Presenting three of my artful characters dying to speak: LISABETTA BUTI (the ‘Mona Lisa’ and Leonardo da Vinci’s kid sister), SANDRO BOTTICELLI (fifteenth-century master painter), and FINN CLEARY (a child victim onboard Titanic)

When the red leaves fall, the October sky darkens with rain and snow, and the frost on the pumpkin glows silver in the moonlight, banish the shadows that play on human fear. Relax into a haunting story from the borders of the afterlife where the ghosts are family, twists of fate transcend time, and love is more powerful than death.

I remain intent on listening to the ethereal echoes from objects in museums and voices of the long since departed, dying to tell their truth.

Have a safe Halloween. Especially the ‘black cats’ of every color out there – V Knox

Historical facts meet magical fiction in THREE GHOSTLY NOVELS by V KNOX:




DISAPP’EARRING TWICE – a work-in-progress by V KNOX

My latest Art History Mystery ‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’ featuring ‘The Girl With A Pearl Earring’ is due to launch in January, 2020. My newsletter with a synopsis and excerpts will be sent on November 22nd.



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Posted in Adoration, fantasy, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, ghosts, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, literary fiction, Lost Paintings, magical realism, mythology, Nova Scotia, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, Sandro Botticelli, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES -novel, time travel, TIME TRAVEL, Titanic, Titanic's lost shoes, Titanic's unknown child, V Knox, V. Knox author, VERMEER, VERMEER, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments





A muse is invisible – a voice in one’s head with more knowledge than one gives themselves credit for. In my present work-in-progress, ‘DISAPPEARRING TWICE’. Aurelia Marcus retires to an isolated island to live out her days before complying with an extraordinary pact made in high school.

When Aurelia was seventeen she was confronted by Jacobina, the dispirited spirit of the girl in Vermeer’s ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’ masterpiece, after a slide projector in her art history class expelled the girl’s image into the world.

Jacobina wanted to be released from her imposed curse of immortality to reincarnate with her beloved. Aurelia, convinced she will eventually succumb to her family’s curse of dementia, agrees to avoid death altogether by melting into the painting as Jacobina ventures out.

When the girls were seventeen their scheme appeared to be a pact made in heaven, but now, fifty years later, Aurelias’s recurring disappearing acts are out of control and she yearns for the high school love she sacrificed in good faith, and to resolve a mysterious incident she’s suppressed since the twelfth grade.

The eccentric Aurelia relies on several voices in her head to guide her, but out of desperation, she attaches the loudest voice to a familiar object with a face, the Felix clock in her kitchen, who becomes a tangible muse she can turn to at any hour.

Aurelia also depends on Canary, a rescue dog adopted as a guardian against an untoward intruder who threatens her privacy. Canary, named for the early warning canaries miners took down the mines, turns out to be a natural therapy dog able to ground Aurelia during unprompted ‘episodes’ of lucid memory shifts she calls her ‘earthquakes of the mind’.

The term ‘senior’ takes on a new meaning when spontaneous school flashbacks and futuristic presentations trigger a new take on life and death, but then the strangest of strangers appears with a compelling solution.

Is Aurelia’s unstable mental state a lucid dream or is she being dreamed in a parallel dimension? Is reality the stuff of dreams? Appearances can be deceiving, and time is running out.

But there’s a ghost of a chance Aurelia will find her way home before the eleventh hour transforms her into a painting.

DISAPPEARRING TWICE – a work-in-progress by V KNOX









*estimated launch date May 2020

[Apart from the Felix clock with its roving cartoon eyes, the kitchen is one of Jacobina’s favorite hangouts… I don’t like to use the word haunts, although I can confirm that pestering the living with requests is the essence of haunting, and, I believe, the primary inclination of apparitions in general.

Jacobina is more than a vaporous shell. She’s family. We’ve been together ever since we met in high school when she proposed a pact to resolve our mutual issues of mortality. Jacobina wanted a second chance to live and I wanted to avoid death altogether. We were unbelievably young. It had seemed like a match made in heaven.]

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the low tech high-renaissance 15th century i-phone

Leonardo carried these ‘libricini’ (tiny notebooks) everywhere to record what he saw and jot down ideas. Texting was 500 years in Leonardo’s future. Writing was awkward. It’s not as if Leonardo carried a ballpoint pen with sepia ink. He had to carry a vial of liquid ink and a quill.

