News, Spoilers, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

An Elemental Earth Cover

We posted one poem for the prompts last week – a fun little eclipse-centered piece called The Warning by Alex Westhaven. Did you read it? If not, catch it at the link below:

Prompted Poetry: The Warning

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

Topic of the Week: Spoilers

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks doing my level best to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers online. I can’t watch on Sunday nights (due to getting ready for the work week and an unpredictable schedule), so I’ve been a week behind this whole season (if you can call so few episodes a “season”). I’m still a week behind, the season finale was last night, and I tell you what…it’s getting really hard to avoid having the show “spoiled” even when I’m just scrolling through headlines on my feed reader.

I mean…headlines. People seriously can’t write those things so as not to give spoilers? Lazy writing, I say.

Which brings me back to books. How do you feel about book spoilers? Whether revealed accidentially by an over-excited friend or reviewer, or by the author or publishing company in a blurb, trailer or whatever…do spoilers ruin the book for you, or are you still able to enjoy the story when you know what happens next or even how it ends?

I’m of two minds on spoilers (of any kind). I’ll still read/watch the full book or show even if I know what’s going to happen, because the story is in the journey, not the destination. But there’s definitely a missing tension when you already know the punchline that will flatten the funniest joke, and I think the same holds true of spoilers.

As to how spoilers spread…I think everyone should agree not to speak publicly about a show, movie, or book until at least one week after it’s been released. They can talk in private conversations or groups, of course, but no headlines, no public convos, nothing until a week later, to give everyone like me a chance to catch up without having to be all stressed out when we scroll our feeds. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A character went to get his/her fortune read six years ago. Today, that fortune is coming true in the most unexpected way. Tell us about it…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about something (anything) that is quickly going bad.

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 Poetry Prompt Stories: The Warning

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about how ancient civilizations might have viewed/perceived an eclipse.


The Warning by Alex Westhaven

The air is strange today, my dear,
the sky is growing dim,
I’m not sure what to do, my dear,
and neither is the wind.

Night is falling quickly now,
though we’ve hours yet ‘til dusk,
We must join the others, quickly now,
and find out what to do.

The sun is black and ringed with fire,
the world must surely end,
the gods are angry and play with fire,
we’ll sacrifice to appease.

But wait — the world grows brighter now,
and darkness fades away,
we rise and smile, brighter now,
relieved to be alive.

A sacrifice still must be made, my dear,
to keep the gods at bay,
an honor to be the Chosen, my dear,
a lovely fire-god’s bride.

When you’re gone, we’ll think of you,
and the day the sun went black,
we’ll send our thanks and sing of you,
goddess of eternal night.


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, Darkness, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Listen to the Leaves CoverLast week’s freebie (and our last one for awhile) was a nice fall-themed collection of stories by several different authors called Listen to the Leaves. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great way to usher in the new school year and fall!

Did you catch the prompt poems and prose this week? Two poems and one story with a carnival theme – if you haven’t read them, here are links (they’re short):

Prompted Poetry: Carnival and Swingin’
Prompted Prose: Monkey Shines

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

 

Topic of the Week: When Darkness Falls

Today, at least partial darkness falls for quite a few of us as the moon passes between us and the sun out there in space. Where I am, we won’t see a 100% eclipse, but it will be around 93%, which is good enough for a darn good show (and a lot of darkness too). 11:39am is the magic time here, and while I’ll be working, I dare say my co-worker and I will slip out for a few minutes around that time to see the show. Not like this happens every few years…

I’m a night person, so it seems to me that the most interesting things always happen in the dark. Fiction seems to support this, in my opinion. Nighttime makes everything either just a little spookier or a little more romantic, depending on who you’re with and where you are. Exciting things happen in caves, in bedrooms, in basements, in darkrooms.

I was trying to think of what my favorite night scene would be from a book, but there are so many! I’m not really sure how to choose. Sherlock and Watson going out onto the moors in The Hound of the Baskervilles definitely ranks near the top for me….

Do you have a favorite fictional “in the dark” scene?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A family has passed down a box or talisman for generations that only opens when it is under the apex of a total solar eclipse. Now it’s finally going to be opened for the first time in a century. What is the item, and what does it do when the moon blocks the sun?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about how ancient civilizations might have viewed/perceived an eclipse.

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 Stories: Monkey Shines

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone figures out how to beat the carnival games and wins a big stuffed monkey. He/she gives it to a stranger – what happens?


Monkey Shines
by  Carol R. Ward

“You can’t keep that,” Irene protested. She stopped in her tracks as they headed away from the game.

“Why not? I won it,” Chad replied, arms holding the giant stuffed monkey drooping a bit, big grin fading. “I won it for you.”

“You cheated.”

