“The Cracked Mirror…” is a Fictional Memoir I wrote a few years ago…ninety per cent true! This book was written while living on The Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
This poem in ‘free verse’ is at the beginning of the book, serving as an ‘entrée’ to my life as I’ve known it.
I once looked at men like you,
old men, frail and haunted…
That was when youth declared
that I would live forever.
How hard it was to see then…
how easy it is to see now.
Life was moonlight and promises…
So soon came ecstasy and joy.
When did it get this late?
When did the tree sap harden?
Where is the gold I sought?
Where is the key I held?
Why is the day no longer long?
Why does morning come so late?
What is the mystery to solve?
What day the reckoning?
– Billy Ray Chitwood –
And, this ‘free verse’ piece is at the end of THE CRACKED MIRROR…just before the ‘Epilogue’ of the book.
Portrait in Time
Young man, do you not see me
as once I might have been?
Is it the wrinkle, the sagging skin
Time laid upon me that you see?
Once I stood, perhaps like you,
with noble thoughts and dreams
a new bright morning might bring.
Time wore me down with its ceaseless
ubiquitous ways and subtle promises.
Time taunted and tempted me
with its guile and deception,
with its beauty beads of love.
Time gave me its reins to run wild
with the wind toward sunrise and sunset.
Time now leaves me here along the sea,
better to have had its moments of joy;
sad to have you see the frail
and broken parts of me…
Young man, can you not see me
as once I might have been?
Billy Ray Chitwood
Between these two poems is a narrative I truly believe you will enjoy. At least, that is my hope. It’s got some important history, a senseless murder, a suicide, and a young kid growing into a man NOT without tough lessons from the neon glittering world of deception, false promises, love, naive bluster, and a lot of soul searching…still have some of that ‘straw’ behind my ears! BUT, my books are worth your reading – that, of course, is my humble opinion.
If you have the time or inclination, please leave a comment below, just after the shameless words of ‘BUY MY BOOKS’, ‘LEAVE REVIEWS’, and ‘FOLLOW’ ME.
Don’t guess too many boarding houses even exist anymore, but let me tell you: the best food I’ve ever eaten was in a boarding house setting.
The cook? My dear, beloved, departed mother. In one of my books, I mention that she is up there with angel ‘Clarence’ ringing a bell when some earthly creature does something good — you will all remember ‘Clarence:’ he visits us each year at Christmas time in a re-run of the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
It might seem strange to sing the praises of a boarding house cook in a post, but the mind can carry you to some memory stations that leave a faint, sometime tearful, wisp of nostalgia.
The sleeping room in Mrs. Lester’s Boarding House my Mom and I shared was just across from the big kitchen, and, as a small eight-year old kid, I sat in one of the two rocking chairs in that room listening on the radio to a broadcast of a baseball game or football game, and the smells from that kitchen at dinner time would get me really hungry.
Just before Mom served the boarders at the long large dining table in front of the house, she would bring a heaping plate of food to me in that bedroom across the hall. Didn’t matter what it was, meatloaf, pot roast, pork chops, corn bread, biscuits, mashed potatoes with gravy or home fries, it was always the most enjoyable food I would ever remember eating. And Mom would always smile, give me a kiss on the cheek, and say something like: “You’re the best little boy in the world…”
My Mom was a boarding house cook during some of the most troubled times in our economic history…during the great depression era in Appalachia. East Tennessee would be more precise. Knoxville, Tennessee would be most precise. Mom and Dad were divorced, and my sister was living fifty miles away with my maternal grandparents because of the bad times. Mom worked long hours seven days a week and she always made the time for me, made the time to make me feel like all was really right with the world. Even in my little pea-brain I knew all was not right in our world, that there were things happening in our lives that were beyond my scope of understanding. But Mom tried and she did make me feel loved and very much wanted in her life.
So, when that big plate of food was all consumed and wiped clean with the last bit of biscuit or cornbread, the ballgame ended, I would become wistful about my Mom’s boarding house existence, feeling that she really did not have much of a life. I would sit in that room, stuffed with good southern cooking, Mom doing dinner clean-up duties, and I would try to write a poem…try to write a poem that would convey the love I felt for my Mom, try to say in words on paper what my tiny voice could not say.
My Mom always encouraged me to follow my heart, to sing my songs, to write my verses, and it was there in those days during World War Two when I first took pencil to paper. Yes, the words were the mutterings of a young unsettled mind, but they meant something to me then.
