NEWSFLASH – APRIL 15th – 1912… ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY!

109 years ago, to be exact, RMS Titanic sank in the early morning hours of April 15,1912 in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg four days into the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. More than 1,500 passengers perished including 53 children.




These shoes were last worn April 15, 1912 by a child onboard Titanic.

Sadly, history has given us a particularly perverse example of good news/bad news… Charles Dickens captured it perfectly in his famous opening line of ‘Tale of Two Cities’:

‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.’

Charles Dickens

The date April 15th is an extreme case of the best and worst headlines. When you read, listen, or watch the news that dominates the media every day, give pause to the past which isn’t so long ago.  

‘TITANIC ANGELUS ‘- original painting by V KNOX

I’ve used this painting ‘Titanic Angelus’ as a banner for my newsletters for some time, now. Today, is a good day to reveal that it’s a painting I made of the White Star Line ‘RMS Titanic’, at the bottom of the Atlantic, showing the souls leaving the ship.

NEWSFLASH:  HEALTH ADVISORY – APRIL 15th – 2021…PLEASE STAY HOME!

In keeping with the spirit of good and bad tactics, ‘rearranging the lifeboats on the Titanic’ could never have saved the passengers on the doomed ship. But safe passage through the Covid pandemic is possible. Hoping for the best is good. Defying the rules of safe distancing and wearing masks is bad. 

NEWSFLASH:  APRIL 15th – 1452 …  BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT

Good news. Leonardo da Vinci is born! A child prodigy arrives who will become the consummate renaissance man.



Leonardo da Vinci, age 24 – a self portrait from his ‘Adoration of the Magi’

From wunderkind to master of all trades, Leonardo studied the arts of ongoing exploration: science, anatomy, and flight. He was an artist, inventor, engineer, philosopher, botanist, musician, and poet. By all accounts, Leonardo was a gentle compassionate soul, possessed of a boundless curiosity – a dedicated perfectionist, driven to record the entire world in one lifetime.

LEONARDO arrived 569 years ago, today.

THE ‘MONA LISA’ MAY BE PRICELESS… NOW SHE MUST BECOME A WOMAN WORTH SAVING

Due to a blotch of ink in an old manuscript, Lisabetta, Leonardo da Vinci’s kid sister, loses her identity. She becomes an embittered spirit trapped in her portrait for over 500 years. To reclaim her true name, the ‘Mona Lisa’ must join forces with Jupiter, an autistic six-year-old boy visiting the Louvre with his troubled mother. Jupiter is ‘Lisa’s knight in shining armor but his fraught mother needs saving first.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K6SBB78

A BAREFOOT GHOST FROM THE TITANIC LOSES HIS SHOES BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

When death separates a pair of children onboard Titanic who were destined to marry, Finn, the ghost of the boy, chooses to remain earthbound as the surviving girl’s invisible childhood companion. Finding a pair of lost shoes may be their only chance to reunite in the future. But first, Finn, must fulfill a sacred promise made in haste.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E4Q95A6

NEWSFLASH: DESIRED THINGS

In 1927, Max Ehrmann, a wise compassionate man, wrote the ‘DESIDERATA – Latin for ‘DESIRED THINGS’

“whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Max Ehrmann

And so, Spring forges on anew. Hopefully, ‘a new’ pandemic story with a happy ending. Not so much ‘ever after’ but soon and sweeter for all that. Remember your home is your lifeboat. Stand firm, fight the good fight with kindness, and because passionate sentiments are much more commanding in Latin, please make a truly ‘titanic’ wish on Jiminy Cricket’s bright star.

‘FINIT HIC PESTUS’ – HERE ENDS PLAGUE!

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FINIT HIC PESTUS!

And so, Spring forges on anew. Hopefully, ‘a new’ pandemic story with a happy ending. Not so much ‘ever after’ but soon and sweeter for all that. And because passionate sentiments are much more commanding in Latin, please join me in shouting out:

FINIT HIC PESTUS’ – HERE ENDS PLAGUE!

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THE WRITING GAMBIT … a serious game of power, strategy, and seduction

Why worry? Not all crowns are gold. Making a splash in the literary world is akin to winning a crown of glory in a chess tournament, but going for the mountain top of any sport is essential for victory. True kings and queens of the writing world are usually born with a storytelling gene implanted with a passion for wordplay. Here are a few game-changing strategies for anyone with an urge to write a novel because:

WRITING A NOVEL IS A SPORT!

