INNOCENCE ABROAD! (Chapter 3) “Goats, Moats, & Croats”

Well, here we are on day three of our voyage, dropping anchor in Rovinj, Croatia.  Fortunately we’re in the harbor, so the anchor fell into the water when it was dropped.  (Dropping the dang thing on the pier causes all sorts of problems)  Rovinj is a lovely port, but is often confused with Revenge, Croatia.  (I hear that Revenge is sweet, but I haven’t been there.)  In any case, we are in Rovinj, which bills itself as “The Jewel of Dalmatia.”  These Dalmatian towns are quite nice, but I don’t think there are 102 of them, and I haven’t met anybody named Cruella De Vil.  (Just saying)  Our first stop was a Roman-built castle, (hence the moats) and then it was off to a local farm.  (The goats)  The locals (here we have the Croats) were very friendly and gracious, and very proud of their charming city.

Since walking is known to cause physical exhaustion, I immediately rented an electric scooter (photo attached) and took off for the city’s main attraction, St. Euphemia Church.  The bell tower of the church is modeled after the tower of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.  (See, I told you those damn Venetians got around!)  The church was built in 1736, which makes it about 40 years older than the United States!  I was tempted to scooter over to Pula, but it was a bit too far.  (Pula is home to the world’s sixth-largest surviving Roman amphitheater, and was constructed at the time of the Colosseum in Rome.)

After a small Croatian snack, I puttered south of the city to the “Golden Cape,” which is also known as Punta Corrente Forest Park.  This natural park contained a beautiful beach, and for those who were fit, offered hiking, biking, rock climbing, swimming, and snorkeling.  (I rented a lounge chair and took some photographs of scantily clad Croatia chicks.)

The highlight of our stop (for me) was visiting a local farm and chatting with a goat rancher.  Did you know that a baby goat is called a kid?  If you have a lots of kids, you hire a nanny goat.  (No “kidding!”)  The rancher’s wife raised lambs.  Believe it or not, her name was Mary.  Yeah, she had a little lamb, but some big ones, too.  They offered us some mutton for lunch, but I didn’t care for the aroma, so I just drank wine.  (Do you think the plural of mutton is mitten?)  All in all, Rovinj was a wonderful stop, and I would definitely recommend a visit.

However…. I wouldn’t recommend the Air and Space Museum.  (There was nothing there but air and space!)  For some reason, the museum insisted on playing (loudly) Barry Manilow music.  By the way, did you know the if you play a Barry Manilow song backwards, you’ll hear a message from the devil?  Even worse, if you play if forward, you’ll hear Barry Manilow!

By the way, my trip to Florida was cancelled due to the arrival of Hurricane Michael.  Just as well.  We were having all sorts of problems with our flight.  The first time we took off, we got halfway across the gulf when we ran out of gas and had to turn back.  They filled up the plane and we were just about to land in Ft. Lauderdale when we ran out of gas again.  So we turned back, but this time we took plenty of gas.  Well, what do you think happened?  We were just about to land, maybe three or four feet away, when the pilot realized that he’d forgotten the plane!  (If this sounds like a Marx Brothers’ routine, you’re right!)

And on that note of frivolity, I shall take my leave…  I hope you all have a pleasant and peaceful week!  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff



INNOCENCE ABROAD. (Chapter 2) “Smooth Sailing”

Do you remember the book “MEN ARE FROM MARS WOMEN ARE FROM VENICE?”  Neither do I, but we spent our last day (and last Euro) in St. Mark’s Square, and then it was off to the ship for a night-time crossing of the Adriatic Sea.  By the way, did you know that this body of water was named after the famous Italian-American boxer, Rocky Balboa?  (Yo, Adriatic!)  All right, that was a bit of a stretch, but there are very few good jokes about the Adriatic!

Incidentally, the Adriatic is a gorgeous body of water and actually the most northern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  Most of the water is crystal clear, and quite refreshing.  Our destination (upon leaving Venice) was Piran, Slovenia, which bills itself as “Slovenia’s Prettiest Town.”  The most beautiful woman in Slovenia now lives in the White House, but as a whole, the local chicks were quite gracious.  (The men need to shave more often.  Some of the women, too.  But mainly the men.)  Where was I?

