Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NOR Author Chat

. Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hiya readers! Night Owl Reviews is hosting an author chat tonight with Em Petrova, Brindle Chase, and Fran Lee where they're giving away prizes to attendees. I've been to a couple of these and they are a lot of fun. Lots of great energy!

Start Time by Time Zone: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST / ...Next Day 1am GMT

Duration: Most Chats Last Around 1 Hour

Date: 03/30/2011 in the USA


NOR Contest: One lucky chatter will leave with a hand full of awesome print books. Winner will be selected by our door prize system. To be shipped to the winner
USA Shipping Only
To be entered you need to attend the full chat.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interview with David Halperin

. Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Journal of a UFO Investigator: A NovelToday I have the pleasure of welcoming author David Halperin to Meta Modo. His premier novel, Journal of a UFO Investigator, released by Viking on Feb 2011 is a coming-of-age story full or heart and action.

Welcome, David!

Q: The number one thing readers want me to ask is how you came up with the premise of your book where you got the idea. Can you answer that for us?

A: I took the basic situation from my own past. Like my protagonist Danny Shapiro, I lived most of my teenage years with a mother who was slowly dying of heart disease. Like Danny, I coped by immersing myself in UFO research.

This was the early 1960s, which UFO buffs nowadays look back upon as a sort of golden age for "UFOlogy." UFOs weren't just mysterious disks zooming around the sky. A rich, ramified, often haunting mythology had grown up around them. There were the "three men in black," who visit those who've discovered what the UFOs are and terrify them into silence … the "Philadelphia experiment" and the disappearing ship, and the mysterious annotated copy of M.K. Jessup's "The Case for the UFO" … the persistent rumors of some monstrous evil lurking beneath the earth's surface. All this I absorbed when I was Danny's age. In the novel, I set this mythology in motion, with Danny as part of it.

Together with this collective dreaming, I mixed private dreams and fantasies from my own adolescence. I recall having a dream--I must have been 14 or 15 at the time--about a rambling old house somewhere in the country, and a meeting of ultra-serious teenagers like myself, dedicated like me to exploring the mysteries that lie just beyond the boundaries of science. One of them was a beautiful blonde girl in an evening dress.

The memory of this dream stayed with me through the years. From it grew the scene where Danny first visits the farmhouse that's the headquarters for the "Super-Science Society," and is first drawn into the orbit of the lovely, dangerous Rochelle.

Blurb and kick ass kudos for Journal of a UFO Investigator: Against the background of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer space fantasy.

Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager living with a dying mother, a hostile father, and without friends. To cope, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black," mysterious lake creatures with insectlike carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who--if only Danny can keep her alive--will redeem the planet.
As Danny's fictional world blends seamlessly with his day-to-day life, profound questions about what is real and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, will Danny find the strength to deal with his real life, to stand up to demons both real and imagined?

"Journal of a UFO Investigator is a remarkable book. Part science fiction, part novel of growing up, part surrealist voyage into the imagination, it is a disconcerting and satisfying experience." --Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost

"What's in this book? What isn't? History, mystery--even aliens, for God's sake. The most compelling and original coming-of-age story I've read in a long time." --Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
"Journal of a UFO Investigator is the story of a quest, for knowledge and self-knowledge, for growth and the secrets hidden behind the everyday, the strangeness lurking within the familiar. Most of all it is an exploration of the mystery of love, a story you will not be able to put down or forget." --Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek

Q: I loved reading the chase scene and was left breathless at the end of that chapter, wondering what had happened, was happening, what would happen. What is your favorite scene of your story and why?

A: I think I'd pick the scene, about three-quarters of the way through the book, where the two Dannys--the Danny of day-to-day reality, the Danny of the UFO journal--face each other across the border between Israel and Jordan. In that scene, Danny's presented with a moral choice that echoes through the the book. Will he acknowledge and accept his real self, flawed and pained though he is? Or will he betray and abandon himself, and turn away?

