Vespair

Anarchy.

I write for the ones without a voice.

[sticky post]Anathema begins now.
Lulu
yoshiyuki_ly

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.


Yoshiyuki Ly
Yoshiyuki
yoshiyuki_ly
Writing.
Video games.
Music.
Fanfiction.

Don't ignore the:
Social realism + romance.
Intensity.
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.


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

[Five star review (click to open)]



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 for certain stories here.

Twitter

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.

Ideal publishing order

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) - in pre-publication now
4. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - complete - to be published in 2019
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 )

some updates, and then silence once more.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
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
yoshiyuki_ly
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
Yennefer
yoshiyuki_ly
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 )

Chauvinistic Coquette is finished: 19 chapters, 147,000 words.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
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.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
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
yoshiyuki_ly

X. Narcissus Narcosis
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly


IX. Lying Eyes
Sae2
yoshiyuki_ly


Chauvinistic Coquette - at the 100,000 word mark.
Yoshiyuki
yoshiyuki_ly
This month alone, I finished five chapters for a total of about 45,000 words. For the first week and a half or so, I didn't write at all, busy going through growing pains as I allotted how I felt at the time to various parts of the story. After everything clicked, and I found my peace again, I went back to work. So the more realistic picture is that I wrote 45,000 words in 15 days. That's an average of 3,000 words a day, which sounds about right. Though most of the time, I'd binge the chapters and write them in two or three sittings over the course of two days, rarely taking a day off to pause. I slowed down somewhat over the past week as I felt myself about to burn out. I need to keep the pace for a marathon, not a sprint. If I get too tired, I'll lose my passion and my spirit, forcing me to put this project on hold. I can't let that happen.

All of the chapters set in the past through flashbacks are done. My target word count is still about 150,000-170,000 with around 20 chapters. For the remaining present day narrative, the chapters will likely end up being about 6,000 words or so. It's the flashbacks that are all 7,000+ words, with one of them totalling almost 13,000 words. Another one could have been that long, but I had to redirect my energy and cut down on the temptation to keep adding to that chapter.

Overall I'm obsessed with writing this book, but it's in a strangely healthy way that I've never felt before. Ten years ago, I used to write as an addiction, to get things out that I couldn't express to certain people. This isn't the same thing. Everything flows well and I don't have room to second-guess my ideas because they're already fleshed out. So I have no reason or excuse to procrastinate. This is the best I've ever felt about a story. The only thing that trips me up is what I had to experience to get to this point. I thought that I would spend a long time upset about something, but then everything clicked for me in a way that I can't quite explain. I understand how I am. I like how I am. It all works so nicely. I know to keep it to myself, though.

--

With everyone I know telling me I should play Dark Souls instead of only liking Bloodborne and Nioh, I decided to give Dark Souls III a shot. The responsiveness of the controls are a godsend compared to the input delay in the first game. I really, really like the game so far. It's "hard but fair," definitely. The boss fights are challenging and epic without tipping past the point of frustration and excess. While writing the latest chapter, I kept my character at Firelink Shrine, the game's hub location, listening to the music there and the crackling of the bonfire through my headphones. I had originally planned on listening to a couple of other songs for the chapter, but my mood ended up changing. I wrote the same sequence of events that I had planned on, just not with the same melodramatic tone that I had prepared for. Firelink Shrine's mournful, thoughtful track ended up working much better for how things naturally evovled as I reached this point of the story.

Playing Dark Souls III is my solution to keep from getting burned out as I continue to pace myself with writing. It also keeps me grounded as I take my free time to reflect on how I am these days. The game's hauntingly beautiful aesthetic fits exactly with this personal theme I have of finding beauty in loss. Maybe not just beauty. There are a lot of coincidences and conveniences, too. I'm also painfully aware of all that's going on as my country continues to endure through this Chaos ending of Shin Megami Tensei.

I pre-ordered the remake of Shadow of the Colossus as well. That's out on February 6. It also has a similar aesthetic that I'm feeling these days.

Gaming is better than ever, as is my muse, and I have no shortage of ways to enrich my mind and remain determined. It's hard to believe that I'm all right.

My aversion to leaving this place I'm at is the only thing that concerns me.

Still a knight, but night is still.

thank you.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
What took ten months before only took ten days.

--

I finished Life Is Strange: Before the Storm today. I like it overall. It's special to me. The writing is great and Chloe is much better this time around. In the first game, she was selfish and insufferable. Here in the prequel, she's much more well-rounded and grounded. She's more of a lovable dork this time around, too. I enjoy all the small details that went into the entire package, like the comments Chloe makes while exploring, the incremental signs of growth she shows through working on her truck, Chloe's journal entries and her text messages with other characters, and even the clever objectives that Chloe writes on her hand. Rachel also feels like a real person with real worries and real flaws. Her relationship with Chloe is nice, too. The dream sequences were surreal in a good way without trying too hard. No spoilers, but one in particular with a certain "comment" from Victoria at the end made me laugh way too hard at what should have been an awkward moment.

Other than that, playing this game helped to reinforce the importance of the little things. Sometimes I overlook them in favor of the bigger picture when it comes to my writing. I'll work on that.

This song I listed that plays in the game in the second episode...I really like it. I think I'll listen to this on repeat over and over again for the chapter of Chauvinistic Coquette I'm working on now.

