22nd Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the the 22nd Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2022) will use the theme OMINOUS WHISPERS.

When you think “ominous whispers,” what are they? How would they manifest? What would they do to the target? Where do they come from and what do they want? Think: the heating system kicking on under the bed, a mechanical sound that your protagonist is sure comes from the back seat, or susurrations among the gravestones on a bleak winter’s night… sure. That’s what that sound is. Feel free to play with the theme, like making “Ominous Whispers” a private club, an underground organization, or the captioning on a TV show. The “ominous whispers” can be as defined or undefined as you like and in just about any type of world you can imagine*.


Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.
Stories MUST be set in winter.
Stories MUST fall in the horror genre.


The contest opens October 1, 2022 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2022.

Email entries to dow2022[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

Include at the beginning of your entry: Title (word count)

The word count range for DOW 2022 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like (example: a 4853-word-story could be “4853,” “4850,” or “~4900”). Stories that do not fall within word count parameters will be disqualified.

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines.
See DOW guidelines for prize information.

* note: while we did take our inspiration from the Thaumaturgy cantrip in DnD, this is not a SFF or spec fic contest. Please no high fantasy; just horror! Roll initiative and write us a spooky story, bards!

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