Val – widow and sometimes exhausted mom of two daughters, working professional in a job that pays the bills, recently married to Phil, the motorcycle officer who pulled her over one Monday morning for speeding and was instantly smitten. Val is tough on the outside, squishy on the inside, and a redhead.
Joan – sister of Joan, who also happens to be her next-door neighbor. Joan’s first husband Leon went out for milk one night and ended up in the Virgin Islands. This landed Joan and her pre-schooler Max on Val’s front door. In the beginning they all lived together, included Evie, mother to Val and Joan and commonly known as Gramma.
Gramma – also known as Evie, she is a globe-trotting gramma who loves her family but loves travel almost as much. She started her life of adventure with a safari in Africa, moved on to a Habitat for Humanity project in Uganda, then another home-building trip to Thailand where she met Arnold. After following him to South Africa, they married and she continues her life divided between home and abroad. Gramma is the only one who can really bring order to the Stone households, because deep down the entire family is slightly frightened of her. It’s a gift.
Wally – Wally is the nice guy next door, who cooks and sells insurance and always wanted a family of his own. He found his dream in Joan, spent several years winning her over, and finally married her. This was never Jan Eliot’s intention, but countless readers begged her “not to let anything bad happen to Wally,” so she gave in. Wally is now raising Max, age 3, Luci, age 6 months, and his nephew Andy, age 15. He has seemingly unending patience, and serves as an advisor to Val’s husband Phil, who is new to the world of blended families.
Phil – Phil is a “zen” cop who let Val go on her after a speeding violation because he could see she was a stressed mom at the breaking point. He was also immediately smitten by her and, also against the intentions of Jan Eliot, worked his way into the strip as a permanent character. Phil is mixed-race, pals with Wally, and devoted to his elder Auntie June. His first family experience has been with Val and her daughters, and he has a lot to learn. Mostly he needs to learn not to believe a thing Holly and Alix say.
Holly – she’s 13, in middle school, completely self-centered except when she has flashes of compassion and helpfulness (and they are just flashes), and is an expert manipulator of adults. She loves shopping, all things online, boys (whose attentions are so far elusive), and privacy. She dislikes homework, being outside unless she’s sunbathing, camping (which happens annually), and creatures of all kinds.
Alix – Alix is 9, a tomboy who loves to torture her sister with creatures in boxes under the bed and in the closet. Alix spends as much time as possible outdoors, exploring creeks, lakes, and the magic world in her inflatable pool. She is not creeped-out by anything, which makes it easy for her to torture Holly.
Andy – a typical 15-year-old, more interested in tunes than school, tolerant of his cousin Max, and devoted to his Aunt Joan and Uncle Wally.
Max – a hyper-active 3 year old who speaks little and does much. Damage.
Luci –the newest, youngest member of the cast, just 6-months old. She’s just dang cute. She was conceived (oops), carried, and born in the strip. Named for Lucy Stone. Google it.
Biscuit – a rescue mutt who some think must be a Jack Russell terrier, the breed that comes with a support group. Everyone loves a dog. YIP!