Things that make you go ‘Aww’: Romance authors and their toys

Joyce Lamb's Henry.

HEA asked some of our favorite romance authors to share their memories about favorite childhood toys. Check out earlier posts about authors and their favorite childhood toys here, here, here and here.

I decided to get in on all the fun, too:.

Joyce Lamb, author of True Shot.

My favorite childhood toy was a stuffed mutt named Henry. I spotted him in Kmart at 8 or so years old, and it was my first experience with love at first sight. I fell fast and hard for that stupid dog. My birthday was coming up, so Mom planned to come back later to get Henry (but I didn’t know that). I cried all the way back to the car. My brother, at a jaded, eye-rolling 13, was so stricken by my grief at having to leave Henry behind that he said to my mom, “I can’t stand it. I’m going back to get it for her.” So he bought Henry with his own money, and I’ve had that mutt with me ever since. Henry sits on my bookshelves now. Every once in a while, I’ll snap a pic of him and text it to my brother with Henry saying in his stuffed-dog voice, “Hey, man.” It makes us laugh every time.

Vickie King, author of Carly’s Rule.

My favorite childhood toy was a stuffed teddy bear. He didn’t have a name, but he was cuddly, soft, and perfect for snuggling. By the time I replaced my toys with thoughts of boys, I passed my teddy bear down to my little cousin. I hoped she would get as much cuddling and love from the teddy bear as I had. Years later, when we were both grown and each had children of our own, she sent me a photo. It was a picture of a raggedy teddy bear. Even though his fur had been rubbed smooth, and both eyes had been replaced by buttons of different sizes, I recognized him. I couldn’t believe that little bear still existed. As I stared at the photo, I teared up a bit. That little old bear had truly been loved.

Julie Ann Walker, author of Hell For Leather.

My favorite plaything when I was a girl was more than a simple toy. It was a plastic steed passed down from my three older sisters and apply named “Winnie” — aka The Wonder Horse. Winnie came equipped with squeaky springs, wooden foot rests, and the ability to make a pigtailed girl’s imagination take flight. Atop Winnie I was Annie Oakley performing in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and I was a fairy princess riding my valiant unicorn through the bands of a beautiful rainbow. I was the Lone Ranger galloping across vast desert landscape, and I was Perseus flying Pegasus to battle against the Kraken. Winnie was my steadfast buckin’ bronco until, alas, I outgrew him. But I can still feel the cadence of his rocking stride, still hear the rhythmic creak of his springs ….

Explore more:  portugal national football team vs iceland national football team timeline

Liz Sinclair, author of The Last Move.

When I was a child, my favorite toy was my paper dolls. For those of you who don’t know what a paper doll is, it’s a figure cut out of cardboard with clothes cut from paper and held on by folding down little tabs. They can be animals, people, or even inanimate objects. My favorites were movie stars, such as Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, and many, many others. They were stored between the pages of Sears and Roebuck catalogs to prevent them from getting wrinkled. I had close to 100 sets and treasured every one of them. One of my favorite parts of collecting paper dolls was, when I was old enough to be trusted with scissors, my mom and I would cut out their clothes together. It’s some of my dearest memories. Sadly, I no longer have the paper dolls, but I do have the memory of many hours spent playing with them.

Tracy March, author of A Shot of Red.

When I was a kid, my favorite toy was my dollhouse. I just loved setting up the furniture in the rooms, arranging it and rearranging it in all kinds of wacky ways (beds in the carport and strollers on the roof!). My mom claims that I was using my lively imagination, but I’m thinking she should’ve been a little more worried! My beloved dollhouse is long gone, but my imagination is still working overtime.

Virginia Kantra, author of Carolina Man.

When I was a kid, I would hide behind my bed and read. If I squinched into the gap between my bed and the wall, I could leave the bedroom door open (My mom was big on open doors. What did she think I was doing in there? I hardly ever set things on fire.) And still not be seen. So my childhood pal had to be small and quiet to fit in with me. Longfellow the Mouse lived in a Longfellow Cigar box. He has since graduated to a flower pot on my bookshelves, but he is still a good office buddy.

Dolores J. Wilson, author of Dixie Cowboy.

When I was 7 or 8, I had a toy stove (long before Easy Bake came about). It had a two-prong plug. When inserted into the electrical outlet, one of the burners would heat up, and I could warm water for tea or soup. Little did I know, the hours I spent practicing cooking for my imaginary family consisting of a husband, six sons and six daughters would inspire my love of cooking for large groups. My daughter never developed a love for cooking, probably because laws were passed prohibiting the sale of toy stoves which could possibly cause burns and even house fires. Yes, I can see the danger now, but I still loved that little stove.

Explore more:  Lions sign DT Fredrick Jones, release WR Brandon Reilly

Maureen Hardegree, author of Haint She Sweet.

My favorite childhood toy was a Mattel doll named Twist-n-Turn Francie, Barbie’s MODern cousin who had a less voluptuous body and a hip hairdo. I believe she was a birthday gift in 1970. Her first challenge was my sister Eileen who had a pair of scissors and attempted to cut poor Francie’s hair without my permission. Luckily, I caught Eileen at the first snip, so the rest of Francie’s flip remained intact. Back in those days, we didn’t have a lot of Barbies. They were expensive, as were the clothes, the houses, and cars. I remember having only two, Francie and Quick Curl Kelly, who arrived a few years later at Christmas. They fought over clothes, and who wouldn’t for a mercurochrome red, white and blue animal print maxi skirt, a metallic pink polka dot coat or a floral granny dress? Arguments ensued over who rode in the two-seater dune buggy with Ken, and who went camping with him. I was not aware that Ken might have been a bigamist. Eventually, Francie’s twist-n-turn waist broke, leaving her in two pieces. I wasn’t willing to say goodbye, and I also wasn’t willing to ask my father to fix Francie. When I was 5, I handed him my Dancerina, and I never saw her again. My parents claim she got lost among the other projects on his workbench. I really liked my Francie. After all, she had groovy mint green eye shadow and frosty peach lipstick. Quick Curl Kelly wasn’t much better off. She had alopecia. All that beautiful wiry red hair that had once curled so beautifully was thinning from too much combing and styling. My solution was to perform a body transplant — Francie’s head on Kelly’s body. Half-Francie is still alive somewhere in my house. As a transplantee, she was discovered and greatly loved by my daughter, who is now a college student. Francie had many more adventures on my daughter’s watch. She married Francie off to my husband’s G.I. Joe. She became a nudist and the mother doll to my husband’s Captain Kirk Star Trek doll, The Penquin (from Batman), and various other Barbies. I’m not sure where she is in my house, but I’m pretty certain she’d like some new clothes.

Debra Webb, author of Bone Deep.

As a child I loved playing with dolls. At 2 years old my fav was the poor naked doll you see in the photo — clearly a hand-me-down from my older sister! As I got older, I played with Barbie and Ken, Johnny and Jane West and even a few GI Joe action dolls I teamed up with Barbie. What can I say? I was a romantic at heart even at 10!

Lisa Marie Perry, author of Night Games.

So many toys have had the joy (curse?) Of being my favorite. Most have long ago been loved so hard that my parents had to toss them in the trash. Some are battered and bruised, but still live to tell tales about life with me. One of my favorites was the G.I. Joe that I swiped from my brothers. I always, always paired Joe with Barbie. Barbie (OK, and I) preferred alpha Joe to beta Ken. It mattered none that Joe was an action figure and she a fashion doll. All I knew (even before I could read, pack my own lunch and understand MTV) was that the Army guy was hot. Rugged. Serious. Muscle-bound. And Barbie very much needed a man like that in her pinkalicious reality.

Explore more:  San Francisco voters want to fight homelessness by taxing big tech companies

Gayla Twist, author of Fate of the Vampire (Vanderlind Castle series No. 3).

One of my favorite childhood toys was a Fisher-Price xylophone. I would spend hours sitting on the living room rug hammering away at it. I played with it much longer than was age appropriate as I tried to figure out simple tunes and compose my own songs.

Last time I visited my mom, she had pulled some boxes out of the attic revealing several childhood treasures that I had assumed were long lost. And there was my xylophone! It was exactly the way I remembered it. The way the paint was worn on the mallet, making a ring around the widest part. The way the blue D note’s paint was chipped … It was perfect! Covered in a bit of grime, but perfect. My baby girl immediately picked up the mallet and started hammering away. It instantly became one of her favorite toys.

I intend to hold on to the xylophone even after my daughter outgrows it. I hope to someday see her baby girl grab the mallet with her chubby fingers and bang out a few notes.

Patricia Mason, author of The Reluctant Rancher.

Some of my fondest memories are coloring with my mother. I’m the third child in a family of three girls. My sisters are older than me by 4 and 3 years, so when I was young, it was just my mom and me when they were at school. I still have the reusable coloring book we would color in. You just wiped the pictures clean with a tissue and started all over again. I’m happy to say I made the same memories with my son. We spent hours in the floor coloring just like my mom and I had. There’s nothing more inspiring to your imagination than a purple puppy or a pink lion.

Check out earlier posts about authors and their favorite childhood toys here, here, here and here.

And come back to HEA tomorrow for more!

bradford city vs wycombe

st. lucia vs guadeloupe

a.f.c. bournemouth vs luton town standings

leicester city vs sunderland a.f.c. matches

football scores tonight live

eintracht frankfurt vs nottingham forest matches

newport county vs mk dons

yallakora live