18th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the 18th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2018) will use one or both of the following themes: THE PODCAST or THE AWARD. Your entry must follow guidelines linked below.

This year’s themes are inspired by the contest judges. In 2018, both have been nominated for and/or won an award. Plus, we like podcasts and want to read about them. We couldn’t decide so, as we did ten years ago, we decided to offer multiple themes to choose from.


Your entry will not only follow one or both themes but will also use them in a central way, not as a peripheral or “dropped in” detail. For example, the award may be a physical object or a title (like a knighthood or an honorary degree). It could be a heavy object used as a weapon or a medal in an old trunk. Keep in mind that “podcast award” will likely be an often-used theme and that you want your story to stand out. Of course, you’re welcome to go that route.

Please give your story a unique title, not “The Podcast” or “The Award.”


  • Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.
  • Stories MUST be set in winter.
  • Stories MUST fall in the horror genre
  • The word count range for DOW2018 is 3000–5000 words.


The contest opens October 1, 2018 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2018.

Email entries to dow2018[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines

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