August 2016 was another month where I wrote very little fan fiction. Instead, my focus was on original writing and blog writing. Because I was starting freelance blogging, and my Master’s degree was finally coming to a close, I was simply too busy. I just did not have enough bandwidth.
On the G & T Show forums, I continued posting Together.
And on Fanfiction.net, I continued to post Spring Thaw. Unfortunately, that story has not managed to garner any reviews on that site.
See the Stats page for individual read and review counts. Reversal has over 80,000 combined reads! This is simply incredible and has exceeded my wildest expectations.
Currently, both The Obolonk Murders (all three books) and The Enigman Cave are both within the realm of works in progress. They are both wholly original stories, but the beta readers are not yet finished with them.
I also have a few short stories which are being sent to anthologies. I am, right now, waiting for them to be either accepted or kicked back or published. One of those anthologies may end up on hold, so I might repurpose my submissions.
As before, I worked on researching The Real Hub of the Universe. This will be my NaNoWriMo project this year, so I want to make it as good as I possibly can.
I have also spent time on Lonely Writer, in an effort to fix its problems and see if there is any way to monetize it in the future. I like the idea of it, and I feel this niche is woefully underserved. However, the niche of independent authors is also rather small!
This Month’s Productivity Killers
In addition to the issues mentioned above, I also worked for the G & T Show podcast to report, blog, and schedule their interviews from Star Trek: Las Vegas.
I wrote this story when I was pretty new to Ad Astra, and so I didn’t have much to draw upon. The prime universe version of this series was all about a widow, Gina Nolan, recovering from the traumatic death of her husband.
A Mirror Universe version of Hold Your Dominion as imagined if a network executive demanded that a Mirror Universe episode be written.
In this version of events, the storyline actually begins with her saying, “Of course I wanted him dead.” It felt like the perfect opener.
Gina became reimagined as a Captain’s Woman, to Simpson Keller (that is the real-life name of Helen Keller’s half-brother, by the way. It has no other meaning and I just liked the name). Gina leaves their bed and wanders the halls of a starship, and is called away because her daughter, Gabrielle, has gotten into trouble. The person complaining is the Klingon, Kittris.
During Temper, the only intelligent way to get Lili onto the Defiant was for her to be disguised as a Calafan slave and work in a kitchen. This meant creating a kitchen manager (the position would not really be that of a head chef). Enter the Xindi humanoid Rellie.
Rellie is played by actress Mia Sara. This lovely actress has a long history and has science fiction cred.
Efficient and smart, Rellie will only go so far to look out for her charges. They are (Lili, Polloria, and Aliwev) adults and are not really her responsibility. She just wants to save her own skin, or at least make her job easier. When Lili arrives, and knows how to cook, it’s as if a dream has come true for the oppressed slave kitchen manager.
I sometimes confuse her a bit with Dayah, who is also a Xindi humanoid, and is of a similar vintage.
But their fates are rather different, even though they are both oppressed women. Rellie, like a lot of Mirror Universe women, has to be ruthless and self-serving. In our universe, those personality traits would be looked upon as flaws.
“We must always tell them that we can do anything they ask. No matter if it seems at all impossible or difficult. You have been doing this for years. Surely you know that by now. Never show any weakness.”
This character was created for a specific purpose, and I think she fulfilled it fairly well. Since her placement was the result of the second alternate timeline in Temper, there are any number of other Mirror Universe niches she could fill. Maybe I’ll pick her up again.
When actor Leonard Nimoy passed away, there was a special free write and the idea of ‘saving’ him was an irresistible one. Add in the crew from the Temporal Integrity Commission, and a little bit of silliness got to creep in as well.
In 3115, the Human Unit at the Temporal Integrity Commission decides to save one special Vulcan.
I wanted Spock (a character I have always had something of a love/hate relationship with – I tend to see Dr. McCoy’s point of view more than Spock’s in the old TOS arguments) to have a kind of ethereal quality. Plus I wanted the TIC to occasionally bend their own rules. The action takes place after they have done just that, and saved Milena Chelenska on her deathbed.
