Sunday, June 23, 2019

Updates


Well, nothing much is going on with me at the moment, Battletech-wise. I'm still waiting on a couple of proposed projects I submitted, but I have no idea if or when they will see the light of day. I contributed to a couple of upcoming projects, but again, have no idea when they will see the light of day.

But there are a few things I will comment on. First, the Kickstarter. . . Whoa. I was surprised as the rest of the fanbase when Catalyst announced the upcoming Kickstarter. The minis look incredible, including the classic designs. I have no idea what the actual contents will be, but it has my attention.

Next up is the House Arano: The Aurigan Coalition. Written by the people who created the story for the HBS computer game, the House book, this books is just like the major State handbooks, giving the history, social structure, government, and military of the Aurigan Coalition. It fills in some of the background the game didn't get into and gives the tabletop player/RPG player enough information to play games in and near this small state. A nice crossover and hope we'll see more of it.

Last up is Iron Dawn: Book 1 in the Rogue Academy Trilogy by Jennifer Brozek. Fiction is a major part of the Battletech line, and one way to bring new blood into the game is appeal to younger people. Once way is writing fiction for those younger would-be fans. While Battletech fiction has never been overly "adult" (IE lots of swearing or graphic scenes of sex/violence), they are not really written toward teenagers. Novels like Iron Dawn, while not "written down" from the normal Battletech novels, that are geared toward the younger reader, mostly by having younger than average main characters. It's a good way to pull in younger readers and I hope we'll see more of them in the future.

Origins Game Fair has come and gone without anything new in Battletech beyond the announcement of this year's World Wide Event. It's set in the Dark Age/IlClan era, but I won't say anything more than that so as not to spoil anything for those who haven't played it yet. Gencon is where the new products will premiere. I will be waiting not only for the new products, but for the "What's up with Catalyst," Seminar. 

Hopefully, the last half of 2019 will see more new stuff and the advancing of the timeline.

Later!

Craig

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"End of the Road" has been nominated for a Scribe Award!





I was on-line Wednesday night when Jason (Who I know, is a LD for another gaming line) contacted me via Facebook IM and we had the following conversation:

Jason: Congrats on being nominated for a Scribe Award!
Me: ??
Jason: You got nominated for best short story in the Scribe Awards for "End of the Road."
Me: I did?
Jason: That's what my e-mail tells me.

Well, he sent me a copy of the email and the following is from the email:

"Acknowledging excellence in the field of tie-in writing, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is thrilled to announce the nominees for the 2019 Scribe Awards. Every year talented writers dedicate their skill and love of the job to creating works in various universes beloved by fans worldwide. Also every year, these authors raise the bar and make it more and more difficult for the judges to select the best of the best. IAMTW thanks all those who shared their work with all readers and also entered them in the Scribe Awards, and thanks the tireless judges for their efforts as well. We will announce the winner in each category this July at the San Diego ComicCon. Heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees: "

SHORT STORY
Battletech “End of the Road” by Craig A. Reed, Jr.
Battletech “Swords of Light and Darkness” by Travis Heermann
Warhammer “The Darkling Hours,” by Rachel Harrison
Warhammer “No Hero” by Peter McLean
Warhammer “The Passing of Angels” by John French

Now, what is the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers? It is an association of professional writers who write stories and novels in someone else's IP. Star Trek, Star Wars, Halo, Battletech, and Warhammer are examples of tie-in writers' efforts. I was aware of the association, and I'm eligible to join them, but have not done so because of financial reasons.

The Scribe Awards are for those people who writer tie-in product fiction. The categories include Adapted Novel, Audio Drama, Original Novel -- Speculative, Original Novel -- General, Short Story, and Young Adult/Middle Grade. The winners will be announced at the San Diego ComicCon in July.

I am honored to be nominated and congratulations to Travis Heermann for his nomination. Both stories are part of the Legacy anthology, so if you haven't read them, please buy the book and read both our stories and the others in the anthology.

I emailed a noted author who I've corresponded with in the past and asked them about this nomination. They have written their share of tie-in novels, so they have some knowledge of the awards. I also asked if this was something that should be trumpeted. Their response: "Congrats! Trumpet to the world. This is a good award from a good group. Bask. Enjoy. Recognition is always good."

