Friday, April 29, 2011

Help a Struggling Author!

Good news: The Last Protector is an official nominee in the "Global E-Book Awards" competition. (Yay!!)

Bad news: being "nominated" for a competition just means I did the paperwork correctly. It doesn't mean that any of their judges have yet read the book, or for that matter that Global E-Book Awards World Domination Headquarters has even received a copy. All that stuff comes later. (Aww...)

My past experience with book competitions (which all authors are encouraged to enter, as they are supposed to be marketing tools) is that competition follows these steps:
  1. The author fills out a form and sends it to the contest promoter. Along with some money, of course.
  2. Once the form has been found to be complete and correct (i.e., accompanied by the appropriate amount of money), the author or publisher sends the promoter a copy of the book.
  3. The author then waits to see what happens next.
And step 4... well, much of the time, for many authors, there is no step 4 beyond perhaps going to the contest website a few months later and discovering that some other book won the contest. And, of course, filing the receipt for the entry fee amongst the business expenses.

To its credit, the "Global E-Book Award" contest seems to be at least a bit different. For one thing, during "National Read an E-Book Week," they waived the entry fee. Second, they gave me this cool little badge to put on my website, saying that my book is officially a "nominee." And third, they gave my book a page on their site, which people who are perusing the site looking for interesting books might stumble across.

This third thing is where you come in, dear reader, should you wish to help out a struggling author (or, if you don't particularly want to help me, you may still want to help my publisher make a profit): go to the Last Protector page on the Global E-Book Award site, and register a vote by clicking on one of the ratings in that line of blue letter eeeee's just above the book blurb (it would be nice if you clicked on one of the more favorable ratings, of course). While the contest officials say the number of favorable votes won't determine who wins, they also say that the judges will be able to see the results of the voting. So... click away... and thanks much.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Passion of the Snowman

Today is the peculiarly named "Good Friday," the day in which we remember the story of one who came into this world in a way that was magical or perhaps miraculous, attracted a band of followers, led a procession into the city to the cheers of little children, met his demise saving others, was miraculously raised from the dead and ascended into the sky promising to return.

I'm talking, of course, about:

Well, who did you think I had in mind?

Seriously, it's almost creepy how this classic "secular" cartoon parallels the Easter story. The correspondence is so close that I've used this cartoon in a Sunday school class. I often wonder if the writer consciously set out to create a "Passion of the Snowman" tale, or if he just happened into it while figuring out how to stretch a three-minute pop song into a half-hour TV show.

There's no apparent religious content to the song "Frosty," and the 1954 black-and-white cartoon from UPA (once on YouTube but, alas, since removed for copyright reasons) depicts him as more a force of nature, a sort of winter free spirit who's out to have fun and not at all bothered by the knowledge that he'll soon melt:

But the Rankin/Bass half-hour show follows the life-of-Christ story almost incident-by-incident:

...from the magical "Happy Birthday!" (and let's not even start delving into what the magic hat might symbolize)

...through the Palm Sunday procession... his sacrificial melting at the hands of Professor Hinkel... his subsequent re-freezing (with Santa Claus doing a guest appearance as God)... the final ascension, with the promise to return

Strange and heavy stuff for a secular cartoon about a talking snowman...

So, was this an intentional re-use of the Easter story? A coincidence? Perhaps the "bones" of the Passion story are so universal (maybe we all want to believe there's somebody in the world who'd sacrifice everything for us) that it just happened to work out this way. After all, it's been said that just about every novel, play or movie has some character who's identifiable as the "Christ figure." So it could be that any resemblance between Frosty and Jesus is just accident and should be taken as having no significance whatever. It's one of those things that we all must decide for ourselves.

That said, let me observe one other "secret message" in "Frosty." It's a well-known fact that cartoon characters, from Mickey Mouse to Homer Simpson, have three fingers and one thumb on their hands. True, there are a few exceptions, but it's a pretty established rule. And, as this frame from "The Simpsons" demonstrates, one exception occurs when the character is divine:

So, if three fingers means "human" and four means "divine," what do we make of this frame from "Frosty"?

Count the fingers: three (human) on the left hand (plus one thumb), but four (divine) on the right hand. Frosty is apparently both human and divine at the same time, which is of course one of the fundamental (if confusing at times) items of Christian doctrine. Hmm...