CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE!

HALF A LEAGUE, HALF A LEAGUE, HALF A LEAGUE ONWARD!  (Why only half a league?  Another major league baseball strike?)  Who knows.  CANNON TO RIGHT OF THEM, CANNON TO LEFT OF THEM!  (Oh wait, those are toll booths.  My bad.)  Well, as you can see, my spring road trip/book signing tour got off to poetic and humorous start.  (Surprise, surprise.)  How so you ask?  Well, my darling wife decided to wash my sneakers the night before we left.  (She wanted me to make a good impression when we reached Tupelo!)  My friends, sneakers take a while to dry.  I won’t belabor the point, but let’s just say that the incident encouraged me to write a new screenplay…..  “Honey, I Shrunk The Keds!”

I could have reacted violently, or “conversely” I could have let bygones by bygones.  I took the high ground.  (I left her at a hilltop rest stop!)  Then I realized she had my wallet in her purse, so I returned to the scene of the crime.  How could she ruin my new sneakers?  Well, my friends, you are never too old to learn something stupid.  Thus began our memorable road trip!

Our first (planned) stop was Baton Rouge, which in French means “Baton Rouge.”  (Fooled you, didn’t I?)  In English, Baton Rouge means “red stick.”  (The city was built on the site of a tall cypress tree, redish in color.)  It must have been a mighty big stick, and it certainly has affected the residents.  (Most of them talk softly, but carry a big stick.)  I often talk softly and perform a little shtick.

According to a recent article in Garden and Gun Magazine (one of the best magazines in America) the very best hamburger in the country is to be found at Fat Cow Burgers in Baton Rouge….. close to the L.S.U. Campus.  Naturally, I had to stop there and see for myself.  Patty and I ordered the featured burger, which consisted of the following ingredients….  A toasted “potato bun” with a hand ground 8 oz. angus burger topped with Benton’s apple smoked bacon, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onion, fresh arugula, sliced tomato, and….. horseradish mayonnaise!  (Accompanied by thick, hand cut french fries!)  The verdict?  OMG.  They were truly wonderful!  (The draft Abita beer was also a nice touch.)  If you’re within 1,000 miles of Baton Rouge, just go.  You’ll thank me later!

Hey, today is Mother’s Day, and since I have the most wonderful mother in the world, I want to remind you to call your own mom and tell her how much you love her.  If you can’t get through, call my mom.  (But don’t call collect!)  I already tried that, and she won’t accept the charges.  (Hey, what’s up with that?)

Earlier today, I drove up to Tupelo, Mississippi in a VERY unusual fashion.  I was completely naked!  (Just kidding)  I drove up on the Natchez Trace Parkway, one of the oldest and most scenic routes in America.  The experience was nothing short of incredible, and I will go into more detail later.  My God, do we have a beautiful country!

Well, I’ve been on the road (actually inside a car) for the last 6 hours, so I need to bathe and go sleepyville.  I will write again soon, so look for my next post!  If you’ve enjoyed my writing, just remember….. stealing ideas from one person is plagiarism. Stealing from a group of people is called research!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

SINGIN’ THE BLUES…..

Sadly, we lost the great George Jones this week.  A big loss for those of us who love country music.  As some of you know, I was born in Nashville.  Back in the day, my aunts often took me to the Grand Ole Opry, and I remember meeting Mr. Jones backstage.  He was always very polite, and as I recall, always willing to give some squirt an autograph.  Did you know that his big song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” was recently voted “the greatest country song of all time?”  Interestingly, Jones did not like the song at first, and he almost refused to record the darn thing.  He thought it was too long, too sad, and too depressing!  (Much like my writing career!)

