Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy, Healthy New Year to All

Dear Readers,
May a beautiful future shimmer before each one of you.
Best Wishes,

Saturday, December 22, 2007


May a beautiful future shimmer before you.


May a beautiful future shimmer before you.


May a beautiful future shimmer before you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Susanna Sonenberg's Her Last Death(Simon & Schuster, January, 2008) is an "I-can't-put-this-book-down" racy, steamy memoir. Most of us learn about sex by getting hold of an unsuspecting couple's marriage manual while we were babysitting their kid. But it's Susanna's mother who tells her that orgasm is the greatest feeling in the world, her mother who has throaty, voluble sex with this man and that while who own two little girls are within earshot. And sometimes, through a half-opened door, they are eye witnesses too. It's Susanna's mother who demands sexual details from her and who makes passes at her boyfriends.

Her parents are divorced, but even her father intrudes on Susanna's sex life. "Do you masturbate?" he asks her when she's only eight.

It's no wonder that Susanna becomes a sexual adventuress, predatory and preyed upon. Her struggle to find her own identity, her hero (or rather heroine's journey) is gritty, moving, and inspirational. To grow up with such an out-of-control mother is to never have the luxury of acting spontaneously on one's instincts, to just relax and coast on the examples set for you in childhood. In order to transform, Susanna has to scrutinize each of her actions, delve into her own motives, reinvent herself
moment to moment.

Her Last Deathis rich in insight and inspiration and each page is an "Oh?" or an "Oh, no!" and most certainly a "yes." A startling and unforgettable read for anyone trying for personal transformation and for anyone who just loves a great book!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


This is my Russian Grandmother, Sara Shapiro, from whom I inherited my psychic gift. She was as kind as she looks in the photo. People came to her for her predictions, potions, and cures. She could fix a small child's hernia, pushing it back into place with her hands, then taping it down. A couple of months later, there was no more bulge. Often, after a baby is born, its head is lopsided from being squeezed in the birth canal. It usually rounds out nicely within a few months, but when a one-year-old boy on our block still had a head that was too flat in the back and too wide on the sides, Bubbie oiled her hands and massaged his head everyday. A few months later, his head was as round as a Gerber baby's. I adored her. The only thing I ever held against her was her cure for croup. Chicken fat in hot milk! I still shudder when I think of it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Invitation to a Reading (Literary, not psychic.)

I’ll be reading my essay, “The Teardrop,” from the anthology, For Keeps, just out in paperback from Seal Press. Caroline Leavitt, terrific fiction teacher at UCLA, will be reading there, too.

December 8, 7 PM, Bluestockings, Manhattan

Bluestockings is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington - which means that we are 1 block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.

By train: We are 1 block south of the F train's 2nd Avenue stop and just 5 blocks from the JMZ-line's Essex / Delancey Street stop.

By car: If you take the Houston exit off of the FDR, then turn left onto Essex (aka Avenue A), then right on Rivington, and finally right on Allen, you will be very, very close.

Monday, November 19, 2007


(My cousin, Irwin Yatter, snapped this unposed picture of me last year at Jones Beach. Irwin not only always has a heavy camera with him, he also brings his petite wife, Marsha, who becomes a smiling tripod when he balances his camera on her head.)

<>In the shade of my rain or shine umbrella (I oversunned growing up in Rockaway Beach) you see me reading a sign that warns not to disturb the nesting area of the piping plover by kite flying or tromping through the tall beach grass.

<>As a child, I called the plovers "Goony Birds." I ran, giggling, along with them at the shoreline to and from the tide. Their wiry orange legs reminded me of the little toy chicks sold at Easter.<>

<>When I grew up, my heart ached because I rarely saw a plover. I'd listen for their plaintive, bell-like cries and only hear the shrieking of the gulls. Gone! I thought. Another species gone!<>

<>But now, thanks to ecologists, the Goony Birds will be back to skitter along the shore, leaving their tiny footprints in the dark, wet sand.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Mention reincarnation to someone and you may see his eyes roll and hear him begin to speak slower and use simpler words as if your IQ has just dropped ten points in his estimation. But don’t be daunted. Now you can be armed with the internationally bestselling author, M.J. Rose’s literate thriller, The Reincarnationalist. that not only makes past lives feel as real as the one you’re living now, but also gives you supportive quotes from respected believers such as Cicero, Thoreau, Emerson, Hugo, and Kipling. In this sure, erudite, page-turner, Rose will have you believing too.

