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 – 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 – 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