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So excited that Dynamic Duo–Catherine & Donald are here to talk about their latest book–

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Hi Catherine & Donald. Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about your latest release, THE PROMISED ONE. Now when you write as a team, you go by the name, C.D. Hersh, is that correct?

Yes, that is correct.

Could you tell a little about yourselves and what was the catalyst for this series?

We’ve been writing together for a little over 16 years, starting out with skits and plays for our church. We moved on to romance books because of one Catherine suggested Donald read. While reading, he said that the male characters did not act or sound like men and he thought we could write them better.

The catalyst for the series happened during a trip, where we often plot to pass the time. We were reading road signs, brainstorming book ideas. We came up with several book ideas, but the one that caught our interest came from a road sign in New York State pointing to a place called Turning Stone. That idea just took off for us.

How many books do you plan to write for The Turning Stone Chronicles?

We originally planned six but with some recent revisions in our story plan we currently see it as a five book series.

Being a husband & wife team who collaborate together on books, could you explain how that works—do you divide the writing into sections or do you work in tandem?

This varies depending on what we are writing. For our current series we are plotters. Together we lay out each character’s story arc. One of the things Donald always looks for is having two plot lines, one major and the other minor, but woven together. On our next book in the series we even have the chapters and scene changes plotted by character. Once the plotting is accomplished, Catherine sits down and fleshes out the story. Then Donald critiques each line after Catherine has it on paper. Then together we do line-by-line edits before showing to anyone.

Throughout this process we have an agreement that anything we are talking about is not about each other’s creative or writing ability, since the discussion of what a character would do can get a little heated. We’ve managed to recognize it’s just the passion about the story and that stays in the office.

I love that you write together because my husband is a writer also, but I could never get him to write something with me. Do you brainstorm together and one does the writing, or does each of you have your own characters that you write about?

While we plot out our stories, we each have the final say on certain characters. In general, Donald has final on the male and Catherine final on the female POVs.

Do you find you incorporate a bit of yourself into the female and male protagonists in your books?

Probably. Whether your characters’ actions are yours or belong to someone you know, using real people as a basis for characters’ behaviors makes them more believable.

Catherine, I know you have books out as single author, THE NARC AND THE NUN, being the latest, so does Donald have any books out written as single author?

No, Donald doesn’t and he probably won’t. Just keeping the two personas going with all the social media, writing, and life in general, keeps us both busy.

 In your Turning Stone Chronicles, you have a unique take on shape-shifters. Can you talk a little bit about that?

As we developed the book concept we decided that we wanted something different than the normal were-shape shifters. In reality, we can thank Donald’s psychology courses for the idea of the various forms of shifting. One of the psyche theories is that we all have three parts to our psyche, commonly called id, ego and super-ego. We added a twist to that theory using male, female, and animal egos, and a magic ring that could tap the various forms.

In THE PROMISED ONE, the partnership between Rhys and Alexi is extremely powerful and hits you immediately from the beginning of the book. Do you think this is a reflection of the strength within your own relationship together?

Bren, we’re laughing out loud here as we read this question. It’s not something we intended, but since our daughter said she could see us in the characters, we guess it does reflect our relationship, minus the shifting, of course. We suppose a bit of self comes out in all writers’ writing, at some point.

Kind of glad that you don’t shift–although it would be cool to see. LOL! Its a great read, so could you give a little preview about THE PROMISED ONE?

 Thank you, Bren. We’re glad you enjoyed it.

 

ThePromisedOne2Since you commented about Rhys and Alexi’s relationship, we thought we’d give you a brief look at those characters.

 

Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

 

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

 

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

 

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

 

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

 

“For you or for me?”

 

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

 

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

 

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed. “My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

 

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

 

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

 

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

 

“I like the sound of that.”

 

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.

 

Donald and Catherine, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.

 Thank you for inviting us, Bren. It’s been fun.

Could you give the links on how to purchase your book or learn more about you?

We’d love to.

Buy our book at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00DUMODKI/

Learn more about us at:

Website: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/

Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CD-Hersh/1374333942788724

Twitter: @AuthorCDHersh

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please feel free to post any questions or comments you have for Catherine and Donald.

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by. Bren

 

So excited to have forensics handwriting analyst & author, Sheila Lowe, here today. Awesome!

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Hello Sheila. Thanks for stopping by today to talk about your writing. Could you tell a little bit about yourself?

Hi Brenda, thanks for the opportunity! I am lucky enough to have two careers, both of which I love. I’m a forensic handwriting analyst and author, and mystery novelist. I live in paradise, otherwise known as Ventura, CA with my cat, Lexie.

