Mama Diaries

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Guest Author, Regan W. H. Macaulay: Christmas Reflections

Today I have children's author, Regan W. H. Macaulay as a guest on my blog. She's sharing some thoughts about the Christmas season.

Please welcome her.


 Christmas Reflections  by Regan W. H. Macaulay

I have a lot of warm and wonderful memories of Christmases gone by…I am incredibly grateful for those times and memories. Last year I wrote on my own blog a bit about how my father, who has now passed, used to read me The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve when I was a child. I also have great memories of opening gifts under the beautifully lit and decorated tree with my mom and step-father as well. I hope you all have similar memories of Christmas and other holidays.

This year, I got to thinking about how much less material things matter to me, especially considering how COVID-19 has really put things into perspective. But that also got me thinking about the toys that I received for Christmas, and how central they have been in the lives of all children who celebrate with their families. Oh, I know…stores are marketing these things months before Christmas arrives and it all feels very commercial. I don’t want to celebrate products so much, but I think about movies like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and how toys each had their own character, and such importance was placed on all children deserving a chance at a toy, like in the movie Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and I remember how much I loved certain toys when I was very young.

Let’s face it, when we grow up, Christmas changes for us, and the significance of receiving a physical gift diminishes, even if some of us still love our toys. As children, though, toys can be very special. They become a part of our lives in a different way. Toys can be like pets or even friends of a different sort. They take us on imaginative adventures. Some children love books because they tell stories. Others may love plush animals because they have an innate love of animals themselves. Bikes offer adventure in the form of independent transportation. Puzzles and games challenge the mind—an escape sometimes similar to that which books offer. Some children love model cars, or mini construction vehicles, or lego bricks which allow them to build. These toys not only help us develop into who we will become, but they also reveal a part of who we are.

I loved my dump truck, Raggedy Ann, and Drowsy dolls in equal measure when I was very, very young.  There was also a well-loved Fisher Price Farm set, and Santa also brought me my beloved Kermit doll. Boy, did I love The Muppet Show…and frogs. In later years, I came to identify with Kermit’s role as producer and theatrical director, believe it or not!  As Christmases went by, I also received Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Rolph.

I also liked to pretend to be a veterinarian with my Fisher-Price Medical Kit. I would give check-ups to all my stuffed animals, including a beautiful stuffed Siamese cat I absolutely adored. I have not become a veterinarian, but I have become a Certified Canine and Feline Massage Therapist, and there have been several real Siamese cats in my life!

There was that pop-up Night Before Christmas book I mentioned. Strawberry Shortcake figures, Benji, Garfield, ET, Baby Brenda, a mini Galaxian arcade, Gremlins, Care Bears, Cabbage Patch dolls, Pound Puppies, My Little Ponies…they all seemed important at the time. And though in the big picture, I know that they’re not, maybe they were in their own way, in their own time. They each shared a little bit of my personality in a physical form, and they helped me negotiate my way through childhood to figure myself out. 

The vast majority of these toys are gone, but I still have a couple with me, to remind me…to keep me connected to my childhood, which is always helpful for a children’s book writer!

What toys do you remember? Which ones made a particular impact on you as a child?




Libby the Lobivia Jajoiana

Written by: Regan W. H. Macaulay and Kevin Risk

Illustrated by: Gordon Bagshaw

Libby is a lonely cactus plant who has trouble believing in herself. However, when lovely, confident Violet moves in next to her on the windowsill, Libby learns that the things that make her different also make her special.







Merry Myrrh, the Christmas Bat

Written by: Regan W. H. Macaulay

Illustrated by: Alex Zgud

Myrrh is a young and very merry brown bat named after one of the gifts of the Magi. He experiences the wonders of his first Christmas among the decorations of a farmhouse, as well as the kindness of the family that discovers him in their home!


Check out the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgG9pKZW9ko




Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine and Feline Massage Therapist. Other picture storybooks include Sloth the Lazy Dragon, Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far, Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast, Merry Myrrh the Christmas Bat, and Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham, which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Friday, November 6, 2020

IWSG Post of the Month

 


So, in this completely upside-down messed up week, I totally forgot to post for IWSG. Better late than never.


Today's question is:  What was the strangest thing you've ever had to Google while doing research for writing a book?

I have done a lot of Googling, so it's kind of hard to remember everything, but one that sticks out is when I was Googling taser guns. I wanted to know how they could be tracked. Then I wanted to know the name and exact location of the taser retail store in Moscow, Russia.

Surprisingly, nobody from the KGB showed up at my doorstep to question me.

What about you? What's the strangest thing you've ever had to Google?


