Tag Archives: soul

The Two Part Finale

copyright 2015 Dominic Sceski

You can blame me for not speaking about this as much as I should.  I’m usually the type of person that laughs at my own jokes, replays my own highlights in football, and acts out the greatest feats I’ve accomplished.  That being said, I think my own books are awesome.  What author wouldn’t?  Why else follow through with a book idea, if you don’t think it’s great?

Consequently, you can take my word for it: Volume 4 of The Golden Lands will be the best yet.  I’m not sure why I haven’t been blogging about it as much as I should be!

Pretty much, this how I’m viewing the “plot/story flow” of my series:

  • Things begin in Volume 1: Shadows in the Sunlight
  • Things get personal between the characters, and also between the characters and the readers in Volume 2: Wrath
  • Things get exciting in Volume 3: The Ghost of Hedekira
  • And finally, for Volume 4, things get epic, intense, and reach their pinnacle and ultimate fulfillment.

The title of Volume 4 may be undergoing some changes.  Why?  Well, Volume 4 is turning out to be much longer than expected, at least in comparison to all the other volumes.  So far, I haven’t published a volume of TGL that was longer than 90 pages.  Volume 4 is already 125 pages long, and I haven’t finished it yet (although I’m very close to).  Because of Volume 4’s length, I’ve decided to make it into two parts.  Don’t worry, it will still be one volume!  I’m just going to divide the actual book into two parts.

Part one, as of now, will be called either “The White City”, or “Howaito Maki” (the white city is called “Howaito Maki”, so both optional titles are centered around the same idea).

Part two will be given the original name for Volume 4, “The Red Captain” (a reference to Nirak, the antagonist).

If you haven’t already downloaded Volume 1 (which is a free ebook at Smashwords.com [click the image in the sidebar]), then I would highly encourage you to if you’re interested in my series.  The Golden Lands is a fantasy based story with characters that behave and think like characters from anime shows.  Why characters that resemble anime characters? Because anime characters (if it’s a good anime) have so much determination in whatever they’re doing, and the way they portray realistic, human emotion is one of the most beautiful portrayals I’ve ever seen in any form of art.

I’ll be releasing the overview of Volume 4 (containing the cover, description, and excerpt) very soon!


Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

 

Bleach: The Hollowfication Question

Number one pic

Sometimes we see this when the main character of a story is fighting against an enemy of seemingly unsurpassable might; with no other power to turn to, the main character resorts to teaming up with evil in order to defeat evil.  And maybe, maybe, he’ll even draw his strength from this person or source of evil.

BACKGROUND OF BLEACH

(If you already know all of this, I would encourage you to skip to the section in bold which reads “The Question”)

Ichigo Kurosaki is such a main character.  The manga and anime Bleach is easily one of the most popular Japanese comics and television shows out there, particularly in the shonen (boys) category.  The story follows the adventures of fifteen year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Soul Reaper in order to protect his family from the hunger of a Hollow: a fallen soul/spirit of the underworld.

Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow
Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow

Ichigo is plunged into a life of protecting innocent souls from Hollows, as instructed by Rukia Kuchiki, the Soul Reaper that gave him his powers as a Soul Reaper.  Soul Reapers have the duty of saving souls from Hollows, sending those souls to the Soul Society, and purifying the Hollows so that they too may be admitted to the Soul Society.

THE ZANPAKUTO

Every sword that a Soul Reaper has—called a “zanpakuto”—possesses a spirit in itself.  This spirit, in both its form and personality/countenance, is a reflection of the Soul Reaper that wields the zanpakuto.  There is also an element of mystery encompassing the nature of the spirit which is within every zanpakuto.

The spirit of Ichigo's zanpakuto, Zangetsu
The spirit of Ichigo’s zanpakuto, Zangetsu

These spirits have minds of their own; and although they cooperate with their Soul Reaper in order to further the advancement of power their Soul Reaper is able to unleash, sometimes the spirits might endeavor to control their Soul Reaper.

