17
Feb
14

Q & A on PULSE, TUS3, Beta Reading, Review Copies

Pulse_CoverI’ve been hearing the same questions on PULSE and TUS3 so I thought I’d take a moment to address some of them in case you were wondering.

Q: Is this the third Undead Situation book?
No, it is a short novel I wrote between the second and third books in my trilogy.

Q: Will there be an audiobook?
I have recently begun the process of turning it into an audiobook, but as of now there isn’t a 100% guarantee it will be. The process involves producers/narrators auditioning and bidding on the project. If I can’t find a good narrator or if no one bids on it (Unlikely. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the Knappocalypse?), this might delay or prevent an audiobook from being made.

Q: Will there be a paperback?
Yep! Within the next two weeks I will have paperbacks. I’m currently waiting on a physical proof of the book; I want to make sure it is perfect before making it available on Amazon.

Q: Will I be able to get a signed paperback?
Yes! Cost will be $15 total for a signed copy, shipping, AND a super cool PULSE-exclusive bookmark. Payment is sent through PayPal and I ship via USPS flat rate box. Once I have copies I’ll post about it on my fan page and we’ll go from there.

Q: How do I get a review copy?
Message me on facebook or email me (authorknpp (at) gmail) with a link to your review site/ Amazon reviewer profile to prove authenticity. I will send you whatever format of the book you need from there.

Q: When will TUS3 be done?
I’m making fast progress on the last book in the Cyrus V. Sinclair trilogy and am hoping for a release in 2015/ ASAP!

Q: How can I become a beta reader for upcoming novels?
Beta readers are very important to me. They receive a draft of my work after the editor has gone through it once, but before it reaches it’s final product. I value my beta reader’s feedback, often implementing suggestions and tweaking accordingly. This is a very serious job. In addition to a few tried and trusted people, I only send beta versions of my books to about 5 others on the stipulation you give me your honest thoughts after reading. To become a beta reader, keep an eye on my Facebook friend/fan page. I will post a callout and source beta readers from the messages I get from that.

Q: You are awesome, how can I help make you even more awesome and spread the Knappocalypse?
First of all, you are awesome, friend! Keep on liking, commenting, and sharing the content I post on my fan page, leave reviews, and keep being the incredible fan you are. You play a huge roll in my writing and all the stuff I do–never forget that.

KNAPPOCALYPSE

30
Jan
14

Half-Life HEV Suit Cosplay- Part 2

Moving on from the research phase, and now entering production phase! Here is a video on my first missteps with the whole process. I also wanted to use these blogs as a way to post useful information and links for you guys in case you ever want to do this. It’s crazy how fast I end up spending an hour or two here and there lurking in the depths of the internet to find information, so at least I can put my favorites folder to some use. Plus then I can have this later for quick reference!

 

Useful Links

This blog is by the guys that made that amazing Half-Life fan video a while ago. They have a ton of great info on how they made their suit.

This is the link to Pepakura, which gives you the patterns to create paper versions of armor. This link is a direct link to the HEV suit pattern. You have to have Pepakura installed to view it.

This link is to a forum post a guy made on how he preps/coats his foam before painting. I haven’t tried it yet, but it is what I’m going to do once I get to the painting phase. The post is 1170.

This forum thread is a pretty complete build log by a guy who made a good suit. He mentions some useful stuff on how he sized his thigh pieces to fit him better. I did what he did today; the pep file is way waaaaaay to wide, so you’ll definitely need to consider that.

This forum thread has some useful tips scattered throughout it, as well as the entire pep pattern built with resin applied to almost all of it (useful to see it built).

My Progress & Plan

 IMG_20140128_230942

I made the entire right bracer with 110lb cardstock, Krazy Glue, and a little hot glue. This is the first thing I made to get a feel for it.  I used the super glue on most of it, but on the tiny tricky parts I used a dab of hot glue since it secures faster than super glue. I would never use hot glue for the whole thing since it is so bulky.

My plan is to do pepakura and resin for the bracers and potentially the chest piece. I’ll be doing foam on the thighs, probably the bicep pieces. Not sure about the shin guards yet, because I have no idea how I’ll get my foot through it once it is totally built (my hand barely gets through the opening in the arm bracer).

Anyway, feeling pretty good about what I have so far! Going to refine my thigh pieces, make a video on it, then do a post update about it. Need to get more foam before proceeding.

25
Sep
13

The O’Keefe Ruins (a short story)

This is another short story from my collection of homework assignments for my study abroad strip to Ireland in July ’13. I’d never written a ghost story before and the parameters on the story were very tight. Despite all that I think its a fun little piece.

The O’Keefe Ruins

Some people swore that the O’Keefe ruins were haunted. Flannigan at the pub said it was an old Celtic lord who thirsted for revenge. O’Connor swore he’d seen a lady in white floating in the cow fields nearby it. Depending on who you asked, the story was always different.

Me though, I didn’t believe any of it, not even for a moment. On the narrow, winding roads in the countryside, when one drove past the ruins of the O’Keefe castle, it was nothing more than a sight tourists stopped to photograph.

But one day in Flannigan’s, I spotted a shadowy man nursing a pint at the end of the bar. I hadn’t seen him before, and as he sat alone I thought I’d say hello.

“The name is Jack Murphy, sir. How are ye?”

His eyes darted wildly. He grunted and shrugged. “Would be better, had I not seen what I did at O’Keefe’s.”

“O’Keefes, ah?” I echoed. Another loon if there ever was one. “And what did ye see?”

“A little lass, neigh taller than one of my own, calling out to me from within the ruins.”

It took all I had not to roll my eyes and return to my own spot at the bar. A child though, I hadn’t heard that one before. “And why were ye there?”

He sighed and motioned the bartender for another pint. “I was there for my cattle; they’d wandered through a break in the wall and O’Keefe’s only a moment’s walk away.”

There was something about this man that was different than the other ghost story tellers. He didn’t tell the story for attention. He seemed to want me to leave. This only made me more curious.

“And the lass, man? What did she want?”

The wearied gentleman shrugged. “I couldn’t tell ye. I saw her, all dark and odd, calling my name at the entrance of the ruins and I…I don’t remember after that.”

We fell into a silence. He settled his tab and left without saying goodbye. It was the most convincing tale I’d heard yet, and though I didn’t believe it was a ghost, what if the lass actually was lost? The cattle herder might’ve been drunk and left her alone in the ruins.

I had to go see for myself. Just to be sure, that is.

Down the winding roads I went, the sun having set long ago, my headlights cutting through the foggy darkness as best as they could. I arrived at the iron gate to the ruins and parked, going on foot from there.

The castle loomed in the distance. My heart hammered in my chest. I strained to hear the lass’s voice and heard nothing but my own blood pumping and the wind rustling through the grass.

And there she was, standing exactly where the man said. It wasn’t a lass, not in the sense of the word I know. Her body was stretched thin, legs turned to wisps of smoke as she waved her hand at me.

“Jack Murphy,” she whispered, “Come join us.”

My legs turned to stone. I couldn’t move. Then, moving behind the crumbling walls of the ruins, I saw figures. One man in particular, caught my eye. The man from the bar that I’d see not an hour before. Only he wasn’t a man, he was a ghost.

I swallowed my fear and spun on my heel, running back to my car without looking back, knowing the stories all may be different, but one thing was true; the O’Keefe ruins were haunted.

Nothing was the same again after that.

18
Sep
13

Half-Life HEV Suit Cosplay- Part 1

Dishonored-Writer-Says-Gordon-Freeman-Is-Creepy-Awkward-2

I love Half-Life. When I was a girl, I’d watch my uncle play Half-Life and be mesmerized by it. Later, we’d play Half-Life 2 together. Then I played it myself, and all the episodes. I believe it to be an extremely important videogame in gaming history, aesthetically and conceptually beautiful, and downright amazing to play.

Naturally my love for it means I need to do a cosplay of Gordon Freeman. I debated on this for a few reasons. One, for some reason, a lot of people aren’t familiar with Half-Life. It’s bizarre to me, but often when I bring it up people only know about it in a secondhand kind of way. Doing a cosplay of a character not easily recognizable by most isn’t a crowd pleaser. Why not do a League of Legends or WoW character? A female comic book character would certainly do well. People just don’t cosplay Freeman very much.

Second, the HEV suit will be difficult. It is a relatively intricate piece of armor, and having never done armor it seemed intimidating.

Obviously cosplaying a dude isn’t an issue for me, because I’ve never cosplayed a female character before anyway.

half-life-gordon-freeman-alyx-vance-HD-Wallpapers

Then I paused and came to a realization: I will cosplay whatever I want. I love Gordon Freeman. I love Half-Life. I think the HEV suit is really cool. So I’m going to do it, and have it done by PAX Prime 2014. I want to blog the entire process so that if you, dear reader, ever want to do it too, these posts might help you somehow. Or at the very least you’ll be amused somewhat by my epic fails.

Right now I’m in the research phase. There aren’t a million tutorials out there on how to make an HEV suit like there are, say, to make a Link cosplay. But I found some good resources and I’m going to share.

This blog is by the guys that made that amazing Half-Life fan video a while ago. They have a ton of great info on how they made their suit. I’m basically going to follow that as best as I can. I’m also going to make step by step videos of the entire process.

This is the link to Pepakura, which (I didn’t know about it until now) gives you the patterns to create paper versions of armor. This link is a direct link to the HEV suit pattern. You have to have Pepakura installed to view it.

I’ll be using the L-200 foam they said they used in the blog once I’ve worked over the paper pattern. I found this website that sells it, but I also found a local foam retailer that offers the same product under a different name: Y-20. I’m going to get a small piece soon to see what it is like and to familiarize myself with it.

I plan on getting the Grav Gun from thinkgeek.com because I know there is no way I can build one for that cost that looks as good. No shame! A lot of cosplayers are into building everything themselves, but I’m in it for fun, not to win any competitions. :p

That’s where I’m at! Can’t wait to get started on this and hope you enjoy the journey with me.

11
Sep
13

I’m Begging You, Sandman (a short story)

I’m putting it off because I’m afraid. This is how it is every time. Tonight will be no exception. There are never exceptions.

This is how it goes: at first I’m confident. It would be okay, and tonight wouldn’t be so bad. I stop any mental stimulus early, giving my mind time to rest. I try to reduce caffeine intake. I try to have a positive attitude. I try to clear my mind.

But as I brush my teeth, pacing around the house waiting for my two minutes on the Sonicare to finish, I find myself staring at the empty Ambien bottle on my bedside.

Who am I kidding? I can’t clear my mind on a good day, let alone a night without the only thing between me and hours of a delusional twilight state and nightmares. The anxiety starts creeping up on me, tightening my chest.

What are the alternatives? What’s in the “fail” box of drugs from past attempts at breaking the Ambien dependency? What will I take tonight, knowing it won’t work, but I can’t take nothing because then I know—for certain—I stand no chance against the evil, sadistic bastard known as Insomnia.

Clonidine is a blood pressure medication. It’s supposed to decrease my heart rate and make me sleepy.

It doesn’t.

Gabapentin is for seizures. It’s supposed to make me drowsy.

It doesn’t.

Trazodone is for psychotics. It’s supposed to zonk me right out.

It does, but not without severe nightmares and nausea in the morning.

I finish getting ready, opting for the Xanax (I’m on the verge of a panic attack, aren’t I?) and face the inexorable Hell of bedtime. The second my legs slide under the covers, I know I will not sleep tonight.

I swallow the Xanax, knowing it won’t work, my mind running through the same cycle it always does: is it working yet? Do I feel it yet? Am I tired yet is it working do I feel it

Can’t get comfortable. Not the right temperature. Neck hurts. Can’t keep my eyes closed. What do I need to do tomorrow? What will I eat for dinner tomorrow?

I try not to look at the clock, but then I don’t know how long I’ve been awake and I don’t know if the X is working or if I’m past the point where it would’ve worked.

I look at the clock.

40 minutes have gone by.

2 hours have gone by.

10 minutes have gone by.

Time doesn’t matter anymore. I’m in and out of the twilight state where I don’t really know if I’m dreaming or awake. Every time I do fall asleep I’m back in a dream, only it’s more vivid than before.

I dream an entire apocalypse.

7 minutes have gone by.

I dream a flicker of a scene of me shooting someone.

1 hour goes by.

Then that blue light—you know the light—fills the room and I know it must be close to morning.

I’m exhausted now.

I’m finally tired.

I get out of bed. It’s time to wake.

 ***

I don’t usually do stories like this that are completely personal narratives, but this time I couldn’t resist. I also don’t do post-story disclaimers, but for this one I feel I have to.

I have severe insomnia and am treated with Ambien. I’ve suffered from it since I was a kid. Ambien is the only drug I’ve found to work. It works consistently and very well with no adverse side effects for me. Now, let’s not get into a big drug debate or slew of alternatives for insomnia. I’m happy with Ambien. It works for me.

Disclaimer two: I do not have a drug problem. I do not self medicate. Per my doctor’s recommendation, I keep spare sleep alternatives because sometimes they do help.

What I’ve written is what I experience every time I don’t have Ambien.

If you know what it’s like to have essentially debilitating insomnia, you might be familiar with the sense of complete hopelessness it brings. Even more so, if you medicate yourself, you know the feeling of complete dread and anxiety if you run out.

It makes me angry, sure, but I’ve had it for so long it’s almost a pathetic cosmic joke. This is why I decided to write about it. If even one of you can relate to anything in this piece of flash fiction, I’ve succeeded in connecting with you. If one of you laughed because you know exactly what it’s like, in that one moment, it helps me know I’m not alone.

And, most importantly, right now, at 1:14 in the morning, anything is better than facing a night without Ambien.

21
Aug
13

The Starbucks Girl (a short story)

Ready for something totally different from me? This is a short story I wrote for my last creative writing class. It had to follow a “scaffold” of another story, but made my own. In other words, the flow of events had to be the same but the events themselves entirely different. No horror here–at least, I don’t think so. Hope you enjoy!

 

Getting his morning coffee from Starbucks was the highlight of Greg’s day. If anyone knew it was Greg’s only social interaction, they might label him as a shut-in. Socially inept. There were plenty of words to describe it, none of which he liked.

Which was one of the reasons why he never sought psychiatric help for his condition. He could diagnose himself; he didn’t need someone to tell him what he already knew. Besides, they’d put him on a handful of drugs and send him on his way.

The daily Starbucks routine felt good to him. Normal. At exactly 7:30am he woke up and did his morning drill of making the bed, showering, and eating breakfast. At 8:35am he began his walk to Starbucks.

Greg didn’t go to the nearest Starbucks as they consistently got his drink order wrong. It drove him insane and despite many conversations with the manager, it was never resolved. The other location on 8th was another six minutes on his walk, but it was worth it.

On an early September day that smelled and tasted like fall was arriving, he began his walk to the 8th street Starbucks. The frosted grass crunched underfoot as he cut across the lawn of a bookshop. As he entered the coffee shop, about four minutes earlier than normal, its warmth engulfed him. The rich scent of roasted coffee beans soothed him. There weren’t too many people in line either, surprising for the time of day. Even the drive-thru appeared to be empty.

Greg stood in line, taking in bits of detail around him. He was a writer, after all, and any cataloging of details was good for his novels. The only problem was that he didn’t leave home often, if at all, so gathering details was difficult. The same Starbucks only yielded so many new things a day.

A rugged looking gentleman ordered a large coffee. The barista bristled at the word ‘large’, asking if he meant grande or venti. The usual band of trendy young people were already nestled in oversized sofas and chairs typing away on their laptops.

“Could I get a triple grande, half-caf, upside down soy caramel macchiato, extra hot, with a half pump of vanilla and no extra drizzle on top?”

Greg gasped. Was this a joke?

At the head of the line a young woman ordered his exact drink, with all 7 modifiers, in the precise order he did each morning. He’d never seen her before. In fact, as she paid the outrageous cost of the drink and turned, he paid close attention to her features to be positive he hadn’t. Shiny auburn hair, porcelain skin. She was well dressed in a simple charcoal business skirt suit with emerald green pumps. Much more sophisticated than the usual crowd at the 8th street Starbucks.

“Greg? Hey, Greg?”

He snapped out of it, having been zoned out while the two people ahead of him already ordered and stepped aside to wait. His Monday/Wednesday/Friday barista grinned and leaned forward as he approached.

“Do you know that lady?”

Greg shook his head, still in disbelief himself.

