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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Exclusive Cover Reveal & Q/A: Black Tie Required by Craig Schaefer (by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing Villain
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor Blues
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle Doctrine
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or Nothing
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Neon Boneyard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Locust Job
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Sworn To The Night
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Detonation Boulevard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony Black
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight Falling
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass Predator
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold Spectrum
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Right To The Kill
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Ghosts Of Gotham
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Loot
Here at Fantasy Book Critic, we are always glad to showcase cover art both traditionally and self- published. One of our favourties is Craig Schaefer and his books have the kind of cover art which can rub shoulders with the best of what big publishing has to offer. Last year Craig allowed us to exclusively reveal the cover for his new Harmony Black trilogy and we have been granted the privilege to continue to do so for Black Tie Required (book 2 of the trilogy).

Craig has been extra generous by answering these questions amidst these trying times and so read ahead to know more about what makes this book special (besides that glorious cover), and why perhaps this book should be on your reading lists…

Q) Welcome back Craig & thank you once again for this cover reveal. Amidst the COVID crisis, how are you dealing with the daily stress?

CS: Bold of you to assume I'm dealing with it.

But seriously, as someone who has grappled with clinical depression and OCD my entire life (OCD and a pandemic are a bad, bad combination, folks), it largely boils down to the same coping mechanisms I've always used, plus a lot of personal status checks to monitor myself, and occasional time for self-care. It helps that writing is my main coping mechanism, kinda handy, given that I'm locked down with nothing to do but write.

Q) You have always been forthright about your stress levels & writing schedules. What’s your thought process behind releasing Black Tie Required in these troubled times?

CS: The show must go on. While I've been as worn down as anybody else, dealing with the current day-to-day uncertainty and madness (and toilet paper shortages), not working is not an option. Especially now, really. People need entertainment right now, and while I can't do anything to help with the pandemic crisis, that's something I can deliver. Black Tie Required isn't a weighty philosophical tome; it's a fast, action-packed magical-spy romp, and if it puts a smile on your face and keeps you from worrying about the world for a few hours, I consider that a job well done.

(Cover art & design by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design)

Q) This cover by James T. Egan is very much a special one. It’s in line with Right To The Kill and yet has its own extra sauce. Right To The Kill was an homage to vintage James Bond books ( a La Casino Royale), what would be a similar title for Black Tie Required?

CS: Black Tie Required continues the theme and feel of the last book, sending the heroines on a mission to a glamorous resort where danger lurks around every corner. A hitman is on the prowl, and they have to identify his target before he makes his move; of course, nothing is ever that simple. Expect guns, gadgets, magic-fueled covert operations, and cocktails by the swimming pool.

Q) The golden Basilisk/Dragon promises to be a major plot point for this story. Would this be a literal or figurative theme or will we have to RAFO?

CS: Figurative...maybe? This time out, Harmony and Jessie are squaring off against an international assassin known as the Basilisk -- a cold and remorseless killer who has risen to the top of the demonic House of Dead Roses without so much as a speck of magic or a drop of infernal blood. Is he just that skilled, or does he have lethal surprises up his sleeve? (Spoiler: it's the second thing.)

Q) Black Tie Required is the middle book of your new Harmony Black trilogy. With things heating up in the Daniel Faust books as well. What can we expect from it vis-a-vis the middle book syndrome?

CS: In this book we'll get a look at the wider battlefield Harmony and her team are fighting on, and the growing consequences at stake. The events of the Wisdom's Grave trilogy (and the downfall of Talon Worldwide, a company secretly working on interdimensional portal technology) has left dangerous occult tech in the wild, and governments (and terrorist cells) all over the world are starting to take notice.

Q) Next up for you is The Insider in July & should we expect another self-published release before this crazy year is over?

CS: Yes; Thomas & Mercer Publishing are releasing The Insider in all formats (ebook, paperback and audio) on the 7th of July. And I'm pleased to say that the manuscript for the sequel to Ghosts of Gotham has been delivered to my editor, and we fully intend to have it out for Halloween. I'm currently elbows-deep on the new Daniel Faust novel -- no ETA on that yet but I'm working hard on it.

Q) Thank you again Craig & I can’t wait to read Black Tie Required. Besides thrilling action sequences, snappy dialogue &further reveals about the world. What would be one thing  readers can look forward to when it’s released?

CS: The unknown fate of Daniel Faust's beloved Hemicuda (impounded when he was sent to prison in The Killing Floor Blues, and only seen once after that when Harmony and Jessie took it for a joyride) has been a running joke in my books for some time now. I can promise that by the end of Black Tie Required, you will know exactly what happened to it and where it went.

Will Daniel ever get it back? Well, that's a trickier question, but he's dealing with bigger problems right now. Also, for Wisdom's Grave fans, while she doesn't make an appearance personally, you'll find out what Marie Reinhart is up to at this very moment. It's a very Marie thing.


OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Las Vegas, Nevada. For some, a neon-drenched playground. For Harmony Black, a graveyard of bad memories. But when your job is protecting humanity from the horrors of the occult underworld, you go where the mission sends you.

The annual TechTopia conference draws Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, big thinkers, startup investors — and the Basilisk, a former German Military Intelligence officer turned freelance assassin. He’s in town to make a killing, and his target could be any of a thousand potential victims. To protect their source of information, direct action is off the table: Harmony and her team have to identify the target and stage a rescue without the Basilisk — or his mistress, the sadistic demoness Nadine — ever learning that they were involved.

Stranger things are brewing under the neon and glitz. The elite of the criminal underworld are flocking to the city like flies to a rotting corpse, rumors of a secret auction are swirling, and the assassin’s target has ties to Talon Worldwide — a corporation with a foothold on two parallel Earths. Soon enough, Harmony discovers there’s far more at stake than a single life. The consequences of this mission aren’t just global: they’re interdimensional.



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