Trucking Along with my Writing

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Stories are everywhere when you take the time to sit down and talk. But first an update on part of mine. For several months now, I’ve been receiving weekly help to organize my life. I’m at last seeing seeing the dividends, beyond feeling calmer and less like a mouse running, running on a wheel going nowhere. I now have three writing projects on the go:

  1. Lifeliner, the eBook
  2. Lifeliner, the screenplay
  3. She, the novel

Lifeliner, the eBook is out. Currently, I’m in week 2 (or is it 3?) of the hard part: marketing it. To market, one must be persistent and consistent. But brain injuries interfere with both. Even if you can start a project, some little hiccup like a bad day or questions on how to fill in a form or a distracting phone call, will make you stop in your tracks and not pick it up again. Other times you may be chugging along nicely, when all of a sudden you forget or you get out of your routine or your second brain the PDA dies and all your tasks go down the drain as you struggle to remember what you’re supposed to do and all you perceive is great blankness. These problems are worse, of course, if you don’t really want to do it, like with marketing. The great thing about having organizing help is that the hiccup or forgetfulness lasts a week at the most; the greater thing is having help to break down the project, identify its priority, and schedule it in a way that ensures it’ll happen. We’ve done that, and I’ve started regularly writing and submitting press releases. I received an enormous boost from a fellow Twitterer who gave me valuable feedback on the first one. With a solid foundation, it was easier to write the second one.

It’s been over a month since I finished writing the Lifeliner screenplay during Script Frenzy. Since my therapist and I had decided my priority was on something that could generate income – republishing Lifeliner as a multi-format eBook – I had put off revising my script. I can only do so much at once, you know! But after an abortive attempt last week, I got down to it this week. Step one: read the script through all in one go. Step one was tough. My reading ability continues to be weak. It’s partly because the brain injury reset the frequency of my brain’s alpha waves down (more on alpha waves here). Sooo…I tried but I couldn’t do it all in one go. I did, however, do it all in one day in four 30-minute increments, with the help of copious amounts of chocolate, sugar-laden foods, and coffee (the brain uses glucose for energy, and caffeine is a stimulant).

I continue to search for an agent for my novel She, which I wrote last November during NaNoWriMo. I had a nibble or two but nothing came of it. I could forego the headache of searching and go straight to a small publisher or publish it as an eBook, but I’d like to have an agent for all those other non-print rights – film, foreign, game – plus an agent is a good person to help one chart a career. One advantage of publishing it as an eBook right now is it would help me build up a library quickly. Authors with more than one published book under their belt are more credible – unless you’ve managed to write a debut-hit wonder. Not so in my case. Sigh. The problem with myself publishing it as an eBook is I would have to invest about $1,000 at least in a good editing and proofreading job. I don’t have that kind of money anymore. But having worked as both an editor and proofreader, I know how valuable those services are in producing a polished, enjoyable book. And, as a writer, I would not want to skip having those smart pairs of eyes looking over my manuscript, catching problems, ensuring flow, suggesting good ideas to improve upon it.

I have another way to build my libary: put all the short stories I wrote pre-injury, stories that are polished and ready to publish, in one eBook. That is on my ToDo list. And then there is the rare moment I stumble upon a story, a story that is best told in a photograph but provides fodder for one of my blogs, each of which enables me to both practice my writing and engage my readership in the now as I work towards building my library for the future.


The Job Sessions are Completed

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I have completed my series on Job with the addition of the fifth and sixth sessions. At last! This Old Testament book of poetry from the Bible is both difficult and compelling. It’s like a friend to suffering people everywhere, yet hides its treasure in long, inscrutable lines of poetry. I have been living with Job since about October 2008. At first I just wanted to read and understand it for myself; then I got fed up with the tripe written about it and wanted to write an outline; then I was going to assist my Pastor in a short bible study on it; and then all of a sudden, I’m doing most of the study and writing an online series on it!

I’ve updated my Essays page with links to every session in the series. Please check it out.

It has expanded my mind, and I’m pretty sure helped some of my reading and thinking neurons reconnect as I thought on Job’s friends, Job himself, and that windbag Elihu. Starting with the first Session, it has also opened up new ways of seeing and playing with my photographs, much to my surprise. It was emotional, aggravating, challenging, and supremely rewarding. But now it’s over. I’m glad. Each poem, each book has its time in one’s life, sometimes once, sometimes more than once, but rarely continuously. I’m not sure what’s next. Until I find out, I’m going to have fun with my photos.

