Progress Report – June 2015

Progress Report – June 2015

June 2015 meant I was still writing a lot of Star Trek fan fiction although it was starting to wind down just a bit.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | June 2015
First of all, on G & T Show forums, I finished posting Concord and then returned to Before Days with Voracious, Harvest, Before the Fall, and then Protocols, and then began to post Theorizing.

Also, on Fanfiction.net, I finished posting Theorizing and then added Gratitude, Red, Linfep Linfep Linfep, Colleagues, If I Could See, and then began to post About Nine Months.

In addition, on Fictionpad, I posted Theorizing, Gratitude, Red, Linfep Linfep Linfep, Colleagues, and If I Could See.

Plus on Wattpad, I finished posting Together and then posted Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before, which was also entered into this year’s Watty Awards, with a new cover. In the In Between Days collection, I added Equilibrium, Movie Night, The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, and Ceremonial.

Finally, on Ad Astra, I posted a drabble taking place in Captain Sarine’s universe, Appearances. Sharp-eyed readers will see Pete Porter, a relative of Polly and the Barnstorming character Tamsin. The story was too short to be considered for the voting in the ‘Steal All the Toys’ challenge. I also worked with kes7 to advance our Tesseract/Times of the HG Wells crossover, Paradox, in the Collaboration Station challenge. I began to post the 7-day challenge and went with an IDIC theme, Infinite Diversity.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I continued perfecting the last two books in the Obolonk trilogy. I also worked on the Barnstorming-Times of the HG Wells crossover story, Time Out.

Prep Work

In anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2015, I began to really think about the shape of this year’s story, which takes place in a new universe (although some of the tech is related to the Obolonks) and is tentatively called The Enigman Cave.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

School, and the ever-present search or work both kept me from being as productive as I would have liked. I also trained to become an Ambassador on Wattpad.

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Review – The Rite

Review – The Rite

A rite can be anything although it’s often religious in nature.

Background

In 2183, Lili, Malcolm and Declan attend Alia Shapiro’s Bat Mitzvah and there’s a little misbehaving going on.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about misbehaving, I wanted to write about an older yet still frisky Malcolm Reed.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | The Rite
Later Days

It was also a great occasion to get Declan to meet Rebecca, an event that is foretold in Fortune and holds great significance in the family’s later history.

As the story begins, Malcolm Lili, and Declan are coming in, late, to Alia’s Bat Mitzvah service. They sit in the back and everyone is utterly lost.

Unable to follow what is going on, they whisper amongst themselves. But mostly this consists of Malcolm whispering to Lili about how he would prefer that she leave the service with him. In the meantime, poor Declan is embarrassed at his parents behaving this way. All along, a woman sitting in front of them keeps turning around and shushing them.

Eventually, Lili relents and they leave Declan there (he is over eighteen and can entertain himself). Keep in mind that Lili is over seventy in this story. I just adore the idea that they would still be active and would still be interested, and would behave just like newlyweds. But the truth is, they more or less are at this point in the timeline.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really love this humorous little story. I particularly love the line that I gave to Malcolm, and I can just imagine actor Dominic Keating saying it in that plummy Leicester accent, “I want to go back to the hotel.

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Portrait of a Character – Oscar (Osh) Tiburón

Portrait of a Character – Oscar (Osh) Tiburón

Osh had an unlikely origin.

Origins

In the E2 timeline, I wanted to show the first pregnancy as being utterly unplanned. I needed a heterosexual couple for this, so I created Trace and Osh.

Portrayal

Oscar is played by actor Javier Bardem (who I also have playing filmmaker Carlos Castillo).

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem as Oscar (Osh) Tiburón (image is for educational purposes only)

As is the case with the Carlos Castillo character, I wanted a versatile actor of Latino descent.

