Melodie’s Magic


Melodie’s Magic

Melodie had the face of an angel, her soft blue eyes and Madonna face framed with long blond curls and a smile melted the heart. There was instant magic the first moment I met this child of deplorable chance.

By marriage Melodie was the daughter of the daughter of my wife’s step-mother. One of two children, Melodie asked for no special treatment, was afforded little to keep her as natural as it was conceivably possible to do. Yet, there were times when special treatment for her Cerebral Palsy was necessary, when she would fall and could not get up, when roughness of play would cause her injury or pain. Through whatever the moments might bring, Melodie wore that smile which gave her ownership to my heart and made me want so much for her.

I fell in love with little Melodie the first time I saw her and she with me. With each visit, my life was enriched by her sweet disposition and also saddened by the fact that she would never grow to lead a normal life – a life of an active wife and mother, a life of exploring, hiking, doing the things that lovers and families do. There is no accurate portrait I could paint that would do justice to this angelic child of special design.

When she saw me walk through the front door her mood became combustible with joy and she would hobble to greet me. I would hold her, cover her pale cheeks with my kisses, and ask her to tell me about her recent experiences – which she gaily did while being teased by her sister. Soon, she would settle into games with the toys she loved so much, busy with the little spats that came when the sister would tease her by taking a toy.

While it was always a strange rapture to see Melodie it was also an emotional release when leaving. With that feeling of release came an odd guilt – here was a child I truly adored but felt the need to be away from her because I had to watch her awkward movements, to watch her face change with a spasm of pain, when she saw what her sibling was doing but she could not. It tugged so much at my heart that I would rush our departure…such an amalgam of colliding emotions that I needed to be gone.

There were many visits until the time came for life shifts, a relocation move, a divorce, or a death.

Then, Melodie was gone from my life, but I think of her often, wonder what life options have been offered to her, where indeed she has ended up.

This is a personal post with no real final objectives. I simply think of Melodie from time to time, miss seeing that angelic face and her cute little actions, wonder about her and the path her life might have taken. Her parents loved her dearly, wanted her to have as close to a normal life as she could have, and they chose wisely not to play ‘favorites’ with her. But, amid the family façade of normalcy there was a palpable sadness… I felt it each time I visited, and, despite that love I felt for Melodie, my own fragile heart had to be away from her.

Life can be presented and received so differently by people. For me, my heart awakened each time I saw that beautiful little lady hobble toward me with her arms and heart open to me. In those moments there was something so special which will live with me forever. For me there was in those moments something indecipherable but almost certainly messaging from the soul…some binding acknowledgement of love. Alas, with the ecstasy came anomalous stirrings of the heart.

Flash Truth authored by Billy Ray Chitwood

Please leave a comment is so inclined. Thank you and best wishes. – (personal website – my books – reviews – blogs) – (IAN – Independent Author Network – my books) – (@brchitwood) – LinkedIn

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Writing And Me


Writing And Me

It is more than likely that we who write have many idiosyncrasies, patterns, and similarities. Some authors/writers have a special time during the day when the prolific flows occur. Some of us prefer early morning, others late night, still others when the spirit moves them. Presumably we can all agree that the time-element for writing is an individual thing.

What I write does not always do it for me but it comes close enough to make me feel that it is good writing. Sure, even after all the editing and re-writes, I can probably go to any page and find a word or phrase that I would change. Also, almost assuredly, there will be a small number of careless and clumsy typos and/or noun-verb disagreements. Will it bother me? Of course, it will bother me because I try for perfection – like we all do.

The plot, sub-plots, characters, and action? Will they be all that I want them to be? In some instances, yes. In some, no. However, if the tie-ins meet my approval, if the characters are drawn well, I will settle for the finished product. The essence here is that one strives to write the perfect novel, short story, blog, flash fiction, but can always find flaws, minor though they might be. I have come close, by my reckoning and my measuring stick, to writing an almost perfect novel, better than the first, the second, or the others I have written. I say ‘almost’ because there was something else that could have been written to make it all the way perfect. The reason that ‘something else’ was not written? So much time was consumed in the writing, in the re-writing and editing, that I tired and my impatience settled in the end for what was there.

