Progress Report – April 2016

Progress Report – April 2016

Posted Works

April 2016 ended up being another fairly quiet month as I was busy with wrapping up schoolwork in preparation for my capstone project, working on preparing the first stages of the capstone, blogging and podcasting with the G & T Show, doing family things, working at the wedding blog, and reporting (in my capacity as both a Star Trek fan and a retired attorney) on the legalistic debacle going on. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill This left little time for creating new works.

On Wattpad, I posted a big chunk of Flight of the Bluebird. My story, If I Had to Do Over Again (it appears within The Three of Us) appeared in a Wattpad ‘magazine’, Tevan Krus, The Fanfic Spectacular!

On the G & T Show forums, I added to In Between Days by posting A Kind of Blue, Gainful, The Tribe, Brown, Friday Visit, Barely Tolerable, Pacing, The Gift, and Voice of the Common Man. Interest has really picked up there recently, and I am grateful! 🙂

On Fanfiction.net, I finished posting Ohio and started in on You Mixed-Up Siciliano.

In response to a prompt about having to start over, I posted a short story about Kevin O’Connor‘s second wedding, I Do Again.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I spent some time on this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, The Real Hub of the Universe. The characters feel real and a lot of the scenes are truly vivid.

But then there’s the matter of the plot holes you could drive a truck through. Or, in that story line’s case, a horse and buggy. I will have to work on it later.

Prep Work

For the second annual Alzheimer’s charity anthology (The Longest Night Watch), I wrote a wholly original short story, Cynthia.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

You name it. School. Work. Podcasting. Family. About the only thing that didn’t stop me from writing was a swarm of locusts. So I guess I’ll be expecting one in May.

Life is busy and it is not about to let up any time soon. Ah, well.

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Portrait of a Character – Linda Orenstein Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Linda Orenstein Shapiro

Origins

As I wrote The Light, I wanted Ethan Shapiro to contact his mother as a part of discussing his Aunt Rachel’s death. Rachel is also Linda’s aunt. Linda is named after two of my aunts.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Linda Orenstein Shapiro
Valerie Harper as Linda Orenstein Shapiro

Linda is played by actress Valerie Harper. I like the idea of a semi-wisecracking woman in this role. She is a fairly clichéd role, so to my mind that makes some sense.

Funny, though, the actress is actually not Jewish. But I still see her in the role.

Personality

A bit of a worrier, and deeply religious, Linda is seen only twice. Once is in the context of Rachel’s death. The other time is in a fevered coma dream during Entanglements.  Ethan asks if he will ever fall in love. Linda responds, “I think that will happen. Just be patient, Ethan. And remember – she might not look like what you think she should. But that doesn’t matter. Look with your heart, and see with your soul.”

Relationships

Linda’s only known relationship is with Ethan’s father, who I don’t believe I have ever actually named.

Mirror Universe

It is possible that Linda exists in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Linda Orenstein Shapiro
Valerie Harper as Mirror Linda (image is provided for educational purposes)

Ethan (at least, the Ethan who is her son) does not. But that does not preclude her own existence there.

Women in the Mirror Universe need to remain attractive longer (at least, as I write them), so she would possibly have surgery or at least be a serious user of makeup.

Quote

“It’s a shonda, so few Jews on board. Andrew; you’ll call your mother for Chanukah, right?”

Upshot

I particularly loved bringing Linda back for another round, to comfort a comatose Ethan and give him some hope for the future. In a way, much like Ian does for Lili, Linda predicts the future for Ethan, and shows him that the path might be somewhat crooked, but it will all work out in the end.

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Review – The Honky Tonk Angel

Review – The Honky Tonk Angel

Who is the Honky Tonk Angel? The answer might surprise you.

Background

For a prompt about vices, I decided that the vices would, perhaps, be small ones. It would be the kinds of things that you might talk about on a first date. And so I thought of my favorite odd couple. Their first date had been mentioned but not shown; this proved to be a good opportunity to rectify that.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | The Honk Tonk Angel
Clockworks

Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis go on their first date, on December 21, 3088.

They go to a baseball game, and he has to help her get a cap that will fit. However, she accidentally grabs one for the wrong team. But that is more than forgivable.

After all, she’s blind.

But that hardly matters, as they have a lovely time of it. Then Kevin messes up, and calls her Josie. But Jhasi is okay with this, and finds it amusing. She then confesses that she does not always keep in touch with her family like she should, and gives up on things too soon. Kevin, to his credit, seizes the opportunity and asks her to not give up on the two of them.

Josie, of course, does not.

Music

The music is, of course, the Kitty Wells song, It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I really enjoyed putting together this first glimpse into one of my favorite love stories.

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Portrait of a Character – Michael Rostov

Portrait of a Character – Michael Rostov

Origins

Portrait of a Character – Michael Rostov
Joseph Will as Michael Rostov, with Linda Park as Hoshi Sato (image is provided for educational purposes)

The character is canon, first seen during the Vox Sola episode.

He shows up two more times, in Two Days and Two Nights, and The Crossing. It’s only in Vox Sola where he is shown with J. Kelly, who calls him by his first name. In canon, they clearly know each other well.

Portrayal

As in canon, Michael is played by actor Joseph Will. I like this big lug of a guy, who seems to have a good sense of humor.

Personality

Kind and competent, Mike is not necessarily going to ever become a leader. But he truly loves Judy, and is a particularly good father to their daughter in the first E2 kick back in time, Valleri.

Relationships

Judy Kelly

During both kicks back in time, Michael and Judy marry. In fact, in the first iteration, they are the first to wed.

Mirror Universe

There do not seem to be any impediments to Michael existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Michael Rostov
Joseph Will as Mirror Michael Rostov

While he is not shown in the two canon MU episodes, that does not mean that he does not exist there.

Because Mirror personalities are often different, he might be less shy, and even a ruthless businessman.

Quote

“I don’t wanna just be friends. I, I know it’s early. Maybe you wanna see if you have, uh, other prospects.”

Upshot

I was glad to be able to give this canon character a little more substance. I hope I did right by him.

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Focus – Irumodic Syndrome

Focus on Irumodic Syndrome

Irumodic Syndrome is a canon disease much like Alzheimer’s.

Focus

A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass | Irumodic Syndrome (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.

Background

Focus – Irumodic Syndrome
Comparison of character suffering Irumodic Syndrome, versus reality for actor. Image is provided for educational purposes only.

The canon equivalent of Alzheimer’s Disease makes for a fascinating detail to any plot. It is really only mentioned in The Next Generation, where Captain Jean-Luc Picard gets it as a part of the series finale, All Good Things ….

Just like Alzheimer’s is today, Irumodic Syndrome is devastating, heartbreaking, and incurable.

Occurrences

Diana Jones

For Diana, her Irumodic Syndrome wreaks havoc with the life of her wife, Rabbi Leah Benson. In Bread, Diana has clearly been suffering for a long time. Leah feels she should quit her job and focus on Diana and the time they have left. But, sadly, Diana is beginning to forget everyone. Leah knows that, eventually, she’ll be next.

Melissa Madden

For Melissa, who suffers tremendously, suicide seems like the most logical solution. She even plans it in Fortune, as a kind of confirmation of her behavior during the alternate timeline in Temper. Adding the forgetting insult to injury for Norri is that Melissa often calls her Belinda. So Norri is not only reminded of Melissa’s decline, but also of her own mother’s death.

Upshot

The Star Trek future sometimes seems to be far too achingly perfect. Nothing ever seems to go wrong, or at least the bad times don’t stick around. This disease cuts right through that and adds a sobering note of reality to all that it touches.

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Review – Recruitment

Review – Recruitment

Recruitment is just plain weird.

Background

It is perhaps one of the odder stories I have ever written for Star Trek fanfiction. It is about the recruitment of a new Section 31 agent.  Because it was written for Andorian Week, the main character is an Andorian.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | Recruitment
Clockworks

In 3087, Section 31 puts a potential agent through her paces.

However, in a scene reminiscent of Men in Black, an Andorian is thrown into an utterly unfamiliar situation. And she is expected to solve a puzzle. Complicating matters is the fact that it’s hard to tell who is competing against her, or even if anyone is. And perhaps they aren’t.

At the time, I was in the middle of helping out with Multiverse II. And I was also writing about  Daniel Beauchaine‘s betrayal of the Temporal Integrity Commission. Hence I combined those ideas a bit. Furthermore, I added a holodeck simulation of Duluth, destroyed by nuclear war (an event also commemorated in The Three of Us). At the time, Rick Daniels was the only deep future branch of Malcolm‘s family (along with Eleanor and their father, Steven). Hence I added a pale fellow (a shout out to ancestor Lili O’Day), who the main character only refers to as ‘Sven’, as he seems to look Swedish.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Since the story is strange, it suffers from some odd dreamlike qualities. Some of it was quite literally was taken from a dream. That included a strange, almost living, elevator. Therefore, it is an offshoot. It’s a kind of spur on the highway right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it. Although Steven Reed might be revisited a little in the Barnstorming series.

