19th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Featured

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 19:3

Featured

The September 2019 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Erren Kelly, Tyrel Kessinger, Edward Lee, Barry Peters, Kenneth Pobo, Tim Suermondt & Les Wicks; flash by Margaret Crompton & Jo Goren; fiction by CJ Maughan, Ewa Mazierska, Greg Metcalf, Kelly Murashige, Rita Pecos & Sonia Trickey; and creative nonfiction by Marsa Laird.

TC 19:3 also includes the 2019 A Midsummer Tale Writing Contest winning stories by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, Amberdawn Collier & Sarah Evans.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Shelley Carpenter reviews Emily as Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire by Darren C. Demaree.

The cover image is by Garrett Ziegler 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!

November 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about watching a kid with a sugar high.
  2. Your setting is: evening, hazy-humid, a small town, hostile atmosphere.
  3. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Write about the sound of a machine.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I just did it for _________ and giggles.”
    3. Use the following five words: slant, greet, insert, quest, widen.
  4. Write about: glaciers shrinking.
  5. Write about failing to attach that crucial file to the e-mail.
  6. Write about a character who is: judgmental, eccentric & secretive.
  7. A software upgrade gone wrong
  8. Use these 5 words: smash, complexity, breathe, sadness, glass.
  9. Write about geese honking in the night.
  10. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
  11. Write about discovering a new talent in someone you know.
    1. Fill in the blank: ” _________ like you’ve never done it before.”
    2. Use the following five words: fine, suffering, clerk, faint, aware.
  12. Write about an end to hostilities.
  13. Write about: turning away people.
  14. Write about sending that letter you never intended to send.
  15. Start with this line of dialogue: “This is kind of a perfect ending.”
  16. Use the phrase, “Is it Friday yet?”
  17. Write about: an unlikely prophet.
  18. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Write about hurrying and fouling something up as a result.
    2. Fill in the blank: “_________ has happened again.”
    3. Use the following five words: design, heel, gas, shed, angle.
  19. Write about: a spoiled brat.
  20. Write about how not to do something.
  21. Start with this line of dialogue: “I’m supposed to be taking notes.”
  22. Write about the moment of realizing help isn’t coming.
  23. Use these 5 words: police, pressure, falsehoods, coffee, pencils.
  24. Write a heartwarming story about a dysfunctional family.
  25. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1.  
    2.  
    3.  
  26. Explain why “Wait, what?” is the most important question.
  27. Use these 5 words: slump, game, goal, buddies, crucial.
  28. Write about stopping to turn a turtle right side up.
  29. Write about a character who is: aggressive, ambitious & rude.
  30. Write about clothes that are threadbare in interesting places.
  31. Your setting is: noon, ice on the ground, a small town, charming atmosphere.

Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2019 winners

Toasted Cheese announces the winners of Fall 2019 Three Cheers and a Tiger.

The challenge was to write a speculative fiction story within 48 hours using the prompt “Write a fantasy or science fiction story under 5000 words that opens with something needlessly dramatic, which becomes actual drama when…”

First place: “Risk Assessment” by Annie Percik
Second place: “Devil’s Take” by Joshua Flores
Third place: “Interdependence” by Deana Zhollis

The winning entries will be published in the December/Winter issue of Toasted Cheese (Issue 19.4).

Judges for Three Cheers (Fall) are Boots & Broker

Congratulations to the winners!

