Meet Dr. Timothy Tays

Meet Dr. Timothy Tays
He is humble! He is kind! He prefers ‘Tim’ to ‘Dr.’ or a formal address… By my reckoning, with the years he has put into his education and his practice to become a foremost Clinical Psycholgist, he deserves to be called Dr. Tays. In any event, he is first and foremost a family man, with a lovely wife, Renni, and a son, Gentry. I am proud to call this man my friend. These assessments of the man I make after having spent some leisurely hours with him and his family.
Humble? Kind? These are words that accurately describe this graduate from the University of Kansas. There are other words that have been accurately associated with Tim: competitive, obsessive, driven… You see, Tim was a nationally known long distance runner at UK and his history shows him as a fiercely competitive runner who was driven by some inner motivation to become the distance God of running. In fact, after his years of competing with the best runners on earth, he would write a book that described those years of passion and angst, a book that he had to write to find those pieces of himself that would make him more complete.
Tim just recently released “Wannabe Distance God: The Thirst, Angst and Passion of Running in The Chase Pack – – Having read the book, I can say with the utmost sincerity that Tim has a penchant for writing and a particular zeal for writing about distance running. His prose is crisp with an edge that makes you want more. His style shows excellent writing skills, and he is an author who can write in any genre
Yes, the book is about distance race running, all the sweat and work it entails, but it is for me first a book about Life, about the subtle realities of a kid’s world, the bullies, the need to excel and to prove oneself, the fears, the anxieties, those unseen enemies of our spirits and our souls. I am so proud of this good man, of his values, of his help and support to others, and of this superbly written book that anyone favoring a particular genre would gain important vitae about life and living. There are many 5-Star reviews for this book on Here is a sampling:
5-Star Review – I Wannabe a Writer Like Timothy M. Tays, PhD, June 23, 2013
This review is from: Wannabe Distance God: The Thirst, Angst, and Passion of Running in the Chase Pack: A Memoir by Timothy M. Tays (Paperback)
In distance racing, only one athlete wins the gold medal. All of the other finishers are by definition, wannabes.

From this perspective, squandering the best years of one’s youth and early adulthood running great distances in a quest to win that gold medal and be counted among the so-called “Distance Gods” seems, to those who are unafflicted, a fool’s quest. But for the competitive distance runner, races aren’t meant to be run, they’re meant to be won. In his superb memoir, Wannabe Distance God: The Thirst, Angst, and Passion of Running in the Chase Pack,Timothy M. Tays, PhD, finally wins his long sought-after prize.

Truth be told, Tays was waaay better than a wannabe. He was a truly great high school and college runner. But when compared to the best of the best distance runners in the world, the ones with all the gold medals, well… Let’s say that as tenacious as he was as a runner, kicking butt and taking names, Tays is even better as a writer, maybe much better. In runners’ lingo, he KILLS this story. Which is a good thing, believe me.

The memoir is written from the perspective of a clinical psychologist who was required to submit himself to analysis during his academic training. Tays made the most of his opportunity to make sense of his unique childhood, his need for recognition, and his relentless passion for gold-painted alloy medals. The result of this inner work and written introspection is a healthier self-appreciation of a life well-lived and refreshingly reconciled at its mid-point. Reading Wannabe Distance God is like therapy, experienced in 251 pages of a personal journal. Tim’s couch becomes our couch, and the result for him and his readers is pure gold.

Tays shares candidly and vividly about the playground bullies and family issues that lighted the fuse of a human rocket, who burned so bright and soared so high, and ran so fast so far, that he earned the nickname Timmy Two-Mile. But this gripping account also reveals a psychologically complex youth with couch-worthy issues, being pushed and pulled into longer and longer bouts of self-imposed, long-distance (read marathon) suffering. Could it all have been a coping mechanism?

We are invited to tie-on our racing flats and join him as he pushes himself through the agonizing crucible of distance running. Tays lightens the read with well-timed hilarity. His many well-earned victories give readers an opportunity to remember their own “As Good As It Gets” moments, which grownups often fail to celebrate. This is a poignant, funny, irreverent, and beautifully written chronicle. Tays sucked the marrow from his life as a wannabe distance god, and these pages show him licking the bones.

