Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New anthology guidelines: Dark Trails

Title: Dark Trails

Publisher: (To be determined)

Editor: Michael Knost

Published date: 2013

Format: (To be determined)

Payment: Pro rate, plus percentage of shared royalties.

No reprints and no trunk stories

Story length: Up to 7,500 words.

No multiple or simultaneous subs

Deadline: Friday, June 1, 2012 (Do not inquire on story status until after September 1, 2012)

Mail submissions, queries, or questions to:

Michael Knost
Dark Trails Anthology
PO Box 12
Logan, WV 25601


Stories should be set as a weird western or dark western. Regardless of your use of “weird” or “dark" in the story, the main focus must be with the fact that is it a western FIRST.


Format your manuscript according to: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Be sure to include your name, address, and email on the manuscript. If this information is not on the manuscript, I will reject it without reading.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Mike's Knives

It’s sad to hear the stories circulating today regarding shoppers and retailers on this Black Friday. It’s disgusting what vile things some will do to get the best deals in order to celebrate the season of love.

My father and I did not have a close relationship when I was growing up. That doesn't mean that we didn't love each another, because we did. However, we were both so busy with our personal lives that we hardly ever had time to spend time together—we were both at fault for this, by no means am I blaming my father.

While driving home from a visit with my parents a few years ago, my wife and I discussed how my relationship with my father had grown significantly in the past couple of years. During that drive, I also shared the story of the wooden box that Dad had built for my collectable knives. Expressing my feelings of its loss, I mentioned that I would give anything to have it in my possession today.

It was a simple crude container about the size of a shoebox with a lid that closed with two brass hinges—it also had a padlock hinge as well as lock to make sure no one else could get into it. On the very top of the lid my father had painted, "Mike's Knives" in a fancy black font. I gave my wife detailed information of all the secret things I kept in the box, and expressed my remorse for not taking better care of things as a child.

That Christmas we visited my parents to eat, open presents, and of course spend quality time—a precious commodity these days. After the meal, the presents were opened and we all sat on the carpeted floor with wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows torn and strewn throughout the entire living room. Finally, after all were opened, my mother (the official gift-passer-outer) handed me a large green gift bag with fancy paper stuffed in the top in order to conceal its contents. Noticing the look of anticipation on each face, I knew this was no typical gift.

I removed the paper from the top and at the bottom of the bag was a crude wooden shape—about the size of a shoebox. Even though I did not see the words Mike's Knives, I knew exactly what it was, and could no longer contain my emotions. As I struggled to remove the box from the bag, tears began to well in my eyes. Finally getting it out, I noticed it was made of new wood with shiny new brass hinges, and that it was locked with a small padlock.

My father handed me a key, and after unlocking as well as opening the lid, the words Mike's Knives were revealed from its underside. I was so emotionally overwhelmed, that I finally placed the box on the floor and embraced my father who was in tears as well. For the longest time neither of us could talk, but we each knew what this meant to the other. I think it was as much a present to him as it was to me. Not to be left out, also in tears, my wife and mother were embracing each other as well. Eventually, we all took turns hugging and thanking one another.

Later that evening my wife explained how she and my mother were talking one day about what to get me for Christmas. Recalling the story of the knife box, my wife shared this information with my mother and father, who decided to build the replica. She also explained my father had constructed the box while he was very sick and should not have been doing the things he was doing in order to get it done. It is without a doubt, the very best Christmas present I have ever received.

As I look at the box today I'm reminded of the love of a father who would do everything in his power to see the relationship with his son grow and become the best that it could possibly be. I'm reminded of the valuable time that was invested into rebuilding a gift that held such significance to me, and that he cared enough to make it as special for me as possible.

With that said, I think we have named today appropriately: BLACK FRIDAY. It’s a dark day in the scope of human development. We've lost the spirit of what Christmas is supposed to be about...it's not about giving gifts, it's about giving something of ourselves to the people we love. It's about refocusing on those who matter most in our lives. And we don't do that by buying the first thing we see for the first person on our list.

Made of common wood, nails, felt, paint, and a few shiny hinges, that crude little knife box means more to me than any gift that could be purchased on Black Friday.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Manuscript critiques

I am getting a bunch of requests to critique manuscripts...

I normally turn down these requests because I am usually too busy. However, I have knocked a few things off my to-do list and have some free time if anyone is interested.

I charge $50.00 to critique a short story up to 5,000 words...I am flexible with the word count.

