It’s hard to choose, I have so many — picking up sparkly trash from gutters, collecting bottle caps, rescuing ugly toy horses, helping turtles across the road — but I guess the weirdest might be the way I look at people’s handwriting. I’ll study any sample from the writing on a birthday card to the signatures on a guest register. It makes perfect sense to me that I can tell something about people from what they’ve written. I mean, in grade school we are all taught to write the same way, but we don’t, do we? During adolescence and early adulthood we all experiment with our handwriting and take a great deal of trouble to personalize it, even though we don’t have any idea why we prefer straight lines over loops or vice versa. I’m no expert — a lot of the time I can’t tell a thing from a person’s handwriting, and I’ll say so. Other times I might be mistaken. “You’re an extrovert,” I told a friend. “I can tell because your handwriting is so large.” She answered, “No, that’s just because I’m blind as a bat. I write big so I can see what I wrote.” Aak! Similarly, wobbly handwriting might be a sign of an unstable personality or it might just be an indication that somebody was writing in a moving vehicle.

Still, I can feel quite sure of myself a lot of the time when it comes to people’s handwriting. Figure-8 f and g are a sign of intelligence. Leaving off lead-in strokes is common-sense economy. Long end strokes indicate generosity. Handwriting very much like the copybook samples, that’s conservatism. Handwriting that’s so perfect it looks like it’s arranged on an invisible line is scary — watch out for that person, wired too tight and might explode! Other kinds of scary handwriting are very angular, with sharp points instead of soft curves, or very narrow and retraced, or written with a great deal of pressure, or clubbed, which means that the strokes are kind of slashed, thick at one end and thin at the other. Dashed i dots show impatience with detail. Tall ascenders show aspiration, and I used to wonder why one of my editors wrote his ascenders so broad that they looped into each other — I should have known that’s a sign of a broad, exploring mind. The ascenders show what’s going on in the head, the middle zone equates to the body or daily life, and the descenders — you can guess what kinks in the descenders mean. Or if you aren’t getting any, that shows in very short-tailed lettering. At least that’s how I choose to interpret, but I am not totally to be trusted. I tend to be mischievous, a trait you can see in my handwriting.

Awhile back, I decided to change my handwriting slightly in order to become more the person I wanted to be. There’s nothing weird or woo-woo about this. Every time I formed certain letters, I reminded myself of how I wanted to revise my point of view and my perception of myself. It worked.

BTW, one of the police officers in DARK LIE analyzes handwriting much the way I do.

About the Author:

Nancy Springer has passed the fifty-book milestone, having written that many novels for adults, young adults and children, in genres including mythic fantasy, contemporary fiction, magical realism, horror, and mystery — although she did not realize she wrote mystery until she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America two years in succession. DARK LIE is her first venture into mass-market psychological suspense.

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Nancy Springer moved with her family to Gettysburg, of Civil War fame, when she was thirteen. She spent the next forty-six years in Pennsylvania, raising two children (Jonathan, now 35, and Nora, 31), writing, horseback riding, fishing, and birdwatching. In 2007 she surprised her friends and herself by moving with her second husband to an isolated area of the Florida panhandle, where the birdwatching is spectacular and where, when fishing, she occasionally catches an alligator.

Find Nancy online at

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780451238061,00.html Dark_Lie_Nancy_Springer

In this gripping psychological thriller — smart, chilling, and unrelenting — Nancy Springer establishes herself as an exciting new suspense writer with a distinctive voice and some surprises up her sleeve…

To their neighbors, Dorrie and Sam Clark seem a contented couple in America’s heartland, with steady jobs, a suburban home, and community activities to keep them busy. But they’re not quite what they appear to be. For plain, hard-working Sam hides a depth of devotion for his wife that no one would suspect. And Dorrie is living a dark lie — beset by physical ailments, alone within herself, and unknown to those around her, following the comings and goings of the sixteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, she gave up for adoption when she was hardly more than a child herself.

Then one day at the mall, Dorrie, horror-stricken, sees Juliet being abducted, forced into a van that drives away. Instinctively, Dorrie sends her own car speeding after them — an act of reckless courage that pits her against a clever, depraved killer, and draws Sam into a dogged, desperate search to save his wife. In a confrontation that unites mother and daughter in a terrifying struggle to survive, Dorrie must face and conquer her own secret, tormented past.

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