Progress Report – December 2013

Progress Report – December 2013

December 2013 was chilly.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | December 2013

The month started off with creating and posting a completely unexpected holiday story about Carmen and Levi, called Calendar Turning Event #3111. To celebrate the holidays, I added Stocking Stuffers 2013 and Advice From My Universes to Yours.

Also, in response to a prompt about family, I added the Levi-Otra-centric Meeting of the Minds, where Marci Cavendish is first seen in any context other than a dream. In response to the favorite things challenge, I posted The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Progress Report – December 2013

In addition, on Fanfiction.net, I finished spinning out Take Back the Night. And in order to fill in some stories I had written but not posted there before, I added Gossip, gossip and In Memory of Kelsey Haber. I then returned to the Daranaean Emergence series and added Temptation, Some Assembly Required, and Debate, and began to spin out The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Also, I imported Gossip, gossip, Take Back the Night, In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Temptation, Some Assembly Required and Debate into Fictionpad.

I added There’s Something About Hoshi and There’s Something Else About Hoshi to my slash topic on The G and T Show. The reception was so good there that I began adding Crackerjack. I added The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat to TrekBBS.

Finally, on Wattpad, I finished posting the wholly original comedy, Revved Up. I also added Freak School. I added Alien Encounter, and began spinning out Crackerjack.

Milestones

For individual read counts, the following stories have 20,000 or more on one URL –

So for individual read counts, the following stories have 10,000 or more on one URL –

All of these were accomplished on Ad Astra.

The following stories have between 5,000 and 9,999 reads on one URL –

Combined Read Counts

Apart from the others at over 5,000 reads for just one URL, the following combine to 5,000 – 9,999 reads when all postings’ URLs are taken into consideration –

WIP Corner

I finished the first draft of Play and began the next book in the Barnstorming series, Time Out. I also worked on an original story, The Obolonk Murders.

Prep Work

So I sent out my first-ever query letter! This was for Untrustworthy, my NaNoWriMo winner, and the letter was sent to Riverdale Avenue Books. It was for a competition. That site publishes eBooks, and only nine are listed in their HSF imprint (horror, science fiction and fantasy). So we’ll see; I should hear by the first of February. I’m not expecting the moon.

I also spent time looking for more possible places to submit Untrustworthy, and learning about how to improve my query letter and otherwise increase my chances for publication.

I split up the timeline pages a bit more as they had gotten rather huge and unwieldy.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

The holidays loomed large, at the same time that I was both looking for work and trying to learn new and better ways to try to become a published author.

Review – November 13th

November 13th Background

November 13th works as a bridge story. It connects In Between Days to Times of the HG Wells.

For a Weekly Free Write called ‘berth of a career’, I got the idea of a messy bunk in my head, and could not get it out.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | November 13th
In Between Days

Adding to this idea was the Star Trek: Enterprise canon tidbit that Daniels had roomed with a slob. In order to anchor between In Between Days and Times of the HG Wells, it made sense to have a younger character.

That younger character would be connected to Daniels, hence bridging the gap between In Between Days and the deep future of The Times of the HG Wells.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | November 13th
Clockworks

Craig Willets, now an older man, would be dictating his memoirs, when he’d remember something quirky from his past.

The date is what triggers it for Craig. He remembers a very specific, yet puzzling, event.

On that day, back in 2151, he was just minding his own business, but was remembering his old roommate, who had left in a hurry. It had been explained to Craig that Daniels had been a time traveler. Craig wasn’t sure how he felt about that. As a slob, he has no idea, but a pair of his boots are missing.

Forward into the Past

The action then shifts to 1699, where Daniels is preparing to bed Jennifer Crossman‘s ancestor, the widow Lucretia Crossman, in Penn’s Woods. This is to be Rick’s first temporal conquest. He’s eager to get going, and then realizes that he forgot something back in 2151.

Penn's Woods at Bowman's Hill
Penn’s Woods at Bowman’s Hill (Photo credit: tgpotterfield)

He excuses himself and goes to the only private place – the outhouse. While in there, he taps out a quick message to Craig and has the boots sent to November 13th, 2151. Why that date? That’s what date it is in 1699. But it does not match the date when Daniels departed from the NX-01. Craig realizes, much later, that his old roommate made a mistake with the date.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like the slight silliness of the story, that something so mild and minor could bring the two series together.


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Otra D’Angelo

Portrait of a Character – Otra D’Angelo

Otra goes all the way back to the earlier time travel stories I wrote several years ago.

