Mindsets and Regrets


Mindsets and Regrets

As many will know I have used at times my blog as a podium for Faith and Political venting, and, yes, I know, these are personal subjects that would be better left to political pundits and our religious leaders. My only excuse is that I care about the direction of our country, whether it is to be a nation where freedom and liberty give each individual equal opportunities to become whatever he and she desires, or, it is to be a nation based on some form of Socialism where history appears to tell us that the power elite government controls the people in this ‘ism’ and it ultimately spirals into anarchy. Here, I admit that my views of a capitalist society dominate…based on my life’s experiences. ‘Give me Liberty or give me…’

But, wait, I have begun this post with a ‘digression’. What I really wish to express in this post is why my mindset is to write most of my books in the genres of ‘Mystery’ and ‘Suspense’, while I would prefer to write about the heart and soul of man, uplifting and humble stories about the heroic deeds, the unselfish desires by so many to help other folks rather than themselves.

For instance, I would prefer to write an inspirational book about the three young men from the US and one young man from France, who, on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, charged and subdued a Moroccan terrorist intent on killing many people. These young men had only their natural instincts, no weapons, in charging this evil wacko from some subterranean nihilist world of thought. These young men embody the character of our country and our ideals. I would prefer to trace their lives through childhood and parental guidance, to find what lessons from which society might benefit.

God Bless and hats off to: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Mark Moogalian… Perhaps your courage and special spirit will ignite the military powers of the freedom loving countries of the world to eradicate the barbarians from hell.

Crime and evil fascinate me.

The fascination began many years ago when an actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a lovely young lady with two children and a lot of dreams. Her body was found in the desert northeast of Phoenix six weeks after her car was found near an elementary school – just across the road from her apartment she shared with the children and her mother. The case was moved to the ‘Cold Case’ file after all leads were exhausted and the people who knew her were interviewed. Some were polygraphed. Her good friends had a definite idea of whom the perpetrator was.

Finally, I wrote a fictional book on this crime, using some of the gathered data, the evidence (what she was wearing and what was found in the desert) and locations. In my book the case is solved…to use a much over-used word, the ending gave me some modest ‘closure’. The book is called, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book One of a six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’). Anyone interested in reading the novel can find it on Amazon Worldwide http://authl.it/1sv. Bailey is a bit different from most sleuths – he muses about his life, loves, his golf game, and all the bad people in the world. He gets the job done…plus, Bailey gives me a platform for expression.

So, I write my novels, some inspired by the true crimes committed across the country… I can muse and vent some anger and rage that these fiends co-exist among us. Sure, most of us know anger and rage, can even say things we regret, but we have some morality, some inner automatic turnoff valve within us.

It would please me greatly to sustain my laptop pecking through a virtuous and compelling novel about those young men who acted so bravely and heroically on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, paragons of all that is so truly great about our wonderful country.

Perhaps there is time yet in my life that I can write such a book.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 28, 2015



Amazon US: http://goo.gl/fMt82R

Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/HTQGo

Amazon Worldwide: http://authl.it/1sv












Member: #asmsg and #IAN

I’ve been honored with nine blog award nominations, including these two: 

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I Wonder

Bill Chitwood

Billy Ray Chitwood 

I Wonder

Many years ago, on my way home from a ‘boy’s night out’, after a delightful evening and after planting one more goodnight kiss on the lovely lips of my fair lady, the incurable romantic within me possessed my heart and mind. Still feeling the mild vapors from a few drinks, I began to sing, the words coming from some source I’ve yet to adequately and poetically identify. A soft ballad it was, words and music all, and it stayed with me. Arriving at my bachelor apartment I set up my recording device and sang the song into the mike…later on I would have my cabaret piano friend write the sheet music based on that taping – I feel music but cannot write the sweet symbols on those ‘key’ lines…through the years I would write a number of songs in the same fashion.

Having reached the golden years, I still occasionally sing my songs while showering, while driving along on a trip. The songs are important to me as they convey some pivotal moments in my life, and I still occasionally write them. With today’s knowledge exploding, with technology reaching its golden years as well, there comes a reckoning point for me, a point of irrelevance, a dinosaur among the SEO and APPS experts of the worldwide web. I feel so frustrated most of the time I’m on my laptop, convinced there is so much more I could be doing to enhance and promote my BRAND – I assume this means me and my books… Anyway, I sing ‘I Wonder’ quite often these days.

With all events and hard news delivered with such rapidity and urgency in this new age of technology, it is so easy to feel anxiety and confusion about the world, about our nation and its direction. Like so many others, ‘I Wonder’ why so many people can have gaping differences of opinion, why there is so much anger and hate, why ‘common sense’ seems to be absent from important decision making, why greed and special interests infect our politicians, why we the people are blatantly fed the political soup of the day, why barbarians want to chop off heads and burn people alive, why we bargain with people who hate us, on and on.

