ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY!

It just looks that way.  OMG what a wonderful, but confusing city!  One wrong turn and you’re lost forever.  Get this:  all of the street signs are written in Italian!  What’s up with that?  Our group did a LOT of walking, so we had to consume a copious amount of water and wine.  (Which means that “european” all day long!)  Fortunately I learned some key phrases, such as, “dove de toilet?”  Our favorite stop was the Coliseum and Roman Forum.  (Be advised that the Coliseum, for some strange reason, has no air-conditioning.)  I suggested enclosing the structure, but our guide had no (verbal) response.  She did, however, make an interesting hand gesture.

I will be attaching photographs of the Forum, which is where many lively debates were held by local politicians.  (You were either “forum” or “against ‘um”)  Two of the most famous emperors, Donaldo Trumpus and Hilarious Clinton have statues prominently displayed near the outdoor commodes.  (Draw your own conclusions on this one!)  Ah, the mystery of history!

So what else is new?  Well, I just read a study that stated that the average Japanese senior citizen has sex once a year.  The average American senior has sex seven times a year.  This study was shocking to me.  Frankly, I never knew that I was Japanese!

If you live in or near the city of Austin, check out this month’s issue of AUSTIN WAY MAGAZINE.  The front cover mentions a young lady named Rebecca Yanoff, who they refer to as “SOCO’S New Style Queen.”  (SOCO stands for “South Congress,” our main shopping thoroughfare.)  The enclosed article and photographs are lovely, but just between you and me, I hate it when my daughters get more publicity than me!  Jeez, don’t people read anymore?

Speaking of shopping…  somebody stole my wife’s American Express Card last month.  I haven’t reported it yet.  Whoever stole the card is spending less than my wife!  (My momma didn’t raise no fool!)

By the way, last night was a VERY special night in these parts.  Miss Helena, the Princess of Portugal, and her fabulously rich husband, Baron Lee, held a gala event at their mansion in Round Rock.  The guests (and a couple of party-crashers from Steiner Ranch) were treated to an assortment of fine wines and spirits.  The cuisine was simply superb… roasted potatoes, Corpus Christi cole slaw, braised asparagus, and….  (are you sitting down?) ….. grilled Maine lobster tails!  (Being something of a writer, I just love tails/tales!)

And since we are on the subject of tall tales, I would like to remind you to circle August 23 on your calendar.  On that day I shall once again be the featured guest on the Authors of America Radio Program.  I will be discussing my new mystery novel, A RUN FOR THE MONEY, which is selling briskly and receiving some very nice reviews.  (I’m still waiting for my mother’s comments!)  I will, of course, post the exact time and stations as the date draws near.

Well, since I’ve dabbled into the high risk field of politics on this blog post, I shall leave you with the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln…   (WARNING:  I never get this quote exactly right) …..  “You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.  And sometimes you can fool some people who are foolish at times, but you can’t be fooled all of the time no matter how many times you’re fooled.”     (You were warned!)

Frankly, my dear, I prefer the semi-immortal words of my former tax advisor,  Myron “My Mistake” Moskowitz, who once said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time…  and those are pretty good odds!”  Myron recently received a pen with a life-time guaranty.  (Leavenworth Prison!)

Verily, I say unto thee, go forth and have yourselves a safe and joyful week!  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

***** Photographic evidence attached!

 

 

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SWEET SIXTEEN!

Now there’s an oxy-moronic term if I ever heard one… Do you know any sixteen-year-olds that are sweet?  (They’re too busy playing Pokemon Go!)  When I was a teenager we spent our time more wisely — reading.  (Mainly Playboy and National Geographic Magazine.)  In any case, the blog title is not meant as a reference to juvenile delinquents, but as a reference to the fact that I recently received my 16th literary award.  While I was traipsing around Italy, my history book, THE SECOND MOURNING, won the “Honorable Mention Award,” (third place) at the 2016 New York Book Festival.