Leonardo’s camera is the same size and weight as a cell phone, always handy, and fits into a pocket.

It had a protective leather case and a safety clasp.

If Leonardo had been able to take a selfie in 1474 he would have looked like this:

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

learn more about Leonardo and his sister LISABETTA – a stolen glance

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detail of the ‘Tobias and the Angel’ altarpiece from the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio c. 1467

There is a fifteenth-century Italian painting in the National Gallery of London entitled ‘TOBIAS AND THE ANGEL’. I have a love/hate relationship with this 33 in. x 26 in. panel for a Florentine altarpiece.

No doubt, this painting seen from ‘on high’ in less than optimum lighting conditions, was not only significantly removed from close scrutiny by its location, but of less interest to spectators more intent on the religious goings on beneath it.

It’s what I would call a hands-on teaching device, and too many inept hands have contributed to its production because the workshop where it was created was also a teaching institution for young artisans. Apprentices, often unchaperoned, dived into projects and did their best. Like any factory, there were deadlines to complete and ever-present incoming orders. And like any undisciplined kitchen, this painting suffered from the effects of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’… save one.

Leonardo da Vinci, apprentice wunderkind, entered Verrocchio’s ‘bottega’ as a young teenager. His natural genius singled him out, and so it’s no surprise that the elements of this painting that sing amongst a discord of tuneless voices are where his contributions shine.

Clearly, not all apprentices are created equal. Finite details are the precepts of artists with a passion for accuracy. Leonardo’s sensitivity and dedication to keenly observing and documenting the natural world: flora and fauna, the atmospheric effects of weather (sfumato), and especially light, are his special trademarks.

Master artists develop clear forensic signatures that reveal their creative presence at first sight. Leonardo da Vinci’s input to this blatantly flawed group painting are its saving grace. Experts on the specific forensics of Leonardo have settled on three areas that telegraph ‘Leonardo was here’: the sparkling fish, the boy’s windblown hair, and first prize – the ghostly dog, disappearing from one of Leonardo’s early misadventures with mixed media. (case in point: ‘The Last Supper’ and its infamous ongoing mishap with an untried plaster recipe)

The dog, painted lightly in an early experimental stage of oil paints over an egg tempera base, didn’t quite stick and it has been slip-sliding from the surface, fading deeper into a ghostly apparition from the effects of age and light with every year.

We can see through the dog to the landscape behind it, but this only gives the prancing dog more appeal. Fading does not distract from its lively personality. It’s alert.

This is a real dog.


The fish is real. The boy’s delicate fly-away curls are affected by a real breeze. ( p.s. ignore the face by another artist who has attempted an impossible three-quarter view and a full profile at the same time… kind of creepy)


But what I love most about this painting is that it survived. Many paintings are lost. This one gives us a snapshot of a master genius as his talent manifested in his early years.














Mistakes are part of the learning process, and an altarpiece is not meant to be scrutinized up close and personal as a painting hung in a modern gallery. Most of its glaring errors of perspective, composition, and anatomy would have escaped the untrained eye… and, I speculate, overlooked by the trained ones in order to meet a contract’s delivery date. Deadlines rule. Time is business.

Leonardo eventually surpassed his teacher, Master Verrocchio, who was known for his three-dimensional statues in clay, terracotta, wood and marble, and his engineering skills. In my opinion, painting the human figure was clearly not Verrocchio’s forte. His painted figures were either boneless or they were severely deformed (see the boy’s twisted leg and the figures’ unnatural claw-like fingers)

The angel’s ungainly marble body is conveniently hidden under vast layers of elaborate robes. He and the boy are placed in close proximity like pasted cardboard dolls as if they are interacting but they are inanimate shapes.

The boy’s painfully twisted limbs, unable to be hidden under drapery, seem made of rubber. And here we can also see that the illusion of a true depth of field is dashed as the tassel from his cloak has become entangled with a tree on the horizon, miles away. The angel’s wings seem carved from solid wood, (not a feather in sight), would scarcely flutter in the strongest tempest and hardly lift a marble angel off the ground, and a cloud, more like a horizontal icicle painfully pokes the boy’s head. And what, pray tell, are the white puffballs on the road? Poached eggs made of stone, blobs of shaving cream, seashells with legs, or evidence of the first popcorn explosion? No… they are plain Italian rocks.