Perhaps it is simply the romantic me, the me who remembers calmer news days, people caring for people, problems, yes, but more decisive action to fix the negative issues. I don’t hear too many ballads these days, just the jarring sounds of musical instruments drowning out the singers. Then, again, I don’t hear so well anymore. Come to think of it, there is not much I can do well anymore…

But I can still write my books and my songs, my books getting a fair share of 5-Star reviews. So I can find reason to awake in the morning, work on my writing and try to find out about those SEOs and APPs that might make one or more of my twelve books go viral.

‘I Wonder’? Maybe history just keeps repeating itself. Maybe I’m a malcontent! ‘I Wonder’? My wife loves me! I love my wife! Things are not so bad!

I Wonder?

(Here’s the song I wrote all those years ago…think soft ballad!)

I Wonder

I see trees with green leaves in winter

I see the moon where the sun should stand

I see a lake where there should be a meadow

A forest where there should be sand.

And, with all this, I Wonder:

Can life be merely a dream?

A dream that can build

A love that is real…

A love to last eternally?

I Wonder!

I Wonder!

Oh, how I Wonder!


I hear a song with soft words of silence

I see a lark when there is no bird

There’s a horn when there should be no music

A sound that should not be heard.

And, with all this, I Wonder:

Can life be merely a dream?

A dream that can build

A love that is real…

A Love to last eternally?

I Wonder!

I Wonder!

Oh, how I Wonder!

                                                                                (©Billy Ray Chitwood)      

 Billy Ray Chitwood – April, 2015

Some links:


http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (Bio and my 12 books)

http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)

https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com (My blog)


Nine Blog Awards, including:

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An Interview With John Dolan – Author of “Everyone Burns”


John Dolan

This is a ‘Don’t Miss’ combo for you: an interview with a quality author and a partial review of his 5-Star book, “Everyone Burns.” If you have not had the pleasure of reading John Dolan you’ve missed a great experience from a writer extraordinaire. JD is truly a wordsmith for his times. He is also the man who introduced me and countless others to the word, ‘Galericulate’ — that’s the name of his website/blog. (See end of interview/review.) He’s the man hidden under the hat and he’s roaming around some continent or another. At last report, he was in Amsterdam. Meet John Dolan.

