Progress Report – July 2016

Progress Report – July 2016

July 2016 proved to be a quiet summer month as school work continued to dominate my time. Furthermore, I helped with G & T Show podcast get ready for STLV (Star Trek Las Vegas) as it is the fiftieth anniversary of The Original Series. I will not be attending STLV, but I will be blogging for us.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | QuillThis month, I concentrated on adding to older series.

I finished posting Faith and added Remembrance and November 13th and started posting Seven Women on Wattpad. This was all within the Later Days collection.

I continued adding to Spring Thaw on Fanfiction.net.

On the G & T Show forums, I continued adding to Together.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

As before, I am ironing out the details for The Real Hub of the Universe. This involves researching nineteenth century Boston. It has proven to just be great fun.

Prep Work

I continued working with beta readers on The Enigman Cave. The story unquestionably needs work, but I simply do not have the time to do it right now.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Aside from the podcast, schoolwork also kept me busy. The semester ends on August the twelfth! Furthermore, I participated in The Writer Games again. That proved to be a lot of fun last year and it was a spur to creativity. Plus the people are terrific.

I am working on getting together the website for Semantic Shenanigans. There are a lot of possible stories we can cover. This is, without a doubt, an underserved niche. Another idea is what to do with Lonely Writer once the semester is over. I have paid for the domain for a few months after August. Plus it appears there is at least some interest. I know I can do well for the independent writing community, but I would like to find a way to monetize my efforts, or at least get some more book reviews and/or sales.

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Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov

Origins

I needed to fill the NX-01 with women for the E2 timelines. In order to distinguish this character from the others, I decided to give her some visual artistic talent. This comes in rather handy when, during The Three of Us, Maryam and Azar get married.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov
Mischa Barton as Colleen Romanov (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Colleen is played by actress Mischa Barton.

This lovely young actress seems to have had some weight issues lately. She seems to have gotten middling roles; not too highbrow, but also not too trashy.

She also has a DUI conviction on her record.

Personality

Friendly and knowledgeable, the skilled pilot is also a bit of a visual artist. For Maryam and Azar’s wedding during The Three of Us, she paints the bride’s hands (and the maid of honor, Tracey Carter) with food coloring as there is no henna. She draws a procul and a malostrea on Maryam’s hands.

Relationships

Ethan Novakovich

Colleen’s only known relationship is with Ethan. They marry during both kicks back in time. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, she reveals that he is rather shy, and she practically had to convince him she had found a new life form in a cargo bay before he would realize that they should be together.

Mirror Universe

Colleen doesn’t have any impediments to existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Colleen Romanov
Mischa Barton as Mirror Colleen (image is presented for educational purposes only)

However, because I created her after writing Fortune, she does not show up there during the In Between Days main storyline.

That does not mean that she does not exist and, given her weight issues (the actress suffers from depression), Empress Hoshi might want her around and not see her as too much of a sexual threat.  But given that women are so scarce in my version of the Mirror Universe, she probably has someone. But if her prospects are poor, then her mate and protector might not be someone who is so nice, perhaps Tristan Curtis or Gary Hodgkins.

Quote

“Yes, that’s supposed to be a procul, but I didn’t get in all fourteen legs. And here, is a malostrea.”

Upshot

Like a lot of characters in my overall storyline, Colleen is meant for support and not much more. But she’s a decent utility infielder type of player, and may be back. To write her as a part of the Mirror Universe could prove to be a fruitful exercise.

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Review – The Sweetest Universe

Review – The Sweetest Universe

Ah, it’s the sweetest universe! And you can never go wrong with the wacky pumpkin pie meme and its variations.

Background

So as a part of Multiverse II, kes7 and I created Interdimensional Pumpkin Pie #49.

Review – The Sweetest Universe
Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was quite by accident; I had mainly just wanted Levi Cavendish to be quirky as all hell. As a result, he, in that story, asks for pumpkin pie while in the middle of trying to save the multiverse.

In the meantime, eventually, he had the replicator system spit out hundreds if not thousands of pumpkin pies, based upon varying radiation bands. This rather neatly introduces the concept of separate radiation bands while simplifying the idea of multiple universes. And it simultaneously ups the Levi quirk factor to infinity. At one point, he says to kes’s character, Maren O’Connor, “Number 49 was good.”

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Deep Future | Sweetest Universe
Deep Future

The prompt was created with Levi in mind, particularly because people were rather heavily ‘shipping him with Otra D’Angelo.  Therefore, I had to come up with some way for him to do something good for everyone. Also, this would get this poor ADHD-addled guy out of his own personal zone and show that, deep under his tics and his weirdnesses, he really does care.

And so, on September 2, 3110, Levi makes interdimensional pie #49 for everyone. Plus I got to put my birthday into the timeline. Don’t ask how old I’ll be. 😉

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

So the only thing that might be missing from this one is that it could have been expanded a bit more. Pumpkin pie #49 is now a meme that will never die!

