Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Written in Blood

My mom just called to tell me that my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Wagner died on Christmas Eve. Mrs. Wagner was the first teacher I ever loved (my kindergarten teacher spanked me for an overdue library book, no love for her!). She was tough, but very loving. I have more memories of sitting in her classroom almost thirty years ago than I do of my fifth or sixth grade classes! She encouraged me to write stories and always made me feel smart, even when she was frustrated with me. The summer after first grade, I missed Mrs. Wagner horribly, so Mom helped me write and mail a letter to her. She wrote back in her ever-so-perfect elementary school teacher printing how she missed me too, but knew that I would do well in second grade and beyond. I treasured that letter for years until it disappeared. But the best part of Mrs. Wagner is that she never forgot her students, at least I know she never forgot me! Just a few months ago, Jesse and I ran into her at the grocery store, and she recognized me. Mom said she always asked about me and how I was doing when she would come into the Subway where Mom works. There are a lot of teachers I had after Mrs. Wagner who wouldn't recognize me or remember me at all, but she kept me in her heart, and she remained in mine. Lorraine Wagner was ninety years old, taught school for 34 years, and touched countless children's lives.

Written in Blood by Sheila Lowe is the second book in Forensic Handwriting Mystery series. Claudia Rose makes her living investigating handwriting, so when young widow Paige Sorensen asks her to verify a will's signature, Claudia doesn't think twice about accepting the job. But she's quickly pulled into a soap opera-esque story of revenge and lust as Paige's stepchildren (who are older than she is) contest the will and then blame her for their failure. Claudia and Paige become friends after their success and Claudia is soon working at the Sorensen Academy, a school for rich girls with emotional problems, where she becomes attached to a troubled student named Annabelle. I've always been fascinated by the study of handwriting; I would love to know what mine says about me. I loved getting an inside look into the work of a true handwriting expert. Lowe differentiates between graphology, the study of a personality through handwriting traits, versus forensic handwriting which is used to identify documents as forgeries. Claudia uses both in her work, and Lowe uses them both to great effect in the story. She also packs in lots of suspense and action. Not every author can describe action effectively, but Lowe really made each scene come to life. Claudia is a gutsy heroine who doesn't take crap from anyone, but has a good heart. I look forward to reading more of this series.

I've been getting a few comments about the animal pictures I post here. I'm a big fan of CuteOverload! They post cute animal pics daily, sometimes videos too. Mia loves going through the site with me, so it's family friendly. Check it out!

And don't forget, I'm giving away two copies of Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight. It's a great book to help you get your New Year's Resolution to stick this year! Just drop me an email before 10 pm on Thursday, Jan. 1st.