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, Named Houses & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

The Handyman's Harem Girl Cover

Did you get last week’s free download of The Handyman’s Harem Girl? The third book in the Fantasy Ranch series, it includes a deeper look into “ranch life”, and a mystery that includes doll heads, of all things. Intense in places, campy in others (as per the series), it’s a good read, if we do say so ourselves. Check out the excerpt added to the book page this past weekend…

And then go looking for the next freebie, waiting now in the Available Books section!

In keeping with our rather spontaneous prompt-posting history, we didn’t have any poetry to share, but we do have a flash fiction piece posted yesterday by yours truly. Did you miss it? Go check it out here:

Prompted Prose: Metamorphosis

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

Topic of the Week: Named Houses

Have you ever noticed that houses with names seem more like another character in a book? Even if it’s just “Last Name Manor/Mansion/House”, it always seems like a name gives what is normally just an inanimate object/setting a life-like quality that your average house on the street just doesn’t have.

For instance, if I tell you my house is green, and ranch-style, built in the 1950s with not nearly enough electrical outlets and a large yard that needs a lot of work, you get the idea, but you really don’t need or want any further details, because it’s boring, frankly. It’s just like so many other houses that meet the same exact criteria.

If, however, I tell you that my husband and I refer to our house as “Scaryview”, and that we put on a rather elaborate Halloween display most years, there are several lizards buried in the back yard, and that whenever either of us is alone, but never when we’re together, we tend to hear strange noises coming from the attic late at night…well then. You may not want to visit, but it’s at least a little more interesting, don’t you think?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and noticing more that when authors refer to buildings by name, I tend to give them more of my attention than when a building is just a nameless part of the setting.

Incidentally, Alex Westhaven (one of my alter-egos) just published a blog post “introducing” us to the main setting of a book she’s starting soon, which happens to be a large estate with an old, indestructible, seemingly out-of-place-and-time mansion. Go check it out, and let us know what you think about the Mysterious Mardeaux Mansion

Do you have a favorite named fictional house? Tell us in the comments!


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write a story about someone who has just picked up the keys to their new house, and they’ve just unlocked the door and stepped inside for the first time.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your house (or a house you want). Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? Does it hate you?

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: Meeting a Dragon

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)?


An Unconventional Arrangement
by Carol R. Ward

Princess Noreen was putting away her clean laundry when she heard a thump from outside. She looked in surprise at the large creature perched on the stone rail of her balcony. “What manner of creature might you be?”

“Me?” returned the creature in astonishment. “Why I’m a dragon of course. A fearsome, fire breathing dragon.”

The princess looked him up and down. “Are you sure you’re a dragon?”

“What else would I be?”

“I don’t know, a featherless bird perhaps?” She shrugged. “Or maybe some kind of giant, hairless bat?”

“A bat? A bat?!” The creature nearly lost his perch. “You are a princess, are you not?”

She drew herself up huffily. “Of course I am! I am the youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third.”

“I don’t know,” the dragon said dubiously. “I would think a real princess would know a dragon when she saw one.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why should a real princess know a dragon when she sees one? Dragons are only myths after all.” She said this in a matter-of-fact tone of voice as she finished putting her clean clothes away.

“Only myths?” The dragon bristled on the railing. “My dear child, what are they teaching you girls in princess school these days?”

“Oh.” Princess Noreen looked a little crestfallen. “I never went to princess school.”

“Whyever not?”

“King Manfred has an abundance of daughters and a lack of gold. He couldn’t afford to send all of us to school.”

“How very unfortunate,” said the dragon sympathetically. “Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it I suppose. I am a dragon.” He turned his head to one side and belched out a big gout of flame.

Princess Noreen took a step closer to inspect her visitor. It had great, bat-like wings and beautiful golden scales. Its head was long and narrow with a ridged crest. The eyes glowed orange and were filled with intelligence. It smelled faintly of sulphur.

“All right,” she said finally. “Just suppose I do take your word for it that you’re a dragon. Why are you perched on my balcony railing?”

“I’m here to carry you off, of course.”

“Why do you say “of course,” like it should be obvious?” Noreen asked crossly. “And why would you want to carry me off?”

“Well I suppose if you didn’t know I was a dragon then you certainly couldn’t know that’s what dragons do – carry off princesses.”

“You’ll forgive me for saying so, but your wings, large as they are, look barely able to support your weight, let alone the weight of another person.”

“I’m stronger than I look,” the dragon said proudly.

“Well then,” Princess Noreen said. “Let’s get on with it, shall we?”

“I beg your pardon?” The dragon drew back slightly.

“You said you were here to carry me off, let’s get on with it. Shall I climb on your back? I’m sure that would be more comfortable for both of us than you trying to grasp me in your claws.”

“But … aren’t you going to scream or cry or otherwise carry on? Most princesses do, you know.”

“Most princesses aren’t to be wed to King Edward of Ballentyne a few days hence,” said Noreen grimly.

“But…”

“I told you,” she continued, folding a spare dress around several books to make a neat packet. “My father is low on gold. He’s been marrying us off for the dowries we bring. King Edward is fat, old, and has a wart on his nose. I’d much rather be carried off by a dragon.”

“But…”

“I expect you live in some sort of cave?”

“Yes, but…”

Noreen nodded. “Well I’m sure I’ll be able to make do.”

“But that’s not how it works,” the dragon said a little desperately.

“No?”

“No!”

“Well how does it work then,” the princess asked with what she considered a great deal of patience.

“I’m supposed to carry you off and then your father pays me a ransom to get you back.”

“But my father doesn’t have any gold.”

“Exactly. So there’s really no point–”

“Oh no you don’t.” Faster than the dragon expected, Noreen darted forward and grabbed him around one leg.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m not letting you leave without me,” she said with determination. “I may not know much about being a princess, but I know a lot about running a castle. I’m sure I could make your life so much more comfortable – cooking, cleaning, organizing your hoard…”

The dragon thought about it for a minute. “Well my cave could use a little sprucing up,” he admitted.

“Sprucing things up is my specialty!”

“Well, I guess we could give it a try,” he said slowly.

“Excellent.” Noreen beamed at him. “I’ll make sure you never regret it.”

Which is how Princess Noreen, youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third, came to become a dragon’s housekeeper.

And she lived happily ever after.

###


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…

 

Poetry Prompt: Jewelry Legends

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.

We have two similar legends this week…necklaces/pendents really do lend themselves well to legends, don’t you think? 


The Witch’s Daughters by Carol R. Ward

 

The legend:
Once there was a witch who had three daughters. A wizard, claiming they were evil, killed the witch, but as she died she sent her power into her children to protect them. Unable to kill the daughters, the wizard cursed them into feline form and then trapped them in a pendant. Legend has it that should the daughters ever be released from their prison, great evil would befall the world.

 

 

The poem: 

“I see the piece that’s caught your eye,”
the jeweler said to me.
“A special piece, to be sure,
the witch cats in a tree.”
He plucked the pendant from the case
and laid it in my palm;
it had a warmth all of its own,
yet radiated calm.
“Perhaps you’d find it interesting
the story of this piece,
the legend of the wizard’s curse
and how it brought us peace.”
I told him that was quite all right,
I’d heard it once before.
I paid the price he asked for it
and then I left the store.
The legend has been changed by time,
though parts of it are true;
I was there when the spell was cast,
this curse I now un-do.
The witch was not the evil one
nor her daughters three,
the ones cursed into feline form
to sit upon the tree.
And that was not enough for him
he cursed them further still
a living death trapped in the disk
from which the moonlight spills.
The wizard knew there was another
daughter to the witch
but she was just a tiny babe –
easily dismissed.
He left the babe alone within
the witch’s humble home
thinking that she’d surely die
while he was left to roam.
But she will be the wizard’s bane
as he will surely see.
Now that I am fully grown
I’ll set my sisters free.


The Blue Rose by Alex Westhaven

White pearls form a frame
’round a blue ‘namel rose,
a cheater of death, so
the old story goes.

Made for his firstborn
a match to his blood,
immortality its gift from
a sinister love.

As long as it hangs round
her neck her youth stays,
if the pendent’s removed
She’ll quickly show age.

Two more sisters make three,
but not really the same.
Experimental like her, all
pawns in his game.

Once immortal, now free,
she takes baby away,
leaving Misty alone
to make her own way.

Misty roams the dark halls
a soul with dark arts,
There’s a dagger to find,
poison-tipped for his heart.

When a stranger moves in
hiding from her worst woes,
she’ll find the pearl and blue pendant
in the shape of a rose.

###


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, 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, 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, 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, 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.