The Phantom Lady

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The Phantom Lady

            Unnoticed, the lady came quietly into the store and stood in front of the counter. She had about her an ethereal quality, dressed in a soft burgundy and gold outfit. Her face professed a youthful beauty, yet, mystical and serene with a quiet mysterious attraction.

            It was some seconds before the store owner became aware of her standing directly across from him.

            When he looked up, she simply uttered one word with a stoic, “Thanks.”

            The store owner looked to his left, to his right, and spoke to the woman across from him: “How can I help you?”

            “Thanks.”

            “Yes, I heard you but I’ve yet to do anything for you.” He smiled amiably. “Are you alright?”

            The store owner squinted and stared at the woman across from him. She was beautiful! Her eyes were fixed steadily on him, and he began to get a creepy feeling, like the woman was under some sort of emotional distress. She appeared dignified along with her beauty and without any outward sign of physical injury.

            “Thanks!” This time her voice was more strident, more impatient.

            The store owner was in an unknown territory, not able to think beyond ‘weird’ and ‘odd-ball’ but was sure this lady definitely had some sort of mental condition. The owner saw ‘hop-heads’ all the time, could see their glazed over eyes and their stupid behavioral patterns. This lovely lady gave no indication of being on drugs. She was more prim and proper than most people who came into his store. There was also an inexplicable quality about the woman he could not identify.

            The owner opened a counter fridge and took a bottle of water, and spoke, “Here, lady, drink some water. You could be dehydrated. Come, sit for a spell.” He pulled a straight-back chair from behind the counter and gently guided her to a sitting position.

            “Thanks.” The lady never blinked, her eyes locked in one position. The bottle of water she loosely held fell from her hand to her lap to the floor.

“Lady, can you tell me what’s wrong with you? I don’t understand what your ‘Thanks’ is saying to me. Can you say more than ‘Thanks’?”

            “Thanks!” The lady was back to a more forceful, yet, perfect enunciation.

            The store owner shook his head, frustrated with this turn of events. ‘Yes, the woman was enunciating perfectly’ but there was no context. ‘What am I supposed to do here?’ he mumbled.

            It was afternoon slow time so the store thankfully was empty. The owner knew most of the people in the small town of Green Valley, but this lady apparently just got off the bus heading to Macon.

            “Are you hungry, lady? Can you nod your head if you are?”

            “Thanks.” She was back to the low-key ‘Thanks’. There was no nod of her head.

            “Hi, Ken,” it was the town sheriff’s deputy walking his beat. He noticed through the store window in passing that Ken was seemingly carrying a worried expression. The deputy walked into the store and asked, “Things going okay?”

            Ken sighed, “Hey, Cliff, I’m glad to see you, darn happy to see you, actually.”

            “What’s up?”

            “This nice lady, Cliff, she’s in some kind of trouble. She comes in, stands across the counter and says, ‘Thanks,’ rather matter-of-factly, and every time I try to offer help, she says the same thing, ‘Thanks’, and at times she’s a bit more forceful the way she says it. I can’t figure it out. She looks physically fine, very pretty, but must have something going on in her brain…you know her?”

            After carefully eying the woman, Cliff said, “I think I saw her get off the bus at the Drug Store Stop. A cute lady like her, you can’t miss noticing. She seems to be ‘out of it’, like walking in her sleep, or, hypnotized.”

            “Did she have any baggage? All I see is that purse she’s hanging onto.”

            “Nope, didn’t see any baggage… You have no idea what she means when she says, ‘Thanks’?”

            “Not the foggiest, Cliff… Excuse me, I have to wait on Mrs. Barnes.”

            Ken gathered a few articles for Mrs. Barnes. She gave a ‘You’re welcome’ to his “Thanks” and left. Ken ‘smiled’ at the parting exchange and went back to Cliff and the puzzling woman.

            “So, what do we do, Cliff?” Ken asked.

            The woman began to tremble and her purse fell to the floor, as though she was nudging it to fall.

            The two men looked at each other, shaking their heads with wrinkled brows

            “Maybe we need to look into her purse, Ken… I don’t know what else to do – other than take her to the Sheriff’s office and see what ‘Sheriff Goose’ has to say. I mean, this is crazy, she seems well enough within herself, more or less calm about her presence here… It’s like someone has hypnotized her to say ‘Thanks’ over and over.”

            “Maybe that’s a reasonable assumption, but, for goodness sake, why? Why would someone do that?”

            “Gee, I don’t know, Ken, just thinking off the top of my head.”

            “Thanks.” The stiffly aberrant lady spoke again the familiar word that was now cryptic and out of place. She uttered the word sternly, almost in the form of a rebuke, her face showing no strain, her body perfectly erect and proper, almost surreal in her burgundy and gold outfit.      

            “This is nuts, Ken!” said Cliff as he grabbed her purse from the floor.

