What’s that? A new blog post?!?!

It’s going to be short and sweet, but wanted to let you all know that after a long season of no writing, I am getting back on the horse! I’ve got my story picked and mostly fleshed out in my head, and even have 11,000 words on my scribble pad of some of the finer details. I’m very excited about it, and hoping to knock out the rough draft in pretty much record timing. Going to be a challenge with a toddler and an expecting wife, but I’ve been working a lot of crazy hours at night on work that I don’t find particularly enjoyable, so that should be cake 🙂

More to come soon.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do you have cover art needs?

Good afternoon!


Do you have cover art needs for your book, film, or music album? If so, please contact me at fluduh@gmail.com and let me know what your needs are. I am currently available for a few new clients, but that can change overnight so please let me know if you are interested in hiring me. Here are some examples of some of my cover art. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sunlost Underworld War

Sunlost Underworld War


Gabriel’s Revenge


Gabriel’s Return


Untitled Horror Book


I can be flexible with rates depending on your needs.



Posted in Covers | Leave a comment

New Cover Art!

The past few months have been very crazy for me, but I did manage to sneak in a new cover piece for my friend J.T. O’Connell for the sequel to one of his novels, Sunlost. I was really excited how this one turned out. It’s very minimal in terms of content, but I think it definitely worked in favor of making a catchier cover. Often times, less is more.

So without further delay, here’s the cover for Sunlost: Underworld War! You can grab it on Kindle or Paperback.

Sunlost Underworld War

Sunlost Underworld War

It was really fun to do this and finished it surprisingly quickly. Once I had the layout/idea solidified (I had two other much larger scenes drawn up before I got to this idea), I was able to get it done in just a day or two, much of that time was spent rendering the ground out in Modo. The ground was done with some photo-texturing using displacement mapping. I also modeled out the shell casings in Modo. Then I composited in the background, smoke, and lighting effects. It was probably the most enjoyable cover I’ve worked on and I think the minimalist approach had a lot to do with that. With most of my cover pieces, I try to jam a lot into it and things get busy. This one feels very focused, and bold. Would love to hear your thoughts.

If you have cover art needs, please let me know. At the moment I do have some time to work on new covers. I can do photograph edited type covers to full on CG covers. I prefer more action oriented genres such as Sci-Fi, horror, post apocalyptic, etc. However, if you have a need outside those genres feel free to ping me. You can reach me at fluduh AT gmail – or leave a comment with your contact info.

And on a side note, J.T. and I are currently working on a cool collaborative writing project that we hope to share with the world in the coming weeks. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Until next time (which will hopefully be more frequently)


Posted in Covers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My once in a blue moon post

Yeah, it seems that my posts on this blog have become less and less frequent. Sorry about that. Between being a new dad, the day job, side work at night, and catching up on things to do around the house because I’ve been so busy with other tasks I just haven’t had much time for the writing/blogging thing.

Fortunately the side work is going to be slowing down before too long, and once I get caught up on some backlog of other things I need to do, I hope to get back to writing some more. Part of the problem I’ve had lately with writing and my ideas is that I am struggling to find a balance of some things I want to write. In my industry, the line that separates the good guys from the bad guys gets blurrier every day. And in some cases, the games will play up the fact that you can play as good or evil. The choice is yours. I started to see that seeping into my writing. Not so much that the protagonist was evil, but rather it was always an ends justify the means in decision making, and there seemed to be little hesitation in those decisions. So I need to find that right balance with my stories, which hasn’t been easy to do even at a high level, let alone when I am actually writing in depth about these characters.

The good news is a story I had started some time ago and already have a lot of words written, might be a perfect candidate to go down this new road with minimal story adjustment. It’s one I’ve been wanting to finish for a while, but just been caught up in the whirlwind that is my life. But once I get moving on it again, you all will be the first know.

