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.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays Everyone

My best wishes to you. My New Year's Resolutions are:
1. I am going to revel in each day, even if it doesn't go as planned.
2. I am going to celebrate that I have written something that day instead of comparing what I've written to Othello or The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or Anna Karenine.
3. I am going to either organize all my papers, pots and pans, makeup, closets, etc., myself or hire someone to help me do it.
4. I am going to get my cholestrol down by natural means: diet and excercise.
5. I am going to like my hair.

What are your resolutions?

Monday, December 15, 2008

A review of FOR KEEPS

Check out this wonderful review of FOR KEEPS, an anthology edited by Victoria Zackheim.

Ahem, take note of mention of my essay which is included:

And in “The Teardrop,” Rochelle Jewel Shapiro reminds us of the importance of knowing and listening to our bodies: “I thought my body had betrayed me; by not listening to its messages, I had betrayed it.”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

You can register for my January class Writing the Personal Essay now.

The class is from January 14th to March 18th. You can register online or by phone.
(310) 825-9971.
The registration number of the class is U6675. The Registration Office is generally open from 9 – 5 PST
Hope to meet you there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Memoir And

This is a terrific journal of memoir that publishes personal essays, poetry, all with a memoir theme. My poem, Just Home From The Ashram appeared in it. Here is the info:
http://memoirjournal.squarespace.com/ Memoir And is available in bookstores and online. Here's the poem I published in it:


You had begun to laugh
over nothing, your mouth fixed
in a plummy rictus. But everything
was fine, fine, you claimed.

Still wearing your white yoga tunic and drawstring pants,
you must have been sitting on your bed, legs interlocked
in the half-lotus, mahogany hair, usually a glossy bob,
straggly, gray-threaded, stirred by the breeze
from your open window. You must have read
from the thick book with the yellow cover,
Talks With Sri Ramana Maharishi.

Four days after you jump, I receive a copy
of the book in the mail with lines you highlighted:

The heart is the only reality
in forgetting the body.
How long does it take to be reborn?

The body must refuse to be buried.
"I" alone being held,
all else disappears.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My son, Charles, is getting married

Here is a picture of all of us at a pre-pre wedding celebration. The actual wedding is in two weeks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I came home on my birthday to this news!

My poem, Second Story Porch, has been nominated by the Schuylkill Valley Journal for a Pushcart Prize!! Getting older is lots of fun, guys.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What would Aesop say about this?

I was in the diner with two other women, having a salad and telling them the one about the guy who bought a live chicken for dinenr to take home and pluck, cook, and eat. On the way home, the guy decided to stop into a movie. He stuck the chicken down his pants to hide it. While watching the movie, the chicken sounded like it was croaking. The guy opened his zipper to give it air. Next to him were two women.

"Mabel, look the guy next to me just opened his zipper."

The other waved her away. "All men got the same thing," the other said. "I don't need to look."

"But Mabel, his thing is eating my popcorn."

The two women I told this joke to were hysterical laughing and I ended up joining them in it. In a moment, a slice of cucumber lodged sideways in my throat. I couldn't get it up and I couldn't get it down. There were tears in my eyes from the pain. My friends clappped me on the back. The waiter brought me tea.

"The tea will dissolve it," the waiter said.

Four cups later, still in terrible pain, I felt as if I was going to throw up. I raced into the bathroom, so desperate that I didn't notice it was the Men's room. There was a guy at the urinal. He turned towards me, still spraying.

"Oh!" I said, and the slice of cucumber flew up out of my mouth in an arc.

Moral: Don't chew with your mouth full and never laugh at your own jokes!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meet Author Deborah Grabien

Deborah Grabien is a cook, guitar player, cat resuer, traveler, and all-around rocker chick. She's the author of the Haunted Ballad series and five stand-alone novels. Deborah lives in San Francisco and heads back to London and Paris whenever she can, and honestly believes you're never too old to rock and roll.<>

Her mystery, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, is due out in Sept. '09.<>

<>What the critics say about the first book of this series, Rock & Roll Never Forgets:*

While illustrating the behind-the-scenes business of a rock band in this series opener, musician/writer/cook Grabien offers a window into the life and health of a person with multiple sclerosis. Even better, the author shows the humanity, team work, and loyalty that keep a supermusical phenomenon together. For all mystery readers who love rock'n'roll. - Library Journal, (starred review) <>

<>The straight-talking JP makes for an appealing narrator in this credibly plotted mystery, which is seasoned with plenty of interesting details on the machinations of an aging, enormously successful rock band. - Booklist Reviews <>

When I asked Deborah what inspired her to write this book, she said:

Back in the summer of 1969, I met an astonishing man, an English musician. I was fifteen, already getting into the music scene, especially the Bay Area thing. That was courtesy of my sister, 9 years my senior, who was a rock journalist. She took me everywhere with her: backstage, shows, clubs, parties, you name it. This was on the East Coast.That first meeting, the man and I, was one of those "oh damn, well, that's it for me" defining moments. There was no more to it than him introducing himself to me, and I fell in love, and stayed that way. Some part of me still is.He had no clue how young I was. The next time I saw him was 3000 miles away, in the Bay Area, and nearly three years later.On-again, off-again. I loved him, I don't think he ever loved me. That sounds harsh, but it isn't. His health was terrible, he had multiple addictions, and - as it happens - a very unpleasant wife. We were together briefly - he was always a lot more important to me than I ever was to him, a fact that pretty much broke me. But his music got all the best of what he had to give. I'm a musician myself. I do understand that. It's true of writing, as well.He was gone for two years, came back again, and we had a lovely, fragile eight or nine months. That was all. This time, I left. I'd cracked. I saw him only once more, in December of 1976. He died in 1994. Thirty years later, welcome to midlife crisis and wondering why I kept waking my superb husband of 25 years with nightmares about abandonment. I'd buried so much of that time in the seventies - but midlife has a way of opening old wounds, peeling back old scabs.So I sat down and created JP Kinkaid, the narrator of the Kinkaid Chronicles. He speaks with the voice of my beloved lost ghost. The creation of JP was my attempt to get some of that time back, to see him more clearly. The creation of Bree Godwin, his much younger lover and caretaker, was my attempt to see my younger self and see the way he may have seen me (and my word, I'm surprised he didn't beat me like a gong, if I was half as annoying as Bree is). The series - it isn't simply one book - was a shot at one particular happy ending I didn't get.And it was an attempt, above all, for one shot at clarity.I wrote Rock and Roll Never Forgets in 29 days. I took two days off and began While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which will be released September 2009. It picks up about ten days after the first book ends, and that one took me 31 days to write.So I don't know that I was inspired to write them. I wasn't inspired - I was driven. And I didn't so much write them as I bled them. <>

When did you begin writing? I asked Deborah.

