January 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about waking up the morning after.
  2. Start with this line: “I was doing it at such a young age.”
  3. Something urgent interrupts cooking.
  4. Use these five words: reducing, hope, battle, stopping, happy.
  5. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: bolt, casualty, supplementary, see, normal. Bonus word: bitch.
    2. Write about something that happened an exact multiple of years earlier.
    3. Use the phrase, “Why is there only one?”
  6. Write about being stuck inside the box.
  7. Something once thought obvious that’s no longer true.
  8. Start with this line: “I wish I could draw well.”
  9. Answer the “How are you?” question honestly.
  10. Write about balancing passion with making money.
  11. Write about the emotion inspired by avocado green.
  12. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: outer, banish, oil, craftsman, falsify.
    2. Write about a heroic animal.
    3. Use the phrase, “Deeps of winter.”
  13. Two characters with nothing in common but their shared birthday.
  14. Start with this line: “I think that had a huge impact.”
  15. Copy editor saves the day!
  16. Start with this line: “What have you been up to lately?”
  17. Use the phrase, “I thought that was tomorrow.”
  18. Write about being gifted a kitchen appliance.
  19. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: burst, observe, boxes, world, ready.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Why is there ________?”
    3. Write about getting reacquainted with an old friend.
  20. Start with this line: “Dream job alert!”
  21. Use the phrase, “We need to talk.”
  22. Set your story in a small town.
  23. Use the phrase, “I cannot imagine…”
  24. Write a story set on a film set.
  25. Write about the smell of cinnamon.
  26. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: treaty, fence, press, twilight, water.
    2. Use the phrase, “It makes me wonder.”
    3. Write about responding to natural surroundings.
  27. Use the phrase, “When you say it, your name seems pale blue.”
  28. Include these 3 characters in a story: CT/MRI tech, RN, epidemiologist.
  29. Write about politely declining to eat a new food.
  30. Write about non-physical violence.
  31. Write about reading as temporary insanity.

Posted in Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Uncategorized

December 2019
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: confusion, lend, lid, know, fitness.
    2. Use the phrase “That changes everything.”
    3. Write about a nearly forgotten friend.
  2. Use these 5 words: derail, safety, trailer, sinking, bridge.
  3. Write about a song stuck in your head.
  4. Start with this line of dialogue: “I woke up at three in the morning.”
  5. Write about something found that’s unexpectedly wonderful.
  6. Start with this line of dialogue: “That’s sick.”
  7. Write about what a wild bird wants.
  8. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: bowl, tree, box, safe, coffee.
    2. Write about monsters in the closet.
    3. Use the phrase: “It’s almost like a spoonful of sugar”.
  9. Write about hooking up electronic equipment
  10. Write about: a child ripped out of her mother’s arms.
  11. Write about a brunch date
  12. Start with this line of dialogue: “It’s pretty self-explanatory.”
  13. Write about a new diet.
  14. Start with this line of dialogue: “It was that kind of a day.”
  15. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: flexible, map, remedy, revoke, hiccup.
    2. Use the phrase “You’re probably going to hate this.”
    3. Write about winning something that’s unwanted.
  16. Write about: a deepening crisis.
  17. Rewrite a historical narrative with a new ending.
  18. Your setting is: afternoon, strong wind, country estate, creepy atmosphere.
  19. Write about fighting over decorations.
  20. Use these 5 words: rhetoric, college, genius, test, history.
  21. Write about the day the sun stood still.
  22. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: bomb, strap, guerrilla, designer, outside.
    2. Use the phrase “What’s the deal?”
    3. Write about oncoming winter.
  23. The sudden realization that the bird is speaking English.
  24. Write about: being held without the possibility of bail.
  25. Write about the first holiday with a missing loved one.
  26. Start with this line of dialogue: “There is no time to waste.”
  27. Write about choosing not to return an unusable gift
  28. Use these 5 words: brain, frustrated, innovative, process, artist.
  29. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: vague, panel, square, offset, credibility.
    2. Use the phrase “I missed that.”
    3. Write about finding something unexpected in one’s self.
  30. Your setting is: late afternoon, heavy rain, mountain, mystical atmosphere.
  31. Use the phrase, “Well, I guess it’s over.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Toasted Cheese 19:4

The December 2019 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Garrett Harriman, Erren Kelly & Timothy Pilgrim; flash by Dini Armstrong, Anita Goveas & Zoe Konstantinou; fiction by Jeff Bakkenson, Scott Chiusano, Kyran Lambert, Alexa Recio de Fitch & Bonnie Thompson; and creative nonfiction by Dian Parker.

TC 19:4 also includes the Fall 2019 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest winning stories by Annie Percik, Joshua Flores & Deana Zhollis.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Accelerant by Bill Yarrow and Bill Yarrow reviews Epitaph for the Beloved by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas.

The cover image is by Darren Cowley 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!

Posted in Uncategorized

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!
    1. Write about discovering a new talent in someone you know.
    2. Fill in the blank: ” _________ like you’ve never done it before.”
    3. Use the following five words: fine, suffering, clerk, faint, aware.
  11. Write about an end to hostilities.
  12. Write about: turning away people.
  13. Write about sending that letter you never intended to send.
  14. Start with this line of dialogue: “This is kind of a perfect ending.”
  15. Use the phrase, “Is it Friday yet?”
  16. Write about: an unlikely prophet.
  17. 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.
  18. Write about: a spoiled brat.
  19. Write about how not to do something.
  20. Start with this line of dialogue: “I’m supposed to be taking notes.”
  21. Write about the moment of realizing help isn’t coming.
  22. Use these 5 words: police, pressure, falsehoods, coffee, pencils.
  23. Write a heartwarming story about a dysfunctional family.
  24. Join us for live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: rib, receipt, mean, linen, cultural.
    2. Fill in the blank: “You’re rooting for the wrong _________ .”
    3. Write about waiting to deal with a dreaded occurrence.
  25. Explain why “Wait, what?” is the most important question.
  26. Use these 5 words: slump, game, goal, buddies, crucial.
  27. Write about stopping to turn a turtle right side up.
  28. Write about a character who is: aggressive, ambitious & rude.
  29. Write about clothes that are threadbare in interesting places.
  30. Your setting is: noon, ice on the ground, a small town, charming atmosphere.

Posted in Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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.”

Posted in Uncategorized