Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

New Trials of Card Captor Sakura: Christmas Omake by ~wishluv on deviantART

Wow, time is relative but this year has gone by in a flash. I haven't updated in a long time as well. I absolutely love writing Christmas specials, but I wasn't able to this year. Sadly enough, not a whole lot of time has passed since Christmas (Chapter 64: A Christmas Miracle) in the New Trials universe.

I don't think I'll finish the next two chapters for 2012, unfortunately. (I'm working on Chapter 69 and 70 simultaneously at the moment). They just are not chapters befitting for holiday season, in my opinion. And I am suffering from a minor writer's block, but more of I write at work so I cannot look at any more words when I get home syndrome.

I think this is my first time drawing a Christmas 4-koma omake. This is a season I've been wanting to draw since I wrote it, so I'm glad I finally got to do it. Yes, Syaoran in Chapter 15 of New Trials is running off the scene with beat-red face, but I wanted to draw a cooler version of him. I'll post a full-version of the picture, which truthfully I was trying to post on Christmas, but I didn't quite finish the background in time.

I haven't been able to get much into the Christmas spirit this year (I'm working on Christmas Day), but I am one of those odd soles that celebrates Christmas and listens to carols in July then come holiday season feel rather Scrooge-ish. I just love Christmas and carols, just not in the winter time.

My favorite Christmas songs differ from year to year, but those ones I loved as a child always will stick in my heart.

We sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for choir in elementary school, and I think I was moved by the lyrics, at that age, so it will always stick in my heart, which is why I featured it in Chapter 15: Hang a Shining Star, where it gets the title from the lyrics. Bette Midler maybe best summarizes what I feel about the song: "'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' manages to be happy and sad at the same time, hopeful but full of melancholy, as all the best Christmas songs are."

What are your favorite Christmas carols?

The Carpenters - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2012!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!!!

Lady Sakura and Lord Syaoran by ~wishluv on deviantART

Octobers tend to be very hectic, and I've been so busy this month. So when I tuned back in and found out all the lovely fanarts/fanfics/etc. projects that readers have posted up at the New Trials Facebook group for my birthday/Halloween I was beyond delighted, inspired, touched and moved... And thanks Amethyst Beloved for coordinating everything. Tears.... Honorable mention goes to Bubulona's Legacy of the Five Forces fanfic. As I mentioned before, I would love to have more time to work on the Legacy arc but New Trials is a priority, and it was such a pleasant surprise to read about the Great Five (since they are OCs after all). But I have not seen so much CCS+New Trials fanart in one Halloween in a long time and check them out~ Or go to the New Trials Fan Projects page: http://thedarkforceguide.weebly.com/

I was feeling rather glum at the prospect of aging another year. Earlier this month, I had the strangest dream. In my dream, I looked down at my left leg, and there was what looked like a tattoo of a huge clock appear. But it wasn't a tattoo but sort of glowing in my skin. I remember it vividly-it was shades of gold with blue accents. I woke up thinking how can a dream be any more blatant. Ah, fleeting time.

I'm working on Chapter 69 and 70 simultaneously at the moment. Each chapter gets harder for me to write as the end draws nearer. It's sad that having a writing job makes it harder for me to spend any time doing creative writing. I think these chapters might be the most challenging to write so far, but I am glad New Trials took so long because I feel ready to tackle the finale.

Overall, it's been a really tough several months for me because of real life factors but today, I am all but filled with gratefulness, awe and wonder at everyone's talents. I thought turning another year older was a gloomy prospect in a sense (stigma of women and their roles in society) but then again, today, I am again filled with the wide-eyed sense of inspiration, aspiration and appreciation for the lovely community that my favorite hobby, writing, has brought me to.

Happy Halloween 2012!!!

 Thinking what was a good Halloween song, and decided on Loreena McKennitt's Mummer's Dance, an old-time favorite since Ever After. It was on my randomly playlist when drawing the Victorian Sakura and Syaoran fanart.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy 13th New Trials Anniversary!

Sakura and Syaoran: Till the Sunrise by ~wishluv on deviantART

Being 13 years old, I don't really think I would have envisioned writing this Card Captor Sakura fanfiction 13 years later. So, I don't recall when I really started writing New Trials. All I remember is that it was around fall 1999. That seems so long ago, now. Luckily, years later fans have designated September 1 as the International New Trials Day, and it seems befitting. I am lucky in the fandom I chose because Card Captor Sakura (1996-2000) till this day remains a hugely popular CLAMP work and has had enduring power as a shoujo anime and manga franchise. Firstly, I think CCS is probably one of the best mahou shoujo anime and manga of the last decade and a half, and secondly, CLAMP revisiting the characters of Sakura and Syaoran et. al. in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles (2003-2009) also helped revive interest in CCS and make it relevant today to a wide group of fans of all ages, male and female and all over the world. It's been three years since TRC ended already--makes me think it's about time for CLAMP to reboot the franchise one more time.

But in the meantime, New Trials has endured all these years. I wish I can have the new chapter ready, but as you all know, I do tend to go MIA when real life takes over. I haven't had a day off in over a year now. Ah, Asian work ethics. Sometimes I miss being a student. Anyhow, the several past months have been hectic. I'm working in journalism at the moment, so I have crazy hours, and I do radio broadcast early in the morning as well. Recently, my mom broke her leg, so I've been staying at the hospital--actually writing this post at the hospital. Just a warning, be careful of rain.

These days, I've been itching to draw since I couldn't for several months. My middle finger that I strained still is stiff and hurts sometimes; I think I overuse it. But it was fun doing none chibi-artwork for a change. I really wanted to draw scenes from Chapter 4: The Camping Trip since I wrote it, and I've been sketching out the scene. So, I finally wanted for the 13th anniverary of New Trials to revisit good old Arc 1 days. 

I also posted up the newly edited and annotated versions of New Trials of CCS Prologue to Chapter 4. I was tempted to do a whole lot of rewriting, but I thought for nostalgia's sake, I would keep editing to a bare minimal, just fixing up typos and grammar mistakes here and there, along with just a few factual consistancy changes.

You can find the newly edited chapters here:
Chapter 1: The New Beginning
Chapter 2: The Mysterious Past
Chapter 3: Of Ghosts, Statutes and Quarrrels
Chapter 4: The Camping Trip

The annotations say August 2012, but these five chapters were edited in October 2010, probably right after the shock when revolutionhosing.net went down. So, in case you're all wondering why I'm editing old chapters when I haven't even finished writing Chapter 69, then it's because these edits have already been done, and I've been just too lazy to upload the edits. As for the progress of Arc 4, there's probably around five chapters left, maybe more. When I draw or write side chapters, it's usually when I have a writer's block, but these days, it's because my day job is writing, so I just down have energy to write anymore at home. 

I haven't been able to check my email or really respond to much anything this couple months, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up come fall. (Stupid heat wave this summer which made my brain melt). Seriously, I worry about global climate change but even more about my inability to piece together coherent thoughts when  hot.

This is a meaningful anniversary because it marks that I've been writing the New Trials of Card Captor Sakura for half my life now. It's sort of a sombering knowledge.

It's an awful long time to spend on one fanfiction. But writing this makes me happy, and hopefully it makes others happy or entertained as well, so that's why I keep doing it.

Happy International New Trials Day 2013!

I am always shocked, amazed and delighted by the wonderful creativity that New Trials has spurred, which can be seen collectively here: http://newtrialsfanprojects.weebly.com/updates.html many thanks to the amazingly organized Amethyst Beloved. 

Thank you so much for giving this little big fanwork so much love and support for 13 years! 

Lots of dialogue happening at the New Trials Facebook page these days so check it out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Trials Wiki and Dark Force Files

The Explosive by ~AmethystBeloved on deviantART
It's the end of cherry blossom season where I live, and I was walking along when the wind blew and all the pink petals showered down. It almost made me feel like I was in a shoujo anime. But all the petals on the ground made me feel a little sad at how short-lived the blossoms were. When I got into the office, I found a little pink-white petal had stuck to my sleeve, and it was so pretty I left it on my desk. Some hours later, it turned a putrid brown, and I thought what a pity.

So, I've been feeling very irritated lately because of my right middle finger troubles. I mean, I've had a cast on my leg before and lost my voice for like three months last year, but I didn't mind. I'm sort of a very anti-dramatic person IRL, almost to the point of emotional detachment. But the fact I can't bend my finger properly really irks me. Especially because it prevents me from doing properly two things I like: drawing and writing. Properly is the key word here. I still manage. Well, maybe it's punishment for torturing Syaoran so much

But New Trials cheers me up. So, how amazing is Amethyst Beloved? She compiled a Dark Force File, complete with battle costumes. It makes me wonder, "Where have you been all my life?" Yes, it's going to be a dream-come-true for me especially when I go back to edit chapters in the near future. Kirei Blossom neatly compiled the list of cards over the arcs as well, and now, we even have all the details! You know I used to be too over-confident and kept the whole plotline of New Trials in my head, but starting from latter Arc 3 I began to jot down notes. Since Arc 4, I actually had a rudimentary outline of chapters and tentative titles for remaining chapters.

And a New Trials Wiki is being compiled by Kris and Amethyst if you are interested in contributing. It's something I've been really really wanting to do if I ever got time, so I'm very grateful that it's gotten started. I would love to contribute in any way I can, so shoot me an email or leave a post if there's anything I can do to help out. ie. original character birthdays, etc.

Check out Winxc1ub's awesome Duradura Ending theme parody using New Trials characters. I haven't watched the anime, but I saw the Duradura Trust Me ending theme meme on youtube some time ago, and thought it was fun. My favorite part is Nadeshiko and Ryuuren. ^^

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Trials Chapter 68 Fanwork Spotlight

Happy Friday the 13th. First off, I posted on deviantart a rough concept art for New Trials of Card Captor Sakura Chapter 68: Regeneration. I normally do not post doodles, but sadly I don't think I'll be able to actually ink this sketch till my finger gets better, hence, I'm posting it up. I sketched it on a crowded subway on my lap, without support, hence the messiness. Upon Amethyst Beloved's request, I also posted up a HQ version of the entire cast of New Trials (not really, but closest to it you'll see in one picture). It's more of a collage of old and new artwork, some incomplete. I actually like Chang Ruichi and Risa the best in it, but they're not really completed. The picture was used in the pan-up sequence in the New Trials Ending Theme 4 I made to Maaya Sakamoto's Koucha.

Kris from the New Trials Yahoo Group did an awesome video review on Youtube on Chapter 68. Warning, it has spoilers! 

My favorite part of Kris' review is his Asuma and Leiyun's Anyhow, Kris is so very articulate and has a great sense of humor, I feel like I'm listening to a pro film critic or something. Anyhow, if you're feeling to lazy to read the chapter or forgot what happened, Kris does an excellent job summarizing what happens, and it's so fun hearing a reader's POV on the various events. So, may I say, I think this review does a better job of relaying Chapter 68 than the actual chapter. I loved it when he recaps the Magnet scene. Oh, poor Syaoran.

While you're waiting for Chapter 69, please do check out other fanworks. The talented and beautiful Melenie Mackey from the Yahoo Group (the Malanie who appears as a model in Chapter 63) wrote a HILARIOUS New Trials side fanfic "The Gang Plays Love Truth Game." 

Of course Eriol would wear Armani. And I suddenly began to wildly imagine what could be on the Hiiragizawa Eriol Blackmail Diaries. Oh ho ho ho... Anyhow, loved all the Tomoyo x Eriol interactions and also seeing Leiyun in somewhat of a regular setting. ^^

Then, there is the great Kirei Blossom's Tomoyo Video Diaries, New Trials Edition: The Sniffing Chronicles. I cracked up so much... Poor Eron-kun. So, I've always told Kirei-chan if something ever happens to me, I'll let her finish New Trials.

You know, I never realized how popular the Li Syaoran Blackmail Diaries would be. It makes me wonder, what will be on it. Any ideas? Syaoran wearing teddy-bear print boxers? Syaoran tying a frayed green ribbon around his hair, Eron-style. Syaoran folding Sakura's underwear, only trying to be helpful? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kaitou Magician Origins Chapter 5 Up!

I never thought that I would be able to say this... But I've caught up on months and months worth of backlogged emails. If by any chance you have emailed me in the past several months, and you have not received a response, please do shoot me another email and let me know. Hotmail might have simply gobbled it up as junk mail and I might not have received it. 

Reading my inbox made me very very happy and very very guilty at the same time. It's so horrible, I feel like a wretched person reading everyone's lovely emails and then taking so long to respond. But I do respond eventually. 

And when I'm bad, I'm really bad. But when I'm good, I'm really good (about updates I mean). So, Chapter 5 of the New Trials Special: Kaitou Magician Origins is up. It's not an eventful chapter but it should provide a lot of back information. New fanart of Kai and Kara when they were young is also up at deviantart. It's an old artwork/ doodle.

So, I'm officially "Nine-Finger Wish." How's that for a pirate name, aye? I finally went to the doctor because I got scared from everybody's warnings. The first doctor I went to at a general clinic looked at my middle finger and said that it looked like it was broken and that I might need to have a surgery and put a wire in it and won't be able to use it for eight weeks. Seriously, I kind of felt faint when I heard that. I value my hands a lot. So I went to an orthopedist who took an x-ray. As I thought, it was a stretched ligament, and there's nothing to do about it. Did some rehab and got asked what I've been doing for the past month. I'm trying to type with nine fingers these days though. Sigh. 

The Goo Goo Dolls' Iris from the City of Angels OST is one of my most favorite songs ever. There are just some songs that reach the soul, and this is one of those timeless songs. This live version of the song just sends shivers down my spine because the pouring rain just makes it all the more epic and unrepeatable. I listed before in the "New Trials OST" list that Iris would be Kai's theme song. (And Syaoran's too, but more Kai's). The lyrics really are resonant with Kai. It's kind of what the whole Kaitou Magician Origins story is about too. "I just want you to know who I really am." I hope Johnny Rzeznik doesn't strain his voice and continues to sing the song with the original chords instead of the modified version so I can hear the song live in concert live someday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Trials Fanwork Updates!

I feel like fanfiction writing in itself is sort of a testimony of how much you love the original work. As I began writing New Trials in 1999, it was because I: a. loved Card Captor Sakura and b. was frustrated at that time because I felt like I wanted a continuation of Sakura's story and was bubbling with many ideas. No, the anime and manga weren't even finished then, and I was craving for more CCS.

But I'm so grateful for the love that New Trials has received, and I am so distracted by how organized/ talented/ imaginative readers have been. Amethyst Beloved has been very hard at work over the past few months, updating New Trials on fanfiction.net. Can't you tell that there's a marked different when I'm trying to run it and when she is? Lol. It's so good to have her back. I used to feel an empty hole when she went missing for some years. ^^

I was sort of lost in time looking through the New Trials Picture Book she has put together. It made me so nostalgic seeing all the fanart organized by arcs, really like seeing a visual representation of NT. And I love how Amethyst has tracked down all the old artwork too that might have been lost. I feel like readers have also sent me a lot of fanart over the years. Stupid hotmail that deleted them all and stupid old computer that crashed. I got lost in an afternoon looking at old and new artwork and feeling nostalgic. Do check out the New Trials Manga if you haven't already by Asocialcat. 

And do join the newest New Trials DevianArt Group set up by the talented WinxC1ub.

Kris from the Yahoo Group also made a video review on Youtube. It's my first video review ever, and it makes me feel so excited to see a reader almost face to face. Kind of. ^^; 

So I'm always thankful to all you who kept supporting this scatterbrained, procrastinating author who dared to drag on a fanfiction longer than the actual work itself. I think it's also a testament to the longevity of Card Captor Sakura's popularity 14 years since it ended, as CCS consistently makes it to top anime lists even nowadays.

I have come to the sobering conclusion that I am mind-numbingly digitally challenged. Hotmail: 277 unread mails though half are ff.net alerts and another quarter junk mail probably. Gmail: 1,288 unread mail. All junk I think. Work mail: account full. How can they give me only 300 MBs? Laptop: 5GBs left. When did I use up 300 GBs and two portable drives? In case anyone's wondering why I'm such a horrible correspondent nowadays, it's because I just can't keep up. And I still don't get Twitter. But I do love get reviews via old fashioned email though. As I always mention, though I don't respond right away in the middle of writing a chapter, it could be YOUR email which makes me suddenly whirlwind through a writer's block to finish up a long-overdue chapter.

And always thanks to http://www.robswebsites.com for the free web space.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Edited Chapter 68: Regeneration up!!!

So, I finally finished editing (let me rephrase myself, got sick of editing and gave up) Chapter 68, so I'm making an official post now. Mesel Tzegai from the Yahoo Group even pointed out a huge loophole, so I had to go back and fix up the last third of the chapter a little bit. But surprisingly, it wasn't a huge change, and I'm not sure if those who read the earlier version will be able to pinpoint the changes I made. But either way, I had to incorporate elements of the next chapter into this chapter. Which actually were initially elements of Chapter 68 that got pushed back because it was a. getting too long b. I was in a hurry to finish the chapter. 

Anyway, I'm never going to post a draft again. Go ahead and check out the updated The New Trials of Card Captor Sakura Chapter 68: Regeneration.