October 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about a sound heard out of context
  2. Use these 5 words: gift wrapping, lemon, candles, anniversary, impatient.
  3. Use another sense in describing something.
  4. Use these 5 words: swan, stigma, implications, ideology, ethics.
  5. Write about sending a message by carrier pigeon.
  6. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Write about preparations for a storm.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I really need to _________ before I sleep.”
    3. Use the following five words: cooperate, portion, trip, blackmail, herb.
  7. Use the phrase, “Did I miss something?”
  8. Your setting is: dawn, a band of heavy cloud, suburbs, sad atmosphere.
  9. Write about waiting for a call.
  10. Use these 5 words: cookbooks, trained, resign, successor, inspired.
  11. Even on a momentous day, people still need to eat.
  12. Write about: a widespread problem.
  13. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Write about wanting to be alone
    2. Fill in the blank: “When does _________ happen?”
    3. Use the following five words: mud, wonder, banish, embarrassment, child
  14. Use these 5 words: speech, generation, confidence, leaders, innocence.
  15. Write about getting lost on purpose.
  16. Write about a character who is: fearless, daring & lonely.
  17. Interview your main character for a TV talk show.
  18. Use these 5 words: custom, dressing, model, exclusive, eye.
  19. Use the phrase, “The Ancients understood this.”
  20. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Write about waiting in traffic or a crowd
    2. Fill in the blank: “Kids these days don’t _________.”
    3. Use the following five words: dance, hover, penetrate, indulge, aunt.
  21. Write about weather delaying plans.
  22. Use these 5 words: bird, plummeted, downtown, trolley, traffic.
  23. Write about correcting the spell checker.
  24. Write about a pop-up bunny cafe.
  25. On this date in history…
  26. Write about being kind to a stranger.
  27. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Write about figuring out why something happened.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Oh, is it time for _________ again?”
    3. Use the following five words: vision, integrity, fix, mushroom, condition.
  28. Start with this line of dialogue: “I just feel disappointed in myself.”
  29. Write about adding the wrong powder to pumpkin spice.
  30. Write about a very thoughtful gift.
  31. Write about somebody else’s holiday traditions

September 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: program, honest, instrument, willpower, resist.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Last time we did this, _________ happened.”
    3. Write about a character meeting someone who knew their parents.
  2. Use these 5 words: surprise, help, superheroes, wrongdoing, threatens.
  3. Write about kneading bread while having a difficult conversation
  4. Use these 5 words: remembrance, immigrants, letter, portrait, fire.
  5. Write about waiting for a machine to finish.
  6. Write about: the only human left in the world.
  7. Write about a busy day after several days off.
  8. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  9. Write about an autocorrect disaster
  10. Your setting is: evening, thick fog, by the sea, sad atmosphere.
  11. What goes through a busy mind during a shared moment of silence?
  12. Your setting is: noon, thunderstorm overhead, on a ship, lonely atmosphere.
  13. Invent a new 13-phobic superstition
  14. Write about a character who is: inspirational, restless & nurturing.
  15. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: supply, side, corruption, mourning, belly.
    2. Fill in the blank: “_________ you very much.”
    3. Write about getting drafted for some task.
  16. Start with this line of dialogue: “This is a stretch.”
  17. Write about a malfunctioning thermostat.
  18. Write about a character who is: nurturing, idealistic & adventurous.
  19. Setting: That snow cave they dug last year.
  20. Write about a character who is: optimistic, considerate & fun-loving.
  21. Day and night, evenly balanced. What is unbalanced?
  22. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: smile, crack, back, labour, pioneer.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Once a _________, whether we need it or not.”
    3. Write about a pair of things (or people, or creatures …), one of which is missing.
  23. “This is the part of the job where we ______.”
  24. Write about: how you define love.
  25. Write about a sudden distraction.
  26. Write about a character who is: lively, adventurous & selfish.
  27. Write about something only the mathphobic people see.
  28. Start with this line of dialogue: “This is unacceptable.”
  29. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: expand, request, weak, barrier, distance.
    2. Fill in the blanks: “Once a _________, always a _________.”
    3. Write about the difficulty of finding hope.
  30. Start with this line of dialogue: “He made an ass of himself.”

Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2019 is CLOSED

Your challenge for the Fall 2019 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest:

Write a fantasy or science fiction story under 5000 words that opens with something needlessly dramatic, which becomes actual drama when…

Be sure to read both the Three Cheers and a Tiger contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Your 48 hours start now. Good luck!