“I did not!” he said indignantly. The grin reappeared. “I just figured out a way around it, that’s all.”

“Same thing!”

“Is not!”

It was difficult for two people to stand nose to nose to argue when one of those people was holding a giant stuffed animal, but somehow they managed.

“These games are all rigged anyway,” Chad said.

“That doesn’t make it right.” Irene crossed her arms under her breasts, still refusing to take the monkey.

“C’mon, baby, don’t be like that.” Chad waved the monkey’s arms at her. “Look how lovable I am.”

“Stop that.”

“Look at that little monkey face, how can you say no to that face?”

“Easy.” Irene went nose to nose with the monkey. “No.”

“But he’s so cute! Isn’t he cute?” Chad asked one of the bystanders lingering to watch their antics.

“Adorable,” the woman said with a laugh. She seemed a little over dressed for a carnival, more like a business woman who escaped from the office for a few hours.

“Isn’t he the cutest monkey you’ve ever seen?”

“Absolutely.”

“There, see?” Chad turned back to Irene. “He’s adorable.”

“Not to me he isn’t,” Irene said firmly.

“What is your problem?” The monkey sank a little lower in his arms. “I went to a lot of trouble to win this for you, the least you could do is accept it graciously.”

“Look, I never asked you to win me anything in the first place. And just because you figured out a way to get around the game doesn’t mean you should.”

“But–”

“And I don’t even like monkeys.”

“How can you not like monkeys?”

Irene looked down and scuffed the toe of one shoe in the dirt. “One of my mom’s boyfriends had a monkey. They’re noisy and smelly and they throw their feces around. And the guy was a real creep. Monkeys just bring up a lot of bad memories for me, okay?”

“I didn’t know.” Chad shifted the monkey so he had a free hand to lay on her arm. “I’m sorry. Why don’t I find someone else to give it to?”

“That’d be great,” Irene said with a tentative smile.

Chad glance around and saw that the woman he’d spoken to during their spat hadn’t moved too far away. “Hey,” he called to get her attention.

She turned to see what he wanted.

“Listen, you’d really be doing us a favour if you took this guy off our hands.”

“Why me?”

Chad shrugged. “You like monkeys. And I’d like to see him go to a good home.”

Hesitating a moment, she finally smiled. “Thank you, I accept.” She took the stuffed monkey from him. “I have a nephew who’ll go absolutely bananas over him.”

Chad and Irene both laughed with her. Arm in arm, they watched the woman wind her way through the crowd towards the exit.

“That was nice work,” Irene said. “I didn’t even see you slip it inside.”

“It’s amazing how tiny, yet powerful explosives can be these days,” Chad said.

“What would you have done if she refused to take it?”

“I did my research, I knew about the monkey loving nephew.”

“But still…”

He shrugged. “And if she hadn’t, we would have found some other way to get the bomb into the hotel.”

“C’mon,” Irene said, pulling at his arm. “I want to get a good seat for the fireworks tonight.”

###


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…

 

 

 

 

Weekly Poetry Prompt: Favorite or Least Favorite Carnival Rides

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your favorite or least favorite carnival ride.


Carnival by Carol R. Ward

The carnival, the carnival! Let’s go to the carnival!
There’s games and food and rides –
Test your skill or loop the loop
It’s so hard to decide.

The carousel spins round and round
as your steed glides up and down,
perhaps you’ll choose a horse to ride
or a swan that wears a crown.

A haunted house might be there too
to give a scary thrill
with ghosts and goblins jumping out
with wails and screams so shrill.

You can test your hand at driving
and crashing into things
at the bumper car enclosure
with the cars inside a ring.

The mighty Ferris wheel spins round
and takes you way up high
the view will take your breath away –
you can almost touch the sky.

Whirling, spinning, tilting round
the Tilt-A-Whirl goes wild
from side to side and up and down
the dream of every child.

The carnival, the carnival, let’s go to the carnival,
whether you’re big or small –
so many rides to choose from
and lord, I hate them all!

###

Swingin’ by Jamie DeBree

File in, load ‘em up!
Across a wide bench.
No oars in this long boat
just a cold steel machine.

Everyone in?
Arms up, bars down.
Hope you got the back seat
it’s the best one around.

Backwards and forwards
higher each time.
No touching that bar
But try not to scream.

Stomach flips at the apex
and you’re an inch off your seat.
Don’t worry, don’t look down
you’ll soon be on your back.

If Vikings had ships like
the ones at the fair
they’d be frustrated
at going nowhere.

Up and back
the big swing sways
a tire bumps the bottom
a rubber brake.

Just enough adrenaline
to wake you up
leave you refreshed and
perfect.

