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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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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RENDER UNTO CAESAR…..

I’m not sure why Sid Caesar deserves all of our money, but none the less, it’s that time of year again.  What time? (you might ask)  The most “taxing time” of the year… the day that federal income tax is due.  (or in my case, past-due!)  Yup, another year has flown by, and now it’s time to cough up the dough.  Did you know that the I.R.S. (the Infernal Revenue Service) processes over 200,000,000 individual tax returns each year?  (surely they won’t miss mine!)  Believe it or not, the U.S. Tax Code is 3.7 million words in length!  (that’s longer than my next book!)

Speaking of books…..  (smooth segue, eh?)   Due to the influx of recent book awards (and blind luck) I will soon be the subject of a featured article in the upcoming issue of the Penguin Press literary review.  I was interviewed last week, and the questions were quite good.  (no so much the answers!)  In any case, the kind folks at the Penguin Group are determined to publish the article, so as soon as it becomes available I will post a link.  If you want an autographed copy, you can either send me twenty bucks or pay part of my tax bill.  (I prefer the later.  Actually, I prefer a ladder, but only because I’d like to reach new heights!)

By the way, speaking of new heights, congratulations to last week’s photo trivia contest winner…  Dr. Milburn Stone from Dodge City, Kansas.  (I wonder if that’s where “dodge-ball” was invented?)  In any case, the good doctor guessed correctly, identifying the photo as…..  (drum roll, please) my humble abode in Austin, Texas!

And since we’re on the subject of Texas….  Let me say a word or two about last week’s book signing, held in lovely (and humid) Baytown.  I used to spend a lot of time down there, boating, fishing, and drinking huge quantities of tequila.  I really enjoy Baytown, and if you plan to visit, you must try a juicy cheeseburger at Rooster’s Steakhouse.  (They grind their own meat… no jokes, please!  They also make their own fruit pies, which are quite yummy in the tummy.)  I met some very nice people over at the Baytown Nature Center, which is a very pleasant place to visit.  Incidentally, if you think auto racing is a drag, then you can also visit Royal Purple Raceway and watch the drag racers do their thing.  (My Ford-150 can beat anything on the track…  if we go in “reverse.”)

In closing, I shall enthrall your literary sensitivities (that sounds dirty!) by sharing some news with you…..   the next “Adam Gold Mystery,” titled, A RUN FOR THE MONEY, is undergoing some final editing, and should be available nation-wide in mid-May.  (I had to add a chapter to connect a few of the dots, but we are now good to go)  I shall, as they say, keep you posted.

Well, take care, and please keep in mind that LIFE is sexually transmitted.

Have a safe and wonderful two weeks….    Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  Another trivia contest photo attached.  Good luck!

 

 

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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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HAPPY (BELATED) ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

So, how was your 2016 holiday?  Did you celebrate St. Patty’s Day, the day that the beloved saint drove the snakes out of Ireland… and the worms into tequila bottles?  We certainly had a rip-roaring day & night.  (from what I remember)  Of course, you must remember that my wife’s maiden name was McCloskey, and you can’t get more Irish than that.  This year the sweet leprechaun made a traditional seven-course Irish dinner.  (one boiled potato and a six-pack of beer!)  Just kidding.  We actually had green beer, green cabbage, and green corned beef hash.  Unfortunately, there was no green dye used.  (the stuff was just old!)

The Irish, as many of you know, are a very happy lot.  However, in a recent survey, Denmark was rated as the “happiest country on earth.”  I’m not surprised.  I’d be happy too if I had a pastry named after me.  (Danish)  Was that last joke a little cheesy?

So what else is new?  Well, I’m proud to announce that my last book, THE SECOND MOURNING, recently won its 11th book award!  The brilliant tome was awarded “Honorable Mention” at the 2016 Los Angeles Book Festival, which I think is in California.  I have been invited to the grand ceremony, which will be followed by a gourmet meal at a restaurant that received a 3-star rating from Michelin.  (Why is a tire company rating restaurants?  Sounds a little sketchy to me.)

Meanwhile, the presidential race rolls onward!  I might throw my hat into the ring, and if I do, this will be my campaign motto:  “BAN PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE. MAKE AMERICA GRATE AGAIN!”  (Good Lord, that’s the second cheese reference!)  That last joke was an oldie and a moldy!  Speaking of politics…  I see that Clinton and Trump will be on the Late Show this week.  (Bernie Sanders will be appraised on the “Antiques Roadshow.”)  Come on, that one was cute!

Speaking of cute…..  Congratulations to Mrs. Donna Diloretto of Austin, Texas.  Donna was the winner of last week’s trivia contest, correctly identifying the photograph of El Morro National Monument in Puerto Rico.

I would also like to mention (and thank) the beautiful and talented Mrs. Gladys Deatrick  (of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee) for sending me a wonderful compact disc.  (A copy of the recent PBS program titled, “Murder of a President.  Romance, Madness, Medicine, and the Death of James A. Garfield.”)  As many of you know, my book, THE SECOND MOURNING, presents the true story of the assassination, and provides some startling information about the assassin.

I would also like to thank the lovely Shelda Hamilton of Saskatchewan, Canada, for sending along some photographs of her home town, Saskatoon.  (Please say hello to your ne’er-do-well companion for me.)  Shelda is “attached” to Dr. George, one of the most prominent physicians south of the North Pole.  Or north of the South Pole.  I forget which.)

I may be heading for Los Angeles on Wednesday, so if I end up in jail I’m sure you’ll understand.  The last time I was there, I had a traumatic experience at Denny’s Restaurant in Brentwood.  I ordered breakfast (a two-egg omelet) and get this… the waiter forgot my coffee!  To make matters worse, he brought over O.J.  (When did that creep get out of prison?)

Well, that’s about all for now.  (whew!)  Have a safe and wonderful week!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

P.S.  Feeling lucky?  Be the first to correctly identify the location of the attached photograph and you will win an autographed book!

 

 

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