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:

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.