###


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, Reading New Authors, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The Naughty List Cover

Like a little kink in your erotica? Last week’s freebie should have fit the bill quite nicely. Trinity Marlow’s The Naughty List is a romantic little erotic adventure that’s just 99 cents at your favorite etailer. If you missed the free download…pop over to the book page for links and an excerpt from the beginning!

The next freebie is ready to download now in the Available Books section…happy hunting!

Last week’s prompts inspired a poem posted Saturday by yours truly (it inspired prose too, but I didn’t get a chance to finish it, unfortunately). It’s a quick little read – check it out at the link below:

Prompted Poetry: About the House

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

Topic of the Week: Reading New Authors

I was out book shopping with a friend this past weekend, and picked up several books by authors I’ve never read (and a few by old favorites too). It made me think about how some people are more adventurous than others, and how I’ve heard that some people prefer to just stick with authors they know and love most of the time, rather than trying new whenever possible.

I was trying to remember if there was ever a time I didn’t want to try new authors, but I can’t. I’m always looking for the next great book, no matter who wrote it. My main criteria for book shopping is whether or not the random page I turn to when I open the book in the store engages me or not. Though I admit I do give more shopping “weight” to authors I love…and if my budget is limited, the known author gets my cash (if he/she has something new out, anyway).

Do you stick with authors you know, or do you actively seek out “new-to-you” authors to potentially love? Why?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt! Our local county fair is this week, so we have a pair of fair-themed prompts to work with:

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone figures out how to beat the carnival games and wins a big stuffed monkey. He/she gives it to a stranger – what happens?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your favorite or least favorite carnival ride.

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 Poetry Prompt: About the House

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your house (or a house you want). Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? Does it hate you?


My House by Jamie DeBree

Four green walls,
Three more for the garage,
A boundary between me and the world.

Fifties-style plan,
Four bedrooms if you squint,
Not nearly enough outlets for modern life.

Two plain bathrooms,
One in serious need of repair,
And a galley kitchen perfect for my needs.

Three picture windows,
Two fireplaces — one with stove,
An unassuming place to rest and play.

Imperfections are varied,
but it’s a good little house,
At least until another compels us to move.

###


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, Named Houses & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The Handyman's Harem Girl Cover

Did you get last week’s free download of The Handyman’s Harem Girl? The third book in the Fantasy Ranch series, it includes a deeper look into “ranch life”, and a mystery that includes doll heads, of all things. Intense in places, campy in others (as per the series), it’s a good read, if we do say so ourselves. Check out the excerpt added to the book page this past weekend…

And then go looking for the next freebie, waiting now in the Available Books section!

In keeping with our rather spontaneous prompt-posting history, we didn’t have any poetry to share, but we do have a flash fiction piece posted yesterday by yours truly. Did you miss it? Go check it out here:

Prompted Prose: Metamorphosis

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

Topic of the Week: Named Houses

Have you ever noticed that houses with names seem more like another character in a book? Even if it’s just “Last Name Manor/Mansion/House”, it always seems like a name gives what is normally just an inanimate object/setting a life-like quality that your average house on the street just doesn’t have.

For instance, if I tell you my house is green, and ranch-style, built in the 1950s with not nearly enough electrical outlets and a large yard that needs a lot of work, you get the idea, but you really don’t need or want any further details, because it’s boring, frankly. It’s just like so many other houses that meet the same exact criteria.

If, however, I tell you that my husband and I refer to our house as “Scaryview”, and that we put on a rather elaborate Halloween display most years, there are several lizards buried in the back yard, and that whenever either of us is alone, but never when we’re together, we tend to hear strange noises coming from the attic late at night…well then. You may not want to visit, but it’s at least a little more interesting, don’t you think?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and noticing more that when authors refer to buildings by name, I tend to give them more of my attention than when a building is just a nameless part of the setting.

Incidentally, Alex Westhaven (one of my alter-egos) just published a blog post “introducing” us to the main setting of a book she’s starting soon, which happens to be a large estate with an old, indestructible, seemingly out-of-place-and-time mansion. Go check it out, and let us know what you think about the Mysterious Mardeaux Mansion

Do you have a favorite named fictional house? Tell us in the comments!


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write a story about someone who has just picked up the keys to their new house, and they’ve just unlocked the door and stepped inside for the first time.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your house (or a house you want). Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? Does it hate you?

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 Stories: Metamorphosis

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


Metamorphosis
by Jamie DeBree

They’re all staring. This was a really bad idea.

Mary Coulter adjusted the strap of her new leather satchel for the one-hundredth time on her shoulder and kept walking, trying to avoid eye contact. She’d thought she could do this, thought she could make a clean start and leave her past behind, but everyone knew who she was – it was inevitable in a smallish town. Everyone knew what she’d done, even if they didn’t understand the reasons why. Girls like her don’t change, everyone knew that, and they all took great joy in reminding her of it too – even those who’d taken advantage of her “services”.

Her parents had been gone for six months now, and the need for treatment money gone with them. Her dad had decided it was time to check out, and politely took her mom with him. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She’d kept working for awhile, numb and alone. Not sure what else to do, really.

A man had passed through a few weeks back who hadn’t wanted anything from her, but he’d paid her well to listen to his advice.

What he’d said made sense. But now here she was, the center of attention again in a way that she had no idea how to deal with, and she wasn’t so sure this was a good idea after all. Maybe she should have waited longer. Or just laid low for awhile, until people forgot.

Except people never forget.

“New costume for the clients, Mary? I bet that one’s really popular, but you know you’re not supposed to be on campus…”

Daisy Newsome laughed with her two best friends, Bonnie Spinner and Lila Tate as they watched Mary walk by. Lila had been Mary’s best friend in grade school – they’d been inseparable. She’d hooked up with Daisy in middle school when Mary’s mom got sick (her dad had always been drunk) and she’d dropped out to care for her, and that had been that.

Just keep walking. You can do this, just like you did the other thing. You don’t have to be that person anymore.

She kept walking, ignoring the giggles and not-so-quiet whispers. She’d done what she had to to take care of her family, and those girls would never understand it. But she didn’t have to be that person anymore – the kind that swore and hurled insults right back before she ran off to lick her wounds. Her clothes weren’t the only thing that had changed, and eventually, they’d realize it.

Or not.

Marry lifted her head at that thought. It really didn’t matter whether those girls ever came around. Thier lives and opinions hadn’t mattered to her in years, and a new wardrobe and new goals didn’t change that. Her own opinion was the only one that mattered. Even if people did point and stare and…whistle.

It came from her right, but she ignored the urge to look. That’s what they wanted, she knew. They wanted her attention, her fear, her prey-like reaction to either run or freeze while they verbally assaulted her just because they could.

Not today, she thought, a small grin flirting at her lips. Today, she had far more interesting and important things to do than spar with a bunch of idiots. Well, that, and last time she’d responded, the police had almost arrested her for rearranging that one guy’s nose. She never did apologize. It would have been a lie, and she tried never to lie.

She reached the large building, the imposing red brick and brown trim looking almost more judgemental than any human she’d run into so far. Taking a quick, deep breath, she marched up the stairs and through the doors, and then up another flight of stairs past people she thankfully didn’t know or recognize. Encouraged by the lack of attention, she found Room 201 and went inside, pausing only momentarily before choosing an empty seat in the third row.

A few familiar faces stared back at her when she glanced at her new classmates, but no one flinched or sneared, so she figured things were looking up.

Then the professor walked in, and they dropped right back down into the gutter.

“Good morning, class. Professor Heinrich had a family emergency at the last minute, and had to leave, so I’ll be filling in for him until he returns. My name is Theresa May, and this is English Literature 101. Please go around the room and state your name and your favorite book.”

Definitely some familiar names. Client’s kids, some of them.

Former clients.

“Mary Coulter,” she said when it was her turn. She made sure to enunciate clearly, not wanting to leave any confusion, and Professor May looked up from her ledger. Her expression was grimm, tired. “The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite story.”

For a moment, Mary thought the professor would say something. Maybe ask her to leave. But the next student said his name, breaking the immediate tension, and the rest of the class went quickly and easily.

It had been a long time since she was in school, and listening to the professor go through the syllabus and test dates and everything they were going to study was overwhelming. But it was just one class, and the start of something better, Mary hoped. More classes, more opportunity. One day at a time.

She was tucking her things back in her notebook at the end of class when the professor approached.

“I was sorry to hear about your parents. That must have been very hard for you.”

Mary nodded. “Thank you.” She never knew quite how to respond to that, since it had probably been more good than bad for all involved. But she supposed in this case, a reciprocal apology was due.

“I’m sorry about your husband.”

Ms. May shrugged. “I was angry at the time, but I realize it would have happened eventually. Good riddance.” She stood there while Mary zipped her bag and stood, slinging it over her shoulder. “I’m glad to see you here. If you need anything at all, even after Professor Heinrich returns, please let me know. I’m happy to help.”

She smiled. Not an obligatory smile, but a real one. Warm. Friendly.

Mary couldn’t remember the last time one of those had been directed at her, and she smiled back.

“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

She left campus to more catcalls, a few giggles, a few jeers, but none of it touched her. When she got back to the trailer – the only thing her parents had ever actually owned, there was a man waiting on the steps. A regular. He smiled when he saw her. The obligatory “I want something” kind.

She smiled back, pulled out her friend’s card and pressed it into his hand.

“I’m sorry. I don’t do that anymore. Call Amy.”

He nodded.

She watched her old life walk away without a backwards glance, and went into the house.

###


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…