Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fans For Christ, Interview Posted

I know this is shameless self promotion, but hey someone's got to do it...LOL!

Seriously, here is an interview posted on the website, FANS FOR CHRIST. They are a wonderful group of people who are Christians who also enjoy various fantasy based hobbies, (re: gaming, D&D, costuming, role playing, etc...), and come here to network and share their love for God and their chosen hobbies. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with them this summer at the DragonCon in Atlanta.

For those of you, who might want to know a bit more about my background and motivations for creating the Eye Witness series, visit this link to see the newly posted interview I did with them:


Monday, January 29, 2007

Looking to Publish a Small Print Run Book?

I had this information forwarded to me today, and thought I would share it with ya'all. (Now I personally have not dealt with the company before, but this information came through one of my distributors, so I'll asume they are a very high quality company):

As the New Year begins, Lightning Source is pleased to announce our Winter 2007 Short Run Discount Promotion in the United States and United Kingdom. Effective January 29th, and ending April 30th, 2007, this promotion will provide discounted print rates on Short Run orders of 50 or more books.

Promotion Specifics:

· Program Dates: January 29, 2007 to April 30, 2007
· 50 copies is the minimum order quantity to receive a discount
· A 50-book order must consist of one book. Multiple book orders or individual titles may not be combined to reach a 50 book minimum order.
· Books submitted may be paperback, case laminate or jacketed hardcover with black & white interior. This program does not apply to color books.
· Promotion Code: GLOBAL(promotion code is case sensitive, and must be used at the time the order is place on the web for the discount to apply.)


· 50 - 99 copies per title = 5% print discount
· 100 - 249 copies per title = 15% print discount
· 250+ copies per title = 20% print discount

Discounts may be earned on as many orders as you like during the promotion period.
Orders must go to one "ship to" location. Lightning Source must ship the order no later than May 30, 2007.

Please remember the promotional code GLOBAL must be used at the time the order is placed to earn the discount.

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact your Sales or Client Services Representative for more information.

Best wishes to you in the New Year, and thank you for your business!

Lightning Source Inc.

Contact Us: 615-213-4000 or 1-800-378-5508

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Scorsese Dilemma!

Is it just me, or is there an almost schmaltzy pro-Scorsese sediment in the academy these days?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of director Martin Scorsese, and put him right up at the top of the heap of American directors over the past quarter century. But that being said, I feel the Academy (I.E. …those who vote on the coveted Academy Awards for motion picture excellence) is trying to make up for their almost comical (if it wasn’t so tragic) snub of the directors work over the decades, by now nominating everything he does in the hopes that one will win an award, before they have to really eat some crow by giving him a lifetime achievement award (in Lieu of an Oscar for an individual work).

The Departed is a fine film. It has a fine cast that rates right up there with any film Scorsese has done. It is very entertaining, moves nicely and has a wonderful tension throughout. But, was it truly one of the best overall films of the year, or one of Scorsese’s best?

When I went to see past Scorsese masterpieces like, Good Fellas, Casino, Raging Bull and even Gangs of New York…I was riveted to my chair. It was the rare movie experience where you wished a three-hour movie could be extended to a four-hour movie, because simple put…it was so entertaining to watch and the time went by too fast. In Departed I didn’t get that feeling. It felt like the film was “trying to hard to be a Scorsese mob-masterpiece”. I got that feeling like I was watching wonderful actors act in a wonderful story, rather than being pulled into the characters and story itself (maybe that’s more of a consequence of casting Nicholson, but that’s another issue) which for me, is always the benchmark of a great movie.

So, it would not surprise me one bit if this was the year for Mr. Scorsese to finally receive that overdue Oscar. The Academy has a history for rewarding its box office juggernauts and visionaries after the fact, since they tend to be more conservative in their assessment of film. In other words, for decades Scorsese made movies his way, in his unique style which was a bit too flamboyant for the academy 10 or 20 years ago. But that same style is now most likely standard teaching fare in most film schools around the world…”so we (the Academy) better honor this genius while he is still making films, even though his best ones might be behind him to save face”?

It's not like this is a first, as many a Hollywood great has been snubbed during their best years of work and been awarded through the lifetime achievement root. Let's hope Scorsese does not have to suffer that same fate, and can go out with his boots on, so to speak...being rewarded for a great film.

R.J. Luedke

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is Taunting poor sportsmanship, or is LT just a Baby!

This will only be relevant and make sense to you pro football fans out there, but onward and upward...

A pet peave I have with the NFL of today, is the fact that almost literally after every play there is someone on the field doing a little pre-mediated victory dance or skit, that says, HEY LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT WHAT I JUST DID (their job, for which they are being an obsene amount of money for?...LOL). Now after a touchdown or game winning play in the closing seconds, I (as a former footballer m'self) can totally understand the emotion of wanting to celebrate a bit, but in the NFL of today, there is no thought to foolish pride, or not showing up the opposing team or respecting your foe, etc.... It's all about how much attention can I call to myself for making a tackle, or getting a sack, or making a good run etc....