Origins

Her name goes back even further, to when I was taking Spanish in High School. The word otra means other (female). But the o is long, sounding like oat-truh. I played with the word and liked otra (rhymes with Sinatra) better, although I didn’t vocalize that (correct pronunciation was key to a good grade).

I also liked the idea of someone who could really see the changes in time, and could intelligently comment on them. Canon character Guinan actually can do this, marking her as possibly a four-dimensional being. I didn’t really have anything quite so fancy in mind for Otra. Instead, almost like a fortuneteller or an oracle, she would have visions.

And she wouldn’t have hair. She’d have semi-sentient floral appendages, known as chavecoi (chah-veh-coy). This would mark her as a half-Witannen (wit-ah-nen), a Delta Quadrant species. Except for her mother, Chefra, the only other Witannen shown in my fan fiction is Together‘s Quellata (kell-uh-tuh), although there is a reference to one in the HG Wells series named Paj Terris, and the upcoming Barnstorming series will have a Witannen athlete named Adeel.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Otra D’Angelo
Keira Knightley as Otra D’Angelo (image is for educational purposes only)

I like Keira Knightley for Otra.

Beautiful and accomplished, the actress is believably sexy and interesting.

Of course, in Desperation, when Otra is a toddler, Knightley doesn’t play her.

Personality

Smart, funny and patient, Otra is one of the only people Levi Cavendish ever wants to listen to.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Otra
Otra

Otra is also shrewd. In You Mixed-Up Siciliano, she is kidnapped. But she makes the most of her time, trying hard to understand where she is, who has her, and whether she can get any help.

In Multiverse II, her chavecoi become possessed by Chilo. This turns her evil for a while. It was great fun to give her awful things to do, including indiscriminate sex, murder and a lot of mayhem. When she meets Colonel Philip Green, she’s just stepped out of a shower. As he stares (for this is the first alien anyone on Earth has ever seen; it’s 2055), she nonchalantly asks him:

I’m Otra D’Angelo. Would you happen to have a towel, Phil?…A towel. You know, it’s a terrycloth or velvet thing, usually, sometimes linen?”

Bringing her back, eventually, is the realization that, in his own quirky way, Levi loves her.

Relationships

Levi Cavendish

Friends since college, Otra and Levi work together, and he names their temporal alteration theory after her. Hence small changes are known as otric ones. Medium-sized ones are pariotric and large ones are known as megaotric. Otra herself isn’t so sure about how she feels about being an eponym.

Colonel Philip Green

As a part of her possession by evil Chilo, Otra fell in with Green, and they had an affair. When he proposed, she realized that she was not in love with him, and ended up attempting to kill Green, stabbing him repeatedly. This wounded him, and it was significantly enough a wound that he would have died if he had not gotten a bit of her stem cell growth accelerator.

Theme Music

Of course, for someone who has flowers on her head, that would work. And for someone who, briefly, was nonexistent, the idea that there is a light, still, that proved irresistible.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Picasso - Hands Holding Flowers | Otra
Picasso – Hands Holding Flowers

While there isn’t, truly, any reason for Otra to not exist in the Mirror universe, it’s still a highly unlikely proposition.

After all, a combination such as hers is highly unlikely even in the prime universe.

Quote

“Our theor was quite simple. We decided that there are three types of temporal alterations. These are all – it’s a little embarrassing – but they are named after me. I suppose I am an eponym now. The smallest of changes is called otric. Consider if you will, what happens when you wear a yellow shirt, on a Friday, while strolling along a street in the city of Ironville, on Mars. Now consider what’s different – other than color, mind you – when your shirt is, instead, green in color.”

Upshot

At some point, I will undoubtedly get those two crazy kids together. Until then, Otra is a fun addition to my stable of characters and she’ll be seen again.

Recurrent Themes – Animal Lovers

Background

Animal lovers exist in my fanfiction. I am a big-time animal lover and so that of course creeps into my writing.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Animal Lovers What may also be of interest is the fact that my first fiction writing, when I was a young girl, was animal adventure stories. I didn’t write much. Instead, I would draw crude pictures and then in my head I could add the details of a particular scene. Furthermore, I was probably about four or five or so when I started writing these. I recall my grandmother giving me old appointment books for bygone years, as that was scrap paper that nobody cared about. So I would draw floppy-eared dogs or whatever and the occasional tree or happy shining sun and from those little things and such humble beginnings, I would generate stories. I have forgotten them all and the old drawings are long gone.