The awards ceremony is going to be held at the (in) famous Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan.  I may attend the ceremony, mainly out of respect for all the incredible writers who made the hotel famous back in the 20’s and 30’s.  Back in the day, a group of editors, book authors, and playwrights gathered at the Round Table Restaurant and spent countless hours engaged in brilliant repartee.  The group included such literary geniuses as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood (winner of 4 Pulitzer Prizes!), Alexander Woolcott, Edna Ferber, and my personal playwriting idol, George S. Kaufman.  (who also wrote some of the movie scripts for the Marx Brothers.)

For those of you concerned about my mental well-being, fear not, I have finally caught up with my emails and have returned to my (semi) normal routine as a (semi) famous author and bon vivant.  I am thrilled to report that we now have close to 30,000 blog followers, and that most of them actually speak a version of the English language.  (Those folks from Gozo are a bit problematic.)

Several of my curious blog followers have requested a little more information about my archaeological stop in the Sicilian port of Agrigento.  So, for your educational edification, allow me to add  that the town was originally founded by the Greeks, overtaken by the Romans, conquered by the Muslim Arabs, and preserved by the Normans.  (Whew, what a cast of characters!)  In other words, there was an incredible mix of cultures, adding to the overall charm and mystique of the city.  (At the end of this blog, I will post some photos of our stop in Agrigento, so please remain awake…  I know it’s a little early for some of you!)

On the home front, I would like to congratulate the Princess of Portugal (and her hubby, Baron Lee) for sponsoring the soccer team of Portugal, which recently won the 2016 Euro Championship.  (Their frequent trips to the Azores paid for the uniforms and the foot powder used by the players!)

Also close to home (actually, just inside our house) we were honored to wine and dine with Judge Susan, the (semi) notorious “Hanging Judge” of Central Texas.  She got that moniker not for sentencing scofflaws to hang, but for “hanging around” the courthouse with a pair of crutches and beating unprepared lawyers over the head.  (with the soft end of the crutches)  I am happy to report that her Honor is on the mend, and will soon resume her flagging tap-dancing career.

And since we are on the subject of friends, allow me to thank Mr. Robert Todaro for sending me a lovely Maltese poem as a remembrance of my visit to Malta and Gozo.  (Robert actually speaks and understands their language, which is remarkable.  Only a handful of human beings have conquered that challenge!)  Nonetheless, I would like to leave you with this poem, which I hope you enjoy:

“Il-bjuda taz-zahar u l-hegga tat-tfulija huma I-poezija tal-holm.”

Translation:  (roughly)   “The whiteness of blossoms and the enthusiasm of boyhood are the poetry of dreams.”

I apologize for leaving out some of the symbols above the words, but my ancient computer doesn’t seem to have any of these in stock.  (or perhaps I just can’t find them)  Still, you get the idea.  So, with that, allow me to say goodbye until next Sunday.  I hope all of you have a wondrous week.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

***  Stay tuned for some enchanting photographs!

 

 

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LA DOLCE VITA!

BUONGIORNO!  Hello my dear friends.  I just returned from a magnificent 3-week vacation/book signing/wine guzzling voyage to Italy, and although I loved every minuto, there is no place like home.  As for Italy, mama mia, what a beautiful country!  Our group of merry pranksters sailed from Rome to Malta, and then circled Sicily, stopping in some very memorable ports.  And speaking of port, the wine was truly memorable, too.  From what I remember, we drank almost every night.  (Hey, you know what they say, “when in Rome… “)

Before I go on about our voyage, let me state, unequivocally, that I had NOTHING to do with England leaving the European Union.  Well, almost nothing. I did make a few remarks about Germany and Italy dominating the ongoing soccer tournament.  But that was all I did.

