Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape and his Guest Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Here is the fourth post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I have chosen a guest post from an author who is also in the Cafe and Bookstore over here.. Billy Ray Chitwood.

The Story Reading Ape and his Guest Billy Ray Chitwood.

My name is Billy Ray Chitwood.

Giving my name gives me away…but, then, that’s what I wish to do! That’s what one does when one writes an honest introductory article – ‘rat’ on your life, where you’ve been, the scandals, the ‘ugly rap sheets’, the fourteen books I’ve written, the 350-plus blog posts…

Okay, cute, but leave out ‘scandals’ and ‘ugly rap sheets’ from the last sentence in the preceding paragraph. There are none! Really, there are none! Unless we go way back in time to a Sunday night car wreck caused by Lambda Chi Alpha, my fraternity and its initiation rite.

Okay, not so cute and not so true on the above last line of the preceding paragraph.

Don’t leave, please! I promise to play straight from this point onward.

Here is my true story…

My name does give away my heritage. Born in poverty in an Appalachian Saw Mill Camp prior to mid-century 1900s, there was enough emotional see-saws to ride to keep this young lad confused and immeasurably displaced with all the broken family messes. It was rather common for the time with a lot of good people sick with Malaria, out of jobs, and ‘the creek was rising’…ah, stop it! you can’t put a happy face on that part of your life. It was the pits!

However, I won’t use this space to cover that period, but there is a book I wrote that captures the essence of that memorable childhood and the era (actually, two books) – Woody Guthrie and his son, Arlo, had some songs to sing about those days.

My narrative takes a quick shift as I leave high school and escape the poignancy of youth for the adult world of neon lights, lovely ladies, and too much partying. That is, after my stint in the United States Navy. The old USN corrected my path as much as it could.

After serving part of my enlistment in Adak, a tiny military island in the Aleutian Islands where tundra and whiskey either makes a man or destroys him, my new duty station was Washington, DC where I worked in a security division, feeling somehow special, helping in some small way to keep our nation safe.

Well, the island of Adak and Washington did for me all they could.

Back stateside I became a ‘lotus eater’ for a while, you know, that group Odysseus discovered in mythology who spent their days in languorous daze (another cutesy – days, daze!), eating and imbibing their way to some sort of Nirvana.

Actually, most of that wild living period came after my honorable discharge from the Navy, after 10-years of a failed marriage, after a college degree, during some acting in TV commercials, film, and modeling.

What I ask you to believe in all this is that the ladies I met, some I married, were all beautiful of body and soul, and, for the most part, sensitive to where I had been up to that point in time.

My writing was something placed inside of me by the Almighty and, I suppose, by genetic structuring. I began as a young boy playing with poetry and with songs. I mimicked great vocalists like Nat King Cole and John Gary, like my hero, Frank Sinatra, like Perry Como and legend-still, Tony Bennett. What writing talent was mine stayed ‘on hold’ during the days of WWS – Wine, Women, Song! – to be taken up again in the eighties.

Sure, I’m aware of the portrait I’m painting here but nothing sets you free as well as the truth…and that is what’s being conveyed here.

The portrait is not very attractive, perhaps, but just think of the writing ideas that come to me during those sleepless nights when my demons visit me – and, without a doubt, I know in certainty and in my introspective moments that what has made its home in my Romantic and Wanderlust heart are the meek and humble beginnings in Appalachia.

This might very well surprise you (if you don’t mind being surprised!): despite my wayward journey from the hills of Tennessee lo those many years ago, there is really nothing I would change – even the sometimes agony and angst in my demon visits. It is that fodder for the soul that connects me with the characters and with the lines that embrace the narratives of my books and blog posts.

My writing, I believe to be good if not pure. Many of my novels are inspired by true life criminal acts, gritty and raw. I’ve had this curse of curiosity about the evil in our world, the psychopaths and socio-paths that abuse our children, kill them and so many other innocents. So, I write in the mystery, suspense, and thriller genres, but also write romance novels that have a suspenseful edge, even rich love stories with a ‘time travel’ element.

Of course, I wish my books to sell, but even if there be no best sellers that I pen, it will not stop my writing.

Writing gives me my therapy, my raison d’être, a new life to explore here in ‘Twilight’.

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About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

My thanks to Chris for allowing me to access his archives… and I am sure he would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

 

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Colleen M. Chesebro, Billy Ray Chitwood, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne


The first author with a recent review is Colleen M. Chesebro for The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy

About the book

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, Blake, and Cash, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mar 11, 2019 K.D. Dowdall rated it Five Stars

This mystical story is bound to capture your heart. Abigale Forester is only fourteen years old, recently orphaned, and has been sent to live with her Aunt Magnolia Forester, a woman she has never met, and is now her legal Guardian. Abigale was born with mystical gifts, inherited from her mother, along with a few hundred acres of swamp land that has been handed down for generations in her family.

This is no ordinary swamp. It is a place where mystical things happens, another realm, that is critical for the safety of mankind. Abigale has no idea what this has to do with her, but she will soon find out. In the meantime, a corrupt, greedy, and wealthy man as plans of his own to destroy the swamp and possibly Abigale and her aunt, as a form of revenge.