            “Wait, Cliff, don’t open her purse yet. We could be opening ‘Pandora’s Box’. You know the World today. It’s got a lot of ‘Crazies’, people angry with the government, fearful, frustrated, out of work, ugly mass killings by illegal immigrants or just bad people. I’ve never seen the country with this blind kind of runaway madness. This woman could be part of a plan, like, we could be one of those ‘soft targets’ that the newscasts are always reporting. Maybe she’s been programmed or hypnotized strictly for that purpose…”

            “Ken, listen to yourself! This is quaint little Green Valley, Georgia. We know everybody in town…”

            “We don’t know her, Cliff!”

            “Well, right, Ken, but come on! Who’s going to get off a bus in Green Valley, Georgia, particularly a neat looking lady like this and just start killing people? She’s simply got a bad mental problem of some kind.”

            “Hope you’re right, good buddy.”

            “Thanks,” now a steady monotonic stream from the trance-like woman in the chair, at five-second intervals, her stare, her body in a more sustained tremble.

            “Cliff, don’t open that purse! Let’s get out of here now! I’ve got a really bad feeling!”

            Cliff dropped the purse on the lap of the chanting and robotic-like lady, allowed Ken to pull him out the front door of the store onto the sidewalk. Ken slammed closed the door behind him, took a final look through the plate glass and saw the woman’s mouth still moving in a mechanical-like way.

            Both men ran across the street to the other sidewalk.

            There were a dozen people on either side of the street but they sensed danger and all ended up near Cliff and Ken. They knew only that something was happening outside their understanding. They instinctively followed the deputy’s and store owner’s actions.

            Across the street, the crowd was growing slightly as people emerged from other stores and offices and saw the anxious deputy and store owner. They waited and no one spoke. There was a fearful anticipation of some awful event about to happen at Ken’s store. The people followed the eyes of the deputy, could see the depth of his own fear, and made it their own.

            Cars slowed near the crowd and sped away with the rapid waving of Cliff’s arms. The car people could read the distress gathered on the sidewalk and considered it their best decision to be away from that location.

            The seconds ticked away and became long minutes of stress. Cliff finally spoke to the crowd: “All of you stay where you are. I’m going across the street to assess the situation. This could be nothing more than an odd moment in our town’s history, but we have to be safe and err on the side of good judgement.”

            Cliff crossed the street and tentatively stepped to the plate glass window. The sun caused a white-out glare, and Cliff could not make out anything. Carefully, he edged to the door, slowly opened it, and stepped inside.

            There was no one in the store! The mystery woman was not there. The chair was back in its normal spot. There was no purse on the floor, no A/C or electric equipment sounds in the store at all. It was eerily still and darker than usual, even with the sun splashed all across the plate glass window.

            Cliff searched every square foot of the store, and the silence became deafening. The backdoor emergency and employee exit was key-locked by Ken, could only be opened and locked by him. There was a steel bar across the door for added security against robbery or vandalism.

            When his search was completed Cliff returned to the small crowd gathered on the opposite sidewalk.

            The crowd was sent home with the announcement that all was secure. When asked of the crowd what had happened, Cliff and Ken never told the exact nature of the alarm, only dismissing the incident as a misperception.  

            Later, Cliff and Ken re-entered the store, confident that there were no explosive devices, just the unnerving bafflement of the mystical and mysterious woman.

*

            When the dream ended, his body was covered in sweat and cold to the touch. His wife hovered over him with worried words and sympathetic frowns.

            “You were turning and tossing, honey! Are you coming down with something? You’re all sweaty!”

            A full moon from a clear night shone through the bank of windows of the master bedroom and provided light enough to show agony on his face.

            Ken shook his head several times before answering. “Just a bad dream, Dixie…a bad dream that was so very real. I’ve never had a dream so real in my life.”

            “You want to talk about it?” Her blue watery eyes showed concern and love.

            “Not now, Honey. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning. You go back to sleep. I’m going to get a glass of water and try sleep again without riding a nightmare.”

            Over coffee and pancakes the next morning, Ken told Dixie of his strange and mystifying nightmare in vivid detail. Nothing was left out of his accounting. At the finish, he was sweaty again. “I just can’t believe the reality of that dream. When I see Cliff, I’ll find out how and if his sleep was interrupted last night.”

            “Dreams can be weird, Kenny, but you can’t believe Cliff would have the same dream?”

            “Yeah, I know, Dixie, but this one…this one took a lot out of me. I’m left thinking, this one just had to mean something, and I’ve got the gnawing feeling that I need to talk to Cliff.”

            At the store in mid-morning, Cliff stopped during his ‘beat’ walk, wearing a harried expression on his face.

            “What’s up, Cliff? You have a dream last night?”

            “What? You kidding me? How would you know that, good buddy?”

            “So, you did have a dream last night?”