Oh yeah, Slovenia.  The country is considered the Switzerland of the Istrian Coast, and the comparison is fairly accurate.  (Like my memory!)  Piran’s claim to fame is its Oval Square, which is something of an oxymoron.  (Although I did not see any morons or oxen there.)  The town square, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, was built in an oval shape, and named after a gent called Giuseppe Tartini.  Mr. T, as he’s often called, was a composer and virtuous, I mean virtuoso, violinist.  His fans erected a statue of him in 1896, and if you glance around the square, you’ll notice that many of the buildings are Italian-styled structures.  (This is because Piran was part of the Venetian empire from the 13th century to the end of the 18th century.)  Those dang Venetians are everywhere!

In case you’re wondering, Slovenia gained independence in 1991, and they joined the European Union in 2004.  Unfortunately, they also use those damn Euros, so we had to purchase a few more colorful bills.  We did not have enough time to visit Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, but we did catch a glimpse or two of Bled Castle.  I only have one complaint about Slovenian men.  (Aside from the infrequent shaving)  Their last names contain way too many consonants and very few vowels.  Hence, our tour guide – Vladzk Jrvkcpt – and many of his comrades, were given nicknames.  (Vlad The Cod did not like his name.  No idea why.)

One other minor complaint.  One of our shipmates slipped and broke his arm.  When we took him to the (hospitable) hospital, he told the doctor that he had broken his arm in two places.  The doctor told him to stay away from those places!  (Come on, that was funny!)

So what else is new?  Well, this past week I began teaching a writing course at Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch.  I’m conducting a creative writing class, focused on personal memoirs, and it’s great fun.  My students are mainly senior citizens, and they all have marvelous lives to write about.  One of the gals in my class told me that husbands were the best people to share secrets with.  (They don’t repeat anything because they’re usually not listening!)  True enough.

By the way, the Texas Book Festival will be held in Austin later this month, so if you’re in town, you might want to drop by and take a look at some of the outstanding books on display.  My books will be featured at a (semi) private evening event.  I’ll post the details as we get closer to the festival.  In the meantime, check out my last history book, TURBULENT TIMES, which just received an unusual honor.  Doris Kearns Goodwin (a friendly competitor) recently published a book titled, LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES.  (With my blessing)  I was fine with the slight copyright infringement.  Hopefully, folks will now order  my book, thinking that it was written by a Pulitzer Prize Winner!  (My mama didn’t raise no fool!)

Well, time to leave.  Lots of chores to do today.  To tell you the truth, I’m a person who wants to do a lot of things but I’m trapped in the body of a person who likes to sleep a lot.  Ah well, onward and upward.  I shall leave you with one final thought…  The person who invented the doorbell obviously did not own a Chihuahua!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff




When I was a young lad, my parents sent me abroad.  Unfortunately, I had to return her.  (Groucho Marx)  Thus we have the theme of today’s (semi) humorous blog.  Due to popular demand, (i.e., my mother and mailman) I have decided to share my recent travel adventures in episodic fashion.  (A series of loosely connected installments.)  Most of these tales will be truthful.  Mainly.  Please keep in mind that I do write some fiction, so you might encounter a word or two of inadvertent exaggeration or hyperbole.

Chapter One of my saga is titled, “A SINKING FEELING.”  (Fortunately, this has nothing to do with our ship.)  My recent book tour/tax deductible vacation began in the water-logged city of Venice, Italy.  As you might know, the city is slowly sinking into the Adriatic Sea.  (“Slowly” being the key word)  How slowly?  About .04 to .08 inches per year.  Why?  Some blame climate change and rising water levels.  Personally, I think it’s due to the over-consumption of pasta and wine.  Both have been known to weigh folks down.  Just saying.

In any case, the city of Venice will sink about 3 inches in the next 20 years, so if you pack quickly, you still have plenty of time for a visit.  However, DO NOT plan to sit down when you arrive.  The city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, has proposed a fine of up to 500 Euros ($600) for anyone who sits or lays down in an “undesignated” spot.  Hopefully, toilets will be exempt.  Plan to bring your own stool, so to speak.