Personally, I thought it was a great song, but not as good as the one and only country song that I wrote.  (“I’ll Never Get Over You Until You Get Out From Under Him.”)  My little tune was recorded by The Inbred Brothers, and even though it didn’t get much airplay outside of Arkansas, it was nominated for a Granny.  (Similar to the Grammy Award, but given to a senior citizen.)  What a treat it was to see my name in Billboard.  (Actually, my name was ON a billboard, but that’s a long story, and I was falsely accused.)

NOW FOR SOME LITERARY NEWS…..    Aberdeen Bay Press has received permission from my publicist (Invisible Irving Flakowitz) to feature my photograph on their worldwide webpage!  Sooo…. if you are so inclined, or even horizontal, you can log onto their website and view photographs of me signing books in England and France!  In all seriousness, this is very cool, and I appreciate the publicity.

Speaking of publicity….. I would like to publicly thank Mr. Ken Evans, a distinguished gentleman and world-class poker player, for purchasing 10 copies of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE last week!  (They do make wonderful gifts.)  I’ve noticed that a handful of Austin celebrities are also reading the book…..  i.e., Judge Susan Marquess, Rich Walker, Leigh Ann Woodward, Barbara Talbott, Donna Simon, Christine Nickles, Paula Johnston, and Lee Bomblatus.  (Some of these folks ain’t from Austin, per se, but who’s counting?)  They are here in spirit!  Thanks gang!

While we are on the subject of publicity…..  My friend, Diane Fanning, who just happens to be an incredibly talented writer, is celebrating the publication of her 20th book!  Quite an accomplishment.  Congratulations, Diane!  My other friend (I have two) Larry Brill, is off and running with his first book, and from what I hear, it is destined to become a huge success.  (It’s called “Live@Five”)

I would like to remind my faithful blog followers that Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  (Each year I send my own mom a card of congratulations for having me.)  I’m not sure how my mom feels about that.  (She likes to say “If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong!)  Still, I would remind you that we’re supposed to respect our elders, even though, as time marches on, it’s getting harder and harder to find one!

By the way, speaking of finding things, you might want to order a copy of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE this week.  There are only a few copies left from the first printing, and the second printing, which will begin this week, will take some time to complete.  (Your mom will be very disappointed if she gets candy or flowers again!)  I sent my own mom two copies (I charged her full price, but I paid for half of the shipping) and I’m sure she was touched by my generosity.  Where there’s a will…. I want to be in it!

Well, folks, take care and have a safe and happy week.  The spring book tour begins this Saturday, so the next time that you hear from me I will be in Tupelo, MIssissippi!  (Where the heck did I put those blue suede shoes??)  Elvis loves you, baby!

Doc Yanoff

A TAXING SITUATION!

     WELL, THIS IS ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU’VE GOTTEN ME INTO!   Thanks to you, my nearly 4,000 faithful blog followers, my new mystery novel, MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE, has sold over 300 books this past week.  Wonderful, you say?  Have you considered the tax implications of becoming a famous author?  My accountant, Jesse James Lipschitz, tells me that I now owe the I.R.S. a substantial amount of money.  (Which is why I’m not filing a tax return this year.)  What can they do to me?  Throw me in jail?  Come to think of it, Al Capone ended up in Al-catraz!

     Please don’t worry about me or my finances.  Just keep buying as many copies of THE PRESLEY PLOT and MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE as you can afford.  I’ll worry about the tax thing after I’m caught, I mean, after the books are bought.  By the way, did you know that Al Capone only dated bank tellers?  That’s where we get the term “safe sex.”  (Jeez, that joke should be “barred!”)

     Incidentally, the new book (Murder on Maiden Lane) came out just beautiful.  It’s much thicker than The Presley Plot and it’s printed on high quality creme-colored paper.  Aberdeen Bay did a wonderful job this time around, and there are no mistakes in the text.  (I actually proofread the book this time!)  If you need an autographed copy, just contact me and I’ll see what I can do.  (If you live in a foreign country, you can always sign it on my behalf.  Who will know?)

