Friday, June 28, 2019

BEHIND THE SCENES: Personal Projects and What's to Come

So as you may have noticed, Owl's Flower 3 is still in the works. There's good and bad to this, of course. The "bad" is obvious—no book yet. But the "good" is for good reasons: both of us actually have a lot of work, and having work and commissions is a good thing. For Kara, it's several writing projects in the works; for Ginger, it's more art and zines on the horizon.

The basics: the book is still in the being-finished stage. In other words, it's more done than not-done. And it will be done, and other books after it. But right now, considering this is a passion project and other projects pay, we can't necessarily afford to shove other projects aside to speed this along. That's not a guilt thing, it's just a fact. (We both have day jobs, too.)

That said, the ability to put a little more focus on the books would be welcome. No, we're not opening a Kickstarter or a Patreon because... eh, we tried those individually and they only go so far depending on the project. But any support we can get will help us lift book 3 off the back burner and justify putting it ahead of other projects. And we want this out as much as the next person.

So what can you do to help us?

Download and review the first book!

We made a conscientious decision to make the first book free so people could know if they wanted more. We've heard good things, but you guys can help spread the word.

If you haven't read the first book, we'd be super pleased if you did. If you have, it'd be a big help if you could review it on GoodReads. Our business model means we aren't available on Amazon, so this is how we get ratings and good words.

All of this costs zero dollars, incidentally—can't beat that for return on investment!

Buy and review the second book!

We're very happy that people cared enough to give Ghost Fall a go when it wasn't a free download, many of you even going above and beyond what we would have charged when we named our price. If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can do that here... and you can also get a print copy if you prefer that real-book feel.

Again, a GoodReads review is always helpful. Whether you drop stars or words or both, you're helping us out a lot!

Peruse our goods!

Ginger has made some awesome merch, including shirts, prints, mugs and much more. If you like our stuff, consider buying some goods. The proceeds go straight back to us, and will help us be quicker about making a print version of Book 3 when the time comes.

Support our individual projects!

Check out Ginger's Etsy shop where she sells pins, shirts, and lots of other really cool stuff. Doctor Who fans in particular will have fun looking through her goods. 

Kara is currently preparing to send some other projects out to publishers so there's nothing new to promote just yet, but she's always got her Ko-fi open for donations. And anything new from both of us will be announced here and on our social media.

Thanks as always for your support and patience. We look forward to bringing Book 3 together for you sooner rather than later!

Friday, June 21, 2019

OWL'S FLOWER WORLD TOUR: There and Back Again

What do two nerds do with a week abroad? Speakeasies and meat, apparently.

Both Ginger and Kara are fully home from their trip to the UK earlier this month (framed by Kara spending some time up at Ginger's place). If you followed along on our Instagram, you got to see a few of our adventures in real-time, and will likely get to see a few more as we shake our smartphones out.

But for a very quick run-down of some of the highlights of our trip, read on!

Manga at the British Museum

It was extremely fortuitous that the largest exhibition of manga ever outside Japan just happened to be in town at the same time we were. It costs extra to get in if you're not a British Museum member, but it was absolutely worth it!

If you'd like at look at what's on display, check out Kara's feature over on Crunchyroll.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

When trying to decide where to go for dinner on our second night in London, our friend JJ turned this place up in a Google search. It's a detective-themed speakeasy that takes walk-ins (which we were), but it seems you get more bang for your buck experience-wise if you call in advance. Even without reservations, it was a wild experience.

If you go for a walk-in "appointment," you're buzzed downstairs and asked why you need a detective, so be sure to have a story prepared. Once you've been judged, the host opens a bookcase and leads you into a vintage restaurant. The food selection is pretty basic, especially if you're a visiting American: fries, wings, and (very large) hot dogs. But not only are they tasty, they come at a discount with a drink. Go through the agency's dossier for a vintage mix, or be like Kara and order a Jane Doe (with all the ingredients blacked out). If you prefer no alcohol, there are three "Prohibition" drinks that are just as good as anything else on the menu.

Soho's Secret Tea Room

Kara was insistent on afternoon tea, and Ginger was happy to oblige not once, but twice. (More on that later.) This little spot is just above the Coach & Horses in Soho, and is an affordable option for a full afternoon tea. There's a great menu of teas available, and a nice selection of snacks on the stacks.

The down side is, we're not sure if this place will be available to visit much longer (if at all). We were told by the hostess that the Coach & Horses is under new management effective very soon, and they're not big on the whole "pub landlord" model and are looking to give it an overhaul. This would effectively cancel out the tea room, which is run by the landlord's sister. There was a link to a petition on a chalk board downstairs, so hopefully there will be enough of an outcry for it to remain.

Full disclosure: Ginger suggested going here because the LOADING Bar (albeit a different location) is a regular hangout for the hosts of Outside Xbox, one of our favorite YouTube channels. Even without the association, though, it's a nice place. There are video games and board games ready for the playing, along with an extensive list of game-themed drinks.

If you're looking for a chill place to go with friends, afternoon seems to be the best time; we were some of the only people there. It looks like the kind of place that livens up at night, so head out after hours if you're looking to meet fellow nerds.

Forbidden Planet

If you're in the UK and you're a nerd, you can't not go to at least one Forbidden Planet. We actually hit up three: the megastore in London, then smaller ones in Glasgow and Cardiff. The former is especially great if you're looking for a wide selection of books and CDs, because the downstairs is stocked. Both of us, and our friends, walked away with a few new finds.