So, what am I trying to say? Like the good golfer who can never win his first PGA tournament, like the good tennis professional who just can’t win the big final, like the carpenter who thinks he can get by with nails instead of screws, we as writers are good but cannot quite take it to the next level. We have the talent but maybe we lack that special spark of enlightenment, that patient ‘stick to it’ quality that will make our books best sellers and movies.

Do not get me wrong here. Writing does it for me. When I turn that special phrase that says everything I want it to say, that’s magic. When I write something that emotionally rouses me to tears or to anger, that’s really special for me. When my fingers dance merrily around those laptop keys in an almost automatic flowing, and, in the re-reading, it knocks me off my feet, that’s a winning lottery ticket. So my plots are not too convoluted and my stories are rather simple. That’s okay because somewhere in that mesh of words is part of me, visible on and between the lines – my legacy to those who love me and those who wish to know me.

With so many million writers across the globe, some for real, some not so much, the odds are long and near impossible for us to reach that pinnacle for which our egos wish to attain. When I ineptly try to market my books with my many tweets (ad nauseam for many folks, I’m sure!), add some amateurish book trailers, do Facebook and LinkedIn, offer KDP freebies, and doctor up my Amazon US and UK author pages, and nothing seems to bring the sale numbers up, do I despair? Sure, it is a natural reaction. Do I give up? Not in my make-up. I’m staying the course, writing for me and the world. It might take a while for the world to reach me, if ever it should, but I will have a writer’s life of ups and downs. There is so much to learn in this digital world and so much of it is a jigsaw puzzle I cannot put together. Being in Twilight, set in some of my ways, I’m not willing to spend so many hours of my day trying to figure out RSS feeeds, SEOs, Widgets, Apps, and the mechanics of cyberspace. So, I will write, do what I minimally can on the internet, and hope for the best. Plus, I’m too cheap to hire someone to do it all for me.

Careless and clumsy errata? Sure.

Good writing? Damned straight, it’s good!

While I won’t be making the NY Times Best Seller List anytime soon, I’m having a ball, writing my blogs and my books… It keeps me young and obstinate! 

Who knows! Maybe one day all the elements come together, that extra spark of hidden genius, that incredible flow of words that say everything in perfect connection, and suddenly the total package of fulfillment comes… Author Stardom!

If one truly believes he/she can write, gives honest assessments to their skills, and, most importantly, loves to write, then I say, stay the course. Success or no success, I have glimpsed life and have given my pen the joy of describing it. The desire to be known, the ego, will always be there, but, beyond all that, I intend to enjoy the process of writing for itself. Many of us wish for those elusive moments of fame and fortune, and some cannot seem to handle it once it comes. If that fame and fortune never comes, you and I will have found much bounty and joy in the writing process. 

Writing does it for me! (Warts and all!)

Billy Ray Chitwood – May 22, 2014 (My books on IAN – Independent Author Network) (@brchitwood)


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Chasing Sunset


Chasing Sunset

The bright yellow Corvette sped along the California Coast highway, flashed brightly in the afternoon sun, occasionally crossed carelessly to the shoulders on each side of the road. The handsome man driving was tensely absorbed in his thoughts, his tropical Tommy Bahama silk shirt flapped wildly in the swirling air, ballooned over his slender frame, presented a bloated caricature. His deep black hair flowed in all directions. Tears rolled heavily down his tanned sculpted cheeks, his blue eyes blurred by the erupting flow, his lips set in a determined pose. To his left a beautiful and indifferent Pacific Ocean continued its ageless ebb and flow. To his right lovely palms and lush green land joined with deep canyons.

The news of his mother’s death had reached him in his dressing room after the last scene of a bad B-movie was shot on the sound stage. That news was preceded by a private eye’s photo proof of his wife’s infidelity… And, even with these items of irreversible bad news, Ricky Snow knew in his heart and mind that this was a preordained day of reckoning. His mother died of a stroke. His marriage died of an anemia of sorts, a lividness and weariness of soul. He heard not his fellow actors as he hurried to his car, the semblance of an idea forming in his head. He sped away from the studio lot and was now on the Coast Highway chasing the sunset.