Taking on a full-length novel is as challenging as making the second move on a chess board. But it needn’t be daunting if you study the art of storytelling and read a lot of books. Sharpen your pencils, crack your knuckles before the keyboard, and set the timer for longer than you think. Consciously disconnect from the outside world. Stop thinking. Feel. Practice eight days a week. Writing is a joy; publishing is war; play by the rules but think outside the box.

Own the key’BOARD. It belongs to you.

THE OPENING MOVESET UP a solid dazzling premise!

A PREMISE is a promise – a contract between an author and their readers to deliver the story outlined in the promotional blurb. All other moves are secondary: RECRUIT a cast of supportive three-dimensional characters and CREATE a compelling story outline. JUDGE when to employ diversion and misdirection, and COUNTER complexity with simplicity. WEAVE subtlety and transparency into every visual scene. SEAMLESSLY BLEND introspection, narration, and dialogue. SENSE when to advance the story, when to delay, what to hold back, what to deny, and when to reveal. INSERT any historical references with discretion, and most of all AROUSE primal emotions.

Here are two of my novels inspired by historical events: ‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’ and ‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ discover more about them here:   

STAY FOCUSED… listen to the whole keyboard. It has 26 letters, and they’re all yours. Refrain from bringing out your exclamation marks too soon.

DISTINGUISH between diversion and misdirection. INITIATE curiosity. INFUSE logic and imagination, and don’t forget to GENERATE surprises. RECONCILE back story with current events. BALANCE the subtleties of micro tension and macro intentions. CONCEIVE and PRESENT strong plot points, a surprise midpoint, and a satisfying conclusion. IMPLANT foreshadows and false clues. FLIRT with impossible possibilities. RECONCILE love and hate by TRANSMUTING your characters fear and pain.

Here are two of my paranormal romance novels: ‘THE INDIGO PEARL’ and ‘PEARL BY PEARL’

DEFEND YOUR STORYLINE

INJECT magic. BALANCE victories and defeats. SUSPEND belief and DELIVER believable imaginary worlds. OFFER a spoiled-for-choice spectacle of outdoor vistas as well as common rooms of simple pleasures or dark spaces haunted with inner demons. Where appropriate, SUPPLY moody atmospheric conditions or clear skies. TRANSPORT the reader’s senses with stunning visuals and intimate details. ASK compelling story questions, NURTURE imagination, and INFUSE the concept of synchronicity. ROMANCE the art of suspense.

Here are two of my time-slip trilogy adventures for middle-grade enthusiasts of all ages: ‘TWINTER’ and ‘TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW’

WHEN CORNERED… ATTACK  

BRING the moxie. GENERATE a surprise twist that stuns even yourself. PRACTICE the subtle crafts of showing and telling. CREATE unanticipated story arcs. INTRODUCE unforeseen elements, and BLEND reality with fantasy. NARRATE distinctive voices. COMPLETE a first rough draft. WRITE hot, EDIT cold, and LAUNCH a novel that sizzles.

Here are two of my art history-mystery novels: ‘LISABETTA – a stolen glance’ and ‘ADORATION – loving Botticelli’

THE LAST MOVE is a win, lose, or draw situation. Remain equally gracious throughout negative reviews and victorious triumphs. Say thank you. Avoid winner’s circles.

MARKETING IS WAR!

DESIGN a cover, COMPOSE a catchy tagline. CRAFT an irresistible hook. ORIGINATE several punchy log lines. SUMMARIZE a compelling back blurb, COMPOSE a clear synopsis, and WRITE a professional query letter. REHEARSE a memorable elevator pitch, BLITZ the letter. REMAIN gracious. ESTABLISH a brand. FIGHT by the rules, BE a good sport – a gracious author lives to write another day.

YOUR IMAGE… MAKE A BIG SPLASH  

Shake hands with serendipity. SET UP the next board. Rest, eat, breath, sleep, and with all the sensitivity of sublime kismet that you can muster and the intrepid confidence of a master, balanced with the relentless authority of a dictator. SET UP a new dazzling premise.

ESTABLISH a positive reputation.

Still-waters often run shallow for unknown authors, lured off course by the false promises of predators. Be aware. Due diligence is vital to your literary health. Books often run aground, dashed on the rocks of business. But then, the love of words has its own rewards which is just as well… the odds of making a huge publishing splash is somewhat mercurial. It’s a tenacious author who reaches their own finish line. Never give up! Serendipity awaits the dedicated few.

Welcome to my wading pool: https://www.amazon.com/V-Knox/e/B0094K0Q7Y

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IMMORTALITY MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH

For me, studying art history was equal parts fascination and frustration that drowned out the angry voices of paintings that had ‘died’ from being lost, stolen, hidden, unfinished, copied, damaged, or destroyed. Where were they?

The ghosts in my novels invite readers to come alive. And, in the words of Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophy drove the story plot of ‘Disapp’earring Twice’: It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

No fictional characters have to die in my ‘ghost stories’

‘Disapp’earring Twice’ is a metaphysical ‘art history mystery’ of love, reincarnation, and sacrifice inspired by a true event when eternity drives a pair of estranged lovers to manipulate the rules of immortality.

Aurelia Marcus, a troubled high school student, is singled out by Jakobina, the dispirited spirit of a teenage girl trapped in a famous painting, in a hostage bid to resolve their mutual issues of mortality – a fanciful art history mystery of love, reincarnation, & sacrifice inspired by a true event:

Aurelia Marcus disappeared long before she ran away from home.

So, when is a ghost story not a ghost story? … It’s when ghost protagonists are metaphors for emotional, philosophical, and psychological, deaths, or when a ghost story intrigues without horror and paints a future world without dystopian angst.

‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085SYZPGG

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500 YEAR-OLD SELFIES

AN OPEN INVITATION…

from Sandro Botticelli & Leonardo da Vinci

You are invited to a Christmas Party at the Uffizi Gallery!

“Anytime you wish… we’re always here.”

WALK THIS WAY

One way to identify ‘invisible’ artists in unsigned or multiple copies of paintings known as ‘Adorations’, classic nativity scenes, is to examine a figure in the lower right-hand corner. That corner is a ‘portal’ through which the artist makes eye contact with the viewer.

     Traditionally, the artist joins the scene in a cameo performance a.k.a. a self-portrait, inviting the observer to enter with an inclination of the head or the gesture of an arm.

Sandro Botticelli – age 32 selfie Leonardo da Vinci – age 24 selfie

JUST A COUPLE OF SELFLESS ARTISTS SAYING HELLO

“It’s over here,” they’re saying. “Right this way. Mind your step, the paint isn’t dry. Welcome to my world. And since the ‘powers that be’ have declared it against the law for me to sign my name, there seems to be no infraction if I show you who I am. An oversight of authority, yes? And one that we artists have eagerly adopted as a chance to be recognized. Ingenious, no?”

THE SECRET LIFE OF PAINTINGS

In his ‘Madonna of the Rocks’, Leonardo, being more ingenious than most, literally ‘signed’ his work using actual ‘sign language’. The three signs shown in detail indicate the letters L D V. No doubt there are, as yet, many undiscovered clues in all his works.

This is why he’s ‘the man’! And why art history fascinates me. Which is why I write about sentient portraits with secrets. Paintings that refuse to stay on the canvas. Not so much traditional ghost stories because my ghost protagonists are metaphors for emotional, philosophical, and psychological, deaths. I write upbeat ghost stories that intrigue without horror and paint a future world without dystopian angst.

The ghosts in my art history mysteries invite readers to come alive. And, in the words of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophy drove the plot of another one of my novels, ‘Disapp’earring Twice’: “It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” No fictional characters have to die in my ‘ghost stories’. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085SYZPGG

Who among us, says they don’t believe in ghosts but nonetheless remain afraid of them as well as dark creepy spaces? Wake up and smell the truth in fiction that puts living ghosts in true perspective. As an author of fiction ‘I wrote the book’ on make-believe pertaining to my imagined worlds. The only thing I ask of readers is to suspend reality a few pages at a time.

For me, studying art history was equal parts fascination and frustration that drowned out the angry voices of paintings that had ‘died’ from being lost, stolen, hidden, unfinished, copied, damaged, or destroyed. Where are they?

