Progress Report – April 2014

Progress Report – April 2014

Posted Works

On Wattpad, I began to introduce that readership to In Between Days, and posted a set of prequels I called Before Days. I added Concord and then began to post Conversations With Heroes.Quill

On the G & T Show Forums, I finished posting Intolerance. I then posted The Cure is Worse Than the Disease.

On Fanfiction.net, I posted Confidence and then hit the E2 time period and began to post Reflections Down a Corridor. I imported Confidence to Fictionpad.

I added Coffee as a drabble, to Ad Astra. In response to my own prompt about innocence, I posted a story about Skrol and Tr’Dorna, Losin’ It.

Milestones

Revved Up made it to over 14,700 reads! With over 165 comments, it is now my most-reviewed story, everShake Your Body, Reflections Down a Corridor and Crackerjack all exceeded 5,000 reads on one URL. A Long, Long Time Ago exceeded 10,000 combined reads. Intolerance exceeded 20,000 combined reads!

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I wrote some more of The Obolonk Murders, a wholly original story, and transcribed quite a bit of it into Word.

Prep Work

Progress Report – April 2014

I finished optimizing all of the posts and pages of this blog. This was somewhat slow going as there are a lot of posts! I was also rewriting, interlinking more, updating images, retagging, and otherwise improving the older posts as much as possible.

I improved the look of the site, too, trying new things, adding images, changing keywords, and otherwise attempting to optimize it.

I have started to move the as-yet unreleased posts to HootSuite rather than SocialOomph as there are more tracking options on the former.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Progress Report – April 2014

Once again, I had a ton of school work at Quinnipiac University.

The semester was winding down and so my class partner and I spent time on our final project as it was about 30% of our final grades.


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Review – The Pivot Point

Review – The Pivot Point

Background

The initial prompt was about a pivotal moment in a character’s life. This got me thinking of a ballerina, pivoting on her toes. And that immediately led me to Shelby Pike, but then I decided I’d rather go with Susan Cheshire.

Plot

Review – The Pivot Point
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Shifting between the Star Trek: Enterprise Prime Universe and the Mirror Universe, both Susans weigh the same question – whether to quit drinking. Both are with Aidan MacKenzie.

In the Prime Universe, Aidan is supportive, offering to talk to Captain Reed about taking some time off to help Susan with her struggles.

In the Mirror, Aidan can’t take any time, as he has to be at Empress Hoshi‘s beck and call. Ultimately, the decision that is made differs, depending upon the universe in question.

Review – The Pivot Point
Susan when with Aidan, either universe (Yvonne Nelson)

The decision to quit or continue drinking is, of course, Susan’s alone. But her circumstances certainly define and dictate which was the dice roll.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I like the juxtapositions,

Broken Dreams

although I probably could have done more to delineate the differences between the two situations. If this could have been done without having to rely on font formatting, I think it could have, overall, been a stronger piece. As it is now, it’s okay, but I feel it’s got room for improvement.


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Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato

Origins

I wanted Empress Hoshi to have just one daughter, and one pair of twins. Hence Takara and Takeo were born. Takara was to be the elder of the two. These would be the children fathered by Chip Masterson. The only child younger than them is Izo. Jun, Kira, and Arashi are older.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato
Zhang Ziyi as a teenaged Takara Masterson Sato

Takara is played by Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.

I wanted a very beautiful Asian actress who could believably be the person to continue Empress Hoshi’s dynasty.

Without Takara, the House of Sato falls. She ends up being the only one of the six royal children to reproduce.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato
Takara (Zhang Ziyi) as a young girl

Privileged and beautiful, Takara is the apple of her mother’s eye.

While Hoshi has no problem allowing her sons to run wild, she takes more interest in Takara, and who Takara is marrying. Part of this is some sexism on Hoshi’s part, but that works with how I write the Mirror Universe, as most women are in low positions there. Hence Hoshi particularly wants Takara to marry well. Takara’s choices multiply during the alternate timelines in Temper.