Today, perhaps my mind is still unsettled, still searching for some ultimate truths, and that is okay. The words still mean something to me. Whatever my writing comes to be, somewhere in those sentences and paragraphs, in those characters and plots, there will be parts of me, and, actually, they are pretty easy to find. I am not a very large mystery in the scheme of things.
My Mom gave me the great gift of writing, the wonderful gift of expressing myself with words. It doesn’t matter so much that the words will or will not ring so many bells down here.
It does matter that Mom and ‘Clarence’ might occasionally ring their bells for me.
I’m currently working on a new book and stopped long enough to check in with twitter…Twitter had the audacity to be ‘down.’ Like, down for over an hour — and, still down! How dare that inconvenience!
Serves a point in our lives today, does it not? We live in a digital world in which some folks thrive and know everything there is to know about the internet, while others of us just sort of get along. We are so accustomed now to running our lives with laptops, URL’s, RSS Feeds, Streams, et al. When we share bandwidth with others in our community and someone is streaming movies, kids are active on their game boards, and parents are doing their digital thing, the electronic gadgets can slow down dramatically. Then, we get irritable, yell at the wife, kids, friends, and curse all those who are eating up all our bandwidth.
Time for the generational questions! What have we become? Where are we going in this mad digital world? An old anachronistic simpleton like me gets lost in this world at times and spends a lot of valuable time trying to figure it all out…at least, the time is valuable when one is my age. So we hoot and holler until the electronic gadgetry comes back to a sane and sensible environment for work, like twitter tweeting and facebook messaging and goodreads solicitations and book recommendations, etc. Then, at the end of the day when I turn off my computer, sip on my one and only tequila on the rocks, and look out at the Sea of Cortez, I see the folly of it all…well, I sort of see the folly of it all — with the help of the Sea and tequila sipping.
Whatever the generation, we must live in it, accept its technological advances, and move on with our lives. Then, the succeeding generations can claim us ‘nuts’ for leaving them with such a mess to clean up.
Does any of this sound familiar? Is it all part of a bigger picture? Am I just singing to the choir? Of course, I am, and in pretty good voice, I’d say.
A striking lady stood on her toes in the aisle placing a small brown valise in the overhead compartment. Momentarily, I was stunned by her beauty, by the delicate beige dress of chiffon that surrendered sensually to her curvaceous body in a most delicious way. Her long golden tresses dropped elegantly just below her shoulders. She appeared to me in the age range of thirty-plus, perhaps a model, or, a movie actress.
I’m an entrepreneur, busily involved in a number of businesses, likely, maybe, aside from money, considered handsome by some…at least, good-looking. I’m athletic, six feet tall with raven-dark short-cropped hair, hazel eyes, a Roman cast, and in my early forties. I hastily married once, but found it too confining, confounding, and too interruptive of my business goals.
The attraction was immediate as the glamorous lady in the aisle slammed close the overhead, her mesmerizing blue eyes cast a spell on my own, and her perfectly shaped lips formed a smile as she spoke: “Hi, I have the window seat. You’re stuck with me all the way to Los Angeles.”
I started to unbuckle my seatbelt and stand, but she stopped me. “Please, you’re fine. First class makes flying a treat with its roomy space.”
Still with the soft smile, she moved easily and swiftly between the bulkhead and me to her window seat – we had the first row of seats in the first-class section, lending a feel of coziness and privacy.
The sweet scent of her perfume filled my nostrils, delighted my lungs, as she took her window seat, and I was hoping my nonplussed insides was not simultaneously shaped on my face. The smile I returned to her seemed socially awkward to me as I spoke: “I’m delighted to be ‘stuck’ with such a lovely lady. My name is Stuart (Stu) bellows, and I might as well ask up front, are you a conversationalist or do you prefer privacy with your flying?”
“How courteous and sweet, Stu, of you to ask, but I enjoy chatting with people on planes, being nosey! My name is Evie Coblessie. I’m delighted to meet you.” Her perfectly aligned white teeth contrasted marvelously with her sultry lush lips, painted with a subtle non-glaring blush shade.
We softly shook hands as we were interrupted by the first-class stewardess with a gold name tag of Betsy: “You two wish a drink before take-off?” She looked first at Evie.
“Sounds great! A glass of Chablis if you have it. Thank you.”
“Please make it two, Betsy,” hoping the cute ‘Stew’ would not be able to notice the unusually romantic stirring generated by my brain… This blonde beauty was definitely interrupting my lap-top business date for the next five hours.
