That's When The Panic Set In

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That's When The Panic Set In

I woke up this morning and realized we're exactly one week from the release of Double or Nothing. That's when the panic set in. There's so much to do before a book launch, from finalizing print layouts to lining up the audiobook production, and the whole checklist has to be timed just right for a perfect launch.

(It helped when I became experienced enough to realize there's actually no such thing as a perfect launch, and if it does happen, it's basically by accident. Publishing is a giant machine with a hundred moving parts, and inevitably something is going to turn out weird. It's more about the 'catching whatever screwed up and fixing it as quickly and gracefully as possible.')

Fortunately, I'm still fired up from my short trip to NYC. The Sycamore Theater Company put on a wonderful production, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art was sublime, the food was fantastic, and the hospitality at the McKittrick Hotel was, as always, terrifying. I mean, warm and welcoming. I came home with a bounty of inspiration, some new projects in the conceptual stages, and enough surplus energy to, well, launch this book.

I wish I could release it today, if only because this is right about the time the stage fright and "oh god they're all going to hate it" nerves begin to act up. It's a writer thing, can't be helped. One week isn't too long to wait, though.

Two weeks after that I'm jetting back to New York for this year's Thrillerfest convention, visiting with dear friends, and doing research for a new book. And once I return we can talk about...you know. That secret project I've been hinting at. That one I can't talk about. We're gonna talk all about it. Promise.

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Double or Nothing: Pre-Orders are Live

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Double or Nothing: Pre-Orders are Live

Happy Monday, everybody! Well, hopefully a happy Monday. An okay-ish Monday? Tolerable at least? Just a quick update to let you know that preorders are live for Double or Nothing. And we are absolutely locked in -- no way out of it now -- for a launch in two weeks on June 27th.

In the meantime, your diligent scribe is running on fumes, wrestling with an outline and badly in need of inspiration. I learned early on that you can't wait for inspiration to come to you; you've got to go out there and hunt it down. I've also learned (a harder lesson, and grudgingly) that sometimes you have to take a couple of days off.

To that end, I'll be hopping a flight to NYC in the morning. Tomorrow night I'll be attending a performance of "Sleep No More" (one of my favorite places to spend an evening in New York, if you caught the dedication at the beginning of Glass Predator), and on Wednesday I'll be seeing my friends in the Sycamore Theater Company performing their new play "Between Friends."

Meanwhile, I'll be keeping a lookout for any curious graffiti. I hear these odd messages about owls have been appearing at an increasing pace...

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Double or Nothing: Cover and Blurb Reveal!

We're less than a month from the release of Double or Nothing (coming your way on June 27), it's a beautiful Saturday morning, and I'm on my second cup of coffee. What does that mean? It must be time for a cover and blurb reveal! Here's the back-cover synopsis of what you can expect:

Daniel Faust – sorcerer, thief, and newly-minted Las Vegas crime boss – has debts to pay. One of those debts has just come due, an IOU to be paid in the form of a high-risk heist, and it’s a job he can’t refuse. The mark? Daniel’s arch-nemesis, a man with a Cheshire smile and the powers of a living god. The score? A sacrificial dagger buried under layers of electronic, occult, and human security, snug on the far side of a custom-built deathtrap.

Normally, a heist like that would be the end of Daniel’s problems. This time, it’s only the beginning.

Caitlin, Daniel’s lover and the right hand of a demon prince, faces her own threat. She’s adept at navigating the politics of Hell, keeping the peace with diplomatic grace and a whip, but a plan years in the making has left a ticking time bomb under her feet. When it explodes, it will send shockwaves through the infernal courts – and expose one of Caitlin’s darkest secrets. A hidden enemy has targeted Caitlin and Daniel for destruction, and aims to lure them into an impossible snare. For one of them to escape, the other must die.

The only way out is through a maze of demonic bounty hunters, psychic assassins, unlikely enemies and even more unlikely allies. Daniel Faust has spent his life as a trickster, defeating his enemies with the art of the con. He may have finally met his match. Las Vegas is the ultimate chessboard, and his opponent is already two moves ahead.
 

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Progress! An Update

Hey, there! Taking a short break from spinning plates to bring you a quick update. And I do mean spinning plates: I've got multiple projects in the pipeline at various stages of completion, with various editors, and my attention is at five places at once. Of course, I've got the best team in the business backing me up, so with their help I can get it all done right.

