Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017!

Syaoran puts his coat on Sakura
by wishluv on DeviantArt

This is the longest period of time I have gone without drawing anything--it's not just that I haven't been posting artwork on devianart, but I haven't been drawing straight out. I'm not sure why. My fingers hurt from using my tablet drawing this picture--I guess my finger muscles haven't been used in a long time. I'd forgotten that both Sakura and Syaoran's hairstyles are a pain to draw and color. But I drew young Sakura and Syaoran for the first time in a long time to celebrate Card Captor Sakura Clear Card Arc anime airing on Jan. 7 2018--which is next week! I've actually held off on watching all of the previews and the later manga chapters, but I might give in and watch the previews next week. I don't know how I feel about this fanart, actually. I actually haven't come to terms with the time warp in Clear Card Arc, where Sakura and Syaoran are younger than when we left off with them at the end of the original CCS manga. I know it's clearly for merchandising/brand issues, since a younger Sakura is iconic and adorable, and I'm okay with that, but in my head, sometimes I can't help just think of Clear Card Arc as another alternate reality where Syaoran returns to Japan in just one year (as opposed to the original ending in the manga, where Syaoran appears to be around 14 years old, which I deduced from their designs being comparable to the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles counterparts). I'm fine either way though, I'll take more CCS in any form I can get it. I actually like the new character design for Touya an Yukito better, but I prefer Syaoran's original design where he was less shouta-fied and more angular. Which is why my fanart is a hodgepodge of designs and something seems off in my mind. 

I was actually planning on releasing Chapter 73.5 Part A for Christmas, but all of you know, my self-imposed deadlines are just my fanciful thinking. I guess the good news is, Chapter 73.5 Part A is nearly done? All of you guys know by now that a chapter being done to the chapter getting edited and released can face delay, but I've feeling back in the New Trials groove these days. Darn it, I was supposed to have finished New Trials before Clear Card Arc anime aired, so I could just focus on watching it undisturbed. Knowing CLAMP, they'll probably spend another five years finishing the manga and the anime probably will get rebooted in another 10 years! I really wish I can finish New Trials in 2018 (even if I do finish it, there are a whole bunch of side stories that I would like to complete as well, such as Kaitou Magician origins and the Legacy of the Five Forces.)

I feel like I'm always a date late but nonetheless, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

I've shared this song before, but there is quite no song like "Itsuka no Merry Christmas" by B'z, my favorite J-Rock band ever, during this time of the year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Posted New Trials Chapter 72 and 73 at wishluv.com

It's been a long time since I updated by website at http://wishluv.com/newtrials.htm

But at the end of the day, I really don't feel like I completed a chapter until it is up on my website. Traditionally, I would post chapters up on my website first and then Amethyst Beloved (and Digidynasty before her) would post it up on fanfiction.net. In more recent years, I've taken to posting chapter on ff.net first, first because of the server change scare, then later because I realized that it serves as a convenient notification system to readers. That, and also, it's interesting to monitoring stats and traffic on ff.net as a gauge of how many people do access a new chapter. For example, I thought it's amazing that New Trials had over 4,500 views, of which 1,700 were unique views in the month of November, during which I finally posted Chapter 73 Part II. 

However, ff.net messes up the paragraph spacing, and you can't use asterisks, my favorite form of scene breaks, and at the end of day, makes chapters look very ugly, so I do prefer most posting up on my website, kindly hosting by Robert Arrowsmith. I further realized it's much easier to upload onto my website server, after logging in following a very long time.

Check out the newest chapters as they should be seen, with a few minor typos corrected: Chapter 72: Almost Left Behind and Chapter 73: The Other Side of Midnight. I also added the author's note for Chapter 72, which wasn't posted up on ff.net. 

I also posted up a Li Clan Hierarchy Version Three (spoilers for beyond Chapter 72 for readers' convenience, since it might be confusing to keep track of all the Lis running about. It also includes key Wu Clan and Tang Clan members.

Furthermore, I went through Arcs 3 and 4 and reuploaded chapters that had broken characters in them. Sorry it took so long to get to them, but I figured you guys noticed that my old website at http://wishluv.revolutionhosting.net/newtrials.htm is still up and running, so you could have accessed the original chapters without the broken characters there, thusI didn't really prioritize fixing the chapters. They seem to have occurred during the server shift, which Robert so kindly transferred all the files for me, hence I'm not even sure what went wrong. I've also gone ahead and updated any weird line spacing or fonts as well, and changed all the old spelling of Meilin's name, Meirin, to Meilin in Arc 3. I switched somewhere in the middle of Arc 3, so I just wanted to make it consistent--I still have to go back to Arcs 1 and 2 someday to update it. If you still find any wonky characters in chapters, leave a message below or email me at hopeluvpeace@hotmail.com and let me know!

