Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Changing of the Guard

In life, things change. People move onto other jobs, decide to spend more time with their family, or need some time to themselves.

No, I'm not talking about myself. I'm staying where I am....

However, who I deal with at Battlecorps has changed. Jason Schmitzer has decided to move on and left as Battlecorps Editor at the beginning of the year.

So, who replaced him?

John Helfers.


I was familiar with the name, but didn't really know who he was. So, I looked him up. The following is from the Penguin website: John Helfers' Bio

John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working for Martin H. Greenberg at Tekno Books, he co-edited more than twenty short story anthologies, as well as overseeing numerous other ones for publishers in all genres. He worked with many well-known authors and co-editors, including Lawrence Block, Larry Bond, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, Nelson DeMille, Charlaine Harris, John Jakes, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Kevin J. Anderson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Max Allan Collins. He has also edited more than forty complete novels by such authors as Doug Allyn, Brendan DuBois, James Patrick Hunt, and Jean Rabe.

He has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy. His essays on the military have appeared in Beyond Shock and Awe, and in theHow to Lose a War series, including recent volumes on the Civil War and World War II. His most recent nonfiction book, The Vorkosigan Companion (co-edited with Lillian Stewart Carl) a guide to the science fictional world of Lois McMaster Bujold, was nominated for a 2009 Hugo Award. In 2010, the Shadowrun anthology Spells & Chrome won the Origin Award for Best Game- Related Product.

In 2011, he left Tekno Books to become a full time freelance writer and editor. He wrote several novels in the Room 59™ espionage series for Worldwide/Gold Eagle Publishing (including the launch book, The Powers That Be) and has also written novels in their Deathlands™ and Mack Bolan/Executioner™ series. Currently he’s working on several tie-in and original projects in both the adult and YA genre.

That is an impressive resume.....

Not that Jason wasn't good -- without his help, I wouldn't have grown as a Battlecorps writer. and we had a few discussions via IM and email about different subjects involving writing and stuff. He was the one to decided The Lance Killer was good enough to publish, and he did the same for every other story he published. He didn't accept everything from me --- I had a few misfires. He took on a tough role and did it for eight years herding a bunch of cats disguised as freelance writers, most of the time by himself until Phillip Lee assumed the assistant editor slot. A truly thankless job, but he did it and stories were still being published. He decided to leave on his own, to devote more time to his job and his family. I don't think we've seen the last of him.

But Battlecorps website goes from a strong editor to an even stronger editor. It's clear that Catalyst want the fiction to become an even stronger part of the company. No other game besides BattleTech and Shadowrun has placed such an heavy emphasis on the fiction --- it is through the novels and to a lesser extent, the short stories, advance the timeline and fill is small parts of the universe to make it come alive. and with the revamping of the Battlecorps website in the works, we should see a strong, better Battlecops website.

But John's more than Battlecorps' new editor, he is also overseeing all of Catalyst Games Lab's Fiction lines --- Shadowrun, Battletech, and any other fiction lines that come to fruition. Short stories, novels, anthologies --- they are his domain. He was brought on in 2013 to shepherded the return of the Shadowrun novels. When Jason left, John took over as Battlecorps editor, ably assisted by Battlecorps' Assistant Editor, Phillip Lee.

So, I have a new editor to become familiar with, a new way of doing things, and new challenges. I'm looking forward to John's stewardship of Battlecorps.

Welcome aboard, boss.