Writing and Me

Read, Write, Experience!

by BR Chitwood

Most people who write and those who wish to write likely know that the libraries of the world are comfortably stacked with the ‘how to’ of creative writing. Writing for years, I guess the thing for me is, I have to do my own struggling, find my own way of saying things with these fingers that dance along the laptop keys.

The question for me is not so much, how successful can I be financially in my writing? (Don’t get me wrong, why would I mind at all cashing a lot of royalty checks!) It has simply been for me more important at this juncture in my life finding out the boundaries and dimensions about where I’ve been, all the bad experiences, all the good, and getting a better idea of who I really am. My books have plots, and they have characters. These plots and these characters serve me and give me a chance perhaps to ‘muse and fuse’, to discover some things about me I never knew. I like to say, ‘Readers can find me on and between the lines of what I write’. It is true for me, and ‘finding me’ between my lines is not always a gratifying view of myself – not that I wish to leave with the reader the impression that I’m an unsavory character, just that I have made mistakes of the heart and mind.

Sure, I want my books interesting enough to be read, enjoyed, and to have people talking about them. The most important thing, though, for me, is being true to me, plumbing my depths, finding the music of my soul, and hoping I discover more of me.

Ego?

Maybe so. But it has got to be me finding out whether or not I’m any good at this business of writing. I think maybe I am. It’s not that I’m not willing to learn — it’s just, it better be there within me now, this style thing, this appeal to readers, because I’m not necessarily going to find it in the library…been there, done that.

I’m thinking we do it by ‘doing it,’ over and over again… if we’re any good, we need to trust that little voice inside that says we are.

Everyone has to do her and his own thing. I’m old enough to think I’m just as right as some folks who write about writing and maybe too dumb and inflexible to realize I’m singing a song here with a guitar out of tune.

That’s what I’m thinking!

I’ve written twenty books, some inspired by true crimes and beastly appetites of abuse… Perhaps I write in those genres because my own young life was touched by murder, abuse and poverty. So, I write in those genres of Mystery and Suspense, but also in the Romance genre, Love stories connected to History, and two Memoirs.

My personal Website and Blog features all my 20 books, complete with synopses, and my blog has a near 400 posts, including short stories, Flash Fiction: https://www.brchitwood.com

Please visit my site. Hopefully, you will find my writing interesting.

BR Chitwood – November 29, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com Books & Posts

Follow me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/brchitwood

Demented Pleasure

“Any chance for an editor somewhere getting all atremble about my writing?” (Just asking!)

©Demented Pleasure

BR Chitwood

What manner of demented pleasure do I receive by  

The daily pounding of these laptop keys?

Most certainly not the accolades written in copious

affirmational delight with so much ease…

Please mind not what seems vain adolescent tripe…

Each of us in turn have found our time to gripe.

My observation is, writers bear it alone for hours,

and become inured to the ‘hearts and flowers’.

So, write your historic epic, your suspense thriller,

just remember, there are millions drafting a chiller…

*

by BR Chitwood

https://www.brchitwood.com

A Tantalizing Ego Swirl

One-Man Publishing
Not For The Faint of Heart

-Memoir-

A Tantalizing Ego-Swirl

By BR Chitwood

As best as it can the mind opens a menu of items that an individual can consider as an occupation, hobby, a regimen that might fit nicely with the mental and the organic nature of her/his life.

It was my notion that Writing might well be the best place to settle in and do what many teachers and close friends told me I excelled .  As a kid, I loved to put words together and form rhyming schemes. My mind was crowded with daydreams of being an actor, singer, author.

After some years of sales, marketing, and business ownership, I began writing a blog: 350+posts, flash fiction, and short stories.  I also wrote 20 books in many genres (most were books in the Mystery, Suspense, Romance – generally, fictional narratives inspired by real crimes that would receive 5-Star Amazon Reviews…

The ‘monkey on my back’ would turn out to be an inept sales and marketing system, or, lack thereof, relying, as it were, on the social media and book support groups. I was a one-man publishing company who put most of his time into writing, doing his own editing without the professional input from pros, falling far short in the fields where I had made my living for so many years…marketing.

Still, when I released each book there was not the huge launching splash, lined-up book reviewers, the costly (and, needed!) help from the pros. I loved writing and it would become my wont to go from a finished book directly into the next project.

I suppose it was an unbridled RUSH to leave a legacy of   sorts because much of my adult life had been spent in the ‘neon playgrounds’ searching for love in attempts to negate my negative Appalachian roots of poverty, abuse, emotional chaos, and always a sense of longing for the missing links of love and picket fence happiness.

After a US Naval tour of duty and graduation from a small Pennsylvania college, leaving out some drudgery, I headed West to California and found gold – okay, by and large, fool’s gold. The neon glitter got to me, a country yokel blessed with fair looks, a soft, smooth southern charm, an easy prey to lovely women and the ugly taste of alcohol.

It was a great spread of time when I somehow became a partially noticed actor – did many TV commercials, stage play, and film projects. There were some very good times, and, of course, that other kind…

I would finally end up in Phoenix, Arizona, would try marriage a few times and was blessed with beautiful children, built a big house on a hill close to Tombstone (that town in Southeast Arizona ‘too tough to die’) and my serious writing began.  

‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ – Books 1-6, was my first writing project, building my main character mostly around myself, parts true, parts untrue. Bailey Crane tells his own ‘mystery stories’, most of which are taken from true crimes, the narratives invented by me. Of course, Bailey Crane is one of my favorite novel characters because I get to weave in some of my own life experiences through him. He is a crime fighter who is serious and tedious in his detective work and his personal life experiences (guess you could call him my personal Psychiatrist because he and his ‘alter ego buddy’ do a good job in defining me.