I earned two platinums so far from my list: Yakuza 4 and Before the Storm. I crossed out a few games that I know I don't want to bother with. Not until Chauvnistic Coquette and Anathema are finished, anyway. After blazing through Yakuza 4, I'm burnt out on the series. I'll go back to Yakuza 5 later. Next up is Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age--I have to finally kill Yiazmat and then continue with the handful of other trophies I have left. The RNG with the Concurrences is what I'm most annoyed about.

--

Steady progress with Chauvnistic Coquette. It's coming along. I'm more or less over how awkward it is to write so much of the story out of order. I almost wish I could write a full story of the events between Venus and Astrid in the past. I'm doing my best to write without restrictions or worrying over how long this will be in the end. I'm not as cynical about the story anymore, at least. It took me a while, but I finally fell back in love with the idea of this story. It's all a distraction.

I understand that I have a certain resilience when it comes to setbacks in life. Nothing ever feels like a setback for all that long. I take the negatives and warp them into a story idea, or some way of proving to myself that I'm capable of doing something well even if it didn't work out in real life. It can work out for a story arc instead. It makes me question what my own purpose is. What's the point of me experiencing anything for myself, of living my own life? When I realize that nothing hurts or matters or lingers for all that long anymore, I feel less human and more like a conduit for my stories. So many emotions pass in the moment, but in the back of my mind, I always know that I'll be all right because I have my work to fall back on.

Even when I sense the full extent of someone's cruelty and selfishness and ego, it irritates my sense of justice and decency, not me. The prospects for that future are dead, anyway.

Oh well. It's for the best. I'm happy this way. The implications of all of this aren't lost on me, though.

I don't have much else to say about CC or myself in public. Not for a while, anyway. I'll update you when I reach another milestone that deserves an update.

ideal publishing order.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
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) - in pre-publication now
4. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - current work-in-progress
5. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s)

This list changed a bit over the years. I thought that I'd write a book in this universe from Raine's point of view, but it seemed redundant for reasons that will be clear once you read Anathema, the fifth book. I also thought that I'd rewrite Twisted Allure, a young adult story of mine, and publish it as the only book not set in this universe. I don't want to do that anymore. I started writing more seriously thirteen years ago. I can admit that I'm tired, yes, but there's more to it than that.

With Anathema, I want the story to encapsulate my obsession with my muse. The longer I go without writing this, the more irritated I get. I can set my annoyance aside in some ways. When I really look at books 1-4, I didn't get the chance to let my obsessions fully flourish for plot reasons. None of that will hold me back with this fifth book. I'll finally get to let go and capitluate on my foundation as a writer, as a person. It's such a selfish book. When I think about getting to write it, any other worries or concerns or pains I have seem minimal, non-existent. I have a purpose in writing this, a purpose that I don't have in every day life with real people.

Anathema will be about a dark knight's journey to right social wrongs at the cost of destroying the women that she loves, who, as she discovers only after falling in love with them, are part of the system, the corrupt machine that she despises. None of her affairs are black-and-white matters. It's all quite gray until the moment she decides to take action against these women that she cares so much about, for the sake of protecting the weak and underprivileged at the cost of her own sanity. That cost of choosing justice over her own personal desires eats away at her, tears at her, breaks her over the years, yet she refuses to show this to anyone. She refuses to show who she truly is, deeply afraid of anyone knowing her weaknesses or letting her guard down after everything. Her one true love, as my muse, who isn't part of this vicious cycle: she seems to be for a time, and it sends the main character over the edge. The sheer hatred that comes from such a betrayal is difficult to set aside, but her true love tries to make things right anyway, despite the risks. And she keeps trying. She keeps trying...

What a wonderful fantasy.

The book also wraps up any and all loose ends and (most) unanswered questions from The Scorpion's Empress, Venus and Lysander, Black Waltz and Chauvnistic Coquette through this character's comprehensive point of view. For once, I won't write the book as a standalone that doesn't require knowledge of other stories, characters, etc. This book is for me, and it's also for anyone patient enough to have read all of my other books up to this point. By the scale of this whole thing, it sounds like my magnum opus. It feels like one, too.

Because of the magnitude of all of that, I doubt that there will be another topic or book that I'll want to write after Anathema that's as important to me. There are various literary fiction ideas I have. Nothing that grips me like Anathema does. Even the other four books before it didn't mean nearly as much to me as this one. Since I won't be able to top this fifth book through personal meaning and importance, I think it will be the last story I publish. Nothing's definite since this may change one day. For now, this is how I feel about it.

Main inspirations
Samurai X: Reflection - Director's Cut
Shin Megami Tensei
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Bloodborne + Dark Souls
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy Versus XIII - oh, what could have been
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
NieR and NieR: Automata

And, of course, I'm tired. I'm broken. I know that after I finish Anathema, I'll feel empty and listless. I'm tired of writing. I'm tired of struggling in a market that feels like it doesn't value my work, or me. I feel so much--true drive, ambition, purpose--and for what? I don't know. I don't know.

Once I can hold Anathema in my hands as my gospel, I'll have another piece of my peace. There are other portions, other passions--a woman I want to be with. They're out of my hands, though.

?

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