Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Chimera and Qi" in Good Company

tinaconnolly and carolineyoachim pointed me over to Last Short Story's list of their 2008 Year's Best where my dysfunctional little piece somehow ended up rubbing elbows with stories by the likes of Kelly Link, Maureen McHugh, Stephen King, and too many other lovely writers to mention.  Color me baffled but pleased.

I never quite got around to posting about LSS's initial write-ups here:

"Chimera and Qi, by Tinatsu Wallace, from the latest Shimmer, is a very nicely written story of a woman whose marriage is in trouble, and whose family is trouble too. It's fantastical in nature, but the emotions at the heart of it feel utterly real and tender. Highly recommended, and particularly impressive as it's the author's first publication."

and here:

"Tinatsu Wallace, "Chimera and Qi" Shimmer Spring- on the surface, a woman returns to her mother's house because she thinks her marriage is over. But there is a darker story under the surface, a story of claws and blood... this one was a lovely juxtaposition of the painfully real and the surreal."

I suppose I should get around to finishing another story or two.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Chimera and Qi" now in Shimmer

My story "Chimera and Qi" is now out in the latest issue of Shimmer. I wrote this for Week 2 of Clarion West, and I am pleased that it is finally out. Happy day!

You can order a copy through their website in either paper or PDF form. I haven't had a chance to read the entire issue yet, but from the snippets I've seen, it's filled with lots of goodness.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Time to Say Hello Caroline Yoachim's first publication, "Time to Say Goodbye" in Fantasy Magazine, a sad-sweet tale featuring a heartbreaking mechanical Duck. Go read it now.

I'll put it a request now for a Duck for my Christmas stocking next year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

On the Move

So, we're moving again. Back to California. Due to the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar and the fact that all the visual effects work is headed back south, we are heading south too.

We got an apartment in the building in Pasadena we moved out of two years ago. I loved it there so all is good. We'll be renting the unit directly below our old apartment, which is a relief because I know the apartment layout and everything already.

The actual moving part will happen the second week of January. Right now we're in the packing and organizing phase. Yay, packing.

I will be sad to be moving away from Washington. I'll miss my little garden and having a house and the relative lack of traffic on the roads. Pixel will miss having a whole yard full of grass to eat and geese to watch out the window.

I feel like the past two years have been something of a detour from my nicely planned life and that I'm now returning to the main road. Or maybe it's something more akin to the Hero's Journey, and now that I've faced my challenges and battled through, I get to return home now, somewhat wiser than when I left.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

For my fair-weather friends

Friday, November 30, 2007

Geese in the Yard

This is only a quarter of the flock. They used to hang out by the creek on the other side of the golf course, but a couple of weeks ago, they took up residence right behind my house. Meanwhile the ducks from the pond across from my front yard have moved down to the creek. I don't know if they have some sort of timeshare arrangement going on or what.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Girls, Women, and Females

It started like this:

I was reading essays on Jenny Crusie's site (it was research, I tell you--not procrastination) and discovered that she, and some other women writers, call their subconscious/Muse/subliminal swamp the "Girls in the Basement." Which reminded me of how weird it is to me when women on What Not to Wear refer to their breasts as "the Girls." (As in: badly-fitting bras make "the Girls" unhappy.) Referencing any part of myself, either mental or physical, as a "girl" makes me uncomfortable, and it occurred to me to wonder why.

The short answer is that I don't strongly identify with being a female/woman/girl. I know that I am one, of course, but I generally just think of myself as a "person." The same way that I know that I am technically part-Asian, but I rarely think of myself that way. I don't think of myself as being white, either, or even Asian-American, although that's the closest label. What I picked up from growing up in an era of equal rights and feminism was that "all people, regardless of gender or race, are equal" meant that "men and women are the same," apart from a few biological differences.

Along with that came this idea that being a woman was something to be ashamed of, that embracing femininity meant emphasizing differences between genders, where the ideal was to be the same, to achieve genderless personhood. (Did said personhood look suspiciously masculine? Why, yes, it did. But that's for another discussion.)

