News, Reading Spaces, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

No Hazard Pay Cover

Last week’s freebie was a fun little collection of four “office terror” flash stories – No Hazard Pay by Alex Westhaven. Did you get your copy? Want a creepy taste? We’ve added an excerpt to the book page!

There’s another free book waiting for you in the Available Books section! Can you find it?

Last week we had a poetry post, but no short story due to an organizational conflict. This week, we have both poetry and prose for you! Check out this past weekend’s posts for some fun jewelry-based legends and a cute & funny dragon story…

Prompted Poetry: Jewelry Legends
Prompted Prose: Dragon Meeting

Topic of the Week: Reading Spaces

When I was younger (much younger – kid-sized), I took books *everywhere*. This was the pre-Kindle/mobile/ebook era, so yes, I hauled around print books. And I could/would read pretty much anywhere…noise, chaos, distraction…none of it mattered. I could block anything out with a book, and frequently did to the chagrin and embarrassment of my parents. Because it’s not polite to read when others might want to socialize with you, you know. Even if you don’t particularly feel like socializing with anyone else.

Fast forward a great many years, and now I have the option of carrying a zillion books in my Kindle and smartphone, but it’s incredibly rare for me to read while I’m out and about anymore. If I’m early for an appointment I might open up whatever digital book I have going at the time, or a magazine article, but it depends on whether I think I have enough time to finish a whole chapter or not. I hate reading for five minutes and having to put the book down again…or even ten. At the ten to fifteen minute mark, I get really annoyed if I have to close the book before the end of whatever chapter I happen to be on.

I guess you could say I have closure/stopping point issues.

If I’m by myself, I’ll read an ebook while I’m eating lunch, but I’m not often alone (my husband eats with me). Ebooks are heaven for reading while eating, don’t you think? No actual pages to turn and keep clean, just a tap of the knuckle to turn a “page”.

At night when I crawl into bed, I read a few chapters in whatever print book I have going. And force myself to close it when I need to sleep…sometimes even on time, but I’ve been known to read until I’m nodding off and really not comprehending the words anymore (which means back-tracking to the last thing I actually remember the next night…kind of embarrassing, but I can’t be the only one, right?). If the hubby’s already asleep and I don’t want to wake him, I sit in my office reading chair with my Kindle. E-ink is so much nicer than a back-lit screen for reading. My Paperwhite does have a light, but I don’t often use it.

It’s not often I get to stretch out on the couch and just read, but I’ll use whatever format I feel like in the living room, and sometimes go on comic book binge-reading marathons. I need to do that again…the comic book pile is out of control. Soon, my pretties. Soon…

Where do you read? Do you read while out running errands? On your breaks at work? Do you have a comfy reading chair all your own? Does it bother you to read in short stints?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about some sort of metamorphosis, what triggered it and whether the outcome was expected or not. 

Poetry Prompt of the Week: We all need to rant sometimes. Write a poetic rant about something that happened to you recently.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

Weekly Prose Prompt: Meeting a Dragon

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  Someone who’s never seen a dragon before is just seeing one for the first time. What do they see? Feel? Hear? What happens to them after (do they run, stay, escape, get eaten)?


An Unconventional Arrangement
by Carol R. Ward

Princess Noreen was putting away her clean laundry when she heard a thump from outside. She looked in surprise at the large creature perched on the stone rail of her balcony. “What manner of creature might you be?”

“Me?” returned the creature in astonishment. “Why I’m a dragon of course. A fearsome, fire breathing dragon.”

The princess looked him up and down. “Are you sure you’re a dragon?”

“What else would I be?”

“I don’t know, a featherless bird perhaps?” She shrugged. “Or maybe some kind of giant, hairless bat?”

“A bat? A bat?!” The creature nearly lost his perch. “You are a princess, are you not?”

She drew herself up huffily. “Of course I am! I am the youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third.”

“I don’t know,” the dragon said dubiously. “I would think a real princess would know a dragon when she saw one.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why should a real princess know a dragon when she sees one? Dragons are only myths after all.” She said this in a matter-of-fact tone of voice as she finished putting her clean clothes away.

“Only myths?” The dragon bristled on the railing. “My dear child, what are they teaching you girls in princess school these days?”

“Oh.” Princess Noreen looked a little crestfallen. “I never went to princess school.”