But animal lovers are in my fiction all the same.

Animal Lovers Appearances

Jonathan Archer

While everybody seems to love Porthos, it’s only canon character Jonathan Archer who is really responsible for feeding or walking the little guy.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Adventures of Porthos | Animal Lovers
The Adventures of Porthos

Even Porthos himself acknowledges that most people like him, but it’s Alpha (Archer) who’s really in charge of his well-being.

Any time Archer needs to be away from the ship for a significant period of time, he makes sure to entrust the dog to someone. Usually this is Hoshi or Phlox. And while they care about Porthos, this seems to be simply more work for them. At least that’s how I’ve often seen it.

Joss Beckett

Probably my biggest animal lover character is Doug and Lili‘s eldest. As a child, in Fortune, Joss pays more attention to Cindy Morgan‘s Boston Terrier puppy, Fenway, than he does to Jia Sulu. Joss eventually follows his bliss and becomes a veterinarian.

Karin Bernstein

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, once the crew get dogs from the Phnom Penh live market, Karin (along with Captain Archer) is one of the people responsible for training the dogs. This includes following simple commands, herding and some protection for the ship’s herd of procul.

Brian (no last name)

During You Mixed-Up Siciliano, while Sheilagh is trying to figure out whether she wants to continue working for the Temporal Integrity Commission, she ends up jogging to a local park. She comes across a guy who’s taken his elderly poodle, Beau, out for some exercise. They exchange first names and talk a little, and he gives her some advice about whether to stay at her job. He further reveals that Beau is a retired show dog, although not a terribly successful one.

Charlotte Hayes

Concord‘s mistress of the Hayes Farm is not squeamish when it comes to slaughtering animals, including a veal calf. But when Malcolm drives the horse, Phoebe, Charlotte urges him to be gentle while slapping the reins. The hens are also permitted to retain two eggs in each clutch, although that is partly for the purpose of having more chickens to eat or sell.

Jay Hayes

Even overly driven Jay has the time to scratch Porthos behind the ears.

However, in The Further Adventures of Porthos – The Stilton Fulfillment, Porthos points out that Jay would refer to him as Spike, an inside joke referring to Tripp Tucker‘s original nickname (never used on screen). Porthos believes that the reference is to another dog, from Jay’s past.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Sparrow and the Blue Jay | Animal Lovers
The Sparrow and the Blue Jay

In The Three of Us, Jay sends Lili an image of a sparrow and a blue jay together, but the meaning is that the two of them should be together romantically.

Bruce Ishikawa

Deirdre Katzman‘s boyfriend is a dog trainer.

Lili O’Day

Porthos loves Lili, as she always smells like food and often has it and will share. During The Stilton Fulfillment, when she attempts to lure him into a Sick Bay crate for his own safety, she refers to steak. Porthos wisely knows she doesn’t have any, but goes in all the same, as he realizes things are dicey.

Joshua Rosen

Porthos briefly refers to Josh throwing a ball for him to fetch. With a broken left arm, in The Stilton Fulfillment, it’s likely that ball-throwing will have to happen for later.

Gregory Shaw

When I was originally writing time travel stories, this role was considerably larger. I meant this character to be a kind of animals whisperer, able to calm and communicate with all manner of less-sentient beasts. Shaw would have the ability to ride, tame and lead most critters.

The way the stories worked out, I never got a chance to use this character, except for a brief reference when a time change gave Shaw a very different role. In The Point is Probably Moot, with the Federation turned into a theocracy, Shaw becomes Pope Gregory XXXII.

Shaw is also intended to be a descendant to Eriecho series characters Juliet Parker and Jack Shaw.

Crystal Sherwood

Crystal is a dog owner, with a Jack Russell Terrier named Petey.

Jim Warren

Charlotte Hayes’s employees are all kind to animals, but Jim is probably the kindest, even kinder than his father, Benjamin. This does not prevent Jim from joking to Malcolm about the proper way to milk a cow.

Upshot

Not every characteristic is Starfleet-oriented, not every preference is written in the stars. Some characters have rather down to earth interests in common, and being an animal lover is certainly one of those. Animal lovers matter.

Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi

Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi

Background

For a Star Trek fanfiction Weekly Free Write about setting a scene, I decided to revisit Aris and an older story, There’s Something About Hoshi.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi
In Between Days

In the earlier tale, Hoshi becomes irresistible when aliens inject her with a certain substance after removing some of her female hormones.