You’ve been working as a forensic handwriting expert for a long time. What drew you into this type of work?

Back in high school (long, long, long ago), my boyfriend’s mother analyzed my handwriting, which got me instantly hooked—I felt as though someone finally understood me. I went to the library and devoured every book I could get my hands on about handwriting analysis, but it wasn’t until ten years later that I discovered there were formal courses I could take. In 1981 I was certified by the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation and in 1985 became qualified as a handwriting expert in the court system. Helping people understand themselves and others better feels wonderful. And helping in cases of forgery feels pretty good, too.

Can you talk about any of the high profile cases you’ve been involved with or just give a sample of the type of cases you work on?

Most of the time when I’m commenting on high profile cases it’s because the media has asked for my opinion, rather than my being directly involved. However, a couple of months ago, I testified as an expert witness in the “Clark Rockefeller” homicide trial.

Ironically, although I believed him to be guilty of killing John Sohus, a young man whose remains were found several years after his disappearance in the mid-1980s, I was called to testify for the defense. The job of the expert witness is not to advocate for one’s client as an attorney does, but to be an advocate of the truth, wherever it leads you.

In the “Rockefeller” case—which is a strange and fascinating story (just ask Uncle Google), the question was, Did Linda Sohus, who disappeared in 1985 and never resurfaced, write some postcards? The man calling himself Clark Rockefeller (his real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter) was accused of killing Sohus’ husband. He argued that if the handwriting was Linda’s, she could have killed her husband herself, then fled. In my opinion, and that of the Sheriff’s document examiner, the handwriting was indeed that of Linda Sohus. However, as the prosecutor brought out on the stand, I did not know when the writing was done, or under what circumstances. For all I knew, “Rockefeller” could have held a gun to Linda’s head and made her write it. He was convicted of John Sohus’ murder.

You are president of AHAF. What kinds of things does this organization do?

 AHAF, (ahafhandwriting.org), was formed in 1965 as a non-profit business organization to promote education and professionalism in the field of handwriting analysis. Today, we offer a certification program, conferences, education, and many other benefits to members around the world for a nominal fee. We’re also working to return cursive handwriting training to the core curriculum in public schools. Scientific research shows how important this training is for brain development. We have a dedicated website for this purpose: www.cursiveiscool.com

Once I started reading your books, I immediately wanted to know more about handwriting analysis. Do you have any nonfiction books on the subject?

As a matter of fact, I have two published non-fiction books: The Complete Idiots Guide to Handwriting Analysis, which is like an introductory course in graphology, and Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous, which contains the handwriting of 75 people through history and my analysis of them. I have also written many monographs about handwriting and personality, which are available on my website www.sheilalowe.com

What was the catalyst that made you decide to start writing mysteries that involved forensic handwriting?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries and I’ve always written, so it was a natural progression. However, it wasn’t until later in life that I actually started writing a full-length mystery for publication. A woman I knew had died under mysterious circumstances. The police determined that it was suicide, but many things didn’t add up. Although my first mystery, Poison Pen, was not about that woman, per se, several intriguing elements of the case lent themselves to a story of psychological suspense. So I borrowed them.

The characters and settings in your books come alive with detail. Do you think your study of handwriting gives you that edge in character and setting development?

Undoubtedly, my history in handwriting analysis informs my writing about character. But it was in a four-week course in creative writing that I learned about the “telling details” that make writing interesting. Instead of long, rambling descriptions, just one or two words to describe something unique about a place or a setting, can transport a reader to magical—or in my case, scary—places.

The protagonist, Claudia, is a forensic handwriting expert who testifies in court as you do. How much do you think Claudia Rose is you and you’re Claudia Rose?

This is a question I’ve been asked many times, and I always give the same answer: Claudia is much braver (or maybe more foolhardy) than I am. And she likes coffee and flying. I am not a fan of either. But, having said that, we are both in the dual practice of forensic handwriting examination and behavioral profiling through handwriting. So there must be some similarities somewhere!

You mention graphotherapy as a therapy to help a troubled teen in WRITTEN IN BLOOD. Could you explain a little about this therapy?

Graphotherapy is a system of “form drawings” done to music, along with affirmations to help change personality traits that are not serving the client. It’s a matter of anchoring an idea to a behavior (writing), supported by specific types of music. The client is the one who decides what they want to change, and the graphotherapist works with them over a period of weeks, monitoring their exercises and watching their handwriting change naturally, from the inside out. This is a much more effective method than changing pieces of handwriting and expecting personality changes to follow.

