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Me from A to Z - A.J.

I was born in 1977, in Michigan. My parents divorced when I was two and I lived with my mother in Indiana. During this time, my mother met a new man, and he later became my stepfather. Before that happened, we left our small town when I was six and moved to a much larger city a few hours away from there. It took a lot of time to adjust to the move, and to a new person in our family. For years my parents would use me to fight between one another. Neither of them letting go of their grudges before it was too late. I have been trying to learn from their mistakes and successes.

My son was born in the first part of 2007 and later that same year, my mother died just three months after her sixty-fifth birthday. Around one year later, my son's mother and I separated, within one or two months, my son was officially diagnosed with ASD. He requires quite a bit of attention when he is home, and this meant drastic changes to my life. Understanding is a key to unlocking many doors and with Autism, it is no different. He is the reason I continue to do the projects I am involved with; lead by example. He has taught me, as much as I have helped to teach him. It is because of him that #ColoringTherapy was born. Helping others with and without exceptionalities through art, especially coloring, is therapeutic and helps individuals to relax, focus, and create with little to no experience or training and fairly cheaply.

Yes, I am a huge geek/nerd, etc, and I don't mind bringing that to people's attention with an interjection of nerdism whenever I am around. Most of my various projects and hobbies revolve around my geekiness, so a lot of the time I might be standing alone. However, if you wish to stand with me in regards to something I am doing, or even stand against me if that is how you feel, I am open to interactions, but regardless civility is always best.

I did write some short stories in high school, but it was not something that was pursued very vigorously. I spent time writing for the school paper as well (movie reviews, and my first was The Santa Clause. "Allen sleighs Santa", yes groan, go ahead). Around that same time period, I made a switch from Speech and Debate to Broadcasting. Music was quickly turning into more of a passion than public speaking was, but of course broadcasting also involves speaking. I obtained my Non-Commercial FCC license in 1994, and was able to begin to walk farther down a more musical path. After high school, I jumped right into the job arena though. After several years and a lot of job hopping, I decided to try out college. I enrolled in the local community college and began the process of working towards a degree. Just as things were getting rolling in college, I figured I had enough of Indiana, and moved to California, where I got involved with® (Internet, classic rock radio station -®). Over the next few years, I picked up more and more broadcasting hours with TRR. After five years of the strangest weather I had yet encountered, I returned to Indiana. Shortly upon my return, I went back to college to continue the coursework I had started several years before. Thanks in part to all the computer-related work I had found in California, I managed to complete two AAS degrees, and earn several certificates, while continuing to raise my son. It wasn't long after I graduated that I started my first big project: UO-The Expanse.

UO-The Expanse is an Ultima Online free shard (meaning you don't pay a subscription fee). If you don't know what Ultima Online is, that is alright, it's twenty years old (as of 2017). This project taught me quite a bit about programming in C#, and allowed my creativity a place to thrive. Currently, UO-The Expanse is offline until a new webhost is located, but I am still continuing development in the meantime. In late 2017, I introduced The Expanse Offline Quest System, or OQS. This new system offers players an entirely new way to experience a custom UO freeshard from within any browser window, as a text-based interface with minimalistic graphic support. This allows for easier play across different devices, like smartphones or tablets, as well as desktop and laptop computers. It also returns some gamers to the era of simplicity and reading. Many games I played growing up required me to read tons, and being a writer that sort of made sense.

In 2010 my son and I had to relocate. Leaving the midwest behind, we moved from Indiana down to Florida. Once my son and I were more settled in the new area, I began putting my short stories together, eventually combining them into my first book that was published in 2013. The day before my birthday in 2015, I published my second book. I am currently working on the next book in the Soul Mates series, Dealing Life Away, but you can see my other books in the meantime (view Publications). I published a book on #ColoringTherapy in the fall of 2018 and expanded the range of content for the projects (view #ColoringTherapy), and I have also been working on several games, including: Begloomed, The Legend of Ezmerelda, Legends Of Dragons, the Book and the Card Game, and LevAIthans. Check the News page for the latest info about my activities!