Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Spring Three Cheers and a Tiger contest!

Gold: “One of Wyeth’s Two Hundred and Forty Seven” by Jay Bechtol
Silver: “Fetch the Tuna” by Jason Porterfield
Bronze: “Small Town Magic” by Jennifer Pantusa

The winning entries will appear in the upcoming issue of Toasted Cheese.

We’d like to thank everyone who entered. Mystery and magic made for an exciting set of stories. I hope you had as much fun writing the stories as I had reading them.

Amanda (The Bellman) Marlowe

A Midsummer Tale 2020

A Midsummer Tale is a summer-themed narrative writing contest open to non-genre fiction and creative nonfiction.

The theme of the 2020 A Midsummer Tale writing contest is: Quarantine. One definition of quarantine is “a state of enforced isolation.” This year, your midsummer tale must be about being quarantined—or isolated—during the hot summer months. The reason for the quarantine is up to you—a pandemic is not required.

The theme must play an integral role in the story.

Deadline for entries is June 21, 2020.

March 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: likely, powder, thick, formulate, flock.
    2. Use the phrase, “knock on the door.”
    3. Write about finding something that’s been lost for years.
  2. Use these five words: contestants, cookies, recommendation, release, toxic.
  3. Write about showing up late without your homework.
  4. Write about a TEDx talk, real or imagined.
  5. Write a more realistic version of a stress-induced dream.
  6. Use these five words: communities, debut, employees, sexy, electric.
  7. Write about trying to get a date on short notice.
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: string, elephant, cream, market, misery.
    2. Use the phrase, “Does anybody want this?”
    3. Write about deciding what to do with a last hour together.
  9. Write about those last few drops of wine in the glass.
  10. Write a story about birders.
  11. Write about a discussion about money.
  12. Use these five words: zoo, target, date, mugged, variety.
  13. Write about a small child watching construction vehicles.
  14. Include these 3 characters: jewelry maker, artist, occupational therapist.
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: promise, bridge, contain, fade, ivory.
    2. Use the phrase, “There’s nothing new here.”
    3. Write about forgetting to recharge a battery.
  16. Start with this line: “You are what you do, not what you say.”
  17. Fill in: “The ______ is the limit.”
  18. Use these five words: DIY, undone, block, photograph, liar.
  19. Write about being asked to leave a group.
  20. Write about applying to be an astronaut.
  21. Make up something that only happens on the Equinox.
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: real, offense, hear, calm, merit.
    2. Use the phrase, “We are the stuff of other people’s nightmares.”
    3. Write about paying attention to breathing.
  23. Write about an unusually nice day with a sudden turn in the weather.
  24. Use these five words: lectured, crust, weave, cutting, introverts.
  25. Write about someone else’s holiday.
  26. Set your story in Hawaii.
  27. Write about a strange noise in the night.
  28. Set your story on a volunteer tourism trip.
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: producer, bubble, accent, stamp, maximum.
    2. Use the phrase, “Pay careful attention, here.”
    3. Write about losing track of things changing.
  30. Use these five words: exchange, safety, attempt, tail, defense.
  31. Write about someone suddenly discovering they’re not alone.

The Spring 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest is CLOSED

The Spring Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest is now open.

Entries must be received by 5 PM Eastern Time, Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Write a mystery story that centers around a magic trick.

Word count: Between 2,300 and 2,600 words.

  • Send entries to: threecheers20@toasted-cheese.com
  • Your subject line must read: Three Cheers and a Tiger Contest Entry
  • Paste your story directly into your email. No attachments please.

For complete rules:
Three Cheers and a Tiger Guidelines
General Contest Rules

Toasted Cheese 20:1

The March issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Melissa Evans & Diane Webster; flash by Jerri Jerreat and fiction by JG Alderisio, L.M. Brown & Jim Ray Daniels.

TC 20:1 also includes the 19th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by Alex Grey & DJ Tyrer.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Neighbours & Tourists by Ewa Mazierska.

The cover image is by Alpha 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!

February 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Get that story out of the drawer and work on it.
  2. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: picture, elegant, graze, cooperation, waist.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t know who that is.”
    3. Write about not participating in a popular activity.
  3. “I see the problem. How am I going to fix it?”
  4. Write about the power of story.
  5. Write about a pet animal’s revenge.
  6. Include these 3 characters in a story: landscape architect, editor, nanny.
  7. Write about waiting for a storm.
  8. Start your story in a chilly room.
  9. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: decline, bland, marble, flower, crevice.
    2. Use the phrase, “You can’t get there in a car.”
    3. Write about a bird with attitude.
  10. Use these five words: flights, nefarious, highlights, cinnamon, bullying.
  11. Write about explaining technology to an older person
  12. Start your story with your MC surrounded by thick fog.
  13. Invent a holiday celebrating something strange.
  14. Use these five words: violins, modern, fixing, vase, premiere.
  15. Write about dropping out of an activity.
  16. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: substitute, drag, acceptable, import, possible.
    2. Use the phrase, “People have other things to do.”
    3. Write about feeding an animal.
  17. Fill in: “I’m a _________ and proud of it.”
  18. Write about a life or death struggle.
  19. Write about a premature thaw.
  20. Use these five words: synopsis, mimics, easy, beginner, biggest.
  21. Rewrite that story from someone else’s point of view.
  22. Use these five words: authentic, magic, slipped, influencer, travel.
  23. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
  24. Set your story in the suburbs.
  25. Use the phrase, “There’s just one more thing…”
  26. Start with this line: “Roughly twenty years ago…”
  27. Write about pretending to understand what a bird is saying.
  28. Include these 3 characters: roofer, real estate agent, construction manager.
  29. Your character gets a birthday only every fourth year.

Dead of Winter 2019 Winners

The winning stories in our 2019 “Dead of Winter” short fiction contest are “The Silver Wrens” by Alex Grey (first place) and “Answers” by DJ Tyrer (second place). The theme was “Family Tree” and both stories used the theme in literal and figurative ways. You’ll be able to read them in TCLJ 20.1.

Our next contest is “Three Cheers & A Tiger: Spring,” which is a 48-hour mystery contest. Dead of Winter 2020, our twentieth annual, opens October 1, 2020. Toasted Cheese’s contest info is here.

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.

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!

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.”