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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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Review – The Tribe

Review – The Tribe

What is your tribe?

Background

I wanted to cover a moment where unlikely allies would work together.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | The Tribe
Before Days

The end of Mary Reed’s first day at work proved a great backdrop. I also had wanted to revisit her new job, and so this prompt  made for a great opportunity to do just that.

Mary would be needed – and that can sometimes be an issue for people with grown children. How do you find a new purpose so that you can feel needed again? For this little story, Mary was absolutely indispensable.

Plot

Review – The Tribe

As Mary takes the maglev train home to Kota Baru after a long day at work, the train suddenly stops. Briefly, the lights go out, which is a little scary but not a lot. This is her first day on the job, and she was asked to start on the day of her interview, so the whole thing has been even more unexpected. Nearly as importantly, her husband, Stuart, has not been fully supportive of her working outside the home, even as a part of the Earth-Romulan War effort. And now she is going to be late, and his supper will be delayed. It is hardly an auspicious beginning to her working career.

When the power comes back on, a heavily pregnant woman sitting across the aisle from her looks mighty uncomfortable.

Review – The Tribe

A young Tellarite male comments, and it becomes obvious very quickly that the pregnant woman’s water has broken. Except for the young Tellarite, all of the men in the train car leave.  Two Vulcans come over and begin timing the contractions. A few women donate sweaters or the like to create an impromptu pillow. Mary’s job is to talk to the woman, whose name is Penda (this is a reference to a possible canon name for Uhura).

When the train finally starts moving again, the people are not friends. But  they have shared something all the same. And Mary, like the pair of Vulcans and the young Tellarite and others, returns to her life.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked this little slice of her life, and how even in the future something like a birth could have the potential to truly go wrong, or at the very least get messy.

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Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

Origins

After the Star Trek 2009 film came out, eventually there was a challenge to write a story in the JJ Abrams universe (also called nuTrek). Hence I created Eriecho.

When Eriecho and Saddik are originally released from Canamar Prison, they are brought to a Vulcan sanctuary on Mars. That sanctuary needed an administrator, and that person became Jack Shaw.

Portrayal

I like Kurt Russell for this role, particularly his no-nonsense hyper-military look in Stargate.

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw
Kurt Russell as Jack Shaw

Personality

Tough but fair, Shaw is responsible for a ton of Vulcans and they are an endangered species.  But underneath, he’s a bit of a softie. He watches over his charges like a mother hen. And he pines for reporter Julie Parker.

Relationships

Juliet Parker

When we first meet Shaw, one of the things he is doing is mulling over a house that Julie loved. With no ties to her, he puts a payment stop on it. It’s a foolish thing, a lark, and he has no hope of anything happening between them. But he does it all the same. And when she learns he has done this, she is amused and then touched.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Jack Shaw

There are no impediments to Shaw existing in the Mirror Universe, either in the JJ Abrams timeline or the Prime Timeline.

I like to think he would be more relaxed, and would maybe have a family, despite the harsh conditions on that side of the pond.

Quote

“I’m lousy at this. But I don’t drink to excess, not any more than a beer or two after work. I don’t gamble. I don’t run around. And I, uh, I won’t look at anyone else. Hell, I haven’t since I met you.”

Upshot

He could be better explored, I imagine. At some point, where Eriecho goes (and at some point I will marry her off to Sollastek), Shaw will follow. He’ll be back.


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Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano!

Background

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | You Mixed Up Siciliano
You Mixed Up Siciliano

So back when I was originally writing time travel, I got the idea of a vacation in 1960 Italy. However, this would be where everything would inadvertently go wrong. Hence, playing off the lyrics of Rosemary Clooney‘s song, Mambo Italiano, and the old Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, the title came to me as did much of the story line.

Plot

At the start of the story, Sheilagh has just threatened to quit the Temporal Integrity Commission. This is after a disastrous training run outlined in Ohio.

Because she can already tell that she’s going to hate letting good people die.

Carmen and Richard suggest an alternative. While consulting with Otra, they ask her where she would go, and when, if she could. So Otra, being a nice Italian girl, suggests 1960 Italy. She adds the film and song, above. And then Crystal outfits Sheilagh in “fabulous clothes” and they’re off.

However, things don’t go quite according to plan. Because Marisol Castillo also takes a side trip to 1960 Rome.

