Fusebox 2017

Part of the set of  Vine of the Dead.

Part of the set of Vine of the Dead.

The Fusebox Festival blows up Austin every April - one of my favorite times of year, five days crammed with the world's best and weirdest theater, dance, visual art, and music.

I wrote some stuff:

"Slaves to a System," about Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe's extraordinary dance piece Meeting.

"A Comic, Joyful, Poignant Lear," about David Neumann's delightful, heartbreaking I Understand Everything Better.

"A Hand Touching the Screen Between Life and Death" about Jim Findlay's slow, powerful Vine of the Dead, 11 Ritual Gestures

A final piece called "Fusebox Rhymes" about the call and response, the fugue of repeated motifs and techniques the festival always finds.


last chance for a phone full of strange

IT IS THE HOUR! (almost).

There's a lot of birds back behind the mirror--why?

There's a lot of birds back behind the mirror--why?

Signups for Sister of Shattering Glass end this Monday, February 13, at 6:30PM Central. No late train and no late seating.

Voice from the back: "Remind me what this thing is?"

It's the story of two sisters trapped behind the mirrors of our world, trying to contact you, with words, and pictures, and sound.

It's a lovely little trickle of strangeness, adventure, and pleasure that will wind in and out among your text messages for five months.

It only costs $6--or it's free if you're broke and under 20. You can stop or pause it any time you like.

It's your one life! Have some fun and jump on board while you can. Need more convincing? Here's an Austin American Statesman piece about this project -- and here's the Austin Chronicle's. And Broadway World Austin's for good measure.

See you in your text messages soon.

sister of shattering glass

Yes I am blogging again for the first time in a year. It's been a quiet year, okay?

(Except for the part where I went backcountry camping all alone in Yellowstone and a whole herd of buffalo walked though my camp . . . or when I went to Burning Man  . . . or when I was in an insane play where I talked to a bot and carried a clarinet around the whole time  . . . okay I was busy.)

BUT! We're about to launch THE STRANGEST PROJECT OF ALL, which I've been working on for two years and am very proud of.

Photo by  Annie Gunn . Poster by  Five & Four .

Photo by Annie Gunn. Poster by Five & Four.

It's called Sister of Shattering Glass, and it's an all-ages behind-the-mirrors adventure that takes place entirely on your phone, in your text messages. It goes on for four months, and is full of brilliant images and strange sounds and odd characters.

And it's only $6. 

And we promise not to blow up your phone.

Learn more at the Physical Plant Theatre website, or jump straight to the Kickstarter and buy a ticket to adventure. We are already one of Kickstarter's "Projects We Love." I hope we will be one that you love, too.

blog tour of RADIANT ROAD blogging madness blogs! bloggity!

Maybe I am JUST NOT a blogger, is that a possibility? Why can't I keep up here? 

Anyway THIS post is really just going to be a constantly-updated list of kindly sites hosting my The Radiant Road blog-tour blogs. Updated as they happen! So you can't say I'm not blogging! SHUT UP! STOP SAYING THAT!

Okay here goes:



  • At Muggle.net: Me on the longggg and twisty road to publication for this crazy book. They posted a lovely and thoughtful review of the book as well.
  • At Winter Haven Books: An amusing (well: to us!) game of "Would You Rather?" Would I rather have dinner with a werewolf or a vampire? You're probably wrong. 
  • At WordSpelunking (motto: "books and cupcakes" -- I can fully support that mission statement): A list of my ten favorite things as illustrated by gifs! I got to use my favorite gif, which is the one up there. WordSpelunking also posted a very generous review of The Radiant Road.
  • At Dark Faerie Tales: a book soundtrack for The Radiant Road--music I listened to while I was writing to put me in that right (or write) place. They also have a smart and lovely review  up.
  • At YABibliophile: An interview I quite enjoyed!
  • At Alexa Loves Books: My one or two (okay maybe five or six) biggest inspirations as a writer and how they shaped The Radiant Road.
  • At the Penguin Teen Tumblr: A bunch of amusing questions, including "If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?" to which I have a weird answer.
  • At Live to Read: A playlist of songs my main character Clare might listen to.
  • At BookPage: An interview in which Cat Acree asked some awfully perceptive questions about the book.
  • At Gone Pecan: 25 Random Things About me. For some reason I LOVED doing this. You won't BELIEVE #13.
  • At Across the Words: A very cool interview with photos of Irish places that inspired me.

These next aren't strictly part of the blog tour but happened around the same time:

  • At WordMothers: A nice interview about my book, process, writing room, what inspires me.
  • At The Page 69 Test: I did a brief (and fun) analysis of page 69 of The Radiant Road and how it relates to the rest of the book. Among other things, it turned out to be the only page where the book title appears!
  • At The Writing Barn, an Austin TREASURE, I sing the praises of the Barn and also a song of myself.

the lost girl at the bottom of the quarry

Hey you.

Man I have been a little overwhelmed, working on a couple of writing projects and my freelance editing (need to put those services up on this site: remind me!) and opening a show. Well: it hasn't opened yet, we're still in the muddy depths of tech week. But it does open this Thursday, September 24 , and runs through October 24 at Hyde Park Theatre, if you're near Austin and interested.

A Vermont marble quarry.

A Vermont marble quarry.

Tired of posting selfies! Here are Chase Brewer and Jess Hughes, who are also in  The Quarry.

Tired of posting selfies! Here are Chase Brewer and Jess Hughes, who are also in The Quarry.

It's called The Quarry, by Greg Pierce, and it's about a crusty, antisocial New England widow--think Olive Kitteridge, if you read or saw that--whose decision to "off myself" gets derailed by mysterious events in the marble quarry she loves. The play begins as a quite funny comedy, turns a little heartbreaking, then wraps up with magical, surreal loveliness.

In some ways it's a play about following the vein that leads deep back into your own heart, where the vulnerable, abandoned girl you once were sits waiting for you to care for her again. Isn't that lovely, and moving, and hard to do? 

Hard to even believe that girl is there. I think she is though.

Anyway! If you're around come see our show!

Oh by the way: we've put the Cabinet of Curiosities on hiatus for a while until the curators get their acts together. We'll be back.

new book gorgeous cover hi how are you

argghhh I broke my own rule about posting monthly and missed June AND July! But it was a mad July with visiting and visitors and lots of work and ANYWAY.

The main thing, Danny, is two things (<---quote from a long ago play I was in): 1) my new book, The Radiant Road, has a gorgeous cover with art by Scott McKowen; and 2) there will be an audio version, recorded by the Listening Library, which does all the best young-reader books. To say I am psyched doesn't even.

Try to tell me that is not magnificent. I am the luckiest author with covers EVER.

Try to tell me that is not magnificent. I am the luckiest author with covers EVER.

It's about adventure and making art and finding courage and figuring out love maybe possibly? (or maybe just liking a lot?) and saving worlds and all that. Read all about it

In less giddy news, I've also written a couple more Cabinet of Curiosities stories this summer: one very short one about tiny creepy crawlies that are ALL OVER YOU! RIGHT NOW! called "How It Feels When They Come"; and another about hikers who don't get back before dark, like they were warned to do, called "Night Walkers."

And I'm working on some other stuff, and oh I just started rehearsing an excellent play called The Quarry, by Greg Pierce, which will go up at Hyde Park Theatre late next month.

But more on that and other things next post. For now let's all just sit around and stare dreamily at that cover.



a long haunting

Hey all, all three dozen of ya. How are you today? It's rainy here, has been rainy for weeks*, and I am feeling meditative today. Keep thinking about how fast life goes from this . . .

to this: 

In the case of those flowers, both of which are on my magnolia tree today, the process takes about three days. So I guess I should be grateful that the ones I love are not magnolia flowers or mayflies.

(BTW, I am talking about mortality. not loss of cuteness. Are you kidding me, I look fantastic in slowly-decaying brown.)

So anyway but good news! My second whole book (the Cabinet is only a quarter mine), a YA fantasy, long long long in the making, is now in copyedits. So it is real. And it has a title finally: The Radiant Road. And I hope to be able to share something or other else about it here soon, maybe even a publication date. [EDIT: no sooner posted than answered--my husband saw on Amazon that it's scheduled for January 19, 2016. The writer is ever the last to know! but very happy to know now.]

Also I wrote a Cabinet story this month called "What Caroline Said." It is based on a real newspaper story about a haunting--and I researched the real family, which was maybe kind of weird of me?--and then made up a bunch of lies to go with it. I like this one. Hope you do, too.

*Weeks of rain is good--we've been in drought for many years Also it's so pretty out, all that gray and soft light.

Spring Mishmash

I have so many projects, small and large, going on right now. It's splendid, but I keep intending to come back here and Comment Wisely on some current topic but you know what? Then I don't.

Also: spring is lovely in Austin but, as ever: ahhhhCHOO.

So this will be the typical listy mishmash of stuff, sorry. 

First off, I wrote a Cabinet story this month inspired by this Ralph Meatyard photo.

(Terrifying) photo by  Ralph Meatyard .

(Terrifying) photo by Ralph Meatyard.

I had also just come from visiting my father, where he lives in a cabin out in the woods, and that may have influenced this piece as well, which is more eerie and autumnal than EEK SCREAM FRIGHT.  

Anyway! Also the play I'm in here in Austin, The Christians, is still playing through March 28. We've been selling out, and it's a lovely, thoughtful show, about how we make walls and shields and moats out of our beliefs so that we don't have to open ourselves to other people. If you're around, come see one of the last three shows.

Also, for the Fusebox Festival's 100 Year Flood piece,  I've written and recorded a very short, odd little piece inspired by this site:

This is on the Lady Bird Lake hike &amp; bike trail in Austin, on the north side of the river just west of the Lamar pedestrian bridge.

This is on the Lady Bird Lake hike & bike trail in Austin, on the north side of the river just west of the Lamar pedestrian bridge.

Several other excellent local writers also did pieces, which you can (beginning April 1) download and listen to in that spot, if you like.

I am also now one of the Yellow Bird Editors and am really enjoying the work, so if you're a writer interested in critique or editing services, YB is the place. I recently wrote a blog for them about banishing stick-figure writing (and getting readers to feel your words in their bones) by using concrete sensory details. A lot of it I kyped from a workshop I taught last month for the Writer's League of Texas.

As usual I'll be blogging again for the Fusebox Festival (April 1-12)--it is absolutely one of Austin's Best Things, much more exciting than SXSW. Don't miss it.


not for the cool

I had a revelation about social media the other day--I realized that none of the truly cool people I know are any good at Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr. Usually they are too cool even to try--they would never expose themselves so casually, or be so unconsidered, or waste their time so obviously.

And maybe this is the GREAT THING about social media--cool people don't get it! So it's the happy playground of the uncool: the slightly excited, the earnest, the nerds and geeks, the goofy jokers, the hearts-on-their-sleeves.

Myself at age 7-ish, being massively uncool. Already a potential social media genius!

Myself at age 7-ish, being massively uncool. Already a potential social media genius!

I am just glad all the cool people haven't tried to come and ruin it for us.

In other news: I am about to open another play, called The Christians, by Lucas Hnath. It runs February 26-March 28 at the tiny Hyde Park Theatre, which we're turning into the smallest megachurch in North America for the occasion. It's a beautiful play that I feel lucky to be in, but it's been a long time since I did back-to-back shows and I. Am. Tired.

Also I wrote a new Cabinet of Curiosities story, about a school with an urban legend about a dangerous gift. This is one of the creepiest ones I've done in a while, and I am pleased with it. I borrowed the name and personality of one of my own sisters, and then gave her a terrible fate (what is wrong with me? good question).

But guess what? She'll never know, because she is too cool to read blogs or Twitter etc. WINNING.

a happy bloody beginning

Selfie as Clytemnestra&nbsp;at the Long Center, mid- Deus Ex Machina . You get tousled slaughtering your husband then swanning off with your psychopath boyfriend.

Selfie as Clytemnestra at the Long Center, mid-Deus Ex Machina. You get tousled slaughtering your husband then swanning off with your psychopath boyfriend.

For me the new year began with a nice bloody smash in the play Deus Ex Machina, a quite mad updated choose-your-own adventure version of the collection of Greek tragedies known as the Oresteia. The audience directed us like puppets and it was scary, hilarious, and fun.

And I just got some nice news: my second novel is headed into line edits--it doesn't matter what those are, just: YAY.  It will definitely be on the Dutton Winter/Spring 2016 list. And it still doesn't have a dang title.

I also wrote a story for the Cabinet of Curiosities--we're definitely back. This one traces my curator's adventures monster-proofing a spooky window that hangs from the sky, feeding nightmares into the world. It was inspired by this photo I took in Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood a year ago--whoever you are, lovely & creative homeowners, I regret killing you off so unpleasantly in the story.