Dead of Winter 2022 Winners

The winning stories in our 2022 “Dead of Winter” short fiction contest are:

  • First place: The Facilitator by Alex Grehy
  • Second place: Quiet Child by DJ Tyrer
  • Third place: Sinister Melody by David Pugh

The first, second, and third place stories will appear in TCLJ 23.1, our Spring issue.

Our next contest is “The Savage Mystery Writing Contest,” which is a 48-hour contest for mystery stories.

Dead of Winter 2023 opens October 1; Toasted Cheese’s contest info is here.

January 2023
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: heavy, fisherman, sin, inspector, justice.
    2. Use the phrase, “How much does this free stuff cost?”
    3. Write about brunch.
  2. Write about living mindfully.
  3. Write about missing the point of a holiday.
  4. Start with this line: “It’s hopeless.”
  5. Write about being too tired to think straight.
  6. Use these five words: catastrophic, remove, boring, space, patterns
  7. Write a ‘what if’ scenario.
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: tile, cable, skate, doubt, fence.
    2. Use the phrase, “stay tuned.”
    3. Write about misusing a map.
  9. Write about talking to a gardener while they work.
  10. Start your story at a wedding where everything goes wrong.
  11. Write about a machine that fails at a critical moment.
  12. Use these five words: corgi, treasures, environment, moderation, toxic
  13. Write a flawed explanation.
  14. Write about evaluating someone else’s work.
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: recruit, management, suggest, parade, suit.
    2. Use the phrase, “I would like to thank …”
    3. Write about an annoyance.
  16. Write about a human-sized teddy bear.
  17. Use the phrase “It doesn’t make sense.”
  18. Write about an ugly sweater.
  19. Write about a dead battery.
  20. Use these five words: boost, shortage, pitches, distortion, subscription
  21. Write about an unfamiliar food.
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: horizon, articulate, name, dictionary, kick.
    2. Use the phrase, “I had such an experience when …”
    3. Write about losing something of no consequence.
  23. Write about a flickering votive candle.
  24. Start your story with a character watching an ’80s TV episode.
  25. Write about hunting for a parking space.
  26. Start with this line: “Hi, it’s me.”
  27. Write about cooperating on a building project.
  28. Use these five words: games, studying, faint, performance, months
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: screen, list, growth, drawing, sandwich.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s all, folks!”
    3. Write about deciding what to do with a day off.
  30. Start with this line: “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
  31. Use “You can’t leave until you finish this.”

December 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about an unexpected pleasure.
  2. Start your story on a plane.
  3. Use the word serendipity.
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: snail, prove, snarl, squash, lack.
    2. Use the phrase, “What have we learned from this?”
    3. Write about an advertisement.
  5. Write about giving someone something they already have too much of.
  6. Use these five words: accomplishments, truth, fuchsia, pregnant, different
  7. Write about fidgeting to ignore someone,
  8. Start your story on a scenic railway journey.
  9. Use the phrase, “Am I going deaf?”
  10. Write about making a deal with a witch.
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: camera, keep, sleeve, upset, charismatic.
    2. Use the phrase, “dropped out of sight.”
    3. Write about a scorched oven mitt.
  12. Use these five words: transgressive, arguments, check, frustrated, secession
  13. Write about a dog quivering with attention.
  14. Use these five words: juicy, widow, epic, community, legacy
  15. Write about a small-world moment.
  16. Start your story at a music festival.
  17. Write about trying to remember how old you are.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: Glass, lamp, phone, cable, wrapper.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s my favourite holiday tradition.”
    3. Write about write about unsportsmanlike behaviour.
  19. Write about a dirty little secret.
  20. Start with this line: Get off your soapbox.
  21. Write about a meeting venue after everyone has left.
  22. Start your story at a premiere.
  23. Write about a demonstration that failed.
  24. Write about a thought crime.
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
  26. Start with this line: It’s ridiculous in many ways.
  27. Write about solitude on holidays that celebrate togetherness.
  28. Start with this line: Are you sleeping?
  29. Write about an unexpected visitor.
  30. Start your story by a campfire.
  31. Use the phrase, “Wait, what?”