Once a person becomes a Soul Reaper and possesses a zanpakuto, his soul becomes intertwined or merged with the spirit that fills his sword.  The Soul Reaper draws strength from his zanpakuto, and the spirit of the zanpakuto teaches the Soul Reaper how to wield and unlock the power that the spirit possesses.  This bond between Soul Reaper and zanpakuto is intense.

Which is why, if a Soul Reaper isn’t careful, the spirit of his zanpakuto might turn on him.

THE HOLLOW WITHIN

Ichigo's inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all light and darkness is reversed
Ichigo’s inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all the light and darkness of his appearance is reversed

Ichigo’s zanpakuto, and the spirit accompanying it, is named Zangetsu.  Originally unknown to Ichigo, there is another side to Zangetsu—a darker side.  Zangetsu is one with a Hollow; they are the same person, but one side is good while the other is evil.

The evil side of Zangetsu was said to have been “born” when Kiskue Urahara—Ichigo’s hippy-of-a-mentor—forced Ichigo into regaining his Soul Reaper powers by using a method called “Encroachment”.  Encroachment caused Ichigo to run the line between turning into a Hollow himself, or becoming a Soul Reaper (since he had lost his power as a Soul Reaper).  The result on the surface appeared to be that he became a Soul Reaper again—clean, plain and simple.  However, underlying his transformation was the merging of Zangetsu with Ichigo’s inner Hollow, who was brought about by Encroachment—as a side effect, so to speak.

Ichigo's Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment
Ichigo’s Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment

Yet, it proved to be a much bigger “side effect” than Ichigo expected.  When Ichigo battles Byakuya Kuchiki, captain of Squad Six of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, in order to save Rukia from being executed, Ichigo is suddenly possessed by his inner Hollow.  The Hollow saves Ichigo’s life, but states that Ichigo is too weak to be using Zangetsu/himself.  At the time, Ichigo is unaware that the Hollow and Zangetsu are the same person.

Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki
Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki

Ichigo regains control of himself.  But ever since his battle with Captain Kuchiki and his possession by his inner Hollow, Ichigo is now always subconsciously aware of the Hollow within himself.  And the Hollow wants to come out—to control and possess Ichigo.  The struggle to maintain control of his own body and soul steadily grows more intense for Ichigo.

At the same time, Ichigo’s enemies become greater too.  After Ichigo saves Rukia from being executed in the Soul Society, Captain Aizen of Squad Five rebels against the Soul Society.  Aizen is incredibly powerful, and he plans to completely wipe out Ichigo’s hometown and kill the king of the Soul Society.  Aizen is also surrounded by an army of Arrancars—Hollows with the abilities of Soul Reapers—and the Espada, who are high-ranking, super strong Arrancars.  These Arrancars, along with Aizen himself, present a huge threat to Ichigo, his friends, and both the members of the Real World and the Soul Society.

Aizen in all of his evil glory
Aizen in all of his evil glory

Ichigo knows he isn’t powerful enough to defend everyone he cares about.  What’s more, whenever he fights and uses more of his own spiritual power, the chances of him being possessed by his inner Hollow skyrocket.  His resolve being torn down by the emergence of his inner Hollow, and the threat of exceedingly strong enemies, leaves Ichigo confused and unsure of how he can protect his friends.

THE VISOREDS

Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew
Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew

Shinji Hirako, along with his team of rogue Soul Reapers, invite Ichigo to become a Visored; a Soul Reaper that learns to subdue, control, and use the power of his inner Hollow.  They are called Visoreds for the Hollow masks they wear, which are the center of their power.  If Ichigo learns how to control his inner Hollow and use its power, he’ll gain an immense amount of spiritual strength.  Without the knowledge of how to maintain his inner Hollow, and facing the danger of Aizen and his Arrancars, Ichigo turns to the Visoreds for assistance.

In the end, Ichigo goes within himself and battles his Hollow, defeating the dark form of Zangetsu and therefore being able to harness his energy.  The Visoreds continue with his training, and Ichigo gradually learns to control and use his inner Hollow.  The more he battles, the more power he possesses, and the more he relies on using “Hollowfication” as the source of his might.