Speaking of Euros, they are like everything else in Italy… colorful and confusing.  The Euro is denoted by a symbol from the Greek alphabet.  (An “epsilon.”)  The notes are printed in different colors… grey, red, blue, orange, green, yellow, and purple.  (For real)  So far, 30 million color blind Europeans have gone bankrupt.  (My first exaggeration!)

Our travel party stayed at the luxurious Bauer Palazzo Hotel, which is located alongside the city’s Grand Canal.  Due to my literary fame (and a modest bribe) I received a lovely upgrade, directly above the gondolier loading platform.  Our gondola (shown in a photo last week) had a chandelier and was operated by a gondolier who wore a leather bandolier.  (I was a little leery about this venture.)

The Bauer Hotel is very close to St. Mark’s Square.  (Which is actually a rectangle.)  The Piazza San Marco (a/k/a St. Mark’s Square) is a fascinating venue, and the best place to start a visit.  Napoleon called the square “the drawing room of Europe,” and in my humble opinion, it remains a breathtakingly beautiful place.  Who am I to argue with Napoleon?  The man has a freakin’ dessert named after him.  Anyway, if you visit Venice, you must visit the square.  However, I wouldn’t advise you to wine or dine at any of the open-air cafes — unless you have a lot of those colorful bills I mentioned, and you don’t mind spending $15 for a cup of cappuccino.

To be honest, the food in Venice is not remarkable.  (The prices, however, can often be memorable!)  I would advise spending your hard-earned loot on a gondola ride.  Those rides will cost you 85 Euros for 30 minutes, 125 Euros for 60 minutes, and 200 Euros if you want to add some music.  (Please note that these rates DOUBLE in the evening.)  Now you know why the “average” gondolier makes about $200,000 per year!  (No joke)

So there, my friends, is Venice in a pistachio shell.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or wish to obtain a small loan.  Before I say arrivederci, I’d like to thank my young friend, Connor Evans, for writing a book report based upon my last mystery novel, A RUN FOR THE MONEY.  Connor brilliantly outlined the book’s conflict and resolution, and I’m sure he got an A+ for his efforts.  I heartily commend him for his thorough analysis and exquisite literary tastes!  (You can scroll down to see his work.)

Finally, in closing, I must also thank the beautiful and brilliant Judge Susan for delivering a box of special treats from Stein’s Bakery in Dallas.  OMG, those were the best cheese pockets in the universe!  I ate one the moment she left, and I’ve hidden the others in a safe place.  (The box is wired with explosives, so keep your distance, Miss Patty!)

Well, dear friends, I shall conclude with a salient thought…  Accordion to current studies, 90% of you are unaware that this sentence started with a musical instrument!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff







Well, to be exact, I just traveled almost around the world in 30 days, but that’s neither here nor there.  “Here” was in Austin, Texas, back in August, and “there” was over 16,000 miles of prime European territory.  (Most of it by boat!)  Those nasty rumors of my incarceration in a Turkish prison were greatly exaggerated, and as you can see, I am back in the proverbial saddle.  Back in the good old U.S.A.  I loved each and every minute of my recent adventure, but as they say, there is no place like home.

However, if you are among those who believe that home is where you lay your hat or head, then you might be interested to know that my recent “homes” were in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey.  My summer vacation and world wide book tour managed to squeeze in stops in Venice, Piran (Slovenia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Cofu, Katakolon, Taormina, Sorrento, Gaeta, Civitavecchia, Rome, Athens, and the Greek islands of Nafplio, Mykonos, Patmos, Santorini, and Monemvasia.  (With a memorable day in Kusadasi, Turkey, in order to visit my old cell mates from the movie Midnight Express!)

I really enjoyed Europe, but there were so many foreigners there.  Gosh, they were everywhere.  (and many of them speak their own language!)  Nevertheless, I managed to endear myself to many of the locals and police officials.  (Spending money always helps.)  Italy and Greece are among my favorite places on earth, but as I said before, I loved every port of call.  I will describe my itinerary in detail (and provide some photographic evidence) in future blogs, but first I must recover from a serious bout of jet lag.  (and start my new diet!)