A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.
Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.
A lot of what happens in the Terran Empire absolutely defies logic (Vulcan pun only partly intended). Even in a multiverse with seemingly infinite (or thereabouts) universes with infinite variables, it makes no sense that our heroes’ counterparts would all be serving together.
Okay, so it’s really just a vehicle for tossing a bunch of evil twins onto the screen. Let’s run with that.
In order to make it all work, I decided on a few helper characteristics which would explain things better. Of course the real reason why there are a lot of men in the Mirror Universe is because of who was hired, particularly during the TOS era. For a show and a premise that were touting sex and violence, men would have to be hired in order to up the violence ante. For my fanfiction, I explain this away with the Y Chromosome Skew.
But what about the Terran Empire? First off, the TOS era would have undoubtedly showed a white man in power. Certainly, in canon, the person in charge is a man. But then ENT comes around, and Hoshi Sato declares herself Empress. To my mind, she would have a need for a successor and she could succeed as Empress if she operated under Machiavellian principles.
Hall of Mirrors and the Succession
A review of the Mirror Universe stories I have written creates a semblance of a decent history of the place. The first story is The High Cost of Dissidence, where Lili‘s counterpart’s family dies. Under Emperor Phillip (tyrant Phillip Green in our universe), Charlotte’s father is arrested as a dissident for daring to speak his mind.
During TOS, the Captain’s Woman, Janice Rand, is killed by Marlena Moreau in That’s Not My Name. The crime is investigated as Rand was allegedly the Emperor’s niece, in It Had to be You.
And finally, in Mirror Masquerade, Travis and Hikaru Sulu are switched, and it’s up to the Temporal Integrity Commission to put everyone back where they belong.
With my fanfiction, Hoshi’s life reads a lot like Caligula’s or Nero’s, and that was by design. In bits and pieces, it ended up being a somewhat epic saga. It could use more development in later years. In the Barnstorming series, I add a Mirror connection, but the Empire is supposed to be gone by then. But I like it and will find a way to bring it back.
For Flight of the Bluebird, I wanted there to be Daranaean elections. Much like the United Nations does today, the USS Bluebird and its captain, Malcolm Reed, would be brought in, in order to observe and prevent violence at polling places. Vidam was already going to be the liberal candidate. He needed an opponent, so I created the conservative standard-bearer, Boestus (pronounced beast-us).
Like most Daranaeans, Boestus isn’t really ‘played’ by anyone. He is an older fellow so I see him as being gray. This image of an Irish wolfhound works well.
Traditional and somewhat unyielding, Boestus feels that the traditional Daranaean life and home are important. He wants them to continue. But he is directly confronted by its inherent injustices. Unlike a lot of present-day real life politicians, he is capable of seeing the error of his ways, and learns how to change.
Like all Prime Wives, Nitha was very expensive. But she is concerned when the end is coming for Shura. Unlike what happens in other traditionalist Daranaean households, she may be higher up in the food chain than Carya and Shura are, but she isn’t cruel to them.
The secondary wife of Boestus is also somewhat defiant and is protective of Shura, who cannot defend herself.
In a traditional Daranaean household, a third caste female is called ‘last caste’ and is euthanized at menopause and seen as being useless. But Shura stands up for herself, an act that helps Boestus to see the error of his ways and change his mind.
As with many other characters, there are no impediments to Boestus existing in the Mirror Universe.
The MU is a tougher place, but the Y Chromosome Skew only affects human (Terran) males and not Daranaeans.
With a more balanced society, at least in terms of the gender of children being born, Boestus might end up with just one wife. For a conservative looking to better himself and social climb, he would likely only end up with Nitha.
“I am supposed to protect you. Acreon is taking on these humans’ ways far too much. You have seen what their women do, and how they act and how they dress. It is; it is not right.”
