Progress Report – March 2014

Progress Report – March 2014

March 2014 was rather productive.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | March 2014

First of all, I finished posting Hold Your Dominion on Wattpad, and added Wider than the Sargasso Sea and Smash Your Dominion. I also added Coffee, It’s a Small Universe After All and Siberians.

In addition, I finished posting Flight of the Bluebird on Fanfiction.net. So as a direct result of that, I also imported Flight of the Bluebird into Fictionpad. I posted Legends on Fanfiction.net and also imported Legends into Fictionpad.

Also, I went on posting Intolerance on the G & T Show forums.

Furthermore, in response to a prompt about “Before the dying of the light”, I posted A Perfect Note on Ad Astra. I then added that same story to Fanfiction.net and Fictionpad. And finally, in response to a Weekly Free Write about being trapped, I added Gilded Cage.

Milestones

Progress Report – March 2014

Revved Up has been featured on Wattpad since the 12th!!! And it has over 120 reviews and is racking up about 750 reads/day.

He Stays  a Stranger made it to 10,000 reads on Ad Astra alone!

So please see the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked on The Obolonk Murders, a wholly original story.

Prep Work

Also, I spent time on BookType, getting together some content for TU Publishing. In addition, I added a little to the Star Trek Expanded Universes wiki. Finally, I split up Entanglements into chapters for eventual posting on Fanfiction.net.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

School!

The week of March 10 – 16 was spring break at Quinnipiac, but otherwise I was working. Spring break was more than welcome.  I did a lot of the readings and was busy with a blog for class.

I also spent a lot of time updating my website and older posts on this blog, and attempting to improve their SEO.

Review – Dear Captain

Review – Dear Captain

Background

In response to a prompt about letters from home, I decided to go full throttle in the direction of mail that, most decidedly, is unwelcome.

Review – Dear Captain

Namely, spam.

The idea was to create a small comedy piece that would, as I often do, zig rather than zag.

Plot

There is not too much of a plot; this is mainly a collection of obvious spammy messages sent to our intrepid future heroes. Because no one is mentioned by name, the messages could have been sent at any time, to anyone. Hence the story doesn’t really fit into any time period or series, and could cover any or all of them. I am not even certain as to which captain it is referring. It could be any or all of them, I suppose.

When I have absolutely needed to categorize it (a necessity at some fan fiction posting sites), I tend to come down on the side of it being a part of the In Between Days universe, which takes place during Star Trek: Enterprise. This makes some sense, as those people are the closest to use chronologically. They can maybe still be using email, and I write them as doing just that. Hence it all fits together rather nicely.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

As a bit of comedy, I think the piece works. It’s not meant to be anything more than a bit of fluff, and fluff it is.


You can find me on .

Pocket Conflicts

The most recent Boldly Reading prompt was about small conflicts. And that can only mean one person.


This is the Total Jerkface Conflict Number I Dunno Whatever!

My name is Marie Patrice Beckett, but just about everybody calls me Empy. The date is, um, January 12, 2173 and I just turned thirteen yesterday. This is my most secretest of diaries so I gotta say something right now, and that is – NO BOYS ALLOWED!!!

Honestly! They are such a pain in my keister. See, our family lives on Lafa II, and it’s kinda complex so I have a full-blooded brother and I have three half-brothers, okay? But other than us, there aren’t a lot of human kids, so we’re mainly all thrown together all the time. It totally does not help that the school is like this one-room schoolhouse. I swear, it’s more like 1873 than 2173! Yeah, I know!

But yeah – BOYS – Gawd, they make me crazy. There are Calafan guys, too, but they’re, I dunno, they’re mostly better, I guess. Mostly – it’s not like it’s a miracle or anything.

So, like, first off, for my birthday, I did my hair all nice and I was wearing red and I looked really good, like this, see?

Me (as portrayed by Cameron Diaz)
Me (as portrayed by Cameron Diaz)

Am I not totally adorable here?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, my brothers, the bane of my existence. So first there’s my full brother, Joss, who is like the biggest jerk, ever. I don’t know what my friend Jia sees in him. He is such a pain! See, he’s already almost fourteen and a half and the Calafans let you learn how to drive.

I know, girlfriend diary.

