Amazing Crime Fiction: Brushing My Teeth

In the Mind of a Crime Author

The evidence was clear to this crime fiction author, taking a break instead of working to write another amazing piece. I had finally sat at my laptop after a day of constant interruptions and decided, before I finally started in on my piece, that I should check the toothpaste.

Crest Toothpaste Tube and Toothbrushes
Who squeezed the tube to death?

What I noticed shook me to my core. The tube was squeezed in the middle and not neatly rolled up from the end. Damn. Who could have done this? I stared at it, searching my memory bank for who could have walked into the bathroom and then–

“Aren’t you supposed to be writing?”

The wife. Dang. Always the wife. Or the dogs barking at the mailman. Or the kids yelling at each other or plumbers working on the neighbors line to the water supply next door or the coyotes howling in the middle of the night.

“Yeah.”

“What are you doing?” She sauntered in, grabbed the tube and–squeezed from the bottom.

“Thinking.”

“I see.” She brushed her teeth and left.

So I decided that now was the time to return to the laptop and upload an excerpt from our latest crime thriller novel Tom Stone: Day of the Dead on Amazon. Read below the cover image.

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EXCERPT CHAPTER FIVE

Sara brushed a hand through her hair. “It’s getting scary out there. The soccer store. The bowling alley. It’s all over the news. Who’s next?”

The question sent chills through Angel. Where he and Sara lived was no secret. “Maybe you should stay with your uncle Robert and Leonna for a while.”

“And put them in danger? No way. If Amman wanted me dead, I’d be dead already.”

“Quiet down.” Angel carefully glanced from one side to the other, making sure they had at least minimal privacy. “Kiss me, all right? Act like you love me.” He ran a hand along her back.

Sara kissed him on the lips. “It’s not an act. Of course, I love you. You know I got to take word back to Amman, right?”

“You’re a good little messenger, aren’t you?”

“Angel, I’m scared, but I’m just doing what I have to do. Trying to protect you.”

He pulled away from her and strolled toward the doorway.

Sara rolled her eyes. “Damn it, Angel, I don’t want to be caught up in this mess. Stop playing games.”

“You telling me not to play games? They strong-arm me into working with them. Try to rip me apart and ruin my life. What I know is none of Amman’s business or whoever the hell his boss is. Mister Goldchains.”

“Angel, you ripped them off. It’s all on you so just give it back. I’m sick of this. Tell him—

“Who the hell’s side are you on? Why don’t you believe in me?”

“I do believe in you, but just tell them where the coke is,” pleaded Sara. “Then he leaves you alone and we’re free.”

“Free to do what? They won’t give me a cent. And even if I do get out, they’ll never leave me alone. No matter where I go, they’ll hunt me down. It’s me or them.”

“Don’t say that.”

Angel grabbed her hands and looked her in the eye. “I don’t want you talking to Amman.”

“Really? Like I got a choice?”

“I’ll make a deal with him, but only on my terms.”

“Good. When?”

He motioned for her to be quiet. They stepped inside the commissary, surrounded by bags of snacks and sodas. “You want a root beer or 7-Up?”

“Dr. Pepper. You know that.”

A bag of chips and a packet of muffins rounded out the purchase. He wanted to take her, right there, pulling her into his arms and forgetting about the prison fights and lockdowns. But they could only step outside and find an empty bench to sit on.

“How are your classes going?”

“Good. I’m going to be a LVN real soon, like I told you. And then a RN.”

“That’s good, Sara.” He opened his soda, and Sara opened hers.

“Guess what?” She smiled.

“What?”

“I was driving up Figueroa Avenue the other day and I just got this urge to turn left. The street went up a hill and there was a little house for sale.”

Angel sipped his soda and looked across the prison yard. “How little?”

“Two bedrooms. One bath. Had cute front and back yards. It got me thinking again, Babe.”

“About kids?” Angel sounded less than enthusiastic.

“Yeah.”

“And I’m sure the place was a real bargain for just under six-hundred thousand.”

“Just under five-hundred.”

“Only a half-million? In LA? Must have some real problems.” He munched on a snack.

“Come on, Angel. I want to dream with you.”