I really loved working with this character, understanding him as a person and making him a rival but not a bad guy. Boestus is the very essence of people who can disagree without being disagreeable, who can admit when they are wrong, and who can change. I would like to write him again some time.
The challenge was to write seven days of flash fiction. I decided to provide sketches of seven women bedded by Richard Daniels.
Rick Daniels spends the beginning of the 3100s bedding women in time, to try to ease his guilt at witnessing some of the worst moments of the prime timeline.
Irene of Castile had already been covered in Marvels. Empress Hoshi had been hinted at in Reversal. Lucretia Crossman and Betty Tyler had been mentioned a few times, including in A Long, Long Time Ago. Some of these women were also mentioned in Souvenirs.
I was in the middle of writing the Barnstorming series, so Dana MacKenzie was on my mind. I also needed a seventh woman (for right before Hoshi), so I created Octavia Caecilia of Pompeii. She went along well with a passing reference to Rick having witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius, plus it was an homage to Dr. Who and, more specifically, actor Peter Capaldi.
Music runs throughout the piece. The main theme is, of course, Billy Joel’s The Stranger.
I like Octavia, and I might write more about her at some point. The same is true of Betty; I finally really pictured her. The story, I feel, does its job well, which is to prepare the reader for what is really going on in A Long, Long Time Ago and later. The mood changes and this story turns it rather downbeat, which is what I was going for.
The actress is beautiful, yes, but also somewhat chameleon-like. She has played old-fashioned before (Titanic, anyone?) and so I think she could almost inhabit the role of a young grandmother type if she wanted to.
Intelligent and reserved, Dayah knows the score in the Witannen facility and teaches what she knows to Lili. She is a big part of Lili and Jennifer surviving the experience.
In the Witannen holding facility, Dayah is paired up with every male, but it’s Emmiz who she really cares about. He loves her back, even though she is old enough to be his grandmother.
There are no impediments to Dayah existing in the Mirror Universe, although I doubt she would be anyone’s prisoner.
I write Mirror Universe women as being overly beholden to men, but that might only apply to human (e. g. Terran) females. What if it didn’t apply to Xindi humanoids?
If that were the case, then Dayah might have the opportunity to have an independent kind of life, with self-determination. It’s an intriguing idea.
“Just, consider how today is going to be, and tomorrow, here. And think of the future later, when it has come and it matters. Be happy today. Tomorrow you could be in another unit, and things would not be so nice.”
I don’t think I’ll be able to find a place for this character, but I do like her. About the last she’s heard of is a letter to Lili, so maybe they continue to correspond. I don’t know.
Like all drabbles, it is not too much more than a sketch, rather than an actual story. Will I pursue this further? Right now, that is looking rather doubtful, but I feel it is a decent drabble, as far as drabbles go.
July 2016 proved to be a quiet summer month as school work continued to dominate my time. Furthermore, I helped with G & T Show podcast get ready for STLV (Star Trek Las Vegas) as it is the fiftieth anniversary of The Original Series. I will not be attending STLV, but I will be blogging for us.
This month, I concentrated on adding to older series.
On the G & T Show forums, I continued adding to Together.
See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.
As before, I am ironing out the details for The Real Hub of the Universe. This involves researching nineteenth century Boston. It has proven to just be great fun.
I continued working with beta readers on The Enigman Cave. The story unquestionably needs work, but I simply do not have the time to do it right now.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
Aside from the podcast, schoolwork also kept me busy. The semester ends on August the twelfth! Furthermore, I participated in The Writer Games again. That proved to be a lot of fun last year and it was a spur to creativity. Plus the people are terrific.
I am working on getting together the website for Semantic Shenanigans. There are a lot of possible stories we can cover. This is, without a doubt, an underserved niche. Another idea is what to do with Lonely Writer once the semester is over. I have paid for the domain for a few months after August. Plus it appears there is at least some interest. I know I can do well for the independent writing community, but I would like to find a way to monetize my efforts, or at least get some more book reviews and/or sales.