Next month’s October, which of course means the theme for Crystal Lake’s flash contest will be…


But Halloween with a bit of a twist, of course. Although you can write your story in any Dark Fiction or Speculative subgenre, it must contain one gory scene. As long as it doesn’t include animal abuse or toddlers, I want you to make me cringe when I get to that scene.

As you can see, we’re already in the Halloween mood at Crystal Lake Publishing, since we’re working on three Halloween anthologies to be published in October:
-October’s End by Kevin Lucia, Jason Parent, and Jeremy Bates
-Halloween Beyond by Lisa Morton, Lucy A. Snyder, and Kate Maruyama
-Shallow Waters – A Special Halloween Edition

The stories will be read by me, and 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.

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 September, wherever in the world you may reside.
-No multiple submissions (only your best story)
-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. I’ll personally read all the email submissions and post the best stories on the Crystal Lake Publishing Patreon page (this Halloween contest will be open to all our paid tiers, starting at $1 a month). Our patrons will then read all the entries, posted one per day, and vote for a winner. 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.