My latest project

Last month I posed a question on Facebook. I asked readers what I should work on next, and the overwhelming majority requested a Payne & Jones novel. This did not surprise me at all. Based on book sales, that is my most popular series. Of course, the dynamic duo has been around for a lot longer than the Hunters, so it wasn’t a fair fight. Not that Payne & Jones care about fighting fair. Those guys will exploit any advantage they can get!

On the surface, it seemed like a simple decision: I should give fans what they want. Unfortunately, this topic is a lot more complex than it appears. The purpose of this blog is to give you a peek behind the curtain and to help you understand what led to my ultimate choice. Hopefully, it is decision that will satisfy everyone.

1) This summer was a rollercoaster, one filled with highs and lows. On July 9,
The Prisoner’s Gold won the 2016 ITW Thriller Award for Book of the Year. Not only was I the first adventure author to win a Thriller Award, but The Prisoner’s Gold was the first self-published book to be honored. Normally a book/series/author is tied to a specific publisher that would reap the benefits of the award, but I am a free agent in the States. That put me in a unique position. In the days that followed, several editors contacted me (and my agent) about the Hunters series, but as negotiations dragged on, none of them blew us away with an offer. Ultimately, I decided to hold on to the rights to the series until the Hunters movie has started filming. Once we have film clips to show prospective publishers, I’m quite confident we’ll get the type of deal we’re looking for. And once we do, they’ll have a lot of input into my future books.

2) One month after winning the Thriller Award, I parted ways with my UK publisher (Headline/Hachette). No bridges were burned, and there’s always a chance I may return to their roster, but for the time being I opted to be a free agent. The biggest reasons for this were my health and happiness. I wanted the freedom to work on the Hunters movie (and a few secret projects) without having to worry about a ticking clock. Deadlines suck, and this is the first time in over a decade that one isn’t looming. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to wake up without that daily stress. It’s been a real eye-opener (pardon the pun).

3)
The Hunters movie is currently in pre-production. If things go as planned, we’ll start filming this winter. Since this would be the first movie in a franchise, the producers have asked me to provide them with as much information about the series as possible to keep things on track. So far, one of their biggest issues has been the lack of a backstory for the major characters. If you think about the opening chapters of The Hunters, four members of the team (Jack Cobb, Sarah Ellis, Josh McNutt, and Hector Garcia) are in the midst of a daring heist in Brighton Beach. But what you don’t see is why these four were chosen and how they were assembled. I planned to reveal that information in future books, but the producers urged me to do it sooner.

So, that's where things stood. Over the past several months, all of that has been weighing on my mind. After many sleepless nights trying to figure out a solution that would satisfy everyone, I came upon a concept that I think you’ll be happy with. I’ve decided to create a series of novellas called THE HUNTERS: ORIGINS. Each short piece will delve into the history of the major characters in the Hunters series while setting the stage for future books and providing clues and insight into
The Hunters movie.

The first story is called
Before the Storm, and it focuses on the team leader of the Hunters. After his unexpected discharge from the U.S. Army, Jack Cobb finds it difficult to adjust to civilian life. Thankfully, two of his closest friends (Jonathon Payne and David Jones) come to his rescue. But their tales of adventure do more than cheer him up. They open Cobb’s eyes to an opportunity that will change his life forever.

Just to be clear,
Before the Storm is not a full-length book. It is a 12,000-word novella that takes place prior to the opening scenes in The Hunters. The story is light on action and heavy on comedy. In fact, it is one of the funniest things I have ever written.

That’s right: it's already done and ready to go. As a holiday surprise to you,
Before the Storm will be released on December 1 in the States (and most major markets). But you can order it now for the low price of $2.99. That’s less than a dollar per major character.

Oh, one more thing. Even though this series is called THE HUNTERS: ORIGINS, the stars of this first novella are
Payne & Jones. If you’ve missed the duo, you definitely won’t want to miss Before the Storm.