THE QUESTION

Is it right for Ichigo to resort to using the power of his inner Hollow for the sake of fighting Aizen and saving his friends?  Zangetsu, or the dark side of Zangetsu, is clearly something evil by nature.  His appearance, his motives, his methods—everything about Ichigo’s inner Hollow possesses some sense of malice and morbidity.  Ichigo fights his Hollow and conquers it.  Nonetheless, the Hollow doesn’t go away; instead, he allows Ichigo to draw power from him.  This power is clearly something dark; Ichigo joins with the evil-side of his soul in order to produce intense spiritual attacks.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

In order to answer the question of whether it is right to use evil to fight evil, we need to look at the situation from a logical perspective.  All of this can be simplified by this basic moral truth:

The end doesn’t justify the means.

This logical statement works could be explained with this example: Say a man wants to become rich.  Becoming rich is the “end”.  Let’s say further that the man’s “means” of achieving his “end”—becoming rich—is robbing a bank.

The example with the man is similar to Ichigo’s: both ends are good.  Ichigo wants to protect his friends and save the world; the man wants to become rich.  Nothing is wrong there.  But if we say that “the end justifies the means”, then, according to that statement, any means found necessary is “okay”.  Why?  Because the end, in-and-of-itself, is something good.  However, we can see that this is flawed from a moral perspective.  Just because the end is good, that doesn’t mean it’s right to reach the end using immoral means.  That’s a problem.  We could win all wars by torturing the enemy’s citizens until the enemy surrenders—winning a war: good; torturing people to do it: bad.  (#lameexample…I know)

So here’s where the truth comes in: The means justifies the end.

This is a logical/moral principle that encourages people to build good upon good.  A good means should bring about a good end.  Let’s go back to the man that wants to be rich, but make the example different; now his means is getting a job and working hard, and watching his everyday budget: good.  The end?  He becomes rich: good.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Not everybody will become rich, of course, if they work hard and watch their budget.  But you get the idea.

But then, what’s wrong with Ichigo?  What’s wrong with his means?

The main thing wrong with the story, in that Ichigo obtains his source of strength from his inner Hollow, is that the line between what’s good and what’s evil becomes blurred.  Ichigo takes on the form of something evil, bringing down his own good character, for the sake of something good.  This can lead some people into confusion: is that what heroes do?  They join themselves with evil to do good?  Do heroes turn into monsters or evil spirits for the sake of what’s right?

The answer is simple.

And ah: monsters and evil spirits don’t do what’s right.

“No, but Ichigo does.”

In a sense, Ichigo does do something good.  After all, his end is pure.  But his means is not.  Evil doesn’t produce good.  We can become stronger through dealing with a form of evil that surrounds or threatens us.  But evil is never the producer of good.

This might sound like a story from the Bible, to some viewers.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, (the one with the swagged-out, colored-cloak) is sold by his brothers into slavery to the Egyptians: bad.  However, he rises through the ranks of Egypt to become second-in-command and help his family in a time of famine: good.  The “bad” stuff—being sold into slavery—didn’t produce the good—Joseph becoming second-in-command and helping his family.  In the story, God gave Joseph a way to react to the evil, so to speak; a loophole.  But the evil didn’t create the good.

Nevertheless, Ichigo clearly endeavors to do the opposite.  He draws upon the power of evil and assumes an evil form itself.  A flaw, or falsity, therefore, corrupts the nature of the story of BleachBleach, whether or not the author Tite Kubo intended this, preaches that we can reach into ourselves and pull out our “inner Hollow” and use it for good.

If we think about it, we can see how this negatively morphs society’s perception of heroism.  If Ichigo is equated with being a hero—the one who “defeats the bad guy”—and at the same time is merged with a form of evil, isn’t there a chance those people that look up to Ichigo will think it is right to merge with evil to produce good?  To the people of the anime world, Bleach is saying, in however an indirect way, that the face of a hero…well, may indeed look like this:

Ichigo in his "Hollowfied" form
Ichigo in his “Hollowfied” form

The face of something good is portrayed using the face of evil…doesn’t this seem twisted in any way?  Doesn’t that bother you, or seem wrong?