You Mixed-Up Siciliano Music

So reflecting 1960, the music is often horn-driven. Also, The Twist refers not only to the dance, but also to the plot. Plus El Paso was a serendipitous find, and references Marisol rather neatly.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

Finally, I love the music in this one, the costumes and the scene settings. So as for the crime and the mystery, it is in this story where things stop being a mystery. They settle, instead, into the characters trying to figure out what’s going on, and the overall arc begins to segue into Spring Thaw. I like it although I think I would have slowed down the crime a bit.


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Review – Temptation

Review – Temptation

Temptation gave me the idea of … cookies.

Background

In order to lighten the mood surrounding the Daranaeans, after the heavy plotting of The Cure is Worse Than the Disease and Take Back the Night, I decided to go with a light family comedy. The story works as pure fluff and little else. Because sometimes, you just need some fluff in your life.

Plot

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Temptation
Temptation

It’s after Mistra has been exonerated, and the newly-configured Daranaean family, with Vidam as the head of the household and his mother, Dratha, quietly helping him, is getting along pretty well.

Most of the family has gone on a day outing, except for Mistra, her eldest daughter, Cria, and the baby of the family, Inta. The two eldest boys, Vidam and Trinning, are at the big school. When Cria finishes her home schooling homework, she asks to have friends over, and Mistra agrees.

Cria invites over Kathalia, Jamae, and Morza. The four girls have a wonderful time, until Cria, ever mindful of being a good hostess, goes to procure little cakes (cookies) for each of her guests. But there aren’t enough cookies. She is sure she counted right. So, what happened? Surely someone is a petty thief….

By this time, the boys are home, and Vidam and Trinning figure out why baby Inta has been so quiet and just where those cookies have gone to.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a gentle family comedy, and I think it succeeds. When I read it to my husband for the first time, he yelled out, “Busted!” when the plot came to its little climax. And that made me laugh.


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Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber

Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber

Background

Memory. For a monthly prompt about memory, I decided to go with the story of the death of a crewman who nobody really remembered that clearly.

Plot

Review – In Memory of Kelsey Haber
Chris Hemsworth as Kelsey Haber

It’s the post-Fortune time period, on acting Captain Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the Zefram Cochrane. Chip comes over to Deb and tells her that Kelsey killed himself. Shocked, Deb and Chip realize that she knew Kelsey better than anyone, even the man’s new boss, Aidan. As Malcolm confers with Dr. Morgan about Haber’s death (he swallowed a tricoulamine capsule, same as the future Melissa Madden), Deb recalls an incident with Kelsey, where he ended up revealing something rather private to her.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I have no reason to believe that suicide will go away in the future; people will just find different ways to do the deed.  Further, I’ve always been troubled by Star Trek not giving below decks characters their due. While I understand the constraints of a one-hour-long television format, it still feels wrong for seven or so characters to be the only people who anyone really knows. This was touched upon a bit in the Star Trek: Enterprise canon episode, The Forgotten. I just wanted to be sure that Kelsey wouldn’t be forgotten, either.


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Review – Saturn Rise

Review – Saturn Rise

Saturn Rise – this was, I feel, a necessary story to write.

Saturn Rise Background

"Barking

For my own Star Trek fanfiction prompt about forgiveness, I went with a story about Malcolm, Lili, Joss, Marie Patrice, Declan, and Malcolm’s parents. This one dovetailed with a far more serious story about Pamela, Treve, and her family. It is all about offenses, hurts, slights, and pain. Some is fairly small. Some of it is devastating.

Plot

Two stories run through the piece.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saturn System
Saturn System

In the first, Pamela and Treve are getting serious, and she agrees to see her sister, Lisa, who she hasn’t seen in years. She takes Treve along, in order to introduce him. It’s a major commitment for her. She wants it to be right.

In the second, Lili and Malcolm are going to see his parents. She will meet them for the first time, and they will see Declan, too, for the first time.

Undercurrents

Both scenarios sound promising. But there’s more going on there. Lisa, thinking it will be a pleasant surprise, brings her family along, and her and Pamela’s mother. Lisa is innocent and thinks it’ll be fun. What she learns is that their family was rather different from what she believed. And that Pamela, as a child, suffered abuse by their father. With a mother who seemingly didn’t do anything about it, Pamela unleashes her fury on their mother, as their father is long dead.

Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads...
Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads…

On Malcolm and Lili’s side of things, Stuart and Mary Reed express their concerns that the commitment between Lili and Malcolm is an illusory one, as Lili is married and her relationship with Malcolm is a part of her open marriage with Doug.

In addition, while they love Declan immediately, it takes them longer to warm up to the other two children, who they single out. Even though Mary had already given Marie Patrice a gift of handmade yellow knitted gloves (as was seen in Fortune), the two elder Reeds still hold back. An important part of the piece is Malcolm standing up to his parents, informing them that Joss and Marie Patrice are “our children”, meaning his, Lili’s, Doug’s and, by extension, also Melissa and Norri‘s.

As I often do, I twisted the conclusion a bit. Not everyone is forgiven, and maybe not everyone should be.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I was happy to showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, and not in the context of their first sexual encounter. These characters love each other, and I hadn’t really shown that before. As for Lili and Malcolm, their love was already in several stories. However, to be able to extend that to his love for her other children, the chance to do that in story form was irresistible. I think the story turned out well, and particularly like how Malcolm stood up to his parents and Pamela stood up to her mother.

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

Origins

This Star Trek: Enterprise canon character is one of two alien members of the NX-01‘s crew (the other is the Vulcan, T’Pol). The Denobulan species was written for ENT.

Portrayal

As in canon, Phlox is played by John Billingsley.

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

The actor is well-cast and it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. Much like Leonard Nimoy and Vulcans, Billingsley essential defines what it means to be a Denobulan.

Personality

Personable, cheerful, and kind, Phlox is also, at times, a bit baffled by humans. For starters, at the beginning of the series, he can’t quite figure out the idea behind pets.

Relationships

Feezal

Portrait of a Character – Phlox

This canon relationship is with Phlox’s second wife, of three. The other two are never named in canon. I’ve never written her except in the context of Phlox missing her after the Enterprise is kicked back in time, during E2.

Amanda Cole

Also canon, in the E2 episode, Phlox and Amanda get together, a scene that I show in both Entanglements and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

Mirror Universe

This character exists in canon.

Mirror Phlox
Mirror Phlox

At the end of the pair of canon ENT Mirror Universe episodes, his fate is unknown. But I figure it’s got to be that his days are numbered. Hence, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I have Empress Hoshi order his death. When Beth Cutler is given two syringes, one with the proven fast nerve toxin, tricoulamine, and the other with replicated orange juice, the Science technician knows that both shots will kill whoever receives them. She hesitates until Hoshi tells her that she’ll be next if she takes any longer. The choice is to inject either Phlox, or Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s counterpart. With a small sympathy to her fellow Terran, Beth gives Ian the proven fast killing agent. Phlox, unfortunately, suffers at the end.

Quote

“Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?”

Upshot

I don’t write Phlox that much, except in the context of E2 stories and Intolerance. Part of that is to pave the way for other physician characters, such as Blair Claymore, Pamela Hudson, and Cyril Morgan. It’s also because, until Reflections Down a Corridor, I wasn’t really all that comfortable writing him. He’s absent from a lot of my main timeline, and nearly all of my Mirror Universe timeline. Will he return? Yes, although many storylines shut him out completely.

 

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

The Best Things Come in Pairs Background

Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.

Plot

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.

This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.

They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a little silly, maybe, and a little amusing, and it segues rather neatly into Complications. A touch of happy ending mixed with some humor? Sign me up.

Review – The Pivot Point

Review – The Pivot Point

Background

The initial prompt was about a pivotal moment in a character’s life. This got me thinking of a ballerina, pivoting on her toes. And that immediately led me to Shelby Pike, but then I decided I’d rather go with Susan Cheshire.

Plot

Review – The Pivot Point
Variant logo based on the Terran Empire symbol of the Star Trek franchise. Artwork by User:Midnight68, uploaded with full permission of the artist. World globe based on a Nasa image available for educational and informational purposes. Purpose: To illustrate Star Trek-related articles (especially Mirror Universe). Released under CC-BY-SA.3.0 license; please note that the artist agrees that international wikimedia projects have the right to re-use this image as they see fit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Shifting between the Star Trek: Enterprise Prime Universe and the Mirror Universe, both Susans weigh the same question – whether to quit drinking. Both are with Aidan MacKenzie.

In the Prime Universe, Aidan is supportive, offering to talk to Captain Reed about taking some time off to help Susan with her struggles.

In the Mirror, Aidan can’t take any time, as he has to be at Empress Hoshi‘s beck and call. Ultimately, the decision that is made differs, depending upon the universe in question.

Review – The Pivot Point
Susan when with Aidan, either universe (Yvonne Nelson)

The decision to quit or continue drinking is, of course, Susan’s alone. But her circumstances certainly define and dictate which was the dice roll.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I like the juxtapositions,

Broken Dreams

although I probably could have done more to delineate the differences between the two situations. If this could have been done without having to rely on font formatting, I think it could have, overall, been a stronger piece. As it is now, it’s okay, but I feel it’s got room for improvement.


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