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Overseas Travel Adventures

I just spent the best nine days on overseas travel adventures. My younger son, Ben, the avowed bachelor, got married. He’s a pop star who performs around the world. But after meeting Tuba, a Turkish-German woman who is utterly gorgeous inside and out, he “traded in his leather pants for a polo shirt.” This article tells the tale.

The wedding was in Bad Hamburg, a quaint little town with 500-year-old buildings, and could not have been more perfect. My ex-husband and I even got along for four whole days. That was a 40-year record.

The UK leg

Life imitating art, like my character Claudia Rose in Outside the Lines, I was invited to present a lecture at the prestigious British Institute of Graphologists. So, the day after the wedding I flew to the UK, my home country. My first solo international flight. Woo hoo!

That first night, when I opened the door to my hotel room at the meeting venue I had to laugh. It literally was the size of a walk-in closet. In this photo, which I took from the doorway, you can see that the headboard and footboard of the twin bed touched each wall. The bathroom fixtures didn’t quite work the way they should, but it was all part of the adventure. There was lovely English tea, and a chocolate bar on the desk. I woke up in that tiny bed on Sunday morning, thinking to myself, “I’m in London!!! I’m home!”

Happily, the lecture went as well as the wedding. It was lovely to see old friends and colleagues, too. Adam Brand, the Director of BIG, was kind enough to see me to the train station. I was off to Sidcup, Kent.

If you’ve ever traveled the London Underground (the Tube) you will have heard the “Mind the Gap” announcements as you board the train.

On to Kent

I stayed there a couple of days with my friend Janet, whose bangers and mash are the best. She went back to London with me, where I was meant to do research for my work in print whilst in the UK (look how my English accent came back straight away). I’ve written elsewhere about the importance of going to a location to give a story verisimilitude. But it was not until I was right at Charing Cross Station that I ‘got’ why the bomb scene I’d written was not going to work. Being there really does make all the difference. Luckily, I saw how to fix it.

Later, we were in Eltham High Street, gorging on sausage rolls and scones when I got a text from Lufthansa. My flight the next day had been cancelled. The pilots had gone on strike. Arrrgggghhhhhhhhh.

Screaming Baby Airlines

Long story short, I got the last seat on a flight to the US. Had I known I was booking on Screaming Baby Airlines (otherwise known as Norwegian Air), I would have stayed in the UK another day. Who knew that a one-year-old baby girl could shriek at the top of her lungs for most of 12.5 hours straight? I’m not kidding.

First, though, we sat on the runway for an hour at Heathrow. The captain announced that a passenger was “not fit to fly” and needed to be escorted off the plane. It turned out that meant he was “stinking drunk.”

The minute we took off, the baby started. Why was she screaming? It wasn’t that the cabin pressure was hurting her ears–that would be understandable and draw sympathy. But no. She’d just learned to walk and thought it would be fun to run up and down the aisle. That’s not allowed while airborne, so everyone within earshot got to know how irate she was. For the entire flight and beyond. Here’s a bit of irony: at the ticket counter, the very nice agent had said, “Let’s see if we can find you a better seat.” Little did we know that the “better” seat would be right next to said screaming baby.

So, I plugged in my earphones and watched Gone Girl for the second time. After that, The Interns. Then a show about animals. By then, my ears were bleeding (okay, it felt like it). The young man next to me had his fingers stuck in his ears.

Back in L.A.

Arriving at LAX after the 10 hour flight (plus the hour waiting on the drunk passenger) we were stuck at the gate for 90 minutes more, waiting for an Air France flight to move. By 8:45 PM when we deplaned (oh, that’s when the baby stopped screaming and went to sleep), I’d been awake 24 hours and was close to freaking out. The very last shuttle home to Ventura (60 miles west of LAX) was at 9:30. After a lengthy walk to Customs and Immigration, I found that because I’m not a US citizen, there was not one, not two, but three loooong lines to go through. Can someone tell me the point of having to show the same documents three times in the same facility? Then the fingerprint reader wouldn’t accept mine. Thank goodness I only had carry-on luggage.

