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…

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.