Author Archives: Tom Yancey

My new book, Chax: A Dolphin’s Song



This is my newest book. It’s the second or third or fourth book I’ve written, depending on whether you count only published books that are still in print. If that’s the case, it’s the second.

It’s categorized on Amazon as a fictional sea story, and so it is. It’s unusual, however, in that about a third of it is told from the point-of-view of one or more members of a pod of bottlenosed dolphins. The dolphins talk to each other, and sometimes to birds and whales, but NOT to people. Research has shown that dolphins have huge brains and use them to interpret sounds that they can produce different ways. Research also has shown that dolphins have “signature whistles” that function as names. They have biological sonar that, according to the U.S. Navy, far surpasses anything research has come up with. Who knows how they communicate with each other, but iIn this book, I have supplied words.

Click on the link above  to learn more. If you like what you see, you can buy a paperback or an electronic Kindle book.


Hi! Welcome to my website. Here you can sample some of my writing, published and unpublished. My friend David Burton built the site, but it was too complicated for a mere mortal like me. Another friend, Steven Ayers, simplified it. Steven has simplified it enough now that I can learn to run it. Thanks Guys. Stay tuned.

The site has a proper contact page. If you want to contact me, that’s the way. In the past, visitors could leave a comment anywhere, with the assumption I would see it and respond. That turned out to be unmanageable, and subject to spamming. That’s fixed now, thanks to Steven.

Unless you Googled my name, or saw it mentioned on Facebook, chances are you learned about this site because it’s on the back cover of The Speedster and the Skunk, the first book to be published under my name, or Chax, a Dolphin’s Song, the second.

Both are available on Amazon, both as a Kindle book or paperback. I’m very pleased if you bought one that way. And if you do, I would also be pleased if you would post a review on Amazon. You can find how right next to where the book is for sale. Amazon knows whether you were it’s customer, and only those who bought the book from them can post a review.

I had several signings for the Speedster, and I plan to have at least a couple for Chax this summer and fall. I’ll announce them here and on Facebook, and here.

Again, welcome.


Tom Yancey

Election Day and Halloween

Today is election day, 2014, a “mid-term” election, which means the presidency is not on the ballot. Typically the turnout is low in mid-term elections, and this one seems to be low here in Tennessee, though there seem to be key races for the Senate in Kentucky, North Carolina and Iowa, perhaps others.

At one time I cared more about elections than I do now. Now, perhaps because I’m older, I have the feeling that elections don’t matter as much as they once did. Not to me, anyway.

Last week was Halloween. It did not seem to matter as much either. We had a total of three kids, two that we solicited, that is, asked their parents to bring them by, and one little Asian guy in a cape that showed up unbidden, with a mom and perhaps a grandmother in tow.

I woke up Halloween morning thinking about carving a pumpkin. That afternoon we did. I cut the top and removed the entrails, preserving the seeds, and Maggie drew the face and did the fine cutting after I removed the big pieces. It turned out nice, and looked inviting on the porch wall. Maggie and I enjoyed it, and Jeanie toasted the seeds. They’re edible, though they stop short of being tasty.

We got to talking about Halloweens past. I remember as a child, when we lived on a long, middle class street in Kingsport, we always got a steady stream of trick-or-treaters from before dark until 10 or even later. My mom made special treats for the neighborhood kids, who came early and usually were identifiable. Dad, on the other hand, seemed to take more interest later on, when kids in makeshift costumes or drawn-on masks came by. He treated them well. He acted like he was glad to see them, which I think he really was. He asked them where they lived, and chatted briefly, complimenting costumes, or good attitudes. He usually advised them to be careful on the way home. I think he was thankful on one level that he could afford to give a couple of pieces of candy to as many as would come by. Mom saw to it that we didn’t run out.

Maggie says that the way Americans celebrate Halloween is unique, and to me very (small D) democratic. She said Halloween means in America that any kid can put on a costume and knock on any door and expect to be given a piece of candy. In my youth, kids still “tricked” if they were not treated, usually making some sort of mess, soaping windows, what have you. Setting leaves on fire was a threat some years. It didn’t happen to us that I remember but it happened sometimes.

I guess that at least partly explains why Dad was so friendly. On most Halloween nights, he had two brand-new cars parked in front of our house. Dad was a Lincoln-Mercury dealer and we did not have a garage. He and mom and later my brother and sister and I parked in front, unless one of us kids parked in the side yard. Dad talked about a garage a few times, but I think he figured that our pretty cars were a good advertisement for his business. We lived on a corner and parents bringing or picking up their kids at the high school or the dancing school saw dad’s cars each day. A couple of extra bags of candy were good insurance against his cars being vandalized, come to think of it.

This realization comes kind of late. I may have realized it at one time, and perhaps he even stated it, but I have long since forgotten.

I still like Maggie’s observation about how any kid can knock on any door at Halloween, though. It’s still true. Some people don’t like it, but I do. A couple of years ago we were visited by a caravan of cars from Mosheim, the town west of Greeneville. We live on the east side in Tusculum, but our streets are safer than much of Mosheim.

We were not prepared for the number of kids who showed up, and Jeanie had to scrounge and find anything that would substitute, nuts or fruit, maybe. Finally, when we were down to a tiny bowl-ful of treats, she went outside and announced it. She said we were about to run out, and because of that, asked the big kids to let the little kids go first. It was magical the way they complied. Bigger kids formed a line and passed the word along: “Little kids first, just little kids, they’re running out.” They were good-natured about it. Little kids were happy, and the self-identified big kids seemed happy too.

Did I mention that my wife is a kid-whisperer? She has the ability to make kids want to do the right think. It’s magical. But that’s another story.


I like the Fourth of July

When I was a boy the annual Fourth of July parade in my hometown started almost in our back yard.

It really started the night before, when what seemed like a band of gypsies and horses camped out on the practice field of the high school across the street. They built fires, cooked out, laughed and played music. Live, acoustic music. I could see the campfires from my bed.

That was just the preliminary.

The morning of the Fourth, those actually in the parade, or helping, would start to line up at the high school, the nearby junior high and the streets around them. By the time the sun was up it was like the circus had come right to our neighborhood. Excitement was palpable in the early morning summer air, and my friends and I would run from “neat” thing to even neater thing. It doesn’t take much to make a kid happy and on the Fourth we were off the charts.

The parade “began” a block away on Center Street, the main drag, where thousands from our town and the hills beyond waited, ready to cheer and wave and put their hands over their hearts when appropriate.  It was red-white-blue patriotic, with at least one color guard, but the parade also featured clowns, comical trick vehicles, antique autos, pretty girls, shiny convertibles, Shriners, high school bands, your dentist and lawyer and neighbor playing jazz on a float, politicians, civic clubs, good causes and silly hats. Always at the end all those horses, carrying sun-bronzed men and smiling cowgirls.

I don’t remember veterans being especially honored. They probably were, even if it didn’t get my attention. What I do remember is that just about everyone involved was a World War II vet. That they had served seemed no big deal to my Dad and his friends. My aunts had served too, in different ways, one in uniform. Not to have served would have been more unusual. Those who saw combat didn’t talk about it much, and were modest if they did, though over the years we learned that some of our neighbors were heroes.

The Fourth was a day to enjoy the fruits of earlier sacrifices, to cook on a charcoal grill, eat watermelon, swim, play ball, fish. Watch the kids play. Have a beer in the backyard with friends. Smile. Maybe remember those who didn’t make it back, and be thankful you did. Reflect a bit. But not too much remembrance. This wasn’t Memorial Day, it was the Fourth. Fireworks tonight, too!