“Look around you, Babe. I’m living a nightmare and don’t really have time for your kind of dreams right now.”

Sara closed her eyes to block out the frustration. She just wanted him to play along, and maybe things would get better.

“You got to have goals. You’ve told me that so many times. You’re not stuck here forever.”

“Yeah and I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

“It’s all good. I want a family. I want us to have a baby.”

“But you’ll be too busy working as a nurse,” Angel sneered and opened a bag of potato chips.

“We can make it happen.” Sara refused to give up. She looked around to see if anyone was near, took a sip of her Dr. Pepper, and ate a few chips. “This is about as alone as we’re going to get. Let’s talk.”

“You want me to talk as much as Amman does.”

“Because I want you home.” She snuggled against him, wrapping her arms around his. “Let him have his coke and his money. Let him get caught and go to jail. We can have a better life. I know we can, but first, we have to get out of here.”

Angel was quiet and scanned his surroundings. “Okay, you want me to talk? I’ll talk. But before we get into that, I want to let you know that I do like your dreams of being together, and raising a family.”

“Angel, that really means a lot.”

He pulled her close for a kiss and then looked in her eyes. “Now, listen up.”

***

See our Crime Books page for all 3 stories.

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Kindle sale on crime and thriller fiction

Meet Detective Tom Stone and other characters in this fast-paced crime fiction series during our Kindle sale and discounted paperbacks.

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead has just launched so here’s your chance to scoop up a few titles for a low price and get to know Los Angeles’ newest detective.

“All 3 books have a very good rhythm to them. I found myself sucked in and wanting to read.”

Only 99 Cents on Kindle.

Get to Know the Tom Stone Detective Series

Tom Stone’s care for his family and society, values he inherited from his grandfather, a detective in Buffalo, NY, compels him to action.

In the first three books, Tom Stone is pulled into the chase of a wanna-be drug lord, Anthony Angelino, who fights the mob in pursuit of riches.

A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Book 1 Tom Stone: A 
Nitty Gritty Christmas

kicks off the chase when Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe check out a window that’s been shot in a quiet neighborhood.

“There were enough twists and captivating character development that it keeps you interested and involved to the end to find out exactly how the story plays out.”

Only 99 cents on Kindle.

Can Angelino escape the mob’s clutches?

Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Angelino sees a legal medical marijuana dispensary as the means to his wealthy end, but Stone questions what’s really being traded and the mob wants a piece of the action.

“The plot and characters are all tightly woven and the story progresses quickly, with a lot of action. Anthony is an oddly appealing anti-hero. Again, Los Angeles is a character.”

Free on Kindle Aug 1 and 2.

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While you’re here, tour around the blog and visit:

Crime Fiction Books page 

Video overview of the Tom Stone stories

Author Interview Lon Casler Bixby

Author Interview Don Simkovich

We’re glad you stopped by. We got more stories in the works so visit often!

 

Give Dad the Gift of a Crime and Thriller Trilogy

Crime Fiction Stories for Dads

Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe are detectives who not only hunt down the bad guy but also protect their families.

Tom Stone 3 PackThe Tom Stone Detective Stories are thoughtful gifts for Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas or just a special way to say “thanks, Dad.”

Detective Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe aren’t the perfect dads as we see in the novella and two novels that form the Tom Stone detective stories, where the duo stationed in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley end up chasing a small-time drug dealer who can’t shake the mob. But they care about their families and those who don’t have one.

Scroll down to enjoy samplings from each of the stories.

BOOK 1 — TOM STONE NITTY GRITTY CHRISTMAS Available on Amazon Kobo Barnes&Noble iTunes

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

EXCERPT TOM STONE NITTY GRITTY CHRISTMAS – CHAPTER ONE

Available on Amazon Kindle for only 99 cents.

 Tom Stone Meets 6 yr old Andrew while handing out presents on Christmas Eve

Stone is divorced from his CFO wife and yet befriends a boy in a foster care group home who has no family.

A yell and scream pierced the crowd and the boy, Andrew, broke free from one of the adults and bolted toward the door.

Stone turned and in one stride caught the boy by his collar. “Hey, let’s settle down.” He knelt and looked the boy in the eye. “I want to help you. I’m a cop, you know.” He smiled. “I might have to make you have fun.”

