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I write for the ones without a voice.

Yoshiyuki Ly
Video games.

Don't ignore the:
Social realism + romance.
LGBT, minorities, and women as fully-realized characters.
Power plays that push mental and emotional limits.
Armor over vulnerabilities. Strip that armor to get to the soft, devoted core.

Black Waltz
Contemporary fantasy romance. Self-published. It's available now. Book summary:

As a Black Waltz--a magical ballet dancer--Stella Azrith appears to all as a composed, no-nonsense sorceress of notable talent. Yet she is deeply dependent on her muse for far more than most artists, complicating her relationships. Nyte Lysander is a suave, emotional cellist who once struggled in her obsession to stay in Stella's world. She and Stella find one another again after a tumultuous breakup, needing the other for reasons warped beyond the norm. Black Waltz is a sprawling urban fantasy romance set 350 years after The Scorpion's Empress and 100 years after Venus and Lysander, concluding the trilogy. Can be read as a standalone.

Searching for acceptance, Stella and Nyte learn to understand each other anew, strained only by disagreements past and unspoken. Nyte's living situation in the crime-ridden district of Maleficus in the city of Eden pushes her and Stella to pursue better artistic opportunities elsewhere. As they toy with the idea of exploring a power play relationship, they learn about a greater evil that threatens the Azrith and Lysander family. The true enemy twists on its head through whirling rainstorms, driving Stella and Nyte to prove who and what they stand for.

There can be no waltz for three.

Black Waltz ebook

buy here on Amazon


Venus and Lysander
Historical-fantasy-romance. Solstice Publishing picked this one up. It's available now. Book summary:

Living as a nobleman and a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor's adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val's ruthlessness
for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion's Empress.

Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val's chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis' true motive, Val and Lucrezia's tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.

buy here on Amazon

Finalist in the 30th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention


The Scorpion's Empress
Erotic romance plus a bit of fantasy. Also under Solstice Publishing. It's available now. Book summary:

After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled Empress of the city's oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion's Empress is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven year old women.

Videl's loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots against the Empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs, and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to a head, Videl's loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her past and her Empress.

The Scorpion's Empress

buy here on Amazon
Goodreads // Solstice Publishing

Winner in the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
Finalist in the 2016 Independent Author Network Awards - LGBT
Winner in the 2016 New England Book Awards - LGBT
Honorable Mention in the 2016 Rainbow Awards - Lesbian erotic romance


Online Stories
Find most of my romance works here. The joy of sharing.

In-Depth Story Notes
Find my personal commentary and additional notes for certain stories here.


Contact Me + Navigation
-Email me at yoshiyuki.ly17@gmail.com with questions, comments or book-related requests.
-Follow the tag links on the right hand side if you're looking for anything specific.
-Click the cuts below to read what's underneath.

Book publishing dates/progress

1. The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance with some D/s) - June 1, 2016
2. Venus and Lysander (historical-fantasy-romance) - January 31, 2017

3. Black Waltz (urban fantasy romance with some BDSM) - September 25, 2018
4. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - complete - publishing date TBD
5. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s) - current work-in-progress

These are all set in different eras of my fictional Anathema universe: the world, Tellus, with Nyx Vevina as God of the Anathema religion; she is the morally ambiguous shadow to her more spirited twin sister, Venus, who is revered as the standard of beauty, femininty and acceptance. My main characters all challenge the status quo in these societies in ways that are relevant to the real world.

Call me YoshiCollapse )

Current video game(s)Collapse )

on this day.
No alarms and no surprises today, please.
Tags: ,

Black Waltz is out now + thoughts on what's going on lately.
Lulu's smile
You can find the buy link to Black Waltz up above in my top post. Just the ebook for now. The paperback will be along within the next week or so. I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive so I can preview it.

This delayed release date ended up working in my favor a bit, since this falls within the timeframe of a certain character's birthday. I released The Scorpion's Empress on June 1, which is Videl's birthday, though I don't believe I've mentioned this in-canon directly (yet). Venus and Lysander came out on January 31, Lucrezia's birthday. You will know whose birthday is at the beginning of autumn if you read Venus and Lysander and/or Black Waltz.

This third book took a lot out of me. The Scorpion's Empress didn't challenge me; I only wrote what I felt would work, while laying the groundwork for this possible trilogy in the future. Venus and Lysander was only more difficult in that I had a lot going on while I wrote it.