You have a new book out now. Could you tell something about it and where it can be purchased

My new book, WHAT SHE SAW, is a standalone novel of psychological suspense that follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia, where no one is who or what they appear to be. This book is not part of my Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series, but Claudia Rose and some of her friends who populate my series play an important role in unraveling the web of mystery. This is the first book I am releasing straight to Kindle.

Wow ! That was fascinating. Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by. Can you give your contact links below?

Thank you, Brenda. My main site for handwriting analysis is http://www.sheilalowe.com/. For marriage and family therapists: http://www.superceu.com/. Mystery lovers can read excerpts from my series at http://www.claudiaroseseries.com/. And anyone who would like to try out the Handwriting Analyzer software free can visit http://www.writinganalysis.com/.

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 http://amzn.to/14DgMtj

Please feel free to post any comments or questions to Sheila below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bren

D*** if it’s not a small world after all!

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10 Gloria, Brenda, Angie

4 Bren, John, Jackie, Bobbi, Tiff, Jen, James

This week I had the pleasure of hooking up with a good friend of mine from California because she’d come to Florida with her daughter & granddaughters for the U.S.  National Baton Twirling Championship. Jackie and I became friends in California when our girls were young since they were both involved in baton twirling. I sort of ‘kidnapped’ Jackie from her daughter Jennifer and the grandkids so we could get away for a nice long ‘chat’ while the rest of the family were busy at Magic Kingdom. When we hooked up with Jen and her daughters, I was in for a big surprise. Jen introduced me to her friend, Erika. Our eyes met sort of like in a cartoon and we both did a double-take. When I spoke, having a most distinctive voice, a bit like Minnie Mouse on steroids, Erika instantly recognized me. She went over to her mother Angie and told her that Jackie’s friend was Brenda. When Jackie saw Angie and I hugging in the middle of the Disney Store, she thought perhaps we were long-lost relatives–close–just long-lost friends.

Imagine my amazement when I realized Angie was my friend with whom I had worked with for eight years. I had not been in contact with her for over fifteen years and we fell back into our friendship immediately. I’m grateful she has kept her sharp tongue–ouch! LOL! So I wound up with a double-treat and reconnected with two close friends who had been there for me at different times in my life. Even stranger was the fact that Erika and Jen, my friends’ daughters, had become friends through their own daughters, both involved in baton twirling as well–small world indeed!

9  Judy, Janet, Angie, Gloria, and Elaine at my wedding shower. Once again my thoughts flew back to the ties of friendship that bind us together, which even time or distance cannot unravel. Seeing Angie reminded me of my first job because that’s where we met, and then I remembered how she was at my wedding to share my big day.

7  Jen, Bobbi Jo, Tiff, and Jackie at a picnic after one of the girls’ parades. I remember those great times we spent together with our families, little realizing how fast those times would go by and how soon our kids would have children of their own. My daughter would have sons, so our baton legacy would end with her.

photo (3) This is Julia and Baylee at a baton competition.    photo  This is Baylee and Julia enjoying Disney World.

Now both my friends, Jackie and Angie, are sharing friendships between their daughters and their granddaughters through their love of baton. I guess my takeaway from this experience is that time moves quickly and it’s incredibly important to nurture relationships because the memories between family and friends are the greatest treasures we’ll ever possess. And d***, it IS a small world after all.

Thanks for stopping by.  Bren

 

 

 

Ten top ways to see if you might be a Floridian! Just a little fun with my adoptive state!

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003 (2)038h2  How do you know that moment in time when you’ve officially become a Floridian? Florida has been my adoptive state for the past five years and I’ve done some intensive ‘scientific research’ on how to discover that point in time when I could say, “Yes, I’m now a Floridian.” If you can say ‘yes’ to 7 out of the 10 following statements–well then–you just might be a Floridian.

1.  If you allow 3-5 car lengths between you and the car in front of you when the stoplight turns green, insuring the third car in line will miss the green light–you might be a Floridian.

2.  If you put the cruise control on 45 when you’re driving down the Florida Turnpike–you might be a Floridian.

3.  When driving anywhere, if you stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason–you might be a Floridian.

4.  If there’s a Rooms To Go furniture store on the corner every two blocks within a ten mile radius from where you live–you might be a Floridian.

5.  If your grandson puts on a tropical shirt & khaki pants, looks at himself in the mirror, and says, “I look like an old beach man” (Floridian)–you might be a Floridian.

6.  If you think Jimmy Buffet’s song, “Margaritaville” is Florida’s state anthem–you might be a Floridian.

7.  If you understand the statement, “The more north you go, the more south you get–you might be a Floridian.

8.  If you’re in a rainstorm where it’s dropping 4-10 inches of rain & the news tells you to get to higher ground and you realize that would be Georgia–you might be a Floridian.