Double or Nothing, the next Daniel Faust novel, will definitely be out on June 27th. My editor Kira is due to send me her revisions next week, which is a very important stage of every novel's development. That's the part where I sit down, stare at hundreds upon hundreds of pages of red text and underlined mistakes. Then comes the part where I drink. Then, once I sober up and stop crying, I make the necessary corrections. With Kira's help, it may actually turn into a readable book.

I've confirmed that Cold Spectrum, book four of the Harmony Black series, will be out on October 31st. I'm tickled by the timing, since a big chunk of the book actually takes place on Halloween. Harmony, for the record, is not a fan of Halloween. (She calls it Amateur Night.) Cold Spectrum has gone through developmental edits, which is the stage when my editor Andrea and I work through the plot, check it for flow and content, and try to "punch up" any weak scenes or places where the story could use structural improvement. The next stage is copy-editing and proofreading, where editors check for concrete grammar and style issues.

As for that secret project I've been teasing for a while, 47North (my publisher) is coming to a decision on whether they want to pick it up, and I may know in a week or so! I can't wait to announce this, it's something I've been super-excited about since the project got underway.

And now I'm buckling down, trying to get ahead of the curve and work on the stories I'll be bringing you in 2018. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to drop a little screen-shot of what I started on this morning...

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Three Years in the Game

There I was, working away, starting my second cup of coffee (I got a late start), when a reminder popped up on my phone. Three years ago today, The Long Way Down made its debut, and I became a professional writer. Just like that. Of course, 'just like that' came after twenty-odd years of practice and study, and even then it was just the beginning of a very long and sometimes-rocky road that shows no signs of coming to an end anytime soon. I look back and I'm amazed at how much I had left to learn. Then I'm amazed at how much I still have to learn.

There's no end-game. Writing isn't the kind of job where you can say "Okay, I know everything there is to know, now it's just about showing up and collecting the paycheck." The game's always changing, the landscape always shifting, and you can always -- always -- become a better writer. I'm not as good as I want to be, but I'm better than I was, so at least I've got momentum in the right general direction.

The anniversary's got me feeling reflective. I've got my coffee, there's a new moon tonight, and I'm just sitting here feeling grateful. Yeah, I put in the work to get here, but all that work wouldn't mean a thing if it wasn't for you. A writer without readers is, well...nothing, really. Nothing at all. I write because I have to; it's in my veins, and there's nothing else I want to be, nothing else I can be. But it's my readers who give me life and keep me moving.

It's a special kind of magic that we make together. The translation from the printed page or the narrator's voice to the reader's heart, my characters coming to life in your mind's eye. A story isn't real until it's been read.

So much coming down the pike in this next year. Double or Nothing and Cold Spectrum are both in various stages of editing, and I'm getting very, very close to announcing the special project I've been working on for the better part of a year now. And maybe a few other little surprises along the way.

None of it would be possible without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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A Little Light Reading

Happy Friday, everybody! Got a little something for you. Last year, I contributed a Daniel Faust short story, "A Drive in the Country," to an anthology. Well, the anthology is out of print and the rights reverted back to me, so this weekend I'm setting it loose. If you didn't catch the story the first time it came out, you can read it over at http://craigschaeferbooks.com/drive/ for free.

It's a sordid little tale about The Heist That Went Bad, a tragedy that sent Daniel's life off the rails before the events of The Long Way Down. Probably not safe for work. Or safe for anybody. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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Glass Predator is Live!

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Glass Predator is Live!

Good morning! I'm pleased to announce that the third book in the Harmony Black series, Glass Predator, is now available in ebook, paperback and audio formats -- I hope you enjoy it!

Meanwhile, the next Daniel Faust adventure is in my editor's capable hands and she's just getting started. We're looking at the end of June for a release date on that one. And then there's the Project I Can't Talk About (Yet), which I hope to be talking about soon. 

And I am a tired writer. Due to a pile-up of deadlines and projects, I basically haven't taken a day off since...New Year's? I can't complain, I love my job, but at a certain point fatigue sets in. So, I'll be packing a bag and flying up to New York City for a couple of days to visit a good friend, see a couple of shows, and recharge my batteries.

(And do location research for a book and meet with my publisher, but that's to be expected. I am Not Good at Vacation.)

That's it from me, take care and I'll talk to you soon. Have a great week!

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And another "The End" is written...

Here we are, less than three weeks to the release of Glass Predator, and I've just written the final line of the new Daniel Faust novel. Finishing a novel is such a strange sensation, my mind empty and stuffed full at the same time, the go-go-go relentless writing pace suddenly yanked out from under me as the story comes to an end and there's nothing more to say. A little like Wyle E. Coyote running off the cliff and suddenly freezing as he realizes he's standing over thin air.

