Monday, December 28, 2009

NEW ONLINE WRITING CLASSES

Hey folks,

I am going to start the SECOND LEVEL online classes next week if you are interested in signing up:

Monday, January 4, 2009 @ 9:00 PM - Foreshadowing
Monday, January 11, 2009 @ 9:00 PM - Suspense & Tension
Monday, January 18, 2009 @ 9:00 PM - Flashbacks & Backstory
Monday, January 25, 2009 @ 9:00 PM - Revision & Self Editing

Cost is $120.00 for the four-week set.

Send PayPal payment to: mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

Sign up now.

-----------------------------------------------------

Also, the THIRD LEVEL classes will debut in February:

Monday, February 1, 2009 @ 6:00 OR 9:00 PM – Pacing
Monday, February 8, 2009 @ 6:00 OR 9:00 PM – Mood & Tone
Monday, February 15, 2009 @ 6:00 PM OR 9:00 PM – Book Proposal
Monday, February 22, 2009 @ 6:00 OR 9:00 PM – Marketing

Cost is $120.00 for the four-week set.

Send PayPal payment to: mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

Early sign-up is requested.

Hope to see you in class!
Michael Knost


Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Level One Online Classes Scheduled

I have had a bunch of folks asking when I would offer the first level of classes again. So, I have scheduled the four-week LEVEL ONE classes for December. Get signed up now.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD

There will be two class times scheduled each day:

Early class: 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern

or

Late class: 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern

Cost: $120.00 ($30.00 per class)

Payment (for all classes) must be paid in full no later than December 7, 2009
Nonrefundable on or after December 7, 2009

Accepted payment methods:
PayPal – Money Order – Personal Check

Online classes will be conducted live via audio/video conference with
PowerPoint presentations and chat lines. Audio or video capabilities
(or special software) are NOT required for participation. However,
a computer with Internet connection IS required.

Monday, December 7, 2009
Plot and structure.
We are going to discover why many beginning (and often advanced)
writers create fiction with no story. We will map out the key elements
of plot and structure, and what makes a story a story.


Monday, December 14, 2009
Description and detail
Our goal is to understand the true purpose of description and detail,
and why neither should be treated as fluff information strewn blindly
throughout the story.


Monday, December 21, 2009
Point of View and Dialogue
We are going to study the various viewpoints and learn tricks and tips
to make your story come alive. We are also going to delve into the
intricacies of solid dialogue.


Monday, December 28, 2009
Creating great characters
Then we are going to wrap it all up with the unifying element: character.
We will endeavor to find ways of turning the cardboard into well-rounded,
flesh and blood people.


To sign up, simply drop me an email (writingwithknost@yahoo.com) with
your choice of payment and the specific time slot you wish to sign up for. I will then send you an email with the information needed to make the payment.



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brian Keene Must Die!

Brian Keene is being killed off today in a number of blogs throughout the world. After reading some great stories, I wanted to participate. If you are enjoying the stories, hopefully you'll consider making a donation to the Shirley Jackson Awards in memory of Brian.

Click here to donate

Check out Brian Keene's website for other great stories.


And now:


Brian Keene Must Die


Brian Keene placed the sweating tumbler of Knob Creek on his desk and drew on the half-smoked Partagas. “This novel is going to be the death of me,” he said, exhaling leathery smoke. His eyes dried from staring too long at the computer screen, producing tears.

The monitor flickered, warped. “What the hell?” Brian ground thick knuckles into his eye sockets. “I’ve only had one bottle today.”

Coldness moved around his legs and crept up his spine.

“You know what the story needs, Brian.” The disembodied voice was gruff, as if its speaker had smoked unfiltered Camels for decades.

Brian pushed away from the desk, his gaze scanning for movement. “Who’s there?”

The Word document on his monitor rippled as though liquid. “I mean seriously, what kind of shit is this?” The voice seemed to originate from the computer speakers.

Brian rose to his feet. “Look, I don’t know who you think you—”

“Sit down, Brian.”

Warmth spread from Brian’s neck to his face. “I don’t have to do—”

“Sit down, Brian!”

