The Soul Seekers have finally arrived, and the Chosen of the Light series continues. Available now in eBook format (paperback coming soon), Soul Seekers follows the story of young Spirit Summoner, Darr Reintol, on his journey to find the Chosen. Of course, nothing in life is ever that easy. Darr is in a state of despair, and with the Soul Seekers arriving in force, the world of Ictar is in more danger than ever!
AVAILABLE FROM THE FOLLOWING RETAILERS:
Barnes & Noble (COMING SOON!)
Wild Child Publishing
With the power to tap into the spirit world and summon the power of the elements, Darr finds no joy in his newfound abilities. His power is a curse, bringing destruction, solitude, and worse, death.
To make matters more complicated, Darr’s fight against the Soul Seekers has been a futile one. The Soul Seekers have returned in force, summoned by the dark mists of the Devoid. The armies of Ictar believe they know how to fight the coming war, but the Soul Seekers and their master have deep-seeded plans.
The battle ahead will be fought on two fronts: the armies of Ictar must hold off the advancing Soul Seekers while Darr finds a way to balance the Four Elements. Between Darr’s fractured psyche and the Devoid’s unexpected ability to reach into the physical world, the odds are stacked against them.
Since the Guardians of the Galaxy first made their appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have been pouring through the footage searching for all the little secrets hidden within. They found Howard the Duck before his infamous post credit scene, and a mural depicting the Abstracts of the Universe.
However, Director James Gunn has repeatedly stated that one major Easter Egg remains to be found. Today, a Redditor named "neodraykl" may have finally uncovered it:
James Gunn has made it known that the "biggest" Easter Egg has yet to be found. With all the talk regarding StarLord's potential father, this caught my eye. I've never seen this posted before, so apologies if it has been.
Gunn has mentioned that we saw StarLord's father before.
For those of you who don't understand the reference, the character in the red and blue is Mar-Vell, or Captain Marvel as he's also known. He's a Kree who has close ties to Earth, and in possession of the Nega Bands, he's a force to be reckoned with. He's also a major player in the Marvel Cosmic Universe.
Could this really be the lost Easter Egg? Could Mar-Vell really be StarLord's father? I'll be tweeting James Gunn tonight to find out...me and a hundred other Redditors.
Sweet Christmas! Falcon looks amazing. Bucky is kicking ass. Tony is an intimidating boss fight. But Captain America is living up to all the hype.
Check out the first teaser trailer for Captain America: Civil War!
I am sooo late to the Game of Thrones party. Up until about a month ago, I didn't buy into either the hype of the show or the books. I tried reading Song of Ice and Fire about two years prior, but two chapters in, I got bored and gave up. A year later, my wife borrowed the first season of the TV show, but she only watched one episode. "Wasn't very interesting," she said. I trusted her take, and seeing as how the book didn't strike a chord with me, she returned the borrowed Blu-Ray. Looking back, I can't believe how wrong we both were.
Last month, a friend of my wife's told her we owed her three episode of Game of Thrones. She let us borrow her copy of Season One and told us to watch three episodes and you'll be hooked, but you have to watch three. It only took two episodes.
I picked up the book again after watching a few episodes of the show. Before, I'd been lost by George R.R. Martin's long descriptions and the deluge of character names. Now I was finally able to match up names with faces. The multiple houses in the land of Westeros no longer seemed so strange. The biggest bummer was that the show moves at a much quicker pace than the book. A quarter of the way through Song of Ice and Fire I finished Season One, effectively spoiling the end of the book for me.
I'm now over halfway done with the first book and today, my wife and I started the fourth season of the TV show. I know the plot points ahead of me, but that isn't slowing me down. Why? The book has so much more meat to it than the show, at least so far it does. I was telling a friend watching the show is like listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, but you fast forward 10 seconds every two minutes or so. At the end, you feel moved by the music, but there's all these little parts that you missed. You weren't able to listen to and absorb the full album.
I'm going to keep watching the show and reading the books. I love how Martin builds his world. Magic, only whispered about in the beginning, is slowly resurging. His heroes are brave, and his villains are brutal, although not all are incapable of redemption. The only downside I've found so far is that after binge watching, I get caught up in the world of Westeros. I think to myself how I'm going to marry off Jacobi and merge my house with another. We have to stay strong. Winter is coming.
