Review – Staying

Review – Staying

Staying came about because I wanted to showcase the Barnstorming series.

Staying

Background

First of all, Staying arose directly out of The All Stars and served as a prompt response. This happened in an effort to get readers interested in the longer story.

Plot

Because I never intended Staying as a stand alone story, the plot ends up being rather thin. Instead, it showcases Mack MacKenzie and Kent Hoberman in an intimate moment which perhaps never should have happened. Since I liked the idea of a traumatized woman crying after sex (I suppose I have a heart of stone; of course I just mean a character), I reused the idea in the wholly original novel, The Polymer Beat.

Furthermore, the intention pushed the narrative along so that Mack would not have trauma with her true love (still not written yet!), canon character Martin Madden.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

While the story could have served as a decent introduction to the series, the readers really did not pick up on it. Read counts stayed low. And it can be tough to try to maintain and reinvent and continue a series where few if any people bother to read it. Hence the series is on hold and there are stories never even posted anywhere. If I pick it up again, I will need to finish those stories and that seems highly unlikely, given my schedule, my interest, and my desire to save my creativity for wholly original pursuits.

A pity, as I like Mack, Hobie, and Martin and their cohorts. They just came into my universe at the wrong time. Hence they may stay, forever (ish) in limbo. Sorry, characters!

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Portrait of a Character – Crita

Portrait of a Character – Crita

Crita, another female Daranaean artist character, should remind the reader of Inta II.

Crita

Origins

Because I love the Daranaeans so much, I wanted to bring at least one into the new Barnstorming series. Crita also carries through the idea of Inta II. Crita, being born later, has more independence.

Portrayal

Crita, unlike most Daranaean characters, has an attached actor (because she has so much screen time). So she is played by actress Mary-Kate Olsen.

Personality

A bit slight and timid, Crita still ends up being one of the more assertive female Daranaean characters I have ever written. And that is by design. Crita’s main advantage comes from being born later than Inta II, etc. Crita has experienced a Daranaean alliance with the United Federation of Planets her entire life. Hence she has always had the right to vote, for example.

Relationships

Senjarus

Much like happens with arranged marriages today, I wanted the character to have a limited choice of suitors but at least not just have one foisted upon her. Her overly eager parents would want a good match for her, and one part of that would be wealth. Of the three suitors, Senjarus does not win the wealth sweepstakes. Instead, she chooses him because he seems to value her artwork in a way that his two competitors simply do not.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to this character existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but she probably would not be treated any better.

Quote

“I do. It’s probably got more to do with me being unmarried than anything else. Daranaean men aren’t generally fond of third caste females who are anything but submissive all the time.”

Upshot

Because the Barnstorming series is on hold, and it doesn’t look like I will ever finish it, poor Crita has been more or less abandoned. And that’s unfortunate, as I do like the little puppy girl.

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Review – Soldiers’ Marriage Project

Review – Soldiers’ Marriage Project

Soldiers' Marriage Project
Soldiers’ Marriage Project, an early effort, showed me how well I can change the tone of a narrative.

Background

First of all, Soldiers’ Marriage Project came about so as to add a bit of romance to the Romulan war. The idea borrowed a lot from the standard ‘soldier going off to war’ narrative. As a result, a slight World War II vibe attaches to the piece.

Plot

Hence in Soldiers’ Marriage Project, a group of soldiers get married, all at the same time. My inspiration came from the old Unification Church mass weddings. As a result, this story marked the first appearance of Rona Moran, who plays a prominent role in Flight of the Bluebird. Because she helps to finance (and raise even more money for) this massive effort.

As for the soldiers mentioned by her in her report, neither of them make it to anywhere else in my fan fiction. I just wanted them to be archetypes, somewhat similar to how Rona herself treated the story line. Hence the couple don’t really have faces or descriptions (the above image mainly serves as a placeholder for this blog post).

Music

The music is Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I like this story, I had virtually no control over the final product and the direction of the overall anthology. Hence, there could have been more done with it. Alas, such was not to be! However, that might not be so bad, as the couple remain a mystery and Rona comes across as her usual wacky yet ultimately extremely well meaning self. And that foreshadows later stories nicely.

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Progress Report – August 2017

Progress Report – August 2017

August 2017 was another slow month. Heat, plus an incredibly busy month working as a freelancer, meant I did little but work and sweat! At least, that was how I saw it.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | August 2017
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing, as the spam situation is still up in the air.

And on Fanfiction.net, I posted He Stays a Stranger. Because the HG Wells series is winding down there, I will add the Deep Future stories and then, most likely, whatever I have from Barnstorming, even without a lot of editing. Otherwise, there is not much left to go there.