So, I'm going to do that. I'm thinking there should be something sent to me officially informing me of my nomination. When I do get that, I'll take a picture and post it to the blog. End of the Road was a pleasure to write, and its themes came together in a story about war and its survivors easily. I hope the voters find it the same way to read as I did to write it. Again, thank you to the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers for this honor.

Craig

Friday, March 1, 2019

Forever Faithful -- The New Beginning of the Novel Line


Forever Faithful is the new Battletech novel, written by senior veteran Battletech writer, Blaine Lee Pardoe. While it isn't a Dark Age novel, it does flesh out some events leading up to several Dark Age events. I won't get into spoilers here, but there is a lot of groundwork about a certain group and the final fates of several characters from the Twlight of the Clans series are given their due.

As I have said before, the Jihad suffered from the lack of novels. The main reason was because it was caught in the gulf between FASA and Wizkids -- Wizkids wanted a new start, so they had a "Jihad" and moved the timeline forward sixty years. Fanpro, then later on, Catalyst Game Labs, had to take the Jihad and flesh it out. With the novels in limbo (In a legal sense, I think, but don't quote me on that.), the Jihad had to be explored through sourcebooks, short stories, and other products. The closest we got to a Jihad-era novel was Embers of War by Jason Schmitzer, which is set at the very beginning of the Jihad.

But Brent Evens, Battletech's Lead Developer, decided to concentrate on the IlClan era. And leading the way for this new era of Battle, the 35th anniversary of the game, would be the fiction. Novels and novellas would fill in the events around Shattered Fortress and IlClan, to take the Universe forward into the new era. (I still have no knowledge of any short stories plans. All I've heard is rumor, and even if I knew, I couldn't say anything.)

On a personal level, I hope that one day, Catalyst will go back and fill in the Jihad and some of the other eras with no novels or novellas. There are so many rich events that had yet to be written about in fiction. The Reunification War, The Amaris Civil War, the First and Second Succession Wars are untapped sources of stories that are the equal of any we've already seen. I, however, see Brent's reasoning. The need to fully flesh out the new era is the priority, and with this being the 35th year.

But Blaine isn't done. he has a novella and another novel that will get things rolling in this new era. I don't know when they'll be out, but I betting around Gencon. After that, I don't know.

But I don't want to neglect the two novellas that  came out at last year's Gencon. Blane Pardoe's The Anvil and Phil Lee's A Splinter of Hope. Both cover events written about in Shattered Fortress and gives depth to those events.

Brent has said that fiction was the driving force of Battletech in the past, and he wants to see the fiction driving the new era. I hope to be one of those who does the driving and I do have one or two Battletech projects that might see the light of day one of these days.

In the meantime, some of my stories are out there -- In the Battletech anthology Legacy I have a story, as well as the soon-to-be widely released Battlecorps Anthology 6: Front Lines. Hopefully other Battlecorps anthologies will be released.

In the meantime, I had a good month of February writing-wise, exceeding my monthly goal by almost two thousand words. Most of that was involved in related Battletech products I'm working on, mostly speculative as to whether or not they'll ever see the light of day as official products.

So, that's it for now. Trying to write blog posts isn't easy and I know little about what's going behind the scene is so little to begin with and what little I do know is covered by my NDA, so even if I knew anything juicy, I couldn't say anything. That's how it goes....

Later!

Craig

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Legacy of Legacy


I wish I could say I knew what was going on behind the scenes with Battletech's future timeline, but I still don't know. It's one of the reason why I haven't bothered to have another blog entry since March of last year. Catalyst, as is their want, is keeping the details close to the vest, refining the events up to the last minute that will send the universe into a new future.

Still, it's been too long I know, but I've been a bit lazy in keeping either one of my blogs up, which didn't help.

But it's as new year and new dreams and a new start. (Especially with those websites you've been logged into demanding the passwords you haven't used in a year....) So, here it is again, the Battletech State, repaired, revived and hopefully up and running again.

To find out what's going on with Catalyst, I will point you to the talk Randall and Brent gave at December's Mechcon. It's here: Mechcon 2018 Catalyst Gameslab -- What's New (Recap) (There is a loss of audio for several seconds right after the intro -- that's the site, not the video). It's the best I can do about new stuff.