            “A ‘lulu’, an off the wall nightmare! Don’t tell me you had one as well?”

            “Like you said, Cliff, a ‘lulu’…”

            They were stunned! Their dreams were discussed and found to be identical!

            Thus, an ‘urban legend’ was born…and sanctified by strange occurrences in the small town of Green Valley, Georgia.

            Not only occurrences but identical mystic dreams by the citizens as well.

            Green Valley became a virtual ghost town with very little stirring of its people…most stayed closed in and did not stray very far from home.

            The most beguiling effects of the Green Valley anomaly began occurring when other small towns across the country reported disturbances of a pretty lady in a burgundy and gold dress who communicated in strange monosyllabic utterings, then disappeared not to be seen again.

            Soon, the national media picked up the story and ran a steady stream of possible scenarios…’The Phantom Lady’ is reported by ‘Space Mysteries Network’ as a robotic machine sent from an unknown planet to create chaos on earth as a prelude to an outer-space attack’.

            The prime-time TV networks ran various three-part and five-part ‘Strange Cosmic Events’ highlighting an all-women planet invading our country with identical clones’.

             Magazine and major Newspapers ran serial issues suggesting Secret Projects of the United States Supreme Court in collusion with the United States Government.

            Of course, there were some people in the political ranks issuing reports of Political Chicanery, producing elaborate and outlandish reports that staggered the mind even beyond ‘The Phantom Lady’ incident.  

            The year of 2029 was becoming an alarming amalgam of Progress and Uncertainty.

 {Short Story by Billy Ray Chitwood – March 2, 2017}

Please visit my Website: http://billyraychitwood.com Preview my 14 books, some book reviews, and author comments.

 Please follow me at: http://twitter.com/brchitwood

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Imagine

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Imagine

Imagine the end of corruption, evil, and greed.

Imagine no need for news and sensationalism.

Imagine hearts and minds filled only with love.

Imagine Peace an unbroken global standard.

Imagine Freedom and Liberty uncompromised.

Imagine honesty and integrity never doubted.

Imagine crime and wars words void and unspoken.

Imagine Happiness an implicit way of life.

“Hey, man, you nuts? You can’t have a world like that! How you gonna know what’s good without some bad? We gotta have opposites in life. You know, ‘hate and love’, ‘crime and punishment’, ‘peace and war’.”

“Why are you looking over my shoulder? This is none of your business. Plus, I’m not finished with this, yet. Sure, I’m presenting some kind of ‘Eloi’ scenario here – you know, it was one of H. G. Wells ‘time travel’ stops. AND, I know what you’re saying…how do you get billions of people in that mindset? The Philosophy Professor wanted the class to write a paper on ‘Faith and Spiritual Disparity’ in the world, while offering an idealistic human condition… Now, buzz off, I have to finish this paper.”

“Okay, pal, but you’re writing that ‘Imagine’ stuff about Heaven or a parallel universe Utopia.”

“Well, now, you are the bright one! That’s exactly what I’m doing… Now, go, and bring back McDonald’s Big Macs, French fries, and coke – to be more exact, Coca Cola!”

Flash Fiction by: Billy Ray Chitwood – 7/26/16

Hope you will check out my books which cross different genres – mystery, romance, suspense, memoir, thriller. I humbly submit they are ‘fun’ reads, and some are inspired by true events.

http://www.goo.gl/nWMXm3

Other Links:

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

Proud member of: #ASMSG – #IAN – #AHA

Proud recipient of eleven + blog award nominations

 

Dreams Denied

 

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Phoenix, Arizona

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Amazon US – goo.gl/fMt82R

Amazon UK – goo.gl/HTQGo

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

A book inspired by the

brutal murder of a young actress.

*

Dreams Denied

A beautiful desert city – Phoenix, Arizona!

I fell in love with it the first time we met so many years ago, after a long drive from California.

Those were the days when I ran loose and let the world wait for me. There was some work but it was mostly play – enjoying film work, television commercials, even had a starring role in a stage play at the Phoenix Little Theater – The Pleasure of His Company… A real ‘hoot’, and it even got great reviews in both Phoenix newspapers.

My play time was often with some attorney buddies – cocktail hours, playing Liar’s Poker but for the most part, it was I chasing the pretty ladies. Ever so often one of those pretty ladies would come along and I would suspend my operational procedures…until our time was over… Okay, I was a very nice guy but a ‘lotus eater’ of the worst kind.

One of my attorney buddies had a lovely lady as their receptionist and secretary. She was also a very dear friend of mine and of some of the ladies I dated. And, she had been the one to get me into acting, TV commercials, and modeling. Carmen had her dreams of home and hearth, someone to love and with whom to grow old.

This is her story! The forensic details are all pretty much true, but I have fictionalized and imagined some events in the book.

