By The Fire: Episode 145: Challenge 9: Write a 1200-1500 word campfire tale in storyteller format

Hey HorrorAddicts, I hope you’re enjoying the contest so far because things are getting more exciting. In episode 145 of the podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 1200-1500 word campfire tale in storyteller format, as if you are telling it to us around the campfire. Contestants will be judged on scare factor, originality and storytelling ability. The winner will have their story published by publishing as part of their “Horror Bites Series”.

Campfire tales are possibly the most fun form of horror storytelling there is. If a campfire tale isn’t simple enough it will lose its effect. They should be short, hopefully, have a monster, crazed killer or a ghost and a shock ending would be the icing on the cake. Campfire tales aren’t rocket science, the story doesn’t have to even be that good as long as it’s scary. The whole idea is to gather around the campfire and try to scare your friends with tales of the grotesque or a good urban legend. We’re all storytellers if you think about it and a campfire is a perfect place to perfect your craft.

So Addicts, have you ever told scary tales around the fire? I think most people have, it’s like a rite of passage. To quote A Nightmare Before Christmas: “life’s no fun without a good scare”. What were the stories you tried to scare your friends with? Was your audience scared? Did someone scare you with their story? Pretend this blog is a roaring fire and let us know what your favorite scary story is and leave your tall tale in the comments.

#NGHW 9 Campfire Tale Snippets

These are the 9 Campfire excerpts from the  Campfire Tale challenge.

1. The Face: Naching T. Kassa
He’s coming to the window,

He’s coming to the window,

Don’t let him in,

Don’t let him in,


Agatha sat up. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the silvery moonlight which streamed into her room. When she turned to her window, she saw it. Something small and pale floated outside. It was a face. No body. No head. Just a face.

Black eyes glared at Agatha. Beneath its long nose, a mouth scowled. It moved toward her window.

Agatha scrambled out of bed. Her nightdress caught on the bed knob and she tore it as she moved forward. The face came closer. Agatha caught hold of the sash and slammed the window shut.

The face gnashed its teeth in mute fury and Agatha stared at it in mounting horror.  All of its teeth were filed to a point, each one stained red.

It hung there for over a moment and then floated away, back toward the forest.

  1. Forgotten by Jonathan Fortin

Someone was watching her—she was sure of it. She turned around…and there was an old man, staring at her with huge, bulging red eyes. He had a thick, tangled beard and wore in a brown cloak. His face was twitchy, and his fingers were long with soot-black tips. “Girl,” he said. “Why don’t you come give me those tarts?”

            Now, Clara had worked very hard on her tarts. Sometimes she gave them to friends, but not to strangers in the woods. “Sorry,” she said, “but these are for someone else.”

            She walked away, but the old man let out a fearsome growl: “Give me those tarts, girl!”

            That was all the warning Clara needed. She broke into a run.

            Somehow, she stumbled onto the path, and followed it to the clearing where her parents had set up camp. Mom had binoculars out and was watching birds. Dad was starting a fire. Clara breathed in relief. She’d be safe now. The old man would never find her here. 

  1. Not all who Wander are Lost by Fiend Gottes

Once long ago there was a Sioux couple, the wife became pregnant with twins unbeknownst to either of them. When the husband left to go hunting he would tell his wife,

‘If any stranger comes while I am gone, do not look at him for any reason.’ He would make her promise every time which she did. One day an old man came to their lodge while the husband was hunting. The wife being a kind soul let the man to eat but would sit with her back to him fulfilling her promise. The old man ate his meal, thanked the woman and left. The old man returned every day. Finally on the fourth day curiosity got the best of the wife and she peeked at the stranger breaking her promise. She saw not an old man but a horrible ogre known to the Sioux as a Two-Face. She knew everyone who looked upon a Two-Face died.

4.  Cabin 12 by Daphne Strasert

Patrol was the spookiest part of being a counselor. It was important, of course, especially later in the summer, when illicit romance had time to bloom. We tried to keep the kids smart and safe and that meant wandering in the woods every other night with only the moonlight as a guide. It took some getting used to. I could never shake the feeling that something watched me from the trees—probably because something did. Maybe it was only a rabbit. Maybe not. Like I said, spooky.

That’s how I found Cabin Twelve. I followed my feet on a late August night, not walking toward anything in particular, but away from the nagging feeling that something stood just outside my peripheral vision. I didn’t notice the building at first. The way the cabins were arranged around the lake, it didn’t seem like there should be anything there at all. It sat back further than the others did, where the trees were just a little thicker.

  1. Goose Meadows By Harry Husbands

Rounding a corner, we came to a children’s playground—hidden by large, green hills on every side. Climbing frames of various shapes and sizes sat among wood-chips, surrounded by a low metal railing. We ran to them, hooting like imbecilic apes and clambered about the structures. While stumbling down a faded silver slide, I spotted a black sports bag sat snugly in the corner, as if placed there on purpose.

I pointed it out to Lee.

“Check it out,” I said, “reckon it’s full of cash?”

“It better fucking be,” Lee said. We walked to it. I crouched down and was pulling back the zip when the bag came alive with movement.

I leapt back.

From within the shadows of its innards, I saw flesh and edged forward uneasily to open it further, jolting backwards again upon discovering its contents.

  1. Laughing Jack by Adele Marie Park

Five years ago a girl called Sally Jones went missing in these woods. Seven years old, she had grown up just a few miles from here.

Perhaps she wandered off the path following a bird or a small animal. She found herself lost in a menacing part of the forest.

Dead air hung upon the silent trees and dripped fear into her heart. She froze, pulse pounding in her ears like a drum. Fading in and out confusing her other senses. In her vision the trees poised on the cusp of command from an unknown source. They would pounce on her and rip her to pieces with their sharp wooden claws.

A sudden rustle brought a gasp and interrupted her gaze.

Lifting her head she locked gazes with a raven.

Her eyes pinched with pain but she couldn’t shut them.

The raven opened its maw cackling laughter like an old man making her jump.

  1. Semlor by JC Martinez

House Åkerström is a haunted house on the outskirts of the next town. Everybody knows it, and everyone has a different version of what happened there almost nine years ago. Of course, what I am about to tell you is the undisputed truth.

Viola Åkerström moved there with her two kids, Daniel and Martin, eleven years ago. As a means of sustenance, she decided to condition her home’s garage as a little store. A bakery. The variety was scarce. The kanelbullar, which were simple cinnamon rolls, were the ones she produced the most, and she only accompanied them with some gingerbread cookies and a few other traditional candies. Still, she was quite successful.

Maybe it was the seasoning with which she fixed the desserts, or the exotic sensation you got when buying sweets that had a deliciously foreign name, but her little establishment triumphed and flourished. She even competed with Morton’s, which has been an institution in pastries and candies in this region for over six decades.

  1. SMELETONS by Sumiko Saulson

The rotting meat began to stink of five day old hamburger before long. That was when it attracted maggots. The fervent breeding of the insect life that occupied the corpses caused them to writhe in a way that almost simulated breathing.

That’s when the vegan witch Hespeth walked by and saw them. Thinking that perhaps a young calf had survived, she ran towards the deep pit filled with rotting animal bodies. Hespeth was so disgusted when she found out that it was no living mammal, but the insect life infesting the dead carcasses, that she immediately hexed the place. She’d been meaning to for a while. Vegan witches hate slaughterhouses.

The accursed skeletons lurched forth from their graves. The stink of rotting meat was cloying. A cloud of green malodorous E.coli bacterial surrounded them. Soon, the maggots began to hatch, sending out waves of hungry, carnivorous flies.

  1. When the Wind Leaves a Whisper by Jess Landry

When I was just about to fall asleep, Rita sprung out of her sleeping bag, gasping for breath.

“Louise…louiseeeee!” she whispered as loud as she could.

“What?” I mumbled, the taste of sleep in my mouth. “What is it?”

“Do you hear that?”

I sat up rubbing my eyes, a yawn escaping. Crickets chirped back.

“Hear what?”

A little drip of moonlight trickled around the tent, casting shadows of the trees on our tent. Rita was nothing more than a silhouette, her head jerking from side to side.

“That!” she said a little louder, her head spinning to the back of the tent. “Something’s trying to get in.”

I was fully awake now, my eyes adjusted to the darkness as best as they could. Outside I could see the shadows of some branches as they danced in the light wind. Nothing seemed out of place.

“There it is again!” she spun her head the other direction, jumping out of her sleeping bag and scrambling next to me. “Look!”


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on, 145 #NGHW Guest Judges: David Watson and Dario Ciriello

Horror Addicts Episode# 145
SEASON 12 – The Next Great Horror Writer Contest


Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Judge: H.E. Roulo

Guest Judge: David Watson, Dario Ciriello

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


The top 9 / Campfire Tales

Find all articles and interviews at:

80 Days till Halloween

Scary lantern woods ghost, scary guy in the woods, super tall shadow creatures? Fear draws things?