A bomb explodes in Rome and Josh Ryder, a photographer, gets a head injury that brings him so far back into the past that it is 391 A.D. There is the pagan priest, Julius, desperately trying to save Sabina, a Vestal Virgin, from being suffocated, her punishment for breaching her vow of chastity. Sabina has already had a daughter with Julius by the time she’s shut up in her crypt. And bound in her garment is the Memory Stones she has sworn to protect, the keys to revealing past lives.

And who is responsible for the cruelty meted out to these lovers as well as the destruction of the pagan temples? Of course, the Catholic Church. This time the church is trying to suppress the belief in wicca, pagan religions, and reincarnation because each chips away at the church’s authority. But the church harbors dark secrets of its own, as well.

Don’t be fooled. While the book might sound vaguely Da Vinci Code-ish, that’s where the similarity ends. Artfully researched, The Reincarnationist spreads its wings to encompass Roman history right down to knowing that the jugs in an errant goddess’ crypt were filled with water and milk so that she would die of lack of air, not starvation. Rose educates us with brilliant passages about art auctions and theft, and she knows how to tell a real Caravaggio from a fake.
But at its shimmering heart, The Reincarnationist is a mesmerizing love story.

Smart and sexy, this introduces a panoply of characters from antiquity to today, and each of the myriad players is so well-drawn that you don’t have to use a cheat sheet to remember who is who. Rose tightens the tension, merging past and present lives into a tapestry of exquisite mystery, karmic debt, and a passionate love story worthy of Romeo and Juliet.

But Rose’s mission isn’t just to tell a riveting, heart-stopping story. Slowly, and believably, she creates a case for reincarnation. The fictional Phoenix Institute that helps children recover from traumas by hypnotically regressing them to reveal traumas in their past lives is based on the actual work of Dr. Ian Stevenson who did past-life regressions on 2,5OO children. At the end of the novel, Rose includes books to delve further into the topic.

The job of any novelist is to create a waking dream, a world so real you don’t even doubt the doorknobs in it. Fiercely intelligent and passionately written, The Reincarnationist might just have you humming that old hit song by The Monkeys, I’m a believer.

Visit Rose’s website at Reincarnationist.org for more information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Psychic Stalker

I've got to hurry. I'm doing a psychic phone reading in a half-hour. Often I have a clairvoyant flash or a dream that tells me what the client wants to know. But this woman calls twice a month and always asks the same things.

"What's Phil doing right now?"

"Who is he with?"

Phil is the guy who broke up with her three years ago. If I don't answer her questions, I know what she'll do. Just what she's done before. She'll pull up her coat collar, put on dark glasses, hide her bright red hair with a scarf, and follow him to work and back. When he gets home from work, she'll be lurking down the block, ducking behind a car when he looks her way. But I have a lot of hope for her. I think by May, 2008, she'll be calling to ask whether she should send out resumes to get a new job and she'll ask about a new guy she's dating, one who won't break her heart.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I have to tell you this!

<>Sixty-nine years ago in Frankfurt, my husband’s grandparents pleaded with Bernard, their youngest and dearest son, to flee to England with them. It was right after Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass” when thousands of Jewish homes and Jewish shops were ransacked throughout Germany. Jews were beaten to death and 30,000 were rounded up and taken to Concnetration Camps.

<>But Bernard, at 16, refused to go. Instead, he joined the Resistance and went to Holland where he couldn’t even know the language. After managing to do all he could to thrwart the Nazis over the next year, he was captured and sent to Auschwitz.

<>With communications being what they were back then, everyone in the family thought that Bernard was dead. And then, a year after the war was over, someone found Bernard in a hospital in Amsterdam. He was bedridden and in a full body cast. Besides broken bones he’d gotten from hard labor and beatings, he had been used as a guinea pig for medical experiments. Dr. Mengeles’had injected Bernard with parasites and removed his kidney without anesthesia. But in the hospital in Amsterdam, Bernard had figured out a system of mirrors placed exactly so that he could read a book that he could not yet hold. This enabled him to study engineering and fulfill his new dream of imigrating to Israel.

<>When an article was published about me in a Belgian Magazine, on an outside chance, I asked Bernard if he could translate it from Dutch to English. He’s eighty-six now. But with the aid of a dictionary and the pigeon Dutch, a street language that he’d learned in the year he’d spent with in the Resistance in Amsterdam when he was a teenager, he did a farily readable translation, unfazed by such words as “sublunary.”