“Whyever not?”

“King Manfred has an abundance of daughters and a lack of gold. He couldn’t afford to send all of us to school.”

“How very unfortunate,” said the dragon sympathetically. “Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it I suppose. I am a dragon.” He turned his head to one side and belched out a big gout of flame.

Princess Noreen took a step closer to inspect her visitor. It had great, bat-like wings and beautiful golden scales. Its head was long and narrow with a ridged crest. The eyes glowed orange and were filled with intelligence. It smelled faintly of sulphur.

“All right,” she said finally. “Just suppose I do take your word for it that you’re a dragon. Why are you perched on my balcony railing?”

“I’m here to carry you off, of course.”

“Why do you say “of course,” like it should be obvious?” Noreen asked crossly. “And why would you want to carry me off?”

“Well I suppose if you didn’t know I was a dragon then you certainly couldn’t know that’s what dragons do – carry off princesses.”

“You’ll forgive me for saying so, but your wings, large as they are, look barely able to support your weight, let alone the weight of another person.”

“I’m stronger than I look,” the dragon said proudly.

“Well then,” Princess Noreen said. “Let’s get on with it, shall we?”

“I beg your pardon?” The dragon drew back slightly.

“You said you were here to carry me off, let’s get on with it. Shall I climb on your back? I’m sure that would be more comfortable for both of us than you trying to grasp me in your claws.”

“But … aren’t you going to scream or cry or otherwise carry on? Most princesses do, you know.”

“Most princesses aren’t to be wed to King Edward of Ballentyne a few days hence,” said Noreen grimly.

“But…”

“I told you,” she continued, folding a spare dress around several books to make a neat packet. “My father is low on gold. He’s been marrying us off for the dowries we bring. King Edward is fat, old, and has a wart on his nose. I’d much rather be carried off by a dragon.”

“But…”

“I expect you live in some sort of cave?”

“Yes, but…”

Noreen nodded. “Well I’m sure I’ll be able to make do.”

“But that’s not how it works,” the dragon said a little desperately.

“No?”

“No!”

“Well how does it work then,” the princess asked with what she considered a great deal of patience.

“I’m supposed to carry you off and then your father pays me a ransom to get you back.”

“But my father doesn’t have any gold.”

“Exactly. So there’s really no point–”

“Oh no you don’t.” Faster than the dragon expected, Noreen darted forward and grabbed him around one leg.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m not letting you leave without me,” she said with determination. “I may not know much about being a princess, but I know a lot about running a castle. I’m sure I could make your life so much more comfortable – cooking, cleaning, organizing your hoard…”

The dragon thought about it for a minute. “Well my cave could use a little sprucing up,” he admitted.

“Sprucing things up is my specialty!”

“Well, I guess we could give it a try,” he said slowly.

“Excellent.” Noreen beamed at him. “I’ll make sure you never regret it.”

Which is how Princess Noreen, youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third, came to become a dragon’s housekeeper.

And she lived happily ever after.

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

 

Poetry Prompt: Jewelry Legends

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Pick a piece of jewelry (watch, earrings, necklace, cuff links, whatever) and make up a legend about it. Write the legend as a poem.

We have two similar legends this week…necklaces/pendents really do lend themselves well to legends, don’t you think? 


The Witch’s Daughters by Carol R. Ward

 

The legend:
Once there was a witch who had three daughters. A wizard, claiming they were evil, killed the witch, but as she died she sent her power into her children to protect them. Unable to kill the daughters, the wizard cursed them into feline form and then trapped them in a pendant. Legend has it that should the daughters ever be released from their prison, great evil would befall the world.

 

 

The poem: 

“I see the piece that’s caught your eye,”
the jeweler said to me.
“A special piece, to be sure,
the witch cats in a tree.”
He plucked the pendant from the case
and laid it in my palm;
it had a warmth all of its own,
yet radiated calm.
“Perhaps you’d find it interesting
the story of this piece,
the legend of the wizard’s curse
and how it brought us peace.”
I told him that was quite all right,
I’d heard it once before.
I paid the price he asked for it
and then I left the store.
The legend has been changed by time,
though parts of it are true;
I was there when the spell was cast,
this curse I now un-do.
The witch was not the evil one
nor her daughters three,
the ones cursed into feline form
to sit upon the tree.
And that was not enough for him
he cursed them further still
a living death trapped in the disk
from which the moonlight spills.
The wizard knew there was another
daughter to the witch
but she was just a tiny babe –
easily dismissed.
He left the babe alone within
the witch’s humble home
thinking that she’d surely die
while he was left to roam.
But she will be the wizard’s bane
as he will surely see.
Now that I am fully grown
I’ll set my sisters free.