Relationships

Tommy Digiorno-Madden

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato
Sailor Mercury

During Temper, Tommy in particular is interested in Takara, who often dresses quite a bit like the Sailor Mercury anime character.

He is so interested that he threatens to fight Joss for her. Joss wisely bows out, telling Tommy that he’s not interested in her and doesn’t want to fight him. However, Takara favors Joss, mainly because he is the first-born of his family and, in this alternate timeline, is a baseball star, whereas Tommy is a common (to Takara) soldier.

Tommy’s wrath also extends to Charlie Tucker, son of Tripp Tucker and Beth Cutler, but Charlie is on the surface of Lafa II and doesn’t experience Tommy’s threats first-hand.

When the timeline is restored, they meet as children, in Fortune. And, later, Norri bequeathes her callidium-laden earrings to him, urging him to use them for dream contact.

I will explore this later, as the idea intrigues me.

Charles Tucker IV

Portrait of a Character – Takara Sato
Takara as an adult (Zhang Ziyi)

When the prime timeline is restored, Chip and Lucy are able to smuggle the twins to the forests of Lafa II. With Tommy and Joss gone back to the Prime Universe, Takara’s sole prospect is Charlie. Fortunately, they fall in love, and wed later, and become parents.

Their son, Charles V, marries the daughter of Takara’s half-brother, Ken Masterson, and Charlie’s sister, Betsy Tucker. That daughter is Denise Masterson (in the Prime Universe, Ken’s daughter is Kelly, and her mother is as yet unknown).

It is their grandson, Charles Tucker VI, who succeeds Jun and Kira as the Emperor Charles I. Takara’s family is presented to Hoshi on Hoshi’s deathbed, in Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? and Hoshi complains about the pollution of Tucker blood into the Sato genome.

In He Stays a Stranger, Takara helps to get her mother out of the Lafa System, in exchange for agreeing to return to the royal fold.

Theme Music

Her theme song is Tori Amos’s God.

Prime Universe

It’s impossible for Takara to have a Prime Universe counterpart. Her analogue is Marie Patrice Beckett.

Quote

“You already had the fight. Everybody got a prize.”

Upshot

I like this character, who has a kind of chameleon personality, depending upon which timeline she’s in. I’m not so sure where else I can feature her, though.

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Review – An Announcement

Review – An Announcement

Background

Review – An Announcement
Original character Norri Digiorno (Alyson Hannigan)

This was a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about family. Rather than have Leonora come out, I decided to instead have her announce that she had met someone special. That person is Melissa.

Plot

Review – An Announcement
Original character Melissa Madden (Catherine Bell)

In Fortune, I had rather vaguely established how the two women had met (and then more detail is offered in Red, which was written much later), but not the aftermath. This was a good chance to show that scene, particularly since I already had a bit of background of Norri’s father disapproving to some extent. While Dino isn’t necessarily homophobic (albeit some people have read him to be that way), the way I see him is that he’s a bit huffy that his little girl is growing up perhaps a bit too fast. After all, her brothers, Alex and Phil, have not yet declared their love for anyone. Hence I feel it’s more that Dino is a bit blindsided by the declaration. Belinda, his wife, sets him straight, and the story ends with a promise to have Melissa over, and soon, so that she can meet the family. There is even a brief reference to her brother Phil’s violin playing, another shout out to Fortune.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In particular, to get Norri introduced to more readers, I think the little story works pretty well. At some point, I’ll write their first dinner together, I imagine.

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin

Background

As I wrote the In Between Days series, it became necessary to create nonsentient food animals for the Calafans. Furthermore, I had already established that both Doug and Melissa enjoy hunting, partly for sport, but mainly for food. In Together, I briefly mention perrazin and described them as big, blond buffalo. By the time of Temper, I wanted to start that book with a hunting scene, so it was time to show perrazin.

Origins

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin
Perrazin (these animals are really Highland Cattle)

When I first came up with the idea, this absolutely was what I was thinking of. These animals are actually Highland Cattle.

