The year is 1965. The first US draft is ordered by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It is the launch of the Vietnam War. Sonny and Cher make their first TV appearance on American Bandstand. John Lennon's 2nd book "A Spaniard in the Works" is published. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3,200 civil rights activists in the third march from Selma, Alabama to the capitol in Montgomery. And into this big scary world, I arrive.
I am born on the Turner Airforce Base in Albany, GA. My father is stationed here. He is an Airforce aircraft mechanic, 22 years old, and married to my mom, who is 23. As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm off to a great start.
Flash forward 18 months. Rolling Stone Magazine releases its first issue. Elvis Presley weds Pricilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. China explodes its first thermonuclear H-bomb. And my parents have a blow-up of their own.
For a while, it's me and my mom. Until I'm four.
It's 1969. Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States. Apollo II astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin take the first walk on the moon. Marine 6, the first spacecraft to fly by Mars, is launched. US-North Vietnamese peace talks get under way in Paris. The last edition of the Saturday Evening Post is released. James Earl Ray is found guilty of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. and is sentenced to 99 years in prison. Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death for killing Bobby Kennedy. The famous 3-day music festival Woodstock takes place and is recorded as one of the largest concerts in the history of the world. And I get a new dad.
My world is now one of possibilities. Some good. Some bad. Over the course of the next five years, things around me move in and out of shades between light and dark in an unpredictable flux that makes me long to be elsewhere.
It is 1974. President Richard Nixon resigns and VP Gerald Ford becomes the 39th president of the United States. The first issue of People magazine hits newsstands. Phillippe Petit walks a tightrope strung between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The TV show "Happy Days" begins its 11-year run on ABC. And I am 9 years old, and write my very first short story. I compose my words carefully on notebook paper reserved strictly for schoolwork. Already I'm a rebel.
Dragons and warlocks fascinate me. As do witches and their apprentices. I dream of Merlin, and mystical purple mountains. And peculiar creatures and places far, far away. I discover vampires and werewolves in library books and I read, and write, and dream my frightful dreams. The hellhounds continue to chase me . . .
It's 1979. Kenneth Bianchi, the Los Angeles Hillside Strangler, is arrested in Bellingham. Elton John becomes the first western rocker to perform live in the USSR. The Voluntary Euthanasia Society publishes a how-to-do-it suicide guide. And I discover the master of all things spooky: Stephen King.
I'm 14, and getting my very first Stephen King fix with "The Stand" (published by Doubleday in 1978). I fall madly in love with the Horror genre. And I think Stephen King must have nightmares like I do. And that the hellhounds must chase him, too.
That same year I also discover Dean Koontz, V.C. Andrews, and Anne Rice. And they, along with Stephen King, became (and remain) my top favorite authors of all time.
Today, I continue to write horror suspense with three books in print, and a forth and fifth in the works. When I'm not writing, you might spot me easing along a back road on my Suzuki cruiser. Or walking my dog in the shade of the trees around Lake Loretta. Collecting moments of tranquility. I need as many as I can get, mind you. Because the hellhounds never tire of the chase.