The altitude, the Chablis rounds, the inexplicable attraction that we each seemed to have for one another moved us along very nicely. Our chatter became much more personal, disabling subtlety, decrying diary pages of the most personal kind.
Evie and I turned down the lunch offer for more Chablis, and, as the wine unlocked other sinister doors within us, we began ‘touching’, first with the arm touch, then with the knee…but the kicker was the role of the eyes.
It turned out that Evie had indeed been a model, had married once, found the same mediocrity in the different shades of each’s personality. We in fact had very similar takes on life and where it might take us.
Somewhere during the delirium of our awakened senses came a question from me that produced a shock value for each of us.
“Do you know about the ‘Mile High Club’?” As soon as I asked the question I gasped and added: “I’m so sorry! I don’t know why I would ask you a question like that?”
She giggled and responded. “Well, I do know of the club but don’t have membership. How about you? Are you a full-fledged member?” She had the cutest grin on her face, her orbs doing a wild display of dance moves.
Betsy brought us another Chablis, then went to her ‘drop-down’ seat next to the flight deck for a nap.
“No, not a member at all, ‘fledged’ or otherwise. I do have to say I’m intrigued by the possibility… Please don’t be insulted by my comment. I find you a most beautiful and wise flight buddy, Evie, and it’s not my intent at all to make suggestions. In fact, I do not want to end this ‘buddyship’ when this cross-country journey is over. ‘The ‘Mile High Club’ thing just makes me wonder about altitude and airline aircraft. Does that combination do a job on people of the daring and romantic sets?”
Evie got this flushed look on her face, grabbed my hand, and said: “Let’s do it, Stu! But, how do we get away with it?”
Okay, I can’t say who came up with the idea, but one of us leaves the first-class compartment and goes to the tourist-class section. We agree that I will be the first to leave, will wait, if need be, for the very last rest room on the right side of the plane. Evie will leave a few minutes later, will either see me waiting or can assume I’m already in the room.
There will be no suspense built here…
The deed was done, and, when Betsy awoke from her nap she brought fresh glasses of wine to two flushed smiling faces, eyes dreamy and staring straight ahead into the carpeted bulkhead.
Now, look, don’t get the wrong idea…
Here’s what my entrepreneur friend wanted me to write under his hand at the end of this post, to wit:
I’ve explained all of this to the writer of this blog post, with his promise of no names – or, fictitious names if he must.
For the record, ‘Evie and I’ have been happily married for many years and have beautiful kids. We love each other with a devotion that is likely rarely found in marriages.
Just beware of ‘airlines and altitude’!
Evie and I now travel by rail…
Well, that’s another story… I’ll get around to sharing it with my blogpost writing buddy here. Be on the lookout for it.
How often do you use the word, ‘Soul?’ How often do you think about your ‘Soul?’
Merriam-Webster defines ‘Soul’ as:
1. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
2. a: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
So, that’s enough, right? The two definitions pretty much say it all, and there are more definitions in the dictionary if you want more.
‘Soul’ seems to me, though, such a huge word to be so small. Writers likely get the most use out of the word than the people who really work for a living — no anger, please, just adding a little levity here. Really, it seems to me that ‘Soul’ is not in too many mundane conversations. ‘Soul’ is usually saved for the philosophers, poets, preachers, Romantics, sentimentalists, and writers.
You can almost envision the literary expatriates who gathered in Paris between the period of World War One and the onset of World War Two…writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Gertrude Stein to name a few — okay, okay, I’m name-dropping — but these were the people I read and studied in college and their lives got somehow interwoven with my own, with my ‘Soul.’
I can see them sitting at the sidewalk cafes talking in the afternoon about their writings, about how the devastation of war had impacted their lives.
I can see them drinking the Bacchus liquids and debauching in the evenings, pausing in their fun and frivolity for serious and sober moments to discuss the condition of the ‘Soul’.
These were the people Gertrude Stein referred to as ‘the lost generation’.
Certainly, why not Paris? Why not gather in the great city of lights with so much art and beauty? It was the place to be if you were disillusioned by a world intent on war and destruction. It was the perfect place and time to discuss matters of the ‘Soul,’ and these great writers held those discussions in the finest style and with some of the most celebrated erudition prevalent in those days.
So, why do I post about ‘Soul?’
Guess it’s easy for me, an oldtimer looking back on his life, how he has lived, somewhat of an anachronism in today’s fast moving digital world. ‘Soul’ is such an all-encompassing word. It holds such a fascination for me in these sunset years, but it has always held that fascination for me — guess ‘Soul’ for me is what writing is all about. We live, we pay taxes, and we die, but the ‘Soul’ offers us so many delectable scenarios of which to consider and ponder.
