MARTIAN WAKEUP CALL

The sleeping Mars from ‘VENUS & MARS’ – SANDRO BOTTICELLI

The sleeping Mars from ‘VENUS & MARS’

– SANDRO BOTTICELLI

What do we actually know about Sandro Botticelli? What can we possibly know?  These are two different questions, and we can only answer the latter – the educated guess being no more valid than an emotional one.

 

Botticelli’s face proves how much more he was than a generic woodcut printed in the frontispiece of Dante’s Divine Comedy, a book he illustrated. A self-portrait, more than any other, is an accurate representation of a physical person. Behold, a haughty moment captured from a prolonged gaze in a mirror. Introspection fused to a defensive reflection.

‘The Adoration of the Magi’ – 1475
Sandro Botticelli’s self-portrait, age 35

Vanity? Perhaps. Here is a man turned out for deliberate remembrance, critiqued to the full extent of his professional examination. Clean-shaven and well-dressed, titian hair aglow. Eyes blazing life. Fire under the skin. Smouldering. Here is a whole person. Here is Tuscan sunshine glinting off the gold threads of an apricot cloak.

An image of oneself usually survives vanity only after it is found favorable. Is it flattery? Most definitely. Why else would a professional portrait painter abuse his best mode of self-promotion?

But the first question haunts us. What do we absolutely know? We know Botticelli once lived and there were days when he breathed under an apricot cloak. We know this cloak is now dust – lost in the refuse of daily things. We know Sandro has been a child and a teenager and an old man. We know that the days during which Botticelli painted his portrait, he walked away from his mirror to eat and drink. He laughed and concentrated between sips of wine, and then he painted. We know that at one precise moment he set aside his brushes, deciding his work was done, which is a significant moment for an artist.

We know Sandro’s portrait remains alive as testament to his chance for creative immortality. And we know Botticelli’s Adoration of 1475 was left to dry in the musty air of an artist’s studio, wet and vulnerable in a corner, while other work continued around it. It is clear that no serious accident befell it when it passed from hand-to-hand… or did it?

‘The Adoration of the Magi’ – 1475 – Sandro Botticelli

I doubt Botticelli painted a horse so ill-placed as to fall out of the picture plane. I suspect someone tampered, hopefully after the artist’s lifetime.

But, back to my subjective view as an author: Botticelli is having an intimate tease with us. Do you not feel it? He is there. He has survived five-hundred years of dust to meet us face to face. To stare into our eyes, soul-to-soul. Botticelli is ours now, to marvel at his silenced thoughts transmitted from eye-to-eye. I believe he was well satisfied with his portrait.

“Here I am,” it says. “While you’re trying to read me, I’m trying to guess who you are. Have we met? Could we? Yes, we’re meeting now. My name is Sandro, and you are …?”

‘ADORATION- LOVING BOTTICELLI’ by V KNOX

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Posted in Adoration, art history, Books, fantasy, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, Sandro Botticelli, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, time travel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIT A SPELL

‘THE YELLOW CHAIR’ VINCENT VAN GOGH

KING TUTANKHAMEN’S THRONE – 18th dynasty

PLEASE BE SEATED… IT’S TIME FOR A GHOST STORY

 

 

 

In TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW – book two of the Y/A ‘Bede Trilogy’ by V Knox, Bede Hall, an indignant stately home riddled with time portals, is once again under siege from financial woes and local developers. But this time, it’s under attack by a newly-awakened supernatural enemy.

Enter a pair of equally demanding enchanted chairs with a mission of their own that engage resident teenage twins, Kit (Christopher) and Bash (Bathsheba), in an extraordinary partnership to overcome an ancient curse.

As the chosen champions foretold in a winter prophecy, the telepathic twins must set aside being normal teenagers and face the responsibilities of preventing a disastrous event that threatens the survival of Bede Hall as well as the future of the planet.

Bash, has always been a supercharged bossy boots ‘know it all’ – a wordsmith extraordinaire who loves to tease her serious brother for fun, but as Bede Hall’s designated ‘mistress of the green’ she’s charged with grounding the energies of the Hall’s gardens and woodlands, until the return of the Green Man restores the land.

