Dress rehearsal for my Jack Chaucer author/space geek appearance at Book Fiend Readers Festival at Norwich Arts Center tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I’m on a really cool sci-fi panel at 11:15 and I’m reading from my new novel MARS COLONY AGATHA at 2:15. I’ll be selling/signing 6 of my paperback titles! Great deals! People in costumes! Come join the party and after party! (Photo credit: My son Lars, 8)
T-minus 3-2-1 … BOOK LAUNCH LIFTOFF TODAY! On the heels of the first two-women spacewalk, Nikki Janicek and her crew blast off for Mars today in Elon Musk’s Starship in my new novel, MARS COLONY AGATHA: NIKKI RED!
CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME REVIEWS FOR MARS COLONY AGATHA: NIKKI RED by Jack Chaucer, which is now available on Amazon paperback ($13.99), Kindle ($2.99) and other major online retailers. That purchase link is at the bottom of this post:
“A futuristic, but a very realistic journey that I think one nowadays can identify with having just heard about the spacewalks that took place at the space station. This novel is very well written and fast paced, taking the reader on an exceptionally exciting journey outside this world and to new beginnings. Highly recommended!”
— 5-star review by Stephanie Haddad on Amazon and Goodreads
“The first half made me cry and the second half made me smile like a fool. The experience of being on Mars was different this time (and I felt it realer than Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” lol). I loved the crew and their interactions. I liked the simple but powerful plot and all of the characters.”
— 4-star review by Lucy Rojas of Venezuela on Goodreads
“What a comfortable, believable, satisfying read this book was. Intelligent science fiction, yet not confusing or overwhelming, simply enjoyable. May be read as a standalone easily, but I would recommend reading the previous novels for maximum enjoyment. I know I’m going to. The author skillfully pulls you on deck with the crew. The other characters in the story are lively, Interesting and easy to care about. I hope Mr. Chaucer writes more in this series because he’s so good with this universe. In this book, the story flowed and didn’t feel forced. His characters were alive and unique; he allowed them simply to be, naturally, not forcing them to fit in a mold. I will be reading anything that has Jack Chaucer’s name on it from now on.”
— 5-star review by Terry Price of Claremore, Oklahoma, on Amazon and Goodreads
“Nikki is a fierce, feminist role model, who in previous books saved her high school classmates from a school shooting and survived nearly freezing to death in Antarctica. Mr. Chaucer writes a very well researched space travel book with realistic dialogue. It is so well written that at times it is hard to remember that it is a work of fiction.”
— 4-star review by Susan Alpert of Vermont on Amazon and Goodreads
“I adored the story! Mars Colony Agatha, although belonging to a series, can be read alone and easily. The story started with a screw-up that could have gone really bad, but instead gave Nikki an adventure of a lifetime. I loved the characters and going to Mars with them, “meeting” Elon Musk (I wish) and his connection to the team, and supporting the group in wanting to strike the stupid media with their “And then there were none.” It was a enjoyable read, with comic relief in the right measure, and while I don’t read much sci-fi spacey novels, I loved this one.”
— 5-star review by Lia Oliveira of Mauritius, on Goodreads and NetGalley
“I had such a hard time gathering my thoughts about this final installment of this series because I knew it was the final book. I have been a huge, huge fan of this series since the first book and each one has gotten better and better. I believe I have stated before that I had thought this series was going in one direction after the first one and the storyline of a school shooting scenario, but it turned into so, so much more. It has been such a roller coaster watching Nikki overcome all that she has been through, it has been a highly emotional journey. Each book, I went from tears to laughing to fear to joy. From the school shooting plot to The Bridge fiasco, her training (which was brutal) to her failed takeoff to now her wildest dream coming true. All the characters along the way have added to her journey and each one was so pivotal in who she has become. While some were left back in earlier books, new ones only added to her journey. In this final book, Nikki is one takeoff away from her dream — landing on Mars. However, her takeoff does not go as planned and she finds herself back on Earth. Until she gets the most unbelievable phone call from, THE Elon Musk. Musk wants her to join his crew in putting her on Mars. Naturally, Nikki wastes no time in accepting and she is on her way. Her crew and her bond immediately and seamlessly and I loved watching them all turn into a family. Their trip from preparation to takeoff to landing and the heartache that follows had me at the edge of my seat. I needed Nikki to prevail. I needed to see her her dream come to fruition. I was not ready for yet another setback or disappointment!! So much happens from takeoff to the end of the book and all I will say is my tears flowed freely and frequently. I smiled until my face hurt and my heart was happy for Nikki. Getting to Mars was her dream of dreams, and getting there she endured more then one person can take, but she stood her ground and pushed on with her head held high. She matured in so many ways and became someone she could be proud of. Her life had purpose and she left no stone unturned. She made some enemies along the way and turned friends into family (including some enemies). She may have left behind Earth but found a whole new world on Mars. It was entrancing to see how life on Mars progressed over time and even more interesting seeing characters from past books popping back up … on Mars!!! The drama!!! I could not have been more attached to this series and I am quite fond of the author. I thank you Jack for this amazing series and taking me along on Nikki’s journey. It was an “out of this world” experience!!! LOL. … I am so very sad to see this amazing story end, but I will say that it couldn’t have ended any better then it did! Ciao Nikki!!!”
