Some Notes On My Writing

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Some Notes on My Writing

Words have always fascinated me, individually and the way they can be strung together. For me there’s a certain magic that takes place when I write something that brings echoes from the soul, brings tears or makes me laugh. Writing a blog or a book is an incredible adventure of fingers tapping keys on a blank screen page. From where do the words come, these signals from the heart and the mind?

Quite often I open the blank whiteness of ‘Word’ and only have some simple words to tap on the screen. For example, I dabbled during my more youthful days in acting, stage, and did some television commercials. In a recent blog, I thought the words, ‘Action! Camera!’ Without yet a title for the blog, I allowed the two words to take me on a short ‘flash fiction’ ride, creating the story as I went along. The title in the end became ‘Love and Consequence’. In reading the piece several times I was surprised to find that multiple summations could be made about the post relative to life and its many crossroads.

Again, from where do the words come?

This might not astound or surprise anyone who reads my blogs, but I believe that some of us are endowed with a special talent for creating strings of words that arouse the soul to deliver a moving story, to amuse, anger, bewilder, entertain, inspire, intimidate, terrify. Are we thus endowed by virtue of our life sources, our environment, our genetic programming? Is it as Alfred Lord Tennyson conveyed in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ – “Theirs not to reply / Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die…”? We are all, of course, marching into the valley of death! But, let’s delay that event and thought for as long as our lives’ purposes allow.

Words and writing are marvelous gifts. Some authors distinguish themselves for their moments in the bright light are timely and their words find an eager audience. Other authors are anguished by rejection slips and their moments come late or not at all. While a jovial and sane person I perhaps would not honor my words, my blogs, my books with Tennyson, Tolstoy, Grisham, Hemingway type praise, but they are good words, good blogs, good books, and worthy of reading. Even I will pick up one of my books on occasion, try to divorce my authorship, read it and find enjoyment from that reading. Sure, I might perchance find a typo or some minor error missed in editing, but it does not dismiss the book’s validity. Sure, add to that a bit of ego and pride… I’m not immune.

If it is folly and I fool myself, so be it…there is immense joy in the penning process. It is enough for me that readers and authors I respect find my stories good enough to earn their 5-Stars. With the positive reviews or without them I am officially a slave to the pecking of laptop keys and will continue until there are no pecks left. However, there is no hiding the fact that an author wishes to be recognized.

My writing is a necessary ingredient in my life these days. Age at times bids me quit my trifling typing on the laptop keys, but I say nay and fill my days with writing. At times there are songs, poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and full-length books. There, in that lofty solitude, I stay young and vibrant. My heroes and heroines fight their good fights, and there is musing on and between the lines of what I write…particularly with my five ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’, several of which were inspired by true life events. (In fact, as a side note, there were to be six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ — “A Stranger Abduction” is missing — but, with all my moving about, the second manuscript was lost and has not been found. While each book can be read independently it grieves me that some of Bailey’s musings and life situations are not included in the series, enough, however, that your picture of the man will be quite clear.) So be it! As I was saying, I try to capture in my books that vitality and youth, once mine for real, on the blank screens of ‘Word’, present the finished product to an audience I hope might forget for those moments of reading the trivial pursuits of a man in Twilight.

One area of my neglect has been in marketing my books… After all, like any author, I wish to be read. I’ve admittedly been rather inept in this digital world, trying to figure ways to promote myself, making many mistakes. Basically, I’ve been a Tweeter/Re-tweeter fool, have likely not availed myself of the proper use of Facebook, LinkedIn, other no doubt valuable platforms and tools. I’m afraid no one would consider labeling me a ‘Renaissance Man’. It is indeed time that I ask of my blog followers/friends and cyberspace in general for help in promoting my books.