I wrote my first novel at fifteen, and it was - no kidding - DREADFUL. Bad, bad book, with large chunks of it written in Italian, no less. Pretentious and silly, all about a bunch of hippies on a commune in Italy, seeking Truth (whatever the hell truth is). 1969 - aged 15, see question 1, above - was not a boring year for me.So yes, a bad book. But it was sixty thousand words, with a beginning, a middle and an end. I had created characters, people that I, at least, cared about. I had set them on a road and guided them to the end of that road. I'd completed a novel. I'd earned the right to type the words THE END.A storyteller - I believe this firmly - is not made. A storyteller is born. You can hone that, and polish it, and make the jewel bright and shiny, but you can't make it happen if it isn't there. Writing is sweat and blood and fire. Above all, it's being true, even when "true" means that you gut yourself. It's the bottom line: if you're born into the service of once upon a time, that's not just what you do - it's what you are.cheers,Deb Grabienhttp://www.deborahgrabien.com/

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One California, one Spider, and one Dragon

I lost such a great friend over 3 rolls of sushi. No…it was more than the sushi I ate off her plate when I took her to lunch. Even though she offered the sushi to me, I shouldn’t have eaten it because she had done me a big favor and that’s why I had taken her to lunch in the first place, and she wanted to put the extra sushi in a box and have it later or maybe let her fiancĂ© taste it. But I was trying to be vegan because I thought it would be good for my health and ordered a bowl of vegetables instead of a meal and that’s what got me eyeing her sushi. But it was more than that. She had owed me money and I took it. I should have said, “Oh, no, you keep it,” but I had a surprise in mind that I didn’t tell her and I should have. I really should have. She’s getting married and I was saving up to give her money toward her wedding dress. Why hadn’t I said, “This is toward your wedding dress” before I pocketed it? Because I was too busy eating her sushi and because I had wanted it to be a grand surprise when she began shopping for her wedding dress. <>

<>There is more if you can bear it. She drove me all the way into Manhattan to pick up the jacket I am going to be wearing to my son’s wedding, and even though I paid for parking and tolls, I didn’t pay for gas. Why? Because my big thought was that I am saving up money toward her wedding dress as a surprise. We couldn’t find her the lot where her car was parked and the ticket had no address on it. What kind of a garage gives a ticket without an address on it? A scam garage, that’s what kind. The guys who took her car weren’t in the parking lot. They were outside it, on the curb, just waiting for two rubes to hand them the keys. And they weren’t just her car keys, a whole ring of keys for her apartment. I felt so guilty that her car was stolen from doing me a favor. How am I going to give her money toward her wedding dress if I owe her a car?<>

<> We dashed through the streets like Henny and Penny who thought that the sky was falling, the dressy jacket in its white zippered bag flapping, a sail in wind. I was ready to call the police when she found the lot where the car was waiting. But that wasn’t all. Before I ate up her sushi, I told her that her white coat was pilly and she needed a new one. But that wasn’t all either. When she came back to my house after I had eaten up her sushi, I flaunted the pricey pendant my husband bought me to match the pricey jacket. All this flaunting with her sushi in my belly and her gas burnt up in service of me! The pendant was my birthday, anniversary, and Chanukah present from my husband, possibly all the presents for the rest of my life, but there I was, her sushi in my stomach, her gas tank down a half, and I never told her, “I’m paying something toward your wedding dress because you’ve been such a great friend all the years.” No, I was waiting to surprise her. But since I ate her sushi, siphoned her gas, besmirched her white coat with my words, and flaunted that pendant, the only surprise is that I lost a friendship with a dear friend.<>

<>In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran said that talk was half-murdered thought, but thoughts that are kept back as a surprise over sushi can murder friendships.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In a Russian restaurant in Brighton Beach

You see what I mean about my husband, Bernie's hair in my last post? He used to have thick, wavy, dark hair that I never bothered with much. But somehow now that it's shaved, I can't resist running my hands over his scalp. I was telling a woman at a party about it, and next thing I knew, she walked over to him and began rubbing his head. I got so jealous. I'll tell no one about how great his scalp feels again! Well, I guess I did tell you, but please, if you see him, no matter how hard it is to resist, please don't run your hands over his head. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Card to my husband, Bernie, on his 64th birthday

“I’ve waited years to play this for you,” you said.

With your suit and tie still on from work, you walk into the bedroom, that wry look on your face when you’re trying to hide a smile, you slip a CD into the player. When I get older, losing my hair, (gone, honey) many years from now, will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings and a bottle of wine? I’ve bought you a bottle of wine this birthday as I have for years now, your new favorite, Reisling, as if the lyrics had unconsciously been in my head. If I’d been out since quarter to three, would you look the door. Since you bought your store, you’ve always left at 3:30 am, sometimes quarter to four, and locked the door behind yourself. Sometimes, after you’re gone, I hear you call me. “Rochelle, Rochelle,” and I wake just before my alarm rings. When I’m sixty-four, you’ll be older too. You still see me as the fourteen year old girl who sneaked into Roches Beach Club to meet you, my locker boy. If I say the word, I could stay with you. Yes, stay with me all my days, my years. I can’t knit you a sweater by the fireside. We sold our house with the hearth and found a home with a patio. Also, I can’t knit. I could be handy mending a fuse. Oh, remember in Wavecrest when you tried to change the fust by prying it out of the wall with a screwdriver and I lied for you? “I did it,” I told the super, batting my lashes like a bimbo. Anything for you. Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four. I need you. I need you more everyday. I feed you pasta with pesto, I tell jokes, my fingernails gently rake your bare back. Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more? You, with your green plastic watering can, tromping through the living room on the way to the baskets of impatiens and the pot of fuzzy chenille. Every summer we can rent a cottage, in the Isle of Wright if it’s not too dear. We shall scrimp and save, grandchildren on our knee, Bernie dear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meet Nancy Rubin Stuart, Award-Winning Biographer

Rapidly declining value of national currency. A dangerous dependence upon foreign products. Suppression of civil rights. Shabby treatment of veteran soldiers.

Sounds familiar? Oddly enough, early warnings about such events are not the product of a contemporary writer but emanated from one of our nearly forgotten Founding Mothers, Mercy Otis Warren, ( 1728-1814), the first female historian of the American Revolution, and a confidant of John and Abigail Adams.

I had no idea about Mrs. Warren's alarmed pronouncements when I was researching and writing THE MUSE OF THE REVOLUTION: The Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation in 2003-2007. By late 2007 and into 2008 I was thus struck by the similarities in the early Federal period and those today -- just when this biography was about to be published.