Toasted Cheese 22:4

Featured

The December 2022 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Ann Gibson, Bill Griffin, Janet Hancock, Joanne Holdridge, Judith Taylor, Diane Webster & Sharon Whitehill; flash by Esther Byrne; fiction by CL Bledsoe; and creative nonfiction by David Thow.

TC 22:4 also includes the 2022 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest winning stories by Susan Smith, Robert Hanover & Mark Neyrinck.

Candle-Ends is taking a break this issue. If you have been published in TC and published a book in 2022, do get in touch with our reviews editor (reviews@toasted-cheese.com) so we can schedule a review for you in the new year.

The cover image is by Maggie Jane 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!

November 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about a commemoration of the dead.
  2. Use these five words: mandatory, multiple, detained, whistleblower, spooky
  3. Write about struggling to wake up.
  4. Start your story on another habitable planet.
  5. Use the phrase, “That’s not what we expected.”
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: trivial, gown, college, wriggle, stereotype.
    2. Use the phrase, “if you can get away with it.”
    3. Write about an expected malfunction.
  7. Write about being illiterate.
  8. Start with this line: The rules have been revised.
  9. Write a conversation over washing dishes.
  10. Write about breathing a sigh of relief.
  11. Write about life in the trenches.
  12. Write about cowardice.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following four words: blue, box, picture, age, puzzle.
    2. Use the phrase, “Hit it out of the park.”
    3. Write about a time change.
  14. Use these five words: vehicle, secret, detour, majority, storm
  15. Set your story in an abandoned town.
  16. Start with this line: We need to keep the pressure up.
  17. Write about being out in foul weather.
  18. Start with this line: They think they’re going to die young.
  19. Write about trying to recruit volunteers.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: grave, blind, throne, white, turkey.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t deserve it.”
    3. Write about carry-out food.
  21. Write about a holiday only you celebrate.
  22. Write about receiving an award.
  23. Write about solitude.
  24. Write about sleeping in.
  25. Write about a significant typographical error.
  26. Write about a twist.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: plastic, dedicate, vat, depend, doctor.
    2. Use the phrase, “We don’t talk about that.”
    3. Write about hosting a gathering.
  28. Use these five words: league, assistance, eggs, venom, invented
  29. Write about learning something too late.
  30. Start with this line: She’s moving back to _____.

2022 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest Winners!

Toasted Cheese is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Mollie Savage Memorial Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest:

  • First: Susan Smith, “In for a Penny”
  • Second: Robert Hanover, “The Cloudrider”
  • Third: Mark Neyrinck, “Lumentation”

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everybody who entered. Look for the winning stories in the December issue of Toasted Cheese.

TC’s Dead of Winter horror writing contest is currently open for entries! Click here for more info.

October 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about an unexpected rabbit.
  2. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: present, pound, bench, unique, lip.
    2. Use the phrase, “Don’t use that, it’s broken.”
    3. Write about a storm warning.
  3. Use the phrase, “All day tomorrow.”
  4. Start your story at the White House.
  5. Use the phrase, “Did we do that?”
  6. Start your story in a hospital.
  7. Write about talking to another dog-walker.
  8. Start your story on a movie set.
  9. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: mother, absolute, shave, rotation, vat.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s that season again.”
    3. Write about checking details.
  10. Start your story in an abandoned house.
  11. Write about forgetting to charge a battery.
  12. Start with this line: How did that work out for you?
  13. Make up a superstition for Thursday the 13th.
  14. Start your story in a rose garden.
  15. Write about an off-by-one error.
  16. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: planet, question, vehicle, rotate, bitter.
    2. Use the phrase, “When we were young and foolish.”
    3. Write about seeing a change in someone else.
  17. Write about a brush with fame.
  18. Start with this line: Correct me if I’m wrong…
  19. Describe an off-color joke without quoting it.
  20. Use these five words: home, soup, elections, moments, paprika
  21. Write about walking away without looking back.
  22. Start with this line: This could be the difference.
  23. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: veteran, economics, pawn, slime, seek.
    2. Use the phrase, “credible failure.”
    3. Write about the day the weather turned threatening.
  24. Write about trust.
  25. Use the phrase, “a quarter billion.”
  26. Start with this line: You haven’t seen anything yet.
  27. Use the phrase, “There’s one more thing.”
  28. Use these five words: charm, exclusive, drags, death, struggle
  29. Use, “This thing ain’t none too reliable.”
  30. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: pen, respectable, firm, recovery, danger.
    2. Use the phrase, “Here’s the plan.”
    3. Write about being overwhelmed.
  31. Write from the point of view of a character who has died.

