Review of With Angel’s Wings by Stephanie A Collins – Five Stars #RRBC #amwriting #Blog

Nia Markos

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Available on Amazon

Book Blurb: With Angel’s Wings is the true story of Laura, a young wife and mother of a three-year-old daughter. Her husband, Kevin, a marine, is deployed overseas, leaving Laura to give birth to their second daughter and handle the two young children on her own.

Thirteen days after the birth of her youngest, the pediatrician detects a heart murmur. That leads to just the first of multiple diagnoses for both of her daughters, sending Laura on an unexpected and emotional journey into the world of parenting medically-fragile, special needs children.

Right when Laura fears she will break under the incredible pressure, she encounters the beauty of true love, in a most unexpected and unconventional way.

Review:  I found this read heartbreaking, moving and knowing it was a memoir, I found myself rooting for Laura through all her struggles. Her strength in dealing with her special needs children…

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MAMA’S MADNESS – Revisited




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To further prove my ineptness in marketing my books of Mystery, Suspense, Romance, et al, I offer this post – AND SEEK YOUR HELP!

I’ve revised some passive voice sections in the narrative of “Mama’s Madness” and replaced them with more active voice, not that passive is always bad. It’s that I fear I’ve used it too much in my books, a habit I fell into early on in my writing. Along with the passive voice changes, I also did some rewriting, further editing, and changing book covers – AGAIN! Not a ‘horn toot’ here, the book in its present form received some sixty reviews, many of which were five-stars. So, sure, I could be making a mistake with the change. But, hey, life is all about change. I simply believe MM should be in the ‘best seller’ rank, despite its ‘goshy-durn’ adult content that was inspired by a Northern Californis criminal case… That case made me angry, aggrieved, weep-emotional. I mean, this ‘Mama’ was from the fiery pits of Hell!

SO, as for SEEKING YOUR HELP, take a look at the cover that starts this post and give me your uninhibited yea or nay regarding liking it or not liking it! Sure will be appreciated! To help confuse the issue, I’m showing you the two previous covers I’ve used for MM before… Here they are:

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Label the TOP one ‘A’ and the two here ‘B’ & ‘C’. 

As a good author-friend (Vashti Quiroz Vega) over at RRBC/RWISA would say: “If you comment, you’ll make me smile!”

I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to move my ‘Comment Section’ above the dark box on my Blogsite…please scroll down til you find it! 

Hope you have time to read “Mama’s Madness” at some point, a thriller even though there is pure Evil in the content – inspired by true events!

Oh, PLEASE LOOK for the NEW edition of “Mama’s Madness” on Amazon and other ‘BUY’ sites later on this month… MAYBE, you wouldn’t mind helping me get the word out!

THANKS SO MUCH!

Billy Ray Chitwood – February 5, 2018

Please preview my books, read a few Amazon Reviews of my books, and a short ‘about me’ section at:

http://billyraychitwood.com

Please follow my blog posts at:

http://brchitwood.com

Please Follow Me On Twitter:

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

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Howling at the Moon

Howling at the Moon

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Howling at the Moon

My howl grows weaker as the Summers come and go,

And the Winter’s bitter gales bring harsh realities to my world.

My aging body grows weary in its long seasonal quest to know,

To find in my meandering search the truth unfurled.

*

Yet, some abiding glimmer of Faith bids me journey on

As I see the eager and young give rise to the next tomorrow,

To kindle old desires, awaken my mind to a new kinder dawn,

Tease me with truths-bearing wisdom I might better know.

*

Then, as years speed by steadily, and my steps limp along,

The world seems more precariously out of its orbital sync

As though some treacherous fate on wicked winds so strong’

Comes to claim its ownership of an orb no longer able to think.

Poem by Billy Ray Chitwood – February 2, 2018 (Prev)

My books at: billyraychitwood.com 

Follow me on Twitter (@brchitwood)

Please COMMENT Below

Please Preview my books, some Amazon Reviews of my books, a comment ‘about me at:

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PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW…Thank you.

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TIME of My Life

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TIME of My Life

TIME of My Life

-(A Poetic Moaning)-

Time, Time, Time.

Tick, Tick, Tick.

Are You a merciless menace

Of maddening passing?

Time, Time, Time.

Tick, Tick, Tick.

Can you not slow your pace?

Prithee, can you not provide more

Of your endless ticks?

I yet have books to write,

Poetry to pose a riddle,

Or, think romantic allusions

Of Love and Ventures past!

Why must you be the sole

Arbiter of my Soul, while

I suspect my God might

Approve your ever rapid

Transit through my Dawns

And my restless Eves of Doubts?

Your pendulum swings to and fro

In a mocking remembrance

Of an ambiguous and most

Impassioned wayward passage.

Is it that I have betrayed you?

Or, pray tell, is it that you have

Seduced me with your Lure to

Love’s easy Manipulative ways?  

When did you begin your ticking?

Are you synonymous with an

Infinite Divinity noble of promise?

Or, are you but a simple dream

That gives each of us a mare

To ride through a long night,

Some Lottery of Chance?

I plea for more thoughts to

Unscramble – an act doubtlessly

Vainglorious of deed and effort.

© Billy Ray Chitwood –01/23/18

Please Preview my Books, some Amazon Reviews, and About Me at:

http://billyraychitwood.com (Website)

Please Follow me on Twitter:

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Somebody Likes Us

“Somebody Likes Us!”

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Don’t know about you, but, there are days when I feel all alone in the Arizona desert!

We all have our reasons for writing and it’s a good bet that most of those reasons are fairly standard…to fulfill a desire…to become established, famous, successful…to simply tell a story…to scratch an ego itch…for all these and many other reasons. Does it really matter what our reasons are for writing? Any reason is valid and need not be magnified, right? Well, not quite. Some might write to hurt someone, to slander, to libel, to ruin someone or some entity. Let’s just assume for this post that our reason for writing has a noble intent and has no malicious purpose…and, what we write is good. It’s a certainty we’ve picked up novels at the Book Store, read them, and announced them as crap-reads;

So, where are the sales, the 5-Star Reviews, the accolades we authors covet?

For some of us, we write a few books and here come the critics with their reviews that range from 5-Stars to 3-Stars, even lower. The world of reading thrives on reviews, what someone thinks about her/his reading experience. There are professional review services. There are housewives, husbands, people in book clubs, avid readers who are moved to comment about a writer’s effort. It is a fact of life in the relationship between reader and writer. We like those comments when they’re dripping with lovely words like, ‘great’, ‘brilliant’, ‘going to read more from this super author’… Oh, we salivate and pour some champagne. We begin to bore our spouses with our ceiling dances and loud hoots of joy.

So, you have written what you consider a relatively good book…sure, even you can in the final pre-publish reading find things you could change — extend a section, remove a section, embellish here, there, increase the length, decrease the length, and so forth. In the end, you feel that you have written an entertaining book, maybe not the perfect quintessential novel that you know is still inside you somewhere but a good book. The reviews line up, the 5-Stars, the 3-Stars, the 1-Star, the fractional Star, and you begin to analyze the reviews, maybe agree with a point or two the people are making. The emotions begin to swirl. Of course, you gravitate toward the 5-Star, 4-Star reviews and are elated. The bad reviews bring conflicting thought patterns…there is an initial sinking feeling which will become anger, denial, and, at some point, you will equivocate only to finally acknowledge that perhaps the negative points made in the bad reviews have validity.

Your thought processes on negative reviews from readers run the gamut. ‘What gives these people the right to publicly condemn your efforts, these Hannah Housewives, these Harold Hushpuppy husbands?’ Hell, you likely gave them the book free on amazon during a free giveaway day(s)! Cost them nothing and they’re critiquing you! You go back and re-read the fair-to-good reviews, get some renewed sustenance. But, most of all, you’re in a dither and doubting yourself and your writing talent because you could not please everyone. Chances are very good you are not being controlled by a publicist, someone who shelters you from this wasteful dithering, this minor earthquake inside your head. As an independent author you are a one-person publishing house, writing, editing, marketing, promoting, getting lost in all the digital world’s ‘ways and means.’

The really bad news is, of course, there are pitifully few sales… Ah, the aggravating world of the word-spinner! Where in the world did you get the idea you could write? 

