Progress Report – July 2014

Progress Report – July 2014

Posted Works

The month began with a rather hot week. It could be tough to concentrate on Star Trek fanfiction at times.

Progress Report – July 2014
Quill

I continuing posting Entanglements on Fanfiction.net and Flight of the Bluebird on the G and T Show Forums.

On Wattpad, I continued posting The Social Media Guide and My Favorite Things (like kibble). I also added The Tribe, Voracious, Harvest and Protocols to the Before Days collection. For a one-shot science fiction contest, I entered Biases.

I had Theorizing beta read and submitted it to the Delphic Expanse to see how it would do there.

I started to post The All-Stars on Ad Astra to see if I could get some help with some plot issues I was having. I also posted the teaser copy for Multiverse Mini.

Milestones

Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, A Long, Long Time Ago and The Three of Us all made it to over 10,000 reads on just one URL. Together made it to 20,000 reads on just one URL. At this point, there are 11 stories with at least 10,000 reads on one URL, and three more (Reflections Down a CorridorTake Back the Nightand The Point is Probably Moot) have over 10,000 reads on combined URL read counts). Three of those are at 20,000 reads or more, plus two (Intolerance and Fortune) have over 20,000 reads on combined URLs. Reversal now has over 40,000 reads on combined URLs. See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

The Barnstorming series was edited a bit, particularly the first story. I also worked on the next Multiverse adventure, calling it Multiverse Mini.

Prep Work

I finished splitting up The Three of Us for eventual posting on Fanfiction.net. I contributed to the Star Trek Expanded Universes wiki as I get some traffic from there. I performed a ton of SEO work on the blog and the site, too.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

I continued with school work at Quinnipiac. Progress Report – July 2014 I was also looking for work rather intently. As stated above, the heat also affected my productivity. Sometimes it was just not easy to get comfortable.

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Recurrent Themes – Politicians

Recurrent Themes – Politicians

Background

Recurrent Themes – Politicians
DNA

Star Trek canon is loaded with politicians and political leaders. Here are the ones that I’ve gone to the most in my fanfiction.

I decided to not include monarchs in this group. Instead, these are people who have been elected to office.

Currently, they are all male, although that was not my intention, to only have elected male rulers. A lot of this skew can be explained by the fact that most of the politicians showcased herein are Daranaeans.

Appearances

Acreon

The war hero of Daranaea is in power at the start of Flight of the Bluebird.

Jonathan Archer

Johnatan Archer

In canon, Jonathan is eventually elected to the presidency of the United Federation of Planets. I have not shown that, but I have shown him as a representative in Flight of the Bluebird, and as a retired former president in both Bread and A Hazy Shade.

Arnis

Arnis, the Alpha of Daranaea, is disgraced and sent to prison for murder at the end of Take Back the Night, proving that even he is not above the law.

Boestus

One of the pieces of the plot of Flight of the Bluebird is the elections for Alpha, as Acreon is retiring. Boestus is the conservatives’ standard bearer.

Chawev

At the end of Reversal, Chawev is hauled off to jail (I seem to incarcerate my leaders a lot), for the crime of poisoning Yipran with potassium.

Elemis

This Beta Council representative is elected in a special election after Arnis is disgraced at the end of Take Back the Night.

Todd Stratton

Boris Yarin‘s brother-in-law is an official, high up in the deep future government. He is the only politician I have written, so far, for the HG Wells series.

Ubvelwev

In Voice of the Common Man, on Election Day, Lili votes for him to become the First Minister of the Lafa System, whereas Doug remains undecided by the end of the day.

Vidam

In the elections for Alpha in Flight of the Bluebird, Vidam represents the liberals on Daranaea, and is known to the electorate as the man who, during Debate, first brought to a vote the issue of granting the vote to Prime Wives (he lost, by an overwhelming amount).

Upshot

I need to write some female (and nongendered) politicians and political leaders, I think!


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Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Origins

After the Star Trek 2009 film came out, eventually there was a challenge to write a story in the JJ Abrams universe (also called nuTrek). Hence I created Eriecho.

When Eriecho and Saddik are originally released from Canamar Prison, they are brought to a Vulcan sanctuary on Mars. That sanctuary needed an administrator, and that person became Jack Shaw.

Portrayal

I like Kurt Russell for this role, particularly his no-nonsense hyper-military look in Stargate.