Also, check out Amethyst Beloved's New Trials Revisited blog in a reread experience, and also to enjoy old fanarts. I'm having a fun time reading through the posts now that I'm finally finished with Chapter 73--which might be one of the longest if not longest chapter to date for some reason with over 110,000 words. New Trials will definitely break the 2 million word mark by Chapter 74. Length does not necessarily equate to quality, and it's not like I intended to write such a long fanfiction for so long, but since we (yes, all the readers) stuck by this story for so many years, we might as well break some records.

I'm also amazed at all the amazing fanart that readers have continued to share over the years. This one of Tomoyo and Leiyun from Chapter 73 by Kristina Rondilla looks like it can be straight out of an anime, and there's many wonderful artwork being shared, and I love it!   

Lastly, if you have read the ending notes to that chapter, and I hope you do, it was dedicated to a beloved reader, Kelly Wallace, who has unfortunately passed, but my prayer and thoughts are always with her, and for her family. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Trials Chapter 73 Part 2 Updated on ff.net

Sorry, did I say in my last post Part 2 would take two weeks? I meant actually two months. At the end of Chapter 73, in my author's note, I do include a lengthy long-winding existential non-excuse. In other words, I have been working consecutive six-day weeks, sometimes seven days, this month for some reason, and I don't think my schedule is going to let up much through December, atop year-end obligations. I do love the time I do get to spend writing New Trials though, that hasn't changed in all 18 years of writing it, and I am eager to be working on new material (well, actually, when I got tired or revisions to Chapter 73, I was writing the special chapter.)

I don't I don't want to give away any spoilers, but those of you who have read Chapter 73 Part 1 may have to go back for a reread (probably necessary anyway because it's been so long since my last update) because I added back in a scene that I cut during my revision process initially to include as a flashback in Part 2. If you are too lazy to read the whole thing over again CRT+F "Wednesday," it's the scene between Tomoyo, Leiyun and Eriol that some of you were curious about and noticed was missing. I also updated a few typos pointed out by the hawk-eyed Amethyst Beloved, much thanks to her.

I planned to update this chapter for Halloween, since I think it's appropriate for Halloween, but at least you can use Thanksgiving break, those of you living in the United States. Nope, no holiday for me though.

Please check out New Trials Chapter 73: The Other Side of Midnight Part 2 over at fanfiction.net.

I can't get over how ugly my chapters looks on ff.net though. And I can't tell if that site is awfully slow, or if it's just my computer. Hopefully I get to actually update my website at wishluv.com. I'm actually a little bit scared to try to log in again.

Music spotlight:

Maaya Sakamoto's "Saigo no Kajitsu" is my favorite theme song from the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle franchise, and was the ED them to Tokyo Revelations. I'm so excited for a new Maaya song for the OP them of CCS Clear Card Arc (which I totally called), but I am a bit bummed it's not another Yoko Kanno collab.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy International New Trials Day (Belated) and Chapter 73 Part 1 UDPATED!!!

First off, belated Happy International New Trials Day! And also I feel so bad for missing Sakura's birthday on April 1 and Syaoran's birthday on July 13. It's not that I did not forget them, but rather, I felt so guilty for not having the latest chapter up and ready, so I've banned myself from doing anything else but work on the chapter, including communicating with all of you here and via FB and Yahoo Group. Self-imposed punishment that no one wants, including myself. Without further ado, New Trials of Card Captor Sakura Chapter 73: The Other Side of Midnight Part 1 is up on ff.net. 

Now, for the usual apologies and updates on what I've been up to. Truthfully speaking, Part 1 of Chapter 73 has been pretty much ready to go since Sakura's birthday, but there was an aspect of Part 2 that I have not been completely satisfied with. But I think I've sorted out the kinks finally. I think if it was an earlier on arc, I would have just went with it, but as you know, New Trials is coming to an end, and the closer we get to the finale, the higher standards I have for myself, and the harder it's become to publish chapters, especially because I am writing ahead as well. It's not that I have neglected New Trials, but rather, when I am home at night after work, I always have my New Trials Word document open on the background, every single day probably, though some days I am more productive than others. But I don't want to bore you with all the excuses, but I want to thank all of you for being so patient from the bottom of my heart.

In my head, I have a timeline (which I probably never keep), but I expect Chapter 73 Part 2 to be up within one or two weeks, catch up with correspondence this month, and also update my website wishluv.com page finally with Chapter 72 and 73, so that it would be easier to read by next month. 

Thank you always for supporting New Trials! Really, I think without everyone's encouragement, I would not have been able to celebrate the 18th of New Trials, and over 20 years of Card Captor Sakura. I guess thanks for CLAMP for sticking with Sakura and Syaoran so long, and keeping the franchise up and vibrant, especially now with the Clear Card Arc!

Music Spotlight:

Family of the Year - "Hero"

This is a song I listen to a lot when I write Leiyun scenes, and I think it is an appropriate theme song for him. And below is Yo Yo Ma's performance of Paganini's Caprice No. 24, which would make sense if you've read the chapter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day 2017!!!

Happy Valentine's Day 2017 Sakura and Syaoran by wishluv on DeviantArt

Happy Valentine's Day 2017! I drew this sketch last year, and wasn't going to color it but ended up doing so anyway. 

Music Spotlight: Ayaka Hirahara's "Not a Love Song"

I've raved about Ayaka Hirahara a lot on this blog. This song in particular has been on my playlist frequently over the past several months. Befitting for Valentine's Day, no? 

Highlight for spoilers from Chapter 73:

It had been her mother who first broke the news to her. Her father was dead. Li Ryuuren, the Chosen of the Li Clan, had died during a mission. He had just been 30 years old. Her father who wielded the jian better than anyone she knew, who had promised to teach her how to summon a dragon some day, her father who was rarely home but always brought home a little trinket for her from his travels. Her father who played the violin for her and her cousins in the parlor.

Her father would never come pat her on her head and smile down, with his brilliant blue eyes, the shade of the Hong Kong oceans on a sunny day. They said she had her father’s eyes, but hers were not as deep a blue as his were. He was never coming back anymore.

Fuutie learned the news of his death before her four younger siblings, because she was the eldest. Syaoran was only three, so he didn’t really understand what was going on. It was the first and last time she had seen her mother shed tears. Her younger sisters clung to her skirt, crying, asking where their father was. But she was the oldest. Even though she was only 10. Even though she was just a child herself. She had to be strong for their sake. She couldn’t show weakness. And she didn’t.

If only they didn’t hold the funeral, she could have pretended he was gone on another long mission, that he will come back home someday. But they held a wake and a long, grand funeral procession, befitting for the Chosen One of the Li Clan, and they buried an empty casket in the soil. She knew it was empty because Cousin Dairen said so—he had heard directly from his father, Elder Daifu. Where had he gone to, and why hadn’t he come back? How did he die? Nobody had any answers to these questions.

Fuutie did not go to school that day. She did not want to face the politely sympathetic teachers and classmates and try to pretend everything was okay. Instead, she took out a wad of cash she had saved up, packed extra food into her backpack, and ran away from home for the first time in her life. She took the subway on her own for the first time. And she went to the seaside. Her father sometimes wanted to get away from the chaos of the Li Clan, and he liked to come to this beach. Sometimes, he brought her along. Because she was special. She was his firstborn. But she would never have a getaway with him anymore. She kicked off her shoes and peeled off her knee socks so that she could feel the sand between her toes. She walked closer to the water, till she could feel the waves splatter against her toes. She walked deeper into the water, till it reached her calves, then her thighs, the waist. The water was icy cold, but she didn’t care. They sky was overcast and the water was a murky gray-blue.

“Father!” she cried out. “Father! Where are you?” Her voice echoed out across the vast ocean but there was no answer. “Don’t leave me! Daddy!” She didn’t realize how deep she had walked into the ocean, and the water reached nearly to her chin. The wave was coarser, and she nearly lost footing. Her school uniform was completely drenched. But she did not care—it was a relief to be out here, alone, away from her sobbing sisters, from her mother who had a permanent line down the center of her forehead, from Uncle Wutai who was smirking throughout the funeral, from Leiyun who looked as if the world had shattered, when it wasn’t even his father who had died. 

And she did not see him at first. A boy in a high school uniform had waded up into the ocean. All she knew was that a strong pair of arms grabbed her from behind her. And she struggled out of basic instinct. “Let me go!” she shrieked. “Let go of me.” She tried to kick him. But he wouldn’t let her go.

He shouted at her, gripping her tighter, “You can’t die! You stupid girl. You’re so young, and trying to do something this foolish. Do you know how precious life is? Treasure it more!”

She stopped struggling against his hold, and cranked her head to catch a glimpse of the idiot who thought she was trying to kill herself. He was tall, with shortly cropped wheat-colored hair, and an intimidating visage. She might have mistaken him for one of the local hooligans, but she recognized his uniform as that of a high school that some of her older cousins went to. And his eyes, under slanted brown browns, were a clear barley color, full of concern despite his course language. She was about to retort that she was not in the midst of attempting suicide, but the next wave was high, and would have engulfed her if she wasn’t lifted up over his shoulder, easily, with one arm, and dragged out of the ocean.

“What are you doing, you hooligan?” she demanded, pounding her fists into his back, her legs kicking out wildly.

He dumped her on the sand unceremoniously and said, “Good. Seeing from the power behind your punches, it seems you have plenty of fire left in you yet. That should be enough to keep you wanting to live on.”

With a scowl, Fuutie tried to strain the water from her pleated skirt and straightened her blouse. “I wasn’t trying to kill myself!”

“Then what were you doing in the middle of the ocean, with the water to you chin, with a storm brewing out there?” demanded the high school boy. He too was drenched from head to toe, and had not even bothered to take his shoes off.

“I was just trying to mourn in peace!” retorted Fuutie, glaring up at him.

“For whom, may I ask?” he asked, in a softer tone.

“My father,” said Fuutie.

“I see. Couldn’t you mourn on land?” His eyes were sympathetic—but not condescendingly so— and she found she didn’t mind sympathy from this person.

“I can’t cry in front of my younger siblings—I have to be strong. I promised Father I would take care of the family. Because I’m the oldest,” said Fuutie, her throat closing up. She was shivering now from the cold. “But the ocean doesn’t care if I cry. The ocean will not judge me. The waves cover up the sound.”

The older boy knelt down in front of her and wiped the tear streaming down her eyes with his bare hand. “I would lend you a handkerchief, but a hooligan like me doesn’t carry around handkerchiefs. And even if I did, it would be wet.”

“I’m not crying,” said Fuutie, sniffling, wishing the high schooler would just leave her alone.

He blinked those pale brown eyes and asked her solemnly. “So, what is saltier? The ocean or your tears?”

The ridiculousness of the question nearly made her laugh out loud. And the feisty young Fuutie replied, arms crossed, “Since we established I’m not going to kill myself, and never intended to in the first place, you can go along your way now.”

“I’ll take you back home.”

“No!” she exclaimed. “I’m not going back home.”

He heaved a long sigh. “Running away from home is not going to change anything. You said you have younger siblings, right?”

“Four of them—three sisters and a baby brother,” said Fuutie glumly.

“Wow, that’s a lot of them. I only have a younger sister and brother, and they’re a handful as is,” he said with a gentle smile. “Think how distraught your sisters and brother would be without you by their side.”

“I’m not going home today,” she repeated.

With a shrug, he said, “Well, I guess I’ll have to stay with you until you decide to go home then.”

“You don’t have to do that!” said Fuutie with a scowl. “I know how to take care of myself.”

“I don’t doubt that, if you’re the oldest of five,” he said. “But a storm’s coming, and the tide’s rising, and I can’t leave a kid out here alone. It’d be on my conscious.”

Fuutie glared up at the young man, who she figured was five or six years older than her at most. But he felt like an adult, more mature than her annoying cousin Dairen. He had broad shoulders and was extremely strong—she knew because he had flung her over his shoulder like she was a sack of potatoes. He was built like a fighter, just like her father. But he was also kind-hearted, for he could not leave a girl out in the storm alone. “Fine, I’ll go back home.”

“Where do you live?” he asked.

“Victoria’s Peak.”

“I thought you were a young miss,” he said with chuckle. “You’ve never run away from home before, have you?”

“Have you?” she asked curiously.

“Numerous times,” he replied. “Told you I’m a hooligan.”

“But you always returned home?”

“Of course.”


“Because I always remembered the crying faces of my baby brother and sister,” he said with a nostalgic smile. “And when I came back home, they would rush up to me with their small arms and hug me tightly with the brightest smiles. Eventually, I didn’t have the heart to runaway and make them sad anymore.”