I asked these questions: What-if portraits by master artists were sentient? What if they were telepathic or embedded with psychic energy? What, if anything, lives on in Fine Art after 500 years? Where can we go to resolve missing provenance, deliberate false trails, ambiguous iconography, puzzles, and the confusing identities of unsigned works and forgeries? What did master artists actually paint? And more importantly, what did they purposely leave unpainted to shroud forbidden knowledge in plain sight? What clues, political sleights of misdirection, and obscure red herrings of the artist’s guild were tricks of the trade? The ghosts in my novels know.

Paintings are akin to ‘flies on a wall’ with perfect vantage points to observe human dramas unfolding beneath them. Wouldn’t it be great if they could communicate with sensitive humans and each other? My novels think so.

To me, a painted ghost is a desperate human presence in need of a gallery, a microphone, and an empathic writer with extrasensory perception. I’m looking at you ‘Mona Lisa’.

I listen to painted ghosts as they air their grievances, tell their stories, and together we set the dreariest history books on fire.

Posted in Adoration, art history, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, ghosts, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, PAINTINGS, Sandro Botticelli, SILENT K PUBLISHING, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Leave a comment

THE ‘MONA LISA’… ARTFUL or POSSESSED? … THE NINE-TENTHS RULE

Is the ‘Mona Lisa’ beguiling or smiling? Alluring or obscuring? Devious or mischievous? Is she artful or possessed? In my fictional account of her life, ‘LISABETTA – a stolen glance’, she is all of the above.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF A PORTRAIT – my story premise for art history mysteries, is that a master painter sees (and seize) more than the average pair of eyes. They are super watchers, possessed of such amplified seeing they could rightly be classified as seers.

Master artists are able to capture their subject’s souls on canvases, complete with emotional tics, eye contact, and ‘warts and all’ beauty marks, ‘hidden-in-plain-sight-under-the-skin’: Lips an observer would swear they witnessed trembling or an eye that winked or a smile that shifted from joy to pain from the gallery walls.

Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Vermeer are two such visual telepathspsychic painters, well-acquainted with the ‘mediums’ of paint and charcoal.

LEONARDO created ‘The MONA LISA’ in 1503. In 1665, VERMEER created ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ – a masterpiece later dubbed ‘The MONA LISA of the NORTH’.  

Since troubled in life equates to restless and determined in the afterlife, a lost soul captured on canvas is ready to be found… literally ‘found out’ because what was once a welcome refuge and a safe haven (a substitute heaven), is now unbearable confinement, inhabited by a soul pleading to be liberated. The ‘two Mona Lisas’ are a case in point.

In my ghost-inspired stories, disembodied voices whisper in the living’s ears. The swishing of robes brush their shoulders, hints of exotic perfume breeze by. And then, along comes a compassionate author who agrees to assist for humane reasons.

In museums, lingering presences stir within objects that were once possessions. A pair of children’s shoes from a Titanic exhibit haunted me until I ‘channeled’ a story, that I like to imagine, gave their deceased owner a degree of long-distance closure.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF ANY STORY!  The loaded words ‘possession’ and ‘haunting’ are creepy key words that distinguish the classic ‘ghost story’, even cozy ones. That said, and in as much as unhappy spirits are involved, I write cozy.

There are surprising ways to free a spirit who helps you back. Author and protagonist make supernatural pacts written in stone: ‘You write me out of here and I will tell you a secret I’ve been too ashamed to admit, a hiding place of a lost work, or a document you can take to the bank. 

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF WRITING A NOVEL A story idea descends like an entity, fills a writing room with creative ectoplasm, and relentlessly stalks an author, day and night, as a restless spirit. There is no peace until a muse’s phantom thoughts are on paper. The muse, by any other name, a ghost, is the driving force of the author who effectively becomes a ghostbuster – technically a ghostwriter for the otherworldly muse. Coffee, chocolate, and midnight oil, burned during the haunted hours of writing in the attic, sustain rather than nourish, the physical bodies of writers wasting away while the free-floating apparitions of their invisible mentors watch from behind a veil.

The possession of evidence is always nine-tenths of a detective thriller. Possession is nine-tenths of all romantic attachments between lovers in the genre ‘Paranormal Romance’. Possession of a secret is nine-tenths of a mystery.

A ghost remains nine-tenths alive. The sitter in a portrait is nine-tenths free. An iceberg is nine-tenths below the waterline.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF A PROTAGONIST’S DRIVING OBSESSION:

‘LISABETTA a stolen glance’

The Mona Lisa’s identity crisis compromises her resting in peace. As Leonardo da Vinci’s kid sister and business partner, she demands recognition. Jupiter, the autistic boy, who befriends Lisabetta on a visit to the Louvre with his troubled mother, has a parallel journey of being understood in a world that largely ignores his creative talent. The ‘Mona Lisa’ may be priceless… now she must become a woman worth saving.

FATE IS MORE MYSTERIOUS THAN A SMILE.

‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’

– Jakobina, the ghost of the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, wants to reunite with the love of her life, cut short by disaster – based on a true art history mystery. Aurelia Marcus, Jakobina’s target ‘hauntee’, is a fragile teenager who wants to escape a debilitating illness and so she disappears long before she runs away from home.

IMMORTALITY MAY BE LIFE-THREATENING.

ARTFULNESS = The fullness of art, created to captivate the viewer, from enchanting to possessing, enticing to luring, or teasing to seducing. As humans we’re hooked on emotions, faces, and tales of the unknown.

TRUISM or CLICHÉ? The old ‘nine out of ten’ statistic rings true even when they’re nine-tenths speculation. Nine out of ten people don’t believe in ghosts. Nine out of ten people want to believe in ghosts. And yet, nine out of ten people are afraid of ghosts. Go figure.

Mystery or mystical? History or Mystery? Mastery or mastermind over matter? POSSESSION/OBSESSION… potato/potahto… let’s call the whole thing curiouser and curiouser.

LISABETTA – a stolen glance

‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’

Posted in art history, Books, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, ghosts, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, PAINTINGS, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', V Knox, V. Knox author, VERMEER, Veronica Knox author | Leave a comment

HAPPY IN THE MIDDLE

Being middle-aged or much older means we’re honorary lifetime members of the ‘middle-grade’ genre that filmmakers and authors have created especially for us. Indulge. It’s amazing.

There’s no such thing as a second childhood if you never grow up!

It’s your entitlement… your choice… your reward for working so hard.

     Childhood is a gift that never has to end. Play warm. Create fuzzy. It’s called the imagination and it flows and grows forever. It’s about dreaming. It’s about letting your best dreams out to play.

Anyone up for a visit to Hadrian’s Wall, Pangea, the face on Mars? Would you like to time-slip to ancient Egypt?

Would you like to meet the surprising reincarnations of a dozen famous scientists and artists?

The enchanted village of Bede is the home of a special group of ‘twice-borns’ for a reason.

A ticket to Bede Hall is available here:  https://www.amazon.com/V-Knox/e/B0094K0Q7Y

     Live in a castle, ride a dragon… befriend a ghost. Time travel comes naturally to you. Your wisest companion is still a bear of little brain. Follow a white rabbit. Fly to Neverland. Nothing is impossible. Set grown up resistances aside. Be six or nine or twelve. Snuggle into your finest time of the day.

     Visit your happy places as often as you can. Grownups call it retreating. You know better. You know childhood is an ageless refreshing sanctuary – a place where being an adult is neither advised nor allowed, where making believe is time well spent.

SILENT K PUBLISHING – the home of V Knox’s indie books – promoting long cozy ‘metaphysical’ novels for discriminating bookworms who savor reading strange books as slowly as possible.

Posted in Adoration, ANCIENT EGYPT, Ancient Egyptian history, ARCHAEOLOGY, Bede Hall, Books, Egyptology, fantasy, ghosts, HADRIAN'S WALL, Historical Fantasy, Leonardo da Vinci, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, mythology, Pangea, REINCARNATION, Silent K Publishing, SILENT K PUBLISHING, supernatural, THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, the Green Man, THE GREEN MAN, TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW - the novel, TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW the novel, time travel, TIME TRAVEL, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged | Leave a comment

BAREFOOT SPIRITS… NEVER GIVE UP THE GHOST!

Even fictional ghosts can be insistent, but coupled with a hauntingly pushy muse, it was wise for me to surrender to their combined energies and time-slip away these past 18 months to complete a particularly tricky manuscript. No-one warned me how difficult summing up a trilogy was.

Sensitive children often take unintentional words uttered in haste to heart. In my novels: ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ and ‘Snow Behind the Door’,time-sensitive responsibilities, guilty secrets, and an overwhelming sense of duty motivate the ghosts of a boy and girl, Finn and Snow, respectively, to haunt and taunt, and set themselves free.

Finn and Snow taught me that words have the power to imprint a child for life and beyond, and that haunting is never a childish whim.

Regardless of age, ghosts never haunt without just cause. And they never give up hope.

FINN

Finn Cleary lost his new shoes when he drowned in the Titanic disaster after taking his ‘Mam’s words to heart that she’d skin him alive if he so much as scuffed them.

‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E4Q95A6 shadows the spirit of Finn Cleary – a boy victim from the ‘Titanic’ disaster. To atone for a dark secret and a wish made in haste, Finn chooses to remain earthbound as the invisible childhood friend of the girl he’d been destined to marry.

Snow, the child ghost of Bede Hall, took the Hall’s words to heart as well. ‘Begin your story anywhere that shows up, child,’ the Hall said. ‘The order isn’t important. It’s the sum of all one’s beginnings that matter.’

‘Snow Behind the Door’, is a work-in-progress, scheduled for release in May 2021. As the prequel to the ‘Bede Trilogy’, it documents the multiple time-slip memories of an abandoned ghost-child named Snow, in search of the family she glimpses in dreams and the dusty mirrors of Bede Hall – a stately home that has sheltered earth’s time portals, guarded by an ancient line of royal Egyptian cats for thousands of years.

In books one, two, and three: ‘Twinter’, Time Falls Like Snow’, and ‘Tomorrow Again’ ( live on January 18th, 2021, here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TGZS6J7), the disgruntled Hall, in the north of present-day England, recruits Snow, and a pair of telepathic twins at odds over logic and metaphysics, to save it from being sold to unscrupulous developers, fulfill an ancient prophecy, and save the planet.

THE AFTERLIFE RULES

Under the laws of reincarnation, both Finn and Snow willingly sacrifice themselves in order to save the ones they love. Both children were locked in time at nine-years of age. Both ghosts narrate their woes from page one:

FINN: “I drowned three times. First, in the relentless rain of Ireland, second, in the deep gloom of mourning that settled over my mother, and third, in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic”.

SNOW: “I died a very long time ago or was it yesterday? …I think maybe both. My new name is Snow – a name that suits me even though there are days I wish it didn’t.”

Finn wants to win his mother’s affection. Snow wants to be reunited with her troubled father.

For seventy years, Snow runs in vain, barefoot through fields of lavender in her nightgown to meet the childhood friend who abandoned her. Finn journeys far to find the shoes that floated free of him when he was pulled from the Atlantic.

As close fictional companions of mine, I feel their pain.

May we all run barefoot this summer without wearing masks, reunited with family and friends.  

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IN PRAISE OF MAKING A SMALL SPLASH…

Novelists, think big, carry a big dream, and fail until you succeed.  

My best advice for my fellow authors is to continue to create if a book fails to thrive. If you must, hang up your notebooks and computers for a time, but in the tradition of ‘getting back on the horse’, return to the sanity of work and hunker down. After all, creative work is an artist’s center. Dry off, gird your pages, and keep on writing. Do not go gentle into obscurity.

A novel may be a hard ship to launch, but hardships aside, it’s the greatest ‘show-and-tell’ on earth. Be forewarned, or is it foreshadowed – a cautious toe in the waters of self-publishing barely creates a ripple, and it takes a ripple effect to create even the smallest splash. One would assume that Big splashes from little splashes, grow. Realistically… hardly ever. Such is the reality of a writer’s life. Treading water is mandatory. Water wings can’t hurt.

There are specific times for splashing out and mindful times to withdraw and listen. In any case, writing a bestseller is not the goal. The goal is to write the best book you can. A novel has to incubate, and while it matures, so must the savvy writer. We are advised to write ‘hot’, edit with a ‘cool’ head, and then, eyes open, step off the cliff. Surprisingly, not as foolhardy as it sounds.

Nevertheless, still-waters often run shallow for unknown authors, lured off course by the false promises of predators. Books often run aground, dashed on the rocks of business. But then, the love of words has its own rewards which is just as well… the odds of making a huge publishing splash is mercurial.

