News, Why Read? & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Sleep With Me Cover

Did you find last week’s free download of Sleep With Me? It’s a great beach read, or “anytime” contemporary romance. The main character has a bit of a sleeping problem, and the prescription to take care of it is…somewhat unconventional….

Make sure to go look for this week’s free PDF download in our Available Books section!

The prompts were inspiring last week, but in different ways to different people. Carol R. Ward and I took a little creative license with the prompts, and ended up with a poem to match the prose prompt titled Call Me Edward, and a story to match the poetry prompt called Consequences. I hope you’ll go check them out and let us know what you think!

Topic of the Week: Why Read?

Why do we read? I know for me, reading is how I learn new things, how I experience different perspectives, how I understand people and cultures, and the way I escape and relax after a busy day. It’s such an integral part of my life that I can barely imagine a world where people don’t read – where written words/letters/symbols don’t exist.

Considering we as a species have been at least attempting to document speech in written form (by which I include cuneiform, cave paintings & hieroglyphics) almost since we developed language, it seems like it’s almost an instinctual act to try to record and expand our internal monologue. Fascinating, don’t you think?

I’ve heard people who learn to read later in life claim that reading has opened up their world. Expanded their vocabulary. Brought so many things into focus. And it’s not that they didn’t have language before – they did. But somehow, the act of writing that language and being able to interpret what others write is a special sort of magic that opens all sorts of doors in the brain.

It would seem that a lot of the “magic” of reading is done on a subconscious level. But consciously, those of us who read books generally choose to do so. I think my own reasons for reading say a lot about me, personally. Do your reasons do the same for you?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A character stumbles upon an ancient civilization that has no written language. What would it be like? How would you describe their lives? How would they? Could they?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write an ode to books.

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.

News, Names & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

At the Water's Edge Cover

The cover above provided the inspiration for last week’s free flash anthology, At the Water’s Edge. Did you find the free copy? If not, you’ll find purchase links on the book page. All great stories by excellent writers, if I do say so myself.

Don’t forget to look for this week’s free PDF download in our Available Books section!

This week’s prompt poem – Lady Tea, and storyPussy Cat, Pussy Cat were once again by our own Carol R. Ward. I loved them, and if you want to know more about Jessica of Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, look no further than Carol’s Moonstone Chronicles series…

Topic of the Week: Names

What’s in a name? A famous phrase, to be sure, but I know for me, a name tends to come with all sorts of preconceived notions about how that person is. Even what their personality might be like. I think most of us are like that, whether we acknowledge it or not. We expect something different from an Edward or a Tim, and different personalities between a Tina and an Agnes, don’t you think?

I wonder where that comes from. Is it just how the name sounds? Because it happens to me even if I’ve never met another person called a name I’ve never heard before. So perhaps the sound of the letters together triggers something in the primitive part of our brains, signalling certain expectations. Maybe? Maybe not.

I know it makes me think twice or thrice when naming my characters, and I can’t ever start with a name. They have to grow into telling me their name, and what comes to mind is largely determined by their actions, speech and personalities.

How does it affect you? Do you have those preconceived notions when you meet someone with a certain name? What about characters – when you’re reading, and a character has a name that doesn’t seem to “match” their actions, does it cause a sort of disconnect in your brain?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A man doesn’t feel like his name suits him, so he wants it changed. What does he change it to, and does it solve his problem?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Describe a person with one name, and then reveal at the end of the poem that their name is actually something quite different.

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.

News, Bookmarks & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Indelibly Inked Cover

Have you ever had someone’s name or initials tattooed on your body? If you did, do they know? If not, what would you do if they found out? That’s the theme of last week’s free PDF download: Indelibly Inked. There’s an excerpt on the book page where you can meet Claire and Adam…

Don’t forget to look for this week’s free PDF download in our Available Books section!