But I've been thinking about women and femininity a lot recently, partly because of a story I want to write and partly because I want to find out what being a woman means to me. I've been thinking especially about the stages of women's development, from adolescence through adulthood, which is where the whole issue with the word "girls" comes from.

It's not that I don't like the word--I'm far more comfortable saying "girls" than I am with "women." I'm just wondering what the word means. And I don't think it's just me that's uncomfortable with "women"; I know I've had discussion with other females my age--all of us hovering around thirty, mostly married--about the fact that we refer to each other as "girls" and that we know guys (I say "guys" instead of "men" too) who refer to their girlfriends, or even wives, as "girls." For that matter, I know a lot of older women who refer to themselves and others as girls--"Golden Girls," anyone?

So, my question is: what's a "woman," and how and when does it differ from being a "girl"? To be honest, my conception of the word "woman" has a good deal of matronliness about it. I am far more comfortable using "female" than "woman" as an all-purpose word for female adults.

I never bothered with Women's Studies courses in college because I thought it was kind of backwards at the time to study Women if the ideal was to be genderless People. So I missed all of those discussion back then. But if I'm to think meaningfully about what it means to be a woman today, I need to know what a woman is. How do you define it? What makes someone a woman or a girl to you? Are there appreciable differences between men and women to you, or does it just come down to differences in physiology?

And finally: where do you see these conceptions/definitions going in the future? What will be the same about being a woman 500 years ago vs. today vs. 500 years into the future, and what will be different?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moods and Writing

There's something sick about the way I feel so much better when I've done some writing for the day. If I don't write for a couple of days, then I feel it building inside, this sense of unease and tension. But scrawl or type a couple hundred words of fiction and whoosh! suddenly the whole world looks right again. It's a strange sort of addiction to have, especially strange since it's not something I want to do every day, I just feel so much better when I do. (I suppose it's more like exercise then--I don't want to do it at all, and certainly not every damn day, but it's good for me.)

I don't have to write "good" words to feel better, but they do have to be story words. Blogging doesn't assuage my unease, or I'd do more of it. Although too many days of writing "bad" words or at least words that don't seem to be getting the story anywhere is just as bad as not writing at all. Well, almost.

I don't know what my point is other than to say I hadn't written anything for the past couple of weeks because I am busy and stressed with other things (and because my story brain is supposed to be stewing novel ideas--stew faster, I say!), but I spewed out a few hundred words of something last night, and all that other stressful stuff seems so much more manageable now. I have no idea what the story I started is about, or even if it's going to turn into anything at all, but I like a couple of things in it and somehow that's enough.

That's really kinda sick, you know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mt. Baker

We drove out toward Mt. Baker on Saturday to take some pictures. The sun was out by our house but the closer to the mountains we got, the grayer the skies. I was hoping to get some decent fall foliage photos, but the leaves up there had mostly dropped already. Still lots of prettiness though.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Twisted Roots

This is what happens when you're too lazy to space out the carrots in your garden:

Moral: Sometimes laziness pays.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No blogging is good blogging...

Not really, but I haven't had much of anything to blog about. A lot going on here, but nothing blogworthy. Not even any pictures to share. Maybe later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back from Cali

I spent the weekend down in LA, checking on my dad who's in the hospital with another stroke. He's doing okay, relatively speaking.

The only thing I really miss about LA is the gazillion restaurants in close proximity. Otherwise, I rather like it up here in the boonies of Washington, where the hills aren't scorched black and brown and the roads aren't clogged with cars.

I'm going to do revisions on a couple of stories this week, so I can get them out the door. And then I will be concentrating on something new for awhile. I'm also anticipating having a day job again soon--we'll see how that goes.

The new project is novelish length. Possibly a series. (Ack!) The upside is that I can feel good about sinking lots of prep time into it, whereas spending three months ruminating on a short story feels self-indulgent and procrastinatory. The downside is that I haven't written anything that long. Ever. Possibly not even cumulatively, if you added together every story I've ever written.

