A Friend On A Cot

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There is this compelling need within me to record and share some of the emotions and thoughts during a visit to a small medical clinic and a friend on a cot…

Ruben has diabetes. While hiking on Sonora’s Pinacate volcanic range (where the astronauts trained for the ‘Moon Landing’) he fell on some rocks and hit his head. He was most likely dehydrated. A few days later, while on a city hall errand, he passed out as he got out of his car. A good Samaritan witnessed his fainting spell, called an ambulance, and Ruben was taken to this Mexican clinic. The Pinacate event no doubt led to the fainting spell.

My friend, Ruben, was lying on a small cot in a dingy cell-like room in this medical clinic. He was on his back, covered by a cheap and gaudy blanket, staring straight ahead at a solid wall of concrete, for all the world like a man so forlorn he did not wish my wife and me, anyone, to be there with him. He was able to speak but his words were barely audible and with a total lack of will or spirit. A connected intravenous contraption was the only apparent equipment supplying nourishment and proper medicines to my friend. There would be some tests. With luck he would be out of the clinic in two days.

Ruben’s family was just outside this small closet-like room, sitting in a slightly larger area with sofas and chairs – his wife with a kind smile, his lovely and fidgety children, his mother with the aged and creased toil lines on her face, and his brother. They greeted us upon our entry into the little Mexican clinic and they tried to show us kindness with their modest smiles of thanks for being there. Their consideration of us, their genuine warmth, would ever be locked away in our memories… These were the same friendly and warm faces of most of the people in this small fishing village my wife and I call home.

Now, standing above Ruben, who works for the beach resort where I live and serve on the Board of Directors, my feelings were jangled. Part of me wanted to cry at the scene in front of me. There was Ruben, valiantly assuring me that he was going to be okay…”no problema, Bill, mi amigo.” His voice was weak, but, then, Ruben had never been strong of voice – just softly saying what he had to say, but saying it with more verve and commitment than now. My wife, Julie, stood at the end of the cot trying to show her smiley face and reassure him that we were there if he needed us.

We left ‘la clinica’ but my thoughts would not leave me. They took me down several mind paths that dealt with the quaint and beautiful culture of this small fishing village, how the families all gathered in moments of crises, how they bore up so well under circumstances such as this one, accepting the fate that was dealt to them.     My thoughts took me down the dusty back roads of this fishing village of Rocky Point where scraggly dogs roamed the streets in search of food, where sand from the desert floor was a constant airborne gust and swirl in the wind. They took me to the middle class areas of town where lovely haciendas dotted the landscape. They took me to the poverty that was a part of this tiny microcosm of the world, where the young kids rushed out at a red light stop to wipe down a car’s windshield, where hard working people with bronze skin wearily wandered up and down the beautiful beaches to peddle their wares. They took me to the pottery shops, the t-shirt shops, the fish markets where some of the best shrimp in the world were cheaply sold.

The thoughts took me to the Sandy Beach area where I lived among the wealthy and not so wealthy folks, those who sunbathed on the sand, swam in the myriad pools, relaxed in the spas, exercised in the resort gyms, ate at the finer restaurants along the beach and near the Old Port, and enjoyed million dollar views from their condo decks.

The thoughts were there, mingling and mixing, showing me the sides of societies the world over, the haves and those who wish to have. Somehow, here in this nostalgic world of Rocky Point, Mexico, the differences were stark, enough to batter the brain with too much unwanted and unwarranted guilt. Here was a town trying to come into the twenty-first century, arriving a bit slowly, but here, eventually, with all the resources and fast spreading technology, to become another Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cancun…

The thoughts were there about the US media’s enthrallment with denouncing this country, this lovely little speck of scrub brush desert, dusty roads, middle class and poverty, and a beautiful Sea of Cortez. Never have I lived more safely anywhere in this world than Rocky Point and I marvel at the absurd arrogance of the press to beat a dead horse. Sure, there is occasional crime in Mexico and in Rocky Point but not nearly as much per capita as can be seen in almost every city and town of equal size in the United States. Try living in some areas of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Houston. Yes, I get it, these big metro areas are melting pots. My mind just tells me it’s grossly unfair to keep posting negatives about a town and a country called Mexico without certain qualifiers. Can we not use the common sense God gave us no matter where we travel. There are few places in the world today where one can wander in an area that is suspected of having a crime element. We go where we feel it’s most safe to go. That’s our world today — a bit different from not so many years ago.