Have you peeked in the “Coming Soon” link section recently? Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs is coming soon from your favorite satirist, Ford Forkum! Stay tuned…

Carol R. Ward stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park with both poetry and prose from last week’s prompts. Check out Keepsake and Finders Keepers on Saturday’s post. I have it on good authority that we may be seeing a longer, more detailed form of Finders Keepers eventually!

Topic of the Week: Bookmarks

It’s time to separate the monsters from the civilized, or so someone out there has undoubtedly said. So today, we’re talking about bookmarks. Print or digital, every reader needs a way to find the page they last read, assuming they had to put the book down for some tragic reason during the reading of said book. Like sleep. Or work. Or family clamboring for your attention (Why? What did we ever do to you people?!).

In any case, in the unfortunate event that you’re separated from your book while reading it, do you use a bookmark? Dog-ear the print pages? Make a notation in the digital book? Just remember the page number from a print book (yes, my husband used to do this)?  Use a digital bookmark (does anyone actually do that, since most readers/apps will automatically save your page for you)?

If you use a bookmark in a print book, is it a conventional type bookmark, something sentimental (ticket stubs, a piece of ribbon from an old dress, etc), or something entirely mundane like a business card or shopping receipt?

Inquiring minds, and all that. I’m a dog-ear-the-pages heathen when it comes to print books. I can’t seem to help myself. Even if I have a perfectly good bookmark within reach, I will reflexively dog-ear the page before I can even think about what I’m about to do.

No, I don’t borrow books.

Digital books, I don’t bother. My kindle saves the page I leave off on, so I don’t bother with digital bookmarks either.

Ironically enough, I *love* bookmarks though. Love the artwork, love all different styles and shapes, love the concept. And I do have some bookmarks in books. But I rarely take them back out unless forced to. So I guess in that respect, I should always use a bookmark that matches the book, eh?

What about you? Comment below, or on this post when you see it on social media. We want to hear from you!

 


I’ve decided to keep both prompts, at least for the time being, so if you’re feeling writerly, pick one (or both), and write us a story!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone has invited your character for tea. Only when he/she gets there, something seems a bit “off”…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Compare someone (fictional or real) to a teapot (whatever kind of teapot you’d like).

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.

News & Weekly Prompts

BSB News

The Minister's Maid Cover

Last week’s download was the second book in the Fantasy Ranch series – The Minister’s Maid by Jamie DeBree. Not nearly so innocent as it sounds, this is a treasure-hunt style adventure novel set in the oh-so-fun (and somewhat campy, admittedly) Fantasy Ranch resort. We’ve added an excerpt to the book page so you can check out the first little bit, just click on the link above!

As always, check out our Available Books section, for this week’s free PDF download…

Last week’s writing prompts resulted in a poem called Bookkeeping by Jamie DeBree (moi), and the start of a new Insecticide story tentatively called Psychic Spider by Alex Westhaven. You’ll find both on last Saturday’s blog post – check them out!

Topic of the Week: No Topic

No discussion this week – my apologies. Discussion posts will return next Saturday. Go read or write something!


Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A man ordering coffee is jostled by someone as he’s speaking with the barista. Who jostled him, and what does he/she say when confronted?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a “ten-things-I-hate-about” poem. Ten things you truly hate about someone, or something.

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.

News, Handwriting & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

 

Lettuce Pray Cover

Last week’s free download was Lettuce Prey a creepy little revenge story in Alex Westhaven’s Death by Veggies series. It’s getting to be salad season again, you know…

This week’s free download is ready to go…all you have to do is find it in our Available Books section. Happy hunting!

There were two writing prompts last week – a poetry prompt and a prose prompt. There were no outside submissions, so both the poem and story are by me. Read Ode to Bindweed and A Night With Poe here – they just might make you chuckle a little.