Friday, October 19, 2007


I'm so excited to share with you that Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) which was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow award and on the summer reading list of The Hartford Courant, is now out in PAPERBACK in the United States.! (I'ts also selling in Holland, Belgium, and the U,K. )

"You don't have to be psychic to know how much readers are going to enjoy tagging along with Miriam." --Jodi Picoult, author of the bestselling My Sister's Keeper.

"A haunting, heartbreaking, and absolutely hilarious novel about family, love, and finding and claiming your own identity. Miriam the Medium shimmers like a magic crystal." --Caroline Leavitt, author of Coming Back to Me and Girls in Trouble.





Monday, August 27, 2007


I was interviewed by a Belgian reporter this morning, 10: a.m. my time, 4 p.m. his, for a glossy magazine that is the equivalent of "More" in the states. The reporter was so brilliant and respectful and kind that I forgot all about how nervous I was and just enjoyed the whole experience.


I was interviewed by a Belgian reporter this morning, 10 a.m. my time, 4 p.m. his for an article he's going to do on me in Zanadu, a Belgian glossy mag that's like "More" here. He was so bright and kind and gave me such insight into my work that I forgot how nervous I was.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


MIRIAM THE MEDIUM is now seeling in HOLLAND and BELGIUM. How do I know this? a. I have fan mail on my website from Holland. b. A repoter from a newspaper in Belgium contacted me to do an interview.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Poems published

All of these poems were developed in UCLA online poetry classes:
The Journal of Pennsylvania College English Association

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I’d like to inform you that I’ve accepted “Radio Days,” “Brownie Box Camera,” “All His Brothers,” and “Filling in the Patches” for publication in Pennsylvania English.

Monday, August 6, 2007


How do I know this? I began receiving fan email on my website from Holland. One of the fans, Marike, mentioned that she'd read my book and told me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Interview With Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

1) Like your protagonist Miriam – your grandmother was a Russian-born psychic. When and how did you learn about her gift? When did you learn that you had inherited it?

In Miriam The Medium, Miriam’s mother was hostile to her mother-in-law’s psychic gift, but my mother was awed by my grandmother’s gift and raved about it to anyone who would listen, and I was my mother’s best audience. I listened intently as my mother told me how my grandmother had looked into her eyes and said, “You’ve got a baby girl inside you.” It was so early that my mother hadn’t known she was pregnant and, nine months later, my big sister was born. My mother also told me that my grandmother could look at someone’s fingertips and tell what diseases they were prone to. Several years ago, I was shocked and gratified when I read in the New York Times that the whorls on someone’s fingertips did indeed show whether they were prone to heart conditions or Alzheimer’s and other diseases. (I wish I had saved the article.) My grandmother knew how to non-surgically repair a baby’s hernia by pushing the muscles back in place and taping them until they were strong again. She oiled her hands and massaged baby’s knock-knees and ankles that turned inward, causing pigeon-toes, until the limbs were straight, and even improved the shape of lop-sided heads. She made salves and herbal teas to cure people. Her homemade eye drops, prepared from the urine of someone prepubertal—she usually used mine—was terrific for conjunctivitis. In one of her paeans to my grandmother, my mother swore, “Your grandmother was so ahead of her time with those drops. Murine must really be urine, but they put a ‘M’ in front or people wouldn’t buy it.”When I was four, my grandmother took my face in her hands and said, “You have my gift. God help you.” Over the years, I wondered whether she’d meant—God help you to use it in the best possible manner or God help you, because you’re going to need it with a gift like this.

2) What is the difference between a psychic and a medium?

A medium receives all his or her messages from a spirit. You will often hear a medium say, “Your father is telling me that…” A regular psychic picks up information without necessarily knowing who delivered it. Although my novel is called Miriam The Medium and I do the work of a medium, I think of myself as a regular psychic. Recently, as I was doing a phone reading of a woman, picking up highly detailed items about her health, her romantic life, etc., I said, “I’m getting a message about something major that happened when your daughter was nine.” “No,” my client insisted, “nothing important happened when my daughter was nine.” I went on to talk about my client’s romantic issues, her health, etc., but I kept hearing “Nine.Daughter. Nine,” so I brought it up again, and once again my client told me I was wrong. When the reading was almost over, I was seeing nines and well as hearing them, and, despite my embarrassment, I pursued the topic. “Oh, my God!” my client exclaimed. “I just remembered that my father died when my daughter was nine weeks old. And every time I tell about his death, I preface it by saying, “When my daughter was nine weeks old, my father died.”At that point, information about her father began coming through easily. The “nine” was like his calling card, a way for him to make contact. Yet, sometimes the dead are waiting to speak, hardly letting me get a word in about anything else. Other times, nothing about the dead will come through unless the client requests it. What does this all mean? As Bubbie, my grandmother would say, “Ver vaist?” Who knows? People invent all sorts of explanations for these phenomenon, and if I would offer up one, I’d say the gift is simply a brain function, often inherited, like musical or mathematical talent. But really, for now, all of this has to be filed in a folder marked, “Mysteries.”

