From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Beautiful and Very Talented Miss Eloise J. Knapp

Word of the day:
PRONUNCIATION: (KAP-shuhs) adjective: Having an inclination to find faults, especially of a trivial nature.

How to survive a horror movie tip #22
Do not take “anything” from the dead.

Today where taking some time to speak with Eloise J. Knapp author of The Undead Situation. Eloise’s love for zombie’s started with, of course, George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead, who she was able to meet at Seattle’s 2010 ZomBcon convention. Please heed the Trioxion & Keep Out warning postings and under no circumstances are you to approach the undead! Check your ammo and let’s get to know a little more about my fellow debut author and friend Miss Eloise J. Knapp.

Notes From The Author: Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today, I’m super excited to have you here.How much time passes from the moment that you wake up to the moment you start writing?

Eloise J. Knapp: Sometimes I get up and walk straight to my office, which is great. Then there’s the rough days when I just don’t write.

NFTA: From extremely frightening films like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days later, and Craig Singer’s Perkins 14 to over the top slap stick movies like Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, and Andrew Currie’s Fido zombies can be found from one end of the spectrum to the other. Why do you think zombies are such a crowd pleaser?

EJK: Some people don’t like scary movies, some people love them, and some people just want something different. Zombie movies can cover any movie genre out there: romance, comedy, horror, and action just to name a few. When a creature can be in that many types of films there is a zombie movie for everyone.

NFTA: I find that zombie fans are completely different beasts from horror and science fiction fans. They tend to be more lenient about conflicting theories and more forgiving of a weaker story line if there is a lot of gore. I’ve seen some pretty horrible zombie movies, and have stopped reading books after the 3rd of 4th page because the story was so bad. Do you think some artist exploit the fans love, tolerance, and excitement about zombies to produce poor quality material?

EJK: I do think some artists exploit fans. I think they do in any genre to be honest. It’s easy for someone to think, “Hey, teenage girls love vampires. I’m going to cash in on that gravy train and write some cheesy vampire romances.” However, just because a movie or book is bad that doesn’t mean someone purposely created poor material in attempts to make money. Sometimes authors or movie makers don’t have the skills or finances to produce high end work.

NFTA: Culturally, which was conveyed in the Halperin brothers 1932 film White Zombie, zombies are terrifying. In your opinion how did we get from Night of the Living Dead to Fido?

EJK: Film evolves so much over time. Aliens used to be terrifying, too, but now some movies turn them into comedy. I think the transition between NOTLD and Fido came from film makers trying to make something new and establish their place in the movie world. Once one funny zombie flick comes out other developers see it and think, “I can do that, too.”

NFTA: With the overwhelming amount of art, comics, books, and movies and now with AMC’s The Walking Dead TV show, did you struggle to come up with an original concepts material?

EJK: Original concepts material is a complicated subject. Here is a little example, in Day by Day Armageddon he gets a canary yellow Hummer. Then a while later the movie Zombieland comes out and they have a canary yellow Hummer. Was Bourne the originator of this concept and Zombieland used it? Or was it coincidence?

When writing The Undead Situation I felt like (and still do) the ideas are original. As far as I know my characters are unique because I’ve never come across characters like that but someone else probably has. I’m a strong believer in the phrase, “There are no new ideas” but I like to say, “There are rarely no new ideas”.

NFTA: You’ve said that your hope is to offer an alternative zombie world; can you tell us a little bit about The Undead Situation, and how it differs from what we’re use to seeing or reading about in zombie movies and books?

EJK: There isn’t anything wrong with this, but characters in zombie books are relatively weak. They can’t defend themselves, have no weapons, and are bounded by moral obligations that cloud judgment. Even when they do come across some guns, their characters are still emotionally weak and afraid. My primary character doesn’t fall into that category. He doesn’t care about being a good guy and saving those in need. Cyrus doesn’t fear the undead, not really, and certainly doesn’t care about the end of the world. My zombie world also offers fast and slow zombies in a different way other authors portray it (gotta read the book to find out why, though!)

NFTA: The Undead Situation is your 1st book, congratulations! Trust me I know how you feel. From start to finish how long did it take to write TUS and was the journey to becoming a published author everything you hoped it would be?

EJK: I started writing little bits about Cyrus V. Sinclair when I was sixteen. It wasn’t until I was almost 17 that I got serious about turning it into a novel. I finished writing the book mid 2009, put it on Kindle by the end of the year, and in October of 2010 I finished the final edits with Louise Bohmer. So from the idea to the last grammar fix, about 4 years.

I don’t know if it’s everything I’d hoped it would be yet. My book isn’t out and some recent developments (good ones) have delayed the release of the book until next year. As for what I have gone through as an author, I’m very pleased. Working with a professional editor was awesome. I have to say, it was so satisfying to have someone unbiased (not a family member, that is) edit my book. It’s so much better because of it. Jacob over at Permuted Press is a great guy and easy to work with.

NTFA: If you could go back and change one thing in regards to the choices you made and the team that’s helped you get to where you are now, what would that be? And no cheating by saying ‘I wouldn’t change anything’ you really have to answer this question …sorry love.

EJK: I’d change adding fluff to my book. While I was first writing it I’d constantly add to make the book longer. Louise helped me tear that crap out to make the book flow better. It’s shorter now, but I wish I hadn’t fluffed it up to begin with.

NTFA: How much reality goes into your characters, are they your alter ego’s, based on people you know or completely made up?

EJK: Cyrus V. Sinclair and I are very similar. It scares my family and those who have read the book, but almost everything Cyrus does is something I would do during apocalyptic times. I can be a little sociopathic at times and Cyrus truly is one. Some of the other characters are loosely based on people I know while other’s I made up completely.

NFTA: Let’s talk about your marketing and promotional material, which btw is minding blowing! I love your photo’s they look like movie posters. Thanks for signing mine! How did you come up with such an awesome idea?

EJK: Thanks! Photography is another hobby of mine. I’ve been into it since I was about ten. So, love of photography and zombies… when you put them together, I do some cool zombie photos! Ideas pop into my head, usually before I fall asleep, and I execute them quickly while the idea is fresh. I think in terms of scenes like in movies which is why they look like that.

I do all my own graphic design work and am an ace with Photoshop. That helps, too!

NFTA: As far as marketing and promoting which have you found to be more effective, your website or your facebook fan page?

EJK: Probably my FB. Everyone and their mom are on FB so it makes networking easy. It provides more exposure, too.

NFTA: You also gave away about a gallizon t-shirts at Seattle’s ZomBcon, what kind of return did you get on that in terms of facebook fans, and sales and do you see using T’s as standard promotional items?

EJK: Well I’m not selling anything yet, so I don’t know. I’ve gotten about 30 fans since the convention so it was worth something. I designed the shirt myself, researched bulk clothing providers and silkscreening. It all worked out so well I’ll always have t-shirts for promotion. I like to give them away so when my book does come out and I hit conventions I’ll probably do a free t-shirt with book. At least a free print with book because people love free stuff!

NFTA: Speaking of ZomBcon was that your 1st con as a vendor, how much fun did you have and what’s con’s are you planning on attending next year?

EJK: First convention as a vendor and attendee. It was so much work but a ton of fun. I met some crazy amazing people and ended up working with one (Robert Elrod) on a cover! I’m probably going to go to Crypticon and zomBcon again.

NFTA: What would be your specialty in a zombie apocalypse?

EJK: Probably fortifying places to stay. I analyze building’s safety levels for zombie apocalypse and mentally assess how defendable it is and what could be done to strengthen it.

NFTA: So what else do you have planned for all the fans next year?

EJK: My aunt L.J Landstrom and I are releasing a collection of short stories for Kindle around February. Robert Elrod, who I mentioned above, did the cover. The Undead Situation will come out next year as well.

NFTA: In closing is there anything you would like to tell us about, any upcoming appearances, movie deals, or a wedding?

EJK: I’ll probably be at some conventions like I said above and that zomBcon fundraiser this December. Nothing else that big coming up but I update my fan page often with news if there is.