My clinic visit to Ruben caused all of this rambling and I’m glad it did. Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), scrub brush desert and The Sea of Cortez, is a spot that can make you want to stay – in my case, for several years. The town has an AutoZone, a new Convention Center, a new Sam’s Club, a Walmart affiliate, a Burger King, a Dominoe’s Pizza, a lovely Malecon, a theater mall, jet skis for riding the waves, sailboats, yachts, para sailing, on and on. In fact, the government has already funded a future home cruise port for Rocky Point – to be started in June, 2013. Aero Mexico is scheduled to start two flights a week into Rocky Point from Las Vegas, Nevada. For anyone loving the seaside experience and life style, this is a good place to come.

My thoughts take me to an end point… This is a different country. The language is different. The culture has a timeless and nostalgic quality. ‘Manana’ is a theme for living. Things can wait until tomorrow, next week, or next month. If a rumor is not started by 11:00 AM in the morning, it’s time to make one up. This little fishing village where I live is making strides to become one of the best areas to visit, an area where one will perhaps stay a long spell along the long stretch of coastline we call The Sea of Cortez. There are a lot of good people working to make that happen, and it will happen!

In the meantime, Ruben must get better…not because we need him at the Bella Sirena Resort, but because I love the man, his stubborn yet gentle manner — and I love his family.

Please follow me on Twitter (@brchitwood) and preview my books at http://goo.gl/fuxUA (scroll/preview).


Linda Howard Urbach – Someone You Must Know

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Linda Howard Urbach is someone you will want to know, to follow, and to delight in her amusing blog interviews. Linda has two twitter accounts: @BovarysDaughter and @LindaUrbach. Her blog sites are:   http://www.madamebovarysdaughter.com  and  http://www.bovaryblog.com. Aside from writing books, Linda is the founder of ‘MoMoirs Writing Workshops for Moms.’ She is a busy lady not only writing delightful interviews but giving them as well – you can see at her site some of the interviews she has given. She has two books by Putnam, Expecting Miracles and The Money HoneyExpecting Miracles was also published in England and France where it won The French Family Book Award. Linda is currently working on her next book, Sarah’s Hair, ‘the tangled story of Sarah Bernhardt’s hairdresser.’

Before I give you  a sampling of her own most amusing interviews there is a unique and noteworthy novel about which to inform you. Random House published Linda’s Madame Bovary’s Daughter and it has received critical acclaim as you will see further along. Most of us will remember reading many years ago Gustave Flaubert’s classic, Madame Bovary, but Linda found a lingering nagging question long after reading the book… This excerpt from Amazon says it best…


Picking up after the shattering end of Gustave Flaubert’s classic, Madame Bovary, this beguiling novel imagines an answer to the questionWhatever happened to Emma Bovary’s orphaned daughter?

One year after her mother’s suicide and just one day after her father’s brokenhearted demise, twelve-year-old Berthe Bovary is sent to live on her grandmother’s impoverished farm. Amid the beauty of the French countryside, Berthe models for the painter Jean-François Millet, but fate has more in store for her than a quiet life of simple pleasures. Berthe’s determination to rise above her mother’s scandalous past will take her from the dangerous cotton mills of Lille to a convent in Rouen to the wealth and glamour of nineteenth-century Paris. There, as an apprentice to famed fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, Berthe is ushered into the high society of which she once only dreamed. But even as the praise for her couture gowns steadily rises, she still yearns for the one thing her mother never had: the love of someone she loves in return.

Brilliantly integrating one of classic literature’s fictional creations with real historical figures, Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an uncommon coming-of-age tale, a splendid excursion through the rags and the riches of French fashion, and a sweeping novel of poverty and wealth, passion and revenge.


