Billy Ray Chitwood's Blog - Posts Tagged "action"

Review of "Everyone Burns" a novel by John Dolan

5.0 out of 5 stars "Everyone Burns" is sublime chaos! The best kind!, November 9, 2012
By Billy Ray Chitwood

This review is from: "Everyone Burns" (Kindle Edition)

Sublime chaos! Action scenes and dialogues are deftly metered by a mind that seems ever reaching for outer limits. It's easy to be absorbed in the mad Thai business at hand, the off-beat protagonist, but it is the exquisitely witty patter and the author's unique penchant for challenging the reader's mind that moves one hungrily through the pages of "Everyone Burns." If you haven't read this 'wild and wonderful' guy, you've got to take the time... You will be glad you did - guaranteed!

Guess I'm biased because I love John Dolan's author interviews --- they are truly addictive, innovative, and must reads! (Just stay away from 'Digby!') I'm also a faithful follower on twitter. You, too, will be when you catch a glimpse of his talent...

Follow John Dolan on Twitter: @JohnDolanAuthor

Go to John Dolan's blogsite;
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Published on November 22, 2012 12:07 Tags: action, anti-hero, bar-fights, crime, detective, everyone-burns, john-dolan, murder, thailand, thriller, tsunami

"The Brutus Gate - A Bailey Crane Mystery" (Book 3) - EXCERPT

Posted on December 21, 2012 by billyraychitwood

Here’s an excerpt from the third book in the Bailey Crane Mystery Series. Hope you enjoy it.


Just when you think you’ve got all systems going in harmonious sync, that’s the time old Chicken Little’s doomsday utterance settles a might too snugly into the conscience: The sky is falling!

Well, my sky was falling, literally, inexorably, and with undue haste! Not to mix metaphors, but the falling sky was becoming a raging hell!

The very large warehouse roof was collapsing bit by fiery bit, and the bad guys were winning.

The bad guys were also getting away.

“What a way to go,“ said to myself and to anyone around to listen. “Dumb! Stupid! XO#*!!!”

And I had not even done my Christmas shopping.

It was Thursday, December 24, mid-afternoon. The temperature outside the Old Guthrie Warehouse was seventy degrees. It was a cloudless, real charming Chamber of Commerce day in Phoenix, Arizona. Inside the warehouse, in my little corner, the temperature was rising and the smoke was a dark, dense, viscid blanket which seriously threatened my breathing.

Having some vague recall from my firefighting boot camp training, courtesy of the United States Navy, my body was flat on the floor where the air was less heavy and thick. My vision was impaired by the smoke but could see orange diffusion all around me, could hear frantic cracking sounds of bursting embers and swirling fire fury, and could feel the heat, stinging, becoming a palpable furnace against my face and hands.

The large pneumatic door by which I had entered this ill-fated building was not far away. Could reach it except for one minor, make it, major, problem. A huge piece of timber frame had me wedged face down between some old metal file cabinets and a huge, heavy wooden desk. It was a corner office in the aged warehouse, and, at my arrival some twenty minutes ago, it had seemed so incongruous in it setting. It didn’t matter a whole lot now. The fire would equalize all parts of the structure soon enough into a smoldering pile of ashes.

My boss, my buddy, Ross Milburn, had said it would be a simple matter, this visit to the Old Guthrie Warehouse. Just wanted to ask some questions, get some answers, about some nefarious shipments in the dark of night, and about some sort of big crime event about to happen. No big deal, he had said. One day, I would need to talk to Ross about his rather trivial disregard for my bones and his utter failure as a soothsayer.

Not so simple, it had turned out. A big deal, it had turned out. Someone, some evil SOB, someone or some ones, had set us up big time. Certainly, being the most seriously and immediately aggrieved, about to be consumed by uncaring flames, it appeared that some amount of complaining and whimpering was in order.

‘Oh, just stop with the whining and figure a way to get us out of this mess.’

My alter ego tried persistently to keep my thinking straight. And, of course, he was always spot on. Didn’t really matter at this point that we had been set up. Just, figure a way out. The only thing was, my strength was not sufficient to move the timber frame or my wedged body. My efforts were hopeless.

