Why am I Still Alive?

Why Am I Still Alive?

Ah, let me list the ways!

Why am I still alive?

To annoy people who tire of my sometimes pedantic and/or melancholy matters of the heart and mind!

A mechanic will tell you what’s wrong with your car, often times, not words you wish to hear!

“A cracked engine, you say! My God, man, don’t tell me that! Can’t you caulk it, put cement along the crack and seal it? I drove it in here! It was running fine! I just wanted gas! Now, you give me more gas than I wanted! You must be wrong! My engine cannot be cracked! I just drove this car off the showroom floor! You’re mad! Yor’re a scoundrel!”

Now, a noble ‘Romantic’ comes along to tell you that his words can bring you joy! If not joy, his words can bring you sadness! If not sadness, his words will speak to you of murder and mayhem, of love lost, regained! If not sadness, his words will squeal with fashioned glee he has never truly felt! But, then, what is a writer for but to create whatever it is you wish to feel!

Why am I still alive?

I’m still alive because I must, I need, I require before saying goodbye to my three fans and these earthly orbits a ‘Best Seller’ – allow me to repeat that, please: I must, I need, I require before saying goodbye to my four friends – I picked one up with just these first few lines – a BEST SELLER!

I’m still alive because I’m told by the Gods on Olympus that my time won’t be up until the frost on all pumpkins dehydrate at the same time and the world of Halloween knows no bounds. The Gods tell me I can even create an event that does not even exist!

Yes, it’s true! Take, for example, the fine scholar of a gentleman (or, perhaps, lady, for I know not the gender of ‘Anon’) who wrote: “Life is really simple! We people insist on making It complicated.”

Oh, where was I?

Oh, yes! The mind goes, you say, so it is written that I must be on way to death’s uncertain embrace! Yet, still, I beg to stay for that BEST SELLER! And, I shall stay until you merry lads and lassies fulfill that dream I carry in this villainous old head of mine… Oh, that reminds me, you get to see the steady decline of my head (that is to say, my brain!) but only after you give me my BEST SELLER!

So, ask not what you can do for other authors! Ask what you can dor for me!!!

I’m now working on my seventeenth novel! It is also that golden moment I’ve written of in this brilliant post: it is that BEST SELLER of which I speak…with the understanding that books I’ve already written should have had that high rank of BEST SELLER!

But, I shall trifle no longer with my quaint words which the Gods of Olympus provided me!

My acquaintances tell me that my subtlety is one of my finer traits, along with the ‘boy scout’ honor I’ve carried with me all these many years!

So, had you expected more than I’ve given here, I truly would like to be sorry! But, the Gods on Olympus speak to me directly and tell me not to be sorry! That, they say, shows weakness in my character. The Gods on Olympus also tell me leave now whilst I still might add my fifth friend.

The foregoing words relate so much better than I could speak it to you: Why I’m Still Alive! (Until age, 105, I hasten to say!)

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 16, 2018

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Family Love

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Family Love

Upon the laptops across the globe, authors take to their keyboards to peck out their stories, opening their hearts and their very souls to seek some arcane knowledge of their own existence. It is a two-way street, I believe, this writing business. Authors surely wish to entertain their readers. Authors are also writing in many ways to find themselves in their narratives. At least, this one is…

Take me, for example, I put my life under many of the microscopes of readers almost daily in search for the essence of the man behind his words. On the surface of those words I believe it easy to discover some superficial nomenclature to describe myself – a man who ate some emotional soup in childhood and has spent a lifetime in search of himself, that essence, the reality of his soul. Of course, I can immediately acknowledge in all my lucid candor that the simple ‘nomenclature’ I’ve discovered at best can only scratch the surface of who I am, what and where I’ve been. The ultimate truth lies out there in the void of the ‘dark veil’!

What I can be certain of is what I label, ‘my orbital truth’. It is a truth I’ve dodged most of my life as a wanderlust, what many would call a ‘romantic’ or a ‘lotus-eater’, a man hungry for the fruits that can be found in the nether world of women and song, in and out of love, playing the role of dismayed man sorry for himself, or the role of a poet and soothsayer – ‘hey, look at me, am I not a good and solid actor in this not-so-great B-level  Movie’?

