June 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write what you’re afraid of.
  2. Start your story on a playground.
  3. Write about explaining the meaning of an armband.
  4. Start with this line: All art is political.
  5. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: knowledge, favor, hospitality, coverage, departure.
    2. Use the phrase, “it helps me sleep.”
    3. Write about travel difficulties.
  6. Write about a hidden talent.
  7. Buy and read a banned book.
  8. Use these five words: tackling, volcano, stranger, forever, hellcat
  9. Write about forgetting to check that one box on the form.
  10. Start your story during a drought.
  11. Write about sticker shock.
  12. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: leave, rule, sand, particular, extort.
    2. Fill in the blank, “coming up on time to _________.”
    3. Write about an unidentified clomping noise.
  13. Use the phrase, “For my next trick.”
  14. Use these five words: versions, certificates, recorded, subway, sentences
  15. Write about negotiating a time for a meeting.
  16. Start with this line: Welcome back.
  17. Write about an adult’s birthday.
  18. Write about playing an instrument.
  19. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: facility, survivor, stroll, sausage, mourning.
    2. Use the phrase, “Are we ready yet?”
    3. Write about a frustrating experience with technology.
  20. Start with this line: This is heartbreaking.
  21. Write about misidentifying a national flag.
  22. Start your story while waiting for an answer.
  23. Write about being bored during a medical recovery.
  24. Start with this line: He’s watching what she does.
  25. Write about watching a game you don’t understand.
  26. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: undermine, product, column, dozen, quota.
    2. Use the phrase, “That puts things in a different light.”
    3. Write about reading between the lines.
  27. Write about cleaning up a mud-covered kid.
  28. Start your story while doing laundry.
  29. Write about hooking up a music player.
  30. Write about a journey.

May 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: projection, fox, helpless, integration, forum.
    2. Use the phrase, “When does that start?”
    3. Write about trying to remember where someone lives.
  2. Start with this line: My plan is coming together.
  3. Write about gathering dry leaves.
  4. Write about what lies under the surface.
  5. Write about a lost loved-one’s birthday
  6. Use these five words: spin-off, slash, progress, rejoin, critique
  7. Use “such is the life of a houseplant.”
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: quota, drag, husband, recommendation, bargain.
    2. Use the phrase, “Let me answer a different question.”
    3. Write about talking yourself out of a corner.
  9. Write about doing a word puzzle.
  10. Use these five words: afloat, independent, route, stagecoach, Hollywood
  11. Use the phrase, “I can live with that.”
  12. Write about a shared vision.
  13. Write about wondering how thorough a search was.
  14. Write about revisionist history.
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: community, orientation, pasture, problem, loot.
    2. Use the phrase, “And then it’s gone.”
    3. Write about watching a bird.
  16. Write about an adrenaline rush.
  17. Write about making people participate in a group project.
  18. Use these five words: botox, vanishing, pumpkin, novelist, addiction
  19. Write about procrastination.
  20. Write about conquering a fear.
  21. Write about a quiet weekend at home.
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: jewel, paint, opinion, table, average.
    2. Use the phrase, “Does Tuesday work for you?”
    3. Write about noticing a tree.
  23. Write about running out of coffee.
  24. Write about a rude phone conversation.
  25. Write about avoiding a holiday.
  26. Start with this line: You don’t intend to trust me.
  27. Your character is trying to ignore losing someone.
  28. Start with this line: I’m really conflicted.
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: reduce, trade, station, snack. gift.
    2. Use the phrase, “the duck problem.”
    3. Write about struggling with technology.
  30. Start your story at a city council meeting.
  31. Write about not quite catching up.

