DELIRIOUS AND MYSTERIOUS!

Let’s start with delirious… my natural state of mind.  Why, you might inquire, am I feeling a tad euphoric today?  Well, mainly because my last “Adam Gold Mystery,” which is titled, RANSOM ON THE RHONE, just received the Honorable Mention Award (2nd place) at the 4th ANNUAL BEVERLY HILLS INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS!  This marks the third award for this particularly book, which as the title suggests, takes place on the Rhone River in France.  I wrote this one after taking a week-long cruise with our great friends, Barbara and Max Talbott.  The best part of writing the book was re-living our river adventures and remembering all of the great people and ports that we encountered.  (By the way, since April 15 is right around the corner, I should mention that the entire voyage was tax deductible.  Yes, even the wine and caviar!)

And since we are on the subject of awards…  I am proud to share some other wonderful news with you…  THE SECOND MOURNING, my semi-brilliant book about the Garfield assassination, just won its 13th book award last Wednesday!  The 2016 Great Northwest Book Festival chose my book as “Honorable Mention” in the General Non-Fiction Category.  This is a much tougher category (more submissions) than the History Category, so I was thrilled to become a “chosen one.”  (A little Passover humor!)

Before I forget, congratulations to Marvin Stern from Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Mr. Stern won last week’s photo trivia contest.)  He was the first to correctly identify the location as Cove Boutique in Austin, Texas.  (A gorgeous boutique for the ladies on South Congress Avenue.)  Actually, Judge Susan Marquess (the famous “hanging judge” of the Hill Country) was the first, but since she is family, she was promptly disqualified.  Incidentally, she’s called the “hanging judge” because she goes from store to store hanging up clothes.  Odd hobby, but who am I to…  judge?

When I was teaching public speaking at St. Edward’s University, I would always remind my students that it was normal to feel nervous at the podium.  (Survey after survey shows that the two most feared social situations for young folks are:  1.  Going to a party filled with strangers.  2.  Giving a speech)  Oddly enough, these are the very two situations that all writers must deal with in order to market their books.  Hence, my teaching career was great preparation for this book gig, which involves a lot of public speaking before strangers.  (and free food and drink, too!)

As an example of the above, I had the pleasure of attending a book signing up in Mason, Texas, last week.  (Mason is a charming little town perched on the western edge of the Hill Country.)  After a hearty breakfast, at the Willow Creek Cafe, I strolled over to the Mason Square Museum, which contains some fascinating artifacts, including a massive, 6,480-carat chunk of blue topaz!  I offered to trade several books for the topaz, but the curator turned me down.  (I wonder if Stephen King is forced to suffer such indignities?)  In any case, the Mason County Library now contains several copies of THE SECOND MOURNING, so if you’re ever in the area, “check out” the books!  (Incidentally, if you want to look for topaz, you can go to the Bar M Ranch, just west of town.  They allow private digging for a reasonable fee.)  Try not to hit their sprinkler system, like you-know-who did!

In closing, I would remind my Texas friends that spring signals the start of snake-mating season, so be very careful.  Each year, several people die from snake-bite here in the Hill Country.  I strongly advise everyone NOT TO BITE A SNAKE!  (Slim-Jims taste better and are very affordable.)

With that being said, I shall take my leave of thee.  Hopefully there is a photograph below this hysterical blog post.  If so, be the first to correctly identify the location and you will win a marvelous prize.  Until we meet again, I remain,

Doc Yanoff   (Love to all!)

 

 

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THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!

Great movie, but that’s not what today’s blog post is referring to… no siree, Bob!

Who the heck is Bob?  Never mind.  Back to the headline…   Believe it or not, my humble historical manuscript, THE SECOND MOURNING, has just won its 7th book award of the year!  Yes siree, Bob, it’s true!  (This guy Bob is starting to get on my nerves.)  Anyway, here’s the Press Release that went out yesterday…..

(Associated Press, December 19, 2015)

“Margaret Brown, National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Member, has announced the six FINALISTS of the 2015 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition.  Stephen G. Yanoff, author of THE SECOND MOURNING, has been chosen as one of the finalists from an entrant list of over 2,000 writers, many of them established professional authors.  Yanoff’s highly acclaimed book has now won 7 major literary awards, making history in the publishing world.”

