Excerpt: Lettuce Prey by Alex Westhaven

Lettuce Pray CoverAbby tossed her apron in a garbage bag under the sink as someone knocked on the door. She checked her watch.

“Right on time,” she murmured as she went to let them in. Swinging the door wide, she smiled.

“Welcome, you two! I’m glad you came. Have a seat right over there. I’ll get drinks.” She scurried into the kitchen and checked to make sure everything was in order. Filling the stemware with a light champagne, she carried the flutes to the table.

“Thanks for having us, Abby. Damn decent of you,” Dominic said, the woman at his side nodding.

“You’re both welcome. It’s the neighborly thing to do, don’t you think?” She waited for both of them to nod, and then picked up her glass.

“I propose a toast,” she said, holding the champagne high. Dominic and the bitch did the same. “To unhappy endings that bring much happiness.”

Her guests looked at each other briefly, then shrugged. “To unhappy endings,” Dominic repeated, taking a sip, the girl mimicking him.

Abby took a sip as well, and then set her glass on the table.

“I have a lovely pork roast for you tonight, along with some cider cooked cabbage and a fabulous salad. Apple pie for dessert! Now…” she glanced back to the kitchen and decided that instead of making the decision for them as she’d planned, she’d let them do it. It was the least she could do.

Really.

“What should we start with? The main course or the salad?”

“A salad sounds nic

 

e,” the other woman said. “What kind of dressing do you have?”

Abby grinned and shook her head. “Sorry. It’s a secret recipe from the restaurant. But it’s very popular. To die for, you might say.”


See what happens next!

Buy Digital: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iBooks | Kobo
Buy Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Buy Audio: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Excerpt: Sleep With Me by Jamie DeBree

Ready for something summery? This one’s a definite “beach read”! Sleep With Me Cover
******************************************************

“Wine me, dine me, shag me…then leave. That’s the deal.”

Katherine knew she should smile or maybe flip her hair and bat her eyes, but the man she’d approached at the bar looked experienced enough to know what she was asking for. Voices murmured around them as she waited for the answer.

“Shag you?” he repeated, the corners of his lips curving up. “Does anyone actually say that anymore?”

She rolled her eyes. “It’s better than the alternative. Are you in or not? Because I have a prescription to fill and I need to find a guy to fill it by tomorrow.”

The man chuckled. “You have a prescription for sex? And any guy will do? Then why me?”

“Well…I find you physically attractive,” Katherine said with a shrug. “And you also look like the kind of guy who doesn’t mind a one-night stand, which is basically what we’re discussing. I don’t want an attachment, I don’t need to find true love, and I don’t need a guy who wants my number. I just want drinks, dinner and sex. Then we go our separate ways. But apparently I misjudged you, so I apologize for interrupting your evening.”

She turned away, scanning the room for any other potentially suitable candidates. Who would have thought this assignment would be so difficult? Candace was so going to pay when she got home. Take a vacation, she’d said. Get laid. Nothing like a good orgasm to take care of that whole not-sleeping issue.

Right. Katherine wondered when her friend-slash-therapist had tried to get laid last. After being mistaken for a call girl twice and now turned down for…well, she wasn’t exactly sure why she’d been rejected this last time…she was about ready to go back to her little bungalow on the beach and stay there for the rest of the week.

A jolt of awareness shot up her arm as warm fingers closed around her left wrist. Instinctively she pulled away, but her captor wouldn’t let go. She looked down into her most recent target’s amused emerald eyes.

“Hang on a sec,” he said, finally releasing her wrist. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it, I just wanted to know why me. When were you thinking this little date would occur? And why drinking and dinner first, if all you want is sex?”


Ready to keep reading? Get your copy at any of these fine retailers:

Buy Digital: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iBooks | Kobo
Buy Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Friday Excerpt: Sprouted

Sprouted Cover“We were out walking, and Andrea here saw your roses. She has a question for you.” He turned to the little girl and nodded. “Go ahead.”

“I was just wondering if I could have one of your pretty flowers for my room. The pink ones remind me of my mom.” The little girl raised her eyebrows, big green eyes staring hopefully.

Amelia’s heart melted. “Of course you can, my dear. Let me just get my pruning shears and a damp paper towel to wrap the stems in while you carry them home.” She went to the kitchen and was back in two minutes, joining the girl and her father on the front sidewalk.

“The pink ones, you say?” Amelia asked. An enthusiastic nod from the little girl, and Amelia was on her knees. She cut one large, open bloom and several smaller blooms just beginning to open. Wrapping the ends, she secured the damp paper towel around them with a rubber band and presented the small bouquet to Andrea.

“There. I bet your mother will love those. Is she waiting for you at home?”