Internet and Computers

Featurific (Temporarily) Off; How To Use it on a Static Front Page

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I really like the Featurific for WordPress plugin, so much so that I spent hours on my own and working with its designer to get it to run on a static front page (see instructions below), and now Rich Christiansen refers to my solution in his FAQ section.

When I installed the new theme a few days ago, I liked the fact that I had more screen real estate available for the Featurific plugin. I could change up the template from Skinny to something snazzier.

But I ran into a problem. First off, I changed my home page from a static front page to the blog because the new theme’s options don’t work on a static page. And then Featurific wouldn’t work properly in the sidebar; worse, I couldn’t get the template to change. Looking into it further, I felt it was conflicting with Smooth Gallery, which I also really like. I had to disable it.

Unfortunately, that means those clicking over to my site to see how Featurific works on a static page will no longer be able to see it. Bit of a bummer.

However, here’s the info for those who are looking for a solution:

First, get the Exec-PHP plugin and install it. Next upload and install the Deactivate Visual Editor plugin. Don’t do anything with Featurific until you have uploaded and installed these plugins. They were both still working for me up to version 2.7 of WordPress.

You need both plugins because the first helps you get Featurific to work on a static page and the second ensures you will always be in Code mode anytime you edit the page thereafter. That’s vitally important as the author of Exec-PHP warns:

“To successfully write PHP code in the content of an article, the WYSIWYG editor needs to be turned off through the ‘Users > Your Profile’ menu. It is not enough to simply keep the WYSIWYG editor on, switch to the ‘Code’ tab of the editor in the ‘Write’ menu and save the article. This will render all contained PHP code permanently unuseful.”

Ensure Exec-PHP is installed and running. Go to the page you wish to edit. You will see a big warning message by Exec-PHP above the page. Don’t worry about it. Follow the instructions for deactivating the visual editor or WYSIWYG editor for that page.  You should now be in the HTML editing mode. Type the following code where you want Featurific to appear on your static front page:

if(function_exists(‘insert_featurific’)) //If the Featurific plugin is activated…
insert_featurific();                    //Insert the HTML code to embed Featurific

Publish the page, and Featurific should now appear on your home page. Enjoy!

Internet and Computers

Brand New Website for Brand New Year

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I’m trying to eat my cake and have it too. Wanting to start off my first free year on a fresh foot, I just about killed myself today looking for a new theme, one I could customize, that would feature both my writing and my photography and maybe down the road my videography, and that would have drop down menus out of the box. You have no idea how hard those are to code!

Well, I chose this one in the end. A gloriously rich theme, it’s so customizable, one could remain glued to the computer for days — and have a very sore butt in the process. It has the drop down menus — which typically don’t work in IE6, but I’m past caring at this point — I’ll figure it out later. It allows me to showcase my photos while at the same time having my writing up front. But there are some strange problems like the sidebar appearing and then disappearing from the side and ending up at the bottom in the Firefox browser. Huh? They seem alright in IE6! Go figure. I don’t like the font for the title, and I would like my banner back. But I gotta tweak that to fit this theme before I can put it back up.

I’ll be spending the next few…ok, many…days getting this to look and work to my liking. By changing the way my content is presented, this will change the whole way I use this website. It should be more interesting for you and for me. Please be patient as I go through these new growing pains. The end result shall be worth it, I’m sure!


Articles on Squidoo

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I’ve written several online articles, from setting up a CafePress shop to Getting Started with Ubuntu and published them on Squidoo. I’ve listed them on my Essays Page where they will be regularly updated as I publish new ones. Check back often to see what’s new!


The Woman Who Could Not Eat

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“Judy sure always had a good time. She arrived with a smile on her and left with a smile.”

Click here to see what others are saying about Lifeliner and Judy, the first person to live for 20 years on Total Parenteral Nutrition.

Welcome! Thank you for stopping by! It’s good to see you here! This site features my debut book Lifeliner: The Judy Taylor Story — plus my musings on the writing and publishing life, knowledge I’ve gleaned about brain injuries and their treatments, information on Lifeliner, a link to my short story Angelica at Amazon Shorts, and articles posted on the web.

Lifeliner is both a print book and a multi-format eBook, the latter now available on Smashwords and approved to be distributed to Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Amazon, and Apple, for the low, low price of $4.99US.

At that price, I would buy it even if I didn’t know what it was, said one reader.

Read a free sample. Then download it in your eBook format of choice. And if you have a moment, please leave a review too!

You can find purchasing information for Lifeliner in trade paperback and hard cover editions on this website: click here for links. Please shop through those links to support this website. For phone orders of Lifeliner, please call 1-800-AUTHORS.