A TAXING TIME…..

Well, my friends, it’s THAT time again…  time to enrich the coffers of our Uncle Sam and deal with the Infernal Revenue Service!  Which reminds me, what do you call 25 I.R.S. agents buried up to their chins in cement?  (Answer:  A cement shortage!)  Just in case you missed that one, here’s one more…  What’s brown and looks really good on an I.R.S. agent?  (Answer:  A Doberman!)  All right, enough jokes, lest I get audited.  (again)

Did you folks watch any of the NCAA Basketball Tournament?  I did, but none of my picks did very well.  Of course, I still did better than President Obama and Jeb Bush.  Obama’s mind must be elsewhere because his top two picks were Israel and Iran.  Bush’s picks for the Final Four were Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, and Iowa.

Since we’re on the subject of politics, did you hear that Ted Cruz was arrested at the Port of Galveston?  (The arresting officer told the press that he was just trying to “book a Cruz!”)  Ouch!  OK, how about this one…..  President Obama has announced that his family will move to N.Y.C. after his term is over.  Dang, that guy just can’t get enough gridlock!  Apparently, the Obamas chose N.Y.C. because they’ve gotten so used to people trying to break into their home!

So what else is new?  Well, in the field of “life imitating art,” the shooting incident in South Carolina comes on the heels of my recent visit.  Incredibly, I actually had a chat with the police chief about crime in North Charleston, as it plays an important role in my new mystery novel, A RUN FOR THE MONEY.  Kind of weird how these things keep happening to me.

By the way, several blog followers have inquired about my stop on St. Helena Island.  I was there, primarily, to visit the Penn Center (which, as you may recall, was one of the first schools created to educate freed slaves after the Civil War.) and if you look closely at the photograph of the brick building at the end of this post you will see a modest church.  Well, it was in this very church basement that MLK wrote his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

And speaking of writers…  the photo of me and another gentleman, standing near the marsh, is also quite interesting.  The other fellow is none other than Pierre McGowan, author of “The Gullah Mailman,” a book about his father, Sam, who delivered the mail to Gullah residents beginning in 1924. (On horseback!)  The book is quite fascinating and offers some remarkable stories of life on remote St. Helena Island.  (Which used to contain about 18 rice and indigo plantations, and is hauntingly beautiful, and connected to many ghost stories.)

Oh, and since we’re discussing stories, several curious blog followers have asked about my recent 5-STAR book review.  If you want to read the whole thing, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t, simply log onto ReaderReviews.com and follow the little icons to “THE SECOND MOURNING.”  You can also download the review, make a few thousand copies, and hand them out at your local mall.  This effort will be greatly appreciated (by me) and I am willing to chip in if your bail is set at a reasonable amount.  Think of it as a sacrifice for great literature.  Never mind, think of it as way to meet other felons.

Finally, I should like to mention that I was recently interviewed by Ms. Sarah Doolittle, a brilliant reporter from the Four Points News.  Her in-depth article about yours truly will be published shortly, and if my photograph is presentable, I will post the whole thing on my blog.  And speaking of brilliance, we had the pleasure of sharing a weekend reunion with the lovely and talented Holley Hendrickson, and her husband, Mike.  (Mike is talented, too, but not as lovely as his wife.)  We have known these rascals for 40 years!  They never change, and that’s a great thing, for they are great friends.  (I just wish I would have remembered to bring my wallet.  Oh well, maybe next time!)

Well, amigos y amigettes, have a safe and wonderful week.  I shall leave you with some more brilliance, this time from the mind of the great Asian philosopher, Confucius.  The great teacher said…..   “Guy who lose key to girl’s apartment get no new-key!”  (I’ve been down that road before!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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GLORY DAZE!

Before I explain, allow me to wish each and every one of my loyal blog followers (all 17,000 of you!) a Happy Easter and/or Joyous Passover.  I truly hope that you and yours receive the full blessings of the season.  Spring, as you know, is a time of renewal.  (and I am not referring to your driver’s license!)  Actually, Spring done sprung on March 20th, but who’s counting?  (Other than the IRS?)

I think I’ve asked this question before, but is a person required to pay taxes EVERY year?  I’m glad I have two children.  They’re taxing, but also deductible.  Well, at least the new tax forms have been simplified beyond understanding.  Hey, why isn’t Lois Lane in jail?  I mean, Lois Lerner?  Come to think of it, how come I’m not in jail?  Never mind, let’s move on…

Well, my dear friends, it has been quite a week.  (Hence the title of this here blog post.)  On the day I left charming Beaufort (South Carolina) I was informed that my book, THE SECOND MOURNING, was chosen as a FINALIST in the prestigious Indie Book Awards Contest sponsored by Foreward Reviews’ Magazine.  (Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals will be awarded on June 26th at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco.  (Nominees are required to bring their own water!)