By all accounts, Carmen spent her last night of life at dinner at a nice and well-known Phoenix restaurant with her boyfriend. After dinner it is supposed Carmen followed in her own car her boyfriend to his apartment.

That was basically what was known at the time.

Carmen lived with her mother and two children in an apartment complex across the street from an elementary school.

The morning after the dinner, Carmen’s car was found on the side of the road next to the elementary school, car doors open, and her purse in the front seat area.

Then, it would be many weeks before Carmen’s body was found in the northeast section of Phoenix by two rock hunters. She lay in an arroyo, ravaged by the summer heat and the denizens of the desert. It appeared the perp or perps stopped dragging her body across the desert floor every few paces to drop heavy rocks on her head…presumably making sure she was dead. So much of forensic value was lost with the passage of time and summer monsoons.

After all the years I decided to write a series of mysteries. The series is called the Bailey Crane Mystery Series – Books 1-6.

An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery – Book 1, is the first book in the series and it is about the awful tragedy that brutal murder created            .

Sitting here, writing this post, I want to tell you so much more… But, suffice, the book represents in some small way my closure. Of course, I hope you buy the book and meet Bailey Crane…yeah, he’s a lot like me.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 7, 2016

Some Other Links:

http://www.goo.gl/nWMXm3 (Website)

amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

http://about.me/brchitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://linkedin.com

Proud member of #asmsg – #IAN – #AHA

Proud recipient of eleven blog nominations.

Murder in Pueblo del Mar

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Murder in Pueblo del Mar

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

Puerto Peῆasco – AKA Pueblo Del Mar.

In Arizona, Puerto Peῆasco is known by its English name – Rocky Point.

The ‘AKA Pueblo Del Mar’ is the name I used for one of my ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Books’. There are six titles in that series, and Murder in Pueblo Del Mar is the fourth book in the sextet. While fictional, this book was inspired by a true event in Rocky Point some years ago.

The ghastly murder in Rocky Point of an Arizona wife and mother happened a few hundred yards from my father-in-law’s villa. The good lady was on holiday with her husband and two children.

In writing Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Crane Mystery, book 4, I built two of my characters from Bob Gerhandt, my father-in-law, and his wife, Diane. Bob and Diane had a beautiful villa which they had built to their architectural plans…unique for the area at that time. They gave the villa a name – La casa de las campaῆas y de las mariposas (The house of bells and butterflies). So beautiful, It became a directional marker for people having trouble finding friends in the Las Conchas subdivision. 0n one side of the villa’s great room was the master suite. On the other side were two guest bedrooms with access to a long curving veranda. The villa had three red-tiled turrets. The tiles for floors and showers were specially made for Diane – with bells and butterflies on the white facing.

From the veranda was a most glorious view of the Sea of Cortez. My wife, Julie, and I spent many happy weekends in that lovely villa…we called them ‘Bridge Weekends’ and the bridge game winners were usually Papason and his partner – me. (Papason was the nickname I gave to Bob.) Ah, the memories – cocktails on the sweeping veranda watching dolphins frolic in the sea, looking out at the far horizon, and listening to Placido Domingo and John Denver sing ‘Perhaps Love’ on a favorite CD.

Bob and Diane are now gone, and I find myself often thinking of our bridge games and wonderful soft desert treks on our three-wheelers near the estuaries. The big handsome and husky giant with the white sculpted hair played his football for the Denison ‘Big Red’ in Granson, Ohio. I wonder at times if he is playing Bridge with ‘Clarence’ and the Angel Group… I miss the big guy!

So, in writing Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Crane Mystery, I was in a familiar atmosphere, knew well the area, knew many of the details in the actual murder case, and knew some of the personal problems Bob and Diane were having, vis a vis Diane’s alcoholic consumption. So, as Bailey Crane is wont to do, he muses about the effects of his friends’ personal lives while helping Pueblo del Mar’s Chief of Police solve the murder case.

The true details of the mother’s brutal murder, the transsexual element in the case, and the US –Mexico pre-occupation with jurisdictional matters, are for the most part accurate in the book. Even, some of the fictional elements have validity. I am of course biased but I believe Murder in Pueblo del Mar makes for a darn good read.

A number of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are fictionalized but inspired by actual cases and true events. You can easily find them all, plus seven other books at my website: http://goo.gl/nWMXm3

This blog is in part an ‘In Memorium’ for Bob and Diane, both now in a happy afterlife adventure – at least, that is my hope. The other part is an attempt to create a different kind of sleuth in Bailey Crane, one who stays tuned to a case but muses a lot with his alter ego about life’s many elements, his loves, his miscues, a sleuth that readers will like. I suppose the phrase is ‘cozy mystery’… For me, I get a lot off my mind. J

Actually, I just want to write serious books that have fun elements with an amusing entertainment narrative and quality. So many times the characters ‘tell’ me where to put them and what action to give them.