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw
Kurt Russell as Jack Shaw

Personality

Tough but fair, Shaw is responsible for a ton of Vulcans and they are an endangered species.  But underneath, he’s a bit of a softie. He watches over his charges like a mother hen. And he pines for reporter Julie Parker.

Relationships

Juliet Parker

When we first meet Shaw, one of the things he is doing is mulling over a house that Julie loved. With no ties to her, he puts a payment stop on it. It’s a foolish thing, a lark, and he has no hope of anything happening between them. But he does it all the same. And when she learns he has done this, she is amused and then touched.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

There are no impediments to Shaw existing in the Mirror Universe, either in the JJ Abrams timeline or the Prime Timeline.

I like to think he would be more relaxed, and would maybe have a family, despite the harsh conditions on that side of the pond.

Quote

“I’m lousy at this. But I don’t drink to excess, not any more than a beer or two after work. I don’t gamble. I don’t run around. And I, uh, I won’t look at anyone else. Hell, I haven’t since I met you.”

Upshot

He could be better explored, I imagine. At some point, where Eriecho goes (and at some point I will marry her off to Sollastek), Shaw will follow. He’ll be back.


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Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano

Background

Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano
You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano! So back when I was originally writing a time travel series, I hit upon the idea of a vacation in 1960 Italy. However, this would be where everything would inadvertently go wrong. Hence, playing off the lyrics of Rosemary Clooney‘s song, Mambo Italiano, and the old Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, the title came to me as did much of the story line.

Plot

At the start of the story, Sheilagh has just threatened to quit the Temporal Integrity Commission, after a disastrous training run outlined in Ohio.

Because she can already tell that she’s going to hate letting good people die.

Carmen and Richard suggest an alternative. While consulting with Otra, they ask her where she would go, and when, if she could. So Otra, being a nice Italian girl, suggests 1960 Italy and the film and song as outlined above. And then Crystal outfits Sheilagh in “fabulous clothes” and they’re off.

However, things don’t go quite as planned, as Marisol Castillo also takes a side trip to 1960 Rome.

You Mixed-Up Siciliano Music

So reflecting 1960, the music is often horn-driven. The Twist refers not only to the dance, but also to the plot. El Paso was a serendipitous find, and references Marisol rather neatly.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

Finally, I love the music in this one, the costumes and the scene settings. So as for the crime and the mystery, it is in this story where things stop being a mystery. They settle, instead, into the characters trying to figure out what’s going on, and the overall arc begins to segue into Spring Thaw. I like it although I think I would have slowed down the crime a bit.


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Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Origins

I wanted a bit of an author surrogate here. I loved this spelling of Sheilagh ever since I saw it in the old book, The Harrad Experiment. That was about the only thing, other than the sex scenes, that was interesting about that book, but I digress.

Sheilagh was written to be a specialist in ancient computer systems, as time travelers would need that sort of expertise.

Portrayal

I see Leelee Sobieski in this role.

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

I like the actress’s look, she seems brassy and I feel that Sheilagh would be a bit like that. Smart but also maybe a little pushy.

Personality

A genius, but often isolated, Sheilagh is older and could use some friends. When things trouble her, she has no one to talk to and, in Ohio, ends up talking to a random guy in a park.

Sheilagh was born on September 19, 3062. She lives on Mars. While growing up, she had a Mastiff named Jake. She is an only child, born in New Brasilia, on Callisto.

Relationships

Richard Daniels

While some flirting goes on in Ohio, it isn’t until You Mixed-Up Siciliano that they hook up. The relationship is mainly physical and they often meet in each other’s bunks in the middle of the night. Just before Spring Thaw, Rick ends it, and Sheilagh does not object.

HD Avery

In Shake Your Body, after seeing some difficult things, they get together. HD has been interested for quite a while, referring to her (when speaking to Daniels) as being, “the best one”. In He Stays a Stranger, Branch Borodin states that HD and Sheilagh eventually marry.  A quick scene of them dating is showing in Happy Stuff 3111.

Theme Music

Although the spelling is wrong, this song works. It’s from 1962, so it’s a little bit after Ohio.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein
Mirror Sheilagh

In Ohio, Sheilagh confirms that she has a Mirror Universe counterpart, who is a government official.

I see this woman as being smart, yes, but even more withdrawn than the Prime Universe Sheilagh. After all, who can you trust?

Quote

“Home is, is on Mars. Yeah! I’m one of those little green men you’re all so worried about. Uh, little green woman. And him? He lives near Saturn! We come from the future to, to eat your Pasta Alla Puttanesca and drink your Campari!”