I look forward to getting back into writing. It’s just taking a while to get used to how to balance being a husband, a father, a good employee, AND writing. 🙂 – Fortunately (yet unfortunately) I have come to learn how to operate on very little sleep. So once my nights free up a bit I should be able to find more time at night to do my writing. Woohoo!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing Music

So I want to be a bit more active in keeping my blog somewhat regularly updated.  While I still plan to do posts that are just my general thoughts and ramblings, I also wanted to start doing some posts that urge a bit more socializing amongst my followers.  Things that are going to be not only fun to chime in on, but things that the readers can benefit from.  So I thought the first one I would kick off is about your writing music.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Do you like Classical? Rock? Ambient? Motion Picture Scores?  Or do you work to an orchestra of silence when hammering away on your masterpiece?  Seems like everyone has their own flavor, so I was curious to hear what you all do.  I would love to hear what type of music, and some of your favorite artists you enjoy when you reach for the “pen”.

I’ll kick things off.  I’m an ambient guy.  Ambient music (and for some reason, dark ambient in particular) seems to be what kicks my mind into overdrive for writing, even if the subject matter isn’t dark. There are a number of great artists out there I tend to listen to for my dark ambient fix: Lustmord, Robert Rich, Sephiroth, to name a few.  However I also create my own ambient music.  I use this really cool application called “Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch” that allows you to slow down audio files significantly without altering the music’s integrity.  Meaning it’s not like when you hit record on a cassette tape (lol that’s a blast from the past) and then hold down the “Pause” button halfway and all the sudden your voice sounds super deep.  This actually takes the musical notes and extends them however long you see fit.  Depending on the song’s original sound will depend on what kind of ambient result you’ll get in the end.  It’s actually really fun to play with, because sometimes you get results you weren’t expecting at all.  But usually songs that are softer in sound will end up being more like regular ambient songs, while songs with distorted instruments, such as the electric guitar, often sound darker and more menacing in nature.  And like I said, this kind of music is usually what gets the fingers tapping away at a story.  Also not so bad to listen to while I am doing cover art work 🙂
Here’s a song by Sephiroth: Sephiroth: The Call of the Serpent 

So please share some of the types of music (and artists) you enjoy listening to.  Even if you aren’t a writer, what do you like hearing when you are being creative?  I look forward to your comments.

— AJ —

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Why is it so difficult?

I keep asking myself this question.  Why is it so difficult to decide between art and writing?  I’m strictly speaking about this from a side effort.  Most of you know that I create art for a living on video games.  So why is it that when I work all day on art, I can’t decide between writing or doing more art at home.  So you know what I end up doing?  Nothing.  Completely frustrating, and there’s been seemingly little I could do to combat it.  I love writing so much, and I can’t think of having more fun on a hobby as I did when writing Loose Ends.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the first half of a novel I started a while back, but I completely stalled out on that project and it became dormant (I do still hope to finish it someday, though).

I launched Loose Ends in April of 2011.  Around that time I was finishing up the Halo Anniversary project at work.  Timing wise it worked out great because I was going into “crunch” a bit on that project but I had already released Loose Ends.  I figured I’d finish up Halo Anniversary and move on to my first novel.  It would give me plenty of time to think about what I wanted to do.  Well, I came up with about a hundred ideas I wanted to use, so I ended up choosing one from the list and moved forward with it.  I got about 40k words in and I got busy doing this or that and before I knew it, I hadn’t written in weeks, and the momentum I had gained was gone.  “Well, I’ll come back to that some day, there’s a nice foundation now and I can pick it up again at a later date.  Time to pick the next idea and run with it.”  Except, that isn’t how it played out at all.

Work started to get a bit hectic again with our efforts on Halo 4 and I was feeling drained after work each day; creativity wasn’t exactly flowing in my veins.  This lead to a couple months of doing nothing at home.  I wasn’t inspired to do much writing (inspired is the wrong word, because I wanted to, and I desired to, but I just never did it), but when LoraJo told me that in 9 months we would be parents, that inspiration came running back!  I was determined to get my first novel out before the little one arrived.  Now to pick the new idea.  Well I had the literally dozens of ideas I had scribbled down over several months of brainstorming, as well as probably a half dozen or more ideas I had come up with just in the time I started to get motivated to write again.  So which one did I pick?  None of them.  I guess the truth is I picked several and started fleshing ideas out, but I never got far into any of them because my attention was split among all of them.  But I had decided to write, I knew that…or so I thought.

