Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review: M. G. Hardie's Book Dialogues About Major Issues in America!

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...
"Ebony and Ivory, living in perfect harmony..."
Image via Wikipedia

It Ain't Just The Size

By M. G. Hardie

When a young man in today's world has something he needs to say to America, a memoir won't do, and a novel will detract and limit. M. G. Hardie chose the screenplay format for his new book, It Ain't Just The Size. It is broken up into days, so I tended to read it more like a journal, a diary sharing what had happened during the lives of the characters. Frankly, I was laughing, crying, getting angry, and thoroughly enjoying it!

It Ain't Just The SizeWe all do it--when we get together with family--but mostly friends, we share about anything and everything that's going on that affects "our" world. Lance, the main character, is an ex-con who is now attending classes. He is divorced and has a daughter that he loves very much, but due to problems with his ex-wife, he doesn't have the opportunity to see her as he would like. For a period of time, he was into a lot more, but has been affected by what has happened to him in the past.  He is a very intelligent man who is trying to put his life together and, in doing that, perhaps help others.

As we begin to watch Lance's life, he is breaking off a relationship with two women, the latter are in a gay relationship but they's been including Lance in their exploits. There are four guys he hangs with. Cazz shares an apartment with Lance, so Billy, Eric and Bori roam in and out of that location on a daily basis. There's a lot of talking and kidding about sex, but there are also many serious discussions about the relationship of sex to being in love. These conversations take a decided turn, naturally, when Cess comes back into Lance's life and decides to hang with the guys.

Cess is my kind of female lead--she's able to stand on her own, intelligent and not afraid to display it with the guys and savvy enough to enter into discussions in open, honest dialogue. Even if she does inhibit some of the discussions--and the guys point that out for her to know!

Besides, she has a thing for Lance...

One of the major discussion issues is race; it is written from the point of view of African-Americans. There wasn't anything that I haven't talked about myself, in reverse, although never so vehemently, except...

I was hearing the other side of a discussion. It was real, honest--from the characters standpoint--and perfectly identified the major issues "still" a problem in America and around the world. I thought about the author's book the other evening as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang at the White House, "Ebony and together in perfect harmony..." Will we ever reach that point? I don't know, but reading M. G.'s book is eye-opening, for members of all races...all you have to do is be willing to listen without becoming defensive of your own opinions...

There is also much said about relationships--between men and women. I was grateful to have Cess participate. She spoke for the women, but with 5 to 1, she sometimes had a hard time. Let's face it, there are always going to be communication problems between men and women; however, reading the various opinions coming from 5 men does give readers much to consider about what they think!

My favorite minor character is Bori. I won't tell you why, you'll see! However, he is the main character in the discussion on immigration. In that conversation, he suggests one of the many ideas that are given throughout the book on various topics, ideas that could be considered to improve things in America. For instance, instead of sending illegal immigrants back into horrendous conditions, why not have them serve in the military for a minimum period while they completed all that is necessary to become legal...Interesting concept? I thought so... Bori was also involved one of the times when I got angry because he was jailed just for trying to see his daughter.

The other was when I learned that Lance would never be able to vote because he had been in jail. Now, I'm not saying that everyone in jail should be permitted to vote...but, get real, surely there is such a thing as being rehabilitated and when an ex-con is out, there should be some process for at least voting privileges to be reconsidered...

It was fascinating to watch the relationship between Lance and Cess develop as they argue and discuss issues. It is also exciting to see the evolution of the discussions from the other 4 men as Lance begins to speak and live as he feels he must! M. G. has in both the front and back of his book, written tributes to his grandfather--M. G., let me say that I think your grandfather would be very proud of you and this Lance you have become (the latter purely an assumption on my part!) Or, in other words, proud of your book.

I recently read a novel, by another young man who was writing with an underlying theme to help his friends, and America. Both that man and M. G. have used writing to speak out and share their thoughts and concerns about what they see. I don't profess to have understood every word in M. G.'s book, especially names and about music and clubs; but I saw and understood the concern, empathy, and love this new author is trying to share to improve the world.

In my opinion, It Ain't Just the Size. by M. G. Hardie is an excellent dialogue of today's real and very troublesome issues. If we all can read it, parents, adults, and young adults, with open hearts and minds, I believe you, too, will consider it a must-read! Indeed, you'll find, like I did, that issues addressed in the book come to mind to ponder over and over. By the way, M. G. has a blog that follows and expands on a lot of the material in his book...Consider following it as well as reading the book! A link is provided by clicking the title of this review.

Book Obtained Via
Facebook Reviewers Roundup

G. A. Bixler

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Casting of Sheila's Lowe Last Writes - Movie Coming?

Catherine Zeta Jones at the Hasty Pudding Woma...Image via Wikipedia

Claudie Rose to be Played by Catherine Zeta-Jones

 Last Writes

by: Sheila Lowe

Claudia's friend Kelly learns that she's an aunt when her estranged half-sister Erin shows up in desperate need of help. Erin and her husband have been living as member of The Temple of Brighter Light in an isolated compound. Now Erin's husband and child have disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic note. Using her skills as a forensic handwriting expert, Claudia gains entry to the compound. She has only days to uncover the truth about Kelly's missing niece before a child's life is written off for good...

Claudia Rose

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Erin, Kelly's Sister

Jessica Biel

Harold Stedman

Sean Connery


Hugh Laurie


Cate Blanchett

Lynn Ryder

Sandra Bullock

Martha Elkins

Judi Dench

James Miller

Simon Baker

Rodney, Erin's husband

Jensen Ackles

Tabitha Barton

Rachael Leigh Cook

...but what do you think?

Try It at Story Casting.Com
Used by Permission
Jeff Reid

"for the movie in your mind"

Sheila, I've so enjoyed having you as our spotlighted author for this month! I know your books would make wonderful movies, or at least a television I thought I would cast your latest book! Now, don't think of Javonic as House--think of him as a beautiful blue-eyed cop...I think it works!

What do YOU think Sheila...

Thanks so much for spending time with us here on Book Readers Heaven and on Facebook Reviewers Roundup!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Poetry and Photo by Adolfo Caso; Responsive Poetry from Moi...

Goldenrod (Solidago graminifolia), Berlin, Ger...Image via Wikipedia

by Adolph Caso

An alerting evening breeze
Directs my gaze
Onto a slender solitary plant
Swinging to and fro
Next to the gigantic boulder
Fixed in place
Being reduced
By myriads frozen drops of water
That feed the variegated undergrowth
Surrounding its sturdy mass:

It is a goldenrod,
Ungainly oscillating to the breeze—
A baton pointing to the reed section
Inducing a nascent sound
Of Hayden’s Creation come alive
As though
It were
Preordained by God!

The sounds of strings
Accentuated by horns and snares
Fill my gazed mind:
Fields of goldenrods
Prodded by the wind,
by the gilded light
of the setting sun,
Dancing to multi directional breezes
The sounds and colors soothe my being;
In abandonment,
I feel gentle hands
Rub over my receptive skin.

Oh, Hayden,
You’ve come alive.
My bones are creaking with joy
As I continue to gaze
On the lonely goldenrod
Dancing next to the massive boulder
Imperceptibly moving
To the beat and rhythm
Of its own
Manifest destiny
Going back
To when our earth was created.

My bones creak with joy!

Photo by Adolfo

The Rock

By G. A. Bixler

He stands erect beside me
casting a shadow
to save me from the intense heat
of the afternoon
from the strong winds
that blow so mightily
that I am cast close, shielded
my only protection
from being pulled from this earth...

Silently he watches
while I survey his ridges
the beautiful marbling throughout
that makes him wonderfully unique
majestic in his splendor

He allows my roots to expand
underneath his hugeness
though I'm never afraid
the weight never keeps me
from feeling so free, freely
To dance as the wind
touches me here, there
The rhythms of nature stir
music almost forgotten

Yet, It springs
alive, almost like Spring
begins each new day
I am sheltered by his strength
I can grow toward the sun
knowing my rock's protection...

Shall I live as long as the Rock?

Only as long...