Thus, I come to the really good part of this blog. Beginning on March 30, 2014 and running through April 3, 2014, five of my eleven books are free on Amazon. Hopefully, with fingers crossed and a pitiful pose, those who get free copies will be kind and give me an amazon review. Following are the books and the Amazon sites for getting your free copies:

“The Reluctant Savage” http://www.goo.gl/nTvwNo (mystery, suspense, romance)

“Mama’s Madness” – http://www.goo.gl/nnTjbX (suspense, evil, inspired by truth)

“Butterflies and Jellybeans – A Love Story” – http://www.goo.gl/tvaJmv (romance + twists)

“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son” – http://www.goo.gl/0Ln6Mc  (bio)

“Joe Public’s Political Perspective” – http://www.goo.gl/g9bzxK (musings about our nation and its leaders)

Should you like what you read, perhaps you will consider as well my five ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ titles. All of my books are available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. If you wish, please follow me on:

http://www.twitter.com/brchitwood

http://www.facebook.com/billyray.chitwood and http://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner  

http://www.goo.gl/x7j7wD

All my books can be previewed at my IAN site, with Amazon links: http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA

After my proud display of blog awards, please leave a comment if so inclined. Thank you and my very best wishes.

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The Essence of Faith

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The Essence of Faith

The freshly painted clapboard church sat near a small creek, its white purity glorified by the neatly trimmed hedges surrounding it and the smell of newly mowed grass. The four big oak trees on the church property added a symmetrical elegance to the pastoral scene. Four Oaks Baptist Church, lined up in a photographer’s lens or portrayed on the painter’s canvas, would present a nostalgic and peaceful essence of faith and Americana.

It was a special Sunday morning with clear skies and a happy sun washed all that it touched with spring freshness and sparkle. There were few cars parked along the country lane as most of the congregation and visitors came on foot to Four Oaks, and today the numbers in attendance would break all records… It was indeed a very special Sunday. One member of the congregation had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Jimmy Chadwick was fourteen years old when he was baptized in the Four Oaks Baptist Church. He attended elementary and high school in the county school system, played his basketball and football here, married his homecoming queen sweetheart in this prosaic place of worship. Jimmy worked on his family’s farm, plowed fields for barley, wheat, hoed the endless corn rows, and worked on the side for the county’s agricultural cooperative. Jimmy sowed some of his personal oats, played some petty pranks and even tried at times some bitter brews of John Barleycorn. In the total tally of Jimmy Chadwick he was a happy kid, a generous, kind adult, and a near-wholesome human being.

Jimmy Chadwick’s real claim to county fame came not on a football field or basketball court at home but on dreary sand and scrub in the distant country of Afghanistan. Jimmy, a marine, was stationed in Helmand Province at a USMC installation where aircraft hangars housed Harrier Jets. One quiet and sweltering night, a group of Taliban fighters dressed in US military uniforms penetrated the perimeter of the camp, killed two US service men, and destroyed a number of Harrier jets with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades. With only his pistol, Jimmy led an attack against the infiltrators and eventually all of the insurgents were either killed or captured.

By the time the Sunday service began, The Four Oaks Baptist Church was filled beyond its capacity for seating. The walls were lined with the simple and sweet inhabitants of the Four Oaks hamlet plus residents of the other nearby settlements. A virtual silence fell upon all those congregated there. Only occasional sobs and soft moans were heard. The preacher stepped to the pulpit and spoke:

Today we welcome home one of our own, Jimmy Chadwick, a young fellow we knew as a freckle-faced kid pulling the pigtails of giggling girls, a handsome lad always with a smile and the rough hard hands of a farm worker. We knew him as the young fellow who usually got the touchdown to win us a football game or a final-second dunk to win the basketball game. We knew Jimmy as a prankster, a devoted son, an honest and good man… So, welcome home, Jimmy. We love you and we are proud of you.

