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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