Andrea del Verrocchio’s workshop, where this group painting was created, was more a factory than an artists’ studio. The truth is, the art studios of fifteenth-century Florence were commercial factories staffed by dozens of trade workers and artisans along with a motley crew of aspiring apprentices with various levels of expertise. Apprentices were trained by mucking in as early as possible, anywhere an extra hand could be employed, and time constraints in a constantly moving production line meant quality control was not always a prime concern. Deafening with the constant sounds of construction: machinery, chisels on marble, wood being sawed and hammered together for scaffolding and custom designed furniture, and the squeals of winches, one wall needed to open to the air in order to alleviate the heat of blasting furnaces working metal, pottery kilns, and the noxious fumes of chemicals from distilling varnish, mixing plaster and grinding paint.

Amongst the din and dust, engineers and architects designed buildings, bridges, and weaponry. The wholesale manufacture of ceramic saints, props for theatrical projects, fine gold jewelry, and heavy armor were made in the same creative chaos.

A typical classroom it was not.

Be it art show or dog show, in my book, Leonardo’s pup takes first prize!

Posted in Andrea Verrocchio, art history, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, ghosts, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


…how a 500-year-old spelling mistake was enough to confound history and gift me a premise for a time-slip ghost story









Excerpt from ‘LISABETTA-a stolen glance’

[But for a single misshapen letter, I would be musing in heaven. The letter ‘a’ deposed me. Betrayed me. Sabotaged me. It was not even a whole letter but the merest tail of one. My legacy was tied to the tail of a hapless letter ‘a’ that unseated me from Gioconda to Giocondo.]

But for an untimely pen, a spluttering candle, and a myopic historian, I would be the celebrated ‘laughing woman’. I am most certainly NOT the dreary wife of a common silk merchant.

I was well acquainted with Monna Lisa Giocondo but we were never friends. And yet, she envied me as much as I despised her and all the dainty women of her class. I am galled to be misidentified as Mrs. Giocondo. Of all the insipid women…the world could not have chosen a more perfect way to insult me.

A parched quill simply ran dry, and my story moved on without me.

I didn’t steal away. I was stolen. Dethroned. Many many times. – Lisabetta ]


THE BIRTH OF A STORY… the premise and the promise

Paranormal fiction has to be stranger than historical facts

I premise the most intriguing paranormal stories are inspired by true events based on historical documents and hearsay shared freely by the people of the day in their diaries and letters. A writer’s imagination fills in the missing DNA.

A MAJOR LIGHTBULB FACT kickstarted my fictional story about the mistaken identity of the ‘Mona Lisa’:

A Florentine census from 1463 references that Caterina, Leonardo da Vinci’s mother, gave birth to six children, including a daughter named Lisabetta.

Leonardo had a half-sister named Lisa! What are the odds. Coincidence? Not to a writer! Paternity was a tad fuzzy in the fifteenth-century. What if Lisabetta was the second lovechild of Caterina and Piero da Vinci… Leonardo’s full sibling with whom he had strong biological and creative ties?

What if Lisabetta was the stabilizing influence for Leonardo’s erratic creative nature?

The ‘Mona Lisa’s identity has several contenders. Lisa Giocondo is only one of many undocumented theories. WHAT IF the word ‘gioconda’, the smiling woman, (a reasonable description to have been attributed to the ‘Mona Lisa’), was confused with a second portrait commissioned by the ‘Giocondo’ family? History is confounded and the wrong Lisa is hailed as the ‘Mona Lisa’! What if there were two portraits painted in 1503?


The ‘Mona Lisa’ is often speculated to be an androgynous self-portrait of Leonardo… my muse whispered “brother and sister lookalikes.”


For 500 years, Lisabetta’s spirit is restless. After being dismissed all her life as insignificant, the final irony of having the most famous face in the world yet remaining anonymous, eclipsed by another woman named Lisa whom she couldn’t abide in real life, is too much to bear. Slighted and bitter, she demands to be acknowledged and take her rightful place at Leonardo’s side. But she’s trapped in her portrait with no apparent cause. And then she meets a boy visiting the Louvre, and ‘Saving Face’ takes on a whole new meaning.