Two days later, when we arrived in Atlanta, I received word that THE SECOND MOURNING had won the GOLD MEDAL in the Beverly Hills International Book Award Contest!  The honor was bestowed for best book of the year in the History – United States Category.  In presenting the award, the judges were kind enough to write:  “Dr. Yanoff’s book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate.”  All I can say is Hooray for Hollywood!  (And thank you!)

Incredibly, it looks like I may also be a FINALIST or medal winner in a third literary contest.  (I will know this Tuesday.)  I just received an amazing review from the contest sponsor, Reader Reviews Magazine.  The judge/reviewer described THE SECOND MOURNING in glowing terms, such as, “5 Stars – a treasure of a book,”excellent story,” “simply brilliant,” and “a must-read.”  (My own mother couldn’t have written a better review, and believe me, she’s tried!)

Several blog followers have asked me to address the highlight of my trip to the Low Country.  Giving Pat Conroy some writing tips was fun, but the peace de resistance, was eating barbecue pork at Sgt. White’s Restaurant and visiting the Marine Training Base on Parris Island.  As some of you may know, I spent several summers training with the SEALS. (At SEAWORLD in San Antonio.)  Stop laughing, it wasn’t easy balancing that ball on my nose.  I did manage one amazing feat.  (or should I say “flipper?”)  I trained some of the animals to clean up their own pool!  (I received the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!)  God, I need to get a real job.

I did hear one sad tale while touring the Marine Base.  I met a Marine D.I. (Drill Instructor) who had just found out that his wife was having an affair!  Naturally, he was devastated, so in order to find comfort and peace, he had turned to religion.  Soon, he was able to come to terms with the whole thing.  He had converted to Islam and was now planning to stone his wife in the morning!  Hoorah!  Semper Fi!

For those of you who are still awake, I shall end this historical, I mean, hysterical post by wishing you and yours a safe and wonderful week!  If you scroll down, you will see some lovely photos taken in and around Beaufort, South Carolina.  (I have deleted all nudity, due to federal regulations and concerns about the environment.)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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HIGH ON THE LOW COUNTRY!

Well, hush my puppies and grind my grits – I just love South Carolina and Georgia!  We continued our spring book tour in charming Beaufort, a coastal town made famous in several movies.  (“The Great Santini” and “Prince of Tides.”)  These were two highly acclaimed books by the great Pat Conroy.  (Not to be confused with the great Tim Conway.)  Sparing no expense, my publisher provided accommodations in The Rhett House, a truly unique property.  The inn was everything I hoped it would be, and the staff could not have been more pleasant and professional.  The rooms don’t come cheap, but they are worth every penny.

The highlight of our stay in Beaufort was a guided tour of Beaufort and St. Helena Island.  (St. Helena is where the Penn Center is located, and this is a MUST stop for all of you history buffs.)  We were lucky enough to obtain the services of the BEST guide in South Carolina, the one and only Kelly McGowan.  Kelly was sweet, knowledgeable, and highly entertaining.  If you go to Beaufort, do not even think about hiring another guide.  (Her father, who we had the pleasure of meeting, is the author of TWO books dealing with the Gullah culture and Beaufort!)  If you need her contact information, just give me a call.

After our wonderful experience in the Low Country, we traveled north and drove up to Atlanta, Georgia.  Believe it or not, my publisher’s generosity continued and he arranged for us to stay in yet another fabulous Bed & Breakfast inn!  For the last 3 days we have been the guests of Debbie and Ed McCord, the gracious hosts of the lovely Shellmont Inn.  As some of you know, I have had the good fortune to stay in many B & B establishments, but I have never seen one as well-run as this historic inn.  The house and rooms are exquisitely furnished, comfortable beyond reason, and clean as a whistle.  (They even have fabulous coffee!)  If you are coming to Atlanta, do yourself a favor and stay here.  This is truly one of the best B & B places in America.  (Surrounded by incredible restaurants, too!)

So what else is new?  Well, by now most of you have heard the good news about my first non-fiction book.  I am proud to report that THE SECOND MOURNING (The Untold Story of America’s Most Bizarre Political Murder) has been chosen as a FINALIST for the prestigious 2014 Independent Book Awards, sponsored by Foreward Reviews Magazine.  The book has been nominated for the best book of the year in the Historical True Crime Category.  The contest will award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze Prize at the annual conference of the American Library Association.  (To be held in San Francisco on June 26th.)  Anybody got any ideas about a good place to stay?

