Adam’s POV in the chapter “Book Brawl”

Adobe Photoshop PDFAdam Upton’s POV

Virgil had warned me to be ready for payback. He already knew the story of me and Lee. I guess Nikki had told him all about it or he read it in the newspapers — how I’d backed out of our plan to shoot up our high school; how I’d told the police everything and served less than a year while my ex-friend got 25.

Lee never got back at me during my first term in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men, but by now, he had built up some real prison currency. He had a better chance of exerting influence and bribing people to tell other people to do his bidding for something in return.

“He’ll find out you’re there,” Virgil told me. “Word travels from maximum to minimum and back again.”

“I know,” I said. “I’ve been there.”

“Yeah, but it’s been a while. Watch your back every second.”

“I will.”

On Day 29 of my 30-day term, Virgil’s crystal fucking ball flashed red.

And I was ready.

I was in the prison library, putting books back where they were supposed to be — the same job I had back when I was here in 2014-15. Lee was a fool for waiting so long because the closer it got to the end of my term, the more I felt it would happen at any moment … and the more I couldn’t wait to wreck whoever tried it.

I don’t know if the guard had been bribed to look the other way or not, but when he walked off for thirty seconds, my adrenaline surged. There were two guys sitting at a table well behind me who I knew and didn’t expect any shit from. I was standing beyond all the aisles of books, stocking the long shelf along the rear wall of the basically square room.

Two other guys I didn’t know very well — both shorter than me but pretty tough-looking — came in and started peeping around, but definitely not for books. My blood boiled and I imagined myself as who I always did before a fight — Shawn Thornton, ex-Boston Bruin and one of the best hockey fighters who ever lived.

I moved my cart toward the rear right corner of the library and played oblivious. I turned the cart the long way so it would block both the rear horizontal aisle and stick into the second-to-last vertical aisle at the same time. The only way they could get me without hurdling the cart was to come down the far right vertical aisle. I’d trapped myself in the corner on purpose and mostly kept my back to them. An exaggerated cleared throat not far away told me they’d found my aisle, my corner.

They both approached my ass single file as silently as they could while I raged inside — head pounding, heart banging through my chest. My left hand white-knuckled a hardcover of “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen; my right fist transformed into a hammer.

“This is from Lee in max,” the first dickhead declared, but before he got the “x” out of his mouth, my left hand had flung the book at his buzzed head, causing him to duck and my right fist followed with a hard punch to his nose, stunning him. The second guy, with the barbed-wire tat creeping up his neck, backed up a step, stunned that I was ready for them. I bull rushed past the first guy and tackled the second. I started whaling on him right there on the floor when the two guys I knew from the table ran over to check out the battle.

“Holy shit, Upton!” the one name Eddie shouted. The other one, Calhoun, just laughed.

“Get the fucking guard!” I yelled. “Or grab …”

Before I could shout another word, the first dickhead stabbed me in the back with something — a razor blade or the end of an X-acto knife maybe — and ripped downward. It fucking KILLED! I struggled to stand up as he put me in a headlock from behind, but I was so pissed off from getting stabbed that I rammed him into the bookshelf and crushed his arm enough to release me. Then I was free to wreck him up against the books. Every move I made hurt my back like a motherfucker, but I kept swinging anyway and wasted the rest of his face to match his broken nose.

That’s when the guard finally showed up. By now, at least Eddie was holding down the second asshole. Calhoun must’ve run off to tell the guard what had happened.

“What the fuck is going on here?” shouted the guard, a new one I didn’t recognize.

I shoved the dazed and bloodied mofo who stabbed me toward the guard’s feet. “These two motherfuckers just ambushed me and I kicked their asses! Now take me to the fucking hospital!”

They all looked at me like I was insane, so I turned around to show them my gashed back — orange prison suit parted by a red sea of blood. The chorus of groans told me how bad it was.

I spun back around on them.

That’s fucking why!” I shouted, loud enough so Lee could hear it in max.

From “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”
Release date: Oct. 9
ARC date: Available now on NetGalley

Advertisements

Nikki reflects on moving, madness and nightmares in the chapter “Silver Sands”

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Nikki’s POV

Derek and I held hands as we strolled down the long boardwalk toward Silver Sands Beach in Milford, a town on Connecticut’s southern coast.

Just a mile or so behind us lurked the rat race of Interstate 95 and its ugly little sister, Route 1, with its endless strip malls and oversized SUVs. A few hundred feet ahead of us, beyond the beach, Long Island Sound beckoned, calm and blue. In between, sandals flip-flopped against wood; cattails rustled on either side of us in the salty breeze; and small children skipped with delight as their feet approached the warm sand.

The fine line between madness and serenity in this world is hard to fathom sometimes.

I’m from New Hampshire and I still believe it is one of the most beautiful places imaginable, but the fact remains that I got shot there. And though I had been told there are beautiful places in Connecticut, I had yet to see anything that resembled New Hampshire. It’s hard to find beauty on flat, crowded highways. So far, I didn’t like Connecticut or its maddening pace.

Thankfully, by showing me this place, Derek had given me my first glimmer of hope. And he needed to … because the only reason I moved to this state was to be close to him.

Our first date was at Chili’s on September 13, 2014. We were both just barely seniors in high school. A co-captain of the football team, he was so confident, handsome and funny that night. We toasted to our future and I felt on top of the world.

I got shot the very next night … because I was worried about another boy … about what he might do.

I had to find Adam Upton.

In most of my nightmares, I’m still looking for Adam. I’m searching his pickup truck on the side of the road. I’m looking into the windows of strange cars in dark, wooded parking lots. I’m seeing something run across my field of vision, baiting me to chase whatever it is.