The story follows Tays from the dust trails of New Mexico to the wheat fields of Kansas and beyond. He set school records and won conference championships for the hallowed University of Kansas Track Team, but saw his feats overshadowed by Jayhawk legends Jim Cunningham, Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, and a few contemporary teammates. This reviewer was one of Tim’s teammates on the KU track team. (My middling accomplishments as a wannabe decathlete paled by comparison and will go unmentioned.) We spent time together and became friendly teammates, but the combustibles that fueled this inner fire were unknown to me until I read his story.

Doctor Tim could have billed me at his hourly rate for the therapeutic wisdom embedded in this book, and I would’ve gladly paid it. If you are fortunate to live near Scottsdale, Ariz., set up an appointment. Otherwise, do yourself a favor – buy the book. It’s a great read, and a real bargain.

You can follow Tim on Twitter – (@timothytays)
Visit Tim’s Website at
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Meet John Dolan

Image This trademark picture of John Dolan might lead one’s imagination to suspect that this is a man of daring, perhaps out on safari facing the giants of the animal kingdom, a man of mystery and intrigue. One could look at this image and consider the man under the hat either very timid, or, suspiciously avoiding recognition… I had some other scary thoughts about this man when he interviewed me some months back at his ‘Dubai Dungeon’ with an odd. hulking gray-skinned Cyclop assistant named Digby — hmm! wonder whatever became of Digby (haven’t heard of him in months). Anyway, the Dubai Dungeon was a bit like the hat – deceiving. Actually, John’s blog is called ‘Galericulate’ (defined as ‘covered, as with a hat.’) You can always visit him at Galericulate at The interview of me was indeed original, witty, and also very informative, showing the different shades of John Dolan. (I shall include that interview at the end of this post – for your pleasure, I hope!)

The man under the hat is British, living now in Thailand with his lovely wife, Fiona, and family. He is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. Hence, the reason for this post. John Dolan wrote “Everyone Burns,” book one of his trilogy, ‘Time, Blood, and Karma mystery series,’ and it is a superb, thrilling read about a worn down detective, David Braddock, fighting not only himself but the underbelly crowd of Thailand. Some charred remains of Europeans are discovered on the Thai island of Samui, and this starts the non-stop action…and Braddock’s efforts are definitely not helped by his having an affair with the Police Chief’s wife… But I will say no more here about “Everyone Burns” except that it has a multitude of 5-Star reviews and is one of my all-time favorite books.

What I really want to write about here are two things: 1) Book Two of the trilogy, “Hungry Ghosts” and 2) The man under the hat.

1) “Hungry Ghosts” – Unfortunately, I can’t say a lot about book two in the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’ except that it is COMING OUT VERY SOON, and I shall be one of the first to buy when available. “Hungry Ghosts” has been written, has gone through most of the final editing phase, and I’m guessing it will be out within the next few weeks. One thing I know, having had the titillating experience of reading Book One, “Everyone Burns,” I’m like the proverbial kid in the candy store… Yes, John Dolan will do that to you! Please be on the lookout for “Hungry Ghosts” – it will be my personal promise to you that your reading appetite will be craving more from this man.

2) The man under the hat is not only my friend but he is a man of profound wisdom and wit. He is also an excellent poet, in the mold of the great English Romantics who gave me impetus to become a wordsmith, to play in the sand pile of words, to create stories that were uniquely my own, to turn phrases that could either bring me to a smile or bring a tear to my eye, to make me more aware of who I really am. The writing process does that for me and I make no pretense at greatness for my books, but I like them. John Dolan, I’m reasonably sure, feels much the same way about his writing as I do of my own. The difference between our writings? My tales tend to be gritty and simple tales, some inspired by true events. John’s writing brings an extra dimension which causes me some envy – he has the capacity to maintain a scholarly tint to his prose, to make a metaphor seem golden, to entertain a reader in a masterful display of diction and delirious fun. John Dolan is a master wordsmith who can be a Mickey Spillane, a John Grisham, a Nelson DeMille, a John LeCarre… Guess what I’m trying to say is that John Dolan is literary and he is one hundred percent real (the masses will love him as will the literary folks.)

