How is everyone? I’m ready to write another blog, but wondered what you wanted to hear. Any suggestions?
How is everyone? I’m ready to write another blog, but wondered what you wanted to hear. Any suggestions?
I have never felt very confident writing children. I always worry I am being too cliché or too predictable, but with the children in the series, each one really fits and I have come to adore writing them. If nothing else, as comic relief from the heavy drama their parent’s find themselves in. I wrote a little something about each child and included some scenes I love.
David made his appearance before anyone else, but Sabrina was the reason Brittany came into the series. I’ll start with the two of them:)
David William Kastan and Sabrina Amanda Stephens (AKA Bee)
Making David the only boy in the series wasn’t something I thought about initially. I knew all along I wanted Jack to have a daughter because I envisioned the ways she would have him wrapped around her finger from day one. The relationship that developed between David and Bee has been such a great surprise.
David is the spitting image of his daddy. Blonde hair and blue eyes and sensitive to a fault. He adores Bee and he loves making her smile. The way he worships Bill was very important to me because of how much Bill missed that growing up. The father son relationship between Bill and David is so sweet and I am anxious to write their relationship as they grow.
Bee is the spitting image of her father, right down to her dimples. She has Stephanie’s hair and eyes and all of Jack’s personality. Her flirting came to me when I began to write the two babies together and David’s natural need to make her smile evolved into Jack’s worst nightmare. The way the other adults tease him was just icing on the cake. One of my most favorite scenes was when Bee gave David a hickey at 6 month olds:)
Jack and Stephanie walked into the hospital with the babies, on the way to see Julie and Bill. Jack held a cloth diaper over David. “I really don’t think this is a good idea. How are we supposed to explain this?”
Stephanie smiled at him. “I think the truth is the best. They won’t be mad, I mean it isn’t like it won’t go away.”
He didn’t seem convinced. “Maybe we should put him in long sleeves.”
“Jack, it is the middle of July. It would be more suspicious if he came in wearing a sweater,” she hugged Bee to her. “Besides, it was done out of love.”
He rolled his eyes. “That’s supposed to make me feel better?”
“Look, I told Julie we would bring the babies in for a visit since she had to be here another night. How was I supposed to change that? I’m sorry, but our five month old attacked your six month old and now he has a hickey?” she giggled.
“Fine, but unless they say something, we are keeping quiet,” he said.
“Whatever you say,” she grinned as they walked into the room and saw Bill and Julie sitting up in their respective beds, their faces lighting up when they saw their son.
“There’s my boy,” Julie said and Jack walked over to the bed. He held the boy who squealed in delight at his mom. Julie looked at Jack who stood there, not handing David over. “I’ll take him from you.”
“Are you sure? I mean; you don’t want to hurt yourself,” he stammered.
Julie smiled. “I think I can handle him.”
Jack stood there and looked at Stephanie and then back at Julie before blurting out, “Bee gave him a hickey,” he handed David to Julie.
There was a moment of silence and then Julie and Bill started laughing. Bill held his pillow to him, the pain in his chest still severe. Stephanie walked up to her husband and pat his arm. “So much for not saying anything.”
“I just had to get it out.” Jack said and sat down. “I’m sorry. It’s like she’s obsessed with him. We put her down and she rolls to him. We turn our back and she is sucking on his arm. I’m calling a convent and registering her for school.”
Bill looked at Bee and smiled. “Bring her over here for a minute.”
Stephanie put her baby girl on the bed next to Bill, propping her against the pillows and Bill put his arm around her. Bee smiled and put her hand on Bills arm.
“Oh my God, she is all over every man. Stephanie, you need to stop this,” Jack crossed his arms.
She walked over and hugged him before sitting on his lap and watching the babies. “I am afraid there is nothing to be done. We have a little flirt on our hands.”
“This is my punishment. This is because of me and my womanizing ways. I am being kicked by karma,” Jack pouted.
Bill melted as Bee lay her head on his side and drooled. “I think you are getting way ahead of yourself. She is a beautiful sweet little girl who appears to have excellent taste in men. I can think of worse things.”
Jack smiled at his baby girl. “I suppose you’re right.”
