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.
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.