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.

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!

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!

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.

21st Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Stories submitted to the the 21st Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2021) will use the theme STAY OUT OF THE ___ .

Since childhood, we’ve been warned to stay away from certain places like the forest or an abandoned house. We’re also told to stay out of arguments or not to shake the family tree. After all, it’s for our own good. What could possibly go wrong if we disregard this fundamental advice? Your characters will get to find out in the horror story you’ll write by completing and using that theme.

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.

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, 2021 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2021.

Email entries to dow2021[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 2021 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.

The 2021 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest is CLOSED

Your challenge for the 2021 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest:

Write a fantasy or science fiction story under 4,000 words about trying to regain a power, sense, or technology lost to an act of nature or a widespread disease.

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!

2021 Savage Mystery Writing Results

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Savage Mystery Writing Contest!

First Place: “Off Your Block” by Cara Brezina
Second Place: “Mystery at the Museum by Morgan-McKay Hoppmann
Third Place: “Memories from Franklin County, Missouri” by Jay Bechtol

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

We’d like to thank everyone who entered. The unexpected uprooting of trees revealed a variety of mysteries. I hope you had as much fun writing the stories as I had reading them.

Amanda (The Bellman) Marlowe

Dead of Winter 2020 Winners

Thank you for your patience as we determined our final Dead of Winter results, which are:

  • 1st: “The Cold Face of the Mountain” by Karen Sheard (Theme: Alaska)
  • 2nd: “A Guiding Light” by H.B. Bendt (Theme: The Haunted Lighthouse)
  • 3rd: “Carriers” by Matt Boyle (Theme: The Award)
  • Honorable Mention: “The Reborn” by Becca Yenser (Theme: Heart and Soul)
  • Honorable Mention: “The Seagull” by Alex Grey (Theme: Nevertheless She Persisted)

The most popular themes submitted to our 20th annual horror fiction contest were “Nevertheless She Persisted” and “The Hand of Fate.” The first, second, and third place stories will appear in Toasted Cheese 21.1, our Spring issue.

Our next contest is the renamed The Savage Mystery Writing Contest (formerly Three Cheers and a Tiger), which opens Friday, March 19 and ends Sunday, March 21. 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.

Dead of Winter delay

Due to (gestures around) everything, TC will be a little late announcing Dead of Winter winners. We will have our picks by February 6, hopefully earlier.

As always, entrants will be notified first. Then we will have a post here at TC for sharing on social media and finally on social media itself.

Thanks for your patience and for entries that have made choosing our finalists such challenging fun.

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!