Meet Lady Gray

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Meet ‘Lady Gray’

           Our beloved Bengal cat, George, left us for animal heaven some months back after a twelve-year love affair. It was a sad and traumatic moment for Julie and me…we buried George under some trees on our property, and, each morning, we look out the kitchen window at his burial spot and say, “Hello, George, we love you.”

          As though George’s spirit reminds us of our time together in some peculiar ways, he finally put an exclamation point on it all…

          Before George passed away, a small gray and white kitten came several times to our house and looked through the windows. It seemed obvious to us that the two transferred some mutual affection. George was a declawed, neutered house cat and could not go outside so the two enjoyed and passed their furry feelings via empty space.

          After George died, the gray and white kitten came often to our kitchen door. Julie gave her some turkey bits, steak leftovers, and, finally included on her shopping list some cat food and treats. Julie left each food serving just outside the door.

          At some point, with soft coaxing, the kitten timidly entered the house, but left after a brief stay. Julie and I had different views on the kitten. Julie was sure the kitten had a home nearby, and we could not just arbitrarily adopt the cat…plus, Julie was still at an emotional level over George and did not think she wanted another animal pet. I took an opposite view: I didn’t think the kitten had a nearby home and genuinely felt she wanted our home as her home. Of course, we both were likely right – maybe she had a home but was cast aside…and, there were stray cats around 

          As days and weeks passed, the kitten continued her daily visits, and, with each visit, lingered around our property, came into the house on occasion and stayed a bit longer each time before Julie put her outside. Julie was also worried about the kitten having fleas or other ailments, likely having been abandoned either by her previous owners or simply had survived in the wild.

          The young cat was accompanied on occasion by a larger black and white male cat. It was apparent that the gray and white female held dominance over the bigger male, not sharing her food with him, and giving us reason to believe the female was in season.

          Julie and I had e-mailed and called neighbors to find out if they knew to whom the kitten belonged. We got no helpful information. In the meantime, there was concern that we were feeding ‘gray and white’ too much food because the cat was developing quite a girth…and, sure, we considered the fact she could be in a gestation period.

          Finally, there came the day when ‘gray and white’ entered the house and did not want to leave. It was during this time that Julie and I came together in our decision to keep the lovely feline. Her personality was so lovingly tender and timid. We would open the door for her to leave, and she would back away. In short, we fell in love with the little critter…bloated tummy and all – we felt the big tummy could be from all the food Julie was feeding her.

          We are picking her up today at 1:00 PM from the Vet Hospital, where she has been spayed, wormed, and inoculated to boost immunity. The Vet tells us ‘Lady Gray’ is likely one-year old or thereabouts.

          Julie and I are excited about having this little beauty in our lives…

          We consider ‘Lady Gray’ a gift from God…


Billy Ray Chitwood – March 30, 2017


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Cloud Dancer


Cloud Dancer

That’s the title of my newest book – the one I’m finishing as soon as I write this post. The cover is being created in the next few days – not the image above, but one I think the readers will like.

Why Cloud Dancer? Sounds a bit American Indian-like, does it not? Well, it is.

It occurred to me that my writing thus far has embraced the genres of mystery, suspense, and romance. Because it is my wife’s belief, through her genealogy efforts, that I have a smidgen of Cherokee in my blood, I decided to venture out of my normal zone and write through several genres. The result of my efforts will be Cloud Dancer.

So, Cloud Dancer is to be primarily a romance novel, a love story for the ages, set in 2017 and 1838. It is a novel that will have some narrative sequences regarding the ‘Trail of Tears’ – the forced relocation in the 1830’s by our government of the Cherokee Nation and the other civilized tribes located in the Southeastern Appalachian area of our nation. The book will explore to some extent the pain and suffering of the Cherokee along that historic ‘Trail’ and show some bias against Andrew Jackson’s ‘Indian Removal Act’ of 1830. It was, in my opinion, one of the most corrupt and insensitive acts of our country’s government.

Be that as it may, the book also has an endearing, incredible love story, plus murder and suspense – just could not get away from the genres for which I have great interest. It has Déjà Vu, time travel, and some psycho-babble.

You might be thinking that Cloud Dancer might be too big a project to share with readers. However, in my most humble opinion, it’s one of my best novels. Of course, that is not my judgement to make. The readers, and I pray there are many, will make that decision.

Those who follow my blog will be the first to know when the book is ready for publishing and ordering.

I don’t give 100% guarantees on my books – you know, I like them all, think they are well written and entertaining, and, of the fourteen books, Cloud Dancer could very well be my best.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 3, 2016


Visit my website at for a preview of all my books.

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. – My Website.

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George has been gone now a few weeks, and I burden you with my grief… It just seems I must put the tears of remembrance down to let him know in his eternal sleep he will always be in my heart.

George was a lively kitten who often irritated me with his antics. Then, in my guilt, I would play with him and try to make up. Active and lively were hallmarks of George and his breed. I so wish he was here now to annoy me.

He was a Bengal cat, a breed that developed some fifty years ago when an Asian leopard cat was bred with a domestic cat. George’s grandmother was a true Asian leopard cat of the jungle.

George’s feral rating was two on the scale of five, and aside from lively, he was lovable, greeted guests at the door, and wanted to be part of all the action.

Most of all, the furry family member was full of love, and he depended on my wife for all his food and maintenance needs – me, I was his playmate… I wish now that I was more of a play pal to him. The kids played with him on their visits, and he was most animated to see them. George had a large group of toys and he wanted all the kids to see them.

In the end he became lethargic and would not eat…except for chicken broth Julie made for him. George died in Julie’s arms. As I came from a ‘tinkle break’ they were there on the floor, and the room became very silent. Julie and I gathered on the sofa, and I held his dead body for some time, rubbing his beautiful marble tummy.

We cried! Actually, we bawled! We sat there for some time, lost in our own memory vaults, remembering the incredible joy he brought us.

We buried George in a secluded garden area on our property and we say ‘Hi, love you, Georgie Boy’, each time we pass.

Years ago, I buried my golden retriever and had the same terrible sense of loss. We have now buried all the animals we’ve owned – a little cottontail rabbit we had for seven years, after Julie saved it from a coyote on a Christmas morning years ago (we named him ‘Christmas’ and he became an in-house family member, complete with food and maintenance service)

A ferret named ‘Bandit’ we had for eight years, another joy in our lives. One memory is still firmly fixed in my heart: living years ago on a spread we called ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’ I was in bed with a severe gout attack. On the bed with me were Toby (my golden), Bandit (on a heating pad), and little Christmas. All seemed to sense my pain.

Bandit is buried on ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’. Christmas is buried under a Tamarack tree in Arizona.

Guess there will be no more animals in our lives, but the memories of those we had still bring us joy in the remembering – and, tears.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 12, 2016

Georgie Boy


Georgie Boy

George is a family member, not just a cat! His name is George, but most of the time I call him Georgie Boy. He’s a Bengal cat, a breed developed from the Asian leopard jungle cat and a domestic cat. George is a pest! Lovable, but a pest! Even in old age he’s a pest! Thirteen years, we’ve had George, and he’s a pest! Wakes us up during the night, has us up too early! He’s a pest, always wanting a hand-out – I believe he would eat on the hour, every hour, of every day! He’s a pest!

But, I love him! And he’s a family member!

While living for a few years on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, George loved our pool table as a resting spot…that’s him in the photo above. He could paw a few balls in the pockets but he never made it as an adequate pool player. He did, however, leave his mark! That is, I was constantly brushing off the fur he left behind.

Georgie Boy eats well…breakfast and dinner! In between he has ‘Temptations’ treats three or four times a day PLUS he expects portions of what we eat. We have had George for thirteen years, so, in human years, he’s old. His favorite spot for cleaning himself, napping, and eating of my goodies is on the elevated bottom of my Lazy Boy chair. To accommodate George when I have to go tinkle (which is often – okay, more information than you need to know!), I rearrange my body joints in exiting the Lazy Boy so as not to disturb him. When I return to MY Lazy Boy I find George stretched full length across the foot/leg section. At this point I am a little peeved with his territorial disregard and use my posterior in a show of defiance and re-seat myself. He merely moves, looks up at me as an annoyance, yawns, and goes back to his napping.

When he was younger he played with the dozens of accumulated toys and liked to frolic during our sleeping hours…my relationship with him during those years would be likely best described as a ‘love-hate relationship’.  Don’t get me wrong, he can still rub me the wrong way. There are times when I loudly yell at him to stop meowing, to get off my body while I try to sleep, to stop walking between my legs when I’m walking…causing me to step on him or nearly falling. After an angry outburst I start feeling ‘guilty’ and ask him to forgive me…as best one can with an imperious fur-ball like George. One thing I find rather remarkable is the sense profoundly felt that he understands much more that I might think he does in my talk/his meow language exchanges.

Julie Anne stares rather menacingly at me when I yell at George. She, after all, loves animals of all kinds – and was, I’m convinced, an animal in her former life… She was raised around animals and had pets all through childhood. I never had a pet until Julie and I paired up. She’s the most patient woman I’ve even known, but don’t berate the animals and/or the kids…she can at that time become dangerous…

Georgie Boy is a beautiful cat. When people visit, there is some initial wariness…will his feral nature show itself? As George sniffs around our guests’ feet and legs, Julie and I tell them he’s harmless and full of love. When they then want to pet him he moves off into another room… Remember the movie, That Darn Cat? Remember how kids once did nasty things to cats because the urchins didn’t like the independence of the furry ones? Having lived for these years with George, I sort of get it! Though I would never do something like that to Georgie Boy…there have been moments, however…but, then, there is Julie Anne with whom to contend.

Anyway, here at Christmas time and the holiday season I wanted to write about the only family member Julie and I now have at home. There is one thing for sure. Georgie Boy loves his family, particularly Julie because she cleans his litter box, feeds him, and never yells at him. Me, I’m the ‘treat guy’ and the ‘yelling guy’ – he comes to me for treats and to nap out on my Lazy Boy. Yeah, he loves me and I love him! I just don’t have the calmness and patience of Julie Anne. AND, we’re the only family George has ever had… I’m guessing he figures we are his dad and mom – without all the fur!

At the moment George is napping at my feet, curled in a position difficult to imagine his achieving! Ah, cat lovers, you gotta love this guy!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December, 2014

Now, time for a quick promo which is completely off of Georgie’s radar…

A budding actress and model was brutally murdered in Phoenix, Arizona. The beautiful young lady, a mother to two young children, was a personal friend of mine. The homicide shocked Phoenix, ‘the valley of the sun’, and her many acquaintances.

In my first ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ book, An Arizona Tragedy, I fictionally build the book around that heinous murder, seeking, if you will, some kind of closure and remembrance for this woman whose life was all there in front of her. It is a book unlike the typical detective/sleuth story. The central character tells you the story, with personal feelings, fusing and musing elements in perhaps a different manner, with emotion and a certain panache. Though fictionalized, the forensic details are as true as was the news of the day.

It is my hope you will enjoy reading An Arizona Tragedy…the first of six Bailey Crane Mysteries – many of which are inspired by true events.



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