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.


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.


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


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.


‘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.

‘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.


‘I WAS THERE’ – the art of time travel – a poetic stroll through fifteenth-century Florence.


‘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.

 ‘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?



‘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.

‘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


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


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



Leonardo da Vinci was born – April 15, 1452





HMS Titanic sank – April 15, 1912

It’s uncanny that these are both subjects about which I’m most passionate.

I wrote ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’ as an homage to the lost children of the Titanic after I visited the Maritime Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was moved by a pair of child’s shoes salvaged from the doomed liner.

‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ is a love story of reincarnation and extraordinary sacrifice. When death separates two children on board the Titanic who were destined to marry, the spirit of the boy, Finn, chooses to remain earthbound as the surviving girl’s invisible childhood companion.

Finding a pair of lost shoes is the only way to silence Finn’s inner demons and imagined sins, keep an unthinkable promise made in haste, and give them a second chance.

Posted in Books, Fine Art, Historical Fantasy, Leonardo da Vinci, literary fiction, magical realism, Nova Scotia, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, Sandro Botticelli, Second Lisa, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, Titanic, Titanic's lost shoes, Titanic's unknown child, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment



Mr. Dickens may have written ‘Great Expectations’ but today, we authors are plagued with them:




Definition (mine): SERENDIPITY > A triad random hit of perfect-timing, perfect-placement, and a perfect human carrier pigeon in a single, spontaneous, advantageous intervention that radiates from its impact point, multiplies exponentially and champions a cause. HOPEFULLY yours and mine. But there’s the rub. Hoping cancels out serendipity.

Bob Dylan expressed serendipity’s elusive nature best when he sang “you may as well try and catch the wind”

The road to literary success is not paved with anything. Its not even a road; it’s two roads – a crossroad where divine intervention is said to occur. Except, it’s not divine; it’s human. A collision we euphemistically call a happy accident. The great unplanned ‘something’…

THE X FACTOR- And it’s never a what… it’s always a who: A great unplanned SOMEONE

As John Cleese in ‘The life of Brian’ admonishes the woman in an unruly mob who throws the first stone: “It only takes one.”

And speaking of one… serendipity is one loaded word. A word loaded with luck. One might say it’s even a mite overloaded. It’s a rare bird of a word. It’s best not to carry this spicy word on your sleeve; it’s tempting fate. But if you feel immune to superstitious mythos, write it on a slip of paper with invisible ink and keep it hidden in a pocket.


If serendipity lands on your doorstop, welcome it inside with open arms and order a crate of champagne.

Definition: AGENT > a strategic plan, catalyst, or event that influences an outcome; an action or response that triggers change; a human mediator who acts as an instrument of change; a driving force, capable of producing a certain effect; an active and efficient intervention that causes or transforms an existing neutral state.

And in the case of a bestseller, it’s also a reader who spontaneously instigates a word-of-mouth phenomenon.

Serendipity is like the amazing archaeological finds at Sutton Hoo. One day a metal detectorist tramps across a silent field. A short time later, a different metal detectorist waves his magic wand over the same damp ground and hits noisy Saxon gold. We may be sure the surrounding fields were consequently earmarked for further treasure and mined to within an inch. But to no avail.


Write as if serendipity doesn’t exist; as if Amazon stars don’t exist. More importantly, do not go gentle into that great expectation believing serendipity has your name at the top of its list. Its better not to set yourself up for disappointment.

allow serendipity be an unexpected surprise

We authors often try too hard to be the lightning rod for fame’s parallel strike. Fame doesn’t mega-strike twice in the same genre. Super-viral success is a bolt of lightning that may never strike once, even if you tempt serendipity by standing on the topmost rung of a metal stepladder during a thunderstorm, atop the only hill in a prairie landscape, wearing tap shoes while holding the world’s longest tuning fork over your head.


LITERARY SERENDIPITY IS A GHOST, akin to the definition in ‘Ghostbusters’ – [a free-floating full-torso vaporous apparition that blows books off shelves from twenty feet away, capable of scaring the socks a librarian.]

But if you desire to live in this kind of library, you must be invited.

There are no ‘busters’ to call, no site to manipulate, and no perfect treatise on writing to follow because the SERENDIPITY HOTLINE has an unlisted number?

So, authors rejoice. There is one less thing to worry about. The X factor is out of your control.

Chances are GREAT, that your number one ‘agent’ is happenstance with a beating human heart– the perfect event-horizon-reader who will champion your future.