Each of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ stand on its own, but there is a progression in Bailey’s development.

One last point about Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Mystery (book four of the series), I was fortunate to live for several years in Rocky Point (Puerto Peῆasco, ‘Pueblo del Mar’) on the Sea of Cortez and enjoyed the nostalgic feel of old Mexico. That was after Bob and Diane had passed. The town is located about sixty miles from the Arizona border and a 4-hour drive from Phoenix (or, less). The people are generous with their kindness, and ‘Kiko’, the mayor, is a fine gentleman who is making great inroads for tourism. I have met him and know he intends to do good things for Puerto Peῆasco.

If you ever wish to visit, there are great rental deals on the Sea of Cortez… Google and check it out.

Oh, and buy Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Crane Mystery (Book 4). You will enjoy the read. It’s available in paperback and Kindle – FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 1, 2016

OTHER LINKS:

http://ww w.goo.gl/nWMXm3 (My Website)

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http:// goo.gl/sn8w4y (Linkedin)

          Proud member of #asmsg – #IAN – #AHA

Proud recipient of eleven blog award nominations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millions Do It – Why Should I?

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Millions Do It – Why Should I?

Look at the blank pages!

I’ve looked at blank pages for many years, even managed to fill enough of them to write thirteen books, books of mystery and suspense, some inspired by true-life events, even filled some of those blank pages with romance and books about myself. You can find those thirteen books on http://goo.gl/nWMXm3. While I’m at it, I lay claim to roughly 250 blog posts, many tracking emotional events and moments, serving up comments on some of the world’s crazies. There are flash fiction goodies and short stories. My blogs and archive appear on Goodreads and on https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com. I’ve been very gratified in receiving eleven blog nominations. Hopefully, some of you will find reading pleasure in these blog posts.

There are a few book sales, some great amazon and Goodreads reviews, and, humble as I am, I believe the books should be reaching more readers. One of the big problems is my ineptness in the digital world, how to extend the reach of my blogs and books to a wider audience. I rely on Twitter tweets, promos added to my posts, Amazon, and Kindle KDP. I’ve never been adept in electronics, mechanics, and have a problem keeping up with the social media flow. Another problem is I’m ‘cheap’, don’t want to spend thousands on advertising and/or a publicist. AND, with millions of writers across the globe, I’m a needle in the proverbial hay stack.

(Yeah, I know, you’ve heard all of this in previous blogs and private conversations…there are great numbers of us!)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to write and consider much of the social media a distraction to filling more blank pages. If truth be known, the writing is enough for me. But, there’s a small selfish part of me that would like to see some monetary rewards for my efforts. Now, notwithstanding my humility, I know my books, blogs, stories, have an entertainment value and a clarity of style. Sure, the process is long with the first draft, the editing, rewrites, the proofing, and the re-reads. Even with all involved in the writing process, I can almost guarantee, after one of my books is published, there will be a minor typo or errata. From Indie writers to traditionally published authors, one generally can find errors in some of their published pages.

Well, venting-time is over… I just wanted to share with so many of my writing friends that making money on those blank pages you fill up is wonderful – and you likely go the extra mile, spend much of your time and energy in the promotional stage…not to say you have not written a beautiful book that deserves the big payoff. Indie or traditionally published, I’m happy for you.

If this sounds self-serving, well, it is! I checked the KDP report and saw my modest sales. I would like more sales, but I’ll keep writing, regardless. It keeps me active and alive…and, when I write on those blank pages the particular phrases that bloat me with delight, well, those are the game winners for me.

Now, will all who read this start a viral event and buy my books!!!

Hope springs eternal!

Billy Ray Chitwood – November, 2015

Visit me at:

http://brchitwood.weebly.com

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/billyraychitwoo

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

LAUNCH OF NEW BOOK: “Stranger Abduction”

NEW BOOK LAUNCH!    NEW BOOK LAUNCH!   NEW BOOK LAUNCH!   NEW BOOK LAUNCH!

BUY IT NOW

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BUY SITES:

Amazon US:  goo.gl/RgXHn2

Amazon UK: goo.gl/F7MkD8

Amazon Worldwide: http://authl.it/3yi

NEW BOOK LAUNCH!

* A Mystery inspired by a True Event!

* A mother and her 14-year old daughter disappear!

*The World stops for the father and siblings!

*What happened on that sunny Sunday afternoon walk to the rural store for cigarettes and ice cream?

* The county sheriff proclaims it a STRANGER ABDUCTION!

Please leave an Amazon review…the author appreciates your efforts.

