Dear Reader:

This is a doubly exciting month for Writer's Cramp. First because it marks our 5TH Anniversary in publication and second because we have the winners and honorees from our first Annual Hallowe'en Fiction Contest.

Hallowe'en has always held a special spot in our hearts and what better way to celebrate the season than with a new, original collection of spooky, quirky, terrifying, monstrous, evil, sexy, funny, cloying, damp, spidery, hellacious, dark, windswept and spine chilling tricks and treats?

It is our good fortune that so many gifted and unique writers answered our call for submissions to the contest.

The decision was a difficult one to make. So much talent and only so many prizes. Of course every contest official spouts the same trite old lines about everybody being a winner, but in this case it's the truth. The cash prizes are awarded to two newcomers to our pages and one of our returning contributors. But each entrant will receive a digital print of his/her choice from the WC Gallery. So everybody is a winner.

First Prize - $50 - goes to J.M. Heluk for his chilling, visceral and unusual story, "A Clown is Born." The Second Prize of $25 goes to JB Pravda for "Alight in a Dark Room," a tale of light and dark, history and death and the curse of eternal recurrence. And our Third Prize of $15, goes to Derek P. Gilbert for his haunting and evocative short story, "Ghosts of Giants." Each of these stories brings with it a special taste of Hallowe'en and leaves a lingering shiver long after the lights are out.

Other winners include Ann Husemann's, "The Banshee," Sharon K. Gilbert's, "Ghost Hollow Road," JB Pravda's "House of Bast Rising," Marcey Gray's "With the Night," RG Liberty's "King of the Faeries," and Michelle Lynn Tercha's collection, "The Apparition - And Others."

As an added treat we've offered up a little theme series called Bored of the Flies. "Shoo Fly," "The Sweet Life" and "Bluebottle." Just a little candy for your bulging bags. And an incredibly poignant piece from Tim Lejeune called "Coming Home to an Empty House ," that embodies a terror of a different sort.

The chill is in the air and the clouds are lowering, quiet breezes whisper the leaves to soft agitation and spirits are loosed once again to devil our perceptions and tickle our hearts with delicious dread. Wild winds, now, whip through wet branches, slapping dreadful time to the skeletal clacking of blackened limbs, footsteps dog you, dragging through the wilting leaves. Evenings creep up behind you and nights last longer this time of year, and we once again offer you the best fiction on the Internet. To keep you company on these cold wet windy nights.

Happy Hallowe'en! Enjoy.