In the meantime, let me re-state (for the record) that the very best part of travel is always the same… meeting new people and making new friends from around the globe.  This trip was no exception.  Far from it.  Please indulge me while I say a special hello to some of my former shipmates…  Helga and John from Naples, Roy and Carol from Thailand, Vladimir and Natasa from Serbia, Paul and Connie from New Jersey, and Mick and Marlene from California.  We loved meeting each and every one of you folks, and we will always cherish the fond memories we shared together.  (Your autographed books are on the way!)

Speaking of books (for a moment), my recent outing, as you might imagine, resulted in some new blog followers.  Actually, a LOT of new blog followers.  I am happy to report that we now have over 100,000 Sunday subscribers!  In addition, our little blog was recently chosen as one of the “Top 500 Entertainment Blogs” in the nation!  (Pretty good considering my bad jokes!)  Needless to say, I am very grateful for your continued support!

Well, I think it might be a good idea to start unpacking.  (I got back late last night!)  I hope I find some Euros and my missing black sock.  By the way, if you’ll scroll down, you’ll see a photo or two from my first stop, which was Venice, Italy.  The photo was taken in St. Mark’s Square.  I loved Venice, but driving was very difficult.  The residents call themselves Venetians, so I told them I was from Mars. (Oddly enough, they didn’t question that.)  You will also see a photo of a cute little monkey who looks happy to have Grandpa back in town.  (My darling Fiona)

I hope you have a pleasant week.  You have my blessing to toast my return with some good wine.  (Although, in my view, a croissant would be better than toast.)  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff




The flying blood-sucking barometer has continued to climb down here in lovely Austin, Texas.  Why?  Because we have encountered yet another heat wave.  (So many waves that we now have our own ocean!)  Triple digits all week long, and no relief in sight.  Oh well, the heat keeps the riff raff off the golf course.  Incidentally, since I’m “bugging” you about the weather, I’d like to congratulate the winner of last week’s Mosquito Trivia Contest.  Mrs. Nancy Pagano was the first person to correctly guess that Texas has (at least) 84 species of mosquitoes.  Not only that, but she was nice enough to point out the top 3 predators!  (Aides, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes.)

In case you’re interested (and who wouldn’t be?) there are roughly 176 species of mosquitoes in the United States and about 2,700 worldwide.  (What a pleasant thought!)  The pesky critters have been around for 400 million years, so I don’t think we’ll see them diminish their numbers in the near future.  Just for the record, dark-colored clothing attracts more insects than light clothing, and the bugs absolutely love seersucker suits.  I once owned a seersucker suit.  (It was on sale at Sears, and I was the sucker who bought it!)

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of speaking to the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club (which insists on meeting in the morning) and it was standing room only.  We had a great turnout, and I actually sold a lot of books.  My presentation was centered upon the publishing industry and how I became America’s most famous and modest mystery author.  I really enjoy this particular group (and the Ladie’s Club, too) because it is composed of many wonderful people, highly educated and extremely gracious.  Once again, I would like to thank my new book tour manager, Loyd Smith, for arranging this event.  (One of these days I should offer him a small salary.  Nah, never mind.)

While we’re on the subject of publishing, did you know that 200,000 books are published each year in the U.S. alone?  The Bible is the best-selling book of all time (about 5 billion copies so far) but THE SECOND MOURNING and TURBULENT TIMES are not far behind.  (According to Loyd Smith)  I’d like to thank the Chinese for inventing paper (circa 206 B.C.) as that has made my job a little easier.  (I used to use parchment!)

Speaking of “thanks,” I’d like to acknowledge the Princess of Portugal (and her slim & trim husband, Baron Lee) for hosting a gala dinner last night.  The Princess really impressed our ravenous group by serving fresh gulf coast shrimp, organic green beans, locally grown potatoes, hatch chile rolls, and the piece of resistance…..  Round Rock scallops in brown sauce.  (I’m not sure how they caught scallops in Round Rock, but they were delicious.)  So was our dessert, which consisted of HOME MADE peach pie and vanilla ice cream!  (OMG, I must go on a diet!)  What a marvelous, calorie-laden evening!

