Progress Report – May 2014

Posted Works

It was another busy month! I posted Conversations With Heroes, and began posting The Social Media Guide on Wattpad. Quill I added The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, and started spinning out Take Back the Night, on the G & T Show Forums. I continued posting Reflections Down a Corridor on Fanfiction.net. I added to the Before Days collection of prequel stories on Wattpad. More specifically, I added The High Cost of Dissidence, Gossip Gossip and The Mess. On Ad Astra, I added The Decision to a Weekly Free Write about Aging. The Twelve Trials of Triskelion started, and I posted Seven Women for the Ficlet Flashdance challenge.

I added A Perfect Note; Dear Naurr, Dear Lili; Gilded Cage; and Gossip Gossip to In Between Days context.

Milestones

Revved Up hit 17,000 reads on Wattpad!

I was equally thrilled to see combined reads for Take Back the Night top 10,000!

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked a bit on The Obolonk Murders but my final project plus all of the other work I wanted to do often made that wholly original story take a back seat.

Prep Work

I spent more time optimizing the blog and the jespah website. The website is now considerably cleaner and more streamlined, although it could use some design work and I really should better optimize it for mobile usage. I added several pages to the Star Trek Expanded Universes wiki as I have gotten some traffic from there and hope to get more.

I also created a Google+ page for Star Trek fanfiction in order to see how much that could potentially help me with not only readers, but also SEO.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

My final project for Quinnipiac class ICM522 was due the first week of this time period, so I was busy getting that together and handing it in. I got a 96 on it!!

English: Logo for Quinnipiac University
English: Logo for Quinnipiac University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then I had about two weeks and change before the next semester started, but I was also visiting my parents and so was offline more than usual.

ICM524 started on May the 19th and I got into the thick of writing essays and creating videos almost immediately.

Furthermore, I spent time optimizing and updating my social media blog. I created a Google+ page for my social media work as well.


You can find me on .

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Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Background

Tarisian Dreams suggested that I somehow find a way for Spot and Porthos to meet. The only methods were, I felt, either time travel or a holodeck simulation. I chose the former.

Plot

It’s during the Xindi War, and Lili has only recently been hired. While starting dinner, she brings Porthos to the galley. He sits, hoping that’s she’ll drop something tasty. Will comes in and scolds Lili, as this is a Health Code violation.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat
English: This is an orange/yellow tabby cat.

He insists that she return the beagle to Captain Archer‘s quarters. Lili does so, and departs as the ship is hit by a spatial anomaly. This creates a hull breach on B Deck. But this anomaly is temporal as well as spatial, and so it also results in Porthos being whisked away, over a century into the future, to the Enterprise-D, where Data, Spot, Geordi, Wesley Crusher, and Captain Picard all are.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

On the NX-01, they fear Porthos has died. On the Enterprise-D, they try to get him home.

Plus the whole thing is told from the perspective of Porthos, including his conversations with Spot.

Does Porthos get back to the right time period? Who helps him? And what happens to him and Spot, before he departs?

I guess you’ll have to read in order to find out.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I love writing animals’ points of view, and Porthos is always great fun. Spot was much more of a challenge, but readers have told me that I got cat POV correct. That was rather satisfying to read. Will they return? Absolutely, although I’m hard-pressed as to how to (if ever) get them back together again.

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Origins

This Star Trek: Enterprise canon character is one of two alien members of the NX-01‘s crew (the other is the Vulcan, T’Pol). The Denobulan species was written for ENT.

Portrayal

As in canon, Phlox is played by John Billingsley.

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

The actor is well-cast and it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. Much like Leonard Nimoy and Vulcans, Billingsley essential defines what it means to be a Denobulan.

Personality

Personable, cheerful, and kind, Phlox is also, at times, a bit baffled by humans. For starters, at the beginning of the series, he can’t quite figure out the idea behind pets.

Relationships

Feezal

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

This canon relationship is with Phlox’s second wife, of three. The other two are never named in canon. I’ve never written her except in the context of Phlox missing her after the Enterprise is kicked back in time, during E2.

Amanda Cole

Also canon, in the E2 episode, Phlox and Amanda get together, a scene that I show in both Entanglements and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

Mirror Universe

This character exists in canon.

