“The Divine Art of Living” Book on CD is now available at the BDS website!

 Yes, you can now find my latest audiobook as a Book on CD at the Baha’i Distribution Webstore!  Yay!  Of course, you can also get it at the Voices Divine webstore.  Isn’t it nice to have options?

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“The Divine Art of Living” Book on CD is now available, with free shipping and free immediate download!

What you get when you order "The Divine Art of Living" Book on CD

"The Divine Art of Living" is now available as a Book on CD!

It’s finally ready!  “The Divine Art of Living” is finally available as a Book on CD!  Go to Books.VoicesDivine.com where you can buy it for the low price of $32.00 USD, which includes FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world*, AND you’ll also get a free download of the book so you can start enjoying it immediately!   Still not sure?  You can listen to a preview on the website before you buy, so there’s really no risk. 

Listen to this book in small bits, then stop and ponder to deepen;  read along in the printed book (not included) to study more deeply;  or listen as you drive, exercise, stand in line or run errands, and let the words settle into your subconscious through repetition.   However you choose to listen, this book gives you many gems of wisdom, that can help you live a more spiritually grounded life, and help you to help others do so as well.  (I share quotes from this book with friends all the time.) 

And by the way, “The Advent of Divine Justice” by Shoghi Effendi is also available as a Book on CD with free shipping and free immediate download

Whether it’s for you, or for family, friends or other loved ones, check it out.  You’ve got nothing to lose, and so much to gain!

* Free shipping to anywhere in the world the United States Postal Service delivers.  Audiobook will ship via First Class mail, so delivery times are not guaranteed, but since you’ll already be enjoying the free download, and since shipping is free, I didn’t think you’d mind too much.  But no promises on how long this offer will last!

 

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Dealing with Voice Strain (again!)

I thought I was doing everything right.  I was warming up my voice, stretching my neck, jaws, face, lips and tongue, keeping my office humidified, and still I managed to mess up my voice again.  (Read about my first time here, here and here.)  I’m not sure what triggered it, but the ENT suspects it was allergies.  Here’s the process he described:

SOMETHING happened that made my voice sound “different” than I’m used to.  This was the trigger. It could have been the dry air, allergies, or something else. 

I, in turn, did SOMETHING to try to make my voice sound “normal” again.  This was my response.  It could have been straining, it could have been throat clearing, it could have been any number of things, none of which are particularly good for my voice.  I didn’t develop nodules or blood blisters, thank goodness, just plain old inflammation of the vocal chords. 

Apparently, the SOMETHING I did to try to make my voice sound normal developed quickly into a bad habit, but I haven’t been able to isolate what it is I’m doing.

So here’s what I’ve been doing:

I started seeing a chiropractor to help me with some neck issues.  I have really tight neck muscles, and doing a head roll to stretch is very painful.  I thought this might be contributing to the problem.  We’re right in the middle of the process so it’s too soon to tell, but I’m definitely improving.

The ENT is convinced it’s allergies, even though I really haven’t felt like my allergies were all that bad this year.  He wants me to do allergy shots.  We’ll see.  It won’t hurt to talk to their allergy person.

I’ve also started breathing steam.  I have noticed that when I hike in the desert after a good rain, my voice sounds and feels WONDERFUL.  Last month, our humidity hit 2%.  Can you believe that? I think that was the same week my voice tanked, so I’m not convinced it was allergies, and I started breathing steam.  I bought a face steamer but wasn’t impressed with its output.  The dry Arizona air sucks up the steam before it gets to my face.  Then I remembered my Black and Decker Handy Steamer for rice and veggies.  Works like a charm, it has great output, and, it’s free!  Immediately after breathing the steam, I feel great,  but it’s a temporary effect.

Finally, I’ve decided to try singing lessons.  This was something I alluded to trying during my last bout of voice strain, but I never got around to it.  This time I posted for help on Audiobook Community and several folks said that singing lessons helped them learn the good habits they need to keep their voices strong and healthy.  Again, we’ll see. 

So that’s the plan.   I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.

A great gift idea for Ayyam-i-Ha: “The Divine Art of Living” audiobook!

How about giving your loved one “The Divine Art of Living” to listen to on their phone, iPod, computer, or other portable device? 
 
