Author, Barbara Studham

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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:

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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:

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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

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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:

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.



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.

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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.


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Shanklin Flower Show

Milly Mullan in The Faring Foxglove

Milly Mullan at the Shanklin Flower Show

Milly Mullan at the Shanklin Flower Show

The Faring Foxglove

The Faring Foxglove

The Faring Foxglove. Genre: Cozy/Amateur Sleuth. Location: Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

The Faring Foxglove is the second in the Under The Shanklin Sky series, and another adventure for Milly Mullan.

Do you love weekend cozies? Amateur sleuthing? In The Faring Foxglove, the second of the Under The Shanklin Sky series, Milly Mullan returns on another adventure! Yearning for a peaceful life beside the seaside, Milly retired to the seaside town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, but her inquisitive nature draws her into disastrous predicaments. This time, Milly’s innocent trip to the Shanklin Flower Show with daughter, Rosie, in tow, ends in a summer full of poisoned cats and the slow-death of a neighbor by a witches brew, but how is Milly involved? Under police suspicion, she has some explaining to do! Join Milly Mullan as she sleuths her way through the hazy days of a Shanklin summer in her latest adventure: The Faring Foxglove.

All my books, including The Faring Foxglove, can be purchased from the following links, or from your favorite ebook distributor.