The boy stopped, furrowed his eyebrows and touched Stone’s cheek. “You’re scratchy.”

Stone smiled. “So you’ve got an opinion, too, huh?”

Jake caught Stone’s eye with a surprised look and gave him a thumbs-up.

One of the adults came and took Andrew’s hand and led him back to his seat. The boy flailed his arms for a moment as though to prove he was still out of control. He looked up at Stone as he was being taken back to his seat. His eyes appeared both brown and green and seemed to plead for help and understanding, despite the angry arms and legs churning.

Boys were streaming up to Santa, giggling and giving the man in the red suit high five’s and then moved to get their presents. Jake motioned for Stone to come forward and help. Stone then made his way to the Christmas tree and handed out presents, but Andrew continued squirming and struggling against the staff member. Finally he went limp like he was resigned to being confined. Andrew remained at the table while the last of the boys were moving through the line. Stone set one present aside.

After everyone had gone through, except Andrew, Stone took the present and handed it to the staff member. “This is for him.”

Book 2 Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights — available on Amazon

Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights Cover
Can Angelino escape the mob’s clutches?

EXCERPT FROM TOM STONE SWELTERING SUMMER NIGHTS – CHAPTER 26

Stone spends plenty of time caring for his two teenage daughters, knowing that he has to trust them to make good choices. This excerpt comes after Stone catches his daughter in a marijuana dispensary.

Stone paused and considered what was really bothering him. “Meagan. I know that a little drinking and smoking pot doesn’t seem like a big deal. I’ve seen it creep on people and it does become a big deal. It gets them off track and their lives are ruined. I mean, what should I do as a dad? It’s not an easy choice. I could just shrug my shoulders and not worry about anything, not worry about you or worry about Carly. But we wouldn’t have a relationship that way.

“It’s inside a healthy parent to want to care and I’m trying to strike a balance. I know that I shouldn’t get overbearing. But if I care too little then I’m off in my world and you’re off in yours. I don’t want that, either. So it’s easy to mess up. I mean, real easy. For me, though, this was a no-brainer. I don’t want drinking and getting high to become a routine part of your life. You mean too much to me.”

Meagan listened, seemed to think about her dad’s passion, and relented. “Okay, Dad. I get it. I don’t like it. But I get it. You’re trying to keep me safe.”

“Trying. Without making you too angry.”

“Yeah, well. I can’t guarantee that I always want to go along with the program.”

“Understood.” Stone nodded as a bite of ice cream slipped off his spoon and onto the floor. Silver lapped it up like a frog zapping a bug.

“But all of this is your way of saying that you want the best for me, right?” Meagan sounded resigned.

Stone nodded.

“Yippee.” Meagan’s matter-of-fact tone was ripe with sarcasm. “Okay. You don’t want me smoking pot or getting drunk?”

“Right?”

“Should I ask if that’s something you did in high school?”

“I had my moments. Like you’ve had yours. But they were only moments. And on one occasion I came home after having too much to drink and stumbled through the screen door in Grandpa’s house. Ripped a big hole in it and fell on my face in the entryway.”

Meagan laughed.

“Grandpa didn’t say anything except ‘Get to bed.’ He told me later that he was both amused and saddened when he watched me crawl up the stairs. Said he had a weak, sick feeling as he realized he had no control in my decision-making. Even though I was hung over, he still got me up at six a.m. the next morning to help build a retaining wall in the yard.”

“So you’re not trying to control me?”

“No. I’m trying to guide you.”

“Honestly, Dad. Don’t worry. Look. I’m sorry I got you so upset. I just feel like I’m smart enough to handle myself.”

“I’m sure you are. But experience gives a different perspective. Let’s agree on this, Meagan. I’ll give you freedom to make your choices. Drugs of all kinds are off limits. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“And if you have questions or concerns then come and ask me. I’ll treat you fairly. I love you and I want the best for you.”

Meagan nodded. “Sounds fair, Dad. Have fun tonight.”

“Thanks. I’m not going to stay out all night,” said Stone.

“Oh, and one more thing.”

“What’s that, kiddo?”

