Bay City Runaway – The Web Serial

Bay City Runaway (1)As I navigate my way through the beginnings of a writing career, my number one goal is to be read. I have a publisher for one of my books, but my latest book is still unsigned: Bay City Runaway. I’ve published it myself on Amazon and a number of people have read it. But as is often the case with self-publishing, sales have dwindled to nothing. I could blow some money on a large marketing campaign to boost sales, but at this point, I just want readers.

I feel good about the book. I think it has an audience, but Amazon is the largest pond in the book world, so I’m going to do what I’ve done before and share my writing for free on various smaller platforms to raise readership.

My publisher is looking at this book and has no problem with me doing what I want with it in the meantime while they work on my current project. When/if the time comes to hand it over to them, I will take the book offline and give them exclusive rights to it.

You can read this book as a daily serial at the following websites including my own.

Bay City Runaway

Royal Road

Wattpad

Synopsis

David Wilson-Burns offers his gritty and emotionally potent debut novel, Bay City Runaway, a story of two runaways finding each other in their escape from abuse and tragedy.

James, a thirty-something software wiz with a drinking problem, runs away to San Francisco to escape a tragedy in his home state of Oklahoma. In front of his favorite pub one night, a teenage girl with a nasty bruise on her face asks for a cigarette. He sees her several more times and gives her food and smokes. She appears to be living on the street, running away from abuse. Late one night, the frantic teen, Amy, shows up at his China Town apartment. Having nowhere else to go, she seeks shelter and protection from her abuser, who could show up at any time. They form an unlikely and complicated friendship.Wilson-Burns’ moving and engaging novel brings to vivid life the struggling, lonely alcoholic, the precocious, street-wise teenager, and the sexually-charged complication of a would-be girlfriend, Kyra, as their lives become intertwined.

He also captures 1990s college life as he tells the story of how a new friend, Zach, helps James win back the girl he will marry, leading up to the tightly kept secret of the tragedy that puts him on a plane to San Francisco in 2007.

In gripping detail, Wilson-Burns delves deeply into how alcoholism can grow from little seeds into a tragic and disastrous bloom.

Wilson-Burns uses his expressive, straightforward writing style to create an emotional experience for the reader and brings a deep sense of redemption and faith in humanity into his characters and story. Those who have experienced alcoholism in their lives will identify powerfully with James and Amy’s struggles. He shows how love, friendship, and faith can redeem the running, lost, and hurting.

What did I hear in the woods?

cosmosbedroomThere is an old adage that we hear what we want to hear. I think it is a good adage. It speaks to the deep human propensity to disturbed and muddy the clear, still waters of reality. But like much of the world, belief is a complicated force. Perhaps it is all in how we use it. Where would we be without the believers and the dreamers? I know my life would have much less meaning and fun without belief in the yet proven–in other words, faith.

When I was a child, I came across a film one day flipping through our limited selection of channels on TV: The Legend of Boggy Creek, a docuhorror about a bigfoot-like creature supposedly sited in Fouke, Arkansas throughout the 1940s and 1950s. It was both terrifying and fascinating. Perhaps it was the first horror movie I ever watched. It has long been one of my favorite genres. I was convinced that the movie was absolutely true–perhaps it was.

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A Way Forward in our New Society

On the large scale of history, internet social media is still in its infancy. We have been exploring its boundaries now for 20 years (even more for some early adopters). We have discovered what is valuable about it and what is ugly about it. Many have disengaged because of the uglier facets. But most remain, tolerating the ugly for the valuable.

We now have a new society unlike any in human history—one which spans the globe and which encompasses to full diversity of humanity—and we haven’t yet figured out how to order this new society. What was once considered unacceptable in society is now commonplace. We have entered a new Wild West.

But I believe it is time to establish order. The power brokers of the various platforms are trying to do this, but ultimately it is in our hands.

I do not have a person in my friend list who I do not love and believe to have sacred worth, but I’m finding that Facebook is not a healthy platform for me to be associated with some.

There are many people on this planet who never had a platform for their hate and disrespect. You may blame platforms such as Facebook for that, but the reality is that we control the scope of that platform with our friend lists.

For our new society to thrive and be of value, I believe we must not allow unwanted behavior to thrive by giving it such a huge outlet.

It’s unfortunate that Facebook as used the word “friend” and “unfriend” to describe our granting and denying access to our individual Facebook worlds. Because it makes it too personal as if to say “hey, being connected with you through this technology is not working out so I guess we can’t be friends.” Yes, if Facebook was the only basis for our relationship, perhaps that is true, but I have several friends and acquaintances who I connect with in positive ways outside of Facebook and just want to limit it to that.

If you consistently exhibit behavior which is preventing our new society from growing in positive, healthy ways, and you’ve been given ample warning, I will not “unfollow” you, because that does not limit the scope of your behavior and influence. I will “unfriend” you, not to tell you I do t want you in my life, but because it’s time for social media to grow up a little bit. It’s time to take a new step toward maturity.