We began our long voyage in Rome, which was fitting.  Why?  Because when I was a young lad, the girls told me that I had “Roman hands.”  (and “Russian fingers,” I might add!)  In any case, after we left Rome (and 3 days of intense archaeological activity) we sailed south through the Straight of Messina, which wasn’t really that strait, but still quite fascinating.  Our first stop was in Catania, where we spent the day high up in the mountain village of Taormina… and trekked around the base of our first volcano… Mt. Aetna.  (Which, by the way, is still a very active volcano.)  I didn’t really want to hike up to the summit, but I had to “go with the flow,” so to speak.  When you live under a volcano, every day is “ash wednesday.”  Very hard to breathe in certain spots, but well worth the effort.  The view was simply incredible.  (for at least 30 seconds!)

On days two and three, we recovered on the islands of Malta and Gozo, which were quite interesting.  I got to use all of my bad jokes about Maltese falcons and malted meal, which the locals seemed to have heard before.  (What’s up with that?)  Most importantly, on the lovely island of Gozo (slightly north of Malta) our group got to visit the oldest known human settlement in history.  (A 6,000-year-old pagan temple.)  I was surprised to learn that it was a pagan temple.  How the heck did a motorcycle gang cross the Mediterranean Sea?  Beats me.

From Gozo, we sailed north to Sicily and made several stops in some pretty amazing ports…  Agrigento, Trapini, and Lipari for starters.  They were all incredibly interesting, and on the remote island of Lipari, we hired a boat and made our way to the still-smoldering island of Vulcano.  (Yep, this volcano was belching, too!)  During our morning hike (which I called our “death march”) we stopped for lunch at a bubbling lake of warm mud, and some of us took a mud bath.  I, of course, suggested that the female archaeologists in our group engage in a mud wrestling contest, but the ladies wouldn’t bite.  (See what happens when you get a Ph.D?)

The voyage of the (nearly) damned then continued eastward, arriving in the enchanting town of Sorrento, where some of our group traveled to Pompeii and others to Herculaneum .  Risking life and limb, I spent the day viewing our third major volcano, Mount Vesuvius.  (Yeah, you guessed it, this one is still an active volcano, too.)  By now you might be wondering what’s wrong with me.  Good question.  Would you believe I was doing some research for my next book?  I hope so, because that’s what I intend to tell the IRS.  (Actually, it’s true, but I’ll explain later.)

The third week of our delightful voyage was spent on shore, in the impossibly beautiful town of Positano, along the Amalfi Coast.  Here I learned (once again) that anchovies and cappuccino don’t mix very well.  (Especially after a day of diving and swimming!)  Nonetheless, we all had a magnificent time with our gracious hosts at Villa Franco.  If you look at a photograph of Positano, you will see a lovely white villa on the highest point of the mountain overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.  This is where we spent the week, and dear God, was it something special.  (Photographs to follow!)

As always, the best part of any trip is making new friends, and we made plenty of them during this adventure.  (Starting with the captain of our ship, Captain Sverre, (a modern-day Viking!) and including some lovely folks from Australia, England, Italy, Argentina, and the good old U.S.A.)  On the book front, we gained a hundred new blog followers, and more importantly, a hundred new friends around the world.  (I held two book signings, and our sales were phenomenal.)

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you with all the travel talk.  I also have some great news on the publishing front, but I think I’ll save it for next Sunday’s blog.  Like me, you might be on sensory overload, so I’ll share the good news next weekend.  Until then, take care and have a great week.

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

*** Hopefully there will be some photographs attached to this blog.  The nude shots were confiscated by Interpol.    (Thank God.)

 

 

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SUMMER IN THE CITY!

Ah yes, but which city?  How about Rome?  Well, my dear paisano, that is precisely where I am heading!  Why?  Because the next “Adam Gold caper” is tentatively titled, CAPONE ISLAND.  Consequently, I am off to the lovely island of Sicily to do some research and hopefully interview some of Mr. Capone’s relatives.  I am starting to pack, but I’m having some trouble folding my bullet-proof vest.  (That dang Kevlar is so stiff.)  I just hope I don’t become a stiff.  I’m not really worried, as the book is more about Capone’s “buried treasure” in Florida than about his life of crime.  Oddly enough, my mother lives across the bay from the island where “Scarface” supposedly buried either treasure or competitors, or both.