Ichigo’s means? Using evil.

Ichigo’s end? Saving his friends and the world.

Logical? No.

Moral? No.

The means justifies the end, not the other way round.


Tell me what you think and share your thoughts…I’m really looking forward to hearing your take on this!

Dom

P.S. My first book in my series The Golden Lands (fantasy/anime based) is still free at Smashwords.com!

P.P.S. Just a shout-out to my really smart dad who helped me with all of this logic and philosophy 🙂  You know your stuff, Dad!

Calibre—eBook Reader Review

calibre image

REVIEW—eBook Reader: Calibre

I will admit that when it comes to eReaders, I’m not too experienced, meaning that I haven’t tried very many of them.  However, I have to say, Calibre-E-book Management has to be one of the coolest eBook readers out there!

Calibre is virtually your own eBook library that grants you the ability to gather books from multiple sources.  It’s a way to read books that are distributed as EPUB files; and EPUB files, in case you didn’t know, are usually the most professional-looking out of any possible eBook format.

calibre review pic

Okay, now down to the simply stylish/cool things.  Calibre just has a modern, organized feel to it.  Whenever you select a book, it gives you the cover of the book, the name of the author, the format it’s in, the tags given to it by the author, and a summary of the plot (granted that the book possesses one).  I think that it’s awesome and amazing that ALL of that information can be extracted by simply downloading an EPUB file on your computer and transferring it to Calibre.

Then there’s the button that allows you to convert books to whatever format you want.  Or what about the button you can press that allows you to search for eBooks online WITHIN the program?  THAT’S a handy feature.  Any kind of eBook from whatever site; you can search for them right from Calibre!

When it comes to reading, everything looks nice and crisp; both because of the way Calibre presents every book, and because EPUB files—so long as the book is formatted correctly—always look sharp.

calibre image review 2

Yes, I know my example images are blurry…that’s because I try to make them bigger or just leave them at the same size 😛

Overall, the only downside to Calibre is that sometimes it seems like it makes the computer a little slow when you run the program.   But other than that, it’s totally worth it!

I often suggest Calibre to those friends and followers of mine that don’t have any other eReading devices.  It gives you a modern, intriguing way to read eBooks on your computer, if a computer is all you have available for reading eBooks.

Here’s the link to download Calibre…and it’s FREE: http://calibre-ebook.com/

Enjoy! I hope you get as much out of Calibre as I do!

BY THE WAY.  Shout out to Elizabeth M for providing an awesome picture to use as the background for my blog.  Here’s the original picture.  It’s a scene taken from the end of Volume 1:

Copyright
Copyright

Pretty epic, right?  Thanks Elizabeth.


Your Author,

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Calibre—eBook Reader Review

calibre image

REVIEW—eBook Reader: Calibre

I will admit that when it comes to eReaders, I’m not too experienced, meaning that I haven’t tried very many of them.  However, I have to say, Calibre-E-book Management has to be one of the coolest eBook readers out there!

Calibre is virtually your own eBook library that grants you the ability to gather books from multiple sources.  It’s a way to read books that are distributed as EPUB files; and EPUB files, in case you didn’t know, are usually the most professional-looking out of any possible eBook format.

calibre review pic

Okay, now down to the simply stylish/cool things.  Calibre just has a modern, organized feel to it.  Whenever you select a book, it gives you the cover of the book, the name of the author, the format it’s in, the tags given to it by the author, and a summary of the plot (granted that the book possesses one).  I think that it’s awesome and amazing that ALL of that information can be extracted by simply downloading an EPUB file on your computer and transferring it to Calibre.

Then there’s the button that allows you to convert books to whatever format you want.  Or what about the button you can press that allows you to search for eBooks online WITHIN the program?  THAT’S a handy feature.  Any kind of eBook from whatever site; you can search for them right from Calibre!