Personality

Taciturn and maybe a little shy, Oscar is even more of a strong, silent type than Jay Hayes, his commanding officer. He is also a semi-lapsed Catholic, insisting on a full Catholic mass for his wedding on the one hand, but also engaging in premarital sex on the other. So he is a bit conflicted.

In Shell Shock, he is a part of the group that runs after, and eventually apprehends, the perpetrator. This act exonerates Malcolm.

Relationships

Tracey Carter

Tracey pursues Oscar rather aggressively, giggling like a schoolgirl over him when discussing his finer points with her roommate, Maryam Haroun. She is an Engineering crewman and so their schedules do not always mesh. Once their daughter, Amanda, is born, Oscar is a bit overwhelmed. Amanda is a rather loud crier and is not, at least at the start, the easiest child to raise.

Mirror Universe

Oscar could exist in the Mirror Universe; there are no impediments to him doing so.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | MU Osh
Javier Bardem as MU Osh (image is for educational purposes only)

For a strong and fast MACO, there are opportunities on the other side of the pond. Some are regular work opportunities, but others exist in serving the Empress Hoshi Sato directly. I created the character after I had written the main In Between Days books, so Oscar does not appear there. But there is no reason why I can’t retcon him in.

Quote

“It would only be right if we were to marry.”

Upshot

Whenever I need a fast runner, Oscar will be there.
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Review – To Wish, To Want, To Desire

Review – To Wish, To Want, To Desire

Wish for … what?

To Wish, To Want, To Desire Background

Wish. Want. Desire. On January 11, 2162, Treve and Pamela talk about their expectations for a relationship.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | To Wish, To Want, To Desire
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Plot

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about wanting, I went with a trio of synonyms, each pushing in what I felt was one rather particular direction. I wanted it to be a thwarted desire, the kind of thing that is temporarily put off in anticipation of a far greater payoff. That led me to the idea of Pamela Hudson and her relationship with Treve.

I had already established, in The Best Things Come in Pairs and Complications that this couple do not have sexual relations until they have been dating for a good year. However, given Pamela’s history, I knew that this character would want to move far more quickly than that. She would have to be put off somehow.

It is just after Fortune, and Treve is driving Pamela to her uncle, Cyril Morgan‘s, home on Lafa II. She begins to hint around – and not too coyly, I might add – that she wants their great first day to turn into an even greater first night. Treve, on his part,  has to explain to her that he is a virgin, and that casual sex with a Calafan can sometimes turn into a profound bonding experience. To do so too quickly could be exceptionally awkward for both of them if they find out in the future that they are incompatible.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I liked the idea of Pamela essentially being told to hold her horses. For the character who is possibly the most sex-obsessed of all of my creations, the idea of making her wait was irresistible.

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Focus on Andorians in Star Trek Fan Fiction

Focus on Andorians

Andorians are just plain fun.

Focus

A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Andorians (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.

Star Trek Enterprise did one thing extremely well, which is that it gave audiences a good, solid look at Andorians, a canon alien species that has been around back to The Original Series, about fifty years ago.

Background – Andorians

The look of Andorians has changed over time, as advancements in makeup and prosthetic technology have made the blue-skilled antennaed aliens look more and more real.

Focus on Andorians
Shran

Shran is easily the most fully-realized of all Andorians ever shown in the series, if not canon.

One thing that Shran does is, he engages in casual racial prejudice, often referring to Jonathan Archer as “pinkskin”. Interestingly enough, these scenes were never filmed (so far as I am aware) in the presence of Anthony Montgomery or any other non-Caucasian actors on the show.

He even passes his prejudice onto his daughter, Talla, even though she is an AndorianAenar hybrid and is the color of pea soup.

Occurrences

Half

While there are Andorians in the Barnstorming series, the main occasion for showing them is in this short story. To dovetail with Shran’s casual prejudice, I made the entire species (more or less) like that. And so Talla, who is half and half, is bullied at school. In order to shout down her persecutors, she claims that her father still has the Teneebian Amethyst. And that’s when things get difficult ….

Upshot

Andorians are a fascinating canon species, and I’d love to showcase them more. At some point, I’ll try to find a place for them, and not just in contrast to the related Aenar.

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Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Seppa is one of my favorite Daranaeans.

Origins

As a part of showing the oppression of Daranaean women, during Take Back the Night, I added insult to injury and included a child who was being kept illiterate due to her caste.

Portrayal

As with most Daranaeans, no one is really cast to ‘play’ Seppa.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

This picture is a photoshopped image of a white German Shepherd dog with caramel-tipped ears.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa as a young adult

Friendly and approachable, she is another homebody female Daranaean character.

This was not always the case. As a young child, Seppa is shown as being shy and scared, likely a function of being the absolute lowest on the totem pole while Arnis was still free. In Some Assembly Required, she is terrified that everyone will become angry with her, despite the fact that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. But after seeing Mistra falsely accused, that makes sense to a preschooler, that there would be guilt by proximity and association.

Afterwards, she sends a carefully printed thank you note to Jonathan Archer, and they become fervent pen pals. Until Rona Moran intervenes, the tabloid press even sees them as an item.

Relationships

Brantus

For most if not all third caste Daranaean women, there can be only one husband, even if he dies young. Fortunately for Seppa, Brantus is a good guy and he loves her dearly.

Mirror Universe

There are no real impediments to Seppa existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Seppa
Mirror Seppa (white wolf)

I see Mirror Daranaeans as being more vicious, somewhat more like wolves than dogs.

With power would come more confidence and assertiveness. I doubt she would just be what is essentially the equivalent of a stay at home mom.

Quote

“Vidam made sure I was sold to the man who would treat me the best. And you are, most assuredly, that man. But let us not speak of euthanasia. Instead, let us talk about our visit. Jonathan has never met you before! My own father is as good as gone. And I have known Jonathan Archer for a good fifteen years.”

Upshot

It was wonderful to be able to raise this character up from what would have been rather depressing depths. She has powerful friends, and deserves them.

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Review – The Facts

Review – The Facts

The facts of life are complex in an open marriage.

Tommy Digiorno-Madden gets an eyeful when he’s sent home early from school one day.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | The Facts
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Takes place on September 11, 2166.

Background

In response to a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about facts, my mind immediately went to the idea of the facts of life. What can I say? My mind is in the gutter half the time, I suppose.

During Fortune, Q shows Lili the family at a later date, after her death. It is a conversation that she would not normally ever be able to witness. It is Marie Patrice, Joss, Tommy, Neil, and Declan talking a bit about sex. They discuss various ages when they figured out certain terminologies. Then Tommy gets to speak, and he reveals that he learned something rather intimate when he was very young.

Plot

The story opens with Tommy getting into trouble at school. Miss Elenyakiah, a Calafan teacher, is not too pleased at being referred to as Miss Elekai. She sends Tommy back to the Beckett house, where he is staying with Neil, Melissa, and Norri, as their apartment in Fep City is being renovated. Doug and Lili have a full house. Lili is at Reversal and Doug is drilling with his troops. The only people home are Leonora and Melissa, as the children are all at school. At least, that’s what they think.

Then Tommy barges in.

Melissa and Norri throw clothes at each other quickly and, in record time, they dress. To keep Tommy distracted, they ply him with tofflin juice.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I like how this little story puts together a bit of embarrassment but also a contrast between Norri and Melissa suddenly having to clue Tommy in on where babies come from, versus the lies that Tommy tells earlier in the story in order to avoid trouble at school. I liked the scene so much that I have Tommy recall it in Seven Women and then the follow up happens in Linfep Linfep Linfep.

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Portrait of a Character – Carlos Castillo

Portrait of a Character – Carlos Castillo

Carlos Castillo has a mixed origin.