Incidentally, some of you have asked about the title of the new mystery that I am working on.  (A RUN FOR THE MONEY)  Yes, it does involve the wonderful and whacky world of thoroughbred racing, but that’s all I can say at this point.  Most of the story is set in the Low Country, which is why we made the trip to South Carolina.  Atlanta became a stop simply because I have never spent any time here, and I am really glad I got to see this great city.  I have never seen a city with so much to do (museums, parks, etc.) and one that had so many good restaurants!  (The world’s best Southern cuisine!)  If they ever kick me out of Austin (which is always a possibility) I am going to move to Atlanta.

Well, my dear friends, I must leave you now.  I am on my way to Hartsfield Airport, and then back to sunny and warm Austin.  Take care, have a marvelous week, and we will speak again next Sunday…..

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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THE SUNSHINE BOY!

Well, folks, here I am, enjoying the glorious warmth of the Sunshine State.  (That would be Florida, NOT New Jersey!)  I feel so alive now that I am back on the coast.  I know it’s corny, but I have often thought of my mother being the clean, white sand and my father the roaring ocean.  Of course, that would make me a son of a beach, but who cares?  I love salt water, and since I have over 40 years of scuba diving experience under my (weight) belt, I feel right at home in the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, home is where many fatal injuries are sustained… and today was almost one of those days.  Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water in West Palm Beach, a horde of black-tip sharks showed up in the shallow water!  My dive buddies and I counted over 600 sharks, which is roughly 599 more than I feel comfortable with!  So much for diving and snorkeling.  I even feel guilty about asking my wife to retrieve my buoyancy vest and face mask.  (She only had to swim out ten or twenty yards, but I still feel a twinge of remorse.)

In case you’re wondering, I fell in love with scuba diving after watching countless episodes of SEA HUNT.  Do you remember that T.V. show?  Lloyd Bridges played a character named Mike Nelson, who ran a dive shop with his brother David, and their parents, Ozzie and Harriet.  Wait a minute, I think I got that wrong.  Never mind, the show was “all wet” anyway.

After our involuntary shark encounter, we drove up to Jacksonville, signed some books, and attended a gala dinner in my honor at a wonderful seafood restaurant called St. Mary’s Seafood House.  If you’re ever on this coast, you must try this establishment.  (Think incredible friend oysters and shrimp.)  My little presentation was a huge success and we actually sold a lot of books.  (I know that some of you, including my agent, Jesse James Lipschitz, are curious about which books sold the best, so here is the ranking…..  1.  The Graceland Gang  2.  The Second Mourning  3.  Devil’s Cove  4.  Ransom on the Rhone, and last but not least, 5.  The Pirate Path

After dinner, I was asked to judge a wet t-shirt contest, but since the  contestants were male, I declined the offer.  (Been there, done that.)  When I got back to my car, I discovered that the windshield was covered with bird poop!  (The area is filled with egrets, and their cousins who are always apologizing for pooping on your car.  They’re called regrets.)  I fired a couple of warning shots at them, but the damn vandals have no fear of human beings.  The next time I drive up this way, I’m bringing a cat.

Tomorrow we head for the charming town of Beaufort, South Carolina.  If you want to check out my digs, look up the Rhett House Bed & Breakfast.  I think you might find the history of this place quite intriguing.  We have a Low Country Boil scheduled for dinner.  (I sure hope the “boil” doesn’t refer to the chef’s body.)  The following morning we head for St. Helena Island, and a full day of Gullah history.  When you get a free moment, look up the Penn Center of South Carolina.  I will be signing some books in the lobby, which is quite an honor, because this was the very spot where MLK wrote his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Well, it’s been a long day, and I am starting to dream about a good night’s sleep… so I must bid you farewell.  Let’s plan to meet again next Sunday, whence I shall regale you with more tales from the Low Country.  By then, I will be an expert on grits, gravy, and frogmore stew!  Have a safe and happy week!

Love to all…

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT…

Why, you might ask, am I publishing my Sunday blog on Monday?  Well, mainly because I spent most of yesterday flying across the Gulf of Mexico.  And believe me, my arms are sore!  (Henny Youngman, 1956.)  Nonetheless, I am now safely ensconced in my mother’s palatial mansion in fabulous Boca Raton, Florida.  I was, however, a dollar short when I reached the first toll plaza.  I am pleased to report that the authorities didn’t care.  Incredibly, they allowed me to drive through without paying, and they even turned on some flashing lights to provide visibility!  Swell folks down here in the Sunshine State.

