I, Darrel F. Loyd, am a first-time author.
Born in the county of Los Angeles, California, my parents moved my older brother and me to Chicago, Illinois when I was still a baby. The Midwest region of the U.S. is where I grew up to become a shy gay man and where I would spend the next three decades before moving back to California. I worked as a part-time stock boy on a retailer’s loading dock for several years while attending high school. I graduated at the age of seventeen, six months earlier than most of my classmates. My life soon became all about the working world and the things I could afford to buy.
Over the next thirty years, I would devote my time and energies to advance my professional career. During this time, I entered the visual merchandising field where I worked for several large retail companies, most notably at Bloomingdales. When my career ended at Bloomies as director of visual merchandising, I utilized my experience to secure another visual merchandising director position at Bigsby&Kruthers, a high-end men’s and women’s clothing chain based in Chicago. During the six years I was employed at Bigsby, the company grew exponentially and I was promoted to vice president of store development and visual merchandising for their three retail divisions consisting of fifty-three stores and a retail shop in the Michael Jordan restaurant. My department was recognized by the retail industry for our projects and my work was published in many trade magazines. My team also won numerous design awards for our creative store and shop concepts. I went on to become vice president of operations for a lighting distributor in Chicago, creative director for a store fixture manufacturer in New York City, director of lobby design for a national commercial real estate company, president of business development for a logistics organization in Arizona, and eventually established my own company in California, where I reside today.
While I realized that I was gay early on in my teenage years, it was something that I hid from most everyone until I was twenty-five years old. At that time, the AIDS epidemic ravaged the gay community, which made me withdraw from those who would have judged me for my sexual preference. This caused me to revel in hedonism and reckless behavior, self-medicating to subdue my fears of dying a painful and horrible death. During my years of recreational drug use and eventual isolation, I lost my way. My dream of finding a loving man and eventually having a family of my own became a living nightmare, until one day when I had an epiphany—I came to realize that my life without “something" to give me hope, understanding, and love, was a life that made very little sense. At last, I was finally able to embrace the world and all its possibilities.
The doG House of Cards is the story of my spiritual journey of self-discovery.