What a year it has been! I know, it’s been a while since my last update (again), but that’s something I plan to get better about in the new year. But as a quick wrap-up, I wanted to review the highlights for me in 2019.
March 2019 – Appeared at FantaSci in Durham, N.C. as an “about to be published” author.
It was an unexpected journey for me, but I did make my way to DragonCon in Atlanta, GA this year!
I ended up staying at a hotel about a half-mile from the main area, so a LOT of walking was involved. I had a great time, but I have to admit, I’m glad to be home with my wife and daughter, who couldn’t make the trip.
One of the highlights for me, was actually sitting on a panel for the Four Horsemen Universe. As an author who only just published his first book in April of this year, the opportunity to help represent the 4HU at DragonCon was quite an honor.
Beyond that, it was an amazing opportunity for me to spend time with authors who have much more experience than I do. Probably mostly due to my unfamiliarity with the convention, where to go, what to do, etc. I didn’t get as much of that time as I would have liked, but I can say this without hesitation; the authors I did get to chat with were great! Each and every one of them was willing to spend a little time talking to a newer author, and give some advice or guidance. I hope next year I’m more prepared so I can get more time with them.
Attending the Dragon Awards ceremony was something else. The acceptance speeches by several of the authors really hit home for me as an author who hopes one day to be worthy of even being nominated to be a finalist.
Spartan’s Specialists released Friday, August 30th, and is doing well already! I’m humbled by the reaction I’ve gotten so far, and hope I can continue to do better, and keep the fans enjoying Spartan’s story in the Four Horsemen Universe.
Currently, I’m working on a full-length novel for Christopher Woods’ “Fallen World” universe, following up on my story “Mr. Smith Goes to Toronto” which was published in the From the Ashes anthology.
I’m excited to announce, that I also have a story in the upcoming Salvage Conquest anthology, in Kevin Steverson’s Salvage Title universe! That will be released on October 18th!
Yesterday, August 2nd, “From the Ashes” released! It’s a great anthology with 16 amazing authors, set in Christopher Woods’ The Fallen World universe. My story, titled “Mr. Smith Goes to Toronto” is one of the stories in the book, and I’m very proud of it!
It was a new writing experience for me, because it was my first first-person aspect writing experience, and my first foray into post-apocalyptic science fiction. You can pick it up here!
Spartan’s Specialists Cover Reveal and Release Date!
My first solo novel, “Spartan’s Specialists” has a cover, and a date!! I’m thrilled with the cover art, as it captures my vision perfectly. On the cover is, once again Markus ‘Spartan’ Nicolos, in his CASPer, taking on some MinSha in the Four Horsemen Universe. The book will be released on August 30th!
This book is a direct sequel to “With Your Shield” and starts the day after that book ends. It’s an effort I’m very proud of, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Upcoming Convention Appearance
As a reminder, I have my first convention appearance coming up in October! I will be appearing as a guest at Fayetteville ComicCon October 19 – 20. Chris Kennedy will also be there representing Chris Kennedy Publishing, so it’s going to be a great time!
ConGregate 6 is in the books, and it was a great convention and opportunity for me. I won’t even talk about the drive up and back, which is always one of the worst parts of the convention experience. We all know that.
First, I want to give praise to the con chairs and volunteers. They did a great job putting on a small convention that really felt good to attend. Even the Thursday before the con officially started, I was flagged down by Tera, who had earlier recognized my Hoplite CASPer shirt (available in the store here on my web site), to join the pre-con gathering. So I found myself sitting around with some of the guests, volunteers, the con chairs, and Michael Stackpole. Talk about a great experience to start the convention!
Friday, the first day at 2:00pm, turned out to be a surprise, because suddenly I was ON the panel! Unfortunately, Eric Flint is dealing with some medical issues, and was unable to get to the convention, I’m sure we’re all wishing him a speedy recovery. Due to that, though, my publisher, Chris Kennedy, offered to have me fill the spot on the panel he was moderating on Writing Believable Military Science Fiction, which, I’ve grown to know a little bit about. It was, in fact, my first EVER panel, and I think I held my own pretty well, and had a great time! It was specifically good to meet Jim Beall, who I may be reaching out to as I work on my next full-length novel for consulting.
Through the rest of the convention, I spent time networking, plotting, planning, and grinning a lot as plans were developed. As will happen when authors get together, plans were made. I’m very excited about some upcoming projects with fellow Chris Kennedy Publishing authors. Before I went to the convention, I found myself considering what I would be writing after my next short story. I don’t have to consider anymore. I now have likely three more novels to plot out, and I have little doubt there are more that will develop before those are done.