Rest assured though, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the Revolutionary-era woman writer who possessed what John Adams called a " genius pen" meant to records the events of the Revolution in her famous History. Now that the book is published, I'm told that readers chortle over the sixteen-letter argument between Mrs. Warren and John Adams of 1807 over his performance as the second U.S. president. All of which reminds us that we should never put anything in print we might later regret! Even in emails!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Hypnosis Weight Loss Seminar Should be Renamed

Forty people sat in hard chairs, listening to relaxing music and the commnading voice of the hypnotizer.

"You see yourself stepping on the scale and your ideal weight appears," he croons.

Instead, I visualize a lab report with my name on it. "Cholestrol, 130," And after the hypnosis, while we were all still fuzzy-headed, the hypnotizer intoned, "In order for your weight loss to be permanent, you must buy our super fiber supplement. (It cost $90 for a one-month supply.) "Over the next four months, you could loose fourteen pounds of undigested food from your colon." Hold onto your hats. He went on to tell us that his mother began taking it and she found undigested kernels of corn in her poop, and she hadn't eaten corn in over a year. Blech, blech, blech. Then there was a Q&A that lasted forty minutes where people shared intimate info about their bowels.

Maybe I'll just take the cholestrol-lowering drug my doctor recommended!

What would you rename the seminar? Poopnosis?

The best entry will win a pound of prunes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hypnosis for Weight Loss

I don't actually need to lose weight. I need my cholestrol to go down from a burbling 252. But when chocolate cake is put before me, everything else goes out of my head. Chocolate birthday cakes--mine, other people's.

"I can't," I say. "Cholestrol."

"Oh, you only live once," they say, and cut a generous wedge and plop it on my plate.

Does this make sense? Yes, well...for the moment anyway.

So Thursday night, unless I fried chicken out of it, I'm going to this weight loss hypnosis seminar at a local hotel. I'll tell you about it on Friday and over the next few weeks, I'll let you know how it works...or doesn't!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What a Wuss I Am!

Here I am, afraid of racoons, while Vicki Broadrick who teaches educational pschology at UCLA extension copes with a 400 pound bear coming to her deck, going through her garbage, once even getting inside her house and ransacking her fridge. Yet she maintains complete sympathy for the bears. She believes that we, humans, are the ones who have encroached on their territory.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The One Who Won't Follow Directions

This is my three-year-old granddaughter, Rebecca's dance recital. She's the third one from the left. Watch how singlemindedly she doesn't follow directions and wait until you see what happens when it's time to get off the stage!!!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Return to Raccoonation

After reading my blog entry about negativity and attracting what you fear (in my case raccoons), I received yet another raccoon gadilla, this time from a former and beloved student, Dr. Jeanne Kane. Check this out!!! http://video.yahoo.com/watch/3579597/9892929

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ever since my last blog about how your fears draw the very thing you're afraid of to you (in my case, racoons), more and more of them have been showing up in my life and on my emails. Here's one taken by Chris Flugmacher on his property in upstate New York.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Meet Saralee Rosenberg, author of Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead (Avon)

Saralee Rosenberg and I met through a writer's networking club called Power Punch and instantly connected because we both have written comic novels about strong, Jewish women and the supernatural. Saralee is the author of four wonderful novels from Avon (HarperCollins) including A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE, CLAIRE VOYANT, FATE AND MS. FORTUNE, and her latest, DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD.

Dear Neighbor is a hilarious, heart stomping romp over fences and defenses that begs the question, who are your next door neighbors and what was God thinking when he threw you together? Sometimes it's worth finding out.

Saralee's books resonate with women who struggle with family relationships and friendships because they go right to the heart of the matter in a humorous way but with lots of emotion. Her central theme is, it's never what you worry about that happens, it's the stuff you don't see coming. All of her stories are roller coaster rides through unforeseen journeys and where her character's land always keeps readers guessing.
blog: www.saraleerosenberg.com/wordpress

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gina Sorell, Vicki Broadrict, and Jeanne Kane at Terry August's House

Three of my terrific students met for lunch on the west coast today. I'm on the east coast. Oh, if only my etheric body could separate at will so that I could have been gossiping with them over tea and doing psychic readings in my Great Neck apartment at the same time!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do you believe that fears draw negativity to you?

That's what all the New Age books say. And it seemed that that's just what happened to me. One night, as I was crossing the street from my apartment, two racoons stuck their heads out of the sewer drain. Part of me thought, Oh, aren't they cute? But the part that had been surprised to see something so incongrous, went nutso screaming. I must have scared those poor racoons more than they scared me. (I'm embarrassed how citified I've become when one of my female students faced down a bear.) But my racoon phobia began. And suddenly, I began to see racoons every time I went out at night.
"Are there a lot of raccooons around here now?" I asked neighbors.
"Haven't seen a one," each reported.
And still I saw them skulking around garbage cans, loping across the street as I drive.
Last night I saw one eyeing me through my glass patio door. My patio has a tall, criss-cross metal fence. Did the racoon climb it?
I promised to stop thinking of racoons, and here I am writing about them.
Have you been afraid of something that ended up being drawn to you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Things I did today instead of writing my new novel

1, I wrote politcal emais, trying to convince my friends to vote for my candidate.
2. I ate two organic beets, got beet juice on my blouse and tried to get it out with carpet cleaner that the carpet cleaner guy swore would get stains out of anything.
3. I gave the blouse to a friend to use as a painter's smock.
4. I talked to my friend, Marlene, on the phone.
5. I caught up on this week's New Yorker story.
6. I got on the scale.
7. I swore I wouldn't eat anything more.
8. I did.

How about you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meet Teri Shikany

Hi, I'm Teri Shikany.

It was a casual email forward from my youngest son about online writing classes through UCLA that changed my life. I discovered the personal essay, a medium that fit me to a "T". I am profoundly grateful to Rochelle Shapiro and my fellow writing students for giving me the structure and encouragement to be a writer!

I live in the northern California town of Danville with the most incredible husband, with whom I share the job of "staff" for two needy cats.

I work part-time as a teacher and test administrator at a local county jail. When I'm not working, I spend a lot of time obsessing about my two-year-old grandson who lives in New York City and accruing frequent flyer miles to go see him.