Here are some Amazon reviews of “Madame Bovary’s Daughter”:

“[A] lavishly textured sequel to a timeless literary masterpiece . . . With more and more readers and book clubs revisiting the classics, there should be built-in interest.”Booklist“Readers will cheer [Berthe Bovary] all the way…Urbach includes lots of details for reading groups to discuss about social class, women’s roles, and fashion, while never forgetting to tell a good story.”—Library Journal

“Grand in scope…Urbach relays a classic tale of rags to riches, tragedy to triumph and passion to vengeance. Saga fans who adore Rosalind Laker and Barbara Taylor Bradford will rejoice.”—Romantic Times, Top Pick!“Skillfully continues Flaubert’s story…An entertaining romance for readers of historical fiction.”—Publishers Weekly

In this richly detailed, stunningly imaginative novel, Linda Urbach has created a fascinating, complex heroine.  As Berthe Bovary determines to distance herself from her infamous mother’s legacy, she discovers, instead, that a passionate life can be a life well-lived. Readers will rejoice in her journey to understanding and forgiveness.”
—MELANIE BENJAMIN, author of Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Engrossing, vivid, beautifully written, adventurous, and often heart-rending—a young girl finds her way from the depths of poverty to the top of the nineteenth-century French fashion world, led by her wistful dreams of the lovely way life could be and by her gift for making those dreams a reality. I just loved this novel!”
—STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet and Marrying MozartVery hard to put down. A very intriguing story, and Gustave Flaubert would be proud to have Berthe’s voice finally on paper. 4 1/2 stars.”–Burton Book Review

“Having read and enjoyed Madame Bovary years ago, I liked reading about Emma’s daughter, and finally knowing that she turned out alright after all.”–Luxury Reading

“I found myself enjoying this book far more than I did the classic Madame Bovary. Mainly because I never wound up caring about Emma Bovary like I did her daughter in this excellent book…I highly recommend Madame Bovary’s Daughter to fans of Historical Fiction.”–Danvers Reads

Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a wonderful homage to a great novel that also manages to work on its own compelling terms.” –Connecticut News

Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a powerful and deeply satisfying return to Flaubert’s world of mid-19th century France.” –Connecticut Post

“A rich tale of high society and, finally, a love [Berthe Bovary’s] mother never found.”
–Cape Cod Times

“Urbach wonderfully integrates the classic novel with her own creation. Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a beautiful rag to riches story filled with desire, dreams, poverty and wealth.” –Book Garden Reviews

Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an exceptionally written masterpiece rich in period detail. Linda Urbach powerfully brings to life the opulence of the rich in nineteenth- century France.” –Fresh Fiction

“It’s a creative idea and an interesting story. It’s a great book for romantic and true Victorian novel-lovers.” –South Coast Today

Madame Bovary’s Daughter was an extremely well-written novel that did justice to the original while creating a new storyline that kept me interested and reading.” –Night Owl Reviews

“Urbach posits her view of Berthe’s life in pretty much flawless homage to Flaubert as the beloved character he created. It is easy to get lost in the tale and forget that you aren’t reading a book by Flaubert when learning what happens to the penniless orphan of a truly scandalous woman. The novel is like a visit with an old friend.” –City Book Review

Madame Bovary’s Daughter is a fun book that provides some much needed closure to Berthe’s story. Recommended.” –Devourer of Books

Madame Bovary’s Daughter is definitely a historical romance that is intriguing to read and a great, juicy follow up to the old classic.” –Peace Love Books

“In a novel written in the clean Gallic style of the original, Madame Bovary’s daughter is a wonderful character, struggling to overcome her mother’s legacy and the expectations of her own fantasies. –The Historical Novels Review

Now that you know a bit about Linda, let’s get to her most beautiful blog site, eye catching in its color and design, but it is the amusing satirical ‘interviews’ she puts on these blogs that will give you a moment of chuckles, and, I dare say, some good information. Please enjoy this posting I’m including here. Occasionally, there will be others of her ‘interesting interviews’ appearing here. It is my wish to share this clever literaryweaver of words. Read on and enjoy. This is just her most current interview with John Le Carre (as you can see, my Carre is minus the L’accent aigu – that little (‘) mark above the (E) in CARRE). You will want to read all her interviews. They are divine!


Posted on April 21, 2013 by lindahoward

[I submitted the following article months ago. Needless to say, the New York Times chose to go with the piece written by their literary critic, Dwight Garner instead.]

