Friday, March 21, 2014

Tipsy Lit Entry

This is my first attempt at participating in Tipsy Lit - a writing contest where you have all week to throw together a short story based on a prompt given on Monday.

This story is a highly-condensed version of a story based on a dream I had this past Monday (it therefore counts!) ;)

I'll be posting the full version either this weekend or early next week.  Without further ado!
Word count: 492

Jenny knew she was dieing from the age of eight – an incurable illness that would likely kill her before she turned twelve.  After her tearful funeral a year later she was sent off to the Marlayna Children’s School for the remainder of her corporeal existence.  Part hospital, part boarding school, part monastery, the Marlayna School was part of a vast nationwide network of centers where the dieing learned how to do so peacefully in a medically observed, yet supportive environment. 

Jenny liked her new home and made friends quickly – all were terminally ill like herself and all were under the age of fifteen.  The children had a couple hours of academic studies each day (just in case they miraculously pulled through and needed to reenter society).  They had music, dance and art classes as well as copious amounts of play time; but the main focus was yoga and meditation.

When Jenny was ten years old, she noticed she was getting weaker rather than stronger.  Her caregivers took notice too and paid her special attention, reminding her of her breathing techniques when her heart fluttered.  She practiced her mindfulness and letting go of tension.  Finally the moment came during reading time – she felt a shudder rake her whole body as her heart skipped into an arrhythmia that no amount of coughing would reset. A strange sense of disorientation took her and she was distantly aware that she was no longer breathing. 

When Jenny’s senses settled, she was still sitting in her chair, though she knew she was now dead. 

Her caregiver, Margaret set her book down and said, “Well done Jenny, you handled the start of Transition beautifully.  Now stand up and look at your body.”

Amidst the admiring stares of her classmates, Jenny got up easily from her seat and turned to look at her shed physical form – which could just as easily had been sleeping.  Jenny felt no sadness at having been permanently dislodged from her body – it would be handled by the school staff, this was her final chance to say goodbye to it.

For the next few days living people would still be able to see her and she’d still be able to interact with the world around her.  People in Transition didn’t float like stereotypical ghosts; they weren’t transparent per say, though it was obvious they were no longer fully corporal.  Jenny knew her form would become more nebulous as she moved through Transition – slowly aligning itself to the higher vibrational frequency of the Next Plane.

When she was finished inspecting her body, Margaret led Jenny back to her room to help get her packed for her trip home.  Though she’d already said goodbye to her friends and family, she would need to go back and visit all her old “haunts” to make sure no lingering desires or regrets remained behind to hold her back from completing Transition.  It was her chance to say goodbye to being alive.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting Organized (Explanations)

I'm realizing that given the absolute randomness that will be gracing the pixels of this blog that I should probably attempt to make it a little easier for the reader to identify just what they'll be reading.

The plan to achieve this is to put in parentheses after the title of each post a little "theme identifier" of what to expect in that post.  That way when glancing through the prior-posts list on the right hand side, you'll be able to identify the general subject of each.  This will save me the need to segway each post as my OCD would require otherwise. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's in a Name? (Kai'us Related)

Sci-fi and fantasy writers often have the fun task of naming new things: planets, kingdoms, interstellar engines, non-human characters, alien races, etc. Naming them in a way their audience will be able to pronounce (and keep straight) can sometimes be a challenge.

For instance, I had to change the nick-name of the first Grand Chief to "Taya" because her original name - "Kaya" - was too close to her antagonist's name of Ka-Lan, founder of the Kakiu, who use the kakosh berry to convert people. Oy, lots of K's in there!!

Something that I've been dealing with since...well the beginnings of the "The Kius Planet" has been the spelling of the word "Kius". I came up with the original spelling when I was around 12 years old. The name itself had been locked down two years prior, but I had never needed to actually spell it until an assignment for school inspired my to use Kiuses as my subject matter.

That meant I needed to put letters to the sounds and - not knowing then the "rules" of English word construction, and feeling very empowered by the fact that I could spell this word any way I wanted - I came up with "Ciuss". It's a beautiful letter configuration and I love that spelling to this day. The "C" is much softer looking than a "K". I liked the double "S's", and the fact that there were five letters.

Sadly, no one could pronounce it - they kept trying to give the "C" an "S" sound (since a "C" followed by an "I" in English typically is pronounced as an "S"). This posed a problem but I bucked changing the spelling for 12 years.

The novel had gone through several rewrites by that point and I was getting increasingly serious about publishing it, so I reluctantly changed the spelling to the current "Kius" - which I've never liked. It's too short a word imo and that "K"! That sharp, pointy "K"! Not only do I not like the look of the word, but people still have a hard time pronouncing it! (Though it's not as bad as with the first spelling.)

So recently I've contemplated changing it one more time to "Kai'us". This spelling is much closer in line with how it's pronounced in English and it's back to being five letters long. I'm a little nervous about that damned apostrophe though lest it be too reminiscent of James Cameron's Na'vi, but it's necessary in this case to separate all those vowels. I suppose I could go with "Kai-us" but usually a hyphen denotes the joining of two words - which is not the case here.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

IRL Worlds

The intent of this blog is to talk and muse about my current writing projects, but I may occasionally talk/vent/celebrate/whatever about events within my real-life worlds; with that in mind I'd like to fill you in a little about what I do when I'm not at work (at a printing/lithography company) or writing.

World 1) Star Trek

For the past several years my significant other and I have been involved with a project called "Star Trek: Phase II" (formerly "Star Trek: New Voyages"). You can find them here as well as on youTube by just searching under that name. It basically consists of a group of volunteers who get together once or twice a year for two weeks to make full-length, professional-quality episodes of the original series of Star Trek. I can usually be found in the costume department hemming a uniform or taking rank insignia off a sleeve. Once in a while I even have the honor of wearing one of those uniforms and standing in the background of a scene during a shot. It's a very fun project and a great group of people.