Does an established, famous, author get a mixture of critiques? Perhaps not so many because the pros have the reading Pavlov public 5-Star oriented. But the truth is, yes, even these most popular penners of best sellers get their negative reviews as well. They have a much better shield in place to deflect the nasty words that cause the dithering.

All of this is not to say that you, I, and the countless other millions of writers do not have our book flaws. All of us have them! The temperaments of some writers are better than yours and they keep writing, getting away from the ‘passive’ passages of narrative, the cliches, too many ellipses, redundancy of words and phrases. We have many flaws in our books, and with each new book we write, we are getting less and less errata. We are, as they say, growing our craft. Will we get to that stage where we live among the giants of our writing world? Some will because talent cannot be denied too long. In the rare instance, enough money is spent to insure success – I can come up with my book-example of this, and I’m sure you can. Or, have our egos, our inner selves, betrayed us with pronouncements of our talent?

It is difficult to separate ourselves from the critics in the writing field, but we can remember what our reasons are for writing. We will still experience the dithering, but we have to stay true to whom we are. If we are getting 5-Stars along with some minimal Stars, somebody likes us. And, that is the message: remember your reasons for writing and just know that somebody likes us.

My belief is you are getting better with each writing effort. Just stay committed to your course…and…don’t…give…up!

Somebody Likes Us!

Billy Ray Chitwood – 01/17/18 – (Old post worth repeating.)

Please preview my books, read some of my Amazon Reviews, and a short & clumsy Bio.

http://billyraychitwood.com 

Please follow me on Twitter:

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http://brchitwood.com – and/or – http://www.thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com

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Guest author: C. S. Boyack – The Hat, an excerpt from a new novella

Too good a deal not to REBLOG! CS (Craig) is a great writer of the paranormal… Thanks, Sue, for allowing me to ‘piggy-back’ your post. Best wishes to you and Craig…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Sue, I really appreciate the chance to visit your blog once again. You’re sure welcome over at my place any time you need it.

In most blog tours it’s kind of traditional to provide an excerpt of some kind. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but this is a fun part from the beginning of chapter two. It gives you an idea of how the main characters interact.

To set the scene, Lizzie just placed the hat on her head and he magically transported her to a different location. I hope you enjoy it.

TWEEEEE! TWEEEEE!
“Stop,” the hat said.
TWEEEEE, TWEEEEE, TWEEEEEEEEE!
“Stop, stop, stop. What the hell is that?”
“It’s a rape whistle,” Lizzie said.
“Rape whistle? Does it run them off, or call them in?”
TWEEEEE, TWEEEEE!
“Oh, God, stop.”
“Why should I? Where is this place?” Lizzie looked around at a darkened room. Only…

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The End

The End

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The End

I was a beaten man!

There was nothing left! No wife! No children! No job!

The only clothes I owned covered my body.

The black ashes that were once my house had an acrid, gagging odor, mixed with the smells of fire-fighting liquids, dampness, and death.

How does one describe a body bereft of feelings, a body with all its tears shed, a hollow core of nothingness covered with flesh? Nothing there! Nothing I could or would ever be able to find.

That was my truth!

Standing there in a starless night of misty rain and appropriate bleakness, looking for the last time at the sum of my existence, there in those black, damp clumps of earth and bones, there with the only pieces of love I had ever known, there in that eerie graveyard of ashes.

We had a silly argument after the boys were put to bed. I made a petulant escape into the night of bar rooms and feigned grievance … my starring role in a ‘D-Movie’.

I heard the sounds of fire engines through my whiskey haze and gave it little thought.

Fire engines rushed to others’ houses, not mine.

Finally, the Bacchus glow came, went, and I recognized the inanity of my actions.

That rapidly fading glow took me home where I would do my habitual ‘I’m sorry, sweetheart’! Repentence was an eager surge within me as I sped onward for home. It was then, the car finishing its sharp turn, when I saw the halo of red and white flashing lights ahead. My body began to quake as the first pang of alarm came to rest inside my imbued brain.

It was my home from which those wind-driven flames came … soon to be, at my arrival, the charred ruins of my only prized possessions.

I stumbled from the car, stunned, inconsolable, watching my neighbors holding hands, praying, tears flowing down their cheeks, already knowing what I was about to find out.

