Taboo Subject: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Witt.

Another week, where I meant to get round to see everyone. I meant to…really I did. Things got fershizzled with the holiday, and my Accomplice having extra days off…

So, this week, I’m going to visit everyone on the list – and read your last posts, too…really. Truly.

I mean it.

But now, on to the WIPpet!

I’m serializing the first scene of Sea Changes, where we meet our first of three POV characters, Karina Karanova. Here’s the premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?


This passage is NaNo rough. My plan is to let this draft rest for December, and begin creating a revision plan in January. That said, any input is gratefully accepted!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is December 30, 2015.
  • Today, you get thirty sentences.

Context: Karina is in a pottery studio, working with clay and hating it, when a new guest who doesn’t like sunlight comes in. Karina tries not to stare, but finds it difficult…

Taboo Subject

“It’s all right to look at me, or to ask me questions.” His voice was soft, with amusement layered over pain. “Most people have never seen an albino before. I don’t mind talking about it, but I do mind being stared at or ignored because I’m different.”

So gentle, that voice – yet, there was something in it that suggested he’d been both stared at and ignored more often than he liked.

“How can you live here?” She hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that, but the young man had come to her table, and he sat down a little ways from her. It seemed like it would be a greater unkindness to ignore him, and she had been staring, even if covertly.

He chuckled, a pleasant sound, a little deeper than his speaking voice. “Oh, it’s not as hard as you might think. Sun hat, umbrella, shades, and a truly ridiculous amount of high-SPF sunscreen. And I don’t go out in the middle of the day, ever, unless it’s an emergency.”

Karina looked up at him. She couldn’t see his eyes, because of the dark glasses he wore. But he was smiling at her, and she decided that she liked the way it changed his face. “Aren’t you afraid?”

“Of the sun, or of dying?”

Karina didn’t know what to say to that, so she bent over her work as though he wasn’t even here. Soon, too soon, Mother would call for her, and then she’d have to report on what she’d accomplished during her first day at the pottery studio.

“Damn, I hate clay,” she whisperhissed through teeth she’d clenched to keep the thought in. Another failure. That would have earned perhaps a dozen lashes, even if she’d long since stopped being a child.

“Then why are you – ” Karina stared at him, trying to send the wordless messages that would silence him. “Ah, I see. Taboo subject. Don’t worry; there’s a lot of those in a place like this. I won’t pry into anything you don’t want to talk about.” He smiled and dug a handful of clay out of the bucket that sat in the trough running the length of the table’s center. “How about I just introduce myself and answer your question?”

Why does Karina not want to talk ?

Who is this man?

Why would someone with albinism live on a tropical island?

Will Karina make progress on her project?

What will happen next?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more about Karina and her story.

Previous Karina WIPpets (chronologically):

And now, for something completely different:

Over the last months, I’ve been gradually planning for next April’s Blogging From A-Z Challenge.

I’ll be writing – wait for it! – Enterprise fan fiction stories. =D (I know; you’re all shocked, right?!)

The planning yielded more stories than I need, so I decided to share the ‘extras’ as they are. All month, I’ve posted one every day, in a canon-chronological progression. For each comment, I add a paragraph to the story (there’s a two-day delay, to allow comments to gather) – and you can find all of them at The IDIC Romance Advent Calendar.

Tomorrow, the last post goes live – but the calendar itself will remain, so you can read whenever you feel the need for a bit of TnT.

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!


  1. That was definitely not what I was expecting! I’m intrigued, why would an Albino choose to live on an island, even though there are all these things that could help?

  2. I love that song.

    Hmm…interesting interaction and now I’m curious about the albino fellow. And why he lives there is an excellent question I would like answered, please.

    • All questions will eventually either be answered or ignored. All blog comments are subject to my getting all wrapped up in a flock of Other Things (my dog wouldn’t know what to do with a flock of anything, so he’s no help at all in that department…)?

      You’ll get to know “the albino fellow” better. Perhaps much better. Then again, maybe you’ve already met him and just don’t recognize him… =)

  3. My first introduction to A Whiter Shade of Pale was when I was 16 and experiencing the joy of menstrual cramps for one of the first times. My school librarian, with whom I got on really well, came into the sick-bay while I was there, took one look at me and asked me if I knew the song because that’s how I was looking. My mum has it on 45 and played it for me when I asked her about it later.

    I like this albino guy, and am intrigued as to why he’s there. Does he act as a bit of a foil for Karina? He seems pretty relaxed, whereas she is more intense.

    • I’m not liking your cramps – they suck, plain and simple!

      I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it – on the radio, because my parents’ musical tastes were rather limited – and it’s held my imagination for nearly three decades, now. It fits this character very well..and the vibe seemed right for the exchange they’re having.

      There is a reason this guy’s here, but Karina may never learn what it is (although, with time, she might be able to guess, if she’s inclined to). And yes, he’s definitely a foil for her, at least, in this scene. I’m not saying anything about the future, here…

      You’ve tagged his personality very well. He is indeed the relaxed sort. =)

  4. There’s so much in here. I like his reaction to her, and I suspect it’s how a lot of people feel. That creates an interesting dynamic here—he doesn’t mind being asked questions as long as the person isn’t being rude. So he feels free to ask questions himself, but he’s also in tune with having her not want to answer. It will be interesting to see where that goes.

    • It was definitely how my late fiance felt about those types of questions. And you’re right – it’s an interesting dynamic which will gradually begin to make more sense. For now, I can just say that it’s possible that this young man, so often stared at, has a deep intuition about what’s uncomfortable for others to reveal.

    • I like him too! He just kind of popped up about three years ago, and has steadily become one of my very favorite characters in this series. Once I finish Karina’s opening scene, you’ll get to learn much more about him.

    • Karina and Donovan are both very interesting people. They’ve been supporting characters in my other two Kifo Island stories, but this time they get to take center stage – with Ava, whom we’ve yet to meet.

  5. “I don’t mind talking about it, but I do mind being stared at or ignored because I’m different.”

    This says so much about him, and I think is true for so many people and situations.

    • That line came almost word for word from Tim Simmons, my first fiance, who died from cystic fibrosis when he was 32.

      He wasn’t diagnosed until he was 27, after years of working in a large bakery with all its drifting flour dust, and after two serious bouts of pneumonia. His lungs were already extensively and irreparably damaged.

      He was very thin, and used oxygen full-time. And people stared. They made assumptions – often that he had AIDS, or some other contagious disease, rather than asking him what was wrong.

      He would’ve preferred that – Tim was remarkably open about his disease, which was one of the things that attracted me to him. He had a fantastic sense of humor (so does Donovan; matter of fact, there’s more than a little of Tim in him), and he was sweet and gentle.

      Those people never knew what they were missing, just staring, and I’m sure they never realized the pain they caused a sensitive man at the end of his life…

      Maybe this will help someone else who just gets stared at and thereby dehumanized.

      I had a friend with albinism in college. She, too, rathered people ask her about the condition than just stare at her. I’m glad I’ve always been more inclined to ask than to stare, because I still smile when I think of Sheila!

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