Billy Ray Chitwood – Oct. 14, 2015

-RE-BLOGS AND REVIEWS APPRECIATED-

SOME AUTHOR LINKS:

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://goodreads.com/dashboard/author/billyraychitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

-Proud recipient of eleven blog awards-

New Book Inspired by Truth

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New Book Inspired by Truth

Today, October 6, 2015, my thirteenth book went on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions – P/B: goo.gl/ITw3o3 — Kindle: goo.gl/Xu7mLC. The book cover is shown above, but, like some ad I cannot remember reminds us, ‘it’s what’s inside that really counts’. For those who like mystery, suspense, and romance, I’d bet the store you will like this one…

The people who follow my blog will hopefully recognize the title and a previous blog about my frustration when the manuscript was lost in a house move – if you will remember, I wrote Stranger Abduction years ago on a Star-Writer word processor, kept the book’s pages in a box which was eventually lost. The book was to be Book 2 of 7 in my ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. Suffice it to say, there are now six books in that series, all ‘stand-alone’ books that do show the natural progression of the central character. The ‘Bailey Cranes’ are cozy mysteries with a lot of musing by Bailey about his life and loves while chasing the bad guys – along with a hefty amount of moral ambivalence…

But I digress too far…

Back to Stranger Abduction, I completely rewrote the book and it stands alone and delivers, without bias I proclaim, clarity of narrative, dialogue, characters of great interest, and an ending which presents an alternate truth to the supposed outcome of a true mother and daughter disappearance…at least, an alternate truth that offers softer contemplation.

‘Proof/pudding’, all that stuff, I hope you find the time to read the paperback or Kindle version of the book and provide Amazon and/or Goodreads with your reviews.

You know, the author creates and hopes he resonates… Of course, the readers make the final determination. In the meantime, except when sleeping, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and wish for a viral happening.

Please enjoy Stranger Abduction. The ‘buy links’ are under the book cover above.

Reblogs will delight me no end… 🙂

Billy Ray Chitwood – October 6, 2015

SOME LINKS:

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood

https://www.linkedin.com

https://plus.google.com/+BillyRayChitwood/posts

Honored to be the recipient of nine blog award nominations.

AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY – Book 1 of The Bailey Crane Mystery Series (6)

AZTragedy

Buy Sites:

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

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

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

An Arizona Tragedy

The year was 1967. There was exciting news on radio, television, and in the daily papers. Some of the news was reasonably good, some very bad.

Vladimir Komarov, a Russian cosmonaut, died as his descending spacecraft got entangled in its parachute cords.

Congress was fighting about taxes … okay, not so tantalizing!

I

n May of 1967, the United States Marines took ‘Hill 881’ (the ‘forbidding twin peaks’) just below the DMZ in Vietnam, and there were many casualties.

A huge segment of the world’s population was all atwitter with the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Elvis Presley were on their honeymoon in Palm Springs, California.

Joey Bishop was trying very hard to make it on late night television.

There was a national deficit of some twenty-four billion dollars … could this year have been part of ‘the good old days?’

A. J. Foyt continued to sell a lot of STP by winning his third Indianapolis Five Hundred race.

Bacon was sixty-nine cents a pound.

Ice cream was fifty-nine cents per half-gallon.

Peanut Butter was eighty-nine cents for a two and one-half pound jar.

Instant coffee was eighty-nine cents for a ten-ounce can.

Mass murderer Richard Speck was sentenced to death row for the July, 1966 murders of eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. This very ugly man broke into their townhouse dormitory on the evening of July 13 and methodically, systematically tortured, stabbed and/or strangled his victims, one by one. He also raped his final victim before strangling her. A ninth student nurse, spending the night with her eight friends, managed to hide under a bed during one of the killings. She stayed hidden until dawn, then crawled out of a window onto a roof ledge, screaming: “They’re all dead! All my friends are dead!”

Carl Sandburg, poetic voice of the Midwest, died on July 22, 1967.

Basil Rathbone died at age seventy-five in August of that year.

There were riots in Detroit.

In Selmer, Tennessee, on August 12, Sheriff Buford Prusser was ambushed and wounded. His wife was killed.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, Frank Sinatra was at the Sands Hotel, became angry and threw some chips in the face of Carl Cohen, age fifty-four. Mr. Cohen retaliated, giving the world famous crooner a hardy haymaker.

On May 24 in Washington, D. C. a young and lovely twenty-five year old secretary was found beaten beyond recognition. The coroner stated in his report that the young lady had died as a result of multiple blows of force to the head and face, and, strangulation.

On July 19, 1967, after midnight, a young and lovely twenty-six year old secretary and model disappeared in Phoenix, Arizona. Her body was found on August 12, 1967, in the desert northeast of Phoenix. The young divorcee, mother of two children, had died of multiple rock blows to the head and face.

*

The ‘Preface’ data above set the stage for An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery – Book 1. This book was inspired by two actual homicides in Phoenix, Arizona and Washington, DC. While the book is fiction I do use actual newspaper accounts and police documents. The Phoenix homicide was particularly close to me as I was a friend of the victim – she was a legal secretary to two of my attorney friends. She was mother to a daughter and a son, while also pursuing an actress and modeling career. She had many dreams for all her tomorrows, taken away on a late Wednesday night in July of 1967 by an evil son of Satan. For the better part of a month her body was not found, ravaged by August heat and denizens of the desert.