If interested, drop a line: michaelknost@yahoo.com

Thanks again!
Michael Knost

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

SINGLE CLASS - Ten Plot Points to Give Your Plots A Point

This is a class I have always wanted to teach, and I have finally decided to do it. These plot problems are becoming more prevalent as I have seen more and more the past few years and thought I would do a single class to address the issues so many writers are (unwittingly) getting rejection letters over.

Single class $30.00

9:00 PM EST. Thursday, October 13, 2011

To keep the class manageable, I will only take the first 20 sign-ups. (ONLY NINE LEFT OPEN)

PayPal at mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

Thanks again!
Michael Knost

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Thursday, September 8, 2011


We are going to kick off the LEVEL III Online Writing Course Thursday, September 15, 2011






The course is $120.00, which includes all four classes.

Pay with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, or PalPal below:

Your Name
Your email address

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Worse movie I have seen this year.

The storytelling is pathetic. This is the part that infuriates me to no end. The storytelling should be the strongest aspect of any Conan movie. Robert E. Howard has left a legacy of Conan stories to adapt or collage for an on-screen effort. The writing is as bad as I have ever seen for a major motion picture.

The directing and editing is on an amateur level. I’m not even going to waste my time with dozens of examples I could cite for this.

The acting is atrocious—from top to bottom. The performances never gave me an opportunity to suspend disbelief, as I always felt I was watching actors, not characters. Atrocious.

Hollywood was attempting to make a movie about a well-rounded barbarian character (which is what Conan is) without giving us a well-rounded barbarian character. Instead, Hollywood tried to make a sexy barbarian character with more hair product than my wife uses outside of the Hyborian Age.

Jason Momoa looks like a teenage (or just out of his teenage years) Conan in this movie. It’s as though this is the beginning tales of the Cimmerian before he becomes a bigger, stronger character that I read and loved my entire life. I mean bigger and stronger in two ways: as a character (internally) as well as physically (externally). Now, don’t get me wrong, I was not a fan of the Schwartzenegger portrayals, nor was I a fan of his physical size for the part.

The effects—other than most of the CGI monsters—were laughable. Some of the characters had snow white, perfectly straight teeth. I mean teeth that were such obvious modern veneers that is was as distracting as if they were wearing Rolex watches. But, then other characters—the catapulted Remo, for instance—had obvious (decay appearing) dentures that nearly fell out of his mouth when he spoke. I thought (at one point) it was part of the story, watching for wooden dentures to fall out of his mouth for some other pointless reason.

The blood spray, spatter, and splatter effects are unnatural with goops and gobs, and look as though they were made from corn syrup and food coloring. When the child Conan drives a stake into one enemy’s foot, it looks as though the victim has a balloon filled with a half-gallon of red Kool-Aid for a foot when the watered down red stuff sloshes from the wound.

In my opinion this movie lacks heart. It lacks myth. It lacks character.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

New anthology guidelines: The Mothman Chronicles

Title: The Mothman Chronicles

Publisher: Woodland Press

Editor: Michael Knost

Format: Trade Paperback


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

No reprints and no trunk stories

Story length: Up to 4000 words

No multiple or simultaneous subs

Deadline: Sunday, July 1, 2012 (Do not inquire on story status until after September 1, 2012)

E-mail submissions to: themothmanchronicles at yahoo dot com

We will accept .doc attachments only.

I am looking for fictional mothman stories. The setting is not limited to West Virginia or any other regional area known as mothman territory.

Think of a story or angle you are sure no other writer will come up with and pursue it.

I want tales that grab me early…and hold me to the end. I want stories that are stories: Character + Want + Obstacle + Action = Resolution. I want story arc. I want character arc. I want powerful and emotional tales that are creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody.

Although stories will mainly target an adult/young adult audience, I DO NOT want stories containing language or content unsuitable for children.

Formatting your manuscript:

Use Times New Roman (12pt).
Italicize what you want italicized.
Single space after sentence-ending punctuation.

Be sure to include your name, address, and email on the manuscript. If this information is not on the manuscript, I will reject it without reading.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


My first instructional DVD will be out October 1, 2011. Writers Workshop at Home will be a series of lessons available on DVD with many features. This disc will focus on VIEWPOINT. Having never taught this particular lesson on Viewpoint, I decided to put this together and make it available on DVD.

We recorded this seminar at the Savas-Kostas Theater of Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College in Logan, West Virginia. A beautiful facility with a great audience.

This is no ordinary seminar. You will be entertained with songs, skits, and live energy beaming through your screen!

A fun, entertaining way to understand the basics of Viewpoint, and some great tips to learn how to master the finesse aspects that many veteran writers struggle with.

The DVD will cost $29.95 plus $10.00 shipping & Handling and will begin shipping October 1, 2011.


Use the PayPal button below to order with CREDIT CARD, DEBIT CARD, or PAYPAL:


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Thursday, July 28, 2011


For those interested in the second level online writing course, here is the schedule:


THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST


The course is $120.00, which includes all four classes.

Pay with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, or PalPal below:

Your Name
Your email address

Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Submission Guidelines: Redneck Zombies from Outer Space

Title: Redneck Zombies from Outer Space

Edited by Michael Knost and Jonathan Maberry

Submission period ends: December 31, 2011

Please do not check on status until after March 31, 2012

Publisher: Woodland Press

Publishing Date: Fall 2012

Word count: Up to 2500 words

Payment: Five-cents per word

Send submissions as an RTF attachment to: redneckzombiesfromouterspace@yahoo.com

Come up with a story that would fit the anthology title: Redneck Zombies from
Outer Space. Don't just take the obvious idea and run with it, come up with a
story you are pretty sure no one else will submit. Keep in mind that stories
should include a strong plot, well fleshed out characters (no pun intended), and

Stories DO NOT have to include zombies or rednecks for that matter.

This is intended to be a fun read, not bust-a-gut humor with every sentence. The
plot should not be a setup for a joke at the end. The ideal story will be a
good, solid one that has that classic B-movie genre feel to it…with humor
sprinkled in.

Again, you won't necessarily need a zombie in your tale, or rednecks for that matter,
but you will need to keep the theme of classic B-Movie science fiction/Horror in

Also, please title your story as a B-Movie (Science Fiction or Horror) classic.
i.e.: "I Married a Zombie from Outer Space."

Please keep the story clean of profanity and/or adult content.

No reprints or simultaneous submissions.

Please make sure your name, address, phone number, and email is listed on the
first page of the manuscript.

As for formatting, make sure to double-space lines, add italics where you want
italics, included only one space after a period.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011


I had a couple of folks asking if I would offer a class on the use of subthemes in fiction writing, and thought I would give you an opportunity to join the online class, too.

Since I have stepped back from conducting new four-week courses, I am still teaching courses and classes everywhere it seems, so I thought I would make this ONE NIGHT CLASS available to everyone.

So, if you are interested, here are the details:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 9:00 PM EST.
Cost: $35.00
PayPal payment to: mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

I hope to see you there!

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Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have decided to step back from teaching new courses for a while, but I have also decided to reboot the entire online writing courses starting with the LEVEL ONE course. So, this means those who wanted to start from the beginning and go through all the courses from beginning to end, can now do so.


THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

THURSDAY, JULY 14, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST

The course is $120.00, which includes all four classes.

Pay with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, or PalPal below:

Your Name
Your email address

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Thursday, May 19, 2011


Course is limited to the first 15 students who sign up.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
The Thee Dimensions of Character – Michael Knost

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
How to use Description and Setting to Illustrate
Your Character’s Internal Struggle – Gary Braunbeck

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Scene & Structure – Michael Knost

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Revision & Self-Editing – G. Cameron Fuller

GARY A. BRAUNBECK’Swork has garnered 5 Stoker Awards, an International Horror
Guild Award, a Black Quill Award, and 3 Shocklines' "Shocker" awards. He teaches
creative writing at many places, including serving as instructor for the Seton
Hill MFA program on writing popular fiction.

G. CAMERON FULLER is a writer, teacher, and editor, who worked for Writer’s
Digest and a particular column they ran where beginning writers would submit
stories to be edited/critiqued publicly. He also is a well-known writing
instructor with the knack of having the GOLDEN TOUCH.

Course is limited to the first 15 students who sign up.

Cost: $120.00 for all four classes.

PayPal: mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Online Writing Course with Guest Speaker Tim Waggoner

We are accepting the first 10 students – first come, first serve.

May 12, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Subtlety in Fiction – Michael Knost

May 19, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Surround Sound in Fiction – Michael Knost

May 26, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Fusing Character with Plot - Tim Waggoner

June 2, 2011 @ 9:00 PM EST
Subplots – Michael Knost

Tim Waggoner is the author of numerous novels, two short story collections, and over one hundred published stories in the Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller genres. He’s written tie-ins for Stargate SG-1 and Nightmare on Elm Street. He currently serves as a professor of English and coordinator of creative activities at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. Waggoner also teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania, in an innovative low-residency Master of Fine Arts degree program in Writing Popular Fiction.

The course is $120.00, which includes all four classes.

Pay with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, or PayPal below:

Your Name
Your email address

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Thursday, April 21, 2011


I have a few folks asking for the Level One online writing course.

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.

Here are the classes for the course:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Plot and Structure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Description and Detail

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Point of View and Dialogue

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Creating Great Characters

All classes begin at 9:00 PM EST

The course is $120.00, which includes all four classes.

Pay with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, or PayPal below:

Your Name
Your email address

Go Back To MichaelKnost.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I need your help, please.

A 12 year old girl in my area has lost everything in flood waters. She lost her clothes and electronic devices, but what devastated her most was the loss of her books. My friends at the local radio station (WVOW) are putting together a book drive for her. Please consider donating (age appropriate 12-year-old) new or used books.

If you send them to my address, I'll make sure they get to her. This breaks my heart.

Michael Knost
PO Box 12
Logan, WV 25601

Please don't send clothing or money, just books. I am told the little girl is really emotional about losing her books. I can relate. Even as a child my books were very special to me.

You have my permission to repost this in blogs, message boards, or wherever it will reach others that would help.

Thanks you!
Michael Knost

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Monday, March 28, 2011


We will accept only the first 15 students that sign up with payment.

Concept, Idea, and Premise – by Michael Knost
Thursday, April 7, 2011 @ 9:00 pm EST

Story Setting – by Michael Knost
Thursday, April 14, 2011 @ 9:00 pm EST

Writing Action and Suspense – by Jonathan Maberry *
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 9:00 pm EST

Why Manuscripts Are Rejected – by Michael Knost
Thursday, April 28, 2011 @ 9:00 pm EST

Total cost for course: $120.00

Send PayPal payment to: mikecollinsemail@yahoo.com

Send questions to: michaelknost@yahoo.com

* Jonathan Maberry is the NY Times best-selling & multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of PATIENT ZERO, THE WOLFMAN, ZOMBIE CSU and THE DRAGON FACTORY. He also writes for Marvel Comics (DOOMWAR, BLACK PANTHER, WOLVERINE, PUNISHER, etc).

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Anthology Guidelines

I will be sending manuscript guidelines via my email newsletter sometime next week for a new anthology. I am really excited about the project as it is something different for me...so, if you are not on my list, better sign up for the newsletter as soon as possible to get the scoop: www.michaelknost.com

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dying To Write writing conference

I'm going to be teaching a class called: Developing Monsters . . . Human and Otherwise at the Dying to Write conference at the beautiful Canaan Valley resort. Other speakers will be there, too.

Better get signed up before it sells out: http://dyingtowrite.com/

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

For those who missed this post last year, here is the updated version:

This Valentine's Day my wife and I celebrate nineteen wonderful years together . . . we also celebrate the releasing of our nineteenth 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 to release 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 eighteen 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 really comes with no strings attached.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Michael Knost Writer's Workshop with Manuscript Critique by me & Tom Piccirilli!

Online classes will be conducted by Michael Knost 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 Broadband Internet connection IS required.

Here is the course description:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Plot vs. Character - by Michael Knost

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Creating Character Emotions - by Michael Knost

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Writing the Action Scene - by Michael Knost

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Writing the Love Scene - by Michael Knost

Students will turn in a short story manuscript (under 5,000 words) to be critiqued by:
Michael Knost and Tom Piccirilli.

Critiques will be emailed to students after the final class is completed.

Tom Piccirilli is a two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for "Best Paperback Original" (2008, 2010). He is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award given by the Mystery Writers of America, a final nominee for the World Fantasy Award, and he won the first Bram Stoker Award given in the category of "Best Poetry Collection".

The total cost will be $150.00, which will include the detailed critiques of your story.

I am accepting only the first 15 students.

Payment must be made in order to secure a slot as I am paying Tom for his critiques.



By clicking on the PAY NOW button at the bottom of the screen.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

One night class: Showing and Telling

"Show--don't tell."

We hear this as writing advice so often that it's nearly become a cliche. We've been told to write scenes, dramatize, cut exposition, cut summary. The truth is good writing almost always requires both showing and telling. the trick is finding the right balance of scene and summary--the two basic components of creative prose.

The problem is too many writers need to learn a few tricks on SHOWING in the areas needed. I'd like to help.

After receiving several requests to do a class of SHOWING AND TELLING, I have decided to put together something in-depth on the subject.

Here are the details:

Saturday, February 5, 2011 starting at 7:00 p.m. online.

It is a standalone class with a cost of just $20.00.

Use the following PayPal account to sign up:


Click the SEND MONEY tab.

Fill in the appropriate info.

Click the PERSONAL tab.

Choose OTHER.

Then send it on through.

Sorry if you get this more than once.

Thanks again!
Michael Knost

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