everyone burns
Amazon US goo.gl/nvGmne
 Amazon UK:  goo.gl/wpwjfC
‘Burning’ John Dolan, Writer Extraordinaire – An Interview (Sort of!)’
(Billy Ray Chitwood=BR) (John Dolan= JD)
BR: Okay, Filbert, take off the blindfold!
JD: Hey, not so rough! You just don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, do you?
BR: Why should I? You can leave us now, Filbert, and take Salome with you.
JD: You kidding me? ‘Salome!’ ‘Filbert!’ They’re ‘junkies…’
BR: Had no money…they grabbed you for the ‘grass.’
JD: Are you mocking me? Are you stealing my interview ideas?
BR: Show me a legal document!
JD: At least my chair is comfortable, and my straps are pure leather, not this cord crap!
BR: You left me no choice, JD, you broke your promise to take my books viral and…
JD: Correction! I said your books were vile and pretentious…
BR: Okay, okay, I understand you’re a bit angry…just some tit for tat, that’s all. I really like
your book, “Everyone Burns,” and I’m thinking ‘movie,’ ‘TV series,’ something really big.
Can we just relax and talk about the book?
JD: Can you at least put a cushion on this orange crate? You’re not helping my hemmies.
BR: How’s that? Better? Good…Now tell me about “Everyone Burns” and how you came
to write it.
JD: Guess I got no choice, but you gotta promise me you’re not going to make a habit of
this kind of interview. This is my idea, not yours. Do we have a deal?
BR: Yes, we have a deal…Hell, I thought you would be pleased!
JD: Well, I am, sort of, but this is intellectual property, not something you mess with, BR.
Plus I only get one original idea per decade.
BR: Okay, no more kidnaps for interviews! Got it! Can we proceed?
JD: The events in “Everyone Burns” take place over seventeen days while Thailand is still
numb from the giant tsunami of December, 2004. Like everyone of sane mind this great
catastrophe made my emotions run wild, made me think of life like I had never really
thought about it. “Everyone Burns” gave me some escape from the reality all around me.
BR: Really?
JD: No, not really. I wrote it for the money and the groupies.
BR: And how’s that working out?
JD: Probably about as well as it’s working out for you, I’d guess. Well … looking at you,
probably slightly better with the groupies.
BR: Here’s a quote from ‘Everyone Burns, just after a bar fracas:
To summarise, my life is one of split personality. I am in two minds about it myself.
Nevertheless, down these narrow streets a man must walk, even if it is in flip-flops.
But I am no Philip Marlowe, and Koh Samui is not film-noir USA. There is nothing
of Hollywood’s black and white morality on this most colourful of Thailand’s
Islands. And long overcoats just make you sweat in the sun. Here The Postman
Never Rings Twice, simply because he never rings at all. He has better things to
do. Lamai’s and Chaweng’s adventurers generally pack a condom, not a gun.”
You open the book with a broken cue stick inflicting injury to your protagonist and it’s like
the excitement and action just never stops after that. I picked this quote because it’s one
of my favorites but also because it gives the reader a sample of your splendid writing…
Do you have any disagreement with my assessment here, JD?
JD: Take these cords off and I’ll kiss you. The passage is also a favorite of mine. Aside
from the style thing in my writing, it is just basically who I am. But I’m NOT David
Braddock, by the way. I want to make that clear in case my wife Fiona is reading this! A
book of this genre for me has to move at a rapid pace, the action mostly non-stop. A lot of
what I write about in “Everyone Burns” has some factual similarities, the people, the
places, the time certainly. And, of course, you know my English is rather precise, proper,
as it was intended to be! WHY are you smiling and shaking your head?
BR: Never mind, just me being me! It’s a great book, JD. Wish we had more time
because I’d like to mention “People With Real Lives Don’t Need Landscapes,” a book of
poetry you wrote in 2003. You certainly have a way with words, JD, and I happen to love
poetry. As Amazon puts it, “This big bouncy collection of contemporary poetry draws on
both popular and high culture. The poems have energy, imagination, humor, and lively
speech rhythms. They are light, weighty, topical, intellectual, gory, sad, wild, and tender
all at once.”
JD: I didn’t write that.
BR: What?
JD: I didn’t write that collection of poetry. That was a different John Dolan.
BR: Are you sure?
JD: What do you mean, “Am I sure”? I’m not likely to forget a thing like that, am I?
Sheesh! It’s scary how your brain can live in such a small space.
BR: That hurts, JD. Well,regardless, I loved your book “Everyone Burns” and can’t wait
for the sequel. People should really take a long look at you, my friend…
JD: ‘My friend!’ My butt is sore here, BR!
BR: Filbert and Salome are napping right now. I’ll untie you, but, please, no fracas here.
Tit for tat, remember? Be gentle.
Please follow John Dolan on twitter – @JohnDolanAuthor
Visit his website/blog (‘Galericulate’):
Also visit JD’s amazon site: goo.gl/nElP1
(Really, follow him and read him. He’s ugly mean: it took two junkies and me to get
him here for thisChaosinterview/review!)
One final word: Since this interview John Dolan has written three more novels: Hungry
Ghosts  –  A Poison Tree  – Chaos is Come Again (written with author Fiona
Quinn) Find these great reads on Amazon US – UK.

Sunday On The Sea Of Cortez


Sunday on the Sea of Cortez

The day is starting with patches of blue in a cloudy sky. Soon the clouds will be gone and a full canopy of soft blue will replace them. There will be ski jets on the deep green sea along with banana boats, motor boats, multi-colored sails. Hawkers of serapes, jewelry, and other trinkets will be strolling the long beach through throngs of people under palapas or umbrellas, walking along water’s edge, or sunbathing. The pools of the many resorts along the beach will be busy with laughing children, and condo/villa homeowners will be walking their dogs and getting their daily exercise.

One thing that is near constant at this lovely latitude is that the sun is constant like the sea. There is humidity, not as bad as farther south toward the more tropical Matzatlan and Puerto Vallarta, but there is also a prevailing breeze that keeps the palms swaying and the conditions pleasant. The views are spectacular: the old port juts out into the sea, adding more to the curving shoreline; the new Malecon at the old port has restaurants and shops along its palmed walkways and its rocky section along the coastline.

Rocky Point is coming of age. Tourism is much bigger this year. Viper Jet, an aerospace company (AeroMxII) is hiring hundreds of people for their ‘flight simulation’ and ‘global positioning systems’ (GPS) projects. It means growth for our sleepy fishing village, and it likely means that our international airport will bbegin sooner than later to add regular US flights…now, there are only charters. Looming in the near future is a home cruise port which will, when completed, add exponentially to Rocky Point’s growth. With Rocky Point’s proximity to Arizona (one hour’s drive to the border) and the US, it is time.

There will be some who will cling to the media hype that Mexico is not safe. For me, this town has been part of my history as I’ve been coming here since the seventies. It is safe, and the people are friendly, supportive, and welcome us to their desert/sea paradise. People with common sense will already know that our US cities have pockets of drugs and crime where most of us would not venture. Bad things happen everywhere, of course, but when using common sense, we can usually avoid problems. In point of fact, safety is never a concern for me here in Rocky Point.

Why do I write this post? Because I love this old port city of Rocky Point. There is a large contingent of ex-pats who live here full-time who will tell you the same thing. They love it here and they tire of the negative media blitzes that are directed toward this beautiful area.

The other reason I write this post is, for the most part I live and write here along this lovely coastline of the Sea of Cortez. It is here where my creative impulses are most active. It is here where I’ve been inspired to write some books. I’m still inspired and I’m still writing. The United States and Mexico are friends for the long term, and, in many ways, there is some catching up for Mexico to get up to speed with some of our technological advances. They are getting there, faster than many might realize.

If you have a nostalgic and romantic sense of old Mexico as I’ve always had, come on down. You won’t be ‘wasting away in Margaritaville’ unless that’s your desire.

Billy Ray Chitwood


BUY SITE: Amazon Worldwide – http://www.goo.gl/1sy

Some Links:



http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)


The Final Curtain1 by Billy Ray Chitwood

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“The Final Curtain1” 

        I’ve always been a Frank Sinatra guy and “My Way” has accompanied me on many romantic adventures. “My Way” has been one of those ‘etchings’ to enjoy with someone special at the end of a candlelight and wine dinner, a song that can be parsed and qualified in so many ways…guess that’s my best reason for the blog title.
        It isn’t so much that those lines in the song, “The Final Curtain,” need to conjure up morbid thoughts and ‘let’s all be sentimental’ thoughts. In fact,”The Final Curtain” can conjure up benign thoughts, those that lift the spirit and put an extra swagger in our strides.
        I’m pretty much a ‘romantic’ with some life dreams realized and some that still wish to be. Mostly, these days, my writing speaks to me in so many ways, telling me so many truths about myself. Through the characters pecked out on the laptop, in their actions, reactions, interactions, there are glimpses of me, mini-portraits never seen before. Some are scary. Some are strangely uplifting and gratifying. Some glimpses make me sad. Some make me happy. Some make me confident. Some make me doubt myself.
        There is this ‘thing’ that always keeps me rooted to some true genetic spot: we can be no more in life than what we are intended to be.
        So, what’s with all the gibberish about “The Final Curtain” and the writing and the glimpses? Truth is, I’m aging with a great deal of reluctance, going through the ‘pages’ past, present, and future, still searching for the elusive and the unattainable, trying very hard to make up for some wasted moments in this passage. I’m here in the ‘wings’ and the curtain has not closed and I’m wanting to know about you, how you differ so much from me, how we are so much alike, how we can somehow better know each other.
        One of my favorite poet/writers is an ex-priest named James Kavanaugh. Among all his work, he has written two beautiful books of poetry: “There Are Men Too Gentle To Walk Among Wolves” and “Will You Be My Friend?” There is so much of his verse with which I identify. His words speak to me with the most marvelous clarity. With my Appalachian bible-belt roots, there is little wonder.
        Sinatra and Kavanaugh are my two favorite ‘etchings’ with some Kahlil Gibran thrown in, each of them fodder for the romantic and soulful parts of me. There is of course nothing wrong with the different tastes in music. There are those who like the brassy groups, the rappers, and the new gents and ladies of song — most of my soul dances favor the ballads. We can’t all like the same music. And, yes, of course, age, time, and place carry our predictable favorites.
        Now, ‘will you be my friend?’ Are you a ‘romantic’ – dreamer – pragmatist – young adult – baby boomer – timid – out-going… How do you approach the page on which you are about to spill your guts — or, your character’s guts? How much of you do you leave on the written pages of your books? You tell me, and I’ll tell you.
        If this kind of soulful musing is not your thing, pass me by…’thirty-one flavors’ you know. If you do like to muse and don’t mind sharing, jump on in. I’ll be lurking around the ‘curtain’ to see if someone shows up on stage. There’s a lot of time before the final curtain.
Billy Ray Chitwood
CrackedMirror Nook Size
BUY SITE: Amazon Worldwide – http://authl.it/1su
Some Links:
http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN – Independent Author Network)
http://asmsg.com (Authors Social Media Support Group)

TEAM TOM – ‘Walk for Alzheimer’s’ – Nov. 14, 2015 – Phoenix, AZ.



TEAM TOM – ‘Walk for Alzheimer’s’ – November 14, 2015 – Phoenix, AZ

Team Tom

When we first heard the word and its meaning, it took some time for the full impact to hit us – Alzheimer’s became a word with an ugly and subterranean connotation, a word many of us avoided as though it were in the same category as ‘leper’ or a distorted and badly scarred face of an unfortunate fire and/or war casualty. Alzheimer’s was uncomfortable subject matter, something perhaps to be embarrassed about, particularly if it was connected with anyone in your family group.

Fortunately, as a concerned society, we have come to understand that Alzheimer’s is a disease of the mind that has no special pecking order…it can come to any of us, and steady progress is being made in this debilitating anomaly. Science and the medical community have established certain protocols for treatment of this disease that plays no favorites. BUT, so much more needs to be done before we can finally reduce this dark scourge to no more than the nuisance of taking a pill once a day to keep its dementing intrusion away – if not a complete eradication of the disease.

