Coming March 24, 2017 … when the sun sets at the South Pole. Ironically, the least dark of the three books in my Nikki Janicek series is mostly set during winter at South Pole Station, where it’s dark 24 hours a day from March until September. The best twists come out of the most extreme conditions! Props to Damon Za of South Africa for another amazing cover. Nikki looks frozen in ice … very fitting indeed.
September 19, 2019
Shackled on a jet to ?
“You ain’t never flown before?” the biggest black dude I’d ever seen asked me (no, there ain’t a lot of them in New Hampshire, not even in lockup).
“How can you tell?”
“Because you’re even whiter than I am black up in here,” he said. “Ebony and extra fucking ivory.”
“No … I ain’t never been anywhere. I almost made it to Vermont once. Asshole troopers caught me a couple of miles from the border.”
“This should be one hell of a trip for you then.”
I just looked out the window. I couldn’t see shit. It was dark. And the damn jet kept rattling around, making me queasy and shit.
“How long is this flight?” I asked the negro. He wouldn’t tell me his name.
“Too motherfuckin’ long.”
“Got any valium or …”
“Hell no,” he said, looking at me all pissed off.
“What you people want with me anyway?”
“You’ll find out when we get there.”
“You heard me.”
“No offense, but … is that where you’re from?” I asked.
“Hell no. I’m American, just like you.”
“Will I be the only cracker there?”
The big negro laughed at me.
“Hell yeah. You’ll never see another one of yo kind ever again.”
I just looked back out the window. I was sick of his ass already.
Flying fucking sucks!
Now I get why people want to blow up planes and shit.
— the opening lines from my upcoming novel, “Nikki White: Polar Extremes” (Nikki #3) … final edits are under way!!
Caption: Off the coast of South Africa near Dyer Island, aka “Shark Alley,” the setting for the first chapter of “Nikki White: Polar Extremes”
Here’s my first stab at a book blurb for my novel, “Nikki White: Polar Extremes,” the third book in the Nikki series …
NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES
By Jack Chaucer
Coming in 2017
When Nikki Janicek sprints from the 200-degree sauna out into the 100-below darkness wearing nothing but bunny boots, at least she’s not alone.
She already has survived months of solitary confinement, a forced swim with sharks and a scary journey to the South Pole. Now she’s a member of The 300 Club, an exclusive group of people on the planet who have endured a 300-degree temperature swing in a matter of seconds.
It’s all part of her training for a six-person, one-way mission to Mars.
Nikki wants to go, but not with The Bridge — a space-obsessed company that abducts, controls and violates people.
She wants to take a stand.
She wants to free her father, her former lover and herself.
And she’ll attempt it with the help of the young man who shot her seven years ago.
It’s a previously inconceivable alliance, bonded by polar extremes.
The third book in my YA/NA/Sci-fi series, which follows the adventures of Nikki Janicek, is another major step closer to release now that I’ve completed the second draft and major revisions. I should be able to wrap up final tweaks and edits by sometime this fall, and I’m already looking forward to seeing what Damon Za of South Africa will pull off for a cover for this one.
I’ll shoot for a cover reveal before the end of the year and plan to have ARCs ready on NetGalley by early 2017. I’ll likely publish it in paperback and e-book some time in the first half of next year.
“Nikki White: Frozen Upside Down” had been my working title for this project, but “Polar Extremes” is shorter and works better on multiple levels. I think it’ll make life easier for Damon as well.
“Nikki White: Polar Extremes” resolves the cliffhanger ending from “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble” and sends Nikki off on a new adventure, which primarily is set in Antarctica and South Africa.
I’ll be teasing blurbs and excerpts later on, but I just wanted to update my fans and followers that the book is coming along well.
At 46,400 words or so, it’s much shorter than “Nikki Blue” and slightly shorter than “Streaks of Blue.” There are four parts and 50 chapters, but the story moves along at a crisp pace. Though the first chapter begins on New Year’s Day, 2020, the book’s full time span is between August 2019 and September 2022, so there are some leaps.
“Nikki White” is less dark than the first two books and even provides one of the worst characters in the series a chance to change and grow. The third book circles back well with “Streaks of Blue” and provides some closure to the series, but it also leaves the door open for a fourth book. If I do write that book, it will be called “Nikki Red,” but I plan to do something different with my next project before resuming this series. I think three books are enough on these characters for now, and I’d like to experiment with a different type of story or genre next time around.