3) Also like Miriam, today you make your living as a phone psychic. You have said that you have honed your gift to read people over the phone, and not in person, to avoid awkward face-to-face interactions where you might know too much about someone in a social situation. How exactly did you train yourself to do this? Does this “filter” always work?

Before I began doing psychic readings over the phone, I used to pick up psychic information all the time and it often made me depressed or anxious in situations where I should have been having a ball.. Take me to a nice restaurant, and right away, I’d see a scene in my mind of my waiter as a child, being beaten by his father, and I’d get such a lump in my throat that I couldn’t eat. At a party, I’d see a “D” or a broken wedding ring over the heads of the host and hostess and I’d know, way before they did, that they’d be getting divorced, and I’d start to feel sorry for their children, and there went the evening. And I couldn’t say anything to people about the information that I’d gleaned, even if it was helpful to them. It’s a contradiction the way people will often hound me for psychic information, but if I tell them something without being asked, they become upset and offended. Once, in a coffee shop, a woman who knew I was psychic, pressured me into answering the ubiquitous question, “So what do you see for me?”I was determined to only tell her something light and be done with it. In my mind, I saw a house with a sign that read, “Sold.” “You’re either going to sell or have sold your house,” I said.“Yes, my husband has always dreamed of his own business, so we’re selling the house to finance it.” She seemed satisfied and went on to talk about what other psychics had told her and psychic experiences she herself had had, but I could hardly hear her. I kept seeing red, not for anger, but for debt. “Don’t sell the house!” I blurted out. “The business will fail. You’ll lose all your money.”She got up so quickly that her chair clattered to the floor. “How dare you!” she’d spat, and walked out. Through a mutual acquaintance, I later heard that my prediction came true. Within a year, after her husband left his job for his own business, the couple went bankrupt. She probably thought I’d put a curse on her. Maybe the woman was right to be distressed. We have so little privacy that our own minds and our own destinies should be carefully guarded. For my own sake as well as others, I began to seriously think about how I could contain my gift. I noticed that when strangers phoned, collecting for charities or trying to sell me something, I would spontaneously pick up things about them, and often feel so sorry for them that I’d buy things I didn’t need and donate to causes I didn’t care about. But these calls showed me that I could work over the phone, thereby removing myself further from people when my gift was involved. That helped, but what helped even more was working by “appointment only,” and not doing a reading right away, even if I was available. I began to meditate and pray before each reading so that there was a mental signal, a kind of permission granted, before I gave out psychic information. It worked. I can now go to restaurants, parties, anywhere, and not be burdened with things that are none of my business. Now, when people try to collar me into telling them what I see for them, I smile, and tell them truthfully, “I’m not getting anything at all. But if you’d like to make an appointment with me for a reading, well….”

4) Twenty seven years ago, a clairvoyant predicted that you would publish a novel with Simon & Schuster. How did this novel come about?

Like all my clients, I dismissed the psychic’s prediction because, at the time, it sounded so preposterous. I wasn’t even writing. I had never even entertained the though of being a writer. How could I ever write a novel and be published by Simon & Schuster, no less! I put it out of my mind. A few years later, I began to keep a daily journal, not because I was planning to write a novel, but because I was flooded with feelings about my life, and the few times I tried to go to therapy, I picked up far too much about the therapist and began worrying about how to save her. Soon, journaling became a source of stability for me, a deep relationship, and I looked forward to writing in it each night as an escape from my psychic practice.Slowly, I felt a need to share what I was writing, and took a poetry workshop. Poetry collared me. I read everything in the 811 stacks of the library and subscribed to stacks of poetry magazines. Never having been a rhymer, my poems began to grow into short stories. Even though I was writing to get away from my psychic work, when I put pen to page (I still write the old fashioned way) what came out was what I knew from my life) a story about a middle-aged suburban phone psychic who lives in Great Neck. Even when my agent was sending my novel around, I didn’t take the psychic’s prediction seriously, because he’d said that the novel I’d be publishing with Simon & Schuster would be a “love story,” and that wasn’t how I thought of my book. But when my agent and I had a meeting with my editor, Marysue Rucci, and assistant editor, Tara Parsons, and others from Simon & Schuster, it felt like déjà vu, and there was such a feeling of love in that room that I realized that my novel was about love after all—both the love between the characters, and the feeling I hoped to share with readers, and I knew, just knew that Simon & Schuster was going to buy my novel as Vincent Ragone, the psychic, had predicted.