The first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Series’ has the title, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery #1” and this book has a personal side for me. The young actress brutally murdered in this ‘true crime’ fiction was a friend of mine and shared living quarters with my wife before our marriage. The crime is still a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department. Anyone who might read this book and has information about this case, PLEASE contact the Phoenix PD Cold Case Division.

The other books in the Bailey Crane Series are also taken from actual crimes… Each book stands alone. Anyone interested in this series can find them, along with my other books from many genres, on Amazon.com and/or my personal Website – https://www.brchitwood.com .

I have written twenty books in the Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Memoir genres. All my books, with synopses, are listed on my Website.

With the books I’ve written, there have been no set and professional marketing agenda – my ‘Bad’, I suppose, but I wanted to work through all the processes, a true ‘do it yourself’ approach…through the drafts, the editing, the book covers, et al. My college degree major was English and I have taught ‘Advanced Writing’ classes.

So, I am comfortable in my efforts, and I know that, of those twenty books I have written, there are some real winners… Read this thriller…  “Mama’s Madness” – Read this one… “Stranger Abduction” – Or, read “Dominique” – or, “Phoenix Fire” – or. “Daddy, No!” – or, “Hammer’s Holy Grail” – or, “The Cracked Mirror…” Aw, read them all!

Don’t know if I accomplished anything with this post except a few tears shed…just trying to sell some books I believe to be worthy of reading.

Enough, already! Onward and upward!

BR Chitwood – October 30, 2020

A Tantalizing Ego-Swirl

By BR Chitwood

As best as it can the mind opens a menu of items that an individual can consider as an occupation, hobby, a regimen that might fit nicely with the mental and the organic nature of her/his life.

It was my notion that Writing might well be the best place to settle in and do what many teachers and close friends told me I excelled .  As a kid, I loved to put words together and form rhyming schemes. My mind was crowded with daydreams of being an actor, singer, author.

After some years of sales, marketing, and business ownership, I began writing a blog: 350+posts, flash fiction, and short stories.  I also wrote 20 books in many genres (most were books in the Mystery, Suspense, Romance – generally, fictional narratives inspired by real crimes that would receive 5-Star Amazon Reviews…

The ‘monkey on my back’ would turn out to be an inept sales and marketing system, or, lack thereof, relying, as it were, on the social media and book support groups. I was a one-man publishing company who put most of his time into writing, doing his own editing without the professional input from pros, falling far short in the fields where I had made my living for so many years…marketing.

Still, when I released each book there was not the huge launching splash, lined-up book reviewers, the costly (and, needed!) help from the pros. I loved writing and it would become my wont to go from a finished book directly into the next project.

I suppose it was an unbridled RUSH to leave a legacy of   sorts because much of my adult life had been spent in the ‘neon playgrounds’ searching for love in attempts to negate my negative Appalachian roots of poverty, abuse, emotional chaos, and always a sense of longing for the missing links of love and picket fence happiness.

After a US Naval tour of duty and graduation from a small Pennsylvania college, leaving out some drudgery, I headed West to California and found gold – okay, by and large, fool’s gold. The neon glitter got to me, a country yokel blessed with fair looks, a soft, smooth southern charm, an easy prey to lovely women and the ugly taste of alcohol.

It was a great spread of time when I somehow became a partially noticed actor – did many TV commercials, stage play, and film projects. There were some very good times, and, of course, that other kind…

I would finally end up in Phoenix, Arizona, would try marriage a few times and was blessed with beautiful children, built a big house on a hill close to Tombstone (that town in Southeast Arizona ‘too tough to die’) and my serious writing began.  

‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ – Books 1-6, was my first writing project, building my main character mostly around myself, parts true, parts untrue. Bailey Crane tells his own ‘mystery stories’, most of which are taken from true crimes, the narratives invented by me. Of course, Bailey Crane is one of my favorite novel characters because I get to weave in some of my own life experiences through him. He is a crime fighter who is serious and tedious in his detective work and his personal life experiences (guess you could call him my personal Psychiatrist because he and his ‘alter ego buddy’ do a good job in defining me.

The first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Series’ has the title, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery #1” and this book has a personal side for me. The young actress brutally murdered in this ‘true crime’ fiction was a friend of mine and shared living quarters with my wife before our marriage. The crime is still a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department. Anyone who might read this book and has information about this case, PLEASE contact the Phoenix PD Cold Case Division.

The other books in the Bailey Crane Series are also taken from actual crimes… Each book stands alone. Anyone interested in this series can find them, along with my other books from many genres, on Amazon.com and/or my personal Website – https://www.brchitwood.com .

I have written twenty books in the Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Memoir genres. All my books, with synopses, are listed on my Website.

With the books I’ve written, there have been no set and professional marketing agenda – my ‘Bad’, I suppose, but I wanted to work through all the processes, a true ‘do it yourself’ approach…through the drafts, the editing, the book covers, et al. My college degree major was English and I have taught ‘Advanced Writing’ classes.

So, I am comfortable in my efforts, and I know that, of those twenty books I have written, there are some real winners… Read this thriller…  “Mama’s Madness” – Read this one… “Stranger Abduction” – Or, read “Dominique” – or, “Phoenix Fire” – or. “Daddy, No!” – or, “Hammer’s Holy Grail” – or, “The Cracked Mirror…” Aw, read them all!

Don’t know if I accomplished anything with this post except a few tears shed…just trying to sell some books I believe to be worthy of reading.

Enough, already! Onward and upward!