The chill moved up his body, writhing around his neck, tightening. Brian clawed at his throat for breath, finally taking in the sharp air. He eased into his chair and stared at the floating words on the screen. “Who are you?”

“I would have thought you’d recognize me by now.” The voice sounded offended.

“Are you sure you’re not confusing me for Tomo or Dickie?”

Laughter came from the speakers. “I’m your muse.”

“Great,” Brian said, rolling his eyes. “Where the hell have you been?”

“Do you want my help or not?”

Brian rubbed his forehead. “I just want to finish this story so I can go to bed.”

“Well, that’s just the problem—the story doesn’t like the direction you are taking it.”

“What?” Brian’s eyebrows furrowed. “That’s ridiculous.”

“This story is dangerous, Brian. You’d better let it move where and how it wants.”

“Is that right?” Brian wanted to say something harsher but feared the cold grip would return. “Well, it’s my story.”

“Actually, you’re only the story’s author, Brian. It chose you.”

Brian chuckled. “Well the story has good taste, at least.”

“I would agree,” the voice said. “It first chose Joe Lansdale but he wasn’t interested.”

Brian cocked his head. “Are you saying I am its second choice?”

“Well,” the voice said, hesitantly. “I wouldn’t say you were the second choice.”

Brian folded his arms across his chest. “Oh, really?”

“Ramsey Campbell turned it down, too.”

“So, I was the third choice?”

What sounded like a sigh came from the speakers. “Let’s get back to the matter at hand, shall we? The story is unhappy with your direction and wants a rewrite.”

Brian picked up the tumbler and finished off the Knob Creek. “You can tell the story the only rewrites made will be over my dead body!”

“Don’t say that, Brian.”

“Fuck you, Muse!” Brian poured more Knob Creek into his glass. “I can eat an entire can of Alphabet soup and shit a better story than you any day of the week.”

“Just consider what the story is asking, Brian.”

“All right.” Brian emptied the tumbler again. “What does the story want?”

“A zombie.”

“Get out,” Brian said in a low tone.

“Brian, please—”

“Get out! And don’t you ever come back!”

“Brian, if you would just consider—”

“No!”

The silence was creepier than the disembodied voice.

Brian scanned the room before pulling up to his desk. “Now let’s finish this story.”

Just as his fingers touched the keyboard, Brian noticed a crack spider-webbing across the monitor, with the sounds of glass chinking and crunching. He pushed back from the desk. “Now what?”

The letters from the Word document moved toward the widening cracks in the screen as if trying to escape. A whirring sound came from the monitor, high pressure building like the cracked fuel pump of an ‘84 Oldsmobile.

The air pounded against Brian, forcing him to his feet—the pressure building, making it difficult to remain standing. Brian watched as the letters moved to the edge of the crack.

An upper case V shot from the crack, striking Brian squarely in the chest. The trajectory sounded like a bullet fired from a Glock nine millimeter, digging deep into Brian’s chest.

He stumbled, touching the entry wound. “Jesus—” He brought back bloodied fingertips. “I can’t believe this!”

The letters came in quick succession as if fired from an Uzi, each penetrating Brian’s body with thuds and pings.

Brian fell to the floor, blood pooling from his motionless body.

The pressure from the computer screen faded to nothing. All was quiet except for the squishing sounds of the letters pushing through flesh, exiting Brian’s body.

Now to choose another author.



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I am going to be on the Funky Werepig show Sunday night beginning at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

Please drop by . . . I have some surprises in store!

Plus, I will be giving away an iPod and other stuff!

Here's the link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-Funky-Werepig

I hope you drop by!

Michael Knost
www.MichaelKnost.com

Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Writers Workshop of Michael Knost II

I have the next level of online writing courses scheduled.

There will be two class times scheduled each day:

6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

or

9:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Cost $120.00 ($30.00 per class)

Payment (for all classes) must be paid in full no later than November 9, 2009
Nonrefundable on or after November 9, 2009

Accepted payment methods:
PayPal – Money Order – Personal Check

Online classes will be conducted live via audio/video conference with
PowerPoint presentations and chat lines. Audio or video capabilities
(or special software) are NOT required for participation. However,
a computer with Internet connection IS required.