Earlier, when we arrived in our unmarked vehicle, the warehouse had a dark and abandoned look. Ross had gone to one end of the huge building to check a hazy light and what he thought were voices. I had gone straight to the warehouse office where, upon entering, had gotten blindsided by a two by four. At least, it felt like a two by four. On my hands and knees, head hanging loosely and all systems swaying surrealistically, heard loud, cursing, anxious voices retreating from the room.

Shortly after the bad people left the office, my befogged mind registered some gunshots and it appeared that Ross was calling to me from far away. Then, there came a thunderous, reverberating roar, slamming me roughly into the corner where that piece of timber frame nailed me helplessly to the floor. Soon, there was the sound of crackling fire, smoke, heat — and old Chicken Little.

The permutations of my Cherokee mind astounded me. Here in this conflagrant environment, I started thinking about Christmas presents and Jingle Bells. ‘Hey, beam up, Bailey Boy! You’re about to fry. Like, get some kind of desperate.’

Don’t get me wrong, knew that I was in trouble, but my brain was no doubt altered by the two by four whammy. All it wanted to do in those split seconds was vacillate wildly, acknowledging my impending death and wandering off into the past to revisit old memories, old loves, old dreams. The gray matter meandered those old trails until the intense heat got it back to the present and to thoughts of Janice and Bobby.

That’s when I felt the first really urgent pinpricks of fear and desperation. My first subliminal thought had been that this fire business was likely a temporary inconvenience, that Ross and his Arizona Rangers would be bursting in to get me out any minute. The harsh reality of that not happening was now becoming much more evident. The mind could spin crazily fast and illogically in moments of impending peril.

Strained all muscles in my body to the max and could not budge for any appreciable leverage. The panic that should have been there much sooner now came fully empowered with Satan’s rage.

This was it! The moment most people only obliquely confronted when the twilight years were upon them. The moment that fascinated the philosophers and the poets. The moment of no more options or delusive dithering. The moment of utter, stark, finality.

Death! Its black unctuous veil, heavy, gagging, suffocating, consuming and final, its heat a furious rhapsodic resonance. Death! My own death was now here, coming on the neuronal tap dancing tremors that was now my body.

So much for soliloquies. Here was heap big trouble for this southern white man with the Cherokee blood, heap big trouble right here, right now.

Struggled mightily, gagged, coughed, frantically reached maniacally within myself for air. Thoughts were trying to convey themselves to me, thoughts of sorrow, deeds undone, loves unfulfilled, all the roads untraveled; the body, the mind, a frenzied duo fighting out of sync in blind attempts to right themselves, both so near some great effulgence of truth, the ultimate enigma, the greatest mystery of a lifetime. … death. Would I know? After it was over, would I know? On some level, would I know? Would I know what death was about? Would I know and be alone in the knowledge? Would it matter? Would I go to a Hell? To a Heaven? Life’s lore had followed me to the great gate of the hereafter.

“I long for death, death longs for me. But it is dark to die, and, oh! I fear that I still wish to be!”

The lines came to me unbidden from a book by an old friend: Hell’s Music. The book was about two soldiers in a foxhole during the Korean War, seeking some ultimate clarity of their lives..

No more soliloquies for the moment.

Among gritty, dirty perspiration and the awesome heat, I could distinguish my own tears flowing down my cheeks. Then a smile, mildly sardonic and wistful, came to my face. “It’s okay to cry, Bailey Boy,” whispered to myself. The urgency to live, to struggle with the Grim Reaper, was leaving me. The incredible flush and quake to my body was like a wild, pulsing, out of control roller coaster about to plummet from its highest arc. My breathing was short, hot, gasps of sucking, bringing enormous thermal pressure to my lungs. My heart seemed to inflate within me, and I felt like a bloated Salvadore Dali figure on some primordial pastel plain.

Death had come for me. Could it truly be?

On some unclear periphery of consciousness came soft sounds of a great ripping and tearing, of things falling; feet, hands, moving to a kind of melodic, slow motion, far away squeal. My name was being spoken over and over in low guttural, foghorn slowness, like the languid flow of dream sequences portrayed in old forgotten movies. Hands reached for the timber frame beam amid grunts and groans; feet scraped on a raspy floor. All motion was torpid; faces in punctuated and sustained grimaces and worry. Sweeping, lazy sprays of water fell all about me. The black smoke began to dissipate. Patches of blue sky came sporadically through the thinning mist. Air became breathable.