Imagine them with tusks and you’ve got perrazin (puh-RAH-zen).

Omnivorous and nasty, perrazin will graze and will eat olowa much of the time. But if the opportunity presents itself, they will also eat linfep. Prickly and unpredictable, they will charge at anything they find strange. And, as Doug says while hunting them with a phase bow, they find a lot of things to be strange.

Spotlight on an Original Nonsentient Species – Perrazin
Dangerous Perrazin

They graze and hunt in packs, almost like a cross between cattle and wolves. During the hunt, it’s also revealed that they’re rather lazy hunters, preferring that a meal simply fall into their metaphoric laps. When presented with the opportunity, they can also be cannibals, a fact that shocks Melissa.

They also, according to Lili, taste like a cross between beef and pork. She jokes to Naurr, in Dear Naurr, Dear Lili, that she’s practically eating one all by herself during her pregnancy with Joss.

Upshot

Every culture and every society needs animals. Often, in canon, animals were overlooked when planets were explored. It seemed as if most places were animal-free! And that’s just not reality here, and I seriously doubt it would be the case on any planet where we find life.

I feel that there will always be diversity, and there will be animals that maybe don’t look like this, but they might fill similar niches. Viva perrazin!

The Aftermath of an Interview

It’s time to blog as a character again, to write about what happens after an interview.

Deutsch: Logo der Science-Fiction Serie Star T...
Deutsch: Logo der Science-Fiction Serie Star Trek: Enterprise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To me, this meant it had to be a character from the Times of the HG Wells Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction series. I hadn’t written too much about HD Avery so here’s a chance to get to know him a little better.

This is Who I Am and Why I’m Here

Today is, uh, August 25th, 3109. My name is HD Avery. Well, uh, my full name is Henry Desmond Avery IV. So you know I call myself HD ‘cause the rest of it is completely lame-o.

Yeah, like, so this is me, HD Avery.
Yeah, like, so this is me, HD Avery.

 

So, anyway, I was contacted through these weird channels, and I was brought in, by shuttle, and we went through a bunch of way stations and I dunno what they all were but I’m thinking that was the idea. And we got to what was the headquarters of – get this – the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Now, I am used to playing it cool, of course, but it is apparently this group job interview.  And there are, like, twenty or so people. We’re all human or mostly, ’cause otherwise you can’t travel to Earth’s past ’cause that’s the kind of help they’re looking for.

So I meet this hot honey and she turns out to be the boss, get this, Admiral Carmen Calavicci. And she’s, you know, she’s telling me about the job and stuff, and all I can think of is that she is just this total MILF. Know what I mean? Are you hip to the 21st century lingo? ‘Cause not everyone is, yanno.

Total hot tamale. Er, pasta, or something. Ethic honeys of any sort are just, you know, they are nuclear.

Then she passes me off to this guy who’s, like, the size of a shuttle and he’s part-Gorn, I think. And he’s okay, but we don’t have much to talk about as he’s the Chief Engineer. Name’s O’Connor. Then they bring in some of the other candidates, and I don’t think any of them are in direct competition with me, but you never know, know what I’m sayin’?

We Had This Project to Do

And we’re made to pair off and try to work out a problem. We are given this holographic scene, everybody’s got their own suite, and it’s me and this totally prim and proper honey, she’s like Miss Priss and she’s named Alice Trent and she knows all about – can you believe this? – manners and protocols.

So anyway we have to figure out where we are, and what year it is.

Las Vegas (creative commons)
Las Vegas (creative commons) (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

And we are not allowed to just come out and ask. We have to blend in, as if it was real, okay? It’s all bright lights and big city and it is beyond glitzy.

But it’s older, yanno? So Alice, she says 21st century, and I am thinking maybe, maybe not ’cause it’s in real good shape and the people look healthy and there’s all these fancy cars and I think they’ve even got those old internal combustion engines.

And then, we’re walking along, see? And we gotta figure out the year and the place and there is this holographic honey wearing these – man oh man I know it ain’t real but the effect’s the same, okay? – these hot pants.  So I ask her if she’s a pro and she says yes and Miss Priss is just about ready to have a cow or something. Then I ask the holo-honey if it’s legal there and she says yes again and wham! I know it’s Nevada.

There’s slot machines and wheels of fortune, if you go into even just the foyers of buildings, so it’s either Reno or Las Vegas. So I start singing the only song I know about Nevada, and that’s Viva Las Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas (song)
Viva Las Vegas (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the holo-honey, she looks all sad and I ask her why the long face and she says it’s a pity that he died so young. And then the holo-honey tells me she won’t talk to me no more unless I pay her. But we ain’t got no money, so she, like, disappears back into the program.

By now, Miss Priss is totally mortified but I tell her to get Arctic ’cause I know we’re in either Vegas or Reno and it’s after, I think, about 1979 or so ’cause Elvis is dead. Then Miss Priss finally starts to look around and she’s picking up clues, too, and she says it’s before The Third World War ’cause the air is clean and all the holo-people don’t look sick. I’m all polite and stuff and I don’t tell her I already figured that part out. I mean, honestly. Duh.

Then we walked some more, and there was this place with karaoke and so we went in there, and I can tell Miss Priss hates it in there, so I am, you know, totally stoked.  And I start asking what’s the really new, cutting edge stuff they’ve got, and there’s a DJ there, and he punches up, it looks like it’s maybe one of those monster kinda rap-R & B-type hits that were really popular during those decades.

It takes me a little while to figure out the beat and by then Alice is asking one of the holo-people some stuff about the President of the United States, and somebody says – stupid holo-people – says that the President is not a citizen, so we know it’s Obama and that is, I think, somewhere between 2000 and 2020 and that works with the music.

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now we’re cookin’ but we still aren’t at a year yet. I mean, a two-decade range, it’s just not good enough, am I right? So Alice and me, we set about trying to figure more of it out. And nobody’s reading a newspaper, so that’s no good, and they’ve all got little PADD-like phones but that doesn’t narrow it down much although I’m thinking it’s later in our two-decade window.

Then I Sang

So I go to sing the song and there are, I dunno, maybe sixteen or so holo-people in the room. I am used to performing in front of tons more, but that’s okay.  And I said, “This is for Elvis, Viva Las Vegas!” And they all cheered so I think that kinda helps to confirm that it’s Vegas and not Reno.

I sing the song, and Alice is looking everybody over, and somebody mentions that they think Miami won’t repeat as NBA Champions. And we look at each other and we both get it, ’cause Miami wasn’t champs after 2014.

And she said out loud that it was 2014 Las Vegas and the program stopped and we were told we were right. Then we had to go home.

The Flight Home

This was tricky and bad as I went back with these honeys named Helen Walker and Marisol Castillo. There were other people, but that’s who I was noticing, okay? But the shuttle crashed on Berren One.  And we had a casualty – Walker didn’t make it. I know I should talk more about it, but I didn’t know her and it all feels just kinda weird. I dunno. You know?

So it’s been a really full day and I am beat and maybe I should be sadder because of Walker’s death but I just feel tired and strange. I guess they’ll contact me and tell me if I got the job. I dunno.

Thanks for listening, and here’s the song I sang in case you’re interested, okay?

 

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Review – Half

Review – Half

Background to Review – Half

In response to an Andorian Week on the Star Trek Logs site, I decided to do a short story on a teenaged Talla. Talla is a canon character, the daughter of Shran and Jhamel.

Plot

Review – Half
Shran and Talla as a young girl

In keeping with canon, I decided that the pirates from the abysmal These Are the Voyages episode would be back, and they would again be looking for the Teneebian amethyst. Further, Talla would be a half-breed, and her pea green-colored skin would give that away immediately. Shran, in canon, often referred to Jonathan Archer as a ‘pink skin’. I extrapolated this to mean that Andorian society would be accepting of this kind of casual racial prejudice. Therefore, Talla is persecuted by her classmates, for the color of her skin. In order to try to tell them off, she claims that they still have the amethyst. This gets Shran back into trouble.