I heard through the literary grape vine that one of my favorite authors, John le Carré was coming out with a new book. A Delicate Truth is due out in May. Who better to include in My Little Publishing Company’s “How Do You Do It?” series.

I’m not a complete idiot. I wrote ahead and asked him for an interview and when I got no response I took that for a yes, knowing how reserved the Brits can sometimes be. Since I had no specific time or place for a meeting with the author, I put together a very clever plan. I knew Le Carré had a fondness for fox hunting and so I rented an authentic Lady’s Victorian riding costume. Then I drove to St. Buryan a small village in Cornwall and stopping by the local stables, I arranged to hire a horse for the hunt.

“You wearin’ that to ride in?” asked the stable man.

“Yes, do you like it?” I swirled around in my long skirt.

“It’s a bloody hoot.” He led out my horse for the day.  “This here’s Marshmallow. She’s a bit light in the mouth, but you sez you rid plenty afore so you should be fine.” He helped me up. “Put your other leg over,” he said.

“Oh, no,” I said,  “I’m riding side saddle.”

“This here’s just a regular huntin’ saddle. You’ll fall over the first fence and break your noggin,” he said.

I joined the group of fellow foxhunters who were dressed in a much more conservative, albeit contemporary manner. We walked through the streets of St. Buryan. And it was there I spotted Le Carré standing on the sidewalk with the other spectators.  He was deep in conversation with another man. Slipping off my steed (I do love alliteration) I led Marshmallow over to the great writer and introduced myself.

“Linda Urbach, CEO of My Little Publishing Company,” I said extending my kid-gloved hand.

“Oh, yes, I seem to remember you wrote me a while back.”

“I just wanted to do an interview with you for my series.”

“Dwight Garner of the New York Times has beaten you to it, I’m afraid,” he said indicating the man next to him.  “But at least you’ll be able to take in the hunt while you’re here.” He turned his tweedy back on me.

Mr. Garner proceeded to monopolize Le Carré by asking him all sorts of tedious questions about his background, his attitudes about current espionage and the London literary scene. Marshmallow shifted restlessly as the last of the riders walked through town. Finally, Garner excused himself and I had Le Carré to myself. I realized my time with him was limited so I got to the important issues first.

“Mr. Le Carré, why don’t you capitalize the “l” in your name?” He shook his head. I heard the horn signaling the sighting of a fox and it was all I could do to keep hold of Marshmallow’s reins.

“No one’s ever asked me that before.” I was pleased until he added, “That’s a rather idiotic question. Do you have any others?” Luckily, I did.

“Do your eyebrows ever get in the way of your writing?” He had extremely long, thick eyebrows that threatened to obscure his vision.  For some reason this last seemed to annoy him.

“Perhaps you’d better quit while you’re ahead, Ms. Urbach.”  He turned to go.

“Wait, Mr. Le Carré. I was wondering if you might give me a blurb for my new novel.” He turned and looked at me with interest.

“Is it a spy novel?”

“Well, no. Actually it’s historical fiction.”

“I’m afraid that wouldn’t do at all. I’m known for my spy novels. It doesn’t make sense for me to write a blurb about a totally different genre.”

What a stickler he was. I suppose that’s what made him the successful author he is today. But he had given me an idea.

“Then I’ll make my next novel a spy novel.”

“Fine, fine. I wish you luck with it.”

“If you would just give me some of your leftovers.” Marshmallow was prancing in place, anxious to be off.


“Old plots that you aren’t going to use,” I explained. He chuckled and then walked briskly away.

There was nothing left for me to do but get back on Marshmallow and join the hunt. Just as the stableman predicted, going over the first low fence, I fell off my horse and suffered a mild concussion. Which was wonderful because I now had something in common with Hillary. I couldn’t wait to exchange concussion symptoms with her.

In conclusion, I had gone to considerable expense and effort to interview John le Carré only to find out that there is definitely a class system operating in literature in England. Still, the trip was worthwhile. My only real regret were all those annoying accent aigus that have to be added every single time you write his name. That and the small “l” are a bit of an affectation, to say the least.

Linda Urbach is a lady I’m proud to know, a lady with writing skills of the finest order, and a lady who is doing something of value in our world. I’m likely forgetting something – it gets that way here in ‘Twilight.’ Just go to Linda’s beautifully designed site. You will find most of her story there –  http://www.madamebovarysdaughter.com/site/

If you might want to know more about me, your can find information here on https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com  and these other sites:


http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (my main website, with a blog, book reviews, etc.)