There on the edge I saw Ross Milburn’s black shiny face, contorted with an etched fear, almost purplish in its sheen from the light play and the scattering smoke. Such a beautiful face! The face of my friend. Ross was sitting on some green and yellow contraption with two thick metal prongs sticking out of it. There were chunks of charred wood and wallboard hanging from the prongs. In my fevered brain it came to me that Ross had driven that alien metal monster into the outer wall of the warehouse office. He looked comical and out of place, his white shirt smudged with black soot and his tie loosened and thrown over his shoulder. He was beautiful. I thought about laughing but gagging and coughing stopped me.

The people lifting the wooden beam from my body were now recognizable. The men of the blue cloth, my comrades at the Phoenix Police Department, ‘The Arizona Rangers,’ had come to the rescue after all. A siren announced the arrival of fire engine and crew.

As the weight of the beam was hoisted above and away from my body, my breathing became more relaxed. It was indeed a most marvelous thing, this breathing. The now languid body no longer trembled with hysteria, but there was incipient soreness that beckoned for attention. My upper thighs and my kidneys were aching, but it was a subdued aching. Tentatively, I wriggled my toes within my shoes, then my feet and legs. My miraculous body seemed battered, bruised, otherwise nastily mistreated, but unbroken.

Managed a silly smile and a thumb’s up for the beautiful and glistening face of Ross Milburn. He smiled inanely back until he seemed to become aware of some fundamental Keystone Kop element in the quaint montage. Then he lifted himself from the seat of the strange machine and jumped to the ground. Ross stood with one foot inside the warehouse office and one foot on the asphalt outside the crumbled wall.

While trying to stand, a pain akin to electric shock shot through my pelvic area. Awkwardly, I fell back to the floor among all the broken wood, glass and plaster.

“Stay where you are, Bailey!” yelled Ross, noticing my efforts to rise and my subsequent discomfort. “You might have something broken or torn inside.” He came toward me, dodging the debris.

“Think I’m okay, Ross-man, just tried to get up a little too fast. Probably a misplaced hillbilly gene or hormone getting realigned.”

Hey, it was a small and weak attempt at humor. I was alive. A few minutes ago, I was … Okay, enough already on that death business. Later, maybe, all of this could be revisited.

“Here,” I said to Ross when he was standing over me, “give me your hands and pull me up gently.”

“Bailey, we should wait until …”

“C’mon, pull. Gently, as you go.”

Ross shook his head in feigned disgust and gave me his big handsome hams. With utmost care, his eyes watching mine, he lifted me to my feet. Shifting weight from foot to foot, tentatively, I put my hands on my love handles and turned my upper body slowly to one side, then to the other. My first step brought no elaborate pain so I took another. Then, another. Ross stayed by my side, his hands and arms out like he was ready to start shaping some clay statue.

“Hey, everything works, Ross-man. I’m okay. You okay? I heard gun shots. Right?”

“Yeah, you heard right. We winged two of them. We got ‘em in a cruiser, bleeding all over the seats, waiting for the EMT to take ‘em to St. Joe’s, then on to lock-up. The other two got away in an old blue Lincoln Town Car. Trent put out an APB on ‘em. They won’t get too far.” Trent Casals was another buddy, one of my partners at the PPD. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. A little sore but nothing’s broken. That was something else, Ross. It’s never been quite that way before. Thought maybe this could be the time for my big trip beyond. The mind behaves strangely when … Hey, you’ve been there. You don’t need to hear it from me. Let’s get out of this rubble.”

We walked some distance from the smoldering heap, away from the people and the noise. I sat in the PPD unmarked Chevy as Ross talked to Trent outside the cruiser holding the two bad guys. Trent broke away just long enough to come over and check me out.

Trent, a tall, lanky, double-jointed ex-basketball player, ugly and beautiful all in one, looked like a ‘Jack Palance’ or like an imagined ‘Ichabod Crane.’ He cared but he did not make a show of caring. He stayed for a few minutes, muttered some inanities, patted, gripped my shoulder, and walked back to the cruiser.

Sitting there, windows up in the car, watching the near noiseless activity around the warehouse rubble, a strange soporific calm engulfed me. Quiet, sensory messages of great meaning were being transmitted from somewhere deep in my soul, just out of my cranial grasp, the import of which was not as important as the knowledge of knowing they were being sent. The nonsensical aberration brought a smile to my face and I dropped my chin, closed my eyes, and shook my head gently in silent acknowledgment to the miracle of life and God’s inscrutable stage-fare.