Topic of the Week: Handwriting

Writers – do you ever write stories/poems by hand? I’ve recently been doing a lot more of that, especially with poetry and short/flash stories (though I do have a novel draft started on my cell), and I’m kind of amazed at how much I’m enjoying it. I have Samsung Notes – a Note 5 cell, and a Note 8 tablet, both with styluses and Samsung’s signature SNotes app, so I can just write on the screen (and erase when I screw up, which I do often). I feel like the writing is better somehow, more casual and fluid than when I’m typing straight into my laptop (or even my Alphasmart Neo). Plus I always have my cell with me, and often my tablet, so it’s like carrying a notebook without having to waste paper and ink.

Of course it could all be in my head, but if it is, so what? Whatever gets the words down in some form or another. Another bonus is that I have to type my handwritten notes into my laptop at some point, which means I’m automatically editing as I take the draft from one form to another.

There have been a lot of studies done recently about taking notes by hand in classes, and how the tactile experience is much better for information retention and just taking better notes. I’m becoming convinced that it’s similar for writing – that tactile experience of holding a pen (or stylus) and actively forming letters rather than just tapping keys is a different (perhaps better?) experience for drafting manuscripts/poems.

Anyone want to weigh in? What have your experiences with this been?

 


Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: There’s a grave in the local cemetery so old that the headstone is tilting to one side. Permanently affixed to the top of the headstone is a small brass bell in a brass frame. The headstone reads simply: “Ring my bell. I dare you.” What happens when someone does?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a puppy (or puppies) playing in a field of tulips…without mentioning either puppies or tulips specifically.

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.

News, HEAs & the Weekly Writing Prompt

BSB News

Magical Misfire

Last week’s free download was Magical Misfire by Carol R. Ward. Did you get your copy of this intriguing adventure and magic-gone-wrong? This week’s free download is ready to go…all you have to do is find it in our Available Books section. Happy hunting!

The writing prompt story of the week is online now as well – another cautionary fairy tale by Alex Westhaven called Beware the Tiny Doors. Since March ends this week and next Saturday marks our national celebration of pranksters, scroll to the end for a prompt on pranks to start us off right (?) in April!

Topic of the Week: Happily Ever Afters…Really? 

I was chatting with a writer friend this past week about books and writing, and the topic of HEAs (Happily ever after endings) came up. It made me think about happily ever after endings, and why they’re so popular in fiction (even though there are certainly readers and writers who find them trite and overdone, among other things). The obvious answer, of course, is that everyone (almost) loves them. We love to see that two people can overcome every challenge thrown their way and still come out on top in the end.

I was thinking about why that is, and I think it’s probably because in real life, love and relationships are messy, complicated things that, even when they do work out for two people, they almost always leave at least one broken heart in their wake. There’s almost always a third person (or more), almost always someone who gets left behind or remains completely unnoticed, always at least one “what if” or ” why not me” that go hand in hand with that happily-ever-after. It’s never simple, or easy, and even after that pivotal point where you choose one person or they choose you, there are still days when everything doesn’t go smoothly, and someone needs a break.

I think in fiction, we like our neat, tidy HEAs simply because they give us hope and motivate us to stick it out, to keep trying, to work toward that non-existent fairy-tale ending that doesn’t really exist, but it’s something we *want* to believe in, and fiction is all about giving us what we want, not necessarily what is real.

Are you a fan of HEAs in fiction? Or do you prefer your bookish relationships to be more…realistic in terms of how the story ends?


Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone has left small, brightly wrapped packages tied up with ribbon on everyone’s desk at the office. Everyone is afraid to open them though, or even touch one for fear that one of them will explode…or worse.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

News, Ideas, & the Weekly Prompt

BSB News

Have you gotten your copies of our two new February releases yet? Cinderelleper and An Elemental Earth are both available now – grab a copy for yourself, gift one to a special friend, maybe even write a review at your favorite retailer or book-centric website…

Last week’s free download was the first Ardraci Elementals book – An Elemental Wind. Hopefully you got your copy! This week’s download is live now, you just have to go find it in our Available Books pages.