The girl’s eyes turned sad. “She doesn’t live with us anymore – she died. We’re going to visit her at the cemetery.”

Amelia blinked back tears. “I’m sorry to hear that your mother’s gone already. I hope the flowers bring you both joy. Did your mother grow roses?”

Andrea shook her head, dropping her gaze to the ground.

“We have one of her bushes left,” the dad said, putting a hand on each of the girl’s shoulders. “Unfortunately, I’m not very good with plants, so I’m afraid it’s just barely limping along. I’m sure it needs something, but I’m not sure what, exactly.”

Amelia started to stand, and the man helped her up. “If you can wait here for just another minute, I’ll be right back with something that will make your roses grow like gangbusters.” She followed the front path where it branched off toward the side of the house. Opening the cellar doors, she grabbed the flashlight that always sat just on the top step and went down into the cool dirt room. She retrieved a small jar and took it back up to the yard, handing it to the man.

“Now this is pretty potent stuff – I make it myself. Just sprinkle a third of a cup around the base of the plant once a week or even every two weeks, and water it in well. That’s all you need to do and your roses will be looking great in no time.”

Andrea smiled and clapped, as well as she could with the cut flowers in her hand, and the man smiled.

“How much do we owe you?”

Amelia shook her head with a slight laugh. “Oh nothing at all. It’s on the house.”

She waved at the man and his daughter as they walked away down the sidewalk. How lovely they’d been to chat with. Perhaps they’d stop by again some day and let her know how the rose bush was doing.

With a wistful sigh, she went back inside and started to make breakfast, hoping she would still have enough time to dispose of Number Four and replace the jar of fertilizer she’d just given away.


Want to keep reading? Get your copies at these fine retailers!
Buy Digital: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iBooks | Kobo
Buy Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Buy Audio: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Friday Excerpt: MacKenzie Saves the World

MacKenzie Saves the World CoverCall me Josh, please,” he said, leaning forward until she had no choice but to look at him. A mistake, as she knew it would be, because that handsome face of his should require some sort of license to carry. “May I call you Kenzie?”

She shrugged. “Normally only friends call me that, but I suppose since it’s on my sign…”

Well hopefully you’ll consider me a friend eventually. And yes, my sister has issues with comic books and what she calls ‘low-brow’ entertainment in general. As for girls like you…that’s my fault, I’m afraid. The women in my family are brought up to be smart, but to stay in their place. If they step outside the boundaries at all, they’re dealt with swiftly and harshly. The last time I brought a woman home who refused to respect what the family expected from women, they ate her alive – out of jealousy, I presume.”

Kenzie shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense. They choose to put up with those constraints. It’s just…wrong, on so many levels.”

He bobbed his head noncommittally. “Technically, yes, it’s a choice. But presumably, you were raised in an environment where you were encouraged to make that choice. The women in my family – our social circle, really – are raised with the knowledge that if they step too far out of line, they’ll be ostracized from all their family and friends, and cut off from the life they know. If you think about it, it’s not an easy thing to just give all that up when you can find ways to play along and still remain in the life you’ve always known. And everyone does it, to some extent. I’ll bet even you respect some social or familial boundaries just to stay in your family’s good graces, don’t you?”

MacKenzie considered that as the car rolled to a stop outside the luxurious Fairchild mansion. The driver opened Josh’s door first, which annoyed her more than it should due to their current conversation. As she turned to get out, Josh was there, holding out a hand to help, and she took it, feeling a jolt of awareness at the touch of skin on skin.

Of course that’s why he got out first, she realized. To help the poor, helpless female who had to be kept in her place. The thought stuck with her like a grain of sand rubbing the wrong way as he crooked his arm and she took it naturally, as if she couldn’t walk herself up to the door.

I can feel you thinking,” he whispered, grinning when she frowned up at him. “And maybe you are playing right into the same old outdated patriarchal moves that smart girls such as yourself should know to avoid. Or maybe…” he stopped, pulling her to the side of the door as another couple walked past and through the door, both giving them an inquisitive look as they went past.

Maybe I just wanted you close,” he said, his penetrating stare making her weak in the knees. “Maybe I was using those social niceties to touch something forbidden, even if just for a few minutes.”

MacKenzie was speechless. She stared, trying to decide how to react if he wanted to strip off that mild-mannered-businessman persona and fly her off to his ice-caves or something. Would it make her a horrible sell-out to her gender if she did?

Did she even care?

A loud, irritating squeal sadly characteristic of said gender broke the spell, and they both turned to see Mandy flying toward them at top-speed. How she did that on four-inch heels was anyone’s guess, but MacKenzie braced for impact as her friend ran up and pulled her into a hug.

