The following are characters you may encounter while reading here.
These are real people (and one real feline), whose names I anonymize for reasons both practical and humorous.
In all other respects, they are presented as they appear in real life, except when they aren’t.
The Empress of Whisky — My wife. Damn, I hate how that sounds. Like a medieval possession. Trust me, The Empress is possessed by no man, least of all me. She is possessed of an iron will and a stainless steel liver. She is my lifemate, and, no exaggeration, the reason I am still walking this earth and putting words to page. Praise her.
Best Cat — Is our cat. Best Cat has a real name, of course, but silly anonymity amuses me greatly, as you will discover. She likes precisely two people in the world (the one described in the entry above this one, and me) and exactly zero other cats. She is a calico, a ninja, a mighty hunter, and a fierce defender of the home. She is starting to get up there in age, but she will claw your face off if you mention it. We love her dearly.
My Friend The Pharmacist — My second oldest friend, continuity-wise. Age-wise, he’s just less than a year younger than me, just younger enough that we were in separate grades in school. We met in elementary — he in fifth, me in sixth — and that’s a story unto itself, one that may or may not ever make into these pages.
My Younger Sister — My oldest friend, continuity-wise, though I was too stupid to think of her in terms of friendship until I got much older and wiser. She is an artist, among other things, and one of the strongest people I know. Still, you’re most likely to find me giving her hell in these pages, because siblings.
My College Roommate — Okay, I had several, but there’s only one who gets the capitalization around here. I could call him My Friend The Professor of English, but that sounds entirely too formal, even if it would be accurate. We met, not as roommates, just as members of the same dorm, because I impulsively purchased a Lord of the Rings poster at the beginning of freshman year. Yeah, I’ll tell that story one day.
My Friend The Former Lifestyle Editor Who Retired And Turned Mystery Writer — I used to work in newspapers. During one of those stints I made friends with the paper’s lifestyle editor. We bonded over my interest in cooking, and she sort of took me under her wing as an impressionable young writer who needed guidance. She still does that sometimes. As her name implies, she is living the dream, working for herself in the field she spent long years wanting to be in.
My Friend The Former Newspaper Editor Who Went On To Become A Damn Good RV Salesman — This fine gentleman is one of several people who have had the (unfortunate?) task of trying to manage me as an employee over the years. I tormented him in many ways, but most specifically it was my tendency to take Douglas Adams’ view on deadlines — “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” — a little too seriously. Despite this, we remain friends, albeit ones who don’t see each other often enough, living as we do in different cities.
My Friend the Public Defender — Sounds like a superhero, doesn’t she? She is. This is a woman who spent the time and money to earn a law degree, pass the bar in two states, only to use all of that in the service of people in need of legal defense because, dammit, everyone deserves a legal defense. She’s my regular Euchre partner, and we often win, despite the cheating of the opposing team.
My Friend Who Likes To Punch People For Recreation — Sounds like a superhero … with anger issues? Not so much. In actuality he’s a fine human who is a good GM and all-around gamer and happens to enjoy martial arts training for fitness.
My Father — Not to break the anonymity, but I call him Dad in real life. Here I use My Father because of the ominous Darth Vader vibes it gives. He’s a Vietnam War veteran and retired firefighter, among other things.
Mom — Not everyone needs an alias. Mom is the best. If you don’t believe me, I’ll stab you in one of your toes. She’ll tsk at that and sigh, but with a little smile, too.
There are others, of course. If you’re not listed, it’s not because I don’t love you — except for you — it’s because I haven’t written about you yet. Your time will come.