The area I live in is rich with parklands where I can hike with my husband. It is the perfect foil for the more sedentary activity of writing, and I consider myself truly fortunate to be able to do both.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meet Gina Sorell

Hello cyber friends!My name is Gina Sorell and I am an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. I moved to L.A. two years ago from Toronto. after eleven painful months of adjusting, i found that there is a lot to love about it, especially that it is home to UCLA's Writers Program. Thanks to the writers program I have met many wonderful writers on line and in person and have had the amazing fortune to study with great writers like Rochelle Jewel Shapiro. My debut novel, Navel Gazing, is currently finding itself a terrific agent... and I am inching my way towards starting a second novel. And thanks to Rochelle, I am now working on a memoir style collection of essays about my family.Please stop my blog at http://www.sorellsays.blogspot.com/ to say hi!Best,Gina :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Meet Linda Marie Prejean

Teachers way back said I should go into journalism, or make writing a career in some way. So in typical fashion I did the opposite. I learned to speak Japanese, became an international flight attendant, a Psychotherapist, went on hiatus, dropped out of a Ph.D. program, did my time in Hollywood as a commercial actor, and now have so many stories I have no choice but to write. My favorite job was as Administrative Assistant to the writer of The French Connection. Here I am, many years later, toying with entering the Screenwriting program at UCLA.

I'm married close to forever to Jim - 43 years. Our favorite time together is on our sailboat, the Dani-Lin. He¢s a great Captain and soon we¢ll head for Catalina Island. Jim and I live in Southern California near our son, Kevin. We have two exceptional grandchildren. My passion is getting up early each day and training my horse, Brisa, for show jumping competitions. We are trained by a coach for the Olympics who is in Beijing at the moment, hopefully winning a Gold Medal. I love writing, riding, singing, shopping and well, life in general.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Meet Valerie

After taking Rochelle's level 1 class online @ UCLA extension while acting on a television show that films on location in Vancouver, Valarie's excitement for personal essay writing increased exponentially. She mentioned her love for this class to a publicist for the series that she was on and she suggested her to the editors of tvguide.com to post a celebrity blog about her adventures while filming a the show. It positive reception has increased her drive to publish some personal essays, complete the historical fiction novel she's been working on set in antebellum New Orleans, and work on a book of personal essays focusing on the surreal world she has experienced as a part of the entertainment industry and dating in L.A. while "almost famous."

Meet Carla Serenko

Carla Serenko is a brilliant writer in my Writing the Personal Essay class. She's a mail carrier in Florida and is working on a mind-blowing book of essays about the ins and outs of her job.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meet Camerone Thorson

I am a high tech marketing consultant during the day, a mom all the time, a really bad cook, a great party planner, a terrible wife, a great stimulator of the econonomy, and a lover of life and words. I just completed (or will have after your class) my certificate in creative wrtiting from UCLA and will start an MFA program this fall.

I love to blade (as in roller), do yoga and pilates, practice thecraft of writing, take photos, and make cards for friends. My husband would be happy if I could make a profit- hah!!

I have had almost as many lives as a cat, starting out as an assistant buyer of lingerie in B.Altman's many moons ago, then a stint in HR, and then a consultant in the high tech arena, oh yeah,, worked as a high school sub teacher in Norwalk CT in the mid '80s, and then moved to CA where I moved to the first county to go into Chapter 11. Did I mention I lived in the first city to go into chapter 11 (Bridgeport,CT) too?

Life motto: have passport will travel - when it looks like you are being run out of town, get in front and make it look like a parade!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meet Lake Mcclenney

Lake is one of my "Wow What a Writer" students in my Intermediate Writing the Personal Essay class at UCLA Extension. She's a retired psychologist who would never be a psychologist (again).She's happily unmarried to her sweetie for 35 yrs. They have 2 kids (ages 38 & 39) and 7 grandchildren. They live in a pack of 12 feet - 4 of ours, and 8 for two dogs, Kavi, their "baby", an alaskan malamute, and Scout, who adopted them because he loved their puppy - and because they take long hikes every day. She live in SoCal, but was born in Berkeley & is a northern California person thru & thru.

Every time Lake reads a newspaper, checks online, or hear news media people who feel free to do psychological analyses of every person's actions instead of REPORTING, she feels insulted. Gee, she only went to school for ten postgraduate years to do that! Especially when it is analyzing why some famous man (ahem, John Edwards, or and not to forget Bill Clinton, Gary Harte, and by the way, the groper, Arnold Schartzenager, had sex illicitly. Gee, that's a tough one, must have been some deep-seated neurosis that led to it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet Vicki Broadrick

In 2000, Vicki closed her private practice as a marriage and family therapist and moved to a tiny town in the San Bernardino mountains. She’d been coming up to these mountains since she was six months old. Her great grandparents were one of the first logging families there.


Vicki is teaches Eartly Childhood Education for the certificate program at UCLA extension. She’s also working on a book of exciting essays in my class about:

  • Internet dating as a senior

  • Escaping wildfires

  • Escaping snowstorms

  • Escaping black bears, coyotes, mountain lions

  • Escaping the men she dates.

In each essay, her sense of adventure, fierce independance, ingenuity, and the love of nature and laughter shines through.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pearl Curran, most fortunate psychic!

The most fortunate psychic-turned-writer that I’ve ever heard of was Pearl Curran, a St. Louis housewife. She never had to study writing at all, never even had to rewrite. Her writing career began when she started fiddling with the Ouija board. “Oh, why let sorrow steel they heart?” the Ouija board spelled out. “Thy bosom is but its foster-mother, the world its cradle, the loving home its grave.”
In July, the true author, the spirit who had delivered the flowery lines spelled out her name—Patience Worth, a seventeenth century Quaker. Louise discarded the Ouija board for a pen and paper and continued channeling (receiving messages) from Patience until Pearl’s death in 1938.
Through Pearl, Patience channeled her plays, poems, and novels, most published to critical acclaim. (Oh, that Patience would give me the time of day!) There was a lot of doubt as to whether Pearl was really channeling. After all, she may have had that talent locked inside her, waiting for the right moment to emerge. Even the naysayers were bowled over in 1928 when Pearl, who transcribed in modern prose what Patience supposedly told her, channeled a medieval bucolic poem, an idyl called Tekla that historians agreed was written in an Anglo Saxon dialect dating back before the thirteenth century. Since Pearl had very little education and could never have done this on her own, Tekla was considered proof that the prolific writing was indeed coming to her from Patience.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How I went from being a psychic to being a writer too