August 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about very hot weather.
  2. Start with this line of dialogue: “You know it’s bad when…”
  3. Write about lingering over dinner.
  4. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: bedroom, adopt, quaint, school, reproduction.
    2. Write about a power (or other infrastructure) failure.
    3. Use the phrase, “This is the answer to everything.”
  5. Second time a show is watched, it’s a rerun of the same episode.
  6. Your setting is: dawn, heatwave for days, a film set, dream-like atmosphere.
  7. Write about a delayed dentist appointment.
  8. Write about: a journey.
  9. Write about being unable to talk to the very attractive person.
  10. Start with this line of dialogue: “I wanted it to be real so bad.”
  11. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: admission, arrogant, cup, hope, prestige.
    2. Write about trying to comfort someone.
    3. Use the phrase, “I don’t do that kind of thing.”
  12. Use these 5 words: smoky, malfunctioned, smells, directions, headquarters.
  13. Setting: A comic book store.
  14. Use these 5 words: fundraising, gallery, culture, significant, dialogue.
  15. Use the phrase, “Tell me more lies.”
  16. Write about a character who is: optimistic, depressed & arrogant.
  17. Write about a last dinner together.
  18. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: pocket, south, unfortunate, endure, cope.
    2. Fill in the blank: “that dream where _________ and no one notices.”
    3. Write about ignoring something obvious.
  19. Use the phrase, “What year is it again?
  20. Start with this line of dialogue: “You lose them how you get them.”
  21. Use the phrase, “Did I hit the hyperspace button by mistake?”
  22. Write about: holiday traditions.
  23. Write about a secret transformation.
  24. Use these 5 words: magicians, kittens, embarrassed, coerced, face.
  25. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: accent, dirty, evening, stroll, morsel.
    2. Fill in the blank: “All that’s left is _________ .”
    3. Write about stealing something from another culture or language.
  26. Use these 5 words: recipe, garnish, note, rabbit, rain.
  27. Setting: A funky cheese shop.
  28. Write about: a farm to table menu.
  29. Write about someone getting something stuck in their hair.
  30. Your setting is: dawn, bright sunshine, desert island, restless atmosphere.
  31. Use the phrase, “They’re serving brunch.”

2019 A Midsummer Tale Winners

Toasted Cheese is happy to announce the winners of the 2019 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest.

1st: “Tulips” by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
2nd: “Dirty Secrets Make for Orderly Lives” by Amberdawn Collier
3rd: “The Empty Mirror” by Sarah Evans

Congratulations!

First place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second place a $15 Amazon gift card, and third place a $10 Amazon gift card. All three stories will appear in the September issue of Toasted Cheese.

Kudos to everyone who entered! We received over 50 entries again this year and enjoyed your many interpretations of the “secrets” theme. We hope you’ll join us for A Midsummer Tale again in 2020 and that you’ll pass the contest info along to your writing friends! Next summer’s theme will be announced April 1, 2020.

Our next contest is the fall Three Cheers and a Tiger 48-hour writing contest, which runs the weekend of September 20-22. See our contest page for details.

July 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about a sudden rain shower
  2. Use these 5 words: saint, fearless, courage, beaming, listen.
  3. Use the phrase “I meant to do that.”
  4. Your setting is: noon, light cloud, national park, friendly atmosphere.
  5. Start with “There’s more wine.”
  6. Write about: an avalanche.
  7. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: course, commitment, stretch, dressing, wrist.
    2. Write about help coming from an unexpected direction.
    3. Use the phrase, “There’s more where that came from.”
  8. Start with this line of dialogue: “Show the evidence.”
  9. “On this date in history…”
  10. Write about a character who is: secretive, unkind & cheerful.
  11. Use the phrase, “We’re stuck with each other.”
  12. Write about: a no-confidence vote.
  13. Write about forming new habits.
  14. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: behavior, profit, cat, underline, tongue.
    2. Write about needing more of something before starting.
    3. Fill in the blank, “Let’s try that out before _____.”
  15. Use the phrase, “How is that possible?”
  16. Start with this line of dialogue: “I have the best job.”
  17. Use the phrase “It’s all downhill from here.”
  18. Use these 5 words: pancakes, books, soulful, inspiration, music.
  19. One character is obsessed with numbers.
  20. Use these 5 words: wildfires, hurry, sprinting, monster, entangled.
  21. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: carbon, tiptoe, teenager, stitch, clock
    2. Write about not wanting to talk to anybody at all.
    3. Use the phrase, “It needs a refill.”
  22. Start with this line of dialogue: “I’m going to call her now.”
  23. Write about the new neighbors who don’t fit in.
  24. Use these 5 words: matrilineal, Martian, refugees, flu, spacecrafts.
  25. Write about going to do something you forgot you already did.
  26. Start with this line of dialogue: “He was going to propose.”
  27. Use the phrase, “Why did I come into the kitchen?”
  28. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: skeleton, calorie, modernize, grind, rob.
    2. Write about a minor annoyance that can’t be ignored.
    3. Use the phrase, “The end result is…”
  29. Use the phrase, “Don’t make me come back there.”
  30. Use these 5 words: orchestrated, revoke, pathos, exciting, challenge.
  31. Write about training the computer to expect something new.