Let the adventure begin.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sunshine on my Desk

Woe unto me: my days of procrastination are over. My new laptop has arrived.

My old laptop was still in fine working condition, but I donated it to my Mom while I was in Japan (whose computer was held together with tape) in order to get a Dell Inspiron 1521. Why? Because I saw an ad online for it which showed the case in Sunshine Yellow--a color that perfectly matches my car, Buttercup. Is pretty. I like. (Is also sad, I know. But still pretty!)

Added bonus: the keyboard is lovely to type on. I am particular about my keyboards, but I just love the responsiveness and feel of these keys.

Now that I have a computer of my own again, I have no more excuses not to be writing, so a-writing I shall go!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back from Japan

...where I got a Strawberry Sirotan to add to my collection. More pictures of Japan, plus a fuller report, later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Off to Japan

Yeah, you're jealous, I know. I get to wander around Tokyo, hang out with people at WorldCon, and possibly die from schlepping around in the record-breaking heat wave.

Pix and blogging will resume upon my return.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

First Check

Yay, Shimmer sent me a check for "Chimera and Qi"! Only six months after the acceptance letter, too--that's downright speedy.

Is paid author now. Is happy.

No, still don't know when the conversion to "published author" will occur. Several more months down the road, I'd imagine. Gives me plenty of time to savor each milestone as it occurs.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pixel Grazing

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rejection x3

I don't mind getting the stray rejection. Usually I just move on, send the story out to the next market on the list, and that's that.

But 3 rejections in one day (4 total for the week) is a little much. Especially when it means I have no stories out now.

One story I can send out again tonight, once I figure out where it's going. One of them has been out a lot, and I think I might want to trunk it. And two stories need rewritten before they go out again.

Oh well, at least one rejection was from GVG. (Dusting the manuscript with Ritalin to get past JJA's story-ADD apparently worked.)

And now... back to work.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zucchini Blossoms

Brought to you from my garden:

Anyone have some good zucchini recipes?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Write-a-thon Final Update

OK, I'm done. As far as I'm concerned at least.

I don't have final drafts of 6 new stories, which is what I had originally hoped for. But I did bust through six stories, which is what I really needed to do, as opposed to spending months endlessly tweaking just one. So I am happy with what I've gotten done.

Part of this challenge for me was to test the limits of how much I could actually get done without going crazy. I passed over that threshold several days ago (as my family can testify), so it's time to call it quits.

Final tally: 3 revisions + 3 new story drafts.
Final wordcount: Just shy of 20,000

Since I technically didn't do what my original set of goals were, my sponsors can use their discretion as to how much or whether they want to donate. But I encourage everyone to donate anyway, because Clarion West was a valuable experience for me and other writers I know and continues to be an important part of what's helping me become the writer I want to be. I hope that other writers can continue to share that experience through the workshop, so please support Clarion West.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Write-a-thon Week 5 Update

A painful but semi-productive week.

I finished the story that I was working on last week. It's still rough in places, but Gord has helpfully pointed out some of the major problems. His girlfriend Lime is also Tuckerized in that story and is so far not offended by what I've done with her character.

I also wrote a new story--it's a little over a thousand words right now. I have to decide whether I want to expand or cut for the next draft. It definitely needs a next draft. My brain is dead and stressed from other things, so the story ended up being technically okay but pretty darn lifeless. I hope it can be revived.

Accordingly, there has been a slight change in plans. I don't have the time or mental energy to polish 6 stories to a point where I'd feel comfortable sending them out. So I'm working on just having six stories completely drafted. I could technically count the draft I did at the beginning as one, but I am going to try for two more drafts.

One of the stories I had been hoping to complete is still too ambitious for me to push out quickly, even in a rough draft form. It's long and complicated and really wants to be a novella I think. I tell it, "No, you're a short story," and it says, "Fine, I won't tell you the ending then. Or the middle. But if I were longer, I know all sorts of places I could go..."

