Progress Report – June 2017

Progress Report – June 2017

June 2017 turned out as yet another quiet month for Star Trek fanfiction writing.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | June 2017
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing. Because at that site, the forums were removed a few months ago, due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, still nada!

However, at this time, I still have no replacement, and neither do they. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on Fanfiction.net, during June 2017, I I continued posting Shake Your Body.

Finally, on Wattpad, I started to post Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I sent The Real Hub of the Universe out for beta reading. And that has proven more difficult as usual, as people are just plain busy. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. However, I would like to put off completing the second book until I get at least a modicum of feedback on the first one, and that has proven elusive.

Also, the editing for The Enigman Cave finished and the book was queried in mid-May. The publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books, asked for the entire manuscript for reading and reviewing. Hence I am cautiously optimistic; there are no guarantees of publication.

I also worked on the sequel to The Real Hub of the Universe, called The Real Heart of the Universe. I had already written over 50,000 words by the end of May. Hence I am perhaps one-half to maybe even two-thirds done.

Prep Work

I edited a Wattpad draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells, The Point is Probably Moot. However, I probably will not start posting that one until July.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

We had a horrible tragedy in my family, so that derailed me and pretty much everyone else. However, I cope with art, so I will write something. It will be unrelated to anything else and might only be available to a few people.

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Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Commanders make Star Trek go ‘round.
Commanders Martin Madden.jpg

Background

For every captain, ever since Kirk and Spock, Star Trek has always had a second. Or if you prefer looking at the timeline Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Commandershistorically, then the position dates back at least to Archer and T’Pol. And it continues to Picard and Riker, and Janeway and Tuvok.

 

Appearances

T’Pol

While this character exists in canon, I never really felt I could write her well until the E2 series of stories. T’Pol has competence and intelligence but, like a lot of Vulcan characters, can sometimes present a feeling of superiority.

Malcolm Reed

During the first E2 kick back in time, and then in the In Between Days time period, after Fortune, Malcolm gets the promotion. In E2, he gets it because Jonathan Archer promotes a number of people. In the post-Fortune time frame, he gets it due to Tripp Tucker’s untimely demise.

Travis Mayweather

And then in the Mirror Universe, Travis gets the nod for two reasons: one, because he and the Empress Hoshi Sato are sleeping together (although she makes an effort to sleep with every man on the ship) and two, because he makes a dandy human shield for her. Hoshi gets a measure of safety because people like Doug and Tripp realize Travis would be worse.

Karin Bernstein-Rosen

During the first E2 kick back in time, Karin gets increasing levels of responsibility, eventually rising to a very high level.

Martin Madden

For this canon character, he gets to shine in the Barnstorming series. I feel Martin Madden has a lot of potential as a character.

Daniya

While Mack MacKenzie technically has three people under her who could be second in command (the doctor refuses as she thinks it wouldn’t work), Daniya ends up being more of a second in command than Wesley Crusher or Crita (who would be too timid to really command, anyway).

Upshot

Seconds in command make vital decisions and keep ships running. Without them, the captain would do too much. Furthermore, seconds in command often do the more dangerous work of command – as well as a lot of the more mundane.

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Review – Inspiration

Review – Inspiration

Inspiration is an exceptionally personal thing.
Inspiration

Background

First of all, Inspiration was a response to a prompt of the same name. As a result, I decided to go with an author insertion type of theme. Hence the idea was to write a story about the more or less near future. And the future would begin to intersect with canon, which says we are supposed to be in the midst of World War III, right about now.

Er, not so much.

Therefore, it seems as if some of the premise falls flat. Furthermore, the concept now, as I review it from a remove of a few years, feels trite and, frankly, more than a little bit weird. And in some ways, the story twists the concept and the plot too much. In short, it feels as if I was trying way too hard with it.

Ah, well. They can’t all be gems now, can they?