Danger is everywhere for Abigale as she tries to adjust to her new life. When the truth about the swamp legacy is revealed to her, Abigale is forced to make a decision about the swamp legacy and her choice is a dangerous one.

I highly recommend this mystical mystery that is so well written, by author Colleen M. Chesebro, that the story itself almost leaps off of the pages, right into your reality. It is that good. FIVE STARS

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MU69MXT

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy-ebook/dp/B01MU69MXT

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read all the reviews and by the books: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Read more reviews and follow Colleen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16254415.Colleen_M_Chesebro

Connect to Colleen via her blog: https://colleenchesebro.com/

And a recent review for the latest release by Billy Ray Chitwood -The Pickett Factor

About the book

A novel inspired by true events but fictionalized in its narrative… Some strange criminal elements are at work in the small town of Mackland, PA: a Mackland patrol officer is ambushed and murdered in 2013; a mother and common law wife goes missing in 2015; the missing woman’s father is killed in a hunting accident in 2016 (was he getting too close to some truths about his daughter’s disappearance?); a mother and daughter are brutally murdered in 2014 – the mother’s & daughter’s throats are slashed, then shot separately in their bedrooms (the daughter went to high school with the missing woman’s daughter); at least two drug gangs operate in the small town, brazenly attacking citizens and bragging about bigger crimes they’ve committed…there’s more, and the town has only 11,000 + population.

The lovely town of Mackland has historic eminence and receives thousands of visitors every year.Attorney at Law Brady Pickett of neighboring large city of Graniteville, PA, only twenty minutes from Mackland, takes up the gauntlet after a young man phones from prison to tell Pickett he has been ‘railroaded’ with false drug charges and murder charges are to be forthcoming. Brady Pickett visits the young inmate in Lewisburg and tapes the details of the young man’s declaration of innocence and becomes a strong believer in the verity of the taped testimony.

Along with his old college friend, now Chief of Police in Mackland, Ed Billups, and, along with JD Brewer, a seasoned special investigator and friend, the three men and those police officers that can be trusted, fight an uphill battle to relieve the small town of its urchins of evil. There is also a very likely connection to one or more of the bigger Pennsylvania cities in the drug business that has come to the small town.This novel has a lovely narrative flow with some well-placed levity and folksy humor, and the characters are drawn with some deft strokes of the pen. While at times tense and absorbing, it is also a delightful novel, all brought together by an author of sixteen other romance, mystery/suspense novels, and memoirs. It is a novel that mystery and suspense lovers will without doubt enjoy.

And a recent review for the book

John W. Howell 5.0 out of 5 starsAn Engaging Mystery March 15, 2019

Billy Ray Chitwood is an author who has a discernable style that you could love, or if insecure you could hate. You see it takes a degree of self-confidence to appreciate Billy Ray’s engaging brand of prose fully. He serves up a cast of characters who resemble folks you know. He then tells a whole bunch about how they feel and what makes them tick. On top of that, he places the characters into a plausible situation that is akin to mayhem and dares them to solve their problems.

While the reader is working through all this complexity, Billy Ray serves up some drinks at a plush country club or restaurant and seems to enjoy the company of those around him. Now I’m not saying Billy Ray does this, but his characters give the reader the impression that Billy Ray is right there with them having the time of his life.

If you want a mystery that will keep you engaged, entertained, and near the edge of your seat at times, pick up The Pickett Factor and have a good time.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JY93H5Z

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pickett-Factor-Billy-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B07JY93H5Z

A small selection of other books by Billy Ray Chitwood

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

Connect to Billy Ray via his website: https://brchitwood.com

My final author with a recent review for her memoir My Life at Sweetbriar : A Life Changed by Horses, is Deanie Humphrys-Dunne.

About My Life at Sweetbriar

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion horseback rider? The problem is, you were born with a disability. Doctors tell your parents you’ll never walk, let alone ride. What will happen next? What does her dad do that changes her life? Will a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story of her journey. Even if Deanie prevails, will she find exactly the right horse to help her win?

One of the recent reviews for the book

shimsl 5.0 out of 5 stars A positive true story January 20, 2019

This is a positive story about a girl born with cerebral palsy, who despite a diagnosis she will never walk, let alone ride a horse, proves the doctors wrong. A true story, the author describes her own youth in detail through her special love of horses, and one horse in particular named Peach. They go on to win many championships together, but winning does not come without struggle and setbacks. The author learned from her many mistakes as she was gently guided down a challenging path by two very supportive parents. A take-away for young readers will be that perseverence (not ever giving up) is key to success, that learning from your mistakes is a good thing, and that an understanding and supportive family is truly a blessing.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

Also by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15S

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15

Follow Deanie Humphrys- Dunne on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3309880.Deanie_Humphrys_Dunne

Connect to Deanie on her website: http://www.childrensbookswithlifelessons.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two… thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Family #Drama #Romance – Linda Bradley, Christine Campbell, Billy Ray Chitwood and Angie Dokos


Time for another selection of books from the Cafe and Bookstore that would make great gifts for Christmas.  And an author that definitely leaps off the page at this time of year is Linda Bradley with a novella, A Montana Bound Christmas: Ho,ho, Home for the Holidays  (Book 4 in the popular Montana Bound Series). The series would make a great gift for lovers of family/romance dramas.