Mirror Phlox
Mirror Phlox

At the end of the pair of canon ENT Mirror Universe episodes, his fate is unknown. But I figure it’s got to be that his days are numbered. Hence, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I have Empress Hoshi order his death. When Beth Cutler is given two syringes, one with the proven fast nerve toxin, tricoulamine, and the other with replicated orange juice, the Science technician knows that both shots will kill whoever receives them. She hesitates until Hoshi tells her that she’ll be next if she takes any longer. The choice is to inject either Phlox, or Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s counterpart. With a small sympathy to her fellow Terran, Beth gives Ian the proven fast killing agent. Phlox, unfortunately, suffers at the end.

Quote

“Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?”

Upshot

I don’t write Phlox that much, except in the context of E2 stories and Intolerance. Part of that is to pave the way for other physician characters, such as Blair Claymore, Pamela Hudson, and Cyril Morgan. It’s also because, until Reflections Down a Corridor, I wasn’t really all that comfortable writing him. He’s absent from a lot of my main timeline, and nearly all of my Mirror Universe timeline. Will he return? Yes, although many storylines shut him out completely.

 

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

The Best Things Come in Pairs Background

Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.

Plot

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.

This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.

They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a little silly, maybe, and a little amusing, and it segues rather neatly into Complications. A touch of happy ending mixed with some humor? Sign me up.

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I

Origins

As Reversal was written, I needed a character who would, in our universe, be someone who the natives would mimic with Lili. In the Mirror Universe, she would be mimicked by Jennifer. She would be mother to Treve, Yimar, and Chelben. Enter Yipran.

Portrayal

I like Susan Sarandon for Yipran.

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I
Susan Sarandon as Yipran

The actress is tough and smart, and is an Oscar winner.

She can play all manner of characters, and I feel she would easily be able to show a Yipran who is not yet healed, and also one who is, in dreams, the spiritual leader of her people.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I
Yipran (Susan Sarandon)

Intelligent but damaged, High Priestess Yipran never fully recovers from what Chawev, Baden, and Polloria do to her. Essentially, by poisoning her with an excessive amount of potassium, they have cut off her dreams and eventually she becomes comatose.

In Bribery, Yimar and Treve express the desire to visit her in the main hospital, but are thwarted, as Chawev wants to bring in Polloria as their new stepmother – despite the fact that Yipran is far from dead.

By the time of Friday Visit, Yipran is slowly recovering, but remains damaged. In Fortune, she can speak clearly in dreams, but not during waking life.

Relationships

Chawev

In both universes, Yipran is victimized by her husband, who attempts to do her in, in order to pave the way for the ambitious vixen, Polloria. Treve, their eldest son, reveals in Together that Chawev and Yipran really can’t divorce, as no one wants to believe that the First Minister and the High Priestess would ever not have a perfect marriage.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Yipran I
MU Yipran (Susan Sarandon)

Just as in the prime universe, Yipran is the High Priestess of the Calafan people and, as such, is their spiritual leader, although her husband is their political leader.

In the mirror, Yipran’s life ends near the end of Reversal, as she is killed by Polloria and Polloria’s cronies, and is succeeded by her daughter, Yimar.

Quote

“Yes, and my time will be up soon anyway. But you will continue on, as planets form and die and break apart and become new things, you will watch. And as lives begin and end, you will bear witness. And when the last atom has been blown apart in the remnants of the Big Bang, as the last of the energy converts to dark matter, and the universe hits absolute zero, you will be there. And you will watch it, and go with it, as it turns onto itself, and again renews, in an endless cycle. For when it is all dark matter, and it has all recompressed, as it passes through another septum, one that does not yet exist, and it goes to another place, crossing another pond, there will be another Big Bang. As there have been countless ones before, there will be countless ones after.”

Upshot

Yipran spends a lot of time as a victim, but that’s one of the main drivers of the plot in Reversal. At some point, I might write more of an origin story for her, but right now that is very much on the back burner.

Recurrent Themes – Oranges

Background

I like oranges and they figure fairly prominently in a lot of my Star Trek fan fiction. DNA Much of this was by the accident of the time when I was posting Reversal. The story, and its initial posting dates, both occurred near Halloween.