“You don’t seem much like a hooligan,” she remarked.

He chuckled. “Well, kiddo, not all hooligans go around with the word hooligan written on their faces. That should be a lesson to learn early on.”

“I’m not a kid,” said Fuutie with a scowl.

“Then tell me your name,” he said.

“It’s Fuutie. Li Fuutie,” she replied.

“Not of the Li Clan up on Victoria’s Peak?” he asked slowly.

She nodded.

“Then the funeral of your father—your father was Li Ryuuren?”

“Yes,” she replied—it was a grand funeral procession, so it didn’t really surprise her that people knew about it.

“I see,” he said softly. “You went through a lot, kid.”

“Fuutie,” she repeated. “My name is Fuutie. What’s yours?”

He stared down at her and finally replied, “Zino.”

Zino took her to the foot of Victoria’s Peak, so that she could get on the tram up the hill but did not join her up. Fuutie was sure that nobody had even missed her yet, with the chaos of the funeral. But she was glad she did not have to disappoint her mother and siblings. True, she was sopping wet still, but she could blame it on the storm—for it had begun to rain, just as Zino had predicted. “Thank you, Zino,” she called out from the window of the tram, and he smiled and waved at her. His eyes were a pale yellow-brown, just like tiger’s eyes glowing in the dark.

She would always remember the day she bid her final farewell to her father at that ocean. That was the start of her first love. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!!!

I made a joking remark today that I can't believe it's already 2017, for I left my heart in 1999. Only later did I realize that it was the year that I began writing the New Trials of Card Captor Sakura. I began writing New Trials when the third season of the CCS anime was on air in Japan, and I believe I will wrap it up around the time CCS anime sequel will air. How things come to a full cycle. I've spent more years of my life writing New Trials than I have not writing it. And longtime readers of New Trials, we have grown up together in a sense, while new a new generation of readers join in, and I am sure more fans of the CCS franchise will grow with the new sequel.

A business trip in December threw me off schedule for my posting schedule for New Trials but I am really nearly finished writing Chapter 73: The Other Side of Midnight. This one is a fun chapter, and I don't think writing this chapter took so long per say, compared to the realization that this really is the last chapter before the final mini-arc of New Trials and perhaps I want to relish in it a bit longer. Frankly, I envisioned completing New Trials next year, which I guess is technically this year, in 2017, though knowing the pace I write at, I don't know how long feasible that would be. I've already written the ending several years ago, and as I mentioned, even as I was writing the past several chapters, I've spent some time writing ahead. Fun fact, through New Trials Arcs 1 and 3 I never really wrote much of an outline, and had everything in my head, though starting Arc 4 I began writing out chapters and plot summaries because truthfully, my memory is just not what it used to be like. I apologize for ever making fun of my friends with bad memories--I used to be the one who remembers everything, but now it's no longer the case. Though I swear, I went to a college reunion Christmas, and I can say my memory serves better than most people there including fresh graduates who can't remember building names for heaven's sake. 

Thank you for supporting New Trials another year, and while I know I am bad with deadlines, I can promise you that 2017 will be an awesome year for New Trials, and 2018 an awesome new year for the revival of Card Captor Sakura, with the new Clear Arc anime coming out. We know it will be good because CLAMP's Nanase Ohkawa-sensei will be in charge of the scripts and series composition. She is the reason why CCS is the only anime where the "fillers" are even better than the manga sometimes. But I believe that the CCS anime did not have any fillers but rather expanded on the manga version and made it better. Card Captor Sakura is a series I will always hold dear in my heart, and if I ever have any children in the future, it's a story I would gladly share with them. The reason I grew to love anime in the first place, besides the fact that Korean children all grow up watching them anyway, is because my mom rented me all sorts of anime series from a video rental store when I was a kid, back when video rental was a thing. She also drew me lovely 1970s-style shoujo style girls, always wearing puffy lace dresses and ribbons in their hair. And that style has influenced me to this day. 

So, Happy New Year 2017! I hope this new year brings in good tidings to all of you, and I also thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing by!


Music Spotlight: Ryuichi Sakamoto: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Trio version

I already included this song in the New Trials Christmas Soundtrack before, but I love listening to it this time of the year, more than carols. I like listening to carols in the summertime, I am odd like that. I really love this piano, violin, cello trio version of the song. But I love the simple piano solo version the best.