About the book

Chloe and John McIntyre await Maggie Abernathy’s arrival at the 617 Ranch, but snowfall has halted flights from Michigan to Montana. While Maggie and her mother prepare for a delayed departure, eight-year-old Chloe prepares for disappointment by inviting her Hollywood mother to the ranch in hopes of filling the void. Brook’s unexpected acceptance raises the stakes for John who longs for the perfect Christmas. This cast of misfits bands together in true Montana Bound style when unexpected guests arrive and a curious dog goes missing.

One of the reviews for the book

Perspectivepower, Annette Rochelle Aben 5.0 out of 5 stars A Holiday Gift

What fun! From the first chapter to the last, this story is a like a warm hug. Linda Bradley weaves the different worlds of each of the characters together in a rich tapestry that mirrors the story line itself. This could easily become a beloved holiday movie classic, if it were given the chance. Maggie, John and Chloe will feel as much like family to you as they do to each other. Open a wonderful gift of the holidays, when you open A Montana Bound Christmas. 

Read the reviews and the book: https://www.amazon.com/Montana-Bound-Christmas-Home-Holidays-ebook/dp/B0772BBQ4W

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Montana-Bound-Christmas-Home-Holidays-ebook/dp/B0772BBQ4W

Also by Linda Bradley

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set of the series: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS

Read more reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6498473.Linda_Bradley

Connect to Linda via her website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com

Another book that would be enjoyed by those who love family dramas is the latest release by Christine CampbellGold Plated.

About Gold Plated

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

One of the reviews for the book

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating their Golden Wedding with a grand party at the local Golf Club. Aided by their only daughter Heather, Rosanna is making sure that everything is perfect including baking a delicious cake and buying Paul the ideal gift, but have all their years together been so perfect?

The clock is turned back to 1964 when Rosanna started at Art college and Paul was her young, charismatic tutor. Lacking confidence in herself, she was astonished that he chose her as his “secret” girlfriend, but against all odds, they have now been married for 50 years.

Abandoning her earlier artistic ambitions, Rosanna has looked after their lovely home while Paul continued his successful teaching career.

Christine Campbell is skilled at putting us inside Rosanna’s head. We begin to understand her calm, quiet personality and her loyal, loving nature. We can see that Paul takes her for granted but they seem to have a happy marriage. But at the party everything changes in a dramatic way. Secrets are revealed, treachery exposed, and Rosanna’s life is in tatters.

This is a story, with which we can all identify in some way. It is sadly true that many women, and men, can suddenly find themselves alone as old age approaches and dealing with the collapse of all they believed in can be catastrophic. But this is not a sad story, there is a positive message that life is what we make of it and Rosanna discovers new personal qualities of independence and self-reliance as well as rekindling her creativity.

Personally, I would have preferred the story to have been written in the past tense, especially for the scenes from the past, but that is probably just my particular bête-noire! The detailed involvement in Rosanna’s rollercoasting emotions and cleverly plotted, surprising events make this book a very rewarding read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gold-Plated-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B07D6PFFYN

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Gold-Plated-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B07D6PFFYN/

A selection of other books by Christine Campbell.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

Connect to Christine via her blog: http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com

The next author with a compelling drama is Billy Ray Chitwood and his latest release Hammer’s Holy Grail – A novel of Love and Redemption.

About Hammer’s Holy Grail

A star quarterback at Grand View University in Knoxville, Tennessee battles not only his gridiron foes but his Appalachian father’s anger toward his mother and sister. By a turn of fate and nature, Wesley Walton will meet a man ravaged by war and lost love, a man, through his hardships, has come to peace with his spirituality, a man who will become a surrogate soulmate and mentor to the confused young athlete.

This is a short novel but it is long on love, family, forgiveness, and football action – all blending to make this short read a ‘tour de force’ in its own right, with a twist at the end to tie the ribbon to this gift of a novel!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Like many compelling stories, “Hammer’s Holy Grail” is a journey – in this case, both for its main protagonist and for some of its minor characters.

Wesley Walton is a young man with serious potential to make it as a professional quarterback. But he is also a troubled soul, weighed down by family problems and relationships.

Author Billy Ray Chitwood takes the reader on an emotional voyage of highs and lows, injecting some surprises along the way. As is usual in Chitwood books, there are reflections on some of life’s big questions, especially the issues of redemption and what family really means.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy a good heart-rending tale (not to mention sports fans!).

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FCVQX36/

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hammers-Holy-Grail-BR-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B07FCVQX36

Here is a small selection of Billy Ray’s books

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

Connect to Billy Ray via his website: https://brchitwood.com

The next author with with books that have a family theme is Angie Dokos  and here is her first novel  MacKenzie’s Distraction.

About the book

Mackenzie’s Distraction is a New Adult Romance about a young lady with a rough past and a promising future. Just when he career is within reach, tragedy strikes. A terrible accident and a family secret turn Mackenzie’s world upside down. She’s sure her life can’t become any more complicated, then she meets Trevor. Will he be just what she needs or the distraction that pushes her over the edge?

