I just purchased a new ASUS desktop with a 1TB HD loaded with Window$ 8. I plugged in my two linux drives (OS & home DIR) but the screen was black and nothing would show up, I removed them again and now Windows is starting up again. Any ideas?

Check the configuration of the drives. Check master/slave status in bios and on the drive.

Go in the bios menu, and disable the "secure boot". It is a Microsoft-controlled "feature" to boot only "approved" operating systems, in other words, it's to prevent you from not using the Windows installation that came with the computer. The good news is, you can disable it, it's required by law to be possible to disable it.

There are probably instructions out there for your brand / model. But usually, it should be quite easy to find once you are in the bios menu (see example), which you can access by following these instructions.

Oh, and my condolences for having to deal with Windows 8, I can't imagine the pain you are going through.

If this is an ARM computer you will not be able to disable the Win8 secure boot, but will need to install a secure boot-enabled Linux. There are a few, but it is still a WIP (work-in-progress).