Tag Archives: Take Back the Night

Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Portrait of a Character – Seppa

Seppa is one of my favorite Daranaeans.

Origins

As a part of showing the oppression of Daranaean women, during Take Back the Night, I added insult to injury and included a child who was being kept illiterate due to her caste.

Portrayal

As with most Daranaeans, no one is really cast to ‘play’ Seppa.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa, one of the Daranaeans, a third caste female, as a child

This picture is a photoshopped image of a white German Shepherd dog with caramel-tipped ears.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Seppa
Seppa as a young adult

Friendly and approachable, she is another homebody female Daranaean character.

This was not always the case. As a young child, Seppa is shown as being shy and scared, likely a function of being the absolute lowest on the totem pole while Arnis was still free. In Some Assembly Required, she is terrified that everyone will become angry with her, despite the fact that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. But after seeing Mistra falsely accused, that makes sense to a preschooler, that there would be guilt by proximity and association.

Afterwards, she sends a carefully printed thank you note to Jonathan Archer, and they become fervent pen pals. Until Rona Moran intervenes, the tabloid press even sees them as an item.

Relationships

Brantus

For most if not all third caste Daranaean women, there can be only one husband, even if he dies young. Fortunately for Seppa, Brantus is a good guy and he loves her dearly.

Mirror Universe

There are no real impediments to Seppa existing in the Mirror Universe.

Portrait of a Character – Seppa
Mirror Seppa (white wolf)

I see Mirror Daranaeans as being more vicious, somewhat more like wolves than dogs.

With power would come more confidence and assertiveness. I doubt she would just be what is essentially the equivalent of a stay at home mom.

Quote

“Vidam made sure I was sold to the man who would treat me the best. And you are, most assuredly, that man. But let us not speak of euthanasia. Instead, let us talk about our visit. Jonathan has never met you before! My own father is as good as gone. And I have known Jonathan Archer for a good fifteen years.”

Upshot

It was wonderful to be able to raise this character up from what would have been rather depressing depths. She has powerful friends, and deserves them.

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Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Portrait of a Character – Vidam

Vidam rises to greatness in my fan fiction.

Origins

During the Star Trek fan fiction story Take Back the Night, I wanted for there to be a believable witness who would be able to refute Arnis’s accusations against Mistra. But this person would have to be a little afraid of Arnis although ultimately they would do the right thing. Yet given the sexist nature of Daranaean society, this person would have to be male. In order to put him into the right position, I made him the Prime Wife, Dratha‘s, eldest son. Enter Vidam.

Portrayal

As with nearly all Daranaeans, I do not have anyone in mind to play Vidam.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

This is an altered image of a Golden Retriever. As always, readers are encouraged to use their imaginations when thinking about the look and sound of most Daranaeans.

I actually envision him as being more fox-like in appearance, so the snout would be thinner and more pointed.

Personality

The name is Hungarian for “cheerful”, but Vidam is usually far from cheerful. Instead, much like the Calafan, Treve, he is an elder son with a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders. At the end of Take Back the Night, with Arnis taken away in the futuristic equivalent of handcuffs, the teenaged Vidam is suddenly responsible  for his family.  He insists that Dratha in particular help him, but it is he who makes the decision to allow Seppa to learn to read and write.

When he gets older, he becomes a politician, and is the standard bearer for the liberals in the Daranaean government, in his role as a Beta councilor.

Relationships

Like all wealthy Daranaean men, Vidam takes three wives, one from each caste.

Ethara

Unlike other Prime Wives, Ethara is more of an equal partner to Vidam. Like many human political spouses, she attends functions with him and is otherwise a part of a charm offensive.

Morza

The jokester secondary, as is seen in Temptation, is one of the daughters of the war hero (and eventual Alpha), Acreon. Morza is also a close friend to Vidam’s half-sister, Cria.

Kela

The least known of Vidam’s wives, Kela is a member of the third caste (and is named for one of my great-grandmothers, actually).

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Vidam
Mirror Vidam

The Daranaeans exist in the Mirror (Empress Hoshi refers to their planet as “always smelling like wet dog”).

I see them as more like wolves than dogs, and being rather vicious indeed. I doubt that Vidam would be so cultured and congenial in the Mirror Universe.

Quote

“Thylacine Paramyxovirus has devastated our population, yet we devastate it even more with compulsory euthanasia. Doctors, I know, are working around the clock to try to cure that horrible malady. My brother, the doctor, Trinning – he says that they are close to a true breakthrough. What will we do when they have finally cured it? Will we, then, decide to make a law to euthanize our secondaries? Where does it end? I say it ends now. It ends here! Third caste females who are menopausal can do all manner of things. They can still cook and keep house. They can still care for children. {and} They could, I dare say, do more if we gave them the opportunity. A vote for, for me, that is a vote against the euthanasia law. I say we end it now!”

Upshot

It was very important to me for the Daranaean men to not necessarily be bad guys. At least not all the time. Vidam is one of the first  male Daranaean heroes that I wrote. I will bring him back at some point.

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Review – Debate

Review – Debate

Debate fills a small plot hole.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vidam | Debate
Adult Vidam, one of the Daranaens and son of Prime Wife Dratha

Background

As a prelude to Flight of the Bluebird, I wanted Vidam to try, but fail, at convincing his fellow Beta Council members that it’s time to allow at least Prime Wives to vote in Daranaean elections.

Plot

Review – Debate

Vidam, a newly-elected Beta Council member, introduces his first bill into the chamber. And it’s a doozy, for Vidam is hoping to convince his fellow councilors to allow voting for Prime Wives. As a foreshadowing of his eventual campaign for Alpha, Vidam’s chief rival is Boestus. When Boestus speaks, he jokes that Prime Wives would vote for frivolous things, such as more shopping holidays. His speech is intended to be somewhat reminiscent of many male politicians before human women got the right to vote here in the United States.

Voting on Daranaea

It was also an opportunity to introduce the traditional in-person method of Daranaean voting. I wanted something weird and alien, so I went with an idea about chairs. The Council would vote by having everyone stand. And everyone in favor would remain standing (as a play on the idea of “stand and be counted”) whereas anyone in opposition would sit.

This idea in part is taken from my experiences in I believe it was fourth grade, where we would stand and recite the times tables, going up and doing each row. E. g. one student would say, “Five times four is twenty.” The next would would say, “Five times five is twenty-five.” These would go on under twelve squared. However, if you messed up, you would sit down. Eventually only a few people would be left standing and we would duke it out until the last person messed up or time ran out or the teacher just decided that she’d seen enough. For the Daranaeans, the image of just Vidam and one of his fathers in law, the war hero (and current Alpha), Acreon, being the only ones standing is a fairly powerful one. It shows the utter lack of support for this – to the Daranaeans – rather radical idea.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I think the message gets across well, that times are changing, but it’s just not happening fast enough, on the planet of sexist sentient marsupial canids.

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Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez

Origins

This canon character was seen during the fourth season of Enterprise.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by actress Ada Maris.

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez
Ada Maris as Captain Erika Hernandez

I am not the only person who enjoyed the portrayal of this tough, no-nonsense character.

Personality

Strong but fair, Erika was the perfect captain for Daranaean first contact in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease. The Daranaeans do not know what to make of a smart woman who is in charge of anything more daunting than a large household.

By the time of Take Back the Night, Erika is forced back to deal with those sentient marsupial canids again, and she is none too pleased with having to do that.

Relationships

Jonathan Archer

The only known relationship is the canon one, with Jonathan Archer. The way I write it, it is pursued a bit in More, More, More! but otherwise the relationship is dropped. Neither of them try very hard.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez
Ada Maris as the Mirror Erika Hernandez

The Mirror Universe version of Erika shows up in Dishing it Out, a crossover collaboration story written with FalseBill. We decided that she would be the only slightly competent chef for the Empress Hoshi Sato. By the time of Temper, Erika is long gone.