Stephanie walked over and picked Bee up, walking back over to Jack. Their baby began to cry and Jack rolled his eyes. “Put her back, she is only happy near her men.”
They all laughed as he was right, and Sabrina smiled immediately after being put back with Bill.
As the kids grow up and begin potty training, it’s brought a whole new level to their entertainment. The more they speak, the more fun I’m having with Bee’s fascination with words like “penis” and “banana”. The more gray hair Jack gets, the better.
Josie Brianna Kastan
Josie flies under the radar a lot because of her big brother and Bee. I am slowly developing more of a character for her and I’m seeing a lot of Julie in her. Much of what we’ve seen in Josie is a quiet rivalry with her brother and a growing love for making her mom laugh. She embodies the quiet stoic nature of her namesake, John, and she will soon begin to truly establish her pull in this family.
I see Josie as a fighter and someone who is more like her father than they all realize. Her values and strength will continue to grow and something I will soon begin to explore is how she was a triplet at one point. I want Julie and Bill to be able to share that with her and allow her to know how much she was loved and wanted.
Julie sat in her family room and watched her children playing. She was going to make dinner, but with Bill out looking for Mike, she didn’t how long it would take. She watched Josie as she watched David and she smiled at how much better they seemed to be getting along.
“Are you two getting hungry?” she asked them.
“I hungry,” David walked to her. “Want hot dog.”
Josie got up and walked over.
“Me want dog,” she said and smiled.
“Okay, two hot dogs it is,” Julie grinned. “Shall we go into the kitchen and make them?”
“Me help,” David said and ran into the kitchen.
“Me help too,” Josie said and took her little self into the kitchen, too.
“Me help first,” Julie laughed as she ran after them. They were both getting so big. David would be three in a few months and Josie would be two a little after that. As much as she wanted to go to work, she adored this time with them and didn’t want to have someone else watch them.
She also knew what she was worried about. She knew it was irrational, but she couldn’t help thinking that maybe she wouldn’t have forever with them. She was only lucky enough to have 12 years with her parents. Would she have more with her children?
“Mama? Hot dog!” David screamed, breaking her out of her daydream.
“Yes sir,” she grinned and put them each on their high chair. “How about some dinner music?”
She put on some music and they all sang along, or at least she sang and they babbled. These were the most amazing moments. These were the moments she felt her parents smiling down on her. This was heaven.
Little Jo will also develop a fascination for Evan, much to Bill’s chagrin and Jack’s delight.
Tessa Blair Stephens
Being named after Tommy and Bill gave this little one the best support. Being born in a dark mall via C-section was also quite the entrance. I always knew I was going to have Tommy and Evan deliver her, I just needed to get the scenario squared away. it was quite the introduction for Evan to this family and a way for them to bond with a little humor, too. Tommy is a pediatric surgeon, not an OBGYN and I think it gave him a new-found respect for his wife’s job.
Tessa is a mini Stephanie. She is quiet and happy and just enjoys being with her family. There have been a few digestion issues which will be explored later, and Tessa has a big arc coming up in book 13. I love the difference in personalities between Tessa and Bee, and as Tessa grows, I think she will be a calming influence to her parents and sister. She may not have a lot to say, but she will make her presence known. Her comfort with Mike is simply an added bonus.
Stephanie was waiting up for Jack to get home from talking to Bill. She was trying to soothe a very fussy Tessa and so far, she wasn’t having much luck.
“If you aren’t quiet, your sister is going to wake up and then we might have an issue,” Stephanie smiled at her little daughter who was kicking her feet. “Do you have gas? I told you that burp wasn’t big enough,” she smiled as she sat down on the couch and propped her knees up before she placed her daughter on her back against her thighs and unsnapped her little sleeper. She rubbed little circles on Tessa’s tummy with her thumbs and softly sang to her. She heard the garage and smiled.
“Sounds like daddy is home.”
Jack walked into the room and smiled at the scene as he made his way to them. He put his keys on the table and leaned in to kiss Stephanie. He sat down next to her and leaned in to kiss Tessa’s cheek. She immediately turned to latch onto something.
“Is she hungry?” Jack laughed.