I’ll provide a full chapter listing later, but for now here are some of my favorites for teasers: Dyer Situation, Root Beer Lolly, Men’s Room Fight Club, Filling the Crevasse, 10-Below Barbershop, Siberia on Steroids, Summer Wind, Race for the Hollywood Showers, $19 Million Burnt Rug, Mars Isn’t Enough?, South by South Pole, The 300 Club, Sugar Snow, Here Comes the Sun and Red Confetti.
And last but not least, the best new character in the series:
Sam “Snowbow” Archambeau, a snowcat driver, handyman and bartender who just can’t get enough of wintering over at South Pole Station.
What a month of April for “Freeway and the Vin Numbers”! According to Smashwords, it got dozens of Apple downloads in the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia!
Six years after I wrote it and six months after I released it worldwide, it’s great to see Freeway, Vin, Friday and the rest of the band kicking ass in all of these countries!
One of my favorite things about Goodreads is when a reader takes the time to post real-time reactions to what’s going on in one of my books as they’re making their way through it.
Here’s a fun example from Katie Sholty, who whipped through “Nikki Blue” earlier this month. Her full review follows her in-progress comments:
03/14 7.0% “This reads like Jasper Fforde.”
03/16 21.0% “RUNAWAY FROM THE CULT THAT’S NOT A CULT BUT IS A CULT. RUNAWAY. NOW. NO CHECK IS WORTH THE CREEP FACTOR.”
03/17 37.0% “Virgil reminds me of televangelist that will swindle you out of everything.”
03/17 50.0% “Nikki has blessedly engaged her journalistic brains … don’t put David in his place… if only briefly.”
03/17 57.0% “Chili’s is now serving awkward reunions.”
03/18 64.0% “I have this sick feeling that it’s going to turn into Waco.”
03/20 87.0% “Madmen and fires go together like peanut butter and jelly.”
03/21 95.0% “WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Maybe if I say it five more times, Bill won’t do the thing.”
03/21 97.0% “Nikki: Just let me cry.” I feel like my heart has just been put in a blender and thrown out into a compost pile.
I give Nikki Blue a solid 3.5/5.
I normally do not start a series in the middle, but the premise of a young journalist confronting a race to Mars among cultists had me intrigued. I figured I could fill in the missing pieces of the previous book. However, I didn’t need to because Jack Chaucer does a wonderful job of leaving bread crumbs about Nikki’s past throughout the first portion of the book. There’s enough information to build a picture of Nikki thwarting a school shooting plot. These bits of information were a godsend and not redundant play by play summary.
I freely admit to making mistakes in my early 20’s, which is why I gave Nikki some slack. But I still wanted to throttle her for much of the first part of the book. There are mistakes, and then there are the mistakes that will and can ruin you. Get rich quick schemes fall into the latter. Her reasoning to leave her job after only a few days made me set the book down. I couldn’t justify her actions in my head other than The Bridge offered that nice bonus with little work entailed, which sadly speaks to America’s work ethic.
The POV switch in the second half of the book is a bit jarring. I was cozily nestled into Nikki’s POV, and switch took me a bit get into. Roger’s perspective almost felt needless until the end. In a way, it did help show how the Bridge was changing Nikki, but I also found myself speed reading through his chapters. Steve, Nikki’s short lived coworker, came at Nikki with hard hitting questions. I wish he would have kept coming at her so that she could regain her journalistic senses sooner. Steve, even though he had that crush on her, was a voice of reason… a much needed and welcomed voice.
One of my favorite moments happened towards the end between Nikki and Roger. “This is a burning building for me right now… just so you know.” Even through all their years of dysfunction and non-communication, Nikki still finds a way to reach out and ask him for help, and it is in a way that only Roger could interpret. No matter how old you are, you still need your dad sometimes. It was a much needed respite in a sea of chaos.
Random Questions I Have After Reading:
Adam. How did he get a security job after being in prison for a conspiracy to be involved in a school shooting? Security companies tend to frown upon that.
Can we send Nikki’s mom to Mars by herself? The woman needs a Xanax.
Why would you go to Mars when Doctor Who clearly taught us to avoid it all costs?
All in all, Nikki Blue is an intriguing read. It’s fast paced, and makes you see behind that curtain in how religious/political organizations run, and it’ll make you sick and a little crazy.