But Kit, Bash’s budding scientist brother who, other than ghosts, denounces all things supernatural as optical illusions or hoaxes, believes he has a logical explanation of the bizarre events unfolding in Bede, and in spite of some unexplained events to the contrary, has no intentions of swallowing the hairbrained idea that the Hall orders its residents to do its bidding and controls the weather. Nor does he accept being appointed the designated time traveler to intercede for Bede Hall in the hope of reconciling long disputed interests in the distant past.

Together with a team of resident ghosts and sentient animals called the ‘Twinters’ and a village of decidedly odd residents known as the twice-borns, the twins agree to disagree.

The word existential delights wordsmith Bash, but even though the twins have always read each other’s minds, and Kit has logically reasoned out that ghosts are scientifically legitimate forms of purely organic residue, welcoming interfering sentient chairs as necessary allies is a challenge too difficult for him to digest. Even so, he’s beginning to accept he may have actually time- traveled during a dream-like vision of a wintry future, an admission he’s keeping to himself.

Kit and Bash Stratford-Smyth have never needed extraneous devices to hear each others thoughts, but time is a dimension too deep for telepathy to connect. They liken ‘chair chat’ to a childhood game using a pair of tin cans on a length of string as a playful telephone.

Their opposing approach to enchanted chairs is distinctive – a simple science experiment for Kit to disprove, and confirmation of supernatural extrasensory hearing for Bash. But one way or another, they must set their differences aside for the sake of the future and comply with a new set of rules.

One thing remains obvious, once separated by three-thousand-five-hundred-years and two-thousand-seven-hundred-miles as the falcon Horus flies, thoughts shared across time bring a whole new meaning to let’s sit down and have a chat.

In the meantime, pull up a chair and read closely, secrets are about to be spilled as Bede Hall’s prickly personality continues to dominate a landscape that’s decidedly ancestral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Green Man’, is a mythological figure depicted with leaves for hair, in the tradition of the god Pan, protector of woodlands and defender of natural green spaces. He is usually green or autumn colors, depending on the season. But when the Green Man is absent from the countryside, vegetation atrophies, legend declares a permanent winter settles over the landscape, and the world hovers in a state of frozen decay.

 

THE BEDE TIME-SLIP TRILOGY

Winter looms big in the ‘Bede Trilogy’ set in a liminal landscape where reality meets enchantment and a sentient stately home presides over an area of Great Britain linked irreversibly with Pangea and ancient Egypt. Ghosts, time-travel, a dozen terrible secrets, and a curse of snow takes a pair of telepathic twins on an adventure in ancient Egypt and into the future where the safety of earth’s ecosystem lies in their hands.

 

Book one: ‘TWINTER – the first portal’ a time-slip adventure for Y/A readers by V Knox is available on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/TWINTER-first-portal-footprints-silence/dp/0993738044/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473280585&sr=1-1

Twins Christopher (Kit) and Bathsheba (Bash) Stratford-Smyth who live in a suburb near London, are twelve when their Egyptologist father goes missing from his dig in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Bede Hall, their grandmother, Lady Nan’s stately home in Northumbria, is in danger and not a little angry. It feels cruelly abandoned at its hour of need, put up for sale while its matriarch, oblivious of her old home in danger of being sold to shady developers, has intentionally distanced herself from exhaustive responsibilities by retreating into a fog of happier memories.

While the Hall faces being turned it into a commercial venture, or demolition, Lady Nan dreams on about a previous life she remembers in ancient Egypt.

But the Hall has no intentions of being sold without a fight. In desperation, it summons its considerable powers and orders Lady Nan to wake up and return home.

Book two: ‘TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW’ by V Knox – the continuing time-slip adventure for Y/A readers that links the mythologies of Pangea, Great Britain, and ancient Egypt, is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Falls-Like-Snow-flurries/dp/0993738095/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534267913&sr=1-1&keywords=time+falls+like+snow

Book three: ‘TOMORROW AGAIN’ by V Knox – the conclusion of the Bede Series, will be launched in 2019

Excerpts of V Knox’s novels and samples of her artwork may be viewed on this website.