I know, I know.  Who wants to give their loved one a boring email with a link to a download?  That doesn’t feel very festive! 
 
Instead, you can go VoicesDivine and click on the “Give as Gift” option.  What will happen is this:  You’ll purchase the book as usual, then I will send you an email asking for your loved one’s name, address, and if you’re so inclined, a short personal message. I will then send your loved this beautiful, custom-made greeting card telling them of your generous gift, and providing them with a unique code which they can then use to download the book at their convenience. 
 
The Divine Art of Living gift card
This is the card your loved one will receive in the mail when you give them download of the “Divine Art of Living” audiobook.
 
It’s a little bit of old-fashioned personal connection, in a world of high-tech communication.
If you’re interested, email me now at EL.verdanta@gmail.com to give me a heads up.  You’ll still have to complete the sale Saturday, but I’ll already have the card made up and ready to mail out in time for Ayyam-i-Ha!


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‘The Divine Art of Living’ audiobook launch giveaway

The Divine Art of Living is coming, are you ready? 

You’ll want to be quick, because the first 19 people to order the download will also receive a free copy of the printed book.

Audio is such a great way to gain familiarity with these wonderful quotes, but even better is using both your eyes and your ears.

Check out the new cover art at www.VoicesDivine.com/DAL and you can download one whole chapter free!

If you like what we’re doing, help us out and spread the word!

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How creating “The Divine Art of Living” audiobook helped me teach better

You know, one of the reasons I decided to start this whole audiobook business was so I could become closer to the Writings.   Let me tell you, reading and listening to the sacred verses over and over (and over!)  gives you a brilliant new perspective on them.  Whole sections of Writings will float through my head as I go through my day, chatting with folks, reacting to life. 

Last week, I hosted my first devotional with my neighbors.  Three Baha’is and three friends were gathered together, alternately reading inspirational selections and chatting about how they applied to the world.  The chatting would inevitably remind me of something I had read in The Divine Art of Living.  I could almost (but not quite!) quote directly from memory, but I didn’t want to freak anyone out, so I looked up the quotes and read them from the book. 

What a wonderful feeling, to be able to call to mind just the right thing to say whenever a difficult subject came up. 

Talk about a useful skill to have!

Spread the word, cuz good things are coming!

 

The Divine Art of Living Audiobook is coming soon!

 

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Edge Studio: A Great On-Line Resource for Aspiring Voiceovers

If you want to be a Voiceover but don’t live anywhere near a major metropolitan area, there’s a very helpful place to check out online; it’s called Edge Studio.  Their website is full of all kinds of free goddies for the aspiring VO, including sample scripts, links to pronunciation dictionaries, frequent mistakes new VO’s make, suggested rates to charge, even the occasional talk-to-a-pro conference call. They also offer paid services, such as seminars, e-coaching if you want feedback on your recording of a specific script, general coaching by the hour, audition help, even home studio setup consultation.  It’s a pretty broad range of offerings.

They have one particularly interesting offering: the Weekly Script Recording Contest.  Each week they post a hypothetical audition script.  Anyone who wants to can record themselves reading it, then upload it to the site.  There’s generally a coupon prize offered just for entering.  Wednesday and Thursday you can listen to other entries, and vote for the ones you like.  On Friday they post the winners.  If you place in the top 3, you receive cash off of any training or seminar they offer.   The winners get specific feedback, but they also offer general feedback about the quality of the entries as a whole.  It’s quite interesting.  The first time I entered was to get the coupon prize for entering.  I used it to purchase two e-coaching sessions for the price of one, and after using them to work on my reading skills, I entered last week with a mind towards applying what I had learned from the coaching.  I ended up taking second place! 

Having done it twice so far, I can say that entering the contest is a fun way to practice.  I also found reviewing the winners’ entries/feedback a very valuable exercise. 

In short, this is a good solid website, with LOTS of learning opportunities for anyone who wants to put in the effort.  Check it out!

Cover Art Design for “The Divine Art of Living”

Three snap happy pilgrims each armed for bear with high res digital cameras makes for one big bountiful harvest of inspirational images.  And that’s just what I got when I went to Haifa with my family three years ago. 

