News, Post Changes, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Flash 52 Cover

Did you catch the prompt-inspired poems and story last week? If not, you can check them out here:

Prompted Poetry: Tea? 

Prompted Prose: Phone Bump

Scroll down for this week’s writing prompts…

Topic of the Week: Writing Practice & Post Changes

Are you enjoying the writing and poetry prompts we’ve been posting weekly this year? Have they inspired short stories, poems or maybe even longer novel ideas? Have you been reading the stories and poems we come up with most weeks?

I like prompts. I think it’s good practice to just grab a topic – any topic, and run with it, creatively speaking. I think it’s good for the mind to be turned loose on something, and to make that topic into something all its own. And it’s a good way to practice writing techniques too – more description, less description, character backstory, exploring motivations…you can do and learn a lot with just a single story prompt.

Alas, it takes time to write these little practice pieces, and National Novel Writing Month is just five short weeks away. I know I have a few drafts I’d like to finish before November 1st, and perhaps you do too. Or maybe you’re outlining that novel you’ll be writing in one single month.

In light of the busy-ness going on around here and my desire to spend my writing time on my current drafts, we’re going to discontinue posting the prompt poems/stories on the weekends. There will still be prompts posted every Monday for those who might find them useful, but we’ll no longer take submissions based on those prompts – at least for the next few months.

Instead, we’ll showcase an excerpt from one of our books every Saturday, to give you a taste of what our authors have to offer. Maybe you’ll find a new series to love, or character to intrigue you? I’m looking forward to picking out the excerpts – a peek between our covers, so to speak. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them too!


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: What would happen if a young teen followed a stray dog who was acting funny to a hidden space behind some rocks near a river?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem as if you’d been trapped in an underground bunker for six months after an apocalyptic-type of event.

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!

Weekly Prompt Prose: Phone Bump

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?


Phone Bump
by Jamie DeBree

Abby glanced up briefly, her true attention still on the small screen in her hand. She didn’t normally read while she walked, but her lunch hour was so short, and the heroine was just about to meet the guy she’d been texting with on and off for weeks, and Abby was sure they were going to hit it off right away – well, after she forgave him for that whole misunderstanding several chapters ago – and declare their love and it was going to be so…sigh.

Looking up again as she reached the curb right before her block, she forced herself to make sure the light was green and the walk sign was on before she stepped out into traffic, forgoing the story long enough to cross. Safely on the other side, she eagerly looked back down at the screen. She might be able to finish the chapter before she got to her front door.

Someone – her text buddy, she assumed – tapped Maeve on the shoulder and she turned around, her smile falling as she realized just who she’d been communicating with…

And Abby gasped as her left shoulder slammed into a solid wall she was sure hadn’t been there just a second ago. Jarred, she looked up, her mind still half in the book as she clutched the phone hard to keep it from slipping out of her grasp.

“And that’s why you shouldn’t text and walk,” the tall blond suit said, his voice much deeper than she would have expected. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “I wasn’t texting. I was reading.” She realized how stupid the words sounded the moment they came out, and felt her cheeks warming. “I’m sorry. I don’t normally, but I was just at the spot where…” she stopped again. He didn’t care what she was reading or why, just that she’d plowed right into him on the sidewalk. “Well, I’m sorry. I should have been paying attention. I…are you okay?”

He certainly looked okay to her. Annoyed, of course, but the frown lines looked good accenting his square, Calvin Klein-model jaw. The green eyes glaring at her reminded her a little of fresh leaves unfurling in spring. The tailored charcoal suit set his broad shoulders and strong lines well, and the cream button-down underneath made an unassuming backdrop for the surprisingly artistic abstract black and gray tie that pulled it all together.

“If I looked you up and down like that, I could get arrested for harassment.” He checked his watch, thick and silver. “And I’m late for an appointment in one of these buildings. Do you know which one the Hansen building is?”

Abby tried to ignore her flaming cheeks and nodded again, pointing around one of those big shoulders. “Right behind you – that’s my building, actually. Who are you meeting with?” She put her phone in her purse, stifling a sigh. Finding out if Maeve and Toby would get past their differences and fall into each others arms would have to wait until after work. Dammit. She started walking towards the building and charcoal suit fell in beside her.

“Anderson-Pearson. The law firm,” the man said, reaching out to pull the door open for her. “Which company do you work for?”

“Thank you.” She crossed the threshold and moved toward the elevators. “I’m at Eldrige DocuServ. We do legal document service as well as courier services for most of the firms in the building.” There was an elevator waiting, and she got in. Charcoal Suit followed. She pushed the buttons for three and seven, and watched the doors close.

“I’m Abby Eldrige, by the way.” She held out her hand, and smiled pleasantly. The man took it, and squeezed – a good, firm handshake. Always a good sign.

