jespah

Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.
Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.

Portraits of Characters– The Crusher Clan

Portraits of Characters– The Crusher Clan

The Crusher clan does not end with Wesley. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Wesley Crusher of the Crusher Clan

Wesley Crusher of the Crusher Clan

Origins

I mainly started with Crackerjack, as I had wanted Wesley to have a home and a loving family. In addition, I wanted him to be a lot older and so the idea of him having grandchildren made a great deal of sense. Because I have already covered Wes himself and Lakeisha Warren, I won’t repeat what I wrote here.

Portrayals

As in canon, Wes’s mother, Beverly Crusher, MD, is played by actress Gates McFadden.  His father, Jack Crusher, does not appear, but there is a grandson with that name.

In addition, Wes and Lakeisha’s children are Tim Crusher and Ellen Crusher Farley. Ellen is divorced and has three children, Cynthia and Tara. Tim is also divorced but he has remarried; his second wife is Mei Lin and Mei Lin’s son from her first marriage is Scotty. Tad and Jack (named after the canon character) are Tim’s sons. However, they are of different races so perhaps only one of them is biologically from his first marriage. The other (I think Tad ends up older) would be, perhaps, adopted.

Sharp-eyed readers will also notice that Lakeisha’s maiden name is Warren. Yes, she is a descendant of Benjamin and Jim Warren, and she may have a connection to Rosemary Parker although I am personally a bit unclear on that.

The non-canon portrayals go as follows:

Personalities

First of all, a big part of the Crackerjack storyline concerns racism. As a result, I don’t show or describe the younger section of the Crusher clan. And that is precisely for this purpose. However, the actors I have chosen have differing races, because Tim is played by a Caucasian actor whereas Ellen is played by an African-American actress. Because Lakeisha is also of African descent, that tells me now, years later, that Tim was adopted. Also, perhaps the younger Jack is as well, for he is of African descent whereas Tad is Caucasian.

Or maybe I just messed up my casting.

Relationships

The relationships are only as described above. However, both of Wesley’s children had marriages which ended in divorce. So these days, that is a not so uncommon occurrence.

Mirror Universe

So some of the Crusher clan could conceivably exist in the Mirror. In addition, very intelligent people would score well on the standard examinations, and could conceivably avoid becoming cannon fodder.

Quotes

Scotty Chen: “What’s a bigot?

Jack Crusher: “But you and Grammy have always been together!

Mei-Lin Chen Crusher: “It’s a little warm out there.”  (while that’s not very exciting, but this is the only quote I have from her)

Tad Crusher: “More story!

Tim Crusher: “We should take a picture. It’s a great day for a family portrait.”

Cynthia Farley: “That’s really stupid. I mean, it’s like jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts about somebody. What if you’re really wrong? I know I’d be, like, totally mortified.

Ellen Crusher Farley: “Well, there’s a little bit more, for you and Geordi changed a bit because of this experience, right?

Tara Farley: “The Reverend thought Geordi liked Rosemary. You know, like really liked her.

Upshot

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Review – The Canadian Caper

Review – The Canadian Caper

Background

The Canadian Caper - Barking Up the Muse Tree

The Canadian Caper

The Canadian Caper exists as my foray into writing bandfic/real person fiction.

First of all, my true mission here was to try to combat the surfeit of Wattpad band fiction, mainly centering around both One Direction and Justin Bieber. Furthermore, I was really into Postmodern Jukebox when I wrote it. Hence the entire story serves as an attempt to almost newsjack two separate genres and trends. Hence one was the bandfic trend on Wattpad, and the other was the popularity of PMJ on both YouTube and Facebook.

Plot

The PMJ Detective Agency has to solve a mystery when Puddles Pity Party, the six foot eight tall clown with the golden voice, is kidnapped.

Music

So as should be expected, the story is chock full of music.

The first song is Robyn Adele Anderson singing Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg’s Wiggle.

