CTSF Information Assurance Manager inside the mind of a Texas Ranger
July 11, 2012
A long time ago, when television was broadcast in two colors, each episode of the "Superman" series began with the words "â€¦disguised as mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kentâ€¦".
Nowadays, here at the Central Technical Support Facility at Fort Hood, the author of a series of adventure and folklore books might be introduced as being "disguised as mild-mannered Information Assurance Specialist, Dr. Bill Stephens."
Stephens, a long-time member of the CTSF family, recently published his seventh book, A Texas Ranger in Arizona, a continuation of a series of tales centering on Spence Pierce, a rough and ready character he created in his very first book.
Publishing even one book wasn't really on Stephens' list of priorities back in 2001 when, just to relieve a period of boredom, he started writing.
"I was the financial coordinator for (a health care company) in Maryland," he recalled. "One day I got bored, and knocked out twelve to fifteen pagesâ€¦it wasn't even really a story â€¦and e-mailed them to my older brother."
A few days later, Stephens' brother replied.
"Where's chapter two?"
So he wrote a little bit more, and sent those scribbles off in a second e-mail.
Again: The reply.
"Where's chapter three?"
It was at that point Stephens started to believe he had something more going for himself.
"I thought maybe I did have a book, and about six months later, I had the first one finished," he said.
"I did a lot of research," he added, "and sent my manuscript off to one publishing house in New York City. It was accepted on the first submission."
His first effort was dubbed "Coastal de Rey", and introduced his readers to Pierce. He wrote the sequel, continuing Pierce's exploits, "Mountain Drifter", while on the road for his then employer, the Internal Revenue Service. That was followed by another in the Pierce series, "Comanche Teams (Mesa De Lagrimas)."
The attack on the World Trade Center, however, nearly ended his writing career, costing him his publisher. It certainly put Pierce's adventures on hiatus.
But by that time, writing had become an integral element of Stephens' life -- not his day job, but something that needed regular attention.
His fourth book evolved after Stephens had begun working at the CTSF.
"One of the guys here," he said, "told me the story of a dream he had."
The dream inspired Stephens' first foray into the literary realm of the supernatural, and became "Dome of Evil." That manuscript was picked up by a new publishing house, and came out in print in 1995.
Stephens' apparent detour into the supernatural resulted in a series of ghost stories published in a compilation of spooky tales called "Ghostly Tales of American Jails," and "Haunted Highways of Texas."
And the inspirations just kept on coming.
"We had a brand new baby granddaughter, and I was just going to write a five- or six-page story for my wife to read to her while babysitting," Stephens recalled.
The "five- or six-pager" became the 172 pages of "White of Snow: An Fairie Tale Extraordinaire."
His first two books were subsequently re-released by his new publisher, and Stephens followed up, by bringing Spence Pierce back in "A Texas Ranger in Arizona."
Right now, Stephens is planning to give his grandsons writing time equal to that he spent on his granddaughter.
"I'm working on a story for my grandsons. I think it will be called 'Knight of the Oval Table.'"
Stephens is also working on what he termed "a major publication" in the science fiction realm.
So, for a man whose day job is verifying the veracity and viability of software systems, Stephens has become a fairly prolific writer.
How does he do it?
"I just sit at the computer and write," he said. "If there's something I don't like, I just delete it and do something else."
Incidentally, Stephens' books can be found at Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.
Not bad for a guy who got bored one afternoon and decided to do a little writing.
Stephens lives with his family in Copperas Cove, Texas, where, in addition to his writing, he has served as a member of city council.
Bill is the Information Assurance Manager for the CTSF. Beyond that he is the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) agent for the Department of the Army's Chief Information Officer/G-6(DA CIO/G-6). His job is to certify software before it can be put on the test network here, or put out for distributive testing. He is in charge of the process by which information systems are certified for compliance with DoD security requirements and accredited for operation by designated officials. DIACAP is the standard under which all DoD information systems will achieve and maintain their Authority To Operate (ATO). All systems coming in for testing here must have the ATOs in place before they reach the test floor.