My children, two of whom I present to you above, love me for some obscure reason for I was absent for days, weeks, months, and years of their lives – sitting likely in a motel room writing about them on cheap stationery, how I missed them, how much I loved them, only to es-cape the motel room for more women and song. They are wise enough to know all of this and most of them are now closely-knit families with lovely children of their own.

My daughter, Shelley Jean (top picture), her handsome husband, Greg, are shown above, below them, my son, Scott and his lovely wife, Carla. Another son, Brandon, is a PhD in Literature, a professor living in Minnesota, unmarried at last report. There is a school teacher daughter and two engineers in the mix – Chemical and Electronic. All have wonderful children of their own… As a sad footnote: One of my sons, Steven Ray, was lost to us because of his life on the dark menacing streets of Las Vegas in drug dealing and use. If one might presume I could have made a difference in his life had I been there more, you would be presuming correctly… I carry that ignoble deed to the black void mentioned earlier.

With this righteous candor, I can say in honesty that all of the other children now have families and a good life. Shelley and Greg rejoice in their God and their blended family. Scott and Carla, having lived productive business lives, spend most their time in a Utah mountain retreat. The engineers and teacher whom I love come to me via Julie Anne, my most generous and loving wife of some thirty-five years. They are all family-oriented and have clearer truths for living than their father.

So, why have I shared all of my children, myself and wife with you, my compatriots on the writing circuit and some few reading fans? Surely, you did not need to read this, to hear it, as it were. No, of course not! It is all for me, this long missive of contrition. I’ve made you, the readers, my altar of remorse!

 It seemed necessary for me to share the larger truths of my life. Somehow, with the allocation comes ablution, some semblance of playing straight without falsely presenting myself. I served honorably in the United States Navy, have a loving and cherished wife, and felt the simple need to share the beauty that now pervades my life…the children, their families, their devotion to their own families and their charitable aid to others.

In pondering my life’s rather rascally environments at times I’m reminded of how truly lucky I am to have so very much love in my life.

That’s really comforting here in ‘Twilight’, where I plan to live until age 105 and write many more novels…

Surely hope those novels get read… 

No groveling, please, BR! 😀

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 1, 2018

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A Common Evil – A Bailey Crane Mystery #6

A Common Evil – A Bailey Crane Mystery 

(From the 6-book Series: Bailey Crane Mysteries)

A Common Evil is the last book in ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery’ Series, and, joining An Arizona Tragedy as bookends to the six, these two might be the most outrageously good reads of the series. Believe me, that is not to say the other books cannot stand proud among an unbelievable lineup of thrillers. All books in this series are inspired by true events except for book 3, The Brutus Gate – itself, with the thrills and subject matter, will keep the mystery buffs reading into the night.

 A Common Evil was inspired and written from some of my own experiences while president of the board of directors at a lovely resort on the Sea of Cortez. Of course, there are fictional elements in the story, but plenty of the narrative lends its words to actual events. The characters are built from real bone and flesh people. There was indeed a shootout at the resort in a pre-dawn raid by law enforcement officials and a cartel group renting one of the villas on the property. The snap-snap of gunfire was real. The dead bodies on the blood- soaked ground were real.

That shootout starts the book, and some believe it might have happened because of a letter I wrote to the Governor of Sonora about some culpable folks at the resort and after one of our administrative personnel was kidnapped for several days, beaten, found, hospitalized for a time and released back to the resort.

To experience the dazzling beauty of that resort, to enjoy the cobalt waters of the Sea of Cortez, to gather sea shells along the beach, and, as an ex-pat, witness some elements of a country I’ve loved for many years, made me heart-sick to leave and return to the United States. It was at the loving insistence of family that prompted us to leave that beautiful sea resort.

A Common Evil is particularly close to my heart. There is a haunting nostalgia for me connected with old Mexico. The people, beaten down by their history of cartels and mordida, are thankful for the American home owners in Mexico, are helpful in so many ways and their lined and toil-ridden faces show their story as plainly as any history text could lay out. I think the narrative of this book will bear that out.

Bailey’s wife Wendy is kidnapped! Bailey is fraught with agony and anger! Bailey acts, and it doesn’t seem to be the same Bailey…but, then, his wife is missing.