Ricky registered all the beauty around him but it had no palliative effect on his dark mood. He was aware of all that he had in the material world, the sumptuous house in Holmby Hills, more money than he could use, the praise lavished upon him by adoring fans during his film career, the dreams that had come true for him over his relatively short life span. He indeed ‘had it all’ and it had come to mean nothing to him. Ricky gave the gas pedal another downward nudge.

I’ve been dying for so long. Somehow I know that. All around me my entire life I’ve somehow known I’m dying…not of any medically known disease but of some fatal atavistic flaw in my nature. Up, down, up, down, my emotions have displayed themselves daily in my life… Now, the two women meaning the most to me are dead, and, if not directly responsible for those deaths, my acts and deeds had their hard measure in the outcomes… The thoughts bounce into each other.

It is strange how all the acts and deeds of a lifetime come to me at the ripe age of forty-five as I race down this beautiful highway… Was it the rotten childhood, the broken promises, so many defeats without victories? Was it the first marriage which I corrupted or took part in its ultimate corruption? Maybe it was the second marriage…or the third… Hollywood is a storybook land for all things to happen. Maybe it was the first introduction to booze, grass, or to cocaine…sure made life seem simpler for a while. Why was I so smart to get off the alcohol and dope? Guess it made sense to me…maybe I felt I could clean myself up and be a decent man.

Funny how you can chase a dream and finally catch it, only to find disenchantment and misery in the end…and the women in my life…so many and so beautiful. Why did they end up in the attic of my disappointments? Only Mom seemed to know that mad torturing tornado that was loose inside of me. Melanie for a time seemed to know as well…then she tired of me and sought elsewhere the satisfaction for her own needs. Who can blame her? I cannot.

I’ve been dying for so long…so very long. Psychiatrists are loony…they could never help me. No, it is in my wiring, the weird inscription upon the walls of my being. I’ve desired. I’ve attained…the beautiful women, the lovely homes and cars…but I revert back to thoughts of dying…not always the grave or tomb dying but the withered dying of the self of me… I no longer truly care for life… Was it the early faith of my youth that I lost in the rapacious hungers that gripped me in adulthood? Was it simply that meaning was lost in the mundane pleasures of living? It would perhaps be a comfort to know how my life got so entangled within itself, but there is no longer a desire to really know. Little by little an invisible knife has whittled my life to this day, this hour, this place, and I am enjoined to its purpose.

I’ve been dying for so long…so very long…

A siren began as a lightly heard whisper within Ricky’s mind, became louder and intrusive to his life’s thoughts. His present reality returned to him and he knew that two California Highway patrolmen were chasing him. He glanced at his speedometer… 105 miles per hour. A sad smile came now with the tears, and he wished no one harmed because of his actions and deeds – he had been there, done that.

Ricky slowed the Corvette, and the highway patrolmen got closer and closer.

Just ahead on the Coastal Highway there was long curving rise, a magnificent site to his mind, with the blue Pacific waters off to his left on the outer edge of the curve, and a rocky canyon off to the right.

Ricky slammed hard his right foot down on the gas pedal until it reached the floor of the car. He glanced momentarily in his rear mirrors and saw the highway patrolmen trying to keep his pace.

Another sad smile joined his tears as he left the highway, hit the gravelly space in front of the wide white metal fence guard, tore through, and went sailing through space above the craggy rocks in the canyon below.

So, now I die… I have chased the sunset, my final quest, and it is mine. This is the moment of serenity that I can never explain to anyone… Goodbye, Mom, I shall now see if you were right about that wonderful dimension of which you spoke.

The two patrolmen watched at the broken fence at the highway, saw the flames rising from the canyon below, looked with sorrowful eyes and shaking heads.

“This was not an accident, Herb,” one man said to the other, “this fellow did exactly what he planned to do… He wanted to die.”

Some flash fiction authored by Billy Ray Chitwood – May, 2014 (My bio and my books) (@brchitwood) (My blog) (IAN – Independent Author Network – My books)

Please comment if so inclined. Thank you.