This book is not erotica, but does have sexual content. It includes some curse words, but not many. It doesn’t have any major violence.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Reading new genres has become part of my routine to find fantastic new authors, understand different writing styles, and explore great stories and content. I found all three with the latest book I read, Mackenzie’s Distraction, written by Angie Dokos in 2016. The book is considered new adult contemporary fiction, but it’s stocked full of romance, emotions, attitude, and possibilities. I bought the book a few weeks before a recent vacation and read it poolside on the Amalfi Coast while in Italy. What a perfect combination of beauty in a book just like the many splendors of my surroundings.

Mackenzie’s been hurt in the past and steers clear of relationships especially when the man seems too good to be real or true. But in this case, before she even meets him, her life is traumatized when her mother is a car accident and struggles to survive. Though Mackenzie has friends and other family to help her handle the huge blow, it’s not quite as simple as all that. Her mother’s hospitalization leads Mackenzie to learn a few deep-rooted family secrets, meet friends from a parent’s former life, and discover things about herself she never knew existed. That’s when the potential man of her dreams walks into her life, but is she too crushed and shocked to accept it? Let’s not forget the sudden onset of several available and potentially great catches who are very interested in getting to know her. Who will she choose, if any? Now that’s where the plot of this book takes off… weaving readers on a very emotional and manic ride with the unfortunately impacted young woman just looking to heal.

I’m normally a plot, then character guy. In this book, though the plot is important, it’s less about what the secrets and actions are and more about how Mackenzie deals with all the repercussions. It was a great change of pace for me as you had to settle in, listen, and understand why Mackenzie reacted the way she did in each instance. I didn’t always agree, and I sometimes got angry with her for what seemed like an unnecessary or spoiled adolescent attitude; however, I also haven’t suffered through the craziness that hits her in the span of a few days. In that sense, she certainly tries to find a balance, and readers can easily connect with her on the journey. I vividly recall thinking, if she didn’t accept Trevor’s love and attention, I’d certainly volunteer to stand in. (I won’t tell you if she does or doesn’t, but it’s complex!) He was practically perfect in every way, what exactly was stopping her? Well… that’s where psychology and personality truly come into play and drive her responses. It takes a truly analytical, sensitive, and courageous mind to deliver this kind of story. Kudos to Dokos.

Writing style and caliber were strong. Characters were vivid and relatable. Actions and dialog were balanced well, even if at times I was feeling a little frustrated with some of the things people did or said. But that’s the beauty of a good book: sometimes it takes the writer to challenge the reader to engage outside their normal comfort zone, and readers should keep an open mind to fully understand the vision of the author. Then you see why it works… and you have a thrilling escape in someone else’s complicated life. Being a teenager or even in you early 20’s is ridiculously tough in a modern world. Dealing with siblings who have different attitudes, step families with bigger concerns and questions, friends who just want you to be happy but get in your face all too often… wanting to open your heart to love but not knowing how any more… trusting someone who is virtually a stranger despite spending days with him in the first week… people are often secretive and misleading, so I understand Mackenzie’s concerns. But from one particular scene, the girl can take care of herself! Awesome scene, Ms. Dokos. 😊

I really enjoyed the book and will definitely look for more from the author this year, as she has another book published and is hopefully working on a few more already! She’s got a new fan and I’m confident many more as they take a chance on reading her work. I recommend giving it a chance for all readers, but most definitely if you enjoy balanced romance and emotions, journeys, analytical decision-making and learning how to let go and accept change.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Mackenzies-Distraction-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B01BL4H20E

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mackenzies-Distraction-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B01BL4H20E

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14905574.Angie_Dokos

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I do hope you have enjoyed the selection of books for Christmas. Thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on book on the shelves – Kentucky Kernels by B.R. Chitwood


Delighted to showcase the latest Kindle release by Billy Ray Chitwood Kentucky Kernels is a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

About Kentucky Kernels

This is a book of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry, and two excerpt sections devoted to two of the author’s 15 books. The major purpose of the book is to introduce the author and his writing style to a wide audience of readers who might wish to read some of his longer novels of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, and memoir.

The book has short fiction for the Sci-Fi lovers, and there are short fiction for those readers who lean toward Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, and Memoir.

Head over and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Kentucky-Kernels-BR-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B07FBQ3KN6/

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kentucky-Kernels-BR-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B07FBQ3KN6/

Here is a small selection of Billy Ray’s books

 

About Stranger Abduction

It is a sunny Sunday in May, 1993. After church, a mother and her lovely fourteen-year old daughter walk three miles to a country store for cigarettes and ice cream. It is a walk members of the family often take in this rural Sulphur Springs Valley area of southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.

The mother and daughter arrive at the store in a jovial mood, trading pleasantries with customers and the owners… The daughter timidly flirts with a boy from her school. The daughter and mother leave the store in a silly mood, finger painting ice cream on their faces.

They never make it home…

The deputy sheriff of the county believe there has been a ‘stranger abduction’.