“Toby McIntyre,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Abby. You own the company then?”

She shrugged as the elevator doors opened on third. Her stop. “I might someday. For now, I’m just working my way up like everyone else.” Stepping out, she put a hand against the door. “Good luck with your meeting, and I’m sorry I bumped into you.”

He raised an eyebrow and gave her a smirk. “I’m not. Have a good afternoon. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Abby nodded and stepped back, letting the doors close between them.

Toby was also the name of Maeve’s currently estranged love in her book. What an interesting coincidence.

 

Two hours later, she was sitting at the front desk wondering if she could sneak in a few more paragraphs of her book while things were quiet, and of course just when she reached for her phone, the door opened. She looked up and smiled, her cheeks warming again.

“Well hi there. What can I do for you?”

He handed her a thick envelope with a sticky note on top. “Pearson asked me to drop this off on my way out. He said to charge it his account.”

Abby took the envelope and nodded. “We’ll get that delivered for him before five. Anything else?”

He shrugged. Smiled. “Maybe later. You have a good afternoon.” He turned and left, and Abby sighed. Why couldn’t she find someone that good looking and potentially smart for herself?”

Looking down at the envelope, she read the sticky note and grinned.

Text me when you find out how the book ends. His number was scrawled below.

Well then. Maybe she would.


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! 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: 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…

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!

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…

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!

 

 

Weekly Prose Prompt Stories: Monkey Shines

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?


Monkey Shines
by  Carol R. Ward

“You can’t keep that,” Irene protested. She stopped in her tracks as they headed away from the game.

“Why not? I won it,” Chad replied, arms holding the giant stuffed monkey drooping a bit, big grin fading. “I won it for you.”

“You cheated.”

“I did not!” he said indignantly. The grin reappeared. “I just figured out a way around it, that’s all.”

“Same thing!”

“Is not!”

It was difficult for two people to stand nose to nose to argue when one of those people was holding a giant stuffed animal, but somehow they managed.

“These games are all rigged anyway,” Chad said.

“That doesn’t make it right.” Irene crossed her arms under her breasts, still refusing to take the monkey.

“C’mon, baby, don’t be like that.” Chad waved the monkey’s arms at her. “Look how lovable I am.”

“Stop that.”

“Look at that little monkey face, how can you say no to that face?”

“Easy.” Irene went nose to nose with the monkey. “No.”

“But he’s so cute! Isn’t he cute?” Chad asked one of the bystanders lingering to watch their antics.

“Adorable,” the woman said with a laugh. She seemed a little over dressed for a carnival, more like a business woman who escaped from the office for a few hours.

“Isn’t he the cutest monkey you’ve ever seen?”

“Absolutely.”

“There, see?” Chad turned back to Irene. “He’s adorable.”

“Not to me he isn’t,” Irene said firmly.

“What is your problem?” The monkey sank a little lower in his arms. “I went to a lot of trouble to win this for you, the least you could do is accept it graciously.”

“Look, I never asked you to win me anything in the first place. And just because you figured out a way to get around the game doesn’t mean you should.”

“But–”

“And I don’t even like monkeys.”

“How can you not like monkeys?”

Irene looked down and scuffed the toe of one shoe in the dirt. “One of my mom’s boyfriends had a monkey. They’re noisy and smelly and they throw their feces around. And the guy was a real creep. Monkeys just bring up a lot of bad memories for me, okay?”

“I didn’t know.” Chad shifted the monkey so he had a free hand to lay on her arm. “I’m sorry. Why don’t I find someone else to give it to?”

“That’d be great,” Irene said with a tentative smile.

Chad glance around and saw that the woman he’d spoken to during their spat hadn’t moved too far away. “Hey,” he called to get her attention.

She turned to see what he wanted.

“Listen, you’d really be doing us a favour if you took this guy off our hands.”

“Why me?”

Chad shrugged. “You like monkeys. And I’d like to see him go to a good home.”

Hesitating a moment, she finally smiled. “Thank you, I accept.” She took the stuffed monkey from him. “I have a nephew who’ll go absolutely bananas over him.”

Chad and Irene both laughed with her. Arm in arm, they watched the woman wind her way through the crowd towards the exit.

“That was nice work,” Irene said. “I didn’t even see you slip it inside.”

“It’s amazing how tiny, yet powerful explosives can be these days,” Chad said.

“What would you have done if she refused to take it?”

“I did my research, I knew about the monkey loving nephew.”

“But still…”

He shrugged. “And if she hadn’t, we would have found some other way to get the bomb into the hotel.”

“C’mon,” Irene said, pulling at his arm. “I want to get a good seat for the fireworks tonight.”

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! 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…