“She shouldn’t be. She’s been fussy all evening so I was trying to break up any bubbles. I feel terrible that she’s uncomfortable.”
Tessa yawned and Stephanie picked her up and held her against her chest. She rubbed her back above her diaper and Jack sat back.
“How do you know to do that?” he rested his arm behind his head.
“Know if she has gas or how to help her? I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Stephanie smiled and shrugged.
“She’s a person, just like us, and although tiny, her system works the same. I figured it would help break things up if I massaged her.”
He went to say something when the very loud sound of Tessa filling her diaper broke through. They both laughed and then Stephanie stood up quickly.
“What is it?”
“It came through the diaper, all over me,” she grimaced at the smell.
Jack followed her into their bedroom and Stephanie put Tessa on the changing table. He grabbed a small washcloth and brought it to her.
“I think I got the worse of this one,” Stephanie smiled.
“Dada poopoo!” Bee’s voice came through the monitor.
Stephanie cleaned up Tessa and looked at him.
“I believe your name was used,” she grinned and he rolled his eyes.
“Very nice,” he turned and went to the nursery. “Oh, shit,” he said softly. “What did you do little lady?”
“Bee poopoo big gurl!” a toothy Sabrina said as she stood in her crib, naked, covered in poop and incredibly proud.
Stephanie came in wearing her bathrobe and laughed at the scene.
“Mama! Poo!” Bee exclaimed and reached for her.
“I see that.” Stephanie turned to Jack. “Tessa is in the bassinette in our room. I’ll take Bee and we will shower while you clean up her artwork,” she dropped her bathrobe and picked up a naked Bee.
Jack watched them and felt his eyes fill with tears. He was so blessed. He had two beautiful and healthy children and an amazing wife. He had a soaring surgical career and every day was better than the last. He cleaned up the crib and placed fresh sheets on the mattress before he took the dirty laundry and Tessa’s clothes and put them in the washer. He added Stephanie’s clothes and figured he would wait for them to be finished in the shower before starting it.
The sound of Tessa crying made him smile as he walked back to the bedroom and picked her up. She stopped crying immediately and he thought she might have smiled.
“Hi sweetie,” he said as he lay on the bed and placed her on his chest. She was asleep almost instantly and he simply watched her. “You are so beautiful,” he said softly. “Just like your mom.”
“BOOB!” Bee’s scream came from the bathroom as he heard the shower turn off.
Stephanie’s voice came through next.
“We don’t grab, Bee, we touch gently and only when it’s appropriate. Mommy has bruises from little pinches.”
The door opened and Jack sat there, grinning.
Naomi Stephanie Williams (AKA Mini Red)
I could write a book just about Mini Red, and I kind of have. From the moment I decided to make Brittany pregnant, I didn’t see the child ever being born. There were so many things working against them and the things Brittany went through while pregnant made the whole idea of a viable pregnancy seem crazy.
But then the strangest thing began to happen. I saw Naomi. I began to hear her voice as I wrote her parents and I felt her strength and her desire to be in this world. I don’t mean that like I’m crazy, but rather, I found her fit. She was the best compliment to Tommy and Brittany and Tramp and I knew, despite the health issues she would have, her presence was simply needed.
She has been a joy to write and to develop. It was very important to me, and it still is, to write Naomi medically accurate. She has numerous issues and will continue to struggle physically, but I also want to show that she is her own individual who is destined for great things. The way she is completely in tune with Brittany is something I continue to feed off of and it will come into play greatly in the next book. Naomi will once again be faced with a new issue she will need the support of her family to help with and she will also show them just what she’s made of.
Tommy and his baby girl are also something I love to write. From day 1, he wanted a daughter and he never wavered. He adores his mini red and he sees so much of his wife in her. It’s a reminder of Brittany’s strength and love and he lives for his girls.
Tommy kept his hand on Naomi’s back and put his other hand on Brittany’s wrist.
“Mommy is sleeping right now, but she loves you so much,” he said and couldn’t stop his tears. He was petrified and he couldn’t hide it.
“Lov yoo!!” Naomi yelled and kicked her feet.
Brittany opened her eyes and saw her baby girl and she looked at her husband.
“This is my heart. You two are my everything,” she whispered.
“You are our only hope, Red. You have to fight to stay with us, please,” he cried.
She looked at him for a while and then she looked at her daughter.
“You are going to do just fine. I love you both so much,” she said and tried to move.
“No, baby don’t talk like that. I won’t do fine without you. I won’t make it without you,” he picked Naomi up and moved her closer to Brittany’s face. “Our little girl needs her mother. You are not allowed to give up on her. You know what it was like to grow up without a mother. You cannot do that to her. You cannot do that to me,” he watched Naomi curl up next to Brittany’s arm and hold onto her. “We don’t work without you.”
He cried and felt sick as he knew there was nothing he could do to help her. He looked at his daughter and she watched him.
“Yoo sunshine my onwy sunshine yoo me happy” Naomi did her best to sing the song Brittany always sang to her and Tommy was stunned. He watched his tiny girl who had never put more than two or three words together.
Brittany opened her eyes and looked at them.
“You never know dear how much I love you,” she said softly.
Tommy looked at them.
“So please don’t take my sunshine away.”
I have thought a lot about writing the next series with the kids as adults and I think it will be an option I will take a look into. I have enjoyed writing a few fast forwards and although many of them are written with a specific purpose for the current plot, they also give me a chance to see who these children become as adults.
What do you think? Any questions?
I have a post coming tonight about the babies in the series. Anything in particular you want to know?
I hope you’re all having a great night. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about any of my books/characters. I hope you’re enjoying all of my books!
Here is the Amazon link! BROKEN
I will be on later tonight answering questions about anything of mine that’s out there. If you have a question for me, feel free to post and I’ll answer it:)
Broken will be available exclusively for Kindle on Friday. I can’t wait for you to read it and let me know what you think.
I am also so happy you are excited for more with the series. Book 13 will be released on June 1, but the cover and trailer will be out soon. I am so glad you are loving Jade and Mike and I know you’re all worried about her. Me too
Book 13…“The Unthinkable”
Broken is a very different kind of novel for me. It is from a man’s perspective, and it follows his journey from a tragic event to the birth of a beautiful love story. It tackles a very difficult and at times uncomfortable topic, but I hope it does so with sensitivity and honor. It will be available on kindle at the end of the week and I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. In the meantime, please meet David and Lila and enjoy the first chapter of Broken…
It was an unusual specialty, he knew, but for reasons he didn’t like to share, it was his calling. He sat back at his desk and stretched his tall frame. He was the top infertility specialist in the country, a title he earned by hard work and intense research. He was the best, and he would tell anyone who listened. It wasn’t as if he would ever have a child of his own; he wasn’t the commitment type. He had plenty of chances to see what happened to a couple after they were blessed with a child and he just never saw that for himself. It wasn’t like he hadn’t had offers; it was almost a weekly occurrence that someone requested him as a donor. That would never happen. He was content with the direction his life had taken and he didn’t need anything else.
“Dr. Bryant, you have a patient in room 3,” a voice came through his daydream.
He pressed the button on his phone, “Thanks Susan.” He wiped his eyes and took a last sip of his lukewarm coffee. Time to make someone else’s dream come true.
She should leave. There was no reason for her to be here. This was a silly fantasy and she knew it would never happen. She cursed her best friend Carrie for talking her into coming and she cursed her again for bailing on her when some sort of emergency happened at her job. Some people just weren’t meant to be mothers and that was fine. She was happy with her life and her job and as much as she always pictured herself with a child, perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.
She ran her hand through her long chestnut locks and felt her tears prick her eyes. “Get a grip Frankel,” she said aloud. Her hormones were all over the place and being here, surrounded by pamphlets and photos of happy couples wasn’t helping. Lila Frankel wasn’t meant for that. It had taken months to make an appointment with the prestigious Dr. Bryant and she knew if she left, that would be it.
The thought didn’t deter her.
She just couldn’t do it. She would try to reschedule, or simply cancel. She jumped off the bed and went to open the door when her purse fell and the contents spilled over the floor. “Shit,” she swore and knelt down to pick everything up. She went to stand up just as the door opened and her head hit something and she heard a moan. She yelled and held her head and saw she had head butted a man in the crotch, right in the crotch. He was bent over moaning.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I think,” she stammered, rubbing her head.
“You think? Who head buts someone in the crotch? What is wrong with you?”
Lila got angry as she looked up and met his gaze. He had tears in his eyes as he tried to straighten up and she couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing.
David was speechless. For the first time in his life, he had no words. This woman had punched him in the groin and was now laughing. Was he being punked? He looked around for a camera.
Lila wiped her eyes, the tears from laughter coming even though she knew it was completely inappropriate. “I’m so sorry.” She hiccupped.
He scowled. “I can see that.”
“No, really, I mean, I just looked up and it was all crotch,” she giggled.
David finally focused on her and his breath hitched. She was beautiful, soft tanned skin and chocolate brown eyes. When she smiled, her whole face lit up and he found her attitude contagious.
“Did someone put you up to this? Brian or even Jeff? This can’t just be some random appointment,” he looked at her.
She swallowed and her mouth was suddenly dry. He was like an Adonis. He was tall and dark and handsome and he had a tiny dimple that, shit, it was like a headlight, mesmerizing her. She blinked and shook her head, the giggly feeling gone and something else was there, something much deeper. “No one put me up to this. I was here for an appointment, but I needed to leave.”
His eyebrows creased. “Why were you leaving? Are you okay? I didn’t keep you waiting too long, did I?”
“I’m fine. Look, I’m kind of embarrassed and I don’t think you being my doctor would be a very good idea.”
“So you’re firing me?” He pursed his lips.
What was his problem? “No, I’m just saying that if I choose to discuss such personal issues with someone, I would rather it not be someone whose crotch I just planted my face into.”
“Maybe this is what you do. Is this exciting for you? Do you make appointments and wait to man handle the attractive doctors? I am an extremely busy man. I don’t have time for little girls with crushes.”
She was flabbergasted. “Seriously? Did you seriously just ask me that?”
Okay, so perhaps that was pushing it, but he was angry at her attitude and a little turned on, a thought that irritated him. “What would you think if you were me?”
She crossed her arms. “Well, let’s see. Maybe I had an emergency, maybe I got cold feet, maybe I had to use the bathroom, or maybe I had a question. I wouldn’t think it was a conspiracy to feel someone up. And as for attractive, I’ve certainly seen better.”
He snorted. “Not likely.”
She crossed her arms. “You should talk to somebody about your lack of self esteem.”
She was feisty; he liked that. “So when you, as you put it, felt me up, did you like what you felt?” He smirked.
“Nope, felt like a banana pepper with a few pebbles attached,” she didn’t miss a beat.
Now it was his turn. He burst out laughing. “Banana pepper? That’s the best you got?”
She needed him to stop laughing because his dimple was making her insides melt. “Maybe it was more like a fig.”
“Maybe an eggplant?”
She rolled her eyes. “So this was fun, but now I really have to go.”
He went to move when he dropped the chart. They both bent to pick it up and he smacked his nose into her chest.
“Ow, shit,” she said and held her hand on her chest.
“Damn,” he said and rubbed his nose. “Are you okay?”
She rubbed her chest and he swallowed thickly. She needed to stop that, right now.
“No, you hurt me,” she said.
“Well you hurt my nose.”
“Right, because my chest is so hard?”
“I think a wire cut me.”
“I don’t wear under wire,” she said.
“I know, just wanted to be sure.” He winked.
“I think they are swelling,” she said and then realized her words. “Can you just go before I die of embarrassment?”
He smiled. “Do you want me to check them out?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
“Right, so shall we start the appointment?” He sat down on the chair.
“Not if you were the last doctor on the planet,” she said and stalked out.
David watched her leave and tossed the chart on the counter. Maybe he just dreamt that. No one could have such a weird experience. He chuckled to himself and moved to adjust his crotch. She really smacked him hard. Perhaps a warm bath was in order. He stood up and saw something on the floor. He reached down to pick it up and the door swung open, knocking him to the floor.
“Fuck, he said and saw her standing there again. “What is your deal?”