There are lots of action, interesting characters, and romance to go with this fictional account of an incident inspired by true events…events that brought tragedy to a shaken family.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Can you imagine anything more frightening than a mother and daughter disappearing from a quiet rural road? That’s exactly the tale that Billy Ray Chitwood relates in Stranger Abduction. This is a fictitious account of an actual event. A mother and daughter walking home from the store, happy and eating ice cream when evil pounces. The way the author wove this tale around all the characters involved is gripping. I discovered many sub-plots in this book and sometimes that doesn’t work. But, in this book, it worked perfectly and I had no trouble following along. This is a chilling, well-written story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, break your heart and then mend it slowly but surely. A great read!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

Thanks for dropping in today and please share the news about Billy Ray’s new Kindle release.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You – Author Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the Sunday interview and this week my guest is author Billy Ray Chitwood.  Before we find out which of the questions Billy Ray has chosen to respond to… here is his official biography.

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Time to hand over to Billy Ray and discover more about something he lost, music and bearskin rugs,

Welcome Billy Ray and can you tell us what is the most valuable thing you have lost and did you ever find it?

One of my most productive periods as an author was during residence in historic Southeast Arizona – historic because the residence was close to Tombstone (‘The Town Too Tough to Die’), home for a while to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, the ‘Shoot-out at the OK Corral’, and legendary bad guys and Indians).

My writing at the time focused on ‘The Bailey Crane Mysteries’ which was to be a 7-book series. The first book – “An Arizona Tragedy’ – was finished. The second book – “Stranger Abduction” – was finished except for final editing. Both manuscripts were placed in individual boxes. These books were written on my ‘Star-Writer’ word processor…did not have a laptop at the time.

During a subsequent move, the “Stranger Abduction” manuscript was lost…the only manuscript missing of the many already written and in their boxes.

I searched for weeks trying to find it as I had started the publishing process (too many-too fast, I must add). While each book in the series stood alone, each still followed the aging and woes of the central character, ‘Bailey Crane’. Angry, dumbfounded, I finally re-wrote “Stranger Abduction” as a stand-alone book. It’s my belief it is much better than the original that was lost.

What is your favourite music genre and why?

I’m an incurable ‘Romantic’ so I’m a ballad-type of guy. Back in my ‘lotus-eater’ days, there was nothing more soothing, more overwhelming for the emotional-me than ‘Ole Blue Eyes’ Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett entertaining me and my lady…with, of course, some wine, cheese, and grapes on a bearskin rug!

Those were the moments when dying, taxes, and tomorrow were never considered and nowhere on the immediate horizon. Fellow ‘lotus-eaters’ will know of what I write here. Somehow, without the music, those moments would not be the same. So much of me is still there in those moments.

Sally here.… I hope that this will provide another bearskin and wine moment Billy Ray….

Do you prefer the beach or the mountains and why?

The beach… If I’m a ‘Romantic’, you know it’s got to be the beach! I’ve got to be able to see the horizon and wonder just what’s beyond. That’s not all! There’s the sun, the waves caressing the shore, the smell of salt water, and those yummy yellow polka-dot bikinis incessantly walking by – with one hopefully lying next to me on the beach towel. Now, this should not be surprising to anyone… I’m seriously impaired, incurable beyond redemption, and my epithet should read: ‘Here lies Billy Ray – The Spirit of his Day!’ I’m just saying… PLUS, there are tons of space in front of me!

Do you prefer cats, dogs, or neither?

Billy Ray and Julie Anne

I love both cats and dogs. ‘Lady Gray’ is our recently added fur-buddy… Interesting story: ‘Lady’ was an outdoor cat, kept showing up at our backdoor morning, noon and evening for ‘handouts’…which Julie Anne was eager to accommodate. On some occasions, ‘Lady’ would come in, but, then dash out, not quite sure of the situation. Finally, she came in for keeps, pregnant and in need of Vet treatment. She is now at home, wants nothing from outside, not even her siblings. She sits on the back of a stuffed chair and watches her friends romp outside.

And one very lucky ‘Lady Gray’

 If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?

I would be a golfer – and a writer’! They blend nicely. Hey, I’m out in the sun, at least, most of the time…and, I don’t even mind playing in the rain. There is one proviso: my game would have to be in the professional range of competition. I’m way too much of a ‘Ham’ and maybe I get rich swiftly and have all the pretty ladies ‘following’ my action. On the side, you understand, I’m writing my ‘Best Sellers’! What a perfect fit!

Sally here... you wanted birds following you around the course Billy Ray.. here are a few for you, plus an alligator, turtle and squirrel. Hazards when you play in the big leagues. Courtesy of PGA Tour Channel where you will find more of the same and all the action of the tour.

Here is a small selection of Billy Ray’s books

About Stranger Abduction

It is a sunny Sunday in May, 1993. After church, a mother and her lovely fourteen-year old daughter walk three miles to a country store for cigarettes and ice cream. It is a walk members of the family often take in this rural Sulphur Springs Valley area of southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.

The mother and daughter arrive at the store in a jovial mood, trading pleasantries with customers and the owners… The daughter timidly flirts with a boy from her school. The daughter and mother leave the store in a silly mood, finger painting ice cream on their faces.

They never make it home…

The deputy sheriff of the county believe there has been a ‘stranger abduction’.