So, I'm calling it 4 out of 6 stories done, with 2 more to go. Maybe all new, maybe 1 revision. We'll see my mental state after this weekend.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Write-a-thon Week 4 Update

So this is a little late. I was trying to put it off until I had the story I'm working on completed, which I hoped would be Friday. And then Saturday. And even Sunday would have been okay. But here we are on Monday... and, well, where exactly are we?

Here's where: I'm expanding a 600-word story I wrote a month or so ago, which wasn't working at such a short length. I figured another thousand words would flesh it out. But here I am at 3000 words and the end is only barely in sight. It'll be under 4000 words when I'm done, but not by much. Things have been progressing, but slowly, hampered by constant doubt that it needs to be this long.

Then I move on to a story I started several months ago. I wrote a few thousand words of it and stopped, probably because of a suspicion that it was more ambitious than I was willing to tackle at the time. I added a thousand words to it last week, and I'm thinking I still have another few thousand to go. It may actually head into novelette territory, which has frightening "No Man's Land" signs posted at the borders for me.

The other rewrite, planned for Week 6, is for the story I drafted at the beginning of the Write-a-thon. It's getting a major overhaul (which I need to actually think out), so that's another 4000 new words.

So, all in all, we're looking at about 10k in new wordage for this week and next. Gulp. And that would only be getting 5 out of 6 stories done. So ideally I'd also need to pull a piece of flash out of my ass. (Well, it could come out of my brain--but that would effectively be the same thing. Shit either way.)

I'd be in slightly better shape if I hadn't decided to trash the story that I spent three days on the week before last. But it sucked in myriad ways, so it's really better left for dead.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Buttercup Busted

Lesson of the Day: Don't insult my car.

Buttercup has very sensitive feelings. Knowing this, I've told Brad repeatedly not to make disparaging remarks about her, but did he listen? Of course not. So, on Sunday, not ten minutes after he called her a lemon for the twentieth time, she blew up at him. I was letting him drive us home from dinner, and as we crested a hill--SPLAT! Buttercup spit coolant all over the windshield. Steam hissed and fumed from under the hood.

Turns out Buttercup was so mad she busted some sort of intake housing. We had to call a tow truck to haul her to the nearest service center. Brad ended up sitting by the freeway for two hours, waiting for the tow to arrive while I took a cab home to fetch his car.

She's been recuperating in the shop for the past two days. I get to pick up her tomorrow. I hope she and Brad will be able to kiss and make up. Maybe he should buy her some tasty motor oil or a little bling for the dash. Or do a full-body wash and rubdown. Girls love a little spa treatment.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Write-a-thon Week 3 Update

Another not-so-productive week.

I finished revising "Iron Shoes," my Week 5 story from last summer. Which means I have now revised all of the stories I wrote during CW. Yay.

That brings me to having 2/6 of my WaT goals completed. Still a story behind.

I started writing the one totally new story I need to do. I'm about a thousand words in, and I don't know if it's just me and a bad mood or if the story really is boring. It's non-SF, so it's possible that it's just boring to me. Unfortunately, the idea doesn't lend itself well to throwing fairies or spaceships at it to spice things up. I will soldier on and get it finished though. Sometime. Soon. Even if it means chaining myself to the laptop on Sunday.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Write-a-thon Week 2 Update

Despite working steadily throughout the week, I am a little behind where I had hoped to be.

The good news: I finished revising "Baby Food and Absolution." I need to proofread it and see if I can cut yet another 500 words to bring the word count under 5k, but I am calling it effectively done. Which means I am 1/6 of the way through my goal of 6 finished stories.

The half-way decent news: I reoutlined my Week 5 story yesterday and hope to redraft tomorrow. I don't think it needs as much new writing as the last one; mostly I think scenes needs reshuffled and bits tweaked to more clearly define the conflict. It's a significantly shorter story too at 2000 words, so I really hope I can get it done tomorrow or Monday. The revision slated for after that is also super-short, so if I can get two stories done this week, I'll be back to needing to finish a story per week.

The "not so great for productivity" news: My mom and stepdaughter are both invading the house in the next few days, so I'll have to balance my obligations to entertain them while also getting work done.

NEXT TIME: Will Tina finish redrafting her stories? Or will familial-induced guilt keep her from the keyboard? Stay tuned...

Oh, and the reason that I am not writing today is that Brad and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Go us!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


WARNING: Geek Content

If you saw the movie Deja Vu, you'll recall that they supposedly recreated a 3-D environment by putting together all of the available video data and were navigating the world through that. (This was before we discover the true, much more fanciful nature of their technology.) Well, the first explanation is much closer to being available now.

This software, Photosynth, analyzes collections of photos, either your own or culled from a database like Flickr, and then arranges them into a 3-D representation, so that you can actually look around a whole environment by moving from picture to picture. Didn't get detail of that cool gargoyle on your camera? Just zoom into the picture and it will switch to a picture from someone who did. Forgot what was around the corner? Turn the model around and see if someone else took a picture of that side.

If they keep this up, I may never have to travel again. Which would be sad. But at least I'd save a lot on airfare.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Early Fireworks and TinaCon I

The inaugural TinaCon took place over the weekend and was a smashing success. A list of highlights can be found at Caroline's blog, to which I will add:
-Yummy cioppino, courtesy of 3na

Also over the weekend, I got a new niece: Hanabi Alizabeth. "Hanabi" is the Japanese word for fireworks, and literally translates to "flower fire."

This is her in a less explosive moment:

WaT word count for Friday through Sunday: 0

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Write-a-thon Week 1 Update

A summary of the week's events:

Monday: Started and finished a draft of a new story. 3200-words in one day, which may be a record for me.

Tuesday: Nada. I had planned on writing, but I got distracted by my old landlords being [insert profanity].

Wednesday: Started revising my Week 4 story from Clarion West, "Baby Food and Absolution." It's not the kindliest revision to start with since it's a) the longest story I have to revise at 6700 words, and b) I'm aiming to cut it by at least two thousand words. So most of the day was spent re-reading the story and mulling what changes I need to make. After chickening out of more radical structural changes, I decided to cut one section, completely rewrite three others, and then just edit the hell out of the remaining four.

Thursday: More pondering of thematic issues, in order to make the story tighter. Started rewriting. I can probably finish it in two more days.

Friday: Taking the day off to be social. Party!

Stay tuned for next week's progress.


Monday, June 18, 2007


Okay, so technically it started yesterday, but since it was the weekend I did no writing. I was actually building some chairs to go around the kitchen island, but that's a whole other thing...

I've collected a handful of sponsors and come up with a rough plan of attack for the next six weeks. I have three stories that I need to revise now and two half-finished stories that need finished or rewritten or somehow banged into shape. Which means I will be doing at least one totally new story. I have a backlog of story ideas that need to be written up, so naturally I will start with the new idea I came up with the other night.

I'll post updates at least a couple times a week so that my merry band of supporters (that means YOU!) can chime in with hurrahs and other words of encouragement. I'm going to need them.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Garden, Planted

I dug up a corner of the yard for my experiment in gardening. (This actually happened two weeks ago; I'm slow and lazy about posting, I know.) Once I pulled up the grass, I discovered that there was nothing but sand underneath. I mixed in some topsoil, but we'll see how things grow. I also have a planter of herbs and one of lettuce.

Of the holy trinity of gardening--soil, sun, and water--I've done what I could about the soil, and I have the utmost confidence in receiving plenty of rain, but the last one... I don't know. They say it gets sunnier up here in July. But then, people also told me it never snows in Vancouver.

The good news, of course, is that weeding gardens is an excellent way to procrastinate on writing, better even than washing dishes because it comes with the extra excuse of getting fresh air. Grow, little weeds, grow!