Now, to what’s coming up! August 2nd, “From the Ashes,” an anthology set in the Fallen World universe edited by Christopher Woods and Chris Kennedy will be released, and you’ll get a look at lots of great stories! Among them, will be my own story about “Mr. Smith.” I hope you like it!
It was great to spend time with all my CKP family while I was there. I’m not going to try to list names, because I’ll certainly leave someone out. I will say that Scott and Cindy Kuntzelman are now the only people (so far) who have a copy of “With Your Shield” signed by both Chris, and myself. Thanks for bringing your copy for me to sign!
Sometime hopefully in October, the sequel to “With Your Shield” titled “Spartan’s Specialists” will be released. It picks up the day after the end of Shield, and carries Spartan through the entirety of the Omega Wars. I’ve handed it over to CKP for review and editing as of Saturday night (I worked every night of the convention to edit and get it ready to submit).
The next, and only other convention I have slated for 2019 is Fayetteville Comic Con, October 19-20 in Fayetteville, N.C.. For this convention, I will be a guest, and will be set up with books, and excited to meet and chat with fans both existing, and new.
Other than that, I’m writing, working, enjoying time with my family, and starting to plot out my convention schedule for 2020! Have an idea for a convention you think I should look into, or where you’d like to see me closer to you? Just let me know!
I’m VERY sorry it’s taken a while to post any updates, but things have been busy, in a good way!
“With Your Shield” continues to do well, and I couldn’t be more excited. The reviews have been mostly amazingly positive. I just checked this morning, and we finally hit that magical 50 reviews number on Amazon. Very exciting!!
If you haven’t picked it up yet, you can find it here!
Now… what’s next?
I’ve just completed the last words of “Spartan’s Specialists” which is the sequel to “With Your Shield.” It literally starts the day after the last page of Shield, and continues Spartan’s story. This time, he’s taking on a smaller contract with a very small and specialized group of the Golden Horde, but of course, nothing ever goes to plan. The book will be filled with more of Spartan’s technical wizardry, and even more of his experimentation to create something new and useful in the Four Horsemen Universe. I’m really excited about my first solo work, which should be released in October of this year.
Elsewhere, I also have a short story that will be appearing in “From the Ashes” which is an anthology based in Christopher Woods’ “Fallen World” universe. It was a really fun story to write, and my first attempt at a first-person style story. “From the Ashes” will be released in August.
Lastly on the writing front, I’m working on a short story in yet another universe, which I can’t really say much about yet, since I haven’t written it, but I was very excited to be invited by the author to participate!
I will be appearing at ConGregate in High Point, NC from July 12-14 (this coming weekend). You’ll probably find me around the Chris Kennedy Publishing table, and at the CKP Road Show on Sunday morning, where I’ll be giving away a unique piece of 4HU swag.
I’m working on another convention later in the year, but as I’m still waiting to hear from the con chair, I don’t want to jinx it just yet.
At this time, I’m not sure exactly what’s next for writing, but if nothing else, I’ll go back to working on my fantasy work, tentatively titled “Stormwinter.” I do have at least one more 4HU book collaboration coming up probably sometime in early 2020 which I’m really looking forward to!
Well, “With Your Shield” my first novel, written with Chris Kennedy released Friday, with what I consider AMAZING success. On the first day, we hit #1 on the charts in our category, which was completely unexpected!
As of the time I’m writing this, we now have 24 very positive reviews, which obviously feel very good, and I’m extremely excited about. Here are a few that really stand out for me.
Yet another super entry in the 4hu series of books. Alex Rath makes a great debut as a writer and is backed by Chris Kennedy, author extraordinaire! If you like a James Bond Q type character who is as combat able as he is tech smart this is the book for you. Ian Fleming would be proud. A story of finding you the path fits well into the legends of the Golden Horde providing a chance at changing yourself and your past. Can’t wait to read more.
– Doug Triplett, Amazon Review
And this one, which really means a lot to me and took me completely off guard:
Chris Kennedy and Alex Rath have done a great job with integrating into an exciting story what the technicians and IT folks of the Golden Horde add to the success of the contract. When I started the book I had to pause as tech and IT stuff can be boring to me but low and behold the authors bring out how exciting and important logistics and technical work are to any fighting unit. I also applaud them for addressing the mental health/emotional damage that our war fighters carry in defending our freedoms. It is always easier to work on the debilitating aspects of this trauma from the third person. I think this book, from my perspective as a combat Veteran, would be helpful to any Veteran or non-Veteran who wishes to understand some of the struggles that a loved one may be going through. Great work guys!
