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It showed me that good writing was lean writing. Up until then, I had thought the more ornate, the better. But E.


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White and my teacher at the time, Harry Bauld, taught me that less is more. As an example of what a good teacher Mr. Do you intend to make writing a career? I am fortunate to be able to have my monthly stock letter, The Berman Value Folio, published by Trefis. Have you developed a specific writing style?

Yes: to the point. I strive for economy, in my writing style and everything else. What is your greatest strength as a writer? Hopefully, I have some. You never really know for sure. I have been told by a reader of Lessons from the Lemonade Stand that I distill perplexing concepts into more easily understood ideas.

With over 16 years of experience managing client portfolios, Mr. Berman is a specialist in value investing and asset allocation. Berman manages a global equities fund that invests in the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, he covers financial topics ranging from hedge funds to the economy. With such an imagination, who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne?

Something about crying wolf once too often. If no one will help her, she must find Lila and Molly herself. Heedless of possible consequences, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Her best friend throws her a lifesaver of prayer and soon she begins to sense God at work.

Disillusioned and lacking purpose in early retirement, Christine Sterling is reduced to snooping on neighbors and jumping to her own conclusions where facts may be scant. Heedless of possible personal danger, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book? Christine Sterling is my alter ego. My husband retired and moved us to his dream house on the other side of the state--far from my friends and family. I did my best to adjust, as is my nature, but then menopause hit.

What can I say? I began to cry out to God for mercy. His answer came in an unexpected way. One day when I was feeling particularly low, I looked out my upstairs window and saw the little gray house at the bottom of our hill. In over two years of residence in Grass Valley, we had never met the occupants of that house.

Never even seen them. I sat down at the computer without even thinking, and a story about why those people never came out poured out my fingers. I never planned to write a book, certainly not that day. But the story insisted to be told. Sometimes I would delete whole chapters because they were too preposterous.

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The characters would insist that I put them back. I am aware that does sound a bit crazy. Maybe slight insanity is a requisite for good writing. Who is your biggest supporter? No contest there. All my family has all been supportive in their way, but my biggest fan is my oldest daughter, Jule. She will not let me quit. She reads everything I write and often adds valuable insight, particularly medical facts. Jule has kept me writing through whatever life throws my way for over ten years.

Last fall at the launch party for my third book, Parrish the Thought, I was privileged to present her with an award and publically acknowledge her huge contribution to my writing. Your biggest critic?

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God gave us family to support us and friends to keep us accountable. I have an incredible online critique group who will not let me get away with anything. What dynamics does she bring to the Birds Of Prey? CD : Power Girl will bring a bit of subtext and reveal some stuff about Oracle.

They've worked together before and it ended unhappily. Also, I needed a super-powered member for the clinches. When Dinah's in a tight spot then Babs needs to call in muscle. I'll be adding some more muscle-for-hire in the coming year. By the end of Babs will have some heavyweights to call on when Dinah is in distress. What characteristics are their strong points and what, if anything, is each one's greatest weakness? CD : Dinah's weakness is that she leads with her heart.

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Barbara tends to be too analytical. That's how they complement one another. After that we have a few surprise bad guys. And we'll see the Ravens return before the end of the year. CD : Robin was white hot at the time. His three mini-series sold WAY beyond anyone's expectations. And the time was right to give him his own book coming out of the events in Knightfall.

Nightwing has been tied up with Teen Titans continuity until about four years ago so it didn't make sense to give him a title of his own. God, it must be hard to sneak off for superheroing on a campus like that! What are some of the biggest challenges that he will face? How long is he going to be enrolled in school? CD : He'll be at Brentwood Academy for the foreseeable future. It will cause a LOT of complications and some unexpected adventures will grow from his new supporting cast.

The biggest challnge of course is maintaining his secret in a very enclosed environment. Teen romances seldom go smoothly and they're in for some rocky times. There's also a Robin 80 Page Giant this summer which guest stars Black Canary and Wildcat and introduces a brand new villain. The art is by Diego Barreto, the son of Eduardo Barreto. And he's terrific! ST : I really like The Spoiler! I think you've done such a remarkable job portraying her and her plight! Will we see more of her? Are there any plans for another one-shot or limited series? CD : I have a proposal in for a limited series with Steph.

It's awaiting a place on the schedule. She appears in a big way in the above mentioned Robin Giant.

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ST : You've done remarkable work with Dick Grayson. Was he a character that you always wanted to chronicle? How did the Nightwing series come about? CD : I got Nightwing when two other writers backed out and the scripts for the first issues were coming due. I enjoyed writing Dick Grayson in Knightfall and Prodigal. And I was especially pumped about working with Scott McDaniel.


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  • And Scott Peterson was editing so it was a no-brainer. ST : I know due to necessity a lot of writers need to work ahead. Did the events of No Man's Land ruin or delay anything that you had planned on doing in Nightwing? CD : I was delayed about five months and had to put off one story until next year. It was a prison story and would have been too soon after the Escape From Blackgate arc. CD : It seemed a natural thing. Bludhaven's biggest problem is the massive corruption in the police department.

    He can't break that from the outside. And so he joins. I think he's also secretly glad that joining the force irked Batman so much. CD : Dick Grayson is the coolest character in comics in term of who you'd wanna be. What guy wouldn't want to be a babe magnet with the looks and the money and the brains and the athlectic ability? He's good at everything he tries. And the greatest thing about him is that he doesn't know how cool he is.

    No ego with this guy. Do you think women intimidate him? CD : I think his problem is that women are so easily attracted to him. He's never really had to work at it. That's what so different with his relationship with Barbara. He's having to TRY for the first time in his life and it's bugging him.

    ST : Oracle's been a thorn in the side of a lot of "bad peoples. Why is he hunting for her in the 4-part crossover between BOP and Nightwing? CD : Blockbuster's just had it with Oracle. He wants to know who or what has been raking millions from his off-shore accounts. And who sicced the Pentagon on him as a decoy? Blockie doesn't like anyone having an advantage over him.

    But more than that he has a very personal reason for finding her that's the surprise conclusion to the crossover. They're both pretty resourceful CD : Nothing run of the mill about it. CD : Lady Vic and Brutale try to get the info from her. One guess how far they get with that.

    CD : Birds of Prey continuity changes forever. And the first part of the long Tad saga comes to a conclusion. ST : When did you find out about the 'international' flavor of the DC summer annuals? CD : When they told me they needed a script for the Flash Annual in four days. There he races creatures from Argentine folklore to release a bunch of superheroes from down there. Jay Garrick is also held prisoner by a very evil magician. The art is by Alcatena and is a knock out. The guy's visuals are stunning. And he came up with the plot and characters as I know very little about Argentine mythology.

    Are this year's all basically one long story with different chapters or is that just going on through some of the 80 Page Giants? CD : They're all one story. One big honkin' story! I love it! Mine are broken into chapters mostly as a storytelling device. I'm not sure how others are doing it. ST : Can you tell us a little about the 80 Page Giants you are working on?

    I've heard Batman faces the Calendar Man. Why pick such an underrated character from his rogues' gallery? CD : I've had a Calendar Man story in mind for years. But there was never a proper venue for it. It works perfectly as a single long form story. ST : The Robin Giant is supposed to tie-in to current continuity and have "lots of guest stars.

    What is in store for the teen wonder here? Then the Spoiler and Dinah Lance and Wildcat. It's about a villainess the JSA once faced who has resurfaced in Gotham to cause problems at the wedding of Tim's dad and Dana Winters. Also, some of Robin and Spoiler's problems are on display here along with a new shift in Stephanie's life. ST : What is the new Marvel Knights monthly series about? CD : It's an anti-team book. It's a bunch of characters who are usually loners teaming up to battle threats too strong for them to defeat alone.

    Daredevil and Black Widow are the core of the book with Dagger, Moon Knight, Shang Chi and others forming a rotating roster and surprise guests. The Punisher plays a large part in the book as well. CD : Well, there's no status quo. No ID cards or oaths or signal rings or headquarters.

    These guys could break up at any moment or change agendas or rosters from arc to arc. It's kind of like a team-up book with four or five characters teaming up. So there's no villain of the month syndrome. This allows for more fluidity and surprise in the storylines. ST : Wow, Punisher and Daredevil in the same book? How can they function at all together when they hate the snot out of each other?

    CD : Punisher is very much a behind the scenes manipulater here. And while he's a very tough guy he doesn't want a beating from DD every time they meet.

    So when they are together it's set up by Frank in such a way that Daredevil has to co-operate. Wait and see. It really works. They hate one another but fight so good together! ST : You're no stranger to some of these characters. How do you feel about writing the Punisher again? CD : Yee-Hah! My favorite character to write in comics and I get another crack at him.

    I get to correct what I think I did wrong last time I was writing the Punisher on a regular basis. He needed a goodguy nemesis; someone who would constantly be hunting for him. In Marvel Knights he has a dedicated team of vigilantes on his butt. ST : You've chosen some interesting characters to appear in the first story arc. Are Shang Chi and Dagger two of your favorites? I'm curious about their inclusion over some of the 'other' current heroes? I LOVE both characters by the way and wouldn't mind seeing a limited series on either!

    CD : They'll love Shang by the time I get done with him. He fits in well with the group and brings a voice of reason to balance Daredevil's passions. Plus he kicks tail better than anyone in the Marvel U. And he has a heck of a rogue's gallery himself. I was a big fan of Cloak and Dagger. They got me reading Marvels again back in the early Eighties. They're classic Marvel characters like Doom and Ben Grimm and the Punisher in that they were born from deep tragedy.

    Dagger provides an "oh wow" factor to the book. She's still very naive despite her experiences and balances out these hardboiled heroes. I didn't pick all superstars for the book because that would be boring. I picked characters that would complement one another as part of a team even if it's a temporary teaming. ST : Where's Dagger's longtime friend and partner Cloak? It's hard to imagine one without the other! CD : We'll see his whereabouts starting in issue 2 of Marvel Knights. He'll provide a subplot for the book for the first two arcs. The third arc of the book will deal with Dagger's search for him.

    CD : I'm calling it superhero noir for lack of a better term. It's street level crime stuff with a Marvel edge. We'll be seeing some major league weirdo villains from the Marvel U. But this book will look at them through sort of an X-Files point of view. CD : All plans are up in the air right now. I'm clearing characters I can use for future arcs. Dr Strange will definitely be showing up later in guest capacity. ST : OK, so we've got these kick-ass way too kewl heroes in the tales. What kind of villains are we looking at?

    Who would have the "potential threat" to gather so many varied heroes together to face it? CD : I don't want to give away the first set of villains.