The car door opened and slammed closed. Ross got behind the steering wheel and stared at my stupid face, the inane smile still in place.

“What, BC? What? The look? What transpires inside that looney bin scalp?”

“Just being me, Ross-man. You don’t want to know. Believe me, it’s better kept very far from you, very far from anyone. It’s a mind trip.” I stared back at Ross and saw the helpless expression come to his face, saw his eyes get all squint-like. “Hey, I’m okay,” I said quickly. “What’s with our two criminolos? They talking or what?”

Ross finally broke his stare. He put the key in the ignition and started the engine. “Yeah, they’re talking, but they’re talking pig Latin or some other derivative language I don’t know. You know them, I think. Art DeFilo and Eddie Briscoe?”

Nodded in the affirmative. Yes, the worthless goons were known to me.

Ross put the gear in reverse, carefully backed circuitously around three police cruisers with red lights and blue lights still flashing. “Art DeFilo, the short, squat one?” He glanced over at me for an up and down head shake. “He said one thing that baffles me. I mean, I got his words. I just don’t know what they necessarily mean …”

Ross drove forward, dodging people and debris, crossed the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks and headed toward Van Buren Avenue.

“Well, what did DeFilo say, big guy? Don’t keep me in the dark.”

The western sun felt hot against my nape, but not hot like the just recently known hot. This was enjoyable hot.

“He was a little sappy. Guess the bullet that passed through his shoulder had him swooning. He was mumbling a lot. But he said something peculiar, then got all red and sweaty after he said it, like he couldn’t believe he had said it …” Ross turned east onto Van Buren.

“Said WHAT? Crimminy, Rosser, you’re infuriating. What did the short, squat, Artie DeFilo say?”

He glanced quickly in my direction, then back at the road. With a serious and stern expression, and a lot of pseudo drama, Ross spoke: “He said an odd thing, especially weird for a small time hood. You know we’ve been expecting something big from Fistucci and his group. Well, what this creep said might just be tied in with that big event, whatever the hay it is.” He paused, glanced my way with a wrinkled brow expression.

“What, dip-hole? Tell me what he said or I’ll choke you right here on Van Buren.”

He chuckled for a moment, then put his serious face back on. “Okay, okay. What he said was, he said, and this it really way out, man, I kid you not …” He saw me about to erupt. “He said, ‘Beware the Brutus Gate.’”

Didn’t know whether to hit him or jump out of the car.

‘Beware the Brutus Gate.’

Cute. Very cute.

END OF EXCERPT – Please visit these links for information on ordering and/or synopses of other books in the Bailey Crane Mystery Series. Also check out the author’s other books: “Mama’s Madness” – “Butterflies And Jellybeans – A Love Story” – “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son” – “What Happens Next? – A Life’s True Tale”

Here are the links: and and and (US – UK – Europe)
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"An Arizona Tragedy - A Bailey Crane Mystery" (Book 1) (Take a peek)

“An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book 1) (Take a peek)
Posted on March 25, 2013 by billyraychitwood1

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to play in front of the camera in TV commercials, film presentations, some live stage acting, and some modeling. A southern transplant I was pretty much a kid in a candy store – had loved my cowboy movies, John Wayne, and some wild action films at the Saturday movie house. It was just a lot of fun for me to ham it up and be who I was not. My entree into this entertainment business came via a good friend who was also a model/actress but primarily a legal secretary to a couple of my good attorney buddies. This sweet lady got me an agent, and I was off and running, doing some really fun stuff in my spare time. Some of my acting pals of the day were Kit Carson, Director of the Phoenix Little Theater at the time, Nick Nolte, a young impassioned fellow everyone knew was destined for Hollywood, et al. These were great days to be alive, but there came a sadness to make us all stop and think.

That lovely young mother of two and actress/model who befriended me and ushered me into the entertainment world was found brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix during the hot month of August. She had been missing for some weeks before her body was found, and the newspapers of the day were filled with known facts and thin theories. Her body had been ravaged by the heat and the desert denizens, and the police officials were left with virtually nothing of forensic value. It was known that the killer or killers had savagely thrown heavy rocks upon her head in order to make certain she was dead.