Now, a couple of things I did work on: I helped with the new mapset that will be out in March. Grasslands is a mapset of six, double-sided maps, each side with a different map, giving you 12 maps to play on. It was hard work, as Brent said. And I also did some writing for Shattered Fortress, the start of the timeline moving forward.

But let's shift back to the subject of the Blog: The Legacy anthology.

Legacy is a unique anthology in that the star isn't  any one person, but a Battlemech: The Grasshopper. The tracing of a single 'Mech through 300 years of warfare, from the fall of the Star league to the Jihad. When the call for stories went out, we had to pitch for time periods as well as stories.

I lucked out and got the final spot. My story is called "End of the Road," and it's about a member of Stone's Lament who was a student studying history when history pulls him into war. It's not only a story about the final major battle of Terra, but it's also a look at the question of "Is an object  historical if it's been destroyed and rebuilt so many time?" The old Grandfather Ax paradox, only with Battlemechs.

In this story, I wanted to take a look at some of the things that happened during the Jihad. Due to things beyond Catalyst's control, the Jihad is a big hole, fiction-wise. Short stories are not a substitute for novels, and there could be a dozen novels on the Jihad and still not fully flesh it out. I went with Stone going up against St. Jamais in North America and fleshed out a small part of the Lament. Maybe one day, someone will go back and  write novels about the Jihad and I hope that whoever it is takes the small pieces scattered across these short stories and pulls them into the story they write.

The reaction to the anthology has been positive -- as I write this, the rating on Amazon is 4.7 out of 5 Stars. Unlike the Battlecorps anthologies, these stories are all brand new, commissioned just for this anthology. I think we will see more of these sort of anthologies -- brand-new short stories with a theme. I think we'll see more of the Battlecorps anthologies, once everything in the fiction plan has been sorted out. In addition, there will be more novellas and novels somewhere in the plan, though as to what, I have no idea.

Well, that should be all for now, hopefully I can have something new to read on this blog on a regular basis this year.....

Later!

Craig

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What's going on?


That's a good question, one I really don't have an answer to. The only two things of importance are the announcement of new products coming out and the sadness at finding out Victor Milan died.

I keep saying I should be blogging more, but what little new I know is NDA-sealed and can't be talked about. And what I do know wouldn't cover a single blog post.

I'll talk about Victor Milan's as a reader in another post, because I never met the gentleman or conversed with him. But his loss is a sad one for his readers and the Battletech Community as a whole.

On the happy side of things, the announce of new stuff coming out in 2018 was something Battletech fans needed to know about. (if you haven't seen the page yet, it's here: Coming Releases ). There are a couple of things on the list that I've contributed to, so, I'm still keeping busy.....

A short post, mostly to dust off the place. I'll post more often when I have something more to say.

Later!

Craig

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Not Really a Year in Review Post.....


As the title says, not much of a Year in Review, because there isn't much to review. . . .

2017 was a quiet year for Battletech. Our new Line developer (Brent Evens) has been working at getting the line back to where it was several years ago, with the timeline rolling forward. But beyond the already announced products for 2018 (the two boxed sets), he is otherwise keeping things close to his vest. Hopefully with the new year, he'll reveal more to us freelancers about what his plans are for Battletech.

My only published Battletech story last year was "End of the Road" in the Legacy Anthology, which was at Gencon. That's my second Battletech Story in Print (Hikagemono was in Battlecorps Anthology Volume VI: Front Lines).


"End of the Road" is a special story for me, because I got to spotlight a part of one of the least written regiments in the Battletech universe --- Stone's Lament. With so little written about them, I was able to take several bits and pieces I had written before and add them into the mix in a canon way.

While neither one are available in print form at the moment, I hope there are plans to make them so. But as to when and how, I don't know.

As for the "special project" I mentioned before --- still under development, but I still have great hope for it to be published.

Now, what does 2018 hold? A lot, if Brent has his way. He has already publicly stated that he wants Battletech to become again a fiction-driven universe, but in what manner or form we don't know yet. He's out of the office until next week, enjoying his Christmas/New Years holiday. Once he is back, we will hopefully know more about what he has planned. As for Randall, he's still involved with Dragonfire, Dragonfire, and Dragonfire. . . .