You can follow John Dolan on twitter (@JohnDolanAuthor) and on Facebook.

You can preview “Everyone Burns” at

You can find ‘Galericulate’ at (watch for his announcement of Book two, “Hungry Ghosts”)

Now, that interview I promised follows…

Talk to the Hat: Billy Ray Chitwood (from John Dolan’s archives at

JD  My guest today in the Dubai Dungeon is Billy Ray Chitwood, author of several books, the most recent of which is ‘What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale’. Welcome!

BR  Where am I? How did I get here?

JD  You’re in Dubai, BR. You’re here through a process that’s known as ‘Rendition’, I believe. It involves the use of secrecy, incapacitating drugs and a private aircraft.

BR   Why am I hung up by chains in a damn Arabic basement?

JD  Technically this is not a basement, it’s a dungeon. Anyway, I’m working on a budget. The electric chair has broken down so this is the best I can do at short notice. Ha! That was a pun. “Short”.

BR  Yeah, yeah, very funny.

JD  Digby, get the cattle prod.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR  Holy crap.

JD  Nice to see something still works in this damn place. OK, BR, I want to talk to you about your life. Particularly as there may not necessarily be much of it left. But first I’m going to read you some of my poems.

BR  Couldn’t I just have the cattle prod instead?

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR  Thank you.

JD  According to my secret dossier you’re from the Appalachians, East Tennessee. Which makes you another damn American. What’s that place like? They got indoor toilets and shoes there yet?

BR Well, yeah, now they do! When I was In Oswego Bottom, we had an old unpainted clapboard house, kerosene lamps and an outhouse … sure hated to make the ‘number two’ trip in the dark of night. The Sears catalog pages were not too functional … Must have had shoes but damned if I can remember them. Went barefoot a lot on the old country roads and cut my toes on discarded fruit jars – the old timers used fruit jars for their moonshine, or ‘white lightning.’

JD  Sounds ghastly. I’ve always thought the difference between Tennessee and yoghurt is that yoghurt is a living culture. But, hey, what do I know? I’m only an educated Englishman after all.

BR  Can I disagree with that last statement?

JD  Of course.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

JD  I’m interested to know how you started off in life with no shoes and ended up as a writer.

BR  I never said I had no shoes as a kid! Just don’t remember them …

JD  Shut up. I’m trying to make you sound interesting here. Tell Dr John about your life.

BR Lots of mobility, divorced parents who fought a lot, literally. Lived for a time with my paternal grandparents (Oswego Bottom – AKA Wooldridge). Lived for a time in state-run institutions – we were poor and Mom had a rough time keeping my sister and me with her.  Life became somewhat normal for me during junior and senior high school. Mom worked as a boarding house cook for some time but her real love was the Bell Telephone company, where she retired. The Southern Baptist influence was heavy. There was a ton of emotional stuff to get through. At Seventeen, I joined the US Navy to get away from it all. That’s when a misdirected kid came ‘not very well’ of age. The adult world collided with my emotions and I sort of went crazy: married too soon, had kids, divorced, hit the gin mills and met some very pretty ladies. Managed somehow to get a college degree, worked with some major textbook publishers, owned a business, and was even able to do some acting on stage, film, and television … To sum it up for you: I ate some emotional soup in my youth and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to digest it. Shall I sing a chorus from “All The Girls I’ve Loved?”

JD  Not unless you want Digby to use the prod again. OK. Tell me about your Bailey Crane mystery books. And don’t be boring about it.

BR  Five books in the series, three inspired by actually crimes. The first book, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery,” is about the brutal murder of a young actress and mother. In real life this lovely lady happened to be a friend of mine, actually got me into acting, was also a secretary to a couple of my attorney friends in Phoenix … Sorry, I’m rambling, trying to get my mind off these infernal chains …

JD  It’s alright. I’m only half-listening anyway.