I would end up marrying my murdered friend’s ex-roommate shortly after a sad Memorial service, and life would go on. Many people would be interviewed by police, ex-husband, boy friends, neighbors, et al. Lie detector tests were administered to those who had intimately known my dead friend, eliminated as suspects, and the case would never to this day be solved.

My book, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book 1) was inspired by that gruesome murder, and it is my wish that the book can serve as some sort of humble tribute to my friend. The book does not point fingers at anyone connected in the actual case. It is simply my applying what is actually known about the homicide and allowing my imagination to do the rest.

Here is a sample from the book. If you enjoy what you read you can go to the links that follow for more purchase options for the book and for more information on me. So, ‘take a quick peek.’

After Midnight on Wednesday, July 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

(End of ‘peek.’)

NOTE: “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book 1) is the first book in ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series.’ There are five books in the series, some inspired by actual crimes. Each book can be read independently but there is the natural aging and progression of Bailey Crane’s life in each succeeding book. You can find all the books in the links provided.

LINKS: (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
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Meet John Dolan

Meet John Dolan
Posted on August 18, 2013 by billyraychitwood1

Image (shows picture of man in broad-brim hat - can't see on Goodreads). This trademark picture of John Dolan might lead one’s imagination to suspect that this is a man of daring, perhaps out on safari facing the giants of the animal kingdom, a man of mystery and intrigue. One could look at this image and consider the man under the hat either very timid, or, suspiciously avoiding recognition… I had some other scary thoughts about this man when he interviewed me some months back at his ‘Dubai Dungeon’ with an odd. hulking gray-skinned Cyclop assistant named Digby — hmm! wonder whatever became of Digby (haven’t heard of him in months). Anyway, the Dubai Dungeon was a bit like the hat – deceiving. Actually, John’s blog is called ‘Galericulate’ (defined as ‘covered, as with a hat.’) You can always visit him at Galericulate at The interview of me was indeed original, witty, and also very informative, showing the different shades of John Dolan. (I shall include that interview at the end of this post – for your pleasure, I hope!)

The man under the hat is British, living now in Thailand with his lovely wife, Fiona, and family. He is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. Hence, the reason for this post. John Dolan wrote “Everyone Burns,” book one of his trilogy, ‘Time, Blood, and Karma mystery series,’ and it is a superb, thrilling read about a worn down detective, David Braddock, fighting not only himself but the underbelly crowd of Thailand. Some charred remains of Europeans are discovered on the Thai island of Samui, and this starts the non-stop action…and Braddock’s efforts are definitely not helped by his having an affair with the Police Chief’s wife… But I will say no more here about “Everyone Burns” except that it has a multitude of 5-Star reviews and is one of my all-time favorite books.

What I really want to write about here are two things: 1) Book Two of the trilogy, “Hungry Ghosts” and 2) The man under the hat.

1) “Hungry Ghosts” – Unfortunately, I can’t say a lot about book two in the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’ except that it is COMING OUT VERY SOON, and I shall be one of the first to buy when available. “Hungry Ghosts” has been written, has gone through most of the final editing phase, and I’m guessing it will be out within the next few weeks. One thing I know, having had the titillating experience of reading Book One, “Everyone Burns,” I’m like the proverbial kid in the candy store… Yes, John Dolan will do that to you! Please be on the lookout for “Hungry Ghosts” – it will be my personal promise to you that your reading appetite will be craving more from this man.

2) The man under the hat is not only my friend but he is a man of profound wisdom and wit. He is also an excellent poet, in the mold of the great English Romantics who gave me impetus to become a wordsmith, to play in the sand pile of words, to create stories that were uniquely my own, to turn phrases that could either bring me to a smile or bring a tear to my eye, to make me more aware of who I really am. The writing process does that for me and I make no pretense at greatness for my books, but I like them. John Dolan, I’m reasonably sure, feels much the same way about his writing as I do of my own. The difference between our writings? My tales tend to be gritty and simple tales, some inspired by true events. John’s writing brings an extra dimension which causes me some envy – he has the capacity to maintain a scholarly tint to his prose, to make a metaphor seem golden, to entertain a reader in a masterful display of diction and delirious fun. John Dolan is a master wordsmith who can be a Mickey Spillane, a John Grisham, a Nelson DeMille, a John LeCarre… Guess what I’m trying to say is that John Dolan is literary and he is one hundred percent real (the masses will love him as will the literary folks.)

