Toasted Cheese 19:1

The March 2019 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Jerrice J. Baptiste, Teresa Blackmon, Carl Leggo, DS Maolalai, Amy Sherwood & Bill Yarrow; flash by Phebe Kirkham & Jared Levy; fiction by Louis M. Abbey and creative nonfiction by Tracy Lyall.

TC 19:1 also includes the 18th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by M. Luke Yoder, Lou Nell Gerard & Maureen Rostad.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews My Husband’s Lies by Caroline England.

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

The cover image is by jpellgen 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!

Dead of Winter 2018 Winners

The winning stories in our 2018 “Dead of Winter” short horror fiction contest are:

  • First place: “The Grave of Samuel Seymore James” by M. Luke Yoder
  • Second place: “Eidolon” by Lou Nell Gerard
  • Third place: “99 Words of Sorrow” by Maureen Rostad

Our next contest is “Three Cheers & A Tiger: Spring,” which is a 48-hour mystery contest. Dead of Winter 2019 opens October 1, 2019. We look forward to your entries. These stories will be published in the March 2019 issue.

Our contest info is here.http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/contest.htm

18th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the 18th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2018) will use one or both of the following themes: THE PODCAST or THE AWARD. Your entry must follow guidelines linked below.

This year’s themes are inspired by the contest judges. In 2018, both have been nominated for and/or won an award. Plus, we like podcasts and want to read about them. We couldn’t decide so, as we did ten years ago, we decided to offer multiple themes to choose from.

SPECIAL:

Your entry will not only follow one or both themes but will also use them in a central way, not as a peripheral or “dropped in” detail. For example, the award may be a physical object or a title (like a knighthood or an honorary degree). It could be a heavy object used as a weapon or a medal in an old trunk. Keep in mind that “podcast award” will likely be an often-used theme and that you want your story to stand out. Of course, you’re welcome to go that route.

Please give your story a unique title, not “The Podcast” or “The Award.”

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 DOW2018 is 3000–5000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2018 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2018.

Email entries to dow2018[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 18:1

The March 2018 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Rachel Burns, Abigail George, Bibhu Padhi, Roger Singer & Don Thompson; flash by Amanda Breen, Michael Crane, Catherine Fearns, Erica Hoffmeister, Lynn Mundell & Michael Sams; and fiction by Amanda DeNatale & Mary Ann McSweeny.

TC 18:1 also includes the 2017 Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by Meredith Lindgren & Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews A Fire Without Light by Darren C. Demaree.

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

The cover image is by H.C. (la-oc-foodventures) 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!

Dead of Winter 2017 Winners

The winning story in our Dead of Winter 2017 contest is “Us, Alone” by Meredith Lindgren and the runner-up is “Rotten Fruit” by Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki. These stories will be published in our March 2018 issue.

We enjoyed reading every entry and thank the entrants for sharing their creativity with us.

Dead of Winter 2018 opens October 1 and we invite you to enter. Our next contest is the 48-hour challenge “Three Cheers and a Tiger,” which runs March 23-25, 2018.

Keep writing! Persevere!

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

 

Toasted Cheese 17:1

The March 2017 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Holly Day, Liz Dolan, John Grey, Michael Paul Hogan, Salvatore Marici & Sam Payne; flash by Jenny T.H. Chiu, Becca B. Jenkins, Zack Peercy & Michael Snyder; and fiction by Michelle McMillan-Holifield, Gwenda Major, David McVey & Kathryn Pallant.

TC 17:1 also includes the Dead of Winter Writing Contest winning stories by Ellis Sinclair, Catherine J. Link & Red Lagoe.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Jesus and Magdalene by João Cerqueira, and Bill Lockwood reviews Sure Things and Last Chances by Lou Gaglia.

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

The cover image is by torbakhopper 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!

Dead of Winter 2016 Winners

The winning stories in our Dead of Winter 2016 contest are:

1st: “The Hands of Fate” by Ellis Sinclair
2nd: “The Dead of Winter” by Catherine J. Link
3rd: “Helping Hands Retreat” by Red Lagoe

These stories will be published in our March 2017 issue.

We are also awarding an honorable mention to “The Philosophy of Pre-Determinism” by Michael Grantham. Although the story will not be published, we appreciated the story’s clever callbacks to Manos: The Hands of Fate and its telling of the story of two minor characters, both cleverly named.

We enjoyed reading every entry and thank the entrants for sharing their creativity with us.

Dead of Winter 2017 opens October 1 and we invite you to enter. Our next contest is the 48-hour challenge “Three Cheers and a Tiger,” which runs the closest weekend to the beginning of Spring.

Keep writing! The Master would approve!

The 16th Annual “Dead of Winter” Writing Contest

Stories submitted to the 16th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2016) must use the theme THE HAND OF FATE (your entry must follow guidelines below).

This year’s theme is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the cult horror film Manos: The Hands of Fate. You may take as much or as little inspiration from the film as you like. You do NOT need to use elements of it for your story, although we’d like you to be inspired and have included some ideas about that below. Your only “must” is to use the theme THE HAND OF FATE.

SPECIAL:

Manos is universally acknowledged as one of the worst films ever made but its fans have latched onto its endearing elements. If you invest an hour of your time in watching the weirdness unspool, you’ll find something memorable, whether that’s a line of dialogue, a thrift store quality prop, or the strangely charismatic Torgo (as well as “the haunting Torgo Theme”). There’s a good story buried inside this weird little movie.

Note: the commentary tracks make the film more bearable to sit through; both include supplementary material to pad out a two-hour run time so the film itself begins about a quarter to halfway through (look for grainy footage of a family in a convertible). Manos: The Hands of Fate runs a little over an hour.

There are also several articles, reviews, and synopses online.

Ideally, your entry will not only follow the theme THE HAND OF FATE but will also employ some element of the film that inspired it. Examples (plot & character) include:

  • A couple/family gets lost on their way to a vacation resort
  • A couple/family finds something unexpected when they arrive at their destination
  • A cult whose leader is betrayed by his/her assistant
  • A cult revolts against its leader
  • A man who embraces 60s-era masculinity finds himself at the center of a situation he can’t control
  • A child who replaces a beloved pet with something sinister
  • A woman whose physical beauty makes her a target of desire for one, a “prize to be won” for another
  • A caretaker who abandons his/her post and faces physical consequences
  • The making of a low-budget movie goes awry

You might also be inspired by the time setting (1966), geographic setting (rural Texas borderland), or the film’s underlying (and unintended) themes, like sexism or servility.

We are not asking for, nor will we accept, Manos fanfic or any point-by-point retelling of the story of Manos: The Hands of Fate. Do not use the characters of Michael/Mike, Margaret/Maggie, Debbie, Torgo, The Master, or The Wives. You may take inspiration from them for your original characters.

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 DOW2016 is 2000–4000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2016 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2016.

Email entries to dow2016[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines

manos-torgo-dow2016

Apparently when you make a bet about telling a horror story, you end up either with Frankenstein or Manos.