Anyway, so he’s learning to drive, so our Mom, Lili, she takes him out all the time, and half the time I’m in the back, and I’m bored outta my skull. But I can’t just look at my PADD ’cause he kinda starts and stops and our Mom, she keeps stamping on the floor on her side, like she’s got a brake there, or something. Confidentially, I think she thinks he’s too young to be driving but our Dad, Doug, he seems to be okay with it but he goes off with his military unit and he doesn’t have to deal with it. So, it’s like really distracting, all of that starting and stopping and stamping, and the movement all just makes me nauseous. So, you know, a PADD is like out of the question.

Then there’s Tommy, who is one of our three half-brothers. And he and I get along okay, but you should see him at the Calafan festivals! There are maybe a ton of them and I swear he’s got a dream girl who he contacts and that gets our friend Cindy all angry ’cause I think they’re supposed to be going out even though Tommy is like a few months younger than I am.

And his little brother, Neil, well, Neil is totally studious and his nose is always in his PADD. I swear that he’s working all the time and you know what they say about all work and no play. He can be so boring sometimes.

Declan is, like, the easiest one to get along with but he’s another one with a nose in his PADD all the time. He is always drawing! He barely pays attention to what you say, but he does seem to pay attention to a person’s looks. His Dad doesn’t come around as much as he should, I gotta say, but it’s ’cause he’s teaching combat training on Earth and sometimes he’s an acting captain. I swear, they’d better make Mackum – uh, Malcolm Reed – a for-real captain before we all get any older!

So, like, there are also human boys who are not related who live on this planet, but not too many of them. Dave Ryan is just too dopey and puppy-like for words. But Ken Masterson might be okay. When he and his folks visited my folks from the Cochrane, he was, you know, he was hanging around while his Mom, Deb Haddon Masterson, was doing something with my Mom in our kitchen, and his Dad, Chip Masterson, was out back playing horseshoes and drinking beers with my Dad. And, like, Ken was asking if a boy had ever kissed me before and I was gonna answer him but my stupid brothers were around and it was just not a good time. That was last year.

But let me tell you about yesterday. So, like I was all dolled up, all nice, but I spilled a little grape juice on my red dress so I changed into a red tee shirt and shorts and we were gonna go to my Mom’s restaurant, Reversal, and stuff and it was gonna be nice and kinda classy and stuff.

And then my stupid brothers – it was Joss who was the ringleader, did I tell you he’s the biggest jerk? Well, if I didn’t, he is a total jerkface. Anyway, so my stupid brothers, they pelted me with water balloons and we were already running really late and my Dad was, like, “You don’t have the time to change.” And I was, like, “But Dad, I look like a total loser!” And he was, like, “Your Mom is gonna be sooooo pissed if we’re late.” ‘Cause Mackum had come over, and it was, you know, they hadn’t seen each other in a while and it was a surprise and all that even though it was MY birthday!

I swear, sometimes, girlfriend diary.

Me, like, totally dorky (as portrayed by Cameron Diaz)
Me, like, totally dorky (as portrayed by Cameron Diaz)

So, like, we had to go and I didn’t have the time to fix my hair so I ended up looking totally dorky, just like this.

I swear to God, Jeremiah Logan Beckett, you can run, but you can’t hide.

I will get my revenge in September, when you turn fifteen. I swear to God, or my name isn’t Empy.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Portrait of a Character – Dave Constantine

Portrait of a Character – Dave Constantine

Dave Constantine has been through a few changes.

Origins

For Frank Todd to have a boyfriend in Star Trek fanfiction, there had to be someone. I liked the idea of some contrast between the tough MACO and the object of his affections. While Dave was originally also a MACO, I later made him a stellar cartographer.

Portrayal

I see Jason Patric in this role. I like the actor’s look but he’s also had a rough life (this is of course an image of him when he was rather young).

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)

But, in real life, Patric has had a hard time of it, having to sue for parental rights to his own child. I see him as melancholy and, for real, I gotta figure he must be.

Personality

Dave is one of the gay crew members on the NX-01. A bit bookish and sensitive, he’s a foil for Frank Todd, his great love. Frank reports that Dave can be rather lovesick at times.