Alzheimer’s has affected and interrupted the lives of many…it has affected my own family. With this blog post, I am seeking support and promoting TEAM TOM in Phoenix, Arizona on ­­­November 14, 2015 – WALK FOR ALZHEIMER’S – Your donation to this TEAM TOM walk of even $1.00 – more if you are able – can enable further Nation-wide research. These Alzheimer’s walks are taking place all over the country. PLEASE, your contribution means a lot.

Here’s a short link for your donation(s)… goo.gl/OhLc5K


http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (Books and Bio)



My Stag Party



My Stag Party

Up front I can say my mind had entertained some negative thoughts about my upcoming marriage. I don’t know. My intended was a wonderful person, pretty, with humility and a great heart. And, I do love her. It’s just, and, yeah, I know you’ve heard all this, I was not ‘in love’ with her.

So, there I was, arriving at my own stag party…

AND, there she was!

Can’t say I fought the urges. Sure, some bells and whistles went off in that part of the brain that made the gonads rage and titillate with visions of a hot experience, that part of the brain which weighs the duality of purpose – ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do this’.

She was all long blonde hair, blue eyes, quality-measured boobs, and the rest of the body just downright ‘Playboy’ curvaceous and tantalizing, every square inch designed for exploration. Strangely, it was her face that captured most of my attention, eyes that spoke only to me, lips that opened and closed in a way that dangerously increased my heart rate and brought me to critical mass.

It was a stag party! A stag party for me! Arranged by my office buddies at a swanky bistro on Fifth Avenue. After two highballs she appeared in a knockout gold and lavender dress and every move she made caught me holding my breath and swallowing hard. We were introduced. I stared, fumbled for words. My God! If this was my reaction to every beautiful lady I saw, why was I getting married on Saturday?

The staggering notion struck me that this lady, Kristin, really liked me, not because she was play-acting for my stag show, but, genuinely liked me. We talked and drank, and my mind absorbed the guilt-trips. The desire for her was in the ‘overwhelming’ range! All I could imagine at the moment was a long lifetime on a sandy beach of Maui.

Our patter was awkward, clumsy, with each of us somewhat humbled by the magnetism that seemed to draw us together.

“You’re in the brokerage business, Ricky?” She asked.

“Yes,” I answered with a silly smile, “and you?”

“I’m a legal secretary with Brooks and Mason,” she looked shyly into her Margarita.

“Are you married, Kristin?” Somehow, it was important that I knew.

“No… I was married briefly one year ago…” She smiled sadly and sipped her drink.

“What happened?”

“Jerry was killed in Afghanistan… You remind me of him. I came tonight at the request of one of your friends. I’m beginning to believe I should not have come.”

Kristin excused herself and went to the Ladies Room.

Alone at the small bar table, my friends in a corner playing Liar’s Poker, I felt suddenly very alone and very vexed by the evening’s complexity. The girl I was to marry Saturday was not at all on my mind…only Kristin.

I really didn’t know if Kristin was coming back to the table, or, leaving the party altogether, just making the ‘ladies room’ a departure excuse. All I knew was that I would wait until closing time to see if she would.

Then, there she was, walking back to the table. My heart did two full somersaults and a half-gainer into the deep end of my soul with feelings never felt in this life-time. Hey, it’s just something I knew! What else can I say?

She sat and spoke. “Ricky, I was going to walk out of here, but something made me stay…it’s hard to explain. This is your stag party, and I’m making a complete and utter fool out of myself.” Her lovely eyes got all watery as tears were forming.

“If you had not come back I would have spent an eternity looking for you… Look, I know this is all crazy and sudden but our hearts are telling us something…”

I called off the wedding.

Kirstin and I married six months later and honeymooned in Maui.

‘Flash Fiction’ by Billy Ray Chitwood – September 12, 2015


Promo time for “Butterflies and Jellybeans,” a compelling love story with some tense moments. Two joggers meet on a running path during a thunderstorm – in a most unusual way. The lady jogger is struck by lightning. With the lightning strike comes love, but not without some suspense…a matriarch’s great secret, a brother’s deceit and gambling habits. It will take a murder, love, and a long desert odyssey before…well, before love conquers all.



Amazon US: http://www.goo.gl/ymEVgb

Amazon UK: http://www.goo.gl/nQ5ceF

Amazon Worldwide: http://authl.it/1st











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Stranger Abduction
An Update

For those who might be interested, I have completed the first draft of Stranger Abduction and am now working on editing and rewrites. Hopefully, the book will be ready for publication sometime in October, 2015.