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Portrait of a Character – Donald Oliver

Portrait of a Character – Donald Oliver

Origins

The Perfectionists needed a henchman, particularly after Anthony Parker was killed by them as being insubordinate. Plus Helen couldn’t possibly sully her hands with blood. That’s a job for not only Donald and Anthony, and Daniel Beauchaine, but also for Marisol Castillo. Donald was designed to be their male traveling, murderous agent.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Donald Oliver
Ben Whishaw as Donald Oliver (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Donald is played by actor Ben Whishaw. He seems to be a rather versatile actor (I don’t know too much about him; he was in a recent James Bond film, and played Q) and I bet he would enjoy playing a science fiction villain if the opportunity arose.

Personality

Whiny and irritating, Donald will do what Milton Walker wants him to, but he often won’t go there without a complaint. He is an utterly disagreeable person at the best of times.

Relationships

Donald has no known relationships. I had originally thought about pairing him up with Helen Walker, but the storyline was already becoming rather large and unwieldy. Rather than sowing more confusion, I decided to put them at least partly at odds. See, Donald bores her.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Donald existing in the Mirror Universe, although the chances of a perfect counterpart existing go down as time marches on.

Portrait of a Character – Donald Oliver
Ben Whishaw as Mirror Donald (image is presented for educational purposes)

There is always room for a henchman in the Mirror, so the counterpart could end up being rather similar to our universe’s version. There’s little to no room for whining in the Mirror Universe, so this version, in order to survive to adulthood, has to have learned to keep his trap shut.

Quote

“Milton said I was gonna be in charge when he left.”

Upshot

At the end of He Stays a Stranger, this character was being arrested. Perhaps I’ll write his trial; it’ll be interesting to see how the Temporal Integrity Commission maintains its high levels of secrecy while trying to present evidence of temporal tampering (and keeping Rick and Carmen‘s actions during First Born a secret).

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Spotlight on Colony Alien

Spotlight on Colony Alien

Background

As a way to add considerable weirdness to the Times of the HG Wells overall storyline, I decided to create a colonial life form. Similar in some ways to the Borg, the individuals would be the size of somatic cells.

Spotlight on Colony Alien
A coral reef (image is from Wikipedia, and is being presented for educational purposes only)

Adding to the mischief was the idea of making the cells democratic. Everything, from eating to ambulation to procreation would be the subject of a vote. And the brain cells wouldn’t even be in charge! The colony would just, in a way, be a walking, talking, bipedal coral reef.

Appearances

The colony alien is really only shown in the Times of the HG Wells series, although it’s been fun to sometimes toss it (them) into the occasional round robins that we write on Ad Astra.

Spotlight on Colony Alien
Keanu Reeves and Kristen Stewart, both our universe and the Mirror’s versions of colony aliens (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Curious, often hesitant, and a bit stiff, the colony alien is a great way to get some mysterious and almost magical character development out there. Plus they are perfect for exposition, as they can eavesdrop on anything. It’s rather convenient to be able to flatten yourself out to the thickness of a coat of paint and then match the color absolutely perfectly.

Another great thing about colony aliens is that, if any cells survive at all, no matter what happens (say, a nuclear bomb goes off), the colony reproduces asexually and can always recreate itself. Until the end of time itself, the colony is, for all intents and purposes, immortal.

Upshot

I like this odd duck of a character(s). It/they will be back!

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Review – A Lesson

Review – A Lesson

A lesson in history, and in how time travel can change it.

Background

For a prompt about a lesson, I took the matter quite literally and went with Eleanor Daniels lecturing. I was pleased to be able to dovetail the story well with Rick meeting Tina and the Temper story beginning.

Plot

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

In January of 3109, Eleanor Daniels lectures young students on the ways of the Mirror Universe.

Furthermore, Eleanor’s lecture includes information on the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s children and their putative and known fathers. For Eleanor, this is a bit of information that she has to get across as a part of her job. However, for Rick, it’s real life, and yet another reminder of his son, Jun.

In addition, there is a sly allusion to Tina April.  This happens because she is Eleanor’s friend, and Eleanor introduces her to Richard. Furthermore, we see the same kids mentioned in First Born and, possibly, Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain. And usually when Eleanor lectures (at least, in print), history changes. However, this story is one of the few times when that does not happen. Hence history is secure, more or less, during the events of this story.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

For a small story, I think it works pretty well. Here is the part where, if a reader has not yet read through Temper, the story provides an entrée into that aspect of the overall timeline. If the reader has read Temper, then the story slides the reader more or less directly into A Long, Long Time Ago. And I love how neatly and easily it does that.

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Portrait of a Character – Cama

Portrait of a Character – Cama

Origins

As I wrote The Cure is Worse Than the Disease,  the idea of a tripartite Daranaean society (four parts if you really want to get technical, and include the men) began to shape up. As a result, I needed to have a representative from what Captain Erika Hernandez ends up referring to as the ‘bargain basement caste’. And so Cama was created.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Cama
Irish Setter image, intended to represent Cama (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Like nearly all Daranaean characters, Cama isn’t really ‘played’ by anyone.

