before his death? Find out more in, Mann Overboard.