Toasted Cheese 17:3

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The September 2017 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Miki Byrne, Matthew Heston, Simon Perchik, Sarah Valeika & John Zedolik; flash by Helen Coats, Izabella Grace, Malka Herman & Merran Jones; fiction by Natasha Cabot, Tara Kaprowy & Alex Shishin; and creative non-fiction by Laura Marostica & Mary Street.

TC 17:3 also includes the A Midsummer Tale Writing Contest winning stories by LS Bassen, Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki & SK Elliot.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Megan of the Mists by Bill Lockwood.

This issue’s Snark Zone is by Theryn “Beaver” Fleming.

The cover image is by wwny 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!

October 2017
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: unrequited, knees, battle, roads, grunts.
    2. Write about a dreaded and frustrating task.
    3. Write about a question that cannot be answered truthfully.
  2. Use these 5 words: bubble, seat, walk, innate, ambiguous.
  3. What happens in October, stays in October.
  4. Use this line of dialogue: “Honey, you’ll handle it.”
  5. Write about an unhappy dog.
  6. Scenario: a planet of teenage girls, and they’re the only people there.
  7. Use the phrase “How swiftly we forget.”
  8. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: meanness, start, scribbling, stairs, shame.
    2. Write about a clerk remembering your character’s name.
    3. Use the phrase, “Tell me some lies.”
  9. A typo gives a profound insight
  10. Use these 5 words: comfortable, afford, inject, common, gun.
  11. A holiday happens unexpectedly
  12. Use this line of dialogue: “People are worried about me.”
  13. Include a character who’s lucky on Friday the 13th.
  14. Include a character whose friends are all stupid.
  15. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: floors, boxes, confession, corner, twisted.
    2. Write about finding something extra or unintended.
    3. Fill in the blank, “Coming soon, to a _______ near you.”
  16. Use these 5 words: grin, trees, cloudy, arrive, sister.
  17. Doing that one little thing before lunch.
  18. Use this line of dialogue: “Look, there are cows!”
  19. Feeling the sleep coming for you.
  20. Scenario: a short time is left, and there’s still so much to do.
  21. Write about mud.
  22. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: marry, gaunt, rest, really, private.
    2. Write about missing a holiday celebration.
    3. Fill in the blank, “Do you really want to _______?”
  23. Showing up at the wrong time for a meeting.
  24. Use these 5 words: flat, concerned, elastic, downtown, materialistic.
  25. A group experience without timepieces.
  26. Use this line of dialogue: “It doesn’t go away.”
  27. Hearing snow shovels in the summer
  28. It’s not strangers who are scary; it’s the people you think you know.
  29. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: object, crazy, wealthy, bait, grim.
    2. Fill in the blank: “_______ o’clock and all’s well.”
    3. Use the phrase, “Tell me a story.”
  30. Use this line of dialogue: “Breathe. You’re going to be ok.”
  31. Disagreement over holiday activities

The 17th Annual “Dead of Winter” Writing Contest

Stories submitted to the 17th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2017) must use the theme NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED (your entry must follow guidelines below).

This year’s theme is inspired by women and their resilience.

SPECIAL:

Horror has long given us female protagonists and antagonists, both in literature and film. Your entry will not only follow the theme NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED but also give us strong female characters facing and/or creating horrors in original ways.

We want them to be challenged by forces within and/or without; they might not make it to the end of your story. The threat your main character faces might be female or she may be female herself (or both). Your story may feature one woman or one girl or several females but at least one major character in your story should be a female who is persistent.

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 DOW2017 is 3000–5000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2017 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2017.

Email entries to dow2017[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines

 