And inevitably, a figure dressed in black steps out of nowhere to torment me. Thomas “Lee” Harvey.

There’s a totally catchy song they used to play on the radio all the time that summed me up perfectly at various times over the past four years. I have no idea the name of the band, but the chorus is “I’m not sick, but I’m not well.” There’s another line from that song that spoke to me as well: “Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me.”

From “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”
Pub date: 10-9-15
ARC date: Available now on NetGalley

Quotes from “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble,” #3

NikkiBlueAdam Upton:
“Nikki, wait up! I didn’t mean to laugh. You’re the last person in the world I’d call a quitter. You didn’t quit on me, even though I lied to you and tricked you with the LSD,” I shouted.

She froze on a rocky hill about 20 feet above me. I’m pretty sure she would’ve gone to the top without me if I hadn’t yelled what I just yelled as fast as I did. The “LSD” part seemed to echo all around us. I thought it was a pretty rad effect until a guy and his young son came climbing down the trail, past Nikki and eventually next to me. I stood there smiling and nodding at them like an asshole.

“Streaks of Blue” named Top Read for 2013 by two book blogs; $143.76 raised for Newtown families so far

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Big shout-out to Books Unhinged blog (especially Christine Cheff, aka Lady Balls) and the White Picket Fence Blog (especially Natalie Limardo Wilburn) for selecting my book “Streaks of Blue” as their favorite reads of 2013.

I’ve now sold 86 copies of “Streaks of Blue,” which means my readers have helped raise $143.76 for Newtown families, $127.16 of which I already donated to the Newtown Memorial Fund on 12-14-13. My next donation will be made on the second anniversary of the shooting.

Here are the links for the blogs who honored “Streaks of Blue,” which is very much appreciated by this indie author.

http://www.booksunhinged.com/favorite-books-of-2013/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=468059146634220&set=a.299872416786228.62256.299858246787645&type=1&theater

“Streaks of Blue” readers have raised $107.15 so far for Newtown families

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00061]

66 copies of “Streaks of Blue” sold = $107.15 raised for Newtown families with about a week to go until I make the donation on 12-14-13. If you haven’t bought the book and want to, please do so in the next few days so I can donate the max to Newtown Memorial Fund, which is all about helping the families long-term, not politics. Purchase links are in the left rail on this web page. Thanks!

My first press release for “Streaks of Blue” …

Adobe Photoshop PDFSince its release on Sept. 27, Jack Chaucer’s new young adult novel, “Streaks of Blue: How the Angels of Newtown Inspired One Girl to Save Her School,” already has motivated an 18-year-old young woman in Georgia (formerly Russia) to reconnect with former friends, a 13-year-old girl in India to go mountain climbing and a mom in New Jersey to hug her little boy much tighter.

Available in paperback ($11.99) on Amazon and as an e-book ($2.99) with Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords, the book is dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. The author has pledged to donate half of the proceeds to the Newtown Memorial Fund (http://newtownmemorialfund.org), which directly supports the families. “Streaks of Blue” has been requested on NetGalley by more than 325 reviewers from all over the world, including scores of educators, school librarians and resource specialists. 251 readers have added it to their Goodreads shelves. The book has 47 ratings and 38 reviews on Goodreads (3.74-star average) and 17 reviews on Amazon (4.4-star average).

“A touching and monumental story. Chaucer’s storytelling was truly intoxicating, creating such awesome and fluid characters.”
— Georgina Robinson, “What She Reads” blogger from Leicestershire, England

“While the subject matter might have been trite or exploitive in other hands, Mr. Chaucer treats it with sensitivity and his characters sympathetically. It’s tense, moving and thought-provoking.”
— Stephanine Piro, “Militant Recommender” blogger from Farmington, New Hampshire

“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, resource specialist at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, California

“Very well-written, deep and emotional. This book moved me very much.”
— Jennifer Ahlin, book blogger from Uppsala, Sweden

“It is a masterpiece. I think it should be on every English teacher’s to-read list.”
— Annie Wallace, “Just One More Chapter” blogger from Lake Jackson, Texas

Book blurb: Adam Upton and Thomas “Lee” Harvey are plotting the next big school massacre at their New Hampshire high school. Nicole Janicek, who knew Adam in elementary school, tries to reconnect with the damaged teen at the start of their senior year. But will Nicole’s attempt to befriend the would-be killer disrupt the plot and turn Adam’s life around before the clock strikes 12:14?

For more information and purchase links, visit Jack Chaucer’s website at https://queensarewild.wordpress.com. Chaucer also wrote the sci-fi thriller “Queens are Wild” (2012) and two other novels. Contact Jack at jcullen789@gmail.com.

20 books sold in the first month … $24.92 raised so far for Newtown families

kearsargenorthfiretower

“Streaks of Blue” has been out exactly one month and has sold 20 copies so far. No royalty figures yet for the 2 iTunes copies, but the 11 Amazon paperbacks and 7 Kindle copies sold result in a total net proceeds of $49.84. That’s $24.92 raised for the Newtown Memorial Fund thus far. Thank you to all you have bought the book and I appreciate anything you can do to spread the word.

I want to give a special shout-out to old pal and avid hiker Vin Mansolillo, the inspiration for Vin’s character in the final scene on Mount Kearsarge North. He bought a copy and said he really enjoyed the book. He said he got so into the story that he sometimes forgot the person who wrote it used to be the little kid who tagged along with him and my old man on a whole bunch of hikes in the White Mountains back in the 80s. He made sure I got up Huntington Ravine and Rainbow Slabs without plummeting to my death. I also remember him giving me sugar cubes (the kind NOT laced with LSD!) for energy on the way up Mount Washington. Good times (even though I whined like a little girl before roping up and heading up the Slabs)!