On the day right after Lili and Doug first make contact, Chef Slocum insists on a day’s menu with every single food item including oranges. There are oranges in every single thing made, from the French toast batter in Captain Archer‘s breakfast with Malcolm, to the main dishes at dinner and everything in between.

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang... And through it all, Lili chops oranges, all day. When nighttime comes, she reeks of them. When she makes contact with Doug that night, he buries his nose into her shoulder and inhales, and breaks their silence for the very first time, by asking, “Oranges?” Laughing, she just replies with one word: yes.

Appearances

Reversal

As noted above, the appearance of oranges in Reversal sparks a deeper relationship between Lili and Doug.

Orange sky
Orange sky

Her rather strong aroma helps to convince him that she’s real, and so he feels confident enough to speak with her, and that breaking the silence won’t also break the spell.

Her chopping of oranges becomes a source of some pain when she cuts her hand with a French knife. This gets her to Sick Bay, where she converses with Phlox about her experiences, and he conducts a physical examination that alerts everyone that what is happening to Lili is very, very real.

Apple

Orange peel
Orange peel (Photo credit: AJC1)

In this short story, which occurs the day after the day of all-orange food, Shelby offers Travis an apple.

In the chow line, Tripp Tucker complains about the overabundance of oranges, and asks for fruit that is anything but an orange.

Together

Near the conclusion of Together, Joss

Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason (Photo credit: hchalkley)

 

receives a gift for his birthday of various kinds of nut butters and jams, including one lone jar of orange marmalade, from Fortnum & Mason.

Temper

On vacation in Fep City at the start of Temper, Malcolm and Lili talk about earlier days, and he hearkens back to that same day during Reversal, when she smelled of oranges.

English: oranges
English: oranges

He equates that to “sunshine and happiness”, and remarks that that was when he first noticed her, and realized that he wanted more out of life than just duty and work.

This is why, when he sends nut butters and jams, he makes sure to include a special gift of orange marmalade from Fortnum & Mason, which is a signal to Lili and is a gift to her, rather than Joss and Marie Patrice or anyone else.

Later in the story, when she finds an empty jar of Fortnum & Mason orange marmalade on Empress Hoshi‘s ship, the Defiant, Lili knows that her house has been ransacked by agents of the Terran Empire.

The Three of Us

Because Reversal is not a part of this timeline (and neither is Doug), the reference is different. This time, it’s a harvesting party on Amity, where an orange tree has died.

Osage Orange, Hedge Apple, Maclura pomifera .....
Osage Orange, Hedge Apple, Maclura pomifera …..

Jay asks Shelby if the wood is strong and can support a lot of weight. She suggests an Osage orange tree instead, as the fruit doesn’t taste very good and it was just a fallback, which is no longer needed, as regular oranges are growing just fine. Plus the Osage orange wood is a lot stronger than regular orange wood. He accepts her recommendation, and makes a cane for the permanently injured Ethan Shapiro.

Upshot

Easter Eggs (WIP)

Like a little orange Easter egg, oranges pop up in my fiction from time to time. They even make it into my original fiction.

Have some!

 

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Review – Complications

Review – Complications

Complications Background

Complications – As a follow up to The Best Things Come in Pairs, Treve and Pamela make love for the first time. But things are a little … odd.

Plot

Review – Complications

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that human-alien sexual relations will go smoothly, particularly not the first time. Couple this with the fact that Treve is a virgin, and Calafan men can swell up after climax, and the scene naturally turned to the parties becoming a bit stuck.

Already, things are weird.

At the same time, Treve is the first boyfriend Pamela has ever had where she’s waited. He’s also the first man she has ever loved (she did not love Malcolm when they dated in Intolerance and met again in Together. She was mature enough to never say it back to Malcolm), and he ends up being the only man she ever loves. He is everything to her, and the feeling is mutual.

Her earlier experiences have been different. They’ve been brief and unfeeling, and often laced with some S & M and B & D. She’s got a wild side. And now things are changing, and wholly for the better.

But they’re still stuck.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

This short story was written in response to a sex scene prompt, and it was great fun to imagine it and put it on paper. This is one piece of Pamela’s happy ending, and I was glad to write it. For this character with a difficult early life, alien-human sex and its aftermath are the least of her many complications.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

Origins

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery

This character originated in the old time travel series that I wrote several years ago.

