News, Time to Read, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

MacKenzie Saves the World Cover

Carol took the challenge to write a poem about the weather last week – and she did an excellent job too, methinks! Have you read it? Go check it out! 
Prompted Poetry: I Am Canadian

Want to join us next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit! I’ve already got something in mind for each prompt this week…

Topic of the Week: Time to Read

I haven’t been doing very well at making time to read lately. It’s been busy, and I have been writing, but at the end of the day (or the middle, or the beginning), it seems like I have trouble finding the time to work in a chapter or two. This isn’t good…both because my to-be-read pile is bursting at the seams, and because in order to write, you really need to read. Refill the well, so to speak.

Plus, I really like reading. I miss it when I don’t get to do it. And I get a little irritable when I can’t make that mental escape too.

Unfortunately, we all get busy, and I’m working on making time to read on a daily basis. The best time for me is late at night, when I won’t get interrupted. And reading right before bed tends to relax my brain and make for an easy transition to sleep. But lately I’ve been getting back to my writing office late, which means I’m writing later and allowing that to take over my reading time. Not good!

This week, I’m going to work hard at sticking to my normal schedule so I can take that reading time back. I’m also going to look for a few other times during the day where I might be able to fit a chapter or two in between things. I read in all different formats (except audio), so I can read print at home, and use either my kindle or (more conveniently) the kindle app on my cell.

How do you make time to read? Do you read when you first wake up, or before bed? Or do you sneak it in during waiting times and lines during the day? Does your preferred method of reading make a difference in how/where you read?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone is reading a book on their phone while walking on a city street. They bump into someone who is less than sympathetic…at least at first. How does the meeting end?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about having a cup of tea with someone you…don’t exactly 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 by Friday night at 11:59pm (MT). Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

News, Weather, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Lucky Dog Cover

That riddle prompt was hard, wasn’t it? I’m going to take the fact that no one (including me) could get a riddle-type poem together in time. Perhaps next time, eh?

We did manage to write two stories for the prose prompt though, and pretty good ones too, methinks. Check them out at the link befloe

Prompted Prose: A Scrap, a Shirt, & a Shirtless Man

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

Topic of the Week: Weather

So…how about the weather this past few weeks? Two hurricanes terrorizing the south, dry lightening sparking fires in the northwest – we’ve got either hot and dry, or wet and windy to deal with, which makes the weather a rather popular topic lately.

This got me to thinking…how often do you notice the weather when you’re reading? If you’re a writer, how often do you mention it? I think it’s interesting that weather plays such an important role in not only our lives, but our daily moods and perspectives. Whether the sky is clear and sunny or gray or smoky or trying to rain or actually raining…and what type of rain it is, or whether it’s clear and breezy or clear and so hot you could fry an egg in the sand with no water to speak of for miles…all of that is so integral to how we live our lives that it’s kind of amazing when you actually think about it.

Most of us don’t, really. I mean, we mention it in passing as a way to connect with people, but we don’t often stop to think about just how influential daily weather is in our lives. So it goes for most characters as well – weather is mentioned, but only as a sort of secondary “setting the scene or mood” kind of thing. Or maybe I/we just don’t notice, like usual?

I was trying to think about the last few times I remember being very cognizant of the weather in books, and honestly, rain is the weather pattern I most remember. “It was a dark and stormy night…” is a cliche for a reason, but dark and stormy nights provide the backdrop for some of the scariest/intense scenes in fiction, I think. Mostly because rain, lightening and thunder just make everything seem more chaotic and tense.

What’s the last weather pattern you remember affecting the lives of characters in a book you’ve read? Did it contribute to any particular emotional feeling or sense as you were reading that particular section of the book?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write a story about a weather-person who gets fan mail from an anonymous “fan” when the weather is bad, and hate mail when the weather is good. What happens when he/she finds out who the “fan” is? 

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about the weather…include at least three different types of weather patterns. 

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!

News, Multi-Media Books, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Snow White

It was a busy week for our writing prompts last week! Two poems, and two flash fiction stories were posted this past weekend. If you missed them, check them out at the links below!

Prompted Poetry: Dream Desk & Waning of the Green
Prompted Prose: The Fortune & All in the Cards

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

Topic of the Week: Multi-Media Ebooks

Recently I had the opportunity to beta “read” a different kind of book by author J.A. Konrath. It was a mystery of sorts, wherein the author imparted puzzles from the antagonist and beseeched his readers to help him solve the mystery by solving the puzzles, entering the answers into a web site, and recieving more pieces to the main puzzle with each one they reported correctly.

Yes, he did say we could talk about it, or I wouldn’t…uh…be talking about it.

The puzzles could be solved however the reader required, so I used google, and pen/paper, and my husband. Aside from the puzzles which required a lot of time away from the book, I enjoyed the back and forth. The bigger puzzles I had to wait until I had time to find several answers at once, so I couldn’t just solve the puzzle and move on during a break at work or whatever, I had to wait until I had time, which was kind of annoying. Luckily there were only a couple of those though.