– Lisabetta, a woman who made a mistake in the past, is mistaken for the woman she slighted. She must join forces with an autistic boy in the 21st century, suffering his own version of invisibility, to overcome their parallel identity crises.


WHAT IF: Leonardo da Vinci could paint the soul of a sitter into a portrait?

WHAT IF: the sitter for the ‘Mona Lisa’ was Leonardo’s younger sister, Lisabetta?

WHAT IF: she’s still there in the Louvre after 500 years?

WHAT IF: there’s a way to release her?…

WHAT IF: an autistic six-year-old boy is her knight in shining armor?


“My name, Lisabetta Buti, was an affront to my existence.

I was Leonardo da Vinci’s beloved kid-sister, his assistant and apprentice, and, for the most part, 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.

 And so it transpired, in the particularly vexing season of 1503, deep in financial debt, and forced to paint the dreary wife of a silk merchant, Leonardo was overcome, as in his early years, by a new quest. And with all due haste, circumstances conspired that he was able to complete the Giocondo commission early, and I was cajoled into posing for a new kind of portrait.

But there, my identity crisis sprouted wings because both our names were Lisa.

It was the sort of portrait only a true visionary would attempt. Leonardo believed he could capture the true essence of a human spirit in paint, and not long afterwards, Leonardo kept his promise.

We remained inseparable even after my death, and I traveled with him as a living icon painted on a small panel of poplar wood – his sentient companion to the end of his days.

But as time progressed, a further humiliation was heaped upon my portrait by the title ‘La Gioconda’ (the smiling woman)– I have endured this mistaken identify for 500 years, and it’s time to end the nonsense. I am the Mona Lisa!

One small letter ‘a’ is all it takes to confound history.”

– Lisabetta  (da Vinci)


LISABETTA – a stolen glance  

V KNOX AMAZON author page



Posted in Andrea Verrocchio, 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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


If you believe in second childhoods… I invite you to time-slip with me into worlds where buildings and trees speak truths that can save the world. Cross the borders of liminal consciousness of my stories and visit haunted realms inhabited by ghostly lovers, mythical creatures, and characters with extrasensory perception.



And because I believe that the ‘GRAND-CHILD’ within all of us yearns for a bedtime story that begins with a unique WHAT IF, I write stories with premises that defy physics and logic for weary and jaded adults who relish a refreshing detour from reality.


And so, I willingly followed a robin muse into the mouth of an ancient cave, through the hall of the birds and past the paintings of horses on the walls into the light to find one of my stories.

The wilds of paranormal stories require a suspension of belief that nourishes quests within us to enter an adventure the way we did ‘when we were five’ and can still do ‘when we are sixty-five’ and ‘one-hundred-and-five’, through the imaginative premises of what-if.

Whatever you call them, amulets, trinkets, keepsakes or love tokens, sentimental objects retain the ghosts of their owners, and mistaken identities hide bigger pictures. And sometimes portraits refuse to stay on the canvas. The ‘Desiderata’ (forgotten things) of vibrant lives live on in our imaginations. We want to know the hopes and dreams of our ancestors. We desire to know what was and what could have been – the truths and the lost visions because the heART of humanity is in the details.

One of my favorite movie is appropriately titled ‘HOOK’ – and what better story hook is there than a boy determined to remain a child.

But, what-if Peter Pan grew up and became a cutthroat lawyer? A fabulous story with a message for the child in all of us who has forgotten the art of play.



WHAT IF – an autistic girl with extrasensory abilities, who converses with paintings and birds, strives to find the family she senses in dreams. What if she falls in love with a boy in a five-hundred-year-old painting? What if AI = autistic intelligence and ‘state of the art’ time travel just became transcendental? (‘THE INDIGO PEARL and ‘PEARL BY PEARL’)

WHAT IF – two children aboard the Titanic were meant to marry? What if only one survives? What if a pair of shoes could change their future? (‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’)

WHAT IF – a Y/A time-slip fantasy links Pangea, Ancient Egypt, Mars, and a mystical corner of Northumbria near Hadrian’s Wall? What if a band of topiaries wander the grounds of a disgruntled stately home at night? What if a colony of royal cats hold the secret of time travel? What if the Green Man, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicola Tesla, Vincent Van Gogh, and C.S. Lewis aid a pair of telepathic twins to resolve an ancient curse? (The Bede Trilogy: ‘TWINTER’, ‘TIME FALLS LIKE SNOW’, and soon *book 3 to be released in 2019, ‘TOMORROW AGAIN’).

