Character Review, Josie James, Greg Shapiro, Jazminder Parikh, MD, Johnny Barnes, Dalton Farouk, Peri Martin, Carmen D’Angelo, MD, Dr. Devon Grace, Tommy 2000, Lex Feldman, Velexio, Character Reviews are Coming, Ixalla, Elise Jeffries, MD, Frances Miller Ashford, Marnie Shapiro, Ceilidh O’Malley, Dr. Mei-Lin Quan, Trixie LaRue, Tathrelle, Nell Murphy, Craig Firenze, Adger, Astrid Hennigsen, Benjamin Chase, Bobby/Jerry Brodie, Cyndi Mendez, Dez Hunter, Eileen Bragin, Eleanor Braverman, Judge John Lowell, Keisha Darnell, Minka Lopez, Nell Murphy, Noah Braverman, Olga Nicolaev, Peter Ray, Rachel Gifford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sally Bowles/TSTO Tiles, Shannon Duffy, Student #17, Tad Lewis, Ginny Carey, TSTITO, Selkhet 3000, complex evil characters, Emma 1000,

Character Review — Josie James

Consider Josie James, One of My Original Characters

Who is Josie James? And how did she get to be the main character in the Time Addicts sub-series (part of the Obolonk universe)?

Originally, I had wanted to name her Jodie James. But the character had other plans. When I could not “hear” her voice, I realized a change was necessary.

And then I quite literally made a mistake when I was writing down notes about her. Suddenly, she sprang into sharp focus. And so, Jolene Jordan James was finally born out of my imagination.

Another aspect of her which really defined the character was when I decided she would be a numbers person. I had never really written anyone like that before. She is, essentially, a person who today would be an actuary or a mathematician. This meant giving her an orderly mind and a fairly linear way of thinking.

Does she code as autistic? I think a bit. She does take a lot of things literally. But at the same time, that can be a function (ha!) of being a math person versus being on the spectrum.

Where Did Josie James Come From?

Much like with the Peri Martin character, I wanted Josie to be a kind of a wisecracking cop. But unlike Peri, Josie would be a somewhat younger woman in her mid-thirties. Furthermore, Josie would not have Peri’s trauma. But she also would not have an equivalent to Peri’s work husband/work BFF, Greg Shapiro.

I also wanted for Josie to have one thing which I had until that time not given any characters—a large family. Now, the letter ‘J’ is the tenth in the alphabet, so that worked for me.

And then, to make my life easier, I created a naming convention for the family. Everyone, not just Josie, would have the same first and middle initial. And they would all be in alphabetical order.

Hence, Aaron is the first-born, then Brian, and then Connie. Deb and Em are twins and come next. Then there’s Francie (Frances) and Greg. Haley and Ian come next. Also, because this can happen in real life, I wanted for Josie to have a niece or a nephew older than her.

This also meant giving the James siblings a big age gap. She’s kind of the ‘oops’ baby.

So Aaron is essentially a different generation from Josie. And it shows.

The Past is Prologue — Backstory for Josie James

A decent cop working in the Boston Meg’s Financial Crimes division, Josie has a secret.

Every morning, for a dozen years, without fail, she has started her day tossing her cookies. It does not matter whether she ate the prior evening, or drank, etc. Sick or well, well-rested or tired, it does not matter. Every morning, it happens.

And so she has fetishized it in a way. This was also, initially, a way to make my life easier. Plus, for NaNoWriMo, it makes for some excellent word padding (oops, did I just say the quiet part out loud???).

But then, because the sub-series is about time travel, the fetishizing started to truly make sense.

See, she follows the rainbow every week. Sunday is red, Monday is orange, etc. And along with the color of her clothing and even the corresponding flavoring added to her water, she has a bunch of buckets. But Josie’s are color-coded to the days.

Since indigo is tough to find, I had her use gray or black and white or patterns on Fridays.

But no matter what, if a reader is ever lost as to the day of the week, her outfits are a dead giveaway.

Her buckets and her continuous attempts to get a medical explanation are what make the Orb Intelligence Agency’s Department of Temporal Narcotics want her. Because her barfing is related to changes in time.


Anna Kendrick, who I see as Josie James
Anna Kendrick, who I see as Josie James. Image is for educational and reference purposes only.

I really love the actress Anna Kendrick, and she works well as a stand-in for Josie in my head. It was a truly serendipitous find to learn that Kendrick is left-handed! By also making Josie a lefty, it worked well with some of the dramatic elements in the story.

Although Kendrick can sing, Josie really doesn’t. But her brother Ian does.


Josie’s purposes drive the sub-series. She first wants to know why she gets sick. Then, she wants to catch the bad guys and save the Obolonk race. But she also wants to take the next step in her life. Her illness has held her back and left her in a kind of young twenties limbo.

But to get serious about herself or about anyone else, she can’t just be puking all the time.

Quotes {Josie and Dalton Meet After He’s Gotten Her Suitcase Off a High Shelf}

The dreamy chivalrous suitcase retriever stuck out his hand. “Hi, I’m Dalton.”

“Er, hi. I’m Josie James.” His hand was smooth, as if the only physical labor he did was in a gym.

“You sound like a dance hall girl or an outlaw. Definitely something from a western movie.”

“You sound upper crust.”

“I was born in the Philly section of the Washington Meg so, yeah, kinda. You?”

“You want to know where I was born?”

“Well, yeah, seeing as we’re not supposed to be hinting at roles and responsibilities yet.”

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot that. Man, oh man, the OIA sure has some strange protocols. Still, I figure there’s a kind of a method to their madness.”

“Oh?” asked Dalton.

“Yeah, they get to continually test us on secrecy and on following instructions. We screw up, and they can boot us. You know, like it says in our contracts. I am assuming you got the same contract that I did, er, Dalton.” Why the hell was the dreamy chivalrous suitcase retriever just going by his last name? How weird, she thought.

“I’m sure I did. And yeah.” He seemed to be staring at something for a second, as if he was mentally flipping the pages of the contract, in electronic or paper form. “You’re right; it does say that. But you didn’t answer my question, outlaw Josie James.”


Josie’s condition makes it difficult to form romantic attachments. But then there’s…

Dalton Farouk

Not just another pretty face, Dalton Farouk is a genuinely caring person. Dalton has a very real gift called hyperthymesia. But it turns out Josie has a gift, too—she can remember timelines, even as they change. So, they aren’t just paired by me because I wanted her to have a love interest. I also pair them together because they are both quite literally all about memory.

And, Dalton almost blows it the first time they go on a date. Then again, Josie yells at him. So, I suppose they’re even.

Tad Lewis

Tad is not a romantic partner to Josie. Rather, he is her work partner. The sharpshooter of the team is a great choice to look out for her. Because Carmen realizes immediately—Josie is valuable. And vulnerable.

Tad and Josie often have to play at being married. They get along well enough that he would be a reasonable choice for her. In fact, if anyone wants to ‘ship them, well, I won’t stand in your way or anything.

Carmen D’Angelo

Josie’s relationship with her boss is complicated. While Carmen is cordial, Carmen also keeps nearly everyone at arm’s length. But Josie trusts her. And as everything else changes, Carmen points out that if she (Carmen) ever does, then it’s all gone to hell in a hand cart.

Without having had a mother for the second half of her childhood, siblings like Connie and Deb have filled in the gap. But, at times, it’s Carmen who kind of, sorta, fills it in as well.

Wing AKA 42753

The idea of little flying robots came to me although I suspect I’m not the first person to ever dream them up. They are, at bottom, a natural descendant to drones. But they have a fairly good degree of sapience and they have personalities. But they are also programmed to love cleaning and orderliness.

Wing, like all other wingbots, has some limited morphing capabilities. Hence, it, too, is a part of the constant color parade. Wing colors itself like a parrot, a blue jay, a cardinal, and more.

Wing is, easily, one of her closest friends.

They Say This One Can Floss Human Children’s Teeth Carefully

AKA Flossie. A lot like They Say This One Can Tile Bathrooms Adequately, Flossie is an intersex alien but identifies as female. This alien has had surgery to be able to smile like a human, and uses she/her pronouns.

Flossie is also one of Josie’s main reasons for trying to restore the original timeline. It’s not just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also because someone like Flossie can never, ever be her friend in many of the newer, worse realities.

Josie James and Her Siblings

Josie has complex relationships with her various siblings. Aaron treats her a lot like his own child and can often be overbearing if not condescending to her. But at least a little bit of that is to be expected. After all, she’s younger than his first born child.

With Brian, she has a more cordial relationship although they don’t spend a lot of time together. He is usually not the first person she thinks of when she needs something. But at least Brian doesn’t talk down to her.

Connie is more of a mother/kindred spirit figure to Josie, particularly as they are both single and childless, and are both numbers people. Connie is just plain easier to talk to.

The twins are night and day to each other. Deb is warm and maternal, whereas Emily is all business—literally. It isn’t until the third book that Josie realizes the reason Em never married is because she loves the people who work for her.

Francie is another sibling who Josie doesn’t really get to know until the third book. Greg, on the other hand, is the first person Josie thinks of when she needs a place far from the group.

Hayley is often the punchline to Josie’s jokes, because Hayley is modern Orthodox and Josie is horribly lapsed. And Hayley actually keeps Josie on the straight and narrow a lot of the time—even if it’s just Josie saying she can’t do X because Hayley would have a coronary.

Ian is closest in age to Josie, but is such a flighty free spirit that they have only a little in common.


Without giving away too many spoilers, Loni (Avalon) is a character who comes into the books later. She serves as a kind, maternal person to Josie, but not in the first timelines.

Conflict and Turning Point

Josie’s conflict and turning point are the ones for this sub-series. For the most part, rather than there being one big conflict, it’s a relatively slow burn. Writing scads of different temporal universes meant that life changes for her, in ways that are subtle and not so subtle. Until things get really dicey, she doesn’t notice some of it.

In that way, both her realization of the issues and the reader’s (and the invisible hand driving the plot, too) is a lot like putting a lobster in a pot of cold water and setting it to boil. Once things start to feel hot, it’s already too late, and you’re already cooked. But it can take a bit to get there.

For Josie, a lot of the bigger time changes go off like loud alarm bells, particularly in the last book of this sub-trilogy. Life before might not have been perfect. But it was hardly the dystopia that many of the later time changes cause to come about.

Continuity/Easter Eggs for Josie James

Josie, just like Noah Braverman from the Mettle Universe, lives in my house! In a bit of crossover continuity, the house has been in her family for generations. But there is a tenant the family has to buy out before she can live there. That tenant is Kelly Braverman.

Josie is also a Jewish character; their surname was originally Jacobson. As a result, she relates, however loosely, to characters like Noah Braverman, Marnie Shapiro, Lex Feldman, Greg Shapiro, Eleanor Braverman, and even Herschel Taub. She’s not too strict, but her sister Hayley lives in what used to be Tel Aviv.

Also, being a person experiencing time changes and understanding them while others around her do not, makes her something of a twin to Tathrelle. But I never actually explain Tathrelle. With Josie, I give something of an explanation of how she’s known to be temporally sensitive. But I never actually get into why.

The truth is, even I have no idea!

Future Plans

Well, one thing that may be a bit of an issue is that Josie was not a part of the Time Addicts prequel, The Dust Between Our Stars. But I like her quirkiness and her overly orderly mind. I’ll try to find some place for her. Much like Peri, she may even get the occasional shout out in the next sub-series. I don’t know.

Josie James: Takeaways

One of the things I love about her is that a lot about her represents a departure from what I have written before. Her methodical nature, her familial relationships, and her fetishizing of her condition make her unique and a lot of fun to write.

You don’t just want her in your corner. You also want her help if there’s a math test!

Character Review — Josie James #amwriting Click To Tweet

Want More of Josie James?

If Josie James resonates with you, then check out my other articles about Josie, Dalton, Carmen, and everyone else as they work to prevent a temporally jacked-up genocide.

Character Reviews:

Self-Review: Time Addicts: No One is Safe
Self-Review: Time Addicts: Nothing is Permanent
and Self-Review: Time Addicts: Everything is Up For Grabs

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