‘Soul’ is that defining part of us that we cannot pinpoint, cannot know exactly where it is, but we have to know that it is there. ‘Soul’ is everything Merriam-Webster says it is, but so very much more.
There are times when the directions we take as a world concerns me greatly. It is my hope that we can still take time, Paris or not, to discuss the implications of such an enigmatic and beautiful word.
Why is life if there is no ‘Soul’?
Billy Ray Chitwood – Posted on 7/31/12 and 9/13/17
The bright yellow Corvette sped along the Coast highway, flashed brightly in the afternoon sun, occasionally crossed carelessly to the shoulders on each side of the road. The handsome man driving was tensely absorbed in his thoughts, his tropical Tommy Bahama silk shirt flapping wildly in the swirling air, ballooning over his slender frame, presenting a bloated caricature. His deep black hair flowed in all directions. Tears rolled heavily down his tanned sculpted cheeks, his blue eyes blurred by the erupting flow, his lips set in a determined pose. To his left a beautiful and indifferent Pacific Ocean continued its ageless ebb and flow. To his right lovely palms and lush green land joined with deep canyons.
The news of his mother’s death had reached him in his dressing room after the last scene of a bad B-movie was shot on the sound stage. That news was preceded by a private eye’s photo proof of his wife’s infidelity… And, even with these items of irreversible bad news, Ricky Snow knew in his heart and mind that this was a preordained day of reckoning. His mother died of a stroke. His marriage died of an anemia of sorts, a lividness and weariness of soul. He heard not his fellow actors as he hurried to his car, the semblance of an idea forming in his head. He sped away from the studio lot and was now on the Coast Highway chasing the sunset.
Ricky registered all the beauty around him but it had no palliative effect on his dark mood. He was aware of all that he had in the material world, the sumptuous house in Holmby Hills, more money than he could use, the praise lavished upon him by adoring fans during his film career, the dreams that had come true for him over his relatively short life span. He indeed ‘had it all’ and it had come to mean nothing to him. Ricky gave the gas pedal another downward nudge.
I’ve been dying for so long. Somehow I know that. All around me my entire life I’ve somehow known I’m dying…not of any medically known disease but of some fatal atavistic flaw in my nature. Up, down, up, down, my emotions have displayed themselves daily in my life… Now, the two women meaning the most to me are dead, and, if not directly responsible for those deaths, my acts and deeds had their hard measure in the outcomes… The thoughts bounce into each other.
It is strange how all the acts and deeds of a lifetime come to me at the ripe age of forty-five as I race down this beautiful highway… Was it the rotten childhood, the broken promises, so many defeats without victories? Was it the first marriage which I corrupted or took part in its ultimate corruption? Maybe it was the second marriage…or the third… Hollywood is a storybook land for all things to happen. Maybe it was the first introduction to booze, grass, or to cocaine…sure made life seem simpler for a while. Why was I so smart to get off the alcohol and dope? Guess it made sense to me…maybe I felt I could clean myself up and be alright.
Funny how you can chase a dream and finally catch it, only to find disenchantment and misery in the end…and the women in my life…so many and so beautiful. Why did they end up in the attic of my disappointments? Only Mom seemed to know that mad torturing tornado that was loose inside of me. Melanie for a time seemed to know as well…then she tired of me and sought elsewhere the satisfaction for her own needs. Who can blame her? I cannot.
I’ve been dying for so long…so very long. Psychiatrists are loony…they could never help me. No, it is in my wiring, the weird inscription upon the walls of my being. I’ve desired. I’ve attained…the beautiful women, the lovely homes and cars…but I revert back to thoughts of dying…not always the grave or tomb dying but the withered dying of the self of me… I no longer truly care for life… Was it the early faith of my youth that I lost in the rapacious hungers that gripped me in adulthood? Was it simply that meaning was lost in the mundane pleasures of living? It would perhaps be a comfort to know how my life got so entangled within itself, but there is no longer a desire to really know. Little by little an invisible knife has whittled my life to this day, this hour, this place, and I am enjoined to its purpose.
I’ve been dying for so long…so very long…
A siren began as a lightly heard whisper within Ricky’s mind, became louder and intrusive to his life’s thoughts. His present reality returned to him and he knew that two California Highway patrolmen were chasing him. He glanced at his speedometer… 105 miles per hour. A sad smile came now with the tears, and he wished no one harmed because of his actions and deeds – he had been there, done that.