Plot

There is not too much of a plot, although it does dovetail with the In Between Days and Multiverse II story lines.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I feel the concept was an acceptable one, the story suffers from too much author insertion and not enough plot line. Hence I believe it could have been improved by using an original character in the place of myself. And it may have even become a great time to resurrect Leland Loomis. However, that would have veered the story off and into a rather different direction. Yet that might even have saved it. Hard to say now. I have no plans to revisit the story or the concept at this particular time.

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Portrait of a Character – Tracey Carter

Portrait of a Character – Tracey Carter

Origins

Tracey Carter was originally created out of some petulance on my part. Because I was posting on a site requiring beta reading before posting, I got tired of that. I didn’t want to do that as it was fan fiction. Furthermore, I was seeing suggestions of changing some of the fundamentals of Reversal. With so much dependent upon that story, imperfect as it is, I wasn’t interested in subsequent ‘fixes’ which I felt would gut the plot. However, I was curious about the beta reading process and reeled of Smells with two brand-new characters in order to see what it was all about. Hence my reasoning was to offer up two characters I didn’t really care about in the hopes that I wouldn’t be offended by any suggestions and would potentially learn something.

And then I mostly forgot about that story, but revisited it when I began writing the E2 stories as I needed names and I needed relationships. Tracey and Osh fit the bill rather nicely.

Portrayal

Tracey Carter
Rachel McAdams as Tracey Carter (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Tracey Carter is played by actress Rachel McAdams.

I am particularly thrilled that she plays a linchpin character in The Time Traveler’s Wife, a story which relates her to the Wells series.

Personality

A bit silly and kind of boy-crazy, Tracey quite literally embraces the generational nature of the NX-01. Even though Maryam scolds her and reminds her that she (Tracey) is no longer a teenager, Tracey acts that way anyway. She sets her sights on Oscar and they hook up, which eventually turns into more. During the first kick back in time, she gives birth to the first child on board, Amanda, who she and Osh call Almendra.

Relationships

Tracey’s only known relationship is with Oscar Tiburón. Even after the third version of the Enterprise makes it through, Trace and Osh still get together. Much like Meredith and Rex, Susie and Mario, and Lili and Malcolm (although not Lili and Jay or Lili and José), their relationship carries through to the prime timeline.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Tracey Carter
Mirror Tracey Carter

There are no impediments to Tracey existing in the Mirror Universe.  And as an engineer, she would potentially have more opportunities than many other women. Would she still end up with Oscar? It’s hard to say. A decent-looking and somewhat intelligent MACO would be able to support a wife and family, but at the same time he could potentially be of interest to Empress Hoshi. And Hoshi’s jealousy could cost Tracey her job or even her life.

Quote

“His uni patch says O. Tiburón. Oliver? Otto? Orson? Omar?”

Upshot

While the creation of this character was imperfectly executed, her subsequent reuse and redemption made her more valuable. Even though this character isn’t exactly a star, she’s a useful part of the ensemble.

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Review – Infinite Diversity

Review – Infinite Diversity

Infinite Diversity

Background

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations! First of all, Infinite Diversity was created as a means of showcasing LGBTQ stories within the context of Star Trek fan fiction. And while it says some good things, it does not really fit in with canon, personal or otherwise.

Plot

Because Infinite Diversity exists as a more or less anthology, it does not, truly, have any sort of a plot to speak of. Hence the main themes include the colors of the rainbow and any prompts. Most of the stories take place in the Interphases E2 timeline.

Therefore, the prompts and the colors devolve as follows:

  1. Wisdom (Red) – Dave and Frank dye their cabin in rainbow colors as they dye tee shirts for Pride Week. And the last dye job makes them look like serial killers (prime timeline).
  2. Fairness (Orange) – Diana and Preece Ti discuss why choosing each other isn’t unfair at all, even though there are no other choices (E2 timeline, first kick back in time).
  3. Grace (Yellow) – Diana’s funeral, where Jonathan gives the eulogy to cover Diana’s widow, Leah (prime timeline, refers to the Bread story).
  4. Melancholy (Green) – Kelsey cross dresses in private (E2 timeline, first kick back in time but also refers to the prime timeline story, In Memory of Kelsey Haber).
  5. Distance (Blue) – Luke and Preston fight  (E2 timeline, first kick back in time).
  6. Generosity (Indigo) – asexual pilot Christian Harris volunteers for a dangerous mission so others don’t have to (E2 timeline, either kick back in time).
  7. and Perseverance (Violet) – Melissa and Norri try to feed infant Tommy (prime timeline, references Temper).

