As co-winner of last month’s contest, S. C. Fisher has agreed to host the next contest. Here’s her theme: “Whether you work the typical 9-5 or the graveyard shift, the workplace itself can be a hotbed of horror. No matter the career or the size of the paycheck, work has a way sometimes of filling us all with fear and dread. With that in mind, your theme this month is ‘workplace horror’ – a story set in (or having a direct relationship to) your chosen character’s workplace, whatever that might be.”

Before we get to the submission guidelines, please know that only the top 15 to 20 stories will be posted on our Patreon page for our patrons to vote on. The winner will receive $0.03 per word, publication, and an Author Spotlight on our newsletter and Patreon page. The second-place winner will receive $0.02 a word, and the third place winner $0.01 per word. The winner will also have the option of hosting the following month’s contest for an additional $50. Second and third place authors will also be invited to be published in our newly-announced Hotel Macabre anthology series, which will include flash fiction, short stories, and poetry. Out Halloween, 2024.

Submission guidelines:

-Max 1,500 words

-Submit your entry in the body of an email to (no attachments)

-The email subject line should be the story’s title and your author name / pseudonym

-The deadline is midnight at the end of March, wherever in the world you may reside.

-No multiple submissions (only your best story)

-Reprints are allowed if they naturally fit the theme.

-Put your bio below your story (max 500 words).

Please take note… You do not need to be a Crystal Lake Patreon patron to enter. This is a contest and only the top three placing stories receive payment. If you’re chosen as a finalist, our $5-a-month and higher tier patrons will read all the entries, posted one per day, and vote for a winner at the end of the month. Some editors/publishers may consider having your story posted on a subscription-based platform, like Patreon, as a first publication. If your story does not win, we will remove it upon request. Patreon now offers a 7-day free trial, so you can join us on Patreon as a reader or author and give us a chance to impress you. The trials are available on the $5 tiers (there’s one for authors and one for readers). These tiers (and the ones above them) will give you full access to all the stories as well as all our other content.