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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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2017, Here We Come

Wow, so...2016 was something, huh?

In a year of losses, some distant and some close to home (Bowie, Cohen, my elderly cats), I can look back with some satisfaction at my professional life. One year ago today, the first Harmony Black novel debuted, and proved that my publisher's faith in a spin-off series was well founded. Subsequent months brought the first Harmony sequel; Queen of the Night, the conclusion of the Revanche Cycle (but not the last word for a few of its characters...); and The Castle Doctrine, Daniel Faust's sixth full-length adventure. This was my first year as a full time writer, and while the hours make my time in the corporate world look like a year-round vacation, I love the work.

So, my new year's message is one of thanks. I've only been able to do this because of your support, your readership, and that's something I think about every single time I sit down at the keyboard. I will never take that for granted, and I'll always strive to keep my promises to you: to keep improving my skills and learning, trying to make each book better than the last, to finish what I start, and to keep the stories flowing.

Here's what's coming down the pike: Glass Predator, the third Harmony novel, will be out on 3/28. They're printing the paperbacks now, the audiobook is being recorded, it's almost a done deal. I'm aiming to have the next Faust novel (tentatively titled Surface Tension, but that might change) out in May or June at the latest. Because I kinda have to wrap my plans around my publisher's timing and decisions (and certain business talks happening behind the scenes), I can't say much about the second half of 2017 just yet, except to say there will be at least one more book and probably two before the end of the year. Including, I dearly hope, the new super-secret trilogy I'll be telling you all about as soon as the time is right, which I'm incredibly excited about sharing.

The Daniel Faust TV series is still a solid maybe. Everything in Hollywood moves at the speed of molasses, doubly slow during the holidays, and there's nothing new to report on that front.

And I'd better get back to work. I hope this message finds you safe and sound, and with bright hopes for the year to come. We got through 2016. Whatever 2017 brings, we can get through that too. And with a little bit of luck and a little bit of courage, we can do it in style.

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A Status Update

Hey, everybody! Just poking my head out of my dark and foreboding Writing Cave to drop a quick status update. (Actually, it's a glass desk illuminated by colored LEDs, because my decorating tastes tend toward "James Bond villain" and nobody's around to stop me, but I digress.)

Glass Predator is done. Finished, edited, laid-out and ready to ship, and I believe Christina Traister is working on the audio version as we speak so it'll come out on the same day as the e-book and paperback, March 28.

Something I didn't foresee when I became a "hybrid" author (half indie, half traditionally-published) was how utterly weird the dance of deadlines and releases would become. For my indie stuff, I generally have to book time with my editor and cover designer half a year in advance (rightfully so, they're total pros and in high demand), so that gives me a fairly cemented schedule for the Faust books and side-projects. Meanwhile, my contracts with my publisher set milestones for handing in manuscripts, but the editing process is far less predictable, and the actual release date -- since they have to manage an entire stable of authors and set their plans way ahead of schedule -- may be months off from the completion date.

Long story short, it's an unpredictable situation that I just have to ride out while managing deadlines like a plate-spinner. Right now I'm hard at work on Cold Spectrum, the fourth Harmony book, even though it likely won't be out until the end of 2017. I have until New Year's Day for that, at which point -- finished or not -- I have to set it aside and get back to work on Surface Tension (the next Faust book), to make sure I have it ready for my editor on time. Meanwhile, every spare hour is being poured into the first book of the Secret Trilogy (not ready to officially spill the beans yet, but a couple of you have guessed what it's about), and that doesn't even have a release date yet because we're not sure if it's going to be picked up by my publisher or if I'll do it indie-style.

But what matters is when they officially come out, right? So here's the skinny: Glass Predator will be out on March 28, that's written in stone. It's looking like you'll get Surface Tension a couple of months after that, and then something around the end of 2017, though right now it's impossible to know whether it'll be Cold Spectrum, or the (currently untitled) eighth Faust novel, or the first book of the Secret Trilogy. In any event, There Will Be Books, or my editors will be very cross with me.

(I've worked hard to build a reputation for hitting my support team's deadlines. That might sound like a minor thing, but some writers...well, any time you're dealing with people in the arts, you run into flakes. Being a person of your word isn't just the right thing to do, it's good business practice.)

Oh, I have one other planned release for 2017 -- a short story in the Urban Enemies anthology, which I believe is out around March. It's the Harmony/Faust crossover I never expected to write, when Fontaine is hired to track down and capture the last four members of the Redemption Choir. The catch? He has to do it in twelve hours. Twelve hours of one very long, blood-soaked, Detroit night. This is a pretty big anthology -- Jim Butcher has a story in it -- so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it draws a lot of new readers who haven't heard of me yet. And also that my story doesn't suck. That's important, too. I get nervous about these things.

Beyond that, I'm taking a day off in late December to drive to Michigan and see Susannah Jones -- the voice actress for the Revanche Cycle audiobooks -- starring in the touring company of A Christmas Story: The Musical. Susannah is an all-around talent and a good friend, so if you get the chance to catch the show's tour, I highly recommend it.

And that's it for updates! I hope you're doing well as we slide into winter. For now, I'd better refill my coffee mug and get back to work.

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