Review – Half
Shran and Jhamel

Forced back into hiding, Shran bids farewell to his family and seeks refuge on Malcolm‘s ship, the USS Bluebird.

And then Malcolm, along with his crew, including Ethan Shapiro, comes up with a plan to get rid of the pirates, once and for all. Inadvertently, his solution also presents a solution for Shran, Talla, and Jhamel, and the problem of their mixed marriage fitting in, in Andorian society.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story was meant to be a bit of fluff, and that’s about all that it is. I think it accomplished what I set out to do, but the bar wasn’t exactly set that high.

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings

Origins

Before Lili, I needed someone who would serve meals to Captain Archer. This does not only mean before she joined Starfleet; this would also be for before I had even created the character. Preston predates Lili, and goes all the way back to More, More, More!

Portrayal

Preston JenningsPreston is played by Billy Zane.

I like the actor’s suave charm and handsome air.

Personality

Pleasant but sometimes prone to meltdowns, Preston is just trying to get ahead. He’s also one of the four gay men on the ship (the others are Dave Constantine, Lucas Donnelly, and Frank Todd). When the Xindi War breaks out, he seizes the opportunity to do something different, and transfers to Navigation. He is the first person to admit that Lili is far more skilled in cooking than he ever was. This is put on display in Before the Fall, where Will Slocum pretty much misuses his talents in a cooking competition with Lili and her partner, Brian Delacroix. Will continues to joke about burdening Preston with Lili’s work, in The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Relationships

Lucas Donnelly

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings
Preston kicked back in time (Billy Zane)

During both kicks back in time, Preston and Luke end up together.

Neither of them are 100% thrilled with this; Dave Constantine is considered to be more of a prize. But they make the most of it, even though they aren’t necessarily compatible.

Hikaru Sulu

It’s only in Mirror Masquerade where this happens, and only in the Mirror Universe, in an altered timeline.  Preston is, just like in the Prime Universe, serving food. But there is no Lili (her counterpart is dead), so he still has that job, whereas in the Prime Universe, he switches over to Navigation.

When Sulu and Mayweather are switched, Sulu flirts with him in the chow line, and Preston gets a major promotion, to Captain’s Man. But it’s all for naught, as Carmen fixes the timeline and everything goes back to the way it’s supposed to be.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Preston Jennings
Mirror Preston (Billy Zane)

In the Mirror Universe, Preston never stops serving chow, both in the correct timeline and in the Mirror Masquerade alternate timeline.

However, in the Temper alternate timelines, he is not seen working in the kitchen. Is he dead? Absent from the ship? Working elsewhere? The truth is, I just didn’t write him. But there’s no reason why he can’t be written into a related story, at a later date.

Quote

“Are you sure we don’t have to prep for this?”

Upshot

I don’t really know this character well enough, and would like to rectify that at some point.

Stay tuned.

Review – Take Back the Night

Review – Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night!

Take Back the Night Background

Once The Cure is Worse Than the Disease was posted, readers began asking me about a sequel. Nobody wanted to leave it the way it had been left, which was with Doctor An Nguyen becoming disillusioned and the Daranaeans left to their own devices and sexist ways, with lip service being paid to the Prime Directive.

I decided I wanted a small piece of a revolution, and so the idea was formed. There would be an injustice, and the women would rise up.

Plot

Review – Take Back the Night

The real Take Back the Night movement is about women holding forth against violence against women, including rape, particularly date rape.

For the Daranaean, the elder Inta, this would be a form of marital rape that would spark the powder keg of a plot. I had already established that third caste women had no right to refuse sexual relations, and so the beginning is her refusing to sleep with her husband, Arnis. In fact, the first word of the story is simply her saying, “No!”