Posted in ANCIENT EGYPT, Ancient Egyptian history, art history, Books, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Leonardo da Vinci, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, REINCARNATION, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, the Green Man, time travel, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

baby shoes of an unknown child aboard ‘RMS Titanic’

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 15 – 1452

The illegitimate son of a lawyer and a woman we know only as Catarina, is born in the town of Vinci, in Tuscany, Italy. The child’s unspectacular entrance into the world is minimalized to protect the reputation of a prominent family.

The boy is ‘stored’ out of sight as an unlikely heir if there are no legitimate sons. His mother is hurriedly married off to a brutish local mercenary for a fee, and dispatched in disgrace to a remote location in the surrounding countryside.

Leonardo da Vinci disappears, unsung, to live in a rough peasant’s cottage and fend for himself against a bully of a stepfather and a downtrodden mother. But, he escapes early into the landscape that offers him sanctuary. A retreat that soon becomes his playground and school, and Leonardo emerges a ‘renaissance boy’ who will change the course of art, engineering, and science.

The remains of this April day in 1452 relies on what is recorded – the single mention of  Leonardo’s birth in a family bible by a farsighted and practical paternal grandfather:

“There was born to me, a grandson, the son of Ser Piero my son, on the 15th day of April, a Saturday, at the third hour of the night. He bears the name Lionardo.”

– Antonio da Vinci, 1452

During his sixty-seven years, Leonardo fills copious notebooks, meticulously recording his every waking idea accompanied by endless detailed diagrams and side-notes. The deepest longings of his mercurial nature are hidden in plain sight between the lines of his eccentrically encoded entries. But privacy is paramount to Leonardo and he remains guarded concerning the dreams and memories of his anonymous childhood. Other than posthumous hearsay, little information has survived of the master’s early years. Hindsight delivers a few anecdotal stories. Fate steps in, more mysterious than the smile of a silk merchant’s wife whose face reincarnates as the most famous portrait in the world.

April 15 – 1912

RMS Titanic, declared unsinkable, sinks on her maiden voyage, in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic 370 nautical miles from the southern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. In a few years, an artifact of contraband salvage, a pair of baby shoes kept hidden in a drawer, makes its way into the Halifax Maritime Museum in Nova Scotia – a poignant reminder under glass of one of Titanic’s many unknown child passengers.

The remains of this April day in 1912, relies on what is recorded: the diaries, the first hand reports, telegrams and letters, the anecdotal hearsay, the speculations and embellished theories of hindsight, and the newspaper clippings.

LIFE & DEATH mark significant historical anniversaries. April 15 is a date that celebrates a creative genius and commemorates the lives lost at sea in an unthinkable maritime disaster. From the wondrous to the disastrous:

Leonardo is born on April 15th –1452 – Titanic sinks on April 15th –1912

Take a moment today to honor the passengers of RMS Titanic as well as celebrating the birthday of a dismissed child who survived his shaky childhood beginnings to become the quintessential ‘renaissance man’ who changed the history of art forever.

The newspaper boy immortalized in the photograph has long since passed on, but the headlines he’s brandishing grow evermore sensational.

In 1985, the Atlantic gave up Titanic’s resting place, a few of her secrets, and hundreds of recovered treasures that evoke a sense of luxurious despair and compassion. And not long after, in 2009, Millvina Dean, the youngest passenger and the last survivor of Titanic, succumbed to the pages of history.

Now, more than ever, untold stories rise from the depths of a writer’s imagination to move readers eager for truths entirely ‘stranger than fiction’.

I liken the writers of today’s fiction to the wandering minstrels of old who fanned the fading echoes of folklore into trailblazing songs of derring-do. Stories of heroes that once traveled by word of mouth are rewoven from lost threads to the latest word of research, into novels and screenplays and movies of mythological proportions.

But, even ghosts have muses. We authors persuade story phantoms to unlock the past, air their memories, reveal their heartbreaks, and narrate their untold stories.  

In this tradition, bookends of life and death, 460 years apart, have inspired two of my stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISABETTA a stolen glance’ – book one of a fanciful story of Leonardo da Vinci’s sister, in four volumes

From anonymity to the most recognized face in the world. For five-hundred-years, the embittered spirit of the ‘MONA LISA’ has been trapped inside her portrait, waiting impatiently behind her smile to redress a five-hundred-year-old case of mistaken identity.

To be liberated from her portrait and reclaim her rightful place in history as Leonardo da Vinci’s sister, Lisabetta awaits a special advocate to champion her cause – an autistic boy seeking recognition within a society that dismisses him as flawed.

‘Lisa’ has no intention of allowing either of them to remain anonymous.

‘Lisabetta – a stolen glance’, book one of four, is scheduled for launch on Amazon in June 2018.

THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES– a ghost story of reincarnation and willpower about a boy who loses his shoes between heaven and the deep blue sea.

When death separates a pair of child passengers onboard Titanic who were destined to marry, the ghost of the boy chooses to remain earthbound as the surviving girl’s invisible childhood companion in order to reach heaven. Finding a pair of lost shoes is their one chance to stay together.

 

Posted in art history, Books, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, literary fiction, Lost Paintings, magical realism, Nova Scotia, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, Silent K Publishing, the 'Mona Lisa', THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, Titanic, Titanic's lost shoes, Titanic's unknown child, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author, women's fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WHY SO BLUE?

middle-grade time-slip ‘TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW’ – by V Knox

The Green Man, is a mythological figure depicted with leaves for hair, in the tradition of the god Pan, protector of woodlands and defender of natural green spaces. He is usually green or autumn colors, depending on the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two ‘Green Man’ cover illustrations are blue because when the Green Man is absent from the countryside, vegetation atrophies, legend declares a permanent winter settles over the landscape, and the world hovers in a state of frozen decay.

Winter looms big in my middle-grade ‘Bede Trilogy’ set in a liminal landscape on the edge of reality and enchantment where a sentient stately home presides over an area of Great Britain linked irreversibly with Pangea and ancient Egypt.

Bede Hall, the star of the series, is named after the ‘Venerable Bede’, a scholarly Anglo-Saxon monk c. 670 A.D. to 730 A.D. – an historian, best known as the Father of English History who devised a way of calculating calendar dates. An idyllic luminary inspiring a time-slip adventure that links science, history, and the folklore of Great Britain and Ancient Egypt.

Bede Hall is a fictional stately home near Hadrian’s Wall and close to the Isle of Lindisfarne. I liken Bede Hall to Downton Abbey for middle-grade readers. A great family’s seat for generations, set against the challenges of aging in the modern world. The curmudgeonly Hall thinks for itself and rules its tenants, the weather, and time, in no uncertain terms during an extremely uncertain year. Bede Hall lies empty with a for sale sign on its imposing gates while its eccentric matriarch drifts in a fog of memories in a retirement home. It faces its worst nightmare when circumstances wake an ancient foe eager to have a second  chance for victory.

But before the Hall can save the world, it must save itself. It faces demolition, or, what it considers the worse case scenario of being sold to greedy developers who want to turn it into an hotel.

The Hall has no intention of such an ignoble end. In fact, it claims responsibility for saving humanity if only its pesky financial concerns would go away. In desperation, it summons its aging matriarch, wasting away, who brings her twin grandchildren to live, rather more like camping out, in musty rooms with dodgy electrics, near a village with decidedly strange inhabitants. The Hall’s is not the only voice calling for help.

It’s resident child ghost still calls for her lost friend and missing family.

 

Ghosts, time-travel, a dozen terrible secrets, and a curse of snow takes a pair of telepathic twins on an adventure in ancient Egypt and into the future where the safety of earth’s ecosystem lies in their hands

Twelve-year-old twins, Kit (a keen boy-scientist) and Bash (a girl with a natural ‘green thumb’ and a flair for elaborate words) are forced to move from a noisy city to Bede Hall, their eccentric grandmother’s crumbling stately home, set in the sleepy English countryside.

With all that’s gone horribly wrong for a year, moving to a grand old mansion seems a solution that promises an adventure of endless exploration and freedom. Bash can create the garden of her dreams and Kit has an abandoned space to set up his own laboratory.

Instead, the pair discover a portal to the future with a terrible secret, begin to untangle the supernatural riddles of a mysterious village as bizarre as their grandmother’s magic snow globe, and meet the resident ghost-child of Bede Hall and some unexpected life-forms, some who appear to be as haunted as the presence of the hapless young girl trapped in the attic.

In order to save the planet from a natural disaster, one twin must ground the landscape of Bede while the other travels to the past to unravel the missing gaps of natural history.

The answers lie in Ancient Egypt, but only time will surrender its hidden knowledge.

Book one, ‘TWINTER’ (combining the words twin and winter), becomes the name of a team of teenagers, ghosts, and sentient animals given the task of settling an old score with an ancient curse in order to protect the future.

 

HOURGLASS OF TIME – a painting by Veronica Knox

THE BEDE TRILOGY

Book one: TWINTER – the first portal by V Knox, is available on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/TWINTER-first-portal-footprints-silence/dp/0993738044/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473280585&sr=1-1

Book two: TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW by V Knox – the continuing time-slip adventure for older middle-grade readers, that links the mythologies of Great Britain and ancient Egypt, will be available in May, 2018.

Book three:TOMORROW AGAIN by V Knox – concluding the Bede Series, will be launched in 2019

**the cover art is from a series of original paintings by the author and may not be printed, reproduced or digitally posted without written permission from the author.

A list of V Knox’s novels and samples of her artwork may be viewed on her website. www.veronicaknox.com

 

 

 

Posted in ANCIENT EGYPT, Ancient Egyptian history, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, science fiction, science-fiction fantasy, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, the Green Man, time travel, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PEARL EARRINGS, A RED HAT, and A SMILE

VERMEER – ‘GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING’

Be it an iconic image, a true representation, or a ‘tronie’, a face belies a thousand secrets

A TRONIE: a face created from memory or a consummate sketch of several people and costumes that ‘stand in’ for no ‘one’ in particular. And yet, if you read between the brushstrokes of a portrait, ICONOGRAPHY ALWAYS RULES!

“Girl with a Pearl Earring” is considered a tronie – a type of portrait from the Dutch Golden Age that features an unidentified model as well as exotic costumes. While these works may have been based on actual models, they were not meant to be exact portraits of the sitters. The artist took liberties in changing the subject’s features in order to demonstrate studies in expression and physiognomy. The exotic garments were added to show painterly skill and to provide entertainment to the viewers in the open art market. The exotic details in “Girl with a Pearl Earring” include the turban on her head and her large pearl earring. These details were considered taken from Vermeer’s imagination.

FOUND & LOST… generic or real?

REAL PEOPLE FOUND: an old snapshot of a stranger in a box of family photographs or a vintage postcard find in an antique shop. Waxwork images of a stern-faced Victorian matron or a gentleman wearing a suit that’s too small sporting a top hat and mustache that are too large. A romantic headshot of a dewy-eyed girl, a young boy in a sailor suit hugging a teddy bear, An elegant woman in a glamorous hat at the end of the second row in a formal wedding party portrait. Time swallows all clues, but one thing is certain, these were real people who lived.

Not so with painted portraits. The famous and great knew a thing or two about immortality. They were sure of one thing… their deeds (all victories of a sort) would outlive their likeness and so they may as well order an artist to capture them in the prime of life in paint and marble. An image that may never have been. Beautiful, handsome, and commanding. In this way, an idealized portrait is a psychological likeness. A representation for all that the subject never was who chose to be remembered for what they professed or desired to be. In other words, larger than life. Vanities indelibly fixed into the gallery of history. Ineffaceable as a mountain among men or a goddess among women.

REAL PEOPLE LOST: unnamed, undated, unreferenced. Identities lost within a single lifetime or over generations. A face from the past stares out of time, captured in a frozen moment begs contact. Remember me? How infuriating when even initials or a date might have been easily scribbled on the reverse, but instead there’s only faded sepia-stained paper, empty as a blank canvas.

A painted portrait is a different reality. In many cases, an unsigned work of art with no provenance, lacking verifiable historical reference. No historic record. No diary. A living face undated and unsung. A brief hearsay from an unreliable historian and then… a cold case of a missing person revived in fiction – a literary version of reincarnation.

VERMEER – ‘GIRL IN A RED HAT’

GENERIC LOSSES: Some up front and personal famous faces of historic heroes who want to be remembered as classic ‘beauties’ ie. Young, aquiline profiles, dynamically posed, athletic ‘fighting fit’ bodies, clear skin, dressed in expensive clothing and accessories. Most figures in a background scene or domestic groupings. Yes, servants stood in for some, but many are the faces of a TRONIE.

IF PAINTINGS COULD TALK…

and if you were a one-of-a kind-psychic-listener who could hear their indignant echoes huffy with age, you might have heard that servant girl from Delft: “My name is Griet, and I’ll have you know, in my time I prepared Master Vermeer’s paints in his attic studio.” Is she a tronie? We may never know.

Or, where there’s evidence:

‘THE MONA LISA’ detail

‘LISABETTA’ a novel by V KNOX

My name is Lisabetta. You know me as the ‘Mona Lisa’. I was Leonardo da Vinci’s beloved kid-sister, his assistant and apprentice, and the mother he was denied. We were born six-years-apart, as close as twins, and when I was old enough to walk, my brother made me a promise that we would never be parted.

My dear brother sketched me all my life but I was forty-five-years-old when he immortalized me in paint.

And during a particularly gloomy season painting the dreary wife of an even drearier silk merchant, circumstances conspired that I pose for a new kind of portrait.

Leonardo looked beyond my face to what had made me happy and sad, to where I came from and who I’d become. He saw me as a human landscape. A mature map rather than a mere likeness. My portrait is our countryside. You can see there are two disparate horizons in my portrait.

Leonardo favored pyramidal shapes. I am the human ‘mountain’ separating two sides of the same world. Twin landscapes. Life and death. One on the left; the other on the right. Can you tell which one is me? If you can read the language of art and of the trees and rocks and hills, the answer is plain, the way Leonardo liked to paint stories – out in the open for all to see.

We were inseparable even after my death, and so I remained his touchstone to life as well as the receptacle where his soul would retreat at his transition.

And so, I traveled with Leonardo as his companion to the end of his days as an icon painted on a small panel of poplar wood. If you look closely, you will see the traces of Leonardo as he wanders the twin landscapes behind me. We are still together. This is why I smile.”

Lisabetta – a trilogy by V KNOX. Launch date May 1, 2018

Posted in art history, Books, fantasy, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, literary fiction, Lost Paintings, magical realism, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, Sandro Botticelli, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', time travel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author, women's fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PITCHING ON A STORMY SEA

The concept you pitch could turn out to be the story that cannot be named!

I’m an indie author. And one thing I’ve learned, after pitching directly to agents at a writers conference, is that beauty is in the eye of the market.

SPOILER ALERT: Be careful of writing for your ideal reader, aka yourself, you may not be the average bear.

Standing in line waiting to pitch a novel at a writers conference to agents is nerve-wracking. Authors are given three minutes. Go overtime and someone hauls you off… but no pressure.

It’s not life-threatening in the same way as being mortally judged by an Egyptian monster that devours your soul if your manuscript weighs heavier than the feather of truth. Marketing favors the moment, and the moment is aligned to the ‘same-but-different’ latest bestseller genre. Your story fits or it doesn’t. Publishing calendars take no prisoners. You can roll with the punches (I mean ride the waves) and live to write another day.

But be forewarned, in a world based on language skills, one misspoken word has the power to sever a writer’s confidence from his sanity. Here are four killer words: paranormal, fantasy, historical, and literary. Once out, these words flap valiantly to be understood for all their nuances yet writhe beached on the shore, dead as beached whales.

CASE IN POINT… I deliberately booked six formal pitches to agents, back-to-back for momentum at a recent writers conference.

