An odd thing just happened. It's an event that's happened before, but not often, and not usually on such good terms.
A bit of background: there have been three projects I've ghostwritten where the rights reverted back to me. Generally speaking, contracts are ironclad things where, the second I'm paid for my work, the rights are assigned to the client, and I'm not even allowed to talk about the book from then on. If you see me recommending a book, you can be 100% certain I didn't ghostwrite it :)
But sometimes (three times, to be exact) the client fails to pay for the work, and we enter into this weird period where I offer (completely unnecessarily, I should add) to give them a few extra weeks to get the funds together. If, after that time, they just don't have the money (or at least a hefty down payment), as per the contract, the rights to the book revert to me — even if I was working from an outline.
The three projects I've reclaimed have each gone on to different fates. One, I didn't much like the concept to, so I shelved it. In the second case, the client actually came back three months later and paid me in full, and so amended the contract and they were on their way with no hard feelings. The third guy decided to pick a fight with me after evidently lying about his financial resources, so I packaged the book myself and put it up for sale (under a pseudonym) on KDP, and have very nearly made back my fee on it (despite zero marketing whatsoever).
But now we have a fourth project, and this one is a very different beast. The client, you see, hired me to write a series of romance novels with a frankly awesome hook. I did two of them, and she trialled one online, and then got — for lack of a better word — spooked. It's an oddly intimidating thing, putting your name to a romance novel — even if it's just a pen name. People judge you for romance in ways they wouldn't if you were writing sadistic horror books. The fear of being found out made her ask me if I'd take the books back.
(I should say the client is OK with my writing about this here.)
So here's the predicament: If I do take the books back, what will I do with them? They are very much not in my usual wheelhouse (under my own-name books, that is) so there'd be a certain WTF quality if I were to add them to my collection. But creating an entire persona to own and promote these titles — and I am absolutely writing more in the series, no matter what — would take a lot more brainpower than I have at the moment.
So that's where I stand. No nearer to an answer, but in a very unexpected spot all the same.
More on this as it develops (and/or nothing more on this as it doesn't develop).