The Blue Rose by Alex Westhaven

White pearls form a frame
’round a blue ‘namel rose,
a cheater of death, so
the old story goes.

Made for his firstborn
a match to his blood,
immortality its gift from
a sinister love.

As long as it hangs round
her neck her youth stays,
if the pendent’s removed
She’ll quickly show age.

Two more sisters make three,
but not really the same.
Experimental like her, all
pawns in his game.

Once immortal, now free,
she takes baby away,
leaving Misty alone
to make her own way.

Misty roams the dark halls
a soul with dark arts,
There’s a dagger to find,
poison-tipped for his heart.

When a stranger moves in
hiding from her worst woes,
she’ll find the pearl and blue pendant
in the shape of a rose.

###


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

 

News, Series Reading, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Lemon Cream Cover

 

Did you find the sweet-tart freebie for last week? Lemon Cream by Trinity Marlow is an erotic tale that explores the consequences of daring to explore an out-of-the-norm lifestyle. We’ve added an excerpt to the book page – do you dare to go check it out?

Our next freebie is daring too…in a completely different sort of way. As always, you’ll find it somewhere in the Available Books section!

I decided to split the writing prompt post into two separate posts, to ensure plenty of room for more than one poem or story at a time. The poetry posts will go up each Saturday, and the flash fiction posts on Sunday. Except this week, apparently, because even I have trouble remembering new routines sometimes (shocking, eh?).

In any case, last week’s poetry prompt was all about our favorite summer desserts, and I posted a poem this past Saturday called Just Desserts – you can read it here. I did not post a flash story on Sunday, but next week, look for that post as well.

And of course check out the writing prompts at the end of this post…if something inspires you, send in the results!

Topic of the Week: Series Reading

Unless you really are a hermit, you know that the next season of Game of Thrones premiered last week on HBO (I just watched it this past weekend – good stuff!). The TV series is now past where the last book in the series left off, and is forging its own way through the long-awaited “winter”. I’ll admit to not having read the books yet, even though I did start the first one and was intrigued enough that I wanted to keep reading, but…I didn’t.

Why? Because George R.R. Martin is a notoriously slow writer, and honestly, I don’t want to start reading the books if there’s a chance the written series will never be finished. I don’t want to get sucked into the larger overreaching book-world and then end up standing on the edge of a literary cliff, waiting forever for closure. I hate that.

There are plenty of book series I do read, of course. I wait rather impatiently for the next mass market paperback of several current series to come out (I hate hardbacks, but hubby and I both read these and he prefers print). We buy them and read them and then wait impatiently for the next one, which we know will be coming, because these authors don’t disappoint.

I haven’t released any series yet that follow the same characters through multiple books, but I’m working on a few. When I do release those, it will only be after I have the second one pretty well done and the third started, just to make sure I don’t leave readers who enjoy the first book hanging too long for the second. Because I think that’s important.

How long are you willing to wait for the next book in a series that follows the same characters from book to book? Are you the patient “I’d wait forever” sort, or do you need a somewhat more reliable schedule before you’ll jump on with a series?

 


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  Someone who’s never seen a dragon before is just seeing one for the first time. What do they see? Feel? Hear? What happens to them after (do they run, stay, escape, get eaten)?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Pick a piece of jewelry (watch, earrings, necklace, cuff links, whatever) and make up a legend about it. Write the legend as a poem.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

Poetry Prompt: Just Desserts

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your favorite summer dessert.

We’re trying something new this week. Poetry from the poetry prompt writings will be posted on Saturdays (the best five poems will be posted), and stories for the prose prompt will be posted on Sundays. Check back tomorrow for this week’s story! In the meantime, here’s this week’s poem. 


The Coolest Treat
by Jamie DeBree

Red and blue berries all
shiny and sweet,
tucked in a glass for
a cool summer’s treat.

