Self-Publishing: Print, E-book or Both? (Part 1)

Modern technology thrives by improving upon itself, and nowhere is the blizzard of innovation more overwhelming than in the publishing industry. The self-publishing author must be on constant alert for change.
Self-publishing and using the services of a self-publishing company can be vastly different in cost, time, and skill required. The goal is to deliver the book to the reader in a pleasing format at a reasonable price that adequately compensates the writer. Continue reading

The Hero’s Journey and its Connection to Visionary Fiction

HERO’S JOURNEY

What is the Hero’s Journey, and why do so many visionary writers like George Lucas use it to craft their stories? To answer that question, we need to understand where the Hero’s Journey comes from.

Joseph  Campbell recognized that myths around the world follow a similar template. He referred to this as monomyth. The hero’s path consists of 17 stages.

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As it would be too lengthy to explain all the stages in one post, let’s read how Campbell explains the journey in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. 

The hero returns from the journey transformed from the rigorous challenges he faced along the way. George Lucas used the Hero’s Journey as a template when writing “Star Wars.” If you would like to learn more about the mythology behind the movie, watch George Lucas’s interview with Bill Moyers.

APOTHEOSIS 

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The Hero’s Journey structure has qualities that can make a story visionary. In the Apotheosis stage, the hero faces death and slays the enemy. The ordeal leads to an expansion of consciousness. Sound familiar? … Continue reading

Build Your Author Website – Step 9: Your WordPress Theme

WordPress ThemeChanging the WordPress theme once you’ve invested valuable time and energy into building and customizing your author website is not advisable. I know because, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I learn things the hard way.

When I set up my original author website, I used the Twenty-Eleven WordPress default theme, only to discover later that there were themes available built especially for authors.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of author themes to choose from, and, for the technologically disadvantaged like me, a lot of choice is not always a good thing. I threw up my arms and called it a day after viewing only a fraction of them.

Also, not all themes are created equal. Some, if uploaded from outside the official WordPress Theme Directory, are actually unsafe.

Add to that, the fact that website themes involve customizations that aren’t easily transferable if you decide to switch to another theme later.

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Using Creative Trance To Write Visionary Fiction – Guest Post by Mary Mackey

A creative trance that allows me to delve into my unconscious whenever I want to, get the material I need for my poems and novels, bring that material up to my waking reality, remember it, and write it down.

Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website: Maintenance Mode

It’s time to show you how to put your new website in maintenance mode, in case you don’t want anyone to see it while you’re still in the process of tweaking it.

Let me introduce three WordPress Plugins that do the job for you.

Ultimate Maintenance Mode

Build Your Own Author Website: Maintenance ModeThis plugin displays a screenshot of your website with an over-lay window and the reason your site is down.

Features:

  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • Allows you to work on your site while non-logged-in visitors see the Maintenance Mode page
  • Automatically Creates a Screenshot of your Website and uses it as the background for your maintenance mode page
  • Ability to add a Custom Headline, Message & Background Image
  • Returns a 503 http status and retry header so search engines know your site is down
  • Simple and Easy to Use
  • Multisite Support
  • Translation Ready – i18n Support

Here’s a live demo.

Build Your Own Author Website: Maintenance ModeComing Soon And Maintenance Mode

This plugin adds some great features to your coming soon page.

Features:

  • Easy install and use
  • Works perfectly with all versions of WordPress
  • Fully Responsive Coming Soon page
  • Ability to disable Coming Soon page for specific IPs
  • Highly customizable Coming Soon page
  • Ability to set Coming Soon page background image
  • Ability to set Coming Soon page background color
  • Custom Logo for Coming Soon page
  • Ability to use WordPress post editor for Coming … Continue reading

Due to Technical Difficulties, You may have Missed an Important Post

In the past couple weeks, the Visionary Fiction Alliance site experienced a technical difficulty that caused the site to either respond very slowly or not at all. Our tech team went after the problem as quickly as possible, but it took some time to isolate the source and rouse the appropriate vendors to take corrective action. We apologize for the inconvenience–very aggravating to have to wait for a link to respond–and assure you that the site is now up and running.

In the meantime, we went ahead and published a wonderful interview that Margaret Duarte did with Karan Bajaj, #1 bestselling novelist in India, who has just released his new Visionary Fiction novel, THE YOGA OF MAX’S DISCONTENT, through Penguin Random House worldwide in May. We believe that all VFA members and readers will benefit from Karan’s expertise and experience. We do not want to have that wealth lost in a technical glitch.

So, this special post is a reminder. Do click on this link to Margaret Duarte’s Interview with Karan, read and enjoy, give it a like and post a comment if you care to. Let’s give our newest VF star a warm VFA welcome.

Also affected by our technical difficulties was author Brandon Bosse. He offered a captivating 2-part guest post titled The Metaphysics of Lucid Dreaming – Visionary Fiction for Kids. See the second part here.

Thanks much.

The VFA Steering Committee

 

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The Metaphysics of Lucid Dreaming – Visionary Fiction for Kids, Part 2

The Metaphysics of Lucid Dreaming – Visionary Fiction for Kids
by Brandon Bosse

The Dreams of Phillip AislingPart 2

First, I want to wholeheartedly thank the VFA for the opportunity to share my story and ideas. I am grateful to be able to share my passion. Thank you to my fellow VFA members for the kind words in response to Part 1 of this blog post. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I recommend starting there.

Visionary Fiction for Kids

Kids are naturally curious about the world. With the Internet at their fingertips, they are even more informed about the way the world works than any generation before. I think that teens crave new ideas and a deeper understanding of the world around us. That is why I think that young readers are up to the challenge of understanding such complex concepts presented in The Dreams of Phillip Aisling and the Numinous Nagwaagan. I hope that I’ve been successful at taking these concepts and presenting them in an entertaining way.

The VFA is transforming human consciousness, one book at a time, and this transformation is most effective if it starts earlier in life. I think it is important to introduce younger audiences to the ideas in visionary fiction before they become stubborn old adults, set in their ways. This book was a middle-grade/young-adult novel from the onset. Even though it is written for younger readers, it is not over simplified. I think kids are smarter than they are often given credit for. The book presents the metaphysics of dreaming not directly to the … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website—Step 8: Playing with Plugins

Building an Author Website, Playing with PluginsOne of the most rewarding things about Self-Hosting with WordPress.org is the ability to install powerful plugins to extend your website’s functionality. Compare it to accessorizing your home with all the latest gadgets and fashions to make it uniquely your own.

Plugins are little programs that interact with your WordPress software in all kinds of fun and useful ways. There are thousands of plugins to choose from, they’re easy to use, and, best of all, most are free.

Before I list the plugins I believe every website should include, let’s check out the Manage Plugins page in your Administration panel.

Plugin Management

From your Dashboard, scroll down to the Plugins menu and click “Installed Plugins.”

This is the page where you manage all the plugins installed in your site.

Currently, three plugins come pre-packaged with your WordPress installation file: Hello Dolly, Akismet, and Jetpack.

Hello Dolly is a fun but not necessary plugin. Basically, it adds a random lyric from the song “Hello, Dolly!” in the upper right of your administration screen each time you log into your site.

Akismet is one of the most important plugins you’ll ever need. It’s a real headache saver in that it helps eliminate comment and trackback spam.

Jetpack adds powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users including customization, traffic, mobile, content, and performance tools.

Of the three plugins above, Askimet is definitely a keeper. Hello Dolly, not so.

Activation and Deactivation 

Just for practice, click on “Deactivate” below Hello Dolly and the plugin becomes inactive. Regrets? Simply click “Activate,” and you’re back in business. Or to uninstall the plugin altogether, place a checkmark in the box … Continue reading