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Hereeee’s Johnny…

Okay, many of you here in the US and across the pond won’t remember a late night talk show host named Johnny Carson who was one of the best and most enduring comedians/entertainers of my era. Johnny’s co-host, the inimitable Ed McMahon, always introduced his boss at the beginning of the show in this vibrant-drawnout fashion.

Because Johnny Carson was one of my favorite entertainers, the ‘Johnny’ I’m introducing here in my blog is one of my favorite authors – and he is also super-entertaining and sometimes comedic in his way. I say, ‘in his way’, because he is quite British but not so ‘stiff upper lip!’ 🙂 He is also my friend. 

The hat? Look up the word ‘Galericulate’ and you will find its meaning, ‘covered as with a hat’. This is John Dolan’s trademark, and I prefer to think the meaning of ‘galericulate’ can be extended to ‘what’s under the hat’. It is indeed ‘what’s under the hat’ that makes John Dolan an outstanding and unique author. There is a lyrical and poetic quality to his writing that is reminiscent of the great English poets and writers down through the ages. With his serious narrative he blends humorous break points and some philosophical thought. Mostly, his talent as a wordsmith keeps the reader glued to his pages. Despite his other interests it seems clear to me that writing is John’s raison d’etre.

John Dolan’s new book, A Poison Tree, just out this merry month of May, 2014, is the third book in his ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’. A Poison Tree is rich in word magic, telling the story of our anti-hero, Englishman David Braddock, and how it came to be that he would travel to Thailand and begin an uncertain life in a strange new country. A Poison Tree is a wonderful story of fascinating characters, sketched so vividly that we the readers know them, love them, and perhaps hate them. It is a story of England’s Midlands, the mores, and the sorrowful and ugly events that will tarnish a noble man and cause a maelstrom of emotions. A Poison Tree is a most compelling read where the first chapter grabs you and leads you to a conclusion that will have you gasping for air.


BUY SITES for A Poison Tree:

Amazon US – http://www.

Amazon UK – http://www.

A Poison Tree is a prequel to John’s first book, Everyone Burns, and his second book, Hungry Ghosts. These two books will take the reader on some thrilling rides on the Thai island of Samui and Bangkok. Mayhem, murder, and John’s absorbing and riveting style will again keep you glued to the pages.


BUY SITE: Amazon US –

BUY SITE: Amazon UK – http://www.


BUY SITE: Amazon US – http://www.

BUY SITE: Amazon UK – http://www.

You can follow John on – @JohnDolanAuthor (His Galericulate blog)

Each of John’s books stands alone but tracks the wanderings, musings, and actions of David Braddock in the seven-book ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’. You can read my 5-Star reviews, along with many other 5-Star reviews, on,, and on Goodreads. Book 4 of the series, Running on Emptiness, will be out in 2015.

Here is my 5-Star review of A Poison Tree:

John Dolan’s literary genius is constantly evident in “A Poison Tree,” his third installment of the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’. Ultimately, there are to be seven books in the series, each book standing alone but tracking our anti-hero, Englishman David Braddock, and his amusing, dangerous, and sad adventures. If you have read “Everyone Burns”, Book 1, and “Hungry Ghosts”, Book 2, you will have experienced the delightful and masterful way Mr. Dolan handles his craft…my bet is you will be a fan for life.

Books 1 and 2 take place primarily on the Thai island of Samui and Bangkok and deal most absorbingly with murder and mayhem, as David Braddock rather stoically attends to the business at hand. In Book 3, “A Poison Tree,” we will come to know how and why David left England for Thailand. Mr. Dolan’s magical penning begins most compellingly and dramatically in Chapter 1, and continues through forty-odd chapters weaving his captivating prose with colorful, unforgettable characters, English mores, and some of life’s devastating events which ultimately betray Braddock’s sane and sensible nobility. No spoilers here, but I can say without fear of contradiction that the ending will have you gasping for air. “A Poison Tree” is truly a 5-Star read.

