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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent for Non-Christians: Change Your Life

I'm pretty much as a far from being Catholic as you can get.  In fact, I'm not even Christian. However, every year nearly 20 years now I actively participate in Lent.

So why?

Years ago I dated a youth pastor who gave me an amazing book on Lent (The East Experience by Mary Pierre Ellebracht).Ellebracht states Lent is a period of purification and enlightenment.  By giving up the things that are tying us to the physical world and stripping away the falsehoods of our lives we get to see what is truly important and real.  If we do it properly, we are figuratively "reborn" at Easter as a better version of ourselves.

This may be even more important for those without a regular spiritual experience in their lives.

It means so much more than giving up chocolate or alcohol.  It is supposed to be a spritual cleansing: a time to rid yourself of everything that is interfering with your relationship to god.

Stop and think for a moment about the type of life you want to be leading.  What is important to you? 

Now think about all the activities and all the barriers to you actually living that type of life. What is holding you back.

Giving up chocolate just to give something up is useless.  To have REAL meaning you should be giving up something that is a real barrier to your success.  One year I gave up drinking because I was hanging with the wrong crowd in bars 5 nights a week.  Another year is  a sex because of a string of horrible relationships.

Now that I have the right friends and the perfect relationship, what is my barrier to becoming the type of man I want to become? Ironically: the computer.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook talking with other writers and creative people.  I talk with them so much I often don't have time to write.  If I'm not chatting I'm playing video games, again on the computer. Sometimes I'll chat or play until 2:00 a.m. meaning I get about 4 hours sleep.  After not getting enough sleep, I wake up the next day exhausted and cranky.  I don't "feel" like writing.

So this year for Lent I'm giving up being on the computer after 10:00 p.m.  I am also taking on extra reading on spirituality to help keep me grounded.  

As a non-Christian I fully understand all the arguments you can make about "what's wrong with Christianity." Every religion has someone willing to poke holes in it.  I believe Lent is one of the things that Christianity got right. 

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. That's when we express our love for others.  For me, Lent is an expression of how much I love my soul and my own spirit.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why I'm On The Fence About Book Trailers

I love movies. I mean, I really, really love movies. So if you show me a trailer for anything I'll give it a shot.

Unfortunately, most book trailers I've seen are complete crap. And that's me being nice.

So I googled "How to Make a Book Trailer". It is informative and well-intentioned; however, it is also extremely visually unappealing. That means that many people are not even going to make it past the first few seconds.

I checked out a few other "How To" videos but they were even worse than this one.

I belong to a closed group on Facebook that focused on marketing for writers. One of the members proudly stated her book trailer was on this site: ScribeTrailer.Com. It's a complete train-wreck. I fully support the idea of filming within your budget. However, do not throw together a few crayon-drawn pictures and expect anyone to take you seriously. The least you could do is photoshop the colour. It's doable. For example, here's a scan of a picture I did.  I started with pencil, inked it in the coloured with pencil crayon.  After than I scanned it and improved the colour using a non-full-version of Adobe Photoshop. It is nowhere near professional comic book artist level...but at least it looks like I tried!

I have seen some good book trailers, like this for example:

After having seen SOOOO MANY bad book trailers I really need my faith restored.  Can you please send me links to good book trailers.  You can include your own, of course. I just need examples of trailers done well.


Amazon: M Joseph Murphy on Amazon: Paperback and ebook
Smashwords: M Joseph Murphy Author Page on Smashwords
Kobo: M Joseph Murphy Books on Kobo
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