Let me just say that here in this little corner of the world our simple ways will not match the world’s big cities’ glamour and glare, their hectic ways and their belief systems that vary from our own. We hear and read about those who don’t believe in God and in the man, Jesus, who came among us, gave us some spiritual wisdom to live by, and died a cruel death for our sins. Today we see the book of Revelations coming to pass: we have wars and rumors of wars; we have the atrocities of history repeating themselves; we have nuclear weaponry that can annihilate civilization; we have miracle machines that can do so much good but can also wreak havoc upon us; we have enough people enraged by the Satan that runs loose inside of them who are too eager to smite their brothers and sisters; we seem not to have enough time to help and provide for those who truly need our help… We live in a perilous time, a time when a man, woman, and child can only deal with the darkness of the world with the hallowed light of faith. If not faith, if not a belief that transcends these ugly truths, that these mountains we gaze upon, these prairies, these oceans, seas, and desert are there by another’s hand and not our own… If not faith, what can we conclude from the pendulum swings of our lives? That we live but for the folly of a piece of gold and the dark pleasures that can only in the end seduce and leave us wantonly scarred? If not faith, why is there the warmth of sunshine? Why the evening stars upon which to wish? Why the meticulous nine months ritual of our births? Why the love and unity of family upon which to persevere?

Today, here in our little corner of the world, we welcome home our heroic son and brother who went to a foreign land because his nation called upon him, a man who wore his faith proudly and served his country with courage and valor.

May the sobs and tears of this congregation convey not only the sadness of his passing but a joyful recognition of our faith that Jimmy Chadwick has truly gone Home.  

Let us pray…

Flash fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – 3/22/1

If you enjoy my flash fiction, hopefully you will pick one of my books to read. You can see them at:

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (My bio and books at IAN – Independent Author Network)

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (Home Page)

Check me out on http://www.about.me/brchitwood 

Follow me on:

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We Got a Lot of Class

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We Got a Lot of Class

There are so many of us who carry through life certain angst, anxieties, doubts, emotional experiences, and guilt. If there was truly a way to quantify these feelings the numbers might shock us, or, at least, give us a better sense of the world in which we live. These feelings of course touch every segment of our worldwide populations. It matters not if you are poor, rich, or somewhere in between.

To the degree we carry one or all of these feelings determine how we make our way in life, how we are perceived by those around us, to the degree we can dislike, hate, and love. No class sector in our world community is exempt.

People work their way through poverty into the envied and glittering rich class… Some find their way there by attrition, a lucky lottery number, and/or by devious means. It is perhaps easier for the rich to find escape routes away from these feelings, but they are there nonetheless. Whatever the merits or demerits conveyed on the rich they are generally the group that invest their money into beginning or expanding companies that create jobs and more wealth.

The Middle Class (and its sub-divisions) ebbs and flows with the economic indicators – the GNP, growth, recession, all the fancy words that define the great capitalistic engine that moves our goods and services forward. This class depends on institutions like banks, credit unions, entrepreneurs (investors and job creators), and sound, well-managed, wise government agencies that function on their behalf. The feelings and emotional experiences are always prevalent in this class as well.

The Lower Class (and its sub-divisions) is the unfortunate class among us who most generally exited the womb into meager surroundings. Some will stay there for their entire lifetimes. Others, by love and nurturing, by their own initiative and mental clarity, will fight their way to the other classes. The feelings and emotional experiences are most easily felt in this class, and, in many cases, it is the class most accessible to change.

If, then, these simple premises are accepted, what is the point of this post?

When these feelings and emotional experiences are connected to the world, we have a combustible situation. The United States is hated by certain groups. Some groups want to kill us, end our freedom and the principles upon which we were founded. We are considered arrogant and a bully by many. At some point, perhaps our government backed a country’s leader, supplied money to aid in a cause we felt was beneficial and humane to its people, made some mistakes in judgment along the way. As a nation we have tried to right any perceived wrongs but are met with defiance and hatred…people still want to kill us and our way of life. We give so much money to countries that harbor those groups who try to kill us. Where does the money go? Does it reach the good people who need it?

The feelings and emotional experiences are real. They are deeply felt in the Middle East (since the dawn of time, countries at war with each other), in Russia, in China, in certain Latin American countries, in Africa, and other parts of the world. We the people of the United States are of many nationalities. We have ‘Projects’ for some of our minorities and lower wage earners. We have ‘ChinaTowns’ and ‘Russian Boroughs’ and Muslim communities. Some assimilate and try to learn our constitution and our principles. Some are in back rooms perhaps plotting ways to destroy our democratic way. We the people have government issues, split along party lines: some wanting less government interference in our private sector businesses, less laws, regulations, and/or executive orders; some wanting more entitlement spending, more regulations, money redistributed to those less fortunate. Yes, indeed, the feelings and emotional experiences are real, more pronounced, more volatile, and, potentially, more dangerous than a civilized society has ever known. Many people want a different world from the one I was born into, the one that gave us the ‘greatest generation’ – the world’s graveyards hold many of their bodies…the beautiful, the brave men and women who died so freedom could hopefully live on.

