Monday, February 13, 2012

Modern Life and Its Challenges

Today I figured out the reason my heart lives in the Middle Ages. Granted, in the 10th-14th C. where I belong, we had our challenges: unsafe drinking water, childbirth, Viking raids, bubonic plague.

All these pale beside the challenges I faced today. I mean it!

To wit: the RT Booklovers' Conference is coming up. They have graciously agreed to make our e-books available to lovers of such media (which ACFW refuses to do, but do not get me started. Not today). To do that, we authors must go into a particular e-book vendor's site and load our title and publisher information.

"No problem!" I say to myself. Aye, me. Naive was I, and oblivious to the pitfalls awaiting me on said e-book vendor's site.

First, I must sign in. No problem. It already knows my name. I go in and click on that. Then it wants my e-mail addy. No problem. I enter it. Then it wants my password. I type my standard "nobody'll ever figure this out" password.

You guessed right. It rejects.

No problem. I shoot them an e-mail under the "forgot password" header. Apparently this happens all the time. They shoot me an e-mail with my gibberish password they created for me, probably eons ago when I allowed such things.

I return to said web site and enter the gibberish password.

You guessed right. It rejects. It says, "you already have an account."

Well, duhh. I feel stupid, but I already knew I had one, thanks very much. I shoot them another e-mail under the "create trouble ticket" header.

It's now 45 minutes later than when I began.

No problem, say I. I shall go tackle a different issue -- creating the postcards I need for each book for said RT conference, upcoming.

I've created postcards on this very popular site before. It was easy as a wink. I upload the .jpg file the publisher's created and sent me just prior to release. I include some back cover copy for the postcard. I click the "approve" box, place the order for my required number of postcards, and voilá! I'm done.

You guessed right. It rejects.

For some reason, the images I used to create postcards a year ago are now "not high enough resolution" to create them now. I try a different version. It rejects.

It's now an hour and a half and a phone call later. The customer service rep was very nice indeed, and she tweaked, buffed, polished, resized, reformatted, and basically did everything she could to my cover image.

You guessed right. It still rejects.

I'm done for today. Methinks it best to head back to the 14th century and mull the aftereffects of the Black Death. Much, much less stressful.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

What's the Worst?

Heh heh, another loaded question with many answers.

First, some background. I'm re-reading the late David Eddings' superb series "The Belgariad." I'm up to book 4 now, in which our intrepid heroes meet a religious zealot. Relg has a load of spiritual baggage heavier than a fully loaded semi-truck. One of his most consuming preoccupations is his battle against sexual sin. To Relg, everything is sinful, and he spends a great deal of his time beating himself up for it. He seems to feel that looking at a woman with impure thoughts is the "worst" he can do to sin against his God.

It's like that for many Christians, isn't it? What is worse in our Father's sight: having inappropriate ideas about a member of the opposite sex, or ...

...lack of charity?
...spiritual laziness?

The truth is, we simply don't know. Still, many of us seem to portray the inward idea that sexual error is worse than anything else we can do to grieve the Holy Spirit.

Yes, He wants us to walk in purity. That's a given, and foundational to our faith. But does He not also want us to walk in humility? in peace? in acceptance? in charity? in spiritual industry?

What's worst? Maybe it's time I, for one, got my priorities a little better aligned with His.