“Well, in all my six years working here, I’ve never heard someone order that drink besides you. Maybe you’re soul mates? That’ll be $8.64, we’ll bring it to you.”

He paid her and wandered to his spot by the window. The girl tapped on her smart phone, glancing up occasionally to check for her drink.

Soul mates. What a joke. And yet…

Greg didn’t speak to people. No small talk, no pleasantries. He had no friends. Speaking to people was a huge risk. What if they didn’t like him? What if he said something stupid? But he found himself wondering what it would be like to speak to her. Mentioning their same drink would be the perfect lead-in. It was almost as though they’d already spoken. A drink like that was a sign she was someone worth talking to.

Greg made a note to always come five minutes earlier, in time to catch her ordering her drink. He needed to make sure it was legitimate, that it was her every day drink, and it wasn’t just some freak cosmic accident. From there it was a matter of building up courage until he had enough to talk to her. If they had that much in common, who knew what else they’d have in common, too!

A thousand thoughts swam through Greg’s mind as his barista set down his drink. The pretty woman had long since left, but the memory of her was still vivid.

***

He hadn’t seen Amelia in four days. On the first, he waited. On the second, he came early and stayed later. On the next two, he came much earlier and stayed much later but she hadn’t shown.

Did she catch on to him? Did another barista mention something to her? What could’ve happened? Every day for a week he walked in the door at 8:35am just in time to see her order. He’d learned her name by carefully watching the drink bar for her white cup with her name written on it. Then, poof, she was gone.

To add to the already soured day, there was a new barista working. Greg approached the counter, already knowing she’d write at least one part of his drink wrong.

“Could I get a triple grande, half-caf, upside down….yes, that is half-caf…soy caramel macchiato, extra hot…with a half pump of vanilla and no extra drizzle on top?”

He said it slowly so she had time to write it all down. She’d skipped upside down, but he corrected her, paid, and stepped aside to wait. His usual barista would bring it to him, but this one wouldn’t make the special effort.

“That’s so crazy, I order that exact same drink!”

She was speaking to him. Greg’s mouth became dry in an instant. He turned to see Amelia standing behind him. Everything he’d dreamed of saying to her since the obsession began slipped his mind. All he could manage was a chuckle and nod. Then, “It’s the best, isn’t it?”

Amelia nodded. Her phone buzzed and she withdrew it immediately. “Yeah, they give you a hard time about it but it’s worth the stares.”

The new barista called out the drink. Obviously it was Greg’s since he ordered his first, but he had a better idea. “You take it. It looks like you’re in a rush and you know how long it takes them to make it.”

Greg had to admit, it was smooth. And it worked. Amelia giggled and took the drink. “Thanks…” she looked at the side of the cup. “Greg. I’ll see you around.”

“You too,” he managed to say before she clicked away on her shiny heels.

***

Later at home Greg replayed their conversation until his head ached. It was like something from a movie. He was charming, she was charming. It was everything he’d hoped for their first conversation. He was proud of himself.

Therapist, he thought. I’m doing great! A regular socialite.

But despite his new bout of confidence, his nerves were rattled. It was too much interaction for the day. He tried settling down by writing, but he was restless. Hours passed and he’d only written a few pages. Around seven he made a pot of chamomile tea and settled in for the night to watch his shows.

His mind was on Amelia. When he spoke to her again, he would ask her out to lunch. No, dinner. They had a connection and he was sure she’d accept. After how well their encounter went that morning, there was no was she’d say no.

He was optimistic.

In remembering the events he realized she’d been eying him very flirtatiously. She must have noticed him before and had been waiting for the right moment to speak to him just as he had been with her.

Greg poured another cup of tea, smiling to himself as he imagined their next encounter.

***

 No matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t ask. Greg had many opportunities. They exchanged the same small talk every time he managed to see her. A joke about their shared drink. Sometimes Greg let her take his drink and vice versa. It meant Greg would cut his time at Starbucks short, but it was worth it to have the moment with her.

Yet every time he thought to ask her out, his palms sweat and the words left him. Maybe he did have social anxiety that was proving to be his biggest obstacle on the quest for love.

An obstacle, but one that could easily be overcome. If he couldn’t do it on his own, he needed help.

Greg broke his routine one morning to attend an appointment with a psychiatrist. The doctor was quick to diagnose him. As Greg predicted, the doctor diagnosed him with social anxiety and gave him a few medications to try.

“This is to stabilize you on a day to day basis,” he said as he scribbled on a prescription pad and tore it off. “This is for instances where you know you’ll be in a high stress, high anxiety situation. Take it ahead of time and it should smooth you out.”

He just needed that one—Xanax—to get him through asking Amelia out. His sister often took a Xanax before Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner to help her handle their parents. It seemed like the right drug to loosen him up, too.

***

“Hey, Amelia,” Greg said as they approached the Starbucks door at the same time. He could tell the Xanex was working. It gave him a sense of lightness he didn’t usually have. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” she returned. Her auburn hair was in a long braid down her back, resting against her usual charcoal suit. “It’s getting cold out lately, isn’t it?”

He nodded. It had been two months since he first saw her and they were nearing the end of fall. He pictured the romantic winter dates they could have ice skating and seeing Christmas lights.

“Amelia?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you want to go out to dinner some time?”

Part of Greg wanted to run out and never come back. This was his worst fear. The anticipation of rejection, the tightness in his lungs.

“Sure,” she said. “I’d like that. Meet me at Black Bottle at maybe, seven on Friday?”

And this was his dream come true. A date with Amelia, the girl who ordered his same drink, finally happening. “Sounds good.”

They ordered their drinks and parted ways. She left him with her number. Greg didn’t think he could be any happier.

***

Amelia drank a lot, more than Greg would’ve considered appropriate for a first date. She was on her fourth glass of wine. Her words slurred occasionally, eyes sparkling and a bit distant.

Their conversations at Starbucks were so short, they never had time to get into anything serious. But now, an hour and a half in, they were running out of things to talk about.

Amelia was a receptionist at an expensive spa. She had no plans to finish her communications degree she started years ago and her biggest aspiration was to get on a reality TV show. Everything about her was painfully superficial.

One question—what was I thinking?—ran through Greg’s Xanax-spotted mind the entire evening. She seemed like so much more to him when he first laid eyes on her. So beautiful, so vibrant.

He’d always thought their drink order was quirky. Cute. In reconsidering, it was obnoxious. Unnecessary. And he’d based some irrational desire for her on that alone!

“Greg, you have the check, right?”

He refocused and saw her pointing at the check. She returned to her phone, tap-tapping away.

This is what he needed. A reality check. He thought of the stabilizers the doctor gave him at home. Of his drink order, cultivated over years of visiting Starbucks at the same time every day for years.

He glanced at the flushed, uninteresting Amelia in front of him.

This wasn’t the life he wanted to live. Not anymore.

***

“The usual, Greg?”

The barista took the grande cup in her hand. Just before the sharpie landed, Greg stopped her.

“I’ll have a tall peppermint mocha today,” he said. “To go.”

14
Aug
13

I Broke up with Mad Men

I didn’t expect it to happen, but it did. When I first met Mad Men it was love at first episode. Don’s constant existential crises, the delightful visual appeal of the 60s, people smoking and drinking around children and while pregnant. This was something foreign to me, something new and vintage and, well, seductive.

mad-men2

It was good at first. I remember the unbearable tension between Peggy and Pete. Slowly finding out all the shocking tidbits of Don’s past. Lois running over someone’s foot with a John Deer. Joan singing C’est Magnifique. Joan speaking. Joan being Joan. Every moment when Joan enters the scene.

Oh, wait. That part is still good, but not enough to save the relationship.

Joan-mad-men-14558773-400-226

This last season is when it started. I’m not sure if we’re in different places in our lives right now, or if Mad Men just isn’t what it used to be. We used to have fun and after the first few episodes I was confused and constantly misreading. Don started an affair again, but it wasn’t the same as when he was doing it to Betty. Frankly, it was nothing more than a desperate attempt to spice things up again.

So I ended it. I didn’t wait out the season because I knew it was over. Sometimes I see someone mention Mad Men on Facebook and it makes me want to check On Demand, but…But then I think better of it. There isn’t anything for me. Not anymore.

mad-men-don-desmaia-em-casa




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers