Even a blog post must tell a story. So, this blog, being no exception, is a story about you and me and how we connect, because collaboration is a two-way street. One might even say that ‘possession’ is nine-tenths of believing fiction at all! Here is our story.

Once upon a time there was an author…

When a fictional character arrives out of the blue, literally ‘dying to tell their story’, an author dutifully listens like they’re old friends, because in way, it’s quite possible, they are. If not at the beginning; then certainly at the end.

And more often than not, a deceased character with a story will rent a compartment in the author’s mind for years before they get down to business. But when they do, the two bravely enter another world, together before inviting you to join us.

Personally, as an author of metaphysical fiction, I always approach my ‘tenants’ cautiously at arms length. Vicarious is as vicarious does.

Paranormal fiction requires a transmitter and a receiver. One thing is certain: there is no story unless you and I agree to meet on another plane of existence. As a writer of fiction, I create a fanciful story deliberately intended to displace reality. I then invite you, the reader living on ‘the other side’ of the story, to travel on a different plane for a few hours by suspending your disbelief to learn something new about yourself.

Now there are three of us. You, me, and the insistent character who wants us to listen. Because you, the reader of paranormal fiction, and I the author of it, dare to tread in a holding pattern above the norm. We’re the ‘sensitives… the psychics… the ghostbusters!

That said, the first rule of ghost busting is vital for our survival: we must approach the unknown with the confidence of a seasoned traveler. The second rule is never let a ghostly character see you sweat.  

FOR EXAMPLE:             

One of my favorite novels is ‘THE LOVELY BONES’ – a ghost story/murder mystery with a poignant twist because the ghost narrator is an innocent teenage girl. Unfortunately, children go missing every day, so it was an especially poignant scenario, startlingly believable in concept; arrestingly beautiful in the telling.


Every museum artifact has a story.

Stories like ‘The Lovely Bones’ inspired me to explore what-if situations. Not from the downtrodden social-economic tracks on ‘other side of town’, but from the proverbial ‘other side’ of life where humans with unfinished business confront the living in order to be heard.

And so, after this pair of children’s shoes ‘followed me home’ from a Titanic exhibit in the Halifax Maritime Museum, they haunted me for seven years before I wrote ‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ about a boy named Finn who perished on the doomed ocean liner.

Finn explained his predicament, shyly at first, but grew bolder as we formed a bond of trust. He was afraid to meet his mother on the ‘other side’ because he lost the first store bought shoes he’d ever owned.

Mothers, it seems, are able to imprint irrational fears in brutally swift unconscious moments.

At first sight, inside their glass case, the shoes were unthinkably LONELY SHOES – the forgotten shoes of a lost child. But beyond the shoes, beyond the truth, lurked the lingering ever-present reality of a once-cherished living child.

Not long after visiting the museum, I watched a young mother struggling unsuccessfully to squeeze a shoe on her toddler while he wiggled his toes. It awakened the ghost within me of the Titanic shoes, once water-logged and encrusted with salt. The pair of extraordinarily ordinary shoes in my mind, still housed a dormant spark of energy. I couldn’t help but visualize another mother in a desperate hurry, cajoling her fidgety child to cooperate, dressing in haste to reach the last lifeboat.

And knowing that the shoes’ history can ever be truly known, I wrote a fictional story to honor the child who wore them – an homage to the lost children of the ‘unsinkable’ ship that sank on its maiden voyage, April 15, 1912.


When death separates two children onboard Titanic who were destined to marry, the ghost of the boy chooses to remain earthbound as the surviving girl’s invisible childhood companion.

Finding a pair of lost shoes is their one chance to stay together in the future.


We offer a ‘dispossessed’ astral traveler the means to escape by listening without judgement. 

A canny muse unexpectedly delivers the deep end of a story, sideways (from the brightest shadows of the imagination), the direction I, and many other writers, have come to recognize as the true north of a story. Storytellers are compelled to mine the hidden story layers where the true treasures lie. We are strange creatures who float in a sea of fantasies, unconsciously digging for gold. In my case, an imagined otherworldly memory blew my first draft of ‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ out of the water.


It occurs to me that our worst and best moments embed themselves in our minds like snapshots in a photo album. Every now and then their flashbulbs pop twice. Images that have a particular impact, like it or not, continue to haunt or inspire us for ill or for gain. And like all true pictures, they’re worth a thousand words. So, a memory or an old picture can, in effect, be a ghost that walks through a room and leaves an impression when you least expect it.

But that’s what a ghost is… a trace of life-force with an unfinished tale to tell.

To a sensitive observer, the echoes of the past reach out and touch them in surprises of recognition.

For this reason, I’m determined to write ghostly rather than ghastly by celebrating a positive curiosity of the afterlife rather than fearful visions of an horrific ‘void’ at the end of the world.

My stories explore the lighter side of alternative physics where museums archive the essences of past lives, sentient buildings host generations of ghosts and elementals, and mystical places provide safe harbor to lost souls determined to find each other across time, resolve their unfinished business, and make their way home.

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A million years after I broke the world,

I said I was sorry.

But until I truly mean it,

my truth is frozen in time.

My companions are a rabbit doll,

a keyhole named Jack,

and a disgruntled stately home.

And so, I remain, age nine,

adrift in the ‘House of Reincarnations’

where the scent of lavender

once started an endlessly cold war.

– Snow

After being reunited with her family, Snow, the child ghost of Bede Hall, retreats into her subconscious to escape the terrifying possibility of haunting Bede Hall forever. In order to save herself, Snow must battle her way through memory loss, dream her way through time to reclaim her lost memories, make peace with a past life, and discover if reincarnation is a viable alternative to a fate worse than death.


Available now on Amazon as a Kindle and in print:

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The 9 ft. tall Hellenistic statue ‘WINGED VICTORY’, known formally as the ‘NIKE OF SAMOTHRACE’, holds pride of place at the top of the Louvre’s Daru staircase. It was excavated in 1863 with only one wing, minus its head and arms, but in 1950 a few fragments of Nike’s right hand were discovered. The second wing was cast from the original created in the second century B.C. The missing body parts have never been found, but there’s a chance they were preserved and hidden away, yet to be discovered. In its original state it would have been painted in garish colors… proving that old-age can actually be improved with the ravages of time.Like Bridget Jones, she’s perfect… just the way she is.

An excerpt from ‘I Was There’ by V KNOX

Samothrace’s white Victory,

a statuesque goddess once dressed in gaudy bling

for the Hellenistic naval ball,

stands defeated at the top of the stairs,

passing the time.

The toppled lighthouse queen’s retrograde destiny hovers,

frozen in the space of eternity.

‘Nike’, a cryogenic lady-in-waiting,

held captive within the stasis of a hermetically sealed museum,

anticipates the technologies of two thousand years

to restore her broken limbs.

An archaeological donor’s card of body parts:

to transplant an injured wing

and heal the massive head wounds of ancient color-blindness

and the shattered windblown draperies of hindsight.

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drawing by V Knox
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A CHAIR IS NOT A CHAIR… look again!

The Yellow Chair – Vincent van Gogh – 1888

This post is about a chair and not about a chair. It’s about meaningful mystical perception, the deep end of the awareness pool. It’s about Vincent Van Gogh, and a couple of sentient chairs in a disgruntled building with time on its hands. 

A chair is a support. A chair is a story. A chair can be the seat of profound knowing.

When a chair’s seat is removed, it’s no longer a functioning chair. It can serve as a handy receptacle for draping clothes or stand-in as a hat stand. Without its seat, a chair is an un-chair. It’s the empty framework of a chair – a potential chair. It can be a metaphor for being unseated.

In the framework of the written word, secrets are the hidden meanings between the lines. What is left ‘unsaid’ ‘frames’ what a character may want to say but refuses to say. The protracted pauses in dialogue speak volumes. When a character makes a declaration, it’s often a truth within an outright lie. Hiding is revealing.

In the topsy turvy world of fiction, reality becomes the fantasy upside-down time that makes sense of or denies a character’s negative thoughts and attitudes. It offers readers the experience of the mystical – the para (above) the normal and the super (before) the natural. 

Some chairs have things to say. Case in point, in my ‘Bede trilogy’ for *middle-grade to adult readers, Vincent’s famous ‘yellow chair’ is a teacher. It has a twin brother and a best friend from the eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt. So… not a regular chair!

Segue: before I go any further. Here is a quick art lesson. One of the best ways to draw a chair is to take a picture of it, turn it upside-down, and focus on its negative spaces. Force your mind to see an object by tricking your brain.

The brain ‘KNOWS’ what a chair is but it can’t ‘SEE’ what a chair is.

By separating positive and negative spaces, and focusing on the negative, a true image of the chair will emerge. It may be slightly wobbly. But in both the literary and art world, wobbly equates to character. In art, as in story, believing is seeing. May I add, tricking readers is a promise made at the onset by authors of fantasy, mysteries, and paranormal fiction.


Chairs and beds and paintings hung on walls painted by French impressionists were usually gravity-challenged. Abstract paintings are visions of the formless – the undefined spaces of reality. The same can be said of fiction.

In books, abstraction becomes the art of distraction


A room can be a sanctuary or a prison. A hallway can lead nowhere. A window can be glued shut. Ambiance is a big deal. A cold spot in an attic is more than a temperature reading.

In Bede Hall, the blue door of the Winter Room is more than a door. It’s a portal. A portal protecting the ghost of an abandoned child

Twin yellow chairs and precariously hanging paintings in Vincent’s bedroom – 1888

The shape of things to come arrives in plot points, reversals, and reveals. It lies in negative perception. (foreshadows, real clues, deceptions, and red herrings slyly inserted into the unsuspecting text to suggest, imply, and mislead). No shape of a physical object exists without the empty spaces that ‘frame’ it.

In the Bede trilogy: ‘Twinter’, ‘Time Falls Like Snow’, and ‘Tomorrow Again’, Vincent’s restless yellow chair is a time-travel device. Its legs twitch with anticipation as much as unease. It represents a character’s anxiety or eagerness. It shouts:

 ‘Hey, you over there. Look at me. Sit! We need to have a talk. I’ve seen more from my place in the corner than you can dream of, and you’re about to make a huge mistake. Please, be seated. Take a moment before you leap. Allow me to guide you.’

And speaking of famous yellow chairs… allow me introduce King Tutankhamun’s golden throne, from the eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt… another character with a starring role, visiting Bede Hall, a curmudgeonly stately home with a mind of its own and an eye to the future from the perspective of a distant past.


Vincent van Gogh – chair as a table – 1888


I spy with my little eye something beginning with yellow…

Cheers from me and…

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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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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:


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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:


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’


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’


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.


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.


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:

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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.


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from Sandro Botticelli & Leonardo da Vinci

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

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


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


“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?”


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’.

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.

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