BR  Anyway, Bailey Crane is a transplanted southern fellow and mirrors a bit of my own life. Bailey tells the stories with his simple plot lines, fuses and muses about his own life experiences. Book 2, “Satan’s Song -ABCM”, deals with a decapitation murder in Phoenix, again inspired by a true crime.  (Put the prod down! I’m getting boring.) Suffice, the five books deal with Bailey Crane’s life as he chases the bad guys. The books can be read independently of each other, but each book does show the natural progression through the years of Bailey Crane. Book 4 in the series, “Murder In Pueblo Del Mar – ABCM”, was inspired by an actual murder of a mother in Mexico while on family holiday. The story involves the husband/father and his relationship with a transsexual lover. The book is a fictional account but with some truth and author embellishment. Books 3 and 5 in the Bailey Crane Series (“The Brutus Gate – ABCM” and “A Soul Defiled – ABCM” respectively) have no basis in true crime, but good reads if I do say so. Sorry to be so boring –

JD  As well you should be. (Yawns, and thinks about electricity)

BR  – but the Bailey Crane books gave me the chance to explore some dimensions of myself. I call my writing therapy for the soul.

JD  I want to talk about “Mama’s Madness”, a book of yours I read and reviewed recently. But this is serious talk, so I don’t want you dangling from chains. Digby! Lower Mr Chitwood down and sit him on a crate.

BR  Thank you. You can be a really difficult person to ‘hang around’.

JD  You’re welcome. I feel a little more dignity and decorum is required at this point. Oh, and Digby bring the bucket of maggots for Mr Chitwood’s feet.

BR  Is that necessary?

JD  My lawyers insist.

BR  Ugh. They’re warm. They’re alive!

JD  Of course they are. You think I’d use dead maggots? What sort of a host do you think I am?

BR  A psychotic one, actually. No wonder you liked “Mama’s Madness”.

JD  Great book! And a brave one for an Indie writer. Tough and unsentimental. Well, more ‘mental’ than ‘sentimental’. For those who haven’t read it, it’s a tale of southern lowlifes, and a central character Tamatha Preen who is basically a no-holds-barred psychopath that tortures and murders her own children.

BR Your type of woman, I’d guess.

JD  I’m going to let that one go. It’s based on some real-life events which I believe happened in Northern California?

BR  Yes, “Mama’s Madness” deals with an evil mother’s hold on her children. It deals with dark closet punishments, beatings, forced prostitution, unbelievable acts, and three murders. It was a book difficult to write because most of us are unwilling to accept the fact that people like Tamatha Preen (a fictional name), that this kind of evil does indeed exist. Although “Mama’s Madness” has its sordid disbelief it is one of my favorite writing accomplishments.

JD  Tell me, BR, what is your favourite book of all time?

BR That would likely be, “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR “The General’s Daughter” by Nelson DeMille.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR OUCH! Okay, okay, my true favorite is, “Everyone Burns” by John Dolan?

JD  Now you’re getting it. Tell me about your latest book. And be quick about it, I’m getting hungry.

BR “What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale” is non-fiction, about me, about my memories of east Tennessee, about my wanderlust, about a marriage that happened too fast, about the kids I cherish, about some of the loves of my life, about the neon lights and gin mills of California and Arizona, piano bars, pretty ladies, and about my faith. The book is an honest look at my mistakes, about my joys and triumphs, and about the remarkable wife, Julie Anne, with whom I get to spend the rest of my life. This non-fiction book is a ‘brother’ to my first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son”, a fictional memoir which is ninety per cent true and covers some of the same ground. I even explore a family murder and a family suicide.

JD  Had enough of the maggots yet?

BR  I sure have.

JD  Good, because I think they’ve had enough of you.


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A Memory Mix

A Memory Mix


I’m writing this new post from ‘The Cumberland Plateau’ in Tennessee, looking out across a wooded canyon to the ridge across from my new home. It’s not really so important to anyone but I wanted to try and capture some of the memory mix that holds captive my brain…some bad, some good.

The bad? There was the family fighting, the uncertainty of youth, the times, and the emotions difficult if not impossible to catalog or figure out. It’s likely many of us have experienced a family disconnect and have had the confusion that comes into the young brain. I mention it here because it’s my feeling that a big part of who I turned out to be came from this environment and this time. No doubt, the heredity sides had a lot to do with my youth and with my adulthood…perhaps in some enigmatic but important ways, this heritage fusion kept me more or less sane through the years — of course, a definition of sanity can turn many corners in the mind.

