Nikki and the crew view spring geysers at the Martian South Pole

Parts 1 and 2 of NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA are written, Part 3 still to go. It’s been a trip, pun intended, trying to conjure up the future just a few years ahead of reality.

Here’s an excerpt from the Martian South Pole …

Sept. 22, 2023
Planum Australe, Mars

They bounced west, two space trucks weaving and wobbling up rough terrain until they parked side by side atop a broad and exposed mesa. Down below, a sea of geysers spouted salty, brackish sand in spider-web patterns all over the glazed polar cap.
This was the true South Pole, shedding more of its white with each sol as the late-spring sun climbed in the Martian sky and warmed the CO2 gas until it erupted through vents in the surface, creating thousands of sand sprinklers across the panorama.
Scientists on Earth were aware of them, observed their dark deposits against the ice in blurry satellite images, wrote articles about them and conjured up illustrations from their overactive imaginations.
But Nikki, Sunny, Jo and Pluto just had to step out of their trucks, crunch their black boots to the edge of the overlook and stare west.
This show was reserved for Martians only.

31 chapters are now complete:

PART 1
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

PART 2
CHAPTER 13: Black Aces
CHAPTER 14: Song Inside 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
CHAPTER 21: Backflip and Cartwheel
CHAPTER 22: No Interplanetary Sexting
CHAPTER 23: Ups and Downs
CHAPTER 24: Agatha F. Christie
CHAPTER 25: The First Cemetery
CHAPTER 26: Dome of The Rising Sun
CHAPTER 27: Badge
CHAPTER 28: Throwback Girl
CHAPTER 29: Space Truckin’
CHAPTER 30: Sucker Punch
CHAPTER 31: For Martians Only
Words completed: 33,544

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A planet without lawyers …

Just completed Chapter 26 for my upcoming novel, “NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA.” Here’s a little tease from that chapter …

After entering the airlock, testing the seals and checking the pressure levels with a wand gauge, Pluto smiled and waved his wand at the three women from a little square window on one wall. Jo stepped up the small ramp, pushed the red button on the door and it slid open.
The four astronauts soon laughed and embraced after the airlock shut tight, the pressure changed to a human-friendly level and they prepared to enter their new home on Mars.
“Hey, our real estate agent never showed up!” Sunny cracked.
“Yeah, no lawyers either for the closing!” Jo added.
“Lawyers? Wow. I’d already forgotten all about lawyers,” Pluto mused.
“A planet without lawyers,” Nikki pondered. “Amazing.”
A second later, the airlock’s inner door opened automatically and they charged ahead like schoolchildren being let out for recess.
With inadequate solar power thus far and their multi-umbrella-shaped nuclear-powered heat field not erected yet, three of the astronauts were wise enough to keep their warm helmets on while celebrating.
But Pluto couldn’t help himself.
He reveled in what they had built despite being down two men. He pointed toward the sun shining through the diamond-ice dome, popped off his helmet and sang with gusto:

“There is … a dome … on Mars
They call The Rising Sun …”

The extreme temperature quickly turned Pluto’s bluesy vocals into blue lips, so he restored his helmet and rejoined the ladies as they planted their gloves into the frosty ground, and spun into some light-gravity, light-hearted cartwheels.
Concussion syndrome be damned.
It was move-in day on Mars.

26 chapters are now complete:

PART 1
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

PART 2
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
CHAPTER 21: Backflip and Cartwheel
CHAPTER 22: No Interplanetary Sexting
CHAPTER 23: Ups and Downs
CHAPTER 24: Agatha F. Christie
CHAPTER 25: The First Cemetery
CHAPTER 26: Dome of The Rising Sun

Words completed: 27,300

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.

17 more reasons to be blue

There are 17 more reasons to be blue after what happened in Florida today. Sadly, Nikki’s poem, “Streaks of Blue,” from my 2013 novel of the same name, still applies today …

“Red, white and …
Streaks of blue
Far off the path
I search for truth

Live free or die
A state of beauty
Will we be next
To look to the sky
And find more stars
Than the night just passed?
Lessons never learned
The youngest of souls
Pay with their lives
So for them I cry

The rain in my heart
Soaks every ring
This paper on which I write
Once was a sapling
So young and new
But now it’s a vessel
On a lake
Beneath a cloud
And onto it flow
My streaks of blue

Again and again
More trees fall
No not me
But it might as well be
For I die with them

As the view gets clearer
And the truth gets nearer
I am sad to discover
That we truly are lost
So I look in the mirror
And dye my hair blue
So I brook through the mountains
And keep my heart true

I’ll blaze a new trail
No matter the cost
One without labels
One that is just
Souls are for saving
While we’re still walking
So strap on your packs
Your hopes, your boots
And keep your eyes open
For my streaks of blue

Yes, I’ll blaze a new trail
A path for the lost.”