You can follow John Dolan on twitter (@JohnDolanAuthor) and on Facebook.

You can preview “Everyone Burns” at

You can find ‘Galericulate’ at (watch for his announcement of Book two, “Hungry Ghosts”)

Now, that interview I promised follows…

Talk to the Hat: Billy Ray Chitwood (from John Dolan’s archives at

JD My guest today in the Dubai Dungeon is Billy Ray Chitwood, author of several books, the most recent of which is ‘What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale’. Welcome!

BR Where am I? How did I get here?

JD You’re in Dubai, BR. You’re here through a process that’s known as ‘Rendition’, I believe. It involves the use of secrecy, incapacitating drugs and a private aircraft.

BR Why am I hung up by chains in a damn Arabic basement?

JD Technically this is not a basement, it’s a dungeon. Anyway, I’m working on a budget. The electric chair has broken down so this is the best I can do at short notice. Ha! That was a pun. “Short”.

BR Yeah, yeah, very funny.

JD Digby, get the cattle prod.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR Holy crap.

JD Nice to see something still works in this damn place. OK, BR, I want to talk to you about your life. Particularly as there may not necessarily be much of it left. But first I’m going to read you some of my poems.

BR Couldn’t I just have the cattle prod instead?

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR Thank you.

JD According to my secret dossier you’re from the Appalachians, East Tennessee. Which makes you another damn American. What’s that place like? They got indoor toilets and shoes there yet?

BR Well, yeah, now they do! When I was In Oswego Bottom, we had an old unpainted clapboard house, kerosene lamps and an outhouse … sure hated to make the ‘number two’ trip in the dark of night. The Sears catalog pages were not too functional … Must have had shoes but damned if I can remember them. Went barefoot a lot on the old country roads and cut my toes on discarded fruit jars – the old timers used fruit jars for their moonshine, or ‘white lightning.’

JD Sounds ghastly. I’ve always thought the difference between Tennessee and yoghurt is that yoghurt is a living culture. But, hey, what do I know? I’m only an educated Englishman after all.

BR Can I disagree with that last statement?

JD Of course.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

JD I’m interested to know how you started off in life with no shoes and ended up as a writer.

BR I never said I had no shoes as a kid! Just don’t remember them …

JD Shut up. I’m trying to make you sound interesting here. Tell Dr John about your life.

BR Lots of mobility, divorced parents who fought a lot, literally. Lived for a time with my paternal grandparents (Oswego Bottom – AKA Wooldridge). Lived for a time in state-run institutions – we were poor and Mom had a rough time keeping my sister and me with her. Life became somewhat normal for me during junior and senior high school. Mom worked as a boarding house cook for some time but her real love was the Bell Telephone company, where she retired. The Southern Baptist influence was heavy. There was a ton of emotional stuff to get through. At Seventeen, I joined the US Navy to get away from it all. That’s when a misdirected kid came ‘not very well’ of age. The adult world collided with my emotions and I sort of went crazy: married too soon, had kids, divorced, hit the gin mills and met some very pretty ladies. Managed somehow to get a college degree, worked with some major textbook publishers, owned a business, and was even able to do some acting on stage, film, and television … To sum it up for you: I ate some emotional soup in my youth and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to digest it. Shall I sing a chorus from “All The Girls I’ve Loved?”

JD Not unless you want Digby to use the prod again. OK. Tell me about your Bailey Crane mystery books. And don’t be boring about it.

BR Five books in the series, three inspired by actually crimes. The first book, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery,” is about the brutal murder of a young actress and mother. In real life this lovely lady happened to be a friend of mine, actually got me into acting, was also a secretary to a couple of my attorney friends in Phoenix … Sorry, I’m rambling, trying to get my mind off these infernal chains …

JD It’s alright. I’m only half-listening anyway.

