If you haven't, ahem, had an opportunity to meet my latest character, Greg Owen, here's your chance. These books are fast and fun, just as character-driven as they are plot-driven. People have told me they're actually funny too. I do try. Below are some passages that readers have written me about.
SOME BAD LANGUAGE BELOW (you've been warned)
Let’s get this out of the way.
My name’s Greg Owen.
At least two of these three things are true—I’m:
It takes forty-five minutes to reach Johnsonville and then another five to find the state penitentiary. It’s a little after noon now, so I call the pool hall just to make sure Wally and Roy haven’t burnt the place down.
“Greg Owen’s Den of Inequity,” somebody answers.
“Who the hell’s this?”
“Oh, hey, Greg. It’s Bernie.”
Of course Bernie, the freeloader with about eighteen tabs all across town, manages to show up the one day of the year I go with the honor system.
I head back in, my head swimming. Becca and I share a nice dinner with good conversation, but I can’t stop thinking about Denise and Nick and the past and how Denise and I are falling right back into our old patterns of behavior. I’m the guy she comes to when she has a problem. She’s the girl for whom I inhabit that weird intra-space between friend and more than friend.
That doesn’t stop me from inviting Becca back to my place.
Let’s get this out of the way—
My name’s Greg Owen, and there are three kinds of people in this world:
Those who are good at math.
And those who aren’t.
“You know, Greg,” Bernie begins, taking a break from his book, “boys and girls mature much more quickly these days than—”
“Shut the fuck up,” I say.
Bernie shuts the fuck up.
“Hey, guys,” I call out. “This is Lucy Hale, soon to be an Olympic athlete.”
Roy and Wally put down their cues and meet us at the register. Bernie’s jaw is still slack, his mouth wide open. He is in awe of this woman.
“Hi,” Lucy says, a touch shy.
“This is Roy and this is Wally.” I gesture at the two. “They fight like they’re married. But don’t let that fool you. They actually love each other.”
They smile and shake Lucy’s hand.
Roy says, “Greg has a lot of faults.”
“Gee, thanks, Roy.”
Roy continues, “But being oblivious isn’t one of them. You’re in good hands here.”
Wally nods. “He doesn’t eat well, or dress well, and his businesses leave a lot to be desired, but Greg is a good guy.”
“Stop selling me, guys,” I say, laughing.
Roy and Wally keep up with the jabber, so much so that Lucy is in stitches. Bernie’s mouth is still open, like a Venus fly trap.
“And this is Bernie,” I say. “He’s hard at work on a novel.”
Lucy smiles and offers her hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Her physique and pretty smile have robbed Bernie of the power of speech. Miracles do happen. Completely flustered, he shakes her hand.
Before his gaping mouth and wide eyes get even weirder, I say, “Hey, Bernie, could you get Lucy a bottled water?”
“Red or white?” he asks, and we laugh at this. Bernie hasn’t even realized what he’s said.