boiling hot at the edge of icy cold

My wee Hyundai and I drove 3300 miles earlier this month, up to Yellowstone and all around Yellowstone and back. While I was there I also did a lot of hiking, looking around, and bothering rangers with questions, because I am playing around with a book set in a big, strange wilderness like that one.

Not that there's any place like Yellowstone, really--except, I've heard, parts of Iceland.

I believe this is Big Cone, unless it is Fishing Cone. It's a geyser right at the edge of a vast, icy lake. I'm mad for this picture for some reason.

I believe this is Big Cone, unless it is Fishing Cone. It's a geyser right at the edge of a vast, icy lake. I'm mad for this picture for some reason.

It's hard to take a bad photo there, even if you are a pure amateur armed with a mighty iPhone and ancient Powershot point-and-shoot.

Upper Falls and its rainbow. I was hiking right along the edge of the canyon.

Upper Falls and its rainbow. I was hiking right along the edge of the canyon.

ANYWAY. Worth the drive. And it was so gloriously cool, and I'm so tired of the heat.

In other news, I wrote a Cabinet of Curiosities story about keys, and what they might unlock. It's called "Little Doors of Blood and Bone," and it begins "The first thing Ida unlocked was the cat." If that sounds appealing (or: TERRIFYING), please check it out!

cold, oh cold

Between holiday prep and festivities, and a trip to New York City, I've been neglecting this place more than usual. My apologies, o handful of visitors!

First: at the Cabinet of Curiosities website, our December stories are about winter and snow. I wrote most of mine on a plane to NYC, and it felt like I was dreaming awake in that airplane way you do sometimes. So I am not sure the story makes the greatest sense (or DOES IT? paging Dr Jung). But it's definitely cold and snowy. It's about a boy whose father forgets to pick him up after orchestra practice one snowy night, and the strange man he meets walking home, who asks him to him to choose between--as the story title says--"Diamonds and Dimes."

Speaking of cold and snow, New York was crazily festive with both. Especially our last day there, Central Park went full-on Winter Wonderland. A few photos below.

Have a sweet and hopeful holiday--hope in the darkness is the point of Christmas, I think, so if you're feeling a bit of darkness, it's okay. Just peek around for the light.

Central Park, fresh snow.

Central Park, fresh snow.

Central Park looking west.

Central Park looking west.

Rose petals under the new ice over the lake in Central Park.

Rose petals under the new ice over the lake in Central Park.

The walk up to the Cloisters, looking over the Hudson River.

The walk up to the Cloisters, looking over the Hudson River.

better not oversleep or your dolls grow teeth

 . . .  or so goes one of the cautionary rhymes in my new Cabinet story, "Nursery Rhymes." In it, an unfortunate little girl not unlike my own wee rambly distractable self-when-young comes across a book which is not, but might as well be, titled "How To Develop an Anxiety Disorder -- in Easy Rhymes!"

In other news, I just got back from Portland, Oregon, where I went to see some of the TBA (Time-Based Art) Festival. I didn't have as much luck with the festival as I'd hoped, but Portland is glorious, all lush and wet and garden-studded. I visited my old college, Reed, for the first time in decades, which was straaange:

Reed College, looking extra-collegiate.

Reed College, looking extra-collegiate.

and the nearby Rhododendron Garden: 

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Glorious much?

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Glorious much?

and the Japanese Garden: 

The Portland Japanese Gardens. I haven't altered this photo, the color is just always this saturated in Portland, maybe because of the clouds? 

The Portland Japanese Gardens. I haven't altered this photo, the color is just always this saturated in Portland, maybe because of the clouds? 

 . . . and more gardens, and Forest Park, which is AMAZING, a giant FOREST more or less in midtown.  And I saw random splendid Portlandish sights like this one:

Shot through the window of some office on a walk home. 

Shot through the window of some office on a walk home. 

But now I'm home in Austin and seem to have brought some rain and gray with me, which we needed desperately, so I feel very clever. 

  

magical howls & mountain driving

Hellooo. I am just back from a week and a half in 1) Yellowstone, 2) Red Lodge Montana, and 3) Big Cottonwood Canyon, just outside Salt Lake City. It was cooler there than it is in Austin, but it is actually and marvelously raining outside right now as I type so I am not for one second going to complain. Anyway, pretty or what?:

Beartooth Pass between Yellowstone and Red Lodge Who needs guard rails ya whiny flatlander?

Beartooth Pass between Yellowstone and Red Lodge Who needs guard rails ya whiny flatlander?

So two things: one, I posted a new story on the Cabinet of Curiosities this morning. Our theme this week is song, and I wrote about how some songs are howls, and some howls can take you far away.

The other thing is: pretty travel photos hurrah! I have some great hiking photos but some of the most extraordinary sights came while I was driving the Beartooth Pass, see above, which is world-class astonishingly beautiful (also a leeetle spooky for a first-time driver, hello more guard rails please?) -- or while I was winding up the canyon -- and neither of them easy times to get a photo. Still here are two more--culled from like a thousand so count your blessings:  

 

Hiking up around the Brighton ski area toward Lake Mary.

Hiking up around the Brighton ski area toward Lake Mary.

Long way doooooown from the Biscuit Basin/Mystic Falls overlook in Yellowstone. Am I not mighty? Look, if you'd met me, you'd be impressed.

Long way doooooown from the Biscuit Basin/Mystic Falls overlook in Yellowstone. Am I not mighty? Look, if you'd met me, you'd be impressed.

comicpalooza this weekend

For those of you planning to frolic with Sir Patrick Stewart & René Auberjonois this weekend in Houston: I just wanted to let y'all know that I toooooo will be at Comicpalooza, aka the Texas International Comic Con. My schedule is:

This is  sort  of cosplay, in that I am wearing a cos in a play ( boom , by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, June 2012, Capital T Theatre).

This is sort of cosplay, in that I am wearing a cos in a play (boom, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, June 2012, Capital T Theatre).

  • Friday, May 24, 5pm - 6pmRead Aloud and Q&A (Room 340, Children's). I will also be taking questions about my DC Universe Online and Wizard 101 voiceovers -- and the anime ones, though I don't remember those very well!
  • Saturday, May 25, 10am - 11amThe Bumpy Lumpy No Good Road to Publication (Panel Room 6) with Deborah Frontiera, Dottie Enderle, Lane Riosley, Hayley Gompertz, Katherine Catmull. Good luck? Talent? A great story? Perseverance? An agent? Or just doing it yourself? There are many paths to publication, as these authors can attest.
  • Sunday, May 26, 11 AM - Noon: Middle Grade: Caught Between Children’s and Young Adult (Panel Room 4) with Katherine Catmull, and Deborah Frontiera. What separates Middle Grade from Children’s and Young Adult? Are there rules? How are the heroes/heroines different? Discover what these authors have to say about their love for writing Middle Grade.

Come talk to me/us! That last one is an especially interesting question to me.

I have never been to a con so I am excited, especially about the cosplay, which I think is awfully cool (how big a nerd do you have to be to think cosplay is awfully cool? Well that is how big a nerd I proudly am!)

 

writing is hard

Long time no see. I was doing a tricky revision for most of February, and then I was in Ireland for a couple of weeks, researching my second book. (That period should really be a !, which is more how I feel about being able to take that trip.) It was gorgeous and terrifying--the left-hand driving at highway speeds on tiny shoulderless roads was the terror--and tremendously useful.

Anyway. I am now on a mission to post on this blog at least once a month -- I realize that's a low bar, shut up: I am like a nervous second grader, I need ACHIEVABLE GOALS to boost my confidence. 

I am also going to tweet more often. Yeah you've been warned. 

The point of both exercises is to meet writers and readers. I feel like there's this giant Intenet cocktail party going on and I'm sort of hovering at the edge of people's tables, eavesdropping, hoping they'll notice me; and then if they look over at me, I'm quickly looking away. Because I am 13.

Anyway: so more blogging! I want to talk about stories. But for now, some Ireland pictures.

Ross Castle in Killarney National Forest. I have to say well done (or Fair play to you! more Irish-ishly) to my super-cheap Canon point & shoot.

Ross Castle in Killarney National Forest. I have to say well done (or Fair play to you! more Irish-ishly) to my super-cheap Canon point & shoot.

That was seriously the view from my room at this B&B in Dingle, Pax Guest House. Fair play to you iPhone camera (it gets jealous.)

That was seriously the view from my room at this B&B in Dingle, Pax Guest House. Fair play to you iPhone camera (it gets jealous.)

 That's a two-way road, just FYI.

 That's a two-way road, just FYI.