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN – a preview of my nine books)

Twitter: @brchitwood

Facebook: http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

The Sea And Me

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This old guy – that would be, me – is feeling some familiar aching but also some semblance of hope and well-being. That big old Sea out my window has a lot to do with that last part. All in all, life has treated me fairly and squarely and I’m a pretty lucky fella.

We can all be devastated at times, when those ugly events hit us, like a simple marathon turning into a terrorist plot, panic and pain, like a tradition turning into another date to remember a tragedy caused by people who find it easy to hate and to kill. A tragedy can chip away at our hearts and our hopes, and it’s terribly difficult to write about. All life is precious to most of us, and we can’t quite process the minds that come up with the acts of terror. Like so many of you, I’ll grieve for the eight-year old boy who died. I’ll grieve for the boy’s sister who lost her legs. I’ll grieve for the mother of the two who suffered brain trauma. I’ll grieve for all those maimed and seriously damaged by this act of terror. I’ll think of it as another surreal event to add to our sad days of remembrance. I’ll spend some time wondering why it had to happen. I’ll do what most of us will do, care and grieve. I’ll be reminded as I so often am of an ‘Anon’ saying: “Life is really simple… People insist on making it complicated.” Now, I guess I could throw out some Mark Twain gems as well – he surely knew how to simply define some of our worst moments and some of our critters (politicians and otherwise!).

Guess I’m going to the Sea outside my window and that wide pale blue sky. It gives me some peace and deliverance. It makes me think about a lot of things, like, maybe, all this good and evil is going to be with us through life. It makes me think that just maybe there’s something good coming down the road on a day we least expect it, maybe something really good that some of us can’t really wrap our minds around too well, maybe something that will make all the hurt and the pain go away. Guess that’s what this big old Sea is trying to tell me. At least, it seems the only place I can go to lessen by a few degrees this latest human evil.

Wish there was some way to share some of this beauty and perhaps diminish some of those bad feelings you’re having now. But, then, maybe you, too, have a Sea, an Ocean, a mountain, a meadow, or a desert that can give you some peace.

For me, it’s this big blue-green Sea, this wide pale blue sky, the constant Sun, and this abiding faith that all we do, all we witness, good and bad, will make some sense at some incredible moment in the total arc of our time on this planet.

Follow me on twitter: @brchitwood

Preview my books: http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA


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Before I proceed to my ‘TAG” business, I would like to pay my special respect and say a big ‘Thank You’ to A. K. Andrew (@artyyah on Twitter) for nominating me for the “Beautiful Blogger Award.’ This delightful person put no responsibility to the nomination. Readers are invited to visit A.K. at http://akandrew.com and view her lovely art work ‘Tuscany,’ oil on canvas. Also preview her WIP “Under The Bed” while at the site.


You know the game of ‘Tag?’

Well, leave it to the fertile minds of writers to create amusing new venues for a game kids still play. My new Twitter buddy, Paul Anthony just tagged me after he was tagged by Clive Eaton (@CliveEaton on Twitter). Of course you know what this means! Another ‘chain event’ is now underway. I’ve been tagged and it is now my honor to do likewise. Here are the rules of our TAG game…

Give credit (including URL/link) to the person or Blog that caught you and who made you “IT.” As my Brit pal puts it, “I was tagged fair and square whilst running away.” No running for me – too lazy! too old! Paul caught me napping with his tag and left me in a slightly bewildered state.

While in this dubious mindset let me quickly give credit to the culprit, umm, the British bloke who TAGGED me in this little game called, ‘TAG.’ In actuality it is a fun way to do some networking, to spread ourselves out to hopefully a wider and global audience. To repeat, the scoundrel’s name is Paul Anthony, better known on Twitter as @paulanthonyspen,  and his URL/link is: http://paulanthonys.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/critic... Thank you, Paul, I THINK!

The rules are: 1) You must give credit to the person who tagged you with her/his URL/link  (this, I have done in the preceding paragraph); 2) you must answer ten questions relative to your WIP (Work In Progress); 3) you must name five other authors and their URL/links who can merrily jump through these same hoops…and who will likely never wish to hear anymore from you or about you. Yes, they, too, will be chased down and a similar TAG will be put on them. (Does all of this sound vaguely familiar? If it does, don’t expect an award necessarily – just ‘blog exposure.’)

Before the alienation of my once five twitter friends are revealed, here are the ten questions which I will answer, then pass on to ‘the fabulous five.’

Question One: What is the title (or, working title) of your next book?

My Answer: “The Reluctant Savage”

Question Two: What genre(s) does/do your book fall under? (Or, land really near!)

My Answer: Fiction – Mystery – Crime – Murder (There’s even ‘Love.’)

Question Three: What actors would you choose to play the characters in the film version of your book? (Really! This could ever happen?)

My Answer: This would require my knowing the names of the current stars of the silver screen. Coming to mind are: Matt Damon, Robert Downey, Jr., Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Stone, Christian Bale, Liam Neesen — Hey, what can I tell you! It’s an epic!

Question Four: What is the main outline of your book? (Call it a ‘pitch’ as a synopsis includes ‘spoilers.’)

My Answer: An outline? Are you serious? I’ve got a general idea of where the book is going, but the characters do all the moving of the plot and sub-plots: two high school kids, a timid football hero and a lovely vivacious cheerleader fall in love, get separated after graduation by military service, meet again years later, and get mixed up with a lot of nasty business. The ending will be colossal…That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. (Na-ni-na-ni-na-ni!)

Question Five: Will your book be Indie published, self-published, or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?

My Answer: It will most likely be published by ‘Create Space’ (Amazon) as have my other nine books. But, let the record show that I’m easily ‘for sale to the highest bidder, low bid starting at $500,000!’ (Okay, I’ll stop with the attempts at humor!)

Question Six: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My Answer: Hey, these questions need some editing! From where are all these terms coming from: outline? manuscript? draft? I’m between one hundred and two hundred pages into my first laptop boogie with this book. Some months from now, assuming I finish, I’ll go back in, read, re-write, edit, re-edit, on and on for another few months until I’m so sick of the damned book, I push ‘publish’ on Create Space, mistakes and all… (Have I been doing something wrong here?) (Okay, still trying for a ‘yuck, yuck.’)

Question Seven: What other books in this genre (or genres) would you compare yours to?

My Answer: First off, I remember some sweet gray-haired English Teacher telling me never to end a sentence with a preposition! (Sound of me clearing my throat!) Actually, “The Reluctant Savage” is told in the narrative form while my five ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are written in the first person. With that said, “TRS” is entirely fictional, not inspired by an actual crime, and perhaps would be compared generally with the third book in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ entitled “The Brutus Gate – A Bailey Crane Mystery,” a book that has drugs, murder, political corruption, rape, and love. However, I’m going to be working toward an ending that will equal the endings of ‘Bailey Crane’ books one, two, four, and five…

Question Eight: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My answer: The constant sun and the beautiful Sea of Cortez inspired me. I was sitting on my deck, watching the boats, jet skis, people on the beach, and began thinking about my school days, the shyness that I carried in those days. This character, Billy Campbell, came to me. Then I thought about the pretty cheerleaders we had back in those days and decided to take a couple of those kids on a novel ride through this book that I was already calling “The Reluctant Savage.” While thinking, a few lines came to me along with a wide-angle view of a story, and I went inside and started typing on my laptop… To repeat myself, I’m between one and two hundred pages…

Question Nine: What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

My Answer: The excellent and gritty descriptive sections of the book, of course, and the incredible, stupendous ending.

Question Ten: Teaser! There is no question ten…

My Answer: This is where I get to say, ‘Thank Goodness.” That’s how the aforementioned British brute put question ten. I shall simply echo his ‘Thank Goodness’ and use the question ten space to insert a few links relative to me and my book titles. If you really want to know a bio-bit about me, go to: http://www.about.me/brchitwood . If you want to preview my nine books, please go to my main website, http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com , read more about my Appalachian roots, and scroll further down the home page and preview my books. There is also a blog button on the home page that will take you to current and archived posts. My books are also on the ‘Independent Author Network’ at http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA . JUST ONE MORE PLUG! I repeat my blog posts on https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com , on Goodreads, and on the IAN social network. (Okay, I’m finished!)

It’s time to name the five other authors to be chased down, my fabulous five. Whatever the readers’ moods of this post, do not miss the great entertainment value these five wonderful people have to offer… Please, follow them on Twitter, tweet them regularly, buy their great books, and I promise you will not be sorry. With these TAGS, I’ve very likely put myself on their ‘WNH?’ lists (WHN? =’Who Needs Him?’). You can consider this a ‘BEG’ that goes with the ‘TAG.”

Here are my Tagees:

http://johndolanwriter.blogspot.com (@JohnDolanAuthor on Twitter)

http://seumasgallacher.wordpress.com (@seumasgallacher on Twitter)

http://camerondgarriepy.com (@camerongarriepy on Twitter)

http://edenbaylee.com (@edenbaylee on Twitter)

http://dianestrong.wordpress.com (@DianeIStrong on Twitter)

TO THE TAGEES: Play by the rules — try for no cursing, no ranting, no raving, and no tantrums. PLEASE DO NOT take this diversion out on your loved ones. You can cry, kick empty space, spit, and even say a rhyming word that fits with spit. You must also post the rules, in your own inimitable styles. As stated earlier, there are no awards handed out here, but you will know that the tagger holds you in the highest esteem. Oh, what the heck! Here is my own personal award: “Billy Ray’s Fab Five” — feel free to create your own individual designs for this award, submit them to me for approval, and, please, NO VULGAR ICONs in the designs…

You must answer those ten (10) questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress), no matter the genre, because the world might possibly like to know ‘you all’ a little better. (To be honest there are only nine questions because the 10th question was put in because it is an even number — my tagger, Paul Anthony, has a thing for even numbers! What can I say?) Use the tenth question slot for your own shameless book promotions!

Again, list five (5) other authors or Bloggers (Tagees) with their hiding places (URL/Links) so that they can be chased down and made “IT” so we can all go home and be amused and enlightened by their sassy comments and answers. now we’ve finished playing.

Here again are the ten questions the tagged ones need to answer (in case you haven’t been paying attention):

Q 1) What is the title (or working title) of your next book?

Q 2) What genre(s) does your book fall under? (or land near really!)

Q 3) What actors would you choose to play the characters in the film version of your book? (should you ever, ever get that honour really)

Q 4) What is the main outline for your book? (Call it a pitch as a synopsis includes spoilers)

Q 5) Will your book be Indie published, self published or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?

Q 6) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Q 7) What other books in this genre would you compare yours to?

Q 8) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Q 9) What else about the book might pique the readers’ attention?

Q 10) Thank goodness!! 

Much thanks to my five victims, friends, for their good calmness and patience. In all seriousness, these people are some of the most talented authors/writers on the planet. It is my sincere hope that the readers of this blog will explore their works – if you have not already.

Best wishes to all.

Matching And Mixing – World Anomaly

liebsteraward  booker-award  beautiful-blogger-award  Bill SSMT

A lucky man I have been. A lucky man I am. I get to be old now and watch the rest of the world in a blur of uncertainty, unrest, unified, and not unified. With all my mistakes upon this spiraling speck of universe, with all my unfulfilled dreams and wishes, with all the modest achievements, I can bring no ultimate wisdom and leave no notable legacy. But, here is what I believe has sustained me along all the orbits made on this magical place we call Earth. Luck has of course sustained me, but the most exquisite and precious gift of sustenance has come from Love.

“The Bible” Spectacular just concluded on television recently. The ‘Special’ was watched by millions and it was ignored by millions. Raised in an area of the United States often referred to as the Bible Belt, Appalachia, Hillbilly Country, and other names that could easily be determined unflattering by many, I watched “The Bible” with special interest. All through my early years of lower class mobility and family separation, there was a bewilderment that only a child can know and have difficulty in expressing, the anxious feelings, the fear, the frustration, the great unknowable elements that controlled his life. There are two indelible memories that have remained in my mind with some relative clarity for all the years and have convinced me of their subtle manipulations of my life, my wanderings, and to the ultimate conclusion that Love must be the most precious gift.