Now, to add to this completely messed up week, I just went to Ninja Captain's blog and found a totally different question: Why do you write what you write? Easy: I like kid books. :)


So, whatever. Two questions for the price of one.



 



Monday, October 12, 2020

Guest Author, Scott Coon

 


Today, I have author, Scott Coon at my pad. He's telling us about his latest release, Lost Helix.

Blurb

Lost Helix is the key…


Stuck on an asteroid mining facility, DJ dreams of writing music. His dad is a corporate hacker and his best friend Paul intends to escape to become a settler in a planet-wide land rush, but neither interests DJ.

When his dad goes missing, DJ finds a file containing evidence of a secret war of industrial sabotage, a file encrypted by his dad using DJ's song Lost Helix. Caught in a crossfire of lies, DJ must find his father and the mother he never knew.

When the mining company sends Agent Coreman after DJ and his guitar, DJ and Paul escape the facility and make a run for civilization. Will DJ discover the truth before Coreman catches him?


Interview


Hi, Scott! Welcome to my pad.   What inspired you to write Lost Helix?

 

It started with my love of classic science fiction elements. You will find many peppered throughout Lost Helix. But my ideas often come from asking the question, "Yeah, but what next?"  Terraforming is a recurring concept in science fiction, like in James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes, but what happens when the planet is done? How does humanity go about populating it? The world of Lost Helix is my answer to that question. Another source of inspiration was the video game Sid Meier's Civilization. Every time I built the domed spaceship bound for Alpha Centauri, I wondered what would become of it after the colonists stripped it for parts and left its remains in orbit. In Lost Helix, I give my science victory colony ships a second life as a farm, feeding the miners of Stone River.


I think you did a great job of creating a realistic scenario of what could happen on an already-populated new world. We like to think a new world would be a utopia, but really, the most likely scenario would be that it would have the same problems as the world we already know due to human conditions like greed and a thirst for power.  

 

The main character plays a special guitar which is an important part of the story. What gave you the idea to use the guitar, and do you play?

 

I missed out on learning a musical instrument when I was a kid, although I really wanted to. Later in life, I never made it a priority. Then the video game Rockband came along. I could at least pretend to play an instrument. I ended up playing the drums a lot and have even considered taking lessons. Though it's no longer trendy, I still play Rockband drums on an old Xbox 360 for exercise and fun.

In the world of lost helix, DJ's guitar is a direct ancestor of the Rockband guitar. I made several changes to turn it into a true musical instrument, something we actually have the technology to make today. I hope someone does.


I think it would be cool to have a guitar like the one in the story. Maybe someday you will learn to play the guitar. It's never too late to learn!

 

I personally liked Maya, the strong female side character in the story. Do you have a favorite side character?

 

That would be Katie. She's a little girl who pops in and out of the later part of the story. She appears shy at first but, as she opens up, she becomes a delightful character with some wonderful lines. Characters sometimes surprise the people who are writing them, doing things in the moment that hadn't been planned. In Lost Helix, Katie surprised me a couple of times. I think she'll surprise the readers as well.


I completely agree that characters can surprise even the author. Sometimes they take lives of their own.

 

If you could live in another universe, what would it look like?

 

It would look like one of my novels in waiting, where the only challenge is finding the meaning in your own life. I have two very different versions of this type of world. One is complete novel in need of another review and the other is still in brainstorming. The complete novel is a world where people have the ability to manipulate space-time at will. And they use this ultimate power to entertain themselves by turning their town into a bouncy castle, a beach, or Japanese mythology brought to life. But one fellow finds it all shallow and weird. He sets out to live a life that feels real to him.


That sounds like a great premise for a story! 


Now that Lost Helix is released, what is next for you?

 

Keep writing. I have other novels in the works and more short stories too. Once people have had a chance to read and enjoy Lost Helix, I will be ready to give them more. I also have a YouTube channel with writing advice, animated readings of my short stories, and videos about my inspirations for Lost Helix.


That all sounds good!  I look forward to reading more of your work!


My review:


DJ is the son of a programmer/computer hacker living on a spaceship and working for a corrupt mining corporation that has taken on the role of the government. Mystery has always surrounded DJ's dad and his personal life. DJ is trying to get to the truth. What exactly does his dad do? Who is his mother? And why are the corporate executives trying to get his guitar?

Lost Helix is a coming of age story set in a futuristic society. The cat and mouse games DJ and his friends have to play to avoid the bad guys and get answers, make it a fast-paced read. The characters are realistic with strengths and flaws. It's also nice to see a strong young female in the character of Maya.

Lost Helix is a fast-paced read recommended for YA and adult readers who enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, space odysseys, and coming of age stories. 

