20th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

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We are thrilled to announce the opening of the 20th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2020) and to mark the occasion, we’re doing something special with this year’s theme.

SPECIAL:

Your entry will not only use the theme but will also use it in a central way, not as a peripheral or “dropped in” detail. Give your story a unique title, not using the theme as a title.

Choose from one of these previous DOW themes for your short horror fiction entry:

  • ALASKA
  • ALTERNATIVE SANTA
  • THE AWARD
  • BLOOD RIVER BRIDGE
  • DEATH AND WINTER
  • FAMILY TREE
  • THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS
  • THE HAND OF FATE
  • THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE
  • HEART AND SOUL
  • HIDDEN GRAVE
  • THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE ROAD
  • IT’S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE
  • THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN
  • NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED
  • THE PODCAST
  • SKULL AND BONES
  • THE SOUVENIRS/TROPHIES OF A RETURNED SOLDIER
  • TOYS IN THE ATTIC
  • URBAN LEGEND
  • VENTRILOQUIST
  • WHAT’S POSSIBLE ON THE LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR

EVERY YEAR:

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

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2020 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2020.

Email entries to dow2020[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

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

The word count range for DOW 2020 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like. 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.

Toasted Cheese 20:1

The March issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Melissa Evans & Diane Webster; flash by Jerri Jerreat and fiction by JG Alderisio, L.M. Brown & Jim Ray Daniels.

TC 20:1 also includes the 19th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by Alex Grey & DJ Tyrer.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Neighbours & Tourists by Ewa Mazierska.

The cover image is by Alpha on Flickr, with additional photos by photographers around the world, all of whom have generously made their work available for use under Creative Commons licenses. Please click through and check out their photostreams.

Congratulations to all. Happy reading!

Dead of Winter 2019 Winners

The winning stories in our 2019 “Dead of Winter” short fiction contest are “The Silver Wrens” by Alex Grey (first place) and “Answers” by DJ Tyrer (second place). The theme was “Family Tree” and both stories used the theme in literal and figurative ways. You’ll be able to read them in TCLJ 20.1.

Our next contest is “Three Cheers & A Tiger: Spring,” which is a 48-hour mystery contest. Dead of Winter 2020, our twentieth annual, opens October 1, 2020. Toasted Cheese’s contest info is here.

Note: Dead of Winter 2019

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Dead of Winter notices will go out February 1 and we apologize for the 24-hour delay.

Winners are chosen but as we like to notify entrants before a public announcement is made, we will be sending notifications out first, then making a fresh post here announcing our first and second place stories. We can’t wait for you to read them in our March issue!

19th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the 19th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2019) will use the theme: FAMILY TREE. Your entry must follow guidelines linked below.

Have you shaken the branches on your family tree and found a character you’d like to fictionalize? Have you taken a DNA test from a popular website and thought about how it could go wrong? With the growing focus on our roots and branches, we hope you’re inspired by this theme.

SPECIAL:

Your entry will not only use the theme but will also use it in a central way, not as a peripheral or “dropped in” detail. Examples of ways to use the theme might be a discovered family Bible has missing information, a man claiming to be an uncle appears out of nowhere, or a visit to the local cemetery reveals the headstone of a twin.

Please give your story a unique title, not “The Family Tree.”

EVERY YEAR:

  • 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 DOW2019 is 2500–5000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2019 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2019.

Email entries to dow2019[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines

Toasted Cheese 19:1

The March 2019 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Jerrice J. Baptiste, Teresa Blackmon, Carl Leggo, DS Maolalai, Amy Sherwood & Bill Yarrow; flash by Phebe Kirkham & Jared Levy; fiction by Louis M. Abbey and creative nonfiction by Tracy Lyall.

TC 19:1 also includes the 18th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by M. Luke Yoder, Lou Nell Gerard & Maureen Rostad.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews My Husband’s Lies by Caroline England.

The cover image is by jpellgen on Flickr, with additional photos by photographers around the world, all of whom have generously made their work available for use under Creative Commons licenses. Please click through and check out their photostreams.

Congratulations to all. Happy reading!