 

 

Quote

“The troubling thing about the Daranaeans is their treatment of their females. Casual sexism is tossed around just as readily as are vapid discussions about the weather. I was privy to two rituals engaged in by the females, which centered on pregnancy and birth. Within these rituals are subtle distinctions among the castes which serve to promote Prime Wives and denigrate the last caste women, while walking a thin line when it came to the secondaries. In addition, we learned that a last caste child of perhaps three or four years of age was not permitted to join in with the home schooling that the other children enjoyed. Whether this was by law or custom or both, I do not know. When asked, we were merely informed that that caste “did not believe” in education – a statement that I find difficult to believe.”

Upshot

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Review – Confidence

Review – Confidence

Confidence is not a trait I normally link to Daranaean females.

Background

As a means of bringing some positivity to the Emergence series, I added this Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction about a Daranaean, the younger Inta, as she realizes her dreams of studying art at the collegiate level.

Plot

For Inta, prior to the events in Take Back the Night, her future isn’t looking too terribly rosy. And this is obvious even though baby Inta is just a pouchling.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Baby Inta | Confidence
Baby Inta, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

Her mother, Mistra, is one of the Alpha of Daranaea’s (Arnis) three wives. However, Arnis is cruel, and is abusing the secondary wife (Mistra) and the third caste wife, who is also has the name Inta.

When the elder Inta is killed, the younger Inta – who was originally going to be named Bayla – experiences a profound life change. And so does everyone else in the family. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of the elder Inta’s life and that of her (the elder Inta’s) unborn male child. But for the rest of the family, with one glaring exception, life improves.

As the younger Inta grows up, it becomes clear that she is (a) headstrong and against the idea of marriage and (b) artistically talented. I haven’t decided whether she is a lesbian. She might be. Gay Daranaeans would be in the closet by definition, as that society is utterly committed to marriage and reproduction.

Review – Confidence

But it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of our story.

In Confidence, Inta realizes her dreams and begins school at Oxford. And on her first day, she surreptitiously sketches her classmate, Declan Reed. She sends the sketch to Malcolm, as it is his birthday, and the families have remained close for years.

Some reviewers have said that Inta is showing, with the drawing, that she has a  crush on Declan. I’m not so sure.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like this relatively simple story. The younger Inta is a favorite character, but she’s only a small child in Temptation. In Hearts in Time, the ending is a bit bittersweet. Here, she gets a far happier ending, although the possibility exists that she will never find love.


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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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Progress Report – June 2014

Progress Report – June 2014

June 2014 was busy.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | June 2014 This was another productive month and I wrote a ton of Star Trek fanfiction! It started with adding Legends, Seven Women to In Between Days context. For the Steal All the Toys challenge, I wrote a story in funngunner’s universe, called Hub of the Universe, and one in FalseBill’s universe, called Bomb(e).

Extras

In  addition, in response to a prompt about the natural world, I returned to the Multiverse II universe with a sequel featuring Rita Spinelli, Sky (Speranza Memoria) Spinelli, and Donald Janeway, called Oh My Darling. In addition, I added a fundraiser story ($5/drabble) called New Toy, which is set in the HG Wells universe. FalseBill added a Daranaean story, called Third Worth More than First. For the daily prompt challenge, I followed Declan Reed’s spiritual journey, with Faith. Plus I posted the Daranaean novel, Flight of the Bluebird. FalseBill added another letter to the epistolary work we’re writing together, Dear Naurr, Dear Lili, which takes place in the period between Reversal and Intolerance. Together, he and I collaborated and created Dishing it Out.

More Extras

Also, I finished posting Reflections Down a Corridor on Fanfiction.net and began to spin out Entanglements. Reflections had the most reads and the most reviews (and the most follows, so people were truly engaged) of anything I had ever posted on that site, so I made sure to tell my readers that the next story was Entanglements in order to try to get as many as possible of them to read the sequel as well. So far, that has been paying off, and the new story is averaging about 92 reads per chapter. The first one averaged just over 179 reads per chapter, so Entanglements is still ramping up, I believe.

On Wattpad, I continued to post the Social Media Guide. I added The High Cost of Dissidence, Detroit Rock City, Gainful to the Before Days collection. On a lark, I added a little contest story called My Favorite Things (like kibble). I also added A Perfect Note to the Future Matches collection.

In addition, on G and T Show forums, I finished posting Take Back the Night. I posted Some Assembly Required, Temptation, and Debate. I started posting Flight of the Bluebird.

Finally, on the TrekBBS, I answered their Other Universes challenge with the Quantum Leap crossover story, Theorizing.

Milestones

Revved Up exceeded 20,000 reads. The Social Media Guide received over 200 reviews for only a little over 1,000 reads. See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I did some work on the wholly original story, The Obolonk Murders.

Prep Work

I split up Entanglements into chapters for posting on Fanfiction.net.  Also, I did a small amount of work on the Star Trek Wiki. In addition, I worked on SEO a lot.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

So as ever, school work at Quinnipiac took a lot of my time. I also spent a great deal of time correcting and perfecting the SEO on my professional social media blog.


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Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Dratha is a force of nature.

Origins

As Take Back the Night unfolded, I wanted a character who would be an assertive woman.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha
Dratha, one of the Daranaeans (legendary Prime Wife)

So many of the Daranaean women I had been writing were utterly passive, accepting of their fates and not questioning. But Dratha wasn’t going to be like that at all.

She would be glamorous and sassy, the Daranaean version of a legendary beauty.

Portrayal

As with all Daranaean characters, there is no actress chosen to play Dratha.

Portrait of a Character – Dratha

Instead, I suggest her as looking quite a bit like a greyhound, although I do see her as darker than this image. But she is regal and beautiful, a model of sleek perfection.

Personality

Tough and assertive, Dratha is the most expensive Daranaean woman – ever – at the time of her life. When she’s questioned under oath, she’s asked what her price was. After evading the question, and insisting on revealing her name before her purchase price, she finally reveals the shockingly high figure. Arnis, the Alpha of Daranaea, clearly desires her, as do all Daranaean men.

But she’s also kind. In Some Assembly Required, she comforts and cares for Seppa, even though the little girl is not her own. By the time of Flight of the Bluebird, she’s elderly and is slowing down.

Relationships

Arnis

The Alpha of Daranaea, like all of the men of their world, has the hots for Dratha. But she’s a Prime Wife, so she can (and often does) refuse relations. They have at least one son together, Vidam, so she has fulfilled her marital obligations to him. After the arrest of Arnis, it is unclear whether Dratha takes up with anyone else, but she probably doesn’t. She may be a trendsetter, but she’s not a revolutionary, like Mistra quietly is.

Mirror Universe

The existence of Daranaeans in the mirror seems a certainty.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Dratha, the Daranaean Diva
Dratha, the Daranaean Diva

Such a beautiful female would still be quite the object of desire but, like a human woman, she might suffer even more oppression. I see her as vainer, as someone who enjoys her luxuries because she’s got nothing else. In the mirror, even more so than in our universe, I see the Daranaean women as being without rights, almost stateless.

Quote

“You couldn’t afford me, anyway. I was purchased for four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three Stonds.”

Upshot

This tough old gal has a lot of life left in her. She’ll be back.

Progress Report – May 2014

Progress Report – May 2014

May 2014 was another busy month!

Posted Works

I posted Conversations With Heroes, and began posting The Social Media Guide on Wattpad. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | May 2014 I added The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, and started spinning out Take Back the Night, on the G & T Show Forums.

In addition, I continued posting Reflections Down a Corridor on Fanfiction.net. I added to the Before Days collection of prequel stories on Wattpad. More specifically, I added The High Cost of Dissidence, Gossip Gossip and The Mess. On Ad Astra, I added The Decision to a Weekly Free Write about Aging. The Twelve Trials of Triskelion started, and I posted Seven Women for the Ficlet Flashdance challenge.

Also, I added A Perfect Note; Dear Naurr, Dear Lili; Gilded Cage; and Gossip Gossip to In Between Days context.

Milestones

Revved Up hit 17,000 reads on Wattpad!

I was equally thrilled to see combined reads for Take Back the Night top 10,000!

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

I worked a bit on The Obolonk Murders but my final project plus all of the other work I wanted to do often made that wholly original story take a back seat.

Prep Work

I spent more time optimizing the blog and the jespah website. The website is now considerably cleaner and more streamlined, although it could use some design work and I really should better optimize it for mobile usage. I added several pages to the Star Trek Expanded Universes wiki as I have gotten some traffic from there and hope to get more.

I also created a Google+ page for Star Trek fanfiction in order to see how much that could potentially help me with not only readers, but also SEO.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

My final project for Quinnipiac class ICM522 was due the first week of this time period, so I was busy getting that together and handing it in. I got a 96 on it!!

Then I had about two weeks and change before the next semester started, but I was also visiting my parents and so was offline more than usual.

ICM524 started on May the 19th and I got into the thick of writing essays and creating videos almost immediately.

Furthermore, I spent time optimizing and updating my social media blog. I created a Google+ page for my social media work as well.


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Progress Report – December 2013

Progress Report – December 2013

December 2013 was chilly.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | December 2013

The month started off with creating and posting a completely unexpected holiday story about Carmen and Levi, called Calendar Turning Event #3111. To celebrate the holidays, I added Stocking Stuffers 2013 and Advice From My Universes to Yours.

Also, in response to a prompt about family, I added the Levi-Otra-centric Meeting of the Minds, where Marci Cavendish is first seen in any context other than a dream. In response to the favorite things challenge, I posted The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Progress Report – December 2013

In addition, on Fanfiction.net, I finished spinning out Take Back the Night. And in order to fill in some stories I had written but not posted there before, I added Gossip, gossip and In Memory of Kelsey Haber. I then returned to the Daranaean Emergence series and added Temptation, Some Assembly Required, and Debate, and began to spin out The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat.

Also, I imported Gossip, gossip, Take Back the Night, In Memory of Kelsey Haber, Temptation, Some Assembly Required and Debate into Fictionpad.

I added There’s Something About Hoshi and There’s Something Else About Hoshi to my slash topic on The G and T Show. The reception was so good there that I began adding Crackerjack. I added The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat to TrekBBS.

Finally, on Wattpad, I finished posting the wholly original comedy, Revved Up. I also added Freak School. I added Alien Encounter, and began spinning out Crackerjack.

Milestones

For individual read counts, the following stories have 20,000 or more on one URL –

So for individual read counts, the following stories have 10,000 or more on one URL –

All of these were accomplished on Ad Astra.

The following stories have between 5,000 and 9,999 reads on one URL –

Combined Read Counts

Apart from the others at over 5,000 reads for just one URL, the following combine to 5,000 – 9,999 reads when all postings’ URLs are taken into consideration –

WIP Corner

I finished the first draft of Play and began the next book in the Barnstorming series, Time Out. I also worked on an original story, The Obolonk Murders.

Prep Work

So I sent out my first-ever query letter! This was for Untrustworthy, my NaNoWriMo winner, and the letter was sent to Riverdale Avenue Books. It was for a competition. That site publishes eBooks, and only nine are listed in their HSF imprint (horror, science fiction and fantasy). So we’ll see; I should hear by the first of February. I’m not expecting the moon.

I also spent time looking for more possible places to submit Untrustworthy, and learning about how to improve my query letter and otherwise increase my chances for publication.

I split up the timeline pages a bit more as they had gotten rather huge and unwieldy.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

The holidays loomed large, at the same time that I was both looking for work and trying to learn new and better ways to try to become a published author.