You may have noticed that our writing prompt story didn’t quite make it to the blog this week. The elements of the prompt were a bit disjointed, and in the end, every attempt we made at a flash story wanted to be a longer story, and ended up being folded into a current novel-length draft. No one else sent in attempts, so we’ll just call that one a “miss” as far as flash fiction is concerned. There’s a new, hopefully easier prompt at the end of this post for this coming Saturday.

Topic of the Week: Ideas

Last week’s prompt was actually inspired by true events. I was out walking my dogs, and I did find a nearly empty roll of duct tape in the mud, an empty pink envelope, and half of a torn cigarette box all within the span of about half a block. The three items tickled my brain enough that I’ve been thinking about them ever since, and…well, you’ll eventually find out where that writing prompt took me when I finish writing the story.

Beginning writers always ask variations of, “Where do you get your ideas from?” My glib-sounding but utterly serious response to that is “everywhere”. I’ve written three short stories all based on a very odd conversation I overheard at a bar, and another full novel based on a very odd couple I observed at another bar (lest you think I’m a lush – my husband plays in a pool league, so I’ve spent a lot of nights at various local bars for many, many years now). One of my drafts-in-progress is based on one of my tattoos…three days after I got it, the story idea popped into my head and would not let go.

Finding ideas for stories is as simple as looking around you. A clock or picture on the wall that is suddenly askew, an urn on a mantle, a cache of candy wrappers hidden under a bush in a yard, or an odd coin found on the sidewalk (or a hundred dollar bill, perhaps?). Part of honing the writer’s brain is training yourself to always look for the story behind things – even the most mundane of objects. Ideas come from your mind – you simply use the things you see and experience to trigger them.

And with that in mind (so to speak), here’s this week’s writing prompt:


Writing Prompt of the Week: There’s a large water fountain in the middle of a park surrounded by beautifully carved stone benches. There’s a stone frog attached to the edge of the fountain, and a few carved stone fish attached to the inside of the fountain under the water. Local teen girls love to take pictures of themselves kissing the frog…

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

Valentine’s Day, Contest & Fairy Tales

BSB News

Did you read our author interview with Ford Forkum last week? His new book, Cinderelleper releases *tomorrow*, and if you guess which interview question he lied on, you could win a print copy along with a gift basket of fun related goodies! Get your guess in now!

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, we’ve put nine of our titles on sale for just 99 cents each. And did I mention that Cinderelleper will also be available for a 99 cent introductory price too? Here’s a list and links for the titles we have on sale – starting today, and running through Friday. It’s a great chance to sample what we have on offer!

Thanks once again to Carol R. Ward for writing our writing prompt story this week! If you haven’t already, go check out her short story, Retribution.

Did you know that Carol has a new book coming out next week? An Elemental Earth, Book 4 of the Ardraci Elementals series will hit the virtual shelves on Monday, February 20th. You won’t want to miss it, or the interview with her this coming Thursday, Feb. 16th!

Last week’s free PDF download was MacKenzie Saves the World – did you get your copy? Don’t forget to check the Available Books section for this week’s free download! Hint: It’s short & semi-sweet.

Topic of the Week: Fairy Tales

Have you read the original version of Cinderella by the Grimm brothers? Or any of their tales, for that matter? They tend to be much darker and involve quite a bit more blood than the “Disney-fied” versions we’re used to. I like both versions, personally. Dark and matter-of-fact appeals to my logical side, while the cartoon/sanitized versions appeal to the hopeless romantic in me. Who doesn’t like a good happily ever after, right? But I dare say most of us have to work a bit harder for our happy ending than the modern tales portray.