Monday, November 09, 2009
Foreshadowing, Imagery, and Symbolism

Monday, November 16, 2009
Suspense and Tension

Monday, November 23, 2009
Flashbacks and Backstory

Monday, November 30, 2009
Revision and Self-Editing

To sign up, simply drop me an email (writingwithknost@yahoo.com) with
your choice of payment and the specific time slot you wish to sign up for. I will then send you an email with the information needed to make the payment.

Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New submission guidelines

After adamantly stressing Legends of the Mountain State 3 would end the series of the Woodland Press anthologies, I have changed my mind.

The publisher never wanted the series to stop, and after talking with many protesting fans for the past few months, I have decided to continue with Legends of the Mountain State 4.

So . . .

Here are the submission guidelines:

------------------

Title: Legends of the Mountain State 4

Publisher: Woodland Press

Editor: Michael Knost

Format: Trade Paperback

Payment: five-cents per word (upon publication) plus contributor copy.

No reprints (and please do not resubmit rejected stories from previous editions)

Story length: Up to 2000 words

No multiple or simultaneous subs

Deadline: April 1, 2010

Do NOT query about submission status until August 1, 2010

Send submissions to: LOTMS4@yahoo.com

E-mail submissions only. We will accept .doc or .rtf attachments only. Do NOT copy and paste story into the body of your e-mail. Send submissions or inquiries to the above e-mail address.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

I do NOT want stories with legends or ghosts already covered in previous editions of this series. Reading the other books is a great way to see what I am buying.

Stories MUST expand a known legend/ghost tale from the state of West Virginia.

You do not need to be a West Virginian to submit, but you will need to keep the story (and legend/ghost) true to the state. All stories should include real towns and counties from the Mountain State. Do not tell us the biography of a legend/ghost-tell us a story with the legend or ghost at story's center.

We are looking for tales with a solid plot and good character development. Stories should grab the reader's attention quickly and hold it until the end. We want powerful and emotional tales that are creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody. However, we DO NOT want stories containing explicit language or content.

The most common reasons for rejection will be lack of originality, slow pacing, poor writing, and failure to follow the guidelines. Please visit www.shunn.net/format/story.html for the only manuscript format we accept.

We purchase First World Anthology Rights for publication in the English language anywhere in the world.


Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Writers Workshop of Michael Knost

Writers Workshop of Michael Knost

Tuesday evenings 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. eastern time

Or

Tuesday evenings 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. eastern time for West Coast folks

Cost $120.00 ($30.00 per class)

First come, first serve
Payment (for all classes) must be paid in full prior to October 6, 2009
Nonrefundable on or after October 6, 2009

Accepted payment methods:
PayPal – Money Order – Personal Check

Online classes will be conducted live via audio/video conference with
PowerPoint presentations and chat lines. Audio or video capabilities
(or special software) are NOT required for participation. However,
a computer with Internet connection is required.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Plot and structure.
We are going to discover why many beginning (and often advanced)
writers create fiction with no story. We will map out the key elements
of plot and structure, and what makes a story a story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Description and detail
Our goal is to understand the true purpose of description and detail,
and why neither should be treated as fluff information strewn blindly
throughout the story.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Point of View and Dialogue
We are going to study the various viewpoints and learn tricks and tips
to make your story come alive. We are also going to delve into the
intricacies of solid dialogue.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Creating great characters
Then we are going to wrap it all up with the unifying element: character.
We will endeavor to find ways of turning the cardboard into well-rounded,
flesh and blood people.

To sign up, simply drop me an email (writingwithknost@yahoo.com) with
your choice of payment and time. I will then send you an email with the information
needed to make the payment.

Remember, first come, first serve...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Online Writing Classes

I teach a couple of writing classes every week in my hometown for a local
college. I get a kick out of witnessing students experiencing Aha! Moments.

A few folks have asked me to offer classes online.

Well, I am considering this. I am researching the best way to make it happen so
the student gets the best experience possible.

If you're interested in signing up, drop an email to the following address:

writingwithknost@yahoo.com

I will send you an email with all the details (when I have them) to see if you
would like to sign up.