An Arizona Tragedy introduces Bailey Crane, a different kind of sleuth, a man who muses about his life and loves while chasing the bad guys. ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ consists of six books – hope you can check them out. Each book stands alone. Here are the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’: 

           

* An Arizona Tragedy – Book 1 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http://www.authl.it/1sv

Satan’s Song – Book 2 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http;//www.authl.it/1sw

The Brutus Gate – Book 3 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http://www.authl.it/1sx

Murder in Pueblo del Mar – Book 4 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http://www.authl.it/1sy  
A Soul Defiled – Book 5 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http://www.authl.it/1sz

A Common Evil – Book 6 — AVAILABLE Amazon WW http://www.authl.it/1r2

(The asterisk in front of the title denotes book is inspired by true events.)

I leave you with a few excerpts from An Arizona Tragedy and links to some of my sites.

 Excerpts –

Running late, Cathy gave her daughter and son a kiss goodbye, embraced her mom, and hurried out the door of the apartment. She dropped her purse while fumbling for keys and mumbled a mild obscenity under her breath. She finally made it to the car and headed for work.

Going west on Osborn Road she passed the northern boundary of the Phoenix Country Club. The golf course was hidden by a long row of eucalyptus trees but early morning golfers could be seen through a break in the hedgerow. Later, when the heat reached the one hundred plus mark, there would be very few players on the course.

The temperature was already in the early nineties and promised to reach one hundred ten degrees by mid-afternoon. This was the norm for Phoenix in July. The cloudless sky was sapphire deep and wide, with a slight shimmering haze on the far off western horizon.

People either hated Phoenix or they loved it. There seemed to be no middle ground opinions. For Catherine Gibbs, Phoenix and the desert was her Shangri-La. She did not mind the heat. She loved the constancy of sun and clear skies, found the daily regimen strangely soothing and somnolent. The Southwest climate better suited her senses than the dreary days of clouds, rain, and snow that came to the plains of Kansas. Besides, there were memories she would just as soon forget. As she looked at the hot earth and the various types of cacti, she felt close to some subtle and mysterious awareness of life. The saguaro, cholla, ocotillo, barrel, all the spiny plants of this arid mini-world held a fascination for her, somehow speaking to her in some arcane way of some nebulous truths that she might one day know…

***

After Midnight on Wednesday, July 19

She seemed strangely out of her body, off in a wispy connecting chamber, floating through a kaleidoscope of sight and sound … lights flashing … and motion.

She was in a car, moving fast, then slow, stopping, starting … she could see the night sky filled with a million bouncing stars, but she couldn’t be sure if her eyes were really open … car slowing down, stopping again, motor shut down, door opening … heavy breathing, cursing, mixed with cricket chirps, all coming through a fog horn of slow motion sound and movement … fingers, hands, arms on her body … tugging at her, pulling her from the car … a soft tinge of fear, anesthetized but it was so far away, this fear, and there was an eerie peace within the connecting chamber, an almost rhapsodic bending and twisting of the past, present, and an inescapable but caressing future …

There came a cacophony of cymbal sounds, a further muting within the connecting chamber, and a light that had begun so dimly now becoming greater … pain was palpable but peripheral, and, while the light grew brighter, micro seconds lingered on the desert air, in her connecting chamber, and she recounted her life … kids, family, school, jobs, friends, loves, hates, joys, disappointments, all coalescing into the awesome, wonderful, totality that was her being …

The scraping sounds … her body dropped yet again to the desert floor, once more the cursing, the heavy breathing …

The final cacophony splintered the light into a dazzling crystal brilliance …

She felt the connecting chamber, her body, her last thoughts of betrayal, beauty, and forgiveness all merging into the warm and timeless cosmos of light.

***

Sunday, August 13, 1967

It was Sunday, and my hound dog face glared back at me through the bathroom mirror … “Another round, Sam!” my lips wryly opened and muttered, mocking me with a stupid smile. My eyes were not glaring … they were looking like two very weak and damaged headlights on an ugly foggy morning, The cold water splashes were supposed to help, but the desert heat had the liquid running timidly tepid through the pipes.

Somehow, I managed the bathroom chores, got dressed in easy clothes, gray shorts and a red golf shirt, went barefooted to the kitchen, and began the world famous, obligatory coffee phase to a hangover. Outside the front door was my rolled-up, rubber-banded newspaper, its weight feeling like a twenty-five pound barbell … Ah, the awesome heft of advertising!