Layoffs and studio closures in my industry are not unheard of, but it was also not something you heard every month.  But in the last couple years it seems like studios are closing up shop or laying off by the masses each week.  A few of those layoffs hit close to home and that sends just about every developer into red alert mode.  The company I work for is quite stable (as stable as you can be in this industry, anyway) and while I have no reason to believe we will be laying off anyone anytime soon, it’s a game developer’s reflex to get some recent personal work up on the website so in case a layoff ever does occur, so you don’t have to scramble to make new work to apply for other jobs.  It’s just something most of us do.  Especially with a little one on the way.  So I decided writing had to wait, I was going to do some art.  Then, I was contacted by some different folks to do some freelance work for them.  How could I turn down extra paying work?  So I did that, which took an insane amount of time and effort; I totally exhausted myself.  After that long stretch I was back to not wanting to do anything at home. Period.

Well, here we are, July 19th, my daughter is sitting in her swing 3 feet from me, I have no new personal art to show, and haven’t written much of anything.  My indecisiveness on whether I should focus on art (my trade, my career), or writing (my hobby/passion, potential future career?) would ultimately cause a traffic jam in both lanes.  It did me no good.  While I will not at all say the last year was a waste (it was far from it), I feel I could have accomplished a lot more had I made a decision and just focused all my efforts towards it.

It’s hard.  I love art, and I still am passionate about it, but I don’t see myself staying in the game industry my whole life.  Writing seems like a good path for me to take, but it’s certainly a long shot for me in terms of it being a viable income.  After talking to LJ about it, I think we are both decided that writing is something I should focus on, and if I am going to do that I need to make it my primary focus in terms of extra curricular activity.  I still have plenty of things to keep me busy outside of work and writing.  And with a newborn here it’s likely I won’t be able to do nearly as much writing as I would like to, but some is better than none.  So my efforts will go into writing almost exclusively.  I say almost exclusively because I still love art, and I do have cover art work I’ll be doing from time to time (for clients as well as my own covers).  But I just can’t shake the author bug — nor do I want to — so I need to let it hit me full force.

Anyway, for those who made it through my long drawn out rant, thanks for reading.  I know some of you probably remember me posting about this debate a while ago, and might be saying “AJ, I thought you had made up your mind about this months ago.”   You’re right, I did.  But when you are split between two passions, you may never be done choosing which one you want to go with.  The best you can do is pick one and put as much energy behind it as you can to get momentum, and pray you don’t lose focus of your goals.  🙂 Like I said, I’ll still be doing both (obviously art will be a huge part of my life, I don’t see leaving the game industry any time soon).  I know it’s slim odds that I will ever become a successful enough author that I could live off of my sales, but I will never know if I don’t try, right?  I mean, after all, most of my friends/family said that going into the game industry was not really going to be a good career path (and there are times I might agree 😉 lol ) but their reasoning was a mixture of “if you could even manage to find a way to make it into that industry, how will you ever make money in it?” and both of those concern have already been put to rest as I go into my 8th year.  So I gotta go for writing, and see what pans out.  If nothing happens, I still got a job.

In closing, I’ll say this.  To reiterate above, if you don’t chase after it, you won’t ever catch it.  If you have ideas of something you want to do.  Don’t let people telling you it won’t work or it won’t be achievable stop you.  Just gotta lower your shoulders and plow through.

– AJ

Posted in Rants, Writer's Corner | Leave a comment

Cover Art Section Added

Hello folks,

I went ahead and added a cover art page to the blog. While I am getting back into writing, I decided that I want to make more of an effort to amp up my cover art works again. So if you have any cover art needs for your upcoming release, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Until next time,


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment