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Vespair

Anarchy.

I write for the ones without a voice.

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.



Anathema
Historical fantasy romance. Self-published. It's available now. Book summary:

Prepared to die for her country, Solaire Copeland is drafted to the Drakengard knighthood at twenty-two years old, and vows to stop running away from the one she loves. Guarding over her dark secrets in shame, she nevertheless takes a leap of faith and entrusts herself to her intelligent equal in Stella Azrith, an alluring, measured, and methodical young woman of magic. Solaire elevates her love for Stella in romantic showmanship and subservience, even as the two of them struggle to understand one another through their temperamental differences. Anathema is a historical fantasy romance that tells the tale of Solaire and Stella's courtly relationship in their youth, as they grow into their characters--Archangel Vespair and Mistress Fury--from The Scorpion's Empress, Venus and Lysander, and Black Waltz as a prequel to the existing trilogy.

Desperate to keep Solaire at home, Stella conspires to prevent her from getting sent off to fight in an unjust war for their country, the Monomyth of Astora. In her scheming at the highest levels of government, she forms an unstable alliance with Fey Murasaki, the wicked and wily ambassador from Astora's closest foreign ally. Stella and Fey's influence across the land slithers in darkness while Solaire's knightly powers shine to alarming levels in the light, causing them to become targets--for both good and ill--of the nation's most powerful leaders. Through intensifying mortal perils, Solaire's love for Stella deepens to maddening levels, restrained only by her distinct sense that her free will erodes more each time she kneels in fulfilling servitude.

Independent streaks contradict religiosity in service of loving a woman with a will so strong--Solaire bears both the light and the dark or enlightened empathy and burning hatred, with her secrets fueling her rise as the strongest knight of an age.

Anathema - ebook cover

buy here on Amazon

--

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.

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.

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. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s) - May 1, 2019
5. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - editing final draft - publishing date: August 17, 2020
6. Anathema II: The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance, dark fantasy, BDSM) - next WIP - publishing date: 2021

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 )

progress with Anathema II - currently on chapter six.
Lulu
yoshiyuki_ly
Let's just say that I'm feeling the weight of my own expectations and struggles here.

The good thing is that the structure of the manuscript somehow solidified, at least for the next handful of chapters. I'm not worried about things suddenly changing. I have control, in the short-term, and leaving the later chapters to remain fluid. This is way less stressful than jumping into the beginning of the manuscript with absolutely no control and hoping for the best. I did get the best, but that process is still terrifying.

I'm only on chapter six. It feels like I'm on chapter sixteen from how much I've written so far. Still stacking foundatios bricks on top of each other, neatly, with strength, only to tear everything down later on in the story. I'm definitely not lacking in ideas, vision, or inspiration -- I obsess over every story detail as usual, so nothing wrong there. This is yet another case of me being too hard on myself and delaying things out of fear/frustration.

Obsessing: I picture every single scene down to the figurative letter, mapping an emotional path that must make sense. It must make sense. It must make sense. I can't sleep because this process won't shut off, it won't shut up, it won't leave me alone. Restlessness, insomnia, decreased appetite, constant headaches when I do manage to wake up after sleeping. I haven't allowed it to be this bad since the days before my published books. I'm not even allowing it; it's spilling over on its own because the plot to Anathema II later on in the book is fucking me up that much.

But I'm persevering. On the outside, I seem fine.

I'm fuctioning.

Agonizing: this won't come out in the manuscript in the exact way I envision it because of -- disconnect between my thoughts and the simple act of writing, using words to describe what I see. This is critically important because my one purpose, my true drive is to write these books, to have them in my hands and feel relieved that these will remain of me after whatever amount of time that may pass.

Procrastinating: I'll go do something else while I think about this some more and (not really) ignore this weight of my world bearing down on me.

Frustrating: a few days pass with no progress -- I have no patience and my temper rises to dangerous levels because "I can't write" anymore.

Depressing: I can't write anymore.

Comforting: I get over it and write things out, and it's actually pretty good. Exactly how I get over it is my secret, but it works every time.

???

This is my life.

I'm turning twenty-nine in one week.

I still have the same sense of impermanent permanence with myself, the same one I've had for quite a while now.

It's a little different these days because of the acceptance I've found with the way I am and how I work. I'm okay, but I don't go around advertising how and why I found this peace with myself and my process. The funny thing is, I wouldn't have reached this point if not for all of the pain and ambivalence I seemed to put myself through in my denials for so many years. I could have walked away or ignored it, but there was always an instinct I had to see those things through, knowing that I had something to learn from the situations.

I sometimes did things that felt out-of-character for me just for this conquest of knowledge. And yet I feel that I would be worse off today even if I had avoided all of that.

Everything's bolstered, reinforced.

My current distraction is almost over, though. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I've beaten all forty or so of the mini-bosses and I have most of my crafting upgrades. Now that I'm at the final boss before the multiple endings, I feel relatively accomplished. I had planned on beating the boss tonight after normal-work, but I should start on this next chapter instead. If I don't, that dangerous cycle will start up again.

The problem is that the next two chapters, six and seven, are going to be among the most difficult ones I will ever write. Six is for a type of event that I haven't written properly in years, and seven is the follow-up that I already know is going to give me a hard time. I'm again putting so much pressure on myself to write these two chapters correctly because of how much they mean to me. I won't get the chance to do this again.

It's all that I have -- this one shot.

So please, leave me to my solitary process. I say this because my intuition keeps buzzing about something that I definitely don't want, and that I know someone is thinking/considering.

Don't do it.

No surprises this year. Not next year, or the year after that, either. Never again.

living through intensity makes me crave even more difficulty, intensity.
Yoshiyuki
yoshiyuki_ly
This is new.

I'm living through the most harrowing activism in my life. I've never felt this strongly about a cause, a belief. I was afraid of letting myself believe again in case things turn out badly. It's too late for that. The only real problem is seeing the ridiculous amounts of hate and negativity and bias and misogyny and racism and erasure and misinformation going on. It pisses me off to no end.

So, this situation ends up making me crave more intense experiences. I find that nothing else is really as difficult as this, making those other things feel surmountable in comparison.

It started off -- without me realizing it first -- when I played through Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne again earlier this month. I spent a week straight on it and went on to beat the game, finally seeing the Neutral ending for the first time. I still prefer the True Demon Ending because of how much the devs clearly wanted us to take that path, since everything in the Maniax version (standard NA/EU versions) lead up to TDE against Lucifer. But I found myself enjoying the difficulty during this playthrough instead of just putting up with it like I used to before.

The atmosphere and uniqueness of these games were the main draw before. I've found a new appreciation for the difficult gameplay. It's not all that difficult anymore once you know how to prepare, more so because these are turn-based games.

I had the freedom to do this since I've already cleared this raid tier in Final Fantasy XIV on my dark knight last month. I beat the first three fights during week one and then took my time with the fourth one. Without a static. It wasn't too terrible at all. The only crazy thing was clearing the final fight while subbing as the second tank for a static. They were good and had strong DPS, but kept wiping for stupid reasons over several hours -- aside from acceptable mistakes, the black mage was high, people were hungry and had agreed to make plans to go eat at 3am once we finally cleared, the white mage's internet cut out during a pull, someone's dogs kept begging to go outside, etc. That was a wild night.

All of those inconveniences reminded me of why I don't want a static, though. I'd rather just be on my own and go at my own pace. I don't want to be on anyone else's schedule.

Now, I'm hooked on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I originally didn't like it that much. I always loved the precise controls, the skill-based gameplay, and the Japanese setting and the lore surrounding Buddhism and life and death. But I felt like the game was too repetitive. I beat the first actual boss and then dropped it. I didn't play it for a few months until about a week or so ago.

I went back and something finally made sense. I'd never felt that Sekiro was too difficult. It's just that now, with everything else going on, I feel like I can enjoy the rush and the satisfaction that the game has to offer instead of taking it for granted. Beating Genichiro after only a few tries gave me an unforgettable high that I hadn't felt outside of Shin Megami Tensei games. I think I'm about halfway through the game now, going through the Sunken Valley after beating that gimmicky boss with the monkeys. I'm taking my time as I go and I really love it.

I like suffering for my victories. 

watching UK politics on Twitch.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
Seriously.

https://www.twitch.tv/ukparliament

I'm American, but I'm genuinely following what's going on with the UK Parliament in between getting work done. So much insanity right now. Yesterday's drama with one of the Tories switching to the Liberal Dem party was unexpected, considering all the gridlock and the hyperpartisan environment of our national politics here. I can't see our own Reps or Senators rebelling against their own parties like the MPs did.

I really hope the UK gets through this.

Anathema II so far: 22,200 words - and Final Fantasy VIII Remastered and Catherine: Full Body.
Noctis
yoshiyuki_ly
Pretty damn good, even though I didn't really solidify the opening chapters until today. A minor character I had planned for ended up becoming a major character who needed more screentime in the beginning. I had to prioritize the setup over moving the story along quicker.

My only concern is that the details of the plot are flying out of my control and beyond my expectations. The general plot will be the same. Given that we're now in canon territory with the years leading up to and including The Scorpion's Empress, there isn't anything I can change without getting into dreaded retcons. The "how" keeps changing instead of the "what". I just have to let the story be its own thing instead of trying to control too much. The only things I'm actively wrangling against are situations where other characters (Yotsuyu, and this new major character) seem to want to take over the narrative. I can't let them do that. I have to keep this focus while still letting the story be its own thing. Contradictions, I know, but it's part of my job.

--

With Final Fantasy VIII Remastered and Catherine: Full Body coming out tomorrow, I've been thinking a lot about the video game stories I enjoy. Thinking about them helps me to refine my own process with Anathema II. As far as I know FFVIII R will be unchanged from the original, story-wise, while Catherine FB will have additions to flesh out the characters' backstories, which I'm all for.

The original Catherine was pretty good...aside from the lack of setup with the characters. I wanted to see why Vincent loved Katherine so much, how they met, etc. I wanted to see what made him so great and interesting that these women chose to fight over him. The re-release looks to answer those questions I have (maybe not the second question), along with introducing a new character, Rin.


Now, I've heard the cries about transphobia and censorship surrounding Rin and her inclusion in the story. I have no idea what the deal is as I've done my best to avoid spoilers. I've resigned myself to actually playing the game and coming to my own conclusions about how the writers handled all of this. So we'll see.

Years later, I still smile way too much when I hear Laura Bailey's voice for Catherine. That sweet and devillish temptress thing she does is too good.

I do have fond memories of playing the original Catherine years ago while waiting for Mass Effect 3 to come out. Almost breaking my controller while playing those puzzles on the hardest difficulty and earning the platinum trophy -- in retrospect, all a good time.


As for FFVIII, I've long accepted my gripes with the story. Even though I love the themes of the overarching narrative, there are some weird things that happen, namely with Quistis' character.

My biggest complaint about FFVIII is that, after a certain point in the plot, Quistis just falls of the face of the planet relevance-wise and practically stops existing as a person. Yes, she's there, and she's with you to the very end, but it's like the writers forgot about her later on in the game. When she's not suffering Squall's rude dismissiveness of her feelings for him (and he's an idiot for this, considering how fucking hot Quistis is), or showing poor leadership skills as an instructor, or getting jealous of Rinoa for useless drama, or feeling sorry for herself over her failures in life, then Quistis just isn't...there...at all.

Unless you use Quistis in battle for her overpowered blue magic skills, it's natural to forget about her entirely.

Why do I even like her as a character? For her unused potential. I like the idea of what Quistis could have been more than how she turned out.

I never liked Rinoa as a person, or even for her potential.

I've started wondering how differently the story would have turned out if Rinoa hadn't existed at all, and if they had made Quistis as Squall's love interest instead. If not that, then she could have been the one to keep mentoring Squall to improve his own leadership skills throughout the story, instead of Headmaster Cid, but then she couldn't have gotten in trouble for her own problems in this department.

Really, I think I would have been more satisfied with Squall and Quistis being together in a more mature relationship instead of having to accept Rinoa's immature self.

If only.


Final Fantasy VIII Remastered out on September 3.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
I'm dropping every other game to play this right away. Already have it preordered. It's a good thing I quit Final Fantasy XIV ahead of time, since I would have basically not logged on at all to play this game instead. I'm excited to go after the platinum trophy by revisiting all of the old secrets and tricks I've known about for 20 years now.

I remember the store I bought the original in when I was 9 or 10 years old or so. Seeing that cover behind the glass and how realistic the characters were, I thought it was amazing -- ahead of its time. My mother didn't know what the T rating meant, so she bought it for me anyway. It's been my favorite mainline FF game ever since.

Do I even need to mention how stunning Edea is? All of her special sequences are pure beauty in mysticism. That first one with Quistis, as well, when she enters the infirmary and finds Squall, and she just sighs with a soft smile, and then the original PS1 disc works its ass off to steadily fade to black: unforgettable.

More than anything, the romantic themes in the story had a big influence on me. They're real, larger-than-life, and more meaningful than the usual petty drama.

Squall's quote in particular to Rinoa is a cornerstone:

"No matter what happens, even if you become the world's enemy, I'll be your knight."

I used to pretend that I had found something like that with others. I would convince myself that I had, just to stay with them. But then I would do and say things that proved the exact opposite. It seemed as if I never felt what I believed for anyone who was right in front of me, and I didn't know why. I eventually learned what the problem was -- that I hadn't yet seen the person's true face, even though their instability with me had usually brought it out. I wouldn't have seen it if things between us had been all right. I had always felt that that was a problem, because I need to see someone for who they are, completely, without censorship or them holding back. Otherwise, what's the point?

Final Fantasy VIII doesn't necessarily get this deep. It doesn't need to. The story is about seventeen and eighteen-year-olds in the military saving the world: there's bound to be some weirdness and immaturity at points. But the point is that it was the beginning and the foundation of how I see and write about romance.

If you want to know what I mean, then I suggest you play the game for yourself. It'll be out on PS4, Steam, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.



edit:

AND Yakuza 3 Remastered is out today? Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5 will be bundled with it for physical release in February. This is too much. I can't.

Yakuza 3 with a proper localization and all of the cut content from the original US version will be here?

I get to spend time with Kiryu and Haruka again. They really made this series for me.

All of my gaming plans are now canceled for this.

Goodbye.


optional for me means liability.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
Juggling "normal" work and video games in between editing Chauvinistic Coquette and writing Anathema II is doable. But I decided that I don't need to waste the extra energy on things that are "extra" and not worth it in the end. So I cut back on some things: less time in Final Fantasy XIV, less time playing other games, more time writing.

In other news, Anathema II is going well. It's also going much differently than the first book did. With the first book, I more or less had control over the process. I didn't always know how things would go, but I had a stronger sense of belonging there. It's really the opposite here.

Aside from touching on existing canon topics/events, I have no control over this book. I know the major story beats to build up to, as I always do, and as I have always functioned as a writer. Beyond that, I'm letting myself go along for the ride. In recent years, I have only done this with Chauvinistic Coquette before. I didn't anticipate that one of these Anathema volumes would give me the same feeling, of being adrift, of this loss of control. It's even worse this time, I think, because of the contrast from the first book.

Accepting this fluidity, I feel that the chapters so far are highly subject to change. I didn't go back to change much of anything in the first book: everything was mostly set in stone once I wrote the first draft. The first chapter so far is beautiful, emotional. The second chapter so far is chaotic, emotional. Chaos and emotion again for the third, and beautiful emotion again for the fourth. There is order in the chaos, though, in that the chapters are obviously organized and readable. I suppose it's more about me letting go and allowing my intuition to write the story, instead of "me" doing it.

Going along with this process has opened me up to a lot of unwanted emotions, even outside of the story. I don't like feeling this way: feeling at all, even if it's anger and disgust with people who don't matter. But when I was numb and empty, I couldn't access the emotions I needed to write properly. So this is the residue.

It's all right to feel this way. I enjoy writing for myself, not caring whether or not other people read my work. I enjoy not caring -- except for this one thing. The one thing that no one can take away from me or compare to. Caring about anything or anyone else seems like a waste of energy, hence me cutting out these other activities out of my life.

I will always have this, and I will always have my home in FFXI. Optional for me means liability.

officially started on Anathema II - dark erotic romance, fantasy, D/s.
Lulu
yoshiyuki_ly
It's time.

I had a few different ideas for how I would start the first chapter. All of them came back to the same location, even if different events happened in these different scenarios. I decided to go with my original idea, if only tweaked a bit.

For everything else, I had the big ideas cemented in place. The larger-than-life emotions, the extravagance, the explosiveness. That was easy.

The hardest part -- and I didn't figure this out until this week -- was the rest of it.

I thought that I would take care of the rest on the way. It would figure itself out. I wouldn't need to spend any significant time fleshing these things out, or so I convinced myself. That wasn't exactly true, though. I don't need to micromanage and come up with every single thing. No, that's not what I mean. I simply needed a general idea for what these things will become.

I had no idea before. I had a giant gap that I expected to fill itself by magic.



I had no such magic. So I hesitated to start writing until last night, once I really knew what this was about.

Listening to the song in this video on repeat, I wrote the first couple of pages with a real ease I haven't felt in a long time, if ever.

I finished watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, last night. I had honestly forgotten about it, and didn't really care to watch this final season, since season six was so terrible. But for the sake of finishing a show that I've been with for so many years, I went ahead and watched the final season. I appreciate that the writers kept a better balance between the dramedy and the social commentary...especially since a lot of it is relevant to what's going on today. Overall, everything was better than season six, even though I had forgotten my investment in most of the characters.

What resonated with me was the ordinary. The mundane. The things, the little experiences we have with people, in friendships/relationships. The time.

I had forgotten what it means to spend time with someone.

When I realized this, I was upset -- I still am -- but everything for this manuscript fell into place. That's what matters, and yet:

I started watching this show because of Alex and Piper, because their fucked up relationship reminded me of my own at the time. I don't have much in common with Piper. It's Alex that kept reminding me of my ex from back then: her edge, her intelligence, her reasons for her distance and her need to be in control, all of it. Her constant push-and-pull with Piper was what I kept coming back to. Back then, I needed answers for why I had a similar emotional roller coaster of a relationship, and always had. Back then, I thought that watching these two would help me figure things out. Back then, I thought that I could keep lying to myself and have what I didn't need.

Those annoyances and pains and inconveniences, big and small, that Alex and Piper deal with. The imperfections of being with another person. The romance of someone else's uncertain company that you want to believe is certain.

I mention these things in the first Anathema as I float right above them.

My characters can't grow properly unless I come back down to earth for them and write this, the right way, no matter how much it hurts.

It hurts now because of how real it feels, because I'm not above those things anymore.

This, in turn, ended up darkening the romance and erotica atmosphere that I had intended for. I had planned on erotic romance with a dark edge. I had not planned for a full-on, deep dive into these raw fucking emotions, pun intended. I hadn't planned on this because I thought I was done with it. I thought that I had left it behind -- and I had, with other people, yes. I let those things go. I had moved on from the past, yet I felt empty without those feelings. But now they're back, with Stella and Solaire, and I don't know how to handle it. All I can do is write it out, coherently, with style and with meaning.

So now, for me, this second Anathema is twice as real, thrice as painful, and four times more frightening than the first book.

If this is going to be my best work, then I can't and won't settle for anything less. 

Toni Morrison.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
I don't have many idols or people I look up to.

But I will always remember her work and how much it opened my eyes, painfully so.

I write with the clarity I have today because of how much she enlightened me with her work when I was much younger.

It hurt a lot, including one adapted film in particular that scarred me, traumatized me when I was way too young to understand.

The pain helped me grow, and helped shaped my values today, and so I wouldn't take it back, not for anything--

Of unyielding principle. 

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
ffxiv_06282019_115506_433

I played Shadowbringers through early access, and finished the main story close to the official launch date on July 2.

After sitting on my thoughts for a while, I feel that the story is quite good. However, I'm annoyed at the way everything falls flat on its face via tropes during the final push, including the finale. Everything was great for the most part up until that happened. The character relationships between the Scions and our main character were great, though. I'm glad that Y'shota, my favorite Scion, finally got something of a character arc. Yet because of the tropes, my view on the story ended up souring as a result. I just don't care anymore.

The journey was excellent, despite a few lulls here and there. The ending did nothing for me. Shadowbringers is still the strongest beginning to an expansion yet. I doubt it will top the high that Stormblood gave me in patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight, with Yotsuyu, despite me not really caring for how the writers handled her up to that point. I doubt anything will ever top that for me.

ffxiv_06262019_145115_319

But, that doesn't take away how I feel about the expansion's music and atmosphere, with my favorite being a place that technically no longer exists, now that I've made it past this part of the story.

This is NOT my character/footage, just a video I found on YouTube.



The hopelessness and unease in this song is a fine reflection of how I feel. There's a bit of hope at the end, until it loops back around to the first part. It's not depressing, though. It's quite graceful, measured and otherwordly in how bleak it sounds. I'm upset that the song is now replaced with something that manages to sound both generic and forced in how "happy" it is in comparison, after resolving the conflict in this location.

I wouldn't say that I feel hopeless, either. It's more that my perspective on things shifted massively over the past few years, to the point where interpersonal things that once seemed so important, are now pointless to me. Outside of interpersonal issues, I certainly have more room to care, like with what's going on in my country lately. My own personal, individual, isolated concerns are only my own as well. Beyond that, I place more value in the unknown, in what's to come, of all that is so much more transcendent than these worldly concerns that now mean nothing -- all of that feels like this song that plays during the Everlasting Light atmosphere in Kholusia.

About my character:

ffxiv_06282019_051706_055

I changed to Viera right away.

I'm happy I did, because I love my character now. She's gorgeous. The bunny ears soften her a bit as an interesting metaphor for how sensitive I can be, personally. The hard and distant personality rounds it all out to perfection. She reminds me of how feminine I could have been, the flavor and the edge and the aloofness, if I didn't have this dysphoria to deal with.

I got to 80 as my old main job, astrologian, first. It made me so angry because I realize how little patience I have for healing in this game. Having to carry bad tanks through dungeons pissed me off to no end. I'm tired of being a babysitter for people who don't care to help themselves. I'm a mentor, so I accept my obligation to help people -- but there's nothing I can do with players who have no desire whatsoever to improve. I may be good at healing, but I found that I stuck with the job as a "might as well" type of thing, only because of how comfortable I am with the role.

I honestly had a crisis trying to work through this. It took me a while to make up my mind on what to do next.

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Eventually, I settled on becoming a tank full-time.

Specifically, a dark knight, with warrior as a backup.

I've always had tanks as a secondary or tertiary role at best. I never prioritized them because I hated certain mechanics that revolved around tanking, mostly the expectation to have tank stance off at all times, or else our DPS suffered. Now that tank stances no longer force a DPS penalty, and everything we do generates enmity, I love tanking so much.

I can focus on myself when needed, helping the healer to not have to heal me as much. I can protect the party as necessary, but ultimately not have to worry about anything beyond general tanking details for myself. I don't have to babysit the whole party anymore on top of doing my own job.

Dark knight is perfect for me. I love the aesthetic, the high DPS, the feeling, the class identity, the fantasy of it all. Wearing FFXII Fran's heels and an odachi sword is really fucking hot to me. It doesn't get old, and it's helped me fall back in love with the game again.

The final tank role quest and the level 80 dark knight quest really spoke to me on a personal level. In the last screenshot below, it feels like the writer spoke to me directly.

I won't ever forget it.

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Kamala Harris 2020.
Fran
yoshiyuki_ly
She needs to be about it tonight for night two of the Democratic debates.

Watch her speak. Watch her town halls. Watch her at the debates. Watch her Senate hearings. That fire, that shine is what stands out to me most about her. She's qualified as hell and she knows what the fuck she's talking about. No-nonsense.

Even though I don't live in California anymore, I still consider Kamala to be my senator.

I'm concerned and frustrated with her polling numbers as of now. Honestly. I hate the media circus surrounding this whole thing. I hate the pervasive tactical framing methods that dominate the news cycle. I despise how the more serious, pragmatic candidates like Kamala aren't seen as ~relatable~ and ~memable~ enough, so people tend to sleep on them. I'm sick of these other weak ass candidates getting more traction than she is.