 

Here are the buy links, and social media links:


Author website

Book Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble

Kobo 

iTunes
Smashwords 

Bookshop.org 

Powell's 

Goodreads 



Scott Coon is an award-winning short story writer and former U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst.

Scott served for six years, rising to the rank of Sergeant. His service including a tour in Kuwait where he received a First Army Combat Patch and the Joint Service Achievement Award. Now a software developer for a major bank, Scott brings his computer and military experience into his work, along with a sense of spectacle.

Scott Coon's debut novel LOST HELIX, a sci-fi adventure/mystery, is available now. Scott's first published story, “Firewall,” appeared in Nth Degree Magazine in 2006. His short "Enduring Winter" was a finalist in the Writers of the Future Awards, won Second Place in the New England SciFi Writers Assn Contest 2016, and was published in Bewildering Stories, Issue 849, March 2020.

Scott Coon shares his knowledge of writing with others and helps other creatives do the same. He hosts the Writers of Sherman Oaks Critique Group meetings and National Novel Writing Month write-in events. His YouTube channel and websites provide insights into his work and give advice to writers. His Little Creative Interview series helps to foster learning in the creative community. See his websites for more information.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

IWSG and Frog in the Toilet

 


It's time for the IWSG post of the month. This month's topic is about what it means to be a "working writer." What do I think it means?  It's twofold. First, it means that you are actually taking time during the week to write. This can be daily. It can be once a week. If you're doing it once a month or once a year, you're writing, but I'd consider that more of a hobby. Second, if you're a published author, it means you're marketing your work. That's a huge job! Am I a working writer? Yep. Although I don't write as much as I'd like because of my other jobs, I do take some time during the week to write. Even if it's just a paragraph. Right now, because of my recent book release, I'm marketing every day.

What about you?  How do you define, "working writer"? Are you one of those?


And now for a story. I haven't had many of these lately. Partly because my kids are grown up now, and partly because nothing noteworthy has been happening. But this one is kind of funny.

When you lift up the toilet seat to use it, the last thing you'd expect to see is a living creature inside. At least, that's not what I'd expect. Well, last night when my ex went to use the toilet, this is what he found:



How this little tree frog got in, is a mystery. But there he was, sitting in the toilet like it was the most natural thing to do. (The guess is that he got in through the bathtub pipes.) Have you ever lifted the toilet seat and found an animal? 

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you who have been so supportive in promoting my book, either through participating in the tour and blog hop or sharing information about its release. Usually, I'd have school visits lined up. But this year, because of COVID, I haven't had anything scheduled. I appreciate all of your support. This is such a great community!

If you'd like to visit the remaining stops on my Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure blog tour and have a chance to win a copy of the book, you can go here.        

Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure was also selected to participate in the cover of the month contest from AllAuthor. (Thanks to Dancing Lemur Press for the awesome cover!) If you'd like to vote for it, you can go here.  

  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Frozen Crimes Blog Hop

 



Today, I am participating in the Frozen Crimes blog hop, celebrating the release of Chrys Fey's new book, Frozen Crimes. Participants have to answer the question, whom would you want to be stuck with during a blizzard, and what would you do?

My Answer:  I'd choose the guy I call "the piano man." He accompanies me for a lot of recitals and music-making. If I had to be stuck somewhere in a blizzard, I'd like to be able to do something fun like make music.  Who would you want to be stuck with? 


Hop around to the other participants listed at the bottom to read their answers.

(I apologize for the strange wrap-around text that Blogger did with this post. I spent hours trying to fix it but to no avail. I think you'll still understand what it says.) 

   

When disasters strike around every corner, is it possible to have a happily-

ever-after?


BLURB: Beth and Donovan are expecting their first child. Life couldn’t get any

better…until a stalker makes his presence known. This person sends

disturbing messages and unsettling items, but it isn’t long before his menacing

goes too far.

Hoping for a peaceful Christmas, Donovan takes Beth to Michigan. Days into

their trip, a winter storm named Nemesis moves in with the goal of burying the

state. Snowdrifts surround their house, and the temperature drops below

freezing.

Except, the storm isn’t the only nemesis they must face. Everyone’s lives are

at stake—especially that of their unborn child. Will they survive, or will they

become a frozen crime?


BUY LINKS: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes


 


EXCERPT:

The crunch of the shovel pounding into the snow and ice filled his ears. It was

all he could hear. The rest of the street was silent beneath its wintry blanket.

Breathing was difficult with the icy air clogging his lungs. His nose burned. His

throat was dry and on fire. But he ignored it, focusing on his task.

Crack, crack, crack.