The good? The happy times in the hills of Tennessee came from both sides of my family tree.

On the paternal side, I lived for awhile with my grandparents – Mama and Papa. With kids of their own (my aunts and uncles) they seemed to take no extra burden from me and treated me with much love and kindness. What the memory mostly serves up during this time are little things that meant a lot…

I remember Mama sitting on my little cot of a bed smiling down at me with her beautiful but weathered and wrinkled face, her grayish red hair in a bun, her long flowery workday dress soiled from her labors of the day, reading to me of people and things that made me stay awake long after the lights went out, lost in the thoughts of what I might one day heroically accomplish.

I remember Mama doing her washing outside the clapboard house at a big black vat, a fire underneath keeping the sudsy clothes hot while Mama stirred them with a broom handle stick.

I remember Mama wringing a rooster’s neck until its blood and body went flying through the air, her right hand still holding its head. After retrieving the still moving rooster and it finally stopped its death throes, Mama soaked the rooster in a pot of hot water, until she could more easily pluck the feathers. I didn’t much think so at those particular moments but that chicken sure was tasty when Mama served it up for dinner, fried golden brown, with mashed potatoes and country gravy.

I remember Mama churning her butter in the screened room off the kitchen, her long dress and apron tucked between her legs with the long churn-bowl, looking off toward the rolling hills at some place in her thoughts.

I remember Mama at evening time sitting in her big stuffed chair, slowly tapping her fingers on the chair arm, lost in thought, occasionally reaching for her snuff spittle can on the floor. More than anything I remember a stoic, a warm and wise woman full of love.

I remember Papa leaving for his railroad engine early in the morning with his metal lunch pail full of Mama’s goodies. He hummed as he walked down the old country road and tooted the engine’s whistle as he started around the mountain for another load of lumber for the sawmill.

I remember watching for Papa to come walking down that old country road in the late afternoon, after I had rounded up old Bessie for milking — that old cow could wander far on some days. Papa would grab me as I rushed up the road to greet him, laugh at me and try to whisker me until I begged him stop.

I remember an irritated Papa going to the front door late at night to let his sons in, followed by the sheriff… They had been drinking corn liquor and had been in a fight.

In the fall, Papa would send me into the hills to gather leaves in gunny sacks for the hogs to wallow in. In the spring Papa would have me hoeing corn, row after endless row – I didn’t like that too much and never lasted too long.

Papa would let me ride Fred, the old mule – once or twice he would whack old Fred on the backside and make him bolt. Papa had the tether line so Fred didn’t take me too far, but I do remember being frightened – and Papa laughing.

I remember Papa whittling in the evening the pieces of wood for starting the pot belly stove on a wintry morning.

Well, you see what I mean by a memory mix… Writing this post, looking out through the trees, so very much comes back to me. When my Dad came and gave me the choice of a pony if I stayed with my Mama and Papa or going to live with my Mom, I chose my Mom. I loved Mama and Papa so very much but I wanted to be with my Mom… I missed her very much.

Now, I could tell you about all the good family weekends of aunts and uncles, of watermelons and home-made vanilla ice cream at my maternal grandparents railroad station master house, how much I loved being with my Saintly grandfather, my grandmother, my Uncle Stanley, my Aunt Bessie (yep, same name as the cow on the paternal side), but I’ll save that for another time. Suffice it, my maternal grandparents were wonderful and also full of love for me — my sister lived with them during the time I lived with Mama and Papa… It was the economic times of those days that made for the family disconnect.

So here I sit, back in the state of my youth, feeling mostly good about my return to these lovely hills. As I have said on another occasion or two, maybe I’ll find some pieces of me that will help solve my own life’s puzzle.

For those of you who might be interested I’ve written a couple of memoirs that pretty much tell my story – plus eight more books of mystery, suspense, and romance. You can find them all at:

You can also follow me on Twitter (@brchitwood)

My main website/blog:

A short bio sketch:

I’m also on Facebook:

You can find me on:

Also on:


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