— 5-star review by Christine Cheff of Totowa, New Jersey, on Amazon and Goodreads
“It’s been a wonderful ride watching Nikki overcome all that she has been through and keep on moving forward. Each book has had me in tears, laughing until my ribs hurt, truly fearful for the characters whom I had gotten attached to. I admit I sobbed as I read parts of this book. I got attached to the characters, and there were tears of sadness and joy. I could not have been more attached to a series or characters and I am now a lifelong fan of the author. I thank Jack Chaucer for this amazing series and taking me along on Nikki’s journey. I thank him for giving me the motivation to chase my own dreams from step one to my final takeoff. It was a journey I will forever love. I am sad to see this amazing story end, but I will say that it couldn’t have ended any better then it did. I don’t think anyone could have done it better.”
— 5-star review by Christina Jackson of Shawneetown, Illinois, on Goodreads
“I thought this was a really good adventure book. The storyline was interesting and not too predictable, and the base personalities of the characters were easy to relate to. Of course, most of us can’t claim to have survived a failed attempt to Mars, but Nikki had a positive mindset and didn’t let this stop her from achieving her biggest dream. Overall, I recommend this book, even as a stand-alone!”
— 4-star review by Ellie Diggins of Normal, Illinois, on Goodreads and NetGalley
“Mars Colony Agatha is a fascinating story about six astronauts who leave to Earth to colonize Mars, knowing they will likely never return. I would love to be on a team like this and be one of the first people on a distant planet. Some great moments in this story force you to keep reading, and it makes you think about what life would be like. Nicole and Sunny are especially strong characters that brought a lot of life into the story. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in stories about colonizing new planets and the dangers of space travel.”
— 4-star review by Ed Malaker of Carbondale, Pennsylania, on Amazon and Goodreads
“Yet another amazing book by Jack!! I’m really not a big sci-fi buff, but Jack really stole me with the very first book of the series and has kept me wanting more with every book that he published in this series. I look forward to reading more of his work and learning more about his genius brain. #teamnikki”
— 5-star review by Natalie Limardo Wilburn of Pocahontas, Arizona, on Amazon and Goodreads
“Oh this book was a fun read. I’ve grown to really enjoy sci-fi and this book did not disappoint. I loved the character Nikki and I thought the beginning was so touching. I felt really involved with the characters in this book and I loved how the author really brought me into that space setting. The character Nikki is so awesome and such a strong character! Some great humor is throughout the book and I can tell the author knew his stuff about the technicalities of what these characters were doing out in space. Great book!”
— 5-star review by Nicole Pyles of Portland, Oregon, on Amazon and Goodreads
“In Mars Colony Agatha: Nikki Red, Jack Chaucer gives the reader a fun, digestible, entertaining story of space exploration and adventure. He’s done his research, and manages to successfully walk the line between technical descriptions of the material and practices used on an interplanetary voyage and making those descriptions understandable. His characters are relatable and the plot engaging enough to keep a reader entertained even if they haven’t kept up with the adventures of Nikki Janicek. I hadn’t read any of his previous novels and was able to follow along just fine. It’s an imaginative take on colonizing Mars … enjoyable from start to finish.”
— 3-star review by Daniel Edwards of Brooklyn, New York, on Amazon and Goodreads
“An excellent read that had me engrossed from the outset. I enjoy science fiction, but what I really appreciated about this novel was that I was never overwhelmed with scientific jargon, concepts and theories that usually go over my head – often a frustration I have with sci-fi. It has a great pace and the dialogue is great. You quickly become invested in the characters and are willing them on to success. Along the way, the story includes enough flashbacks to add a little darkness and extra tension as you uncover the protagonist’s backstory. I thoroughly recommend this book.”
— 5-star review by Mrs. RJ of Kidlington, United Kingdom, on Amazon UK and Goodreads
“With recent news stories about space colonization, authors have filled the shelves with exciting adventures and new civilizations. Jack Chaucer’s series on the colonization of Mars is no exception. His story, however, gives a fresh new look at characters. The novel is exciting enough to grab attention of young adults while providing sound plots and mystery that any age will enjoy.”
— 4-star review by Mark Smith of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Amazon and Goodreads
Here’s the Amazon paperback/Kindle link to MARS COLONY AGATHA: NIKKI RED!!
You’re all invited to my book signing tomorrow (4-23) at 2 p.m. at Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Connecticut. The NikkiJtrilogy has received scores of positive reviews from readers, teachers and librarians across the USA, Canada, England, Nigeria, Brazil, Australia, Sweden, Sudan, Philippines, India and the Republic of Georgia. Here are some of them …
“Streaks of Blue does something that no other book has tried — it asks, “if just one person stepped in to love someone capable of murder, would that love be enough to stop them from hurting others?” Definitely a really worthwhile one to read.”
— Rebecca McNutt, of Nova Scotia, Canada, on “Streaks of Blue”
“I find Nikki very inspiring. … She reminds me so much of Hazel from ‘The Fault In Our Stars.’ I look up to both of them.”
— Samantha Arnold, of Khartoum, Sudan, on “Streaks of Blue”
“Such a touching and monumental story.”
— Georgina Robinson, of Hinckley, England, on “Streaks of Blue”
“Jack Chaucer took a tough subject, school shootings, and wrote a very poignant book.”
— Ruth Silver, USA, on “Streaks of Blue”
“I was super skeptical of this novel, but it was absolutely amazing, with a great message about reaching out and making a difference.”
— Shannon Mersand, a librarian at Yorktown High School in Yorktown, N.Y., on “Streaks of Blue”
“I wasn’t sure I was ready to read a book that references Sandy Hook yet, but he pulled it off. Heart-wrenching and amazing!”
— Amy Vandagriff, English resource specialist at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, California, on “Streaks of Blue”
“This book is wonderfully written. It is a masterpiece. I think it should on every English teacher’s to-read list. It helps not only to show how terrible things can be when people make poor decisions, but also shows the consequences of those actions.”
— Annie Marie, of Lake Jackson, Texas, on “Streaks of Blue”
“I am in love with this book. I wanted to keep on reading more after the story ended, and rarely do books capture me in such a way. The issues the book deals with are current, critical and must be talked about. Streaks of Blue is a must read for any teenager, even every adult.”
— Brittany of Cary, Illinois, on “Streaks of Blue”
“This book was not that long, but I would probably remember it for the rest of my life.”
— Sunny, of Asquith, Canada, on “Streaks of Blue”
“The story pulls at the heart with emotions, startles the heart with suspense, and washes away burden and brings out hope for our future.”
— Lynndell Watson, of Delta, Utah, on “Streaks of Blue”
“Nikki’s words made me re-think my school life and how we are rejecting our peers. And it made me call and write to all of my classmates and ask them if they wanted to talk and hang out.”
— Katie Topchishvili, of the Republic of Georgia, on “Streaks of Blue”
“I thought this book was totally awesome! Very well-written, beloved characters. It is very deep and emotional. (Chaucer) has certainly managed to touch me.”
— Jennifer Ahlin, of Uppsala, Sweden, on “Streaks of Blue”
“I enjoyed this book. In the end, I cried a little. So it touched me, moved me.”
— Paula Ribeiro, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on “Streaks of Blue”
“This book is about action, love, loss, mystery, suspense and so much more.”
— Natalie Lizardo Wilburn, of Pocahontas, Arizona, on “Nikki Blue”
“This book definitely blew away my expectations. … Another great read by Jack.”
— Natalie Lizardo Wilburn, Pocahontas, Arizona, on “Nikki White”
“I want to say that I think this author has magic, sorcery, mind-controlling powers. Every damn book in this series gets me so entranced with the storyline, a bomb could go off next to me and I wouldn’t flinch. … I want to know how this author thinks of the things that happen in this book. Some are so complex and make some characters downright heinous, it’s purely brilliant. … Nikki is my freaking hero. Total bad ass chick. … This is one of my top 10 all-time favorite series.”
— Christine Sewatsky Cheff, of Totowa, New Jersey, on “Nikki White” and the whole series
“Man, I’m angry with myself because I feel like I should have anticipated the ending to this book, but I didn’t, so cheers to Mr. Chaucer on that one. I love the character transformations in this one.”
— Kailyn Klausen, of Santa Barbara, California, on “Nikki White”
“The Bridge is a masterful puppeteer sliding Nikki into a complexity of hard choices played out against the harsh and beautiful landscape of Antarctica. Not only must she fight the elements that threaten to make the most sane mind lose touch with reality, but The Bridge forces her life to collide with Thomas in such a way that kept me riveted.”
— Katie Sholty, USA, on “Nikki White”
“I feel honored to review the entire series and now I can say this one is my favorite. The book was full of twists and turns, which makes it more exciting to read. There were also heart-stopping events on the first and last part of this book, it literally made me curse.”
— Camelle Rogando, of Pasay, City, Philippines, on “Nikki White”
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better setting (Antarctica) or ending.”
— Nandini Bharadwaj, of Bangalore, India, on “Nikki White”
“It is without a doubt a harrowing and transformative series of events for the majority of the characters we’ve come to know. … I really enjoyed Nikki’s character progression in this book. Also, wow, I did not see that ending coming, Mr. Chaucer. Kudos to you for surprising me with it!”
— Catherine, of Poulsbo, Washington, on “Nikki White”
“It was fabulous. Another great work from Chaucer. This series is always in my top 10.”
— Christina Jackson, of Shawneetown, Illinois, on “Nikki White” and the series
“Another incredible journey from Chaucer! This novel, the third in the Nikki series, is a fist in the face to the corrupt corporation known as ‘The Bridge’, it is the book all Nikki Blue fans have been waiting for! … A perfect third installation to this series, a quick, fast-paced read that leaves you thinking long after you have read the final page.”
— Julie Oakley, of Hobart, Australia, on “Nikki White”
Here’s a teaser to the third installment in the trilogy, NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES, which is out today, March 24, 2017, the very day the sun sets for six months of darkness at South Pole Station, the setting for much of this story.
But first, Nikki must survive a swim with sharks near Dyer Island, South Africa … here is Chapter 1, in its entirety. Enjoy …
point of view
January 1, 2020
Off the coast
of South Africa,
near Dyer Island
The sea gulls taunted me with their freedom.
They had it and I didn’t. And they could fly anywhere, but no, they had to show off, shrieking at me as they cruised alongside the boat.
After months of indoor isolation and captivity, I suppose I should’ve been rejoicing at this “reward” of fresh, saltwater air; a new start and new training for the new year. But the sun that I hadn’t seen or felt in so long was a no-show, masked by thick, dark-gray clouds; the air was stained with the stench of fish guts, and my own guts were roiling from sea sickness.
To add insult to indignity, a sea hag kept heckling me from the rear of the boat in German, Dutch or whatever the hell it was.
My only consolation was Roy, the biggest and blackest of my abductors, looked even more nauseous than I did. He sat on the bench a few feet to my left and held his breakfast back with a massive hand over his mouth.
That’s when the mystery captain, driving the boat behind tinted glass on the upper deck, suddenly cut the engine, leaving us to pitch and roll in lazy, 6- to 8-foot swells. The torturous motion immediately forced me to get up and stagger to the rail. I might have fought it back, but the sound of Roy hurling over the opposite rail was too much. Out it came, pouring into the sea below.
Happy Effing New Year.
And not one drink the night before to make it remotely worth it.
Then the short, stocky sea hag approached me with a big gray scooper in her hand and a prankster smile on her weather-beaten face.
“To settle the stomach, ja,” she attempted in gruff English.
She showed me the fish head and cackled. I seized up and wretched the rest of my innards overboard. Before I could regroup enough to curse her out, she was already back at the stern stirring her revolting cauldron of dead fish.
I just flipped her off with zero satisfaction, turned around and headed for the bow. The island was in front of us, its hilly outline barely visible in the haze. Yes, it was summer here, on the underside of the world. Little did I know at the time how far under I would go.
Could I jump off and swim fast enough to escape a speed boat? Definitely not. Even if I just swam normally without fear of being caught, would I reach the island before hypothermia set in? Not likely. They had warned me the water was cold, even in the summer, due to the Antarctic currents. And all they had given me to wear was a skimpy, two-piece turquoise bikini. There were no wetsuits in sight.
Was there anyone even on that island who could help me? And if my father couldn’t help me escape from The Bridge, who could?
Tears stung my eyes just as I instinctively felt someone else’s eyes on me. I turned to look up at the second deck and there he was: Dr. Peter van Wooten, smiling down at me. The rage took a second to fully engulf me, but then came his predictable wink, setting me off like a bomb.
“You!!! Where’s my father?! What did you do with Bill?! Where’s Adam and Max?! Why are you driving me around on this boat?!”
But he just kept smiling … and the next thing I felt was a hard shove from behind, and nothing hard beneath my bare feet.
The sea hag had bull-rushed me overboard, her laughs suddenly silenced when I belly-flopped into the ocean. I got my mouth above water and screamed from the pain, not from my collarbone — that had fully healed since Hurricane Felicia — but because that’s how frigid the water felt.
As I forced my shocked limbs to swim back toward the bow, the engine kicked on and the boat whipped around. It began moving away from me, so now I was chasing the stern. Peter had climbed down the rear ladder and joined the hag, both clearly amused by my predicament.
With no wetsuit, I knew I wouldn’t last long in this water before hypothermia set in. The island was too far away. I had to catch the boat, no matter how much it killed me to swim toward these assholes.
My lungs and body ached as I churned after the boat as fast as I could. Again the sea gulls taunted me, trailing the boat with ease and hovering around a big blue barrel next to the hag. That’s when she began reaching into the cauldron with her scooper and dumping the fish heads/guts into the water in front of me.
I slowed down for a second, repelled by the hideous smell, the gruesome chunks all around me and the terrible thoughts knifing through my brain.
“Fucking shark week!” I shouted, tredding the icy water and shooting Peter evil-yet-futile looks as the sea tossed me up and down.
He had grabbed a megaphone and directed it toward me, some 20 feet behind the slow-moving boat.
“Maybe now you’ll listen to my mother,” he said with a laugh, while wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “She can still kick some ass.”
She smiled, nodded and poured more shark bait into the sea.
“Nothing like starting the new decade off with a nice, brisk swim, eh Nikki?” Peter ribbed me into his megaphone. “But I’d advise you to pick up your pace and get back on deck as soon as possible.”
I swore at him through gulps of water, gagging and crashing through the waves as I resumed my ragged and desperate pursuit of the boat.
Then I heard the hag cry out. “Shark!!!”
She didn’t need a megaphone. I heard her well enough for the paralyzing chill to rip through me. And I’m sure she was only too happy to shriek that word in my language.
My response was to scream like a banshee until I realized maybe I better not draw any more attention to myself beyond my flailing and splashing.
Then my drenched eyes locked on the massive gray fin and I froze in the water, my teeth chattering as a wave washed over me.
The fin disappeared just as quickly, swerving around the front of the boat, so I surged forward again, but those foreign idiots kept driving the boat away from me.
“I’m really going to die. A great-white shark is going to have me for lunch,” I chattered to myself out loud, perhaps somehow trying to jinx the inevitable.
That’s when the boat stopped, still 20 or so feet away from me.
“Please … let me get back on!!” I shouted at Peter, who just eyed my predicament with morbid anticipation, like any fan of the movie, “Jaws.”
“Two sharks!!” the hag bellowed, pointing past me.
Now I would be a chew toy for two competing sharks, half of Nikki for each. I literally pissed into the sea and closed my eyes. I refused to even look back.
“Save her!” Peter suddenly yelled into his megaphone.
I faux-laughed, swallowed a rogue wave, choked and then wanted to scream, “Oh, now you fucks decide to save me, when it’s too fucking late!!”
But I never got the words out of my mouth for two reasons.
One, I saw what I thought was Fin No. 1 again, directly between me and the stern.
Two, a man in a hooded black wetsuit dove off the second deck and splashed into the water to the right of the boat.
He swam toward me and I rushed to meet him. He whipped around in front of me and shouted, “Put your arms around my neck!”
His voice sounded oddly familiar, but I didn’t get a good look at his face. He was young. And strong. I clung to his back through a wave and he swam us toward the boat.
“Thank you,” I yelled into his hooded ear as my eyes darted left and right to see where the next fin would pop up.
But my jaw dropped when he suddenly stopped in mid-stroke and jerked me off his back, still a good 8 feet from safety.
“What are you doing?!!” I screamed.
He grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes.
“No fucking way!” he shouted.
“B-but h-how?” was all I could stutter before I pushed away from his grasp and dove underneath the water. The cold didn’t even bother me anymore. I just dove and dove, ready to die — either by shark or lack of oxygen. I was done with this world.
However, the sight of a great-white shark under water, maybe 15 feet away, made me change my mind in a frozen heartbeat.
I shot back up to the surface and swam for the stern with whatever energy I had left.
“Save her or we’ll leave you both to die!” I heard Peter shout at Thomas “Lee” Harvey, his black hood bobbing in the water. The boat had moved slightly further away from us while I was under.
It was too late anyway. One of the sharks circled us both on his menu, mercifully choosing Thomas as the appetizer.
Yet Thomas refused to be lunch. When the shark’s head came up toward him at an angle, he reared back with his right arm and punched it hard near the eye. That caused the shark to swerve sharply away from us, enough so that I exploded toward the boat, thrashing violently until I reached the outstretched hand of our tormenter, Peter.
“That a girl!” he had the gall to say as he yanked me up with ease and placed my hypothermia-ruined body on the lower deck. At least I was still in one piece, I marveled to myself.
Peter tossed a warm blanket over my quasi-corpse, and then shouted toward the water, “Great job, Tom! There’s hope for you yet.”
“Fuck you!” Thomas shot back, refusing Peter’s attempt to assist him as he got back on board.
“Hey, shut the hell up and get yo ass back up here!” Roy shouted down from the top deck. “This ain’t some pussy prison.”
“No shit, I just punched out a shark.”
“A baby shark, really,” Peter pointed out, extending his arms as the boat dipped between waves. “Only about 3 meters long.”
Thomas shot him a homicidal stare, one I knew well. Peter just smiled, daring him to take a swing. Roy descended the ladder a few rungs and towered over both of them, but he glowered at Thomas.
“OK thug. Get back up there … or take your shot at a great black and see how that goes down,” Roy challenged him.
“And I wouldn’t call Roy a baby,” Peter quipped.
Thomas kept his mouth shut, started unzipping his wetsuit and dripped his way up the ladder following Roy. Thankfully, he never looked down at me, still a miserable heap on the deck.
Peter, on the other hand, flashed me his best anchor-man smile and, of course, a wink. I hissed and pulled the blanket over my head.
Thomas “Lee” Harvey — who should still be in prison on the other side of the world until 2039 for shooting me and Adam Upton because we derailed his plot to shoot up our New Hampshire high school — somehow had been reinserted into my real-life nightmare. He also had stared down a great-white shark and survived.
Looking at it another way, The Bridge had sprung my would-be killer out of jail and tricked him into rescuing me so they could apparently torture us both even more.
Perhaps succumbing as a chew toy for a “baby” shark would have been a more merciful fate after all.
Read the rest of the book on Kindle ($2.99) or in paperback ($13.99) at the Amazon link below. The book is also available at Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Conn., and all major ebook retailers. The first two books in the Nikki Janicek series, STREAKS OF BLUE and NIKKI BLUE: SOURCE OF TROUBLE, also are available at all of the same retailers.
Kailyn Kausen, an 18-year-old writing/literature student at University of California Santa Barbara, read STREAKS OF BLUE, NIKKI BLUE: SOURCE OF TROUBLE and NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES (which officially drops tomorrow!) right in a row. She posted this awesome 4-star review that sums up her journey through the series on Goodreads and Amazon yesterday …
“Man, I’m angry with myself because I feel like I should have anticipated the ending to this book, but I didn’t, so cheers to Mr. Chaucer on that one.
I love the character transformations in this one. I was questionable at the end of the second book because I didn’t like where Nikki’s character was going. She seemed a little selfish, hopeless, and stupid, but in this last book, her character really takes a turn for the better. She decides to do something about her predicament and be smart about it.
Thomas also had great character development in this one, shown especially when he decides to tell Nikki what The Bridge plans to do to her. I wanted it to be Adam the entire time (from literally book one), but when Thomas gave Nikki the note and said something about wanting to give her a baby the right way, I was sold. Thomas, buddy, you deserve it (with Nikki’s consent of course).
For a while I was confused with The Bridge because why the heck would they put so much time and money into these individuals who are giving them a hard time, but then I finally came to the conclusion that The Bridge is literally an organizational embodiment of a politician. Getting the name out there? Check. Doing something crazy to raise their status? Attempted. Using money and force if necessary to bend people to their will? Necessary in any politician’s campaign.
I mentioned in my review of the second book that I didn’t see how the books tied together other than with the characters and that I didn’t think that was necessarily a strong enough connection for the books to make sense in a series together. I think this last book might have changed my mind on that (although I still wish there was another dream premonition) because Nikki’s connection to Thomas was the driving force of The Bridge in this last book. They were so power hungry they had to prove they could make a relationship as negative as Thomas and Nikki’s turn around completely.
A negative I had with the first book was an overwhelming amount of description. Throughout the first book, there was a growth in the writing style where the amount of description decreased. Throughout the series, an even more dramatic transformation. Nikki White has a great amount of description in my opinion – just enough to lay the scene, but little enough that the pacing isn’t slowed.
I don’t give out five stars hardly ever, except to books that I’ll keep coming back to five or ten years from now. I likely won’t keep coming back to this series, so I can’t give it five stars, but a different me in a different universe might slap a five on this book with no hesitation.”
NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES IS OFFICIALLY RELEASED TOMORROW, MARCH 24th, as the sun really sets for six months of darkness at South Pole Station. Here’s the link to buy the Kindle and paperback editions. Kindle ($2.99) is available right now! Paperback ($13.99) out tomorrow!!
In Stephen King’s gift to writers, “On Writing,” he compared our job as author to that of an archaeologist. A novel begins with one idea. Maybe two. And then the excavating begins. Our job is to dig up and expose as much of that massive underground discovery as possible. How deep can we go? How much of the story can we unearth and deliver to the readers?
In the span of three books — “Streaks of Blue: How the Angels of Newtown Inspired One Girl to Save Her School,” “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble” and “Nikki White: Polar Extremes” — the precious handful of readers in the world who have experienced that entire journey so far have blown me away with their positive and emotional reactions.
I love that they couldn’t predict what was going to happen because this trilogy hasn’t followed some trite formula, and that they kept turning the pages until the final hellish and heavenly words of “Nikki White.” I love that this series surpassed their expectations, and made them cry, smile, laugh and swear at Nikki, Thomas, Adam and the “creepy Bridge people.” I love that one reader compared Nikki to Hazel from “The Fault in Our Stars” while another said “Nikki is my freaking hero … a total bad-ass chick.” I love that two readers included “Streaks of Blue” in their top 10 books of 2013 and two readers ranked this trilogy among their top 10 favorite series of all time.
I love that some of my favorite reviews for this series have been written by readers who live in Australia, Sweden, Sudan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Georgia, the Philippines and all across the USA. I love that Nikki has inspired some of my teen readers to climb mountains and reconnect with former classmates.
During the course of this series, Nikki journeyed from New Hampshire to South Africa and Antarctica, and in the end, she did what she set out to do — make a difference. We need those kinds of people in the world today more than ever.
Nikki not only saved the lives of innocent people, she also helped turn around the life of the troubled boy who shot her. She ultimately forgave him, and opened up his mind to what he could be — a man, a friend and a space traveler.
I never could have imagined all of this when I first began writing “Streaks of Blue” in January 2013 in reaction to the horror of Sandy Hook, not far at all from where I live.
Four years and three books later, I’m so proud of this series, and I’m extremely thankful for the awesome readers out there who pick up my books, get hooked into the story, trust my ability to unearth Nikki’s arc in full, and come away entertained, inspired and fulfilled.
My wish is for more readers to take a chance and jump on for the ride!
Bill gave me a fuck-you look and took another drink.
“I didn’t shoot her, for one,” he said with his smart-ass tone.
“Ok … I want to say that I think this author has magic, sorcery, mind controlling powers. Every damn book in this series gets me so entranced with the storyline, a bomb could go off next to me and I wouldnt flinch. I literally get in a zone and block life around me out … Hence why when I started this 3rd book, I was smart enough to set up snacks and drinks on my kitchen counter for my 6 year old and said … you should be good for a while and then went and settled in. Whew … what a ride, I was sweating at times reading this latest book.
Nikki, Nikki, Nikki….how in gods green earth does she get herself in things like this??? The Bridge? OMG … pure evilness … evilness that I kinda love. The twists and things that come out of left field left me speechless … and if you know me at all … that is feat by itself!
Nikki has found herself in some hairy situations but this … it literally takes the cake. The Bridge feels that since going to Mars, the team needs to know what life will be like on the planet … sooooooo … they are sent to a few places for training … extreme training. And boy oh boy are there some shocking faces that return to train alongside the team. Faces that are forced to work together to survive. The description of some of these places and the extreme surroundings (especially the cold places) actually had me freezing and reaching for a blanket and a hot cup of coffee … thats how descriptive it was. There are some rather emotional moments that had me tearing up … some down right rotten times that had me screaming at my Kindle for vengeance and some angsty moments that had me twirling my hair until it literally came out of my head.
I want to know how this author thinks of the things that happen in this book … some are so complex and make some characters downright heinous, its purely brilliant. It answers questions you have been asking but fills your plate full with a whole brand new set. And Nikki … she is my freaking hero. Total bad ass chick.
Again…this book leaves off with you salivating for more and in a book coma … I swear it makes all books you read for awhile pale in comparison. Yet again … I’m on my knees praying to the literary gods to have the next installment soon!!!! One of my top 10 all time favorite series.”
— 4.5 stars from Goodreads reviewer Christine Cheff of Totowa, N.J., for Jack Chaucer’s upcoming novel, “Nikki White: Polar Extremes” (Nikki, #3), which comes out on 3-24-17
NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES
CHAPTER 30: $19 MILLION BURNT RUG
April 14, 2020
I followed the old man up the snowy stairs and into the tallest, newest telescope at the South Pole. Snowbow had given us a lift in a snowcat because it was 60-below and dropping fast. We entered the circular building at the base of the rotating telescope. The shell of the thing stared into space at an angle.
Once we got inside and shed some layers of winter gear, Willem showed me around.
“Where is everyone?” I asked.
“It’s my shift and you’re my assistant,” he said. “I gave my regular assistant the night off.”
“Better than washing dishes, eh?”
Willem grabbed a bunch of ropes tied together and yanked them to one side. Then he hit some buttons on a console, causing the whole clam shell to rotate toward us in the center until it locked into place right above us. After admiring it for a second, Willem used a step ladder to climb up and open two handles on what looked like a big white cabinet that was facing down at us. He swung both doors of the cabinet all the way around so it was fully open. Then he stepped down the ladder, removed it and flipped on a light.
“Have a look,” he said, waving me on.
I moved under the opening and stared through the inside of the massive telescope. It went up and up and up, with windows near the top and darkness above it all. It looked like you could fit a small rocket inside it — that’s how big it was, narrowing at the top.
“Cool,” I said.
Willem practically spat at my response. “Cool? That’s $19 million worth of cool!”
“You must get some sick close-ups of the moon.”
Willem shook his head in disgust. “Don’t they teach you anything in your pathetic American schools? We ain’t looking at the fucking moon with a massive instrument like this.”
“Have you ever wondered, Thomas, where we all come from? Where this whole universe we live in got started?”
“Not a whole lot.”
“Well, I figured that so let me try to get you up to speed.”
“The universe started about 14 billion years ago with a huge release of energy called the Big Bang. To give you some perspective, Earth is about 4 and a half billion years old. With this telescope, we can see the light and other waves of energy produced before the galaxies, stars and planets were even born. We can see what space looked like when the universe was very young.”
“If the universe was 100 years old today, this telescope can show us what it looked like when it was about 8 minutes old.”
“That is some holy shit. We’re studying what is called the cosmic microwave background for signs of the Big Bang’s earliest ripple effects. We’re also learning more about the 95 percent of the universe that we cannot see — dark matter and dark energy.”
“Is that why they call this the Dark Sector?” I asked.
“Maybe you do have a brain in that skull of yours. That’s one reason. Another is this telescope does most of its work during winter, when it’s dark all the time.”
I nodded and walked over to a bulletin board, which was plastered with all kinds of information and photos on it.
“Yes, study that and learn more about what we do here while I perform some routine maintenance tasks,” Willem said.
“Have you shown Nikki or Adam or Bill this place yet?” I asked.
“Because they haven’t earned the right to see it yet and you have,” he said, strolling over to a computer on the far side of the room.
Me? Head of the class? That’s 14 billion jolts of Big Bang-style explosive shock right there.
I leaned in and looked closer at the bulletin board of telescope stuff. One wicked weird photo caught my eye.
“This image shows a section of the universe 14 billion years ago, as mapped by the South Pole Telescope. The image shows 1/100th of the sky.”
That was the note in small print underneath the photo.
Then I squinted at the picture for an even closer look. No moons, no stars, no planets and no galaxies. To me, it looked like they zoomed in real fucking close on a piece of burnt rug.
Hell, I could’ve gotten them a shot like that for free and pocketed the $19 million myself.
One of the fun parts about writing a series is having readers who jump on board for the whole ride. Julie Oakley, a 24-year-old Goodreads reviewer from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, did just that. She wrote glowing 4-star reviews of both “Streaks of Blue” and “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble,” but she just topped those with an awesome 5-star review of my latest, “Nikki White: Polar Extremes.” Thanks Julie. Here’s her review below:
“Another incredible journey from Chaucer!
This novel, the third in the Nikki series, is a fist in the face to the corrupt corporation known as ‘The Bridge’, it is the book all Nikki Blue fans have been waiting for!
Not only is the writing so engaging that you can’t stop reading from the first sentence, we are introduced to intriguing and loveable new characters such as Sam or ‘Snowbow’, who really lift the darkness around Nikki’s story.
A perfect third installation to this series, a quick, fast-paced read that leaves you thinking long after you have read the final page. Chaucer really makes you think about relationships, issues we are facing in today’s society and shows us that there can be a silver lining for everyone if you look and try hard enough.
A great read!”