My wife, my kids, were consumed by the fire … a fire caused by my forgetting to turn off the barbeque.

I fell to my knees, grasped my head with both hands, heaving, roaring my grief in loud sobs, piercing the smoke-filled skies above. The concept of Time had no reality for me as I gasped and breathed in particles of ash.

People talked to me, uttered their pity and sorrow, tried humbly to comfort me. Their voices were lost in my sobbing growls. The movement of fire engines, firemen, my neighbors going back to their homes were on the periphery of my awareness. I shook my head in negation to acts of kindness, of pleas to help me. 

Then, I was alone with my mind and its torturous playback of my fatuous acts in life, alone with the agony which now possessed my soul.

For three days and nights, I stayed awake, unseen, not wanting to be seen, in the wooded area behind the damp ashes where once stood my home. I was soon bereft of any meaningful thought, on the brink of madness.

At 11:00 PM that third night I heard off in the distance the freight train whistle.

I walked the quarter mile to the trestle and watched for the light that would announce its coming. I listened for the roar from the rails.

Like a thief in the night I left the bush behind which I hid and stepped onto the trestle. The train’s beacon of light came onward toward me, and the faint whistle registered somewhere in a tunnel of my mind. 

The train was but a hundred yards away when I raised my arms to the heavens and cried, “Oh, God, please forgive me!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – January 7, 2918 (Rev)

Please preview my books, about me, & some of my book reviews at:

http://billyraychitwood.com 

My Blog:

http://brchitwood.com

Please follow me on Twitter:

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Bubble of Existence

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Bubble of Existence

-Stream of Consciousness-

She is silent in her sleep – sleep that each night comes swiftly for her.

Not swiftly for me does sleep come. My mind is in its normal reverie, going through the tangled days, weeks, years of my life, the emotional detritus left along the roads I’ve traveled, reliving each night with the ’why this, why that’ buffoonery of a poorly tailored life. There are also the childish gene pool thoughts of future heroic deeds, rescuing damsels in distress, heroically accomplishing amazing feats, saving lives, attaining greatness… yes, still there from a turbulent childhood environment.

It is a learned process, always a constant staple in my life, that is, until the nightly sleeping pill takes effect.

But, I digress!

The lady I watch in sleep is my hero, my Sancho Panza riding a donkey alongside Cervante’s ‘Don Quixote’, tilting windmills and running my ‘knight errands’. She is my one and only. She is my everything. She is part of God’s omnipresence in my life.

In my thoughts I see myself in a transparent bubble of existence, one-half of me inside the gauzy metaphor, the other half still watching my wife in repose. There is an apparition, a little girl with cute curly locks sitting, smiling down at my sleeping beauty from the bed’s headboard – the small lass my sleeping beauty once was (a little girl whose small photo I once kept in my wallet until it went missing).

I think of our lives together, the contrast of our genealogy, the years of joy, of building a business together, of nuclear-family gatherings at our cabin in the pines, at the non-working ranch we used for get-away from the city. She comes from a mature, stable, environment, has a DNA with all ‘loops’ orderly fashioned. She is gifted with a combination of high intelligence, common sense, and the love of conversation (when awake). She brings stability and patience to fight my grittiness.

 In her slumber I cannot see the rhythm of her breathing – and I recall a time prior when it alarmed me. She can fall asleep quickly and is mildly irked if I insist on chatting when we go to bed. She can sleep in one position all through the night, and there are these quaint occasional moments when I watch her in sleep and think about our many years together, how my sometime Appalachian heritage roars and rumbles, how she sits silently with that little girl smile until I see the futility and silliness of my words.

It is there, in those still-dark moments with my fanciful opining of love, life, and death, when I see her and the little girl essence. Then comes sadness, or, more likely, regretful thoughts with uninvited tears.

Our love is real, and, oh, I fear that ‘bubble’ and the insistence of my nature must wear thinly.

So, while darkness still rules the night sky, it is time to step from the ‘bubble existence’, get out of bed, and try to capture some of these thoughts on the laptop.

For whatever their worth is to me and the Universe.