Finally, on Wattpad, I started to post The Point is Probably Moot.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Right now, the only WIP is for original work. I have works going into two (maybe it’s three?) separate anthologies. Because they are at various stages of completion, and some of them have been going on for quite a while, I am not 100% certain which is which! For a cancer anthology, I wrote something new, called The Playback.

The Hub of the Universe trilogy is going very slowly. Some of that is a fleeting and fickle muse. However, it is also a direct result of my being so damn busy. I often add a line or two in writing and then fall asleep. No lie!

Prep Work

I started to create draft on Wattpad for the next story in the series, Shake Your Body.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Work and work and more work! I was incredibly busy, which had its start back in I believe May. While it is good to have my freelance writing business taking off, it leaves very little room or time for anything else. I desperately seek balance. If anyone sees it, please return it. Thank you.

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Portrait of a Character – Q

Portrait of a Character – Q

Q, a canon character, works well for all sorts of deus ex machina.

Q
John de Lancie as Q (gif is provided for educational purposes only)

Origins

First of all, this canon character ended up helping showcase, in Fortune, some very important information. Because he gets to show just what happens to the Digiorno-Madden-Beckett-O’Day-Reed clan in the near and deep future. In addition, the vehicle ended up being the canon episode, The Q and the Grey, which I expanded significantly.

Portrayal

As in canon, Q is portrayed by actor John De Lancie.

Personality

More or less omnipotent and omniscient, Q easily becomes bored by the likes of you or me (or my characters). However, even he has limitations. As a result of needing a good plot device and a means of making him at least a little bit relatable, I made it so he won’t get into the heads of people. And in particular, that meant it took a lot of doing before Lili could convince him to allow her into Kevin Madden-Beckett’s head at the moment of that infant’s untimely death. Because the contact gets cut off, the question of whether there is life after death is not answered in Fortune, and I waited until Equinox, The Three of Us and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere to make the final determination that, yes, there is life after death.

Relationships

Q’s only known relationship is with the female Q, who I have called Joy in my fan fiction. Because Q has issues and wastes time pursuing Kathryn Janeway, I had Lili give him some help in terms of connecting with Joy.

Theme Music

While Q doesn’t really have theme music, per se, he does try to persuade Lili to show him the ways of human sex and sexuality by playing Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On, a song he describes as ‘foolproof’.

Mirror Universe

Because Q does not seem to be 100% from our universe, I suspect he flits between the two all the time. And he may go to other universes, such as the 49 centimeter radiation band.

Quote

“Oh, that’s right. You don’t know about Kevin.”

Upshot

Because this character has so many gifts, he can be hard to relate to. In addition, even in canon, I feel the writers sometimes didn’t know how to handle him. They made him obnoxious and overly obsessed with humans. Instead, I decided to give him doubts and hesitations.

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Review – Appearances

Review – Appearances

Appearances matter.
Appearances

Background

First of all, the story came about as a means of getting into Captain Sarine’s universe and his characters.

Plot

Furthermore, written for Captain Sarine and taking place in his Redemption universe, Damien gets serious about Kalara. Because issues might arise when a human writer and a Klingon officer date and then, eventually, wed. Hence, the way I wrote the story, even our future characters might have some lingering issues with mixed and interspecies marriage. And while prejudice does not exactly rear its ugly head, such is an implied back drop to the story.

Because Star Trek has always addressed social issues head on, the story could have had a real impact. I could have dealt with humans’ history with Klingons or even John Frederick Paxton’s Terra Prime. Instead, the story ended up being far too short and shallow for that kind of intelligent and introspective treatment. More’s the pity, as that would have made this story so much better.

As a permitted dip into another’s universe, the execution could have improved. However, as I recall, my time was already stretching thin. Therefore, I did not do enough research on the characters and their backgrounds. And, unfortunately, that shows.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because the story is so short, very little goes on. Hence the plot suffers from thinness. Furthermore, I did not know his characters that well. Hence both characters get rather sketchy and sparse treatments and the background ends up being minimal. Therefore, if I ever decided to revisit this universe and a story such as this one, it would be told with a lot more depth and a lot more obstacles for the lovers. While not every mixed relationship needs or attracts conflict, stories really do need it.

I count this one as a missed opportunity.

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Recurrent Themes – Killers

Recurrent Themes –Killers

Killers drive plots, and even create them. For many victims, someone has responsibility for their ends.

Doug Beckett, one of the killers
Doug Beckett, one of the killers (image of Steven Culp is provided for educational purposes only).

Background

Murdering, of course, appears in canon all the time, from the numerous red shirt deaths in the originalBarking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Killers series to the end of Tripp Tucker‘s life in the execrable and otherwise forgettable These Are the Voyages.

 

Appearances of Killers

Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett

Doug’s crimes have been outlined before in this blog. The Mirror Universe ends up being quite the ruthless place when I write it. And his crimes come to life in Fortune when Q shows them to Lili. The final killing, of Deborah Haddon, is an accident seen in Reversal.