September 2017
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Remembering the first day of school, years later.
  2. Use these 5 words: obedient, yummy, sweet, wild, spring.
  3. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: midnight, surface, which, glazed, destination.
    2. Write about commemorating an unhappy event.
    3. Use this phrase: “Is there more?”
  4. Use this line of dialogue: “People never really grow up.”
  5. A complicated checklist
  6. Include a character who hates to be around people or touch them.
  7. “I remember the look in her eyes.”
  8. Use these 5 words: look, sneeze, plastic, zesty, acceptable.
  9. An unexpected rain storm
  10. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: policemen, poetry, crossing, without, screams.
    2. Write about overdosing on news coverage.
    3. Use this phrase: “It could be entertaining.”
  11. Conversation blocks a doorway
  12. Use this line of dialogue: “Put on some pants.”
  13. Forgetting the reason for coming to the kitchen
  14. Scenario: a parrot that speaks Spanish.
  15. Bringing unusual food to an event
  16. Use these 5 words: guitar, mighty, abnormal, inquisitive, worried.
  17. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: midnight, friends, place, pledge, rest.
    2. Use some misunderstood song lyrics.
    3. Write about a sweaty job.
  18. Use this line of dialogue: “What do we have to gain from even trying?”
  19. Long overdue refrigerator cleaning
  20. Include a character who eats grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner each night
  21. Write about balancing eggs on the equinox
  22. Use these 5 words: soggy, smiling, fine, interest, frequent.
  23. Bonding with a stranger over witnessing an event
  24. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: eating, south, synthesis, poems, stained.
    2. Write about the smell of a new book.
    3. Use the phrase, “Don’t you have something more important to do?”
  25. Day’s work done before 10AM
  26. Use this line of dialogue: “First, you look ridiculous.”
  27. Putting something back together again.
  28. Don’t make plans; just write.
  29. “If you want something done, ask somebody who’s busy.”
  30. Say the truth you’re carrying in your heart like a hidden treasure.

Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2017 — CLOSED

Stories submitted to the 2017 Fall “Three Cheers and a Tiger” short fiction contest must follow the theme: “the  de-escalation of a potentially violent situation.” Your entry must also follow guidelines below.

Entries must be received by 5 PM Eastern Time, Sunday, September 24, 2017. The challenge is to write and submit a complete story in 48 hours. There is no registration and no entry fee.

SPECIAL:

Conflict has long been an inspiration to spec fic writers. In choosing this year’s theme, we’re inspired by real world events and are eager to see how SFF writers interpret not only the theme but the world in which we find ourselves. What world will you create and what will it say about our own?

EVERY YEAR:

Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.

Stories MUST be speculative fiction (sci fi or fantasy entries are welcome; read past winners to get an idea of what subgenres judges prefer).

Stories MUST fall within word count parameters. The word count range for 3CFall 2017 is 3000–4000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens September 22, 2017 at 5 PM ET and the deadline for submission is 5:00 PM ET September 24, 2017.

Email entries to threecheers17[@]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Three Cheers Contest Entry

Paste your story directly into your email. No attachments please.

Follow general Three Cheers and a Tiger guidelines and general contest rules:

Three Cheers and a Tiger Guidelines

General Contest Rules

 

August 2017
Daily Writing Prompts

  1. A Pen In Each HandWrite about a store closing
  2. Use these 5 words: laborer, advice, continue, shallow, hair.
  3. The weather’s fine… here.
  4. Use this line of dialogue: “Shut up and move on.”
  5. The computer makes a rude noise
  6. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  7. Calling someone who’s un-dude-like “Dude”
  8. Scenario: weird and horrible things keep happening.
  9. The backup disk is unreadable
  10. Use these 5 words: base, light, apathetic, observant, free.
  11. Seeking an alternate route
  12. Use this line of dialogue: “Better not to think too hard about this.”
  13. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: beyond, pianos, synthesis, killed, toadstools.
    2. Write about waking up at 3am to worry.
    3. Use this phrase: “You come by your competitive streak naturally.”
  14. Include a character who wears the same thing for eight weeks in a row.
  15. Is it Friday yet?
  16. Use these 5 words: rule, nosy, tearful, cumbersome, sun.
  17. A letter that’s never sent
  18. Use this line of dialogue: “One or both of our parents are crazy.”
  19. Waiting for the caffeine to take effect
  20. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  21. Can’t find good help.
  22. Scenario: everyone is dressed and made up like cats.
  23. “How hard can it be?”
  24. Use these 5 words: pathetic, rambunctious, hope, spiritual, even.
  25. “Do you like what you’re seeing?”
  26. Use this line of dialogue: “Quesadillas are delicious.”
  27. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: crowd, crossing, husband, dismantle, earth.
    2. Write about answering without any words.
    3. Use this phrase: “But wait, there’s more!”
  28. You’re weird, but everyone is weird.
  29. “Could you scratch my back?”
  30. The happy ending is just moving on.
  31. It’s not taking as long as they said.

2017 A Midsummer Tale Winners

Toasted Cheese is happy to announce the winners of the 2017 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest.

1st: “The Formula for Skipping Stones” by LS Bassen
2nd: “A Pot of Tea” by Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki
3rd: “I Ask You for a Cigarette” by SK Elliot
Honorable Mention: “Summer of Love” by Gretchen Rose

Congratulations!

First place will receive a $35 Amazon gift card and second place a $10 Amazon gift card. The first, second, and third place stories will appear in the September issue of Toasted Cheese.

Kudos to everyone who entered! We received nearly 50 entries this year and enjoyed reading your creative takes on the theme. We hope you’ll join us for A Midsummer Tale again in 2018 and that you’ll pass the contest info along to your writing friends! Next summer’s theme will be announced April 1, 2018.

Our next contest is the fall Three Cheers and a Tiger writing contest, which runs the weekend of September 22-24.

July 2017
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Every single day.
  2. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  3. Write about the weather 6 months ago.
  4. Use these 5 words: sloppy, book, carpenter, macabre, tomatoes.
  5. Everything has to work at the same time.
  6. Use this line of dialogue: “Explain what the letters mean.”
  7. Write about a former friend’s birthday.
  8. Include a brainy and frazzled woman who is at the end of her wits.
  9. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  10. Use these 5 words: collect, approval, narrow, brush, tasteful.
  11. “I don’t need to do that just yet.”
  12. Use this line of dialogue: “Well, no. I’m not doing that.”
  13. Accidentally helping the cat catch a bird.
  14. Scenario: a character almost gets hit by a cabbage.
  15. “Is it my turn again already?”
  16. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  17. “You’re odder than odd.”
  18. Use these 5 words: tiger, fold, order, parched, wet.
  19. “If we try, we can finish by lunchtime.”
  20. Use this line of dialogue: “Oh, God, it’s Monday.”
  21. Use this: “All it takes is an hour and a 5-gallon bucket.”
  22. Include a character who wants to do good things & to feel loved.
  23. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  24. Use these 5 words: ugliest, old, scientific, advise, energetic.
  25. Missing the most obvious questions on a test.
  26. Use this line of dialogue: “How have we come to such ruin?”
  27. A surprise party that isn’t surprising.
  28. Real isn’t always the same as interesting.
  29. Practicing while the group/team is on break.
  30. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  31. “So hot the pets act like they’re melting.”

June 2017
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. “You’re still missing her, aren’t you?”
  2. Use these 5 words: disagreeable, kind, check, resonant, shut.
  3. An elaborate excuse
  4. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: windy, observe, synthesis, corner, floors.
    2. Write about an unsent letter.
    3. Use the phrase, “It seems like that’s a wise decision.”
  5. “I’ve done my part. It’s your turn now.”
  6. Use this line of dialogue: “It’s just hard to know what to do with her.”
  7. “This really is about me, isn’t it?”
  8. Scenario: three sons who tend to ruin family events.
  9. Last day of school, years ago now.
  10. Use these 5 words: modern, match, unbiased, stamp, willing.
  11. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
  12. Use this line of dialogue: “Now please leave.”
  13. Smother them in kindness.
  14. Include a character who chugs booze like water & weeps like a broken faucet.
  15. Don’t want to celebrate a birthday
  16. Use these 5 words: humdrum, plane, form, reminiscent, lame.
  17. What to cook, with what’s in the cupboard
  18. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: unrequited, attempted, all, fading, dismantle.
    2. Write about a chipped stone.
    3. Use the phrase, “I know I shouldn’t, but…”
  19. Long ago, on this date…
  20. Use this line of dialogue: “Let’s be nice to the old man.”
  21. An astronomical coincidence.
  22. Scenario: a blood-soaked patch of ground.
  23. I once knew how to do this.
  24. Use these 5 words: tax, books, coal, deserted, learned.
  25. Get today’s prompts on Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: open, gaunt, beats, sweep, public.
    2. Write about a party.
    3. Fill in the blank: “Counting down the seconds until _______.”
  26. Use this line: “Just because they’re dead doesn’t mean they’re not here.”
  27. “I understood this, before we traded places.”
  28. A CYOA where no matter which path your MC chooses someone always dies.
  29. It always ends in tears.
  30. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt.

Toasted Cheese 17:2

The June 2017 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Deborah Bacharach, Marchell Dyon, Donna Pucciani, David Sermersheim, Spencer Smith, Judith Taylor & Jim Zola; flash by Sabrina Hicks, Fran Laniado & Tomas Marcantonio; and fiction by Lanny Durbin & Bonnie Thompson.

TC 17:2 also includes the Spring Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest winning stories by Erin McDougall, R.J. Snowberger & Meredith Lindgren.

This issue’s Snark Zone is by Stephanie “Baker” Lenz.

The cover image is by David/rnddave 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!