The smaller shops are nice, too, and may have some less readily available goodies than the megastore. We also found one of Kara's anthologies on the shelves at the Glasgow one, so automatic thumbs up!

The Meat Bar

When a friend asks which of three places you'd like to go for dinner and Ginger immediately makes up a song about one of them, you have your answer.

The Meat Bar does exactly what it says on the tin. Lots of nice cuts of meat, lots of burgers, and even meat-infused drinks (or more standard libations if that's a bit much). It also has bite-sized haggis bonbons, in case you want to say you tried it but aren't quite ready to commit.

The Lighthouse

Formerly the Glasgow Herald Building, the Lighthouse is home to both temporary and permanent art and architecture exhibits. Glasgow is very proud of its architecture and of local boy Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Art Nouveau figure who made lots of art, architecture, furniture, and a font that is Absolutely Everywhere).

Several of the temporary exhibits seemed to be invitation-only, but the two main highlights — the Mackintosh exhibit and the observation deck at the top of the Lighthouse's tower — are enough on their own to make the trip worthwhile. The former shows you just how much Mackintosh did in his lifetime and how influential he was. The latter offers you a gorgeous view of the city.

Willow Tea Rooms

Ginger wanted to do afternoon tea again... and as you can imagine, she had to just drag Kara kicking and screaming to do so.

There are two Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, modeled after the Cranston tea rooms designed by... yep, ya boy Mackintosh. You get to sit in reproduction Mackintosh chairs and enjoy a fancy afternoon tea with your choice of drink and cake, plus a very nice selection of sandwiches (including egg salad, smoked salmon, and a few other rotating choices). Several of the teas are available in the gift shop if you find you really like one. As a bonus? It is much less expensive than other places, with the same amount of goodness and hot water for tea refills.

Cardiff Castle

As one of the major filming locations for Heaven Sent, there was no way we weren't going here.

You can pay for a guided tour with access to a few other rooms, but walking yourself around gives you a good amount to see. Braving the steep steps to the top of the main castle turret gives you an amazing view (and also puts you in the highest tower of the Doctor's own murder castle). The nearby mansion has more locations from both Heaven Sent and Journey to the Center of the TARDIS, in addition to just being over the top and absolutely gorgeous. And there's a war museum downstairs of the main entrance building.

Now that we're home, it's back to work... once our jet lag is leveled out, anyway. Keep an eye on this space for new announcements in the near future!

Friday, June 14, 2019

LOCATIONS: Hilton Ravine Restoration

Assuming all has gone to plan and no special travel surprises have popped up, Ginger and Kara should be state-side again. You can expect to see some blog posts concerning our travel, our discoveries, and future Owl's Flower fun once we've both recovered. While we're shaking off the jet lag, though, we wanted to point out something that's actually relevant to our readers: the restoration of what was once an inspiration for a locale in our book.

Herne's forest — bits of it, at least — were inspired by the Hilton Ravine, right next to Kara's elementary school. Back in the day it bore a lot more of a resemblance to what you read about in the books. However, the pocket park is also a drainage area for local storm water, which is eventually funneled out into the nearby James River.

The City of Newport News made some changes recently to upgrade that system. The good news is, it worked; the bad news is, the construction destroyed lots of old trees and growth, leaving the forested area... uh... a lot less forested.

So Kara was thrilled last month to see a door hanger left by the Newport News Green Foundation, looking to restore the ravine! Obviously, the overgrown forest of Kara's childhood that inspired Herne's home in William's Grove is likely gone for good. But their plans to beautify the area and make it a welcoming place for locals, as well as re-plant trees, is an exciting move.

Go check out their initiative online. If you feel inclined, be sure to donate a little. Since Kara's still just a walk from the site, she'll be sure to fill people in on how the restoration goes!

Friday, June 7, 2019


Image result for glasgow

By the time this goes up, Kara and Ginger will have been in the UK for about... two days? Yeah, two days. Their flight landed on June 5, and they'll be on the ground in London and surrounding areas until time to take off early on June 12.

We're taking some "time off" for this trip. Kara usually works through holidays as a freelancer, but this is going to be an exception. We've got one week with lots to see and do!

So what's on the docket?

Today marks our last full day in London for the trip (even though we're based there thanks to a cozy lil AirBnB). Tomorrow, we'll be taking a train direct to Glasgow from London Euston and staying overnight. There are plans to visit the Glasgow School of Art, along with some local museums and events. But, well, even Kara is on the back foot here!

Sunday late in the day we're heading down to Manchester, where we'll be staying 'til Monday. The main plan is to connect up with Paul Driscoll (co-owner of Altrix Books with Kara) for a bit, though hopefully we can run into some other Northern friends while we're there.

Tuesday will be our last day in the UK before flying home early Wednesday morning. If all goes as planned, we'll be heading out to Cardiff Castle with our friend Sophie Iles. The castle was one of the filming locations for Heaven Sent, so we're really looking forward to that.

If you'd like to keep more current tabs on our adventures, here's where to go:

Instagram: @rubycosmos
Twitter: @rubycosmos

Instagram: @randomthunk
Twitter: @Kataoi

Both of us!
Instagram: @owlsflower