For her refusal, she is hit, hard, and she falls to the floor, hitting her head. This causes her death and, just as importantly, the death of her unborn fetus.

While her death is not actionable, the first legal question is whether the death of the unborn child is. This is, of course, distasteful to most of us, but I figure that alien cultures may very well have rather alien ideas about justice and mercy.

Review – Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night

As the story unfolds, someone other than Arnis is accused, and the Cochrane and the Columbia both play a part in helping that person be exonerated, and having the real killer charged with the crime.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I think this is one of the better stories I have written, as the action moves from Daranaean home to both starships, a space battle, and eventually a courtroom and even the Beta Council chamber on Daranaea. Perhaps the best part about the story is that, while it resolves the immediate issue, it doesn’t fix all of the Daranaeans’ problems overnight. There’s plenty more story fodder, and the injustices aren’t all gone. But at least there are a few less of them. I’m very proud of this story.

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska

Origins

Milena was originally created as a part of a wholly original time travel series that I have abandoned. She was always a doctor, and was always a Holocaust survivor, based on Franz Kafka’s real-life lover, Milena Jesenska. As a love interest for Richard Daniels, I feel that she shines even more.

Portrayal

Michaela Dolinova as Milena Chelenska
Michaela Dolinova as Milena Chelenska

Milena is played by Czech actress Michaela Dolinova.

It was very important for me, for the actress to be Czech in origin, as not only the ethnicity is important, but so is the accent.

I love that this actress is older, too, as Milena is meant to be worn down by the world.

Personality

Beaten down by the world and skeptical of the good in it, Milena survives more because

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska
The real Milena Jesenska

she refuses to die than for any other reason. She experiences horrors at Dachau, including being a part of desperately trying to give a pregnant inmate an abortion before the Nazis discover the unnamed woman’s pregnancy. It all goes horribly wrong, and the unnamed woman dies. Milena vows to, if she survives, only help others. This also means illegal euthanasia for her neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer, when Klinghofer’s inoperable cancer becomes truly intolerable.

Milena is first seen, in the chronological order of the stories, by Tripp Tucker, during Day of the Dead, when he’s interphased to the liberation of Dachau in 1945. Milena and her sister, Noemy, along with Mrs. Klinghofer, are befriended by Tucker and other soldiers.

Milena is not seen again until Spring Thaw, when Rick is sent to 1969 in order to make sure that Prague Spring ends. By the time of He Stays a Stranger, Rick realizes that he’s in love with her.

Relationships

Elijah Kohak

Elijah, a neighbor’s son, is Milena’s boy next door type. But he’s Orthodox, and Milena and her family aren’t, so his parents don’t agree to a marriage. Instead, Elijah is promised to another. When they are shipped to Dachau, only his father and her sister remain, as her parents have committed suicide and Elijah’s mother has died as the result of a rape  and beating. At the time of selection, because his father is going to be killed, even though Elijah could have lived, he sacrifices himself and goes to the death side, and is gassed.

Although Milena admits that she has taken lovers since his death, she’s never really gotten over him until she meets Rick.

Richard Daniels

With Rick, she finds an intellectual equal and is able to unburden herself. He, in turn, unburdens himself about Jun. They work together to heal each other. By the time of He Stays a Stranger, he realizes that he cannot just leave her in the past. In Mirror Masquerade, they are together, and she is practicing a limited form of medicine in the deep future.

Theme Music

Rick and Milena’s theme is Jim Croce‘s Time in a Bottle.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Milena Chelenska
Mirror Milena (Michaela Dolinova)

There are no real impediments to her existence in the Mirror Universe. I feel she’d be carefree, maybe even wealthy.

She could even be one of the very few Mirror Universe women who didn’t have a lousy life.

Quote

I have conclusive evidence that we are not alone in the universe. And I am well aware of exactly how insane that sounds, so I shall endeavor to explain.”

Upshot

I love this character and she will definitely be seen again.