The ‘machines’ are now with us, adding expediency and pleasure to our lives but also kindling those feelings and emotional experiences. Nuclear weapons are out there. Can we account for them all? Computers dominate our lives as never before, the language of ‘Widgets,’ ‘RSS feeds,’ ‘Apps,’ ‘Tags,’ ‘URLs,’ on and on. Some of us get lost in the new language of the internet. ‘Social Networks’ (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, others) consume our days. Our laptops freeze on us. We rant and rave at the inconvenience of our IT system being down for periods of time. Our dependency has grown exponentially.

All these things gather in our conscious and subconscious minds. We are reminded that history has given us some rough patches to overcome, not without pain and panic, and we can be optimistic and have faith that we will overcome again. Yet, with over 7 billion people occupying this globe, so many of us have not read our history books, learned the lessons therein, and keep repeating some of the same mistakes that caused civilizations to die. Still, we can hope and we can pray…we can ‘let go, let God’!

I’m in the twilight of my years, and these feelings and emotional experiences have gotten me this far without the world coming totally apart. For my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, I’m hoping this is all just an old man’s over-reactions to the nuclear age.

Maybe there are times when we just need to stop what we are doing, as difficult as that can be for harried and hurried minds, take a jog or a walk along the beach, a mountain trail, through the streets of our towns — insist that our fragile feelings not imprison us within cages of hopelessness. Maybe we just, ‘C’est la vie’! But, then, maybe the world will not let us be so nonchalant…

I just can’t seem to get the image out of my head of Charlton Heston standing on that beach with our cherished ‘Statue of Liberty’ there in the sand and him uttering something to the effect: “We finally did it!”

I get a bit more intense in my new book, “Joe Public’s Political Perspective” (http://www.goo.gl/NNdHV0). Hopefully you can find time to read it. Since I know not how to be a political analyst or pundit, the musings in the book are simple. After all, I am a simple man.

My other books can be previewed at IAN http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA

Please follow me at:

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

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood and new page http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner (You can even ‘like’ the page! Insert smiley face.)

There is a short bio sketch of me at: http://www.about.me/brchitwood

My main website can be found at: http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

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Love and Consequence

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Love and Consequence

“Action! Camera!” the director bellowed through the megaphone.

The two actors stared each into the other’s eyes for some seconds.

Finally, the male actor spoke: “What am I to do, Penny? These corny words are not the words I wish to speak to you…”

“Cut!” yelled the Director, Simon Foxwright, lifting his heavy body from the canvas chair, walking toward the actors, his bewhiskered face wrinkling in bad temper, his glasses about to fall from his nose, his left hand scratching his bushy and unruly black hair. “What are you doing, Foster? You’re not following the script!”

Foster Kendrick slowly turned his eyes away from Penny and stared hard down into the eyes of Foxwright, gritted his teeth, shoved the big man backward and walked menacingly off the set.

“Why the hell did you show up this morning, Foster, you lame excuse for an actor?” yelled the director, watching his leading star walk away. “You walk and you never work again, big shot! You hear me, jerk-off?”

Foster disappeared into the shadows of the sound stage and a visceral hush fell upon the set. The film crew stared at each other with raised eyebrows. Penny, the female lead, had not moved from the scene-opening position. Her lovely blue eyes were vacant as they gazed downward onto the powder blue carpeting, and her long blond hair lay curled and still upon her shoulders.

Foxwright’s wrath had him trembling as he turned to face the leading lady. “What the hell is going on, Penny? Foster was fine until the ‘action’ call. What happened?” Penny did not move, and he spoke again. “Come on, tell me what’s going on! We’re losing time and money here!”

“I can’t talk now, Simon. I just…” Penny stopped abruptly, spun and walked hurriedly off the set.

“Come back here, Penny! Get back here, now!” Penny disappeared in the shadows of the sound stage. “You two are making huge mistakes!” he screamed, his voice reverberating in the large facility. He slammed the script board down, the carpet muffling some of its forceful sound. Simon then mumbled obscenities and threw his arms in wild swings through the air as he stumbled back to his canvas chair.

The silence was broken by the camera man from his perch ten feet above the floor. “What do we do now, Simon?”

The harried director flailed his arms. “I don’t know! I’ll go talk to them… You guys take a break but don’t wander far.” Simon looked at the script lady and assistant producer. “Take a break, ladies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll see if I can straighten it all out.”

Soon the soundstage was empty. Outside, the film crew drank their coffee, smoked their cigarettes and whispered among themselves.

Foster was reluctant to answer the soft door rapping in his dressing quarters. When it became more insistent, he yelled, “Go away! I don’t want to talk to anyone!”

The rapping continued. Foster angrily rose from his chair, rushed to the door, and yanked it open, banging his head in the movement. He tenderly rubbed his brow and could feel a knot forming. Wisps of his black wavy hair stuck to the sweaty forehead.

Penny did not wait to be invited into the suite. She timidly walked in and took a seat in one of two stuffed chairs, her eyes shifting from Foster to her nervous hands resting now on her lap.

Foster sighed, slammed shut the door and took a seat next to Penny. He took a deep breath and spoke: “Why, Penny? How, Penny? I just don’t understand.”

“It just happened, Foster, I…”

He interrupted her, “Just happened! Just happened! I fell in love with you. You felt the same way, you said. How can you turn so quickly?”

“I didn’t lie to you, Foster. I do love you…but I’ve been lying to myself for so many years. When Ellie did the set scene with me, it was so real for me. I wanted her to touch me and I wanted to touch her…”

“Oh, sweet Jesus, stop! I don’t need to hear this. I’m not homophobic, Penny, but this is true life hitting me in the face. The woman I love is not in love with another man but with another woman…”

“Her name is Ellie, Foster. She is not just another woman to me. Yes, I love her… And I love you. Is that not possible, to love two people of opposite gender in the same way? It was not my intent to deceive you. I thought you were enough for me. Then, Ellie opened new desires within me…” Foster’s head was turning side to side. “I know this hurts you, Foster, but you cannot hate me… I love you…”

“And, you love Ellie! Where is this supposed to go, Penny? Are the three of us to form a ménage a trois and live happily forever after?”

“I would love the arrangement, but you don’t want that and neither does Ellie…”

“My God! I can’t believe what I’m hearing! So it’s been part of your discussions, has it? How cozy! This is ridiculous, Penny. It hurts like hell, but I must somehow get over you… Now, will you please leave?”

“Foster, please! Can’t we talk more about this? I don’t want to lose you!”

“And, you don’t want to lose Ellie, right?”

Penny lowered her head to her lap.

Foster stood, gently took Penny’s hand and led her to the door. “You must go now. We have no more need for talk. I will make arrangements to either kill the movie or have Simon replace me and re-shoot the prior scenes.”

“But it will be a financial ruin for us and…”

He interrupted her again. “You think about finances at this moment, Penny? I’m seeing yet another side of you that is not appealing… Now, please leave.”

He opened the door for her exit.

*****

The movie was made with Foster’s replacement, and the two actors never spoke again.

Foster left show business for aviation. He had been a Navy pilot, would get his commercial license and fly the international routes for a well-known airline. He would happily marry a first-class business passenger he chanced to meet on one of his flights to Singapore. They would have two sons, a daughter, and become a family favored with good tidings and joy.

Penny would part from Ellie in a year after discovering deception in their relationship. She would go on to become a famous actress but would never again have a serious love affair. She would become very private in her social activities and famous for the lovely starlets she introduced to the silver screen, many of whom sojourned as workers in her Holmby Hills mansion.