Well, this week we lost Aretha Franklin, who was known as the “Queen of Soul” in America.  She passed away on August 16th, which was a little odd, since that was also the date (41 years before) that we lost Elvis Presley, who was known as the “King of Rock ‘n Roll.”  Losing a queen and king on the same day (August 16th) is a fascinating coincidence, and proves that God does work in mysterious ways.  (And loves great music!)

By the way, the good folks at Graceland Inc., are about to auction off a trailer once owned (and briefly occupied) by Elvis Presley.  You can bid online, but you’ll need a VERY large bank balance.  (A lock of the King’s hair recently sold for $35,000!)  Other celebrities have not fetched a similar price, despite their best efforts.  (Yul Brenner went bankrupt!)  Just kidding.  I wonder what a strand of my hair would fetch?  At least a nickel.

Alas, I must take my leave, as I need to pack for an upcoming trip.  I will drop you a line when I reach my destination, assuming we have not been detained or incarcerated.  (again)  Have a wonderful week, drink plenty of water, and try to avoid outdoor activity when there is a full moon.  (A full moon increases mosquito activity by 500 percent!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff




Welcome to the Lone Star State, where the weather has a mind of its own.  After a very long dry spell, it finally rained most of the day, and the rain was a welcome sight.  Most of the Hill Country is under “Extreme Drought” and we were thrilled to get a good soaking.  (I’ve been doing my part to conserve water by not bathing on a regular basis, but I’ve noticed that my book sales are down.  Coincidence?  I think not!)

Speaking of Texas, congratulations to Mr. Dan Seward (I love that last name!) from Amarillo, Texas, the winner of our last trivia contest.  Dan was the first person to correctly answer all 3 trivia questions, followed just a bit later by Mrs. Christine Nickles (a lovely Pennsylvania gal) and Mr. Larry Woods (a very smart guy) from Lakeway.  For the record, here are the questions and the correct answers…..

1.  What do the three colors of the Texas flag represent?  (Red for courage, white for liberty, and blue for loyalty.)

2.  How long is the Texas Legislature’s regular session.  (140 days, assuming that nobody’s in jail!)

3.  When was the Texas Constitution adopted?  (1845)

Now that we’ve gotten some rain, we will have to deal with the mosquitoes, which brings us to this week’s trivia contest….  (winner gets a generous gift card to Target)  Are you ready?  Here goes…   How many species of mosquitoes are known to live in the Lone Star State?  The CLOSEST correct answer wins.  (Yep, there are many species.)  Good luck, gang.

And since we’re on the subject of “gangs,” I’d like to remind my Austin-based friends that I will speaking at the Lakeway Men’s Club this coming Wednesday.  I don’t mean to infer that the club is a gang.  I’m referring to my topic, which will be centered around my soon-to-be-released mystery, titled, CAPONE ISLAND.  I will also be discussing the wonderful world of publishing, so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by.

Incidentally, I recently received two wonderful tidbits of information (relating to Al Capone!) from two of my dear friends in the Lakeway Men’s Club.  Loyd Smith (and his beautiful wife, Shelley) were recently traveling through Cloudcroft (New Mexico) when they decided to stop for a glass of wine at the Lodge Retreat, an historic hotel.  After they spotted a picture of “Big Al” on the wall, the bartender informed them that they were sitting at a bar that was originally from Capone’s Chicago hideout!  (And yes, there were bullet holes in the bar.  I’m guessing those were put there as a reminder to tip generously!)  For those of you who enjoy history, I shall post a photograph of the bar at the end of this blog.

Another fascinating tale came from Mr. Bob Barrett, who told me that a recent book, titled, CAPONE:  THE MAN AND THE ERA, includes an entire chapter dealing with Capone’s relationship with his wife’s family!  Big Al was actually the godfather (an appropriate title) of his wife’s mother, and during his lifetime, the gangster gave her some valuable pieces of jewelry.  (Personally, I would have asked for a bullet-proof vest!)

