Write flash fiction?

Be sure to check our social media posts (or join our newsletter) for monthly flash fiction challenges. You can also join us on Patreon so you never miss out. The best stories will also be published in our Shallow Waters series of anthologies:

Authors, be sure to try out Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon. Along with behind the scenes access and exclusive content, you'll get practical, week long writing exercises/prompts, author interviews, and author support. We're also going to start posting even more author interviews soon, exclusive to Patreon. 

Love dark humor?

Keep scrolling to check out our mentoring packages

Make every year your year with our Speculative Daily Planners:
Color without dates
B&W without dates

“Crystal Lake are good people doing fine work. Always worth watching for their latest.”

Jack Ketchum
Author of The Girl Next Door and Off Season

Check out some of our On Writing books:

Perhaps you're looking for a little motivation:

Free On Writing eBook:

Here's a free eBook with On Writing advice from the likes of Jack Ketchum and Brian Hodge. Just click here to check it out.


“Crystal Lake Publishing is one of the best publishing companies I ever had the privilege of working with. They're tireless, organized, and their communication is superb. Every person I've worked with, from Joe Mynhardt to line editors to proof readers are friendly and exceptionally capable.  This love and care shows up in their diverse literary catalog, which ranges from short stories and novels to nonfiction. Crystal Lake is making me a better author, and that translates directly to a better experience to readers.”

Mercedes M. Yardley
Author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning Little Dead Red

“Crystal Lake Publishing is everything a small horror press of distinction should be: committed to quality and beauty, forward thinking, and, above all, committed to readers and horror fans of all stripes.”

Kevin Lucia
Author of Through a Mirror, Darkly

"It's always a pleasure working with Crystal Lake Publishing, an independent press whose professionalism mirrors the high quality of their work. So high, in fact, that their books are often shortlisted for This Is Horror Awards and in 2013 they were voted Publisher of the Year. If you're looking for an independent press at the top of their game, then congratulations you've just found them—long live Crystal Lake Publishing." Michael David Wilson, This Is Horror Founder

Michael Wilson
This Is Horror

“Crystal Lake Publishing have been a real pleasure to work with - professional, prompt, and with a true passion for the genre.”

Tim Lebbon
Author of The Silence and The Rage War

We are closed for submissions.

Recommended Author Services:

If you're interested in these services, either click on those with links or email me (Joe Mynhardt) at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot or throw some questions my way. You'll also find Crystal Lake Publishing's own mentoring services if you scroll down (there's even a great Goodreads post with 10 reasons why to sign up).

Ben Eads' editing services: Just like you, I’m interested in the results. I want to see your work published by a great press. With my experience as a writer and editor, we’ll work together to make it hard for an editor to stop reading your manuscript.

Mentoring: Ready to take your work to the next level? Ben Eads is also accepting three mentees a month! Each mentee gets a short story edit and three Skype sessions covering everything you need to get to the next level. $125.

Mentoring: Kenneth W. Cain will accept up to 3 writers to mentor in 3 month intervals. Each mentee should submit a short story of 3000 words or less to workshop. A rewrite of the story should be submitted for a 2nd evaluation. Mentees can email/message at any time during their mentorship. Up to three 30 minute Skype/phone sessions per term are also permitted. The cost is $125 per 3 month session per writer. Contact us if you're interested.

Sign up now for writing classes with Richard Thomas. Click now for a FREE Course Guide, and mention CLP for 10% off advanced classes.

Sharpen your editing skills with Frank Cernik. Whether you're an author or editor, take advantage of Crystal Lake's mentoring packages to book Frank Cernik for a full month (page down for more info on mentoring). You can also hire Frank if your novel needs some developmental editing. Just contact us for more info or to book your spot.

Check outCrystal Lake's Patreon pagefor writing challenges, motivation, essays, interviews, and workshops.

Monique Snyman's editing services ($350 up to 80k words). Contact us if you're interested.

Stephanie M. Wytovich's editing services ($150 flat fee for a poetry manuscript edit of 70-100 pages. For fiction/non-fiction copy editing/proofreading: $30 an hour. For fiction/non-fiction content editing: $40 an hour). Contact us if you're interested.


Interior and cover artist. Email Luke at spoonsryuzaki(at)hotmail.co.uk for a quote (mentioning that you saw his info here will get you an even better price).

Interior layout ($100 for Kindle, ePub, and paperback. $75 for paperback only. $50 for Kindle & ePub only). Contact us if you're interested.

If you offer any author services you think we should check out and possibly recommend, just email me (Joe Mynhardt) at crystallakepub@gmail.com.

Crystal Lake Publishing's Mentoring Programs

Let us guide your career

Chris Musgrave Chris Musgrave, Author and Client

“A friendly and highly professional mentor scheme from the best of Crystal Lake's editorial team, with self-promotion and author platform advice from none other than Joe Mynhardt himself. The programme is tailor-made to the individual needs of a mentoree at any stage in their writing/editing career and includes a plethora of useful resources, one-to-one editing advice, and guidance from members of a press who clearly love and support authors, both established and new. I can't recommend it enough.”

Tom Deady Tom Deady, Author and Client

Crystal Lake's mentorship program is a highly personalized, month-long journey into the world of writing and publishing. Whether you're just starting your first story or you've published successfully, there is something for you in this program. The materials alone are worth the cost, but the one-on-one attention from Joe, Monique, and Ben are priceless. These folks are dedicated to their profession and honest about making you better at your craft. Highly recommended.”

Spearheaded by Joe Mynhardt and editors Monique Snyman, Ben Eads, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and Frank Cernik, we’re offering three unique mentoring programs to authors (including fiction, poetry, and career guidance). 

Over the last seven years, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Joe Mynhardt has edited fiction and non-fiction from the likes of Wes Craven, Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Joe R. Lansdale, Lisa Morton, Jonathan Janz, Kealan Patrick Burke, Tim Waggoner, William Meikle, Jonathan Maberry, Mercedes M. Yardley, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, and hundreds more. Joe is also the founder and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing. He's living the dream by working full time from home, and loves helping others achieve their goals.

Monique Snyman started off her career by editing dissertations for university graduates before she branched out into fiction and non-fiction. Over the years, as a content editor, she’s worked with a variety of authors at different levels in their careers, trying her best to make an otherwise daunting experience as pleasant as possible. She is currently the in-house editor at Crystal Lake Publishing, and has been nominated as the Best Editor of the Year at the SAIR Books Festival in 2015.

Ben Eads lives within the semi-tropical suburbs of Central Florida. A true horror writer by heart, he wrote his first story at the tender age of ten. The look on the teacher’s face when she read it was priceless. However, his classmates loved it! Ben’s short fiction has appeared in magazines or anthologies by: Crystal Lake Publishing, Shroud Magazine, and Seventh Star Press. His first novella, Cracked Sky, was published in 2015 by the Bram Stoker Award® Winning press Omnium Gatherum. When he isn’t writing, he dabbles in martial arts, philosophy and specializes in I.T. security. He’s always looking to find new ways to infect readers' imaginations. Ben blames Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges, J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, and Stephen King for his addiction, and his need to push the envelope of fiction.

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others. 
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, and An Exorcism of Angels. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press. 
Follow Wytovich at http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/ and on twitter @JustAfterSunset​.

Shortly after his Fulbright teaching grant, Frank Cernik switched from editing literary magazines to developing novels. Since then, he has worked with independent authors in every genre from workplace comedy to space opera to medical suspense and horror. He helped found the Editorial Freelancers Association's Diversity Initiative and its Welcoming program in 2017. The two things he wants now are to strengthen literary communities and a sweet ghost tattoo.

Here are just a few aspects our mentoring programs cover:
  • Creating believable characters
  • Creating believable worlds
  • Dialogue & Description
  • Interacting with readers
  • Showing vs. Telling
  • Themes and layering
  • Plotting (unless you’re a pantser)
  • Story structure
  • Editing your own work
  • Enhancing your voice
  • Building a brand and a long term career
  • Search engine optimization for your books
  • Website plug-ins for authors
  • Marketing & Copy Writing
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Writing emotional poetry
  • Developmental editing

Choose between our services to best satisfy your needs (and wallet)

Email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com with your choice, or if you have any questions. These spots fill up fast, so you need to book your spot a few months in advance.

  • Full mentorship program

    Limited to three clients a month, this option will give you access to two of the four Crystal Lake editors as well as the publisher for a full month’s mentoring. This option is not purely for editing your existing stories, but for improving your craft and moving your career forward. This option costs only $180. You’ll also join an exclusive mailing list for weekly inspiration and tips from the team. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot.

  • Mentoring by a Crystal Lake editor

    Limited to three clients a month, you get to choose one of our four editors to not only help you get your work in peak condition, but to teach you new techniques, skills, and exercises. For poetry, Stephanie M. Wytovich is the one to choose. To sharpen your editing skills, Frank Cernik is the one. And $85 is all it takes. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot or ask a few questions.

  • Career mentoring by founder and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing

    Limited to three clients a month. Publisher and Crystal Lake owner Joe Mynhardt has been promoting Dark Fiction authors since 2012, and for a full month Joe will work with you on reaching more readers, marketing online, building a brand, and brainstorming the best options for your career ahead, focusing on your strengths. You’ll also join an exclusive mailing list for continued support. This option is a giveaway at only $85. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot.