I have had a lot of requests for this lately – so here we go.
How did all of this start? I began including fans in my fiction with Forever Faithful, which ironically hasn’t been released yet. More on that later. The public version of this is that my thinking was, “Wouldn’t it be cool for some fans to appear as canon in the BattleTech universe?” In reality, I used to have to flip through a phone book for cool names and this is a hell of a lot easier and more fun for all parties involved. So, the short version, laziness proved to be a powerful motivator.
For Forever Faithful I chose those names randomly from the BattleTech Facebook pages. People seemed to like the concept. When I wrote The Anvil and the upcoming Dragoons novella, I did the same – though I did casually ask for volunteers.
For the upcoming novel, XXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX. I put up a big post on BattleTech International on Facebook for “volunteers.” The results…almost a thousand names that were submitted. I couldn’t use them all. I wanted to give some fans a treat; a chance to be part of BattleTech canon. Some are very likely to go on as major recurring characters. In fact, there are some characters from other novellas that get appearances in XXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX too. It is all part of being in a shared universe.
I am now using Facebook exclusively for obtaining names. I had people complain they don’t use Facebook and wanted to email me and I declined. Some whined in general. Others told me what to do, “You should have posted it on Reddit.” I am not known for following orders, especially when I’m just trying to be generous. It is hard enough to manage an operation on this scale without having a half dozen sources for names. If you don’t like Facebook or don’t use it, you don’t get to take part. It really is that simple. I’m not promoting Facebook (It is run by the Word of Zuckerburg, a precursor to The Word of Blake, after all), it simply is a medium that I find most comfortable for gathering names. I never claimed this process was fair.
I cannot promise your name appears in the form of a glorious and honored warrior. Some are cannon-fodder (or in this case canon-fodder…get it?). Others are cities, streets, mountains, forests, any place I needed a proper noun. I know everyone wants to be that cool MechWarrior – but it doesn’t work that way.
How do I pick who gets in and who doesn’t? Well, the name has to click with me. It is totally subjective. Many names sound futuristic as is. Some get used for terrain features or cities. I have “reaved” the list to compile some obvious winners – names that pop to me immediately. It is hard to picture a Clan warrior named “Bob” or “Doug.” (Sorry guys, but no one wants to die hearing, “My name – Warrior Bob – will be written into the Remembrance for this glorious victory.”) It is easy to pick a name like “Hasara” because it has a cool sound to it. (Note: This is just an example – don’t read anything into it Andrew). Bottom line: I tend to pick names that would sound cool for whatever the need is (be it a mountain range, a city, or a character.) You would be surprised at how many proper nouns find their way into a book. Some thought goes into it on my part.
Some names get used more than once – implying they are more common in the 32nd century. Others are cameo appearances from other books.
Were there some special exceptions to the subjective selection process? Yes. What is life without whimsy? I did automatically put in the guys who waxed my ass at Masters and Minions at GenCon 2018. Did I use this opportunity for revenge? Am I that petty? Yes, absolutely! This should inspire others to take me on this year at GenCon. You play me, you run a pretty good chance at getting used in fiction.
Brent Evans and I also came up with a few special fans we both knew and added them into the pool as well because we are benevolent gods. I also included some names of folks that are just cool people or who are Catalyst Demo agents that I like. I was going to include all of the Demo agents but it proved impossible to get that list through official channels. It would be easier to get a list of nuclear launch codes than the names of the demo agents apparently. Sidebar: This level of secrecy makes me wonder what they are up to. Hmm…
For the record, I am bribable. I don’t want money though. One fan asked that I include a BattleTech convention organizer in a book and I did in exchange for a t-shirt from the con. See how shallow I am?
A lot of people gave me names of other people, but generally I don’t use those. I hadn’t planned on using callsigns but there were some neat ones provided that are going to be included. I don’t use character names for pilots – “I asked for your name, not your character’s name.”
I don’t use people who suggest/insist they be part of specific units, pilot certain ‘Mechs, demand custom paint schemes; along with their name. That is a quick way to get on a list and NEVER get used. I have some rules in the casting call post, please just follow them. I am not crowdsourcing the writing of a novel. I write for my own sense of creativity – not yours.
Please bear in mind I am a raging thin-skinned egomaniac with delusions of grandeur in my choices. I read some douchebag’s comment that I was doing this only to get people to buy my books. My response to that was simple, “Asshat!” Seriously, these are fans that would buy the book no matter what anyway. They don’t need encouragement to purchase BattleTech product. What a moron. You try and do something nice and some dillweed internet troll tries to ruin it.
Please do not ask me about the formats, release dates, or crap like that. I do not know if the book will be translated into Italian, when/if it will be made into an audio book, what day it will release in the UK, how to download it to your Nook (you bought a Nook, that’s hilarious! Can I interest you in a Zune?), why isn’t it out there as a PDF, is it on RPG Fiction’s site, why Barnes and Noble doesn’t have it up on their site, why it isn’t a hardcover, when the boxed set of the game will come out, I’d like to do the voice work for the audio book, or how to be a Catalyst Demo Agent? By the way, these are actual things people have asked or told me. I am prone, when I get these questions, to make shit up. Consider yourself warned.
I am toying with us having a special book signing/beer drinking at GenCon 2019 when the book XXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX is released just for the guys and gals that are in the books/novellas I have written. Not sure if that is logistically sound or feasible yet, but heads-up, I’m getting creative.
So what is next? Right now I have to weather the editing of the new book and the Dragoons novella before I start something new.
So, onto the honored fans!
The Anvil (Published)
Jonathon Scott Schofield
Ryan James Broadhead
Troy Lee Cowell
Juan Ochoa Jr.
Broccán Mac Rónáin
Forever Faithful (Coming VERY soon. John won’t let me say when, but I heard an actual date recently – so it is on the horizon.)
Alexander JW De Santis
James Eyers Mclean Miller
The Dragoons Novella (Coming Near GenCon) I can’t tell you the title because it gives away some stuff.
Kristopher Tyson Koniczek
Brianne Elizabeth Lyons
Patrick J Saul
John “Doc” Crouch
Robert BJ Horncastle
Roderick van Noorloos
John Gaisano III
William C. Pelcham
The BIG Universe Altering Novel XXXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX (GenCon 2019 release!) Again, I can’t tell you the title! (Note: I am not responsible if the editors cut you from the book.)
Rowland Seckinger III
Michael “Brent-Killer” Ciaravella
Adam “Reaper” Grimm.
Florian “Floppy” Nau
Stephan “Warbear” Peter
Elmer Lee Bechdoldt
Larry Leslie II
Agustin Sierio Barj
Karl Elmar Coert
Shawn ‘Gorilla’ Willett.
Brian “Northman” Norris
Joshua Adam Lonbom
Chew Hwee leong
John “Fratricide” Craig
Krzysztof Strato Raczyński
Eli “Viper” Drechsel
Linas Augustus Kasparaitis
Dirk “Derek” Kobler
Billy J. Caldwell
Jeff “Wearyknight” “Weary” Lamm
Sebastian Schröder (a cameo)
Andrew Roy (a cameo)
Richard Francis Gagner
Christopher Chong Wei Jin
James “Tanker” Herring
David “Dunny” Dunlap