One of the great things about the internet today is the rapid sharing of information. A Tweet someone sends about a new cupcake bakery could spawn a new customer or even a hundred with the right following. Event organizers can spread the word of a new concert or party, and in a relatively short amount of time, they can attract tons of participants. Small town news stories can spread globally, within hours or days if the right push is behind it.
Of course, there's a huge downside to this as well, a downside we as a digital culture are still figuring out. Sure the message spreads far and wide, but maybe the new cupcake bakery is selling E Coli-riddled muffins. Maybe no one comes to your party because there just wasn't the right spin on it. And maybe that small town news story about an old man who feeds the bird in the park ends up demonizing him because he kind of looks like a version of what Hitler might look like today if he'd actually survived WWII. Of course, the spread of the message is only part of the problem. The other half is the way the message is written.
I'm not here to solve all the problems on the internet today, but I am going to try to bring a little attention to something that has been bugging me for a while now. I'm sure this affects every facet of the internet, but I see it every single day in the world in which I live... the world of geekery.
The internet helps in a lot of cool ways when a new movie or video game is coming along. We can see early production shots of new movies, pictures taken from an adjacent building and posted online. Early tests for new video games can spread quickly across the internet, whereas years ago we'd have to wait for pics posted in a monthly magazine.
What bothers me the most with all of this is that rather than spreading useful information, the internet has turned into a game, a game where the most clicks wins. Most of these articles don't care about whether they're right or wrong, they care about about how much traffic comes to their website. This isn't new information. What gets me is that these articles are being passed off as "news" when it's the farthest thing from it.
I can think up literally anything and post it around the internet as a "newsworthy" article and it will drive traffic to my website. The masses on the internet will click on the link, some will not, and many, many more will simply debate whether the headline is plausible or not (because who has time to read these days). I'll save that gripe for another day.
Look. I'm not going to tell you how to internet. Hell, sometimes I find it fun to browse the Reddit comments on these rumor news posts just to see how bent out of shape some people get. Trolling is an important part of the internet, too. But many of us get wrapped up in the sensationalism of the rumors and spread it around without even thinking about it. Rumors are rumors, and no amount of wishful thinking will prove them true or false. Of course, they might be true...by accident.
We all have another personality within us. Sometimes this personality escapes in a fit of rage or under some tremendous pressure. Sometimes it appears during a party or a social outing, saving us from the anxiety of being around other human beings. Sometimes our "other" personality stalks us, hiding in the shadows, waiting for that moment of weakness when it can pounce and become a part of us, taking us over.
All of these examples in some form embody what (or should I say 'who') Jon Carlin Shea is for me. Of course, Matt Campbell is alive and well. Writing is something I care deeply about, and writing fantasy, is an important part of my personality, but there's a large degree of relief associated with Jon Carlin Shea.
A NEW FACE
Anxiety, in one form or another, surrounds me in my everyday life. It's a part of who I am, and I've accepted that. In my every day life, I try to figure out ways to integrate it into my life rather than try to push it away. Jon Carlin Shea will help immensely in this area
Writing and fantasy are huge parts of my life, and yet, I get a lot of anxiety talking about it. I won't go into details on why, but Jon Carlin Shea puts a buffer between me and the source of my anxiety. I'm no longer the dead center of attention, and I find I can still talk about this thing I love. I even feel as though I can reach out to strangers where I couldn't before because I'm Matt Campbell, a huge fantasy fan, telling someone about a fantasy author, Jon Carlin Shea. There's a degree of separation that removes the pressure, and suddenly, I'm passionate again.
Before I decided to take the name of Jon Carlin Shea, I gave myself some serious time to consider the implications. I really wanted to understand my reasons for doing it, which turned into understanding my reasons for being a writer. I write for many different reasons. I write for therapy, and I write to share my thoughts. But my biggest reason for writing is to tell stories. I love to tell stories and take people on adventures.
