Book blurb for MARS COLONY AGATHA: NIKKI RED (NIKKI #4) by Jack Chaucer

Nicole Janicek already has stared down high school shooters, a cult of criminal ex-Scientologists and six months of frigid darkness at South Pole Station in her young life, but now she risks it all attempting to ride a rocket to Mars in 2022. After the Red One mission quickly aborts in the skies over the North Sea, Nikki gets a surprise phone call from Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. What follows is a euphoric, historic, tragic and heroic mission to establish Mars Colony A, dubbed by some in the media as “Mars Colony Agatha” when misfortune strikes. While doubters predict the dangerous mission will morph into “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, Nikki and her crew are determined to write their own story. Through it all, Nikki is surprised to learn just how strong her connection to those she loved on Earth remains despite the chasm of time and space.



Jan. 1, 2020 release for MARS COLONY AGATHA

At last, I have completed the story for MARS COLONY AGATHA: NIKKI RED. I’m flipping the title around for this final installment of the four-book series to emphasize Mars more from a marketing standpoint, though Nikki continues to be the MC as she has been for the entire series.

Now that the story is complete and there should be plenty of time for editing and polishing this summer, and the formatting/cover shortly after that, I’m moving up the anticipated release date to January 1, 2020. Why not kick off the next decade in style? This story is set from 2022-2026, just a few years ahead of what’s happening now, and Elon Musk and his Starship/Crew Dragon definitely have a major role to play in this book.

I’ve already posted the chapter titles for the first two parts of the book. Here they are for the third and final part:

CHAPTER 32: Distant Early Warning (a little shout-out to Rush!)
CHAPTER 33: Water and Wine
CHAPTER 34: Full Medical Disclosure
CHAPTER 35: Lifesaver
CHAPTER 36: Don’t Call Me Betty
CHAPTER 37: Sea Hag’s Secret
CHAPTER 38: Prescription Laughter
CHAPTER 39: The Perfect Sandstorm
CHAPTER 40: Fourth Rock from the Sun
CHAPTER 41: Captain Uranus
CHAPTER 42: Dearly Beloved
CHAPTER 43: Population Twenty-three
CHAPTER 44: Aggy
Total words: 50,406

Scary transition from Mars orbit to descent for Nikki and her crew …


June 19, 2023

“Initiate landing sequence,” Xander calmly instructed Jo, who reached to tap a button on her digital console.

“Landing sequence is a go,” the pilot declared, her voice strong and confident through the intercom in Nikki’s bubble helmet.

They were all suited up and strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule for the harrowing six-minute descent that could either establish humanity as a two-planet species or end in disaster.

Nikki and Sunny locked white gloves as they had for every life-or-death moment on the mission, and Nikki once again had to remind herself to breathe. She felt the thrust of the ship’s engines at her back and the level floor give way. The ship’s nose pitched downward, illuminating the previously dark windows with the blood-orange glow of Mars.

Nikki’s jaw dropped without exhale.

Starship accelerated its descent as programmed by the onboard computers, and Xander and Jo studied their digital screens closely to monitor their course toward Planum Australe near the southern polar cap.

“Maintaining current course,” Jo said.

“Accelerate descent to 7.5 kilometers per second,” Xander directed.

“That’s a go,” Jo replied, the engines roaring now and sending Starship into a virtual nose-down free fall toward the heavily cratered Martian surface.

Twenty seconds into that top-of-the-rollercoaster plunge, the ship’s internal lights and digital screens all flickered off and back on in a split-second.

“Electrical malfunction,” Jo reported, pointing to a flashing button on her console. “We’re on backup.”

Nikki and Sunny exchanged alarmed looks and gripped gloves even tighter.

“What the hell happened?” Nikki heard Eddy ask.

“Damage sensor flashing to the rear of the ship,” Xander announced, still amazingly calm.

“Heat shield issue?” Jo theorized.

“Too soon for that,” the commander replied. “How’s our course?”




“Then I’m guessing a plasma surge from micrometeorites,” Xander said.

“Dammit!” Jo shouted.

“Too small and too fast to detect … we might’ve been sandblasted with our ass up in the air.”

“Welcome to Mars, Earthlings,” Jo said with a gallows tone. “We just got hazed.”

20 chapters are now complete:

CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

CHAPTER 13: Black Aces
CHAPTER 14: Song in a Letter Box
CHAPTER 15: Hazed
CHAPTER 16: What Now Genius?
CHAPTER 17: 12-Story Horror
CHAPTER 18: No Further Communication
CHAPTER 19: Is Matt Damon Here?
CHAPTER 20: This is Mars

Words completed: 22,132

Nikki and the crew get interviewed in low Earth orbit before the burn to Mars …


“Are any of you scared to put Earth in your rear-view mirror and travel so far away?” “CBS This Morning” host Norah O’Donnell asked the astronauts aboard Crew Dragon.
“I am,” Nikki said, “but I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t, so you embrace that fear and blast right past it to a place no human has been.”
“I feel like a conquistador, myself,” Eddy boasted to laughs all around. Then he grabbed his larger friend. “Pluto Parker, here, is disappointed we’re stopping at Mars and not going to his home planet … ice-ball dwarf, whatever it is.”

The 12 chapters of Part 1 are now complete:

CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

Words completed:

Work begins on Nikki Red: Mars Colony Agatha

Jack Chaucer wants to write a NIKKI RED to go along with the previously published NIKKI WHITE (2017) and NIKKI BLUE (2015), as well as the prequel STREAKS OF BLUE (2013), so he has begun toiling on the opening scenes from the fourth book. It will pick up right where NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES left off, in the skies over the North Sea on Sept. 8, 2022.

Let’s just say things won’t be going as Nikki had expected, per usual.

The goal is to have this one published by July 4, 2020 — so very Red, White and Blue — well before humans actually set foot on Mars.

So far, there is a two-part PROLOGUE featuring Nikki and Thomas in one part, and South Pole legend Sam “Snowbow” Archambeau in the second part.

There’s also CHAPTER 1: AN INTERNATIONAL CHORUS and CHAPTER 2: EPIC DECISION, starring Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.

The first line of Chapter 1 will be a short one … “Scheisse!”

That’s the German word for “shit.”

Stay tuned …

A fun day at The Big E

Jack Chaucer sold and signed 26 paperbacks for a bunch of awesome people at The Big E in West Springfield, Mass., on Monday. It’s a great event with a good crowd in the Connecticut Building. Readers of all ages were looking for new books and my pal Jim Fuller made the drive up from CT to buy the whole Nikki trilogy. I actually sold out of the Nikki trilogy plus eight additional books from my other three titles. Thanks to fellow author Karin LeFranc, a veteran of the CAPA booth, for her helpful tips.