A crazy (but good) week!

So a couple of really cool things happened this week.  Most of which actually happened today, but were products of efforts leading up to today.

First – Steve Umstead, the talented author of Gabriel’s Redemption (of the Evan Gabriel Trilogy), unveiled the cover of his upcoming sequel, Gabriel’s Return, on his blog.  Why is this exciting for me?  I was fortunate enough to do the art for the cover!  It was a really fun and enjoyable experience for me.  It was amazing to get descriptions straight from Steve’s unreleased works, and collaborate with him on ideas.  Showing him the early WIPs of the ship’s rough out, all the way through the final product.  I learned so much while doing this cover.  Not only did I learn more on the artistic side of the process, but also established a solid pipeline for my future covers that will help allow me to churn out my work faster and at a higher quality.  You can see Steve’s post about it over at his blog, or check out the pic below.

Second – I hit a milestone tonight on my upcoming book.  I have completed the story outline!  This was entirely new to me.  I’ve tried to do an outline before but I made it so detailed and limiting that it ended up choking the story as I wrote it.  I tried a different approach and tried to keep things as loose as I could while writing it.  Which is tough because sometimes I just want to write down every detail in my head I had imagined for that scene, but I try to trust myself that I’ll remember those details, or have something better when it comes time to actually write the words.

This was even tougher to decide to do because I was already 11k words into the story when I decided it had enough content for a novel (was aiming for a novella originally) and realized I needed an outline to tie this all together.  I actually liked what I had written so far (to some extent) and decided to work it into the story so the loss of work was minimal, but I plan on re-writing most of it, and just keep the elements I liked.

This is pretty big for me. I really want to release this by the end of summer, ideally before August, but I’m trying to be realistic about it.  It’s my first stab at a novel, and first stab at sci-fi.  So it should be quite the ride.

Lastly – Loose Ends has been continuing to sell a bit each day.  I’m actually quite excited with the sales thus far (I’ll release that after the first full month is finished) and more importantly than sales, it is receiving very nice 4 and 5 star reviews!  Having received two five star reviews in just the past 3 days!  I am thrilled with the positive reactions I am receiving from those that have purchased it.  The funny thing is I told myself that I was probably not going to write a sequel to it unless I had demand for it; well there’s been the demand.  So expect a follow up sometime later this year.

You can pick up Loose Ends (a thriller novella) at one of the fine links below:

Loose Ends on Kindle

Loose Ends on NOOK

Loose Ends on Smashwords

About AJ Powers

I am a professional game developer during the day, but at night, my true passion comes to life when I read and write books.
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6 Responses to A crazy (but good) week!

  1. Congrats on the book cover. It’s awesome!

  2. Charlotte Abel says:

    Yay! A sequel to “Loose Ends.”

    And congrats on a productive and creative week. If you don’t mind sharing, which program do you use for 3D modeling and how steep is the learning curve? I’ve been using Photoshop for years and am comfortable with it, but 3D boggles my mind.

    Both of your cover designs are professional and attractive. Are you interested in doing more cover art?

    • AJ Powers says:


      It’s a program called 3D Studio Max; it’s been around for quite sometime and commonly used in my industry. I’ve been using it for the better part of a decade and still feel I don’t understand about 75% of it.

      3D itself isn’t terribly difficult to learn. It’s as if you started with a box, or a sphere or a cylinder, and started changing it’s shape. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to learn, but some programs make it more difficult than others, and I think 3D Studio Max is one of those programs. It also has a very steep price tag of $3,500. Instead, I would recommend something that’s easier to start with, a program I like to use when I can, called Modo.

      Modo is the same thing as 3D Studio Max, just different interface and tools. Modo is very user friendly, there are scores of great video tutorials out there for it, and the rendering system (the part of the software that pumps out really high quality and detailed images of your 3D) is very easy to use to give you the highest quality with minimal fussing with the settings.

      I use 3D Studio Max for the rendering part because I’ve just been using that feature longer with it than I have other programs, and have learned how to do some neat tricks in it. Hopefully this helps. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of releasing a step by step process of how I work. It would have to be fairly summarized (because there’s a lot) but would let people see the stages.

  3. olsen says:

    Wow, that cover is great. I’ll never be able to do that kind of thing – way too technical. For some reason, I’m not patient enough for it. But, anyway, it should serve you well for your own work, particularly if you keep going with the sci-fi. Is this part of your business activities, or are you planning to go in that direction?

    • AJ Powers says:

      Hey, thanks a lot! I really appreciate it!

      I am actually thinking of making cover art a service I offer. Though I really do want to get my first full length novel out before I take on any customers. Right now just doing some cover art very few people.

      • Fair enough. As long as you keep it up, I’m sure you’ll be able to handle any when do get going with it. I’m also keen on seeing how you go finishing your novel on such a tight schedule! c u …

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