Daily Texan Today, Longhorn Forever

Last week, I had the fun and only slightly terrifying chance to speak with a reporter for The Daily Texan, the newspaper for my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin. The story came out and I’m tickled pink. My favorite parts were the kind words said by my husband Dave and my friend Cynthia Leitich Smith.

I never once thought I’d be a distinguished alumna. I wonder if the other “distinguished alums” pretty much live in pajamas?

New Reviews And Picture Book Party News

I’m sitting smack in the middle of the If You Get Lost book release and the big book launch party at Bookpeople this Saturday, and it’s busy and frantic and wonderful.

One of the most fun things is seeing booksellers’ and readers’ posts on social media. I can’t show the pics of the kids on their grandparents’/parents’ laps here, but I CAN show you the kind words from McNally Robinson Booksellers. (Thank you!)

“An instant staff favourite, If You Get Lost is a beautiful read-aloud about a lost stuffed bunny who finds itself among a group of friendly forest animals who accompany it on its journey. Complete with magical illustrations and gentle, lyrical text, If You Get Lost is a breathtaking picture book that will be adored by readers of all ages.”

I can also show you a few pics of the swag and gifts I have for Saturday’s party. I have absolutely no chill, and I’ve gone overboard. But isn’t that what a party is for? I’ve ordered bunny sugar cookies, cheese trays, snacks and beverages for all ages, and decorations! If you’d like to come, we will make room at the kids’ table for you. 😉

If You Get Lost is Here!

It’s here at last! I’m so happy that my debut picture book is out in the world today, a little earlier than anticipated! Books are drafted in isolation, but when they launch, you can be sure there have been a whole group of people involved in bringing them to that point. Launch day is full of emotions for me, but the one that stands out is a deep, joyfilled gratitude.

First of all, I am grateful to Deborah Marcero, for the exquisite illustrations that make the text sing.
I also want to thank my agent Ginger Knowlton and my editor Anne Schwartz, along with the amazing Anne Marie Varga and Sarah Lawrenson at PRH, who all worked so hard to make this day happen.

I could go on for pages. There are so many friends in my life who helped this day arrive, and I’m planning to thank them all at the Bookpeople event on August 5th!

I wrote this book for children like my own, who got lost in a lot of different ways. It’s not only a story about wandering away in the woods. It’s about how we can find joy, and friendship, and even beauty, while we are making the long journey back to our circles, our campfires, our homes.

I will now go have the traditional launch day happy-cry, and get back to working on my next book.

Thank you for reading! Here are some pics of today’s signing fun at Bookpeople. (I ran into Brenna Carzoo, who was also signing! I fangirled pretty hard, I’ll admit.)

If You Get Lost – Now Out July 18!

For writers, waiting for a book to come out is a lot of “hurry up and wait.” I wrote the first draft of If You Get Lost around ten years ago. My phenomenal agent Ginger sold it to Anne Schwartz Books three years ago. And I was impatiently waiting for it to come out in a few weeks, when an email arrived, informing me that for once I didn’t have to wait.

If You Get Lost will be out July 18, and my author copies arrived today!

Aren’t they beautiful? Look at the amazing end pages! The cover behind the dust jacket! The maps! The cute little stuffed animals I’m giving away at the launch party at Bookpeople, along with the stickers and bookmarks!

I’m so delighted by how this book turned out, I can’t sit still. What a happy day!

If You Get Lost Launch Party at Bookpeople!

How much do I love Bookpeople?

I met my husband there.

I launched all my middle grade novels there.

And now? My very first baby author dream is coming true there, too. My debut picture book IF YOU GET LOST is coming out on 7/25 from Anne Schwartz Books, and I am over the moon to announce that I’ll be throwing the biggest, best book party I can to mark the moment! Join me on August 5 at 6 pm, for a reading, author Q&A, book signing, food, drinks, door prizes, and gifts for everyone to take home. RSVP if you can, so I can make sure to have enough cake, gifts, and swag for you and all your friends, tall or small.

Of course, I know not everyone can come to the event. So, I’m doing a pre-order campaign! Early orders will get signed, personalized copies, with bookmarks & sticker swag tucked inside. Grab yours now! 🏕🐇

QOTD: What kind of cake or cookie would you most like to share with a friend if YOU were lost… or at a book launch party?

IF YOU GET LOST – My Debut Picture Book! YAY!!!

Hi, friends! So, I finally have some more great news to share, and a story.

Some of you may know that when I first started writing for kids, I wrote picture book manuscripts, not novels. In fact, in my pre-agented days, I would send out my picture books to small publishing houses, and more than once my manuscripts would be taken to acquisitions meetings… and then, nothing. Over and over again. I loved those picture book babies so much, and it really did break my heart each time another one would languish. Like, actual ache in my chest kind of heartbreak.

So I started turning them into novels. Both Nightingale’s Nest and Wish Girl were actually grown from the seeds of picture books that I had loved and couldn’t give up on.