22nd Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the the 22nd Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2022) will use the theme OMINOUS WHISPERS.

When you think “ominous whispers,” what are they? How would they manifest? What would they do to the target? Where do they come from and what do they want? Think: the heating system kicking on under the bed, a mechanical sound that your protagonist is sure comes from the back seat, or susurrations among the gravestones on a bleak winter’s night… sure. That’s what that sound is. Feel free to play with the theme, like making “Ominous Whispers” a private club, an underground organization, or the captioning on a TV show. The “ominous whispers” can be as defined or undefined as you like and in just about any type of world you can imagine*.

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, 2022 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2022.

Email entries to dow2022[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

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

The word count range for DOW 2022 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like (example: a 4853-word-story could be “4853,” “4850,” or “~4900”). 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.

* note: while we did take our inspiration from the Thaumaturgy cantrip in DnD, this is not a SFF or spec fic contest. Please no high fantasy; just horror! Roll initiative and write us a spooky story, bards!

September 2022
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about spending all day waiting.
  2. Use these five words: story, child marriage, happy, service, results
  3. Write about the first day on a new job.
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: annual, miserable, hilarious, possession, eye.
    2. Use the phrase, “bleached by the sun.”
    3. Write about an unusual coffee break.
  5. Write about confusing tasks while multitasking.
  6. Write about an unpopular opinion.
  7. Write about computer-aided chaos.
  8. Use these five words: soprano, indigenous, winter, root, alien
  9. Write about a stone circle.
  10. Use these five words: showrunner, spine-chilling, cozy, comeback, avocado toast
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: allow, restrain, main, splurge, valid.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s revolutionary.”
    3. Write about translation problems.
  12. Use these five words: motor, horse, regular, special, boars
  13. Write about hiking with a kid who loves bugs.
  14. Start with this line: How much concern is there for…
  15. Write about doing something with the wrong hand.
  16. Write about a good habit.
  17. Write about forgetting to water plants.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: practical, queen, disgrace, manual, player.
    2. Use the phrase, “rooted out.”
    3. Write about losing several games in a row.
  19. Use the phrase, “Are we having fun yet?”
  20. Write about authenticity.
  21. Write about someone who’s always angry.
  22. Start with this line: I want one of everything!
  23. Write a story and enter the Savage memorial Sci-Fi/Fantasy writing contest.
  24. Start your story behind a camera.
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: contact, free, circulate, explosion, electron.
    2. Use the phrase, “a lot of water.”
    3. Write about a lemonade stand.
  26. Start with this line: We’ve reached a deal.
  27. Write about a job interview.
  28. Start your story with a character saying “no.”
  29. Write about meeting prospective in-laws.
  30. Use these five words: adopted, construction, smack, blocked, vans

The 2022 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest is CLOSED

Your challenge for the 2022 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest:

Write a science fiction or fantasy story of 4,500 words or less involving secret information that has been leaked. It can be large or small, for example the name of the father, state secrets, a formula or spell.

Be sure to read both the Savage Writing Contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Your 48 hours start now. Good luck!