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 3, 2018

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Big Book-Marketing Mistakes I’ve Made

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Big Marketing Mistakes I’ve Made

After a US Navy tour, college, much traveling, teaching, acting, marketing, sales, always searching for the ‘white buffalo’ – romancing and searching for pieces of me. I’m on an 80-acre spread in SE Arizona called ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’, a second home for a while and a wonderful stretch of desert that charges my imagination. The house sits on a hilltop looking south toward Mexico and the Sierra Madre Mountains. To the east, there are the Chiricahua Mountains. To the West, there are the Dragoon Mountains and the legendary ‘Cochise Stronghold’. To the northeast, there are the Dos Cabezas Mountains.

‘Well, what are you doing there’? you can ask. That’s presuming you might be interested. Of course, you already know I’m going to tell you whether you are interested or not.

‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’ was solitude and space, a setting ripe with old west history and lore, cowboys and Indians. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Cochise, sat tall in their saddles, had their gun fights, and all gathered to write Chapter One to open the west.

Tombstone, the town too tough to die, home of the infamous ‘OK Corral’ and ‘Boot Hill’, was just a thirty-minute drive from the house, with a stretch of desert that can titillate or eliminate. In short, TLRR was a wonderful spot for would-be writers, poets, novelists, and the artists with their easels and brushes.

It happened that I did fairly well for myself after leaving Appalachia and my hill country ways. After shedding some of my Tennessee mountain charm and going into that bright neon-world of confusion and doubt. Believe me, there was surely enough extended education in that glitter-dome big city living. Not all of that good life was pure and wholesome. I worked a lot and I played a lot, and no extension of verbiage here can get me to an ‘All-American’ salutary status.

I lost most of my Tennessee ‘down-home’ accent, met and dated some very lovely ladies, all of whom I adored. Admittedly, certainly not glowingly, there was a very active hedonistic culture to which I quite easily and shamelessly inured.

But, back to ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’.

Perhaps surprisingly to the reader(s) of this post, I taught at one point an ‘Advanced Writing’ class to high school college-bound seniors and had in the young years myself dabbled in poetry, singing, and writing. At ‘The Lazy Rabbit’ I began to write book one of a six-book series entitled ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. “An Arizona Tragedy” – Book 1 was inspired by the brutal murder of a personal fellow actress friend of mine in Phoenix, Az. (Incidentally, that homicide is now a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix, AZ Police Department. If anyone can add anything of value to this ‘cold case’, please contact the Phoenix PD.)

All but one of the remaining ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ were inspired by true crime events. I have always had this fascination for the evil that shocks and angers our world, the fodder that makes millions for the movie makers, game makers, and some authors (he writes, enviably!).

During my time at ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’, I was using a ‘Star-Writer’ word processor to peck out my narrative brilliance. (Okay, how many of you did I lose, if there was anyone to lose?) The digital age was advancing fast, and the Wizards of the Web had already figured out how to create technology that would add to their billion-dollar caches every few years by coming out with extra software. These added goodies would provide more speed, more apps, more games, and more frantic competition.

So, except for books 4-6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, I had three boxes of manuscripts gathering dust on the shelves.

Eventually, Julie and I moved to the ‘Sea of Cortez’ in Mexico. I must admit, we lived in penthouse luxury, the sand and beach just outside our windows. The cobalt Sea of Cortez greeted us each morning, and it was near perpetual sun-shine every day. The SE Arizona desert had been an alluring habitat for writing, but the Sea of Cortez could really get the juices flowing.

So, I finished the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ books 1-6, plus eight other titles while in Mexico, some non-fiction, mostly fictional forays inspired by true crime events.

Okay, I’m guilty of parsing, or, likely, a better word would be, rambling. My title suggests ‘mistakes made’. And, WOW! Did I make them?

Take a look at my laundry list of amateurish mistakes! To beat it all, I was in Sales and Marketing most of my business life! Look, I know how my next lines might sound, but the impulse is there, so I’m writing them.

My books are good, readable, and should have a wider market than they now have! If I’m wrong and fooling myself, more time will tell. AND, I won’t be ashamed to admit it!

Read Them! If I’m wrong, tell me. If enough of you tell me I’m wrong, I WON’T STOP WRITING! I’ll just spend the next fifteen, twenty years entertaining myself! If the Pre and Post Marketing damage is irreparable, guess I’ll just keep re-reading my own books… There is always the rare chance that my writing is not as good as I think it is! NAW! That can’t be possible, he says HUMBLY!