BR Chitwood – October 30, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

Apathy Wins the Day

Apathy Wins the Day

By BR Chitwood

*

A terrible thing, Apathy!

Insidious and mind-numbing!

Slow in its worm-wiggling through

The mind’s creative channels…

As the words, phrases, characters

Form on a small screen in front of the author…

*

The author comes to that screen

Because of his love for writing and shaping tales.

After twenty novels, some four hundred blog posts,

Accolades from writer friends and the public,

All have given me hope for commercial success…

True I’ve implemented no true marketing plans,

Relying on social media, my posts, and groups.

*

So, it would appear the minimal sales of my books

Have given birth to the ‘wiggly worm’ of apathy…

I have accepted the apathy reality and also the

Literary output, proud that many readers found

Pleasure in my humble efforts.

That, in many ways, is enough…plus a Legacy of sorts.

BR Chitwood – October 22,2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

*

One final word… I shall still write simply for the

Genuine ‘high’ that comes from a ‘turned phrase’,

And/or a passage that sparks an inner delight.

Accept and Share Your Circuitry

Metaphysics and Religions

Accept and Share Your Circuitry

By BR Chitwood

The world turns its orbits with actions and reactions that are inexplicable to understand for so many of us… Well, it does for me, for I know not what governments might have stored in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ silos, what world secrets they may know we citizens might not.

Now, don’t tune out just yet. It is likely we have stored in our super computers so much big tech knowledge that we have not figured how… to manage it all so well…

Actually, when I cannot fall asleep at night I usually the next day write a post that edifies no one, including myself, filled with southern grits and bacon bits. My good wife listens to my bacon ‘bits’, smiles, nods so sweetly her approval, and suggesting that, perhaps, I should write a more upbeat post. Of course, I should listen to a pretty and smart lady like my wife…she really is. I’m not being gratuitous.

But, hey, I have to be true to my thoughts and emotions. Otherwise, I’ll never know if I’m going to write something earth-shattering wise and erudite.

Oh, well, think what you will, but it all started early for me as an Appalachian kid with no orderly orientation time for learning about the good stuff in life, hope and understanding. Too much ugly anxiety dwelt within my little universe, a constant and confusing emotional world defined by bitter anger, divorce, crushed economy. The later post-depression and war ‘did a number’ on family and unity. Also, part of the anxiety and family disunity was Southern Baptist Church services on Sunday…the preacher painted me in his sermons as a sinner – and, I was only twelve years old. So, I was Baptized… More confusion, more restrictions on any kind of good times.

Well, that’s one hell of a preface to the real nuggets in this post – actually, gravels…

After leaving my Mom at home alone and joining the US Navy, the world opened up a bit to me. Life got a bit better, except for thinking about my Mom all alone.

Life got better. It was my goal to put as much into my new life as possible, worked many jobs, read a lot, went to a Pennsylvania college, graduated ‘cum laude’, acted in film and stage productions, modeled…uh, got married a few times… Hey, I never said I got rid of all the Appalachian bull croppy.

I read a lot.

I’ve written a lot – twenty books, over 300 blog posts, and still at it.

Okay, here’s the thing… Is it just me? Or, is the world throwing all this metaphysical madness, these super high-tech giants’ muscle, to overwhelm the populace. Is it all about power? As Metaphysics is a branch of knowledge which studies the meaning of us, humans, of life, contrasted to Christianity and the Religions of the World?

Okay, remember my opening? You can see how easy it is for an Appalachian kid connected to all that ‘Post-Depression’ anxiety crap to find it difficult NOT to write about every nutty event that comes down the pike, to question Religious and Metaphysical reasons for ‘why we are here’.

Now, I’m not going to bring up China’s Gift to the World… (crmfsotw!)

One final and important issue: I am aging, which means I can’t drink whiskey and chase girls anymore. That is most likely the very worst metaphysical menu item that irks me. If there’s a pill for getting young again, send me a sample (Wait, make that, a couple or three bottles of samples…).

Actually, as many as you can spare!

Okay, possibly sort of a nothing gibberish post, but I felt like writing it.

If anyone has some short answers to the Metaphysical menu items, I would be happy if you could share them.

BR Chitwood – October 21, 2020

Website/Blog:

https://www.brchitwood.com

#blog, #Metaphysics, #writing, #RRBC, #IAN1, #asmsg, #Appalachia, #Books, #TheWritingNation, #Humor

Times Square and Anna

“…when you caught between the moon and New York City”

©Times Square and Anna

By BR Chitwood

Sleep avoided me – could not find that one position that would settle into a comfortable and lengthy dream about a pretty lady and a ‘happy ending’. Since I was unattached and near thirty years of age, finding a Soul Mate had become the number one priority.

Truth be known, I gave up on the evening too early. Nothing turned my motor on in TV land and I concluded the funk was for real.

There was the one lovely lady at the Ad Agency, but we ran our course and found those things about each other that gnawed at us. I was beginning to think, maybe I should have worked harder at the relationship. But, no, when there is an unremovable block in an affair, the chances are nil to none for working it out.

I made my decision, got out of bed, put on some casual duds, brushed my thick short-cut black hair, sprayed on some Aramis, stepped out into the Manhattan night.

It was still relatively early in the evening, and I could hit some of the nicer lounges and dinner houses near Times Square. There were no cabs needed for those places. All were relatively short walks.

Weather-wise it was a lovely evening and the air was filled with restaurants’ steak smells with an essence blend, like, perfumes, colognes, a nice aromatic sensation.