Ricky slowed the Corvette, and the highway patrolmen got closer and closer.
Just ahead on the Coastal Highway there was long curving rise, a magnificent site to his mind, with the blue Pacific waters off to his left on the outer edge of the curve, and a rocky canyon off to the right.
Ricky slammed hard his right foot down on the gas pedal until it reached the floor of the car. He glanced momentarily in his rear mirrors and saw the highway patrolmen trying to keep his pace.
Another sad smile joined his tears as he left the highway, hit the gravelly space in front of the wide white metal fence guard, tore through, and went sailing through space above the craggy rocks in the canyon below.
So, now I die… I have chased the sunset, my final quest, and it is mine. This is the moment of serenity that I can never explain to anyone… Goodbye, Mom, I shall now see if you were right about that wonderful dimension of which you spoke.
The two patrolmen watched at the broken fence at the highway, saw the flames rising from the canyon below, looked with sorrowful eyes and shaking heads.
“This was not an accident, Herb,” one man said to the other, “this fellow did exactly what he planned to do… He wanted to die.”
Some flash fiction authored by Billy Ray Chitwood
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Amid the chaos, destruction, and devastating rains of epic proportions come prayers, tears, and a true glimpse of the American character – beauty along with heartaches… Hopefully, we all can listen to the harsh lesson of ‘Mother Nature’ and her message to a portion of our republic that believes in political chicanery, deception, and greed.
What else can we call the liberal progressive agenda of hateful labeling? Identity Politics? A haphazard agenda of riots, tearing down historic statues in an attempt to sanitize and erase our history? A public education system where professors indoctrinate our youth with historical perspectives that have no valid promise on the compendium of time?
It takes a disastrous hurricane that destroys life and property, changes dreams, hopes, and creates a ‘new normal’ for so many.
It takes a calamitous hurricane to show the heroic hearts and death-defying efforts of our citizens to help one another in their times of peril.
It takes an awful reminder from higher intelligence that Love is still the core of existence, caring about family and neighbors, not an indulgence of liberal power brokers in their familiar and steady march toward some global and socialistic Nirvana.
Forgive me if it appears I’m using this Hurricane Harvey to make some points. It’s just, when there is a national disaster like this, one sees so many volunteers, people who lose their homes but also aid their neighbors with an outpouring of love and daunting rescue efforts while still able to smile and say: ‘We’ll get through this’…well, it touches most profoundly this old man’s heart and soul.
Which end of the rainbow holds the magic that will transform our lives? That proverbial ‘Pot of Gold’?
How far do we have to travel to find the elusive ends of those rainbows? It looks as though the ends are within our reach.
‘Okay, enough of the philosophical gibberish! We are a new generation and don’t grab hold too easily these metaphorical nuances. What’s your point’?
‘You are the point! Your generation is the point’!
Of ‘The Greatest Generation’, I’m a part, that pristine era that encompassed World War 2 and its aftermath. We helped to finally absolve a lingering malaise of ‘The Lost Generation’, the era following World War 1. We in my generation held no exclusive trademark on ‘sense and sensibility’. We had some blunders and gaps along the way.
However, for the most part, there was the pride and remembrance of those who gave their lives in the great war to preserve our freedom and liberty. Our military heroes paid the ultimate price.
Allow me to be plain in my words here…
I live now in ‘Twilight’, writing my fiction and observing the nature of the world around me, chaos and insanity across the waters as countries vie for power and dominance, as new forms of immorality charge closer to our shores in barbaric numbers. I watch our young people stray farther and farther away from the principles in our political bible called the ‘United States Constitution’, that document codified so clearly by our ‘founding fathers’… ‘United States Constitution’ and ‘Founding Fathers’, now seemingly phrases that edge slowly away from our consciousness.
I watch some of our young people caught up in a frenzied delusion imprinted on their brains by monied power groups, misdirected media, and political groups…tearing down statues that have historical meaning for so many, trying to sanitize and erase from memory life and death struggles in our storied past.
I watch a brash, plain-speaking billionaire business man elected president of our nation, a neophyte politician, a man with a wide-spanning agenda to cure some economic and security ills in our country. His platform speaks to immigration reform, job creation, foreign policy shifts, infra-structure clean-up, tax-reform, repeal and replacement of a most disastrous health program, better and more viable educational options, et al.