White cream whipped airy all
fluffy and light,
spooned over the top for
a cloud with each bite.

Ice cream and sorbet are both
yummy it’s true,
but nothing beats the taste
of ol’ red, white and blue.

###


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

News, Bookstores, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

English Breakfast Cover

Cup of tea, anyone? Last week’s free download was English Breakfast – one of the short romantic suspense stories in the BeauTEAful Summer series. We’ve added an excerpt to the book page, so go check it out – we’ll wait!

The next freebie is waiting in the Available Books section…a little sweet, a little tart…

Once again, Carol and I conjured up two poems and a flash fiction story from last week’s summery writing prompts – which poem came first, I wonder? You decide – read them on the latest Saturday fiction post!

Topic of the Week: Bookstores

Do you still frequent bookstores?

My husband and I do, though we tend to binge-buy and then wait several months to go back until he’s done with that particular To-Be-Read (TBR) pile (I have less reading time, due to writing, so it takes me longer to work through the piles). We bought at Costco for awhile, but now that they’ve downsized their book section to something deplorably small and stocked mostly with hardcovers, we rarely find anything to pick up there.

Hastings was our “go-to” shop, until it closed down last year. A sad day, truly.

Now we tend to frequent Barnes & Noble, because they’re the only store in town with a large enough inventory that we can be assured of finding the next in whatever series we’re reading. We have stock in an indie bookstore/tea shop downtown (This House of Books), and I occasionally visit and buy there, but the stock just isn’t big enough (they’re just getting started, and I hope they survive long enough to build that up before Barnes & Noble goes under). It’s also on the other end of town from where I live, and while I only work three blocks away or so, I rarely go back downtown when I’m not working because it’s inconvenient. I wish we had a bookstore/tea shop in the middle of town, closer to where I’m at.

I haven’t been inside a used bookstore in a long time, but my TBR pile is big enough, and we’re always waiting on some book that’s yet to come out in mass market paperback (neither of us likes hardcovers).

I do buy digital books too…mostly romance novels or books my husband won’t be interested in, because he prefers print, while the format doesn’t matter as much to me. My kindle is always well-stocked, and I always have more books waiting in the “to-be-purchased” pile, so I never run out of those either.

The key is, my husband prefers print, and I have to admit, I like having a new paperback to crack open – it really is a different experience than reading on the kindle for me. For comic books, I tried really hard to love digital comics, but I really prefer print for those, and I have a standing pull list at our local comic book shop for my fix there.

It seems like there’s always a lot of talk about whether bookstores are still relevant, and what they need to do in order to be/stay relevant, and whether they will eventually just die out. People seem to be either pro or anti-bookstore…either they never visit one and so they have no empathy/sympathy for those who do and can’t fathom why those people don’t just always shop online; or they stridently defend the bookstore as a “pillar of society” that we can’t afford to lose.

Personally, I’m in the middle on that. I think bookstores are important – I think print is still important, and a different experience than reading on any digital screen. I also think there’s something to be said for quieting the mind long enough to browse physical shelves and read book blurbs and just generally “relax” when going into a bookstore. And of course bookstores provide a great venue for author readings/signings, writing events, poetry readings and the like.

I think it’s important to support local businesses, and help small businesses stay open. Because community is important. Community connections are important, and regardless of what the naysayers posit, the relationships you can build with a small shop owner can make you feel more connected and rooted to a place.

On the other hand, I’m also all for digital shopping and online ordering, because it’s quick, convenient, and ensures easy access to a bunch of books that might not otherwise be available.

I don’t think this has to be an either-or thing…online vs. offline bookshops. I think both can and will coexist for quite some time yet, and I’ll continue supporting both venues for as long as I buy books.

Do you shop for your books online, offline or both? Do you have a preference of reading material format? When was the last time you visited your local bookshop?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  Someone is standing in line at the grocery store with a few items in a basket. The person behind them compliments the shirt they’re wearing, and when the first person turns around, they realize they know the other person from long ago. Who is it, and how did the original relationship end (badly, well, something else)?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your favorite summer dessert.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the story and poem we like best to post right here on the blog next Saturday.

Of Grasshoppers & Spats in the Park

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a grasshopper/grasshoppers.