There are lots of action, interesting characters, and romance to go with this fictional account of an incident inspired by true events…events that brought tragedy to a shaken family.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Can you imagine anything more frightening than a mother and daughter disappearing from a quiet rural road? That’s exactly the tale that Billy Ray Chitwood relates in Stranger Abduction. This is a fictitious account of an actual event. A mother and daughter walking home from the store, happy and eating ice cream when evil pounces. The way the author wove this tale around all the characters involved is gripping. I discovered many sub-plots in this book and sometimes that doesn’t work. But, in this book, it worked perfectly and I had no trouble following along. This is a chilling, well-written story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, break your heart and then mend it slowly but surely. A great read!

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

If you would like to participate in the Getting to Know You series… here is how, with the questions to select your five from: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-new-series-of-the-smorgasbord-sunday-interview-geting-to-know-you-and-i-will-go-first/

Billy Ray would love to receive your comments and thank you for dropping in today… Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Sundays with The Grandparents by Billy Ray Chitwood


Sadly the last in the present series of posts from Billy Ray Chitwood from his archives… We shall have to twist his arm to send us a few more!  This week Billy Ray shares his memories of the weekends with his grandparents with ice-cream, watermelons and whole lot of love.

Sundays with The Grandparents by Billy Ray Chitwood

It’s been so long ago, but I remember the wonderful weekends at my grandparents – kerosene lamps, outhouses, and all… those inconveniences of the times that were taken for granted and did not spoil the most special feeling of family and love.

Many of my uncles and aunts were there with their families, and the setting was perfect – even with the L&N Railroad tracks within fifty yards of the old gray railroad section house. My cherubic Grandpa was an L&N Section Foreman and the finest dispenser of love and wisdom that I’ve ever known.

In the afternoon, some of us boys played catch and some played horseshoes. The girls were either helping, or, getting in the way of the women cooking up that good old southern food. I remember hearing the giggles and playful sounds coming from inside the house.

It seemed the weather was always sunny in Madisonville, Tennessee during those family weekends, but, surely, there would be no rain in my memory banks. The side lawns were freshly mown and that familiar delicious smell filled the air. Hedgerows separated the L&N tracks from the house, only minimally muting the sound of passing trains and their lonesome whistles. Lovely beds of flowers of all colors dotted the landscape.

In his coveralls (can’t remember ever seeing him in clothes other than his coveralls), my beautiful ‘Santa Claus’ built grandfather brought the old ice cream maker, the rock salt, and ice to the side yard nearest the kitchen, ready for cranking that handle round and round. We little guys would do the initial cranking while the cream in the cylindrical metal container was not ready to thicken. When more rock salt and ice were added, that old crank got harder and harder to turn. So, the little guys would reach a point where they could not budge the crank. Then, the big guys would take over.

There were watermelons and some would turn out to be a whitish-green inside – that is, uneatable – but we would all laugh about it.

Grandma and her inside crew, including my Mom and her sisters, were the real heroines of the day. There was so much good tasting food, most of us swore off eating for a week.

The really big thing, though! Well, actually, there were two really big things!

There was something almost sacred about those weekends. Happiness and Love were there in abundance and they showed on all the faces. Oh, there was always some mention of family and world’s problems, but most of all, it was a reaffirmation of family closeness.

The other big thing was Grandma’s prayers. Now, you have not heard anyone pray like my sweet Grandma prayed. She gathered us all in the big living room, and we knelt on the floor while she cried, laughed, screamed her long, long prayer of thankfulness, of hope, of peace and the great glory of Jesus and our ultimate eternal homes.

They were weekends I find easy to remember and, while we go through our orbits and wars and our political uncertainties, I can find in those childhood memories some semblance of unity and love…

We just need to find a way to dispense that unity and love throughout a troubled world.

I’m thinking we need more of my Grandmas and Grandpas.

©Billy Ray Chitwood 2016

Thanks to Billy Ray for another wonderful post and I am sure he would love to hear your special memories of time spent with your grandparents.

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

A recent review of Mama’s Madness

Karen Ingalls  4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling  February 4, 2018

A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.

And one for Stranger Abduction

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

If you would like to share some of your older posts with a new audience, and promote your blog or books, then please take a look at this post that outlines what I would need. Thanks Sally

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Restless Spirit by Billy Ray Chitwood


It is time for another post from the archives of Billy Ray Chitwood. As someone who has lived a nomadic life as a child with my father’s career in the Royal Navy, and then in the last 38 years of marriage and travelling for work and to live, I can empathise with Billy Ray as he talks about his restless spirit. This is meant to be our last house!  About the time that the house and and garden are fully restored in the next few months…. watch this space.

The Restless Spirit by Billy Ray Chitwood

Under a pale blue morning sky a long plume of white misty cloud softly touches the Sea of Cortez, and I ponder the spirit of the restless.

In fact, it is my own restless spirit that dictates this post, given energy by the ghosts from an Appalachian youth of mobility and uncertainty, by my own selfish need to describe the nature of my beast. This restless spirit is not something that embarrasses me or shames me in my eyes. It is a constant companion which I have nourished all my life with impulsive, spontaneous acts. It is something I accept as I do the color of my hair, my skin, the whole DNA networking inside my body walls. It is likely not so distinctive as one might expect. This restless spirit, this wanderlust component, must reside in legions of us.

