Anathema has about 3-4 more chapters to go, and that's after cutting things down and shifting ideas to the next book in the series. I'm having a hard time with this current chapter I'm working on (chapter 14) in particular, because it is the climax of the story. I'm listening to the listed, maddened song above, over and over, while writing this scene, steadily getting to this climax. I struggled to focus on this over the past month, after being so exhausted after work and writing what I can during the hours -- and then returning home and doing my best to continue, only to fall asleep. I'm annoyed that that also contributed to the delay, but it's okay. It is.
Ideally, this will only go up to chapter 17, likely titled Black Sun. It's my favorite number. Such a shallow reason, but I'm trying to make it work.
I can finish this at some point in January. It's funny, because it'll have been a year since I finished Chauvinistic Coquette, in what was a turbulent time for me, filled with so much change and shedding of too many denials I had about myself and the well that I write from.
I want to publish this first volume of Anathema on May 1, Stella's birthday.
Once that is done, I'll clean up CC to publish it in 2020. I will need the extra time to work on the second volume of Anathema for 2021, and to get a head-start on the other(s), because I know it's going to take a lot out of me.
Anathema (2019) - the general prologue set before The Scorpion's Empress, of Vespair in her youth and how she becomes a dark knight, and of the one she falls in love with who sets the course of her long, long life in service, in honor, and in vengeful despair.
Chauvinistic Coquette (2020) - an off-shoot of Black Waltz set over thirty years later, featuring one of Stella's daughters, Venus -- fashion model, singer, dancer, actress, and all-around performance artist extraordinaire -- and her dramatic, extravagant relationship with another new character, Astrid Valenzuela: a perfectionist who sets out to be number one at anything she sets her mind to. Despite knowing that she can never be number one for Venus, she tries anyway, going so far as to discover such destructive, unspoken truths about her. They both persist -- with Venus spinning a web, with Astrid agonizing, thriving in imperfection by her spinning -- finding their existence alongside each other, even in madness, as an endless chase from the coquette, and the idealistic judgment from the chauvinist who elevates the tease to levels beyond what a pedestal is capable of, beyond life and death.
The secrets are on the page, and the whole book is a lie: hidden, cynical, mocking, just as you can never know another, and yet you can claim to love her as much as you know what you know, as much as you feel what you feel. You know what you know, and you feel what you feel, yet the rest of the unknowns seek to invalidate your truths, as much as everybody lies, to save face, to have a happily-ever-after for your smiles and validation, for it only exists inasmuch as you believe it so, in so much as you say that it is true, so much, so much, that it is true enough for you -- it is true enough to be true.
Anathema II: The Scorpion's Empress (2021) - the events just before, during, and after The Scorpion's Empress from Vespair's point of view, painting a fuller picture of everything that happened during that time. This expands on the play from Black Waltz, helping to show you why Raj and Videl from TSE are unreliable narrators -- why that whole book is a lie. (Hint, hint: neither Raj nor Videl are on the cover of The Scorpion's Empress. Who, in the book, do I describe wearing the outfit on the cover, with her hair in that way, who appears "twice" in this book universe as a mirror of herself?)
In 2022 and beyond, there will either be one or two more Anathema books. I haven't decided if there will be one each as the negative image for both Venus and Lysander + Black Waltz, or only one as a combination of the two. There may be a little surprise somewhere throughout these years as well, unrelated to this universe of stories. We'll see what happens with it.
Outside of all of that, this is the end of yet another year, of the twenty-eighth of my life so far.
This year, I finally accepted the painful conclusion of how it is I'm able to function and thrive after everything that's happened. I used to be in denial about who I am, what I am, and how terrible it is on its face, but I did manage to turn it around into a positive. It's turned into more about writing to protect other people from the things that I know -- you can read them from the distance of the page, and know how bad it is, and learn enough, hopefully, to avoid it yourself, even if I never explicitly say what it is.
Living alone with this is the best thing for me, because it gives me focus, despite whatever else I have going on.
I won't accept anything less or any interruptions. I can be as generous and selfless as someone needs me to be, yet the moment I find that they're in the way, then it's off with their heads -- figuratively, anyway. I can be a tyrant if it means protecting the source of my well of inspiration. I can and will destroy anything that acts in bad faith, that obstructs me or decays my muse or reminds me of all that I chose to forsake. On her orders, I've done it before and laughed at the hatred, at the anathema I suddenly became to them; I will do it again whenever I need to -- by any means necessary.
It's true enough for me to be true as needed, as this singular choice I made to stay here with my decision in devotion, as much as love is a choice.
So, please, leave me alone and read from afar. That's all I'd like to have from you as these years go on. That is all.