5) Because she is clairvoyant, Miriam is often confronted with skepticism and disapproval by various individuals (for example, her nosy and unfriendly neighbor Iris Gruber). Does this reflect your own experience?

Over twenty-five years ago, when I began working as a psychic, the kind of people who phoned me were often people who spent most of their time looking through telescopes to spot UFO’s or outpatients from various psychiatric clinics. But within the last decade, my clients are largely high-functioning mainstream people. It seems that everyone of note these days has his psychotherapist, his personal trainer, and his psychic. However, there is a simultaneous awe and disdain for psychics. “How are you getting this information?” a client who had been totally impressed with me might suddenly ask suspiciously, as I’ve installed surveillance equipment in his home or run some kind of elaborate search on him.Also, there are so many stories about psychics bilking people out of their life savings, that even if a person has been highly recommended to me by a friend of his who has used me for years, he might say, “I’d rather not give you my credit card number.” As for my neighbors, most of them didn’t know how I earned my living until I “came out” in an essay called “Psychic In Hiding” in Newsweek on February 20th, 2,004 where my picture appeared. I noticed that most of my neighbors didn’t say a word about the article. Either they didn’t recognize me with makeup or they were being polite by remaining silent, as if someone near them had passed gas. But those who did remark on it, all wished me the greatest joy and success.

6) When Miriam goes public with her gift on television, she is made to look like a “quack” – claiming she is psychic for profit without any real talent to back her up. What are your feelings about psychics that are visible in society today through television or print advertising? Are they guilty of exploiting their gifts for money– what Miriam’s grandmother would call “doing it for the gelt” – or are they making an honest living?

My grandmother never charged anyone for her predictions or cures. If they paid her at all, it was in baking her a pan of cinnamon rugelach or bringing her potted Chinese ferns. But my grandmother’s world was different. For one thing, she had no mortgage to pay because she lived with her daughter and son-in-law. If she needed to use a telephone, she went right downstairs to my father’s grocery store and used his. She didn’t have health insurance premiums and almost never went to a doctor. “The doctors and the undertakers are partners,” she always said. She had nothing to save money for. It was her children’s children who needed college tuition and summer camps. She didn’t have to buy car, insure it, maintain it. Everything she needed was either within walking distance or was brought to her door by peddlers. And she didn’t have to put away for her old age. My Bubbie died in her own bed right in her daughter’s home. Life is totally different for all of us today.I greatly admire James Van Praag, Sylvia Brown, John Edward, and all the rest of the psychics who have the courage to appear in the media and and feel that they should be paid as well as any other person with great talent.

7) Writing a novel seems like a huge transition from your other job. What gave you the idea to write a novel?

Although Vincent Ragone, the brilliant clairvoyant, had predicted that I’d write a novel, as I said, it seemed too preposterous at the time when I’d never written or even thought about writing. But after writing for fifteen years, my filing cabinets full of poems and stories, I developed a need to work at one larger piece instead of this and that. And the novel came to me almost like a scientific problem. In most books I’ve read about psychics, the mother and daughter are both psychic and the daughter rejects her gift and has to go through great trials before she accepts it. I said to myself, What if the mother is psychic, but the daughter isn’t? And, after seven years of working at it, out came Miriam the Medium.Another similarity between doing psychic readings and writing is that I never know if either has hit the mark until someone else tells me. My clients are constantly telling me whether I’m right or wrong. With Miriam The Medium, I’m just going to have to wait patiently for the reviews.The act of writing is very similar to doing readings. There are times, after very hard groundwork, that some scenes feel channeled to me, as if they are being written through me, but not by me. There is a kind of trance state that I get into with both my writing and my readings, a spell that must not be broken. At ten, my son answered the phone when a prospective client asked about my readings. “Which?” my son asked. “Her poetry or her psychic?” The answer is still in the ethers.