The ultimate foolishness in this whole process to me, is when a player does one of these little dances (after of course running a few yards away from the play, so the TV cameras can get a good shot of him looking like an ass)... even when his team is behind in the game. So it doesn't matter his team is getting whooped on, but HEY LOOK AT ME I MADE TACKLE!!

Okay, what does this have to do with Ladainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers? For those who missed the end of the playoff game last weekend, after his team lost the game, he was caught by TV cameras trying to fight with the opposing team (which is usually a time when opposing team-mates shake hands, hug or even pray together...yea!). When asked why this happened he said (paraphrasing), "they disrespected us, because they were doing a celebration dance (made popular by one of HIS TEAM-MATES) on the Charger logo in the middle of the field."

Two problems with this: 1. Hey dude, you lost, they won...that's when celebration dances are supposed to be done, especially in the playoffs...especially when you just beat the top seeded team in your conference! 2. What goes around comes around. His team-mates dance (Steroid user, Shawn Merriman) was used to taunt opposing teams all year long when he made a big tackle or sack. LT apparently didn't have any problem with that, so it's just seems almost fitting to give some payback when it matters most.

And hence lies the whole problem with allowing these kind of things from going on in the NFL to begin with. They are unsportmanlike, they taunt the opponent, and the draw attention away from the accomplishments of team and shift it to the individual (which of all sports, the NFL is most about team and team chemistry to get wins). The NFL doesn't allow a pre-meditated endzone celebration, why do they allow one when a tackle, first down or sack is made?

So LT, take a deep breath, understand that your team just choked big-time and understand what is reaped is usually sown in this world of ours.

Sorry, just had to vent about this someplace!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Feeling Set Apart Lately?

Ever get the feeling that being follower of Jesus, you sometimes feel separated from the world and doing the things the rest of the world does, just doesn’t seem to fit or feel right to you anymore?

We watch as those around us pursue the ultimate high, lust for the next sexual score or look for a way to make a quick buck (whether legal or not) and question ourselves for not joining into this mad dash any further. Where did we go wrong?

Those who enjoyed our company before, may now be reluctant to hang with us, because we’ve changed…we’re not the same person anymore and they feel kind of uncomfortable around us. Does following the path of Jesus, mean we cannot enjoy life or have meaningful friendships, since we no longer exactly fit with the world we came from?

What’s wrong with us? The answer is…nothing and everything!

It’s not that we are wrong, but that we are now more closer to right. When we accepted Jesus as our savior, he cleaned us…washed away ALL our sins, and what we were. We truly became reborn in (and through) him! At that moment we became a bit more like him…we became Sanctified.

I always looked at the term “Sanctified”, as one of those “three-dollar-Christian-words” which a lot of preachers used, but I never really understood. But at it’s essence the word defines our new selves in Christ. Sanctified literally means, “Set apart for God’s use.” And that’s just what happens to us, when we accept Jesus and become one of his followers. Then as we mature (as Christians) there also is a process of “Progressive Sanctification”, where as we continue to grow and that setting apart becomes more and more pronounced in ALL parts of our life, not just the spiritual.

When we become Sanctified, the light of God begins to show in us and through us…in how we speak, how we act, how we conduct business and how much we love. Jesus said, when we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, we are like a lantern in the darkness for those trapped in the shadows. As lanterns we can both lead people out of the darkness, while at the same time illuminate things/people that may rather not be illuminated. The later is why people who once relished our company, may now feel a certain uncomfortable sensation around us…they are not ready to be in the light or have it shined upon their lives, they wish to stay in the darkness.

I’ve experienced firsthand, both the wonderful transformation and the feeling of being somewhat like an alien to my peers. Working within the comic-book, graphic-novel industry like I do, you quickly learn that: No major publisher has an interest in publishing a spiritual/Christian based story; artists and writers are reluctant to identify with any religion (but especially Christianity it seems) for fear it might limit their free-lance job opportunities; and (most significant) that most that work in the field are creating projects that they deem to be cutting edge culturally due to their graphic depictions, violence, language, sexual content etc…and just don’t view Christianity as cool!

So basically, to work, publish and attempt to market a Christian project in an industry like this, makes me a living, breathing poster boy, for walking earth like an alien! It requires me to face ridicule, (both privately and in the media--including the L.A. Times), doubt, uncertainty or just ambivalence on a constant basis.

How do I survive in this situation? Only through staying in The Word, prayer and fellowship with brother Christians who are taking this same kind of narrow path in their chosen fields, (many of which I’ve already met here in Shoutlife-land), can I stay focused on God’s commission for me (to share God’s Word with unchurched young readers) and his promise (that my efforts will bear fruit, by saving those who may not be reached through other means---even if it’s just one or two people).

Brothers (and sisters), this is what being Sanctified is all about…I have been set aside for God’s use and I feel blessed to have experienced it (even though I resisted his call till later in life).

What about you?

Robert Luedke