Upshot

I like Sheilagh but she’s had few occasions to really work. She did some work in Another Piece of the Action, but the personality was not explored. I need to try to rectify that at some point.


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Spotlight – Phaseball

Spotlight – Phaseball

Background

Spotlight – Phaseball
Particle rifle (meant to be similar to a game piece for phaseball)

At the start of A Long, Long Time Ago, various time traveler job candidates are approached by the current members of the Star Trek canon organization, the Temporary Integrity Commission. When bringing in Thomas Grant and Daniel Beauchaine, Kevin O’Connor finds these two friends playing this game together on a team.

The game is intended to be somewhat similar to paintball, but played with either phasers or even phase bows. Like paintball, it is a strategic type of game intended to, in some ways, mimic warfare. Players form teams and work together to attain an objective.

Upshot

With few details so far, I can’t say that even I know the rules of phaseball.

Spotlight – Phaseball

I can see it as the kind of game that could conceivably take hours. However, with phased light, instead of paint, no one gets dirty, or at least they don’t get dirty from paint (sweat and dirt from the outside are a different story, of course).

Will it be back? I can’t say. I don’t honestly know a lot about paintball, and Beauchaine ends up incarcerated, so the chances of it returning are currently not so good.


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Review – Temptation

Review – Temptation

Background

In order to lighten the mood surrounding the Daranaeans, after the heavy plotting of The Cure is Worse Than the Disease and Take Back the Night, I decided to go with a light family comedy.

Plot

Review – Temptation
Temptation

It’s after Mistra has been exonerated, and the newly-configured Daranaean family, with Vidam as the head of the household and his mother, Dratha, quietly helping him, is getting along pretty well. Most of the family has gone on a day outing, except for Mistra, her eldest daughter, Cria, and the baby of the family, Inta. The two eldest boys, Vidam and Trinning, are at the big school. When Cria finishes her home schooling homework, she asks to have friends over, and Mistra agrees.

Cria invites over Kathalia, Jamae, and Morza. The four girls have a wonderful time, until Cria, ever mindful of being a good hostess, goes to procure little cakes (cookies) for each of her guests. But there aren’t enough cookies.

By this time, the boys are home, and Vidam and Trinning figure out why baby Inta has been so quiet and just where those cookies have gone to.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a gentle family comedy, and I think it succeeds. When I read it to my husband for the first time, he yelled out, “Busted!” when the plot came to its little climax. And that made me laugh.


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Best Genre Treatment 2

Best Genre Treatment 2

Let’s take a look at my best stories in four more genres. These are what are (to me) my best Star Trek fan fiction stories in particular writing genres.

Historical

There can only be one.

Best Genre Treatment 2
Concord

While I also love Crackerjack, and all of the HG Wells stories, I believe that, by far, my best historical fiction story is Concord.

I have never, ever worked so hard to get a story right, than I did with Concord.

From its cover (that’s the bridge leading from Lexington to Concord and, yes, there was an engagement on it), to determining whether men would tip their hats to women (yes), to figuring out Colonial Era market prices, to even deciding what one of the cows would be named, Concord is an absolute labor of love.

The premise of the story is an interphase: Malcolm is transported to April 1775 Lexington, Massachusetts, and takes the place of an ancestor, just as a future time traveler, during the time of the Genesis Project, takes the place of his own ancestor, who is fighting alongside Malcolm’s ancestor. Injured in the fighting, Malcolm and the time traveler, Robert Lennox, are quartered in a home, where they meet, among other people, Benjamin Warren.

IDIC

Best Genre Treatment 2
Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation (Future Matches)

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations brings to mind LGBTQ story lines. In this genre, my favorite (which is also a reader favorite) is Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation.

Working as both a prequel to There’s Something About Hoshi and a sequel to the E2 stories, Detached tells the story of how Dave Constantine and Frank Todd started dating.

With what is almost 20/20 hindsight, the men know that they were together and that their relationship worked out. But it’s still tentative and a little strange. But when they kiss, you want to cheer.

Romance

This was easily the most difficult decision, to figure out which was the best of these many stories.  Three stories get an honorable mention here. First is The Reptile Speaks, which is a Gorn romancing a Cardassian.  I loved the idea of putting together a rather different couple, and how someone who looks so menacing could, at bottom, be a truly good person.

Reversal has to be mentioned, as it is not only the love of the dark stranger for the light, but it’s also an amazing kick-off story. A ton of roads lead straight to Reversal.

The Honky Tonk Angel also deserves to be mentioned, as it’s another odd couple type of story, as Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis go on their first date.

But the winner, the best one (and I might change my mind tomorrow) is The Three of Us .

Best Genre Treatment 2
The Three of Us

All of the E2 stories were labors of love, but Three is really the big one. That is also due to, in part, its size.

Characters move from misbehaving and acting childishly, to acting criminally, to eventually maturing. Kindness, friendship, and togetherness, lead to more.

As might be expected from such a title, the relationship is an unconventional one.

But the parties persevere, and grow, as time pulls them along and they experience not just romantic love, but also brotherhood, fellowship, parenthood, and, ultimately, tragedy.

Best Genre Treatment 2
The Sparrow and the Blue Jay

This image becomes particularly important, and is a part of one of the story’s many high points.

I love this story, from its tentative, scared, damaged people, to its criminals, to its hopefulness, to its sorrow. As Lili O’Day says in Fortune, “There is something there.”

Tragedy

Nothing really comes close to Seven Women, when it comes to tragedy.  From the very start, the reader is told that Tommy Digiono-Madden is going to die. A fireball is coming, the fire door is closed, and he cannot outrun any of it. He knows this is it. But instead of having his life flash before his eyes, Tommy instead thinks of seven pivotal women in his life. They range from the three women he called mother, to his first girlfriend, and more.

This was a character I had only written little snippets of, and very few as an adult.  As readers got to know Tommy, so did I. The best decision I made in that story was to not bow to internal pressure to give him a happy ending.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get one.

Upshot

The best romance story was easily the hardest of these decisions to make. Tune in; I may do this again next year.

Portrait of a Character – Phillip Green

Portrait of a Character – Phillip Green

Origins

This a canon character, who has actually been played by two separate men, depending upon whether it’s The Original Series (Phillip Pine) or Star Trek: Enterprise (Steven Rankin). In either iteration, Colonel Green is a nasty villain and a killer of millions.

Portrayal

I prefer Rankin for this; I just see a guy who’s a little bit younger.

Portrait of a Character – Phillip Green
John Frederick Paxton watches an old image of Colonel Green

This has more to do with how I’ve written his successor in Multiverse II than anything else.

Keep in mind, the canon character is Philip (one L) and lives during the earlier part of the Third World War. The character I’m talking about is Phillip (two L’s) and is from a bit later. But the idea that funngunner and I had was that the concept of a Colonel Green would continue as several men fill the role over time.

Personality

Ruthless and rapacious, Green has an appetite for the remaining luxuries in the ravaged Earth, power, and women, at least as funngunner and I write him. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, Green is the poster child for that.

Relationships

Liesl Green

In Multiverse II, Liesl is eventually revealed to be the kingmaker, that there have been several versions of Green and Phillip is only one of many.  There are even three children, but they aren’t Phillip’s or Liesl’s, so the far-future descendant, Phillipa, who Richard Daniels meets and seduces, as is mentioned in Ohio, has someone else’s genetics.

The relationship with Liesl is more businesslike than anything else. There is no marriage – although she’s referred to as his wife. It is just an arrangement, and the two of them continue to do whatever they like. Donald Janeway eventually reveals that he kept a database of eco-warrior ‘volunteers’ and it was split up by gender, with obviously male names scouted for Liesl, obviously female names for the Colonel, and anyone unknown to be determined. And, once they were determined for sure, they would be set aside for either party. Then images would be scoured for imperfections and anyone imperfect would be eliminated from consideration. Anyone unlucky enough to be physically perfect would be ripe for sexual usage.

Otra D’Angelo

When Otra arrives, the Colonel only has eyes for her, and kicks Liesl to the curb. Liesl wouldn’t care, except she wants power. Plus Otra is an alien, and that bothers Liesl quite a bit. And then Otra plunges a knife into Green’s chest, just after he proposes marriage. It’s a nasty business, Chilo possession.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Phillip Green
Phillip Pine as the Mirror Phillip Green

For the Mirror Universe, I go back to Phillip Pine for the portrayal.

In my Star Trek: Enteprise fanfiction, I see him as the Emperor of the Terran Empire, Phillip I. His true descendant, Phillip IV, is Emperor when Hoshi Sato, in canon and in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, declares herself Empress. Hoshi herself assassinates Phillip IV.