BR Anyway, Bailey Crane is a transplanted southern fellow and mirrors a bit of my own life. Bailey tells the stories with his simple plot lines, fuses and muses about his own life experiences. Book 2, “Satan’s Song -ABCM”, deals with a decapitation murder in Phoenix, again inspired by a true crime. (Put the prod down! I’m getting boring.) Suffice, the five books deal with Bailey Crane’s life as he chases the bad guys. The books can be read independently of each other, but each book does show the natural progression through the years of Bailey Crane. Book 4 in the series, “Murder In Pueblo Del Mar – ABCM”, was inspired by an actual murder of a mother in Mexico while on family holiday. The story involves the husband/father and his relationship with a transsexual lover. The book is a fictional account but with some truth and author embellishment. Books 3 and 5 in the Bailey Crane Series (“The Brutus Gate – ABCM” and “A Soul Defiled – ABCM” respectively) have no basis in true crime, but good reads if I do say so. Sorry to be so boring –

JD As well you should be. (Yawns, and thinks about electricity)

BR - but the Bailey Crane books gave me the chance to explore some dimensions of myself. I call my writing therapy for the soul.

JD I want to talk about “Mama’s Madness”, a book of yours I read and reviewed recently. But this is serious talk, so I don’t want you dangling from chains. Digby! Lower Mr Chitwood down and sit him on a crate.

BR Thank you. You can be a really difficult person to ‘hang around’.

JD You’re welcome. I feel a little more dignity and decorum is required at this point. Oh, and Digby bring the bucket of maggots for Mr Chitwood’s feet.

BR Is that necessary?

JD My lawyers insist.

BR Ugh. They’re warm. They’re alive!

JD Of course they are. You think I’d use dead maggots? What sort of a host do you think I am?

BR A psychotic one, actually. No wonder you liked “Mama’s Madness”.

JD Great book! And a brave one for an Indie writer. Tough and unsentimental. Well, more ‘mental’ than ‘sentimental’. For those who haven’t read it, it’s a tale of southern lowlifes, and a central character Tamatha Preen who is basically a no-holds-barred psychopath that tortures and murders her own children.

BR Your type of woman, I’d guess.

JD I’m going to let that one go. It’s based on some real-life events which I believe happened in Northern California?

BR Yes, “Mama’s Madness” deals with an evil mother’s hold on her children. It deals with dark closet punishments, beatings, forced prostitution, unbelievable acts, and three murders. It was a book difficult to write because most of us are unwilling to accept the fact that people like Tamatha Preen (a fictional name), that this kind of evil does indeed exist. Although “Mama’s Madness” has its sordid disbelief it is one of my favorite writing accomplishments.

JD Tell me, BR, what is your favourite book of all time?

BR That would likely be, “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR “The General’s Daughter” by Nelson DeMille.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR OUCH! Okay, okay, my true favorite is, “Everyone Burns” by John Dolan?

JD Now you’re getting it. Tell me about your latest book. And be quick about it, I’m getting hungry.

BR “What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale” is non-fiction, about me, about my memories of east Tennessee, about my wanderlust, about a marriage that happened too fast, about the kids I cherish, about some of the loves of my life, about the neon lights and gin mills of California and Arizona, piano bars, pretty ladies, and about my faith. The book is an honest look at my mistakes, about my joys and triumphs, and about the remarkable wife, Julie Anne, with whom I get to spend the rest of my life. This non-fiction book is a ‘brother’ to my first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son”, a fictional memoir which is ninety per cent true and covers some of the same ground. I even explore a family murder and a family suicide.

JD Had enough of the maggots yet?

BR I sure have.

JD Good, because I think they’ve had enough of you.


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A Night in the Life of An Author

A Night in the Life of An Author
Posted on January 31, 2015 by billyraychitwood1


A Night in the Life of an Author

Tired, weary from another day of grocery shopping with the wife and working on his new book as much as possible, the man time and again turns his body on the big firm bed seeking the best position for sleep. He moves a small pillow between his knees to protect his joints. He curls his right arm around his head, his left arm straight to his side, then turns and does it all again. In spite of himself, he smiles in the dark at the idiocy of his routine for settling in bed. Finally he settles into a position he believes will work for him.

Then, his mind begins its replay of the day’s short session of writing. He is at a critical section in the book where he needs some action to enliven the narrative. He has two undercover sheriff’s deputies sitting with a Mexican informant at a table in a Mexican cantina on the Arizona border. The cantina is on the Mexican side of the border, and the object of their surveillance is a middle-aged rotund Mexican with a moustache, sitting just a few tables away with bodyguards and presumably coyote runners.