Origins

For Doug‘s confession to Lili (in the Star Trek fan fiction book, Fortune) to be at all credible, there needed to be a history behind each of the fourteen men he had killed in the Mirror Universe. Furthermore, just like the death of the Mirror Norri, I wanted at least one of those murders to be for the flimsiest of reasons or at least be hard to take because the person would scarcely be remembered.

Then, when writing the 2013 ficlet flash dance story Conversations With Heroes, I needed a filmmaker. Carlos works for both.

Portrayal

I see Javier Bardem for this character.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Javier Bardem | Carlos Castillo
Javier Bardem as Carlos Castillo (image is for educational purposes only)

I wanted an intelligent, versatile actor. It was also important to me that he be of Latino descent.

I also liked the idea of someone who has played both heroes and villains, as Carlos has a place on both sides of the pond.

Personality

In the Prime Universe, Carlos the independent documentary filmmaker is essentially looking for an easy paycheck. He is given an assignment to speak with the crew of the NX-01 and get their personal takes on the end of the Xindi War. While he does talk with everyone, he only records the following in the story: Jonathan Archer, Maryam Haroun, Lili, Jennifer, and Malcolm, who talks about Jay. For the first and last chapters of the piece, it is Carlos’s own words about the film and also about the people he interviewed. While he remains somewhat neutral, he is far from unaffected. At the end of the piece, he ends up angrily and frustratedly pitching his coffee cup against a wall.

Relationships

There are no known relationships, but there had to have been someone for Carlos, as he is Marisol‘s ancestor.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Carlos Castillo | MU Osh
Javier Bardem as MU Carlos (image is for educational purposes only)

Carlos is barely even known by name in the Mirror. Doug did not know his name until after he was killed. During wartime, Doug grabs the person closest to him and uses that person as a human shield. That unfortunate person turns out to be Carlos, who Doug never knows and never talks to.

Quote

“But it’s hard to not be affected, or to see what could have happened if one thing, or another, was different. These people certainly see it that way. And the reality is that this is, for the most part, just a ship full of damaged people. I know that there are those who are happy and excited about the conclusion of this war. I can’t say that I haven’t felt my own sense of relief, for I most certainly have. But I think we, as humans and citizens of Earth, I think we need to keep these people’s thoughts and aspirations and guilt and personal pain in our heads as we wave our flags and sing the United Earth anthem. We need to remember that these heroes come complete with consciences, and miseries and regrets. This victory did not come without a price. Thank you.”

Upshot

At some point, I would like to find another place to showcase Carlos, as there has got to be a spot for a filmmaker. I will try to bring him back.

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Review – The Medal

Review – The Medal

A medal does not have be an award for bravery.

Background

In 2203, Neil Digiorno-Madden runs his first 5K.

Plot

For a Star Trek fan fiction prompt about medals, I wanted to write about Neil.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Later Days | The Medal
Later Days

Furthermore, I did not want this award to be for anything heroic or even related to Starfleet at all.

Because I have run 5K races, and I am often last or one of the last people who finishes, I know Neil’s situation all too well. All by himself at the end, he trudges and plods along, oh so slowly. He drinks his water and admires the scenery but also silently curses to himself and wonders if he has bitten off more than he can chew.

At the end of the race, he thinks that only Ines will be there. He is rather pleasantly surprised when the entire remaining family (Lili, Doug, and Malcolm are all dead by this point in time)  is there to greet him. Ines and Yinora even give him a new tee shirt, on which it is printed, Kiss Me, It’s My First 5K. The shirt, the kiss, and the race are all a little throwaway that I had slipped into Fortune as being one of the pictures on the video wall. I had not originally intended to write the story and follow up on the image, but the prompt presented the opportunity right on a silver platter.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I really like Neil. However, I had had few occasions, until this short story, to really give him any substance or depth. I change my mind all the time when it comes to which of these second generation characters is my favorite. Yet Neil is always in the conversation, and a lot of that points right back to this little story.

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