Nikki Loftin

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Recap: Fun at the Book Spot!

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September 10th, 2014 Posted 9:37 am

Okay, I KNOW this is a super late recap of some of the summer coolness that took place in super-hot August, but I have to share the fun event that was the End of Summer Middle Grade event at the Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas.

 

The books these friends wrote are AMAZING! Tara Dairman‘s All Four Stars, Rebecca Behrens‘ When Audrey Met Alice, K. A Holt‘s forthcoming Rhyme Schemer, and Jennifer Ziegler‘s Revenge of the Flower Girls all hold a spot on my bookshelf and in my heart.

From left to right: Tara Dairman, Rebecca Behrens, me, Kari Ann Holt, and Jennifer Ziegler.

From left to right: Tara Dairman, Rebecca Behrens, me, Kari Ann Holt, and Jennifer Ziegler.

We played trivia games, ate unicorn cake, and visited with the audience.

The audience included my utterly lovely and wonderful stepmom, Katherine.

The audience included my utterly lovely and wonderful stepmom, Katherine.

 

A special treat was getting to meet Rebecca Behrens, who wrote an amazing book I got to blurb, and who happens to be represented by my agent! So we’re agent-sisters, and she is every bit as lovely in person as she is on the page.

 

New Leaf Author Selfie!

New Leaf Author Selfie!

If you want to get a signed copy of any one of the books we spoke about (with the exception of Kari’s, which comes out in a month!), I know The Book Spot has some signed stock. So, go get some of those holiday gifts bought, and support a great indie bookstore!

Cool fact: Our picture got picked up by the Publisher’s Weekly roundup! Check it out. We look very fancy, yes?

Now, back to work! All sorts of exciting things going on here. Secret things, that will soon be official!

 

The Nightingale Summer: Where I Went, Who I Saw, What I Loved

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September 3rd, 2014 Posted 2:12 pm

The writing of a book, especially a book that is intensely personal and meaningful like Nightingale’s Nest was for me, is only the beginning.

NightingalesNest graphic

After the drafts, and the revisions, and the copy edits, and the worrying whether people will “get it” or like it, or even bother to review it… comes the promotional phase.

This is a difficult time for a writer. Suddenly, you are expected to be a marketing guru, a machine for creating memorable blog posts and funny tweets about the book, a constant advocate for it online and in person. It can be exhausting. For my debut novel, a funny/scary fairy tale re-imagining, it was all a roller coaster. But I didn’t mind the exhaustion, and I loved even the parts of that year that terrified me.

With Nightingale’s Nest, I was at a loss as to how to promote it effectively and appropriately. When something comes from that deep down, from so far inside you that the words seemed at times during the writing to come from somewhere… permanent, it’s hard to joke about it, or tell people why they should buy it, or even tell people what it’s about. “Would you like to read my book” in this case really means “Would you like to see my heart?”

And yet. Promote the book I have done, and will continue to do. But I’m doing it differently. I’m talking to librarians and teachers in person, and telling them some of the secrets in the book – and some of the hard truths of where it came from.

And I’m celebrating the places the story came from – both personal, and physical, where I did the writing of most of this book, the high desert of New Mexico.

Sunset on the Piedras Lumbras

And that means I took a book tour through New Mexico and Colorado, and celebrated this book alongside new friends and dear friends…

 

Authors Jenny Goebel, Tara Dairman, Ingrid Law, and me with my favorite 11 year old reader!

Authors Jenny Goebel, Tara Dairman, Ingrid Law, and me with my favorite 11 year old reader!

…some with their very own books to celebrate…

Kimberley Griffiths Little, author of the stunning Time of the Fireflies, and Nicest Person in New Mexico

Kimberley Griffiths Little, author of the stunning novel Time of the Fireflies, and also the Nicest Person in New Mexico.

… and in groups of young writers, who amazed me with their own stories and talents…

Best idea yet! Young writer's workshop at Beehive Books in Santa Fe. These kids were AMAZING.

Best idea yet! Young writer’s workshop at Beehive Books in Santa Fe. These kids were AMAZING.

… and took along one of my greatest treasures, and favorite sparks in this world…

Who could that masked man be?

Who could that masked man be?

We rode roller coasters, real ones…

First Roller Coaster for him!

First Roller Coaster for him!

Twisting coasters have nothing on a Kirkus review!

Twisting coasters have nothing on a Kirkus review!

to go along with the roller-coaster-scary drop in the stomach that happens any time an author appears in a town far from home, not knowing who may show up…

Look at all those books at the Boulder Bookstore! Very Fancy Indeed.

Look at all those books at the Boulder Bookstore! Very Fancy Indeed.

and I spent time remembering why I do this job, and why I write books that break my heart to write, as well as make me laugh and smile.

Palo Duro, on the way home.

Palo Duro, on the way home.

I do it for the beauty of it.

alien and drew

And for the fun.

I hope you had as full and lovely a summer as I did. Now, I have to get on that roller coaster again! The next story that came knocking is a doozy. Hands in the air, get ready for the drop… go!

 

 

Exciting Events: Lovely Review/Lovely ARC Edition

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July 21st, 2014 Posted 3:55 pm

Okay, I lied. I didn’t blog every day last week. I took the weekend off.

I will make it up to you with this picture of my newest baby ARCs!!!

Oh, happy day! I am so excited to send this one out in the world. Oh, and terrified. Also incredibly terrified.

Oh, happy day! I am so excited to send this one out in the world. Oh, and terrified. Also incredibly terrified.

The blurbs on the ARC cover from Francisco X. Stork, Laurel Snyder, and Natalie Lloyd make me go all smooshy inside. They are the loveliest.

And now I will also share some lovely words the International Reading Association’s Reading Today Online has to say about Nightingale’s Nest.

I particularly liked the words “brilliant” and “Loftin’s masterful craft.”

Stay tuned tomorrow for more cute vacation pictures… and another Exciting Event!

Exciting Events: Free Writing Workshop at Beehive Books in Santa Fe

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July 18th, 2014 Posted 4:33 pm

Hello again!

Obviously, I have a ton going on these days. And a lot of it is out of town fun! One of my favorite things to do is to work with kids in small-group writing workshops, and I am super excited to have the chance to do that in Austin in July, and…

in Santa Fe, New Mexico in August!

If you have a kid (or act like one, or even just want to come to a cool, short writing workshop), please show up at 2 pm at Beehive Books in Santa Fe on Sunday, August 3rd. I will be there with all sorts of goodies and a fun fairy tale-centric writing workshop. Also, I will read from Nightingale’s Nest, sign books, and answer all your questions.

I promise, it will be wonderful as this miniature Scottish waterfall.

Is this not incredibly wonderful? YES IT IS.

Is this not incredibly wonderful? YES IT IS.

 

 

Avalanche of Awesomeness/Windstorm of Woe

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June 16th, 2014 Posted 2:03 pm

Hello!

I’ve missed posting here for a while, so please forgive all the catching up I’ll have to do today! At first, I was absent for good/great reasons…

A trip to Paris with my niece!

Notre Dame

A long-awaited trip for the two of us. We left after we ate the last croissants in the city. Paris is delicious.

School visits!

Author posters are so fun!

Author posters are so fun! This one was at Rooster Springs Elementary.

You know what never gets old? Seeing kid-made art of my covers.

You know what never gets old? Seeing kid-made art of my covers.

Library visits!

A writing workshop at the Wimberley Village Library is the perfect way to end the school year.

A writing workshop at the Wimberley Village Library is the perfect way to end the school year.

End of School stuff for my kids!

Funniest end of the year presentation ever: my kid acted out the Black Knight skit from Monty Python's Spamalot. (He was King Arthur.)

Funniest end of the year presentation ever: my kid acted out the Black Knight skit from Monty Python’s Spamalot. (He was King Arthur.)

Amazing book launch parties for my friends!

I love Joy Preble and her books so much! Check out her latest, The A-Word, from Soho Press.

I love Joy Preble and her books so much! Check out her latest, The A-Word, from Soho Press.

Bethany Hegedus's amazing picture book launch party featured an equally amazing cake by cakellustrator Akiko White!

Bethany Hegedus’s amazing picture book launch party featured an equally amazing cake by cakellustrator Akiko White!

And even an Indies First! Read-Aloud Storytime day in Houston!

IMG_3312 IMG_3313

With Kathy Duval, Crystal Allen, and Varsha Bajaj. So much fun!

With Kathy Duval, Varsha Bajaj, me and Crystal Allen. So much fun!

Anyway…

I had plans to do an amazing, thought-provoking recap post (or series of posts!) about all of that stuff. Then a giant windstorm whipped through my neighborhood (like a tornado, with wind speeds up to 120+ according to a neighbor with a wind gauge) and did very bad things to my house (trees falling on our AC units, leaks forming in the house, goat shed picked up and removed from the yard!!!) and injured one of our sweet goats. (She is okay! Just a bunch of stitches and now a lot of TLC.)

So I’m writing this in a house with no AC (not a big deal unless you live where I do, where temps in the summer reach “Hades” by noon), waiting for workpeople to come and make the house liveable again.

Consequently, I may not be able to check in here as much over the summer.

But there are big things on the way! In August, I will have a brand new author website! It’s going to be soooo pretty.

And I’m at all sorts of events this summer, including out of state bookstore visits! Here’s a quick list of places that are confirmed. Come see me there! And bring me a popsicle? It’s hot.

Writer’s League of Texas Thursday panel on pitches, June 19, 7 p.m. at Bookpeople

Westbank Library in Beecave, Writing workshop for young writers, July 29, 4:30 pm

And guess what? I’m doing a mini BOOK TOUR in New Mexico and Colorado!

August 2, Bookworks in Albuquerque, 10:30 a.m. with the stunning author Kimberley Griffiths Little!

August 3, Beehive Books in Santa Fe, N.M., time TBA

August 6, Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, CO, 6:30 p.m.

More dates and venues to come! Stay safe, and write on.

So Much Awesomeness: Galindo Elementary Style

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May 2nd, 2014 Posted 3:17 pm

Oh. My. Goodness.

I just had one of the most amazing school author visits in the history of school, authors, or visits.

I was invited last year to come to Galindo Elementary in Austin, by the amazing uber-librarian, Diane Collier. They had something special planned for their spring author visit, she explained.
Every fourth and fifth grader in the school was going to get a free copy of the paperback of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, courtesy of donations from their PTA and the South Austin Rotary club.

Look, shiny new paperbacks!

Look, shiny new paperbacks!

I went in one day early to sign the books. Almost 200 of them. It took an hour and a half. I didn’t care, and my hand wasn’t sore. It was happy.

Happiness is signing books for hours. Yes it is!

Happiness is signing books for hours. Yes it is!

When I got to the school the next morning, they had reserved my parking space.

The best part? This was the PRINCIPAL'S parking spot! I felt ridiculously fancy.

The best part? This was the PRINCIPAL’S parking spot! I felt ridiculously fancy.

And when I walked into the library, I was overwhelmed. Two of the fifth grade English classes had read my book in advance, and done all sorts of art displays with them – on character, theme, comparisons to the original fairy tale and a movie version, and more.

There's no witches? Darn.

There’s no witches? Darn.

I love this.

I love this.

Also, Ms. Morrigan looks kind of like me in a bad mood.

Also, Ms. Morrigan looks kind of like me in a bad mood.

This poster almost makes me love themes!

This poster almost makes me love themes!

How cool is this?

How cool is this?

Can you tell I have a librarian crush on this woman? :)

Can you tell I have a librarian crush on this woman? :)

 

The librarian had decorated with candy and cards… and a present for me. :)

Note to self: write all future books about food.

Note to self: write all future books about food.

Not that I needed a present. But, A PRESENT!!!

Not that I needed a present. But, A PRESENT!!!

 

And then the kids arrived, dressed like their favorite characters from the book, and carrying pretend and real candy.

I wish I could show you pictures of the cute kids! But privacy, etc. Use your imaginations. :)

I wish I could show you pictures of the cute kids! But privacy, etc. Use your imaginations. :)

It was utterly amazing.