My Russian grandmother, my Bubbie, Sarah Shapiro, had been well-known in her shtetl for her predictions, cures, potions, and salves. Along with her pale blue eyes that turned up in the corners, I inherited her psychic gift and have been a phone psychic for thirty years.
My writing career was also launched by a psychic—the late Vincent Ragone, such a brilliant clairvoyant that my name had been on a seven year waiting list to get an appointment with him. In March of 1985, a week before my appointment, he phoned me. <>
“I’m canceling all my appointments,” he told me. “I’m no longer seeing private clients.” <>
I was crushed. “Isn’t there something you can tell me?” I asked.
He waited a beat. “You’re going to publish a love story with Simon & Schuster,” he announced.
The only writing I had ever done was for term papers and elementary school essays on How I Spent My Summer Vacations. I thought perhaps that he was no longer doing readings because he’d lost his psychic powers. And then I got an image of stitched-together squares of fabric, a quilt. The Memorial Quilt commemorating the victims of Aids.
“I’m so sorry,” I blurted out.
He was quiet for a few moments. “You do readings by phone, don’t you?” he asked.
“I can tell everything about everyone else,” he said, “but I hardly ever know anything about myself. I must ask you a question. How much longer do I have?”
I sucked in my breath. I had never let myself see the time or circumstances of anyone’s death. What if I couldn’t stop? What if I went around seeing it for everyone? For my friends and family? How could I go on? But I had the sense that Vincent, a man who had lived sparely, who, I could tell from the open hand I saw in my mind, had given generously to others, was really asking me how long he had to live for himself, to travel and read and do what he hadn’t gotten a chance to. I got an image of a tombstone with his name on it, but the tears in my eyes were blurring the dates.
“I know I shouldn’t have asked such a question, but thank you for giving me the answer,” he said.
What answer? I thought, so startled that I knocked my jaw with the receiver. Had Vincent been able to read the numbers on the tombstone I saw? Or maybe just by having asked out loud he had received his own answer.
A few months after that phone call, I began to keep a journal, not because of what Vincent had told me. It still seemed preposterous that I would ever write a novel. But doing readings, although exhilarating, is a bit like exhaling. All that’s left is as invisible as carbon dioxide and I needed something I could hold in my hand, look at, a record of my day. After my children began elementary school, I took a poetry workshop just to meet people and ward off loneliness. Over time, my poems became longer and longer and broke from any form. Slowly, over seven years, my novel, Miriam the Medium emerged.
When I landed an agent, I didn’t tell her about Vincent’s prediction. I was afraid she’d think I was being too controlling. Besides, what if Vincent was wrong about the publisher? Only another psychic could know how fleeting and vaporous psychic images can be, how easy to misinterpret. Clients have come to expect a high level of performance from me. They almost get blasĂ© when I tell them that the cap on their left upper molar doesn’t fit right or that their brother is in hock. I’m the one who is sitting on the edge of my sit, thinking, You mean I’m right? It was a miracle enough for me that I had actually written the book. I just sat back and waited to see what would happen. But when my agent brought me to Simon & Schuster, sitting in the office with all the editors and PR people, I felt a heat on the top of my head and my shoulders as if the sun had somehow burst through the New York office building just to shine on me. I leaned close to my agent.
“Simon & Schuster is going to buy my book,” I whispered, and they did.
She credited the prediction to me, but I knew who the credit belonged to. I thanked Vincent Ragone in the dedication to my book.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nostradamus, The Historical Psychic

I had to resort to Nostradamus for Dummies by Scarlet Ross to learn the meaning of Nostradamus’ predictions. Nostradamus was not only writing in a dreamlike state, he also had to be careful around both royalty and the church if he wanted to keep his head firmly attached to his neck. The church considered the esoteric arts witchcraft. To be really safe, most of Nostradamus’ predictions weren’t published until his death at the age of sixty in 1566. <>
I can picture him in the 1550’s, climbing up to his attic on the third story of his second wife’s house in southern France. He’s wearing his long scholar’s robe and the three-sided hat, the sign of a physician. There’s sadness etched into his face from the death of his wife and two children. And one can probably sense anger, too. Although he had developed a lozenge made of a powder pulverized with three to four hundred roses plucked before dawn that helped people survive the plague, no one wanted a doctor who couldn’t save his own wife and kids. Marrying a rich widow has given him solace and time for his real interests such as alchemy, the Kabala, astrology, Egyptian mysticism, and numerology. From a bowl of water resting in a brass stool (a tripod), he anoints his robe and his feet. He sits down at his desk, a quill in hand poised over an empty page. Then he gazes into the surface of the water, watching the play of candlelight upon it. He focuses hard. His breathing slows. Just as his body is separated from everyone around him, his thoughts begin to separate from his mind. He is not only a man aware of himself gazing at the surface of the water, but is also able to see himself doing it as if from a distance. Patiently, he waits for a vision of the future to appear in the water’s reflective surface. When it does, he dips the nib of his quill into his inkpot and writes the prophecy down in the form of a quatrain, a four-line poem.

The young lion will overcome the old one
On the field of battle in single combat:
He will put out his eyes in a cage of gold:
Two fleets one then to die a cruel death.

Voila, it’s the prediction of King Henry ll’s death. King Henry ll had a lion emblazoned on his shields and banners. In 1555, when this prophecy was published, it caused such a ruckus that the king’s wife, Catherine de Medici, ordered Nostradamus to come to court to explain himself. Kill the Messenger was what royalty did for a bad prediction. But Nostradamus talked his way around it and all was forgotten.<>
Then in 1559, during a jousting tournament, Henry’s opponent was the head of the Scottish guard who also had a lion on his shield and was younger than the king. When the opponent tried to knock Henry off his horse, his lance missed the king’s chest. It splintered and went through Henry’s helmet which is the “cage of gold” and also his throat. A fleet is a wound. Nostradamus was right. The king lay in agony for ten days from his two wounds, a cruel death as Nostradamus had written.
People at court suggested that Nostradamus must have planned the king’s death. But Nostradamus managed to get off the hook again.

Check out this eye-popping divination for Napoleon’s attack on Milan in 1796:

The speech delivered before the attack,
Milan taken by the eagle through deceptive ambushes;
Ancient wall driven in by canons,
Through fire and blood few given quarter.
(C III – 37)

<> That’s exactly what happened. Napoleon and his bedraggled, hungry troops had been fighting the Italians for months with barely any help from France. Then Napoleon delivered that brilliant speech referred to in line one, convincing his men that if they rallied and took Milan, they’d be able to sack not only Milan but all the countries around it. The soldiers rose up and fought, looting valuables, including art treasures, not only filling their stomachs, but their pockets, too. <>

<>No one at the time could have imagined that World War I wouldn’t be “the war to end all wars,” but Nostradamus foresaw both world wars.

The scourges passed the world shrinks,
For a long time peace and unpopulated lands:
One will travel safely by air, land, sea, and wave,
Then the wars stirred up anew.
(C I – 63)

They will think they have seen the sun at night
When they see the pig half-man:
Noise, battle, fighting in the sky perceived,
And one will hear brute beasts talking.
(C I – 64)

<> “The world shrinks” refers to one country annexing another after WWI. Nostradamus foresaw plane travel and “the wars stirred up anew.” In quatrain two, he visualizes the searchlights and explosions that made the night sky into day. The pig half-man refers to the leather snout-nosed masks that fighter pilots wore. And from the line about the noise, it’s plain that Nostradamus not only saw visions of the future, but heard them, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Psychic Finders and Losers

“Listen, I don’t need a whole psychic reading,” a guy tells me over the phone. “I just want you to find my Lindeberg Coleman twill trench coat. It’s grey stone with a four-button front, buckle detail at the cuffs, and a single back vent.”
From the detail he's going into, I’m thinking he’s been watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
“Sorry, I’m not a psychic finder.”
“Could you recommend me to a psychic who is?” he asks.
“Hold on,” I say. I flip through my Rolodex, but the listing for Psychic Finder isn’t there. Either I misfiled it or threw it away the last time I knocked my Rolodex over. “I seem to have misplaced it,” I say sheepishly.
“Figures,” he mutters and hangs up.
I feel my face flame. I want to be able to find things. Just this morning I couldn’t find my keys. Soon as I found them, I had to go all over the apartment to track down my pocketbook. And then it was the same thing with my boots.
I might have been a “finder” instead of a “loser,” but my father, having barely escaped tsarist Russia, saw a pogrom at every turn. If something was misplaced it meant that we wouldn’t be able to take it with us if the Cossacks thundered into Rockaway Beach, Queens on their horses. His panic made me panic and the more upset I got, the more things I lost.
It’s enough already, I tell myself. I take something I’m forever misplacing. I study it, its color, size, and even the temperature.
“Bernie,” I say to my husband, “would you hide the timer for me while I step out in the hall?”
“I never know what I’m going to be coming home to,” he said, smiling.
When he waves me back in, I close my eyes and mentally go from room to room as if my mind is a movie camera. Then it stops at my daughter’s old bedroom and zooms in on her bed. I’ve got it, I think. I go straight to her room, pick up her pillow, take off the comforter, and even strip off the sheet. No timer. I look under the bed. Dust bunnies. I’m about to give up when I see it behind her lamp on the headboard.
Spurred on, I practice three times a night for six weeks. One night, instead of mentally groping around for it, I go right to my underwear drawer, and tada, there it is!
“I did it!” I tell my husband, and he gives me a big hug.
The next night, my neighbor rings my bell, teary-eyed. “I misplaced a small yellow silk pouch that I keep my grandmother’s engagement ring in. Can you find it psychically?”
Full of confidence, I close my eyes. All I see is bright green. I focus harder.
“The pouch is with or behind something that’s bright green, shiny, and has some print on it.”
Laughing, she takes me into her apartment. It’s all done in green. At least I provided her with comic relief.
As she closes the door behind me, I hear her husband say, “That’s what you get for asking a psychic.”
I'm bummed, but I keep practicing. Maybe I will only be able to find my red digital timer in my own apartment, but it's a start.
A week later, my neighbor rings my doorbell and holds out a wrapped gift. “Thank you,” she says.
“For what?”
“You said it was behind something shiny and green with print on it. I found it behind a box of Cascade Dishwasher detergent. The grandkids must have been playing with it.”
“But I didn’t really find it,” I say. “I mean I didn’t locate where it was exactly.”
“Yeah, but because of what you said, I got such an extra kick when I found it.”
I open the gift. It’s another digital timer. Now I get a chance to laugh. At least I have a backup if I lose mine.
Whether you believe in psi phenomenon or not, it’s really fun to try to locate objects psychically. Who knows? You might find your college ring or the five hundred dollar bite plate your dentist made for you so that you don't grind your teeth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You’ll Never Guess, Or Will You?

You’ll never guess what Upton Sinclair was doing besides writing great American novels such as The Jungle and Oil which was recently made into the Oscar-winning movie, There Will Be Blood. He was doing telepathic experiments with his second wife, Mary Craig Kimbrough, a psychic, whom he affectionately called “Craig.” (Upton Sinclair could have used the services of a good psychic earlier in his life. Maybe a psychic could have foreseen that his first wife was going to run off with the poet, Harry Kemp, and a lot of aggravation could have been avoided.)

Apart from his extensive political and social writings, in 1930 Upton Sinclair wrote Mental Radio (Hampton Roads Publishing Co.) to express his passionate interest in telepathy and other psi phenomenon.

“…while it [telepathy] may be spontaneous and may depend upon a special endowment,” he wrote, “it can be cultivated and used deliberately.”
And that’s just what he and Mary set out to do. Here are some exercises that he and Mary devised to that end.

Since they believed that physical distance had no effect on telepathy, Mary asked her brother, a young businessman in Pasadena with no interest in psychic doings, to make a drawing of any random object he set his eyes on, and draw it at a specified time and date. And then he had to sit and gaze at his drawing for fifteen to twenty minutes. He chose a table fork.

At the same time and hour, Mary lay on her couch forty miles away in Long Beach. In semi-darkness, with her eyes closed, she put herself into a state of mental concentration that she’d been experimenting with, and mentally suggested to her subconscious mind to let her know what her brother was concentrating on. She didn’t just guess. She was only satisfied that she knew when the same image persisted, popping into her mind again and again. At that time, she wrote down the day, time, and the words, “See a table fork, nothing else.”

Mary and Upton tried this with each other. He, in his study, drew an object, focused on it for ten minutes, then called out, “All right.” There was always a correlation between their drawings.

Then Upton did a series of nine drawings in his study and wrapped each in green paper, then sealed each in an envelope. When he brought them to Mary, she lay down and put the envelopes, one at a time, on her solar plexus, and concentrated on the contents while Upton watched her to make sure she didn’t peak. When she got what she thought was a convincing telepathic image, she sat up and drew it. “Inside a rock well with vines,” she wrote for one picture that Upton had meant as a bird’s nest. Her drawing, however, was an unmistakable bird’s nest.

Mary had been the one who had prompted Upton’s interest in telepathy. When she was a child, she had many clairvoyant experiences. At forty, her habit of intuiting other people’s troubles and carrying those woes inside her caused health problems. Mental control over her ability became a matter of self-preservation and she amassed a large library of books on ESP. Mary learned to go into a hypnotic state and concentrate on someone to find out where someone else was at a specific date and time and find out what he was doing.

“Since my wife and I have no secrets from each other,” Upton wrote, “it does not trouble me that she is able to see what I’m doing.” (How many of the rest of us can make that claim?)
Sometimes she had dreams that told her what he was doing. For example, she dreamt he was on a pier with boats beneath him. It turned out that Upton had been at a tennis court that she had never been to which was on top of a pier.

