The first readers have read Dark Soul 4, and they seem to like it. Considering how anxious I was about it, that's a huge sigh of relief. Dark Soul 4 was written in blood sweat and tears post-November, coming out of a serious rage-induced writing block, and according to some private emails I got, nobody can tell the difference. The bullying assholes haven't damaged my story, thank gods.
And, aware that Dark Soul 4 is the turning point (with a dash of dark moment) in the "big arch", as I call it, we'll publish Dark Soul 5 a week early; it's scheduled three weeks from now. I see a lot of anguish over the waiting, and while I think that it heightens the experience in the case of Dark Soul (episodes need to stay apart), it would be cruel to linger for too long.
There are possibilities for spin-offs and related stories - I'm pretty sure I'll write some sex between Gianbattista and Silvio (set earlier, exploring how Silvio became Battista's "heir"), and I start getting threatening emails about a Franco book. That one should be pretty easy - kind of. Franco's story is a good ten years old, and I know how it goes, and his lover is still very present in my head (good thing - some characters simply don't last that long), so it's just under the surface. I'll have to build a totally new world, though because I can't deal with the research of the one where it's actually set in (I don't speak French and I can't just visit the location). It can be done, but it's something I'll do after my historicals.
What Dark Soul has definitely done was to create a desperate need for me to write more gay mafia stories (hell, I'd READ them, but they don't seem to exist!). And the fact that I'm feeding that urge with watching The Godfather I and II (and, wow, was Robert de Niro hot as Vito Corleone!), and there's Godfather III and Goodfellas on the list next. Mafia stories have a lot of things I like - power play, guns (well, danger, I like danger), social pressure, and so much happens between the lines. A nod, a silence, can mean so much in that world, and it's daunting to show those layers in a way that readers "get it". Some might not, but that's OK. So, yeah, there's the possibility for more. I'm especially tempted by the potential between a boss and a consigliere, but I'd have to build a whole familiglia, and for that I need more research. Taking this stuff from - highly inaccurate - movies won't work. So, there's another pile of research, and right now, that's a touch more than I have time for.
Speaking of historicals - I'm going to free Solange from Special Forces and put her into my WWII novel. I's just a supporting role, but I love that woman and think she'd make a fine addition. In my head, I'm sometimes a director and I like casting and re-casting my favourites. There are only very thin walls between stories in my head. Some are closer than others. Silvio is a character who effortlessly skips across genres and story lines, and he'll get a lot more play, but right now, I'm attempting to fall into that place in 1942, and I'm taking Solange with me.
In any case, I'll try to do some writing on the space opera and then do some plotting/outlining work on my historical novel today. After we've been out to hunt some breakfast, that is.