May Writing Prompts/Call for Submissions

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

May Poetry Prompt: Write a poem about warmth.


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 Items submitted must be original, unpublished works, however we only ask for non-exclusive perpetual rights to publish the work in one monthly newsletter, and in the 2018 year-end anthology.

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

Final Poem, Blog Schedule/Survey, Newsletters

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

Lovely Weather
by Alex Westhaven

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bee.
It is indeed, replied the bee,
and buzzed off toward his hive.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the ant.
Can’t stop to chat, replied the ant,
carrying a leaf on his back.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the fly.
Putrid scents are the best, replied the fly,
and the garbage is perfectly ripe.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the frog.
Hop along or I’ll eat you, replied the frog.
You’re just the right size for a bite.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bird.
In one bold, heartless crunch,
the bird got himself lunch.

Lovely weather, indeed, said the bird.
******************
Thanks for celebrating National Poetry Month with us!

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

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

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

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

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


Monthly Writing Prompts:

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

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

Beauty in Nature, The Time Stone, Writing Prompts

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

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

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

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

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


Monthly Writing Prompts:

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

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

Riparian, Release Day Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monthly Writing Prompts:

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

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

Ode to Memory, Pre-Orders Available, New Author Site

If you’re just joining us, April is National Poetry Month, so we’re reading and discussing poetry here on the blog. If you’ve read a poem recently, comment below with the title/author, and choose a book from our catalog to receive for free! All book categories except Humor/Satire are available for the choosing.

This week, I read Ode to Memory by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It’s a poem with a lot of beautiful and evocative imagery, but I found myself wondering if Al forgot what he was writing about here and there. It wanders and side-trips and comes back and swirls out again…beautiful, but definitely something that requires a second (or third) read-through…and I’m still not sure I understood what he was getting at in the middle. The opening and closing stanzas are quite clear though. And as I mentioned, it was full of rather beautiful imagery.

In other news, pre-orders for The Time Stone are going up at your favorite online retailers this week! Amazon and Kobo are already live, and Barnes & Noble and iBooks are on the way. The special price of $1.99 is only good until April 21st (one day after release day), so click that pre-order button and lock in your discounted price!

Finally, Marie Yoch has her own web site and blog now! It’s pretty sparse just yet, and the template is subject to change, but if you follow blogs or just want to bookmark her site, that’s where all her latest news will start. You’ll also find links to her facebook and twitter pages in the top right corner, so feel free to connect with her on your favorite social media channel as well.

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


Monthly Writing Prompts:

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

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

National Poetry Month, Poetry Discussion, and New Writing Prompts

Are you a poetry reader or writer? April is National Poetry Month, and there are plenty of challenges for writers out there, but I haven’t seen many for readers. So, we decided to to have one ourselves! Every week this month, I’ll be reading a poem and mentioning it here on the weekly blog post. If you comment with the title and author of a poem you’ve read recently and a book you’d like to read from our catalog, we’ll send you a free PDF – your choice of books from any category on our site except Humor/Satire.

Just make sure to include your correct email address in the comment form (email addresses will not display with your comment), so we can send your free book!

For this first week, the poem I read is The Poet’s Vow by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It’s a rather poignant, sad tale of a poet who renounces his humanity and the world in order to lock himself away as a hermit, basically. His lady love does not fare well upon his vow, and things progress about as you might expect as the poem goes on. As I was reading, the skies were darkening and a spring storm looming, which matched the mood of the poem rather nicely.

The volume of Mrs. Browning’s poems I have is very old – the copyright reads 1882 and 1886. I found it one afternoon at a local flea market, and as a collector of old books, I had to have it for the $20 they were asking. It’s beautiful and red-speckled, with soft, yellowed pages that immediately implore you to handle it with care. I think with poetry especially, reading from an old, hardbound copy helps the mind really accept and even embrace the older language and phrasing used in these poems.

I have an old volume of Tennyson as well – perhaps I’ll get that one off the shelf for next week.

In other news, the new monthly writing prompts are available below. Let’s write about roses!

Until next time, happy reading & writing….


Monthly Writing Prompts:

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

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

Weekly Prompt Poems: Tea?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about having a cup of tea with someone you…don’t exactly like.

Apologies for the late post this week! I think you’ll enjoy these two poems just as much on a Sunday, though. 😉 


A Cup of Tea
by Carol R. Ward

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
it is the finest blend,
all the way from India –
you’ll like it in the end.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
pray, how are things with you?
You’ve been so cold and distant,
not the man that I once knew.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
to celebrate our life,
at least the way it was for me
when first I was your wife.

Have a cup of tea, my dear
Is that sweat upon your brow?
The poison you’ve imbibed today,
perhaps you feel it now.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
feel the poison flow.
I saw you with that girl, my dear –
how could you stoop so low?

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
I see you wonder why
I wait ‘till now for my revenge,
why I feel that you must die.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
you see she came to me –
she was with child; t’was living proof
of your infidelity.

Finish up your tea, my dear –
there’s no one left to tell.
She’s gone and so are you my dear –
you’re headed straight to hell.

###

Waiting for Karma
by Jamie DeBree

One lump or two?
I ask, somehow
managing to keep
my teeth ungritted.

None, you say,
blithely unaware of
the tension you
cause my soul.

Your smile over
the chipped china
makes me shiver
in abject revulsion.

Your humor, laughing
at some mundane
comment I made
almost undoes me.

Yet I sit,
serving second best
tea and tiny
sandwiches, making nice.

Waiting, praying for
the day when
karma catches up.
Repays the debt.


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Poems: I Am Canadian

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


I Am Canadian
by Carol R. Ward

I awake to the fog
coating the world
like a blanket of white
that’s just been unfurled.
The tops of the hills
rise above the white mist
like islands alone
that the sun has just kissed.

Then out comes the sun,
burns the fog all away
and keeps getting stronger
for another hot day.
The temperature’s rising,
where will it stop?
The humidity’s climbing,
it’s over the top.

Then all of a sudden
along comes the wind –
it blows the clouds over
and shuts the sun in.
The temperature plummets,
the day grows quite dark –
we cancel our plans
to eat in the park.

Please tell me these flakes
of white that I see
are seeds from the birch tree –
what else could they be?
A warning of frost
is in place for tonight
and I wonder if tomorrow
will be green or be white.


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Poems: Dream Desk & Waning of the Green

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


Dream Desk by Carol R. Ward

For oh, so long, I’ve had a dream
Since I first began to write –
it’s of the perfect writing desk –
I dreamed of it last night.

It’s not too big and not too small
but just the perfect size,
with pigeon holes for all my pens
and a roll top on the rise.

It’s made of aged, not antique wood
that’s polished to a sheen
I can see it sitting over there
at least within my dream.

And so I did a search online
to see what I could find –
lo and behold I saw it there
page listing ninety-nine.

I sent an email to the one
who had my desk for sale –
yes it was still available –
I thought my heart would fail.

But as my hopes were quickly raised
just as quickly were they dashed,
another party saw my desk
and visited with cash.

So just like that the bubble burst
upon my dream so fair
I vow to keep on searching
I’ll find that desk somewhere.

*******************************************

Waning of the Green by Jamie DeBree

Firm and oblong
I gently squeeze
looking for signs of give.

Every week it’s
a new challenge
‘twixt this ripening fiend and myself.

Will I catch
it in time,
before green turns to black?

Or will it
go mockingly mushy
while I wait for perfection.

###


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

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!