Posted in Books, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Silent K Publishing, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment



UFO = Unidentified Fictional Objectivity

Paranormal has become a four-letter word for those of us who write in its general vicinity. But softer words may be used to describe a ‘stranger than fiction’ story without horror and fright or to see dead people in a good way?

There IS a softer side to paranormal fiction where the curious reader is invited to innocently flirt with time.

Flow with impossible dreams. Indulge in a playful fling with the unreal and romance the sweetly surreal. Take a flight of fancy to the afterlife and dance the endless loops of reincarnation, lucid dreaming, quantum leaps of time-slipping, and venture into zones with more relaxed outer limits in novels where a reader can wander through the doors of perception and peek behind the looking glass without having to sleep with a light on afterwards.

Delight that the fictional afterlife is a country of your own making where you can die outside the box and reincarnate at will.

THE KEY WORD in paranormal fiction is ‘FICTION’ (translation: a story that exceeds the constraints of normal of lying)

It’s a heads-up promise that ‘SOMETHING UNUSUAL THIS WAY COMES’

That something you’re about to read will not creep you out or give you nightmares for a month of Sundays. That said, it may even delight you or cause you to reflect outside the laws of physics for a change, and indulge freely inside the flexible laws of metaphysics.

The word FICTION notifies a reader that something or everything in a story is untrue; the word PARANORMAL informs a reader that a story operates within the flexible realms of metaphysics.

Language goes one better and adds prefixes to nice calm words in order to jazz up the tension: un, in, other, super, extra, and para (which means above). These beget: unexplained, unidentified, unreal, unbelievable, uncanny, untoward, unearthly, otherworldly, supernatural, unlikely, unknown, insubstantial, unidentifiable, inexplicable, psychic, intuitive, extraordinary, unknowable, and the para-deadly… ‘paranormal’. The words: enigmatic, mystical, visionary, ethereal, ghostly, mysterious, fantasy, fanciful, make-believe, magical, prescient, quixotic, brooding, telepathic, clairvoyant, occult, surreal, arcane, premonition, esoteric, and imaginative are roses made of icing on a deeply layered cake.

Sadly, Quixotic-Fiction is not an acceptable genre, but wouldn’t it be nice if it was!

WE WANT TO BELIEVEif only for a few hours

We want to believe in the lighter side of the unexplained, defy gravity with flying objects, and dabble in the less arcane art of what-if. 

Here are some of my favorite works of Surreal-Fiction:

BOOKS (also MADE INTO FILMS): ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, ‘The Lovely Bones’, and the ‘Harry Potter’ series. 

MOVIES: ‘The Lake House’, ‘What Dreams May Come’, ‘Somewhere in Time’, ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Close Encounters’, ‘Jurassic Park’, and ‘Ghostbusters’ (one)


Posted in Adoration, Books, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, literary fiction, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, paranormal romance, PEARL BY PEARL, REINCARNATION, Second Lisa, supernatural, THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, the Green Man, The INDIGO PEARL, THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, time travel, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


… and I came out with a story. Or, to be more precise, it followed me home and shadowed me for three years.

And now it’s coming up to the first anniversary, of self-publishing THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES, appropriately, the traditional ‘paper anniversary’, and the 105th anniversary of the morning when the museum shoes and their young owner perished in the North Atlantic on April 15th, 1912.

Titanic sank with many immigrant children aboard – young passengers trapped in the doomed steerage section on the ship. One of whom, likely wore these shoes, permanently on exhibit in the Maritime Museum of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In an homage to the unknown child, I created Finn Cleary, a wild Irish boy who lost two pairs of shoes in the icy waters that fateful night.

It was unthinkable for Finn to face his mother who’d declared:

“I’ll skin you alive, so I will, if you so much as scuff your new shoes before we get to America.”


‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ is an extraordinary love story between two children onboard the Titanic, destined to marry, who struggle to stay together even after death separates them. Finding Finn’s shoes is their only chance.

New shoes don’t grow on trees, but sadly, printed books, do rely on them. To win a paperback copy of ‘The Unthinkable Shoes’, please answer the following question: Was it an iceberg or greed that sank the Titanic? Give your reasons. The answer that dazzles me, wins. Please use the contact page to send your reply with the words Titanic book contest in your email heading. I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Books, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, literary fiction, magical realism, Nova Scotia, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, Titanic, Titanic's lost shoes, Titanic's unknown child, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments