Time is a juggernaut. It makes you feel like you're time traveling even when you're not.
These past three months sped by like a shot, even as I've been trying to slow down and take a breath. As of May, I'm on my very first sabbatical! Okay. Don't get too excited. This doesn't mean I'm not working at all. It just means I'm stepping back from school visits and most events, apart from those already on my calendar. As a result, since May, I've had more time for writing, and more time for life, in general (long-overdue home repairs, gatherings with friends, trips to the movie theater—joy!). And, thanks to my COVID vaccination, I was able to go on my first writing retreat since lockdown! Yay! But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to April.
Virtually speaking, I joined panels at TLA, and the San Antonio Book Festival. I visited students at Mason School District in Michigan, addressed the August University Book Club, and enjoyed a stimulating conversation with Jane Yolen, moderated by Heidi Stemple for NESCBWI.
Podcasts, anyone? I was delighted to be featured on The Creative Shift with Dan Blank and Saturday Mornings with Joy Keys. I taped an episode of This One's Dedicated to with Chris Barton and Jennifer Ziegler. I was also excited to record a presentation on Legacy for this year's upcoming National Book Festival, Sept 17 to 26, 2021.
Book news? Sure. The future looks promising, my friends. I sealed the deal on four new Dyamonde Daniel books with Reycraft. Had a cover reveal, courtesy of Mr. Schu, for the paperback edition of Garvey's Choice. In addition, there was a cover reveal for Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems, with Paraclete Press, now available for preorder. I also accepted an offer on a new picture book with Bloomsbury, titled Grandma's Cup of Quiet. In addition, plans are underway for paperback editions of Words With Wings and Ordinary Hazards! I have two more projects in the works that I'm not quite ready to talk about, just yet. So, my being on sabbatical doesn't mean I'm loafing off!
This has been a year for anthologies, and I begin work on a new one in July, writing a suite of poems for it. The genre is somewhere between fiction and fantasy, something new for me! It's another chance for me to stretch my literary muscles by trying something new.
Thanks to COVID vaccinations, I was able to travel for my first writing retreat since lockdown! I'm two drafts into a new novel that I'm excited about, a sequel to one of my most popular novels. Stay tuned!
What else? I joined Instagram! Look for me there under poetrynikki. (I wanted to make it easy for you to find me.)
As this next quarter unfolds, I'll be doing a novels-in-verse intensive for SCBWI, and partnering with Padma Ventrakamen to lead a novels-in-verse workshop for Highlights Foundation, September 27-29, 2021. I will also have two exciting bits of news to celebrate. One is an award for my body-of-work, and the second is an award nomination. Both will be officially announced this fall. Until then, mum's the word! Having to keep silent is a delicious agony for me! Somehow, I'll manage it though. Don't you worry.
One of the things I want to do during this sabbatical is clear space for art projects. I haven't gotten there yet, but I'm looking forward to picking up paint and brush soon! In the meantime, there are stories to pen, my friends! I will meet you between the pages.
All for now—
From Nikki's Journal
"...The heart is a single muscle
from Glory in the Margins:Sunday Poems