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: 
 A fight breaks out at a picnic in the park. Passing by when it happens are a woman jogging with a stroller, a man with ear buds connected to his cell having a loud discussion with someone, and a teen on a skateboard with an army-style canvas backpack. Which of the passers by breaks up the fight, and how?


Grasshopper
by Carol R. Ward

Grasshopper, grasshopper, creamy green
you’re the prettiest drink I’ve ever seen
a subtle kick, not strong at all
but lots of flavour for a drink so small.

Philip Guichet, he knew your worth
in New Orleans he gave you birth –
a splash of this and a splash of that
shaken with ice in a minute flat.

Use crème de menthe, a quarter ounce
and crème de cacao to give it bounce,
and don’t forget to include the cream
for a drink that tastes just like a dream.

You taste like mint but chocolate too
like a liquid thin mint in a brew.
Grasshopper, grasshopper, creamy green
you’re the prettiest drink I’ve ever seen.

***

Lovely Weather
by Alex Westhaven

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bee.
It is indeed, replied the bee,
and buzzed off toward his hive.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the ant.
Can’t stop to chat, replied the ant,
carrying a leaf on his back.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the fly.
Putrid scents are the best, replied the fly,
and the garbage is perfectly ripe.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the frog.
Hop along or I’ll eat you, replied the frog.
You’re just the right size for a bite.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bird.
In one bold, heartless crunch,
the bird got himself lunch.

Lovely weather, indeed, said the bird.

***

Best Game Ever
by Carol R. Ward

It started out innocently enough. Jeffrey and Alex were friends, best friends as a matter of fact. It was a beautiful summer’s day and they found themselves with some unexpected time on their hands. But what to do with it? They were easily bored and after much consideration they’d come to the park to play ball…

Even those who witnessed the altercation couldn’t say what started it. One minute the park was calm and quiet, the next the two had resorted to name calling and insults at the top of their lungs.

Sandra Covington was jogging by with the stroller and saw them, but she was hesitant to get involved. She knew both Jeffrey and Alex but her time was limited. There was a stirring from the stroller and she shook her head and continued on. Whatever had set the two off she was sure they’d work it out themselves. She had one more mile to go and didn’t want to take the chance on the baby waking up before she was done.

Though cutting through the park was a quicker way to the office, Lawrence Thompson hadn’t expected it to be so … busy. He attached the ear buds to his cell phone and tucked the phone in his pocket, using the blue tooth feature for his conference call. He shot the combatants a glare. This was an important call and he could hardly hear over their noise.

“Hey! Can you keep it down? I’m on a call here,” he yelled at them.

They didn’t even so much as spare him a glance. Whatever they were arguing over threatened to become an epic battle. Lawrence raised the volume on his phone and turned away. The nerve of some people. Just because this was a public park didn’t mean he should have to put up with this crap.

Teenaged Kevin Masters thought the crowds were great as he wove back and forth around the people. He narrowly missed Sandra with her stroller, but was forced off the path by Lawrence, who was taking his half of the walkway out of the middle. He landed in an ungraceful heap near some long grass, all scrawny elbows and knees.

“The path is for everyone you know!” he yelled after Lawrence, who was practically yelling into his phone, gesturing with both hands. Lawrence was too focused on his call to pay any attention to one skinny teenager.

“You rich old farts think you own the world,” Kevin said, voice raised so the businessman could hear him. “You’re lucky I don’t sue for reckless endangerment or something.” Okay, so maybe he didn’t know the first thing about suing someone, but it sounded good anyway.

Shaking his head, Kevin picked himself up and dusted his hands over his low slung pants. Picking up his ball cap he smacked it on his thigh a couple of times and put it back on his head, bill turned firmly backwards.

As he picked up his skateboard he noticed a flash of red in the long grass. It was a ball.

“Hey little dudes,” he called over to Jeffrey and Alex. “Did one of you drop your ball?”

“It’s mine!” Alex yelled first.

“Is not, it’s mine!” Jeffrey insisted.

As Kevin stood there watching, the two six-year-olds fell to arguing again, the assertions of “mine” flying back and forth like a ping pong ball. The truth of the matter was it belonged to neither of them. They’d found it when they were at the park three weeks ago and had been taking turns taking it home.

