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Local Author Joins History and Humor To Tell His Stories


Joseph Yakel was born and raised in New York's Capital region, and calls this place home. His travels have taken him far and wide, but it's his hometown surroundings that serve as a backdrop for his writing. He's recently published three books, and thinks his blend of history and humor shine a bright spotlight on the local area and its people.

Said Yakel, "My roots to the Capital District have been a major influence on what I've chosen to write about. I split my youth growing up in Albany and Loudonville, and summers were spent at our camp in Westerlo. I attended Albany Academy for Boys and Christian Brothers Academy. As an adult, I've traveled fairly extensively across America, and spent two years in Belgium, Germany, and other European countries with the US military. So, I am fortunate to have a mix of local city, town and country exposure, in combination with this broader range of travel to draw from."

He went on, "I began writing my first book when I was about seven years old. I loved dinosaurs and wanted to be a paleontologist. Although I didn't publish that book, I still have it, and I'm proud of what I created at that young age. Looking back on it now, I think it marked the starting point where writing would have some longstanding place in my life."

While Yakel's desire to write has been with him since childhood, he says that it has emerged in a more public way over the last decade. "Over the years, I've penned quite a lot, but it wasn't until 1998 that I submitted my first article for mainstream publication. It was a technical piece on cable television system operations. Since then, I've written a number of other articles, mainly on military subjects, published in both trade magazines and on organizational websites."

It's his latest writing efforts, however, that Yakel says are his greatest accomplishments. Between December 2004 and March 2005, he completed and released three books. "Writing the material was the easy part", said Yakel, "but putting it all together was a huge task to undertake. I'm very proud of what I've created."

As for the books themselves, Yakel said he's got something of value for plenty of people, especially those around the Capital region. Two of his books are genealogy references that also contain quite a bit of local history in them as well. 'The Autograph Memories of Mary Yakel' is the 19th century memoir of his grand aunt. Yakel explained, "Mary was born in the South End 1879 and passed away in 1940. She had an autograph book, which was filled with entries from family and friends along the Second Avenue corridor. I took the small book of hers, a family heirloom, and rewrote it. In addition to the original book entries, I supplemented it with details and comments about the people and families mentioned within her little book. I never knew Mary Yakel, of course, but working on this memoir has helped me to understand her in ways that I couldn't otherwise."

'The JACKEL, JECKEL, JAECKEL, IEKEL, YAKEL Family History Book' has a mouthful of a title, but Yakel says the title is dwarfed by the book's content. He went on, "Without a doubt, this has been my most intensive writing effort, ever. It's a 464-page family chronology, tracing 350 years of my Rheinish ancestry. Our original surname was JACKEL and JECKEL, but changed more than 50 times after the family came to America. In Albany, the spelling settled on YAKEL in the 1870's, while in Milwaukee, it settled on JAECKEL, and in Iowa, our family name changed slightly to IEKEL. This book is first and foremost a genealogy reference, but it's also jammed packed full of really intriguing local and German history as well, and that's why this book and the Mary Yakel autograph book have a wider audience appeal."

His third and most recent book is a complete departure from the first two. 'The Legend of Juggin Joe' is an over-the-top fictional humor story that takes place in and around the Town of Westerlo, NY, and centers around the life and times of a hillboy dubbed 'Juggin Joe', for his uncanny musical abilities with the jug. Yakel said, "This book is a country boy comedy/melodrama that I've written in 'country speak', which makes the story that much more fun to read. It's a light-hearted, clean, fun adventure, suitable for all audiences."

"The Legend of Juggin Joe"
* ISBN 1-4116-2588-9 * Pub date: March 2005 * $9.00 paperback * 123 pages *

"The Autograph Memories of Mary Yakel"
* ISBN 1-4116-2101-8 * Pub date: December 2004 * $9.00 paperback * 75 pages *

"The JACKEL, JECKEL, JAECKEL, IEKEL, YAKEL Family History Book"
* ISBN 1-4116-2715-6 * Pub date: March 2005 * $26.50 paperback * 464 pages *

Joseph Yakel offers free chapter previews of his books, and welcomes reviews and comments. His books are available in paperback, or downloadable format. For previews and purchasing information, visit Lulu Publishing at: http://www.lulu.com/yakel

Joseph Yakel is a freelance writer and author. His articles have appeared in publications such as Communications Technology, The Pipeline, and Army Reserve Magazine, and have been highlighted on USAWOA Online, USAR Online, and other Internet websites. For great humor, or genealogy and family history resources, visit his bookstore at http://www.lulu.com/yakel where Joe offers free book previews and more. Joseph Yakel is available for interviews, and accepts e-mail correspondence at armeuv1@yahoo.com



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