Music

While the only song is this one, it’s a good one, particularly considering that character Kelsey Haber, in the prime timeline commits suicide. Hence he may very well have been more melancholy than he lets on here.

Story Postings

Infinite Diversity on Ad Astra.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I feel my heart was in the right place when I wrote Infinite Diversity, it could have used more of a plot.

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Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Makan Sinthasomphone is necessary for Concord to work.

Origins

Makan Sinthasomphone was a means to an end. This character was brought to the fore in order to be able to fix and engineer Robert Lennox’s return in Concord (and, at the same time, return Malcolm Reed to the correct place and time period). Furthermore, I needed to give Monisha Padir someone to talk to. She would have to bounce her ideas off someone or other. After all, she’s not an engineer; she’s a historian.

Portrayal

Makan Sinthasomphone
Ananda Everingham as Makan Sinthasomphone (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Makan Sinthasomphone is played by actor Ananda Everingham.

As is the case with the rest of my Star Trek fan fiction, I like to try to match the actor’s ethnic origins to the character’s. In this instance, it’s close but I could not get it quite right. Makan is Lao and Ananda is Thai.

Furthermore, I wanted someone who at least superficially resembled Konerak Sinthasomphone. While the origin of Makan’s surname is utterly morbid, the intention was just to have a Lao surname. Since Concord is a rather black and white (by race) story, I wanted the future time travel team to mostly be Asian. I intend no disrespect to the Sinthasomphone family. Please do not infer any.

Personality

Smart, albeit a little impatient, Makan can’t quite figure out what went wrong with moving Robert Lennox in time.

Relationships

Makan has no known relationships, and I do not ‘ship him with Monisha Padir.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Makan
Mirror Makan

There are no impediments to Makan existing in the Mirror Universe.  However, the later you get in the timeline, the longer the odds are. Because engineers are necessary in any universe, he could be wealthy or even an object of a lot of women’s desires.

Quote

“And we don’t have any evidence that he’s still alive, either. He’s like Schrödinger’s Cat.”

Upshot

While he’s a minor character at best, Makan serves his purpose well.

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Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Background

If I Could Do it All Over Again was written in response to a prompt of the same name. And of course the concept was, if you could have an instant replay, would you take it? Furthermore, how would it work?

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere | If I Could Do it All Over Again

However, I eventually realized that the story did fit in with my own personal canon, but I could alter it. How could I make it fit?

Plot

Captain Jonathan Archer mourns his Ikaaran bride from the first E2 kick back in time – Ebrona – before he meets Esilia. Because the relationship between Lili and José was already established in Together, I had to follow that. However, I wanted to use the E2 time frame as a vehicle for exploring a possible relationship between Lili and Jay. Furthermore, I wanted Malcolm to have someone, because I had always hated how that went down in canon.

Since I wanted these other relationships to work out, I had to do something different. Hence I created two kicks back in time. Most noteworthy, because the short story established an early death for the Ikaaran species, I had to determine a manner in which to get that convincingly onto the page.

So some of my inspiration came from the old TOS episode, The Mark of Gideon. In that story, an overpopulated world use’s Captain Kirk’s recovery from Vegan choriomeningitis as a means of obtaining germs to deliberately sicken and kill off a part of their population. It’s implied that they don’t believe in birth control. Hence, I gave a similar purpose to the Ikaarans, except they would send their youth out for farming stints in order to obtain more food and then return to marry. However, their bodies would have almost an effective kill switch, and they would die young because of genetic manipulation.