(And the voice comes out of the air: "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?")

Q: Did you use any musical references in your writing? If so, do they play a significant role? Name 3-4 of your favorite musical artists/groups.

A: There are a few musical references, to the popular songs of Danny's adolescence ("Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Barbra Streisand's "People") and to songs reaching back into his parents' youth ("On Moonlight Bay," "The Bells of St. Mary's"). "Moonlight Bay" does play a significant role: that song, and the feelings it evokes in Danny, shape much of the imagery of the book.

The "Charlie on the MTA" song, popularized by the Kingston Trio in 1959, is also important--when it dawns on Danny that he himself is "poor ol' Charlie," "the man who never returned." And that the song isn't one bit funny if you're the one trapped inside it.

Favorite musical artists? My Number One would be the Israeli vocalist Chava Alberstein. Her voice entrances me with its sensuality, its tragic feel for life, and the heroic defiance it expresses for life's cruelties. Number Two would be the Beatles. (Yes, I know I'm dating myself when I say that. I can't help it.) Number Three would be Pam Di Lavore.

Pam's name is not exactly a household word. I don't think she's made any recordings; I've mostly heard her sing at the Unitarian church we both attend. But the beauty and expressiveness of her voice is unsurpassed, hardly even equalled, by commercial artists I've heard. That she's mostly unknown is the world's loss.

Q: What's one piece of writing advice you've found priceless on your journey to publication?

A: "Ripeness is all," says Shakespeare. Agent Donald Maass says: the novel is an exceedingly difficult art form which takes years to master. This--the difficulty of what I was trying to do--was something I had no grasp of when I wrote the first paragraphs of "Journal of a UFO Investigator" 14 years ago. I've learned it since. Hearing it stated explicity, by Maass and others, has brought me comfort and inspiration.
Most of those 14 years, as I look back on them, were spent ripening the art. When the art is sufficiently ripe, good things can happen. And the ripening takes place in God's time, not ours.

Q: Do you read your book reviews? If so, has there been any particular reviews that made you do a happy dance?

A: I do read my reviews. There have been some which I've experienced as though I'd been given a rare gift.
I was thrilled by Stuart Schoffman's review in the "Jewish Daily Forward": " 'Journal of a UFO Investigator' is intricate and subversive … a captivating, wildly idiosyncratic book, a rare mashup of genre fiction and high-flying myth that lingers in the mind and invites rereading." Schoffman well understood "the interpretive layers of … metaphor and mystery" that lie beneath the book's narrative surface, and in his review he expressed them succinctly, clearly, and with panache. I couldn't have been happier than I was after reading his review.

Except, perhaps, when I read Marnie Colton's review on "I might have laughed if someone had told me that it was possible to write an enthralling and deeply sad meditation on adolescence and Judaism in the guise of a novel that includes futuristic spacecraft, bug-eyed aliens, and conspiracy theories, but Journal of a UFO Investigator is that book".

I was particularly touched by a review by Stefan Melnyk in Washington Square News, the NYU student newspaper. Melnyk, whom I imagine to be not much older than Danny Shapiro at the end of the book, writes that "Halperin's larger subject … is the price of growing up, and it is a theme that he handles with extraordinary finesse and understanding."

If you'd asked me while I was writing the book, I wouldn't have told you that was what it was about. But looking back, I can see Melnyk is absolutely right, and he's taught me something about my book of which I hadn't been consciously aware. Now that's a gift for an author, indeed.

Q: What’s next in line for you? DO you have a new book in the pipeline?

A: I’m working on a sequel to Journal, to be entitled "The Color of Electrum." This novel begins the year after Journal leaves off, Danny Shapiro is once more the main character … and I think that’s all I want to say about it right now.

