Saturday, April 19, 2014

HEA Asks Romance Authors To Share Favorite Childhood Toys

by Joyce Lamb)

(Photo: Barbara Wallace)

HEA asked some of our favorite romance authors to share their memories about favorite childhood toys. Check out last weekend's posts about authors and their favorite childhood toys here and here.

Barbara Wallace, author of Love in the Shadows

My favorite toy of all time was my pal, Brownie. Rumor has it, he arrived on my first birthday, but all I know is I can't remember a day of my childhood when he wasn't sitting on my bed. Brownie went everywhere with me. He lived through sicknesses (leading to more than one ride in the washing machine), fights with best friends and broken hearts. Only when I moved out of my parents' home for good did he and I finally part company. Today, as he approaches 50, he lives in a special plastic bag designed to keep him living forever. Every once in a while, however, he still makes it out for a hug. Because, yeah, he's that kind of dog.

Elizabeth Otto, author of Tempting the Cowboy

When I was about 6, my mother got me a Fisher-Price Joey doll. It was a soft-bodied, boy doll with brown fluffy hair, a striped shirt and shoes I could tie. Looking back, it was pretty progressive for my parents to buy me a boy-gender doll, especially since I carried him everywhere, rode bike with him, dressed him in dresses, and even demanded to get my hair cut in a similar, bowl-on-your-head style. Thank goodness that didn't stick. Joey was with me through illness, play, first days of school, and I clearly remember spending hours learning how to tie his shoes. Sadly, I lost Joey somewhere along the way. Thirty years later, I still remember all the fun we had together!

Donna Alward, author of The House on Blackberry Hill

My favorite toy growing up was a set of blocks that my brother got me (my brother is 16 years older than I am). They were all shapes and sizes, and each shape was painted a different color. I spent hours building stuff out of those blocks. And because they were solid wood, they lasted and lasted and lasted … though a few have teeth marks where the dog got at them before I could snatch them back. I loved building towers to see how high I could make them before they toppled over. Of course I outgrew them and moved on to things like my Barbie Pool, but those blocks outlasted all those other toys. When my girls were babies and we visited my mom, out came the blocks, 25 years later and just as good as new.

Adrienne Giordano's beloved stuffed dog and her puppy.(Photo: Adrienne Giordano)

Adrienne Giordano, author of Stealing Justice

My favorite childhood toy was a stuffed dog and her puppy that were connected by a string. When I pulled the two dogs apart, the toy would play music and the dogs slid together while the song played. I loved that toy! The really fun part of this is that my mother is doing a renovation on her house and was recently cleaning some things out and found my toy. Forty years later, it's in terrific shape and still works. I will cherish it forever.

Gayle Callen, author of Redemption of the Duke (May)

My favorite childhood toy had to be Barbie. I can actually remember the moment in kindergarten when I received my first one. I can see myself running into the backyard to show my dad. But in those days, there weren't a lot of accessories for Barbie, so the real fun was building her world myself. I learned to crochet so I could make clothes for her — even though my first efforts were long chains that I just wrapped around her, until I learned the rest of the stitches. Then came my adventures learning to sew for Barbie, first by hand, and then on my mom's sewing machine. My sister and I designed and built Barbie's world, and my mom let us take over the living room floor for days, using shoeboxes for beds and other furniture. My dad built a beautiful wooden wardrobe for Barbie, complete with little drawers and a closet rod to hang all her clothes. I can't wait to give it to my grandchildren someday.

Bonnie Vanak, author of Dark & Deadly (Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance)

Favorite childhood toy? I had plenty of them, but my absolute favorite was my Barbie doll. I created lots of adventures with Barbie. My best friend, Ginny, had a Barbie playhouse with a swimming pool, but my Barbie didn't have many accessories. She only had a wardrobe. I'm glad for it, too, because it forced me to improvise and use my imagination. I'd take Barbie in the backyard into the forest and she'd become a safari hunter. Or I would have her waltz around the bedroom in a gown. My brother once tried to stuff Barbie into my EZ Bake oven, but I rescued her. I did have a collection of plastic horses, and I turned my mom's vegetable garden into a corral. I made a fence and a gate out of string and twigs and put the horses in there. But one day I decided Barbie had to ride. Her legs only went back and forth. So I spread her legs wide, and broke them. She never walked again. I cried, because I wrecked my doll. Lesson learned. Some things just don't hold up to a writer's imagination!

Shona Husk's Sealy.(Photo: Shona Husk)

Shona Husk, author of Lord of the Hunt

My favourite childhood toy is a grey seal called Sealy. He was bought for me at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary when I was about 1 and has been with me ever since. He is a well-travelled seal having lived in England, Nigeria, Tanzania and Australia. And while his whiskers have been loved off, his eyes got so damaged they had to be replaced, and he is going bald in places he is still the soft toy that I treasure most. He no longer sleeps on the bed, as he did when I was young, but in the linen closet away from the pets and my kids (he's too fragile for their youthful love) … they have my other stuffed seals of which there are several.

Amber Belldene, author of the Blood Vine Series

When I was a kid, I rejected Barbie for He-Man and Skeletor. I loved to wield my pretend sword and say, "I am the master of the universe!" Heck, who wouldn't? Mom wouldn't buy me Castle Grayskull, so He-Man played in the My Little Pony palace. My favorite of all the He-Man action figures was a guy called Man-E-Faces and you could turn his many faces around in his helmet. I bargained for him in exchange for the loathsome job of being a flower girl and having to wear a frilly dress.

Check out last weekend's posts about authors and their favorite childhood toys here and here.

And stay tuned to HEA for more!

Oh, how we loved our toys when we were kids.(Photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing)

*Blogger's note: So the theme is stuffed animals it seems. I honestly do not remember a favorite stuffed animal. I know when I was older I had a favorite bunny I slept with. I do not know why it was just comforting. And any stuffed animals my husband brought me (I met him when I was 21) were my favorites and when we got married and even before, if he was not around, I slept with them. But to where as my hubby remembers Purple Thing fondly, I do not remember having a lot of stuffed animals. I would have to ask mom. I do not have a Purple Thing I remember. I still say barbies rule and I would probably sleep with one of those first lol!