Despite the allure, charm, and eloquence of Barack Obama, he made, in my opinion, so many terrible foreign policy decisions, domestic miscues, and mysterious spending of tax payers’ dollars that it might be a while before we figure it all out. A few already have but can’t get any real traction from a biased media. Actually, it was my initial thought that Obama might be good for America. No racial thing! No bias! No hate! Just the way I see it…
The new President Trump starts enthusiastically and quickly in his new job, surrounding himself for the most part with a cadre of intelligent and qualified people. He issues ‘Executive Orders’ to negate many of the previous president’s directives. He makes successful trips to troubled parts of the world and elicits support for his foreign policies. He takes a strong position on North Korea’s missile launches and unveiled threats against our nation. The fixation by the media on ‘Russian Election Collusion’ truly becomes tiring and a thorn in President Trump’s side as he tries for comity with our adversary.
His efforts find great support from his politically conservative and independent base, but the liberal leaning media and distressed democrats challenge him at every turn. His tweets on Twitter draw ire, and he is reviled by the so-called establishment groups in Washington, DC and by some in his own party.
‘So, what’s the point of all this?’
For the first time in my long life, the feelings for me are visceral. Watching the riots at Berkeley, the destruction of property there and other states, the professorial leanings toward guided liberal thinking of their students, I feel Democracy in my country shifting from its long freedom and liberty roots to a more open and socialistic society. I’m not an avid student of history but have studied enough to know that Communism and Socialism have never worked. When Large Corporations, Big Money, and the Power Elites make decisions for the working classes, it’s the beginning of the end. When freedom-loving people are duped by the liberal revolutionists of our times, beware the ‘Ides of March’.
You might very well differ in your thinking, and that is the American way. We can debate issues and come to different conclusions without hating each other.
I started life in Appalachia and poverty, and that buys me a ticket nowhere…still haven’t made any ‘best seller lists’ with my books. I’m no longer in poverty, but neither am I rich and/or an envied one-percenter…just want my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids to have their freedom and liberty.
forever after a smash-up on a Phoenix freeway. At the hospital he is given pain medication, and strange things begin to happen…he experiences a ‘time travel’ episode back to 1838 to one of history’s greatest despicable acts – ‘The Trail of Tears’.
Back in present time Blake will find the woman of his dreams, find power and money, be involved in a murder, and live some unforgettable moments…both eerie and poetically divine.
It is an exciting and beautifully written book – a love story for the ages, plus a whole lot more… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
It is a piteous whimper, lost in the black void of the narrow closet. The weak and eerie sound of her own voice chills her more fiercely than the cold. The thought brings an aberrant amusement. Her own small voice frightens her!
A sound! A creaking sound. Far off. A footfall! Is it? No. It is not a footfall. It’s just one of the strange noises that comes in the night.
Is it night?
Time is lost. Time is gone from her world like a chunk of youth. The black hole draws her toward an uncertain vortex. She must close her eyes. But, not so tightly… With eyes open, the blackness comes alive with trickery… Inspired by a California newspaper account some years ago, this novel has truth along with the author’s story line. It is dark and ugly, like the black closet used for punishment by a malevolent mother whose heart and mind can only know evil. It is poignant and sad in the penning, to know that such cruelty and debasement can exist in one family.
From the black closet to fiery murder in the high Sierras, this shocking tale will scar the soul… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
About a Tennessee boy who ate some emotional soup and spent a lifetime trying to digest it. It is the story of a young man leaving east Tennessee and going in search of himself, unprepared for the adult world he is about to enter. Behind him, and, within him, is the emotional debris of his childhood: abuse, broken family, and a substantial part of his soul. Searching for his identity in ‘isms’ and bars, he stumbles, gets up, only to find in the end that legacy and meaning are elusive, a ‘white buffalo’ always somewhere in the shadows.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son” is largely a true story of the author’s own life, a mirror of his past, cracked with the stress of all his memories: a family broken apart by their Appalachian circumstances and the ‘great depression’; a childhood tainted by a father’s abusive nature; an impetuous marriage and a sorrowful divorce; a subsequent search of ‘isms,’ for love and meaning in California and Arizona gin mills; a tableau of horrible events, including a senseless family murder, suicide, and a desert survival.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son,” is the story of fictional Prentice Paul Hiller, his life, his heritage, his mistakes, the events that have come to shape him, and the demons within that he cannot dispel. Along the way, he gives his passionate and provocative views on criminal justice, love, politics, religion, war, and his favorite writers. In the end he finds a new love, some hope for redemption, some semblance of meaning and legacy.