There’s also a novel I’ve been working on, off and on, for several years. It’s called "The Mending"; it’s about a woman psychiatrist in the year 2000, one of whose patients starts to recover memories and dream fragments belonging to a 17th-century Jewish Messiah. Like all my fiction, it's basically about religion--faith, and the loss of faith. And the return of faith; because however ill-grounded and illusory our faith may be, we humans couldn't live without it.


Sounds Amazing! I look forward to reading both in the future.

Thanks again for visiting us on Meta Modo.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Intimate Enemy

. Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm having so much fun writing my new sci fi romance Intimate Enemy that I thought I would share a short excerpt.


Tome Lamin considered himself patient in all things. But after hours of encountering prejudice from both the Nashete and Vitca races, his tolerance had reached its end.

Perhaps his brothers, Wharm and Kanaen, had been right. Using public transportation to make a statement might’ve been effective but damned if the bigotry they’d encountered while on their way to the peace talks hadn’t taken its toll on all three of their trinity-of-beings. Yet, he couldn’t bring himself to regret his decision to come out of hiding after the murder of their Nashete father had devastated them two months ago.

Their Vitca mother had abandoned them when they were still children, but their father had raised them to believe that their dual-blood made them special not less than and they had come to the peace talks to honor his memory, Tome reminded himself as another group of Vitcas sneered at them down their long, noble noses.

“Ugh!” Kanaen said loudly as he arched a thick, black eyebrow at the group. “Could they be any more predicable and boring?”

Wharm elbowed their youngest brother in the stomach. “Acting like an ass isn’t helping matters, Kana.”

Kanaen snorted. “There is no helping matters. They can smell us a mile away. Everyone here knows we three are dual-bloods. And no one here wants a thing to do with us.”

“Patience—” Tome’s voice broke as the air shifted, bringing him a scent so soft and sweet, so moving that his heart lost its rhythm and his blood pooled low. He grew instantly hard. Ready. Alertly waiting for the virgin Vitca female who was his intimate to walk into his life and accept him into hers.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Wharm and Kanaen said at the same time.

The two formed a triangle with Tome, facing out, studying the throng, looking for danger, preparing to fight.

“My intimate is here,” Tome breathed her in again, his mouth watering.

“What?” Wharm asked.

“Where?” asked Kanaen.

“I can’t pinpoint her location,” his words came out deep, rough and he cleared his throat, trying to maintain a sense of calm or at least outward decorum as he tilted his head and inhaled. “Above us. One of the upper floors.”

Standing together as they were, when they titled their heads back to look up at the higher floors, they formed what the ancient Nashete priests called a ‘diamond of souls,’ three sets of eyes in the shape of a triangle, looking aloft, searching for answers. An auspicious formation that boded well for the search and seizure of Tome’s intimate…if he wanted her, that is.

He didn’t want her. Not even a little bit.



Hope you enjoyed meeting the three dual-blood brothers.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Romance Writing Checklist

. Thursday, March 17, 2011

This is NOT a rule sheet. I hate rules. They should be acknowledged and then broken. These are simply guides that I like to keep in my mind while writing.

1. Choose a theme or question that is asked at the beginning of your story and not answered until the very end. Example: Can love heal a broken heart?

2. Allow one or both of your main characters to grow to value love, family, and relationships. And if you choose only one as the “grower” make sure the other character already has these core values.

3. Your hero and heroine need to be likable, not to say they can’t be flawed. In fact, the more flaws the better…as long as they’re endearing or if detrimental to the relationship, able to be overcome by the end of the book. If your readers don’t care for your characters, they’re not going to care about finishing the book.

4. Start with action, conflict, excitement, a scene that shows your character(s) for who they are and hints at who they will be by the end of the book. HOOK your readers and reel them in with every line.

5. Internal AND external conflict is an absolute must. Without it, your story and your characters aren’t going anywhere, but your readers sure are…far, far away.

6. Even the most interesting, endearing, strange, stupefying characters will become boring without a plot. Give your peeps something to do!