He watched them for a few minutes but what started out as kind of funny turned boring after a few minutes. With a shrug Kevin tossed the ball in their general direction. It landed several feet away, in plain sight, but the two didn’t pause in their arguing. Setting his skate board on the pavement again, he pushed off with his foot and was on his way again, weaving in and out through the passersby.

The prize lay forgotten on the ground as Jeffrey and Alex fell to pushing each other back and forth, which then led to wrestling. As they were thus occupied, a stray dog happened by.

He was a nondescript brown with the gangliness of a very young dog. He sniffed at the bright red ball and his tail began to wag. He showed his sophistication by executing a perfect downward dog pose, then his exuberance by barking at it. As quick as lightning his head shot forward and he snatched it up in his jaws, flinging it upwards then scampering after it with a joyful bark.

The boys stopped their wrestling and stared in disbelief.

“Hey!” one of them called out. “That’s ours!”

They raced towards their ball and the dog barked again, snatching it out of the grass and leaping away, tail waving madly. Yelling and laughing the boys gave chase as the dog bounded away.

This was the best game ever.

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!

News, Writing Software, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The Holiday Pact Cover

Did you find last week’s mashup freebie? The Holiday Pact is a great introduction to three of our BSB authors (okay, one author, two alter-egos), and follows three friends through a year’s worth of holiday dating, with very different results for each. A third romantic suspense, a third psycho-thriller, and a third erotica, there’s truly something for everyone here…

Don’t forget to check the Available Books section for this week’s slightly more “civilized” freebie download as well!

Did the fireworks themed writing prompts inspire you last week? Carol and I managed two poems and a flash fiction story from them – check ’em out on last Saturday’s blog post.

Topic of the Week: Writing Software

Writers – do you use specialized writing software for organizing/writing your drafts? Or do you just use one of the common text processors like Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, or Google Docs?

Personally, I prefer writing software. I do hand-write sometimes, but I always transcribe it back to whatever writing software I happen to be using at the moment. Writing software is really nice in that it allows you to organize your draft in scenes and chapters, as well as keep and access notes about characters, places, and even your outline if you wish, all easily accessible from the same window you’re writing in.

I started out with yWriter, then tried a few others that were either too expensive or too feature-rich for my taste, went to Scrivener (which is a very popular program) for awhile, then did a beta test for Shaxpir and earned a free lifetime subscription – which is what I’ve been using recently. I also used Novlr for awhile, and still have a subscription, but only until I can export the work I did in that program (so it’s going away soon).

This month, the yWriter programmer (who is also an author) released a beta version of an Android app for yWriter, plus a way to make sure you can access your project files anywhere by storing them on Google Drive. This means the app and the desktop version of the program are always synced, and not only can you access your files anywhere, you can access/work on them offline as well, since there’s always an updated copy on Drive.

Nearly every other program I’ve used has been close, but not as “perfect” as yWriter, and this Android/sync configuration is pretty much the push I needed to to back to it as my main piece of writing software. If you don’t have a writing program you love, all those that I’ve mentioned are worth checking into, but yWriter is free, and the android app is 5 bucks (for life, not a subscription). So definitely check that one out as well!


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  A fight breaks out at a picnic in the park. Passing by when it happens are a woman jogging with a stroller, a man with ear buds connected to his cell having a loud discussion with someone, and a teen on a skateboard with an army-style canvas backpack. Which of the passers by breaks up the fight, and how?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a grasshopper/grasshoppers.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the story and poem we like best to post right here on the blog next Saturday.

“Fireworks”, “Boom, Fizzle, Pop”, & “The Decision”

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about fireworks or firecrackers.

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  ‘Tis the season for fireworks! A couple is sitting outside on a blanket, watching fireworks go off. They’re making a major decision – what is it?


Boom, Fizzle, Pop 
by Jamie DeBree

Hiss, crackle, fizzle & pop,
all so much noise.
When will it stop?

Bang, boom, sizzle & smoke,
so close and so loud.
The dead are all woke.

Red, blue, pink, white & green,
light up the sky
like some magic machine.

Explosions so bright to celebrate war,
nothing like the bombs
used centuries before.

Ohs and ahs mask screams of pain,
bright pretty patterns
mask reality again.

Don’t whine, please don’t cry,
let us have our
war-themed fun.