Black Waltz is the culmination of too many things for me. I have no idea how everyone will interpret what's on the page or which conclusions they'll draw about me as a person. I used to try to control that in the past, with everything else I wrote.

The most notable thing about Black Waltz, for me, is that I didn't try controlling any of that.

There is a reason why I let go of that control, but it's too much for me to talk about here.

I do think that it's a controversial book that will rub some people the wrong way. The main points of contention -- and, once you read it, you will know what I'm talking about -- I initially tried to hide. I went through four or so completed drafts of this manuscript over the course of a few years, scrapping each one and eventually getting closer to this final product that doesn't try to hide or mask anything.

Reading the blurb on my top post gives you enough of an idea of what the story is about. It says very little about what I mean here in this post. Please read for yourself if you'd like to find out more.

In the meantime, I will continue working on Anathema while playing Final Fantasy XI. I'm tired of Final Fantasy XIV and unsubscribed yet again after realizing how much I miss Yotsuyu from patch 4.3's story. Nothing else in XIV will ever top her arc or even come close. Patch 4.4's story and the same old, same old gear treadmill left me feeling drained and empty because it's about what I expected. So back to Final Fantasy XI I went, back on bard, my favorite support role job ever.

Returning to this world of Vana'diel feels like I came back home after being away for so long.


One last thing.

I'm American. I closely follow what's going on in the news, with politics, every single day. I voted in 2016, both in the primaries and in the general, but I didn't vote for the people in the current majority party of our government. I'm doing my best to take away as many positives as I can from everything going on.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a hero and a patriot for telling her story this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She did her civic duty even under enormous, mounting pressure against her. I respect her and I believe her.

Just today, I received my sample ballot in the mail for voting in the midterms on November 6.

I will be there.

publishing process slowed for Black Waltz.
Other Lulu

I know I said September for Black Waltz. Had some setbacks to deal with. More than likely, the ebook will be out before the paperback. I will post a link as soon as it's available. I'm currently waiting on the review process for Amazon's self-publishing program.

The jist of the setbacks has to do with a big reveal partway through the story. I wrote a certain play as an entire chapter, knowing that the events of this play were only half-true. I've had the exact lore in mind for a long time now. I figured I would reveal the truth in Anathema and let it stand that way. But, as I read over Black Waltz for a final edit, I realized that presenting this play as fact in this book, when I knew it wasn't completely true, would have been disingenuous and misleading to all of you. It would also have made Anathema look like a retcon, instead of the full truth as I'd intended. I absolutely didn't want that.

So, this meant that I had to take the extra time to write most of Anathema's first volume, making sure that I had these key details set in stone, and then going back in to Black Waltz with appropriate edits. I didn't realize what the problem was until I was about to publish the misleading version of the manuscript a few weeks ago. It was stressful as hell and incredibly time-consuming doing all of this in between working my day job, but I managed to give all of you enough information throughout the story to make it clear that this play is not the full truth.

Aside from that, I've also shelved plans to publish Chauvinistic Coquette any time soon. I had wanted to get it out there next year. I'm happy with the story itself and how it turned out, but writing and finishing Anathema is more important. I admit I have some lingering issues with CC's structure and its format as a book. It's not in chronological order, for one, and I purposely left some key plot details up to the reader's imagination. I'm thinking it's just not very effective as a traditional book, even though this may only be me being too hard on myself.  I'm going to sit on it for a while as I consider a few options.

The first volume of Anathema will be done by the end of this year at the latest. I will do my best to publish it next year instead of CC. I'll talk about it more later.

some updates, and then silence once more.
Playing through the Shin Megami Tensei games on my PlayStation 2 makes me wonder how much differently my life would have turned out if I'd focused more on these games instead of Final Fantasy when I was a teenager. Final Fantasy X was important in shaping me in the long-run, however. I can never overstate this. If not for that game, I wouldn't be here doing what I do. If not for Shin Megami Tensei, though, I wouldn't have been able to hone and sharpen my style and vision to the point where it is now. So I love them equally, but differently.

I'll publish Black Waltz next month, in September, even though I finished the book almost a year ago now. Why? It's complicated and it isn't at the same time.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's soundtrack is oddly relevant for Anathema. Listening to some songs on repeat as I write has helped in unexpected ways.

I thought I wouldn't go back, but Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood's patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight, with Yotsuyu, is the highest point in the whole franchise for me--except FFX. Except FFX, like with her smile on the Highbridge.

Watching Orange is the New Black is like looking into the past with Piper and Alex together as something I used to romanticize as a parallel and justify:

For as long as I can remember, I kept wondering why I would feel so invested in people, and feel the world for them, whether they were friends or more or less than that. Writing Anathema has given me time to think on this. It's not just about time. It's not just about disillusionment or not caring anymore.

I finally have my answer. I don't like it -- at all. I don't like the implications of what it means for me, of what my purpose is as a writer.

I accept it, though. It's okay.

To the ends of the world and back, I know.

What everyone and everything represents. - 1. The Scorpion's Empress
Absolute spoilers for my books here. Proceed with caution.

Below is a list of all the major characters, settings/locations, and ideas and their "theme songs" that represent them, or at least what I listened to a lot while I conceived the ideas for who/what they are.

Some of these songs (Mistress Fury, I'm looking at you) won't make sense unless you take them in the context of all of the books as a whole, once you read them.

Characters who appear across multiple books may have different songs as they grow and change over the course of the series.

Click each character/pairing/etc. to expand the embedded song.

In chronological order of release/anticipated release:

1. The Scorpion's Empress
This book's major inspirationCollapse )

Raj/VidelCollapse )

Raj MangalaCollapse )

Ser VidelCollapse )

Mistress FuryCollapse )

NyteCollapse )

Archangel VespairCollapse )

EdenCollapse )

The Grand CathedralCollapse )

ElysiumCollapse )

Eden vs. ElysiumCollapse )

LimmerickCollapse )

What everyone and everything represents. - 2. Venus and Lysander
Absolute spoilers for my books here. Proceed with caution.

Below is a list of all the major characters, settings/locations, and ideas and their "theme songs" that represent them, or at least what I listened to a lot while I conceived the ideas for who/what they are.

Some of these songs (Raine, I'm looking at you) won't make sense unless you take them in the context of all of the books as a whole, once you read them.

Characters who appear across multiple books may have different songs as they grow and change over the course of the series.

Click each character/pairing/etc. to expand the embedded song.

In chronological order of release/anticipated release:

2. Venus and Lysander
This book's major inspirationCollapse )

Val/LucreziaCollapse )

Lord Commander Valerie of LysanderCollapse )

Lady Chancellor Lucrezia of AzrithCollapse )

Emperor Xavier of Tenrose + The Empire of TynanCollapse )

Queen Beatrys of Tenrose + The Kingdom of TiborCollapse )

RajCollapse )

VidelCollapse )

Vespair (?)Collapse )

RaineCollapse )

EdenCollapse )

ElysiumCollapse )

NirvanaCollapse )

The Port City of IndraCollapse )

Elysia's show of absolute power in IndraCollapse )

The Edge of ReasonCollapse )

Elysium the UnderworldCollapse )

Hatred of sorceressesCollapse )

Enabling Val's tyrannyCollapse )

Anathema begins now.

This is Vespair's story, at the apex, at the zenith, as a magnum opus. This is her story--and mine.

I'm holding off on publishing Black Waltz for now, for a few reasons.

Chauvnistic Coquette more than likely won't see the light of day until next year for still more reasons.

Anathema is the culmination of everything I am and everything I strive to be. It's quintessential. It's the piece of work for me. I expect it will take a long time to finish.

I can't have any distractions, any friendships, any relationships beyond what's on the page and in my head. I need to be completely alone. Every time I disappeared from some place or some one, it was in anticipation of this. No explanations, no goodbyes; I even had situations where I purposely made the other person want to leave with truths about me that I knew they wouldn't accept: all so predictable.

Maybe you don't understand. Maybe you're one of those people, wondering why I would be so calculating. Maybe you're confused, or angry at me. That's how it has to be.

I want and need to be completely alone while I write this. It could take months; it could take years. All I know is that I want the routine of feeling this sharp focus, unhindered.

There was a point to all the confusion, all the pain, all the fleeting joy and all the things I thought I could never understand. Finally, I found it, to put it here and shape it as it needs to be.

No one is allowed to get in the way of this shaping. No one except the shape herself, as she wishes, shaped like all those instances I thought were sabotage or subterfuge.

It was simply meant to be. I understand and accept that now, finally.

It's time.

Chauvinistic Coquette is finished: 19 chapters, 147,000 words.
It's done.

There's an alternate ending that I wrote. It destroyed me, but I decided not to go with that one. The whole point of the ending is that it's not supposed to be the one that I wanted. It's a happily ever after one, yes. The one I had in mind was more bittersweet and mind-bending. If I went with that one, then I would have needed to edit the whole story to sufficiently build up to this finale. I decided against it because of that, and because I don't think anyone other than me would have appreciated it.

The current ending works for the story and for the audience. Although, if you look closely, not all is as it appears to be. That's enough for me.

Even though I officially started writing this in mid-September 2017, I didn't really get going until December of last year and January of this year. This took about five months to finish. Not bad.

Do I sound unenthused about this accomplishment? You shouldn't worry about it. I'm mostly disappointed because I had so many ambitions for this story that ultimately didn't fall through for whatever reasons. As it stands now, it's a perfectly coherent book that I wouldn't mind recommending to anyone who wants to read a contemporary romance with some magical elements of fantasy to give it that extra push beyond the ordinary. I'm happy with the story. Don't get me wrong. This only boils down to my disappointment that I didn't get to do absolutely everything that I had in mind.

Current to-do list:

-Let CC sit for about a week before I go back and make edits. Mostly for spelling, clarity, and clipping out plot arcs that ended up not going anywhere. Also cutting down the word count as much as I can.

-Edit Black Waltz for clarity and adding in plot points that I want to expand on in Anathema, the next (and likely final) book I'll write. This should only take a few days or so.

-Self-publish Black Waltz once I get my cover art sorted out. My published had accepted this manuscript before; the rest is a long story that I don't want to get into.

-See about publishing CC once edits are done.

-Take a BREAK from writing to focus on video games whose stories or characters I want to learn from in order to enrich Anathema.

-Sort out my music playlist on my phone for Anathema. I need to solidify these emotional memories for planned scenes through songs that act as an outline for me to follow.

-And then...write Anathema, the zenith of my passions.

I'm so relieved that CC is finished.

I can focus on Anathema now.

It's finally time.

long live Drakengard.
These games saved Chauvinistic Coquette. They elevated the manuscript.

If you notice, I have a few entries that start with a Roman numeral and a title of some sort. It's the number and title of the chapter, along with two of the songs (maximum) that I listened to on repeat over and over and over and over, hundreds of times, as I wrote whichever scenes in these chapters. You may have also noticed that there are a few songs from the Drakengard games on here. Last week, I spent way too many hours finally beating Drakengard 3 on the PlayStation 3, up to the final branch D ending and THAT "final boss," after having given up on the game last year in April. The game's performance and actual gameplay are abysmal--the worst I've ever seen from a finished product. The characters are unlikable, on purpose, and the game's satire and humor and crudeness are all over the place.

BUT--the soundtrack is amazing and the story itself has grains of greatness sprinkled throughout. The final boss inspired me so, so, so much for CC that I felt a manic high while I threw myself at the challenge over and over again for about ten hours over the course of two days in between work, and sometimes while working (from home. My job deals with video games, so I had an excuse). I should have been angry that the last boss introduces a brand new mechanic into the game. It didn't faze me because it was so brilliantly done and beautiful. Completely unique and innovative and memorable. If you don't have a PS3 and/or you don't ever plan on playing the Drakengard games, you should look up Drakengard 3's final boss on YouTube. It's too good.

After I completed the game, I added a few more songs from the soundtrack to my phone. Then that brought me back to the first Drakengard on the PlayStation 2. I do plan on going back to it, once CC is finished for extra inspiration for Anathema, my next book. Until then I decided to add more songs from the OST to my phone as well. It's like...classical trip-hop, scratched and skewered in a nightmarish, twisted, mind-bending way that I've never heard anywhere else. The Shin Megami Tensei soundtracks come close, but even those are coherent songs. These aren't always coherent, and sometimes they sound like noise, and yet it stays on beat and ends up musical somehow in such a fucked up way, challenging the listener. I LOVE this soundtrack. Might be my favorite one of all time, topping the NieR ones.

Back to Chauvinistic Coquette itself: I'm 75% done, if we're only counting individual chapters. I have five chapters left, with fifteen out of twenty finished.

Thank you Drakengard for helping me flesh out these final details.

And thank you to someone else -- as ashes, considered...in retrospect, lifting.

Oh yes, and I also went to see Black Panther. It was pretty good overall. Not going to nitpick about it. Some of the songs in the soundtrack helped me too. 

XI. Drakengard
Black Swan

X. Narcissus Narcosis

IX. Lying Eyes