In any case, my crew and I will be sailing on a moderately sized vessel, leaving from Rome and heading due south.  Our first stop is gorgeous Taormina, Sicily, and then we head even further south to Valletta, Malta.  (Where I will be searching for an elusive falcon!)  After a couple of days in Malta, we start our “Volcano Tour.”  I’m not sure why, but we intend to explore Mt. Aetna, the volcanic island of Volcano, and then Mt. Vesuvius.  Hopefully we will not encounter any disruptions or eruptions.  If we do, we will just have to go with the (lava) flow!

Assuming we survive the volcano convention, we are off to the islands of Trapani and Lipari, and then over to Sorrento and Capri.  This is just about my favorite part of the world, so I am looking forward to a couple of reunions and some unusual book signings.  From Capri, we take the hydrofoil or the tinfoil over to Positano, and by then I should weigh about 500 pounds.  (primarily pasta)  We intend to spend 5 days on the Amalfi Coast, unless they run out of pasta and/or wine.  Fat chance.  (Yikes, did I just use the word “fat?”)  Mama mia!

Due to the volcano visits, I will not be schlepping my laptop with me, so I might be persona non grata, I mean, persona incognito, for several weeks.  If you need to reach me, just send cash (no Euros) to the American embassy in Rome and I will call you back.  (As soon as I sober up, which might be a while.)  I love Italy, but as you can see, I should not be left unsupervised while I’m there!

Hey, do you remember the song “Travelin’ Man?”  (Ricky Nelson, 1961.)  Well, I guess that’s how I’m starting to feel.  Did you know that Ricky had a brother named David?  David was Ricky’s half-brother.  (I guess you could call him a “half-nelson.”)  That would explain why David couldn’t get a “grip” on himself.  Harriet Nelson was the mom.  Ozzie (not the one who looks and sounds like a zombie) was the dad.  Ozzie Nelson was a broadcasting genius.  In fact, they used to call him the “Wizard of Ozzie.”  (Just kidding)  All right, enough Nelson jokes.  If you want to hear my joke about Nelson Mandela, send me a postcard.

So yesterday I had the pleasure of dining at Cooper’s Old Time Barbecue Joint in Austin.  (Along with the boss, the Princess of Portugal, and Baron Lee.)  Excellent vittles, but not as good as Black’s Barbecue in Austin.  Still, Baron Lee managed to consume 10 or 12 pounds of smoked brisket, which was VERY impressive.  Would you believe that the Princess ordered a salad?  Of course, she also ordered a HUGE bowl of peach cobbler.  (And did not offer me a single bite!)  Definitely worth trying if you come to our fair city.

The newest “Adam Gold Mystery,” which is titled, A RUN FOR THE MONEY, is doing wonderful in the sales department.  According to the publisher, we’ve sold about 200 books the first week, which is pretty darn good.  If you order a book and leave a nice review on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or Goodreads, please let me know and I will send you a FREE book, autographed, as a “thank you” gift.  Good reviews help obtain much-needed advertising dollars.

Finally, I want to extend a giant hug and kiss to my dear friend Judge Susan (the infamous “hanging judge” of the Texas Hill Country) who is recovering from knee surgery.  (Thank God she still has a leg to stand on!)  Her Honor is one tough cookie, and we hope she heals quickly.  Frankly, I’m tired of delivering steaks and lobster tails every night.  (Even though they’re eaten before I get to her house!)  Get well soon, your judgeship!

Well, I must run, as I’m off to my “Italian 101” language class.  Today’s class should be fun.  We will be learning the meaning of certain hand gestures, which I understand could make the difference between life and death in certain situations! I shall keep you informed of my progress with the TSA and Interpol.  Until we meet again, I remain,

Doc Yanoff   (Love to all!)

 

 

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WORDS OF WISDOM!