One day, I'd love to be successful enough to write and tell stories for a living. In order to do that, I need to practice my craft and improve it. I have to work at it all the time, but I also need readership, and in the digital age, your name can be a big deal. Matt Campbell's are everywhere. Artists, football players, physicists, and even other writers all share my name. How can I expect to be found in this digital age when I'm but one of many, many Matt Campbells? The answer was fairly simple, a recommendation from my wife (and promoter). Change my name. Create a name that's different, that no one else has, something that is searchable across the interwebs and unique. Hopefully, given time and some good writing, my reach as Jon Carlin Shea will be much further than Matt Campbell's
THE ALTERNATE EGO
One of the biggest challenges for writing is getting into the mindset to create. Sure, I have times that I devote to writing, and oftentimes, I write during these times. However, my mind is often not in the right place, and I end up slopping out buttermilk instead of churning sweet, creamy butter. But having a pen name is a little like having an alter ego. Matt Campbell can have all sorts of crap floating around in his head, but Jon Carlin Shea has work to do.
A big part of my life is figuring out cues, both physical and mental. I work hard at recognizing when my blood pressure is going up, or when certain words I use could clue me into something I'm thinking about in the back of my mind. Mental cues are important, too. Reminding myself to think a certain way or to ask myself a question can completely reverse the onset of anxiety. The same can be true of my writing. Simply thinking to myself "I'm Jon Carlin Shea, and Book Three isn't going to edit itself" is a huge step in the right direction. It's a cue to Matt Campbell to stop thinking about the family budget and my favorite Final Fantasy game and focus on what Jon Carlin Shea needs to accomplish in a morning or an evening or writing.
In his introduction to The Bachman Books, Stephen King says some interesting things about his pseudonym:
I think I did it to turn the heat down a little bit; to do something as someone other than Stephen King. I think that all novelists are inveterate role-players and it was fun to be someone else for a while - in this case, Richard Bachman.
Writing something that was not horror as Stephen King would be perfectly easy, but answering the questions about why I did it would be a pain in the ass. When I wrote straight fiction as Richard Bachman, no one asked the questions. In fact, ha-ha, hardly anyone read the books. Which leads us to what might be - well, not the reason why that voice spoke up in the first place, but the closest thing to it.
That being said, this is the last I'll say about Jon Carlin Shea. Matt Campbell, the author of Spirit Summoner, might just step back into the shadows. Jon Carlin Shea, the author of Soul Seekers will step forward. I wonder what kind of writer he'll be, but I know for sure he will work hard at it.
SOURCE: “Why I was Bachman,” The Bachman Books 1985
November will mark the two year anniversary of the North American launch of the PlayStation 4. In the two years since its release, Sony has earned over $22.3 million in worldwide sales. Arguably, it’s the best gaming console available today.
And I finally have one.
I knew I was going to get one, but I couldn’t decide on the right time. Final Fantasy XV is coming out next year (maybe), but did I really want to wait for one game to come out in order to purchase a new console? What games are out right now that I’d be missing out on?
Ultimately, what decided me was being at the right place at the right time. I found a sale on a console that came with two games, and a coupon for a gift certificate. I also found myself at a store during a weekend with no kid, and a wife who was totally fine with me buying a new console.
No brainer, right?
Setting up my new console was a breeze. There was a software update, and it took a mere couple minutes compared to the epic 20-minute update I had to do with my PS3. I waived the console’s request to access my Facebook page. The feature seems cool, but I just don’t have enough gamer friends to want to share content.
The PS4’s User Interface (UI) is similar to the PS3’s XMB, drawing your eye to the media on your hard drive rather than all the options and settings associated with your PlayStation account, although I had fun working my way through the settings, fine-tuning my entertainment preferences. Accessing entertainment apps like Netflix and Spotify are quick and easy. They seem to connect much quicker than on my PS3, and I don’t know why that is.
Did I mention as an afterthought I bought Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain?
Metal Gear Solid was the first game I played on my new PS4, and it is beautiful. I’ve been a huge fan of the Metal Gear series since Metal Gear Solid released on the first PlayStation. The final “Hideo” game, so far, is brilliant, and a masterpiece to the diehard fans out there. I can’t say everyone will love it, but it was a great first choice. I also dove into the game Watch Dogs for a while. I’m excited to get back to it, but for now, all attention in on Metal Gear.
In the end, I’m very happy with my purchase. I’ll hang onto my PS3 for a good long while because I still have a ton of games on that console (and the PS4 is not backwards compatible). For now, my PS3 is my Netflix streaming device in my bedroom, but I just know that one day soon I’ll have a hankering for some online Borderlands game play.