Hope to see you there!
Michael Knost



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Event and Writers Panel You Do Not Want To Miss

This Saturday, September 5, 2009, The Huntington Mall Borders (Huntington, WV) will host a major book signing and writers panel for Writers Workshop of Horror. From 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Among those scheduled to appear will be Gary A. Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Elizabeth Massie, Tim Waggoner, Jason Sizemore (Apex Publications), C. Cameron Fuller, Brian J. Hatcher, and Michael Knost.

All the participants will be signing special copies of Writers Workshop of Horror as well as other titles they each have penned, during this gathering.

They will also be available to answer questions from the public during an informal panel forum.

The book signing event is open to the public, and patrons are encouraged to come early to speak with their favorite authors. For additional information, contact Huntington Mall Borders, at Barboursville, at 304-736-6233.



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Writers Workshop of Horror is now shipping (author links still good)

. . . and Woodland Press (in addition to paying for each work) is still allowing contributor's to earn commissions from direct sales generated via individualized web links.



Support your favorite author by ordering from his or her specific web link below:

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/massie
Elizabeth Massie

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/laimo
Michael Laimo

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/gonzalez
J.F. Gonzalez

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/braunbeck
Gary Braunbeck

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/waggoner
Tim Waggoner

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/nicholson
Scott Nicholson

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/monteleone
Thomas F. Monteleone

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/fuller
G. Cameron Fuller

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/hautala
Rick Hautala

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/arnzen
Michael A. Arnzen

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/maberry
Jonathan Maberry

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/Piccirilli
Tom Piccirilli

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/castle
Mort Castle

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/strand
Jeff Strand

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/keene
Brian Keene

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/leblanc
Deborah LeBlanc

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/campbell
Ramsey Campbell

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/sizemore
Jason Sizemore

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/morton
Lisa Morton

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/frank
Gary Frank

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/deal
Tim Deal

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/snyder
Lucy A. Snyder

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/haringa
Jack M. Haringa

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/lee
Robert N. Lee

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com/yount
Brian Yount


or you can order via:

http://www.writersworkshopofhorror.com
Writers Workshop of Horror Website

http://www.horror-mall.com/darksidedigital/product.php?productid=19376
Horror Mall

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982493916/ref=s9_simb_gw_xi_s0_p14_t1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=131R64EG5BPHH2R86WFW&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Amazon.com

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Writers-Workshop-Of-Horror/Michael-Knost/e/9780982493915/?itm=1
Barnes and Noble

http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780982493915?id=4500532869467
Books A Million


Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Friday, July 31, 2009

Book Signing and Writing Contest

I wanted to invite you to my book signing and writing contest Saturday, August 1, 2009. From 2-4pm. It will be at the Huntington Mall Borders, Barboursville, WV.

I'll be signing Writers Workshop of Horror, a collection of articles/interviews by/with some of the biggest names in the writing industry (Clive Barker, Joe Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, Elizabeth Massie, Gary Braunbeck, Brian Keene, etc.) The book focuses solely on bettering your craft as a fiction writer.

And I am conducting a writing contest while at the Borders event. I would like to invite you to submit something. There is no submission fee. Word count should be 5,000 or less. Submissions may be from any fiction genre. Submissions must be in person from 2-4pm. The winner will be published in a future anthology (and paid pro rates).

I hope to see you there.

Michael Knost


Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pre-order Writers Workshop of Horror

Hi folks,

I wanted to let you know that Writers Workshop of Horror will hit shelves August
1, 2009, but folks can pre-order copies right now.


Pre-order here:

http://writersworkshopofhorror.com




Writers Workshop of Horror is a collection of articles/interviews by/with some
of the biggest names in the horror and dark fiction genres, focusing on
improving specific elements of writing. It focuses solely on honing the craft of
writing. You won't find anything in these pages on marketing, promotions, or
submission tips. That's another book for another time. What you will find is
solid advice-from professionals of every publishing level-on how to improve your
writing.

Although this project is centered on writing horror and/or dark fiction, the
principles and advice inside this book will transcend all genres and all forms
of writing. It doesn't matter if you write romance, science fiction, western,
mysteries, fantasy, or memoirs, you will benefit from the information,
ultimately improving your craft by bringing polished elements of horror, fear,
anxiety, or dread to your work when needed.

