Progress Report – February 2015

Progress Report – February 2015

February 2015 was another fairly light month as I was busy with work, school, podcasting, and my published work. It was also the snowiest month in Boston’s history so I was rather busy shoveling snow and dealing with all of that. Yes, it was really that bad.

Posted Works

First of all, I added It Had to Be You  and Alien Encounter to the G & T Show forums. I also combined Coffee and Siberians, releasing them as Caffeinated Voyage. I combined D’Storlin and the two Freak School stories, releasing them as The Archer Academy at Oberon. Hence that site saw a lot of my Voyager fan fiction and some of my more out-there stuff. Because who does not like a little Gorn in their life?

In addition, on Wattpad, I continued contributing to Intolerance.

Finally, on Fanfiction.net, I continued adding to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | February 2015

Milestones

Twenty Star Trek fan fiction stories now have 10,000 or more reads, either individually or in combination.  And another twenty stories have 75 or more reviews.  However, the only story with both is Reversal.  In addition, the only non-fan fiction story with both is Revved Up. Hence I have a pretty decent readership but not an overwhelming one. And that is all right!

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I continued working on The Badge of Humanity, the last of the wholly original Obolonk trilogy.

Prep Work

I worked on promotions for my published work. I also believe I may have a viable idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

School at Quinnipiac<, plus continuing to support my published work, both (understandably) kept me from writing more fan fiction.  The incredible snowfalls didn’t help, either.

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Portrait of a Character – Sekar Khan

Portrait of a Character – Sekar Khan

Origins

For the E2 stories, I wanted the Quartermaster character (the position is canon, but no one was ever named as working in it, in the series) to be rather active.

Portrait of a Character – Sekar Khan
Dev Patel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Much like Crystal Sherwood, Sekar (the name is pronounced like ‘shaker’) would be a creative person.

Portrayal

Chandrasekar is played by actor Dev Patel. I like this smart, handsome actor and feel he would play the kind of guy who stays in the background until the E2 scenario rears its ugly head. And once it does, he gets a ton to do, and suddenly becomes a rather important person indeed.

Personality

Pleasant and a bit self-effacing, Sekar mainly stays to himself. He’s a part of the crew during the Xindi War but is wondering what to do with himself. However, once the ship is sent back in time, he becomes busy. Brides need approximations of gowns. Babies need onesies. Fields need to be plowed with … something. Sekar is called upon, again and again, to conjure up new things more or less out of thin air. He does so with creativity and aplomb.

Relationships

Hoshi Sato

Sekar’s only known relationship is with Hoshi. In both iterative kicks back in time, they marry. However, in the first scenario, she dates both him and José for a while, before finally choosing him. Ironically, in the prime timeline, she refers to him as old what’s-his-name when dating Ted Stone, in There’s Something About Hoshi, a strong indication that he left the ship at the end of the hostilities.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Sekar Khan
Mirror Sekar

There is nothing preventing Sekar from existing in the Mirror Universe. I write Mirror artists as being elites, so he would possibly be a rather wealthy man.

Would Empress Hoshi be interested? The idea intrigues. Perhaps I’ll write it someday.

Quote

“I guess it’s a way for the single people to get close. You know that dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.”

Upshot

Sekar was made for the E2 timeline, and I think he served that purpose rather well. Will I bring him back? His portion of the timeline is somewhat limited but it’s not outside the realm of possibility, particularly in the Mirror Universe.

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Review – A Hazy Shade

Review – A Hazy Shade

A Hazy Shade showcases what will happen to us.

Background

For a prompt about seasons, everyone seemed to focus on summer (as did I; I also wrote And the Livin’ is Easy from the same prompt).

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | A Hazy Shade
Later Days

But I also wanted to follow Jonathan Archer at the twilight of his life. Married to Miva, Archer is lamenting the departed of the NX-01, both in a formal ceremony to christen a dedication obelisk, and afterwards.

The story goes along with a number of other older crew member stories, including Consider the Lilies of the Field, Equinox, and There’s Something Else About Hoshi.

Plot

The occasion is fifty years since the last flight of the NX-01. An obelisk is unveiled on Earth (I never specifiy the city) and on it are inscribed the names of the dead from that ship, no matter how or where or when they died. Malcolm and Lili are already named on it. Although no one names her in the story, Melissa would also be on it. Miva points out that Karin and Ethan are still alive, as are Azar Hamidi and his wife, who may or may not be Maryam Haroun in the prime timeline (I have not made a decision on this yet).

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

This is a quiet, slow, measured story, where not a lot happens. But I think that makes sense, that two elderly people at what is very much like a funeral would move a slow, measured, deliberate pace as they would pause and reflect.

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Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

Recurrent Themes – The Art of War

War books have a place in my work. The Sun-Tzu work seems to be everywhere.

Background

As a bit of background for Jay Hayes and Empress Hoshi, Sun-Tzu’s classic text proved to be the perfect manual for Star Trek fan fiction (not to be confused with Keith R. A. DeCandido‘s great book, The Klingon Art of War).

Appearances

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | The Art of War

This book has been everywhere, or at least it sure seems that way. I particularly like it as warrior shorthand, that the people who are reading it are looking to go into battle. But the battle might just be The Battle of the Sexes.

Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses

This story is loaded with quotations from two separate books, this one and The Prince by Machiavelli. Empress Hoshi’s moves are calculated, everything from killing off Ian and Phlox, to overpowering T’Pol while at her weakest, to turning the loyalties of Emperor Phillip‘s men, including Andrew, José, and Brian. The book is presented as more or less a user’s manual for overthrowing a regime and installing one’s own brand of tyranny.

Advice from My Universes to Yours

In Advice, the book is mentioned briefly in passing when trying to convince a socially awkward person that perhaps they could read romantic fiction in order to understand people better. The book is mentioned and, of course, rejected immediately.

The Three of Us

In The Three of Us, Jay is shown reading and rereading this book, and he’s even reading it when Lili visits him in his quarters for the first time.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Jay provides two bequests. The lucky nickel goes to Lili, while this book goes to Malcolm.

In Memory of Kelsey Haber

During In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Malcolm refers to this book, and tells Hoshi that it was a bequest from Jay. Malcolm further notes that he had vowed, at that time, to get to know the people under his command, but he fell down on the job with Kelsey and never did.

Upshot

This little book gets around as much as Jane Eyre! It’ll be back.

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Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro

Origins

Because I had wanted to contradict canon and give Malcolm Reed a family and long-term descendants, Malcolm’s son, Declan, would need a wife or at least a girlfriend or even a baby mama.

Portrait of a Character – Rebecca Shapiro
Actress, Rachel Weisz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrayal

Rebecca is played by actress Rachel Weisz. I wanted a Jewish actress for this role, as Rebecca is somewhat traditional and is Karin and Ethan‘s younger daughter. Furthermore, I wanted Declan’s decision to convert to her faith to be believable. I also like this actress; I think she’s smart, and her choices are interesting ones.

Personality

Caring and up for anything, Rebecca is the true companion that Declan has been waiting for his entire life. His first marriage was horrific, as he explains in Faith. Rebecca is the person who heals him. In gratitude, although she never asks him to, he embraces her faith and converts to Judaism.

Relationships

Declan Reed

Rebecca’s only relationship is with Declan, who is about twelve years her senior. They meet at her elder sister, Alia’s, Bat Mitzvah, which is partly shown in The Rite and referred to in Fortune. At that point, he is a young man; it’s before he marries his first wife, Louise Schiller.

After the last death in the preceding generation (Norri), Declan goes to Europe, partly to return to Oxford, where he is an artist in residence. He takes a side trip to Giverny to look at and paint Monet‘s water lilies. While there, he sees Rebecca and they become reacquainted.

Mirror Universe

It’s impossible for Rebecca to exist in the Mirror Universe, as Ethan does not.

Quote

“There is a saying in Judaism, let’s see if I can get it right. It, um, it’s that when Moses brought down the law from Mount Sinai, all of the Jews were there. Even the dead. Even the unborn. Even the completely unknown and unfathomable, like Vulcan converts, and Jews from the Mirror Universe, all stretching, in a chain, through all of time. And you know something? I saw you there.”

Upshot

I really liked the idea of redeeming Declan in the same way that Lili redeems Malcolm, albeit sooner. I particularly enjoyed creating yet another reason why our universe and the Mirror are different – with no Ethan Shapiro on the other side of the pond, there is no Rebecca and, as a result, their deep future descendants don’t exist, including Eleanor and Richard Daniels. Rebecca is the linchpin of all of that.