     What else is happening in the world?  Well, last Thursday, Barbara Talbott, a/k/a The Dragon-Slayer, won second place at the Waterloo Loose-Woman and Hopeless Hombre Poker Tournament in Austin.  I made it to the final table (what else is new?) but my “big slick” (suited ace and king) did not hold up, and I was crushed by a lousy pair of fives.  Life ain’t fair.

     I don’t know about you, but I feel sorry for those pesky North Koreans.  The New York Times reported that because of food shortages and poor nutrition, North Koreans are now, on average, two inches shorter than South Koreans!  But wait, there’s a silver lining to this story… if we wait a few years nobody in North Korea will be tall enough to reach the missile launch buttons on the console!  Speaking of short turds, did you know that Kim Jung-un has officially banned “capitalist celebrations.” including Christmas?!  Who bans Christmas?  Only a grinch.  (I read that Kim Jung-un was an ugly child.  How ugly?  During Christmas, they would hang him up and kiss the mistletoe!  (There I go with the missiles again!)  I pity his poor wife, Holly.  She has to bow whenever he enters the room.  (Surely you’ve heard of the “bows of Holly?”)  Dang, if I keep going, I might start a war!

     Due to an unexpected tooth extraction, followed by a slight case of “dry socket,” I was forced to cancel my one and only speaking engagement this past week.  (You might have seen them celebrating in Giddings.)  Nonetheless, I am now “well-healed,” and ready to resume my illustrious career as a literary diplomat!  So, look for my next missive (again with the missiles?) as it will be a good one…..

     Have a safe and happy week…  Love to all,

     Doc Yanoff

HEADS OR TALES?

Well, you can have both when you order a copy of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE!  There is a colorful head on the cover, (I call it a “skulleton”) and inside you will find a thrilling tale of mayhem, mystery, and murder!  The book, as you have probably surmised, is now available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com!  That’s right, happy days are here again!

Meanwhile, in order to keep THE PRESLEY PLOT front and center, I will soon be embarking on a lengthy book signing/speaking engagement tour, and my first stop will be at the Elvis Presley Birthplace & Community Center in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Yes, my little hound dogs, yours truly will be speaking to the good folks of Tupelo on the weekend of May 11 & 12.  Hopefully, I will also be negotiating a profitable business deal with the gift shop on premises.  (I would like them to feature THE PRESLEY PLOT in the book section.)  Soooo….. if you’re in the area, come on by and say hello.  I will also be judging an “Elvis Look-Alike Contest,” so there should be plenty of levity and some memorable photography.

Shortly after I’m lynched, I mean, lauded, in Tupelo, I leave for my spring book tour in the (not so far) east.  In conjunctivitis with Aberdeen Bay Publishing, I have arranged to make appearances in Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Atlanta, Savannah, and Jacksonville.  Along the way I intend to sample some Southern comfort, and some bourbon, too.

My Dixie Diaspora will continue with a special guest appearance in Boca Raton, Florida.  Whence I arrive in Palm Beach County I will be dining with “The Donald.”  Unfortunately, I am referring to Donald Duck from Disney World, not the guy with the strange hair-do.  The last time I had lunch with Donald Duck I got stuck with the bill. (“The bill?”)

The piece de resistance of my personal and persistent perseverance will be a ten-day period of peace and pleasantness in a perfect playground of pleasure.  (No, not Paraguay.)  The island of St. John!  Now that I am a famous author, I have an entourage, so me and my posse (3 couples) will be heading down to the Caribbean for some R & R.  (Incidentally, the would be “Rest & Rum!”)  While we are there, we intend to soak up some rays, (which is better than stepping on them) snorkel, and consume a prodigious amount of rum.

Writing is brutal, but somebody has to do it!  Besides, one must live for today.  Need I remind you that Austin is number four on Kim Jong-un’s bombing list?  (I blame those damn hippies downtown.)  Little Kim is the son of Kim Jong-il, who I nicknamed “Kim Jong-mentallly-ill.”  The young man, who bears a striking resemblance to the Pillsbury Dough-boy, is a tyrant.  Do not be fooled by his recent meeting with Ambassador Rodman!  Kim Jong-un is not a “Seoul Man!”