I tend to use images of dogs, so the idea here is that she would resemble an Irish Setter quite a bit. Despite her low status, she could potentially be rather beautiful in appearance.

Personality

Forced into a subservient role, Cama chafes under male control, and would prefer to be the architect of her own destiny. Hence she ‘proves’ her breeder value by selectively aborting any daughters she may be carrying. It’s not just for the selfish reason of wanting to be treated better; it’s also because she doesn’t wish her existence on anyone. But she’s also an old school third caste Daranaean female. Hence, she is illiterate.

When she turns menopausal, she is shipped to a research facility that is investigating a cure of Thylacine Paramixovirus. Fortunately, that facility is run by Drs. Trinning and Rechal, who care about their test subjects. In Flight of the Bluebird, Cama gets to show just how heroic she really can be, even in her own quiet way.

Relationships

Elemus

Just like Libba and Thessa, Cama can only have a relationship with the male she is sold to. That is Elemus. While he isn’t exactly kind, he is not actively evil, either, certainly not like the murderous Arnis.

Mirror Universe

In the Mirror Universe, life is rougher for every kind of female, and that includes humans and, of course, Daranaeans.

Portrait of a Character – Cama
Irish Setter as Mirror Cama (image is presented for educational purposes only)

But women are also, often, sexier. Maybe she uses her body to get ahead, or at least to survive.

Quote

“See, all you do is you take off a little sprig. And you stick it in your mouth and get saliva on it. It has turned grey, see? That means I am carrying another boy child, just like my pouchling.”

Upshot

I was so glad to not just leave it with her, and find a way to show Cama again, and make it obvious that she had survived her childbearing years. Plus maybe, at least a little bit, Elemus did care for her after all.

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Review – Candy

Review – Candy

Candy came about because of a short throwaway line about Jhasi’s wedding dress having a stripe.

Background

In response to a prompt about rituals, I decided to go with a renewal of wedding vows. I had already established that this event had happened, but I had not yet shown it.  However, for Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis O’Connor, the occasion is bittersweet, for she is dying.

Plot

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

Kevin and Josie prepare for May 4, 3108, a special day on Tandar Prime.

Because Piaris Syndrome is killing her, and it is going to be sooner, rather than later. So Kevin knows this and, while he is not exactly keeping the truth from Josie, he is also not in a rush to tell her, either. But Josie would have to be either a fool or too far gone to not know her fate. Furthermore, she would have to know time was running low. Very, painfully, low.

And so they perform the initial and familiar rituals of caregiver and patient, as he cleans her up and dresses her. Eventually, she asks why, and he tells her. Finally, the last moment of the story consists of of him picking her up to carry her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I like to think that I don’t write tearjerkers, this one just might qualify  as one. I hope that the push and pull of Josie and Kevin feels real and not forced or manipulated. Furthermore, it is a hard story to read, at times, for this, or something like it, might be the fate of us all.

And may we all be blessed with someone as devoted as Kevin.

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Portrait of a Character – Geming Sulu

Portrait of a Character – Geming Sulu

Origins

Doug needed one last kill in order to get on board the ISS Enterprise and, eventually, the ISS Defiant. I decided that, as in canon, he would kill his superior officer in order to get there (this is, after all, the Mirror Universe where he and Geming are first seen). And so, he knifes Geming in the gut, as Geming is slated to be the MACO CO and Doug is not. Blood on his hands, Doug gets what he wants.

In the prime universe, things are of course rather different, and Geming is the father of Joss‘s wife, Jia.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Geming Sulu
Jet Li as Geming Sulu (image is provided for educational purposes)

Geming is played by actor Jet Li.

I like this handsome actor of Chinese extraction. It doesn’t hurt that his martial arts background dovetails well with the martial arts connection to the canon character, Hikaru Sulu.

Personality

Intelligent and thoughtful, the Geming of our universe is a good father. He and Mai reconcile after their divorce, and remarry. He settles on Lafa II and they rebuild their lives together.

Relationships

Mai Sulu

Geming’s only know relationship is with Mai. He predeceases her, according to Jia, in Fortune.

Mirror Universe

Geming exists in the Mirror Universe, and is Doug’s last male human kill (Deborah Hadden is killed accidentally when Doug escapes to our universe). There is nearly nothing known about him, but that’s as to be expected; a part of the recitation of Doug’s kills in Fortune is how meaningless some of them are, and how they can be almost mechanical.

Quote

“The Lafa System is certainly far from everything else. This is why I moved here when Mai did. I meant to tell you; I suppose being nearby did us both some good. We’ve decided to reconcile, and to remarry.”

Upshot

Geming, like other peripheral characters, flits in and out but rarely has the spotlight. But every storyline needs supporting characters, and so he might return at some point in time.

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