Relationships

Frank Todd

In the prime timeline, Frank and Dave get together in Detached Curiosity and Idle Speculation, where they talk about the E2 timeline and the fact that they had ended up together. In The Way to a Man’s Heart, Frank asks Lili to make a special dessert for Dave. Lili bakes a blueberry pie, recalling that Dave enjoys blueberries. By the time of There’s Something About Hoshi, their relationship is in full swing. However, by the time of Shell Shock, Frank’s alibi is that he’s at a gay bar during the time the crime occurs. Is he with Dave? It’s not specific, but he probably isn’t. Does that mean their relationship came to an end? I’m not really sure, myself.

In the E2 timeline, they get together after Frank rather loudly and angrily comes out, during the events outlined in Entanglements. During the second kick back in time, in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, they again take up with each other.

Mirror Universe

Dave gets a brief shoutout, as a professional catcher, in The Play at the Plate.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)
Jason Patrick as Dave Constantine (image is for educational purposes only)

As a mirror baseball player, much like Joss Beckett during the alternate timeline events of Temper, being a professional ball player means he can usually get out of killing people in order to get ahead in life.

Quote

“I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate what you said.”

Upshot

Gentle and caring, yet fiercely proud, I want to explore Dave as a character as much as Frank has been explored. He’ll be back, by himself and with his great love.

Review – Shell Shock

Shell Shock is a story with strong themes.

NOTE: If rape is a trigger for you, you may want to stop reading right now.

Shell Shock Background

In response to a prompt about crimes, I decided to forego murder and instead concentrate on the equally nasty crime of rape.

Plot

Hence, at the conclusion of the Earth-Romulan War, Star Trek: Enterprise canon character Malcolm and the remainder of the crew of the NX-01 are back on Earth. While seeking to forget a horrible incident with a dying crewman, Reed seeks solace by going to the 602 Club. While there, he sees the waitress-turned-proprietress, Ruby Brannagh.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Brigid Brannagh as Ruby Brannagh | Shell Shock
Brigid Brannagh as Ruby Brannagh

Malcolm leaves early, but not before he sees some fellow crew members, plus an unfamiliar military fellow (this turns out to be Jay Hayes‘s replacement, Bud Dawson) and some protesters from Earth.

However, the next day, he is woken up by a knock on the door of his temporary quarters at Starfleet Headquarters. There’s been a crime committed. And he and other men are to report to the mess hall.

Slowly, suspects are ruled out, as male crew members from the Enterprise and the Columbia present adequate alibis. Or the forensic evidence rules them out.

Shell Shock
Franz Kafka’s The Trial

Frank Todd presents proof that he was at a gay bar.  And others are eventually eliminated. However, one of the last persons to stand accused is Malcolm, although Dan Chang is also in the final list. And so is a Columbia crewman, Josef Kastle. Kastle is a direct reference to the author Franz Kafka, who wrote The Trial.

Malcolm’s lawyer, Dash Nolan, works hard to get him off the suspect list. And Malcolm is humiliated and forced to dredge up embarrassing personal details, including about his relationship with Pamela Hudson. The story also sets up Saturn Rise as a way for him to heal from not only this experience, but also the experience of seeing a crewman suffer and die during the war.

But of course it’s the gravely injured Ruby who’s got it far worse.

Music

While there isn’t really a theme song for this story, I thought of New Orders’s Shell Shock quite a bit as I was writing it.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T/M.

Upshot

So beyond covering Malcolm and Ruby’s very different species of distress, the story also serves to convey the horrors of an accusation of rape. And even the innocent don’t come out of the experience unscathed.

Portrait of a Character – Elizabeth Cutler

Portrait of a Character – Elizabeth Cutler

Elizabeth Cutler lives on in fan fiction.

Origins

The character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon. Her role on the Enterprise was as a Science crewman, often assisting Doctor Phlox. The actress, unfortunately, died during the first run of the series.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is portrayed by the late Kellie Waymire.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cutler and Phlox | Elizabeth Cutler
Cutler and Phlox

With Waymire deceased, I’m not so sure who I would get to replace her. I imagine the same was true for the writers of the show. They ended up indicating that people had died in some of the Xindi attacks and some bodies were never found.

While that’s a horrifying thought, perhaps Cutler is one of those persons. All too sadly, that will happen when we finally, truly, venture into space.