He jabbed the shovel into a hunk of snow. On the third hit, it shattered into

several pieces. He scooped them up and flung them to the side. He surveyed

what remained. There was one big ball in the middle of the path that needed

to be dealt with next. He moved over to it and struck it. That one impact had it

severing in two. He was about to hit it again when something crashed into the

back of his head.

Explosions of white light danced over his vision. Pain enveloped his skull.

The shovel slipped from his fingers. Blackness cloaked his mind, coaxing him

into its depths.

Beth. Her name was a whisper in his head, as if his thoughts were being

sucked into a wormhole.

His legs collapsed under his weight.

Cold. It seeped into him, consuming him. And then his consciousness fled

down that same void that ate his thoughts.

 


***HUGE DISASTER CRIMES

GIVEAWAY*** 





Prizes: 4 eBooks (Disaster Crimes 1-4: Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes,

Tsunami Crimes, Flaming Crimes) + Girl Boss Magnets (4), Inflatable Cup

Holder (1), Adventure Fuel To-Go Cups (2), Anchor Fashion Scarf (1),

Mermaid Nail Clippers (2), Citrus and Sea Salt Scented Candle (1), Snowflake


Handmade Bookmark (1), Insulated Cooler Bag (1)


 

Eligibility: International

Number of Winners: One

Giveaway Ends: October 30, 2020 12:00am EST

LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/76132e0221/?


***FREE EXCLUSIVE EBOOK***



To get the exclusive prequel to the Disaster Crimes series, sign up for Chrys’

newsletter. By signing up, you agree to receive Chrys Fey’s newsletter. After

you confirm the subscription, you will receive an email (so check your inbox and

spam folder) with directions on where to snag your eBook copy of THE


CRIME BEFORE THE STORM.


Click here to sign up and get The Crime Before the Storm FREE!


 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that

blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s

Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.

https://www.chrysfey.com


Author Links:


Website / Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/76132e0221/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="76132e0221" data-theme="classic" data- template="" id="rcwidget_kgj6wzuh">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

Monday, September 14, 2020

Latin Flavors Blog Hop

 


Latin Flavors Blogfest


Today we're celebrating the release of my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure! As part of the festivities, we're doing a Latin Flavors blog hop. Participants will share their favorite Latin-inspired recipes.  

 

 

Prompt: What is your favorite Latin-flavor recipe?



Chicken Tortilla Soup!

You can get the printable recipe here.


What's your favorite Latin flavored recipe?



 



 

 

Page Count: 96 

Digital Price: 3.99 
Print Price: 7.95

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon/ Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Smashwords, Kobo

Books-a-Million,

Amazon UK/ Amazon CA

 

BLURB: An Ancient Mayan civilization!

 

That’s what Bubba and Squirt find when they travel through the mysterious vortex for another wild adventure. There they meet archeologists who are unearthing priceless artifacts.

 

But someone is stealing them. And an encounter with the Tate Duende awakens magic within Bubba. Throw in the mysterious Alux and a new discovery and things get sticky.

 

Will Bubba and Squirt solve the mystery, or will they be stuck forever in the jungles of Belize?

 


 

About the Author: Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Ellis has previously published, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China; Don’t Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN. Ellis lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Author Links:

Website / Blog / Goodreads

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

 

If you'd like to be part of the fun, please visit these bloggers. And if you'd like to participate, feel free to sign up!


Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to those who signed up!



One more thing:  I'm on tour through Mason Canyon Book Tours until October 14th. The schedule is listed here.  Please stop by for chances to win a free autographed copy of Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG and Latin Flavors Blog Hop Sign Up

 



I nearly forgot about the IWSG post. As I was outside jogging, the thought popped into my head that I needed to do the post. Must've had a few brain cells that needed to be knocked into place!

So, this month's question is, "If you could choose one author living or dead to be a Beta Partner, who would you choose and why?"

One author? I guess I would choose Rick Riordan. He's the author of the Kane Chronicles and the Olympians series. If you don't know middle-grade authors, you've probably never heard of him. I like this guy's writing style. He has well-developed, multi-faceted characters, lots of action, imagination, and he manages to teach kids about Egyptian and Greek mythology. Since I strive to do similar things in my Bubba and Squirt series, I think he'd be ideal as a Beta reader.

Now, if I could choose more, I'd chose Mitch Albom (author of Tuesdays with Morrie) because he's a great story-teller and creates characters that evoke emotional responses. And I would choose Frances Hardinge (author of a Face Like Glass) because this woman is a serious wordsmith! I've never read such vivid descriptive writing. She makes scenes come to life.

Do you know these authors? Who would you want as your Beta Partner?


If you saw my previous post, you know I'm doing a Latin Flavor blog hop to help get the word out about my upcoming release, Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure.  If you'd like to learn more or participate, visit my previous post. Thanks to all who have already signed up!