Passing an alleyway near 5th Avenue, my ears picked up a sound down that dark stretch of a woman’s voice. It was not a fun and game kind of noise. There was repetition, panic building in each mouthed word and phrase. Clearly, there was a woman in trouble.

 These are moments for which I am not built. I am basically a coward, not wanting to engage in any kind of dangerous activity.

The woman’s distraught voice came again and again, my mind at war with itself.

Good God! What to do? I can’t just stand here, my body all atremble, like an automaton whose juice has been cut off.

I had to do something!

From whence it came I cannot begin to know. It was all alien to my way of life. Some inner force got me running toward the voice in trouble some 50-100 yards away. The darkness was thick black, the only wisps of light coming from an unclear sky and some old faded wall markers.

Somehow, within my suddenly activated body an unknown reservoir of bravery urged me on.

Fifty yards ahead I saw the man with a glistening object in his hand, holding down the woman with his legs, hitting her with his fist, ripping at her dress with the knife.

My footsteps and screams finally reached the ears of the assailant, and he attempted to get up and attack me, but the lady on the ground hit him full-force with her right foot to his crotch.

The man doubled over, and I rushed in and slammed my fists hard into his face and body. I don’t know how many times I hit the man, but he finally lay inert and completely out cold on the black pavement.

I went to the young dark-haired lady with blood on her cheeks and blouse, helped her to her feet. She held onto me for long moments and muttered ‘thank you, thank you’. As she clung to me with fingers eager for safe purchase, she told me her name was Anna Buckley. She looked to be her late twenties of early thirties…a very lovely lady.

I used my cell phone to call the police and ambulance. They both arrived quickly.

 “I’m so sorry, Anna, you’re hurt, but why were you in this alley way in the first place? My name, by the way is Grant Morehouse.”

“He grabbed me on the street, put his hand over my mouth and dragged me here. I’m sorry to involve you, Grant.”

“Hey, I finally did a heroic act, Anna. I’m as surprised as anyone in my world will be…. Are you feeling okay?”

“I think so. I’m a bit sore in places. Don’t think I’ll be working on society dress patterns tomorrow, however.”

“Ah, would that be ‘High Society, Inc.’?”

“Yes, it would.” She smiled through some pain.

“Good we’ll have the hospital check you out. I don’t think they will find anything major, just some bruising, maybe some cuts where he ripped your dress. I’ll stay with you at the hospital until the examination is over and we get a prognosis and how long they may want to keep you. That okay with you?’

“That would be wonderful, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your plans.”

“I have no plans, Anna. I was just taking a stroll because I couldn’t sleep. I’m just glad I could help.”

The police hauled the bad guy away, asked a few questions, and Anna was taken quickly to the hospital. I sat on a bench next to her as the ambulance swiftly sped through the streets of Manhattan. Along the way, we did some serious ‘Q&A’ and got better acquainted. Her last name went well with her first name – Anna Anselmo.

I went into the ER and stayed with her during a long wait for her examination. I stayed with her until her sister came to take her home – an apartment quite close to my own, as fate would have it.

My part in Anna’s assault still surprises me, how I reacted, and, somehow, I feel very good about myself and can see a quality within my psyche that awakens a proud part of me I never knew existed. It is no doubt natural that I see myself a bit differently now.

You deserve to know that Anna and I are seeing each other with some regularity. We have become quite attached…that’s enough for you to know at the moment.  

It’s still amazing to me that fate came along with me for my stroll that night, keeping me awake to life in Manhattan.

“…when you get caught between the moon and New York City…” For reasons I knew very well, “Arthur’s Song” would not leave my mind.

The End

***

Flash Fiction/Short Story by:

BR Chitwood

Website & Blog:

https://www.brchitwood.com

#Blog, #Short Story, #Flash Fiction, #violence, #BoyMeetsGirl, #IAN1, #RRBC, #asmsg, #thewritingcommunity, #Arthur’sSong, #CaughtBetweenTheMoon&NYC

hammer’s holy grail

Hammer’s Holy Grail​ 

by BR Chitwood

  
Synopsis:


This is a story of abuse, anger, love, and redemption! 


​Wesley Walton is a star-quarterback for the Grand View University Grinders. His former junior high school girlfriend, Wilma, now a cheerleader for Grand View is Wesley’s forever love, with no doubts about their lifetime commitment. 


Wesley not only battles his gridiron foes but an angry father’s Appalachian heritage. His father abuses Wes’ mother and sister on his frequent visits until a fateful hotel room altercation alters the lives of the family.


Wesley will meet a man ravaged by war and lost love, a man who has found peace within himself and accepts his spirituality. Fate dictates this man will become Wesley’s friend, mentor, and a most caring father-substitute.


If you like football, love stories, family relationships, and Christian values, you will find this novel a tribute to Faith, a sad refrain on the frequent frailty of ‘Man’!


The author enjoyed the writing of this book as he was able to go back in time and pick up some memories to build his characters and plot-line. The result of his efforts will hopefully resonate with readers of all genres.


​Whatever you’re reading, enjoy, and, leave an Amazon, Goodreads, and Book Bub book review. A book review for an author is solid motivation for more writing.