Speaking of swell folks, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Roger Staubach on my Southwest flight.  “Roger The Dodger” (his nickname) was a great quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys during their prime years.  He seemed very impressed when I told him that I played quarterback for my junior high school team, even though we lost 32 games in a row.  He was kind enough to say that I seemed to be more of a left-back.  I told him that I most enjoyed making passes at the cheerleaders.  After that, he switched seats.

So here I am today, about to go to lunch with my brother Glenn in fabulous Boca Raton.  Boca, in case you’re wondering, is the “Breast Enhancement Capital of America.”  As I stroll through Mizner Mall I am reminded of the old movie “BOOBS IN TOYLAND.”  (Although there are plenty of babes down here, too.)  Well, you get “the point.”  (Look, don’t complain about these lame jokes, I promised to keep you “abreast” of my travels!)

Enough about memory glands.  What else is new?  Well, sales of my new book, RANSOM ON THE RHONE, have been quite good.  (Even without the 10,000 copies purchased by my mother.)  The French newspaper, Le Monde, published a glowing review and referred to me as “one of the best American mystery writers in recent years.”  I assume that was a compliment, but you never know with the French.  In any case, I do appreciate the kind words.  Merci, my wine-drinking friends!

As you might imagine, depending on the quality of your imagination, thousands of book lovers are eagerly awaiting my scheduled book signings, which are too numerous to mention on this blog.  Safe to say, I will be quite busy this week, but I am determined to do some swimming in the mighty Atlantic Ocean.  (Or my mother’s pool.  Whichever is warmer.)  Frankly, I am glad to be in a warm and humid spot.  A warm and humid spot that is not a gym or exercise facility.

In closing, I would like to share an interesting tidbit from Roger Staubach.  Before he changed seats, he told me that the athletic supporter (a/k/a the jockstrap) was invented in 1874.  Football players started wearing them as soon as they were available.  Now get this… football helmets became mandatory in 1939.  Do you realize what this means?  It took men 65 years to realize that their brains were as important as their crotches!!

Talk about better late than never!  And on that note, it’s better that I bid you a fond farewell.  The surf is calling!  (I hope it’s not a collect call.)  Have a safe and wonderful week.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!

Well, the great Leonard Nimoy did just that, and now he’s been “beamed up” to a better place.  Let’s face it, ANY place is better than Los Angeles, but you get the point.  We lost another fine actor/human being adored by Baby Boomers like me.  I was a big fan of STAR TREK, even though its creator, Gene Roddenberry stole the idea of the show from me.  Well, sort of.  My series was called STAR TRUCK, and it was a show featuring a redneck freight hauler who drove an eighteen wheeler across the Interstate system.  The vehicle was piloted by a tobacco-chewing feller named Captain Kenworth.  His sidekick was called Mr. Spoke.  NBC turned me down because they said the pilot (the first show, not the driver) “ran out of gas.”  (I knew that joke would “fall flat!”)  Anyways, I kept on truckin’, so to speak, and turned to mystery novels.

I have no idea what happened to that Roddenberry guy.  (Actually, I do.  Believe it or not, his ashes were launched into Earth orbit in 1997!)  Unfortunately, the spacecraft carrying the ashes disintegrated in 2002.  After that, Mr. Roddenberry was more “down to earth.”  Well, you know what they say…   “ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the spacecraft breaks, when it turns to rust.”

So what else is new?  Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour!  (You’re supposed to turn them ahead, but why not confuse the hell out of everyone?)  My spring book tour is shaping up rather nicely.  The itinerary includes stops and stays in Atlanta, Charleston, Beaufort, Jacksonville, and Boca Raton.  In case you’re wondering, I’m traveling across the South for a reason.  My next book, A RUN FOR THE MONEY, takes place in the Low Country of South Carolina.

While I’m on the road, I will be visiting the Gullah communities located on the Sea Islands of Georgia.  (And going to the Penn Center on St. Helena Island for an historic lecture.)  The Gullah culture is quite unique (descendants of the original slaves brought to America) and I’m anxious to see if I captured the essence of the place in my book.  I’m also anxious to sink my teeth into a bowl of white shrimp and grits!

Speaking of books…..  If you’ve been patiently waiting to order a copy of my new Adam Gold mystery, RANSOM ON THE RHONE, wait no longer!  Books can now be purchased at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kindle, Nook, and leading bookstores throughout the country.  (If you live in Austin, go to BookPeople.)  The early reviews have been marvelous and I really think you are going to enjoy this story.

Incidentally, I will be teaching a creative writing course this summer.  (At the Dell Community Center in Austin.)  If you live in or around Austin, sign up and take my class.  You might become rich and famous.  (If you buy a Lotto ticket before you come to class.)  Which reminds me, I would like to wish my Jewish followers a Happy Purim.  This is the holiday that involves a great deal of wine consumption.  (You Purim the wine for your guests.)