World 2) Belly Dance

Though I faithfully took belly dance classes for about two or three years, I haven't been to a class in a long while. It was long enough to give me a firm grounding in skill and technique though. I love dance and I love to dance, so a few times each summer I get together with a friend of mine (sometimes we can rope in more ladies as well!) and we dance in either my back yard or hers. These impromptu performances are usually videotaped and thrown up on youTube. Once in a while we even get to perform on a stage before a proper audience. It's a glorious form of self expression that I enjoy greatly!

World 3) Sewing/Crafting

My work with Phase II gave me the confidence to sew (a hobby I'd always been drawn to) and belly dance gave me a reason to do it! I'm mostly a garment-maker and making costumes for belly dance is a fun little past-time. My dance-buddy is also my sewing accomplice and together we've started a small business called "Dancer's Dream Boutique" Though we have an Esty shop, the bulk of our sales currently come from local vendor/craft fairs which we try to attend two to four times a year. As our inventory and product selection grows, we'll likely try to get into bigger events on a more frequent basis. When not making goodies to sell, I usually have some project or another either for myself or a friend or family member in the queue to produce at some future date.

World 4) Karate

Movement exercise has always been important to me and I try to have at least one class or another going. I took yoga for about four years, Tai Chi for about three and then for a while I was taking belly dance and karate classes in tandem. I took a break from all that a couple years ago to train for a marathon (on a whim). After completing the marathon in August of 2012 my financial circumstances and employment schedule kept me away from taking up classes again for a while. Recently though I decided to return to karate and have been enjoying my return to the martial arts. We'll see how things go on that front!

World 5) Birth-Assisting

Though I have no desire to have my own children, I've always had a passion for birthing and started training as a doula (a type of birth assistant) in anticipation for the birth of my first niece. I never finished my certification for various reasons, but have attended three other births (apart from hers) as a "rogue-doula". I've been contemplating for the past year or two going to school for nursing with the intent of eventually becoming an assistant midwife. In the meantime I keep an eye out for friends and family expecting babies and make sure to pass along websites like BirthWithoutFearBlog to raise awareness of a woman's rights to labor and birth where and how she chooses.

Other hobbies or interests may come and go, but these have been the biggies for a while.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Where to Find Me

Like most people, I've actually been on the interwebz for a while and so if you don't feel inclined to follow me here in blog-land, you can stalk follow me in a few other places:

I've been on dA a long time and so a lot of art and writing can be found there.
If you're here because you're interested in my writing, then I invite you to check out the two serials I put up on dA:

~ "Diary of an Immortal" found here
~ And a fanfic based on Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series called "To Touch the Stars"

Speaking of writing (that's why we're here right?) I also play weekly 5 Minute Fiction on Tuesday evenings at, it's a contest open to all where you get "five" minutes (it's closer to 15) to write a quick burst of flash fiction based on a prompt provided at 8:30pm sharp (Eastern Time).  Five finalists are selected by a different guest judge every week with the winner chosen by popular vote.

On Twitter I go by @KiusLady - in fact if you find a "KiusLady" anywhere online, it's likely me.

If you're into Pinterest and want to follow the pretties I glom to, I'm under KiusLady there as well

I think that's about it!

Hope to see you out there!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Welcome to Gwen's Worlds

I've been bucking the idea of creating a writing blog for a long time: "Oh I've got DeviantArt, that's enough!" or "I can rant all I want on Facebook!" or "I'll just Tweet about writing."

Unfortunately none of those really cut it - I haven't updated my dA page in months (though I check in daily), I don't want to bog down my FB with (all) my musings on writing, and I'm hardly ever on Twitter.

I was talking with a writing mentor today (sorry Wendy, but you are!) and through that conversation I realized I really need to start getting a web presence established when it comes to writing - something more formal than DeviantArt and more substantial than Twitter.  So here I am!

My name is Gwendolyn Wilkins and I bid you welcome to Gwen's Worlds!

Why the plural? You ask.

Well because I don't just play in one world, I have several kicking around; which of course means you'll likely be meeting with some strange randomness occasionally if you come back more than once!

So what can one expect by coming back that second and (hopefully!) third and fourth times?

I'll probably be talking a lot about my latest projects - of which there's two currently:

I have "The Journey of a Tree Mage" (working title) which is a YA high fantasy novella that's currently with my beta readers (who *aren't* reading it btw!!! <- Slackers! lol)

Then there's "The Kius Planet" (a title I've never had any love for).  This is a sci-fi/fantasy novel I've been working on for not just years, but decades.  I wrote the first draft in my teens and it's gone through countless revisions and rewrites.  I set it aside four years ago, but after finishing the Tree Mage story as well as taking on my first NaNoWriMo last year, I felt it was time to finally revisit this beast.

And it really needs to be finished too.  I've poured so much time and research into this story; invested half my life into it and countless contemplations.  It's very much a part of me, so now that I'm finally old enough and mature enough as a writer, I felt it was time to finally "do it fer real this time" and git er done!

Intermingled among all that I'll likely be throwing in unconnected story blurbs that pop in as they come (it happens some times).  I may bring up lesser stories that I've toyed with on the fringes of things.  I'll likely bring up 5 Minute Fiction now and then - where I hang out on Tuesdays.

I haven't figured out an update schedule yet, but I think I'll shoot for at least once a month for now.  I certainly may pop in more frequently depending on what's going on in my writing world(s).  Till then, thanks much for stopping by and checking this out!