Toasted Cheese 20:4

Featured

The December issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Madeleine Claire, Marchell Dyon, James Croal Jackson, Ann Pedone & Simon Perchik; flash by Ala Fox & Josephine Greenland; fiction by Nicholas Finch, Ashley Lewin & Sydney Parrish; and creative nonfiction by Riley Hansen & Celestine Woo.

TC 20:4 also includes the Fall 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger Science Fiction/Fantasy Writing Contest winning stories by Meg Hilt, Brianna Suazo & David Lukes.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Ravynscroft by Richard Edgar.

The cover image is by Jim Makos 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!

December 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about sibling rivalry
  2. Include these 3 characters in a story: judge, police officer, bartender.
  3. Use a made-up word
  4. Start with this line: “Calling this justice would be a mistake.”
  5. Write about introducing someone new to a favorite drink
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: recover, loose, arrange, absence, investigation.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t do that any more.”
    3. Write about using something that’s not quite ready.
  7. Write about a house fire.
  8. Incl. these characters: paralegal, secretary, human resources administrator.
  9. Write about a new system for doing familiar things.
  10. Write an imagined interview with your favorite author.
  11. Use “It feels like a year since I saw anybody.”
  12. Set your story at a hockey game.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: crisis, freedom, fear, copy, craftsman.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I need a new __________.”
    3. Write about an unexpected crowd.
  14. Start with this line: “Oh, I’m definitely subtweeting.”
  15. Write about visiting a grave.
  16. Write about unicycling.
  17. Use “What kind of critter are you?”
  18. Use these five words: praise, holy, skeins, stigma, complicated.
  19. Write about observing a holiday nobody else shares.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: correspond, arena, aid, witch, spot.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s all they told me.”
    3. Write about waiting for something that might not happen.
  21. Write about celebrating the Winter Solstice.
  22. Write about an old house.
  23. Explain something incoherently.
  24. Start with this line: “I first met _____ on the streets.”
  25. Write about the kid who got left out.
  26. Write about being ahead of the curve.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: sugar, multimedia, indirect, ignore, elephant.
    2. Use the phrase, “How long do we have to wait?”
    3. Write about an exception to the rule.
  28. Use these five words: mechanics, practicing, love, choice, agent.
  29. Write about waiting for the mail to come.
  30. Start with this line: “One of the biggest mysteries is…”
  31. Your character sums up a year.

November 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: flash, technology, minimize, brown, display.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s too bright.”
    3. Write about asking for advice.
  2. Write about a report card.
  3. Write about a nightmare.
  4. Write about education in pursuit of knowledge & perspective.
  5. Write about an obsession.
  6. Use these five words: inspiration, deported, downtown, restricted, body.
  7. Use the phrase “And now for something completely different.”
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: worry, hero, range, infect, corner.
    2. Use the phrase, “What can we do?”
    3. Write about not understanding.
  9. Write about a younger sibling as a grownup.
  10. Use these five words: creating, pattern, details, noodles, tiny.
  11. What happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month?
  12. Use these five words: airtight, method, gift, underestimated, prominent.
  13. Use the phrase “All that and more.”
  14. Include these 3 characters: truck driver, mechanic, baggage handler.
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: radiation, debt, trouble, glue, entry.
    2. Use the phrase, “Time to recharge.”
    3. Write about having enough to share.
  16. Start with this line: “Sweet dreams.”
  17. Use the phrase, “Now what do we do?”
  18. Include these 3 characters: bookkeeper, financial advisor, auditor.
  19. Use the phrase, “I don’t think I can do that.”
  20. Start with this line: “We loved each other.”
  21. Write about an unusual bird or animal sighting.
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: favour, west, invasion, referral, neck.
    2. Use the phrase, “Why are we doing this?”
    3. Write about an apology.
  23. Write about counting blessings after a major loss.
  24. Write a story set in the future.
  25. Write about unexpected bad weather.
  26. Set your story in the countryside.
  27. Write about spending a family holiday alone.
  28. Use these five words: self-pity, backpack, finished, boots, mittens.
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: create, ample, publicity, promise, elbow.
    2. Use the phrase, “I’ve forgotten how to dance.”
    3. Write about trying to finish before a deadline.
  30. Start with this line: “The devil works hard, but…”

Sunday writing chat prompts for 8 November 2020

The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

This week’s prompts are posted below.

1. Use the following five words: worry, hero, range, infect, corner.  (10 min)

2. Use the phrase, “What can we do?” (10 min)

3. Write about not understanding.   (10 min)

Toasted Cheese announces the winners of Fall 2020 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 of up to 3,000 words on the topic of returning to a childhood neighborhood to find only one house still inhabited.”

First place: “Back Home” by Meg Hilt
Second place: “Rushville” by Briana Suazo
Third place: “WPP1G Product Review” by David Lukes

The winning entries will be published in the December/Winter issue of Toasted Cheese (Issue 20.4).

Judges for Three Cheers (Fall) are Boots & Broker.

Congratulations to the winners!