His mind dilemma? Does he start the action inside the cantina or wait out the mark and his bodyguards until they exit the smelly joint? The deputies and informant are drinking beer and telling jokes, acting out so as to fit in the milieu. His mind is alive with ideas. He must choose the most believable and the most exciting scenario for the action.

The man is settled on his right side and he now looks out the large window and sees the full moon shining through. The moon is bright, sharply outlined in the big pane of glass. He has always heard about ‘the man in the moon’ and he finds himself staring, trying to make out the ‘man’, but he cannot see the image. He gets out of bed and goes to the alcove window, repositions a stuffed chair and sits and covers every visible area on the moon. He cannot see ‘the man in the moon’. He sits there for some thirty minutes trying to see an image that apparently no one has any trouble seeing – he’s heard about ‘the man in the moon’ all his life. Why the hell can’t he see it?

Now, the man is irked. He’s thinking all the people who have mentioned ‘the man in the moon’ have put one over on him…there really isn’t an image of a man in the stupid moon. He puts the chair back in its normal position in the alcove and goes back to bed, goes through his routine of getting settled…away from the moon.

The man is back to his book, back with his characters in the cantina in the Mexican border town, deciding just how he wants the action to play out. He thinks that he finally has a good piece of narrative for the action scene and now he’s got to tinkle. He gets up, goes to the bathroom, and he’s standing over the porcelain hole when he sees the moon again out the window. So, he’s studying the moon, looking for ‘the man’ and still can’t find him.

When he looks down he discovers he has dribbled his urine all over the freaking floor. He rolls off a big wad of toilet paper and wipes it all up. He rolls off another big wad of paper, goes to the sink and wets it down at the faucet, goes back and wipes again. Okay, so now he’s got the floor wet with the water and he rolls another big wad of toilet paper and wipes until the area is dry. He throws all the wads of paper in the toilet and flushes.

He’s walking out of the bathroom when he hears the water overflowing the toilet bowl and onto the tiled floor. Now, he says a few choice words and hopes he hasn’t awakened his wife. He finds the plunger and does the plunging until the water settles back to where it’s supposed to be.

Now, he’s got to clean the floor again so he tiptoes to the kitchen, grabs a full roll of paper towels, and goes tiptoeing back to the bathroom. It takes him some thirty minutes and six trips back to the kitchen garbage compactor to get the job done.

Finally, breathing heavily, he’s back in bed doing his settling routine. A few minutes later he’s about to fall off to sleep and the damned cat starts meowing, gets up on the bed, walks on the man’s legs and body, gets down, gets back up, and his wife is a sound sleeper but getting aroused. When the cat jumps off the bed like the fourth time the man gets up to chase him out of the room and lock him out, but he trips over the damned animal and falls on his keister.

The man involuntarily lets out a squeal as his foot hits a chair leg. He lies there on the carpet while the wife softly moans and never wakes up. He sighs, gets up, now doesn’t know where the cat is and very carefully slides his feet forward little by little toward the bedroom door. He sees the cat out in the hallway outside the door and rushes to get the door closed before he can get back in. He quickly closes the door but the bottom corner whacks him on the big toe. He involuntarily squeals again…his wife softly snorts but remains asleep.

He gets the door closed, carefully in the dark limps his way back to bed and goes once more through his settling routine. No more book business. It is time for sleep. His bed turning wakes his wife.

“You just getting to bed, honey? Could you get me a glass of water while you’re up?”

Have some misery! You know it loves company!

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 31, 2015

(Incidentally, the book referenced above will be out hopefully sometime this spring or summer… Some years ago, in a house move, I lost the manuscript to this book so I’m rewriting it…at that time the working title was “Stranger Abduction” – it will likely stay the same.)

The book I’m touting this week is Mama’s Madness. It was a tough book to write because of the subject matter, inspired by a California case many years ago…a mother from hell who tortured her kids and murdered two of her ex-husbands. It was a book with some embellishment but many of the scenes in the book actually happened. It is difficult to believe such evil exists… Give it a read and a review!

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Buy Sites:

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Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Some Links: (bio/books) (bio) (@brchitwood) (‘like page/books)
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Published on January 31, 2015 08:09 Tags: a-night-in-the-life-of-an-author, action, billy-ray-chitwood, blog, books, man-in-the-moon, sleep, writing