So, that' it. Not much happening at the moment. A lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes, but not may of us know what that is at the moment. We are as much in the dark as everyone else is. IlClan will be released, but I am not involved, so I don't know when or any other details.

But I am hopeful for 2018. Ideas have been tossed around and we should see some come to fruition in the next twelve months. The writers, line developers, painters, demo agents, and volunteers are looking forward to moving into the new era and taking the universe into uncharted territory.

The next two years should be interesting ones --- 2018 will bring Battletech out of it's years-long slumber and 2019 is the 35th anniversary of the game. Has it really been that long since I picked up the second edition Battletech box from a Hobby Store in Laurel, MD --- 30+ years?

So, that's what's going on --- not much of anything for 2017. 2018, on the other hand, looks to be a big year for the game and the universe and hopefully, we can carry that momentum into 2019 and do the 35th anniversary of the game right. I'm looking forward to where the universe goes and hope to be part of the team that helps create it.

And I will leave you with this holiday toast:

To all those present, I give you a Toast!

May the coming year be full of joy and light,
May friendships and romance survive more then a night.
May you find strength, peace and health this coming year,
May no darkness, hate and sorrow fill your soul with tears.
May life grant you everything it can,
May you find the grace to help your fellow man.
With this toast I do say,
May this year be nothing but brighter days!

Toast!

Happy New Year and on to 2018!

Craig

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hurry up and wait



I wish I could say I had news about the future of Battletech fiction, but nothing at yet. These things take time, and I hope they sort out soon.

But Brent Evens did drop a few hints when he answered a couple of fans questions on the "Ask the Lead Developer" board on the official Battletech forum. In one answer, he says the following:
From start to finish, 2018 is going to be a big year for BT with lots of reasons to roll dice and blow stuff up. One of the big pushes here is to once again use fiction (novels & novellas) to drive the storyline, heroes and conflicts. From book stores to websites there will lots of ways immerse yourself in BattleTech. (Italics mine)
 In another thread, Brent answers a series of questions, including this one:

[Question] Where do YOU PERSONALLY see Battletech going under your reign as Lead Developer for the next year?
[Answer] Two totally different flavors to that question so I'll answer both. In universe BattleTech will go through and beyond the battles promised in ilClan. The storyline blazes forward - with FICTION driving the IP narative (not sourcebooks.) In the real world though BT will absolutely be 'going' into the hands of new players, with box sets and support products that serve as gateway products into the game
. (Again, Italics mine)
And this question and answer:
[Question] Will we get novels about the Home World Clans during the Wars of Reaving?
[Answer] Actually no, not in the short term, and if you had the power you wouldn't change that. Novel content releases at a really slow pace and there are much more important universe-plot-driving stories that need to be told. I'd love to see a series of Novellas telling those tales, but the chaffing you are feeling about that content is a downside of using sourcebooks to drive an IP (which was a reality Herb/Ben faced but which has changed for my tenure in the role.) Like I said, the industry is evolving, and we have to fit the stories we want/need to tell into a solicit-able schedule. Hope that makes sense.
(and yet again, Italics mine)
So, along with the answer to other questions (Everything Brent said was posted a public forum, and he hasn't come out and told us freelancers what's happening, because plans are still being put into place), The impression I'm getting (and is is my opinion only, based on only what Brent has said publicly) is that he wants to have Battletech hit the ground running in 2018 --- with product and fiction, with Fiction leading the way forward in the universal story.

What does it mean to us writers? Not a clue. As I said, plans are still not in place, and we haven't been given anything to go on at this time. Is it frustrating? Yes! I want to sink my literary teeth into stories, maybe even novellas, and hope for a shot at a novel down the road (Novels are assigned to veteran writers, and I don't think I'm quite at that level yet.) I've done one or two side project relation to Battletech, but my writing ATM is in other areas (See my other blog --- Trboturtle's Writing Pad --- Life, the Universe and NaNoWriMo..... --- for details.

So, right now,. we are in a hurry up and wait mode, until all the pieces are in place. I don't know when that will be or what needs to be done, so all I can do is wait with the other writers until we are given the path we must follow into the next Battletech age.

Later!

Craig