But I digress…..  Where was I?  Oh yeah, in the Caribbean.  Well, after I damage my liver, I will make my way back to the Lone Star State and begin marketing book number 3 in the Adam Gold Mystery Series.  (This one is called “DEVIL’S COVE,” and it is set entirely in the state of Texas!)  Naturally, I will keep those cards and letters coming while I am on the road.  Which reminds me….  Did you hear that a truck ran over Willie Nelson’s foot?  Yeah, that’s right, he was “playing on the road again!”  (Ouch!)

Well, take care, have a wonderful week, and remember to duck and cover if Kim starts shooting.  Hopefully, we will meet again next Sunday!   Love to all,

Doc (or should I change my name to “Duck?”) Yanoff.   (I wouldn’t mind the change if I get “top billing!”)

BACK IN THE SADDLE!

HI BUCKEROOS, IT’S SCAMP YANOFF TIME AGAIN… TIME TO SLIDE ONE BY YOU ONCE MORE…

First the BIG NEWS…..  My second “Adam Gold Mystery Novel,” titled MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE, is ready for publication and will be available in the very near future!  We completed the final book cover design yesterday, and as you will see, the good folks at Aberdeen Bay Press did a fantastic job.  In my humble opinion, the cover is simply awesome.  (Except for my mug on the back!)  I will, of course, let you know when it is available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, etc.

A lot has happened in our world since last Sunday, so why don’t we take a moment and play “catch-up?”  (I didn’t have a chance to post a blog last week.)  Well, as they say, “where there’s smoke there’s….. a new Pope!”  I wonder if that’s where the term “Holy Smoke” comes from?  Congratulations to Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, an Argentine, who will now be known as Pope Francis.  The Argentines were understandably emotional, so His Holiness told them…..  “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!”  (You can’t make this stuff up!)  I feel bad that the Pope can’t marry.  I have been in a monotonous relationship for 35 years, and I am quite numb, I mean, happy.  Of course, there are many bonds that keep us together.  (Savings bonds, Government bonds, Municipal bonds, etc.)

Looks like Carnival Cruise Lines had another smelly week.  I pity the poor folks that were recently on the “Carnival Dream,” which should be re-named the “Carnival Nightmare.”   As you might know, the ship lost power temporarily and the halls filled up with….. well, human waste.  (No, not the incompetent crew.)  Carnival Cruises now has a new slogan…  “Howdy Doody!”   (Peyew, that joke stinks!)

What do you folks think about all of those pigs that a Chinese farmer admitted dumping into the Huangpu River?  (6,000 porkers!)  The pigs were pulled out of the water, cooked and shredded, and served to tourists from Arkansas!  (Those razorbacks just love “pulled pork.”)  At first I thought the story was “hog wash,” but now I’m not so sure.  If I close my beautiful brown eyes, I can almost see Sum Yung Guy (the farmer) standing on the bank of a levee.  (Why would they open a bank on a levee?)  Anyway, I can see him humming Stephen Foster’s famous song, “Way down upon the Swine-ee Riber… ”

Incidentally, did you know that Stephen Foster, “The Father of American Music,” was raised by a “foster family?”  Duh.  To be perfectly honest, the man was a genius.  (Even though, sadly, he died a pauper at the age of 37.)  During his short lifetime, he wrote…  “Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” “Old Folks at Home,” “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair,” and my personal favorite, “Beautiful Dreamer.”  (My theme song, incidentally!)