Sometimes, with her back to Upton’s bookcase, Mary s would draw out a book. (She wasn’t familiar with Upton’s books, only her own.) Keeping it hidden from her and Upton, she’d describe the cover.

Mary also helped him find things he’d misplaced. Upton would work out some new chapters of a book in his head, then jot them down on small pieces of paper, sticking them away anyplace handy. He’d panic the next day when he couldn’t find his notes. He checked everywhere and in all his pockets. Mary lay down on the couch, closed her eyes, took his hand, and asked him to describe the paper to her as she concentrated. “It’s in the pocket of your gray suit,” she said. He argued with her because he’d checked all his pockets, but when he went to his gray suit, it was there.

Mary always begged Upton to watch her work so that he could add his testimony to hers. Imagine asking a novelist of his stature to stay away from his writing in order to do this. And imagine that he was eager to do it. Not only did these experiments help build their psychic abilities, it helped build their rapport. And it was a happy marriage until Mary’s death, and possibly beyond.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books

Girls in Trouble author, Caroline Leavitt, (and great friend), tagged me to write a review of an older book that isn't widely read anymore or a recent book that's slipped beneath the rador and post it on my blog on Friday. Writer, Patti Abbot, launched this great project. http://pattinase.blogspot.com/
I chose Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier (Avon) isn’t exactly a forgotten book. DuMaurier is a legend. But since it was written in the 1930’s, it might not be on top of everyone’s “to read” list where it belongs.

I was fifteen when I first read it, it drew me so deeply into twenty-three-year-old Mary Yellen’s world that imagined myself having to promise my dying mother that I’d leave our farm in Helford and live in Boden with my Aunt Patience. (I really had to stretch here because I never had an aunt who had even a jot of patience.) I read Jamaica Inn on a day that I had to stay indoors coated with Noxema because of a terrible sunburn. Yet it was I who arrived that raw November night at the rainswept Cornish coast to be warned by the coachman that the dark, forbidding Jamaica Inn, owned by my aunt’s evil giant of a husband, Joss Merlyn, wasn’t fit for decent people. Then there was the shock of seeing my Aunt Patience, formerly a lively, pretty woman, now reduced to a tattered wreck. How could I leave? I had to try to protect her. From my rattling window, all I saw was the black hills and the moors. On my walks, “soggy marsh sighed and whispered. When the wind blew on the hills, it whispered mournfully in the crevices of granite and sometimes shuddered like a man in pain.” Back at the inn, there was the mystery of the locked and barred room that Aunt Patience told me not to dare ask about. And then there were the strange men who’d come to Uncle Joss’ tavern and return with carts and covered wagons, and unload boxes. Smugglers, I realized. My heart pounded in my throat the day Uncle Joss left the door to the locked room open and I saw a hanging rope over a beam and knew that someone who had wanted to quit the smuggler’s gang must have been killed. Sitting close to the electric fan to relieve my sunburned skin, I was carried away as Uncle Joss’ villainous plan unspoiled more characters come aboard and more suspense whipped up.

Each decade that I reread Jamaica Inn, it meant more to me. In Jamaica Inn, you get the Gothic romance of the Bronte sisters’ novels plus the wild adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. And the language of the book is as haunting as the spellbinding plot and the characters.
Now I tag Robin Gorman Newman, Author of How to Marry a Mensch and How to Meet a Mensch in NY. Blogs, http://www.lovecoach.com/ & http://www.motherhoodlater.com/

Sunday, June 1, 2008

55 Blocks, a personal essay I've rewritten 55 times!

There are life situations that demand you to write about them and for me, the subject matter of 55 Blocks is in the "must-tell" category. It's a theme that has haunted me for years. I had to shape and reshape it so many times, but I kept at it. I had to. I hope you read it:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Have I Got a Guy for You!" Book Party

It's at 80 West 40th St. I arrive at a locked office building. A party here? I think. But I see the sign for Olive & Alicia. That's what it says on the invitation. I wait. Some employee that's leaving lets me in. Feeling really important, I take the elevator up to the Pent House. No one seems to be there. Bags of garbage at my ankles, I tap on the glass door of an open office. "Have I got a guy for you!" I call in. I wait. Nobody's there. A woman in the elevator says that Olive & Alicia also have an office on the sixth floor. On the sixth floor, I find designers working on Olive & Alicia's fashions. I explain that like most writers, I'm lost. They tell me it's in the next building, right in the store.

The party is like a scene from Sex in the City. Next. Sushi, champagne, some of the most gorgeous women trying on fabulous clothes and shoes. (The writers get 20% off.) The press there. Alix Strauss, the editor, presiding over it like Samantha.

Here's the link to the article about it in Radar: (Ahem, I'm mentioned.)http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/05/have-i-got-a-guy-for-you.php#more

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Registration for my summer Intermediate Class in Writing the Personal Essay is starting now!

From the New York Time's Modern Love essays to Newsweeks My Turn, to best selling anthologies in every bookstore in the country, personal essays have captured everyone's attention. In this class you'll learn how to turn your thoughts, feelings and experiences into real, funny, and deeply moving art. Memoir can take years to finish. This is a quick form. You will learn how to use literary tools to polish your essays for publication. And at the end of this course, you will have at least one, possibly two essay ready to send out and ideas of where to send them.

Requirement: Personal Essay l or any other Nonfiction class or permission from instructor with writing sample.

Go to the UCLA Extension summer registration website, open NONFICTION ll and you will find my intermediate class.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Hey, how would you like to win a signed copy of my novel, MIRIAM THE MEDIUM? (Simon & Schuster) All you have to do is give the best answer to this question:

Do you believe in fate? Why or why not? Serious or nutty answers are always welcome!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Several years ago when I did my first psychic reading for Carol O'Brian, I saw her with a cute little dog, a she-dog. "I hate dogs," Carol insisted. "I blech whenever I see people picking up their poop." But somehow, Molly recently found her way to Carol's heart. Carol's the owner of Smooth Lazer Hair Removal. We wouldn't want Molly on her website.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"HAVE I GOT A GUY FOR YOU!" anthology was discussed on the TODAY show this morning.

Alix Strauss, editor of this hysterical new anthology about the disasters that happen when mothers fix up their daughters, was on THE TODAY SHOW with her mother who had fixed her up with a married man. Her mother is nver allowed to fix her up again. "You have to ask follow-up questions, Ma," Alix said. "Like do you have a job? Do you like theater? And are you currently married."
My essay "You'll Have a Wonderful Life with Him!" is among the essays.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


On Easter Sunday after walking down 5th Avenue, my cousins and I ducked into Barnes & Noble. I spotted a separate table for WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH. On it was an anthology by Victoria Zackheim, For Keeps, that has an essay in it of mine called "The Teadrop!" Do you know how hard it is for a book to make it to a table in a large bookstore? You practically have to be a movie star or a murderer or both to get you book on a table. Kudos to Victoria and Seal Press!!! My cousin, Irwin Yatter, took a photo of it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"HAVE I GOT A GUY FOR YOU." Reading Date

On Monday, April 21, I'll be reading my essay, "You'll have a Wonderful Life With Him," in this anthology just out from Adams literary group. Some of the other readers are stand-up comics. If you're around, I'd love to see you and you'll have a great time.