7. Make sure you’re not forcing your characters into bed before they’re ready. Make it believable people. Put them in a situation where it makes absolute, 100% sense for them to be getting it on.

8. Comic relief is needed in an emotionally heavy story, whether in the form of a sticky-fingered child, a broken-tailed cat, or even a rolly-polly robot.

9. Start off with a bad situation and make it more and more awful until things can’t get any worse.

10. End with a happily ever after (HEA) ending that proves love conquers all and is satisfying to the readers.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Vote for On Vixen Book Trailer

My On Vixen book trailer is in a contest at The Pen and Muse Book Reviews. You can vote for your favorite book trailer by sending your choice to thepenmuse(at) One vote per person, no multiple emails otherwise the trailer will be disqualified. You have until March 23, 2011 to vote.


Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kick Ass Author Apps

. Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm a gadget geek so it should be no surprise that iPod/pad/phone apps mesmerize me, which is why I started thinking of the usefulness of an app for authors and publishers. There's not a lot out there yet but the ones I found are so much fun. My favorite is Witch & Wizard for author James Patterson. I dream of a day where I have something similar! Check out my screenshots:

Gorgeous graphics from the book. Simple yet dynamic design. I give it an A+

This is under "Read Book One for Free." You can page through or use this scroll device to jump to a particular part or chapter, up to chapter 20 read for free. Easy to use and font large enough to make reading pleasurable.

Under "Create Your Wanted Poster" users can add their pic and choose their crime. You can save the poster and show it off to all your friends! This is the one area I think could be improved, expanding the idea to keep the user coming back for more, instead of a one time hit.

The small bottom button takes the user to information on the book with active links that take you to his fan community, free audio preview, character blog updates, info on more Patterson books.

If you've found author apps that you enjoy/envy, comment on them. I'd love to explore more.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rachel Leigh is Interviewing Me

. Friday, March 11, 2011

Alright my fluffy bunnies, hop on over to Rachel Leigh's blog to check out my wacky interview (I was in a mood, okay?). Go ahead and giggle, I laughed my ass off when I reread my responses. Ahg! What a dork I am.

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Monday, March 7, 2011

African Lion Petition

. Monday, March 7, 2011

If you've read my Pride & Passion shifter-lion series, you know about my love for lions. On March 1, 2011, Humane Society International and many others petitioned to have the African lion listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
There are fewer than 40,000 African lions in the wild. Over the past 30 years, their population has dropped by approximately half (at least 48.5%). The survivors have lost most of their homelands; African lions occupy less than one quarter of their historic range.

The steady decline of the African lion has been ignored. No nation or agency has addressed the primary threats—retaliatory killings resulting from human-lion conflict, habitat and prey loss, disease, and unsustainable international trade in lions and lion parts.

America is the largest consumer of lions.

If the African lion is listed as endangered under the ESA, the largest importer of African lion parts will become the species' protector. The U.S. has played an enormous role in the disappearance of the African lion: As African lion populations and range have declined, the number of sport-hunted lion trophies imported to the U.S. has increased dramatically.
What ESA protection can do 
Listing the African lion as endangered under the ESA will
  • Prohibit the import into the U.S. of African lions and their parts, unless for conservation purposes,
  • Be an essential step in reversing the current decline of the African lion, and
  • Heighten awareness of the importance of African lion conservation among foreign governments, conservation organizations, and the general public.
What you can do
African lions need all the help they can get if they are to survive. Support the petition to give African lions ESA protection.

To learn more about the status of lions in the wild:
Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lookie what I made

. Sunday, March 6, 2011

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Vixen Received NOR's Top Pick

. Saturday, March 5, 2011

Night Owl Reviews gave my lion-shifter erotic romance On Vixen four and half stars and the honor of Top Pick! How kick ass is that?! I couldn't be more gaga over the news. ☺

Love, light, and laughter!
Jocelyn Modo

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