Just in case you haven’t opened your email today, I am re-posting the very first book review for my new mystery novel, A RUN FOR THE MONEY.  (Just in time to coincide with the Preakness, which was won by a horse that was named after a fiction writer…..  Exaggerator!)  Incidentally, this was also my nickname for several years after my honeymoon.  (Don’t ask.)

All right, here we go…..

RENEGADE REVIEWS,

May 21, 2016

 

Stephen G. Yanoff, dubbed “the king of the clever mystery” by the NYT, has done it again.  His new book, A Run For The Money is a spellbinding novel sure to please.  In this fascinating tale, the theft of a priceless Civil War artifact drags insurance investigator, Adam Gold, into the dark and dangerous world of brazen grave robbers.  While pursuing the robbers, Gold encounters a scheming Southern belle  with a dark family secret, and becomes entangled in the Gullah culture of South Carolina.  A riveting pursuit will lead to a showdown with a vicious psychopath who specializes in the murder of Thoroughbred horses — and a memorable climax that readers will never forget.

A RUN FOR THE MONEY is now available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kindle, Nook, and leading bookstores across the country.

RATING:   Five Stars.   *****     (Excellent)

 

Before you ask, the answer is NO, my mother did not write this review, nor does she own any stock in Renegade Reviews.  (She did, however, buy the first 500 copies of A Run For The Money.)  She bought 500 copies only because she’s 90 years old and forgets where she leaves things.  This way, there’s a book in every room and closet in the house.  Such a smart woman.

Now the rest of you rascals don’t have to buy 500 copies. (although they do make great Christmas gifts) One or two books will be sufficient.  (unless you have some friends.)  If you do purchase a book, please do me a BIG favor and leave a nice review on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or Goodreads.com.  (The good reviews help the old advertising budget.)

I do hope you enjoy the book, and keep in mind that most of it is based upon an actual insurance claim.  And let me know what you think about the cover and the contents.  Your opinions really matter!

Have a safe and happy week.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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DERBY DAY DOINGS!

Horses again?  What can I say, I have a “one track mind!”  So, right out of the gate, I would like to thank all of the vendors at Churchill Downs who were kind enough to feature my soon-to-be-released mystery, A RUN FOR THE MONEY.  The pre-publication sales were phenomenal and I am most appreciative.  Next stop, the Preakness at Pimlico Park in Maryland.  (The actual book should be available by the time we get to the Belmont Stakes!)

Speaking of gratitude, I would also like to thank all of the literary judges who recently chose DEVIL’S COVE (my third “Adam Gold Mystery”) as a FINALIST in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.  The 2016 writing contest was very competitive, attracting over 2,000 entrants.  Winning was “a long shot,” and I am thrilled to be in such glorious company.  (All right, no more racetrack terms!)  The awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles in September, so maybe I’ll get to visit with some of my LA fans.  (Dinner’s on me!)

And since we’re on the subject of long shots, my photograph (headshot) is about to grace the cover of BookMad Magazine.  (There goes their circulation!)  This magazine is a nationally distributed publication that highlights the wild and whacky world of professional writers.  They will also be publishing a full-length interview with yours truly, which I shall post right here when it becomes available.  (Read carefully, there is going to be a test!)

Incidentally, you might want to save the cover, just in case you’re heading out to the gun range.  (It would make an excellent target!)  By the way, if you go to the range, don’t go off “half-cocked.”

I just finished reading Marcel Marceau’s autobiography.  Does this make me a “mime reader?”  Did you know that Marceau refused to perform on cruise ships?  (He was strictly a “land mime.”)  Jeez, these jokes are really lame.  Well, that’s what you become with a land mine!

Now for some really good news…..  One of my devoted blog followers is a twelve-year-old lad who recently created a yoga dog character that teaches children how to deal with their emotions.  (A rather “ruff job,” if you ask me!)  In any case, the young lad is raising money to produce a pilot.  (I told him to try the airport.)  Since this is a very worthwhile project, you might want to contribute a few bucks, and if so, just log onto:   http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wufshanti/wuf-shanti-tv-show-dog-character-that-teaches-yoga.    (If you make a contribution, I will give you a 10% discount on any book purchase of your choice!)