The only thing I haven’t pulled the trigger on yet is PlayStation Plus, the PlayStation equivalent to Xbox Live, but with the feature of a free online gaming library. I likely will soon, but for now, online gaming isn’t a necessity, and I don’t need access to a bunch of free games either.
Annnnnd, of course, after all that time waiting for the right time to buy a PS4, I had to do it right before Sony announced a drop in price...starting tomorrow. PS4 consoles drop to $349 starting October 9th. So much for great timing.
I don’t know much about Alan Moore. I know he is a writer, and he’s done a lot of work in comic books. He’s someone I find I have respect for because he is a writer and because he obviously has passion for his craft. I can get behind a guy like that.
Back in a 2014 interview (and more recently summarized by The Guardian), Alan Moore said the following:
To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.
Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Alan. That’s Marvel you’re talking about there. Trash DC all you want, but Marvel... no way, man. No. Freakin’. Way. Having been a fan of comic books for a good portion of my life, most notably the Marvel publications, my immediate reaction to this quote was, well, anger. I mean, how dare you, Mr. Moore for criticizing something I love.
That was the kneejerk reaction I think most of us have anytime someone attacks something we love or even like. Human nature, some people say. Or are we just being oversensitive? Are we just being jerks? Once I shook off the initial “Hey, wait a minute!”, I saw something interesting. Alan Moore might be right, just not in the way I immediately thought.
With the rational mind I try to keep in focus, I saw perhaps there was some truth to what Moore was saying in this part of his interview. I can’t subscribe to the notion that superheroes are catastrophic to our culture. Culture moves and changes over time. What is popular today, will likely be unpopular tomorrow.
To me, the most noteworthy portion of Moore’s interview is when he says the public has given up in their attempt to understand their existence by shifting focus towards Marvel’s and DC’s universes instead. As a writer, I find this an incredibly sloppy thing to say. Moore writes fiction, and often, he writes comic books. Sure, the messages in his comic books reflect thoughts about our own troubled world and our limited understanding of our world, but the fact remains, Moore uses his fiction as a medium to express and explore. I would argue that Marvel and DC do the same things.
The Marvel movies, while colorful and huge in scope, reminds us that most of us strive to be heroes, and we must work hard to become heroes. We must sacrifice, and sometimes, we must fall. DC, while still young in expanding its universe, shows that heroes can exist in the much darker areas of our world. Real hatred spawns from these encounters, causing us to hope for heroes, but also to fear and respect the power they bring to the table.
This is what fiction does. It takes our world that we know (or at least, we think we know), and it spins it into something else. It spins it differently, taking our minds with it, in an attempt to understand something we didn’t know before.
Moore is right in some ways. We have a tendency to bury our heads in the sand these days, ignoring the injustices that happen around us. Of course, maybe that’s the way it’s always been. In my experience, we tend to ignore the truths around us. When fiction spins those truths into something else, we tend to raise our heads. Maybe it’s today, maybe tomorrow, but somewhere along the way, we begin to see those “fictional” themes bleeding into our real world. Once we see “fiction” in our real world and realize how absurd it looks and sounds, we begin to take notice. I believe this is the fatal flaw in Moore’s statement. Fiction, whatever form it takes, helps us understand our reality and broaden our outlook on what we think we know.
Or maybe I’m just a jerk. You tell me.
With Avengers: Age of Ultron coming in just a few short weeks, the internet is buzzing with all-new levels of hype and speculation. From analyzing every nuance of the trailers, to how Age of Ultron will tie-in to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s obvious that many people cannot wait for the upcoming Marvel Studios movie. Myself included. Which has got me thinking lately.
Will Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD tie into the upcoming Avenger’s movie? After seeing how Agents of SHIELD connected with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it seems obvious the new SHIELD agents will overlap with the coming of Ultron. But I don’t know that it will, at least not the way we think (and hope) it will. Agents of SHIELD could potentially be building up for something even better, something that connects with the 2016 Captain America: Civil War movie.
After months of speculation, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios has announced that Spider-Man is officially a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can read the official release from Marvel by clicking here.
I haven't been this excited about a merger since Square Enix and Disney teamed up to make Kingdom Hearts. This is incredible news, and with Marvel's Kevin Feige overseeing the next Spider-Man film (even though it's still a Sony film), I have very high expectations for the web crawler in the days ahead!
Video Games, Comics, Movies, and Books. I'll talk about it all, and I'll tell you why it's so awesome!