Frank Todd and T’Pol help to prevent a riot from starting on the NX-01, as all of the straight men (and, presumably, Diana Jones, who is a lesbian), are affected.

The sequel brings the story line over eighteen years into the future.

Plot

As Hoshi and her husband, Takashi, and their children, Toru and Yoshiko arrive on Aris for a visit, the head of the government, Milit, greets them.

And so, apparently, do all 5,999 other Arisian men on the planet.

Hailed as Andaara Trea Hoshi, they explain they are thanking her. They call her the initiator of the 6,000 brand-new ‘mothers of the world’. Every Arisian man is bearing some sort of a gift. Travis, who is with them, jokes that they’ll need a bigger shuttle in order to get all of the gifts back to the ship.

Politely, Hoshi declines their many offerings. These vary in size, scope and expense, but are all offered with grace. The family meets some of the newly-cloned Arisian women, including the first one, Trea Hoshi. The girls are all more or less made in Hoshi’s image. This is except for a detailed forehead pattern that marks them as Arisians.

Matchmaking on a Planetary Scale

Review – There’s Something Else About Hoshi
Alpine ibex Correction: Nubian Ibex Deutsch: A…

The men explain they want to marry all of the newly-cloned girls. Hence they are ready to match them up. It seems the matches will happen through political expedience, rather than any sort of attraction. Travis and Hoshi convince the Arisians to give the gifts to the girls, and to see what happens next. The story ends with Milit announcing his engagement to one of the girls and then Hoshi telling Captain Malcolm Reed that he’d better warn Lili that she’ll need to cater a few thousand Arisian weddings.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I was so happy to go back to this story line. Because I had originally left it with hope but also dangling a bit. I can see that my storytelling abilities have improved since the original tale, too. It’s a study in contrasts for me.


You can find me on .

Portrait of a Character – Daniel Beauchaine

Portrait of a Character – Daniel Beauchaine

Daniel Beauchaine has a history.

Origins

At first, in the older time travel series I had created on my own, Dan was a survivalist and had something of a romance with Alice Trent. As I moved that series to Star Trek fanfiction, and it became Times of the HG Wells, I decided that Alice would only be brought on during an alternate timeline.

Portrayal

Dan is portrayed by Jason Alexander.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Alexander as Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Alexander as Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only)

I like this actor’s fussiness and nervousness in portrayals. I feel this works well with Dan, who is a mass of inconsistencies and tics, as would befit someone living more than one life. He’s an employee of the Temporal Integrity Commission. He’s an operative for Section 31.

And he’s a member of the rogue group altering time for its own purposes, the Perfectionists.

Personality

Twitchy, nervous and jumpy, Dan has ample reason to feel like everyone’s out to get him.

That’s because they are.

He is not just double crossing; he’s triple crossing.

Hence it cannot be easy, living a life like Dan’s. He is constantly on the lookout, and he can trust no one. So in Shake Your Body, it all points to one end, and one alone.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Alexander as MU Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Alexander as MU Daniel Beauchaine (image is for educational purposes only)

In the Mirror universe, I can see Dan as being much more of a survivalist, without the corruption and double dealings he has resorted to in the prime universe.

However, he is not necessarily more moral; I think it’s more that he would be separate from society. Perhaps he’s even a hermit of some sort.

Quote

“Get a hold of yourself, Beauchaine. No one’s going to fault you for any grammatical errors in your damned suicide note.”

Upshot

I don’t know how well I showed Dan’s motivations; this feels like a character I did not serve well. Plus I kind of fell out of love with him, and that seems to show in the writing of him.  So I should rectify that at some point in the future.

Inspiration – Employment

 

Background

Like most adults of my generation, I have gone out to work.

Cover of "Office Space (Special Edition w...

 

I’ve had good jobs and bad ones, interesting ones and dull ones. I’ve been challenged, I’ve been browbeaten and I’ve been inspired. I’ve come home exhilarated, weepy, frustrated and exhausted. I’ve had situations that I wished would never end. And I’ve had jobs where I was climbing the walls, impatient to leave already.

These experiences can and do inform my Star Trek fanfiction at times.

Connections to Trek

Kirk and Pike
Kirk and Pike

The best and closest connection is in the HG Wells series. Those stories, in addition to being about Richard Daniels and his enlightenment, and about various romances and of course about time, they are also, very much, about the world of work.

Interviews

A Long, Long Time Ago contains within it a group interview and then a series of small one on one meetings. Otra conducts at least one of these meetings, and is satisfied with the candidate, until someone else hears her being referred to, by that candidate, as a salad head. That’s a slur, so that candidate is out, and there is no question.

Orientation

Ohio is centered around three separate training missions. Carmen takes Marisol to the Mirror universe. Kevin takes Tom to the start of World War III. And Rick takes Sheilagh to 1970 Kent State. Tom and Sheilagh are also given various surgeries in order to assist them in performing their jobs, so Boris gets something to do, too.

Vacation Time

You Mixed-Up Siciliano, meant to be a vacation in time (it’s 1960 Rome) turns into a disaster when Rick and Sheilagh are targeted by an assassin.

Upshot

We like to think that Starfleet personnel are just brought in, and that the best people are always hired and there is very little effort behind that. To my mind, that never rang true. I think there was effort behind it. And I also think that, sometimes, it’s not the best person who gets hired. Just like real life.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Review – The Mess

Review – The Mess

This mess should be really disturbing.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | The Mess
In Between Days

This scene was a part of Reversal, and in Fortune, but it never really got its due until a Weekly Free Write about chores.

I wanted very much to have a story that starts off as cleaning a kitchen and then, well, what sort of dirt is it, anyway?

You don’t want to know.

Plot

On November 22nd of 2153, Lili is alone in the NX-01‘s kitchen. She is panting. The air smells like turkey cooking, as it is Thanksgiving. She’s got a cast iron skillet in her hands. Reed‘s voice is on the intercom.

And there’s a messing on the wall, and there’s dirt on the floor.

Review – The Mess

As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there have been boarding parties on the ship. So what is on the floor, and on the wall, are the remains of something sentient. Hayes and Slocum come in. And Lili is still, barely, coherent.

Hayes takes the enemy’s rifle and leaves. However, before he does so, he translates the name on the uniform patch – She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time. For Lili, that could be an apt descriptor as well.

Slocum tosses away the pan, and finally breaks Lili out of her almost catatonic state. And while it is not quite business as usual, they have to go on anyway.

Lili remembers the story in Conversations with Heroes, although she feels anything but heroic.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like how the story played out although I think I could have emphasized Lili’s panting and her fear and her coming down from an adrenaline high, a little bit more.

Portrait of a Character – Deirdre Katzman

Portrait of a Character – Deirdre Katzman

Deirdre Katzman comes from older wholly original fiction.

Origins

While writing the HG Wells Star Trek fanfiction stories, I decided I wanted someone who was more or less together, but would be rather young. Furthermore, this person would be a protegé to Kevin O’Connor and would have a mischievous sense of humor. Hence they’d be responsible for naming the time ships. I also loved the idea of a Jewish-Japanese character, and so Deirdre was born.

Portrayal

Deirdre is played by actress Noriko Nakagoshi.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Deirdre Katzman
Deirdre Katzman

I like this lovely, petite woman. The actress has actually been in horror pictures. I don’t know too much about her.

Personality

Friendly, albeit a little quirky, Deirdre is probably the most well-adjusted of the engineers at the Temporal Integrity Commission. Kevin is in mourning when the series starts. As for Levi, well, he’s just plain weird.

Because she’s pleasant, Kevin leans on her more than he leans on Levi, but Levi is too oblivious to notice most of the time.

Relationships

Bruce Ishikawa

During A Long, Long Time Ago, Deirdre is set up by family members and goes out on a more or less blind date with a fellow Jewish-Japanese person, Bruce, who is a dog trainer. They hit it off and begin dating in earnest immediately, and by Ohio, he is referred to as her boyfriend.

It is the epitome of a sweet, youthful romance. They talk baby talk to each other on their communicators, often saying things like, “No, you hang up first.” She cooks for him. They are inseparable. Their parents push for a wedding.

When, in The Point is Probably Moot, the time change ensures that she’s forgotten him, he sticks it out, and attempts to woo and win her again.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Deirdre Katzman
Mirror Deirdre (Noriko Nakagoshi)

I haven’t written a mirror Deirdre, but there’s no reason why she wouldn’t exist.

In the Mirror, most of the women are poorly treated, and trade their bodies for favors and privileges. Deirdre would not be any different.

Yet I can see her as being tougher and harder, and possibly using her smarts to further her own agenda. Maybe she’s a revolutionary.

Quote

“You don’t need to protect her. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have an ungrateful child. That’s from King Lear if you’re unsure. She doesn’t deserve you taking the fall for her.”

Upshot

Dee is a character who doesn’t really get her due. I really should find a way for her to shine.