*

Amazon Universal BUY LINK:

mybook.to/B006WU22KS

*

READ SAMPLE:

Chapter One

The darkness and fog are palpable viscid sweat things crawling all over my flesh! A gentle wind stir comes and my skin does shiver dances. I swallow and it’s like I’m somewhere between passing out and regaining my breath. My eyes cannot be trusted. I rub my eyes and they project things that are not really there. My mind questions the logic that brought me to that decision. My concentration is drawn to these vague flashing images that keep popping up in spaces to the front, sides, and back of me… I figure it’s the mind doing its reckoning! I’m likely trying too hard to see and my brain is trying to accommodate me.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a big boy, scared. I mean, there is no way this world can be this dark and foggy. “Why?” Someone might ask, “are you so stupid to be standing where you’re standing?” The reason is really simple, but I’m going to make it complicated for you…not out of a warped and evil sense, but because this is a story I need to tell and it has some crazy turns and twists. Call it a weird psychological need if you want! That’s as good a description as any, but please understand, I have not lost all my marbles. Then, again, maybe my bio here is not so unusual a tale after all. Maybe you readers have experienced some of the same events in your life – only, framed differently. 

So, this little journey on which I’m taking you, please stay with me. An Epic? Probably not, but it might have some stuff that’ll stay with you for a while after I’m finished with the narrative – up to the point when I run out of words.

***

When I was a little boy, my crippled cousin had to have the light on during his dark bedtime hours. Now, I didn’t tease him about that but if I just forgot and mentioned it he chased me up one country road and down another. If I didn’t have a pretty good lead, he’d catch me. Then, we would end up wrestling until one of us said ‘Uncle’ – usually me!

We were best pals and I loved my club-footed cousin-buddy, but he would get madder than a frigging copperhead on LSD if anyone brought up sleeping with lights on. That’s not part of this rather complicated story, at least, not in a major way. This darkness and fog just has me thinking of JB – JB Hill, that’s his name. He’s the son of my Dad’s sister, Norma Hill. I don’t want you to think JB is so crippled everyone has to be sorry for him. He turns out later on to be a top scratch golfer. He’s gone now, died too darned early in his life because of some darned rare breathing illness. His sisters and brother were with him when he left us.

His wife should have been there with him when he died, but, earlier, JB caught her screwing the next-door neighbor, and my cousin beat the shit out of the neighbor and threw all her clothes – and her – out of the house. Sure, he was club-footed but he was no chicken yellow-belly. Nobody gave him any crap, that’s for sure.

Well, again, that’s not part of the complicated story either – but I won’t lead you on any further. It all starts with my sister, Sarah Lou. She’s sixteen going on twenty-four, if you get my drift, built like a brick shithouse, big boobs, long silky brown hair, great figure, pretty, and she reckons she’s the ‘cat’s meow’. It seems she knows early on she wants to taste some parts of life she is no way ready to taste.

I’m convinced Sarah Lou is the genuine product of her – and, my – dad. No question about it! He gets madder than hell and beats up on her and my Mom. Well, he did when he was coming around more. Dad has this fiery temper, and it’s his way or the highway, so to speak. This is when he’s visiting us. He and Mom are divorced, and Dad seems to have these demons inside him that make for crazy flip-outs at any moment. I’ve noticed his behavior changes when Mom mentions her side of the family – they don’t like Dad and he doesn’t like them.

Of course, that gut-searing corn whiskey could have something to do with it. He likes his hooch! He’s also tall, good-looking in a George Clooney kind of way (sort of!) and has a thing for the ladies.

How can I know that?

Well, that’s a whole different story, and it’s doubtful I’ll ever tell it! Well, anyhow, the genes running loose through Sarah Lou must be near-identical to Dad’s. Moving the story along, Sarah Lou turns sixteen and elopes with an army corporal, runs off to another state when the corporal gets transferred. Mom is heart-sick and scared because she knows she’s got to tell Dad the news. And, me, well, I’m scared right along with her.

You see, it’s just Mom and me since Sarah Lou eloped, and I sure have sleepless nights worrying about my dear sweet mother. She works so hard to make ends meet, has no time for socializing and being with her friends. It’s part of her nature to worry and fret about things. Did I fail to mention? My Mom is a beautiful lady, big brown eyes that sparkle and brown hair to go with them. She looks like a famous old-time movie star by the name of Claudette Colbert, famous actress during that golden era of Hollywood. Mom and I are fans of ‘old movies’.

Through some rough times, Mom has done her best to shelter my sister and me from all those emotional ills of divorce and the economic crises that rise from working sometimes two jobs. She has done well by Sarah Lou and me despite the troubles she’s had to bear. Dad’s visits end up most of the time in bad arguments and fights. As a young kid, I saw him too often physically abuse Mom and, somehow, I still love the man. That’s enough ugly truth for a few sentences. Suffice it, Mom worked hard and got me through high school where I played quarterback for the football team and got a scholarship to Garden View University. Garden View is part of the greater metro area of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the university sets on a lovely and lush campus of about one hundred acres. It is a university that dates back to the 1940s and has academic achievement awards that any higher institution would covet.

Well, as implied above, here is more ugly truth. Mom and I, my now older club-footed cousin, JB, and Lulu, his big sister on my Dad’s side of the family, go to the Hooper Hotel in Knoxville where my Dad is living to tell him about Sarah Lou’s elopement.

In Dad’s hotel room, my Cousin and his sister take the two chairs in the room and I sit under a window on an old radiator…you know, those ugly heavy metal gray vertically elongated rods connected all in a row as one unit. Now, the heat isn’t on during this visit, but those units are particularly awful and uncomfortable to sit on. And, you’re right, those heating units were not built to be sat on. I just keep changing my sitting ‘this way and that’, dictated by my butt cheeks.

Now, Dad knows right away that something is up, and, he knows it isn’t good news – guess our sad faces and body language let him know that. When Dad hears the news about Sarah Lou, he stomps around the room in a fury, the anger and prelude to eruption showing on his face.

 Abruptly, he stops in front of Mom who is sitting on the bed. My sweet hard-working, lovely Mom sits there very still with her hands clasped on her lap with a blanched and pitiful look on her face, puffy from crying and the awful dread of telling Dad news of Sarah Lou’s rash elopement. My ‘tainted-gene’ Dad hovers over Mom, his face distorted with fury like a dragon breathing fire, gritting his teeth, and says, “Damn you, Maureen.” Suddenly, he gives Mom a hard looping open-hand slap to the face with so much force it knocks her over. My immediate fear is that he’s knocked something loose in her brain or upper body…and he’s getting ready to do more hitting.

I’m petrified and watching it all from this hotel room radiator and l reckon something snaps inside me. I’ve watched this kind of madness too many times before as a young kid. I’m a lot bigger now and I rush him and tackle him onto the bed,  crying and mumbling something stupid, like, ‘I’ve seen you do that to my Mom too many times’. I’ll never forget – he’s got this look on his face like a slight smile and surprise all at the same time. Multiple times I hit him with my fists, lost in my own anger, my tears dropping down on his face.

Mom moves from the bed and stands crying in the corner of the hotel room. Soon, Dad is not moving. I must have connected with a vulnerable spot on his head. It’s like he just turns his head over to the side and goes to sleep.

Seconds pass and I realize what has happened. I’ve attacked my own father and knocked him out. His pulse is okay, and I feel a bit better. After several anxious minutes of trying to revive him, I tell our little group that Dad will be crazy mad when he comes around so we likely should leave. We hustle out of Dad’s room and loudly close the door.

I feel bad leaving him unconscious on the bed, but more afraid of what he might do when he comes out of it and we’re still there. Mom cries all the way down in the elevator, and we go unnoticed out a side entrance of the lobby. I drive my Cousin and his sister home, and, except for the sound of the car engine, no one makes a sound. Tears flow down our faces, and the only sounds in the car are from our sniffing.

We all hug and kiss each other when they get out of the car at their place. Next, I drive Mom to her folks’ place some forty miles away. We give Grandma and Grandpa all the news about our fateful visit with Dad, and they’re madder than hornets in a whirl-wind. ‘Is he dead?’ ‘Is he alive?’ They want to know.

I ask Mom to promise me she’ll stay with the grandparents until she hears from me. There’s no way Dad, assuming I didn’t kill him, would want to go around Grandpa because of a fight they had some years back. Grandpa gave Dad quite a whipping.

After a few more tears are shed, I take off. Mom pleads with me to stay but she can’t talk me out of leaving. I’m worried about my dad and want to go back to the Hooper Hotel and check on him.

Beneath my tousled blond hair, my head inside is churning with thoughts as I drive back to the hotel. The closer I get, the more I become anxious and fearful of what I’ll find. There’s this grim need to know about my Dad, whether he’s okay or dead. I’m a sturdy 6’2” young man now, 185 pounds, playing quarterback as a Sophomore at Garden View University.

It’s difficult to calculate how hard I hit my Dad – I feel like a part of me was holding back. There is just no way to forget what I did in that hotel room. Now, after a few hours, I’m making a return visit to the Hooper Hotel. I need to know, one way or another, about my Dad. Is he alive? Is he dead? Despite losing it and hitting him, I still love my Dad. Guess I should hate him, but I don’t. Seeing Mom so fearful and frozen in place I denied my own fear and went after my Dad.

I park Mom’s car fifty feet down the street from the Hooper Hotel and walk to the side entrance into the lobby. The elevator is on the lobby level as if waiting for me. On Dad’s floor, the elevator comes to a stop, doors open, and my heart jumps into my mouth as I reflexively take a step forward!

My Dad is standing in front of me, his eyes blinking like he is trying to clear his head. “You coming off of the elevator, young fellow?” Dad asks in an impatient and impersonal tone. He wrinkles his brow as he notices the apparent surprise on my face.

“You all right, boy?”

“Dad, it’s me!”

He did a fast look behind him like I was talking to someone else. Dad blinks some more.

“You’re mixed up, boy, I don’t have a son. Now, stay in the elevator or get out. I fell and cracked my head…have to get it taken care of.”

“But, Dad, I hit you when you hurt Mom. You slapped her so hard I was worried for her. I must have given you a concussion. I just couldn’t stand by and watch you hurt her. Please let me help you!” Dad grabs my arm and pulls me out of the elevator onto the hallway carpeting.

 “Told you, boy, I’ve got no son.” He goes into the elevator, pushes the lobby button on the control panel and is gone.

I can’t say how long I stand rooted to that spot in front of the elevator. I’m aware enough to know that there are other people entering and exiting the elevator while I’m standing there. I’m dumbfounded by Dad’s reaction – He seemed so sure about what he was saying.

Finally, worried sick, I take the stairs down seven floors and walk out the hotel’s side lobby entrance. My befuddled mind is on automatic pilot and leads me down the street to Mom’s car. At least, I know he’s alive. Guess that’s something of a relief.

When I pull away from the curb, confused and frightened, I drive around aimlessly, turning left here, turning right there, lost in cascading thoughts, my mind reviewing over and over the events of the day.

I drive for miles not mindful of where I’m going. Tears flow until my eyes get all misty and puffy from rubbing them with my shirt sleeve.

My brain tells me to pull off the road. I’m somewhere out in the ‘boonies’. There is an old rutted country farm road, and I turn onto the dirt and gravel, drive a quarter mile and notice that, suddenly, I can’t see. I’m in an ultra-thick cloud bank of fog, suddenly frightened by the swift change in weather and mad at myself for being so self-absorbed I let this happen.

Yes, I know! I know! How does one get so locked onto something in his mind that he doesn’t know where he is? It’s crazy, but it happened! At this point I’m crawling along, the car barely moving, trying to see, wiping the built-up vapor off the inside windshield, hoping for better vision.

After a few moments, I see the futility in my feeble efforts, utter a not-so-nice but appropriate word for the ugly foggy dilemma. I carefully edge to what I hope is the outer side of the country road, get out of the car, touch the hood metal, holding on to the only reality given to me at the moment.

Standing there, leaning on the car’s hood, my Dad’s face flashes in front of me in the darkness and fog, along with snakes, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and other beasts of the world. I cannot see my hand when I hold it out in front of me. There is a most vivid sense of desperation. With Dad’s face, there comes to my mind some bad recalls of life with my Dad in it, not long after the ugly divorce.

I push those bad thoughts away and force myself to think of the good moments. Much of those times were rough, but there were tender moments as well – farther back in youth, when Dad bought me the little boy’s gray suit with a gray hat, and he called me his little business man. He took many pictures of me with a cigarette dangling from my six-year old lips, pictures on train-rides, car rides while on the way to visit his parents, my grandparents, his nearly-blind grandmother, my great-grandmother.

They lived north of Knoxville some sixty miles, near the Kentucky border. On one visit he drove us off the main US highway into the hills of High Cliff, TN. We stopped not too far from the turnoff in an area of open fields and meadows. The bucolic scene presented to my young mind cows grazing in the meadows among huge oak trees, and there was this lonely looking clapboard house setting alone on this small knoll.

Dad’s sweet old grandmother sat on an old rickety wooden porch that had an excellent chance of falling plank by plank to the ground below. She had a lovely weathered and leathery face, was almost blind and sat in an old wooden rocking chair. She looked so frail behind the horn-rimmed spectacles she wore. She was so beautiful sitting in that home-made rocking chair on that wood-warped porch, like a picture in sepia tone, like a scene in an old-time movie. She sat there with a corn cob pipe in the corner of her mouth. She was in her nineties, and Dad had to get within inches of her face before she knew we were there.

 She squinted and finally recognized Dad. She formed a sweet smile on her face, hugged him with shaky thin arms coming out of the gingham dress sleeves. “That you, Thomas? Lawdy, mercy me! you are a sight for these sore eyes.” She had a thin, squeaky voice that seemed a whisper. She used up a lot of breath as she talked and maintained that sweet smile.

She then peripherally noticed me, made over me as well, and I felt an awesome sense of history – the events, all the things she had seen in her long lifetime, things I would one day study.

In the remembrance, it was all so nostalgic, dream-like, and, looking back, it somehow had a time-travel feel for me, so quiet, serene, like pages of history flipping backward. Those time-worn wrinkles on her bony arms and face, the faded gingham dress, her gray-hair in a bun on the back of her head, and the slow steady motion of her rocking chair as her eyes fixed on the parts of her life that were important to her. Her time was almost used up, but she would keep rocking on that graying rough-plank porch, smoking her corn cob pipe, looking out over the blurry land playing back misty memories.

Funny, how wonderfully that memory is so vivid in my mind, so fresh and firmly planted. A country song by Alan Jackson playing on the car radio is all I need to complete my ensemble of fuzzy thoughts and tears. Guess that might say something about my southern genes.

A few happy times flashed by, those times when we played at being a family, without the tempestuous flares of raw emotions: the Saturday movie matinees; Mom and Dad smiling happily when my sister and I danced to the radio; when I attempted to write a poem; the endless questions I asked of them both – the insatiable curiosity that stayed steady on a little boy’s mind. I love them both so much, and, now, my father has no son.

The tears do not stop until my mind reminds me of where I am, in the middle of proverbial nowhere with only those scary image-flashes coming at me from too much eye concentration, and those conjured up memories that are both keepers and throwaways.

So, the world can be dark and foggy, and, maybe, reasons for standing in the darkness and fog are not so simple. Standing at the front of the car, measuring each stride, I take a few steps, pivot, return to the car, do the same strides on each side of the car. Feeling secure enough that the car was far enough off the road, I climb into the back seat, and lock the doors.

Assuming a fetus position on the backseat, I try desperately not to think any more about past events, the present, and the future. I can wait out the darkness and the fog. Tomorrow will come, and the sun will replace the dismal darkness and fog with thoughts of hope. I love my Mom and Dad. Maybe I still have both to love.

*

[END OF SAMPLE CHAPTER ONE]

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BUY on Amazon UNIVERSAL LINK:

 mybook.to/B006WU22KS

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BR Chitwood -September 19, 2020

Author Website:

http:///billyraychitwood.com

Author Blogsite:

http://brchitwood.com

Phoenix fire

“Phoenix Fire”

By BR Chitwood

BUY AT AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: mybook.to/phoenix-fire

 AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Some years ago two lovely, special young ladies, my identical twin grand-daughters, began a fun tour as Baltimore Raven Cheerleaders. Of course, their Dad and Mom who live on one of the outlet creeks to the Chesapeake Bay were happy and proud of their daughters, epitomies of all that is heart-and-soul beautiful – as, of course, were their grandmother and grandfather.

At the time, I was just beginning the first draft of “Phoenix Fire”, and, when finished, I dedicated the book to these two beautiful ladies who have added so much joy to the lives of those who know them and love them. Today, married with ‘gummy drop’ beauties, I think of them each day and always conclude they are living proof of angels living among us…

Why this syrupy intro? Two reasons! ‘Chatty Chaser’ and ‘Pickle Princess’ (my nicknames for Chase and Paige)…I love them, and “Phoenix Fire” has become my favorite of the twenty books I’ve written.

Here’s the beginning chapter. Read, enjoy, buy lots of copies, and leave those reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, et al…an author’s reason for more writing. Thank you.

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CHAPTER ONE

“Phoenix Fire”

By BR Chitwood

She was lost in the total brightness, a magnificent warm, static whiteness, alluring and warm.

It was an easy place to be, if it was a place.

Perhaps it was a state, a bright and new awareness, a safe and final destination. She only knew that her essence was etched in the great luminous energy and she did not wish to leave it. The light seemed to be transporting her outward, expanding some awesome truth, recently possessed, and she wanted only to remain and to become whatever the promising ecstasy.

Then, there came a slight shimmer of interference, vaguely emanating from the shadowy mystic fringes, slowly fragmenting the weightless pool of white. There was a rippling which softly nudged her new awareness, gently precluding her anticipated oneness with the expanding light.

Then came sound, soft and beckoning, like a bird chirping in slow motion, becoming stronger and more strident. She resisted the sound and the fragmenting but she could not pull herself onward into the radiant void. Like a swimmer urgently breast stroking against a strong noiseless tide, she felt herself dipping, sinking, free-falling from the disintegrating brilliance.

She became conscious of her head shaking in sidelong negation of the interference, her lips silently murmuring, ‘no, no, let me stay! Please, please, let me stay!’

Then she acknowledged the inevitable full immersion back to a solid, contoured reality. The bird chirps became loud concerned voices. The ripples became caring and caressing hands. The hard ground was cold.

She began to shiver, felt the urge to rise, but was somehow constricted. Her mind made some adjustments and she suddenly knew where she was, how she had come to be there.

 Finally, she slowly opened her eyes with a full fluttery acceptance of her immediate environment. A man’s face came into focus, hovering two feet above her own. She felt pinned down and quickly discovered that the man was astride her. There was a momentary sense of panic but something about the man’s face made her relax.

A light rain fell, and she was conscious of wet hair matted to her face and forehead. The sky was a dull gray, and skinny treetops came to her peripherally as some surreal apparitions. The man’s concerned face gave her a final focus.

 She remembered what happened. The lightning! She recalled an awful clap of thunder, so jarring, harsh, rippling, so totally upon her, instantaneously enveloping her in its loud and splintered brightness. She remembered the searing, exquisite pain that so consummately wracked her body and mind.

She was jogging and she must have been struck by lightning. As she blinked from the raindrops and the accounting of the lightning strike, she felt lethargic and without purpose.

 She was struck by lightning, yet there was no panic, no real sense of urgency. The man’s hands left her chest and he studied her with a tender and squinted concern. She felt the weight of his body leaving her, felt a great rush of air fill her chest.

The man lifted himself from her damp body but his soft blue eyes remained upon her face. They were beautiful eyes, shrouded by dark cavernous brows. Wisps of his black hair was pasted about his forehead, and he made odd movements with his lips as though making an adjustment. Her own lips felt strangely tender to the touch of her tongue, and, in a moment of clarity, she understood: the man had given her mouth to mouth resuscitation.

The man then softly spoke, his voice conveying a cultured refinement and pleasant resonance. “Can you move your arms and legs?”

 She understood the question and lifted her head tentatively, feeling her hands, arms, and legs slowly move to her inner commands. She nodded to the handsome stranger who knelt above and to her side. She managed a small, sad smile of gratitude.

“And can you speak?” He returned her smile.

“Yes, I think so,” came her weak reply. She noticed for the first time a small group of people standing off to her right, near a park utility shed. She heard a siren off in the distance, its sound increasing in volume. She attempted to rise from the ground.

“Maybe you should stay where you are until you’ve been medically checked. Are you feeling much pain?” The man lightly touched her shoulder.

As her powers of observation became more focused she noticed how the man was dressed. He wore faded red denim shorts, a powder blue sweat shirt which matched his eyes, white athletic socks, adidas jogging shoes. Her own ensemble of white shorts, blue top, white socks, and Nike shoes merged nicely with the man’s attire.

She answered the question. “No, I don’t think so, not pain so much. It’s sort of dull aching almost everywhere about my body. I think I’m okay. You are very kind to help me. Thank you.”

“No ‘thanks’ necessary. It was kind of freaky the way that cloud exploded above us. You just got unlucky, and I suppose we could be faulted for jogging when a storm was brewing.”

 The man stopped talking as he saw the flashing lights and heard the diminishing siren whirr of an approaching ambulance. Uniformed EMTs rushed from the ambulance to the woman’s side, their faces intent, all business.

 She watched as they quickly set up equipment and prepared for various medical checks. She was beginning to feel confident that her body had not sustained any permanent damage, although some tingling sensations remained in her legs.

After all the medical tests were run, she heard an attendant announce that her vital signs were normal, that she was stable. The visage of the handsome stranger stayed with her, after the ambulance attendants displaced him. The image of his dark hair wet against the brow stayed with her, even when he became a blur on the gray fringe of the rainy-day crowd.

His face stayed with her even beyond the hospital’s emergency room where she was pronounced hale, hearty, and lucky to be alive.

 His soft smile stayed even when she returned to her fashionable and luxurious Scottsdale condominium.

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[END OF ‘CHAPTER ONE’]

Get your copy at:  

AMAZON UNIVERSAL BUY SITE:

mybook.to/phoenix-fire

Visit my author website:

[Twenty books AND counting!]

http://billyraychitwood.com

Visit my author Blogsite:

[Over 350 blog posts written!]

http://brchitwood.com

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