Well, they say it’s a small world, and I guess they’re right.  The city of Lakeway is filled with interesting and intelligent people, and a lot of them have direct connections to some of my books.  No wonder I love speaking there.  (I should start doing more research down the road!)

Before I leave you, I would like to share some (semi-worthless) information about mosquitoes…  Did you know that only female mosquitoes drink blood?  (I could make a lot of jokes about the ladies, but my wife is in the kitchen and she is holding a VERY sharp knife.)  Just for the record, smelly feet actually attract certain species of the pesky insect, so even if you’re conserving water (like me) I suggest you scrub your toes!

Time to buzz off!  Have a wonderful week, and we shall meet again soon.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff


***  Below you will find the fascinating photo I previously mentioned!



Maybe so, but this is ridiculous!  (Even by Texas standards!)  Today will be a balmy 105 degrees… and tomorrow is going to be 107 degrees!  Yikes, that’s hot!  How hot is it down here in Austin?  Well, yesterday I saw a bunch of fire ants carrying canteens!  Then I spotted a tarantula with a Kool Aid stand!  Now that’s hot!  Oh well, as Mark Twain remarked, everybody complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.  I might have to go to Florida just to find some cooler temperatures!

And speaking of Florida,  I will be visiting the Sunshine State in the not-too-distant future in order to tie down the hatches on my new “Adam Gold mystery,” titled, CAPONE ISLAND.  Some of my adroit blog followers have been inquiring about the publication date, which has been pushed further down the road due to some VERY good news…  Sales of my current mystery, A RUN FOR THE MONEY, are starting to increase substantially, and my current nonfiction history book, TURBULENT TIMES, is still winning literary awards!  (More on that next week!)

Thus, my semi-brilliant publisher does not wish to “flood the market” with my books, and has suggested a short delay for CAPONE ISLAND.  As of this date, it looks like the book will be published in early 2019, aiming for the Spring book festivals and award contests.  This strategy makes perfect sense, and I’m actually pleased to get a little break from the book tour gig.

Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of CAPONE ISLAND, let me remind everyone that a good book that does well in the marketplace of literature, is not the creation of a single person.  (i.e., the author!)  There are many talented folks involved in this process, and in my case, I got very lucky.  How so?  Well, keep in mind that the book cover was designed by a super-talented artist named Elizabeth Bell Taylor.  (!)  And then, for this book, I worked with one of the best editors in the business, Ms. Sarah Weber.

A word about Sarah…  She is an Austin-based freelancer who splits her time between editing books for (soon-to-be-famous) authors and writing marketing content for small companies of all kinds.  She holds a B.A. in writing from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in book publishing from Emerson College.  Sarah knows her stuff, and she’s efficient, reliable, and a fabulous communicator.  I enjoyed working with her, and if you know someone who needs a GREAT editor, she can be reached at the following email address:

By the way, since I’ve mentioned the great state of Texas today, why don’t we have a little trivia contest?  (The winner will receive a $300 gift card from my publisher!)  The most correct answers, sent to this blog, wins!  (First come, first served, so don’t delay!)  Okay, here we go…

1.  What do the 3 colors of the Texas flag represent?

2.  How long is the Texas Legislature in regular session?

3.  When was the Texas Constitution adopted?

Good luck, my dear friends.  If you win today’s contest, you will receive a gift card to Target.  (Hopefully there is a store in your area!)  If not, you can sell the card on eBay.

Finally, as a writer of sorts, I feel compelled to share a some trivia about one of my “tools of the trade.”  (The pencil!)  In 1858, a stationer named Hymen Lipman patented the first pencil.  A short time later, an entrepreneur named Joseph Reckendorfer guessed that the pencil-plus-eraser would become a popular product, so he bought the patent from Lipman for $100,000.  (About $2 million in today’s dollars.)  Unfortunately for Mr. Reckendorfer (don’t you love these names?) the Supreme Court ruled in 1875 that the eraser-tipped pencil didn’t count as a legitimate invention.  The poor guy should have started production earlier, but he couldn’t “get the lead out!”  (I’d like to erase that joke!)

Well, time to say adieu.  (and “I do” have to go!)  So, have a wonderful and happy week, and we shall chat again in the near future.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff