Writing Prompt Twenty-Nine

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Writing Prompt Twenty-Eight

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Writing Prompt Twenty-Seven


 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Small Town Blues - A Rant About Cabin Fever


There is something so very depressing about living in a small town that is exemplified when you haven't always done so. A sort of cabin fever that extends beyond the walls of your home and into the confines of the city limits. After driving around running simple errands you start to get the itch for the open road - there grows a demanding need to. Just. Get. Out.

Coming from the city and suburbs of the city I have always dreamed of Small Town America and the iconic quaintness - the peace and quiet allure of no traffic, small shops, and that feeling that everybody knows everybody.

But let me tell you this right now:

I miss Starbucks. As in, I crave it like a crack baby craves their mama's addiction. Just coffee or tea that'll taste just so and will be just the right price and that's open everyday for a reasonable length of time. To be able to leave my house and sit in a coffee shop where I could write and think and day dream and people watch would cure 90% of the cabin fever I feel at the moment. But the fact of the matter is we have one coffee shop in our town of 6,500 people that is slower than a snail in heat, ungodly expensive for its mediocrity, and closed before I get off work. BUT because we are a small town and everybody knows everybody and they are the only gig to offer the earthy, tantalizing beans they can charge whatever they want, dictate their own hours, and move as slow or as fast as their jocular flirtations with elderly so and so's allow.

Now imagine this - I have to drive to another state to go to Wal-Mart or Safeway because it is closer than driving to one instate by 60 miles. My husband and I consider this a date. Our nearest big city is in Nebraska and boasts about 15,000 people and while they have ONE good restaurant there and the nation's smallest Target (I kid you not) they really have nothing else in way of urban convenience or entertainment. Cheyenne (80 miles south of us) has a semblance of a night life, but only in the summer during a random festival. And I don't even care about night life. I'm not a bar hopper, drink slopper, "Woo" girl. But I like activity. I like seeing people. In the winter out here you stay inside because it's freezing cold and you're hunched over as you drive, craggy and distracted by the temperature gage that just keeps dropping. I miss people and being in their presence even if I'm not directly related to them. I love being surrounded by life. The isolation of a small town begins to feel heavy.

The idea of sitting in a book store, sipping tea, sitting on a couch, flipping through a novel while shoppers peruse the shelves hits me like a bullet and suddenly I'm internally bleeding a restlessness that no suture can stem. Or spontaneously going on a date with your husband to some cliche place like Olive Garden suddenly becoming a half day trip when I used to be able to go to the beach in the same amount of time. No, if you want to get out, if you want to break the routine and the normality of your life you can't just walk down the street in a different direction and eat at an unfamiliar restaurant. Rather, you'll have to work for it, be committed to it, dedicate your day to just getting out.


Now let me tell you what I've gained:

I happened to walk into one of the two floral shops here in town the first week we arrived and it changed my life. Hidden between rows of ribbons and inside coolers of flowers were women of immeasurable love and kindness who wrapped me in the protective cellophane and gentle tissue paper of their family and became my friends. And this family knows everybody. I mean everybody! Their father is close friends with my father's high school principal. What the heck is that all about? How is that even possible? The gift of their family was immediate and unguarded to such an extent that I would never have found in the city. 

In the summer it's just stunning here and with a short three hour drive you can find yourself deep in the back country of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, or Colorado. National monuments, parks, and recreation sites litter our highways and fuel the wanderlust of any who feel trapped here. In the summer it doesn't feel like such an inconvenience to get out and explore, to travel 35 miles to eat at a good restaurant or go on a date. It's the winters that bite and hold on tight like a rabid dog and, although long, they host their own levels of beauty if one can escape their natural inclination toward hibernation.




Writing Prompt Twenty-Six

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Review: Smoke Bellew

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reader beware - those who open this tale will find their days outside the novel filled with dreams of the Yukon, sled racing, and gold. I promise, you will never look at an egg the same again.

Christopher "Kit" Bellew is a yuppy, lazy, jocular youth who inherited his wealth through a father of hard work and discipline. Pining away his days bored and restless in the city he is given the opportunity to help his cousins and uncle trek their way into the Alaskan Gold Rush. Each man requires a literal ton of food to last him the harsh winter of the north and each man is required to haul it in himself (or with the aid of natives who put the white men to shame.) Without such supplies no man was allowed to cross the barrier checkpoint from civilized life to the wild. Yet, Kit finds a way and in the process earns himself the nickname "Smoke" - a name which will stick with him forever. Once through the icy lakes, rapids, and unforgiving territory, Smoke becomes a big man in a big country whom everyone loves, envies, and strives to compete with. You won't want to miss this incredible ride through the Yukon.

I didn't fall in love with adventure stories until my twenties when I felt an undying need to explore the world around me yet was surviving on the budget of a twenty-something. Required to stay put in my living room, authors like London, Beach, and Grey became Godsends and frontier hawkers. The kind to inspire the impossible and breed confidence in any intimidated explorer. While my immediate desires were appeased by reading about long nights under the stars in the desert canyons of Arizona or the frost biting wilds of the Yukon, these novels served to whet my appetite for adventure, danger, and fresh air!

Smoke Bellew is a prime example of such a tease. London hugs the reader in tightly, never letting go until the very last page with the charmed life of Smoke who seems to have a topsy turvy relationship with Lady Luck. With perfect precision we, as readers, toil through the slush of mountains under the weight of 2000 pounds of food and supplies. We labor with every step Smoke takes in the beginning chapters to such a degree that once over that hill and into the true start of the adventure we believe we are Smoke; his exploits become our own and his success ours alone. Together we are transformed from a dandy tenderfoot to the hardened veteran only the Gold Rush could properly create. No other author or novel has taken me so wholly from the sidelines and into character such as this. And never has there been a character I've felt more invested in.

Ladies, do not fear being left behind as Smoke finds out fast and early that the women of the Yukon are no easy target for charm and wit, but, rather, can stand quite proudly, successfully, and wealthy without the aid of man.

Enjoy your romp through the crystalline escarpments of Alaska. Try to not be too disappointed when you realize you were born too late to head for the hills in search of gold. Our generation will have its marvels just the same.

Writing Prompt Twenty-Five

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

'Tis The Season


I'm taking the day off and so should you!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! May you have safe travels and a day thoroughly touched by love.

- Izzie's Thoughts -


I'm just not sure mom,
About bringing a tree in.
Murph's gun' pee on it.

- Tradition -


Mark a memory,
Mine: a dream rediscovered,
In glass and bright lights.

- Spirit -


It's never too late
To wake your inner child side
For decorations!

Writing Prompt Twenty-Four

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

March 2nd, 2016


Mark your calendars because this is a very important date. A date I have waited a few months to receive for an announcement I've waited since August to be able to share with you all.

March 2nd, 2016 is the official release date for Dust, my debut novel. Boom! 

Last summer I received an email from Tirgearr Publishing, a company I had submitted to back in June, with a formal contract offer for the publication of Dust. Since signing with Tirgearr, I have been introduced to a wonderful community of authors and editorial staff, been busy with edits, and am now working on developing the cover art with one of our resident artists.

Dust will be released in eBook format first; available through all major eBook retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. Pre-sales will begin early in the new year so be warned - the onslaught of marketing, teasers, and pleas for purchase are coming!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can't begin to express how big of a moment this was for me or how casually I took receiving the contract that morning sitting in a flower shop surrounded by friends. Stopped mid-conversation, I looked up at my friend, Courtney, and blankly stated: "I've been offered a contract." I immediately began researching the company and even forwarded on the email to a friend of mine who is a publisher to confirm it was in fact not a scam, but the real deal. Once she had authenticated it, I went radio silence to the public on the whole event. I told my husband, parents, my closest friends, and grandparents - but then nothing. The last thing I wanted to do was jinx it!

Now that edits are well underway, a release date has been given, and the cover art is being created it has all suddenly become exceedingly real to me. And so I've had a few shocking moments of  internal rejoicing. 

When we moved to Wyoming my goal was to write a novel and within a year I had completed it, shipped it to publishers and agents, been rejected, and finally accepted. A dream I had held close to my heart since the beginning of my memories had been realized. Come March 2nd, 2016 I will be able to claim the title "Author" and wear it with a humble pride that comes from the pursuit of dreams and a determination to appreciate the process and freak out over the result.

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to Dust:

Some people go to marriage counseling; others clean up horse manure - and Austen St. John has picked up a shovel.

The infancy of her marriage has long since transitioned from blushing newlyweds to the unending, rarely resolved, constant battles which plague two people who merely co-exist. On the verge of giving up, she realizes perhaps it is she who is responsible for her dejection. Leaving behind her life in Oregon for a summer on the wide open plains of a Wyoming ranch, Austen grinds away at the threatening questions inside her mind while her body toils under the grunt work every ranch hand labors. Surrounded by the wilds of a Wyoming summer Austen discovers, through a discovered love of self, how she will be able to save her marriage while staying true to herself.

- Wild Wheat -


Sheltered silence calls
Across unguarded brass plains.
It builds the heartbeat.

- Patience -


In sun's fading light
The creak of time passes me
Urging my progress.

- Fenceline -


Desert prairie winds
Give life to your aching lungs
Where wanderlust thrives.

- Wyoming Romance -


On slick ice I fell!
Into arms I tumbled down;
Caught by your smile.

- Snow Days -


Drift away with me
To times of forgotten dreams
In this winter scene.

Writing Prompt Twenty-Three

 Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

- Solitude -


Whispers on white plains
Leaden words fall down again
Lovers speak in vain.

- Northbound -


And though storms ahead
May stir fear and doubt; be bold.
We must all go on.

Edna Claypool


My great grandmother lived in Springfield, Oregon all my life and I had the pleasure of knowing her for the first ten years of my nearly thirty. When I look back on the times I spent at her house the memories are of blurred bodies moving in and out of bedrooms, indiscriminate laughter, and snippets of crystal clear objects which belonged to her and her home.

I remember the snails that would crawl in the ivy of the alley way behind her house. I remember hearing the whistle of a train somewhere in the distance. And I remember my mother telling me that whistle made her feel safe. To me that implied the whistle meant we slept in a home she loved and felt complete in. I remember the rounded curb that held the front yard in from the sidewalk and trying to balance on it. And one time getting a flat tire on the way to visiting her and another looking out the backseat window at the stars the day my boyfriend moved away to a new school when we were in first grade. I remember her neighbor telling me I had beautiful eye lashes and to never pluck them. And I remember being confused because she probably meant eye brows.

I remember the neck breaking steepness of the stairs which led to the attic. They were the kind of stairs you climbed upward with your hands on the boards and gripped the railing fiercely on the descent. The closet at the top filled with my late great aunt's clothes. Inside that white closet a full dress of native american garb with dangling beads and tan rawhide. The room to the right was her's and like a time capsule you entered onto worn floorboards and a full sized bed. There's a window somewhere on the back wall and a bookshelf filled with knickknacks beside it. I remember this room, but I don't remember it fully and the feeling I got when I stood inside the low ceilinged room was neutral. A child exploring, respectfully, the relic of a lost one. The door always remained closed and I had only entered it once with my mother.

Across the landing was another room; a child's play room with two twin beds on each side. It was a fun room in the daytime, but one I was fearful of at night so I slept downstairs in the room that had a sawn off arm cast in the closet. The dresser in the left corner next to the window with the blue towel instead of drapes housed old check books and wooden spools for us to play with. My cousins and I were rarely in the house at the same time, but you could feel their residue in the space. We shared it, connected by time and card games and glasses of milk; I could feel them in the carpet, in the receipts in the cupboard, the blankets on the bed. A cast iron pipe shot through the floorboards in the back right corner, black and cold, surrounded by the toys of my mother's youth. Stuffed animals - a panda bear and poodles - comprised of stiff felt from the fifties and glass eyes sewn in. 

I remember the ironing board that came out of the wall and the measuring stick she had made for us kids in the mudroom. The whipped honey we would put on our toast and the constant supply of Chips Ahoy! cookies in her cupboards. In the eating nook attached to the kitchen her table stood with chrome trim and a green with gold swirls Formica surface. And when there weren't enough chairs for everyone I sat on the little stool with the hard seat. The same stool my mother used to sit on when she was a child. The same stool that sits in my kitchen today; one of only two pieces of my great grandmother that I have. 

I don't remember the flooring or the color of the walls, but I remember the cobalt blue pillow that sat on her couch which sat under a picture window overlooking the yard. If you pressed on the pillow it would vibrate - the early stages of a massage pillow. In the living room there was a closet filled with coats hanging on the rack and on the floor wooden Tinker Toys that entertained us for hours. I remember the bathroom vaguely and the time I accidentally opened the door when my great grandmother was getting out of the shower vividly. I will always remember the wrinkles and frailty of her body and the embarrassed anxiety of feeling I would get into trouble for seeing it. I think the tub was green, but I know she had one of those shower heads that were on a long cord. I remember never being certain how to use the shower, but I don't remember ever actually taking one. 

I remember the day I was in PE class when the school's secretary pulled me out and walked me back to my classroom. The brown, flat carpet of the hallway, cream walls speckled with art, and the sharp left turn to Mrs. Stuernal's class. I remember thinking someone had died, knowing someone had died and assuming it was she. My mother's voice on the end of the phone was clear when she told me and although my grandmother meant much to me, I did not cry.

I remember the last night we all spent together in that house after she was gone. The night before the funeral when all the furniture had been sold and we slept on the floor in the living room. In that memory I believe the carpet was brown and beige, but I can't be certain. The house was lonely and quiet. It no longer radiated the welcomeness of her love and eagerness to see us each and all. The next morning we sat in chairs in a building I can't remember and my cousin stood up at the podium to speak. I remember thinking how much braver she was than me when I slipped my letter into grandma's open casket. I don't remember the tears like I remember the tears from my great aunt's funeral when I was seven. But I know they were there.

I remember her white permed hair and how when you hugged her you could feel her spine through her shirt. I remember her always sitting in her chair in the living room and once she let me watch her cook in the kitchen. I remember the space she occupied better than I remember her and I often wonder what all I never knew about her life before becoming my great grandmother. And now, with my aunts, mother, and uncle being the oldest generation on that side of my family, I wonder what else  I missed while I was too busy playing on the floor.