Hey, does anybody think that Bernie Sanders is too old to be president?  I just found out that his first homeowner policy covered fire, theft, and Indian raids!  (Come on, that’s funny!)  Bernie is so old he remembers when Howard Johnson only had two flavors!  Bernie may be a tad old, but so are these jokes!  Look, like I always say, if they haven’t heard it before, it’s original!

Well, I must leave you now.  I am actually babysitting this weekend.  (My new grand-daughter, Goldie Delilah, requires a great deal of attention.  What’s up with that?)  After breakfast, I’m bringing her to JiffyLube for a check-up.  She seems to be leaking fluid in several places!  The poor girl definitely needs an oil (or diaper) change.

You folks take care and have a wonderful week.  I have a HUGE surprise for all of my loyal blog followers, which I shall announce next time.  Until then, keep those cards and letters coming, and don’t forget to insert some cash from time to time.

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  Anybody care to guess where the attached photo was taken?

 

 

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AND THEY’RE OFF!

No, I’m not referring to this year’s presidential hopefuls, but to the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby!  (This coming Saturday)  As you might have read, one of the featured books at this year’s derby will be…  A RUN FOR THE MONEY!  My new mystery will be available from several vendors, so if you’re going to the big race, pick up a copy.  (I’m telling folks that it’s a “sure bet!”)  The new mystery begins in Richmond, Virginia, but then detours to Beaufort, South Carolina and then Lexington, Kentucky.  If you love racehorses, you will adore this book.

Did you know that the derby is often called “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports?”  Just between us, I thought the term referred to my love-making ability.  Who knew?  Well, in any case, the fastest horse to ever run at Churchill Downs (which is actually in Louisville) was the great Thoroughbred Secretariat.  The old boy bolted around the track in less than two minutes!  That was back in 1973, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  (The horse I bet on is still running!)

Not to be sexist, but do you realize that since the derby’s inception in 1875, 39 fillies (female horses) have participated in the big race, but only 3 have won?  I don’t mean to be a “nag,” but that is sort of interesting.  For the record, there have been 6 female riders, and no, they are not called “Jockettes.”  Incidentally, the derby is often called the “Run for the Roses,” because of the rose blanket placed over the winning horse.  (They used to call it the “Prance for the Poison Ivy,” but there were too many problems after the race.)  Hey, I wonder if that’s where they got the race-track term “scratch?”  Just saying.

Speaking of South Carolina, (huh?) I’d like to mention that the winner of the last photo trivia contest was Butterfly McQueen of Atlanta, Georgia.  (Not her real name) Ms. McQueen correctly identified the photo as the “Brick Baptist Church,” on the island of St. Helena.  (Near Beaufort.)  By the way, this is the very spot where Martin Luther King wrote his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.  Two others also identified the church (a tad later) and they would be Ms. Christine Nickles and Mr. Larry Wood.)  Well done, everyone!

I was just watching  Face The Nation and I heard Ted Cruz say that as a young father he changed many diapers.  (Don’t be surprised if Bernie Sanders asks him to be his running mate!)  Did you get that last joke?  Well, it “depends” on your age!

The local newspaper had a front-page story about a fifth-grade teacher in Arkansas who supplied alcohol to her class!  I wouldn’t judge the gal too harshly.  Keep in mind that we’re talking about Arkansas.  (Just because you’re in fifth grade doesn’t mean you’re under twenty-one!)  Ouch!  There goes my invitation to Hot Springs!

And speaking of spring…  I must spring into the kitchen for breakfast, so I shall take my leave of thee.  Have a safe and prosperous week and we shall meet again in the sweet bye and bye.  (or as my wife likes to say at the mall, the sweet “buy and buy!”)  Hopefully I have attached a new photo for the trivia contest.

Love to all,  Doc Yanoff.

 

 

Romy