As the team assembles, the next song is Von Smith singing Magic!’s Rude as he romances his girl.

So it was great fun turning tiny Ashley Stroud into a professional kickboxer. The next song is her singing Iggy Azalea’s Fancy.

Next up, I turned Cristina Gatti into a video games aficionado and computer hacker. Here she sings Stay with Me by Sam Smith.

In addition, ecology maven Morgan James doesn’t taken any guff from the loser she’s been dating, and lets him have it with Really Don’t Care by Demi Lovato.

Once the team assembles, they’ll need disguises, so it’s off to the Thrift Shop, a cover of the (Grandpa Style) Macklemore song, as sung by Robyn Adele Anderson.

In keeping with the somewhat corny plot thread, our heroes win a singing contest in a small town when Robyn sings Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

As they thwart their enemies, our heroes sing Ellie Goulding’s Burn.

After a brawl (hey, it’s noir fiction!), PMJ sings Lorde’s Royals.

Finally, for the last chapter, as romance blossoms and PMJ gets everything they ever wanted, Scott gets the girl, and Robyn sings Katy Perry’s Birthday.

Story Postings

This story only exists on Wattpad.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Furthermore, while it was a good idea at the time (I suppose), I grossly overestimated Wattpad interest in Postmodern Jukebox. However the truth is, the two sets of demographics do not really mesh that well at all. However, my attempt at trendjacking was not a completely bad idea. It would have probably done better elsewhere, but there are few places to post wholly original fiction you don’t really want to try to sell.

Finally, the story also became dated fairly quickly when, apparently, Bradlee and Anderson stopped seeing each other. Ah, well. That’s the nature of trendjacking; it never lasts.

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Progress Report – November 2017

Progress Report – November 2017

Progress Report – November 2017

November 2017 creeped up on me and then suddenly I was exceptionally busy.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | November 2017
First of all, the G & T Show has ended and may or may not be revived, so I posted nothing there.

And on Fanfiction.net, I started Deep Future, which is the post-Stranger H. G. Wells stories. Since the Wells series is winding down there, I am starting to think about the E2 stories, as they are always fun to write and post. The stories in Deep Future start with It’s Not Really a Reset if you remember it and then The Sweetest Universe and then I put up Eight separately as it seemed to make more sense to do it that way.

And then finally, on Wattpad, I posted more of Shake Your Body.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

NaNoWriMo! I spent a lot of time working on Mettle although there was still a great deal of research that I had to do even as I was writing.

Prep Work

I put together the drafts for He Stays a Stranger on Wattpad.  I also set up the drafts for Mirror Masquerade on Fanfiction.net as that will come up next and, since I have a cover anyway, I may as well create a separate document for it.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

One thing that absolutely zapped my productivity was having to get a new computer. The old one died in October and I replaced it during then, but there were still, on occasion, things I simply could no longer find. This included a lot of images, sadly.

Another issue was work as I went to full time and I had to end things with three side clients. Plus I needed to get up to speed with the full-time gig. As would be expected, NaNoWriMo also ate up my life. Yet so did Semantic Shenanigans even as we made an effort to keep it low key.

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Portrait of a Character – M’Roan

Portrait of a Character – M’Roan

Origins

M’Roan is a Caitian. Of course a Caitian character would be in full makeup, so adding an actor seems a bit absurd. However, won’t you humor me a bit?

Portrayal

M’Roan is played by actor Jason Alexander. I like this funny but also overly nervous kind of an actor.

M’Roan

Personality

Loquacious, a bit servile, and courtly to a fault, M’Roan cannot help but to charm the first humans he meets – the first humans any Caitian ever meets, for that matter – Lily Sloane and Zefram Cochrane. Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot a Derellian bat amidst his possessions, although he treats the bat more like a colleague/pet than a healing tool or medicine.

However, this begs the question: why is this somewhat charming and certainly lonely individual traveling alone? Because I doubt I will pick this one up again, the answer will most likely never come. Although it would be something to, perhaps, explore if the opportunity presented itself.