WHAT IF SOME PORTRAITS ARE ALIVE WITH SECRETS? WHAT-IF the ‘Mona Lisa’ and an autistic boy join forces to overcome their identity crises? The ‘MONA LISA’ may be priceless … NOW SHE MUST BECOME A WOMAN WORTH SAVING. (‘LISABETTA- a stolen glance’)


If you are old enough to believe in SECOND CHILDHOODS, I wish the ‘grand-child’ within you the play-full joys of a New Year reading gentle stories that suspend reality and take you back to the time when ‘make believe’ was as close as your imagination.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Silent K Publishing!

V KNOX AMAZON author page

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The dangers of being a book: It’s dangerous to casually ask a man to please strip the sheets and throw them in the wash. More dangerous still, to be tumble dried.

But now this ‘cleaned’ copy sits in pride of place next to my computer

And now you know… it’s dangerous to read in bed!

But let’s hear it for happy accidents…

my book is now a sculpture!

























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Posted in ARCHAEOLOGY, art history, Books, cherry white, fantasy, Fine Art, Florence. Italy, ghosts, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Lost Paintings, magical realism, paranormal romance, PEARL BY PEARL, REINCARNATION, romance, science fiction, science-fiction fantasy, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', The INDIGO PEARL, time travel, TIME TRAVEL, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author, women's fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


A TIME-SLIP FANTASY for the ‘GRAND-CHILD’ in all of us

detail of a painting by V Knox


E (entertainment) = mc (main characters… 2) squared (twinned exponential trouble)

[The relative speed of a story within a book is the same no matter the age at which a reader time-travels in their imagination]

Cavort with characters through the mists and fogs of rainy Britain where the chill of ‘NARNIA’ melts into the baking desert of EGYPT’S GIZA PLATEAU, past and present.

‘TWINTER – the first portal’ is the fallout treasure of my childhood obsession with ancient Egypt and several of my favorite television series: two archaeology documentaries ‘TIME TEAM’ and ‘ANCIENT LIVES’, and ‘DOWNTON ABBEY’ set in HIGHCLERE CASTLE, the family seat of Lord Carnarvon who financed Howard Carter’s famous dig where he discovered King Tut’s tomb.

And children’s books: Lewis Carroll’s ‘ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS’, ‘THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA’ – by C.S. Lewis, ‘THE SECRET GARDEN’, and the HARRY POTTER series.

I worried these happy influences like a loose tooth, until pi (plot + inciting incident) and r (research) were firmly squared in my imagination.

Follow the young teens of Bede Hall on a time-slip adventure to ancient Egypt through the time portals of a persnickety sentient stately home in Northumbria, built atop the successive ruins of prehistoric Britain. But be forewarned:


There are three generations of Stratford-Smyths ‘living’ in Bede Hall. The fourth is the ghost of a nine-year-old girl, which makes them four generations spanning four dimensions.

Kit, a boy-scientist who decries all things supernatural, must confront his worst nightmares after moving to Bede Hall, his grandmother’s persnickety crumbling estate.

The Hall, steeped in local mythology, buzzes with unearthly energy and encounters with ghostly phenomena. The Green Man has abandoned his kingdom.

But Kit is determined to find a logical explanation. The gardens of Bede Hall are alive with exotic species of pharmaceutical plants. Surely, the residents are suffering from a mass hallucination.

When Kit’s twin sister, Bash, wholeheartedly embraces the same energies Kit denounces, they’re pitted against each other. Their strong telepathic bond is sorely tested, reduced to an erratic connection between the real and paranormal worlds.

But to prevent a global disaster and several personal ones, Kit must overcome his fear of the unknown, face death by traveling through the dangerous time portals of Bede Hall, and change the future by creating a new past.

Three years have gone by since the twins first arrived to live in Bede Hall.


Turning sixteen isn’t going to be easy.

From Kit’s science log:

“I am outnumbered and outgunned but I still refuse to be canon fodder in a supernatural war with a building as my commanding officer. That said, if I AM to be a warrior, then it’s to personally survive an internal battle of doubt. If only logic was an effective weapon. Science at fifty paces suits me.” – Kit (Christopher Stratford-Smyth)

Time is a funny thing… funny ODD. Words are funny things… funny STRANGE. Bede Hall is a funny old place… funny WEIRD.

V KNOX   AMAZON author page


Posted in ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, ANCIENT EGYPT, Ancient Egyptian history, ARCHAEOLOGY, Bede Hall, Books, Egyptology, fantasy, ghosts, HADRIAN'S WALL, hadrians wall, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, literary fiction, magical realism, middle-grade time-slip adventure, mythology, Pangea, REINCARNATION, romance, science fiction, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, THE BEDE SERIES - V KNOX, the Green Man, THE GREEN MAN, time travel, TIME TRAVEL, Twinter the novel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


…Sfumato memories… of the way it might have been (*sfumato means misty watercolor) 






Leonardo’s experimental painting was missing a special something. He flexed his long slender fingers and stared at his hands as if they were strangers. Am I losing my touch?

“No,” a piggy voice squeaked. “You’re just getting old.”

A strange calm came over him in the form of a whizbang idea. He put his thumbs in his ears and waggled his fingers at his sister, Lisabetta.

She didn’t smile. She looked puzzled. “Are you quite well?” she said. “Do you need to take a break or something? By the way, there’s a flying pig on your shoulder.”

It was Leo’s turn to frown. “Have you been sniffing my paints again?”

“Maybe a little varnish… but the pig…”

“Okay okay, there IS a clockwork pig with wings on my shoulder. I made him to amuse you.”

“Brother dear, you’re losing your mind,” Lisabetta said to herself.

“Nobody appreciates an alchemist,” Leonardo muttered to the pig. “That took skill, that did, and not a little skullduggery.”

Leonardo held out his arm and the pig fluttered there as gracefully as a flying pig could. “Yes, master,” it said.

Leonardo inclined his head towards Lisabetta and whispered. “Go over there. Say something to make her smile.”

The pig grunted back sarcastically. “Should I tell her a joke?”

Leonardo chuckled to himself. “Perhaps a small Joconde would do the trick.”

Piggy groaned. “I can’t believe you said that. You may need a new writer.”

“Hey,” I shouted from my computer. “I’m doing the best I can. Writing a blog post isn’t as easy as people think.”

“Go,” Leonardo instructed his creature. “Go quickly before we lose the light. This is the hour before dusk when the light is perfect.” He looked up and to his right where future memories collect. He smiled a ‘Mona Lisa smile’ at no-one in particular that charmed me. “In 500 years, photographers will call it the magic hour,” he said. “Charm her, little pig. We haven’t much time. Ask her a riddle. She likes those.”

And the little pig flew, and he did. “ Mirror mirror on the wall,” he intoned dreamily in Lisabetta’s ear. “Who has the most famous face of all?”

Lisabetta’s face went red from keeping a straight face. “Are you kidding?” she mumbled out the corner of her mouth. “People will call me the Gioconda… the smiling woman in 500 years.”

Piggy couldn’t resist gently nibbling Lisabetta’s earlobe. “Then, have you heard the one about a face that launched a thousand ships?” he whispered. Nothing.

Leonardo coughed from across the room. He nodded slightly. “Plan B, I think,” he said. “As rehearsed, please.”

The pig flapped his wings, flew in circles around Lisabetta’s head, and gave a tiny fart of surprise when he deliberately spun out and crash-landed in her lap.

His prat fall amused her. She smiled inwardly, checking herself. Leonardo wouldn’t appreciate her laughing out loud at such a critical juncture of his experiment to paint a human landscape.

He’d made it clear that the eyes in this new kind of portrait must capture the soul just as the mouth must capture the spirit. Two different things,” he’d said when she questioned him with raised eyebrows.

He looked at her intently. “And you won’t be doing that soon.”

“Doing what?”

“You won’t have any eyebrows to raise.”

“Grazzi. You’re far too thoughtful.”

“Eyebrows give away the emotions,” Leonardo said. “You will remain a mystery. No clues. Just tricks of the light and a pair of unnerving eyes that track anyone who has the courage to look into your soul.”

Lisabetta shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not sure I want strangers doing that.”

Leonardo explained as he painted, the way he always did. “Your skin and clothing will be camouflaged by a palette of woodland browns, warm summer flesh-tones, and greens from the olive groves where we played as children.

He tapped on the finished background of mountains and disappearing trails either side of Lisabetta’s seated figure, first the left side, then the right. “I’ve given you twin horizons that represent the past and future.” He tapped some more, pointing out a few trails and a bridge he’d especially created to lead her home, front and center. “Think of yourself as Mother Nature, hiding her best dreams in plain sight,” he instructed.

Lisabetta was not going to argue with a genius painting her life-force. She kept her cool and didn’t move her hands. Little did she know she would be trapped in her portrait for 500 years until I, an author with a name translated from the Latin anagram, ‘veritas icona’, that means  ‘true face’, would write her face a decidedly artful way out.

“Far out,” Leonardo echoed, squinting at his painting, concentrating so hard he captured his sister’s soul right there on the wooden panel. He looked up at me, satisfied. “And while you’re at it, could you write me a happy ending?” he said. He gestured to the finished masterpiece. “I think I deserve a reward for this. Perhaps a nice long rest in my dotage.”

“Done,” I said. “I’ve written you a very nice retirement home in the south of France.”

He looked over to where I was scribbling in the shadows. His eyes stared past me at the clock on the wall that had no hands. “Far out,” he repeated in a daze.

“Very,” I said. “It’s in the Loire Valley, deep in the countryside.”

Leonardo’s eyes focused and met mine. He sent me a knowing wink followed by a dazzling grin. “It was all countryside back then,” he said. “But what occurred to me is that there’s no time between a writer and their imagination.”

“Maybe you do need a new writer,” I said.

“You’ll be fine if you’re patient,” he said. “Rome wasn’t built in ten years.”

“So, you’re one of those funny artists,” I replied.

“Cara Mia,” he said, “if you’re intent on being a writer you’d better generate a sense of humor.”

“Take a look at my fridge sometime,” I countered.

And he did, and it made him smile, and he pinched my cheek and patted me on the head like a worldly grandfather. “You’ll do just fine,” he said. He paused and scratched the top of his head. His brow was knitted. “I know it’s against the rules of writing fiction…” He hesitated again, and rested a hand gently on my shoulder. “But please don’t be too hard on my sister.”






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A time-slip paranormal romance takes an autistic child through an extraordinary journey of reincarnation and time-travel beyond evolution itself

Excerpt from ‘THE INDIGO PEARL’

[When I was fourteen I fell in love with a boy in a painting.

Leonardo da Vinci painted Cecco’s portrait five-hundred years before we met as teenagers in 2001. We lived on opposite ends of the Italian renaissance, as close as twin sides of a gold florin. And then there was the accident and I died for a while.

When I regained consciousness, fifty-two years had passed and my next incarnation had picked up the threads of my life and moved on. She is me and not me, and now she’s falling in love with my boy.

Cecco was more than Leonardo’s favorite apprentice, he was the son the master never had. I like to think Cecco is the reason I was born twice, and for the most part he is, but while I want to rest in peace with my beloved, my usurper, an artificial hybrid designed for time travel, intends to exact revenge on the art syndicate that exploited us.

The ‘creature’ may have a physical body to whisk her to 15th century Florence… but I have the spirit to transcend the body and I’m not about to let the love of my life slip into another woman’s heart. I have no intention of receding into the Shadowlands without a fight.

And so I followed the robin into the mouth of the cave, through the hall of the birds and past the paintings of horses on the walls into the light.]

AI = autistic intelligence… ‘state of the art’ time travel just became transcendental… sometimes it takes two lives to make one woman.

The story concludes in ‘PEARL BY PEARL’.

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Posted in android, art history, Books, cherry white, fantasy, Fine Art, Florence. Italy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Lost Paintings, magical realism, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, romance, science fiction, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', The INDIGO PEARL, time travel, V Knox, V. Knox author, Veronica Knox author, women's fiction | Leave a comment