A Common Evil will keep you riveted with mystery and suspense. The ending is alone worth a read. Don’t miss this one!

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 29, 2018

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Advice – Advice – Advice

Advice – Advice – Advice

By BR Chitwood

Guess it has come to this…me, making a total ass of myself. But the time comes for everyone to do just that.

What am I talking about?

Guessing again, but I suspect the title above gives some clue in answering that question.

Okay – let the record show I’m swallowing ‘hard’ because this post just might make me some enemies… However, that’s never stopped me if I put my mind to thinking about it.

‘Advice’? Let me put this ‘feeler’ out there!

Don’t you get just a bit tired of all the advice offered to you as writers? (Usually, with some fees coming with that advice!) How to this… How to that… How, how, how!

Don’t get me wrong. There are some good ‘advice channels’ out there in certain areas where you can solicit answers to gnawing questions. And, I’ll be honest here, living in ‘Twilight’, my take on ‘things’ is a bit different from some folks. But, don’t you really get tired of being blasted on the internet with all the advice – from ‘query letters’ to ‘formatting’ to ‘marketing’ (yuck! That hit a nerve!) to just about anything to do with writing.

 Here’s my advice – oops! Here’s what I think! (‘Hmmm… Getting sick of people telling us what they think’ can be fodder for yet another post’!)

At some point in our writing lives, we need to determine if we really can write. That is, do we have some simple fundamentals of the English Language – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, the simple ability to form a sentence longer than, ‘See Rex run!’ Do we have a fertile mind to give us characters and plots? Have we read enough in our lives of the great authors to get a feel for style and substance? Do we have a burning desire to write? Has a teacher, college professor, someone we respect, suggested we might consider becoming a writer? After my play-periods in life and a career in sales and management, I reached back, pulled my college history professor’s suggestion out of the memory file, and started to write. Do we possess the tenacity to hone our skills, to do our critical self-due-diligence of our growth?

Perhaps the most important question to ask ourselves is, ‘Do we have the patience to be writers? That is, the book reviews of our first title are mixed – some good, some not so much! Can we get beyond that nasty review from some reader who got our book FREE? That first title is your initial foray into the world of book publishing, your first ‘baby’ – and, it got some abuse. We’re not happy! we’re second-guessing ourselves! Can we get over this hump? Those readers who panned our first title? Hey, they’re likely ‘bad’ readers – you know, they were given a ‘freebie’ and they’re all of a sudden experts and don’t have to worry because they’re also anonymous! Hey, again, if there are bad writers there are bad readers. It’s my belief, we can accept our writing mistakes and become good at our craft. ‘To err is human’! (Ouch, another platitude!)

Some of us fool ourselves into believing we are really the true ‘Hemingways’ and/or ‘Alcotts’ at this juncture of the long compendium of life, only eventually to accept our self-imposed dictum that, ‘Well, at least our kids might have some fun trying to decipher, ‘Wow! just who the dickens were Dad/Mom, anyhow’?

The most difficult reality to face in this self-publishing environment is the ‘humungus’ numbers of us out there in the world – millions upon millions, all competing for a spot on the ‘Best Seller’ lists. Along with that difficult reality is, yep, marketing, making sure as much as you can that you’ve provided the best routes for your writing to get noticed and bought.

Now, I’m fortunate in having people feed me enough BS that I think I’m the ‘cat’s meow’ (don’t you hate those bromides?), so I plod along. I’ve come to accept these most beautifully offered bits of praise as genuine and continue happily with my writing. You see, after a while, here in ‘Twilight’, I’m enjoying every one of my sunsets and telling anyone who’s interested that ‘writing is my therapy’, and, believe me, kids, at this age that word comes up a lot!

So, you’ve read these words. Consider them, NOT as advice but as one writer to another. If your answers to the above were pretty much in the positive light, stay on board with your writing and test as many waters as you can. Who truly knows?

‘The shadow knows’! (Shut-up, BR, no one but no one remembers ‘the shadow’!

Who to trust? NOT Dad and Mom! I suggest you Trust your siblings! They don’t like you anyhow!