The author’s own family roots trace back to the eleventh century in Chetwode, a lovely hamlet north of London… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
(Embraces the genres of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance)
High school sweethearts, Billy Jay Campbell and Marcie Dangino reunite after many years apart. They discover the fire of their young love still glows brightly. With the Air Force behind him, Billy now works as an investigator for a law firm,
Two problems threaten to spoil his homecoming. Marcie is now married to a junior partner at Clarkson and Dangino, a firm that has occasionally employed Billy for their investigative work. The second problem occurs when Billy’s close friend and boss is murdered.
The Reluctant Savage follows a mystery that connects greed, murder, romance, and a love triangle.
A Phoenix, AZ entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their budding relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, an out of control gambling addiction, a murder, and a matriarch’s secret that will ultimately cause emotional chaos and disorientation.
This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended.
Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul.
A non-fictional memoir that covers the author’s time in East Tennessee and his whirlwind education in the big world of neon lights, gin mills, pretty ladies, acting, television, stage, and film.
It is also a book that takes a remarkably honest look at some mistakes and triumphs.
It is a story that has depth beneath the glitter of shiny piano bars and lovely women, beneath a family disconnect and sorrowful musings.
The book reveals the author’s relationships in his life, the lamenting moments of despair and loneliness, the never-ending search for meaning, his faith, and the brutal assessments of who he really is. It has the family disconnect, even murder and suicide, and there is always a candor that is both refreshing and shocking in its self-analyses. In the end, it is likely a bio not so different from everyman…just changes in circumstance and event. AMAZON BUY SITES:
The author could be accused of ranting and raving as he comments on some of our very important issues.
While members of both parties without question have contributed to costly legislation, too much wasteful spending, an entitlement mentality, the previous president, his liberal supporters, and his entire administration has been evasive, inept, irresponsible, and continually in a campaign mode…in short, the American people were not served well by the people they elected to serve.
– Inspired by true events – Many years ago, a lovely actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She was a young mother of two children, a legal secretary for two of my attorney buddies, and she was responsible for my acting avocation — we had the same great agent in Scottsdale, Bobby Ball. She had her life in front of her with all the dreams most of our young generation had at the time, but her biggest dream was to have someone to love and a home for her family…
You are never far from our thoughts, dear lady.
Meet Bailey Crane, a transplanted son of the south. Bailey is an auxiliary detective, has a soft rep business that brings in easy money, and he’s a part-time actor.
Bailey’s got golf, love, money, friends, a hearty life, and he carries an amusing personality with him wherever he goes. He’s a rowdy, good looking rogue with a lot of that southern charm. His heart and his emotions are in his eyes and on his lips…he is not reluctant to share his world.
A young actress/model is brutally murdered in the Arizona desert northeast of Phoenix. The lady is a friend of Bailey Crane, and her homicide begins an adventure for our musing sleuth that takes him down the halls of our nation’s capital where he discovers that fact and fiction are strange bedfellows.
Bailey is a marked man, chased by an unknown pursuer with a gun. Wounded, his body battered and bruised, his anger pushes him onward until the puzzle pieces begin to make sense. The exciting climax has a unique twist, and our musing son of the south does not quite know it but the ending is also a beginning… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
A young woman is murdered in a most gruesome way. The authorities have no leads in the case, and Bailey Crane is sought out by the victim’s desperate mother. She must know the awful truth of her daughter’s death, must come to some semblance of closure.
Homicides of young women in other states arouse Bailey’s attention and provide a trail that will lead him to physical and psychological confrontations that will leave his relatively sane world rearranged and shaken.
The bizarre conclusion comes in a small mountain town in Colorado.
Our always musing southern sleuth will find a very personal and near sacred part of his life finding its own end point. There is emotional pain and there is a new beginning for our endearing Tennessee Sherlock with the Cherokee blood.
“Lake’s face was the face of a memory my mind carried, a face with no discernible sign of hope, a face with no sign of soul.”This tale begins with a raging warehouse fire that nearly consumes our southern sleuth.
A thug arrested in connection to the fire is overheard muttering a cryptic phrase, ‘beware The Brutus Gate.’ The fire and the phrase is the starting point of this story about drugs, murder, rape and political corruption at government’s elite levels.
Bailey Crane and his Phoenix PD buddies chuckle about the pithy ‘Brutus Gate’ remark, and the adventure begins. Our Sherlock hero is bounced around by the criminal elements and by his own personal demons of guilt and remorse — all standard fare for the Tennessee man of endless mind queries about his emotions and the state of his life.