You’re finally here! Say thank you to Josh so we can go – I have about a zillion men I want you to meet so we can make fun of them later, and the caterer made some canapés that are to die for, and Mom is having a fit that they aren’t the recipe she wanted. Thank God for that, since her recipe sucks.” Mandy wiggled her fingers and grinned at Josh, grabbed MacKenzie’s hand and pulled her through the door before MacKenzie could say anything at all.


Want to read more? Get your copy at any of your favorite online retailers:

Buy Digital: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iBooks | Kobo
Buy Audio: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

(Coming soon to print…)

May Writing Prompts/Call for Submissions

May Prose Prompt: Someone is trapped in an old root cellar. There’s food, and a water source (a well pump, or drip, or something), but no way to escape.

May Poetry Prompt: Write a poem about warmth.


Stories and poems for May should be submitted by the May 31st, 2018 to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. One poem and one story will be chosen for publication in an anthology at the end of the year, and also in our monthly newsletter. Authors will receive a flat fee of $20 per poem or story we choose to publish, plus one print and one ebook copy of the year-end anthology. Items submitted must be original, unpublished works, however we only ask for non-exclusive perpetual rights to publish the work in one monthly newsletter, and in the 2018 year-end anthology.

Prose submissions are limited to 1000 words max, and poetry submissions to 500 words max.

Blog Changes, GDPR and Monthly Writing Prompts

Happy May! Spring is springing up everywhere, and change is in the air. Or on the blog, as it were.

Effective this Friday, Snake Bites will be changing formats. Instead of weekly discussion posts, there will be a weekly excerpt from one of our titles or coming titles posted every Friday, along with occasional special event posts for things like new releases, sales and the monthly writing prompts/submissions call. I think this will suit the general blog readership better, and those who are interested in a more newsy, month-in-one-place format can subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

If you are a blog subscriber, you need do nothing at the moment, though our subscriptions will be changing later in the month to include new options (you’ll be able to choose which types of posts you want to receive, or all of them), and to become compliant with the new GDPR laws in the EU. The newsletter subscription will also be updated, and subscribers will need to renew your subscription at that point.

Thank you for your patience while we update these things, and I hope you enjoy the new blog format!

The Monthly Writing Prompts will be posted tomorrow in their own post.

Happy reading/writing!

Final Poem, Blog Schedule/Survey, Newsletters

It’s the last day of April, and also the last day of National Poetry Month! I have to admit, I didn’t read a poem this week. The weather was nice, the sun beckoned, and much yard work (and a little inside cleaning) ensued. But poetry isn’t something that needs to be relegated to one month of the year, of course. And with that, I give you one of the poems my alter-ego, Alex Westhaven wrote last year (raw and unedited, so excuse any mistakes):

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.
******************
Thanks for celebrating National Poetry Month with us!

In other news, I’m curious about a few things regarding blog readership. I have statistics, obviously, but I’d love to hear from readers personally as well. If you have the time, I’m interested in your answers to the questions below. Feel free to comment here with your answers, or via direct message/PM on social media, or you can email replies to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com as well.

1. How often do you read the Snake Bites blog?
2. What would you like to see covered on the blog?
3. Is one blog post once a week perfect, too often, or not often enough for your personal tastes?

That’s it – just those three little questions. I’ll look forward to your responses!

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, it may be a day or two late this week. But it will hit your inbox no later than Friday!

That’s all for this week – until next time, happy reading/writing!


Monthly Writing Prompts:

  • Prose Prompt: A man running to catch a train/bus/cab drops a red rose. A woman picks it up, and finds a note wrapped around the stem.
  • Poetry Prompt: Using different color rose petals, write a poem in which the narrator picks a petal each stanza (sort of a “loves me, loves me not” rhythm/theme).

Stories and poems for each month should be submitted by the last day of that month to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. The following month, one poem and one story from the previous month will be chosen for publication here on the blog, and also in our monthly newsletter. Authors will receive a flat fee of $10 per poem or story we choose to publish. Items submitted must be original, unpublished works, however we only ask for non-exclusive rights to post the work here on our blog for one year, and in one monthly newsletter.

Beauty in Nature, The Time Stone, Writing Prompts

Have you read a poem this week? Tell us about it, and get a free book from any category in our catalog except Humor/Satire! Simply comment below…

Earth Day was yesterday, and in light of that, I thought a poem about nature was in order. I did a search for “nature poems” and read several that were more metaphorical in style, but then came across this lovely and simple poem by Arti Chopra called Beauty in Nature. It’s free to read and/or listen to online, and I think it has a nice “feel” as an ode to our rather amazing planet.