Personality

Pleasant and intelligent, Liz Cutler is alien-curious about Phlox. Even learning that he has three Denobulan women does not faze her. But nothing happens; the actress died before the writers could really do anything with her character. She also never makes it to the Mirror Universe episodes. A pity, as I think she would have made a dandy Mirror Universe character.

Relationships

Charles Tucker III

As I write Cutler, in the Mirror, she and Tucker have a history. During Reversal, when the opportunity presents itself, they get together. By the time that story is finished, they have left together, for a new life on Lafa II. In marked contrast to the canon end of Tucker, they end up founding a dynasty, with two children, Betsy and Charlie (Charles Tucker IV). Their great-grandson, Charles Tucker VI, is a success to Empress Hoshi, and becomes the Emperor Charles I, as is noted in Temper and Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Kellie Waymire as MU Cutler (image is for educational purposes) | Elizabeth Cutler
Kellie Waymire as MU Cutler (image is for educational purposes)

Known as Beth, the Mirror Universe version of Crewman Cutler leads a hard life. Much like I write other female denizens of the other side of the pond, she lives her life at the whims of men. This becomes an existence lived at the whims of the Empress, and Jun.

In Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Beth is given a syringe full of tricoulamine and is told to fatally inject either Phlox or Malcolm‘s counterpart, Ian. She chooses Ian, knowing full well that Phlox will also get a lethal injection. However, the Denobulan’s injection will be far more painful. It’s a final act of mercy for her fellow human. I’ve even been asked if she and Ian had a history, and it’s an intriguing idea that I have not yet explored.

After the events of First Born, Empress Hoshi selects Beth to be the babysitter for her first born child, Jun. The horribly bratty Jun even gives her a black eye during Reversal. When it becomes possible to leave the ISS Defiant, Beth jumps at the chance, and leaves with Charles. They meet Jennifer and Treve on the surface of Lafa II, and blend into the forest. She even stands by him as he recovers from delta radiation poisoning, although his facial scarring never goes away.

Quote

“Charles! I get the feeling we won’t always be able to do it in the captain’s chair! Think of all the people who are on the Bridge.”

Upshot

This actress’s life was cut short, which of course is tragic. And it’s unfortunate, too, that the character had so little screen time. I hope this alternate life story has done her some justice.

Recurrent Themes – Blueberries

Recurrent Themes – Blueberries

Why blueberries in Star Trek fanfiction?Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Blueberries

A part of it is the visual appeal. There is no question that they are a pretty presentation on any plate. But then I started putting them into all sorts of places in my fiction.

They just have the right sort of appeal as a food that many people enjoy and can relate to. Everybody knows what a blueberry looks like, and what it tastes like. It is a way for space adventures to gain some down to Earth appeal.

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Blueberry Pie | Blueberries
Lili’s Blueberry Pie

Jay Hayes and Dave Constantine in particular are blueberry fans.

Lili gets this information out of Jay when she first meets him during the events of Harvest. As a result, blueberries figure thematically throughout the time they know one another. With Dave, she learns of his preference during The Way to a Man’s Heart.  By making Dave a blueberry pie, it reminds her of Jay.

During the E2 stories, Lili is constantly putting the blueberry jam jar in front of Jay. He sometimes notices, sometimes he doesn’t. This detail thereby serves as a subtle reminder of how much she likes him. She is paying attention, even to that. In addition, in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, she feeds him his last meal before he goes to rescue Hoshi (and, in Star Trek: Enterprise canon, he’s killed). The last thing he eats is a handful of blueberries that Lili gives him, right before she hugs him and tells him to be careful.

Blueberries show up briefly in Saturn Rise and Fortune, too.

Upshot

Beautiful and sweet, blueberries, to me, symbolize not only simplicity and

Recurrent Themes – Blueberries

wholesomeness, but also a means by which people can safely connect.

After all, or at least it seems this way, doesn’t everybody like blueberries?

Review – The Cure is Worse Than the Disease

Review – The Cure is Worse Than the Disease

The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was the kick off for a series.

Background

In response to a prompt about diseases and their cures, the title, as a phrase, lodged itself into my head and would not get out.