Take a deep breath and look over my list. BE GENTLE AND KIND WITH YOUR REMARKS! We folks in Twilight need special handling – sort of!

The List:

  • After exhaustive editing and re-writes, I took the six dusty ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ manuscripts and simultaneously published them on CreateSpace… NO LAUNCH OF ANY KIND! Just started tweeting! CRAZY! I ought to be in a looney bin!
  • I used CreateSpace FREE book ..okay, thanks CS, some are nice but your covers don’t compete with the BIG BOYS AND GIRLS! AND, I’m a SCROOGE, first order!
  • Did I mention? I’m a SCROOGE!
  • NO Beta Readers or pre-reviews! With my “Mama’s Madness” title, without soliciting, I got sixty reviews, most of them 5-Stars. The other books, precious few reviews, mostly 5-STARS.
  • BLOG ABSENCE for years. Now, I’ve written over 350 posts… My mistake: wrote a book and several posts giving my political views. NEVER AGAIN! Also, it’s better to leave religious beliefs at the door, although I’m not ashamed of my faith in God! Seems to me there’s got to be more than ashes in an urn to scatter on a mountaintop, the ocean/sea, or a hole in the cold hard ground.
  • Platforms: This is tedious business, picking and choosing writing platforms, at least for me. I’ve tried some, but unless I’m willing to put out the bucks for P/R and Advertising, I’m guessing I just need to enjoy the process of writing and be done with the marketing and selling sides. Writing is my therapy so it shouldn’t bother me so much if the books are not selling… But, everyone enjoys good reviews and kind support… Perhaps I’ve found that now with #RRBC, #RWISA, #ASMSG, #IAN1.
  • TWILIGHT! As my ‘About Me’ section at http://billyraychitwood.com states: “I’m a young man in an old man’s body… AND, I’m thinking I’ve got more books to write. I’m midway in writing my fifteenth book and damned well plan to finish it – and others. THE QUESTION: is age a factor for people buying books? For books not selling?
  • ‘SOCIAL MEDIA: I’m spending too much time on social media and NOT WRITING. That has to change but I can’t give up my good followers on my blog, twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, google+, et al. I’m on Goodreads and find it difficult to navigate, e.g., I’ve had new Book Covers for my books for well over a year, have written to GR librarians for help in changing the old CreateSpace covers to the newly designed covers, but get no response. The old covers that appear on the Goodreads dashboard are not appealing at all…another big mistake! I’ve tried on GR changing of covers myself, but, not allowed.

INEPTNESS – MY OWN! I Truly cannot believe how incredibly naïve I was in the beginning of my publishing efforts (likely, still am!). To be sure, there are other items I’m leaving out of this list and I’m reasonably sure it could be much longer.

Although my embarrassment shows ‘big time’ here, perhaps someone beginning her/his publishing efforts will heed these remarks and make sure the chances for success are much better if you don’t rush the process as I did.

In the meantime, to show you really ‘like me’ and ‘care about me’, you could start some viral BUYING of my books. I’m not begging! I’m just saying!

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Billy Ray Chitwood – HAPPY NEW YEAR! – January 1, 2018

Please PREVIEW my books of Mystery, Suspense, Romance, et al at:

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Please FOLLOW ME on:

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My Amazon AUTHOR PAGE

https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Meet Lady Gray

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 Anne and me.

George is buried under some sugar-maple 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, sat at the edge of the pool, and stared at George through the windows of the Sunroom. It seemed obvious to Julie and me 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 on a regular basis 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. Often, we looked out the window and found the cat lounging on one of our outdoor wicker rockers, all curled up and napping.

          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 other stray cats around. On some occasions while eating Julie Anne’s  food treasures, the gray and white would chase away cat intruders as if to say: ‘This is my food, my home, so, buzz off’! When she had her fill of orts, the gray and white then allowed the other stray cat(s) to dine.

          As days and weeks passed, the kitten continued her 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 picked her up three days later from the Vet Hospital, where she was spayed, de-wormed, and inoculated to boost immunities. 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 George and God.

Billy Ray Chitwood – March 30, 2017

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