Monday: April 21stTelephone Bar & Grill
149 Second Ave (Bet. 9th & 10th Street)
(212) 529-5000

Thursday, February 14, 2008


UCLA is hosting a day-long ARTS DAY bringing together film makers, artists, writers, designers, and hopefully, you!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Amazon.com: Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, Dangerous Love

Amazon.com: Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, Dangerous Love: "1.
Dangerous Love by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro (Digital - Jun 19, 2006)
Download: $0.49
Available for download now
Books: See all items"

This is an essay that Amazon is posting for a big forty-nine cents! I hope you all enjoy it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Meet Robin Gorman Newman, Love Coach

Robin Gorman Newman, author HOW TO MARRY A MENSCH

Hi everyone. I’m happy to introduce myself, at the suggestion of Rochelle.

I am the co-founder of www.motherhoodlater.com, the only on and offline community/resource in the U.S. for 35+ moms with young children. I invite you to visit our site, and if it interests you, subscribe to our email newsletter and blog, where we share our experiences parenting later in life.

On another note, I am the author of How to Marry a Mensch (decent person), and blog on www.lovecoach.com about love and dating. The blog is called Relationship Rap with Robin, and I welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics to discuss. My goal is to empower singles to lead happy, more successful social lives, and I offer love coaching to individuals and lecture on the subject.

Hope to hear from you…and Happy upcoming Valentine’s Day!!

Warm regards,


Friday, February 1, 2008

Check out my Huffington Post Blog

For all my students in Writing The Personal Essay or anyone thinking of joining the class, see how much fun you can have with the form. I am addicted. Please tell me what you think of my blog entry, Are You Sure You Want to Be Psychic? in the living section of the the Huffington Post.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Redux: SOS for WRITER

Reminder: TODAY IS THE PUB. DATE OF PATTY FRANCIS'THE LIAR'S DIARY and she is in the throes of chemo for a virulent cancer. Her doctor have high hopes for her, but she won't be able to get out and promote her book. Please help. I bought a copy even though I won't have time to read it for ages. It's a good thing to do. Perhaps you might also want to send get well wishes to her on her website: litpark.com

When new music teacher Ali Mather enters Jeanne Cross’s quiet suburban life, she brings a jolt of energy that Jeanne never expected. Ali has a magnetic personality and looks to match, drawing attention from all quarters. Nonetheless, Jeanne and Ali develop a friendship based on their mutual vulnerabilities THE LIAR’S DIARY (Plume / February 2008 / ISBN 978-0-452-28915-4 / $14.00) is the story of Ali and Jeanne’s friendship, and the secrets they both keep.

Jeanne’s secrets are kept to herself; like her son’s poor report card and husband’s lack of interest in their marriage. Ali’s secrets are kept in her diary, which holds the key to something dark: her fear that someone has been entering her house when she is not at home. While their secrets bring Jeanne and Ali together, it is this secret that will drive them apart. Jeanne finds herself torn between her family and her dear friend in order to protect the people she loves.

A chilling tour of troubled minds, THE LIAR’S DIARY questions just how far you’ll go for your family and what dark truths you’d be willing to admit—even to yourself.

Patry Francis is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize whose work has appeared in the Tampa Review, Colorado Review, Ontario Review, and the American Poetry Review. She is also the author of the popular blogs, simplywait.blogspot.com and waitresspoems.blogspot.com. This is her first novel. Please visit her website at www.patryfrancis.com.

Praise for THE LIAR’S DIARY:

“Twists and turns but never lets go.”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“A quirky, well-written and well-constructed mystery with an edge.”—Publishers Weekly

“Outright chilling.”—New York Daily News

“Genuinely creepy…The unlikely friendship between a small-town school secretary and a flamboyant teacher proves deadly in this psychological murder mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A twisting ride full of dangerous curves and jaw-dropping surprises. This is one of my favorite reads of the year!”—Tess Gerristen, bestselling author of The Mephisto Club

“Francis draws and tense and moody picture of the perfect home and family being peeled back secret by secret…Four Stars.”—Romantic Times

By Patry Francis
Plume Paperbacks / February 2008 / $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-452-28915-4
Readers Guide available at www.penguin.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My strong link with Barbara Streisand is that our eyes are the same color blue and that her uncle, Sydney Streisand, used to fix our rabbit-eared TV in my childhood home in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York. I just finished a wonderful bio of her, Streisand, A Biography (Little Brown and Company, 1997) by Anne Edwards. For all you lovers of The Secret, you'll be thrilled to read how Streisand, as a little girl in Brooklyn, knew just what she wanted out of life and demanded it and GOT IT!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Writer in Distress, SOS

The paperback of THE LIAR'S DIARY is due to come out on January 29th. The trouble is that the author, Patty Francis, was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She's had several surgeries and her prognosis is good, but won't be able to do anything to promote her book. The paperback is already on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. If you can see your way to buying one, it would be a great blaessing and if you will, please tell your friends.

Circling Back, in stories, in life.

Chekhov said that the end of a story should circle back to the beginning in order to be satisfying. Notice how life seems to do the same?

January 9th was my son, Charles's, birthday. My brother, Barry, wasn't sure of the date. so he called Charles' work. Charles wasn't in.

"Hi, this is Charles' uncle," Barry said to Charles' assistant. "Would you mind telling me if it's my nephew's birthday?"

"We thought so," his assistant said, "but he said, 'No,' it's my uncle's birthday.'"

They began to laugh. Charles probably didn't want a fuss at work over his birthday and now he was caught.

It reminded me of years ago when my brother was in sports writing. He was featured on a question and answer radio show in Conneticut, trying to appear really professional.

One caller asked, "Excuse me, I have just one question. Is this my nephew, Barry?"

It was Uncle Davie from Hartford, Connecticut.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


For Keeps is a new amd vital anthology that was edited by Victoria Sackheim, a teacher at UCLA online. Another familiar name in the anthology is Caroline Leavitt, one of UCLA's fiction teachers. And my essay,The Teardrop, also included, was cited in a review in the San Francisco Chronicle. I'm breathing on my fingernails and rubbing them against my blouse. That's an old-fashioned way to show pride.