Here's to creating better nightmares.

Table of Contents:

• Elizabeth Massie - Once Upon a Scary Time: Creating Effective Beginnings
• Michael Laimo - Middles: The Meat of the Matter
• J.G. Gonzalez - The Grand Finale
• Gary A. Braunbeck - Connecting the DOTS
• Tim Waggoner - And Horror the Soul of the Plot
• Scott Nicholson - What's The Point and Who's On First: Character POV
• Thomas F. Monteleone - "We don't get too many strangers around here . . . ."
Or: Using Dialogue to Tell Your Story
• G. Cameron Fuller - A Claustrophobic Locked in an Isolated Room: The Power of
Setting and Description in Horror Fiction
• Rick Hautala - "The Hardest Three" Tone, Style, and Voice
• Michael A. Arnzen - Stripping Away the Mask: Scene and Structure in Horror
Fiction
• Jonathan Maberry - Fight And Action Scenes In Horror
• Tom Piccirilli - Exploring Personal Themes
• Mort Castle - New Fiction Blend: History, Fantasy, Horror
• Jeff Strand - Adding Humor to Your Horror
• Joe R. Lansdale - Cross Reading
• Brian Keene - Time, and How to Make It
• Deborah LeBlanc - A Face by Any Other Name
• Ramsey Campbell - The Height of Fear
• Michael Knost - The Aha! Moment
• Jason Sizemore - Be a Conformist: A Guide to Manuscript Formatting
• Lisa Morton - CUT! Or, Why Writing Horror Screenplays is REALLY Scary
• Gary Frank - It's All About the Series: An Interview with F. Paul Wilson
• Tim Deal - It's All About the Work: An Interview with Tom Piccirilli
• Michael Knost - It's All About the Craft: An Interview with Ramsey Campbell
• Lucy A. Snyder - It's All Part of the Fun: An Interview with Clive Barker
• Jack M. Haringa - The Agnotology of Horror; or, Lies the Internet Told You
• Robert N. Lee - How Stephen King's Writing Advice Broke My Heart and Smashed
My Dreams
• Brian Yount - Top Ten Things an Editor/Publisher Hates To See


Pre-orders are now accepted, but will not ship until August 1, 2009

Pre-order here:

http://writersworkshopofhorror.com





Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

I will be offering short story critiques at Context this year

From the Context website:

Michael Knost: Short Story Critiques


(Friday, Saturday, Sunday TBA)
Editor Michael Knost will be offering individual critiques of dark genre short stories of up to 6,000 words. You must submit your manuscript at least a month before the convention. At the convention, Mr. Knost will meet with you individually to discuss your manuscript; in addition to the discussion, he will give you a written critique of your work. Submission details will be sent to students after they register; students will be scheduled for their 20-minute sessions based on other workshop scheduling. $50. 10 sessions remain.

For more information or to sign up, visit: http://www.contextsf.org/workshop.htm

I hope to see you there!



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Writers Workshop of Horror

I apologize for not posting anything in a while. I’ve been extremely busy. But I wanted to get out an update on the latest project I’ve been working on.

Writers Workshop of Horror is almost finished and ready to go to the printers!



This is a project I have wanted to do for a long while, and was able to see it through with some of the best writers in the business.

Writers Workshop of Horror is a collection of articles/interviews by/with some of the biggest names in the industry regarding the craft of writing as it pertains to horror and dark fiction genres.


Here’s the Table of Contents:

Elizabeth Massie - Once Upon a Scary Time: Creating Effective Beginnings

Michael Laimo - Middles: The Meat of the Matter

J.G. Gonzalez - The Grand Finale

Gary A. Braunbeck - Connecting the DOTS

Tim Waggoner - And Horror the Soul of the Plot

Scott Nicholson - What’s The Point and Who’s On First: Character POV

Thomas F. Monteleone - “We don’t get too many strangers around here . . . .”
Or: Using Dialogue to Tell Your Story

G. Cameron Fuller - A Claustrophobic Locked in an Isolated Room: The Power of Setting
and Description in Horror Fiction

Rick Hautala - “The Hardest Three” Tone, Style, and Voice

Michael A. Arnzen - Stripping Away the Mask: Scene and Structure in Horror Fiction

Jonathan Maberry - Fight And Action Scenes In Horror

Tom Piccirilli - Exploring Personal Themes

Mort Castle - New Fiction Blend: History, Fantasy, Horror

Jeff Strand - Adding Humor to Your Horror

Joe R. Lansdale - Cross Reading

Brian Keene - Time, and How to Make It

Deborah LeBlanc - A Face By Any Other Name

Ramsey Campbell - The Height of Fear

Michael Knost - The Aha! Moment

Jason Sizemore - Be a Conformist: A Guide to Manuscript Formatting

Lisa Morton - CUT! Or, Why Writing Horror Screenplays is REALLY Scary

Gary Frank - It’s All About the Series: An Interview with F. Paul Wilson

Tim Deal - It’s All About the Work: An Interview with Tom Piccirilli

Michael Knost - It’s All About the Craft: An Interview with Ramsey Campbell

Lucy A. Snyder - It’s All Part of the Fun: An Interview with Clive Barker

Jack M. Haringa - The Agnotology of Horror; or, Lies the Internet Told You

Robert N. Lee - How Stephen King’s Writing Advice Broke My Heart and Smashed My
Dreams

Brian Yount – Top Ten Things an Editor/Publisher Hates To See


I have to admit—in spite of my involvement—this is one of the best writing books I have ever read. It is 100% focused on the craft itself . . . nothing about marketing, promotions, or submission tips. What you will find is solid advice—from professionals of every publishing level—on how to improve your writing.

I’ll keep you posted on the street date . . .





Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A FATHER

Yesterday my six-month old baby girl started running a fever and vomiting. After Tylenol and a bath, her fever kept going up. So we took her to the ER.



They gave her Motrin, which brought down the fever some, and scheduled some tests.

They wanted a urine sample to make sure she didn’t have a urinary tract infection. Now, that in itself is not bad, but they wanted to obtain the urine via a catheter, which was obviously very painful to Bella.

Then they wanted to do a sinus culture, which involved sticking a flexible plastic stick down her throat via her nose . . . which was obviously very painful to Bella.

Then they wanted to draw blood to test for viral possibilities. The phlebotomist came and stuck the baby in both arms, fishing for veins with no blood being drawn. After hearing Bella screaming and gagging from the obvious pain, I told the nurse we were finished with the training session.

Then they wanted a chest x-ray to see if she had pneumonia. I watched as they strapped my screaming baby to a board, arms over her head in a vise. The picture reminded me of the much-televised Baby Jessica as rescuers brought her out of the well many years ago.

The doctor came and said they really needed blood to rule out as much as possible. I agreed, as long as they had someone that knew what they were doing and were not fishing in her arms and legs with the needle. So I watched, holding my tearful wife, as my baby screamed for Da-Da while the nurses took the blood they needed.

Bella is home and doing fantastic. Her fever is gone and she is back to normal. All the tests showed up negative and she is happy and content as she always was.

I tell you all this so you will understand what I am about to say:

I never knew true joy until my Bella Grace was born.
I never knew true pride until I first heard her say Da-Da.
I never knew true love until I saw her smile when I walk into the room.
And I never knew true pain until watching her endure her own.

I know there will be worse things ahead as she grows older, but my God I had no idea it would be this painful. As the person sworn to protect my Bella Mia, it was pure torture watching her scream for me, her gaze never leaving me, as I stood by helpless.

Her external scars will all but be forgotten in a few days, she no longer favors the soreness from needles and caths, but the scars inside me will burn for the rest of my life.

And that’s what it’s like to be a father.



Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Book for Horror Writers

Writers Workshop of Horror is a collection of articles and interviews on the craft of writing horror.



Each article -- written by some very big names -- tackles a specific element of the writing craft as it relates to the horror and dark fiction genres.

Release date and other information will be forthcoming.

I will post pre-order dates and info in my newsletter when nailed down. You are invited to sign up for the newsletter at: www.MichaelKnost.com and follow the newsletter link.


Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine Balloon

This Valentine's Day my wife and I will celebrate seventeen wonderful years together . . . we also celebrate the releasing of our seventeenth balloon.

Let me explain, we’d been dating only a few weeks when Valentine's Day was approaching. I bought flowers, candy, and a beautiful card for her . . . she bought a rose and a huge helium-filled balloon for me.

We decided to meet at a local grocery store parking lot before going out to eat. In the parking lot, she handed me the rose and balloon, except I thought the balloon’s string was tied to the rose, and she thought that I had a hold of the string and rose. We both watched helplessly as the balloon rose slowly out of sight. It was at that moment I asked her to "go steady" with me . . . fortunately she said yes.

Every Valentine's Day since, we have made our way to a grocery store parking lot and released a balloon into the sky. With this tradition we have turned a blunder into a celebrated moment.



Since then, we have released balloons from various states, and have been so busy at times we were forced to make a special effort to even continue the tradition. In 1999, balloon number seven was released in the middle of a hectic week of packing as we were moving from one city to another. Balloon number six was the very first to be released outside our native state of West Virginia, and on February 13, 1996, my wife's father passed away after only one week in the hospital . . . the next day we tearfully released balloon number four.

So, what have I learned in seventeen years? Well, I’ve learned that true love is not about flowers, candy, gifts, or even balloons. I’ve learned it’s not about possessions, wealth, youth, or power. I’ve learned that tough times are par for the course, but the course always gets smoother if you just keep playing. I also discovered it’s not always about me.

But more importantly, I’ve learned that true love comes with no strings attached.


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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Call for submissions for new regional anthology

APPALACHIAN HOLIDAY HAUNTINGS

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Title: Appalachian Holiday Hauntings

Editors: Michael Knost and Mark Justice

Publisher: Woodland Press

Publication date: November 1, 2009

Word count: 1000 to 3000 words

Pay: three-cents per word plus contributor copy (one-cent per word on reprints)

Submit to: xmasanthology@yahoo.com

Format: Attached RTF or Word Document file. (do not copy and paste into email body)

No simultaneous or multiple submissions

No explicit language or sexual content (this project will be in regional school systems)

Deadline: September 1, 2009 (do not inquire on status of submission until after this date)

We are looking for traditional Christmas ghost stories set in the Appalachian region. Think Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with an Appalachian backdrop. However, given this example, we want to make sure you understand that stories may be set in any time frame, including the present.

We are not interested in tales that disrespect or alter the religious aspects of the holiday.



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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cowboys and Indians

The Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia served as the playground during my childhood. We were rugged outdoor kids who simply loved adventure. We didn't sit indoors like most kids today (jeez, I sound like my father), playing video games and surfing the Net . . . we were too busy out playing ball, swinging on grapevines, catching crawdads and minnows, hiking, swimming or fishing at the old pond, camping, or anything else that would get us out of the house. Had our parents only known a fraction of what we were doing, they would have surely maintained a fuller prayer life.

We'd play hide-and-seek, tag, and tackle-the-man-with-the-football, as well as make-believe games like (the now politically incorrect) cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. In the world of make-believe, guns were created by sticking your thumb straight up and extending your index finger straight out while curling the other three around a make-believe pistol grip. If someone pointed his "gun" at you and shouted "Bang!" or "Pow!" you were considered dead and were obligated to fall to the ground immediately without moving.

One day in particular we were playing cowboys and Indians deep in the mountains. Envisioning myself as John Wayne, better known as the Duke, I had my "five-shooters" out and ready for action. I decided to climb a huge tree to get a better view of where the bad-guys were hiding. Climbing higher and higher, I saw no sign of anyone until I was six to eight feet off the ground. It was from there I noticed Gary Browning (my cousin) quietly sneaking along, ready to shoot the first thing that moved. I allowed him to move in a little closer before taking aim. However, I was distracted by a noise from the other side of the tree.

Turning to investigate, I found myself staring straight down the index finger of Curtis Gibson. "Pow!" he shouted from the ground. Panicked that I was so far up the tree, I began climbing down as fast as I could.

"The Duke has been shot in the foot!" I said. Remember, I was obligated to fall, but I was eight feet off the ground in a tree.

"Bang!" shouted Gary, who was now aware of my hiding place.

"The Duke has been shot in the shoulder!" I screamed as I kept climbing down.

"Pow, Pow!" A double shot came from Curtis.

"The Duke has been shot twice in the calf!" I said, nearly reaching the ground.

Then as I was dangling from the lowest limb, Curt and Gary emptied their imaginary ammo into me. “Pow!” “Bang-Bang!” “Pow, Pow-Pow!” “Bang!”

I finally dropped to the ground, announcing, "The Duke is dead!"



As writers we sometimes have characters acting similarly on the page, don’t we? You know what I mean, they’re doing silly things that really doesn’t move the story forward. Pointless behavior that has nothing to do with the plot or conflict around them.

Remember, anytime we have a character acting in a particular manner because it serves the character, rather than serving the story, we run the risk of losing the reader. After all, no one likes to be lied to.

I think the real Duke, John Wayne, said it best. “I don’t act . . . I react.”


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reopening submissions for West Virginia writers

Sorry to put this in the blog, but I wanted to get this out:

I received a ton of submissions for this but very few made the cut.
So, I am moving back the deadline and reopening for a second round of
submissions:

(NOTE: If you made an earlier submission and have not heard back from me, it is still
under consideration so you do not need to submit)

Tentative title: Spooky Stories of West Virginia: 13 Tales from
Mountain State Writers

Editor: Michael Knost

Publisher: Woodland Press

Submission form: email attachment to michaelknost@yahoo.com

Length: 2500 words or less

Pay: Three-cents per word, plus one contributor copy

Deadline: April 1, 2009 (please do not check on status until this date)

Submissions are open only to current and/or former West Virginia
residents...or writers with significant ties to the state.

Stories set in West Virginia are preferred but not mandatory.

These must be fictional tales, whether you are building around a known
ghost or legend, or creating something original.

We are looking for speculative fiction, including ghosts, monsters,
UFO's, etc.

Any further questions should be directed to the editor (see above for
email).



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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Day Bobby Died

I was enjoying cookies and milk with my grandmother under her swing shed when my aunt, who lived next door, came running into the yard, screaming and bawling. I was eight years old and had never seen anyone cry so hard or so much.

“What’s wrong,” my grandmother asked, running to her.

“It’s B-B-Bobby,” my aunt said amid sobs.

My grandmother pulled her sister close. “What happened, Audrey?”

“He’s dead.” She dabbed her eyes with a wad of mascara-stained tissues. “Somebody shot him . . . I just can’t believe it!”

I watched the two women I loved more than anything bawling their eyes out and knew what I had to do. So I fought back the tears and headed home.

Mom was in the kitchen as I walked in. I knew the news would devastate her but I didn’t want her to hear it from anyone else. She had to know, and I had to tell her.

“What’s wrong, Honey?” she asked, moving closer.

I realized tears were welling in my eyes and tried to wipe them with my shirtsleeve. I wanted to speak calmly but fought back the torrent building inside me. My chin quivered just thinking how much this was going to hurt the most important person in my life.

“Bobby’s dead!” The words erupted from me with forceful sobs. “He was shot--” That’s all I could get out. I laid my head on her shoulder, crying harder than my grandmother and aunt put together.

“Who’s Bobby?”

“I don’t know.” I looked up at Mom, noticing she was not crying at all. “Mamaw and Aunt Audrey were talking about him.”

Mom picked up the telephone. I knew she was calling my grandmother. And I just knew when she heard Mamaw tell her the story she would break down. I was ready for it. I tried to prepare myself for it, waiting for her tears.

As I watched my mother talk, I saw her deliberately trying to hide a smile. How heartless could she be? Bobby was dead. Someone shot him! And she finds this amusing?

“Michael, I need to tell you something,” she said, hanging up the phone. “Bobby is a character from a soap opera your grandmother and aunt watch every day.”

My New Year resolution is to create characters the reader can relate with . . . characters the reader actually cares about . . . characters, well, like Bobby.

. . . oh, and to also make old women cry.

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