I threw myself on the mercy of the Customs agents, who were nice, and made it to the shuttle with 10 minutes to spare. And since I got home safely, I was happy. Hey, at least I wasn’t on the BEA flight that burst into flames in Las Vegas just before take off the day before! Any safe landing is a good landing.

VE Day – 75 years

King George, VE Day

May 8, 1945. During the reign of Britain’s King George VI, the Allies celebrated the defeat of Hitler and the Nazis. This date became recognized as VE Day: Victory in Europe.

Last Friday, May 8th, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, I received an early morning request from a UK publication. Prince Charles was to read an excerpt from the diary of his grandfather, King George (the one from the movie The King’s Speech!). They wanted to know whether I could provide a handwriting analysis of both Royals for an article that would be published at the same time.

Express UK

I had woken up in the night, sick, and was feeling pretty cruddy by the time I read the email. Still, far be it from me to turn down an opportunity for some free publicity. And it was flattering to be asked. As you may know, I’m from England but have lived in the US for most of my life. I still consider myself a Brit and wanted to participate in the celebration.

The only handwriting the reporter had found of the King’s was his signature, which is not sufficient, even for a quickie analysis–which is all the media really wants. I found a sample on Google Images and another of Prince Charles, whose handwriting I’ve always liked. So, if you would like to see what I had to say about these two very different men, click here to go to the article. I hope you enjoy my comments.

Also, my latest book Proof of Life came out in audiobook format. I have some free Audible codes for it and some others of my Claudia Rose series. Contact me if you’d like one (first come, first served).

If you are interested in learning more about analyzing handwriting, the e-version of my book, Reading Between the Lines: Decoding Handwriting, is free to download until May 13, 2020. Enjoy! www.sheilalowe.com

Kindness Matters

Kindness Matters happens to be the name of a radio show on which I recently appeared as a guest. One of the hosts, Lloyd Brock, is a longtime handwriting analyst, stage hypnotist, and retired Treasury agent. Way back in the 1990s, he contacted me with a questioned document case that he was unable to do because it conflicted with his job.

Since then, Lloyd has had me on his show a couple of times. Here’s a link to the latest discussion: I would have been on video with them, but there were technical difficulties, so we did my part on the phone.

I love the theme of the show. Especially these days, when it’s so easy to be anonymously snarky and mean on various social media platforms, we need to be reminded that kindness matters. I love it when I can re-post stories of random acts of kindness. One I posted today is about a 15-year-old Texas boy who bought a Valentine flower for every girl in his school (172 of them). He had noticed the year before that not everyone got a recognition. This was his beautiful remedy.

Kindness matters in handwriting, too. While there is no “this-means-that” in handwriting, some features point to kindness more than others. For example, some curves balanced with straight lines and a moderate slant. Features that point away from kindness are extremely heavy pressure combined with many angles and sharp strokes, especially when there is also an extreme slant.

Where to learn more

But those are generalities. A handwriting professional always looks at the whole handwriting when making an assessment. Here’s a link to my other website for more information. And here’s a link to the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation. This wonderful nonprofit organization is more than 50 years old. I’m currently the president, so a bit prejudiced. But you won’t find another handwriting analysis organization that offers more free resources to its members.

News

I’m now working on the next Claudia Rose book, Dead Letters. In actual fact, writing this blog post allows me to procrastinate working on a difficult chapter. I’ve also just finished re-editing What She Saw with the help of Betty Almeida’s eagle eye. Readers had pointed out errors (typos and stuff) 🙁 While correcting them I found bits that I wanted to rewrite–like the whole first page. So, hopefully, my excellent publishers, Suspense, will soon have the new version up on Amazon.

And now, no more procrastinating…

From the mysteries in handwriting to mystery writing

Today, I was a guest blogger for Anne Louise Bannon on the mysteries of handwriting. Anne is the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime and a fellow author, so it was an honor to be invited to write something for her.

I decided to use the opportunity to talk about how I went from the mysteries of handwriting to mystery writing. My work as a handwriting analyst, uncovering the mysteries of personality has been intriguing. But the fact is, after so many years in that field, I was ready to kill someone. Obviously, not literally. Doing it on the page is enough excitement for me. It was quite a leap from my first career as a forensic handwriting examiner to mystery writer. If you would like to know how it all came about, click on this link.

In other news, watch for updates about my next book, Dead Letters, coming in late summer 2021.

This is an old blog post and having given my website a facelift, I’m attempting to improve the SEO. I’m going back over some of the older posts. If you are reading this paragraph, I apologize. I needed to add some words, and here they are.

National Handwriting Day

In the 1980s, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association designated January 23rd as National Handwriting Day. The birthday of John Hancock marks the occasion. Why John Hancock? Because he wrote his signature on the Declaration of Independence big and bold. The story may be apocryphal, but legend has it that he signed it that way so King George could read it without his spectacles!

Other countries may not be invested in celebrating American independence but want to honor handwriting, too, so the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF) suggests we expand National Handwriting Day. We’ve now made it International Handwriting Week.

We encourage everyone to find a way to celebrate with us. Take a picture of your handwriting and post it on your social media like I did. You can click here to see it. Or make a “pencil toast,” selfie like mine below. Just hold up your pencil and smile.

The SoCal chapter of AHAF’s meeting on Saturday, January 25th will mark the occasion. The public is always welcome to our meetings and there is no fee. Attendees bring snacks to enjoy together during the break. We meet at the EP Foster Library, 651 E. Main Street, Ventura CA, in the Topping room. Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon. Learn what your handwriting says about you. Join us!

If you are interested in learning more about handwriting analysis, please take a look at my nonfiction books. Readers of my Forensic Handwriting Mystery series say they learn a lot about handwriting, too.

Be sure to check my events calendar to see where else you might find me.

New books about handwriting

The big news today is about the other side of my other career. I’ve just published three new books about handwriting.

After 18 years as an international bestseller, my first book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis (2nd Edition), went out of print. Readers around the world have written to me, saying it helped them understand handwriting better. Graphology teachers use it to teach classes, too. So, I spent over 100 hours rewriting it. I added new samples of celebrity handwriting and gave it a new name: Reading Between the Lines: Decoding HandwritingSo far, handwriting analysts like even better than the first book.

That inspired me to combine seven of my monographs into a second book: Advanced Studies in Handwriting Psychology. This book is a deeper dive into personality through handwriting. Complex topics include childhood sexual abuse in adult handwriting, addictive personality, defense mechanisms, serial killers, and more.

The third book is Personality & Anxiety Disorders: How they may be reflected in handwriting and other important topics. It’s based on a series of online classes.

The book is about personality and anxiety disorders described in the DSM-IV. If you are a psychologist, you’ll know that’s the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual. Since then, the DSM-V came out, but its unpopularity led me to leave it as-is.

New formats, too

All three books are available in paperback and e-books, which makes it easy to look things up.

Amazon purchase links

Reading Between the lines: e-book, print book

Advanced Studies in Handwriting Psychology: e-book, print book

Personality & Anxiety Disorders: e-book, print book

Succeeding in the Business of Handwriting Analysis: e-book, print book

Where have I been?

Where have I been since my last blog post a month ago? There’s a good reason for my absence. I’ve been working my butt off to finish my new book, PROOF OF LIFE. Last Sunday night around midnight, I sent the manuscript Suspense, my publisher. Monday, I was brain dead and could barely move. By evening I looked like someone strangled me–stress rash. On Tuesday, I rewrote the last two pages. The big challenge now is to keep my hands off Proof of Life until my editor at Suspense sends comments a few weeks from now.

Today, I’m beginning to feel halfway human. I’ve been answering 70+ emails that piled up while I was elbows-down. Remember the Tribbles on the original Star Trek? Little balls of fur that proliferated astonishingly fast? That’s how emails are. The minute you send one off, ten more arrive. When I’m on a deadline and need to get something done, I have to discipline myself to power down Outlook and pretend it doesn’t exist for a while. That’s so hard to do!!!