The action is keen, and the climax comes on an old ranch on the Mexican border just south of Yuma, Arizona. This is likely a romp you don’t want to miss.
“The Brutus Gate – A Bailey Crane Mystery” is Book 3 in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series.’ Each Bailey Crane book can be read independently of the other. There is the natural progression of the central character in each succeeding book (aging, loves, experiences).
MURDER INPUEBLO DEL MAR(BOOK 4)
– Inspired by true events –
An Arizona wife and mother is murdered while on holiday in Mexico, and her three children find her brutally beaten and slashed body. Bailey Crane, an auxiliary member of the Phoenix PD, is visiting close friends in Pueblo del Mar, and is asked by the local police chief to assist him in building his case against the transsexual lover of the victim’s husband. Bailey’s Cherokee blood comes to an emotional boil when family and friends get caught up in the web of corruption, drugs, and sex. The highly intense climax comes in a ‘Whale Shack’ in the scrub brush and sand near the Sea of Cortez. This tale has the always soulful musings of our southern Sherlock, a chance encounter with a mysterious mystic who shares his thoughts on Time and Place, and fragile nerves that get edgy and frayed. This tale was inspired by an actual murder some years ago, and you don’t want to miss it… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
Bailey’s intent is fun and sun on the beautiful Sea of Cortez, but an old friend’s request for help changes his immediate plans: the Homeowners Association at the lovely Mar y Sol resort is experiencing some financial problems and its treasurer has just been murdered. His friend’s request for assistance leads to some very scary moments for our southern sleuth. Kidnapped twice, battered, bruised, Bailey finds it all in this caper — murder, money laundering scams, and betrayal. There is a man of intrigue that brings another dimension to the story, and the climactic ending to the tale is riveting, bringing with it an emotional catharsis for our hero. Bailey goes through the mazes, eventually finds his bad guys but he is left with the knowledge that friendship can be fragile and tentative.
PASSAGE FROM THE BOOK:
At the beach, he gave the middle-aged vendor his wallet to hold for him, chatted with him for a while in Spanish, got astride the jet ski and slowly moved out to deeper water. He made a few fast figure eights some five hundred yards offshore, allowing himself some final and nebulous act of rebellion, then pointed the jet ski in a straight line toward the distant horizon. He accelerated, and the jet ski thrust forward, spewing up heavy sprays, bouncing on the sea ruts and ripples. The wind screamed and hurled itself at his face and body, his hair flaring out in demonic poses, his wide lips closed tightly against his clenched teeth. On he went toward a horizon that only got farther away. His mind and body worked to keep balance on the jet ski, his heart pounding inside his chest, his mind focused only on the never diminishing line ahead where the sea meets the sky. Something in the water ahead caught his attention, something orange and heavy metal. He gave the jet ski all that the throttle would give and headed toward the orange object.
Just before the jet ski hit the orange metal, his mind projected the picture of a little boy sobbing, standing sad and forlorn in front of an old deserted house. Tears now came in a mad rush to mix with the sea spray and wind and his ending.
On the beach, the vendor could no longer see the Jet ski and he somehow knew that he would never see the man again. With a premonition, the vendor pulled from his pocket the wallet the man had given him. Inside the wallet was a note and twenty-five hundred dollars. The handwritten note read: “Follow these instructions and you will be a very wealthy man. Do with your life and the money what you will. My hope is that you will use the money for good and noble deeds. You will find your ending a much nicer place to be.” Attached to the note was a website address, numbers and password for an online bank account, instructions for redirecting funds, and further linkage information.
The man in soiled clothes looked toward the distant horizon and saw nothing. While the excitement of the moment overwhelmed him, he replaced the wallet and note in his pocket, stood for moments looking out at the sea. An unaccountable sadness overtook him and he wept for the man he would never know.
– Final book in series –Former sleuth Bailey Crane and lovely wife Wendy are enjoying their penthouse pleasures until a cartel sting operation at their Mexican resort brings chaos and emotional uncertainty into a blurry reality.
Wendy is kidnapped, and Bailey faces the demons running loose in his mind as he struggles with his choices.
Also President of the resort’s HOA, Bailey has not only kidnapping and murders with which to contend, but other problems which add to this suspenseful chapter in his life. The surprising end point brings back to Bailey and Wendy those memories better left in the memory vault.
An exciting, intense thriller in the sand and cacti of Mexico’s Sonoran desert by the beautiful Sea of Cortez. This is the final Book 6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.