I used to really like Choose Your Own Adventure stories too, which are not the same at all, but still employ the concept of making the reader stop and take action in some way before they can continue the story. It’s kind of an abrupt way to read, with the starting/stopping, but both formats work when done well (I think this is the first time the puzzle/riddle concept has been done in book form, but I could be wrong), and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Konrath’s mystery series when I can.

What do you think of that kind of book? Definitely something more interactive than your normal reading experience. Is it something that catches your interest, or would you choose to stick with the more immersive “normal” reading experience?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Let’s solve a mystery. While walking down the street, your character finds: a scrap of fabric stuck in a rose bush, a torn shirt in the gutter ten yards away, and a shirtless man lying on a lawn several houses down the block. What happened?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a rhyming riddle that when solved, tells the reader where to find a secret hiding spot. 

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!

News, Spoilers, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

An Elemental Earth Cover

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

Prompted Poetry: The Warning

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

Topic of the Week: Spoilers

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

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

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

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

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


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

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

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

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

News, Darkness, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

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

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

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

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

 

Topic of the Week: When Darkness Falls

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

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

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

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


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

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

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

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

 

 

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!

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!

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!

News, Writing Software, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The Holiday Pact Cover

Did you find last week’s mashup freebie? The Holiday Pact is a great introduction to three of our BSB authors (okay, one author, two alter-egos), and follows three friends through a year’s worth of holiday dating, with very different results for each. A third romantic suspense, a third psycho-thriller, and a third erotica, there’s truly something for everyone here…

Don’t forget to check the Available Books section for this week’s slightly more “civilized” freebie download as well!

Did the fireworks themed writing prompts inspire you last week? Carol and I managed two poems and a flash fiction story from them – check ’em out on last Saturday’s blog post.

Topic of the Week: Writing Software

Writers – do you use specialized writing software for organizing/writing your drafts? Or do you just use one of the common text processors like Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, or Google Docs?

Personally, I prefer writing software. I do hand-write sometimes, but I always transcribe it back to whatever writing software I happen to be using at the moment. Writing software is really nice in that it allows you to organize your draft in scenes and chapters, as well as keep and access notes about characters, places, and even your outline if you wish, all easily accessible from the same window you’re writing in.

I started out with yWriter, then tried a few others that were either too expensive or too feature-rich for my taste, went to Scrivener (which is a very popular program) for awhile, then did a beta test for Shaxpir and earned a free lifetime subscription – which is what I’ve been using recently. I also used Novlr for awhile, and still have a subscription, but only until I can export the work I did in that program (so it’s going away soon).

This month, the yWriter programmer (who is also an author) released a beta version of an Android app for yWriter, plus a way to make sure you can access your project files anywhere by storing them on Google Drive. This means the app and the desktop version of the program are always synced, and not only can you access your files anywhere, you can access/work on them offline as well, since there’s always an updated copy on Drive.

Nearly every other program I’ve used has been close, but not as “perfect” as yWriter, and this Android/sync configuration is pretty much the push I needed to to back to it as my main piece of writing software. If you don’t have a writing program you love, all those that I’ve mentioned are worth checking into, but yWriter is free, and the android app is 5 bucks (for life, not a subscription). So definitely check that one out as well!


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  A fight breaks out at a picnic in the park. Passing by when it happens are a woman jogging with a stroller, a man with ear buds connected to his cell having a loud discussion with someone, and a teen on a skateboard with an army-style canvas backpack. Which of the passers by breaks up the fight, and how?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a grasshopper/grasshoppers.

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 (Sale!) & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The quarterly newsletter should be in your inbox sometime this morning, so be sure to look for it if you’re a subscriber! If you’re not, why not? Go sign up!

When She Cries CoverLast week’s freebie download is When She Cries – a rather creepy story that will put you in just the right mood for that camping trip this summer…not! We’ve just added an excerpt to the page – go check it out, if you dare…

 

Be sure to scan through our Available Books section for this week’s holiday freebie too!

Last week’s flower/gardening writing prompts inspired a poem and not one, but two flash stories! Click over to read Roses, Planting Trees and The Great Debate on Saturday’s post here!

We’re having an Independence Day sale! This week only, select digital titles will be just 99 cents each – starting now!

Beach Reads
Sleep With Me by Jamie DeBree
MacKenzie Saves the World by Jamie DeBree
Romantic Suspense
Indelibly Inked by Jamie DeBree
The Biker’s Wench by Jamie DeBree
Desert Heat by Jamie DeBree
Erotica
Lemon Cream by Trinity Marlow
Thriller/Horror
Lettuce Prey by Alex Westhaven
Sprouted by Alex Westhaven

Topic of the Week: No Discussion – Happy Independence Day!

 


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  ‘Tis the season for fireworks! A couple is sitting outside on a blanket, watching fireworks go off. They’re making a major decision – what is it?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about fireworks or firecrackers.

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.