The Empress Hoshi Sato

In order to consolidate her power, Hoshi leave a trail of bodies in her wake in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses. And in the case of Dr. Phlox and Malcolm Reed‘s demises, she uses Crewman Elizabeth Cutler as the agent of destruction.

Verinold

The incident happens quite by accident, when trying to steal a shuttle during the E2 time frame (second kick back in time). Hence the Ikaaran, Verinold, ends up as a killer. He drags Daniel Chang into space without a pressure suit. As a result, Verinold ends up banished to the tiny, dim world which Sandra Sloane has named Speakeasy.

Upshot

While all higher-up Mirror Universe denizens become pretty much murders by definition, I wanted to make it so their actions would have some meaning. And in particular, that makes Doug’s crimes all the more horrific, as so many of them occurred due to some of the flimsiest excuses.

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Review – Razor

Review – Razor

Razor
Razor, a tiny drabble, does not really need much of a review.

Background

First of all, Razor was written in response to a drabble prompt of the same name.

Plot

In addition, like the vast, vast majority of drabbles, Razor simply does not have much of a plot. Instead, it offers up a view of Tripp Tucker’s life and date with someone – probably a human, and certainly not T’Pol or even an alien guest – and a time at the movies. Hence this quick drabble shows a possible date between Tripp and a human woman, and it’s possibly Amanda Cole if they had gone further than one kiss. It was prompted on The Delphic Expanse;  the prompt word was the same as the title.

Real original, right?

However, it’s possible the prompt writer did not consider horror films when creating the prompt. So there’s that. Small comfort.

Yes, it’s possible to not enjoy your own work. I see no reason to expand on this one at all.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

In addition, most drabbles suffer from length and depth issues, and this one provides no exception. Furthermore, the story breaks canon and does not even dovetail well with my own fan fiction timeline. So while it does fit into the In Between Days timeline, that is just barely the case. Hence I do not pretend to be much of a fan of it and I have only posted it one place for good reason.

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Portrait of a Character – Mestral

Portrait of a Character – Mestral

Mestral ended up as a rather useful plot device in Multiverse II.

Mestral
J. Paul Boemer as Mestral (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Origins

Because Mestral is canon, his origins are well known. However, this character was used to a rather different effect in Multiverse II.

Portrayal

As in canon, Mestral is played by actor J. Paul Boehmer.

Personality

Driven and possessed, the only Vulcan on Earth ends up being rather dangerous indeed. When he finally breaks free of Chilo possession, Mestral becomes a formidable ally to Otra and then Donald Janeway.

Relationships

Mestral’s only known relationship is with Maggie. And that relationship is canon; it factored in his decision to stay on Earth.

Theme Music

Mestral’s song is Nick Lowe’s “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass”.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Mestral existing in the Mirror Universe. Because Vulcans do not have the Y Chromosome Skew, he would not have such fierce competition for a mate as a human (Terran) male would. Furthermore, this would be before the rise of the Empress Hoshi Sato and even before the mirror Zefram Cochrane kills the first Vulcan he sees. Hence the Vulcan species would be free and technologically advanced.

In addition, if Mestral exists in the mirror, then the potential exists for him to have influenced the Cochrane behavior. Maybe in the Mirror Universe, he could experience self-loathing or want revenge on someone? The idea intrigues.

Quote

“Jobs to do.”

Upshot

Because Multiverse II never ended, we never got a chance to write his endgame. I like to think he would have contributed to the Phoenix project. And I believe others have felt this as well. The character certainly had the knowledge, the motivation, and the proper placement within the overall timeline.

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Review – Prison Break

Review – Prison Break

Prison Break
Prison Break exists in the Dispatches from the Romulan War universe. Hence it dovetails well with In Between Days.

Background

First of all, I wrote Prison Break as a kind of homage to World War II prison break films such as The Great Escape. However, the Romulan War served as the backdrop.

Plot

Hence the concept behind Prison Break consisted of showcasing, from a journalist’s perspective, how some captured humans had gotten out of a Romulan prison. Therefore, this marked the first time I wrote about Berren Five, a location I have used in the HG Wells stories.

In addition, the original plan meant no one had survived an original attack. However, I convinced the series runner to allow for this kind of a different story. Therefore, the former prisoners detail everything from using ration packets to shore up tunnels to how they got rid of the dirt (a nod to The Great Escape, one of my favorite films, ever).

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because a prison escape story can feel rather uplifting, the intent also involved giving hope to the families and turn the series around a bit, as it had stagnated and had gotten rather negative. While that may be expected with war stories, it just seemed a tad too much, and nonstop. Hence the escape story and the reunions of the former POWs with their pleasantly surprised families had a purpose. It evoked the same sort of hope and positivity that can happen in the midst of any war.

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