Before opening the newspaper, smiling smugly, my mind went to some good news already known to me. There was a beautiful house guest sleeping in the very bed from which I just arose. Her name was Connie, a lovely blonde from Los Angeles. A talented singer, Connie had just last night finished her ‘gig,’ her engagement, at ‘The Islands,’ Phoenix’s version of ‘Trader Vic’s.’ Along with the talent, she was a fun lady, and this country boy from the Tennessee hills was just a touch smitten with the lass.

The warm thoughts of Connie were curling around in my head as I sipped my coffee, the rolled up newspaper there on the sofa side table. Connie was not only lushly gifted in the looks and the lovemaking departments, she had a compelling sensitivity and could articulate her thoughts well. We had known each other a few weeks, and she had been my house guest since we met. Her musical performance at ‘The Islands’ ended, she was spending a few extra days with me before returning to Los Angeles.

Connie had been one of my most promising conquests, and, as previously stated, I could get serious over this one. She had already made it known to me that she was serious about our relationship going forward. In our talks we had spoken of our lives, our mistakes, our love affairs, our ambitions, and our dreams. She knew about the torch I still carried for Pam, a lady with whom I had lived at different stages in our long and tempestuous affair.

Finishing my second cup of coffee, I stopped my Connie thoughts, reached for the newspaper, pulled away the rubber band, and found the front section.

Cathy Gibbs picture was on the front page, with a large bold headline: Battered Body of Model Found. Underneath that headline was a less bold sub-heading: Victim of Brutal Slayer.

Numbing is likely the best word to describe my initial feelings. My God! She’s gone! What a horrible way to go! The terror and agony she was forced to endure! My eyes became misty as the image of her came to me, that image of her on the day we last were together. My simple solitary grief was so real, yet, so inadequate, somehow.

We, her friends, had become reconciled over the three weeks of her missing that she would be found dead. Now, our subliminal thoughts had been realized. Now, it was real and final. Only her mother had visibly and vocally held out hope that she would be found alive. Perhaps that hope at such a moment kept mothers from emotionally imploding. Cathy’s two children were too young to fully realize what was happening … or, were they? Did all the emotions that were around them somehow leave psychological marks so profound that they would follow them the rest of their lives? Rani Gibbs was six years old. Her brother, Spike, was four years old. They simply wanted their mom back.

“Christ!” I blurted aloud, “this happens to people I don’t know!”

***

It was 8:55 AM when I left the apartment for a 9:30 appointment with one of my neglected suppliers. As a multi-line rep and my own boss it behooved me to keep suppliers happy. In return, they furnished me with ‘lay-down’ leads and a comfortable income. Really, there should be only one mood for me: thankful, happy, positive! It was the best of all worlds … working with attorneys, legitimately playing part-time detective, golfing, and lucky in love. My attitude, mood, had gotten a lot better after that shower, and I was ready to tackle and enjoy the day.

In the car, Tony Bennett was singing Rags to Riches. Turned the car onto a palm tree lined section of 32nd Street. Too relaxed, too inattentive to my known surroundings, hardly noticed the car to the left of me, moving in dangerously close. Finally forced me to jerk my wheel sharply to the right. Hardly noticed the window shattering and a sharp thorn-prick near my left temple. Hardly noticed the palm tree as it came toward me in a mighty rush. Hardly noticed how quickly the unity of hands, feet, and partially dazed mind worked so well in slowing the car, yet not avoiding the inevitable crunch of metal and tree.

Shaken quite thoroughly but still among the living, there was a tingling all over my body and a sticky wetness on the left side of my face. As my dazed head lolled on the back of the driver’s seat, the events around me appeared in seeming slow motion. People peered in at me, their lips moving in incomprehensible gibberish. The car shook as someone tugged at a door that did not want to open. Hands gently touched my forehead, my face, my neck. The loud voices became comprehensible, asking the same dull questions: “Is he okay? Is he dead? What happened?” Then, the siren sounds got closer and closer. The ambulance. The police. The Emergency Room and St. Luke’s.

— End of Excerpts —

The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ (6 books) are intended to be easy and fun reads while addressing serious crime issues. It is my hope you can read and enjoy some of the titles  Each book stands alone, but Bailey ages, tackles other crimes of mystery, suspense, and personal issues in his life. Please enjoy and, if so inclined, write an Amazon review. My best wishes to all.

All twelve of my books are listed on some of the following links – mystery, romance, memoir, et al.

Billy Ray Chitwood – May 29, 2015

Some Links:

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

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

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

http://twitter.com/brchitwood – (@brchitwood) – Please follow me.

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner

Linkedin.com profile – http://www.goo.gl/317AtX

http://www.askdavid.com/11070

http://www.amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood

I am flattered and honored to have received nine blog nominations. 

most-influential-blogger-e1364230844577 (1) reality blog award inner-peace-awardbooker-award beautiful-blogger-award very-inspiring-blogger-award11-1 one-lovely-blog the-wordpress-family-award liebsteraward