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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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

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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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