Oct 13

Blog Tour for Through the Years

Thanks Tempe, for hosting me today.

I wanted to talk about another minor character today. Minor in both senses of the word, actually. Not one of the major characters, and not an adult.

Luka was supposed to be basically a mention in the life of one of Edward’s and Gene’s “kid’s” lives. I put kids in quotes because Lauren is really Rob’s daughter, but because of the close relationship between Edward, Gene, and Rob (three of the ‘five musketeers’ from college), Edward and Gene kind of look on her as their daughter too, so Luka, is considered to be their grandson.

Luka is actually adopted after a really rough period in Lauren’s life, but no one makes that distinction. He’s instantly and thoroughly accepted as another grandchild as soon as Lauren brings him home.

Luka is a handicapped boy that Lauren meets while volunteering at a respite home. He has hydrocephaly and Cerebral Palsy and is extremely limited, physically. His love of life, and mischief, shine through from the very beginning, though, even when he has no consistent way of communicating. Something about him calls to Lauren immediately and together, they both heal and grow.

Luka is based on a two real-life kiddos that I know. I’m a special education teacher…have been for decades…so I know quite a few kids with handicaps. Luka is an amalgam of two young boys I worked with. We’ll call them A and B. A was eight years old when I worked with him, and was so physically limited that the only way he could communicate was by looking to the left for ‘no’ and straight up for ‘yes’. Even that was a huge breakthrough. Once we got that system in place, we learned a good bit about the little boy that we never knew before.

Most people looked at his physical form and decided that he just wasn’t ‘in there’ mentally either. That’s a common mistake people make and I’ve found it’s very rarely true. Just because a child is extremely limited physically and can’t or doesn’t communicate, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are cognitively delayed or that they’re not taking in everything around them. It also doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions.

A, we found, was very opinionated. He had strong preferences for some foods over others, which we had actually found out through trial and error even without the communication system, but with it, he was able to tell us in advance if he wanted his broccoli for lunch today, and whether he wanted his cake with or without ice cream. It seems like a small thing, but he really blossomed once we found a way to give him some control over all those small things in his life that, before eight years old, were just decided for him, not by him.

B, was in a similar boat, though he was much older when I worked with him. He was already 15 years old and no one had ever found a communication system that worked. We experimented all that year and finally found one. There was a system available at the time called a Versascan which resembled a large clock with only one hand. We put pictures around the outside and he was able to use a switch attached to the device to slowly spend the hand until it pointed to the picture he wanted. We started out simple and ended up with a bunch of overlays where the main one would determine which overlay we put on next, and he would keep narrowing down the choices until he expressed what he wanted to do.

On the main overlay, we had “I love” and “I hate” as well as other things. Up until this point, B’s mother had bought Winnie the Pooh everything for him. His room was done in Winnie the Pooh. He had Winnie the Pooh clothes. Mom had even put Winnie the Pooh stickers all over his wheelchair. The first thing B said when he finally had the means was, “I hate Winnie the Pooh.” Through various symbols on the Versascan and a series of yes/no questions, we found out that he wanted Winnie the Pooh replaced with Randy Travis…his favorite country singer as it turned out. His mom was great about it. Over the next couple of weeks she brought in all of his Winnie the Pooh clothes to share with other kids who actually liked the character, and B got a whole new wardrobe with Randy Travis plastered everywhere.

There was another communication story involving B’s love of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” but that’s a story for another time.


Comment below to be entered into the raffle.


Here’s how the raffle works:


I’ve listed the tour stops below and have given either the link to the blog in general or to my post specifically. Feel free to stop by as many as you want. For each stop that you comment on, you will receive one entry to the giveaway. I’ll check all the stops numerous times throughout the tour and will draw five winners on Thanksgiving Day, so even if you come in late to the tour, you can go back through the list and comment on past stops.

I’m giving away five prizes. 1) a signed paperback copy of Through the Years; 2 and 3) electronic copies of Through the Years, 4) your choice of either a signed paperback copy or an audiobook of Living Again (the audiobook won’t be available until December), and 5) an electronic copy of Haunted.


Blog Tour Stops for Through the Years


Blog Stop


Blog Owner

Blog Address


October 6

Anne Barwell



October 7

Grace Duncan



October 8

Jessica Skye Davies



October 9

Shira Anthony



October 10

Emma Tett



October 11

Kim Fieldings



October 12

Bike Books Reviews



October 13

Tempest O’Riley



October 14

Sean Michael



October 15

Allison Cassatta



October 16

Jana Denardo



October 17

Louise Lyons



October 18

PD Singer



October 20

Shae Connor



October 21

Suki Fleet



October 27

Charlie Cochet



October 28

Elizabeth Noble



October 29

Tara Lain



October 31

Sophie Bonaste



November 4

Kit Moss



November 10

Lane Hayes



November 13

Mike Rupured



Thanks again Tempe, for letting me stop by today.


Blurb for Through the Years

Edward and Gene were instantly drawn to each other when they met at college in Maryland. Fast friends, they developed a “closer than brothers” relationship. But then Edward began to feel more for Gene. In 1967, those kind of feelings would not be tolerated. Not even by Edward himself.

Gene always thought he was asexual. He had never been attracted to anyone… until he met Edward. He dreamed of Edward as more than a friend throughout college, but he knew Edward would not welcome that kind of attention. So Gene wasn’t surprised when Edward reacted badly to a drunken kiss just before Edward’s graduation. He was surprised when Edward moved to Florida and had little to do with him for years afterward.

When fate finally brings them back together, Edward is married and has a little girl. Gene gladly accepts the role of “Uncle Gene,” happy to have Edward in his life in any capacity. Together, they face all the trials and tribulations life throws at them, including the death of Edward’s wife, and as each grows and matures, their life views change. The relationship they’ve secretly wanted all along is closer than ever, and if Edward can break free from his homophobic upbringing and admit his feelings for Gene, there might still be a chance for them to share their lives in the way they both desire.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres – everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural – she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered ‘slash’, male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia with one of her two two-legged children, and two four-legged ones. Her supportive family encourages her writing and provides a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:




About the author


Tempeste O’Riley grew up in the deep south and escaped her conservative, oppressive roots as soon as she could. Tempe is an out and proud omnisexual/bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.

Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life but writing has always drawn her back – no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life.


Skip to comment form

  1. Lee Todd

    please count me in


    1. brynnstein2

      Thanks Lee. You’re counted in.

  2. Trix

    The Winnie the Pooh anecdote resonates with me somehow!


    1. brynnstein2

      Cool Trix. I would love to hear how that resonates.

      Completely unrelated to the above anecdote, there’s a quote from Winnie the Pooh in the story. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to use it because of Dreamspinners new policy about copyrighted material, but it was short enough from a long enough work that we could.

  3. Xena Semikina

    That was an amazing insight into the world of physically limited children. I never knew about all these methods of communication and how they can reveal personalities for the first time. Most importantly how they allow those kids to be themselves. You’re doing an incredible work. I’m sure your life feels very rewarding.

    1. brynnstein2

      Thanks Xena. I love all ‘my kids’. At this point in my career, you’d think there were too many to remember, but there’s always something about each one that I will forever remember.

  4. Ardent ereader

    Hi Brynn, congrats on your new release. I enjoyed your blog post and story about “B” and winnie the pooh vs Randy Travis. ardent(dot)ereader(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. SM Zeoanne

    I really enjoy the stories my sister tells me, also a Sp. Ed. teacher in VA. Her kids are not as handicapped as yours were although she’s had some like yours. It is a joy to see how they flourish little by little if one knows how to communicate with them. My sis simply adores them! and I’m glad to see you’ve incorporated one of these angels to your story. I’d love to get to meet Luka.

  6. brynnstein2

    I’m glad you all liked hearing about my past students. I have a million stories about each of them it seems. I’m sure some of them will make it into future stories.

  7. H.B.

    Sounds like a lovely read. Thank you for the giveaway!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  8. juliesmall1959

    The further I read these tour stops the more intrigued I am!

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