News, First Books, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Snow White

Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs by Ford Forkum is now available! Have you gotten your copy yet? What are you waiting for? Get yours in print or ebook formats on Amazon.com

And then come back here and check out the excerpt from Tempest,  last week’s free download, if romantic suspense is your thing.

Then go poke around in our Available Books section and see if you can find this week’s freebie…

Or maybe go check out the poetry and prose inspired by last week’s writing prompts. There are two poems this week, Ivy by Carol R. Ward and Innocent Evil by yours truly, and also a story by Carol called Kudzu. Vines were a popular subject last week…backstory, not so much.

Topic of the Week: First Books

I was around five when I started reading books with words on my own, but I can’t for the life of me remember what the first one was. Ask me again when I’m older – I hear the closer you get to death, the more details you remember about your childhood…

As for the first book I ever wrote – it was a romance novel that I worked on every day, two hundred and fifty words at a time. I intended to submit it to Harlequin, gave it to one of their authors to critique, heard for the first time how…same-structured they had to be (I knew some, but not how strict it was), and decided to scrap it and start over (yes, I still have the draft, and yes, I may still clean it up and publish it one of these days).

The next book I wrote was Tempest, which I published myself in 2010 against the advice of nearly every other writer out there. Back then, it was still “not cool” to publish your own books, and one person even rescinded an offer to critique the first three chapters for me after finding out I’d be self-publishing, rather than submitting. Yes, I’m still a little bitter about that, especially since nearly everyone, including said person is publishing their own books now. But, whatever. That was my start, and I’m glad I did it. Tempest is still one of my favorites out of those I’ve written, and it probably always will be.

Do you remember the first book you ever read? What about the first one you wrote? Or the first one you published?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about a fictional first job interview.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a (yours, or someone else’s) first kiss.

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, Backstory, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Snow White

Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs by Ford Forkum releases this Wednesday, June 14th – Flag Day! If you’ve read Cinderelleper, you know just how much fun is in store with this latest book, and you can even pre-order it now on Amazon for just 99 cents!

Last week’s free download was The Old Sofa – did you find it? One of our short story anthologies, it includes some very intriguing tales all based on the cover art photo. Go check out the picture and an excerpt from one of the stories we added to the page this week!

This week’s free PDF download is ready to go in our Available Books section – all you have to do is find it!

Did you catch the two prompt pieces from last week this past Saturday? The prompts were all about cliffhangers, and we posted a poem by myself called Falling and a flash story by Carol R. Ward called Rare Books. If you haven’t, go check ’em out…

Topic of the Week: Backstory

Writers, how much of the “story behind the story” do you know about your characters? I normally don’t discover backstory until I’m writing a draft and the character reveals bits and pieces, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “story behind the story”, so to speak. How it reveals itself (or is revealed by the character), how much pertains to the story at hand, and how certain actions and decisions made a long time ago can really affect the direction of a character’s story well into the future (just as it works in “real life”, of course).

I have trouble writing if I know too much of the story before I write, so I doubt I’ll ever be the writer that knows all of her character’s secrets before I start drafting a novel. I get bored if I know too much about the story before I start writing and I’m less likely to finish it.  I’m kind of in awe of those writers who can plan out the majority of a book before they start writing – I’d totally lose interest. But I do think it would be really handy to know at least the bit of a character’s backstory that directly affects the front-story of the main character before writing anything.

Do you know your character’s backstory before you write? Or do you find out with your characters as you’re writing like I do?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about an incident that ends up being the backstory for another incident in the character’s current timeline.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a vine, doing its vine-y thing…

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, 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, Giving Up, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Lucky Dog Cover

Lucky Dog was our freebie of the week last week – did you find it? If not, be sure to go check out the excerpt recently added to the book page! While this book can be read alone, it is Book 2 of The Moonstone Chronicles, and you’re going to want to read the first one anyway (they’re that good!), so might as well pick up a copy of each!

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

Are you anxiously awaiting the next fairy tale satire from Ford Forkum?! It’s getting closer! Check out the blurb on the Coming Soon page for Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs!

Last week’s prose prompt got a little out of hand for at least two of us who do not need more novel-length stories festering in our heads, unfortunately. But Carol R. Ward wrote an Ode to Books that I’m quite sure we can all agree is…well, pretty much perfect. Go! Read!

Topic of the Week: Giving Up

A lot of readers I know absolutely will not put a book down once they pick it up. Once they read that first page, they’re either enslaved or entranced, and no matter which it is, they’re in for the duration. Even if the book is the most horrible thing they’ve ever written, they keep dragging themselves through the mud.

I am not such a devoted reader, I’m afraid. If  book doesn’t hook me in the first chapter or two, that’s it. I have no qualms about closing the book and shelving it indefinitely (either for later culling, or for discovering it later once I’ve completely forgotten about it, and wondering why I never read it).

Life is short, and there are a zillion books I want to read now, and another zillion I haven’t even been made aware of yet that I’m sure I will want to read at some point in time. Why should I waste my precious reading time on a book that hasn’t grabbed me and isn’t pulling me along to the next page/chapter?

Are you a “read the whole thing no matter what” type, or are you a “don’t waste my time” type like me? How long to you give an author to “hook” you into the story?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone walks into a coffee shop/bar/tea shop/ice cream parlor and all the tables have at least one person sitting at them. Pick a person for your to sit and have a drink or snack with. What can you learn about a stranger in just 20-30 minutes?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a favorite childhood toy, and how you enjoyed playing with it.

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, 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 & 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, National Poetry Month, & the Weekly Writing Prompt

BSB News

At the Water's Edge Cover

 

Last week’s free download was At the Water’s Edge – a collection of short stories by different authors all written using the cover image as a writing prompt! There are some really excellent stories included – I hope you got your free copy! This week’s free download is ready to go…all you have to do is find it in our Available Books section. Happy hunting!

We have some very exciting news to share – Ford Forkum has recently finished his next fairytale satire book! Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarves will be released later this spring. Stay tuned!

This week’s writing prompt is, of course, about an April Fool’s prank. Though it might have gone a little too far for comfort (or…life). Read April Fool by Jamie DeBree right here on the blog!

Topic of the Week: National Poetry Month

 April is National Poetry Month, and while we mainly publish prose here at BSB, one of our authors is also a poet (Carol R. Ward), and I personally love to read poetry (though I’m not terribly good at writing it). Much like prose, there are so many different kinds of poetry that there’s generally something for every taste, if you look hard enough. I personally have an affinity for the romantics like Lord Byron, Christian Rossetti, Walt Whitman, Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe (of course), and I’ve even been known to enjoy an e.e.cummings poem or two. Local author Craig Lancaster posts “pigku” poetry on Facebook while doing pipeline work – they always make me laugh.

One of our local writing groups is putting on a Poem-A-Day Workshop throughout the month of April that started with a free instructional kickoff workshop Saturday. They’re sending out daily poetry writing prompts, and holding weekly gatherings for those who can make it (those who can’t can do an online-only workshop for a bit less cost).

For this month, we’ll be posting two writing prompts each week – one for prose, and one for poetry. Branch out and try writing a poem or two with us…who knows what might happen?


Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: It’s a “dark & stormy” night, and there’s a sound at the door. When the door opens, there’s a large cat on the stoop, soaked to the bone and determined to come inside…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Do you love yardwork? Spring-clean up? Not so much? Wax poetic about an afternoon of outdoor spring cleaning…

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.