Alex Rath, Author

Military Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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!number 12.jpg

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?

So, I present to you, my “uniform” for FantaSci!

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“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!

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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!

 

I have to say… I’m really getting excited about how With Your Shield is going! Chris has been hard at work the past few days on his parts of the book, and WOW! You are NOT going to want to miss this look at the Golden Horde.
 
Maybe I should say just a LITTLE about it?
 
Well, With Your Shield doesn’t center on a CASPer trooper, it centers on a staffer in the Computer Operations Center (COC)… Well, okay, he’s ALSO a CASPer trooper, but it’s more about him and what he’s doing to help keep the Golden Horde ahead of the curve!
 
Interested? Be sure to follow this page (my author page) and sign up for the mailing list (there’s a link on the left of my author page, just click on “Join my Mailing List” Or visit my web site at http://www.alexrathauthor.com!

Well, things are moving right along with ‘With Your Shield’ in the Four Horsemen universe. I’d say I’m about half-way through at this point, and I’m really very excited about what’s going down on the pages between Chris Kennedy and myself. I’m even thinking… just maybe… the main character and his ‘work’ might be seen again later in the universe. We’ll see!

Almost 10k words down in With Your Shield this weekend, and I may not be done. I was thinking today about my inspirations for writing. Not books I’ve read, but authors I’ve met and talked to.

The first brush I had with authors was probably back in about 1994 or so. I was a volunteer for TSR Online on AOL. For the younger folks, TSR was the company that published Dungeons & Dragons before Wizards of the Coast bought them out. During my time there, I handled setting up Q&A sessions between authors and game developers, and the fans on AOL. Among the folks I got to work with were Ed Greenwood, Colin McComb, and Elaine Cunningham. Working with Colin was great (not least because I got an early copy of Birthright and was playing it months before it released). The best though, was Elaine Cunningham, most well-known for her work in the Forgotten Realms setting. I was pretty cash-poor at the time, and we ended up talking on the phone about her upcoming Q&A. She asked if I’d read all of her work, and modules, and I indicated that I hadn’t, and couldn’t really afford to buy much. So, what did she do? She mailed me a big box with a copy of everything she’d produced up to that point for D&D. We also talked a little about writing, and she encouraged me to do it. Unfortunately. I didn’t follow her advice at the time.

The second was David Drake. I met David at a small bookshop in Columbia, South Carolina, which no longer exists, called the Happy Bookseller. It closed in 2008 unfortunately, unable to compete with the big name bookstores that were opening up. Anyway, my wife and I went there to have our copies of, I think it was Queen of Demons, signed. I’d only read his fantasy work. Only us and one other person showed up, but he actually enjoyed it. We sat with David for an hour and he told us about being a writer, getting cover art done, and about how his time in Vietnam inspired much of his writing with the Hammer’s Slammers, which I’d never heard of, but devoured after that. Again, I talked to David about my own desire to eventually write, and his advice, like Elaine’s, was to do it!

David also referred me to another author I’d never heard of, named David Weber. I started reading David’s Honorverse, and haven’t stopped yet. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to spend a decent amount of time with David (who only let me call him Mr. Weber once) and talk to him and his wife, Sharon. They’re amazing people. I even found out that David and I went to the same high school, years apart of course. Again, David encouraged me to pursue my desire to write, but I wasn’t quite in the right head-space yet.

The last, of course, was Chris Kennedy. I’ve already talked a bit about that, so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice to say if it weren’t for Chris’ encouragement and dedication to helping first-time authors get published, you still wouldn’t have heard of me.

Today I decided to take a look back at my early writing. While I’ve never been ‘published’ I’ve definitely done a lot of writing. I suppose the first bit that was seen by more than a few people was in 1991 for an in-game newsletter for a game called Gemstone III. It was run on a dial-up service called GEnie, and back then, cost about $7.00/hour to play. That’s right, per HOUR. It was a hardcore, RolePlay enforced MUD, and due to being on an ARIES IV mainframe, could only support 50 players at a time. It was a tight community, and the newsletter was always fully player written. You got rewarded in free playing hours for writing and having an article chosen, so it was pretty attractive. I wrote several articles under my character name of “Jhembryn Durrock” (a name I used to use everywhere, but had to stop once one of my accounts was hacked, and my name was pretty much ruined because of their actions).

After that, for almost every game I played, I searched out the “Role Play” community, whether it was other MUDs, or graphical MMOs like Everquest, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, The Secret World, or countless other games. Also, every time, I’d write out a detailed biography for my character(s). It always just made the game feel more “right” to me. I’d spend days reading the lore of the game, and more days writing up a backstory for the character. For me, it was fun!

Now I’m playing in someone else’s sandbox, and writing a story for the Golden Horde, with Chris Kennedy. Once that’s done, I’ll probably take a stab at creating my own world.

How did this get started? Well, Chris Kennedy and I actually met as members of a fan organization for a series of milscifi books a few years ago. One night in late 2017 I was messaging with Chris on Facebook about having always wanted to write my own books. He was very encouraging. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but I proposed an idea for a book in the 4HU, specifically the Golden Horde. His response was something like ‘sounds good, how about I write it with you.’ The grin on my face probably made the people around me nervous. That was the start. Unfortunately it took me a while to get heavily into the writing, but now things are rolling along nicely!