I wish every school could have a librarian, a PTA, a community like Galindo’s! Visiting there was a dream come true for me.

A dream full of books and wonderful librarians.

A dream full of books and wonderful librarians.

And the amazingness doesn’t stop there. Because, as you can see in this picture Diane sent me that she took the day after the event, the school got very quiet… because kids were reading, reading, reading.

A dream come true.

Thank you, Galindo Elementary, for letting me meet your dreamers!

###

Guess what? Interview time is here! I had the pleasure of answering questions for a spot on the Operation Awesome blog, and here’s the link. Come on, you know you want to know my deep, dark secrets. Well, possibly not that dark. But important. :) Check it out!

TLA 2014: A Starry-Eyed Writer Reports Back

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April 14th, 2014 Posted 11:49 am

Oh, the wonder that is the Texas Library Association’s mammoth annual conference! I only had two days there this week (due to other conferences I will blog about soon, which were also superb), but in those two days I lived a lifetime.

Okay, well I picked up enough books to LAST a lifetime anyway. :) And met some amazing people, and saw some dear friends. Here’s a string of pictures, in case you are curious as to who exactly goes to these things…

Debut YA author Sara Kocek signing her wonderful book!

Debut YA author Sara Kocek signing her wonderful book!

I snagged an ARC of Varian Johnson's new MG, The Great Green Heist!

I snagged an ARC of Varian Johnson’s new MG, The Great Green Heist!

I attempted to take a respectable selfie of me and author/illustrator Don Tate, but Kari Anne Holt and Ruth McNally Barshaw photobombed us.

I attempted to take a respectable selfie of me and author/illustrator Don Tate, but Kari Anne Holt and Ruth McNally Barshaw photobombed us.

The utterly lovely Cynthia Leitich Smith busy at one of her signings!

The utterly lovely Cynthia Leitich Smith busy at one of her signings!

A new friend! Author of Fat Angie, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo.

A new friend! Author of Fat Angie, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo.

Oh, the company I keep! Here's a quick snap of the panel I sat on: Deb Caletti, Leila Howland, Jennifer E. Smith, and Elizabeth Eulberg. They were wonderful!

Oh, the company I keep! Here’s a quick snap of the panel I sat on: Deb Caletti, Leila Howland, Jennifer E. Smith, and Elizabeth Eulberg. They were wonderful!

Fun! I got to meet an agent-sister, Cora Carmack, who writes the spiciness. :)

Fun! I got to meet an agent-sister, Cora Carmack, who writes the spiciness. :)

Victoria Scott and Greg Leitich Smith signing at the Texas Book Festivals booth.

Victoria Scott and Greg Leitich Smith signing at the Texas Book Festivals booth.

I snagged a copy of Bethany Hegedus' newest, Grandfather Gandhi. So good...

I snagged a copy of Bethany Hegedus’ newest, Grandfather Gandhi. So good…

A very blurry picture, as we were at fancy schmancy dinner - but here is the truly gifted author Jacqueline Woodson. A highlight of the week was spending time with her.

A very blurry picture, as we were at fancy schmancy dinner – but here is the truly gifted author Jacqueline Woodson. A highlight of the week was spending time with her.

And the most fun aprt of all? Spending time with rock star librarians like Diane Collier! Oh, the conversations we had, the jokes we made, the blisters we wore on our heels hiking around the convention center for days...

And the most fun aprt of all? Spending time with rock star librarians like Diane Collier! Oh, the conversations we had, the jokes we made, the blisters we wore on our heels hiking around the convention center for days…

 

And that was my two-day TLA recap in photos! It was a great week. Speaking of which, I should probably go write up a  post about that other starred review now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Houston Writers Guild Conference and Other Loveliness!

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March 30th, 2014 Posted 8:05 am

Hi, friends!

I am the very busiest of bees these days, with all sorts of conferences coming up! First off, I am going to be doing an author signing (and sing and tap dance, or whatever they have planned for me) at the American Booksellers’ Children’s Institute in San Antonio on April 7.

I’m sort of overwhelmed at the number of Nikki’s Favorite Authors who will be there, and it is ALL I can do not to take a suitcase full of books to get signed by them. But I have to remember, I am technically one of the fancy people at this, and I have to act cool.

Oh, wow, I wish I knew how to be even slightly cool.

Even more challenging (considering my lack of coolness) will be the Texas Library Association’s annual meeting (also in San Antonio), that same week! If you’re there, you can find me signing books in the exhibit hall on Thursday, April 10, with a panel appearance at 2 pm. (I’m also going to some Very Fancy Dinners, and I MUST remember my table manners. Thank goodness for the Texas YA Round Table’s margarita night. I never have to remind myself which fork goes with nachos.)

And then…. the super fun begins. That very Saturday, April 12 (MY BIRTHDAY BY THE WAY), I will be the keynote speaker at one of my favorite places in Texas – the Houston Writers’ Guild Annual Conference!

I have prepared a speech that will have people laughing so hard – at me – that certain necessary bodily functions may be compromised. As you all know, I have no shame. Attendees of this conference will find out exactly how little shame that is, when I read from my very earliest drafts of… Azrael’s Redemption, an unfinished novel about a Scottish lass and a fallen angel who, um… can’t get it up. And I’m not talking about flying here.

It is some of the worst writing in the history of words. (And also, given his “problem,” lacking a crucial aspect of that thing steamy romances are pretty much required to have.)

I’m also teaching a 45 minute query workshop there, so if you’re getting close to sending something to an agent or editor – or even writing back cover copy for your book –  you should probably be there as well!

Some very lovely news regarding reviews for Nightingale’s Nest is about to come out, so I’ll post back in a day or three when I can share. Until then? I’m writing again, strangely NOT on my middle grade WIP! Up until midnight last night, swept away by the gruesome YA I started last year. I’m ready to finish it! Or it’s ready. I think it will be strange, and frightening, and very, very different from my other books. But the story has captivated me again, and I must finish it. MUST.

Happy Writing, Friends!

Links to Internet Loveliness:

A 5,4,3,2,1 Blog Post on Colby Sharp’s blog about Nightingale’s Nest. I loved writing this interview!

A VERY COOL Advanced Writing Workshop at the Writing Barn in Austin, with Jo Knowles and Robin Wasserman. This looks stunning: Discovering the Beating Heart of Your Book.

Nightingale’s Nest: Your Questions Answered (Soon)

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March 23rd, 2014 Posted 9:18 pm

Okay y’all, so I’m doing this really cool thing (way too cool for old-fashioned me) this Tuesday afternoon, from 4-5 pm CDT, over at the Penguin Young Authors Early Word page! I’ll be joining superstars Lisa Von Drasek and Nora Rawlinson for a chat about any and all Nightingale’s Nest-related things. It’s a chat for librarians, so this invitation is for those folks. (But aren’t we all librarians, deep in our darkest fantasies? I know I am.)

Okay, the truth is? I’ll probably answer ANY questions you/they throw at me. So, if you feel you are a librarian, and you feel it would be fun to ask me awkward questions, or even just normal ones, please show up! I will love you forever, in my deep librarian-soul.

You can even leave a question in advance here …. do it. You know you want to.

Posted in Miscellaneous

World Read Aloud Day 2014: Share the Love!

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March 5th, 2014 Posted 9:00 am

Last year I participated for the first time in Kate Messner‘s author sign-up for World Read-Aloud Day. I had so much fun, I couldn’t wait for it to come back around – and here it is! Happy World Read-Aloud Day, friends. I’ll be Skypeing with classes from all over America – Wisconsin, Illinois, and all over Texas!

I hope you take some time today to read out loud to someone you love (it can be a dog or a goat, anyone, really). And maybe you could even take a few seconds to tell someone who thinks they/their kids are “too old” for reading aloud that you never outgrow the magic of stories.

You just forget.

I hope you all remember today that dizzy, thrummy, glorious feeling of being loved, paid attention to, cared for… read to.  And share it with someone else. What would the world be like if, instead of arguing/bickering/fighting, we read aloud to one another those books that changed us, formed us, made us into the people we are?

Happy reading, friends!

WRAD-369x400