For all The Fiction Writers Out There

reading is the key

For all The Fiction Writers Out There – inspirational

For those who hope and dream – that they can be acknowledged for their creativity, that they can offer a little something more than being a lifeless automaton, punching buttons for a big corporation or picking up garbage from the curb on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Something more than spending their weekends in a neighborhood bar, guzzling beer and downing Jack Daniels shots with the rest of the zombies who have already lost their dreams. For this dream, they hope and strive for something better.

We are writers, come read our horrors!
Michael Thomas-Knight, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving Day Surprise!


Happy Thanksgiving for those readers who celebrate this holiday. 

Typically, I know there’s not much to do for the men on this Holiday besides watch football and eat turkey. For the women, I imagine you’ll be busy cooking, but if you have a few free moments, you may want to escape the day by reading this short.

For those of you that need a little horror entertainment I offer you this story,
Thanksgiving Day Surprise!
You may want to wait until after you eat to read this, Yeah it’s that kind of story.

Here’s my Thanksgiving Day present to you…


Thanksgiving Day Surprise
Michael Thomas-Knight

Millions of turkeys marched through suburban streets pecking and screeching, attacking anyone that happened to be caught outside. Their beaks pounded like sharpened jack hammers, breaking skin, shredding clothing, ripping flesh and leaving mangled corpses in their wake. They smashed their beaks into glass storm doors and diligently whittled through wooden doors to gain entry to homes.

Men and families with guns armed and defended themselves. Turkeys were shot but there were too many of them and not enough time to reload before being overcome by their aggression. Damn those magazine size restriction laws! Roger Banister had a dozen turkeys upon him, pecking at his face as he tried in vein to keep them at bay and reload his shotgun. There were just too many turkeys. One gave great aim and caught his eye, ripping it out of the socket with a bloody splash.

Roger woke with flailing arms and mumbled protest in the living room recliner. The family members present at the time laughed and chided him.
“Damn Roger, that must’ve been one hell of a nightmare,” Uncle Walter said.
Roger rubbed his face with his hand pulling it down to his chin. He blinked several times in succession. His wife handed him a cold bottle of water.
“Thanks, Jamie.”
“I told you not to start drinking so early in the day.”
The football game had just started on TV and they were yet to eat their traditional thanksgiving meal.
“What kind of nightmare was that?” Aunt Dee asked.
Aunt Dee was the spiritual guru of the family, always available for ghostly guidance and to light certain candles to promote peace and happiness in the home. Most of the family laughed at her eccentric ways but not in a mean spirited way. They accepted her for who she was. However Roger didn’t want her rolling around inside his head with analysis. He kept it short and simple.
“It was weird; I dreamed there were millions of Turkey’s attacking everyone.”
“That’s your guilt. The guilt you feel for this yearly slaughter of the Turkey species,” Aunt Dee said.
“I will tell you one thing. When I eat ma’s turkey, I don’t feel any guilt at all, so you are way off on that one,” said Roger.
“Do you realize leading up to the last Thursday in November at least a million turkeys are slaughtered,” Aunt Dee said.
“It also means over a million Americans eat a decent home cooked meal on this day rather than the fast food garbage they eat all week because of their hectic schedules,” Roger said.
Jamie added, “You’re right about one thing, the turkey should be honored on this day.”
“The turkey is honored on this day. You see the big turkey decoration Ma hangs on the front door? She don’t hang a picture of George Washington out there on Presidents day. Does she?” Uncle Walt said.
Without looking up from the TV Pop said, “Yes, she does.”
Aunt Dee ended the discussion with, “Well I’m a vegetarian and have no guilt to give me nightmares on Thanksgiving.”


The rest of the night went down as usual, Uncle Walt told inappropriate stories about his life as a single bachelor. Aunt Dee told him karma would one day pay him a visit.
“Until then, I’m gonna’ have the time of my life!” Walt said. “I’ve tried positions that the Karma Sutra don’t even know about.”
Aunt Gloria covered her son Billy’s ears and yelled at Walt. Not that it mattered, little Billy, even at ten years old, was oblivious to what Walt was saying.
“That boy is dumb as a stump,” Walt said. “He don’t even know we’re talking about him.”
“He’s my son, and I love him, but when you’re right, you’re right, Uncle Bob said. Aunt Gloria threw her husband a scornful glance.
Billy looked up from his mashed potatoes, where he had built a moat for his turkey gravy and noticed everyone looking at him.
“What?” he said, just proving the point Uncle Walt had stated.

Roger’s wife insinuated that Ma would’ve had dinner ready hours ago if she weren’t nipping the cooking Sherry. Pops accented the night by farting in the living room and clearing the area of all living things, including Muffy, ma’s scruffy little dog. The family always had a good laugh about Ma naming the dog Muffy, saying she had latent lesbian tendencies. Ma yelled at dad about controlling his bodily functions and Pop blamed Ma’s cooking.
Turkey surprise 1It was just after 9:30 when Roger and Jamie returned home. Their daughter, Krista, in the back seat had not pulled the ear-buds from her ears since morning, not even to eat turkey. The only sign that she was actually alive was the constant movement of her thumbs on her I-Phone screen. She left the car first and waited by the front door.
“Ya know, she could’ve wrote a damn novel by now if she had half a brain,” Roger said to his wife.
Jamie punched him in the arm, “That’s our daughter you’re talking about.”
Everyone was asleep by Eleven PM, groggy from Turkey and mentally exhausted from spending the day with their extended family.

At two in the morning Roger woke in a sweat. His wide eyes darted around the room and he jumped from the bed. Jamie was not in bed, but that was not his concern. He walked to the front Windows to see what was happening outside. Flashing lights, red and white illuminated the window shade. He wiped the sweat building on his forehead with the back of his hand. He moved the curtain aside and peeked out. Turkeys! The Turkeys were attacking. His nightmare had come true. He slipped on his pants and a shirt and rushed from his room. He stopped by the bathroom and heard his wife throwing up.
“Honey are you alright?” He asked through the closed door.
“Yes, just sick,” she managed to get out before heaving into the bowl once more.
Downstairs he opened the gun cabinet in the den. He needed to defend his family from these killer turkeys. He armed himself with a loaded shotgun and a pistol. He stuffed extra shells for the shotgun in his top shirt pocket.

He snuck out the back door and made his way to the front of the house using the bushes as cover. In the street, turkeys were gathered in gaggles, chortling and gobbling, while police stood behind their open car doors with guns drawn. Then he saw it. Several of the police were turkeys too, large turkeys wearing police hats and badges. The police had been infiltrated, and were now on the side of the turkeys.
Roger stood and took aim with his pistol. He fired six shots taking out many of the gathered fowl before anyone even knew what was taking place. The turkeys dispersed, running wild, in circles and bumping each other. The police turned to Roger and started firing. He took aim with his shot gun and got Turkey surprise 3off one shot as the police opened fire on him, killing him.

Overnight, fifty million Americans would perish from a mutated strain of the avian flu. It was labeled the mad turkey disease by the press. Millions of people ate turkeys on Thanksgiving. About half of those turkeys were tainted with the new virus strain. Many would perish in their beds with an escalating fever and unquenchable thirst, sweat pouring from their pores as they experienced fever dreams. Others went mad as their brains boiled in the heat of their own blood. Those with guns aimed them at family or themselves, pulling the trigger as a release from the blistering pain. Others were shot in stand-offs with the police after shooting neighbors indiscriminately. Some made it to hospitals and were treated; still others did not get sick at all. However, the year will always be remembered as the year turkeys got their revenge.

Ironically, Aunt Dee survived the weekend, but would perish only a few weeks later when a drunk driver in an SUV crashed with her car head on.



Websites for writers – Everything you need to become a Class-A writer!

Websites for writers
Everything you need to become a Class-A writer!

Everything you need to become a better writer is available from informative websites and blogs to help a writer achieve greater success. Here are some valuable links to check out. From inspiration to publishing, from writing to promoting, I’ve picked some recent articles for the struggling author to read and review.



Here’s a good article at Ghosts and Ghouls to jump start the imagination of horror writers. Check it out:

You should definitely check out the Monster Men pod casts on Youtube. Their latest is an interview with author, Brian Moreland, but each episode is packed with fun monster and horror talk.

Kurt Vonnegut – His thoughts on writing fiction

Open Culture – every writer should bookmark this site
Not only does this site have direct articles for writing, it has links to free online stories from many of the literary masters. Its also a valuable reference on many subjects that may pertain to your characters.




Kristen Lamb’s Blog
Kristen offers top quality articles, inspiration, coaching and mentoring to fiction writers.

Jacqui Murray is an author, columnist and teacher with some very good info for the practicing writer.

5 Harsh Truths for Writers is a great article from Cultured Vultures

A steady stream of advice and information articles for the writer can be found here:

here’s a good article I recently enjoyed:

Flynn Gray’s blog
Flynn offers tons of valuable info for writers and authors at his blog. He often posts a page much like this one, with a dozen great articles and links to them for us writers to read. Its quite probable that a few of the links posted here I discovered through Flynn’s posts. If you’re a writer, you should follow his blog!

Cemetery Tomes
My buddy Nate offers  weekly memes and graphics on writing fiction, and he’s looking for some short fiction for the winter months to post.


It may be too late to join this year but you may want to check it out for next year. If you always had an idea for a novel and have always had trouble starting it and keeping at it, joining this group will help you push yourself for a full month. See if you got what it takes to get that story down. You track your progress, get inspiration and see others going through the same struggles as you. I may actually do this next November, so I will post about it in Oct. 2016. I have resisted up to this point because I had many short story ideas that I wanted to write and have built a certain level of success with them. But, by next year, I think it will be time for me to get on with writing full novels.


Hope you find these links helpful. Anyone who is just getting into writing or who is seeking advice on getting published can feel free to send me questions. I will try and help if I can, or at least I’ll try to send you to a website with the info you seek. Mike.

writing hands 2

Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Part X


Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Part X

The Secrets of Writing Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a story form that is really short, usually from 100 to 1000 words. It is not a vignette, it is not a commentary on an event, it is a full story with a plot and conclusion. If you attempt writing some flash fiction you will find it is often harder to write good short fiction than longer works.

How I approach flash fiction writing is by breaking it into the three act story format, but I title them:


In a flash fiction piece it is important to start your story in the conflict, or very close to it. You usually don’t want to rely on back-story for flash fiction because it will eat up your word count. You might need a few sentences but keep it minimal. You’ll want to make your story be told in one scene, one location, and in one piece.

1st act – character introduction, initial conflict, dilemma
2nd act – the action the character takes to resolve the conflict or dilemma
3rd act – The results of the main character’s action to solve the conflict and the change in the situation.

Theoretically you can do this in three paragraphs.



It is important to have a great first sentence, a grabber that will get people to read your story. It should do one (or more) of three things:

– It should make the reader ask themselves a question that needs to be answered.
– It should put them in a situation that they are curious about.
– It should make them feel instant camaraderie or empathy for your main character.

The climax of the story should be at the end of the second act when the MC has taken action to solve the dilemma and the conflict is escalated to its peak. The third act should be short and bring everything back to normal, to a new normal, or to a realization of what the future of the MC will be.

Naturally, these are just guidelines and exceptions to the format always exist.


Here are a couple of opening sentences, grabbers, that I’ve used from some of my most frequently read stories on the internet:

The moment old lady Ambrose bent over to look in my basement window, I hit her in the back of the head with a hammer…
from my story Upstanding Citizen on the Carnage Conservatory

I love the dead. Their cooling flesh, pale blue tone, and relaxed muscles produce an exquisite experience within my fingers…
from my story Aberration on


Extremely short fiction can have an implied aspect to it. Much of the story can take place in your head after the story is read. Following are some examples.

The shortest stories ever written:

Ex. 1:
For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.

This two sentence piece is often attributed to Hemingway.

Ex. 2:
James woke one night in his dark bedroom with the notion that someone was in the room with him. When he reached for his glasses on the nightstand, they were placed in his hand.

Unknown author.

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” ― Stephen King, Skeleton Crew

“You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.”
– Larry Niven

Classic Horror Stories – The early days of horror as a genre

Classic Horror Stories – The early days of horror as a genre

If you want to be a horror writer it’s quite important to read some of the classics, to know your heritage, in order to move forward from the early days into modern story-telling.

Here are some important links for you to read some of the classic horror authors and stories online


Edgar Allan Poe – Ligeia
Read Ligeia at

Many if not all of Poe’s Stories and Poems can also be found here:

ligeia - poe



Bram Stoker – The Dream of Red Hands
Read The Dream of Red Hands 
(thanks to Paula Cappa for the suggested reading)

The Bram Stoker site includes more short stories:

stoker - the dream of red hands bram-stoker-case


Perhaps the pinnacle in Lovecraft tales:
The Whisperer in Darkness
Read it here:

Need to read some Lovecraft Tales:

whisperer in darkness - creature


More horror fiction short stories:

More stories, Hawthorne to Stevenson – Polidori to Blackwood
Literary horror short stories:


Starry Eyes (2014) – Movie review

starry eyes pic 12

Starry Eyes (2014)

Directors: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

(some spoilers in the review)
Sarah is a young actress living in Hollywood hoping to live her dream as a rising star. She works at a fast food restaurant, lives with her roommate and spends quite a bit of time with her group of friends, all striving to make it to the big time. The friends are the usual suspects, a musician who gets high most of the day, a director who constantly talks about his movie that never gets made, a bitchy girlfriend that puts Sarah down at every chance she can, and her more level headed roommate who seems to genuinely care for her.

Sarah gets an audition from a production company with some prestige and history in Hollywood. She is asked back for several more auditions, each one getting stranger than the last. It’s at the last meeting with the producer that she realizes she is being initiated into some kind of black magic cult. The Satan worshipers tell her of a transformation and a new birth that will take place enabling her to achieve success and be welcomed into the fold. She runs from starry-eyes-dvd coverthem terrified.

When she returns home from the last meeting, she is disoriented, unaware of passing time, paranoid of friends, and often lashing out at them for little reason. Her body begins to change as if her old self is rotting away to make room for the new person inside. Her skin turns black in places, her fingernails and hair fall out and her lips turn black. The tension gets taut as she changes, putting her friends in danger as her mind seems to loose touch with reality.

It’s unnerving to watch as her world turns ugly. Alex Esso is a charming actress and plays her part perfectly establishing the hope and dejection cycle of a person seeking fame. You root for her success but when you see how far down she falls, its tragic. It’s symbolic of many young people that go out to Hollywood with big dreams, only to find a life of drug addiction and of being abused by others. This is modern horror film, personal, ugly, and self inflicted in many ways. There are a few unanswered questions at the end, but I think it leaves the symbolism at the forefront and is all the better movie for doing so. You literally have to stab your friends in the back to make it in tinsel town and you will leave your old life and values in ruins. The end suggests that she makes the transformation and will live with a newfound success but at what cost? As I said, this is modern horror (Martyrs, Cabin Fever, It Follows, Human Centipede) and it doesn’t leave you with a good feeling afterwards. It’s a strong film and an original story, but sometimes I think I’d just rather have a good ol’ fashioned monster and a hero that defeats it in the end. That said, Starry Eyes should most definitely be on your ‘to watch’ list.

starry-eyes pic 4

A powerful film symbolizing the soulless path to Hollywood success.

I give it 3.9 creepy cultists out of 5 starry eyes on the blackened souls scale of hopeless dreamers.

Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Part VIX


Get into your character’s mind
– then put their experience in words

In order to really get into my character’s head, to experience what he/she is experiencing in my story. I will often write in first person. When writing in first person I can hear, smell, see and sense everything the character is experiencing. I can feel what they feel and relay their thoughts. I live the part and live through the scenes in which they are thrust into.

I entered the cavernous room with trepidation. The air was clammy and thick with the scent of death and decay. I crinkled my nose and blew three quick blasts of air through my nostrils. Stacks of wooden crates stood like monolithic shadows, hugged by a fine mist crawling through the dark. Something scurried across my bare toes and into the shadows, making my spine tingle. It’s feet pattered away in a frantic race until the ticking of it’s paws against the floor EYE 001ceased. I heard it screech in agony, but only for a moment. My teeth began to chatter despite the heat…

I know what your thinking – Wait a second, Mike. You said that editors prefer stories in third person! Well, that’s true. That doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. I will often write my stories in first person, then transpose them to third person later.

Clive entered the cavernous room with trepidation. The air was clammy and thick with the scent of death and decay. He crinkled his nose and blew three quick blasts of air through his nostrils. Stacks of wooden crates stood like monolithic shadows. A fine mist crawled through the dimly lit corridors. Something scurried across Clive’s bare toes and into the shadows, making his spine tingle. Its feet pattered away in a frantic race until the ticking of its paws against the floor ceased. Clive heard it screech in agony, but only for a moment. His teeth began to chatter despite the heat.

Your job is to get the reader’s mind into your character’s mind so they experience the same things in unison. The best way to do that is for you, the writer, to be in there first, to experience your character’s plight, and then convert it into a readable story. Sometimes I will come to a certain scene in a story and write that scene in first person despite having written the rest of the story in third person. I’ll do this because that scene needed an intimate feel to relay the subtleties of the situation. I walk into that room as my character, I look around, I describe an odor, I hear things shuffling in the dark, and I see shadows moving on the walls. Later I go back and rewrite that into a readable third person sequence and match it to the rest of the story.

So, if you want to get an intimate feel for a scene, write it in first person and transpose it to third person later.



Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
― Anton Chekhov

Fiction is the truth inside the lie. 
― Stephen King

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
– Ursula K. Le Guin