Thursday, April 18, 2019

Creator Weekly Wrap-Up: Get in on MOON MAN!


So what have we been up to? A lot, as usual! We're hoping to have more news on the third Owl's Flower one this particular phase of our work is up, but for now, we'd love it if you'd take a look at Moon Man.

Moon Man is Ginger Hoesly's second charity zine via RaThZEm. Her first, The Hybrid, raised $2,000 for One to One Children's Fund, as you may recall. This one is slightly different from your usual zine. Rather than being about a single show or character, it traces the career of Peter Capaldi in images, from Local Hero all the way up to the music video "Someone You Loved."


More than two dozen artists have contributed to the zine, including Ginger herself. Also present are Sophie Iles, Raine Szramski, and many others active online and in the fandom. Plus, Kara Dennison has penned a new Doctor Who story with multiple routes and endings! Take the Twelfth Doctor and Clara on a journey through time and space that you steer. Which ending will you get?

There's also optional swag that you can pick up alone or with a zine. The bundle includes pinback buttons, a bookmark, prints, charms, and stickers. When the merch bundle hits 50 orders, everyone who's ordered will get an enamel pin as well! There's also a sweet shirt you can get separately.



All proceeds will be donated to the Glasgow School of Art, Capaldi's alma mater!

The pre-order period is almost over, so get yours while you can. After pre-orders are closed, the money goes off to GSofA and that's it. Do not live with regrets — support artists, celebrate an awesome actor's career, and get some sweet merch!

Visit www.rathzem.com to put your order in!

Friday, March 22, 2019

We're Busy!


Why have things been silent on this side? Well, mainly because Kara is finishing writing three books and Ginger is assembling a zine. But also, we're looking at making a few changes to how we do things over here!

Don't worry, they aren't changes you'll dislike or that will alter your experience significantly. But they'll make things easier for us, which is better all around.

Ginger is currently in the process of moving her own things — her personal shop and her zine production — over to a self-contained server with a self-run shop interface. If you've been following the news on various online storefronts and creator fundraisers, you'll have seen over the past year or so that things... change more often than is fun or feasible. And that's not great for a couple of randos trying to get their stories and art out into the world, because we never know what will change and when we won't be able to do anything about it.

Stuff on Ginger's side is test-only at this point. You'll likely be seeing it come into play when Moon Man, her upcoming zine, goes on sale. If that goes well, and if it goes well for our shop, that means we'll probably transfer Owl's Flower book and merch sales over to a similar system.


So what does that mean for you?

You may or may not have to change bookmarks. If you just trot over to owlsflower.com, nothing will change. That's the beauty of dot-coms: you can point them wherever you need to. But if you've got us bookmarked on Blogspot, keep an eye out because that will likely be shifting before long.

Ebooks will still be pay-what-you-want. That's the plan. One of the reasons we went with Ko-fi for sales was because PayPal no longer offered a pay-what-you-want option (i.e. a donation box) unless you were a registered charity with all sorts of paperwork. Originally we'd considered going to Ko-fi Gold, making pricing even more flexible and allowing us to easily categorize multiple books for sale. But with everything self-contained, it'll be easier still, both for you and for us.

We'll be happier. And less time spent mucking around with the business end means more time spent making cool things for you guys.

We don't know yet when these changes will go into effect, but we'll be sure to let everyone know as necessary. In the meantime, thanks as always for your continued support!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Coming Soon: A New Owl's Flower Short Story


Want more Owl's Flower and can't wait for Book 3? There's a short story coming to help you pass the time!

Altrix Books, co-owned by Paul Driscoll and our own Kara Dennison, will be releasing a charity anthology this spring titled Unearthed. The book will feature 12 new stories of sarcophagi, tombs, and locked boxes, and what's inside. Stories range from Norse mythology to American history and everywhere in between.

Kara is heading up the anthology, and Ginger will be supplying the cover art. In addition, we'll have a new story from the Owl's Flower universe, titled "Kill the Cat," in the book itself.

Readers of the anthology Relics will know this isn't the first Owl's Flower short piece outside the main books. However, this one will be slightly different. How so?

A new character from the main books will be introduced.

There are plenty of characters — human and otherwise — who have yet to make their debut in Owl's Flower. One will be appearing in the fourth book, but will technically make their debut in this story! Who is it? We'll be interested to see if you can guess!

Another character will be making a cameo.

Readers of "Clarity" remember that Herne and Iris did appear at the end, though Iris notably got more screen time. The pair are nowhere to be seen in "Kill the Cat," though; they have a coffee shop to run! But another character (and one who's fairly popular, it seems) will be making a brief appearance.

You'll learn another way deities are born.

In "Clarity," we talked about how the need for deities can sometimes just make them appear. But in "Kill the Cat," we'll be looking at another place they can come from. The new character won't be the last time you'll see this type of origin story, either, so be sure to take notes!


At present, art is being finalized, with new illustrations being created by Monica Marier, Sophie Iles, and (in the case of this one story), Ginger. Proceeds from the anthology will go to ARCE, which helps train archaeologists and house them abroad. Keep an eye out for more info in the coming weeks!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Be Our Valentine: Owl's Flower's Rules of Romance


So first off, a happy belated Valentine's Day to all our readers! If you missed it, check out the cute Herne and Iris drawn by Ginger specially for the holiday.

The holiday does bring up a topic that's very important to us, and one that Kara talked about at ODUCon last week: how we depict romance and couples. One of the reasons we started doing Owl's Flower in the first place is because we didn't like how couples are written in a lot of popular books and shows. Which isn't to say one should never see bad relationships, because those are stories in and of themselves. But we wanted to see what we felt was missing from romance, and paranormal romance specifically.

We have a few personal rules we follow concerning how we depict Herne and Iris in our books. Regular readers may already have a sense of what those are. But for new readers, or people just curious about what it is we do, here's a quick run-down of our personal rules:

Be careful with using miscommunication as conflict.

Obviously, miscommunication really does happen in the real world. A lot. And it does cause conflict. A lot. But when it comes to basic mistakes that would be out of character, you have to assume (unless your characters are super immature) that they would try to clear up the mistake before running out of the room sobbing and ending everything.

Miscommunication makes up a lot of the first Owl's Flower book, but this is before Herne or Iris know each other or have reason to put effort into talking things out. As a couple, it's far more important to show them working through things, understanding that a turn of phrase might be meant one way but come out another. Is that something that needs to be resolved? Yes. Broken up over? No way.

(Incidentally, as someone at the con pointed out, miscommunication for the sake of comedy? Heck yes.)


One partner is not fixing the other.

Both Herne and Iris have issues. We all do, some more than others. We knew when we created these characters, neither was going to be the "better" one that "fixes" the other. For one thing, it's no one's responsibility to "fix" anyone else. For another, we didn't want a relationship hierarchy where one character had to become "good enough" for the other.

Both of them have things to learn and get over from their own lives as they settle into this relationship. Some have been hinted at; others, you'll have to wait and see to find out.


Jealousy and clinginess aren't cute.

There's a song Kara avoids that came out in recent memory: "Jealous" by Nick Jonas. It's an okay bop, but the lyrics are a little... shmeh. Unfounded jealousy in a relationship being passed off as affection is kinda weird. If the jealousy is understandable... that's a whole other jar of bees.

We actually touch on this in our third book in progress—because, well, we wanted to. Jealousy is rough when you love your partner and have any sort of anxiety. But trust is powerful. And while none of us is perfect, and we might slip sometimes, we wanted to show a couple that cares about each other without getting territorial.


There are a lot more things we attempt to show in our work. Curious? Download our first book free, and if you like it, name your price for our second ebook!

Friday, February 8, 2019

(50% of) Owl's Flower Is Coming to ODUCon!


Will you be in Hampton Roads this weekend? Do you like Owl's Flower and/or wish you could get your own spin on your favorite genre out in the world? Kara will be at ODUCon talking about—among other things—how we did it!

In the past, we've done very technical panels on how to get your own books out there if you want to have your own store front and maintain your own pricing. But this time, Kara's veering more toward the creative side of it. She'll be hosting an informal chat on how Owl's Flower came to be, what we do to make sure we're always putting out the kind of stories we want to, and how you can get yourself there.

The panel will take place Sunday at 2pm in the event's Panel Room. We're keeping this largely informal and conversational, so bring your ideas and your thoughts!

Kara will also be stopping in for panels on Bandersnatch and romance in anime, as well as tonight's Friday Night Fanfiction panel. (Note: FNF is 18+, and for good reason.) Hope to see some of you around this weekend!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Inspirations: Kuu the Adorable Owl


One of our favorite things about Owl's Flower is writing and drawing Herne in his screech owl ("Dumb Baby") form. While Herne is not necessarily highly dignified to begin with, the owl is both cute and a way for him to express himself a little more plainly.

But... and I know this will come as a shock to a lot of you... neither of us actually owns an owl. There are no owl cafés near us, and around our respective necks of the woods it's generally not done to keep wild birds as pets. So when it comes to screech owl behaviors, we don't have a 24/7 local source to turn to.

We do, however, have an online source, and one that's become our sort of real-world stand-in for Dumb Baby as we write: Kuu, a Western Screech Owl living in Japan.


We first found Kuu on Vine (remember when that was still a thing), wearing tiny hats and getting generally confused by videos of himself. Occasionally, his owner would post the latest iteration of one particular habit: the owner twiddling his fingers to offer scritchies, and Kuu bounding down his perch to accept them.

Kuu's owners videos include the owl flying around the house, acting judgy about toys, taking baths in bowls of water, and generally being a big silly baby. The sounds Kuu makes in the videos—the contented little trills and the occasional big loud hoots—also help us "hear" what Herne in owl form sounds like.

Incidentally, Kuu has a housemate now: a Spectacled Owl named Pon who's also fun to watch.

So if you're ever curious what exactly it would look like to have owl-type Herne hopping around Iris's house, pop over to @kuuowl on Twitter. Because, yeah. That's what we're working from. The vids are also stellar for bad mood days. Seriously. Just try to wear a frown when that little nerd is riding around on a feather duster.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Behind the Light Novel: An "Interview" with Stormy Nakabito


She may be blissfully ignorant of her boss's boyfriend's true identity, but Stormy Nakabito is no slouch. This week, we're "talking" with her (insofar as we can talk to one of our own characters in interview format... look just let us have this) about the big things in her life. Or, at least, what we're pretty sure are the big things in her life.

---

Q: We heard a rumor, so we have to know: What's your ringtone?

A: "Sample of My Pasta," obviously. This year's #1 bop.

Q: What about the app you use most on your phone?

A: Probably OctiKeeper. I do the daily missions at least. I don't actually spend any real money on it, though.

Q: And who's your wallpaper?

A: ... is this about my phone again?

Q: ... n-no?

A: Look, I know I handle social media and stuff for the shop, but you can ask me about things other than my phone. Seriously.

Q: Okay. So, uh, what's it like working at Owl's Flower?

A: I make money. My boss's boyfriend is weird. Next question.

Q: ... right. So, um...

A: You can't think of anything, can you? Seriously. Ask about my interests. About what I'm doing in school. Or is there something you think you can't ask me?

Q: Of course not!

A: You know, come to think of it, the boss and her boyfriend always act like they're trying to hide stuff from me lately. I wonder what's up with them. Think they're doing some shady coffee dealings? Is there a coffee mafia?

Q: Um, probably not. Anyway, you mentioned something called OctoKeeper earlier? What's that?

A: OctiKeeper. It's a mobile game that just came out for the 30th anniversary of Domo Octi.

Q: Domo... what?

A: ... seriously? You've never heard of Domo Octi? It's only the most popular mascot from SugoiCo. It's this little octopus that came out in 1989 in Japan on, like, greeting cards and stuff? And eventually they started making housewares and accessories and stuffed animals and things. There are a few other mascots in the line, mostly other sea life, but they don't really sell as well. So they mostly market Octi in different colors with different accessories. They did a few anime over the years, and this year they've got one coming out online that's, like, Flash animated? I guess it looks okay, but I kind of like the look of the third series that came out in '94.

Q: Right...

A: But they did get Octi's original voice actress back, which is kinda cool since she's in like her 60s but she sounds the exact same. But yeah, they made the game because it's the 30th anniversary this year, and they've got the web anime, some manga, some new clothing lines for adults, and apparently there's a collab café going on in Akihabara, too.

Q: Wow, you, uh... you really do follow it closely.

A: Kinda my thing.

Q: So before we go, what can we expect in the third book?

A: Besides Boss being weird and her boyfriend wearing the same three shirts over and over? Valentine's Day. Which sucks, because all the kids at school act stupid about it. Oh, but there's some cute boys in the area, so that's kind of nice.