Hide from the crackle, bang-boom & pop,
come out when the show
finally fizzles to a stop.

###

Fireworks
by Carol R. Ward

Twinkle, twinkle little star…
That’s not really what you are
You burst into a vibrant light
Stark against the blackest night
Like the lightning in the sky
Followed by the thunder’s cry.
With colours of a rainbow hue
Each time the starburst is brand new.
You thrill the crowds with oohs, and ahhs,
Shooting sparks without a pause.
But all too soon the show must end
Just wisps of smoke left to descend.

###

The Decision
 by Jamie DeBree

Bright colors exploded over the lake in a bouquet of stars that slowly melted back to earth, and Dani couldn’t help but wonder if it would be the last time she’d ever see fireworks.

“It’s really dangerous,” she said, as another pop filled the air with a thousand shimmering white lights. “There’s a good chance I’d end up completely blind, or worse.”

Aaron reached out to stroke her arm, his skin hot against hers. She was always cold these days, it seemed. Colder than she’d been before the diagnosis, though the doctors brushed it off as anxiety.

“I don’t know what the right answer is,” he said, moving closer on the blanket. His arm slid around her shoulders and pulled her close, surrounding her with his heat. “If you don’t go through with it, you’ll be blind within a few weeks anyway. It’s the ‘or worse’ I’m worried about.”

The water lapped along the shore, illuminated by another burst of brilliant colors in the sky. Why her? Why now? What had she ever done so wrong to deserve this?

“How are the headaches?” he asked, when she dropped her head to his broad shoulder. “Have they gotten any worse?”

“A little better, actually,” she lied. The pain was almost constant now, but he didn’t need to know that. He saw enough of her struggle, carried enough of the burden. She wasn’t sure what she’d do without him.

“It would take twelve hours. We’d know two days after.” She wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know, but she needed to hear it aloud again, for herself. “But I have to decide this week, or it will be too late.”

He nodded, hugging her tight. Stroking her arm. twitching slightly at a louder boom as the grand finale began. Fitting, she thought. Without the surgery, she had six months, max. Most of that she’d be blind. Not even enough time to learn braille.

“Would you pull the plug, if it all went wrong?” She turned her head, looked up at the face she held so dear. “Would you make sure I don’t suffer if it doesn’t work?”

He sighed, didn’t answer right away, which was comforting. It shouldn’t be an easy decision, should it?
“I would,” he acquiesced. “If that’s what you wanted me to do.”

She nodded. The sky was quiet now. The lake still lapped at the shore, bugs still buzzed, the wind still rattled through the trees. Life moving on, just as it would whether she was here or not. Just as it always did, always would.

“I can’t just sit back and accept it. I have to fight. I have to try. Even if it costs me everything.”
Aaron touched his lips to hers, gently once, then twice. Smiled.

“Good. I love you. We’ll schedule it tomorrow.”

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!

News (Sale!) & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The quarterly newsletter should be in your inbox sometime this morning, so be sure to look for it if you’re a subscriber! If you’re not, why not? Go sign up!

When She Cries CoverLast week’s freebie download is When She Cries – a rather creepy story that will put you in just the right mood for that camping trip this summer…not! We’ve just added an excerpt to the page – go check it out, if you dare…

 

Be sure to scan through our Available Books section for this week’s holiday freebie too!

Last week’s flower/gardening writing prompts inspired a poem and not one, but two flash stories! Click over to read Roses, Planting Trees and The Great Debate on Saturday’s post here!

We’re having an Independence Day sale! This week only, select digital titles will be just 99 cents each – starting now!

Beach Reads
Sleep With Me by Jamie DeBree
MacKenzie Saves the World by Jamie DeBree
Romantic Suspense
Indelibly Inked by Jamie DeBree
The Biker’s Wench by Jamie DeBree
Desert Heat by Jamie DeBree
Erotica
Lemon Cream by Trinity Marlow
Thriller/Horror
Lettuce Prey by Alex Westhaven
Sprouted by Alex Westhaven

Topic of the Week: No Discussion – Happy Independence Day!

 


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  ‘Tis the season for fireworks! A couple is sitting outside on a blanket, watching fireworks go off. They’re making a major decision – what is it?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about fireworks or firecrackers.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the story and poem we like best to post right here on the blog next Saturday.