Now, I had a lot of fun writing this post, and hope my stirring words did not cause anyone irritation. Just don’t label this post ‘advice’ because that would defeat its most beautiful purpose…

Can anyone advise me on a good ‘shrink’?

Write your blog posts and books with the jolly ‘God of Writing’ on your penning shoulder…and utilize the ‘God of Bacchus’ when necessary to keep a cool head. Just, don’t overdo it! like a guy in Texas I know!!!

 

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 24, 2018

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Satan’s Song

Wherein Be Evil

Is the wolf’s wistful wail to the moon a siren of evil?

A stretch, no doubt, but Hollywood has made a lot of money with Lon Chaney and the Wolf-man…a full moon and a man turning into a werewolf.

Satan’s Song A Bailey Crane Mystery regrettably has no connection with Hollywood where millionaires are made overnight when their books are tailored into screenplays. Of course, I easily salivate with thoughts of that enticing proposition and welcome that ‘producer’s request’ to do just that with any of my books.

Well, that thought remains on a fading ‘wish list’!

Satan’s Song has the ‘evil’ and it has also inspiration from a true Arizona decapitation homicide. Like the first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, An Arizona Tragedy, this title was also a ‘Cold Case’ for many years. Recently, Phoenix Police Department found their killer.

In my novel, the details of that long-ago murder of a young blond lady is fictionalized and turns into a case of serial murders. The suspense and surprise of Satan’s Song deals with the motive and psychotic mind of the killer. The murder spree of the killer includes young ladies in the states of Texas, Ohio, and California, plus a male victim in Pennsylvania.

Bailey Crane’s life undergoes changes as my hero’s personal life becomes complicated and must deal with some emotionally painful realities.

There is a strong ‘women presence’ particularly in this book, and, in truth, all six books of the Bailey Crane mystery series. Please, partake and enjoy!

Hope all your reads are enjoyable.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 14, 2018

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My Way

My Way

My Way

There is so much enjoyment derived from my interface with Twitter followers and my blog family. That said, there is a little voice inside of me to which I must listen. What is that little voice saying to me? ‘BR, your business is writing, and you must get back to it…there’s a book waiting to be finished and more in your mind.

The thing is, I’m only special as an author to myself, but I love to write and have the characters in those words and phrases give me an inkling of who I am. You see, for me, that’s what writing is all about. Sure, it’s a story with plot and sub-plots going somewhere, but it’s so much more than that to me… Perhaps, it is that way for you as well.

Yes, it would be very nice to be a best-selling author, have 5-Star reviews from thousands – ah, make it, millions! Nice to have hit movies made of what I pen. And, I must say, I’ve had glimmers of that sort of praise.

Yet, it is no secret that I’m an octogenarian living in Twilight and I have within this cranial wall more books to write, perhaps, some short stories and poetry. Age is over-rated as a condition for giving up what you love to do, but some of the side-roads of writing can become rather tedious and overly time-consuming.

So, I am going to continue to write my blog posts and occasionally follow and respond to other blogs, tweet and retweet, but I won’t let those activities interfere with my basic goal of exhausting what is left of this mind of mine for story writing. In other words, perhaps it is better to say I’m worn-out from trying to keep up with the blogs and social media that I have not the energy left to caretake my first love – writing in the longer mode, that of books!

I’m aware that this is a selfish position to take, that is, ‘you read my blog posts but I will only selectively read yours’. Of course, I will perhaps lose most of you, and that will make me sad. It is quite remarkable to me that so many blog hosts write so many posts in one day. It’s difficult for me to understand how they do it, unless, of course, that is the only writing they do. Please, don’t mis-read me here. ‘Thirty-One Flavors’ is there for all lovers of ice cream, be it Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry… So, the blog host is writing and satisfying her/his desire to write, and I think that is wonderful.

I figure on living to 105! That gives me yet time to create that best-seller…the only problem with that is, I likely won’t be able to comprehend the worth of it all! Tee-Hee!

My sincere affection for all!

Billy Ray Chitwood – May 18, 2018

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The Clock and the Car

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The Clock and the Car

-Some Scintillating Dialogue-

(Dedicated to John Howell – My Dialogue Hero!)

***

“What’s with the clock and hammer, Henry?”

“You don’t want to know, Helen!”

“You’re angry! Why are you angry? Stop walking, Henry! Talk to me! Your face is flushed!”

“I told you, you don’t want to know! Move! Out of my way!”

“My God! Henry, you’re going to crush the clock with the hammer? Henry, stop and talk to me!”

Back door slams!

 Guess he’s on one of his rampages! Why bother when he’s in these moods? He has to put his fire out! That’s the way He’s made, God help him!

I’m glad we have a few acres here – wouldn’t want neighbors hearing his pounding and yelling out there! Time for my ear plugs, Social Media and the reading room upstairs.

Poor Henry! In thirty minutes, or less, he will be all loving and sweet again, asking forgiveness for his fiery temper! I love him so much, and it is kind of a comical break to the day… He’s so darned predictable. I’m surprised he hasn’t hammered his laptop…he’s threatened often enough! Oh, well, Henry got his genes at a ‘pawn shop’ back room!

He’s so sweet most of the time! It’s that blasted meltdown he inherited from his father (he owned the pawn shop!). Papa Gregory died of an abdominal aneurism! Henry gets his regular medical tests for those ‘meanies’, but his doctor tells him each check-up all his systems are ‘go’!

It’s been about thirty minutes, and this book is just not wrapping me all up in its narrative. Henry has got me spoiled! He’s an author who can really paint several portraits in a book – he’s written fourteen, working on fifteen. If his anger with the laptop doesn’t kill him first!

Guess I better check on him! It’s really quiet all of a sudden! “Henry! Henry!” (Gotta get that stair-step creak nailed down!) “Henry, are you down here?”

Darn, forgot to take my earplugs out!

“Henry, why are you sitting all alone here in the living room?”

“Cause my mistress didn’t show up for our afternoon play-party! Why you asking? I’m relaxing, having a Willet on the rocks…it’s not Maker’s Mark but it gets the job done! Thought you were gone to the store?”

“And, why would you think that, Henry? Told you earlier I wasn’t going to the store until tomorrow.”

“Well, where did you go?”

“I’ve been upstairs in the library, reading, you old fool! Did you get over your anger spell with that clock?”

“Well, yeah, and I’m sorry about that…Time is just flying by! I look at the darned clock and it’s almost 5PM – it seems it ought to be still AM… don’t like clocks not even a little bit! But, hang on a doggone minute, Helen!”

Henry is finishing off his Willett on the rocks in one gulp and getting out of the LazyBoy in a big hurry!

“Now, where’re you going, Henry?”

“Just a minute, Helen!”

He’s going toward the front door!

“Henry, stop! Where are you going?”

He’s looking out the side window at the front door!

“Henry, will you please tell me what you’re doing?”

“Where’s the car, Helen?”

“In the driveway, Henry!”

“Sorry, hissy Helen. There is no car in our driveway!”

“Oh, My God, Henry! The car’s been stolen?!”

“I’m fixing myself another Willett on the rocks, sweet lady, while you talk to the police!”

“What are you mumbling under your breath, Henry? I can hear you here in the living room!”

“Take your best guess, sweetheart! Just keep dialing the phone…the police department, not, 911!”

“The phone is ringing, Henry, at the police department. Come, sit next to me on the love seat while I’m waiting for them to answer.”

“Afraid I might spill some of my Willett on you, Helen. ‘Ain’t’ going to lose a drop of this valuable stuff! You just get our car back!”

Billy Ray Chitwood – February 28, 2018

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Flowers and Stone

Watch Nonnie Write!

Flowers and Stone

Thank you all for dropping by today.  I hope it was the title of this post that enticed you to do so.

Many of you may be aware that early last year I took my debut novel, “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” down from Amazon.  (I’ve recently discovered that in my haste to do so, I only removed the e-book format and it is still there in paperback format, but hopefully, no one’s buying it).  I did this, because although it received many positive reviews, I just happened to open a paperback copy one day to find some very glaring “hiccups.”  I was so blown away (that they were glaring…at least to me) that I rushed to Amazon and yanked it down with such force, I think I hurt my arm. (I’m sorry, poor arm).

Anyway, with running the hugely busy and successful communities known as RRBC & RWISA, I…

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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)

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