This is not about dividing. I want diversity, but we can have differing views without the bad behavior.

I propose we all do the same.

Someone pees in your pool once? Say something. They pee in the pool again? Kick’em out. Maybe the lake would be a better place for them.

A Well-placed Chi-Chi

f2ea6fd21c5d454269cc0176b6c3360bMy voice teacher in college was a truly unique man. A New Yorker, painter, self-styled urban cowboy, French song interpreter, and gifted singer. He was particular–perhaps an acquired taste. He had a gaggle of devoted fans, mostly older women, who attended all of his recitals.  He projected an air of sophistication, confidence, and elegance, unlike anyone I had met. I too was a big fan. I admired him greatly.

He taught me a word quite uncommon in Oklahoma. I had to ask what it meant. I don’t remember the exact context, but I will fill in the blank. During a lesson one day, he was describing something–a house, a hotel, a restaurant, an art gallery, someone’s fashion…can’t remember.  In describing it he said, “Yes. Very chi-chi.” (also shi-shi)

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Poisoned

poisonI’m grateful for medicine.

Without meds to help me regulate my moods (bipolar), I’m quite certain my life would be a series of disasters. But as all people dependent on medicine know, there is often a trade-off. There are side effects and there are dangers. There is no one more compliant with psychiatric medicine than I am, and that comes with a cost.

In the fall of 2017, I needed a med change–a regular occurrence in the treatment of Bipolar Affective Disorder. My doctor increased one drug and added a new one–something brand new on the market. It’s a drug you’ve seen in commercials a dozen times and I was hopeful that it would level me out–and it did. But as a person who was already struggling with anxiety, it began to get out of control soon after starting it. I never connected the two. The doctor then put me on an anxiety medicine to help with that.

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Beep

beepMy twin brother and I shared a room from womb to thirteen-years-old. Those of you who have had a roommate know that you must develop and agree on certain rules to keep the peace. For example, we agreed that the last person to get in bed must turn off the light. Paul was notoriously and egregiously derelict in following this rule. There were several nights when, in our stubbornness, he and I would leave the light on until two or three in the morning because Paul refused to turn out the light under the terms of our agreement. Of course, I would eventually give in, huffing and fuming, and turn off the light.

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In a Twinkle

111215074920-santas-rielly-horizontal-large-galleryJuly has become a natural time for me to think about Christmas. I, as do many, absolutely adore the Christmas season, and I begin to long for it in the hot month of July for so many reasons. So why not?

I’m a believer.

When there is inadequate evidence to support something I want to believe–something which enriches my life in some way–I often choose to believe it anyway.  I’m good with Bigfoot, psychic powers, magic, aliens, ghosts, and God. Most adults believe in at least one of these. But what about Santa Claus?

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Fake Cigarette

s-l300I believe it’s accurate to say that I had a reputation for being straight-laced in high school.  If I showed up at your party (rare), and you were thinking of bringing out booze or some illicit substance, you might ask your friend,

“Do you know that guy?”

“Who? Oh, that Burns twin? David?”

“Will he be cool if I bring this out?”

“David? Uhhhhh…better wait until he’s gone.”

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I’m Bruce Wayne

glass-of-apple-juice-on-placemat_mediumI’ve written extensively of my memories of Lonoke, Arkansas and Norman, Oklahoma, but my memory goes further back to Texas. In fact, my first memory is around one-and-a-half years old, and it involved Batman in a small way. We lived in a trailer home somewhere near Houston. One summer evening, my mother had some friends over for coffee. My twin and I were riding down the gravel drive of the trailer on little plastic scooters. No peddles, just powered by our sandaled feet. Mine was green and it was a nominally akin to a tractor.  My mother had cut the rubber head of a toy tom-tom drum into a mask just like Robin’s from Batman. I recall coming in from the humid night air to have her retie it for me a couple of times. This tells you how deep my roots with the Batman franchise grows.

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Lower-Middle Class Preppy

I grew up at a time when the brand of your clothes you wore was a major factor in you determining social status. Polo, Izod, Gant, OP, Jams, Guess, Reebok–it didn’t matter if the off-brand clothing item was identical; without the brand, it was absolute TRASH and you were better off not even trying.

I learned this in my days of middle school in Norman.  I moved from a small farm town in Arkansas where I was aware of name brands, but so many of us were poor and I think we were more forgiving about clothes.  In that town, Lee jeans were the standard. You looked for that genuine cowhide patch with “Lee” branded on it. They weren’t expensive. They didn’t promise any kind of status. We just liked them. But Lee was not cool in 1984 Norman. I was set straight very soon at Whittier Middle School.  In a panic, I begged my mom to buy me a couple pairs of Levis, but I had to wait.

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