I kept writing picture books over the years (and calling them poems, and relegating them to a file on my laptop called Greeting Cards. Long story.), but it wasn’t until my agent Ginger K. expressed an interest in seeing one that this happened:

43633-1.JPGAnne Schwartz at Random House/Schwartz has acquired, at auction, North American rights for If You Get Lost by Nikki Loftin (l.) (Wish Girl), illustrated by Deborah Marcero (In a Jar). This picture book debut from the author tells the story of a stuffed bunny who falls from a car window at the start of her family’s camping trip, and begins a magical adventure through the forest to find her way back. Publication is set for summer 2023. Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown represented the author, and Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary represented the illustrator.

In just a few short weeks – days, almost! – I went from dreaming about having a picture book of my own out in the world, to finding out multiple editors also thought the manuscript was worthy, to realizing my very first Baby Author Nikki dream was going to come true. Anne Schwartz at Random House Children’s Books made my heart flutter when she signed the book, found the perfect artist for the project (Have you seen Deborah Marcero’s work? Holy wow! Her books – they’re brilliant, and the art is stunning), and now all I can do is dance around the house and wonder at my good fortune.

Well, and write more picture books, because my heart? Isn’t quite as broken as it once was. Not quite.

I hope one of your dreams comes true soon. Keep writing, and reading, and holding your heart together as best you can.





Re-Imagining a Fairy Tale (A Video For Young Writers)

Hi, y’all! The pandemic is keeping kids out of the classrooms, but thanks to the Writers’ League of Texas and Project WISE, young writers everywhere can be educated/horrified/traumatized/enlightened AT HOME by yours truly!

I hope you enjoy these 27 minutes of Creepy Author Nikki.

I’ll admit, I’m a little punchy mid-quarantine. But hey! I wore pants for this! And lipstick! And it might be funny enough to get some bored kids back to the page… I hope so, at least. Let me know if it does – I’d love to hear about your Quarantine Kids’ work.

Thanks for watching and sharing. Stay safe and stay home!





Pandemic Poem-A-Day: Fireflies

Hi friends! I hope you are all staying well. I’ve been reading voraciously (is there such a thing as too much reading? I may find out soon), and revising and writing. The best thing to come out of the pandemic at my house is the poetry. Every day, or at least most days, I try to sit with an empty page, stare out the window, and let the poetry arrive in search of me, as Neruda might say.

I can’t share much of the new poetry, as it’s still cooking, but some very nice things have been happening with some of last year’s crop! Including this lovely moment, where my poem Fireflies appears as the poem of the day on a lovely blog.

Okay, okay. I can’t help myself. I’ll share a few words of a poem in progress… the first few lines of a thing that won’t stop whispering.


Long ago

when the

world was quiet

the night was dark

and we dreamed

with our eyes wide,

the stars were maps.


Now go, and write, and be ready when the unformed poem arrives, breathless, waiting for you.




Graphic Novels Galore, and More: The Texas Book Festival!

Hi, y’all! If you’ve spent any time with me, you know how I feel about graphic novels. They were the reason my younger son got hooked on reading in elementary school when novels weren’t working for him, and he never fell out of love with them. We read them obsessively, and those years were some of my happiest ones as a reader and mom. When the recent upsurge in graphic novels on the bestseller lists started, we all did a happy dance in this household!

So when I got the email asking if I would moderate a panel at the Texas Book Festival, featuring Raina Telgemeier, Molly Knox Ostertag, and Gale Galligan, I SWOONED. Yes, you know it – I won the moderator lottery, and I’m going to have to bring my A+++ game to make sure all three of these legitimately rock-star-status graphic novelists have the chance to shine their brightest for our young Texas readers.

If you are interested in the panel (AND YOU SHOULD BE), here’s the link to the details including time and place: Saturday, October 26, at 10-10:45 am at the First United Methodist Church, 1202 Lavaca Street, Austin, in the Murcheson Chapel. Book signing to follow from 11-12!

And here are the books we’re featuring, which will be for sale through Bookpeople at the Texas Book Festival all weekend! (But get your copies at the festival early, as these are gonna go like hotcakes.)


I hope to see you all there!


I have been reading a few others that I think are wonderful, and I’ll post their covers as well.

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka




Young Writer’s Workshop at Lark and Owl Booksellers and More Events


I’ve been loving my social media free-summer so far, but I wanted to check back in to let any readers out there in the Central Texas area know about a great new bookstore and a free writing workshop I’m doing there next week!

Lark and Owl Booksellers has graciously invited me to do a signing and short fairy tale writing workshop for young writers at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31st. Come by to write, listen, and buy a book – any book! Details at the link.

I hope to see you there, and to thank you for reading this far, I want to give a couple of heads-ups for other great book release/launches coming to town. In fact, the other events are all on the SAME DAY at Bookpeople in Austin, and they include FOUR of my favorite authors in the world. <3

First, on August 10, Kathi Appelt, Varsha Bajaj, and Carmen Oliver will bring a Picture Book Celebration to town with a  triple book launch at 2 p.m.


And then the amazing Christian Soontornvat will introduce her new Scholastic series, Dairy of an Ice Princess, at 5 p.m.


STEM and princesses? Oh heck yeah.

I hope to see you there as well!

Happy Summer,