Those pictures have given me even more than the occasional spiritual boost when I’m feeling blue, they also provided the raw materials for the cover art of my audiobooks.  The pictures used in The Advent of Divine Justice are from the courtyard in the House of Abud and Baha’u’llah’s mansion at Bahji. I wonder how many people even noticed?

 The photos used on The Divine Art of Living came from the grounds surrounding the mansion at Bahji. 

I’m not sure which of us actually took the pictures I ended up using, so I’ll give shared credit to my mom and my brother.  If they want to arm wrestle for sole bragging rights, that’s up to them.

I learned a lot between the last project and this one.  The primary differences were in time and effort, resulting in a major decrease in overall headache potential.  Last year, I had to research and choose the software I would use to design the cover artwork as neither Powerpoint nor Publisher was up to the task.  We ended up getting Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), which included Photoshop and InDesign.  I was familar with Photoshop, but had used the Elements version.  FYI, they’re just different enough to be really annoying.  The tough part was learning InDesign.  Yikes!  Between the two of them, the learning curve was crazy steep.   The whole process took months from first sketch to holding the final professionally printed product in my hands. 

It’s been so wonderful this time.  I have the software and I know how to use it.  This time it took only a day to mock something up.  Of course it took a few more weeks of tweaking to get it just right, but each tweak took only minutes or a couple hours to accomplish, rather than the weeks it took last time around.  I enjoyed the process much more this time, and I’m pleased with the results.  I hope you will be too.

 These are the photos used for The Divine Art of Living.  They’re so beautiful, they deserve to be appreciated in their own right.

This image (albeit flipped) appears on the cover, the front of the insert and the disc faces. This picture appears on the reverse side of the insert. This picture appears on the reverse side of the insert.

This picture appears on the reverse side of the insert.

Progress report on The Divine Art of Living

Having finished recording and editing (more or less), I decided I needed a little musical something to tie everything together.  Initially, I was going to use a song by Tressa Reisetter, but although the piece was beautiful, it was a little on the slow side.  I felt like I needed something peppier, so I kept looking and found a song by Anthony Appolito, who is an amazing guitar player.  The album, Splendor, contains instrumental guitar arrangements, and was released in 2000.  He’s living overseas now, but thanks to the wonders of email, he has consented to allow me to use his music in my audiobook.  Thanks, Anthony!

I didn’t include any music when I produced The Advent of Divine Justice, so working with the music was an interesting endeavor.  It wasn’t as difficult as I had feared it would be, thanks to fades and volume profile tools. 

I’m very excited about this latest development, and I hope you like the results!

A New Perspective, and a Surprise for You!

The new perspective is… A  Baha’i Perspective!

OK, OK.  It’s no secret that I’m a Baha’i, so naturally I see the world from a Baha’i perspective.  But I’m talking about something a little different.  This past week, I was interviewed on “A Baha’i Perspective: A Baha’i Radio Show and Podcast” Hosted by Warren Odess-Gillett.  You can find the interview here.

 I’ve never been interviewed before.  Unless you count when my kids had to “interview” me for a school assignment, and then it was questions like “What kinds of books do you like to read?” and ” Where do you like to do your reading?”  This was very different.  You know what?  One hour is a VERY long time.  That’s how long the interview lasted.  Talking about myself for a whole hour felt… rather uncomfortable, and was surprisingly challenging.   I can sit here and write about myself all day long, but for some reason, talking is a different thing altogether.

At some point, we drifted off topic a bit, and Warren had to cut part of the interview out.  That meant the final interview was only 45 minutes, leaving him with  a whopping 15 minutes to fill.  And that’s the surprise – since he had this time available, we decided to use it to give all of you listeners (and readers!) a gift.  At the end of the interview, you’ll find  a 15 minutes preview of  The Divine Art of Living.  For those who don’t already know, this is my current audiobook project, submitted for review just this week.

If you haven’t heard of the Divine Art of Living, it’s a compilation of excerpts from the writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha and the Báb, on all sorts of practical subjects pertaining to life, like tests and difficulties, health and healing, and life in the next world, to name a few.  (BTW, the 15 minute preview includes quotes from these specific chapters.) 

I hope you enjoy it; be sure to check back in and let me know what you think!

And while you’ll have to keep checking back for the latest news about the release of  The Divine Art of Living, remember that The Advent of Divine Justice is available for immediate download from VoicesDivine.com.   

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