It’s a brave author who reaches their own finish line.

Welcome to my wading pool: https://www.amazon.com/V-Knox/e/B0094K0Q7Y

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THREE VACCINES NO WAITING

detail from Salvador Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’

During a life-threatening pandemic, there’s no such thing as spare time.

There are three shots in the arm, immediately and always available to counter the effects of cabin fever, anxiety, grief, depression, isolation, impatience, anger, sadness, fear, and loss that neutralize adverse mental health issues. I recommend…

…SHOT IN THE ARM #1 …CREATIVITY

As passionate storytellers, secret poets, and wannabe novelists hooked on unlimited premises, humans are hardwired for fiction. Jump-start your personal depths and heights of imagination by writing a memoir, short story, children’s book, or a novel.

     Read for pleasure. Read out loud. Read to a shut-in. Reread your old children’s books at bedtime. Read biographies, histories, the classics, memoirs, and poetry. Read books on the craft of writing. Listen to audio books.

     Join a virtual local writing group or a book club. Shelve literary horrors in favor of life-affirming genres. Whet your dormant visualization techniques. Set up a personal writing space. Complete a simple writing project from outlining to final draft. Share your thoughts, memories, story ideas, and insights by documenting daydreams and night dreams. Begin a diary. Turn off the Television. Be the library.

It’s human nature to make art: with paints, clay, or film. Paint, draw, sculpt, carve, build, design, cook, design, decorate, sew, knit, scrapbook, and share your personal wealth by teaching others your area of expertise.

     Think motivationally: create, play, produce, fashion, craft, build, construct, generate, invent, show, tell, reinvent, observe, watch, perceive, witness, design, question, initiate, establish, entice, perform, dream, and most of all, begin. Have fun

     As a bonus incentive, creative projects suspend the perception of time. Hours cease to drag. The passage of time shifts accordingly with hypnotic focus, and eventually, the timely arrival of a muse inspires…

…SHOT IN THE ARM #2 …DISCOVERY

Humans thirst for knowledge. We are armchair explorers, absorbers of stories, seekers of wonder, science-mad, competitive gamers, addictive solvers of puzzles, curious discoverers of clues, dedicated researchers, steadfast students, resolute historians,and tenacious investigative reporters. Enroll in an online master class. Take up a new hobby. And especially, fan the flames of continuing education by teaching others.

     Explore, research, learn, read, and watch documentaries. My two favorites are:

     ‘Lucy Worsley’s’ historical documentaries and ‘Time Team’ for archaeology.

     Listen to interviews with brilliant scientists and artists. My two favorites:

     ‘The Making Sense Podcast’ with Sam Harris and

     ‘The Origins podcast’ with Lawrence Krauss.

     Decrease toxic waste in the landfill of the mind by shelving genres of dystopian horror and violence. Avail yourself of the endless stream of documentaries available on YouTube. Embrace science. Shine your enlightenment into our current ‘dark age’. Which brings us to… 

…SHOT IN THE ARM #3 …MINDFULNESS

The human spirit requires periods of tranquillity to reset, and since thoughts can inspire or contaminate, we must choose them prudently. Embrace white noise. Nurture kindness and compassion. Celebrate the human spirit. Treasure moments of solitude. Focus on the breath. Summon serene inner landscapes and spend time there. Bank the fires of anxiety by stilling the mind with Guided Meditation. I highly recommend:

     ‘The Waking Up app’ with neuroscientist Sam Harris.

     A mind spiraling out of control into anger, depression, and anxiety, feeds the unsettling disquiet of social media. Decrease mind pollution. Refrain from consuming fright-based entertainment. Stifle the excessive blitz of social chaos, ignore vicious gossip, disregard false news, and silence conspiracy theories. Peace of mind is a natural state; there’s no need to wear yourself out seeking it. Peace of mind arises with acceptance. Acknowledge what is. Listen intently to stressful emotions and let them go. Release the temptation to live in the future. Now is the only time that exists.

Stay mindful throughout the processes of recreational therapy: solitude, silence, patience, focused listening, and the art of breathing.

     Prepare for success. Sluggish thinking spirals downward into despondency. Time is a gift. Whatever your present challenges, remember you’re the watchkeeper. Keep on ticking!

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