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Thanks to all who supplied technical advice on saving corrupted flash drive files. I was able to salvage a little more than before with some of that advice, so your kindness is appreciated. I also thank the folks who sent along kind wishes and told me not to be "devastated" by the loss ... although after a life containing tours of duty, divorces, death of loved ones, and cancer, I can't say I'm "devastated" by lost files. "Mildly irked", maybe. But regardless, I appreciate the sentiment.
What's most mildly irking are the now-mostly lost chapters 6 & 7 for "Playing Ball with Mom". I recovered the beginning paragraphs of 6, and recreating the rest has been pretty easy. I didn't get anything for 7, though ... and I'll be damned if I can remember it properly. What happened in the chapter, yes, I remember the beats of it; but the wording and the little details are a mystery. All I know is that whatever I've tried to write so far to recreate it has been a shitty copy of the original. (Which perhaps isn't surprising. I am, after all, a talentless smut-peddling hack, or so I've been told by other writers. But I digress.)
Again, "mildly irked", but irked enough that I want to take a break from it. So maybe it's the Colte Vacation before back to the next round of medical treatments, and bye-bye to writing altogether for the next few weeks. With luck, I can still squeeze out Chapters 2 & 3 of that one. If not ... then maybe I'll have new chapters in September of something.
So, I'm an old guy. I like to think that I keep up with technology, but I probably don't, at least as much as I should. But I can remember a time back when I was working when I used to get off the road and back to the office, and needed to type up reports on a Selectric typewriter. And make sure I put in some carbon paper for the office copy. And smoke about half a pack of Marlboros at the desk while getting those reports done.
Times sure change.
Anyway, I was keeping most of my writing files on a flash drive. Made it easier to write both on my home PC, and on my laptop (for on the road when I'm well and able, in the hospital when I'm not). Thought that was pretty safe. Except the flash drive went and got itself corrupted, and I apparently wasn't doing a great job of backing up my story files elsewhere.
I got some recovery software, that got most of my stuff back intact. "Listening to Jack" is fine, as are most of my other stories (some I've posted, some I haven't yet). The big loser was "Playing Ball with Mom". That story should be 12 chapters when all is said and done, and I'd written bits and pieces of the remaining Chapters 6-12. Now ... Chapters 6 & 7 are totally gone (and they were the two furthest along, as you'd expect). I recovered little pieces of 8 through 12, but still a lot of that's gone up in smoke.
Got some rewriting ahead of me, I guess.
By the time you're reading this, Chapter 26 of "Listening to Jack" should be posted. As mentioned in my previous blog entry, this one's fairly dark. Hopefully not too dark. I've had the framework for this chapter in my head for a long time, pretty much since I first started writing this story ages ago, and it's one of a few chapters I always knew I was going to write. Now that it's written ... well, I'm glad it's done. It needed to be written, even though I'm not sure it's necessarily something readers will like, or that I even like it. But I think it still needed to be a part of this story, if that makes any sense.
Maybe it doesn't.
But anyway, like I said, it's done. And I worked a Stephen King reference into the chapter, which is always good.
I'm about to start some more medical treatments, so I don't know how much more I can continue my current productive streak. (The medication I'm on at the moment is one hell of an upper, but I need to start easing off of it.) But I'm hoping to get at least one more chapter of something done. It'll either be Chapter 6 of "Playing Ball with Mom", or Chapter 2 of "A Colte Family Vacation". I'm leaning toward the former, but if fans of either story have a preference, drop me a line. (And hopefully it's a moot point, and I can finish both.)
And speaking of "Playing Ball", I've decided to offer my own version of Marvel's infamous No-Prize to regular readers of this story's installments. As anyone currently reading it can probably guess, Cherie's remarkably stupid and slutty decision to keep fucking her horny sons without any sort of sensible protection is going to lead at some point to a growing swell in her sexy belly. My No-Prize - which is basically just my hearty congratulations in a message or email, as well as an acknowledgment in this blog - will go to the reader who first identifies which of Cherie's sons actually impregnates her, and in which specific chapter and scene it happens. Maybe it's silly, but I like putting little Easter Eggs like that in stories from time to time, as a reward for sharp-eyed readers.
And thanks for reading this, or any of my stories. Appreciated, as always.
So, I'm finishing up Chapter 26 of "Listening to Jack". Which is probably the darkest chapter of the story that I've written so far. By way of warning:
1) It contains virtually nothing involving sex, save a few passing descriptions
2) Things in it are pretty bleak
3) Bad things happen to one particular character
4) For anyone hoping for a relatively happy ending to this meandering saga, this should be the dead giveaway that none is forthcoming.
I expect that this chapter will probably piss off some fans of the series. To them, I offer my apologies. All I can say is that I'd planned this chapter since I started writing this story over six years ago. It's the chapter I always thought was missing in all of the epic "teen genius enslaves family & friends & classmates into being his sex slaves with mind control" stories I've read over the years. Of the ones I've read, they all manage to either find their way to a happy ending, which is fine, but always seemed kind of ridiculous to me, or to just sort of end abruptly without acknowledging that if something like this ever really happened ... there would be consequences. BIG consequences. And things would not really be too happy for most of the characters.
Part of this comes from my original idea for "Jack", which I've stated before in previous posts - I wanted to read a story like this, but set in a sort-of-plausible world, if not a particularly realistic one. And to be true to that, that means the darker ending that I've always had in mind. Part of this is also influenced by a hentai artist/writer named ShindoL, who creates some of the hottest yet most seriously dark and disturbing stories I've ever read, and whose work has certainly been an influence on me over the past few years. For those familiar with his work, I don't plan on things getting nearly quite as dark as they are in his stories ... but the ending of "Jack" will be dark, that's for sure.
The rest of the story will not all be like this chapter. I expect things to go back to the way they were for awhile. (Sexy times, they are a-comin' back soon!) But this is the warning, of sorts, so the rug's not completely pulled out on everyone when everything finally comes to an end.
And things will also not be bleak for everyone. Some characters - not many, but some - will be getting a happy ending (har-de-fucking-har, not that kind, keep your minds out of the gutter). But some are going to wind up in bad, ugly places.
Again, my apologies to the readers of this series. If you've come along this far on the ride that is "Jack" and you're saying "hey, I just wanted the smutty stuff, and I didn't sign up for this shit" - I don't blame you. No offense if you decide to stop reading and ditch the story. I just hope a few of you decide to stick around while I take things down the final stretch, and as "Jack" heads towards its final installments.
Chapter 5 of "Playing Ball with Mom" should now be available for reading. For followers of this story, I apologize for the wait, and hope it was worth it. For new readers, enjoy this and the previous chapters.
A note of caution - although it's in the story tags and I've previously blogged this warning, Chapter 5 (this chapter!) finally features a scene prominently involving one of the more 'extreme' tags - namely, water sports. If you really don't like this subject matter, then I suggest that this story may not be for you (or at least this chapter), don't be surprised by its presence, and you may wish to find some other story to your liking instead.
(FWIW, water sports will not be prominently featured in most of of this story's chapters; most of them don't and won't feature it at all. (However, this is one of them, as are two other future chapters to be posted at some point, one hopefully in the not-too-distant-future.)
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