Reign of the Plants Part II – Short Story – Jefferson Wallace

Nona had spent this morning, like so many mornings before, rooted in the expanse of an open field, rooted in the shadow of the great temple she now stands above, rooted in a field opened through the sacrifice of countless scores of martyred shrubs and trees; a holy site signifying the cycle of plantly existence. From mulch they are made and to mulch they shall return, and as mulch, they become a sacrifice to the perpetual care of the mighty Black Eye. The flesh of trees turned to chips, the shred of leaves turned to string, sugars to water, nectar to life. Mulch, made from the living, fed to the exalted.

Dead fieldNona thought back to this field, now. She and the rest of her colony were spending the day locked in silent pose. Worshiping, as the plants do, in silent radiance. A ritual on each of the seventh day: Sun-day. The group was following the warbling instructions of their high priest, Frond Peter.

“Palms facing the sky.” He ordered. “Channel your plantly spirit: arms angled for balance and symmetry, feet rooted in soil, energy harvested from the sky, trunk strong, arms loose.”

The gathered congregation was asked to accept the direction of the breeze with unquestioned course. To submit passively to its influence. To suppress reason in favor of pure reaction to external stimuli.

Frond Peter serenaded in angelic melody:

My petals may not be sweet,
my stalks may not imbue.
My roots may not hold,
my trunk next to you.

But if I do not flower,
I know just what to … Continue reading

Reign of the Plants Part I – Short Story – Jefferson Wallace

Nona flicked the match against the edge of the box. The strike ignited, causing light to dance on the head like a ghost materializing from aether, evaporating order into chaos. She raised the stick above her head, stretched her elbow straight, and rocked up to her tiptoes to lift the match as high as possible. As she brought the other hand up to meet the flame, she used the fire to ignite a kerosene mallet, then swept the torch over the bodiless figures gathered below. As the light penetrated deep into their ranks, it washed in the outline of human forms amidst the shadowed darkness of night like a waterline lapping upon the shore: never settled.

Nona could read the horror illuminated on their swollen faces. She could see the pulsing terror throbbing through the crowd, a pale fear accentuated by the monochrome darkness. A contrast as stark as the night surrounding them was to her taunting smile, sadistically draped on her face. Nona waved the torch so that it crackled with dynamism before stepping one foot closer to the ledge.

Templ“What do you hope to accomplish?” A spokesman emerged, shouting.

The provocation was answered only by the dim echo of sound reverberating against the hollow façade of the temple. Nona steadied her stance on the roof line and cemented her position atop the most revered of shrines, a divine tribute by her society to the holiest of plants: Black Eye.

Black Eye is a magical plant, if there ever was one. It was the first species to reemerge after the extinction. Deep black leaves connect to a central purple stalk allowing … Continue reading

Soul Writing with Janet Conner

What makes writers happy, besides working on their craft, of course, is connecting with other writers to delve into the unknown and explore one another’s minds for fresh ideas.

Add to that a team of experts and inspirational speakers and you kick up the happiness factor a notch or two.

You can imagine my reaction when in 2011, I read about Plug in for Writers, a twenty-week, eleven class tele-series inspired and led by Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul.

Janet, a nonfiction writer I had “friended” on Facebook, posted a notice about her Plug-In series on my news feed. I followed the link to her website and saw that her course was due to start in February.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to participate? I thought and then moved on to other things. Little did I know that I would end up taking the course (thanks to a scholarship from Janet) and thereby step into the “Intersection, where new and powerful spiritual practices merge with craft.”

Janet Conner

After taking Janet’s course, I sensed a deep connection between what Janet called “soul writing” and visionary fiction, though pinpointing exactly how they connected wasn’t easy to clarify or put into words.

The best way to accomplish this, I decided, was to ask Janet to join me at the VFA, where I would ask her about ways for writers to activate their inner wisdom and recognize the miraculous power of words, as she so beautifully puts it in Writing Down Your Soul and in her Plug In for Writers Course.

