Thursday, October 10, 2013


YAY! Flushed has found a home with the wonderful crew of Astraea Press! I'm so psyched about this, deep into edits at the moment to make them proud to publish this book.

 Here's the query to refresh your memory:

 Ten-year-old Lucas has heard enough of his plumber father’s warnings about sewer-sailing pirate abductions—too bad Dad’s threats turn up true and getting flushed really stinks.

Captain Flatus Codswallup needs Lucas’s help getting his ship seaworthy, and flushes him as a new recruit. Lucas is happy for a vacation, but it’s not all toots and giggles in the sewer and the annoying first mate threatens mutiny behind the captain’s back. Lucas must decide between saving Flatus’s butt and getting home without pink eye.

 But when the pirate ship falls under attack, Lucas learns who Flatus’s sworn enemies are: plumbers. Plumbers like… Dad! Now Lucas has to choose a side that doesn’t get everybody killed as plumbers and pirates meet in the messiest battle the sewers have ever seen.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Like a Virgin Pitch Contest - Finalist!

Many thanks to everyone involved in this contest. The organizers were more professional than most professionals and the input I received on my pitch was invaluable. I made the final round with DOLLHOUSE PIXIES, even got a couple cherry awards and requests for revised pitches. I'm in the laboratory again now, tinkering and tweaking, and generally trying to make the quality and content of my pitch match the quality and content of my work. Easier said than done! Like a Virgin Contest Page

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Like a Virgin Pitch Contest

Decided to do some serious edits and rewrites lately on my YA urban fantasy, Dollhouse Pixies. And what better way to celebrate that work than entering it into a pitch contest? Yay!  Here's the link:  We're doing a blog hop as part of that contest so here goes my answers to the "getting to know you" questions!

  • How do you remember your first kiss?

I barely remember the kiss itself, but I remember wallowing in the pure bliss of thinking about it for days and days and days and days afterwards. It was like being hit with an anvil and seeing little birdies flying around for a week. 

  • What was your first favorite love song?

Probably "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis. I've been singing along with that song in the car from my earliest memories of car singing in my childhood until an hour ago. 

  • What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?

Perch on my chair contrary to the way most people sit in chairs. And wait for the beast to boot itself up. I try to keep my works in progress open at all times to inspire work over internet shenanigans. 

  • Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?

R.L. Stine - I was always impressed that he wrote faster than I read. I remember pretending to talk on the phone with one of my friends as a kid, but not paying attention in favor of my current Goosebumps book. Addictive reading,  yes please! 

  • Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?

I'm not even sure it takes place on the same planet anymore. This is actually something I'm right in the middle of re-writing: different genre, different main character age, different plot, but same characters. Wish me luck. 

  • For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?

Setting. I wrote it while living in Hawaii, and that's the essence of the book. 

  • What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?

Pirates! Well, not all my books are about pirates. How about "honest"?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

#PitchMAS Blog Contest

Got some feedback on my pitches. I've seen about equal parts love and hate of my title regarding "Buttpirates". So, until further notice, I'm changing the title to FLUSHED. This will be a more parent-approved title, with the terminology staying the same inside the ms (for now). Thanks everyone who gave me feedback! Below is how my entry turned out:

Category/Genre: MG Adventure
Word Count: 40,000
Pitch: Ten-year-old Lucas thinks his dad’s full of poop when he warns of bathroom abductions by pirates. Turns out he’s right, and Lucas gets flushed down the toilet to become a sewer-sailing swashbuckler.

On a whim, I submitted an entry for my other WIP, Dollhouse Pixies. This is my YA that I've been pulling all nighters to edit these last few days. The entry turned out like this:

Category/Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000
Pitch: Sixteen-year-old Natalie is annoyed at the pixie living in her dollhouse. Her depressed dad and college courses leave no time for magical war. Being nearly blown up changes things—she might miss class for this. 

Friday, July 5, 2013


PitchMAS !

What a really cool idea, I just stumbled across this blog today, right on the day of a pitch workshop! The idea is to pitch a book in 35 words or 140 characters (Twitter, this is your fault) and work on the pitches with each other. The fifty best ones will be paraded in front of some literary agents and editors! Here's what I came up with, at the start of the workshop. Hope I'll get some good feedback and I'll post the newer version later!

Jen Nikitin

35 word blog pitch:
Ten-year-old Lucas thinks his dad’s full of poop when he warns of bathroom abductions by pirates. Turns out he’s right, and Lucas gets flushed down the toilet to become a sewer-sailing Buttpirate.

Twitter pitch:
Ten-year-old Lucas ignores his plumber dad’s threats and gets flushed down the toilet to become a sewer-sailing pirate. #MGlit #PitchMAS

Friday, June 28, 2013

Catching Up and #MSWL on Twitter

Woo, I've been neglecting the ol' blog here! Lots happening in my writer-life. I have Lucas and the Buttpirates all ready to go (or so I think) and I'm actively querying it. It's my middle grade adventure about sewer-sailing pirates! #MSWL lit the fire under me, finding several agents to query who (SQUEE) like pirates! Lovely quality in a human, I must say. A couple mentions of "The Goonies" that  made my toes tingle. Now I'll play the waiting game, with daydreams of pirates and writing sequels upon sequels for the ragtag pirate crew.

Dollhouse Pixies (my urban fantasy YA) is getting a thorough editing by the lovely Emily, out of the kindness of her heart, thank you! I am also racing ahead of her line edits with some plot re-writes to tighten things up. Since the Buttpirates are resting, this is my current writery focus. I really did miss Celestari while it was marinating in my drawer.

And, Twitter is fun it turns out. Yay for agents participating in #MSWL, I loved following along even if most agents want nothing to do with sewers, pirates, or MG! (All I need is one, right?)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Querying Dollhouse Pixies

Okay, the term "query hell" is accurate. I've gone through no less than twenty versions of my query letter over the last weeks and no version does everything I want it to do (yet).  For those non-writers out there, it's the pitch email I'm preparing to send to agents who will hopefully at least want to read a page or two.

Thanks to Absolute Write both the forums and the chat for keeping me sane and on track. And thanks to my husband and mom for being tied as my number one fans. While good solid crits are great from fellow writers, it's also nice to just get an "OMG AMAZING!" once in a while from those not in the trade. Couldn't do it without you all!

Here's the current draft of my hook: With a dead mom and a depressed dad, sixteen-year-old college student Natalie is only hanging on by a thread when a pixie shows up in her mother’s dollhouse begging for help finding and rallying her kind against bloodthirsty fairies.