– Ken, Amazon Review
The book is available here!
Now, for the promised news.
I have been working on a fantasy book in a world of my own making since I finished writing “With Your Shield” and it’s been going well for a world-building effort; however, I will be changing that as of today. It hasn’t been publicly announced, but a decision was made a few weeks ago, that there would be another ‘Spartan’ novel. I have some ideas of what it’ll be, but that’s about where it is at this point.
I’ve decided to put the fantasy work on-hold, and put my time into the next Four Horsemen Spartan centered novel, still based in the Golden Horde, which will take place in parallel with the Omega Wars of the series. Unlike “With Your Shield” this book will very likely require some knowledge of the universe, and the Omega Wars to truly get all the references that will be in it, but I’m still going to do my best to make sure it can be read as a one-off, without being left sitting and wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
To everyone who has bought and supported “With Your Shield,” thank you so much! If you haven’t, please check it out!
Previously I had communicated a release date of April 19th for “With Your Shield.” Oops! Looks like the release date is actually a week earlier! “With Your Shield” written by Chris Kennedy and myself will be available April 12th!
This is a very exciting book, giving a look into the way the Computer Operations Center of the Golden Horde in the Four Horsemen Universe works like you’ve never seen before! Oh, and there’s lots of things going boom, bang, and KABOOM as well.
I have to pinch myself sometimes when I remember that I actually have a book coming out in just over a month! I have to be honest, when Chris sent me the image of the book cover, with my name on the cover, I almost cried. It’s been a dream for a long time, and it’s finally coming true.
As I prepare for FantaSci next week, the first convention I’ll attend as an author, I’m thinking about it more and more. Just a few weeks ago, I had professional head-shots done, which is now the picture you see here, and all across my social media presence. I won’t be on any panels or anything like that, but I’ll certainly be wandering around, talking to fans and fellow 4HU authors. I’ll likely also spend some time in the gaming room around the Hull Breach, Henchmen, and (oh my!) a demo of the upcoming 4HU card game!
It’s funny the little things I think about. A big one for me was, what am I going to wear to the convention?! In the past, when I went to conventions, I was there as a part of a fan organization, so what I wore was easy, clothes for that organization. Now, I’m going for my OWN work, and to support the Four Horsemen Universe, which my first book is written in.
Now, many are actually doing uniforms for cosplay for the convention, and I cannot wait to see them! For me though, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So what do I do instead? Well, I advertise!! As an independent author writing for a relatively small publisher (no offense, Chris!) we have to market ourselves, and our work, to get the word out. What better way to do it than to wear it?
“With Your Shield” is off to my co-author for his final review, and then on to the editor. I must say it’s been an exciting process as I complete my first novel, and get it ready. We also have a release date! Our book will be available on April 19, 2019, so put that on your calendar and get ready for some excitement.
I think it’s an interesting entry into the Four Horsemen Universe. It takes on things from the perspective of an Intelligence Analyst – who also happens to be a CASPer (Combat Assault System, Personal) trooper – and how he approaches things within the Golden Horde Mercenary Company.
I’m also excited to show the cover! It was released earlier on Facebook, but here it is!
Work has already started on my next project, a fantasy novel that will go back to my days playing Dungeons and Dragons, as the main character is someone I already know very well, having used him as a character oh so many years ago.
Members of my mailing list will be getting an early peek at the first two Chapters of the work in progress soon!
Yep, it’s been a busy few weeks! Work on my first novel in the Four Horsemen Universe, “With Your Shield” is nearing completion. It’s in my co-author’s hands now to add in some of his section, and then back to me to wrap it up. It will be finished this month, so we’re looking at a release date somewhere in late April or early May. I can’t express how excited I am to be publishing my first book!
The best news on that front is that I’ll have the cover art in time for FantaSci, March 22-24, in North Carolina, and by then it’ll be in the hands of the alpha readers.
In the meantime, I’ve started work on my first fantasy novel, as yet untitled. This story is written around a character I first wrote short stories about for fun about 20 years ago, so now he’s getting his own novel! If my ideas become reality, it’ll be the first in a four-book cycle in a new world I’m building, which will likely lead to even more books in that world.
Within the next few weeks, I’m expecting to give a sneak peek at the new fantasy book’s opening chapter(s) to people who have signed up for my mailing list!
I’ve also started my own YouTube channel, which opened with an awesome introduction to the Four Horsemen Universe, you can find that here if you want to check it out.
Keep an eye out here, follow me on Facebook (link on the side of the screen), and join my mailing list, to keep up to date with what’s going on!