I am … Continue reading

Awakening from Spirit Possession Part II – Woody Carter

This is the concluding part of this mini-series on how Woody Carter’s possession experience inspired his novel, Narada’s Children: A Visionary Tale of Two Cities. For the first part, click here.

I sat in Nana’s chair overwhelmed by what I had experienced and being released from spirit possession, until I had an epiphany: What’s to stop this thing from re-entering my body like returning to wear, again, a comfortable pair of leather gloves? And why was I not aware of this thing inside me? How did I become its victim? It then occurred to me that I had to strengthen my inner life to ward-off any possible recurrence of spirit possession. I had to learn how to meditate. Little did I know at the time that embracing such a practice would also transform my life.

Narada's Children coverMy work as a writer continues to be informed by this life-altering experience. This event was certainly seminal in writing my first novel, Narada’s Children: A Visionary Tale of Two Cities. Perhaps, I could have approached the development of the work as a memoir, but who would have taken such a biographical narrative, seriously? Narada’s Children seemed to write itself. And as the writing progressed, I was often reminded of a fleeting yet recurring revelation that my bout with spirit possession was my Guru’s (a spiritual master whom I’ve never met, and who passed away when I was only eight years old) doing. This traumatic occurrence was my teacher’s way of returning me to a spiritual path that I had embraced long ago in a past life . . . in … Continue reading

Awakening from Spirit Possession Part I – Woody Carter

Child meditatingMindfulness meditation is all the rage, now. It’s promoted in public schools nationwide, and in colleges and universities. In a Huffington Post blog, Candy Gunter Brown, PhD, argues that public education has gotten around the U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting religion in public institutions by replacing the terms “meditation” and “Buddhism” with words like “neuroscience” and “scientific research.” In fact, she continues “western culture has secularized this centuries-old religions practice.”

It should be said however that Buddhism, while it may be viewed as a religion – defined as a community of core convictions or beliefs, it is not a God-centered one. Buddha’s teachings did not address the question of whether there is a deity or not, since he viewed the question as unanswerable. God, from his point of view, is unknowable. So there is no evidence that Buddha answered this question as to the existence of God. Buddhism, therefore, is more accurately described as an ancient human development system passed down from the Buddha who lived and taught between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, over some 2,500 years ago.

The problem, however, of whether there is a God or not gets quickly turned on its head and needs to be revisited when one experiences possession by a malevolent spirit. How can one describe it? It’s like suddenly waking up to learn that you’ve been in a bad car accident, or discovering to your horror and dismay, that one of your legs has been amputated without your knowledge and without your consent. Your sense of self and reality is abruptly altered forever, even before physical pain sets in. And … Continue reading

The R/Evolution of the Wheel of Fortune – Part II

In Part I, we began exploring the turning of the Wheel of Fortune. We moved past the idea of chaos, chance, and fate and introduced the idea of perfection. The Wheel of Fortune and the World imply continuous turning: the unending flow of time. A journey does not solely cover distance, but also time.

Consider, for a moment, the notion that both time and space are illusions. In this view, we live in a virtual reality akin to The Matrix. If we don’t ever go anywhere, why take the journey at all?

The Wheel of Fortune is not typically depicted as an actual wheel. It spins in place. In this next interpretation, we compare it to another device, which turns without going anywhere. As a movie reel rolls, its film unravels.

Scribe to the Pantheon of Rome front coverIn Scribe to the Pantheon of Rome, my protagonist learns that the purpose of life is to create and the purpose of life is to experience. We live in a shared fabrication called reality. It is made up. We not only experience our own creations, but also those that came before us. In other words, our ancestors rolled up film, which we now experience. Part of our purpose is to unravel the pieces that no longer serve us while simultaneously rolling up new versions that please us. As with a reel-to-reel projector, one reel of film unravels, feeds through the projector (our experience of now), and then a second reel rolls film up, which is our newest … Continue reading

The R/Evolution of the Wheel of Fortune Part I – David Tangredi

Visionary Fiction writers take us on a Hero’s Journey. Not only are the heroes and journeys archetypal, but so are the many characters and situations encountered along the way.

