January 5th, 2018


turn of events.

I noticed how, in general over the years, things switched around. I feared that this would happen, and it did, but I can't exactly go back to the past. Finding a way forward.

Yakuza 3's trophy for the mini-game master is atrocious. I thought I'd be able to manage after getting 100% and platinum for Yakuza 0 and Kiwami. It's the general clunkiness of some of the controls that I can't stand in this one: batting cages, darts at higher difficulties, fishing, GOLF. After I beat the game on EX-Hard and get that trophy, I'm moving on to Yakuza 4. The platinum for Yakuza 3 will have to be a marathon over time...a long time. I'll go back to it at some point.

As for Chauvinistic Coquette, I'm again writing chapters out of order. A little less than half of the story focuses on the past, but it doesn't seem that way because of the way these chapters are interspersed. I made an outline and "settled" on 20 chapters total, with eight of them featuring flashbacks. It seems like a lot. I pace them so that they're relevant to the present. I don't have any issues with figuring out where to go at this point. Everything's clear now, which is strange. I'm not used to it. It's not a bad thing, of course. There's a catch to having this certainty with the plot, with the characters, with everything:

I'd say the main thing I'm hung up on is how futile all of this feels. I used to write because I needed to. I had things I wanted to say, to express. Chauvinistic Coquette is more of a commentary on my own cynicism with relationships. Sure, there's flirting and romance and whatever else. I don't feel an absolute need to write this like I did with my last two books. I didn't "need" to write The Scorpion's Empress, either. That was more of an experiment. This isn't so much an experiment as staying true to my word about rewriting this story someday and making it better. It's already better--it's different, it's hardly like the original except for the emotional rollercoaster and drama, and it has strong writing from me.

I think I'm annoyed that the stories I don't put as much of myself in, they turn out to have more appeal than the ones that are true to who I am as a person. It makes me have a certain disdain for this manuscript that only bolsters the cynical intentions behind the story itself. I don't care how long it will take me to finish it. If I suddenly decided to put it down, I'd only be disappointed in myself for not reaching the goal I'd set, on a superficial level. Other than that, I could move on with my life, write something else and not care about this book anymore.

The constant struggle between not wanting to show who I am and feeling sad that people only ever love an idea of me--

The result is a veneer on the page. It's up to you as the reader to either not notice and indulge in the illusions, or look deeper and find out what it is I want to say. The truth is never there, though.

You have not, and you have naught.

It's funny that I had all of this in mind months ago, and then some things happened recently that reinforced this theme, strengthening my vision for it in the story. Was it meant to be? Is that why this all feels so familiar in pain? Because I was fine for a while, and then this happened. It's great for the story, but not for me. It's because of the switch. I found my balance again, somehow, by working on this manuscript.

The one book I absolutely need to write after this will be long, and arduous (for me), and most likely obscure (to you). I accept that CC will overshadow it through mass appeal and popularity. I accept it, but it makes me uneasy, because this last book will be quintessential to me, to understanding who I am. And it will likely fly under the radar because of that.

It's all so convenient that cynicism is my main fuel for Venus and Astrid together. So very convenient, everyone. 

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) - 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.