If  you already read it and don't want to reread it, there are very minor changes in the first half of the story, and I would recommend just rereading the last third of the chapter from Tokyo Tower scene onward. The ending got extended slightly because I felt bad about the cliffhanger. Though I'm not sure if the new end is any better than the previous cliffhanger. 

I mentioned this in the Yahoo Group, but late February, I was texting while walking up stairs outdoors and tripped over in front of my coworkers. I somehow jammed my middle finger but saved my phone. Either way, it's been swollen and hurting for over a month now. It gets better and then I keep using it and it get swollen again. But because my job is comprised of typing all day long, it doesn't get better. And the worst part is, I want to show it to people but end up just cussing at them all. Sigh.

Warning of the day: Do NOT text and walk at the same time!

All fans of Disney and Madhouse must see this:

Is it random? Nope. Because we all know I love Disney. Let me rephrase myself. I love old-school Disney and their classic 2-D animation. I had stint teaching kindergartners for a while (no, I was not copying Kobato), and they came in class all Pixar and Power Rangers loving. They graduated Disney-converts. I made them watch Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc. etc. Even though majority of the kids were boys. Funniest thing. On Halloween, every single one of my girls came dressed as a Disney princess. Lol. And it puzzled me. Many of my kids said they like Beauty and the Beast the best (obviously my favorite Disney movie). But I sort of grew into liking it as I got older. When I was a kid, I probably liked Little Mermaid or Cinderella. My kids liked it so much that even after I moved jobs and went back to visit them, they were still watching B & the B.  I was like, "Don't you guys have any other movies?" New teacher: "Nah, they like Beauty and the Beast."

I got sidetracked. The commercial is animated by Madhouse, yes, the Madhouse that animated CCS. You just don't see that caliber animation in the States anymore. Though I welcome you to prove me wrong, Disney. Maybe because of that common factor, this commercial made me feel "hanyaan." And a little teary.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Sakura 2012!

Today is CLAMP Day. ^^

I'm not very good at April Fool's Day jokes. I don't think I've ever done one properly for the past decade.

So a couple hours, I post: Anyway, believe it or not, Chapter: 68: Regeneration is finally up!

Just kidding!

No, actually, it really is. It's not edited though. I've never really posted an unedited chapter before, but I didn't want to break another deadline. And it's Sakura's birthday. ^^ Thanks for the patience. This chapter's dedicated to Amethyst Beloved.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sakura and Syaoran Valentine's Day by ~wishluv on deviantART
This has been a pretty sad year for New Trials updates when I intended it to be an awesome year. But I hope the long-awaited Chapter Next chapter SPOILERS Chapter 68: Regeneration promises action, Tomoyo versus Leiyun confrontation, perhaps a little romance and maybe a wedding. Or I might be lying and it'll just be more angst. Lol. It's 80 percent done, but I've been writing at a rate of a paragraph a week the past half year. Sigh. But I've written out parts of the ending three years ago if that's any solace.

While waiting for the next chapter, you can reread the New Trial's Valentine's Day Chapter 67.5 and check out Hazuki Goldair's awesome song Syaoran the Waiter Boy again in the spirit of Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day 2012

And a beautiful song by Damien Rice, "Cannonball," for those of you who feel mellow on V-Day.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

It's already 2012. Time flies by so quickly that it frightens me. This year has been a busy year, very work-focused. Truthfully, it wasn't the best year at all, and I spent a good portion of it with a horrible cold, but that's that. This coming year is the "Year of the Black Dragon."

I was very excited when I heard that CLAMP designed a wedding dress for the Tokyo Bridal Collection, unveiled Christmas Eve. I think it fits the Card Captor Sakura image very well, though I had envisioned something a bit more elaborate, but I think it's just given that paper does not always translate well to real life. I prefer it modeled than on display. I wish I can see a close up of CLAMP's new CCS artwork.

Anyhow, when I heard about CLAMP designing the wedding dress, I couldn't help thinking CLAMP and I are in sync. It'll make more sense with Chapter 68 of New Trials. As for any New Year's resolution? Finish the new chapters of New Trials of Card Captor Sakura in a timely manner. In fact, the immediate goal: finish Chapter 68. It' getting there!

Happy New Year 2012!!!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs from Kokia, Time to Say Goodbye. It has that bittersweet tone befitting the end of one year and starting a new one. 

See lyrics here.