My guide to the fiction, marketing, relationship articles and more that I’ve written


Hey Don: The Days of Don Simkovich

So Cal Live Work Play

Stone Cold Crime Stories

The Healthy Smile

Articles & Stories (my most read and my favorites)

Family Relationships

The Heroic Pleading of a Black Social Worker Who Told Us Love is Not Enough

Finding Intimacy in My Spouse’s Illness

What the Mountains Above Los Angeles have Meant for Me and My Wife

Here’s One Piece…

Writing was my way of heading into the thick of the action

Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Selfie by Don Simkovich

I was in early grade school when the NBC Nightly News splashed videos and images of the Vietnam War across the television screen. My parents were typically busy upstairs while I watched in our basement’s family room.

What intrigued me was how journalists could cover fights in the jungle and even American POWs being marched through the streets of Hanoi. A desire to help struck me along with marveling over this unusual role of relaying information.

My mother showed me another way of being in the action as a reporter. She wrote for our town’s newspaper and we were eating…

The area’s roofs are clues to the area’s history

Roofs in Pasadena and other cities reveal history from mid-century modern to bungalows; photo by Don Simkovich

A roof is usually an unsung hero among home decorating needs, and yet it’s the first line of defense against the sun beating down over Pasadena, Arcadia, and the cities throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

And, if you were a detective searching for clues about how life changed from one decade to another then you’d study the area’s roofs.

Steep roofs on small homes mark Janz Village in Altadena while low-slope roofs mark neighborhoods with mid-century modern homes.

Roofs come in so many styles to fit homes like smaller stucco that are great for Spanish tile in Alhambra; keeping authentic…

I was both awed and overwhelmed by the shock to my system

Child’s face in black and white photo.
Child’s face in black and white photo.
Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash

M y wife and I first about 11-month old Kevin through her sister, an occupational therapist. Kevin was living in a foster care group home several miles away.

The woman who had the license to care for him was also caring for five other children and she was in her 70s. Her son worked with her and the children had good care, but she would soon retire. Once she gave up her license, then the boys and girls would scatter into different foster homes and go deeper into “the system.”

We met him, played with him at the group home…

Listen carefully and don’t dismiss the disappointment

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

A “pebble in the shoe” irritates, so be constructive.

I’m convinced that it’s not the big things that derail relationships, but it’s mostly the little things — the irritants that have built up in a family or a business partnership — and how they create a rift.

Just the other day my oldest daughter had set aside a purple onion to use on a sandwich. She woke up with the thought of how good the sandwich was going to taste with that onion.

Her mind was moving toward a positive experience.

So she went to the refrigerator and — the onion was gone.

Our younger daughter had gone…

In my high-stress lifestyle, I relax at night by watching the original Bob Newhart Show on Hulu

Smiley ball in photo taken outside.
Smiley ball in photo taken outside.
Photo by chaitanya pillala on Unsplash

The shutdown during COVID-19 changed how my wife and I went to sleep and now it’s a habit I want to continue. During 2020, from March through July, we watched almost all seasons of the Andy Griffith Show on Netflix until CBS pulled the comedy. That was about 150 episodes each night while skipping through seasons seven and eight since we heard the show was time limited.

Now, we’ve been watching the original Bob Newhart sitcom and loving the characters and storylines.

I’m finally outlining a personal story that will have value to readers

Person writing with pen and cup of coffee in background.
Person writing with pen and cup of coffee in background.
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Friends and others have told me for the last decade that I should write a story about my family. It sounds compelling since my wife and I adopted our kids out of foster care and became guardians to two boys who moved in with us as teens.

But the reason it sounded compelling was partly because of the intense drama that we experienced during key times:

But there were also families who liked our “why” — opening our home…

I write wide and find Medium useful for my ever-expanding imagination

multiple colored pencils
multiple colored pencils
Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

I write on a variety of subjects:

I’ve always written wide to fit my interests and I always will write wide. I think like a magazine. My first job was in radio news at a small station in State College, PA near the Penn State campus. I reported on all kinds of subjects.

For me to write in a specific niche is like forcing a mountain lion who likes to roam into a cage. Now, I can have areas of primary focus…

A man who shot at Detective Tom Stone dies in a car crash while Stone and Jake hunt for their main, drug-smuggling suspect

Photo by Will Creswick, Unsplash

Crime novel excerpt from Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, Chapter 10

Stone and Jake close in on their suspected drug dealer, Anthony Angelino, while a man who shot at Stone in the previous chapter five excerpt, dies after losing control of his car in the East Los Angeles section of Boyle Heights.

Links to previous excerpts are below.

Scattered debris looked a grenade had been detonated.

The car was a late model BMW that slammed into a light pole, a tall reinforced steel kind. …

Our day trip from Belgium was packed full of memories and created a life lesson for our 16-year-old

Paris spiraling from the Arc de Triomphe
Paris spiraling from the Arc de Triomphe
Paris was where my son later realized he needed to be grateful; Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash

A high school friend was working on a research project east of Brussels, Belgium at Catholic University in Leuven and invited us to visit him, his wife, and their daughter. Our family made the trip and they had given us freedom each day to pick and choose where we wanted to travel.

I was impressed at how precise the trains traveled in the country and I was also impressed with coffee being quite expensive.

They had a day trip planned for us to Paris as our big outing together. So on a morning in July before the sun rose, we…

Don Simkovich, MA

Don is co-author of the Tom Stone Detective novels on Amazon and writes content for businesses. Visit /

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