As a result, Ebrona (and eventually Esilia) dies young. And this story, which is about that event, is instead read by Archer during the second kick back in time, as he goes over old logs.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I loved being able to use this story in a rather unexpected and different fashion but still get what I needed out of it.

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Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Origins

Robert Lennox had somewhat mixed and strange origins. Because I needed a means of getting Malcolm Reed home during the events of Concord, it took me a while to figure out just how that could possibly be accomplished.  Since I had a Colonial story but very little else, I had to figure out a way to make it all work within Star Trek. As a result, I needed a means of traveling through time.

Hence Lennox is a time traveler, and he is a professional one, much like Richard Daniels. And so he works with Monisha Padir and Makan Sinthasomphone.

Portrayal

Robert Lennox
Ioan Gruffudd as Robert Lennox

Robert Lennox is played by actor Ioan Gruffudd.

I find this Welsh actor not only to be rather handsome, but also striking in period costume. Furthermore, he would have the correct accent for Charlotte, Jim, and Benjamin to believe he (Robert) was a redcoat.

However, the truth is quite different, as Robert’s mission was to observe the NX-01 at the commencement of the Xindi war. Instead, though, he and Malcolm both end up in Concord, Massachusetts in 1775.

Personality

Professional and intelligent, Robert’s mission is solely to observe. However, he probably would have inadvertently changed history anyway, as he tells Malcolm to duck when they face the enemy. Since there is incoming cannon fire, the warning is a wise one. And neither Lennox nor Malcolm are supposed to be there, but Lennox does not know that yet. Furthermore, when Malcolm first arrives, Lennox comments on the smoke and noise.

However, there is no way he could have known that, unless he had been dumped there earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t Robert’s first time in Concord. That presents an intriguing idea; I might write it some day.

Relationships

Robert has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Robert existing in the Mirror Universe, although the later you get in the timeline, the moreMirror Robert Lennox difficult the odds become.

Good-looking and intelligent people tend to rise to the top of our universe, and the Mirror rewards similar characteristics, albeit mixed with a healthy dollop of violence, sex, and cruelty.

And a smart professional time traveler could have a lot of advantages.

Quote

“I can’t say much. But there was an experiment in time travel. I was to travel in a pod and observe you.”

Upshot

While Robert is unconscious for a lot of Concord, he’s awake long enough for Charlotte and Malcolm to get a decent impression of him. And that might be enough.

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Review – I Got Married to the Widow Next Door

Review – I Got Married to the Widow Next Door

Background

I Got Married to the Widow Next Door is a bit of fluffy silliness. It came about because I was in a jam. But music saved me! Thank God.

"Barking

I got an assignment to write a story in trekfan’s universe. And I was utterly stumped as to what to do.

Plot

Henry Harrison, known as Hank, is a truly romantic character. But he does not get the girl until a lot later in life. Instead, his teen years are fraught with teenaged boy perils. These are familiar to most people.

I truly loved the idea of using Mary-Kate Olsen for the nasty Queen bee character, Jolinda Fredericks. The character makes for a harsh contrast to how I ‘cast’ her identical twin, Ashley Olsen (spoiler alert: I ‘cast’ Ashley as Jhasi Tantharis AKA Josie O’Connor).

Hank is basically minding his own business in high school when Jolinda decides to use him to make her boyfriend jealous. Furthermore, she gets to humiliate Hank and she even gets in a dig at Hank’s dream girl, part-Andorian Bethany Reeves.

Music

The music is, of course, Herman’s HermitsI’m Henry the Eighth, I Am

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Oh, Jolinda is a nasty one. And this story gives her a comeuppance. However, by the end, Hank is humming the song and congratulating himself on how his life turned out, versus hers. Because Jolinda is the epitome of the selfish, spoiled brat. Then she takes shortcuts and expects everyone else to fall in life. But life does not work quite like that. And Daddy’s connections do not impress either adulthood or Starfleet. I loved this nasty character, and should try to find another place for her.

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