Stones, my ebook of three C.J. Stone stories, goes on sale today, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about how I came up with the character. For one season in 1982, ABC aired a series called Tales of the Gold Monkey. Created by Don Bellisario, it was set in 1938, and concerned the exploits of former Flying Tiger Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins). We didn't own a VCR at the time, but Tales stuck with me on a subliminal level until I drafted my first C.J. Stone story in 1994.
Tales finally came to DVD last year, thanks to Fabulous Films and Shout! Factory, and watching it again, I realized many of my early characters resembled Jake's friends. By the time the first Stone story was published in 2002, C.J. had begun to distinguish himself. For one thing, he's not as noble as Jake, who aspired to be a knight saving damsels in distress. C.J. is more likely to pick your pocket than pick a fight, to talk his way out of trouble, and he's fine smuggling contraband.
My first two Stone stories have been reprinted twice. Each time, I've added to them as C.J. might add to them. I've learned he's not the most reliable narrator, but, boy, can he tell a story. And, as seen in "Gypped", he's just as prone to fall for one.
Again, Stones includes the previously out-of-print "Faith", the almost-all-new "Señora", and "Gypped"—for 99 cents.