9.  If you decide you want to get away to a foreign country for vacation, and the first place you think of is Miami–you might be a Floridian.

10. If you feel that wearing pajama bottoms & slippers are acceptable attire at WalMart before 10:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m.–you might be a Floridian.

Well, that is my litmus test to see if you’ve officially become a Floridian, and I’m proud to say that I’ve finally past the test, although I refuse to tell which answers put me over the top. But seriously, Florida has  magical places like Disney World, wonderful beaches, wonderful people, interesting weather, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It’s a fun place to be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Bren

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I’m so excited to have Linda Green here to talk about handwriting analysis!

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I’m excited to have one of my best friends, Linda Green, stopping by today to talk about her passion and expertise in graphology.

Could you explain what it means to be a graphologist?

Graphology is the study of the graphic features of handwriting to gain insight into personality, character or aptitude.

You’ve studied graphology for a long time, so what was it that first attracted you to the field?

In the 70s I came across an ad in a magazine for the study of handwriting analysis.  It intrigued me and I couldn’t keep myself from pursuing it.  When my husband said, “No, you’re not going to do that”, I said, “Yes, I AM.”  That little bit of resistance from him was all it took.  I delved in and haven’t come up for air since then.

When you instruct courses in graphology, are your students more interested in career goals or personal growth goals?

It depends on the nature of the class.  In basic courses, students start out being interested in learning about themselves, so their study of handwriting analysis may be a hobby.  That interest usually turns into something more serious, and they begin to want to pursue a career using graphology.  In the international online sessions that I conduct weekly, there are all levels of expertise with participants pursuing a variety of goals; some are hobbyists, some are experts who make a living with graphology, others are working toward a certification in handwriting analysis.  All are devoted to what they do and take graphology very seriously.

Do you feel handwriting analysis is purely scientific, or do you believe it has some spiritual properties to it?

Handwriting analysis has been scientifically validated by many studies, both experimental and empirical. Graphology can also be used to assist in helping individuals understand themselves better, thereby leading to spiritual growth. Spiritual qualities in a personality are apparent in handwriting. Some choose to lessen their stress or enhance certain personality characteristics by using graphotherapy, which can aid in smoothing out negative characteristics and enhancing more positive aspects of personality, which may be conducive to a more spiritual mindset.

Can you analyze your own handwriting?

Certainly.  To be certain  the analysis is as objective and all encompassing as it can be,  you may want to have another professional graphologist do the analysis.  There is accuracy in graphology at all levels of expertise, but the more experienced a graphologist is, the more the expert will be able to explore, in depth, the personality of the writer.  It’s the same as with any other profession, the more experienced the analyst, the better the analysis.

Could you explain some of the practical applications of handwriting analysis?

Handwriting analysis is used in personality assessment, jury selection, human resourcing, team development, education, psychological profiling,  personnel selection, relationship compatability, counseling, questioned document examination,  detection of dishonesty, detecting forgery, poison pen letters, disguised writing, vocational analysis, career guidance and handwriting therapy to change personality.

In other words, there are many uses for handwriting analysis. That’s something I didn’t quite realize.

In many schools, cursive writing is being eliminated. How do you feel about this?

The elimination of cursive handwriting in school is tragic.  I am on a national committee, the Campaign for Cursive Committee, that is trying to reverse this trend.  In short, many studies show that cursive handwriting promotes brain development.  To see details and documentation of these important findings go to campaignforcursive.com.

What is the one take-away on graphology you’d like to share today?

Graphology is a very reliable tool for personality assessment when performed by trained, competent graphologists. The American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (ahafhandwriting.org) lists Certified Graphologists in their professional directory.  Visit the AHAF website to learn more.

Could you give a couple of examples of unusual experiences you had doing a handwriting analysis?

 One of the most unusual experiences I’ve had analyzing someone’s handwriting was many years ago, when the writer wrote her signature about six totally different ways.  I was blown away!  Upon analyzing many further samples of her handwriting over time, I was certain that she was either a multiple personality or possessed and was very troubled and emotionally distressed, in need of serious psychiatric help.

Another interesting experience was the time I was seemingly off the mark on specifics about the writer’s personality.  He kept saying he wasn’t like that. He then related that he had “channeled” that writing, which was an insightful story, just for me.  I informed him that the writing was not him, gave him his money back, and asked for many more samples to analyze that were not “channeled”. LOL

Wow! Those are some very interesting experiences. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. If anyone has any comments or questions for Linda feel free to post them.

 Thanks for stopping by!

Bren

 

  

 

 

 

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