“Since you’re going out with Alisha, try not to get shot again.”

“Oh come on, it was just a graze.” Stone rolled his eyes.

Meagan smiled. “By the way, I really don’t mind watching Andrew. He’s a bit strange sometimes but I like him.”

 

 

Tom Stone 3 Pack

EXCERPT FROM TOM STONE DAY OF THE DEAD CHAPTER 30 – LATE JUNE / EARLY JULY 2018 RELEASE

This excerpt focuses on a father and daughter who cared for a relative who had an abusive father and mother.

A man stood behind her on a stepstool with a screwdriver, looking closely at a window frame. He turned around and spoke softly. “Can’t beat the prices or quality.” He laid a hand gently on her shoulder. “Hey, she’ll be okay.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Leonna patted him, smiled, and then turned back to the detectives. “It’s a shame, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Stone agreed.

“Sara has overcome so much and now this. Ending up in the hospital again. She say anything to you?”

“No, she wouldn’t talk,” said Stone. “I was hoping you could fill us in.”

“I didn’t know where she was for the past few days. And then she shows up here, all beat up. Looked terrible. I drove her to the emergency room and she was holding her sides, saying Angel had beat the hell out of her. They admitted her right away.” Leonna paused. “Broken ribs, internal bleeding. She’s not doing good and they’re just keeping her comfortable.”

“What kind of man does that to someone?” said Leonna’s father, Robert Alvarez. “So sad.”

“Angel’s no better than what Sara had with her own parents.” Leonna took a deep breath. “An abusive father, drinking and drugs. Her mom and dad were always fighting.”

Robert set his screwdriver aside. “I hated my brother-in-law. I tried to get help for my sister soon after Sara was born, but it didn’t work. While growing up, she’d live with us for weeks at a time. Moving in when things got terrible and then moving back out when it got better.”

Stone first met Robert, Sara’s uncle, a couple of years earlier. Stone and Jake were investigating Angel and came across Sara at her apartment. She panicked and ran into the street where she was struck by a car. Robert was sitting dutifully with her when Stone visited her for questioning in the hospital.

“It’s a mystery why in God’s universe that some people like Sara are afflicted with abuse,” said Robert. “Just can’t escape it.”

ABOUT DETECTIVE TOM STONE — INFLUENCED BY HIS GRANDFATHER

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Tom Stone is a modern-day detective serving in Los Angeles and yet he embodies the spirit of his grandfather who set an example that pursuing good is the right thing to do.

 

 

 

 

 

The gift of reading lasts beyond the book and we hope that you enjoy each of the Tom Stone stories since they show the importance of family and the tragic consequences when family life flies out of control.

 

 

Updating Progress on Our Crime Story: Tom Stone Day of the Dead

We’re ready to send our crime story-thriller Tom Stone: Day of the Dead to Beta readers. Yea!!!tbIq2nD

If you like bargain books, skim below to see how you can snag a Kindle deal on our police procedural-thriller Book 1 — Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas.

Our last Work-in-Progress was May 3 when I wrote that we were making final edits on our crime story/thriller Tom Stone: Day of the Dead. I can’t believe it was a month ago. But we have edited it thoroughly and keeping the story full intact. Soon, it will be a complete book on our Crime Fiction Books page of this blog.

So where are we now in the editing and publishing process?

We finished combing through the completed manuscript after reading it together and making updates. Then, Lon went through and read it again and made brief comments. Those edits are now in so now the work is to format it for Beta readers and prepare to launch.

There are a number of scenes that we like — not just because we wrote the story but because we feel the material is well-written.

Of course, part of what’s left is writing up the synopsis / book blurb, too.

Stay tuned for the cover reveal along with contests to show appreciation to our readers.

We’ve put a lot of care into our work and take pride in what we write.

If you’re new to the Tom Stone series then we want you to know that you can get started for only 99 cents with Book 1 Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas on Kindle

So, yeah, we like bargain books, too.

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Of course, if you download Book 1 then we’d deeply appreciate a review. We’ve got several good ones and thank those who have taken time to leave their thoughts and input on the story.

But now we have a complete crime trilogy taking place in and around the many colorful neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

We hope that you’re as entertained as we are by the story and the chase!