NFTA: Thanks again love for stopping by today it was really awesome chatting with ya I’ll see you in May but talk to you way before then. Ciao

For more information on Eloise J. Knapp please visit:

Be a Fan on Facebook: Eloise J. Knapp-Author

For more infromation on The Undead Situation please visit:

But his story is 10x better than mine!

Word of the Day:
PRONUNCIATION: (BEN-thik): adjective Of or relating to the bottom of a sea or lake.

How to survive a horror movie tip #10
If you come into possession of a strange old artifact and any exotic person (old wizened oriental, gypsy, Indian medicine man) warns you to do/not do something, do not do just the opposite in order to demonstrate how silly they are.

Last Friday was my virtual launch part for The Darkness, and it was so much more fun and incredible than I could have imaged or hoped for! Here is the link; it’s a two-hour show that flies by, so feel free to come back when you have time to listen to it!


So now that The Darkness is out, and I have been getting some really good reviews, the next step in the process is marketing and exposure. One of the best ways to gain exposure is to enter contest. So I’ve been complying a list of the contests that I qualify to enter and last night I found out a friend of mine has already submitted his story to a contest I was hoping to enter and now I’m super nervous to submit Darkness because his story fucking rocks and is about 10x better than mine, I know its super stupid for me to think that way but I have to be a little realistic.

But on the other hand these are the types of writers that I will be competing against so I might as well stop being such a chicken, and plus you guys all know I start to lose my mind when it comes to entering contest. I submit to editors all the time and I don’t hurl myself from a bridge every time I get a rejection letter so I have no idea why come so unglued when it comes to contests. I have a list of 5 contests that I can enter, and despite my unfounded fear I am going to enter all five of them. What I know for sure is that I don’t suck, so I might have a fighting chance, even against Dave. Ok maybe that was a little ambitious…

So at the end of the week I will be posting an interview with horror writer Eloise J. Knapp and the DVD pick will also be posted by then as well. Enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll talk to you all later!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Buyer Beware!

Word of the Day:
PRONUNCIATION: (on-TOL-uh-jee) noun: The philosophical study of existence and the nature of being.

Go ahead and slap the screaming hysterical girl, she will be the one to distract everyone when there really is danger.

So as most of you know, I customized and purchase this calander to give to the grand prize winner of my launch party

Shorty after posting the calendar on FB I get this raving email from the Zazzle shop owner claiming copyright infringement:

Before to write to you we informed and consulted our manager and legal office at Zazzle.You are seriously damaging me trying to give away for free my copyrighted images , sticking your name to my logo of graphic studio without any riferiment to me on your Facebook page. You can not do this kind of personal use of my calendar on web.
You bought a calendar, buying a customized calendar don't give the rights to use of my images . You can use your calendar only at your Home .
I Don't permit to publish my images on your personal site . Remove them immediately .
You can not use my copyrighted images and logos for no reason. You can not give away , distribute for free on web or another electronic media , you can not do electronic copies or distribute without expressed permission of me .You have the rights of your words not the images.Buying a calendar do not give the rights of propriety of images. Did you understand ?
You can not get property of Logos , Trademarks sticking your name for your promotion.
You are in a grave infringement of copyright . Unfortunately I see that you don't know the rules of image copyrights. You can not give away as a gift copyrighted images and logos . I repeat you must remove them immediately. After if you like we can find an appropriate and correct mode to support the promotion of your novel with our graphics /images on web. We are also open to discuss about "Caduceus" as cover art image .]

I ignored this email, because for one because if you allow customization of your product thru an online store such as Zazzle you’re basically granting the person the right to use the images, two I have other things to do than try and reason with a person who doesn’t know what there talking about, and three by the wording of his emails it doesn’t seem like English is his 1st language so there’s no telling what could be lost in translation.

So I get two more emails from this guy demanding that I put a link to his Zazzle store on my pix, and finally when he gets no response from me he flags the pix on facebook claiming copyright infringement.

Meanwhile back on the farm … I contacted Zazzle & fowarded the above email and this is the response I got from them:

[Dear Crystal,

Thank you for your email.

I apologize for the response that one of our sellers sent to you. Please be aware that you have done nothing wrong. I believe the seller is misinformed or confused about copyrights. You purchased the product and have every right to give that calendar away as a gift or keep it for your own enjoyment.

Thanks for using

Best Regards,
Content Management Team
Zazzle Inc]

How interesting considering that in his 1st threat to me he claimed to have “consulted our manager and legal office at Zazzle.” I have filed a Copyright Counter Complaint against this shop owner, so the pix of the calendar should be reinstate by Facebook shortly.

His whole deal was he wanted me to tell everybody where I bought the calendar...and I’ll do that now, because from one consumer to another, I cannot in good conscious recommend that any of you spend any money with this shop owner. Even though the work is beautiful the ensuing harassment, ranting and raving is not worth it.

Especially since there are so many other amazing artist on both Zazzle and Etsy who are far more deserving of our hard earned money.

Buyer beware when shopping The art of Bulgan_Lumimi on

Saturday, January 8, 2011

DVD Pick of the week: DeadGirl

Word of the Day:
PRONUNCIATION:(LIG-nee-uhs)adjective: Having the texture or appearance of wood.

How to survive a horror movie tip #42
If you are lucky enough to, oh, say, knock out a madman with a shovel -- for the love of God don't drop the shovel and run away. You STAY there and BEAT HIS ASS DEAD WITH THAT SHOVEL.

Plotline: Two high school boys discover an imprisoned woman in an abandoned mental asylum who cannot die.

Scariness Factor: It’s too high to measure. Writer Trent Haaga, does not rely on the monster in the closet, or the maniac with the chain saw to draw you to the edge of your seat. What makes this movie so horrific is the fact that the characters of this movie are children and the things that they are doing is mind-numbing.

Gross-Out Factor: N/A

Complaints: None, this was a pretty smart and original horror flick.

High Points: This could easily fit within the zombie genre. The woman the boys find in the abandoned building is covered with plastic and she’s been there for years … yet she is still alive; however DeadGirl is not about the monster. It’s how she’s victimized.

Personal Commentary: This is an extremely difficult film to watch because the things these kids are doing is mortifying, there are no active adults around, the shallowness of these adolescents moral compasses is terrifying and the entire film is sadly realistic.

Stars: 5 out of 5

Where I rented it: Blockbuster

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I found another review!

Word of the Day:
PRONUNCIATION:(or-ki-DAY-shuhs)adjective: 1. Of or relating to orchids. 2. Showy.

How to survive a horror movie tip #2:
When you're searching a house because you think there's something dangerous there, for God's sake turn the bloody lights on!

Check out this review I found on GoodReads!
The DarknessThe Darkness by Crystal Connor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Darkness is a really quick paced Sci-Fi/Horror novel that has a lot of fantasy as well. It was a blast to read. I always root for the villain/monster/bad guy and The Darkness gave me a female super villain that I couldn't get enough of...Artemisia! She's ruthless and vain beyond reason. She doesn't apologize for anything she is the ultimate anti-hero.

There is also a very wicked witch in The Darkness who powers are so great the last place on earth she'll ever be is tied to a burning stake. In a lot of stories I've read that revolve around a very powerful a witch, the witch is always evil, the witch in The Darkness Inanna is indeed evil...but she is not the bad guy. In a nice twist she is actually the hero in this book and that totally caught me off guard and I love being thrown off when I'm reading a book!

I was so stunned at the ending I wasn't really sure what to do, its amazing ending but I didn't see it coming and I was holding my breath for a different ending.

The best part of this book was finding out that there is a sequel! There is a preview of the next book called Artificial Light. It's kinda weird because the review start on chapt 6 but it makes me feel better about the way The Darkness ended because introduces us to some new characters two of them I can't tell you who they are because it won't make any sense until you read the 1st book but there is another witch and a group of knights which makes me believe Artificial Light will have a lot more of a sword and sorcery element to it and that is just fine by me!

Fans of both the Twilight series and Dan Brown and anyone in between will have fun reading this book.

View all my reviews