Another version of the Hero’s Journey is the Fool’s Journey, which specifically refers to the Major Arcana of the Tarot, but also the variations as I see it: the signs and houses in Astrology, basic Numerology, and the full Tarot comprising all five suits. I explore the Fool’s Journey in my work: my blog writing, my book writing, and within my classes and intuitive readings. As I like to say, “The Journey of the Fool is always from where you are to where you want to be.” The Fool is not a fool, but rather an astute teacher by example. This archetype is dear to my heart and is why I named my business A Fool’s Inclination.

Journey to the Temple of Ra front coverIn writing my first novel, Journey to the Temple of Ra, I embarked the Fool’s Journey literally and literarily. In fact, an earlier version was entitled A Fool’s Journey. I wrote the tale as 78 mini-chapters named after the 78 cards in the Tarot. Each mini-chapter depicts a character or situation, which matches one or more interpretations of the corresponding card. Through this endeavor, my protagonist unveiled his life purpose…and I learned each card intimately.

In my second book, Scribe to the Pantheon of Rome, the sequel to the above, my hero walks his purpose despite unexpected challenges. I … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website Header

I can’t begin to tell you how many frustrating hours, days, and months I worked to create the website header for my original author website. I went as far as to purchase a program called Photo Shop Elements 10 and then spent months learning how to use the program in order to come up with an image that worked for me.

For one thing, it’s hard to find images that are not protected by copyright. For another, size matters. Stretching images to fit the required header dimensions often distorts them. Cropping doesn’t always work either. And then comes the issue of fonts and font placement.

Don’t get me started.

Since then I discovered a website called Canva (Thanks, Jane Friedman) that saved the day when it came to creating the website banner for my Book-Snapper theme.

And that’s what I want to share with you today.

Assuming that you’ve purchased and installed Book-Snapper (or an equivalent) author theme for your website, let’s get started.

First, go to the Appearance menu on the vertical panel below the Dashboard to your Book-Snapper author website. On the pop-out that appears, click Theme Options. There you will see a screen that looks like this:

Book-Snapper Theme Options

From there click Banner. Under the Banner image, notice that it says “Enter your 960px x 400px banner image here. Yikes! That’s one big banner.

No problem. Let’s head to Canva.

Once there, create a free account and log in.

In the right upper corner under your account name and profile, you’ll see “Use Custom Dimensions” in small letters.

Click on it and two boxes will pop up for width and height. Enter … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website—Step 11: Theme Installation

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 5Book-Snapper Author Theme Installation, I showed you how to check the WordPress Theme Directory for free author themes via your Administration Panel  Dashboard>Appearance>Themes.

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 9 and Build Your Own Author Website–Step 10, I introduced you to the Book-Snapper author theme.

Now, it’s time to execute the theme installation of your choice.

Did the word “execute” get your attention? Good, because with this step, you start claiming your website as your own.

For demonstration purposes, I’ll assume that you purchased the Book-Snapper author theme (at half price for $18.95). If you purchased a different WordPress theme, the setup steps will differ from what I’ll be sharing with you here, so feel free to skip this post and head on to another or follow along to see what parts may apply to you.

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Build Your Own Author Website – Step 10: Book-Snapper Author Theme

Book-Snapper Author WebsiteIt seems with each post I write in the Build Your Own Author Website series, the road parts like Robert Frost’s two roads diverging in a yellow wood. And, believe me, when it comes to the selecting the theme for your author website, the road you choose will make all the difference.

There are many excellent author themes available. Maybe you’ve already picked one you like. I happened to select the Book-Snapper theme for my author website and will, therefore, use it to demonstrate the next steps in the series.

In addition to what I shared in Step Nine about the Book-Snapper, here are some of the reasons its creators suggest you consider their theme.

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