Meet The Characters

Alex Moser is our main character, and The Existence Game is about two months in her life when she hit’s rock bottom and begins to regroup.

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Alex Moser is fun, funny, sharp, and terribly ill. At 29, although few realize how much trouble she is having, Alex is just barely keeping her head above water. Plagued since early childhood with numerous phobias of being murdered – or worse – Alex has designed a life for herself in service to her myriad fears. She works nights because she can’t sleep when it’s dark outside. She owns over two months’ worth of clothing because she can’t tolerate going into the basement to do laundry unless a friend accompanies her. She does not go out on trash collection day because large plastic bags frighten her. Her windows are nailed shut and she sleeps in multiple layers of clothing, which she views as protective armor. And a voice keeps telling her she’d feel better if she were dead.



Jonathan Frank is the therapist assigned to Alex when she is hospitalized following a suicide attempt.

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Jonathan Frank is fascinated with the complexities of the human mind. A perpetual student of the human condition, he cannot resist the opportunity to work with complicated cases. When Alex Moser is admitted to his service at The Psychiatric Hospital of Northwest Washington, D.C., where he holds the position of President and Psychiatrist in Chief, he feels compelled to face the challenge of trying to draw her out and help her land on her feet. Dr. Frank is an expert in adolescent and adult psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, the author of numerous psychiatric publications, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University. In his spare time he enjoys fishing and hiking.



Kim Ly is Dr. Frank’s housekeeper, and soon to become Alex’s friend and accomplice.

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Kim Ly led an idyllic life in the Central Highlands of Vietnam – until the war reached her tiny village. At five years of age, Kim walked with her eight-year-old sister, Cha^u, first into Laos and then to a refugee camp in Thailand. Not long after landing in the camp, Kim and Cha^u were adopted by two separate families, Cha^u living in Canada, and Kim growing up in the United States in a Vietnamese American community in Northern Virginia. Now, many years later, she has learned that her employer, Dr. Frank, may have stumbled upon a woman who can help her find the man who destroyed her family.



Drake Winston is a very bad man.

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Drake Winston has retired with his lovely wife, Sylvia, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Life is going smoothly, albeit things have been a bit dull since he left the CIA, where he worked in many capacities on several continents over five decades. Ramifications of the work he did as an interrogation officer in Vietnam is about to change his world forever.



Jacqueline Moser is Alex’s depraved mother.

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Jacqueline Moser must have grown up in an emotional wasteland. At least that is what her daughter, Alex, thinks. What else could have caused her to become so narcissistic and so very, very destructive?




Nick Valenzano is responsible for saving Alex’s life.

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Nick Valenzano is the salt of the earth. A first generation American, he yearns for the colorful and intimate community life of his grandparents back on the east coast of Italy. Nick is almost puppyish in his friendliness, and he plans to one day return to his parents’ homeland, where friendliness doesn’t automatically arouse suspicion, as it seems to in Washington, D.C. He is Alex’s landlord and stand-in Papa, and feels very protective of Alex and her two cats, Pooky and Sebastian. If not for Nick, Alex would be living on the streets. Nick makes his living in the publicity department of the Smithsonian Institute, where he works as a graphic artist and department manager.



Kieran O’Brenaugh owns The Pub, Alex’s favorite home away from home.

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Kieran O’Brenaugh, the wild-eyed owner of The Pub, spent the first half of his childhood on the streets of Belfast, the unregarded eighth son of a man whose only passion was his work in the Clonard-based “C” Company of the Second Battalion of the Belfast Brigade of the Irish Republican Army. Kieran spent the second half of his childhood trying to make sense of the world while living with his quiet Auntie Aisling and his father’s brother, Uncle Padraig on their small dairy farm in County Clare. After Aisling passed away following an allergic reaction to medication, Kieran arrived at the conclusion that there was no making sense of the world and he booked passage to America, landing in New York City with one dream, and one dream alone. To remain inebriated for the rest of his life.



Kevin Sheheen is an angel, cleverly disguised as an alcoholic ex-cop.

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Kevin Sheheen became a D.C. cop after leaving his wife in San Francisco when he discovered she was cheating on him. Always on the lookout for fun and companionship, Kevin is a scotch-drinking regular fixture at The Pub, where he makes friends with nearly everyone who walks in the door. His motto – Rescue all damsels and defend all underdogs, regardless of the consequences, demand justice, enforce it when necessary, and never judge another because you don’t know where their journey has taken them. Kevin was a Green Beret and served three tours of duty in Vietnam.



Eileen O’Keefe is one of Alex’s closest friends. She has her own set of problems, but she is a very kind soul.

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Eileen O’Keefe nearly finished a nursing degree when she suddenly decided she’d had enough of pretending to be someone she felt she wasn’t. She and Alex are drinking buddies and although they really don’t know very much about each other, they enjoy a warm friendship and spend a good deal of time together.



Shari Davies has been one of Alex’s best friends for a long time. That’s never going to change. Alex and Shari are soul sisters.

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Shari Davies and Alex have been very close friends since they discovered pot together in their first year in high school. Bonding over their joint confusion about why their lives were so difficult, their love of great rock music, and a shared crush on their school guidance counselor, Shari and Alex were inseparable throughout high school. Although they drifted apart after they graduated, they never lost touch with one another, and eventually reconnected and maintained a close friendship. Shari works in law enforcement and is studying law enforcement administration at the University of Maryland.



Aidan Young is basically perfect.

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Aidan Young would have been a homeless person were it not for the fact that everyone loved him and he was always welcome to crash in the living room of any of his many friends. And he had a mother who had set him up with a very comfortable trust fund, which no one knew about, but which made it possible for Aidan to pursue his interests unencumbered by a need to find gainful employment. Aidan didn’t actually rely on the trust fund at all, and felt it would be “cheating” somehow if he had. He worked odd jobs and picked up the occasional band gig to pay for his beer and food (prioritized in that order). But he felt out of sorts in D.C., and longed to head west into more open country. Aidan regretted that he had not been born two hundred years earlier, when huge tracts of land were still truly wild.



Cory Michaels is the kind of woman everyone wants to be like, or at least be friends with. She is wonderful – a very nurturing friend to all.

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Cory Michaels has a heart of gold and she shares her love of humanity with every patient who is admitted to the psychiatric hospital where she is the head nurse on the short-term acute in-patient care unit. Patients love Cory and respond positively to her nurturing demeanor. When she isn’t at work, Cory enjoys weaving decorative wall hangings and making quilts. Several Washington, D.C. galleries carry her work and all proceeds from the sales of her wall hangings are donated to local homeless shelters and food banks. Cory completed her nursing degree at Boston College where she double-majored and holds a BA in fine arts. She received her MBA at American University.



Jeremy Andersen is Cory’s male counterpart in many ways. Alex feels like he is her big brother.

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Jeremy Andersen became interested in psychology after a college roommate attempted suicide. Changing his undergraduate major at Hampshire College from Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History to Abnormal Psychology, he went on to complete his post-graduate work while writing his best-selling mystery thriller, “Strike Bridge Massacre” which he published under the pseudonym Horace Phendanta. He enjoys the company of the patients at The Psychiatric Hospital of Northwest Washington, D.C. more than he likes hanging out in the staff lounge. Always championing their causes, Jeremy works as a patient advocate in health insurance disputes, and lobbies Congress for stronger patients’ rights legislation. In addition to his passion for quality patient care, Jeremy is crazy about his wife, Tracey, who designs costumes at D.C.’s Arena Stage. Jeremy and Tracey have two beagles, Lamb Chop and Motor, who are the most spoiled dogs in the Northern Hemisphere.