When You Grow Up, You Can Be Anything (Within Reason)

Released April 8, 2013
Appx. 112,000 words, $2.99 digital, $9.99 print.

Digital ISBN: 978-1301140923
Paperback ISBN: 978-1484035559

Get When You Grow Up On: Smashwords | CreateSpace (paperback)

The year is 2013, and Connor Reynolds is screaming in Mike Baugh’s face.

They were not angry at each other: they just won their final beer pong tournament at Cleveland, Ohio’s Garfield State University on May 19. The next morning, those two and all of their friends would be walking across the stage at graduation. It is a bittersweet occasion for Connor, who initially disliked both his time at college and having to live with Mike, but the school became his home and Mike, his best friend.

Mike made a major sacrifice for him as a freshman, and many others thereafter, but Connor never knew how to repay him appropriately. It bothered him up to and after graduation.

Connor had his post-graduation life all planned out, and it included going back to Cleveland to room with Mike while both worked in the city. After several relatively quiet years enjoying himself, he felt like he was on-track to keep the good times going.

A week later, Connor laid bloody and unconscious in the middle of a field in Kentucky.

From there, his life unraveled again: no job, no money, and eventually, no friends. Everyone he knew left his side, including Mike, who had to start a life of his own in a new city. He tried visiting his old college for inspiration, but it only made him feel worse. He attempted to work on the side to save money, but lucrative positions were not forthcoming. Connor drifted from day to day and month to month without a purpose while his friends were successful and he was stuck at home with his parents.

Connor felt he was lied to when adults told him that he could do anything to which he set his mind when he was a kid, but it took an assist from his older brother, a tragic event, and a famous poet to point the way. He had to take a chance and pursue his dream career with his best friend at his side, even if it bankrupted him in the process. Connor would have rather tried to put his talents to good use and fail than live in isolation with little money and no human contact.

His journey took him to both sides of the United States as he got closer and closer to his goals of fame and fortune, making new friends and having fun again. As it so often does, however, his past catches him and threatens to block the way.

And he still felt he had a debt to pay to Mike, only Connor’s sacrifice would be even bigger: the loss of his new livelihood.

When You Grow Up… is the sequel to the first novel in this series, 0.00: Tales of the Sober Kid at College.

Select Character Sketches

Connor Reynolds. Protagonist. Early 20s, male, from Michigan. Student at Garfield State University, then alumnus. 5-foot-9, medium-length brown hair, blue eyes. Average build. Average to above-average looks. Well-adjusted and sociable. Briefly went to jail at age 18. Kind-hearted and well-meaning but often intense and “rough around the edges.” Prone to anger and grudges. Neat and fastidious. Intelligent. The type of person who (almost) always thinks two steps ahead of everybody else. Sometimes focuses on details more than the big picture. Highly skilled at beer pong. Extremely loyal. Alpha male.

Mike Baugh. Early 20s, male, from New York. Student at Garfield State University, then alumnus. Connor’s best friend. 5-foot-11, short brown/reddish hair, brown eyes. Brown, reddish, scruffy facial hair. Thin, wiry frame. Single but perma-horny. Very kind and personable; wants everybody to be his friend. A “typical” college guy in almost every way. Overuses the word “dude” to extremes. Very generous by nature, especially with Connor. Emotionally genuine and in touch with himself. Direct. Somewhat naive as a freshman but less so over the years. As fiercely loyal as Connor, with whom he has been inseparable for almost his entire term at college. Intelligent but prefers quality time with friends to class. Passionate.

Zach Wisniewski. Early 20s, male, and from Michigan. Old friend of Connor from his home town of South Heathrow. Extraordinarily oblivious. Into drinking and smoking marijuana, sometimes at the same time, though Connor never participated in the latter. More wild socially than Connor. Did not have the academic stature or desire to attend four-year college. Thinks very highly of Connor in a totally platonic way.

Adrian Ramirez. Early 20s, male, from South Boston, Massachusetts (“Southie”). Mexican-American. Olive complexion, about as tall as Connor, somewhat chubby but just barely overweight. Curly and somewhat long black hair. Bespectacled. Best friends with his twin brother, Jose. Effervescent personality. Sometimes boisterous. Very friendly. Nobody’s fool. Went to work in a deli after graduating from high school and has been there ever since. Enjoys beer pong.

Jose Ramirez. Early 20s, male, from “Southie”. Twin brother and best friend of Adrian. Olive complexion and stands over six feet tall. Thin and almost gawky-looking. Enjoys drinking alcohol. Taciturn. A follower. A sidekick.

Helene Quinn. Female, originally from Michigan. Connor’s ex-girlfriend for nearly two years. Dumped Connor during his freshman year at college after cheating on him with Connor’s high school nemesis, Mark Lowrie. She and Connor had not spoken since. Whereabouts unknown.

Mark Lowrie. Male, originally from Michigan. Connor’s arch nemesis from high school and earlier. Took Helene’s virginity while she was still seeing Connor. Prone to extreme lapses of intelligence but is also capable of being deceptively cunning and ruthless. Popular. Seems reasonable to most outside observers but is truly mean-spirited and bitter. Utterly phony persona. Would make an excellent congressman. Whereabouts unknown.

Pete Reynolds. Middle-aged, male, and from Michigan. Connor’s father. Caring deep-down but is results-oriented. Wants to see Connor succeed academically and financially. Obsesses over minor details. Tends to jump down your throat first and ask questions later, but means well.

Amanda Reynolds. Middle-aged, female, and from Michigan. Connor’s mother. Compassionate but head-strong. More lenient than Pete. Sarcastic. Entrepreneurial. Will stand up for her kids, Connor and Dave (older brother), no matter what.

Bob Ruprecht. Early 80s, male, from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Connor’s maternal grandfather. A little shorter than he used to be and white-haired. Senile but genuinely loving. Was a successful businessman before retirement. Cares very deeply for Connor and vice versa. One of the most inspirational people in Connor’s life. In declining health.