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Portrait of a Character – Karyn Archer

Portrait of a Character – Karyn Archer

Origins

During the run of Star Trek: Enterprise, there is an episode where the ship meets its descendants. It is through an odd time travel trope. E2 has led me to four books and two kicks back in time. Karyn is in the second one, and is seen in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

I decided that Karyn, who in canon is Jonathan Archer‘s descendant, would also be a descendant to Lili and José.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Karyn Archer
Tess Lina as Karyn Archer (image is presented for educational purposes)

As in canon, Karyn is played by actress Tess Lina.

Personality

Friendly and generally upbeat, Karyn is a big part of why the older NX-01 holds together at all.

Relationships

I don’t have a relationship for Karyn. People sometimes ‘ship her and Lorian, but I have him taking two separate human wives, and only having children with the first one. Karyn, unfortunately, is left out of the genetics sweepstakes.

Mirror Universe

Karyn, by definition, cannot exist in the Mirror Universe, as she is the product of a kick back in time.

Quote

“Sir, they are going to want to know about the Xindi weapon, and why we did not stop it.”

Upshot

For a character with not a lot of screen time, Karyn is already pretty memorable. I hope I have done her some justice.

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Review – Desperation

Review – Desperation

Desperation comes in an odd place in this story. But parents will know this feeling all too, uncomfortably, well.

Background

For a prompt of the same name, I decided to go with one of life’s little desperations. While others might have concentrated on a damaged ship or a damaged relationship, I zigged instead of zagged. Therefore, I wrote the merry mix-ups that occur when you are trying to toilet train your recalcitrant mixed-species toddler.

Yes, I went there.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Clockworks | Desperation
Clockworks

Future Temporal Integrity Commission employee Otra D’Angelo experiences a small milestone in her young life. Takes place in 3069.

However, her parents are getting a bit impatient. But she doesn’t care. And so little Otra D’Angelo will not become toilet trained for love or money or any amount of coaxing.

So her father, Marco, is driven to broken English, mixed with Italian. And her mother, Chefra, wants to go back to work and is tired of this nonsense already.

But, like countless little children before her, Otra knows that she’s in control. So she takes full advantage of that. While Marco tears his hair out in frustration, and Chefra tries to sweet talk her, Otra has her own ideas.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Star Trek is rather famous for not showing family life. But this is not only a mixed-species family, it is also a family where four separate languages are spoken! However, I think it’s a fairly decent introduction to Otra, the woman with an odd gift for seeing alternate timelines.

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Portrait of a Character – Lucas Donnelly

Portrait of a Character – Lucas Donnelly

Origins

I wanted Doug‘s first kill in the Mirror Universe to be kind of a lark, just to see if he could do it. Then, later, when I was writing more diverse characters, I wanted another gay male character. Enter Luke.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Lucas Donnelly
Eric Stoltz as Lucas Donnelly (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Luke is played by actor Eric Stolz. I really love how he has science fiction chops – he had a recurring role on Caprica.

I like this actor, who seemed effortlessly handsome when younger, and now looks like he’s got a few miles on him. That’s okay; that’s reality.

Personality

Aloof, a little bored, and overly artistic, Luke considers making a play for Dave Constantine, in A Perfect Note. But he is discouraged when he learns that Constantine is going to Movie Night with Preston Jennings. But he writes his poem to Dave anyway, although he never sends it. Instead, he reveals to Lili that he wants to write tactical problems for cadets. He ends up sending his poem and a letter to a friend of his, a guy named Kobayashi Maru.

Relationships

Preston Jennings

During the E2 kick backs in time, they end up together. The situation is not the best for either of them. In fact, prior to that, Preston had been approached by Diana as a kind of beard, and Luke was approached by Ingrid, who didn’t know he was gay.

Mirror Universe

In the  Mirror Universe, Luke has the dubious distinction of being Doug’s first kill.

Portrait of a Character – Lucas Donnelly
Mirror Luke (Eric Stoltz. Image is presented for educational purposes only)

In Fortune, Doug reveals that Luke was the Barracks Chief and, therefore, was his superior officer. In a fit of rage, and in order to move up in rank, Doug strangles the man with his bare hands, only to find that being in charge of the barracks was not all it had been cracked up to be.

Quote

“Yanno, I just want a damned perfect note. Something that, that takes care of everything. And if I couldn’t get one, dammit, I wanted to at least send one.”

Upshot

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