“I don’t have my keys, I must have dropped them,” she faced him and saw her keys on the floor. “There they are,” she reached for them and Susan opened the door, smacking Lila on the behind and propelling her to David. She hit his chest and he fell back, his head hitting the chair, knocking him out.
“Oh, shit,” Lila said and the next thing she heard was Susan calling for security. In no time flat, strong arms pulled her off of David and held her arms behind her back. That’s it, she was never even thinking of having a child again.
Something new coming for you tonight!! Excited to share.
One of my most favorite parts of writing this series are the flashbacks and the flash forwards. This particular scene comes in book 13 and I loved writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it!
(15 years ago)
“I don’t want this to take too long, okay? I have a big exam and I have to study,” Jack said to Julie as they walked through the mall.
“Don’t rush me,” she said and glared at him. “I need clothes.”
Tommy walked over from the food court and handed him a pretzel.
“Are we done yet?”
Julie crossed her arms and stopped.
“Just give me some money and I’ll figure it out on my own.”
Tommy looked at Jack as he licked his fingers from the pretzel.
“No. You can’t go off on your own. Someone may take you,” he wiped his hand on his shirt.
“You’re so gross. Use a napkin,” Julie said.
Jack grinned and Tommy shrugged.
“He’s a pig, but he’s right. It’s dangerous for you to be in the mall alone.”
“I’m 14 years old. I can walk around at the mall.”
“Why didn’t you ask a friend to come with you? Why did you want us?” Tommy asked her.
She looked at them and her eyes filled with tears. She sniffed and wiped them, trying to hold it together.
Jack looked at Tommy and he shrugged.
“Did something happen at school?” Tommy asked.
“No,” she said softly. “Just forget it. Let’s go home.”
“Okay,” Tommy shrugged and Jack smacked his arm.
“No, Jules, tell us what’s going on,” he looked at her and she played with her hair.
“I need a bra,” she mumbled in a voice no one could hear.
“What?” both men asked.
“I need a bra,” she said a bit louder.
“Oh, okay, so get one?” Jack said.
She looked at her hands and shrugged.
“I’ve never gotten one before. I don’t know what size or what kind.”
“Are you sure you need one?” Tommy eyed her.
Julie kicked him and he jumped.
“Ow,” he said and rubbed his leg. “I’m just saying.”
“Maybe one day you’ll be able to grow a chest hair,” she said.
“Hey, I’ll have you know I’m covered in hair,” he said and Jack rolled his eyes.
“Whatever. I thought since you were doctors you would know what to do.”
“We aren’t actually full doctors yet, and I’m focusing on the heart and Tommy on children. We don’t do bra’s.”
She started to cry and Tommy looked at them both.
“You know what? We are all smart people. We can do this. I say we all go buy bra’s.”
Julie looked hopefully at him and Jack shrugged.
“I’ve taken enough of them off, I know what to look for.”
“Gross,” Julie said.
“Come on. Let’s go to the department store and figure this out. How hard could it be?” Tommy smiled.
“Really? You’ll help me?” she asked.
Jack put his arm around her.
“We will get the best bra ever.”
A half hour later, they were all stumped. Julie was in tears and Jack and Tommy kept bringing over bras that were way too big or elaborate.
“Maybe I should just duct tape them down and forget it,” Julie said sadly.
“That wouldn’t be practical,” Jack said and Tommy rolled his eyes. He saw a saleslady and looked at Jack.
“Give me a minute,” he said and walked over, explaining the situation. A few minutes later the woman walked over with a few training bras.
“How about we go into the room and I help fit you?” she smiled at Julie.
“Okay,” she sniffed and Jack and Tommy smiled. They watched her walk in with the sales lady and Tommy looked at Jack.
“I didn’t know there were training bra’s. I mean don’t they know where to go? What the hell are you training?”
“I don’t know. How many should we get? How long does she need to train?”
They both looked up as Julie walked out, glowing. It was obvious that she felt more grown up. The bra stood out under her shirt and she suddenly looked three years older.
Both Jack and Tommy stared at her.
“Take it off!” they both said.
“We’ll take three,” Julie beamed at the sales lady.
Thoughts? Want more?