Relationships

M’Roan has no known relationships. In fact, I suspect he has none, as he seems a little too eager to just up and travel around with Zef.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to M’Roan existing in the Mirror Universe. All of the males I write in the MU are tougher, but a Caitian would not sport the Y Chromosome Skew. In addition, if M’Roan were to meet Lily and Zef, he might shoot first and ask questions later, a scenario which comes up with Cochrane himself in the In a Mirror, Darkly ENT episodes. I recall seeing that opening sequence for the first time, and it proved rather shocking. In other words, perfect.

Quote

“I was curious and now I have seen far too deeply into your life. I am so sorry. But this is, in a way, how friends can be made, yes?”

Upshot

One thing I really enjoyed about this one was not just to create a brand-new First Contact story, but also to christen the Jersey Lily and connect Archer to Cochrane, and even to the TOS Metamorphosis episode.

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Review – The Social Media Guide for Wattpad

Review – The Social Media Guide for Wattpad

The Social Media Guide for Wattpad started off as a means of reviewing what I learned in class at Quinnipiac University. As a student, I wanted to make sure I understood the material. Creating a guide seemed the perfect way of doing just that.

Background

The Social Media Guide to Wattpad - Barking Up the Muse Tree

The Social Media Guide to Wattpad

The Social Media Guide made sense as a project. I wanted to cement my own knowledge, and also to help others. As a result, I started off with talking about exactly what I had learned in school. Namely, this consisted of the POST strategy (people, objectives, strategy, and technology). My main idea was to keep Wattpad posters from simply diving into social media. It made more sense to have a plan before doing so. It always does.

Plot

Of course this one does not truly have a plot. Rather, I divided it into sections. So this was everything from demographics research to determining objectives, to deciding on strategies. For the technology portion, I wrote sections devoted to Facebook and Twitter, and also talked about YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest. As I recall, I don’t believe I covered any other social media platforms. Hence there was nothing on Snapchat or Storify, for example.

Story Postings

This work can only be found on Wattpad.

Rating

The book is Rated K.

Upshot

While I imagine it worked out well enough, I am not so sure I would ever really put in the effort to update it. While The Social Media Guide has over 11,000 reads and more than 560 comments (more than for all of the instances of Reversal, combined), the commenting dropped down to nothing once the new content stopped. Furthermore, this is the kind of work which I should be charging money for. While I will not remove the book (hence its free status remains assured), I need to think about personal finance these days.

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Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

World War II Soldiers? What do they have to do with Star Trek fan fiction? More than you might think.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Day of the Dead | World War II Soldiers

Origins

As a part of Day of the Dead, Tripp Tucker ends up in 1945 Bavaria as a result of a spatial and temporal interphase. So this anomaly dumps him into the United States Army, poised to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that three of the women who are liberated are Noemy and Milena Chelenska, along with their neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer. However, this post concerns the soldiers Tucker meets. Of course, they all think he’s Chuck McBride, the man he displaced.

So those soldiers are Stanislaus Kuzawa, Tony Martinelli, Sergeant Randall McCoy, and Brendan O’Shaughnessy. I’ve already blogged about Herbie Shapiro, the most developed character of the bunch.

Portrayals

Stanislaus Kuzawa is played by Romanian actor Dragos Bucur. As much as Day of the Dead, at times, resembles old World War II films, I wanted the actors to be of ethnicities that closely resembled (if not matched) those of their characters.

World War II Soldiers

However, I reversed myself for the next role. Because Tony Martinelli is played by Christian Slater. Yet that’s more because of the Trek connection than anything else.

World War II Soldiers

Sergeant McCoy may not be played by an Irish actor, but the actor, Tom Berenger, certainly has played a soldier before (although the war was Vietnam and not WWII).

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy gets an Irish actor who has played a soldier – and he was even one of several World War II Soldiers in Saving Private RyanMatt Damon.

World War II Soldiers

Personalities

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa comes across as more of a jokester than the others.

Tony Martinelli recognizes the horror. However, he doesn’t do anything about it.

Sergeant Randall McCoy ends up an efficient killer, only following orders.

Brendan O’Shaughnessy also comes across as somewhat apathetic.

Relationships

None of the fellows have any known relationships.

Mirror Universe

Any of the guys could exist in the Mirror.

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa could take a different tack in life and be more of a family man.

World War II Soldiers

Tony Martinelli could even be religious, although MU religion might be more like televangelism than monasteries.

World War II Soldiers

Because a violent form of baseball exists in the Mirror, Sergeant Randall McCoy could conceivably play.

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan might be an assassin.

World War II Soldiers

Quotes

Stanislaus Kuzawa: “That’s why there’s war brides. You shoulda chatted ‘em up, McBride. Nice young girls, maybe too young, but you bring ‘em to the states, and they learn English, and they get jobs like, like secretaries or somethin’. Or they marry some guy like, like Herbie here.”

Tony Martinelli: Something’s not right. It feels like things just changed, big time. And not for the better.”

Sergeant McCoy: “And all of those people here, all these bodies? You did see all those bodies, right? And you know why it smells like burning skin here? Do you know why, Private? McBride, we found crematoria. I guess they threw the bodies in there but it wouldn’t shock me if living people were sometimes tossed in as well. I, I don’t know what justice is, I guess. And maybe I never will. But I dare anybody who wasn’t here to say that this didn’t happen. It did. And I was here. And I will knock the block offa anyone who ever says differently. Call me what you like, but if we were here tomorrow and not today, you know what woulda happened? Do ya?”

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy: “You know what that is. How can you know what that is? Ain’t nobody seen inside any of these camps, right?”

Upshot

For one-shot characters, these guys have a depth to them. However, I have no way to really write more about them. A pity.

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Review – Milk

Review – Milk

Milk is one of those stories which feels just a little bit too naughty. I mean, it’s a cartoon. But it feels a tad too much, as I look back on it these days. For this short story, actually, is a few years old. I have improved and changed as a writer since then – a lot.

Background

The prompt was to write a crossover story. I went with TOS and TAS, just to be different.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Milk

Milk

So the story, told from Scotty’s point of view, is about him getting ready for a date with a newer crew member. She is friendly and pretty and he is a lonely, kind of awkward guy. Furthermore, he admits he can’t quite understand what she would possibly see in a guy like him. And that works out a bit with the canon character, at least in The Original Series. Scotty does not get a lot of chances for romance (Mira Romaine is one such chance, as I recall). But usually he is just called on to be the miracle worker and that’s that. It is not until the films where he gets a romantic interest, and that person is none other than Nyota Uhura.

Maybe that’s even weirder than this story.

In addition, I had not realized that, in the Animated Series, this kind of a relationship was explored a little bit. However, it was not like this, as Scotty is having thoughts which are definitely not for children on a Saturday morning!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

Finally, for Scotty, often seen as a ‘eunuch in a tunic’, I wanted him to have some sexiness in his life. At the very  least, I hope that came across!

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Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Bicoulamine, a wholly original drug, needs to be explored more.
Bicoulamine

Background

As a part of the plot of Multiverse II, the collapsed American government needed addicted soldiers to fight. And Coulamine proved to be a great invention, the ‘candy’ pacifying the masses. As I had written them, humans of the post-World War III time period would do just about anything to get their hands on the ‘candy’. They would go without sex, shelter, food, or water, all in the name of just another fix. Furthermore, they would fight as soldiers. However, they still had a small measure of free will, aptly demonstrated by Rita Spinelli. Rita’s breaking of her addiction meant others could do so as well, if they only had enough will, and someone to help them through it. This was one of the reasons why she tried so hard to help Seymour Sonia break his own addiction to the stuff.

