September Meeting

Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter Sept. 21, 2019 President Dennis Young called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m. Twelve members and guests were present, including our speaker, Sheila Lowe.


Rolynn Anderson has released a new book, When Mountains Fall. She and Mara Purl are inviting everyone to their joint book signing at the Arroyo Grande Starbucks on Saturday, October 19, 10 a.m. to noon. Their theme is “small-town authors.”

Lani Steele’s story “Stuffed” was published in Ink Stains, a dark literary anthology available on Amazon.

Judy Guarnera won a free Cuesta Conference master class at the last California Writers Club Coastal Dunes meeting. She also won a full ride to the conference through her library.

Two of Susan Tuttle’s stories took first and second place for fiction in the SLO Nightwriters’ contest. Susan also received two five-star reviews on

Guest Evelyn Cole, who writes about addictions rather than crime, received a great review of her latest novel, Call Me Mary. Grover Beach Community Library Author Programs Guest Mary Mead discussed Meet the Author Night, a new monthly program at the Grover Beach Community Library. The program brings in local authors to discuss their books while everyone enjoys wine and refreshments. So far, Central Coast Chapter members Lani Steele, Barbara Hodges, and Rolynn Anderson have appeared, and Tony Piazza will be the guest on Wednesday, October 16, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. In addition to sponsoring Author Night, the GB library has a shelf of local authors’ books just inside the vestibule.

Speaker Sheila Lowe Priscilla Gruenewald introduced our speaker, Sheila Lowe, a Ventura mystery author and handwriting analysis expert. Sheila is the author of the Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting Mystery Series as well as a new series, Beyond the Veil. Sheila’s New Mystery Series Six years ago, Sheila’s editor left Penguin, and Sheila lost her book contract. She decided to write a standalone mystery, What She Saw, about a woman who wakes up on a train with amnesia. The protagonist gets off the train in Ventura and discovers evidence that she has two separate lives.

Sheila told us about her background that led her to write the books in these series. When Sheila was a little girl in England, her mother joined a fundamentalist religion that taught any contact with “spirits” was demonic. Members were told not to meditate, because clearing one’s mind would let demons take over. On her thirty-fifth birthday, Sheila was disfellowshipped and shunned by her family. It took her another eighteen years to get over her experiences. Last Writes in the Claudia Rose series was her “revenge book” about cults.

Meanwhile, Sheila learned to read tarot cards and became a “psychic junkie.” Sheila’s daughter, Jennifer, began dating a federal agent. Sheila analyzed his handwriting, which revealed he had had a head injury, and also had authoritarian tendencies. In 2000, the boyfriend killed Jennifer in a murder-suicide. Almost immediately, Sheila received signs from her daughter: both phones would ring at once, but Sheila would hear only static or a faraway voice. The dome light came on suddenly in the car, and the car radio would change stations by itself. Sheila could smell Jennifer’s distinctive perfume, and Sheila’s uncle’s car alarm went off at the burial—among many other signs.

Sheila wanted to know more, so she meditated and went to psychic mediums, including James Van Praagh and John Edward. They told Sheila some things they could not possibly have known ahead of time—and even some things Sheila didn’t know, but found out later were true. Sheila decided to write around the theme of the afterlife. At least three psychics told her that Jennifer was helping her write the book. She would ask her daughter how to resolve a writing problem, and the answer would come to her immediately “like a download.”

Sheila mentioned research conducted by Sonia Rinaldi, who has developed a process to project images of people in the afterlife, and Dr. Gary Schwartz, a University of Arizona professor and psychologist who is studying parapsychology and afterlife communication via “soul phone.”

Sheila’s book What She Saw became a prequel to Proof of Life. The title of Sheila’s next book is The Last Door.

Handwriting Analysis

Sheila also talked about her career as a forensic handwriting examiner.

Your signature is your public image. The more consistent your signature is with the rest of your handwriting, the more “what you see is what you get.” If a person’s behavior and handwriting are different, Sheila says, “believe the handwriting.”

Handwriting examiners can analyze printing as well as cursive. Twenty-four states currently require schools to teach cursive.

It is possible to change your personality by changing your handwriting (graphotherapy).

If you write your name very clearly, it’s harder for someone to forge your signature. Sheila displayed some slides of signatures and handwriting of the presidential candidates.

Democratic Candidates’ Samples

Joe Biden’s handwriting reminds Sheila of Hillary Clinton’s: wanting to get down to basics, with a strong layer of privacy.

Amy Klobuchar’s signature shows she is smart, a quick thinker, realistic, and open in communication—and maybe a little gullible sometimes.

Pete Buttigieg’s writing is not really emotionally mature. He “slashes through” his signature, which may indicate self-sabotage.

Cory Booker’s writing is a lot like Pete Buttigieg’s—it shows he is hard to get close to; he’s a loner. He was not well nurtured in early childhood.

Kamala Harris’s elaborate signature shows that appearance is important to her.

Andrew Yang has a minimalist signature; he doesn’t want others to really see him.

Julian Castro has a lot of pride in who he is; he can be authoritarian.

Elizabeth Warren’s writing has big loops that reveal energy and a need to be inclusive. Her long lower loops show an interest in heritage. •

Bernie Sanders has copybook handwriting—he’s conventional; he can be rigid.

Marianne Williamson’s writing shows she is looking for nurturing that she didn’t get early in life. She cares about people. • Beto O’Rourke is a “mixed bag”; he’s very flexible—perhaps a bit too much so.

Republican Candidates’ Samples

Mark Sanford has shaky writing; he may have health problems. Sheila would like to see more of his writing.

William Weld’s writing is open and direct.

Donald Trump is not “what you see is what you get.” His writing is extremely rigid, and he wants you to see his strength. He slashes back through the last letter, p, which indicates he is destructive. The “mark of a liar” is all over his writing. Trump writes with a marker, which reveals a love of luxury and trappings without having to work for it.

Past Presidents

Barack Obama’s handwriting shows that he is well organized, flexible, and loyal. He has strength and attends to detail. He has a “logo signature” that shows pride and maybe a little arrogance.

Richard Nixon’s resignation-letter signature shows his ego was completely destroyed at the time. This sort of change also happened in Hitler’s and Napoleon’s handwriting. After the resignation, Nixon changed his signature to his initials (RMN) inside a circle (according to the Nixon Library). For more information, go to or

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m. so everyone could go to lunch at the Butterfly Grille.

Respectfully submitted, Priscilla Gruenewald (for Sue McGinty)