In other news, The Time Stone by Marie Yoch is out and available now in both ebook and print from your favorite online retailers! The next book in the series will be The Beauty Stone, and is in progress as you read this. Look for that to come out sometime next spring. But before that, get your copy of The Time Stone: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

Also, remember there’s only one more week before writing prompt submissions for April are due! Check out the prompts below, get to writing, and submit your work for a chance at $10!

That’s all for this week – until next time, happy reading/writing!


Monthly Writing Prompts:

  • Prose Prompt: A man running to catch a train/bus/cab drops a red rose. A woman picks it up, and finds a note wrapped around the stem.
  • Poetry Prompt: Using different color rose petals, write a poem in which the narrator picks a petal each stanza (sort of a “loves me, loves me not” rhythm/theme).

Stories and poems for each month should be submitted by the last day of that month to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. The following month, one poem and one story from the previous month will be chosen for publication here on the blog, and also in our monthly newsletter. Authors will receive a flat fee of $10 per poem or story we choose to publish. Items submitted must be original, unpublished works, however we only ask for non-exclusive rights to post the work here on our blog for one year, and in one monthly newsletter.

Release Day! The Time Stone by Marie Yoch

It’s here! The Time Stone is available now at all major online retailers (and some minor ones, too)!

The ebook is $1.99 for today only, and will be $3.99 regular price. If you order a print copy from Amazon, you’ll get a free copy of the ebook as well.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks


Excerpt:

“Did you at least get it to work before it rained?” Ariana asked, wrinkling her nose.

Sydney shrugged. “It’s not really a matter of getting it to work – it’s not like a clock or anything. It doesn’t move. But I did start learning how to read it. It was a little tricky getting the angle of the center part right. And I’m not sure I had it pointed the right way either.”

Cassidy nodded. “Wanna build another one? We could help for the next couple of days…” her voice trailed off, and Sydney knew why.

“You guys leave for camp on Monday, right?”

Both of her friends nodded, looking uncomfortable. Sydney smiled.

“Great! I need your help. Not with the sundial. I need your help figuring out how to get me to the camp.”

Ariana and Cassidy looked at each other, and then back at her.

“You want us to sneak you in?” Ariana shook her head. “That seems like a very bad idea. What if you get caught? Or hurt? Or lost somewhere out in the woods?”

Cassidy rolled her eyes. “If she gets caught, what are they going to do? She’s twelve. It’s not like they’re gonna toss her in jail. Or us, for that matter. Actually,” she looked up for a moment, one finger tapping against her chin. “I think I might have an idea.”


Find out what happens next: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

Riparian, Release Day Friday

We’re continuing our observance of National Poetry Month this week – have you read a poem lately? Comment below with the title/author, and choose a book from our catalog to receive for free! All book categories except Humor/Satire are available.

The poem I chose this week was by pure happenstance, and honestly, I was in a hurry. So I opened up my copy of Poems Across the Big Sky II: An Anthology of Montana Poets to a random page, and found Riparian by Sandra Alcosser, Montana’s Poet Laureate from 2005-2007. It’s a short poem about the refreshing nature of…well, nature, and how it can invigorate and refresh us from our encounters with the world at large. Or that’s how I read it, in any case. Which was perfect for the harried state of mind I found myself in at the time.

I love it when that happens – the thing you need to be most reminded of is the thing you read next. Serendipity!

In other news, ebook pre-orders for The Time Stone are still available for one more week at the reduced price of $1.99. After Friday, the price goes up to $3.99, so if you’re interested, order your copy today to lock in that discount price! Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

The print copy is also approved, and should be coming out on your favorite online retailer sites within the next few days. Friday is the official release day, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a copy sooner if you’re looking.

As soon as the ebook goes live, it will be enrolled in Kindle’s matchbook program, which means you’ll be able to get a free digital copy with each print copy you buy. A great deal if you want one to read, and one for the shelf (or to give as a gift)!

That’s all for this week – until next time, happy reading/writing!


Monthly Writing Prompts:

  • Prose Prompt: A man running to catch a train/bus/cab drops a red rose. A woman picks it up, and finds a note wrapped around the stem.
  • Poetry Prompt: Using different color rose petals, write a poem in which the narrator picks a petal each stanza (sort of a “loves me, loves me not” rhythm/theme).

Stories and poems for each month should be submitted by the last day of that month to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. The following month, one poem and one story from the previous month will be chosen for publication here on the blog, and also in our monthly newsletter. Authors will receive a flat fee of $10 per poem or story we choose to publish. Items submitted must be original, unpublished works, however we only ask for non-exclusive rights to post the work here on our blog for one year, and in one monthly newsletter.