AGENT ONE: “Hello,” I say after introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ is paranormal history.” Ms. Agent looks up from my first page and vehemently declares “This is literary fiction!” in an accusatory tone. I am so busted.

AGENT TWO: “Hello,” I say, introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ is literary fiction.” Mr. Agent looks up from my first page, shakes his head, and vehemently declares in an exasperated tone, “Why on earth would you want to alienate 90% of your potential readers! Market this as historical fantasy.”

AGENT THREE: “Hello,” I say, introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ is historical fantasy.” Mr. Agent looks up from my first page and vehemently declares “This is paranormal fiction!” in an affronted tone. “If it’s paranormal you have to say so!”

AGENT FOUR: “Hello,” I say, introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ is about a ghost boy from the Titanic.” Mr. Agent looks up from my first page and blinks myopically. “What’s the genre?” he asks. Cautious now, I reply like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel. “Please sir, I’m not exactly sure.” The comeback is brutal. “If you want to compete with professional authors you have to come prepared. You must know its genre!” I am dismissed – an amateur… a newbie… an emerging author with a debut novel about something they want nothing to do with, and three minutes isn’t enough time for a return comeback. In fact, it’s considered rude to linger with a question after the clock has run out. Apparently it smacks of sounding argumentative to an agent who has been wined, dined, and paid to encourage the hopefuls waiting in line for their master’s voice to say here’s my card. Please send me the first three chapters.

AGENT FIVE: “Hello,” I say, introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ is a paranormal historical fantasy about a ghost boy from the Titanic.” Ms. Agent looks up from my first page, disappointed. “That’s a pity,” she says. “Paranormal historical fantasy isn’t selling right now. Literary fiction is the ticket.”

Whoever said third time lucky was a hopeless romantic. So, I changed hats and brought out a ‘time travel paranormal romance’ to pitch, instead.

AGENT SIX: “Hello,” I say, introducing myself by name. “My book ‘The Indigo Pearl’ is a paranormal romance about a comatose woman savant whose memories are downloaded into an android designed to withstand time travel. When the woman regains consciousness inside a hybrid body, intelligence is no longer artificial.” The words ‘paranormal-romance’ triggers a deafeningly silent ‘wrong answer claxon’ reminiscent of a game show. Mr. Agent sighs in dismay. “No way. Any story containing an android is science-fiction by default.” But,” I splutter, “it’s a fantasy time travel love triangle.”

Is there a way to back-peddle from such gaffs? Not within the minute left of a sink or swim interview. At least in an elevator there’s the option of pressing the emergency stop button and pause time.

The imperfect storm of self-publishing dictates that my own website, as imperfect as it may be, is the only venue under my control where I can freely promote my novels from a virtual sea of books. I send you a few rafts. Please grab hold as a book floats by with a pitch that catches your imagination.

SO, HERE GOES… PITCHING INTO THE WIND on a VAST BLUSTERY OCEAN TOSSING and ROLLING (dare I say, ROWLING?) with unsung BOOKS to a captured audience if you stay here awhile.

ALTERNATE HISTORY

‘LISABETTA’ – a fictional biographical trilogy of Leonardo da Vinci’s sister

The embittered spirit of the ‘Mona Lisa,’ trapped inside her portrait, escapes from the Louvre and causes havoc in an autistic boy’s worldview in order to be acknowledged for her true identity. *estimated launch date May 1, 2018.

‘WOO WOO – the posthumous love story of Miss Emily Carr’

begins where the historical Emily’s true memoirs end. An eccentric artist and iconic spinster, comes to her senses sixty-seven years after her death and calls down the energy of her animal totem, Woo the monkey, to rekindle the love of a rejected suitor. https://www.amazon.com/Woo-posthumous-love-story-Emily/dp/1481057901

‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ An extraordinary love story of reincarnation and sacrifice when two children on board Titanic, who were destined to marry, are separated by death. www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-Shoes-Save-Our-Souls/dp/0993738036

POETRY

‘I WAS THERE’ – the art of time travel – a poetic stroll through fifteenth-century Florence. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0993738087