I don't normally talk about politics here, but this doesn't mean I'm not plugged in politically. I read the news as soon as I wake up every single day. This shit is important. It is. I've decided that instead of complaining about it, I will be more productive elsewhere.

Whether Kamala wins the nomination or not, it's important to me that you know where I stand. I'll vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, whoever it is. But I will be much happier to vote for my almost-senator.
Tags:

Anathema II, Chauvinistic Coquette
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
Anathema II

I tried writing a first draft of the first chapter, and saw that, indeed, not enough time has passed between finishing the first book and starting this next one. It sounded exactly the same, like the next chapter from the first book. That's not what I want. So I'm exploring other sources of motivation while forcing myself not to write. But really, it feels like I'm about to lose my mind. It's all I can do to focus on other things or plan out the plot and emotional buildups instead. The problem is that I already know how the plot will go and which emotional notes to hit. I'm only planning the nuances in theory when normally, I would figure these details out as I go.

I feel overprepared and behind schedule. Yet if I start now, it will be half-baked. I'm currently resisting my constant impulse to just write already.

Chauvinistic Coquette

I honestly considered rewriting this. The format bothered me for the longest: alternating between the past and present for a handful of chapters at a time. However, I realized that it fits with how chaotic the plot is. I don't mean chaotic in terms of unorganized and messy. I mean, actual chaos and drama and an emotional roller coaster. It's not a simple, straightforward read, like how conservative (this word is developing an unsettling modern connotation) the first Anathema is in comparison. Venus and Astrid "think" that they have a healthy relationship, but this is not at all the case, especially if you read in between the lines. So I will leave the format as-is.

You may have noticed that I don't discuss this book as much, despite my solid plans to publish CC next summer. I think it's because it's more personal for me than I like to let on. You may also notice that I'm not elaborating on what I mean in this post. I've talked enough about it in other posts, even indirectly.

Anyway, I will go back and make a final edit to this manuscript one I finish a few chapters of Anathema II, simply for some peace of mind. I don't want to edit this book while I have no progress with Anathema II, because then I'll end up feeling unproductive.

E3 2019.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
Aside from Square-Enix's conference, this year's E3 was just...whatever. I only watched a few other conferences out of respect for gaming in general.

Xbox
-Vaguely interested in Cyberpunk 2077. I'll wait for reviews before getting it (on PS4/PC).
-Interested in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (on PS4/PC) because DBZ was a big part of my childhood.
-Paying attention to the next Xbox to see what it's about, but no plans on buying it.

Who even cares about Xbox exclusives. Even if I wanted to play them, I could buy the PC versions instead. So what's the point of having the console?

After all of that, I went back to playing Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne on my PS2.

Bethesda
-Genuinely entertained to have seen Ikumi Nakamura introduce her new game, Ghostwire: Tokyo. She helped create some of my favorite games, like Bayonetta and Okami. I don't even care for horror games, but I'll give this one a try.

Tuned out after that.

Ubisoft
-Might try Watch Dogs: Legion for the stealth. Playing as the old lady assassin looked hilarious, but I'll wait for reviews here, too.

Stopped caring after this point.

Square-Enix
-Final Fantasy VII: Remake looks great! I'm hopeful about SE not fucking this up, which is a big turnaround from how I felt before. I've only heard about the first part expanding on Midgar...for two whole disks? No clue. I need to hear more info about this.
-Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers -- sick ass launch trailer with a focus on the story. I'm jumping into early access at the end of the month for sure.
-FINAL FANTASY VIII REMASTER! I had a feeling we'd see this. The original game came out 20 years ago. I still remember buying it in the store when I was a kid.

I would love to see a proper PS4/Steam/etc. remaster of Final Fantasy Tactics next, with the original translation. Not the War of the Lions one.

Nintendo
-Animal Crossing looks cute. Not getting it, though.
-Smiled at seeing The Witcher 3 Complete Edition coming to the Switch. Not buying this, either. Played enough of the original already.
-So where were Shin Megami Tensei V and Bayonetta 3? These are the ONLY two games I want for this system.

Ugh.

Next year should be better with the new console reveals from Sony and Microsoft. Before that, the game releases in the first half of 2020 reminds me a bit of everything that came out in the first half of 2017. Should be a good year overall.