When it comes to reading, everything looks nice and crisp; both because of the way Calibre presents every book, and because EPUB files—so long as the book is formatted correctly—always look sharp.

calibre image review 2

Yes, I know my example images are blurry…that’s because I try to make them bigger or just leave them at the same size 😛

Overall, the only downside to Calibre is that sometimes it seems like it makes the computer a little slow when you run the program.   But other than that, it’s totally worth it!

I often suggest Calibre to those friends and followers of mine that don’t have any other eReading devices.  It gives you a modern, intriguing way to read eBooks on your computer, if a computer is all you have available for reading eBooks.

Here’s the link to download Calibre…and it’s FREE: http://calibre-ebook.com/

Enjoy! I hope you get as much out of Calibre as I do!

BY THE WAY.  Shout out to Elizabeth M for providing an awesome picture to use as the background for my blog.  Here’s the original picture.  It’s a scene taken from the end of Volume 1:

Copyright
Copyright

Pretty epic, right?  Thanks Elizabeth.


Your Author,

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Good Work Everybody

Good work everybody 🙂 Volume 3 is definitely a hit!  Downloads are really spiking for all three volumes (especially for Volume 1).

To be honest, Volume 3 has been the biggest pain in the neck for me.  It still hasn’t qualified for Smashwords’ “premium distribution”, all because of the image I placed in the back of the book.  And I still can’t seem to resolve that.  Also, Createspace over at Amazon isn’t allowing me to create a print version because it says my margins are too small, even though I’m using the same margins I used for the other books.

Well, I’ll find time to work everything out.

But YOU guys are awesome, even if I’m really not doing so great 😀

Funny how things are working that way….

ANNNNNYYYWAY.   Just wanted to let you guys know that I may not be posting very much because of football camp.  It takes up the greater part of my day.

Stay awesome!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

P.S. All three volumes are still available and free at Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/569002)

The Golden Lands, Volume 3, is now an eBook!—FREE TODAY ONLY!!!

Well, as promised (since yesterday), Volume 3 has officially been published at Smashwords!  Thus continues my series of fantasy/anime novellas.  I hope you enjoy this volume as much as I did writing it!  From what I’ve been told, the forte of Volume 3 is the action.  Of course, maybe you’ll think otherwise!

Here’s the link to Volume 3: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/569002

And let’s not forget that Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are all free today!!!!

Here’s an overview of Volume 3 to get you up to speed:

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

PLOT SUMMARY:

A name is being whispered throughout the northern region of the Golden Lands. And wherever it is whispered, death quickly follows. “Hedekira” is the only word voiced by the strange “ghost” who appears at random, causing chaos wherever he strikes. Neither John Hedekira nor his friends know why the ghost is after John…nor that they are going to be in the fight of their lives if they’re caught.

GENRE:

Fantasy/Action/Anime/Emotional


Thanks for all of your support and happy reading!

Praise God 😉

Dom

Another Book Ready to be Published!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

It’s that time again 😀  The only left for me to do is press the “publish” button, and Volume 3 will officially be published at Smashwords!!!

Click here to read a post to discover what Volume 3 is all about!

Sure, it’ll take some time before it is distributed to other retailers, but in the meantime, I’m just relieved that I’ve finally gotten to this point.  That it’s finally time to publish yet again.  Make no mistake, publishing three books–whether you’re self publishing or not–is a tough thing to do.  And Volume 3, I must admit, has probably been harder to publish than Volume 2…for multiple reasons like formatting, editing, and polishing things off.  In short, completing this manuscript has been somewhat difficult.  But I’m glad that it’s finished and that I finally get to share it with you.

And, just so you know:

ALL THROUGHOUT TOMORROW, VOLUMES 1, 2 AND 3 WILL BE FREE AT SMASHWORDS.COM!

I believe that the occasion deserves a bit of celebration, and that includes a super nice discount for all of you faithful followers!

Thanks again for making this possible!