PARANORMAL ROMANCE

‘ADORATION – loving Botticelli’ – a time travel romance

A retired art history professor, haunted for years by a self-portrait of the artist Sandro Botticelli, is lured into one of his masterpieces to consummate their romantic longings for each other five-hundred-years in the past.

https://www.amazon.com/Adoration-Loving-Botticelli-V-Knox-ebook/dp/B019JKI3GE

 ‘THE INDIGO PEARL’ and ‘PEARL BY PEARL’ An autistic female savant trapped in an extended near-death experience reincarnates too soon. When the memories of a comatose woman, able to converse telepathically with paintings, are downloaded into a hybrid android designed to withstand time travel, a conflict of interests ensues. And after the woman regains consciousness inside a hybrid body, intelligence is no longer artificial.

But the reluctant android, has its own agenda – to destroy its creators. As the woman regains control over her mind, the sentient android evolves organically, and when the two lifeforms meet halfway, they become rivals with a singular purpose, competing for the love of a young man in a 500-year-old portrait. Neither can win his affections without the unique abilities of the other. As the love triangle plays out, one female must eventually supplant the other. Who will prevail?

Ultimately, will it take two lives to make one woman?

https://www.amazon.com/Indigo-Pearl-once-child-shines/dp/0993738028/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1450488621&sr=1-3

and

https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-past-life-memories-renaissance-woman/dp/099373801X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1450487558&sr=1-1

MIDDLE-GRADE

‘TWINTER – the first portal’ – a time-slip adventure for ages ten to grandmother.

book one of ‘The Bede Series’ – Bede Hall is an abandoned stately home, and it’s desperate. It must rally its dispersed family before being sold to developers. Its youngest residents, a pair of telepathic teenage twins, must rescue a girl lost in time whose apparition has haunted the estate for generations. But rescue only opens a time portal that reveals terrible secrets. BEDE HALL IS ALIVE, BUT ALL IS NOT WELL.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0993738044?ref_=pe_584750_33951330

‘TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW’ book two of the ‘Bede Series’

‘DOWNTON ABBEY MEETS NARNIA’ It falls to Bede Hall’s time corridors, the Great Sphinx of Egypt, the rules of twindom, the power of nine, and a team of teenagers, with several otherworldly allies who call themselves the Twinters, to save earth from becoming a ball of blue ice orbiting the sun. The ‘Twinters’ have six years to try in a landscape where history is positively ancestral.

*estimated launch date May, 2018.

Posted in Adoration, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, android, art history, Books, fantasy, Florence, Florence. Italy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, literary fiction, Lost Paintings, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, paranormal romance, PEARL BY PEARL, poetry, REINCARNATION, romance, Sandro Botticelli, science fiction, science-fiction fantasy, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, The INDIGO PEARL, THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, time travel, Titanic, Titanic's lost shoes, Titanic's unknown child, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author, women's fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEONARDO!

Born April 15th – 1452 in the town of Vinci

“There was born to me, a grandson, the son of Ser Piero my son, on the 15th day of April, a Saturday, at the third hour of the night. He bears the name Lionardo.” – Antonio da Vinci

The face of ‘the Vitruvian Man’ is said to be a self-portrait of Leonardo, age thirty-eight

‘The Vitruvian Man’ – c. 1490

But the earliest image we have of him, is age 14 in this bronze sculpture of ‘David’. Leonardo posed for his teacher, Andrea Verrocchio, when he was the master’s fourteen-year-old apprentice

 

Verrocchio’s bronze ‘David’ – c. 1466

 VERROCCHIO'S DAVID 2

But my favorite likeness is Leonardo’s unfinished self-portrait in the ‘Adoration of the Magi’ when he was twenty-nine

Detail from Leonardo’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’ – c. 1482

I wonder…

Could Leonardo’s self-portrait be proof that Tom Cruise was a teenage time traveler?

Anything can happen in the movies.

Posted in Andrea Verrocchio, art history, Books, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Second Lisa, Silent K Publishing, the 'Mona Lisa', THE VITRUVIAN MAN, time travel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment