On the 26th of July, 1957, Lois Boyles (my mom) was working at the Odessa American newspaper. About 1400 hours it became apparent it was time for me to be born. So Lois went downstairs and turned off the idling presses. She then gathered her things, left the building and by 1430 yours truly was staring at her, eyes wide open, with a look that said, "What, are you serious?"
I am forever grateful to mom for moving us from Odessa to Phoenix. When I was seven, mom got the job at the Phoenix Gazette, the afternoon paper for the Phoenix market. Mom's job was pivotal to my development in that she often took us with her on assignments. And she was always getting the best assignments: The state fair, grand openings, the occasional rock concert. We were relatively poor, but it seemed like we were rich. When mom wasn't covering her day job, she moonlighted for public relations firms in the Valley, and we'd wind up getting front row seats (and backstage passes) to The Ice Capades and the Ringling Brothers circus. I even got to ride mom's coat tales into the business, first writing for the Teen Gazette while I was in high school, then writing for the Feature section, as well as the Entertainment section (rock music critic) and the Sports section (covering professional volleyball) after I got out of high school.
One significant milestone in my history came when I was in third grade. I was called from my classroom to the principal's office. I freaked, because you don't get called to the Principal's office unless you've done something really bad.
But this time, I wasn't in trouble-I'd been called down to take some kind of exam. There was a man I'd never seen before who took me into a small conference room and began to show me pictures. Well, they looked more like someone had had an accident than a normal picture, but I was told not to worry about it, to just look at the images and tell the man what I saw.
That's right, I was being given a Rorschach test.
That means somebody-and I'll never know who, whether my mom or a teacher or someone else-thought there was something...wrong. With young billy.
Turns out...there was. Letter in life, I would come to understand that what was wrong with me has a name: Bipolar Disorder. And one of the features of my mental illness is I like to make things up. I like to tell stories. And for me, the line between what's real and what I imagined is very thin indeed. I would tell people I'd spent the weekend skydiving, because I'd read a book about skydiving and I was delusional. It's that simple, really.
I wasn't diagnosed mentally ill until 2003. I'd been able to cover my behaviors, most often by self medicating, which means abuse of drugs and alcohol. And I was essentially untreated for years after that, as I road the Carousel of Medications for another ten years.
Then, finally, in 2013, I found a provider who was skilled enough to tease out the right requirements for me and get me on the right meds. Or, I could say, the write meds.
Because it was once I got the symptoms of the Bipolar Disorder attenuated...I could write. I could maintain concentration long enough to compose. By then, I was already 56. It took me another four or five years to acquire the skills I needed to sustain novel writing. Now, I'm just reaching the point where I can call 'Done' on my first manuscript.
It occurs to me now, at 63, that I would not have been prepared to start writing any earlier than I did. I know some people are born talented AND lucky and thy churn out the good stuff from an early age. I think it took six decades of experience to position myself where I had the prerequisite knowledge to be a decent writer.
In fact, there are a lot of adventures in between my youth and my seniority. You will find some of those stories here, in the Bombshelter. I invite you to peruse those stories, and perhaps check out what's happening with the novels while you're here. There's a blog, and some other stuff just for shits and giggles. Enjoy!
"The Seven Faces of Ambiguity"
In this novel, we follow billy and the story of a man with split personalities...whose splits have come to life. Each of his so called 'alternate identities', or alters, has achieved a corporeal existence. And one of them is in a whole lot of trouble.
Turns out, the personality known as 'the doctor' has fallen in with a band of bad guys intent on turning the entire human race into xombies. (Zombies are living dead that want to eat your flesh. Xombies are living dead that want to fuck you to death. And in the most horrible fashion possible.)
The doctor declares that the only way the evil scientists can be stopped is for billy to gather the rest of his alters and make an armed assault on the hideout. billy proceeds to find his alters, which include metaphysical guru, a nine year old boy and a nineteen year old 'creative' responsible for all of billy's 'art'.
It doesn't take long for billy to gather his troops. Along the way, he consumes heroic quantities of alcohol and drugs and still manages to direct the search for each alter. They arrive at secret underground warehouse and equip themselves with a variety of firearms and explosives.
Just as they are ready to depart on the assault on the made scientists...the bad guys activate their doomsday device.
You'll have to read the book to find out how things turn out.
Look for copies of "The Seven Faces of Ambiguity" spring of 2020
"The Seven Faces of Ingenuity"
This is the sequel to "The Seven Faces of Ambiguity". In it we are introduced to the bad guys, the mad scientists intent on destroying mankind. We also learn of effort by the United States Military to respond to the catastrophe that has been perpetrated on the city of Phoenix. And...The doctor, the alter that is himself a mad scientist, is still among the bad guys and he is doing what he can to sabotage the DOOMZDAY weapon. He's fighting against not one, but two super villains. And there are not one but two over sized monsters that get loose and wreak havoc.
Look for excerpts from this novel Summer of 2020
"The Seven Phases of Hegemony"
In this story, we follow the same cast as in "The Seven Faces of Ambiguity", only this time the threat to mankind comes from a very different source.
As it turns out, there are only two species left in the Milky Way galaxy: The Galactites and the Electrytes. The human race doesn't count, because they are not actually a species. What we learn in this story is that mankind is a tool, a device, a weapon. Designed by the Galactites, the weapon is comprised of the brains of all human beings on Earth. This is the 'fissile' material of the bomb. Once the bomb has been detonated, every human brain will be consumed at once as fuel to wipe out the Electrytes once and for all.
Naturally, a group of Earthlings in the know are doing what they can to stop the bomb from going off. Things are going smoothly...until it turns out that there is one human being, out of the billions on the planet, who serves at the detonator. The Earthlings identify that person-and it turns out, it's billy, from "The Seven Faces of Ambiguity".
Once again, billy's alters must come to the rescue, only this time, the problem is one of their own. If they find him...what do they do? Everyone else wants to put a bullet in his head and be done with it, no detonator, no World Go Boom!
Alas, it's not that easy, and you follow the boys and a new constellation of 'bad' guys as everyone does there best to stop the bomb from going off.
Excerpts coming in 2021.