October 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Reminisce about a vacation or holiday
  2. Write about an adverse drug reaction.
  3. Write about how remarkable it is that someone is not looking at their phone.
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: sensitivity, message, realize, bake, trivial.
    2. Use the phrase, “No, I don’t believe it.”
    3. Write about quitting a game that can’t be won.
  5. Write about a delight found in the midst of tedium.
  6. Start with this line: “What was the outcome of the struggle?”
  7. Write about carefully choosing an alias.
  8. Write about a visiting scholar.
  9. Write about the impression someone else is living parts of your life.
  10. Start with this line: “Nobody bothered to tell me.”
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: realize, leftovers, extension, mug, favorite.
    2. Use the phrase, “Is it Friday yet?”
    3. Write about trying to focus when drowsy.
  12. Include these 3 characters in a story: educator, groundskeeper, counselor.
  13. Your character writes a letter to his/her younger self.
  14. Start with this line: “I was 110% sure I was right.”
  15. Your character finds a letter purporting to be from an older self.
  16. Write about a digitization project.
  17. Write about trying to figure out a beekeeper’s suit.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: thaw, mourning, attract, stem, number.
    2. Use the phrase, “sounds like a plan.”
    3. Write about being interrupted when dancing alone.
  19. Write about deciding not to come home from a trip.
  20. Use these five words: outreach, index, peppermint, decline, nations.
  21. Use this: “You’re not wearing that.”
  22. Start with this line: “That is a huge leap.”
  23. Write about being caught drooling.
  24. Set your story at dawn during a heatwave.
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: prosper, disk, satisfaction, biology, able.
    2. Use the phrase, “the best ever.”
    3. Write about a stack of mail or lots of incoming messages.
  26. Start with this line: “Don’t be fooled.”
  27. Write about getting a multi-colored hair dye job
  28. Write about a secret cinnamon bun recipe.
  29. Write about dreading an oncoming holiday.
  30. Set your story in a city park.
  31. Write about a new widow in a fake graveyard.

Sunday Writing Chat Prompts for 25 October 2020

The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

This week’s prompts are posted below.

1. Use the following five words: prosper, disk, satisfaction, biology, able. (10 min)

  

  

  

  

  

  

2. Use the phrase, “the best ever.” (10 min)

  

  

  

  

  

  

3. Write about a stack of mail or lots of incoming messages. (10 min)

  

20th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

We are thrilled to announce the opening of the 20th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2020) and to mark the occasion, we’re doing something special with this year’s 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. Give your story a unique title, not using the theme as a title.

Choose from one of these previous DOW themes for your short horror fiction entry:

  • ALASKA
  • ALTERNATIVE SANTA
  • THE AWARD
  • BLOOD RIVER BRIDGE
  • DEATH AND WINTER
  • FAMILY TREE
  • THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS
  • THE HAND OF FATE
  • THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE
  • HEART AND SOUL
  • HIDDEN GRAVE
  • THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE ROAD
  • IT’S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE
  • THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN
  • NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED
  • THE PODCAST
  • SKULL AND BONES
  • THE SOUVENIRS/TROPHIES OF A RETURNED SOLDIER
  • TOYS IN THE ATTIC
  • URBAN LEGEND
  • VENTRILOQUIST
  • WHAT’S POSSIBLE ON THE LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR

EVERY YEAR:

Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.
Stories MUST be set in winter.
Stories MUST fall in the horror genre.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2020 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2020.

Email entries to dow2020[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

Include at the beginning of your entry: Title – word count (theme)

The word count range for DOW 2020 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like. Stories that do not fall within word count parameters will be disqualified.

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines.
See DOW guidelines for prize information.

September 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. “Who had ________ on their Bingo card?”
  2. Incl. these characters: ? worker, geological engineer, soil conservationist
  3. Write about unexpected cold weather
  4. Set your story on a desert island.
  5. Set a story involving adults in your primary school.
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: spontaneous, clear, fascinate, pump, appointment.
    2. Use the phrase, “There’s a person I know…”
    3. Write about a chance to do something over.
  7. Write about getting mail for a former resident.
  8. Start with this line: “He was rather quirky.”
  9. Write about rediscovering something you once thought important.
  10. Write about something that’s seasonal.
  11. Use this: “For a retired person you sure are busy.”
  12. Incl. these 3 characters: fitness instructor, locker room attendant, coach.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: fleet, stomach, seize, favorable, sunrise.
    2. Use the phrase, “Rumor has it…”
    3. Write about a change of heart.
  14. Use these five words: networks, meaningful, ask, tea, review.
  15. Write about figuring out what’s wrong with a car.
  16. Start your story with light snow falling.
  17. Write about finding a book down behind the others.
  18. Set your story in an old-growth forest.
  19. Write some foreshadowed atmospheric setting information.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: donor, mouse, peanut, stage, systematic.
    2. Use the phrase, “The day I discovered…”
    3. Write about asking for help.
  21. Write about the latest tech gadget.
  22. Start with this line: “You’re in luck.”
  23. Write about a month that drags on for most of a year.
  24. Write about truths and myths.
  25. Write about walking through a ruined building.
  26. Include these 3 characters: web developer, computer programmer, designer.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: weak, excavate, allow, assumption, beard.
    2. Use the phrase, “Whatever they decided.”
    3. Write about smelling smoke.
  28. Write about a benefactor.
  29. Write about getting something done just before the deadline.
  30. Start with this line: “Make sure you are prepared.”

Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2020 is CLOSED

Your challenge for the Fall 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest:

Write a fantasy or science fiction story of up to 3,000 words on the topic of returning to a childhood neighborhood to find only one house still inhabited.

Be sure to read both the Three Cheers and a Tiger contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Your 48 hours start now. Good luck!