Review – The Cure is Worse Than the Disease

At the same time, I read an article about the marsupial wolf (this extinct creature was also called the Tasmanian tiger). A scrap of paper held the tiniest of plot bunnies – smart kangaroos.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Cria | The Cure is Worse Than the Disease
Cria, a tween secondary female Daranaean

At the conclusion of Intolerance, Pamela Hudson is poised to leave the Nereid Medical Academy. Will Owen is distraught and is about to be kicked out, but Blair Claymore, Mark Stone, and An Nguyen are still going to be there. What happens to those newly minted doctors once they graduate?

I decided that An would graduate at the top of his class. And he would get a job with Erika Hernandez and become the Chief Medical Officer on her canon ship, the USS Columbia (the NX-02).

While on a routine voyage, they come across a pleasure craft which is emanating a distress call, a medical emergency. When they answer it, they come upon a most curious species, the Daranaeans.

It seems that there’s already a physician on board, Doctor Rechal. So, why isn’t he treating the sick individual? Because she’s a second-caste female, and he doesn’t treat their kind. As An, Erika and the remainder of the Columbia‘s crew learn, there is institutional sexism in this species. Everyone seems to be in on it. The men look down on the women. The Prime Wife looks down at the secondary. The secondary looks down on the third-caste female. And the women are kept barefoot and pregnant.

Doctor Nguyen loses a lot of his innocence then, as he learns that even a species that could be an ally can have some rather nasty personal practices.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

The story was so well-received that fellow authors demanded a sequel. I wrote a few, and created a series for the Daranaeans, called Emergence. And it all sprang from this one story.

Portrait of a Character – Tristan Curtis

Portrait of a Character – Tristan Curtis

Tristan Curtis has problems in all timelines and universes, it seems.

Origins

Tristan originally arrived in Temper (I named him Craig, and then I wanted that first name for Craig Willets), and in the Mirror Universe, as a garden-variety bad guy.

Portrayal

I see the actor Johnny Galecki for Tristan Curtis.

Portrait of a Character – Tristan Curtis

I like this smart, likable comedic actor who can also play sensitive. Also, I think it’d be a kick to see him in a not so nice role.

Further, I like the idea of someone who seems harmless to be a Security crewman and, inevitably, a pretty awful guy in some scenarios.

Personality

Prickly and a bit off, Tristan is quite the outsider. In the E2 stories, he is out of the genetics sweepstakes in the first kick back in time. He and Daniel Chang take out their frustrations in some horrible ways, particularly in The Three of Us. Because Tristan is something of a follower, it’s entirely possible that he was just following what Dan or Gary Hodgkins was doing. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, he understands what a horrible person he was. Given a chance to do better, he takes it.

In the prime timeline, he plays cards with Malcolm, Hoshi, and Sophie Creighton, in Cobbled Together, and hits on Sophie. In Shell Shock, he’s one of the accused. Much of the time, he works with Gary Hodgkins, and the two are friends.

Relationships

Sandra Sloane

During the second kick back in time, Sandra is somewhat bereft, as Brooks Haynem has died young. Because Tristan is looking for a better life for himself, he goes after Sandra, although she is often a rather mean person. They have a daughter who they name Penny (which is of course a shout-out to Galecki’s series, The Big Bang Theory). However, before Sandra’s death, they separate. After her death, it’s unclear whether Tristan gets into another relationship, although he probably does not, given the dearth of women on board.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Tristan Curtis

In the Mirror, Tristan is a guard. Paired with Hodgkins, the two of them guard T’Pol when she’s in the brig, and then witness T’Pol’s death, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses. They also guard Empress Hoshi when she’s pregnant with Izo, in Coveted Commodity, and they try to listen in as Travis and Doctor Morgan discuss the baby’s condition.

In the alternate timelines set up in Temper, they die when José Torres crashes the ISS Luna into Malcolm‘s ship, the USS Bluebird. When the prime timeline is restored, they are executed for failing to prevent Chip Masterson from escaping to the surface of Lafa II with Lucy Stone and his children with the Empress, Takara and Takeo.

Quote

“We’re gonna die down here, Mayweather. Don’t shoot! We’re done here.”

Upshot

Even gentle-looking people can be monsters. They can be deadly, and they can be abusive. Tristan shows that. He has few chances, in my fiction, to be a good guy. I don’t think I’ll change that. I like him wicked.