Risking redundancy, Stranger Abduction is inspired by a true unsolved case back in 1993 in Southeastern Arizona. The book had been originally slated for Book 2 of my ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’, but the manuscript was lost in one of my house moves. The ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ Books 1-6 are still on Amazon Kindle and POD, but I decided to rewrite Stranger Abduction as a book unto itself.

In 1995, my wife and I had a spread in southeastern Arizona which was a getaway home for us and we called it ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’. The non-working ranch was within 5 miles of where a mother and daughter were abducted two years previously.

The case fascinated me.

SO, I’ve spent the past few months completely rewriting Stranger Abduction and have put a totally new ‘spin’ to the book. The book does offer an alternate conclusion to the ‘cold case’. The father has passed on and only the sixteen siblings are left. I wanted to provide them and the reader with a possible scenario of the case with a plausible ending. The book is fictional but definitely inspired by those abductions twenty-two years ago…what is actually known about the case.

Now, as I spend my time in the rewriting (draft 2), I’m reliving some of the good times our family spent in the ‘Sulphur Springs Valley’, that desert area surrounded by mountains and defined by the lore of legendary gun slingers and Cochise warriors…not to mention Tombstone, ‘the town too tough to die.’ As with most writers, I believe my novel is well written and compelling.

To those who might have time and would consider helping introduce this new novel to the internet world, this inept launcher of books would be most appreciative…blog tours, perhaps being a Beta-reader (I believe they’re called), and/or ideas for a unique cover, I would love to hear from you.

In any event Stranger Abduction will see the public light of day in the next few weeks. Amazon and Goodreads reviews will be greatly appreciated.

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 5, 2015








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When Angels Come

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When Angels Come

In those hours and days of misery when hope cannot find its way to my pain, there comes an inscrutable stirring within that calms and brings me a modest peace.

There was a time when I was driving from Decatur, Illinois to Springfield, Illinois. On a long stretch of two-lane highway, behind a big semi-hauler and my patience thin, I thought I had room to pass on the rising straightaway. I pulled out to pass and slammed the accelerator. Suddenly, abreast of the semi, I saw a fast-moving car coming toward me. I decided to brake and get back behind the semi, but my speed was such that, once behind the semi I was about to ram into its rear end. Instinctively, I steered my car to the right gravel shoulder, hit a patch of sloping grass and slid sideways, passing the semi with its driver and me staring wide-eyed at each other. The sloping grass ended at an old wooden and wire fence – which I just missed.

I sat there for some time, breathing deeply, trying to settle my nerves. Looking off from the fence line I noticed a large red barn. There came that inner stir that gave me the distinct déjà vu feeling that I had been here an earlier time… However, I had never in my lifetime been on that highway. That moment has stayed with me for all the years, plus a few more such moments, and how was I to account for that moment in time? It happened. It was very real to me. Did the near accident cause those surreal moments?

On Cannery Row in Monterey, California, some years later, I walked late at night to my car that was parked in an alley-way parking lot. There was no light in the parking lot and it was very dark. Two young men roughly grabbed me, pinning my arms, and stole my wallet carrying all my money and credit cards. I wore a light gray suit, and the wallet was in my inside coat pocket. With too much to drink I was not in any physical condition to put up much of a fight, and the two husky guys kept whispering threats. After lifting my wallet, they ran off into the darkness. I made my way back to a phone and called the police. I then sat on a curb and waited for them to arrive… What I did not know was that one of the men stabbed me in the upper right shoulder, and the blood stained through to my coat sleeve. The tight grasps they had on my arms apparently made me unaware of the short jabs. The several wounds were not very deep and caused me no severe pain, but the robbery experience could have had a different ending, and I’ve thought about that a lot. Had I not been boozed up and an easy target, could I have been killed that night?

There were numerous devil-may-care risks taken in my younger days, crazy, idiotic macho and booze-induced quests that might have led to personal disaster… Over the years I had to believe there was a guardian angel looking out for me.

This post is not intended to be a sermon or for me to play program director, but I am not bashful and embarrassed to admit my belief in a Higher Order, a Supreme Being Who provides us with the moon and stars at night, the golden sunshine during our days. Perhaps He weeps with His rain and tosses us about with His floods and winds, sad to see us fighting among ourselves.

Please listen when your angel comes…to the deeper meaning of that ‘stir’ you feel.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 21, 2015


Promo Time

There is one character in A SOUL DEFILED, book 6 of the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, who has a tortured past. A part of him will draw your sorrow and sympathy while another part will draw your repugnance… I’m not talking about our musing sleuth, Bailey Crane – he’s always endearing, mostly! A SOUL DEFILED is about a Mexican resort with problems, like, murder and cooked books and kidnapping. The setting is the lovely Sea of Cortez where the cobalt water and sunsets tantalize the senses. It is a tale I’m betting you will enjoy – and will likely write an amazon review to hopefully prove me right.



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Do You Know This Man?

Do you know this man?
I knew him, not so well, some forty years ago…he was a habitue, a devotee, of the Phoenix neon night life, looking for parts of himself he had lost along the long road from Appalachia: lost in an abusive and disoriented childhood; lost in a flawed and impetuous marriage; lost in the glittering promise of booze and women.
Yes, I knew him, not so well, as he made all his stumbles along the way, losing not only himself but the connections to family and friends, to the people who loved him.
Yes, of course, I’m the man in the photo, and there’s a lot more to the story…hope you’ll read THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood.
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Excerpts from:
In the end, my story must be ilike so many others, a story of a simple kid who grew up eating emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it. There are no spectacular or heroic moments. I’ve been in the United States Navy, but I’ve never fought a war—except the one I’ve declared within myself. So I know not the pain of holding a bleeding comrade to my bosom as he or she gasps the final breaths. I know not the anguish of a parent losing a child in an accident, or, in war—unless losing a child to drugs can be comparable. I’ve loved and been in love, but I’ve never stepped far enough from myself to know the true and natural profundity of its happiness and joy. I’ve been born but never died—unless the demon of the past is segmented death. The prospect of dying scares the hell out of me—not so much the prospect itself, but the pitiful legacy that is left behind.
I’ve known insecurity and fear, along with self-confidence, loyalty, and pride. There have been the sins, small enough, I hope, to keep me at least somewhere in the thoughts of those I’ve loved. At times I’ve longed for ‘Nepenthe,’ the drug mentioned in ‘The Odyssey’ as a remedy for grief, the potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain and sorrow. But, then, without some pain, can the soul truly seek refuge when the long journey is over?
The jail cell brought back sobriety and a stark reality. Sitting on a hard dirty ‘bed thing’ in the dimly lit, tiny barred enclosure, the demon thoughts came and possessed me. My world was disintegrating around me! The claustrophobic cell was my coffin of contriteness, a veritable symbol of my languishing life. There again was the ‘dark closet’ feeling within me, an anxious and suffocating hell! Grabbing at the bars I pitifully called out to the jailer, but no one came. Within the limited space I paced, stopped at the ugly stained wall, splayed my body against it, and tapped my forehead against its roughness. The jailer eventually came. He showed me a smile of compassion and told me that morning would come soon; then, I would be arraigned. The fitful night would pass.
It is Time that wears down the acts and deeds of man into something forgettable, heroic, historical, mundane, noble, silly, unforgettable. It is Time that leads us warily toward the greatest secret of all: That which lies beyond the dark veil!
There are men like you in the world, Prentice, through whatever kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, who must make us cry and laugh, who record for us the stirrings of the soul which we might otherwise never know.”
[End of Excerpts]
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The Interview (Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood)


The Interview

(Flash Fiction)

The interviewer is Simon Macready of the Arizona Republic morning newspaper.

The serial killer is Michael Rooney from Flagstaff, Arizona, convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the brutal rape and murder of teenager Patricia Watts whose body was found wedged between two large boulders near the Red Rock area of Sedona, AZ.

Michael Rooney has confessed to at least twelve more homicides involving young girls in Arizona and other states, some of whom have been missing for many years. Authorities are convinced that Michael Rooney could be responsible for many more unsolved crimes that were similar in their execution.

Rooney has agreed to the interview as he claims a religious awakening on death row compels him to share the history of his life, in the hopes the sharing might aid social scientists and society to better detect the signs that lead to such evil.

The two men sit in a drab, depressing institutional room just off the death row area. The odor in the room is near stifling and suffocative. Perhaps, Macready thinks, it is the mind stirring up all the elements that have brought him to this place. Rooney is manacled securely to the small gray table. A sullen guard stands in the corner near the door.

(Macready): ”For the record, you are Michael Rooney, age fifty-one, incarcerated and on death row here at the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona?”

(Rooney): “Yeah, that’s right.”

(M):  “Tell me about your childhood…there seems to be a commonality for most serial killers when they talk about their youth.”

(R): “Well, I don’t know anything about the commonality stuff, but my childhood was like being in the oven of hell, just slowly being baked in fear and desperation. Guess you could say my mom tried but she was always getting beat up by the men in her life…and me, I got those beatings, too! I remember being scared by the sex sounds coming through the walls where I slept. I’d cover my ears with my hands but I couldn’t stop the sounds. The funny thing, as I got older, I would masturbate during those sounds. They scared me but they also aroused me. Anyway, we were never in one place very long, dodging creditors and the filthy men in mom’s life.”

(M): “Where was your father all this time?”

(R): “He only came around to grab what little money we had and to beat up on my mom and me…”

(M): “Did you love your dad?”

(R): “Love him? I hated the low-life…I wanted to be big enough to kill him. Hey, I was on the ‘beat up’ list.”

(M): “How did you live? What did your mom do for money, for food, for clothing?”

(R): “She cleaned other people’s houses, and we lived near railroads and industrial businesses…and, she stole things, took money from the places she cleaned. When the heat got too bad, we were off and running to some other nothing town.”

(M): “How did you travel? Did your mom have a car?

(R): “We hitched rides, and, on good occasions, rode the bus…we only had ragged grips to carry our meager belongings.”

(M): “Did you love your mom?”

(R): “You know, my mind was confused and crowded with the fear and frustration that made up much of our lives…but, I believe I did. There were a few special times when we did fun things, and I remember feeling close to her. It never lasted long because the men would show up for their ugly business.”

(M): “Where is your mom today?”

(R): “Couldn’t tell you… I finally ran away and became a kid of the streets – I believe that’s what you people call them, street kids. I started smoking grass and sniffing coke when I could steal it or somebody offered it.”

(M): “When did you start killing teenage girls?”

(R): “I was seventeen when I killed the first one.”

(M): “My God! You’re fifty-one now. How many have you killed? You claim twelve.”

(R): “Look, my memory’s not so good, but there are likely many more.”!!

(M): “Do you think the drugs you were using had any causal effect on your killing of these young girls?”

(R): “Who knows? I’m thinking maybe they did. Drugs, grass and powder, heightened my moods, gave me a feeling of invincibility. So, yeah, I guess they did add coal to the fire.”

(M): “Can you describe your feelings before committing these crimes?”

(R): “It’s something that’s hard to describe…I remember thinking about why I was doing what I was doing. I’d see a pretty girl walking down the street and I’d get aroused sexually. The arousal became a consuming thing inside me as I thought about the acts I would perform on the girl I was watching. Finally, the arousal would bring me to the obsessive point… I would follow her, and when the right spot came up I’d grab her and take her to an isolated spot…and, then, the mind just sort of went numb, like I was just an animal taking what was mine… After the craving was satisfied, my mind would reawake, so to speak, and I would clean up my mess…”

(M): “Was there ever any remorse after you cleaned up your ‘messes’?”

(R): “Look, I want this to be an honest interview, and, to be truthful, there might have been some remorse after the first and second, but from then on it was simply an itch that had to be scratched, an urge that needed satisfaction…and, I know that makes me an animal, a beast, a piece of filth unworthy of any salvation.”

(M): “You mention ‘salvation’. I’m told that you’ve had a religious conversion. Is that true?”

(R): “I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and I’ve prayed for salvation. I will continue to pray and hope my prayers are answered. I’ve taken many young lives and caused much grief for families…many may even forgive me, but I cannot forgive myself. I do know that, until that lethal injection, I will talk and walk with Jesus. His judgement is all that now matters for me.”

(M): “Is that not a convenient out for you, Rooney, after the hideous butchering of your young victims? Is this not simply words of a sociopath and/or a psychopath?”

(R): “Yes, I can see that being the thinking of all the people who know of my crimes. Yet, I face death for the lives I have taken, and the ‘words’ you hear from me are all I have to give… I do want people to know that my childhood, its environment, and its claim on my early life are no excuses for my deeds. Other people have had disadvantaged lives more severe than my own and didn’t resort to killing… In fact, I long for death as it longs for me. Perhaps, in another life I can make compensation for the ills of this life.”

A bell went off nearby, and the guard in the corner came and took Michael Rooney back to his death row cell.

As Simon Macready drove away from the Arizona State Prison he breathed deeply of the clean September air and thought about the interview. There was perhaps not so much new in the interview that would give clues to society and preclude other such tragedies. For Macready, the mind and its wiring held many secrets, many of which our greatest minds might never discern. He thought of his own teenage daughters, knew that parental governance was of the utmost importance in raising them – discipline, diligence, faith, and a lot of love… He wished there was a magic knob he could turn to make the world a safer place.

He turned his car radio to a classical music station…he had his notes and he had to get away from the interview for a while. He wanted to get home to his wife and children.

[NOTE: the names used in this ‘flash fiction’ are fictitious and not to be associated with anyone having the same names.]

©Billy Ray Chitwood – August 7, 2015

Time to promote one of my books. Because the blog has been about evil-doing, I introduce you to Mama’s Madness… It has plenty of evil, and, it is inspired by a true story – about a mother who tortured her kids, murdered two of her daughters and one ex-husband. It all happened in Northern California many years ago. So, meet the mother from hell. Emotionally, it was a tough book to write and I’m sure the reading will be the same… There are forty-five reviews of the book on Amazon, most of which are 5-Stars and 4-Stars. Did I mention? Mama’s Madness has been optioned for a screenplay. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – maybe we will see it on the big screen one day… Please read and leave an Amazon Review, an author’s life-blood. (My twelve books can be found on http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com.) 

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