Quote

“The fool’s paralyzed, and he’s unconscious. He doesn’t need guards or medics; he needs pallbearers.”

Upshot

It is great fun and more than a little satisfying to write a person who is more or less pure evil. It’s even more satisfying to try to find a way to make him even remotely sympathetic. Green is a trip to write, and there’s talk of there eventually being a Multiverse III. If there is, I want to write him again.


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Best Genre Treatment 1

Best Genre Treatment 1

I  write in all sorts of genres and wanted to put together what I think are my best treatments of them. This is in conjunction with all of the story reviews I have been posting, and future reviews.

I have written a good 200 or so stories. Choosing what is ‘best’ is subjective and certainly my ideas change over time. These stories, I might add, are not necessarily the ones with the greatest read or review counts. Sometimes it’s just the best in my mind. I don’t always agree with my readership.

Comedy

One of my favorite genres to write, comedy speaks to me.

Best Genre Treatment 1
Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before

I love to make people laugh, but I also don’t want to create mindless slapstick.  This is why I love Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before.

From the amusing title, to its start as Chip Masterson is busted by Deb Haddon for keeping Tripp‘s stuffed gerbil toy, Stella,  to their romance, to Chip’s nascent to friendship with Aidan, the story celebrates a number of below decks themes.

Canon characters abound, as the story is also one big shout-out to the canon Star Trek: Enterprise First Flight episode. Jonathan Archer, Liz Cutler, AG Robinson, Soval, and Admiral Forrest all show up.  There are even very brief cameos by T’Pol and Jay Hayes.

The basic premise is a prank war, all carried out while inertial dampers are being perfected. This canon piece of equipment is about the dullest bit of Star Trek technobabble, so it was the perfect backdrop for a ton of hijinks. After all, the inventors (it’s a competition) would mainly be bored by their activities. They would be itching for something to do.

And then there’s the goat ….

Drama

Best Genre Treatment 1
Saturn Rise

I write a ton of drama and it can sometimes be difficult to sustain. Right now, today, as I write this blog post, I feel that one of my better, if not my best such stories, is Saturn Rise.

I had wanted to not only showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, but also to attempt to resolve some of the unfinished business in Intolerance, Temper, and Fortune.

Further, I wanted Malcolm to have to deal with introducing his parents to Lili, and possibly risk their disapproval.  Done within the context of introducing them to Declan, I also wanted to present an alternate point of view regarding the acceptance – or not – of Lili and Doug‘s open marriage.

Just as Pamela has to have it out with her mother, Malcolm has to have it out with his parents.

Holidays

One of the first Star Trek fan fiction stories I ever completed, The Light covers Chanukah on the NX-01 and a lot more.

Best Genre Treatment 1
The Light

As Ethan Shapiro learns of his great-aunt’s death, young Jewish crew members are brought together. Part of this is to properly mourn the woman’s death, but another reason is a budding romance, as Andrew Miller is looking to ask out Karin Bernstein.

I introduced not only these original characters (plus Josh Rosen), but also covered the subject of the existence of a Starfleet Rabbi, Leah Benson. Because I love these characters so much, they have all been woven into my fan fiction, including the Mirror Universe stories, as they meet dissimilar fates. Leah in particular is very different on the other side of the proverbial pond.

Horror

Best Genre Treatment 1
Day of the Dead

I have never been a fan of slamming doors, zombies, things going bump in the night, etc. types of stories or films. I just plain don’t like being scared for my entertainment. Hence I hit upon an idea, and that was to show what I feel is far, far worse. And that’s the Holocaust.

Taking place over the course of Halloween weekend, Tucker, who in canon is a classic horror film buff, has helped Chip line up a number of classic horror movies. October 31st is devoted to the old John Carpenter film.

Canon characters such as Phlox and Amanda Cole sit through the picture, as do a number of my own original characters.  And then Tucker disappears.

As a crossover story, he’s whisked to 1945 Upper Bavaria, and becomes a part of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, which includes freeing Milena Chelenska, her sister, and their neighbor. Furthermore, he witnesses a war crime, where the managers of the camp (by this time – true story, by the way – they were mainly just kids, as the real management had fled) are shot to death by firing squad, without trials.

It turns out that he’s been interphased rather deliberately, as Wesley Crusher and the Traveler work to get him back, thereby neatly tying into Crackerjack.

Upshot

Beyond the fact that I think these stories are some of my best work, my peers have agreed. Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before and Day of the Dead are both award winners.