Much like Harmony Black, when I finish a mission, I just want to go on another mission. I'm not good at days off. Don't know what to do with myself. Not getting one just yet anyhow; I've got one more project to wrap up (which I'll tell you more about Soon(tm)) before the end of the month.

Anyway, here's what I can tell you about the new Faust: first, it has a release date! Unless something goes catastrophically sideways, we're looking at June 27th. So, a fun read for your Fourth of July weekend or what-have-you. Second, it has a new title. After deciding on the original title (Surface Tension), the outline was massively overhauled and changed up, and the title didn't really fit the story any longer. Now it's called Double or Nothing, which works on a few different levels.

Plot-wise...well, I'll drop a couple of hints. First -- being vague for anyone who hasn't read A Plain-Dealing Villain yet -- the issue regarding Nadine's accusations about Caitlin, and the envelope she gave to Daniel, will 100% definitively be addressed and resolved. This is very much a Daniel-and-Caitlin story from start to finish.

And the other hint, well...after circling each other at a distance for several books now, Daniel and the Man with the Cheshire Smile will come face to face for the first time. And that's all I'm sayin' about that.

Now I think I'm going to step away from the keyboard, stop fiddling with this manuscript (seriously, I keep pausing this post in order to tweak things), and force myself to go celebrate. "Celebrate," in this case, means a medium-rare steak and a well-mixed Bobby Burns. Have a great weekend, everybody!

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Waving From Under a Pile of Work

Nothing in the world feels quite like opening a box of advance copies. All the work of the past eight months or so, from the very first outline to the final round of copy-edits, thousands of hours put into crafting and shaping a story...and here it is. Real, at last. As it stands we're just a little over a month away from the release of Glass Predator, and I can't tell you how excited I am. So, to celebrate, I thought I'd drop a few non-spoilery tidbits about the book.

1. Fontaine is back.

2. People who noticed the tiny Revanche Cycle reference in The Castle Doctrine? Keep your eyes peeled, there's another one in this book. And it's a doozy.

3. I envisioned the first four Harmony books as putting a spotlight on each member of the team in turn. Basically, bringing back some unfinished business from their past that they have to overcome while the team learns to work together. The first two books were Harmony's and Kevin's. This one is Jessie's turn. And considering Jessie's past, well...this is gonna be a rough ride.

4. There's a shift in Harmony and Cody's relationship. Some people are gonna like it, some people aren't. All I can do is write the truest story I can and hope most of my readers dig it.

5. Bobby Diehl is back, but he isn't the main villain. No, the main villain is somebody even worse. It's actually...oops! Almost dropped a spoiler there. You'll find out next month.

Meanwhile, I'm plowing ahead on the manuscript for the next Daniel Faust novel and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (which is great, because it's due to my editor on March 15th). Some big answers, big discoveries and oh, yeah...after four books of circling each other at a distance, this is the one where Faust and the Man with the Cheshire Smile meet face to face for the first time. So that's happening, most likely in June.

I'd better get back to work. See you soon!

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It's That Time Again

Has it really been almost a month since I've posted? Feels like it's been a month since I left my office...anyway, in accordance with annual tradition (twice makes it a tradition, because I said so), Winter's Reach is free this weekend. Also, the book is whispersynced, so you can pick it up and grab the Audible version, narrated by the fantastic Susannah Jones, for an absurdly low price. Why? Because it's almost Superb Owl Sunday.

Puns may be the lowest form of humor, but I never claimed to be dignified.

I wish I had some exciting news to share, but I'm in that occasional space where deadlines pile up on each other like napping kittens, only less adorable. I haven't taken a day off since my trip to Michigan in December and I've got another month or so left before I can breathe. I'm not complaining, being in demand is a good problem to have when you do what you love for a living, but I'm afraid it makes me terribly boring.

"Whatcha been up to this week, Craig?" "Writing." "And last week?" "Also writing." When Hamilton raps about working non-stop, it's interesting because there's a good beat attached to the lyrics. And then he goes and has an affair at the start of Act Two so there's something else to sing about.

It'll all be worth it, though. Starting at the end of next month I've got a bunch of new stories coming your way. Throwing myself into my work hasn't just been about word count; I've been studying, practicing, trying to improve my craft, trying to take everything I've been feeling about the world and funnel it into art. Don't know if I'll succeed, but I'll try until I do. That's a promise.

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