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Review – Achieving Peace

Review – Achieving Peace

With Achieving Peace, I had wanted to touch upon Laura Hayes‘s life, somewhat independent of Doug and Lili.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | In Between Days | Achieving Peace
In Between Days

Because Laura is an attorney, the idea would be that she had a connection to the signing of the peace treaty ending the Earth-Romulan War.

Plot

Hence it’s the end of the war, and Laura is an assistant to an Andorian, T’Therin. They are present at the signing and transmission of the peace treaty to the Romulans. With them are Chara Sika (sharp-eyed readers will recognize her as the mother of Xindi sloth Aranda Chara, who Travis meets during The Puzzle), Emily Stone (the mother of Mark Stone, Pamela‘s classmate), canon characters Vulcan Ambassador Soval and Gral, a Tellarite. A Xindi Reptilian is working communications, and he reports that the Romulans won’t allow a picture transmission. They will receive an image, but they won’t send one, and remain a faceless enemy to the end, which clicks into place rather nicely with canon.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

This is a small filler type of story, and it serves its purpose just fine. It was also a treat to bring these mostly minor characters together, as Laura is more than just the officiant at Malcolm and Lili’s wedding, or Jay‘s elder sister.  Because this story reminded me of her, Laura also got a mention in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere. I particularly liked giving one final bit of information, that the Romulans would be relieved at the cessation of hostilities, ended just in time before the Star Empire went bankrupt.

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Portrait of a Character – Derek Kelby

Portrait of a Character – Derek Kelby

Origins

The character, of course, is Star Trek Enterprise canon, but he didn’t have a first name.

Portrait of a Character – Derek Kelby
Derek Magyar as Kelby

I used the actor’s own first name, as he needed something.

Because he is a Commander in canon, but that’s the fourth season, I figured he could be at a lower level during the fourth season. As in canon, he works in Engineering.

Portrayal

As in canon, Kelby is played by actor Derek Magyar.

Personality

Something of a stick in the mud, Kelby is particularly stiff in his earlier years. In Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before, he, along with Meredith Porter, engages in the shenanigans with a lot more reluctance than the others exhibit. While I don’t overtly put them together, I do have Aidan MacKenzie suggest it.

However, he’s not totally without romance. In On the Radio, reference is made to him having spent the night with Patti Socorro during the events of More, More, More! However, even he can get into trouble. In Shell Shock, along with Malcolm, he’s one of the suspects in the rape of Ruby Brannagh. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, it’s confirmed that he never married in the first kick back in time. He also accidentally recorded the single men singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town, a recording heard as a transmission by the second iteration ship.

Relationships

Patti Socorro

With Chef Will Slocum dead in the second iteration, Patti and Derek marry. There is virtually nothing on their relationship, except that she was the third to last woman to wed, as opposed to second to last in the first iteration.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Derek Kelby
Mirror Kelby

The character is known to exist in the Mirror Universe, although he’s an Ensign and not a Commander.

Quote

“Believe me, nobody wants to see Oslo this time of year, unless they like skiing.”

Upshot

Much like in canon, Derek isn’t seen much and isn’t heard from much. This stick in the mud character is not easy to write.

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Review – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

Review – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere works on a ton of levels. It is one of my best fan fiction works.

Background

I enjoyed writing the E2 Star Trek fan fiction stories a great deal, but I figured out after a while that it had to be two kick backs in time, rather than just one.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Otherwise, some of the scenes that I really wanted to put into the storyline would have been impossible or nearly impossible, without smashing canon to smithereens. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere rather neatly fixes all that.

Plot

After an initial kick back in time, the descendants of the Enterprise meets the current ship but it’s actually a second iteration of three. The second iteration is kicked back, too, and the bulk of the book is about the second iteration’s trials in the Delphic Expanse.

Review – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
I Only Want to Be with You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With certain things known, such as crew members’ sexualities and mate preferences, a lot of stress of the first three books essentially disappears. Almost everyone opts for an ‘instant replay’. But then some things go wrong, and not everyone can get what they want or who they want. In keeping with what I had established in Together, Lili ends up with José Torres.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated M.

Upshot

This book is far sadder but also more spiritual. Lili has to heal from some horrible hurts, and she doesn’t treat José too well at all in the beginning. I suppose that having her behave somewhat rottenly at times really pulls her out of the Mary Sue category for good. The story, I feel, hits its marks well, and ultimately soars.


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