This post began with a description of the beautiful sea that displays its gaudy deep green beauty outside my windows. This sea, this constant sun, this life style is the stuff of dreams. How could anyone be restless watching the sail boats, the ski jets, the parasailers high above the crystalline water, the people frolicking along the long stretch of sandy beach? Grab a Corona, a Tequila Sunrise, and live your dream, right? Well, that great big sea reaches out to a far horizon, and, after a few Coronas and Tequila Sunrises, the restless spirit can start its gnawing litany of thought… What’s beyond that horizon?

Where have I not yet been? What have I not yet done? I’ve been here for a few years now. Is it not time to go? Even Paradise has its limits!

Okay, here’s the deal! I buy a new car. In a year I tire of the car and want another make and model. The same with living quarters! After a few years I want new quarters. It does not matter to the restless spirit that it is contemplating giving up ‘heaven,’ its life style of which other people can only dream. In this case, it is a stunning, luxurious two-level penthouse where the host of the restless spirit has come to retire, where the only really pressing decisions to make daily are food selections, social media caretaking, and the book-writing periods. There are people who live in the same house in the same town in the same state all their lives. Not me! In the past thirty years, I’ve lived in twelve different places. You do the math! I’ve probably lost count.

Yes, I’ve still got a lovely wife who is a polar opposite. She is calm, patient, puts up with me, would have been happy to live our lives out in that first place thirty years back. Guess she loves me to keep uprooting her the way I do. Is this crazy, or, what?!

So, anyone interested in a 3600 square foot penthouse? I’ll buy yours. You buy mine. I’ll be fair, even leave all the furniture, utensils, everything, totally turnkey — just bring your clothes and a toothbrush. You will have constant sun, constant sea, constant beauty. The only catch is, you need to have something equally as nice, something that turns on my restless spirit, and your place has to be free and clear like my place. Any takers?

Worried about Mexico and all the media hype? Been coming here from Arizona for over forty years. I’ve felt safer here than any place I’ve ever lived. The people of Mexico are friendly, helpful, kind, and appreciative of our US dollars. Crime, drug cartels? I’m sure they’re around somewhere in the country, killing off themselves, mostly. One could be reminded that my great country, the US, has its share of drug cartels and crime…

But back to this restless spirit thing… Do I wish that it was not there? ‘Yes’ is the honest answer, but there is an honest qualifier. The books I’ve written, the poems, the songs, the posts, all the penning? Are they worthy? Of course, I think so, but the true judges are the readers and the lovers of poetry and song. But ‘worthy’ is not the point I’m making here.

The point is, maybe all my words would not have been out there in print and Cyberspace had I not had the restless spirit — not that one cannot write without it. But, me, could I have ‘done all that’ in ‘my way’ without that restless spirit.

I’m just saying…

©Billy Ray Chitwood.

Thanks to Billy Ray for another wonderful post on life and the human condition. I know he would love to hear about your restless spirit…..

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

A recent review of Mama’s Madness

Karen Ingalls  4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling  February 4, 2018

A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.

And one for Stranger Abduction

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

If you would like to share some of your older posts with a new audience then please take a look at this post that outlines what I would need. Thanks Sally

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Enigma Of The Soul by Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the second of the archive posts from Billy Ray Chitwood.. This week Billy explores our perception of ‘Soul’.

Enigma Of The Soul by Billy Ray Chitwood

How often do you use the word, ‘Soul?’ How often do you think about your ‘Soul?’
Mirriam-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 there 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 old timer looking back on his life, how he’s 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 can’t pinpoint, can’t know exactly where it is, but we have to know that it is there. ‘Soul’ is everything Mirriam-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.

‘Soul.’

©Billy Ray Chitwood.

I am sure that Billy Ray would love to hear your thoughts on ‘soul’.. our own… others.

For me, having been with both my father and then my mother as they died, I can honestly say that I felt a physical leaving of the body that was their ‘essence’. I am not a religious person but I like to think that I am spiritual and I saw that physical essence as a sign that perhaps there maybe something that came after for our souls.

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

A recent review of Mama’s Madness

Karen Ingalls  4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling  February 4, 2018

A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.

And one for Stranger Abduction

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

Billy Ray would also like to recognise Craig Boyack for his support for his blog and here is the latest post from Lisa Burton, Craig’s sidekick: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/why-windemere-needs-champions-on-lisaburtonradio/

If you would like to share some of your older posts with a new audience then please take a look at this post that outlines what I would need. Thanks Sally

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The World Is Changing And I’m Stuck Here!” by Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers can share posts that might not have got all the attention they deserved back in the early days of the blog.. or posts that the writer would like to share with a new audience mine.  The blogs should be over 12 months old for established writers and over 6 months old for those who started blogging in the last year.

Details on how you can share your blog posts can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Please read through before sending as there are some time restrictions on the post and information I need to do the article justice.

Now time to meet author Billy Ray Chitwood with the first of his archive posts. Today Billy is nostalgic for the music of his hell-raising years, when stars such as Frank Sinatra and Kay Starr made a highball taste better……

Classical music has always had a soothing quality for me. Those plaintive country songs, ‘Mama’s gone – I’m sad – too bad,’ were part of my early life in Tennessee, and they still have a certain resonance for me. Never ever liked the heavy metal music, the loud ear-drum jarring sounds that came from the discotheques during my hell-raising years, and, generally, all those songs that might have had some fine lyrics but got lost in all the high drum rolls. the heavy strumming, and the screeching brassy noise.