And since we’re on the subject of guests, I would like to welcome some new blog followers…..  my old high school buddies, Karen and Pete Kiernan, and their beautiful and talented daughter, Meagan.  I love to re-connect with friends from the past, but to be perfectly honest, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.  Most of my friends will not be eligible for parole for a few more years, so their Internet access is extremely limited!

Well, lads and lassies (hey, why are women named after dogs?) I must take my leave.  In fact, I must take a lot of leaves.  I have been given the task of raking the front yard this morning!  A fitting chore, since I am a bit of a rake myself.  Where did I leave that old bag?  Oh, she’s in the kitchen, cooking breakfast.  Well then, I’m off. (I’ve been “off” for quite some time!)  Have a safe and wonderful week, and we shall meet again next Sunday….

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff,  Bon Bon Vivant.

RANSOM DEMAND!

NO, I’M NOT DEMANDING MONEY!  I’m referring to the unprecedented demand for my new mystery novel, RANSOM ON THE RHONE.  (Which sounds dangerously close to “Ransom Over The Phone.”)  Anyway, the book is selling briskly (what else would you expect with these frigid temperatures?) and is well on its way to becoming another huge literary sensation.  Believe it or not, the first printing has already sold out (thanks to my mom) and we are now on our 2nd or 3rd round of printing.

Soooo….  If you’ve been waiting to order a book, they are now available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, GoodReads.com, Kindle, and Nook.  They can also be purchased at a large number of “brick and mortar” stores.  If you are a fan of Adam Gold, and let’s face it, who isn’t, then you will love this new story.  Here is the blurb from the back cover:  “The theft of a priceless Gobelin tapestry drags insurance investigator, Adam Gold, into the murky and violent world of international artnapping – and a life or death struggle with the Corsican mafia.”  There is more, but my publicist, Blind Lemon Lefkowitz, thinks we should just “tease” the public, which be you.

I would like to ask a small favor of my 16,000 blog followers….  if you read the book and enjoy it, please leave a nice comment/review on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com    These kind words are very helpful to future sales and help attract advertising dollars from the publisher.  Thank you in advance for your support!

So what else be new?  Today in my mother’s birthday.  Miss Hazel just turned 89!  As usual, I sent her a “congratulations card” for giving birth to me.  (See why I’m her favorite?)  I’m not sure why, but my sister, who is three years younger than me, sent me a birthday card.  She just discovered that we are not identical twins after all.  Surprise,surprise.  Anyway, I will be sending mom a discounted copy of my new book, assuming she is willing to pay for shipping and handling.

To make matters more expensive, tomorrow is my wife’s birthday!  Yes, I’m buying flowers.  Last year I found a great deal on some unused flowers from a local funeral home.  Seemed appropriate, since she is always threatening to kill me!  In my humble opinion, marriage is very educational.  How so, you ask?  Well, as the philosopher Emmanuel Can’t-Do once said, “marriage is when a man loses his bachelor’s degree…..  and a woman gets her master’s degree!”

Amen, brother!  Hey, what did you think of the Annual Insomnia Awards?  (a/k/a the Academy Awards.)  OMG, was that a long show or what?  The “Best Picture” award was actually presented on “Good Morning America!”  By the end of the show the kid from “Boyhood” was living in a senior center!  Where the heck was Bradley Cooper when we needed him?  (He could have at least taken out Sean Penn!)

Speaking of celebrations…  Last night we attended the birthday party of the lovely and talented Miss Melinda Perez.  The Princess of Pressure (she works as a masseuse) held a gala affair in a most charming venue….  the train station depot in Austin.  The building was an actual train station for many years, and is still in remarkable condition.  Next door is a brand new beer brewery, and naturally, we got to sample some of their wares.  A great time was had by all, and Miss Melinda is one lucky gal… she has an amazing family and lots of friends who love her dearly.  (Including a semi-famous author!)

In closing, I would remind you to dress in layers during these long months of global warming.  Winter has to end some time, doesn’t it?  (I think Al Gore is somehow responsible for this weather, but I can’t prove it.)  Why couldn’t he stick to the Internet and leave us alone?  By the way, does “net neutrality” mean that I have to poke fun at Democrats and Republicans equally?  (That should be easy!)  Well, I must leave you now…  I am sponsoring a clothing drive for naked soldiers in Somalia.  I am looking at a photograph of their army.  Very sad.  I see so many privates.   (Think about that and call me later!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  I promise that this will be the last time I post a picture of my new book cover!

 

 

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