Freddy Mercury

Again…where have I been? In the middle of it all, I took an afternoon off to go to the movies. Busy raising 3 kids on my own, I was never aware of Freddie Mercury or Queen. That is, unless they were one of the bands I used to yell at my daughter to “turn that noise down.” Bohemian Rhapsody, whether or not it accurately portrayed the goings on, was really good. It roused my interested in Freddie and I looked for his handwriting.

You probably want to know what it says about him, right? Freddie was 43 at the time of writing. Take into account that it’s lyrics and may be written faster than normal. The writing is highly simplified. Most extra strokes that are taught in school are stripped away, a sign of someone who cuts to the chase, gets right down to basics. He could be extremely impatient.

The extra-wide spaces between words point to his feeling isolated. However, the capital I in the 10th line down makes me smile, as it reminded me of Freddie’s strut. English is the only language (besides Cyrillic) where a single letter represents the personal pronoun I, so that letter is quite significant. It reveals much about how one sees themselves.

One other aspect I’ll point out is in the second line from the bottom. The letter “g” at the end of “living” pulls strongly to the right, symbolic of Freddie’s difficulty with male authority figures (his father, a boss, etc.). He pushed against anyone who tried to tell him what to do.

If handwriting isn’t proof of life, I don’t know what is :-).

There’s lots more, of course, but that’s enough for now.

Written Off

Written Off book 7

Written Off

Written Off is the seventh book in the Forensic Handwriting Suspense series. I’ve written about serial murderers in Advanced Studies in Handwriting Psychology. Some are female, and that intrigued me. Not wanting to write the same old serial killer story, it was more interesting to address what might bring a woman to perpetrate such evil acts. My object was not to excuse her behavior, but to offer some explanation.

One of the characters appears in the next one, too, Proof of Life. Funny how fictional characters let an author know what they want.

Written Off

In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine. Her task: retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker. The author, Professor Madeleine Maynard, was, herself, brutally murdered. While searching for the manuscript, Claudia uncovers a shocking secret about a group of mentally unstable grad students. Selected for a special project, and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs,” she wonders if Madeleine had been conducting research that was at best, unprofessional—and at worst, downright harmful, and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly?

Claudia finds herself swept up in the mystery of Madeleine’s life—and death—and makes it her mission to hunt down Madeleine’s killer. But she soon realizes Madeleine left behind more questions than answers, and no shortage of suspects. The professor’s personal life yields a number of persons who might have wanted her dead—and her academic success and personal fortune clearly made her the envy of fellow faculty members. The University where she worked anticipates being the beneficiary of Madeline’s estate—but that seems in question when a charming stranger, claiming to be Madeleine’s nephew, turns up brandishing a new will.

When the local police chief prevails upon Claudia to travel into town to examine the newly produced, handwritten will, she meets Sage Boles, a man with a mysterious past. Back at Madeleine’s isolated house to escape an impending storm, Claudia becomes trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.

Praise for Written Off

“A simply riveting read from cover to cover. ‘Written Off’ by Sheila Lowe is an impressively entertaining and deftly crafted novel of suspense from a novelist with a complete mastery of the genre and a genuine flair for originality.” —Midwest Book Review

Voted Book of the Month by LASR Readers

Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous

Famous & InfamousMy second book was Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous. After the success of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis in 2000, I was contacted by a publisher who asked me to write analyses of well-known people through history. The book has handwriting samples and my comments on historical figures, celebrities, politicians and convicted criminals. From Galileo to Princess Diana to Hitler. Politicians, musicians, serial killers and other fascinating characters. It’s a cool coffee table book, and more than that, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous also offers tidbits about handwriting analysis.

There have been several iterations as it changed publishers, so the cover on Amazon may be different from this original one seen here.

Click on the pictures below to find handwriting samples written by Donald Trump in 1992. The third one is Princess Diana. The last is Ted Bundy, who was executed for serial murder. Trump’s handwriting hasn’t changed in 30, except his signature has become far more angular (aggressive). Princess Diana’s rounded handwriting points to an emotionally-based person who needed approval. Ted Bundy’s handwriting has some terrifying red flags for pathological behavior. See if you can guess where to find these characteristics in their handwriting.