I won’t bore you with the entire press release, but if you would like to read a full length article about me and the book, simply go to:  Shelf Unbound Literary Magazine.  (December/January 2015 Issue)   You will find a flattering article (no, I didn’t write it!) by going to:   http://www.shelfmediagroup.com

So, what else is new?  Well, last night was the gala event of the year down here in lovely Austin…  The Third Annual Festivus For-the-best-of-us Dinner, hosted by the wonderful and generous Barbara and Max Talbott.  Once again, the affair was held at the historic Austin Club, which began life in 1878 as the Millet Opera House.  Do you folks know that I used to sing professionally?  Well, they asked me to sing solo.  (so low that nobody could hear me!)  Others thought I should sing tenor.  (ten or twelve miles down the road!)  Anyways it was another great evening, complete with champagne, wine, wonderful food, and great company.  (I am blowing a big kiss to the “Terrific Talbotts!”)

Poor Mother Teresa.  Did you see what the Pope wants to do to her?  He wants to shoot her out of a cannon!  No joke, they intend to canonize the poor woman.  I heard the Pope say that she was a great gal, but no saint.  Well, that’s about to change.  I assume you folks know that Mother Teresa cared for the leopards of Calcutta?  I knew there were tigers in India, but leopards, too?  I have a great deal of respect for Mother Teresa, but I think my wife should have been chosen.  (A lot of people have told me that my wife MUST be a saint!)

In case you’re planning on burglarizing my house, I would like to confirm that my next book tour will be in the sunny Caribbean, and I will be gone for 3 weeks.  (If you do decide to break in, please feed the pit bulls.  But NOT the alligators.)  My semi-honest publicist, Blind Lemon Lefkowitz, has booked a lovely suite for me on one of the Oceania Cruise Ships.  I will be sending daily updates on my pending incarceration, so stay tuned.  (I may need you to send bail money.)

Well, lest I run off and forget, allow me to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Thanks to you, I have had a marvelous year in the wonderful world of books, and I am most appreciative.  If I could, I would hug each and every one of my 23,000 blog followers!  Seriously, you folks are the best!  God bless each and every one of you, and we shall chat again in the New Year!  Until then, be safe and be happy…..

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

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GETTING TO KNOW YOU …..

Getting to know all about you…   Remember those lyrics?  A wonderful song from “The King and I.”  (Which I thought was a musical about Elvis Presley!)  It was written by the team of Rogers and Hammerstein.  Who knew that Roy Rogers was so talented?  In any case, the good folks who inhabit the Leeward Islands will soon know me a lot better because I’m returning for another book tour/rum festival!  (The Leeward Islands are in the southern Caribbean, very close to the Backward Islands, but with a much smarter populace.)

Thanks to my recently-paroled publicist, Blind Lemon Lefkowitz, and the world’s best travel agent, Miss Lori “Let’s Rock” Randig, I shall be making landfall sometime in January, 2016.  I can’t wait to hit the beach, put the lime in de cocoanut, and swish it all around!  (One must be careful about too much swishing on the beach.)

The purpose of my highly-anticipated voyage is to lay the groundwork for a future appearance at several Caribbean book festivals.  I would like to set up a book table at the Antigua & Barbuda Literary Festival, the St. Lucia Lit Fest, and the Virgin Islands Book Fair on St. Croix.  These festivals attract thousands of visitors each year, and you can’t beat the atmosphere.  Lots of friendly faces and adoring fans, and superb beaches, too.  (I call it “Literature with a splash of lime!”)

This year’s itinerary will also include stops in San Juan, St. Bart’s, and St. Maarten.  I intend to pack plenty of books, plus a generous supply of sunscreen and Alka-Seltzer!

Speaking of delightful stops, I’d like to thank Judge Susan for dropping off a box of cheese pockets from Stein’s Bakery in Dallas.  (Yummy, yummy, in my tummy!)  Which reminds me, if you cut a petit fours in half, does it become a petit two?  Just asking.

Hey, since I mentioned Dallas, did you read about the American Airlines flight that was grounded by a hive of bees in one of the engines?  (No joke.)  If you didn’t, would you like to hear the latest “buzz?”  (Bad joke.)  The bees were very well groomed.  They all had “combs.”  (Worse joke.)  To keep them calm, the ground crew played music by…..  Sting!  (Worst one yet!)  Un-bee-lievable story, right?

By the way, I didn’t win the National Book Award, but believe it or not, I am about to be named in a paternity suit, I mean, another book contest!  I am not permitted to discuss the details until the winners have been officially announced, but I am a FINALIST, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me.

Well, before I go, I would like to share a fascinating factoid.  Did you know that a whitetail deer can jump higher than the average house?  True fact.  This is due to its powerful hind legs and the fact that the average house can’t jump.  (Write that down. You’ll thank me when you get on a game show!)

Auf wiedersehen and wiener-schnitzel until we meet again.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  Where perchance do you think this photo was taken?

 

 

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“THE PIRATE PATH” MAKES HISTORY!

Do you realize that yesterday (Saturday) was “Talk Like A Pirate Day?”  Aye, ’tis true, me hearties.  Shiver my timbers if somebody didn’t create a brand new holiday in order to celebrate my second mystery novel.  (The Pirate Path)  Well, at least I think that’s why they created the new holiday.  What other reason could there possibly be?  In any case, in order to celebrate the audacious occasion, I took my matey to a fancy pirate-like restaurant…  Long John Silver’s.  We ordered some special pirate-like grub and some rum.  Check this out… the restaurant was selling corn on the cob for …..  “A-buck-an-ear!”  (Ouch!)

Speaking of books…  The National Book Awards were recently announced, and I’m proud to report that my first non-fiction masterpiece, THE SECON MOURNING, was almost nominated.  (My mother forgot to return the nomination form.)  I’m not too upset.  Last year she returned the form but misspelled my name.  (She nominated Stephen “King” by accident.)  By the way, the winner of last week’s book contest was  Angelo Petraglino from Rome, Italy.  (The bridge photograph on the cover of THE PIRATE PATH was taken in Istanbul, Turkey.)  Congratulations, Angelo.  Your book is in the mail.

So what else is new?  Well, I just read that Kellogg’s Cereal was planning to donate millions of dollars to an African charity, but now they’re hesitating…  Tony the Tiger was apparently gunned down by a Minnesota dentist!

I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s 45-page plan to be more spontaneous.  (As the old cowboy said, it was a “spur of the moment” decision.)

Did you watch the Miss America Contest?  Miss Georgia was crowned “Miss America.”  Miss Kentucky was chosen “Least Cooperative.”  (I refuse to explain these lame jokes!)

NBC just announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace Donald Trump as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice.”  I don’t think Trump is going to be too happy when he learns that he’s being replaced by an immigrant with an anchor baby!

On the home front…   If I seem a little testy, it’s because I overslept and missed my exercise class this morning.  This is the fifteenth year in a row that’s happened.  My wife made me join “Orange Fitness.”  I only agreed because I thought she said “Orange Julius,” which is one of my favorite health food drinks.  Thank God the parking lot is usually filled.  (Good excuse to come back home for a beer.)  Hey, by the way, do you have to be pregnant to park in a “delivery zone?”

Speaking of deliveries…  I will soon be on my way east, bound for Florida and another highly anticipated book tour/road show.  I will post my official itinerary next week, in case you want to rob my house while I’m gone.  If you do break in, please remember to flush the toilets and feed the pit bulls.  (And watch those pesky land mines!)

In case you’re wondering, the next “Adam Gold Mystery” is currently being edited and will be published in early 2016.  The book is titled “A RUN FOR THE MONEY,” and this time Adam Gold will become embroiled in an insurance claim that involves grave robbing and a Thoroughbred horse murder.  As always, the story is basically true, and based upon an actual insurance claim handled by Mr. Gold’s real-life counterpart.  (Me!)  I think you folks are going to love the book.  The pre-reviews have been phenomenal.

Well, me buckos, time for this old pirate to walk the plank and head to breakfast.  I do hope you have a safe and joyful week.  We shall meet again at high tide, or ebb tide, or tide detergent.  You decide.  I’m hungry!      Love to all,

Doc Yanoff   (Sometimes known by my pirate moniker, “Captain Kidder.”)

 

P.S.  Any idea where or when the attached photograph was taken?

 

 

Elvis in the sand

QUIET ON THE SET!

There’s very little quiet on any set these days, but that’s because of the cable networks.  In any case, I wasn’t referring to television.  (By the way, why do they call it a television “set” when there is only one device?)  Where was I?  Oh yes, the quiet on the set thing.  Well, I’ve got some potentially good news to share with my 21,000 loyal blog followers……  There is a possibility, albeit remote, that my second mystery novel, THE PIRATE PATH, will be optioned for a movie later this year.  Are you folks familiar with a production company called “Infinitum Nihil?”  (Meaning “infinite nothing.”)  This is Johnny Depp’s company, operated by the old pirate and his sister.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  (Pirates always have to cross a few bones for luck!)

Speaking of luck…  I recently received two lovely gifts from two of my high school friends who are also blog followers.  First, I wish to thank the incredibly talented Joyce Harness McGregor for sending me a beautiful painting of my favorite bird.  (The red cardinal)  The painting is now hanging in my study for all to see.  Second, I would like to thank the brilliant Margaret Dinzler Shaw for sending me a copy of the book of essays she recently edited.  Good job, Margaret!

Incidentally, I recently received an invitation to become Facebook friends with the great Daniel Negreanu, one of the world’s best poker players.  Daniel is a fan of my mystery novels, and one of the truly nice guys on the professional poker circuit.  I wish him continued success at the tables, and urge him to wear the t-shirt I’m sending.  (The shirt displays a full face photo of President James A. Garfield on the front, and on the back it reads:  THE SECOND MOURNING.)  Dang shirt costs me five bucks to make!

Did you see that the CEO of Starbucks is telling his workers to be gentle with customers who may have lost money in the stock market last week?  Great advice from a guy who charges five dollars for a cup of coffee!  I’ve figured out how they get away with that…  they use Italian titles for all of their special drinks.  Makes the stuff sound fancy.  Hey, who charges more per cup, Starbucks or Victoria’s Secret?  (Both keep me up at night!)

My never-ending self-promoting book tour and tequila sampling took me to another fascinating location last week.  I spent a productive afternoon in lovely San Saba, the Pecan Capital of the World.  (Just think of all the “nut jokes” I could do right now!)  Believe it or not, the town produces over five million pounds of pecans every year!  They use pecans in almost everything down there, including beer, olive oil, pies, cakes, cookies, and pralines.  These items are not cheap.  You have to “shell out” some bucks if you want to eat well!  If you plan to stay f0r dinner, I’d try Diggs Restaurant & Club.  (Yummy steaks, cooked over….  pecan!)

Well, I must close now.  My new grand-daughter is expecting me, and if I show up late, she might need a diaper change.  (Man, if you guys thought an oil change was messy, you should see some of those diapers!)  How can anything so beautiful produce such a nasty odor?  Yes, dear pilgrims, the Lord works in mysterious ways!  (He also has a wicked sense of humor!)

Have a safe and happy week, and we shall meet again in the sweet by and by.  (or should I say, bye-bye?)  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

P.S.   A free autographed book to the first person who can tell me where the attached photo was taken!

 

 

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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.

HOME, HOME ON THE RANGE…

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam… and I’ll show you a messy house!  Which reminds me, when a buffalo leaves home, what do his parents say?  (Bison!)  I actually love this song, but the lyrics don’t make much sense.  Who would build a house on a range?  The minute you turn on the gas, boom!  I shouldn’t judge.  I used to take naps in the refrigerator.  (We had a Westinghouse, so that’s where I wested!)  By now you might be wondering about the range humor, yes?

Well, the reason I mentioned a range is because I recently drove down to La Grange, Texas.  (In a Range Rover, no less!)  I was there to speak to a local book club, and I was quite surprised by the charm of this small Texas town.  After my brilliant oration (most remained awake) I stopped at the Texas Quilt Museum and the Czech Heritage Center, two very interesting places.  (The museum kept me in stitches, and I didn’t pass a single “bad Czech!”)  If you make the trip, stop at Weikel’s Store & Bakery for some yummy kolaches.

Last Wednesday, I reached a new milestone.  My second mystery novel, THE PIRATE PATH, has become something of a literary sensation down under (that would be Australia, not Hell!)  Believe it or not, the book is now selling on eBay for…..  $70.00!  G’day mate, that’s a lot of money!  Well, now I know what my mother did with those extra copies I sent her.  If you happen to have a signed copy, you should check out the selling prices on eBay.  (You can make some big money, honey!)

Speaking of books, my publisher is still twerking, I mean, tweaking the book covers for my next mystery novel titled, RANSOM ON THE RHONE.  They are determined to get it right, and their professionalism is truly inspiring.  God willing, the book will be published in mid-January.  In the meantime, I will be posting some photographs taken on the French river cruise that inspired the tale.  (We took a cruise on the Rhone through central France.)  I hope you enjoy them, and please feel free to send along your questions.

Did any of you folks watch the Geminid meteor shower last night?  I did, but I kept thinking about a friend of mine who lives in Bath, England. Must be strange to be in Bath and watch a shower.  I feel “drained” just thinking about it!

Hey, did you notice yesterday’s date?  12/13/14!  Easy to remember, but that will be the last time in your life that there will be 3 consecutive numbers like that.  Well, you know what they say about your number being up.  I celebrated the momentous occasion by painting a large number of doors (don’t ask) and attending a dinner party.  I wasn’t sure I’d be invited to the party, but then I realized that it would be at my house.

Well, I must take my leave, as I am actually “dog-sitting” again.  No, not for Baker.  For Miss Romy.  Baker is a cockapoo.  Romy is a labradoodle.  They both eat like creatures from Jurassic Park (non stop) but I love them dearly.  Who knew that one day I would own my own kennel?  Life is full of surprises.  (It’s a “ruff job” but somebody has to do it!)  Take care, don’t worry about the fleas, and have a wonderful week!

Love to all, Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  Just in case I decide to sell the dogs, I would like to post their photographs….  The white one is Baker.  The brown one is Romy.

 

 

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