Intro of judges, prizes, and contest.

Portions of 9 tales

Contestants: Feind Gottes, Naching T. Kassa, Jess Landry, Sumiko Saulson, Cat Voleur, Jonathan Fortin, Adele Marie Park, JC Martinez, Harry Husbands, Daphne Strasert.

HA.Net News: Campfire Man

*Daphne Full Blog from “Character” challenge

*#NGHW News by Adelise M. Cullens

*By the Fire by David Waston
*Jesse Orr’s new installment of The Scarlett Dahlia

*Kbatz reviews: Teen Horrors: The Blackcoat’s Daughter, The Boy, Lights Out, Prom Night.

*David interviews author Lily Luchesi

*Free Fiction by R. B. Wood “Emerald Eyes”

* Sub call: Crescendo of Darkness

*David’s Haunted Library features Ugly Little Things by Todd Keisling & Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders by Doug Murano

*PR: Whispered Echoes By Paul F. Olson

*PR: Nightmare films presents Hotel Camarillo

*PR: Juno-Reactor & The Mutant Theatre

Find all this and more at

Contestant bedtime scary stories answers

Dead Mail:

Jeff: Love the show and George Romero.

Judges deliberate.

Next challenge announced.

Winner announced.


“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe blog Kindle syndicated Facebook group.



Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…


h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, Crystal Connor, Lisa Vasquez, Adelise M. Cullens, Kenzie Kordic.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

#NGHW – Guest Judges: David Watson and Dario Ciriello

This week, we welcome guest judges, David Watson and Dario Ciriello. David and Dario will be helping us judge the Campfire Stories.

David Watson

daveDavid was born in the Quad Cities on the Illinois/Iowa border in 1971. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Communications. Now he lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin with his wife and kids. His interests include reading (all genres, especially horror), music, power yoga, bike riding, baseball, hiking, and Broadway musicals. He also has an unhealthy addiction to surfing the net, listening to podcasts, and diet soda. Find David’s reviews at: David Watson


 Dario Ciriello, Editor

DarioDario Ciriello is a professional author and the founder of Panverse Publishing.
His first novel, Sutherland’s Rules, a crime thriller with a shimmer of the fantastic, was published in 2013. Free Verse and Other Stories, a collection of Dario’s Science Fiction shorts, was released in June 2014.
Dario’s latest novel, a horror/suspense novel titled Black Easter, pits love against black magic and demonic possession on a remote, idyllic Greek island. He is currently at work on a new thriller set in 2018 Los Angeles. Dario’s nonfiction book, Aegean Dream, the bittersweet memoir of a year spent on the small Greek island of Skópelos (the real Mamma Mia! island), was a UK travel bestseller in 2012. In addition to writing, Dario, who lives in the Los Angeles Area, offers professional editing, copyediting, and coaching services to indie authors. Look him up on Facebook, Amazon, or on his blog at

#NGHW News Episode #144

Hello, Addicts!
This week was way more brutal than I think we or the contestants thought it would be. Creating an original character can be tough, but having to write 900 words, mostly of clear character description and have some story to it … that, my horror-addicted friends, is super difficult.
But our writers still did it. They saw the challenge through, even though it lived up to its name – “challenge.”
Episode #144 brought us six semi-finalists.

  1. Silt and bone by Jess Landry
  2. Kerry Anne by Harry Husbands
  3. Changeling by Daphne Strasert
  4. Dr. Sonya Quillius by Jonathan Fortin
  5. Selkie by Adele Marie Park
  6. Cerebus by Sumiko Saulson

This week’s mini prize was pretty awesome. Using the description the author gave, an anime sketch will be drawn of the character they portrayed. This will be done by the amazing artist, Alyca, from Pixel Ghost Creations.

Creative jobs, although they may seem fanciful and relaxed, can be some of the toughest out there and artists often do not get the recognition they deserve. Artists have to create something out of nothing, giving life to where there was none before. Then they have to sit back and see if people like it or even see it at all. Wading through the sea of criticism and self-doubt searching for the buoys of validation can be exhausting and as much as we say we don’t need validation, sometimes it is a necessary evil. Artists have to eat too.

This can be doubly difficult when life happens to us. As it does to all of us. Whether this means your day job getting in the way, relationship issues, sickness, and all the other stray, flaming, Frisbees life likes to throw at us while our backs are turned, this can all inhibit creativity.