Flash Fiction authored by Billy Ray Chitwood – December 16,2016

 Please visit my Website, preview my 14 books, see some book reviews, and read some author comments:

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Stepping Into The Future

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Stepping Into the Future

It is theory at the moment, but I’m thinking this nanotechnology and nanorobotics thing I’ve read about is exciting. Some are saying it is likely and could possibly be viable in the 2020s for medical procedures, and, wait for it, the extension of life.

Number one, what is it, exactly? Well, I can try in my charming southern-boy way to explain it, but, in our web-world today you can google ‘nanotechnology’ and get a more thorough, a much more accurate and scientific explanation.

Number two, what moral issues and problems can nanatechnology mean for our world?

Number one, Nanotechnology is the engineering of molecularly precise structures and, ultimately, molecular machines. The prefix “nano-” refers to the scale of these constructions. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, the width of about five carbon atoms nestled side by side. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to medicine. The ultimate tool of nanomedicine is the medical nanorobot—a robot the size of a bacterium, composed of molecule-size parts somewhat resembling macroscale gears, bearings, and ratchets. Medical nanorobotics holds the greatest promise for curing disease and extending health span. With diligent effort, the first fruits of medical nanorobotics could begin to appear in clinical treatment as early as the 2020s. Okay, those definitions in italics were not the charming southern-boy’s words but those in an article on a google site I happened to find. It was in a 2009 article of the Life Extension Magazine. The article goes on to explain how these nanorobots will be manufactured in a molecular factory of the future, how these nanorobots will be able to perform multiple tasks after being injected into our bloodstreams. As I understand it, there will be nanorobots for cancer treatment, for diabetes treatment or eradication, for the removal and replacement of diseased cells, for extending life indefinitely…

And this, of course, leads us to…

Number two, what will or would be the ethical and moral issues raised by this nanotechnology? Anyone remember Doctor Frankenstein and the monster he pieced together from dead bodies and brought to life with a lightning bolt? Well, perhaps this nanotechnology is not quite like Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments, but it can certainly raise some important questions. Will the nanotechnology lend itself only to limited USDA approved usage? But we know from history when new technology is introduced, there are elements within our society that will find ways to use it in a criminal way. Will the nanotechnology give us that immortality that so many if not all of us seek? Will it give us those fresh new bodies and minds to go back and makeover the wrongs of our lives? Will it keep love forever new and fulfilling, or, will it lead to family displacements and more children for adoption services? Will there be an eternal happiness cell to inject into our blood streams as well? Will we all become Elois answering to the siren of some new God? What will become of religion and faith? Will there be fulfillment of the Secular Age? Will the new technology defy Mother Nature herself, disrupt the clouds that carry tornadic destruction, keep tsunamis from our shores, find ways to beam-up to Mars and the moon, keep the oceans calm?

Well, I don’t need to take this any further. Your mind can do the math, as they say.

For me, here in twilight, nanotechnology, should it come to fruition, will be Anno-BillyRay, beyond my living span. For that, I should no doubt be grateful. My father and mother, their fathers and mothers, my sister, many friends and acquaintances have passed on and I wish to see them again in a simple, less cluttered Dimension, a Kingdom that exists to those of faith, a Kingdom of which the Son of God spoke over two millennia ago. If all goes right I shall be in that Kingdom, smiling down, bemused by the awkward and frantic moments of humankind, knowing then the eternal flash of truth.

Each of us has a compass through life. Your compass might be quite different from my own… That’s the way we are served up. Otherwise, we would all be eating vanilla, OR, we would all be ‘robotic’.

Okay, my compass has led me to write a few books during my earth-stay. They are likely not classics but they are generally easy reads, mostly lively gritty mysteries inspired by true events, romance, bio/memoir, or some simple thoughts on government and politics. It is my hope you will read a few and enjoy them… There are some 5-Star Reviews among the various titles. You can find more information on the books and me just below:

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN – Independent Author Network)

Please follow me Twitter (@brchitwood) – on http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood) and on http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner

Also on LinkedIn http://www.goo.gl/cPGFQl

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