“Source of Trouble” book blurb, Take 1

sourceoftroubleIt’s never easy condensing a novel into a blurb; 76,000-plus words into a hundred or so. Here’s my first draft attempt for “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble,” the sequel to “Streaks of Blue.”

Nicole Janicek has survived being shot, but can she overcome the blues of her early 20s?
Nearly four years after foiling a shooting plot at her high school, Nikki begins a short-lived internship as a reporter; gets hired as a flak by an organization whose leadership consists of people labeled troublemakers by the Church of Scientology; confronts the source of her nightmares, Thomas Lee Harvey; puts her long-term relationship with Derek Schobell to the test; learns a disturbing secret from her friend, Adam Upton; falls for an older man and alienates her mother; tries to rebuild a broken relationship with her serial-cheating father; and considers a high-risk offer to leave the planet altogether.
Can this former teenage hero and trailblazer rescue herself from the consequences of her own decisions? Or does every path in front of her lead to trouble?

Prologue reveal for “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”

sourceoftroubleI’ve completed the second draft for “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble” and continue to revise parts of it before moving on to copy editing and polishing. The sequel to “Streaks of Blue” is set in 2018-19; has scenes in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida and South Africa; and is currently around 76,000 words. I have a short prologue, which I’ve teased below, and 48 chapters, which I’ve listed below the prologue with the 5 POV characters and chapter titles. I’m still shooting to have the ARC out on NetGalley late this year and publish it next spring in both e-book and paperback formats.


Nikki Janicek

Life sucks sometimes. It can start at an early age and even young children can detect the varying degrees of suck. They don’t let the rigid restraints of their new language stop them from reacting with brutal honesty either.

I still think about the boy in the cereal aisle of the supermarket. He must’ve been 3 or 4. His mom had tried to steer him away from a chocolate marshmallow cereal and sell him on two healthier ones. She held them up, one in each hand, as he stared her down while standing in the back of the shopping cart.

“That’s bad,” he tapped one box.

“And that’s worser!” he slapped the other, knocking it out of her hand and onto the floor.

It was raw. It was awesome. Rawesome.

My bad was getting shot by Thomas Lee Harvey on the night of September 14, 2014, outside our New Hampshire high school.

Not being rawesome and allowing myself to be coerced (more like bribed) into talking to him nearly four years later, even via Skype from two states away, was worser.

There are cereal killers, and then there are serial killers. From my perspective, Thomas was worser. He’d wanted to kill everybody in our school and he ended up killing nobody … thanks to me.

I reached out to Adam Upton — his utterly depressed friend and accomplice at the time — and derailed their massive shooting plot on the night before it was supposed to happen. Thomas shot Adam in the ass and me in the side, but we both lived.

Adam told the police everything, testified against Thomas, served less than a year in jail and eventually got hired as an unarmed mall cop near where we grew up. I emerged as a hero for saving countless lives and even appeared on “AC 360.” And Thomas, who fled after shooting us and nearly made it to Vermont before police apprehended him, got locked up — along with all of his unquenched bloodlust — in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men until 2039.

He still had 21 years to go. I bet he didn’t expect to spend any of that time staring back at me, the person he once called Dead Girl Walking.

And yet there we were, face to face in cyberspace … thanks to The Bridge.

Scientology is bad.

The Bridge is …

PART 1: All Nikki Janicek’s Point of View
CHAPTER 1: Enterprise Story
CHAPTER 2: Weirdos Make the World Go Round
CHAPTER 3: Hot Tip
CHAPTER 4: Silver Sands
CHAPTER 5: Busted in Bridgeport
CHAPTER 6: 25 Grand
CHAPTER 7: Money Trail
CHAPTER 8: Coffee in the Lobby
CHAPTER 9: The Other Kind of Auditing
CHAPTER 10: Rainbows and Unicorns
CHAPTER 11: Your Enemy’s Enemy
CHAPTER 12: World Cup Breakup

CHAPTER 13, Adam Upton’s POV: Lion and Truth
CHAPTER 14, Roger Janicek’s POV: Captain Rookie
CHAPTER 15, William Osborne’s POV: Howl at the Moon
CHAPTER 16, Steve Pearson’s POV: Nikki Blue
CHAPTER 17, Nikki: Earth Wing
CHAPTER 18, Nikki: Mars Wing
CHAPTER 19, Nikki: I Crashed My Car into The Bridge … I Love It!
CHAPTER 20, William: Cruise Missiles
CHAPTER 21, Nikki: Adam Bomb
CHAPTER 22, William: Nikki Beach
CHAPTER 23, Nikki: Loveless Fascination

CHAPTER 24, Adam: Channel 77
CHAPTER 25, Nikki: Cape Town or Crash
CHAPTER 26, Nikki: A World Without Guns
CHAPTER 27, Nikki: Boundaries
CHAPTER 28, Adam: Bury the Truth
CHAPTER 29, William: Premature Wisdom
CHAPTER 30, Adam: Go to Jail, Collect $20K
CHAPTER 31, William: Jarring Threat
CHAPTER 32, Roger: The Graduate
CHAPTER 33, Nikki: Nikki Sapphire
CHAPTER 34, Steve: Trojan Horse
CHAPTER 35, Nikki: So Human, So Alien

CHAPTER 36, Steve: The Interview
CHAPTER 37, Nikki: Dead-end Street
CHAPTER 38, Adam: Book Brawl
CHAPTER 39, Nikki: Scared
CHAPTER 40, Adam: In Stitches
CHAPTER 41, William: Little Candle of Hate
CHAPTER 42, Nikki: Tentacles
CHAPTER 43, William: Peephole
CHAPTER 44, Adam: Trap
CHAPTER 45, Nikki: Felicia
CHAPTER 46, Roger: Roy Roger
CHAPTER 47, Nikki: No Room to Heal
CHAPTER 48, Nikki: Fireman’s Carry

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,
Jack Chaucer

Happy 2015!

StreaksOfBlue_3DSomeone just bought a “Streaks of Blue” paperback via Amazon Great Britain. Royalty: 1.31 pounds. The reach of this thing is priceless. Meanwhile, an online library in New York added two digital copies via Overdrive thanks to the power of Smashwords. Looks like we’ll have a third year of donations to the Newtown Memorial Fund. Latest total: $186.91.

Two years ago today …

13_FEA_111213BF03 Another reminder to hug the women and children in our lives a little tighter. RIP Sandy Hook 26. “Streaks of Blue” readers have now donated $183.96 to the Newtown Memorial Fund (link below). Great story by my colleague Paul Singley today about Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung’s daughter. http://rep-am.com/news/local/849388.txt


25 chapters deep into “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”; third book likely will be “Nikki Roulette: Red or Black?”

sourceoftroubleI’ve written 25 chapters so far for the sequel to “Streaks of Blue.” Progress has been slow but steady, with more than 54,000 words already written and a likely target of 70,000-75,000 for this book, considerably longer than the first one. The arc for the second book will extend into a third book, tentatively titled, “Nikki Roulette: Red or Black?” There is also a chance this series will go beyond three books.
My goal for “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble” is to publish it in the spring of 2016, though I may have ARCs of it ready for NetGalley before that.
Here is a chapter title listing so far:
1. Rainbows and Unicorns, Part 1
2. Enterprise Story
3. Weirdos Make the World Go Round
4. Hot Tip
5. Silver Sands
6. Busted in Bridgeport
7. 25 Grand
8. Money Trail
9. Coffee in the Lobby
10. The Other Kind of Auditing
11. Rainbows and Unicorns, Part 2
12. Your Enemy’s Enemy
13. As Long As We’re Both Being Honest
14. Climbing the Lion
15. Captain Rookie
16. Howl at the Moon
17. Nikki Blue
18. Earth Wing
19. Mars Wing
20. “I Crashed My Car Into The Bridge … I Love It”
21. Cruise Missiles
22. Adam Bomb
23. Nikki Beach
24. Loveless Fascination
25. Channel 77

20 chapters deep on “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble,” the sequel to “Streaks of Blue”

sourceoftroubleI’ve written 20 chapters so far and I think there will be at least 40 this time around, so it will be longer than “Streaks of Blue.” There are multiple points of view, though Nicole gets the first 12 chapters all to herself in Part 1. Part 2 has featured four different male characters’ points of view: Adam Upton, Roger Janicek (Nicole’s dad) and two new characters, William Osborne and Steve Pearson. Then it switches back to Nikki for 18 through 20.
It’s been interesting to fill in some of the blanks from the first book while at the same time sending Nikki on a whole new story arc. I still have many miles to go on it, but my goal at this point is to publish it by spring 2016.
Here is a chapter title listing so far:
1. Rainbows and Unicorns, Part 1
2. Enterprise Story
3. Weirdos Make the World Go Round
4. Hot Tip
5. Silver Sands
6. Busted in Bridgeport
7. 25 Grand
8. Money Trail
9. Coffee in the Lobby
10. The Other Kind of Auditing
11. Rainbows and Unicorns, Part 2
12. Your Enemy’s Enemy
13. As Long As We’re Both Being Honest
14. Climbing the Lion
15. Captain Rookie
16. Howl at the Moon
17. Nikki Blue
18. Earth Wing
19. Mars Wing
20. “I Crashed My Car Into The Bridge … I Love It”

In the early stages of a possible sequel to “Streaks of Blue”

sourceoftroubleI’ve begun crafting the first few chapters of a possible sequel to “Streaks of Blue.” So far this one is being told in the first person by Nicole Janicek, the MC of “Streaks of Blue.” It is set in 2018, nearly four years after she survived being shot by Thomas “Lee” Harvey. Nikki is 21 now and an aspiring journalist. She is just beginning her summer internship at a certain newspaper in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her very first assignment is to cover a seemingly routine church groundbreaking, but the group putting up the building is not exactly a church — more like one tentacle of a new, shadowy organization called The Bridge, whose membership includes some who were labeled Potential Trouble Sources by the late author/madman L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology. This one could get a little crazy. Speaking of crazy, the first chapter features an online conversation between Nikki and Thomas “Lee” Harvey, who is serving up to 25 years at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.

A couple of possible titles for this one include “Source of Trouble” and “Scar Trek.”

We’ll see where it takes us …

Pictured above is one of Damon Za’s alternate covers for “Streaks of Blue.” Who knows. It might work for “Source of Trouble.” I don’t think it would work for “Scar Trek.”