Number one memory, there were the family disconnects, the broken home, the terrifying and ugly fights of Mom and Dad when they were together (all too brutally one-sided against my Mom). The memory is so clear, sitting, paralyzed by my fear, too small, too scared and stupefied to make any kind of difference, so smothered by the invisible walls that surrounded me. My sister was there in her own little hellish enclosure during these fight scenes but I was totally immersed in this electrified frenzy within me. The facts would later settle within me that these fights were the result of the times, the Appalachian poverty, no jobs, the economy, health conditions… My sister and I would spend time in state institutions until the times got better. In these institutions we would see the good, the bad, and further bewilderment. It is perhaps impossible to quantify the effects this number one memory brought to my later life.

Number two memory, there were my Southern Baptist church experiences that came during those times when my Mom would make another attempt to reunite us as a family. There were the loud sermons that conveyed to me all the many sins that would keep me out of heaven if I did not repent from my evil ways (it seemed that the preacher man was talking directly to me although there were hundreds seated in the big congregation). There was not the paralysis that overtook me during the ugly fight scenes, but there was a heavy emotional magnet pulling me to the front of the church at altar call time. “Just As I Am” and “Let’s All Gather At The River” and other beautiful hymns were sung by the choir and by the congregation throughout the big church, and there went I, this elementary schoolboy, down the aisle with tears on my cheeks to confess to sins I knew little about… I just somehow knew that I must go and be saved. Memory number two would contribute to the enormous sense of guilt my later life would carry

These two memories have in so many ways shaped my life, have driven me to find love and family. What do these simple memories say about ‘matching and mixing’ and about a world anomaly? What do they have to do with the TV Spectacular, “The Bible”?

My memories are not so unique… The world offers up so many memories like my own, some much more terrible and laced with the darkest edges of evil. “The Bible” TV Spectacular reminds me that the world has been fighting since the recording of it started in our oral and written histories. The world has known poverty and family disconnects by the millions. Church leaders still sermonize about the wicked ways of man. Today, we have more sophistication to go with our wars and with our family fighting and feuding. What is relevant today and through the ages is the incapacity of people to find peace within themselves and among the nations… Pretty tough when you think about it: different languages, different cultures, different skin colors. There is so much mistrust, envy, and hate to be found in any city, town, village, and country. AND, there is Love…

Love! Faith! Hope! Love is the greatest gift of all, but it won’t come to everyone in the right proportions during anyone’s lifetime…that is, with all of our differences, how could it be otherwise?

When I look back on my Southern Baptist experiences and my family disconnects, somehow I know that Love and Faith have to become something that each individual finds on her/his own. My God-view has been altered since my childhood, but I still have my faith, fragile though it has been. I believe the Bible has truth and that different interpretations can be drawn from its pages. I believe in Jesus, that He lived, that He performed the acts attributed to Him, that He died for our sins, that He was resurrected, that all who believe in Him will live again after death. My early experiences in the Southern Baptist environment does not portray my God of today, nor does it make me feel cheated. Forgive the truism but we all do not believe the same. My faith was not destroyed by my childhood. My childhood experiences and my life up to now have simply clarified my faith for me. I cannot look at the orderly turn of each orbit of our Earth, at the Sun, the Moon, the planets and stars, and make a choice as to the ‘chicken/egg’ conundrum of our existence. I cannot look at the precision of a nine-month birth cycle and determine that we exist because of a ‘big bang.’ No, I have Faith that we exist for a reason other than just living, making our marks, and dying. Yes, we must exist in a matched and mixed world of happy and sad, good and evil, confusion and doubt, but, up to the very last mortal breath that escapes us, even in that last fleeting second, we can see the eternal light of God.

I believe that Love and God are somehow synonymous, and that tug at the soul that brings a tear of sadness at a sad book and movie is a tender reminder of Love at a most spiritual level. My search for Faith and Love took many turns, right and wrong. I was lucky to find Faith and Love a number of times, only to misplace Them. But that search has led me to this point in the world anomaly. This post is not about corrupting anyone’s belief system, not about converting anyone to Faith, Love, and God. You are superfluously allowed your own turns, right and wrong, in life. It’s just my hope that we all keep steering our lives toward Faith and Love. In that striving may we find our peace.

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