News, Cliffhangers, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Canvas CoverDid you find last week’s free PDF download of Canvas by Alex Westhaven? It’s a short, creepy little story featuring one of my favorite “heroines”. You can meet her in the excerpt we’ve recently added to the book page…

Have fun searching for this week’s free PDF download in our Available Books section!

Snow White

The latest from resident satirist Ford Forkum will be released on Wednesday, June 14th – Flag Day! Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs is available for pre-order on Amazon now – just 99 cents! Check out the book page in the Coming Soon section for more details and the pre-order link.

And of course don’t forget to go read the two prompt pieces from last week, both by Carol R. Ward. Pouty the Walrus and Table for Two are both so adorably cute – they’re sure to make you smile.

Topic of the Week: Cliffhangers

Everyone knows cliffhangers – where a story leaves you “hanging” until the next book, chapter, TV show or installment – are horrible, evil devices, right? They really are. Talk about the ultimate way to hold a reader/watcher hostage, eh? I mean, we don’t *have* to hang around to see what comes next…but if we’re at all invested in the characters, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth along with much grumbling until our curiosity is sated.

That said, they certainly do keep us coming back for more, and while I really, truly hate cliffhangers in books, I see the “need” in TV. After watching three season finales last week, I was so incredibly irritated by the cliffhangers that…well, toyed with my emotions, so to speak. And now I have to wait a long, long time to see what happens next. With books, that “long wait” tends to be either years or sometimes even not at all. Talk about torture!

How do you feel about cliffhangers? Do you feel differently about cliffhangers in books/movies/TV shows?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about something that really happened to you in the style of a fiction novel. Give it a cliffhanger ending.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about falling off a cliff.

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, Reading Formats & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Jasmine Betrayal Cover

A bit more complex than it might seem, last week’s free download, Jasmine Betrayal is a short romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Check out the excerpt on the book page here!

And of course, check out our Available Books section, for this week’s free PDF download, available now.

There’s new cover art lurking about in the “Coming Soon” link section – if you’re a fan of satire, you may want to go take a peek…

Have you read the poem/short story from last week’s prompts? They are Eleven Things and Mugged,  both by Jamie DeBree, and can be found in the blog post just before this one. Check them out here!

Topic of the Week: Reading Formats

Do you still read print, have you made the switch to digital, or are you a reader of both formats, like I am? It seems like every time there’s a discussion about this online, it devolves rather quickly into everyone taking sides, as if there’s not enough disk or shelf space for both to co-exist. I think both have their advantages. Print is obviously far more tangible – requiring manual page turns and bookmarks or dogears (yes, I’m that person), spine-cracking (I’m that person too), etc. But print gets you away from all electronics, and in this particular day and age, that can be a very important thing.

On the other hand, ebooks are so easy to carry around and store. The reading apps are pretty user-friendly whether you want to read on your phone or computer, and e-ink looks so similar to actual paper that you can read for hours with only as much eyestrain as you’d get reading a print book (you still have to blink no matter what you’re reading – sorry!). And of course there are so many inexpensive but still very good ebooks out there, and you never have to go to a physical store to get books.

Or maybe you prefer audio books to either of the above. I know two people who rarely read, but but they both love audio books. I’m not a fan myself, but that’s only because I have a hard time processing audio while I’m trying to do other things. I have listened to all the audio books we offer though,  and I was fascinated by how different the stories can sound depending on the narrator. If you haven’t tried audio books, why not?

My husband and I read both digital and print books here, though my husband doesn’t care much for ebooks. So everything we’re going to share, we buy in paperback, and I buy a lot of my romance novels in ebook format, with the occasional short story by a favorite author that we really like, but the story isn’t available in print.

What’s your favorite book format, or do you have one?


I don’t know – should we keep the poetry prompt of the week, or just go back to prose? Carol and I are currently the only ones writing to these (and submitting, anyways), but if you have a preference, speak up in the comments, please! We’ll keep it for one more week, and then re-evaluate.

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A new homeowner discovers a keepsake box hidden in one of the air vents. What’s in the box? Does it matter?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about keepsakes you (or someone) left behind, whether it was intentional or not.

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, Cave Days, & the Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Whipped Cream Cover

Did you all find the creamy, steamy free download last week: Whipped Cream by Trinity Marlow? This is not for children, dear readers (or anyone under 18, for that matter), but if you’re looking for something a little kinky and a lot hot, do go check out the excerpt we added just a couple days ago on the book page.

This week’s free download is all set…you’ll find it in our Available Books section, just like an Easter egg waiting to be cracked open!

For our writing prompts last week, we have a poem called Spring Fever by Jamie DeBree (moi), and a flash story called Grave Concerns by our own Carol R. Ward. Check them out on Saturday’s post here!

Topic of the Week: Cave Days

The Passive Voice reblogged an excerpt from an article about “Procrastination Nannies” on the Fast Company site.  The article is about a group of co-working people who started something called Cave Days, where people pay for a day of work space with others who procrastinate or are otherwise too distracted to get stuff done normally. The fee goes toward two meals, snacks, and the space, phones are confiscated at the beginning of the day and given back at the end, and the organizers tell you when to work and when to take a break. I won’t rehash the whole thing, but if you’ve got a few minutes, it’s an interesting article.

Naturally, I immediately thought of writers who have been known to pay for hotel rooms or remote cabins for time to work. Sometimes it’s as little as a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop to sort of “rent space” away from home to get stuff done. The article specifically mentions a screenwriter and someone writing short stories – both of whom took part.

I think a lot of creative people think they can’t work with that much structure, which stops them from seeking it. But those of us who crave it know that structure is actually freeing – when your brain isn’t worried about what’s going on now, or next, or tomorrow, or whatever, it’s freed up to think about what you’re actually supposed to be working on. Structure provides peace of mind, which provides room for creativity. So I can see how something like a Cave Day could be very valuable, not just for that one day, but in people learning how to create a freeing set of structures for themselves on their own.

Obviously writers need regular writing time, but we also need time for all the extraneous stuff too, like social media, synopsis-writing, promotion and marketing, and all the other little things that go with trying to sell books.  And there are definitely some days when I’d pay someone to just cut me off from the world, feed me, and tell me when to work and when to rest.

That, and my writing/business hours tend to be very late at night, because those are the only hours I have where I can be reasonably sure I’m not interrupted (it’s 12:30am as I write this). I have to say, it would be very tempting to me to pay money for a single, beautifully productive day some weeks.

What about you? Would you consider ponying up the dough for a structured, community-led “Cave Day” to short-circuit your procrastination habit?

 


Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Two women are sitting at a bar having drinks. Three men are at the other end of the bar, clearly drunk and getting drunker. The women notice something small moving toward them on the bar. It’s a tarantula, but there’s a note attached to the large spider…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: It’s tax time here in the US, and many of us are parting with money, rearranging money, finagling budgets and generally annoyed with the fact that everything costs money. Write a poem about money. Love it, hate it, balance the two (and the budget while you’re at it?)…whatever comes to mind about currency.

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, 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.