Now, don’t mind me. It’s just my being an anachronism, one of those guys stuck right in the middle of some century in which he likely doesn’t quite belong. The ballad has always been my musical preference, and, yes, I suppose the pretty ladies might have had something to do with that. The ballad sort of went with my soft southern gentleman style, that incurable romanticism that seemed ever-present, that mysterious wanderlust that kept me moving over God’s glorious acres. A bottle of wine, ‘ole blue eyes’ Sinatra singing “Three Coins In The Fountain,” and a pretty lady sitting with me in a gin mill booth, hey, there was no tomorrow — just that night of soft light and touches and a ‘glow’ as big as the moon.

So I sit here looking out at the steady ebbing and flowing of The Sea of Cortez and wonder how the world has changed. Have no doubt about it…the world has changed. Sure, one generation moves along remembering the ‘good old days’ and gives way to a new generation that finds different sounds and words to describe their feelings. Of course it’s inevitable. Time doesn’t move without changes.

Just why is it that some of us sort of stay where we’ve been all our lives? New jobs, maybe. New houses, maybe. New friends and acquaintances, sure. Maybe it’s just me, stuck in a time-warp thing. Maybe I’m homemade vanilla and don’t want raspberry, mocha, or one of those thirty-one flavors. Politicians make me mad (nothing new there). Still got some Hitlers in the world (nothing new there). Still fighting wars (something new there — different ‘ammo!’).

The big thing is, we don’t have the Frank Sinatras, the Perry Comos, the Dean Martins, the Jo Staffords, the Joni James, the Kay Starrs, all those beautiful ballad-loving gents and ladies that made a highball taste better, made a kiss at the end of an evening the goal of the day.

Know what? It’s just me, being an anachronism. The world’s all okay… I’m just stuck here!

©Billy Ray Chitwood 2012.

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

A recent review of Mama’s Madness

Karen Ingalls  4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling  February 4, 2018

A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.

And one for Stranger Abduction

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

Thanks to Billy Ray for sharing this nostalgic post today and to be honest he is not alone….who does not love a bit of Frank….Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could leave a comment and share the post. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves – Cloud Dancer by Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to another author who is joining the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore and today it is Billy Ray Chitwood, a prolific author whose books cross several genres. Tough to pick one to feature but I decided on Cloud Dancer..more about the other books later.

About Cloud Dancer

In 2017, a freeway accident changes the life of broker, Blake Fielding. While in the hospital a pain relief injection brings dreams of a beautiful woman…which leads to a time-travel episode to the year 1838 and ‘The Trail of Tears’.
Back in 2017 he must deal with the homicide of his ex-live-in girlfriend and a series of odd occurrences.

Two of the reviews for the book

I love Billy Ray Chitwood’s Billy Crane mysteries, but in “Cloud Dancer,” he takes us in an entirely new and different direction. His hero, Blake Fielding, knows he is a lady’s man. He is cocky and arrogant. But he becomes a changed man when a traffic accident almost kills him. For a lost moment in time, he finds himself in another place, another time. Blake is trapped on the Trail of Tears, a tragic era when the roots of Native American families were ripped from the good earth and they were forced to leave their homeland and journey to a place none wanted to be. Hearts break. For them, life will never be the same again. Neither will the life of Blake Fielding. Regardless of what may happen to him, he will never forget the spirit, the determination, the courage of those cast out on a trail of broken promises.

In the accident, Blake should have died, but he didn’t, and he wonders why he was spared. He certainly didn’t deserve it. He has a second chance, and in the midst of a bitter world afflicted by murders he doesn’t understand and mysteries he’s not sure he can solve, he finds love that has always eluded him.

“Cloud Dancer” is not a long book, the story moves along at a fast, intriguing, pace., and you will discover that Billy Ray’s writing has passages that border on literary fiction. His characters are real. They aren’t made of words. They are flesh and bone. They have their flaws, their weaknesses, and their strengths. They fail, but they never stop trying. They play the hand life deals them, and you are with them every step of the way.

“Cloud Dancer” is different, it’s emotional, it touches the heart, it is a joy to read. And just when I think I know what will happen next, I suddenly find I don’t.

And one from Goodreads

Christoph Fischer rated it Five Stars in September 2016

This is another remarkable helping from accomplished writer Billy Ray Chitwood. I’m a big fan of his work and took time out of my busy schedule to read this. I was not disappointed.
Written in beautful prose the story dances away and takes us to the clouds. Our hero suffers a car accident and his head gets stuck in the vlouds of medical sedation. From here it is only a step further to time travel and the world of Native Indian as they face the infamous “Trail of Tears’.Sad, yet full of uplifting moments, this is a great blend of genres that will keep your interest easily.

There is a lot going on in this story, historically, romantically and plot wise. It never fails to engage with its beautiful prose and imaginative storyline. A very accomplished novel about meaning in life and inequality, love and honour. Very enjoyable.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Dancer-Billy-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B01KMOC1NM/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cloud-Dancer-Billy-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B01KMOC1NM

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could leave a comment and share the post. Thanks Sally