April 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about going to class without your homework.
  2. Start your story in the middle of an argument.
  3. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: ignore, strain, slippery, hover, drawer.
    2. Fill in the blank, “You can’t teach an old dog _____.”
    3. Write about changing one’s mind.
  4. Start with this line: Remember how I told you…
  5. Write about an inconvenient dizzy spell.
  6. Write about a superhero.
  7. Write about slicing fruit together.
  8. Start with this line: That’s game-changing.
  9. Write about a car being towed away.
  10. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: resident, choose, broadcast, kill, toast.
    2. Use the phrase, “Wait and see.”
    3. Write about trying to stay awake.
  11. There’s a persistent knocking at the door.
  12. Use these five words: hat maker, introduction, octogenarian, students, selfish
  13. Use the phrase, “And now, we wait.”
  14. Write about impatience.
  15. Write about the return of a seasonal fountain.
  16. Start your story during selection of a jury.
  17. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: chew, staircase, secure. copper, contain.
    2. Use the phrase, “There are several drafts.”
    3. Write about an exaggeration.
  18. Start with this line: The science is clear.
  19. Use the phrase, “Does that raven know what we’re doing?”
  20. Write about an occupational hazard.
  21. Use the phrase, “Has it been a month already?”
  22. Start your story your first memory.
  23. Write about returning after a 2-year absence.
  24. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: bag, coast, activity, node, objective.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s unlikely.”
    3. Write about a bittersweet experience.
  25. Write about a windy day.
  26. Start your story during a social media outage.
  27. Use the phrase, “That looks right.”
  28. Start with this line: What do you think?
  29. Write about missing a deadline.
  30. Write about a word you hate.

2022 Savage Mystery Writing Results

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Savage Mystery Writing Contest!

First Place: “The Wonderland House” by Robin Hillard
Second Place: “Plums” by Janet Innes
Third Place: “The Case of the Missing Princess” by Sue Seabury

Honorable Mention: “The Merest Glimpse” by Eric Williams.

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

We’d like to thank everyone who entered. Antique dollhouses hold so many creative mysteries. I hope everyone had as much fun writing the stories as I had reading them.

Amanda (The Bellman) Marlowe


The Savage 48-hour Writing Contest is back in September with our science fiction/fantasy edition.

The 2022 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest is currently open for entries.

A Midsummer Tale 2022

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

The theme of the 2022 A Midsummer Tale writing contest is: The End. This year your challenge is to write about a personal ending that ties into a concurrent cataclysmic event and together feel like the end of the world for your protagonist.

Your story must be set during the hot summer months and the theme must play an integral role in the story.

Deadline for entries is June 21, 2022.

March 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Use “Once a season, whether we need it or not.”
  2. Start with this line: It’s pretty scary.
  3. Write about an all-day meeting.
  4. Start your story during a break-up.
  5. Write about wondering where you got an idea.
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: modest, embrace, quarter, auditor, afford.
    2. Fill in the blank, “Now subtract ______.”
    3. Write about the pitter-patter of little feet.
  7. Write about waiting for a storm.
  8. Start with this line: I wanted to be there for you.
  9. Write about finding something under a rock.
  10. Start with this line: Here are some suggestions.
  11. Write about people watching at a railroad crossing.
  12. Start your story during a virtual class or workshop.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five reporter, eavesdrop, chapter, conviction, celebration.
    2. Fill in the blank, “I don’t need to do that any more.”
    3. Write about an obsolete skill.
  14. Use these five words: overdue, exit, homelessness, protests, embryos
  15. Start next to an ice-covered pond on a warm day.
  16. Start your story at the beach.
  17. Write wordless dialog.
  18. Use these five words: roof, summer, humanity, freak, crash
  19. Write about a vacant restaurant.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five compartment, challenge, gene, horse, greeting.
    2. Fill in the blank, “Am I the only one left?”
    3. Write about birdwatching.
  21. Use the phrase, “All else being equal”
  22. Write about eavesdropping.
  23. Write about getting up very early.
  24. Start your story in a restaurant closed for a private event.
  25. Start with “Tell me a story.”
  26. Use these five words: banana, clear, credits, game, wars
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: assume, blackmail, registration, consideration, personal.
    2. Fill in the blank, “I remember when this was empty space.”
    3. Write about watching a fire.
  28. Write about sneaking in contraband.
  29. Write about meeting a friend for coffee.
  30. Start your story in an artist’s studio.
  31. Write about leaving a task unfinished.

The 2022 Savage Mystery Writing Contest is CLOSED

The 2022 48-hour Savage Mystery Writing Contest is now open.

Entries must be received by 5 PM Eastern Time, Sunday, March 20, 2022.

Write a mystery story that features an antique dollhouse.

Word range: Between 2400 and 2600 words.

  • Send entries to: savagemystery22@toasted-cheese.com
  • Your subject line must read: Savage Mystery Contest Entry
  • Paste your story directly into your email. No attachments please.

For complete rules:

Toasted Cheese 22:1

The March 2022 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Carla Scarano D’Antonio & Diane Webster; fiction by Aishani Biswas, Jim Ray Daniels & Joshua Shapiro; and creative nonfiction by Mark Liebenow & Layla Sabourian.

TC 22:1 also includes the 2021 Dead of Winter Horror Writing Contest winning stories by Jason Porterfield, Gail A. Webber, Bunny McFadden & DJ Tyrer.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Where the Stork Flies by Linda Wisniewski and Garrett Ray Harriman reviews Sneezing Coyotes by Salvatore Marici.

The cover image is by Ruth Hartnup 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 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Start with “Twas the night before Groundhog’s…”
  2. Start your story while stranded without cell service.
  3. Write about something that falls between categories.
  4. Use these five words: bridge, serenade, detectives, sensitivity, blackbird
  5. Write about a group project.
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: real, copper, grimace, opponent, swear.
    2. Use the phrase, “Maybe if I don’t watch it.”
    3. Write about equipment failure.
  7. Write about a multi-colored graphic.
  8. Use these five words: peacemaking, finesse, unpack, battles, blue
  9. Write about falling off a bicycle.
  10. Start your story while watching a scary movie.
  11. Write about a lone goose on a frozen pond.
  12. Use these five words: museum, brilliance, radar, elephants, sailing
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: joke, wander, exhibition, injection, headline.
    2. Use the phrase, “I ate that for lunch.”
    3. Write about an unexpected color.
  14. Start your story during a costume party.
  15. Use the phrase, “I’m not late, yet.”
  16. Start with this line: He has no regrets.
  17. Write about canceling a party.
  18. Use these five words: bee, nutty, straightening, uncut, tuna
  19. Write about children’s team sports.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: consumer, necklace, justice, obscure, promise.
    2. Use the phrase, “Tell me a story.”
    3. Write about overlooking an important detail.
  21. Use “The 21st is not a Thursday.”
  22. Start your story on a ferry.
  23. Write about improvising for a missing chess piece.
  24. Use these five words: agencies, teams, shoulder, cocktail, textiles
  25. Write about a folder stuffed full of papers.
  26. Write about negative space.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: pile, chocolate, decisive, dedicate, disorder.
    2. Use the phrase, “Isn’t that a mouthful?”
    3. Write about a different solution to a problem.
  28. Use these five words: lawmaker, heroes, plans, godsend, renaissance

Dead of Winter 2021 Winners

The winning stories for our 21st annual Dead of Winter horror fiction contest are:

  • 1st: “Fitting Room #3” by Jason Porterfield
  • 2nd: “Rules” by Gail A. Webber
  • 3rd (tie): “Cutting Your Own” by Bunny McFadden
  • 3rd (tie): “Broken Bridge” by DJ Tyrer

The first, second, and both third place stories will appear in TCLJ 22.1, our Spring issue.

Our next contest is The Savage Mystery Writing Contest, which opens Friday, March 18 and ends Sunday, March 20. Please remember to follow theme, genre, and word count parameters on all contests. There is no registration, entry fee, or geographic restriction for this or any TC contest. Toasted Cheese’s contest info is here.