Since I completely missed St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to offer a belated greeting to all of my Irish friends.  (Including a gal named Patricia Eileen McCloskey!)  I’ve always admired St. Patrick, even though he drove the snakes out of Ireland.  (Hey, family comes first to “The Cobra!”)  I’ve always wondered how he drove the snakes off of an island.  How big was his car?  I wonder if he drove a Dodge Viper?  Well, as they say in County Cork…..  “Here’s to a long life and a merry one.  A quick death and an easy one.  A pretty girl and an honest one.  A cold pint – and another one!”   Erin adjust your bragh!

Finally, I would like to mention that my friend, Larry Brill, a semi-famous television personality in Austin, has a new book coming out in early April.  The book is titled, “Live@Five,” and it is a very good read, so look for it on Amazon.com in the weeks ahead.  (Larry was the producer of “Writing Across Texas,” the show that I co-hosted for a few years.)

Remember, dear ones, you are never too old to learn something stupid.  Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit….. wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

P.S. This masterly prose is dedicated to a masterpiece of a person, my sweet sister-in-law, Kathy Johnston.

 

 

BEWARE THE TIDES OF MARCH!

FRANKLY, MY DEAR, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY JULIE CAESAR WAS SO CONCERNED ABOUT TIDAL FLUCTUATIONS…..   But perhaps the emperor was not an “out-going” fellow after all!  In any case, “Idus Marti,” (Latin) corresponds with March 15th (two days from now) so you should be aware of “March Madness” in all of its many forms.  Personally, I think April 15th is a much scarier day, that being “Tax Day” in the good old U.S. of A.    I imagine it would be even more scary if I actually had a job.

Speaking of March Madness, did you know the “Ides” were determined by the full moon, and were usually the 13th day of the month?  (Hence the number “13” being unlucky.)

In Bill Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar,” the emperor is warned about the ides of March by a soothsayer.  Sooth you say?  Yes, and the sooth told the truth, but that was uncouth.  The emperor did not believe him, but he finally “got the point.”  As he fell in the Roman forum (or maybe he fell against ‘um) Caesar said,  “Et tu, Brute?”    Brutus replied, “I’ve never killed an emperor, so I thought I’d take a “stab at it.”    (I don’t make these things up, folks.)  In any case, poor Caesar “got the shaft,” so to speak.  Mark Anthony, who was married to Jennifer Lopez but dating Cleopatra, spoke at the funeral and gave a pretty good speech.  (I think he and Jen sang a duet, but don’t quote me on that.)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel too sorry for Julius Caesar.  Granted, he turned red when he was stabbed.  (Some folks think he became an “Orange Julius.”)  However, on the flip side of that coin, how many of us have a popular salad named in our honor?  You see, friends, always look for the silver lining.  (Just pray it’s not a sword!)

Incidentally, did I mention that I was named after Julius Caesar?  True fact.  He was born and named on July 13, 100 B.C.  (And I was born and named “after” that.)  For those of you who went to public school in Chicago, B.C. stands for “Before Christ.”  (I think A.D. means “after dat.”)

And since we are on the subject of Rome…..  Please, do not join the write-in campaign to have me elected Pope!  I would love to live in Italy, and drown my sorrows in Chianti, but I must finish the 4th “Adam Gold Mystery Novel.”  (RANSOM ON THE RHONE.)    To paraphrase General William Tecumseh Sherman…..   “I will not accept if nominated, will not serve if elected, and if served, I will not eat my pasta!”  I trust this puts an end to the rampant speculation about yours truly becoming the next Pope.  In all likelihood, the next Pope will be Catholic, which is probably very important to the Cardinals.  Don’t worry about me.  I have a lot of yard-work to do.

Thank you friends, Romans, and countrymen for lending me your ears.  (Actually, it was your eyes, but who’s keeping track?)  I leave you with a sincere blessing to enjoy your week.  (Hey,  I like this blessing stuff.  Maybe I should reconsider my position about becoming the next Pope.)  Go forth and multiply, or if you don’t enjoy math, read a good book.  (I’d start with THE PRESLEY PLOT!)  I wish you well and would remind you of one salient fact…..  Please remember that the difference between a rut and a grave is the length and depth!

Viaggio in pace, my fellow pilgrims…..    Love to all…..

Doc Yanoff

DO NOT READ THIS SENTENCE!

OOPS, TOO LATE… NOW YOU HAVE TO READ MY ENTIRE BLOG POST…

SO….. Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder or smart phone these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?  Well, almost no one.  CNN reports that there are 500 “sightings” per month, but alas, most are aircraft (earthly ones) or weather balloons.  I recently read that both Jimmy Carter and Dennis Kucinich are among the political class who swear to have seen a UFO.  Somehow, this does not surprise me.  I always wondered where their “home districts” really were.

Of course, there is another explanation… perhaps our intergalactic visitors have been furloughed due to the sequester?  Takes a lot of fuel to go from Mars to Earth, and then there are the tolls.  Not an easy trip.  (The AAA map weighs 75 pounds!)

Well, in any case, I am not interested in heading north.  No sir, my motto this week was “Go west, young man!”  Heeding the words of Horace Greeley, I packed up the old Ford pickup and drove west, bound for a sold-out book signing/speaking engagement in the lovely town of Wimberley, Texas.  (No, I did not go to Wimberley on a whim!)

I was actually invited, and I must admit, Wimberley is quite whimsical in a wonderful way.  (Whew!)  This was not my first trip to the lovely burgh, but the last time I was there I went swimming in the famous “blue hole,” a charming, spring-fed spot on Cypress Creek.  If you haven’t seen this little gem, you owe it to yourself to take a drive out yonder.  (If you go in April, you will see some truly amazing fields of Texas wildflowers.)  Did you know that they named a flower after Dennis Rodman?  (It’s called a “bloomin’ idiot!”)

So what else is new…..  Well, last night we celebrated not one, but two birthdays!  Miss Barbara (Talbott) and Miss Patty (Yanoff) reached an important milestone.  (Actually, they are both several miles down the road, if you know what I mean.)  Together with a large crowd of well-wishers (led by Judge Susan, and Helena and Lee Bomblatus) we ate, drank, made merry.  (Merry was our waitress.)  Thank God she didn’t complain about my tip.  Geez, that would have been embarrassing!

During the birthday festivities, Judge Susan gave me a box of cheese pockets from a famous Dallas bakery (No, I will NOT post the name…. the lines are getting too long!) and as I peck away, I am devouring the last tender morsels of my morning treat.  Bless you, Susan.

I will be sharing a beer or two with Larry Brill on Tuesday, so if you would like to meet this (semi) famous television personality, or learn about his forthcoming literary efforts, drop by North by Northwest around 5 p.m.  (We should still be erect by then.)

After my sterling (make that silver-plated) performance at the poker table last week, I will be putting my title on the line this evening…. as I play in another W.S.O.P. tournament, challenged, as it were, by a host of pretenders-to-the-throne.  Knaves!  Varmints!  Visigoths!  (What the hell is that?)  Do these fools really think they can beat the mighty COBRA?   Have they read THE PRESLEY PLOT?  Have they read MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE?   (I couldn’t think of any other way to get the book titles into the blog.)  Never mind, those are just rhetorical questions.

I will leave you with a thought I recently had.  As I was driving back from Wimberly, I spotted a herd of cattle.  Have you heard of cattle?  I digress… So as I’m driving down the highway, I says to myself, “Steve, I says, who was the first person to look at a cow and say, ‘I think I’ll squeeze these dangly things and drink whatever comes out.’ ”   Now there’s a fellow I’d like to meet.  (Need I mention that he had a “lot of pull?”)  Got Milk?

Well, I must run… another grueling day of writing, eating, drinking, and poker awaits the mighty Cobra!  I hope everyone has a great week….   don’t forget to set your clocks ahead or back, depending on your political persuasion.  Love to all…

Doc Yanoff