However, he was originally a hipster who had missed the 1960s, having attempted suicide in 1960 by jumping off the Coit Tower in San Francisco.

Portrayal

I see HD as being played by Scott Bairstow.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Scott Bairstow as HD Avery

This actor has been in a number of productions, and is best known for being the lead in the television series, Lonesome Dove.

He is also a troubled individual in real life.

Personality

Supremely talented musically, HD hides his natural shyness behind bravado. As he explains to Sheilagh, he is fine when singing to a large group, as he knows what to say and does not have to look anyone in the eye and address them directly. But when things get more personal, it’s a lot harder for him.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Treble Clef. Hearing Music in Color. Mosaic …

He has an ear for music and can play almost anything, any instrument and any tune, within a single hearing. He also spins music in clubs, as a kind of futuristic DJ. He understands music theory, and music history as well.

He is a sensitive genius, misunderstood by his staunch, straitlaced farmer parents. In particular, they cannot understand why he wants to be called HD. His great-grandfather is Hal; his grandfather is Harry; and his father is Hank. He is referred to as ‘Little Hank’ (his father is ‘Big Hank’), and hates that, feeling that the appellation is childish.

Relationships

Sheilagh Bernstein

As far back as You Mixed-Up Siciliano, HD openly has a thing for Sheilagh.  However, he goes after Crystal Sherwood first. Not because he’s interested in her; it’s more that he wants to have some experience for when he can, eventually, end up with the true object of his affections.

Sheilagh and HD don’t get together until Shake Your Body, when they are both feeling low and are seeking solace in each other. The only later windows into their relationship occur in Happy Stuff 3111, when they spend the holidays together, and at the end of He Stays a Stranger, when the colony entity, Branch Borodin, reveals, a millennium later, that they wed.

Theme Music

HD is associated with any number of songs, and even sings the title tune from the musical, Oklahoma! and Big D from The Most Happy Fella. But the song I most associate with him is probably Queen’s Need Your Loving Tonight.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to HD existing in the mirror.

Portrait of a Character – HD (Henry Desmond IV) Avery
Mirror HD (Scott Bairstow)

He would probably be just as talented, but would have to play and sing for the well to do in order to get by.

He might even be an entertainer for the Mirror Government.

Quote

“I saw her killed, and, and it was Marisol who confirmed it. Dammit, it was Marisol who confirmed it! It wasn’t real. They, they’ve been sending me on all sorts of wild goose chases. Every time there’s a main mission, there’s always a diversion, and most of them are musical. They’ve been peeling me off. And it was because I’m a witness. I saw what happened. And I hadn’t put it together. They didn’t want me to say, and to figure it out, I bet. And Beauchaine was there, he was with me.”

Upshot

The HG Wells series is filled with music, as tunes are used to set the stage and HD himself is diverted, over and over again, to musical missions to, often, assure that musicians such as Freddie Mercury and John Lennon die, or albums like Dark Side of the Moon, become successful.

HD is necessary for a lot of the red herrings in the overall plot arc to work. He is a truly indispensable character.

Review – Ceremonial

Review – Ceremonial

Background

Review – Ceremonial
Connor Trinneer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ceremonial activities tend to be weddings and the like. Instead, I decided to show a more secular event. As a result, I seized upon showing a citizenship ceremony.

After Reversal was concluded, I had placed the Star Trek: Mirror Universe Tripp and Beth on the surface of Lafa II. And when a prompt came around about ceremonies, I decided against weddings and the like and instead went for a citizenship ceremony.

Plot

After leaving Empress Hoshi far behind, Beth and Tripp (she calls him Charles) want a new life. They’ve already married, and they have a son, Charlie. Their life on Lafa II isn’t an easy one. After all, they’re living in a cave, and are only doing odd jobs in order to survive. When things are really bad, they’re poachers.

Therefore, when they get a chance to attain full citizenship, they take it. Since they owe the Empress absolutely nothing, they want to declare their allegiance to the leader of the government, the new High Priestess, Yimar. In a low-level bureaucrat’s office, their lives are changed, as they swear to defend the Calafan government and its people, and denounce the Terran Empire.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I think this short story turned out pretty well. It has one small purpose to serve, and it does so readily.