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A Sheila Lowe's article: Keeping Characters Real...

"Part of making a character real
is to give them human frailties,
which means reacting to the
challenging—okay, awful—
things that happen to them
in the plot."


Keeping Characters Real

By Sheila Lowe

I’ve just finished reading a medical thriller by Michael Palmer, which I really enjoyed…until about the last 20%. The protagonist is a doctor who has Asperger’s syndrome, so I learned something about what life is like from behind the eyes of a high functioning “Aspie.” The plot was intriguing, the main characters likeable, and there was a great twist. So what bugged me about that last bit of action?

Without giving anything away, let’s just say that one of the characters has been tortured, yet is able to immediately jump up, do heroic deeds without the injuries interfering at all. Another has come close to drowning, has sustained serious cuts and bruises, but seems to disregard all that and just plunges on. Well, of course adrenaline could account for some of that but really…after torture? This character doesn’t even wince when clothing touches the wounds.

As a mystery writer myself, I fully understand that stories aren’t real life and that characters in books have to do things that ordinary people in the same situation just wouldn’t do. But shouldn’t their experiences leave some mark on them (physical and emotional)? One of my sons broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident. He’s big, tough, and a bodybuilder, but he still feels significant pain from it eighteen months later. In fiction, he’d be jumping from one building to another, regardless of injury or pain, right after the accident.

Seeing people die in horrible ways, maybe even having to kill or seriously injure someone, has got to impact our characters in life-changing ways. In life, if they didn’t deal with such experiences directly, they would likely suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (which could make for all sorts of interesting sub-plots).

We want our readers to identify with our characters, and over time, come to genuinely care about them as if they were old friends. Part of making a character real is to give them human frailties, which means reacting to the challenging—okay, awful—things that happen to them in the plot.

If your protagonist has just faced down a killer and shot him or her, I’d like to know how he feels about it. Is he exhilarated or does he feel guilt? Or is she just plain exhausted by what she’s gone through? If your protagonist was kidnapped and threatened, brutalized, perhaps, when she escapes from the situation, does she begin to feel as if she must now always look over her shoulder? Can she ever feel safe again? Does she have nightmares about what happened to her?

I addressed this issue in Dead Write, where Claudia Rose was still suffering emotionally from traumatic experiences she’d undergone in the previous book, Written in Blood. Having lost a friend to a brutal killer, and after witnessing violent death, and being forced into other frightening situations, Claudia is depressed. She tries to hide it by withdrawing, but the distance she creates causes uneasy ripples in her relationship with her lover, Joel Jovanic. The trauma also brings up painful old memories of a childhood situation that continues to haunt her.

Our protagonists are expected to have a character arc and to have learned something through their experiences. By using what happened in one book as a stepping stone to Claudia’s emotional growth in another, I was able to add to her arc and give her character more humanity. Humans suffer and hopefully, we grow from it. Our characters should, too.


Last Writes is out NOW!

What does an old stuffed bunny have to do with a fundamentalist religious cult and a forensic handwriting expert?

Erin Powers is a member of a religious sect, living in an isolated compound called the Ark. Now her husband and young child have disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic note with a terrifying message. In desperation, Erin seeks help from her estranged sister, Kelly Brennan, who in turn enlists the aid of forensic handwriting expert Claudia Rose. Seizing on an unexpected opportunity to use her professional skills, Claudia becomes one of the few outsiders ever to be invited inside the cult compound. With time fast running out, Claudia must uncover the truth about Kelly’s missing niece before the prophecy of a secret ancient parchment can be fulfilled and a child’s life is written off for good…

Last Writes: A Forensic Handwriting Mystery

Reblogged from Susie Kline

Stop on by Motherhoot: Moaning, Groaning & Laughing About Family Life!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: A Must-Read by Paul Nemeth

Wolf Fire
"I rubbed my eyes, wondering if what I was seeing was real...The wolf was huge, and handsome, with snowy hair. I would have been taken with his beauty, if not for the fact he didn't belong in a hospital room...he'd never been in any of the nightmares I'd had here since... The wolf, the warg, watched our...grief. He cocked his head when he heard me crying...I'd been torn up with grief, but now it was gone, replaced with anger...Fury was born September 15, 1984...
(p. 126-127)
Image by Furryscaly via Flickr

Cataclysm Children

By Paul Nemeth

If I were a parent, or a concerned adult, there are some books about which I would want to be told. Paul Nemeth has written such a book--Cataclysm Children. Some will call it a great action, suspense book. It is that. Some might call it a horror of some time in the past or the future. It is that too.

I call it a warning--a wake-up call! If you haven't already heard it by events such as Columbine I urge you to read this book!

Cataclysm ChildrenI am not an alarmist; I am a realist...

The book begins in 1991 when Rabbi Avram Levin has been attacked, the synagogue burned. When the police arrive, they find, not what they expected--a swastika.

Instead, they found a Pentagram and in the center was a wolf.

The Rabbi only remembered that he had seen two slithering figures, with clown-white skin and long black hair, with rune-like designs on their face. They looked like demons to him.

The Rabbi had met the Brotherhood of the Wolf...

Moving back and forth in time, readers learn that the Brotherhood had been started in the late 80s. One of the members had murdered Father Dermott Cavanaugh in Hadley, Colorado and was now in prison.

He had been turned in by one of his brothers...

In 2003 Danny Andrews was making his way to class when he was picked up and thrown against the wall by two jocks. He was being punished once again based upon stupid rules established by those who wore the blue shirts, most of those were athletes or those that associated with them. The teacher who saw the incident turned and quickly went back to class. Danny and his friends had no choice but to ignore it; the administrators would do nothing against the blue shirts--it would be Danny or his few friends who would be punished, just because they were not athletes.

Danny had once gone to church, but almost gagged when he had seen Haversmith was a member. Danny figured that anybody who was as mean spirited as Randy Haversmith was, but was involved in church, then he didn't want to participate there. Danny was a musician and had formed a band with his friends, DJ and Tim. They had discovered an old abandoned mansion and used it to practice. Actually, Charon had taken them to the place.

Charon was an older guy, but he knew what it was all about. He brought beer for the boys and supported their efforts and listened to them... Like many families, Danny's father worked all the time. He had remarried and his new wife was totally involved with their baby. Danny lived in the basement since he really had no relationship to his step-mother and his father was never at home. Most nights, he would sneak in and out through the window to be with his friends until early morning.

Charon spoke to the boys as a friend, and bad-mouthed everybody else, except one. He introduced them to Satan and explained how he spoke for them... Charon, however, was only passing on what he himself had been taught years ago, before The Brotherhood had broken up when one of the leaders went to jail...

In fact, Charon spoke to many small groups such as with Danny and he taught them much--he invited them to become a part of a brotherhood...The Brotherhood of the Wolf... None of the boys or girls in the small groups knew any of the others. But they knew that one day hundreds of teenagers would be brought together to work as a group. In the meantime, they were given tests to become members. Such as placing bombs under random cars and blowing them up. Or, burning down any church of any religious group.

Fortunately, one day when a teacher, who was also the football coach, was roughing Danny up in the hall, they were seen by a new guidance counselor. Mary Anne Allen had come to the school as a teacher, but the principal had talked her into taking the administrative job. Now, when she started questioning what was happening, he couldn't very well remove her! Also fortunately for Danny, his uncle, who he didn't even know existed, had come to visit. As Danny talked to both Mary Anne and Ian Andrews, he began to question what he had become involved in.

Especially when he learned who his uncle was...

Paul Nemeth has written an exciting book that provides a climax so amazing that you will have teenagers talking about it... Indeed we adults will love the drama as well, and hopefully will be sharing the book with our children and discussing it with them...There's nothing wrong with a fantastic book also having an underlying theme! Parents, I believe this is a must-read for you and your older teenagers; tell me I'm wrong--read Cataclysm Children by Paul Nemeth...and let's talk!

Book Via Facebook's
Reviewers Roundup

G. A. Bixler

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Wolf Fire

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Excellent & Fascinating Article: Can Handwriting Reveal A Serial Killer?

Drawing of a clown by serial killer John Wayne...Image via Wikipedia
The Graveyard Shift
There are no perfect crimes, merely imperfect investigations

Can Handwriting Reveal A Serial Killer?

By Sheila Lowe

Sheila Lowe is a forensic handwriting expert with more than forty years of experience in the field. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and is the author of several published books including Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, as well as Sheila Lowe’s Handwriting Analyzer software.

Her first mystery novel, Poison Pen, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and introduces forensic handwriting expert, Claudia Rose, who uses her handwriting analysis skills to help solve crimes. for information about handwriting analysis. http://www.claudiaroseseries/.com to read a sample chapter and view a book trailer. continuing education for marriage and family therapists and licensed clinical social workers.

Can Handwriting Reveal a Serial Killer?

He was handsome, charismatic, captivating. He was convicted of the rape and murder of ten women in Florida. He’d probably raped at least fifty.

As with other violent crimes, serial murder is on the increase. Between 1900-1950, an average of 1.2 cases a year were recorded. In 1960 there were 12 cases. By the 1980s this offense had jumped to an average of two cases a month. Since 1977 more than two hundred serial killers have been convicted, with well over a thousand victims between them. More than 80% of all serial murders have occurred in less than 30 years.

Like others of his ilk, serial murderer Robert Joseph Long managed to elude capture over a lengthy period–how? Because he was able to look and act pretty much like the average guy. He knew how to fit into society and appear like the rest of us. But his handwriting held clues that pointed to pathological behavior.

Most people agree that the way a person walks says a lot about him. Someone who swaggers into a room, for example, has a very different personality from one who diffidently creeps along, hugging the wall. Researchers tell us that facial expressions are interpreted the same way the world over, and one’s tone of voice indicates his mood. Similarly, handwriting is a projective behavior akin to body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, and it reveals important information about motivation and personality, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Having said that, let me be very clear that there is no such thing as a “criminal handwriting.” In an attempt to identify patterns of similarity in the handwritings of serial killers, I examined the handwritings of a number of notorious murderers. What I discovered was, there was no direct “this-means-that” correlation of a personality trait to a handwriting characteristic; it was far more subtle than that.

It would have been handy if we could neatly package up a syndrome of traits and instantly identify a serial killer or any other type of criminal, but what actually manifests in handwriting are red flags for certain types of pathological behavior, or the potential for it. Because what we see written on a sheet of paper is like a photograph of the past, the handwriting professional can make some extrapolations, but cannot absolutely predict future behavior.

With the exception of Wesley Allan Dodd, the handwritings available for my examination were written after incarceration, when these men and women were forced to toe the mark and curb their deadly appetites. The restraint they had to practice–the need to follow strict prison rules–had an effect on their handwriting, making it appear far more rigid and controlled than in the time leading up to a kill, when their murderous rage was building to a breaking point.

Robert Joseph Long, mentioned in the introduction to this article, has been described as “shockingly brutal.” He beat, raped, and strangled his victims. Long’s handwriting is rigid to an extreme, seen in the tight, angular forms, which indicates a lack of emotional release. Positive emotional release would be seen in a balance of rounded and angular forms. Note the extremely long t-crosses. This straight horizontal movement, combined with the rigidity, reveals his need to dominate and control others.

Wesley Allan Dodd, executed at his own request by hanging in 1993, kept a diary during the time he was killing little boys. His handwriting during the time leading up to a killing is far more “released” (though not in a positive way) and expansive than the second sample, written after he was convicted. You don’t have to be a handwriting expert to see the difference in the two samples. The second one is reminiscent of Bob Long’s, highly controlled and rigid, while the first is out of control.

Serial murder is not confined to male perpetrators. Aileen Wuornos, the subject of the movie, Monster, was executed in 2002 for the deaths of seven men. Christine Slaughter Falling (talk about an appropriate name!), whose handwriting appears below, is a very different personality type, but just as deadly. She was accused of killing at least six infants and toddlers she babysat, and was convicted of three counts of murder in 1982, receiving a life sentence that made her eligible for parole in 25 years. In an interview for CNN in 1992, Falling was asked what she would do if released. Her answer: she would like to babysit again, because, “I love kids to death.” She was denied parole in 2006.

Her handwriting sample, written after 10 years of incarceration, is the polar opposite of Dodd’s and Long’s. The extreme roundedness of the writing and the large size, suggest an egocentric person who was constantly seeking love and approval (though clearly, not in healthy ways). The letters “M” on “Me” and “R” on “really” are made in such a way that they look like an X. Such forms are often made by people with a death consciousness, sometimes by one who has experienced a death close to them, or perhaps have received a serious diagnosis of physical illness. In Falling’s case, perhaps her responsibility for the deaths of several young children was on her mind–though not her conscience. This handwriting specimen wasn’t made by someone with a conscience.

Another fairly rare characteristic in Falling’s handwriting is seen in some of the upper loops, such as the “l” on “letter,” which are made in the shape of a candle flame. The flame-shaped upper loop is often seen in one who has sustained a blow to the head. It’s known that when Christine was 8 years old, her mother (who was a 16 year-old-prostitute when Christine was born), hit her in the head with a two-by-four, after which she began having seizures. These flame-shaped loops are often created by those who tend to see the world quite differently than most of us do.

Most, if not all, serial killers came from childhoods where they were abused and/or neglected. Yet, comparatively few abused children grow up to be killers or engage in other types of crime. Many factors, both nature and nurture come into play. Genetics, environment, and the individual’s personal responses to a variety of experiences blend together to determine the outcome.

Handwriting, like personality, is made up of thousands of variables. In order to make any kind of objective assessment, it is important to study the whole picture, not just bits and pieces. The characteristics described above were viewed within the context of larger samples of writing, and are intended only as an teaser to what kinds of information are revealed. Handwriting cannot tell everything about the writer, but it can open a window into the mind, both of the criminal and the “normal” person. Some psychologists find it helps them to get a rapid grasp on what makes a person tick–whether the writer is motivated by the need for power, the need for security, the need to be loved, etc. Especially when used in conjunction with other personality assessment instruments, handwriting analysis can be an important tool for understanding the human psyche.

* * *

Q: I noticed that all the samples you gave were in script (cursive?). Have you seen any samples by people such as those you mentioned, who primarily write in print? I’m wondering what it might mean if someone prefers print over cursive handwriting.

R: There is a definite tendency toward printing these days, but that’s not a problem for the handwriting professional. Printing is done for a variety of reasons, but bottom line, it has the effect of attempting to cover up emotions (provide control) and it breaks the bonds between oneself and others. Think of the connection between letters as reaching out to touch someone else. Schools are not teaching cursive much anymore, which has an effect on behavior (see and reading skills because the specific hand movements a child learns when beginning to write have an effect on the areas of the brain that develop self-control.

Q: Thank you, definitely a fascinating way to help with evaluation. As long as the individual takes to heart your message that this is not “direct “this-means-that” correlation.” In how young a person would handwriting be a useful tool? I ask because I found that with my college students their handwriting could be useful for pointers when something didn’t seem quite right.

R. Even young children can be analyzed using specific types of drawings e.g., “Draw a house, a tree, a person.” The interpretation of these correlate very well with handwriting analysis. College students certainly are good candidates for analysis, even though they are still developing their personalities.

There are some schools of handwriting analysis who do believe in a direct one-to-one correlation of handwriting characteristic = personality trait. However, I use the gestalt method of analysis, which looks at the whole picture of writing: the spatial arrangement on the page, the form (the way it looks), and the writing “movement,” which encompasses things like rhythm, speed, pressure, and many other aspects of writing. I’m glad you’re able to spot flags in your students handwriting. That can help head off problems before they explode.

Q: Does a person’s handwriting get worse as they get older? My writing was always very neat, but not anymore. Of course it could be that I’m just always in a hurry!

R:  It’s a really individual thing. As we age, various health conditions may begin to affect handwriting. Parkinson’s, for example, creates what’s call micrographia, which is basically tiny, shaky writing. Someone who remains in excellent health into old age wouldn’t have deteriorated handwriting.

There’s also the fact that we may become more relaxed and just not care as much, which will have an effect. Or it could just be that you’re in a hurry… Who said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar : )

Basically, handwriting changes to reflect our inner responses to various life experiences. That’s why it can be important for a handwriting analyst to have health information (mental and physical) about the writer in order to prepare the most accurate analysis.

Q: I am a Design student, currently studying in Bath Spa university. I met a graphologist completely by chance a while ago and it struck me how much he could tell about my personality, and what may have shaped it. Just by looking at my sketchbook. This inspired me and I have been reading up since and descovered the darker side of handwriting anlysis and criminals. I have now been offered the opportunity on my graphic design degree to incorporate this into a project. I was wondering if anyone would possibly be able and willing to help me with my idea.

I was wondering if it would be possible for you to answer a few questions about the subject

- Have you worked on a live case, if so could you give me some details and explain how you felt and how it affected you?

- Is there any specific traits in people handwriting that ring alarm bells for you?

- Do you believe that people can change their personality by changing their handwriting?

- What's the most interesting thing in this area for you?

R: I have been involved in a few murder cases as a handwriting expert, but mostly my work in that area is when something comes up in the media, such as the Clark Rockefeller case. I try to stay objective, regardless of what I’m working on, but there are times when it’s hard not to be affected.

A very important thing to understand about handwriting is that no single trait stands on its own. It has to be viewed with everything else that’s going on in the sample. In my book, HandwriThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, there’s an entire chapter devoted to some of the “red flags” for potentially dangerous behavior. One especially difficult combination is very heavy writing pressure and a strong writing slant, as they often point to an explosive personlity (but that’s a generalization).

People can changes aspects of their personality by doing handwriting exercises, but they are only able to bring out traits that are part of their nature–it’s not like magic :)

The most interesting thing–that’s hard to answer. I’ve been in this field for more than 40 years and have analyzed at least 15,000 handwritings. I suppose the forensic cases, especially when children are involved, are the most affecting and interesting.

Sheila Lowe

(Thanks for permission to reblog from this site!)

Permission from:
Lee Lofland
Writers' Police Academy

Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide For Writers

The Graveyard Shift

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: 1st Book in New Trilogy by Brenda Novak OUT TODAY!

White HeatWhite Heat

By Brenda Novak

ISBN: 9780778327950
442 Pages

Looking for something new? Like Trilogies? Then plan on getting White Heat by Brenda Novak OUT TODAY!

And...the next two books in this new trilogy will be out:

Body HeatBody Heat in  September!

Killer HeatKiller Heat in October!

Watch for reviews of all 3 books during August as Brenda is spotlighted by Book Reader's Heaven!

I loved the slow, intense buildup of the relationship between lead characters, Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop in Brenda Novak, novel, White Heat...that's out TODAY! As shown above, it is also the first in a new trilogy, with the next two books coming out in the next two months! Cool scheduling, Brenda!

All I have to say is that Rachel Jessop has a lot of guts--to be able to face Nate Ferrentino after what she did and work with him on a special assignment for Department 6, a private security contractor. Like the fool that women can be, Rachel loved Nate and thought it was she made plans to meet him one night--in his bed...

Men! That's all I'm going to say about Nate, even if he is gorgeous and not as bad as it sounds from Rachel's point of view...

Nate had been assigned the task of going undercover among members of a cult, which was considered dangerous. It wasn't too much different than many such groups--you know, lots of orders to be obeyed blindly and lots of sex, especially for the leader, Ethan Wycliff. Wycliff had formed the Church of the Covenant, one who taught that the world was coming to an end and if you wanted to be movin' on with the approximately 200 at the appropriate time, you had to be branded... on the forehead...

The group had been formed during college days and meant to be a joke so that all the no-nos of religion could be permitted, including drugs for instance. But then word spread, and the power that comes along for a leader was, perhaps, the most addictive for Wycliff. So after college, he set out to find a place for his group to continue and had bought an old ghost town--Paradise, Arizona.

The problem was that there was at least one of the original group dead, supposedly in an accident. And, now it had been reported that a woman was almost killed when she was stoned! Another young girl had disappeared and her parents were sure she had been involved with the cult...

Nate was ready to move in, but the group only accepted married couples, thus Rachel was assigned as Nate's partner, over both of their objections!

It was fun to watch these two as they began to "play house" as a couple. Nate found an old trailer for them to live in, along with the lack of electricity, running water, and a wonderful "outhouse." In fact, moving into Paradise would seem like a dream... Of course, Wycliff was quite taken with Rachel and interested in her more so than, an argument was staged and Rachel went into the town on her own! Readers will enjoy how Nate reacts, even getting several people from the outside town community involved!

But no way around it...Nate was jealous of the "wife" he had to live with. OK, Rachel got a little steamed once in awhile too!

What they found there was unbelievable! And when Wycliff announced that he had found the "Vessel" for his "mating ceremony," let's just say that Wycliff's secret male lover was furious!

Action, romantic suspense at its hottest! White Heat sizzles with white heat between Nate and Rachel while the black heat in the hearts of Wycliff and his leaders will keep readers up all night if necessary to find out how the story ends! I highly recommend you get the first in this trilogy by Brenda Novak and pre-order the next two...

And, Psssst, you just may wind up with white heat on your lips as you follow my blog for August and watch for contests!

Book Received Via

G. A. Bixler

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Visit the Caribbean Where Drug Lord Rules!

Aruba - beautiful Caribbean islandImage by Travelling Pooh via Flickr
Shadow Cay

By Leona Bodie

It was a beautiful setting, a beautiful island--but it was more than that, it was in the perfect location. It could be controlled and could be accessed by those coming in from Columbia. Movement on to the United States was then easily handled.  Rico Salazar was excited that he had found the perfect place for his drug operation!

Shadow CayOf course, to keep it safe and secure, he had regular patrols in the area to prevent random access by pleasure crafts and local fisherman. The locals had learned the hard way to keep away from the area. Those that ventured in were soon eliminated; their boats taken or sold.

A fisherman, his wife and daughter was one of those who decided to fish in this area. Madeleine Nesbitt, the 16-year-old daughter who had dreams in which premonitions came to her, begged her parents not to go, but they wouldn't listen. When the trouble began, her father told Madeleine to quickly and quietly go over the side. While she was saved at that time, she was later discovered and taken to the Island where she was immediately raped by Salazar. Fortunately she was very intelligent and had used a different name so that no connection was made to her parents.

Madeleine quickly realized what she must do to stay alive. She would play a part. So successful was she that she was quickly put to work and gained additional and broader assignments that revealed Salazar's growing trust. At the same time, she was arranging "problems" when she could as part of her own revenge. Then  one day, she was the only one who was available to make a delivery to the US. She made it, sold the drugs--and disappeared. Rico soon had everybody looking for her. She was the only woman that had become important to him and to whom he had shared much. Now she had betrayed him; she would pay with her life...

Returning to her own name, she bought a condo and tried to begin a new life. It is at this point that the concurrent storylines merged completely. For Madeleine starts to work for AJ Hartman, a corporate medical leader who made and sold pacemakers. And there she meets Peter Duncan, a recently hired administrator who has been caught in the web of deceit and murder that now forces him to search for some way to prove what he has discovered!

All of the story is twisted together in ways that those involved in criminal enterprises routinely do. Salazar has funded AJ Hartman's company and now uses it for money laundering; Salazar "takes care of" difficult problem people for Hartman, etc., But the thing is, there are always good people who are working to stop men like Salazar and AJ Hartman--and that's where readers become involved in the continuous action and suspense of what these men are willing to do for the money; and those who work to stop them! You will travel from the United States to the Bahamas and on to Columbia as the DEA, government officials and the police work to stop the Salazar Multi-Billion Dollar Drug Empire!

Lovers of adventure will enjoy following the drugs, the money...and the fast-action hunt that highlights today's criminal world! Who will win in the deadly fight this time? Read Shadow Cay by Leona Bodie!

WRB Books
ISBN: 9780984419814
482 Pages

Book Obtained Through
Bostick Communications

G. A. Bixler

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