Praise God 😉


Dom

99 Copies

Hey all!  So I’ve officially had 99 people buy or download a volume of The Golden Lands.  Which means, obviously, that I’m one copy away from having reached 100!

Wanna’ be that person to help me hit a landmark?

Here’s an overview of Volume 1 and a few places you can get it (for free, too!).

PLOT SUMMARY:

The Golden Lands, one of the three worlds of Terra, is supposed to be a place of peace, light, and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t exactly been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed teenager. His parents disappear when he is thirteen, and he’s left to look after his younger sister and brother. One evening, John decides that he has had it with the distant, self-pitiful dispositions of his siblings, and resolves to shut them out of his life for good…or so he thinks. That same evening, a band of warriors of a dark race invade his home, kidnapping John’s siblings…and leaving him to bleed out on the floor of his own house. But John is not undone so easily. Compelled by his own hatred of the warriors that left him to die, and a sense of duty towards his siblings, John sets out on a quest for vengeance. Joining him is Faith Pinck, a caring, innocent girl who doesn’t yet understand the true motives behind John’s desire to track the evil band of warriors. And in the midst of their adventures as they journey to rescue John’s siblings, they begin to uncover a deeper, darker plot that will endeavor to collide the world of humanity with the world of an unholy, malicious, supernatural being.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT:

At Smashwords.com (free eBook download, available in multiple formats)

At Barnesandnoble.com (free eBook download as a Nook Book, or as a paperback [$5.99])

At iBooks (I think it’s either free or $2.99 here)

As a Kindle Version (99 cents)

At Amazon (paperback $5.99)

Thanks so much for all of your support.  It’s hard to be a self published author; it takes lots of time, lots of thinking, and lots of willpower.  Sometimes, we fall into lacking willpower.  Few things can better inspire me to keep on persevering than your support!  So thanks again.

Stay awesome.

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

The Clock is Ticking…

The countdown to the release of Volume 3 begins!  I haven’t exactly set a date for publication yet, but everything is just about ready!

Volume 3: The Ghost of Hedekira should be an exciting issue!  I had a bit of trouble at first with deciding what direction I should take Volume 3 in.  Originally, the plots of both Volume 3 and 4 were to be combined into a single book.  The plot which now stands as the focus of Volume 3 was supposed to give an exciting “middle” to the old Volume 3.  Instead, I decided that this “middle” part would be able to stand as its own novella.  And I’m glad I made that choice; it gave me so much more room to expand my world and develop my characters.  Not having to rush is pretty great!

Thus, the first story arc of The Golden Lands will end with Volume 4.  I have aptly dubbed this arc the “Soror and Frater” arc.  I guess I’m kinda alluding to the fact that, in Volume 4, John and his friends will finally face Nirak, and the quest for Soror and Frater will come to a conclusion.

Semi-spoiler, I know.

But you know what?  In order for Volume 3 to be ready, we needed to have the cover for Volume 4 so that it could go in the back of the third issue.

Would you like to see?  Here you go!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

This is by far my favorite cover!  It’s simple, but it reveals a lot.

Let’s get artistic for a moment.  We can see, just by observing the covers, that John is undergoing radical, epic changes throughout the series.

Consider the cover for Volume 1:

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

Here we see John, lying in a pool of his own blood.  He looks weak; he looks helpless.   His eyes are all big, and the fear is evident on his face.  He even looks a little on the younger side.

Now look again at the cover for Volume 4.  His sword is brandished, he’s standing at the ready, and his cloak is flapping awesomely in the imaginary breeze.  Instead of worry and fear, his face is showing evident determination.  And his eyes are narrowed with courage and sincerity.  What’s more, he looks tall, powerful, and more mature.

To a degree, he almost looks like a different person.

Lots of good stuff happening in The Golden Lands!  I’m happy to announce that I’m six books away from having sold a hundred copies!

Keep up the support; it really means a lot to me.  And thanks to all who have already purchased/downloaded Volumes 1 and 2!

Your Author,

Dom

(Praise God)

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Btw, Volume 1 is still a free download at Smashwords!!!