Want to read the original Cinderella and quite a few other stories? You can read for free at Project Gutenberg. A copy of the Grimm brother’s collection is right here, just waiting for you to take a peek…


Writing Prompt of the Week: A bouquet of flowers is delivered to the desk of a young woman at work. There’s no card, only a dozen purple and yellow lilies amidst an abundance of greenery. Later that afternoon she noticed something moving in the bouquet. She looked closer, and nearly knocked her coffee off her desk. One of the purple blossoms was rotating…

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

Weekly News & Audio Books

BSB News

Did you catch our first writing prompt story on Saturday? If not, go read Broken by C.R. Ward (opens in a new tab)! This week’s prompt is below – don’t forget to send in your stories!

Last week’s free download was Cold Feet, a Brazen Bites anthology. This week’s download is live now – peruse the Available Books section to find it…

Next week, Cinderelleper by Ford Forkum will be released on Valentine’s Day, and this Wednesday – Feb. 8th, we’ll post an interview with the author himself, along with a contest to win your very own print copy of his new book. It’ll be fun and funny, so remember to check back! And don’t forget to pre-order the ebook, so it’s delivered right to your kindle (or that of someone you love) in time for Valentine’s Day!

Topic of the Week: Audio Books – Yay or Nay?
Did you know we have several of our books available in audio formats from Audible? There’s a little something for everyone – a little romantic suspense, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, some horror, and some erotic romance (that is very steamy when read aloud!). I’ve never been much of an audio person – it’s more work for me to process audio than text. But I’ve listened to all of the audio books we have available, and I have to say, they’re all very well done. We really got lucky with attracting exactly the right narrators, in my opinion.

I know a couple people who don’t read text books at all, but prefer audio books exclusively. They listen while driving or doing household chores, and it works very well for them. They still get to discover the story, just in a different way. It’s actually more like one would hear stories in an older culture, where traditions and history were passed down through the ages.

Do you listen to audio books? Are you an audio-only fan, or do you read text as well?


Writing Prompt of the Week: A dachshund runs by, barking incessantly. He finally stops at the base of a tree and starts digging down into the snow and dirt, only to find something completely unexpected…

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

New Weekly Feature and Character Crushes

BSB News

Last week’s free download was Sprouted by Alex Westhaven. Be sure to browse our Available Books  section for this week’s surprise free download!

We’re starting a new feature this week called “Writing Prompt of the Week“. At the end of each Monday post, you’ll find a writing prompt. Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com along with your name/pen name, and we’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday! If there are no entries, we’ll post a “house” story based on the prompt. But we’re hoping to hear from you!

Looking for a full schedule of what’s coming up? Check out our new Calendar page, which includes book releases, sales, contests and giveaways.

Topic of the Week: Character Crushes

Have you ever had a “crush” on a book character? That romance hero who is just flawed enough to be perfect, or the heroine who performs unbelievable (but really cool) actions to get what needs to be done, done. Maybe they make you laugh or cry, but somehow they tap into those deep emotions and you wish you could reach right through the pages and hug them (for starters).

Or maybe even a villain/villainess who is so smart, so cunning that a tiny piece of you can’t help but admire him or her, even though you know they’re bad to the proverbial bone.

I get crushes on characters all the time – whether I’ve written them or not. Some good, some bad, but they all steal a piece of my heart. My personal tastes run largly toward older, mature-but-fit men who are strong-headed but still intelligent enough not to let them get them in trouble. Occasionally I find myself drawn in by an incredibly intelligent female character as well…though often, her evil side is winning the good/bad race. I wonder what that says about me? Best not to think too hard about it, methinks.

Still, it’s a harmless bit of fun, and we all could certainly use some of that right now, right?

I’ll admit that one of my favorite crush-worthy female characters Is Melanie Donner, the main character in Canvas by our own Alex Westhaven. And also Gray Pierce in James Rollins’ Sigma Series. Whew! Talk about the full package there…

Care to share your character crush? Feel free to comment below (or wherever you’re reading this at)!


Writing Prompt of the Week: Sitting on a round table in the entry of an expensive home are a half-empty pitcher of milk, a whisk, a bowl of three raw eggs, a small mirror in a picture frame and a vase of dead flowers. There’s one broken eggshell on the floor.

*Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.