I’ve gotten much better at this artificial intelligence thing. I don’t like saying AI because it looks too much like my husband’s name, which is Al if you haven’t guessed already. Isn’t that weird?
Anyway, a friend from Facebook turned me on to Midjourney, which is on Discord, and I’ve fallen down a proverbial rabbit hole. It’s making me late for things. But it’s SO COOL! I have made a bunch of character sketches for my, uh, characters. Which is really good, because most of them are in all of my books, so you can get a better idea of who to expect to become your best friends while reading my series. The image above is how I picture Sally and James’s first kiss. It’s not perfect. James is supposed to have blond hair, and Sally, brown. Sally’s hair should be down, and she should be wearing a navy-blue mini dress and a denim jacket. But it’s close.
So I will start with James, and then move on to Sally. I probably won’t do all the characters today because it could be a book in itself, but I’ll get to the important people.
Introducing James Newell. He was born on January 12, 1968. He is the youngest of 3 children. His sister is a genius and his brother is a major troublemaker. James is still trying to figure out where he fits in with his family. His best friend, Pete goes to a different high school, but he still has his close friends Chris and Carl, cousins from a famous Eastboro family. James, Pete, Chris, and Carl are former bad boys, but they’ve cleaned up their act. James loves to play the guitar, and enjoys being able to chill at home when he’s not with his friends. He is not expecting to see Sally Bachman at his school on the first day of junior year. He is also not expecting how he will feel when he first lays eyes on her.
Sally Bachman was born on August 1, 1968. She is the youngest of 3 children, and she has an infant niece named Josie. She is very close to her older sister but struggles with finding common ground with her brother. She loves cats, Rock and Roll, New Wave, writing, and especially the Boston Red Sox. She is majorly into all Boston sports. Sally decided to leave her friends at public school and go to a private school sophomore year. But things didn’t go too well there. She returns to public school for her junior year, much to the delight of her best friend Michelle and her other friends from Randall Junior High, Darlene and Kim. The first person she sees at McKinney High is Jamie Newell from the group of bad boys she knew back at Randall. Sally has always had a soft spot for Jamie and his friends, and is happy to see him, especially when she gets lost in the hallways of her new school. Little does she know that this chance encounter is not only going to change her expectations for her junior year, but most likely far beyond.
Michelle Gorman is Sally’s best friend. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day, and already had a full head of flaming red hair at birth. She and Sally met on the first day of junior high in art class and bonded over their love of New Wave music and camp. Michelle is very petite, and she is very self-conscious about her size. When she realized there was no magic serum to help her grow, she settled on learning to be strong in every sense of the word. She is fiercely loyal to her friends, and she loves a good tidbit of gossip, especially from her friend Darlene. Michelle is smart and clever, and she would go to the end of the world to protect her older sister, who was born with an intellectual disability.
Pete Cooper (on the left…the guy on the right doesn’t show up until book 5, and you’ll be very happy that he does!) is James’s best friend. They have lived three houses from each other since they were 3. Pete is also the most athletic and most attractive of the friend group. He’s almost 6 feet tall at the start of high school. Pete is devastated when he found out that James is transferring to McKinney High, and they’ll no longer see each other in school every day. But the two boys stay very close and confide in each other often. Pete has a younger sister that he dotes on, and a girlfriend named Carolyn. He still hangs out with his junior high friends on weekends and vacations, even as he makes new friends at Murphy High. He has a secret he needs to tell James about Sally, and although he worries it will cause issues in their relationship, it only brings them closer. Pete then becomes the voice of reason when it comes to James’s relationship struggles.
J.D. and Julia Newell are James’s parents. J.D. works as a manager at Aries Corp, where everyone’s dad seems to work. Julia is a special education aide in the public schools. They have three children, Erin, who goes to Brown University, Howie, who they had to kick out last year, and James, their baby who tries really hard to meet their expectations. Julia is Italian. Her parents were the children of immigrants. J.D.’s father was an alcoholic who died young. His mother took the kids and left him due to abuse when J.D. was young. Julia loves all of her children and worries about them constantly, especially her boys. She also makes a mean cannoli. J.D. wants to be there for James, his namesake, and gives him advice when it comes to love. Both of his parents enjoy joking around and have their own little comedy routine for Sally when they first meet.
Phyllis and Jacob “Jake” Bachman are Sally’s parents. They both work full-time. Jake works in printing, and he has to be available anytime something he’s working on goes to press, which means that he had to go out of town a lot. Phyllis works in “computers,” and she is very tech savvy. The Bachmans are Jewish, and they have raised their children with Jewish traditions. Phyllis enjoys lighting Shabbat candles with Sally every Friday night and having a special family dinner. The family celebrates all of the Jewish holidays together. Phyllis’s mother had a lot of troubles when she was a child, and Phyllis is very affected by this. She credits her father for raising her and her sister. Jake loves Boston sports and has instilled this love into his daughter. There is nothing he loves more than watching the Red Sox or Patriots with her on TV or in person. The Bachmans are very welcoming and friendly people who enjoy having intimate parties in their home.
There are a few more friends to introduce you to, but I haven’t discovered their pictures yet. Kim and Darlene are Sally’s friends from junior high, and Traci joins them in high school. They each get books of their own later but have bit parts in book 1.
Carl and Chris are second cousins, but they are as close as brothers. They are from a large family. Their grandmothers are identical twins, and their grandfathers are brothers. Chris’s mother and Carl’s father were very close growing up. Chris is famous for having a cousin for every occasion and need, and Carl does his best to be funny. James, Pete, Carl, and Chris made up the DeMarco Elementary and Randall Junior High Bad Boy Posse. But they were the type of bad boys that you can’t help but cheer for, and they’re finally trying to find their way in the world.
All of these characters have their own unique stories, and all of them will be told. One thing they all have in common is one night in April, 1985: the Junior Prom. What happens to each of them on this night changes their individual lives forever. And most of them are so caught up in their own stories, that they aren’t even aware what’s going on with everyone else. But eventually, years later, all is revealed, and sometimes, friendships are tested.
“May I Have Your Attention Please” is available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere that ebooks are sold. Please check it out, and if you do read my book, please leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or whatever other platform you are using. It would mean a whole lot!
I Just Can’t Say I Love You will be available on September 15, 2023, staring Carl and Kim and the usual cast of characters.