However, because I had already created and used my Tricoulamine (a fatal nerve gas) in the Intolerance story, that begged the question: what had existed in between the two chemical compounds, and covered the time period from around 2053 to 2158? Hence I came up with a truly twisted drug which would not pacify the masses. Instead, it turned them into homicidal psychopaths. That had the capacity to make for some really wild writing. However, because the story was never completed, Bicoulamine never really lived up to its fullest potential.

Upshot

While the drug turned out to be a really good idea, I did not get a chance to truly explore it. Hence I feel there is a lot more to tell about Bicoulamine and the post-World War III American landscape.

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Portrait of a Character – Varelle

Portrait of a Character – Varelle

Varelle came about as a means of kicking off the queasy feeling you should get when reading The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Varelle

Scottish Wolfhound puppy representing Varelle (image is presented for educational purposes only).

Origins

First of all, Varelle is a medical character, and he is one of the first Daranaeans ever seen. Furthermore, his refusal to treat an ill Libba (because she is a second caste female) sets not only the plot of The Cure is Worse than the Disease in motion, it also helps to set off the entire Emergence series. Hence, by definition, Varelle is a rather important character.

Portrayal

As is the case with nearly all Daranaean characters, no one really ‘plays’ Dr. Varelle.

Personality

Overly superior and more than a little bit smug, the doctor won’t sully his furry hands treating the lower classes. Just like with Thessa, his behavior helps to really drive the point of the plot home. He is less of a healer and more like one of those people who gets into medicine solely for the purpose of making a lot of money.

Relationships

Dr. Varelle has no known relationships. However, like any other wealthy Daranaean male, he would take a wife from each of the three castes.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to this character existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew. However, a doctor could potentially have cachet and be able to afford three wives.

Quote

“Well, she was purchased for nine hundred and thirty Stonds. As for the other one, well; you get what you pay for.”

Upshot

Finally, this character works well and has no redemption like Dr. Rechal does in Flight of the Bluebird. Why? Because some people just plain stay evil.

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Review – Revved Up

Review – Revved Up

Revved Up rocks.

Because I have more or less run out of (completed) Star Trek fan fiction to blog about, I would like to introduce some of my wholly original fiction to this blog. I hope the insights will prove fruitful or at least interesting.

Background

Revved Up - Barking Up the Muse Tree

Revved Up

This story started because I had stayed at my childhood home and noticed something odd in the front yard. And the truth is, it was nearly nothing. However, I sometimes have an overactive imagination, and so I took this idea and I ran with it.

What did I notice? It was only a few ruts near a flower bed. They were nothing, really, and were most likely made by a hoe or a rake. However, in my mind, I decided they would be tire tracks. And then the fun started.

Plot

A holier than thou narrator tells the story to an unnamed police officer. The plot circles around the narrator’s elderly parents’ next-door neighbors. And the narrator refers to them as the POJ Family. That is, the “Pair of Jerks”.

As the story progresses, our narrator gets more and more self-righteous as the POJ Family continues to perform more and more outrageous acts in her parents’ sleepy, leafy Northern New Jersey suburban street (Note: my folks live on Long Island and they don’t even live in the inspiration house any more).

Sharp-eyed readers should be able to follow along at least in part. The narrator keeps a lot of information close to the vest, so it pays, actually, to read the book again. And no, I’m not trying to inflate read counts.

Story Postings

The story’s sole posting is on Wattpad, where it was named a Featured Story a few years ago.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This story has had better traction than nearly anything I have ever written. With (as of the time of the writing of this blog post) over 54,000 reads and over 400 comments (many of which referenced that surprise ending), Revved Up remains an unqualified success.  Of course having Featured Story status helped a great deal.

Could I sell it? I have toyed with that idea, but the story is so odd and it’s really too short for a novel. Plus it does not really lend itself to a sequel. While sequels are far from necessary, it helps if that’s an option.

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