If you are a first-time John Dolan reader, welcome to his fresh and beautiful world of words, at times humorous, at times poetic in the penning, at times emotional and somber, and always deliciously entertaining. When one speaks of writing purity, that person must surely have Mr. Dolan in mind.

In 2015 his fans will be treated to Book 4 in the ‘Time, Blood and Karma Series’ – “Running On Emptiness.”

I’m first in line…

A final word about John Dolan… He is a man of honor, humility, wisdom, and wit. It is my humble opinion that he will become one of England’s premier authors and poets. Like most of us who build our heroes and demons in the books we write I’m guessing that John includes his own persona in many of his characters, particularly David Braddock. With each book of John Dolan that I read there is an emerging portrait of a man who is noble and good, a man who writes most eloquently the thoughts of us all.

Any friend of John wishing to re-blog this post has my permission to do so.

Billy Ray Chitwood (@brchitwood)

Comments are welcome.

(NOTE: the custom is to display one’s blog awards in posts… On this occasion, I am not posting my nine blog awards.)






With what amazing gift of wisdom do some mortals pronounce, ‘There is no God’?

Do they reference the singular advances of science to promote their minority position among the peoples of the world?

Do they not perceive the same exactitude of wonders these aging eyes and all my senses have gathered in through the seasons of orderly orbiting that glorious sun? Do they not see the meticulous gouging of the earth by a Master Builder to give us our oceans, our seas, our mountains, and our deserts? Do they within their honest faculties not see the preciseness of all creation and its Aeonian movement toward some realm of perfection? Do they truly believe ‘a big bang’ accounts for the detailed and methodical birth cycles of all life? Do they not feel the emotional and soulful rapture of love, the awe and wonder in the eyes and smiles of children, the heartbreak of loss, and the wonder of a new beginning?

We can doubt. We can scream at our Deity for the hurt and pain. We can at times almost give up on our Faith – when the evil forces in our world combine to torture us in awful ways. We know the dimensions of this world, the anger, the greed, the hate, the love, and we of faith hold course and believe in the promise of salvation and a destined purity. That faith comes from the records of history, from all the sacred documents, from the wise words recorded through time, from the most holy and honored man in our history, Jesus Christ. This man who lived among us is proclaimed the son of God. Some of us believe that. Some of us have doubts about that. Some are arrogant enough to laugh at those of us who believe and those who would believe.

While it may be true that we can easily portray ourselves as fools during our earth passage, we of Faith feel the stirrings in our souls when sadness comes, feel the elation and joy of love, and try to feel charity and kindness toward all those we encounter. We know we are not perfect and we know we need to pray for forgiveness and sustenance to our Higher Authority. It is of course not a tangible thing, this Faith, but It is what we have to see us through the rough patches of our lives. We prefer to accept the teachings of history and its sacred documents although denials are all around us.

We of Faith prefer our beliefs, our destiny, to that other offering of deep and utter blackness.

Many of the books I write are about crime and evil in our world. The plots and characters I develop are taken from people I have read about or seen along the way. For example, a young actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in Arizona. We, her friends, were stunned, our lives altered in some subliminal way, touched by the ugliness we had only read about or seen on our movie and television screens. Some years later my favorite uncle was murdered in a late night robbery as he was closing his service station in Knoxville, Tennessee…the ugliness would touch my family. Some few years later, my aunt, that favorite uncle’s sister, would commit suicide by jumping off the Gay Street Bridge in Knoxville. These events perhaps led me toward the genres in which I write, trying in my way to fathom the causes and effects of dark deeds in the hearts and minds of people.

Then, again, maybe a morbid fascination lays claim to a piece of me where I must visit the bleak and sordid affairs of humankind. When so much beauty can be found around my world, why must I write about the beast? Alas, it becomes not so much a mystery when I realize where I have been and where I hope and have Faith in the Kingdom to Which I go.

Am I an impostor in an imperfect world? I think not…just a man who has made bad and good choices in his living – keeping hold of his Faith.

Billy Ray Chitwood – May 1,2014 (My personal website/blog) (IAN – Independent Author Network) (@brchitwood)

Please leave a comment if so inclined…just after my shameless display of blog awards.

My best wishes.

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