Which brings us to this week’s question! This time, I asked our Evil Eleven, “Do you have anything to help you stick with your writing? Even though it is something we love to do and can be therapeutic, when life happens it can be hard to make the time. How do you adult and be a writer?”

“I write on my phone using google docs while I’m on the train to work in the morning. Try to find the little moments in the day to get a little done.
Sometimes I write more if I think of everything else as “that thing I have to do,” rather than my writing. Maybe someday there’s an episode of a show I want to watch. I think of the show as “that thing I have to get done,” and then my writing becomes an act of fun rebellion against myself. It’s weird but effective.” – Jonathan
“I stick with my writing because my heart desires. It wants me to write my dreams down, and to express the things that it deems interesting. The need to create and communicate is what drives me forward. It is my passion, after all, to tell stories.

Also, maybe my secret is that I don’t adult. Sure, my body has grown, and as time goes by, I have a better understanding of things and situations, but I’ve always tried to remain young in my heart and mind. Also in my soul, if such a thing exists. I try to keep things as simple as possible, never take anything too seriously or personally, and remember that growing up is a thing we never stop doing.” – JC

“I eliminate all distractions. No TV. No Facebook. No internet (unless it’s for research). No husband walking around without his shirt on. (In fact, my husband is required to dress in loose, long-sleeved shirts until I have finished writing for the day.) no cute children in the room, no cute puppies or kitties, and no cute ice cream cones or cherry bonbons.” – Naching

Our finalists for episode 144 were, in no particular order, Jess, Daphne and Sumiko. The judges were also quite taken with Harry and Jonathan’s entries also, but the points decided the contestants.

Last week, Daphne took home her first win. This week, there was another first for this comp. Daphne took home her second win! One win after another. Congrats, Daphne! You can read Daphne’s full entry here.

The scores are getting very close. Jonathan is still in the lead, but Daphne is now hot on his tail with only eight points between them. Third place is a tie between Jess and Naching with 29 points between them and Daphne. But it could still be won by anyone. One turn of the tables and everything could change.

So, until next episode, stay spooky!

#NGHW Top 6 Character Descriptions

These are the top 6 Character excerpts from the Character challenge.

Character 1: Silt and Bone by Jess Landry

Growths of moss and cobwebs littered the branches, the falling water wiping some of them away into the rising water.
On the throne sat a motionless woman who looked as though she’d been carved from a birch tree. Her delicate features and ashen skin shimmered in the struggling light; dark, horizontal lines and black knots speckled every inch of her visible surface, even her eyelids. Roots spilled from her head: five long, thick stems that thinned out as they joined the mosaic of branches behind her. Her arms lay on the armrests, strangely human yet twisted like intertwining branches, leading to slender fingers that extended into thin twigs sharp enough to slice through skin and bone. Her forehead extended past that of a human’s, ending in a ragged, broken trunk—a crown of flesh and bark. A burlap robe lay across her body, the fabric eaten away by time; its hem resting at the pedestal’s edge, nearly touching the dirty water that lapped at her feet.

Character 2: Kerry Anne by Harry Husbands
“Ok,” she said and held out a grimy hand tipped by ragged fingernails. I placed a glove on and clasped her fragile fingers. Her bare feet pattered the diner’s floor, leaving smudged prints with every step. We walked from the silent diner and I pitied the people as they began to whisper among themselves, unaware of their own fast-approaching demise.

As we stepped outside, the heat washed over me. She squinted at the empty car-park, the motorway with cars that rushed along it.

“There’s no one,” she said. I looked down at her as she turned her face to mine and grinned, revealing teeth that jutted out; crooked and covered in thick, yellow gunk. “You didn’t call for back-up?” she asked, creasing her brow. I shook my head and squeezed her hand tighter. She laughed in a chesty way that reminded me of my grandfather and belied the small, filthy face it came from. “Oh, you are silly,” she giggled.

Character 3: Changeling by Daphne Strasert

She stretched, even as she shrank. Her limbs grew spindly, the flesh sticking to her bones so that her joints protruded in bulbous relief. The skin greyed, then tinted green, turning the color of mint. Her hair grew and grew and grew, the curls unfurling as it did, until it pooled around her. The red drained from the strands, starting at the roots, as if an artery had been cut and all the color ran out leaving only a shimmering, silky lake of silver. Moss green spots replaced the dusting of freckles over her face and shoulders. The afternoon light that filtered through the gauzy curtains bounced off iridescent scales that had sprouted over her collar bones. Sharp cheekbones jutted from her face and her jaw and chin narrowed, giving her the triangular visage of a praying mantis. The fingers that held her phone in front of her face lengthened and her nails, once neatly trimmed, grew into wicked, curved claws.

Character 4: Dr. Sonya Quillius by Jonathan Fortin

The sight agitated Sonya. Cat claws retracted out from her fingertips, and she dragged them against the rooftop. It was a nervous tic. When she’d been human, she’d bit her nails when she was anxious, but after her Biotranscendence, she’d taken to dragging her claws across surfaces. They were supposed to be as strong and sharp as blades, and they certainly cut watermelons well enough. But would they cut through flesh so easily?


Sonya’s wolf ears perked up, a stomping sound catching their attention. She tried to remain calm, to remind herself how much was at stake, but this only made her more tense. Her performance tonight didn’t just determine her own fate, or that of the victims down there. It also impacted her fellow scientists—those who had helped her Biotranscend, who had believed in this crazy plan of hers even if it put their careers on the line.

Character 5: Selkie by Adele Marie Park

Selkie. Shape shifter.

He shouldn’t exist yet here he is in the flesh.

Wicked and delicious, taunting me, daring me to take the step I refuse to take.

As he watches me arrogance glimmers in his gaze. His almond shaped eyes have no colour. They are as black as a storm cloud but, like a bruised sky colours move within. Flashing with brilliance then hiding.

His dark plum lips rise at one side in a sneer I know so well.

The movement causes a strand of ebony hair to cascade over his high cheekbones with a lovers boldness.

Raising a small hand to brush it away, the gesture reveals his webbing. Nestled between his fingers as delicate as a butterfly’s wing.

He knows my eyes study him. I wish I could hide the wealth of confusion but, my emotions have always been easy to read and he is a master.

Character 6: Cerebus by Sumiko Saulson

I still recall the day we became. It was morning, first light at the brink of a new age. We arose on twisted leg and shattered hoof from the pit of charred flesh and misguided magic where the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant used to stand. Your head listed against one side of our shoulders, neck too weak to hold it up. In time, the surface of your cheek grew into the side of my jaw. It lay there for months on end, your abraded epidermis merging into an open wound on my chin until the two of us became one.

Angel lay in the crook of my arm, where he used to sleep when we lived as separate entities. A mass of fur and ligament, he purred where he rested, staring up at me with a signal yellow-green eye, as bright as a nuclear sunset. I contemplated it’s palette of subtle complexities as we lurched forward in unison towards the feeding grounds.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on, 144 #NGHW Guest Judge: Annette Curtis Klause

Horror Addicts Episode# 144
SEASON 12 – The Next Great Horror Writer Contest


Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Judge: H.E. Roulo

Guest Judge: Annette Curtis Klause

Prize: Anime Sketch from Alyssa from PixelGhostCreations

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


The top 6 / Character Descriptions

Find all articles and interviews at:


94 Days till Halloween

In Memoriam: Jeff Carlson

Heather’s vacation / Utah

Stranger Things / Dragon’s Lair / Ready Player One

Intro of judges, prizes, and contest.

Portions of the top 6

Contestants: Feind Gottes, Naching T. Kassa, Jess Landry, AE Kirk, Sumiko Saulson, Cat Voleur, Jonathan Fortin, Adele Marie Park, JC Martinez, Harry Husbands, Daphne Strasert.

HA.Net News:  Jespa from Night’s Knights

*RIP: George Romero

*Nightmare Fuel, DJ: 11B-X-1371

*Crystal Connor: The Devil Lives Here

*Daphne Full Blog from “True Horror” challenge

*#NGHW News by Adelise M. Cullens

*By the Fire by David Waston
*Jesse Orr’s new installment of The Scarlett Dahlia

*Review: Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus

*Kbatz reviews: More Kid Fights: Alice, Sweet, Alice, The Cabin in the Woods, etc…

*David’s Haunted Library features Kind Nepenthe by Matthew Brockmeyer, The Lucky Ones Died First by Jack Bantry

*PR: Florida Gothic by Mitzi Szereto

*PR: My life with the Thrill Kill Kult 30th anniversary tour

*PR: Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders by Doug Murano
Find all this and more at


Contestant Character answers


Dead Mail:

Lily: Show love / Dracula / vampires

Brad: Emz romance? / story game leads to Regency novella

Stan: #NGHW Question: Have they learned anything?


Judges deliberate.

Next challenge announced.

Winner announced.


“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe blog Kindle syndicated Facebook group.



Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…


h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, Crystal Connor, Lisa Vasquez, Adelise M. Cullens, Kenzie Kordic.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s