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Get Your Words Discovered

Good Morning, Prosers,

The way publishers find new authors might have just changed forever.

We are pleased to announce that we have joined forces with publishing giant Simon & Schuster, whose legacy includes Ernest Hemingway, Carrie Fisher, and Stephen King.

Simon & Schuster’s editing team hopes to discover the next generation of great authors by utilising our challenge feature and our social community, initially through a 500-2000 word writing challenge that ends June 1, prompting you to, “Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by Simon & Schuster’s editorial staff for consideration.”

This challenge stipulates a minimum of 500 entries and a maximum of 2,000.

We will announce the top-50 entries on June 21, 2017.

Here is the challenge URL: https://theprose.com/challenge/5367

We hope you are as excited about this as we are. If you know people who would like to get noticed by Simon & Schuster, spread the word(s).

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Get Your Words Discovered
Good Morning, Prosers,

The way publishers find new authors might have just changed forever.

We are pleased to announce that we have joined forces with publishing giant Simon & Schuster, whose legacy includes Ernest Hemingway, Carrie Fisher, and Stephen King.

Simon & Schuster’s editing team hopes to discover the next generation of great authors by utilising our challenge feature and our social community, initially through a 500-2000 word writing challenge that ends June 1, prompting you to, “Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by Simon & Schuster’s editorial staff for consideration.”

This challenge stipulates a minimum of 500 entries and a maximum of 2,000.

We will announce the top-50 entries on June 21, 2017.

Here is the challenge URL: https://theprose.com/challenge/5367

We hope you are as excited about this as we are. If you know people who would like to get noticed by Simon & Schuster, spread the word(s).

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.
#challenge  #publishing  #Announcement  #SimonSchuster 
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Let's Talk Prose

Good morning, Prosers.

It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it?

The last seven (ish) days has been a hive of activity here behind the Prose screens. We overhauled the Challenge Stream and we weren’t prepared for some of the concerns you guys laid across our digital desks.

We tried to answer each one of your concerns, but thought it best, now the dust has settled, to write something to each and every one of you.

Over a year ago, we took a vow of transparency and this is one of those times where we feel full transparency is needed.

There are only 4 of us on the team, and two of us have spent a long time in the past 7 days responding to each and every concern of yours, whilst working part-time on all of our Prose duties, and part-time on the PoetsIN duties.

Some of the complaints we received were misconceptions of the team and the company ethos that we have worked so hard at. So, this is us, setting the record straight. We are going to outline the concerns and comments, and put this to bed so we can continue improving Prose.

1) Default minimum word count.

This is set by default at 15. We will not be changing this any time soon. Why? Because when we allowed full flexibility, with no restriction there, our feeds were full with one word challenges. “Sorrow in one word.” “Death in one word.” Not only was this clogging the streams; we were also getting complaints about it. So we found a happy medium. With tens of thousands of users here, we had a couple of complaints about this. Not enough complaints that would make us re-think our stance.

2) Why did we charge for last week’s challenge of the week?

The first week’s charge for the challenge was to test the feature. We can test on our beta server, but know from experience that the second we unleash it on you guys, if there is a bug that we have missed, you will find it within seconds and we can fix it just as quickly.

3) Will we charge for future challenges?

Short answer, yes. Why? We’ll come back to this shortly.

4) What about those that do not have coins?

Those who do not have coins can either, a) head to the website and buy a coin package, b) become a partner and sell books/shorts/chapters, or c) write exceptional pieces that your Proser peers will juice you for. If neither a, b, or c apply to you, sit out the challenge and find one that doesn’t cost to enter.

5) Are we falling foul of “corruption to profit?” 

No. We are most certainly not. We are four people, managing a community tens of thousands larger than our foursome. We work tirelessly on this platform because we love it. This change wasn’t about profit, whatsoever. We’re humble, realistic, and realise that without charging for challenges, and taking a small cut from book sales etc, Prose won’t continue this way.

The above were the main concerns, and comments from people, said in a multitude of ways. All handled in a professional way, sometimes to-the-point, but never abrasive or rude. We are human after all and we’re damn proud of what we have achieved with such a small team and an equally small budget.

Think of how you discovered us. Was that through a large ad campaign? Nope, because we do not do that. We have grown this community organically, by spending time reaching out to people via social media and getting listed on some cool websites, that’s really it in a nutshell. Millions of man-hours go into this and we get paid less than most for the hours we put in.

We have made a tough decision. For the foreseeable, we will be charging for the Challenge of the Week. 50 cents. That’s all. There are challenges out there on the interwebs that charge a shed-load more for entering a challenge. We aren’t charging 50c to make a profit, we are charging 50c to put food on the table.

Over the past 67 weeks, we have given away $6700 in Challenge of the Week funds and have used our funding to pay for it. We haven’t asked you for a cent. The second we do, we have people asking why this “forum” can’t be free. Up until now, we have run Prose from a pool of money from generous investors who believe in what we do as much as we do. We haven’t yet made enough from Prose as a business to be able to pay our bills and such like. 

Prose is still free to use. But, if you want $100, you’ll have to pay 50 cents for the chance. We do not make enough currently to be able to keep giving free money, as much as we’d love to. There are plenty of free-to-enter challenges set by your peers that you can enter.

The more you guys buy coins, spend coins on each other, supporting the words of this amazing community, the more likely we’ll be able to offer a free-to-enter Challenge of the Week again. If we do not make enough to pay ourselves and pay the server charges, there will be no paid or free challenges. Dramatic, maybe, but that is the truth.

This does not mean Prose is failing, it does not mean we are going to ‘shut up shop,’ far from it. It’s us making you aware that these changes, along with your cooperation, will ensure our longevity.

Not all of the comments were comments of concern, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and for choosing Prose as your home for words.

We are working hard to tip the scales to benefit the author, and we’ve done this so far by providing numerous ways for each of you to make money with your words, with your royalties far outweighing ours.

Tomorrow we have another exciting opportunity for all of you, too, which has been months in the making. But, in the meantime, let’s recap how you can make a living on Prose.

1) Become a Prose Partner. Head here: theprose.com/p/partner. If you are accepted, you can sell your words on Prose. These can be sold as a single poem or short story, or as a book. Books can be sold per chapter, or as a whole.

2) Get involved in the Prose community, like, comment, share, and write. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write; if Prosers like it, they’ll juice you.

3) Create awesome paid challenges. Prosers can actually make money from doing this.

If you would like some marketing tips from the team here, let us know, we’ll create a book in the bookstore that can help serve as a guide with some very useful tips and tricks in there. As a side-note, due to limitations with our time, we will have to charge for this book. Every little helps us, help you.

We think that’s all for now; if you have any further questions or concerns, please message or email us privately, and bear with us while we respond.

Let’s all get back to being creative, shall we?

Until next time, long live Prose!

Prose.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Let's Talk Prose
Good morning, Prosers.

It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it?

The last seven (ish) days has been a hive of activity here behind the Prose screens. We overhauled the Challenge Stream and we weren’t prepared for some of the concerns you guys laid across our digital desks.

We tried to answer each one of your concerns, but thought it best, now the dust has settled, to write something to each and every one of you.

Over a year ago, we took a vow of transparency and this is one of those times where we feel full transparency is needed.

There are only 4 of us on the team, and two of us have spent a long time in the past 7 days responding to each and every concern of yours, whilst working part-time on all of our Prose duties, and part-time on the PoetsIN duties.

Some of the complaints we received were misconceptions of the team and the company ethos that we have worked so hard at. So, this is us, setting the record straight. We are going to outline the concerns and comments, and put this to bed so we can continue improving Prose.

1) Default minimum word count.
This is set by default at 15. We will not be changing this any time soon. Why? Because when we allowed full flexibility, with no restriction there, our feeds were full with one word challenges. “Sorrow in one word.” “Death in one word.” Not only was this clogging the streams; we were also getting complaints about it. So we found a happy medium. With tens of thousands of users here, we had a couple of complaints about this. Not enough complaints that would make us re-think our stance.

2) Why did we charge for last week’s challenge of the week?
The first week’s charge for the challenge was to test the feature. We can test on our beta server, but know from experience that the second we unleash it on you guys, if there is a bug that we have missed, you will find it within seconds and we can fix it just as quickly.

3) Will we charge for future challenges?
Short answer, yes. Why? We’ll come back to this shortly.

4) What about those that do not have coins?
Those who do not have coins can either, a) head to the website and buy a coin package, b) become a partner and sell books/shorts/chapters, or c) write exceptional pieces that your Proser peers will juice you for. If neither a, b, or c apply to you, sit out the challenge and find one that doesn’t cost to enter.

5) Are we falling foul of “corruption to profit?” 
No. We are most certainly not. We are four people, managing a community tens of thousands larger than our foursome. We work tirelessly on this platform because we love it. This change wasn’t about profit, whatsoever. We’re humble, realistic, and realise that without charging for challenges, and taking a small cut from book sales etc, Prose won’t continue this way.

The above were the main concerns, and comments from people, said in a multitude of ways. All handled in a professional way, sometimes to-the-point, but never abrasive or rude. We are human after all and we’re damn proud of what we have achieved with such a small team and an equally small budget.

Think of how you discovered us. Was that through a large ad campaign? Nope, because we do not do that. We have grown this community organically, by spending time reaching out to people via social media and getting listed on some cool websites, that’s really it in a nutshell. Millions of man-hours go into this and we get paid less than most for the hours we put in.

We have made a tough decision. For the foreseeable, we will be charging for the Challenge of the Week. 50 cents. That’s all. There are challenges out there on the interwebs that charge a shed-load more for entering a challenge. We aren’t charging 50c to make a profit, we are charging 50c to put food on the table.

Over the past 67 weeks, we have given away $6700 in Challenge of the Week funds and have used our funding to pay for it. We haven’t asked you for a cent. The second we do, we have people asking why this “forum” can’t be free. Up until now, we have run Prose from a pool of money from generous investors who believe in what we do as much as we do. We haven’t yet made enough from Prose as a business to be able to pay our bills and such like. 

Prose is still free to use. But, if you want $100, you’ll have to pay 50 cents for the chance. We do not make enough currently to be able to keep giving free money, as much as we’d love to. There are plenty of free-to-enter challenges set by your peers that you can enter.

The more you guys buy coins, spend coins on each other, supporting the words of this amazing community, the more likely we’ll be able to offer a free-to-enter Challenge of the Week again. If we do not make enough to pay ourselves and pay the server charges, there will be no paid or free challenges. Dramatic, maybe, but that is the truth.

This does not mean Prose is failing, it does not mean we are going to ‘shut up shop,’ far from it. It’s us making you aware that these changes, along with your cooperation, will ensure our longevity.

Not all of the comments were comments of concern, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and for choosing Prose as your home for words.

We are working hard to tip the scales to benefit the author, and we’ve done this so far by providing numerous ways for each of you to make money with your words, with your royalties far outweighing ours.

Tomorrow we have another exciting opportunity for all of you, too, which has been months in the making. But, in the meantime, let’s recap how you can make a living on Prose.

1) Become a Prose Partner. Head here: theprose.com/p/partner. If you are accepted, you can sell your words on Prose. These can be sold as a single poem or short story, or as a book. Books can be sold per chapter, or as a whole.

2) Get involved in the Prose community, like, comment, share, and write. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write; if Prosers like it, they’ll juice you.

3) Create awesome paid challenges. Prosers can actually make money from doing this.

If you would like some marketing tips from the team here, let us know, we’ll create a book in the bookstore that can help serve as a guide with some very useful tips and tricks in there. As a side-note, due to limitations with our time, we will have to charge for this book. Every little helps us, help you.

We think that’s all for now; if you have any further questions or concerns, please message or email us privately, and bear with us while we respond.

Let’s all get back to being creative, shall we?

Until next time, long live Prose!

Prose.

#prose  #transparency  #Itslit  #getlit  #AdminPost 
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Prose Challenge of the Week #66

Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-six of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing about infidelity, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #66: Write about the biggest lesson life has taught you. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for 24 consecutive hours. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-five.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @Rumpleskag with their piece, But Is It Really Cheating?

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Prose Challenge of the Week #66
Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-six of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing about infidelity, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #66: Write about the biggest lesson life has taught you. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for 24 consecutive hours. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-five.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @Rumpleskag with their piece, But Is It Really Cheating?

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.
#prosechallenge  #ProseChallengeoftheWeek  #CotW  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Friday Feature: @Bunny

Well blow me down, it’s already Friday - again! And that means the regular piece that you all enjoy, which is, of course, our Friday Feature. Each week we get to root through a Proser’s life, loves and linguistic leanings; and this week we have a smasher for you. Prosers, please be upstanding for @Bunny

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

B: My ‘given name’, bestowed upon me by one of my best friends Stacia, and the family Tattoo Artist, my aunt Isabelle, is 'Bunny' Villaire. For Prose I go as Bunny.

Legally my name is Josh Villaire, but that name don't mean squat to me anymore.

Bunny is my spirit name, and I can see myself going by it until I'm a funny old man.

I imagine myself living by the lake, and someone yells out "Hey, Bunny!", and my funny old ears perk up.

I'm in the process of legally changing it, but what's in a name?

P: Where do you live?

B: I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I’m really into moving around (upward and outward!), and my bands gearing up for a nationwide tour, (if not international) coming up real soon(at the latest, next Christmas). My band Tail From the Crypt is an underground Darkwave English and French bilingual band. We have electronic elements, and I have had to learn many new instruments for our band lately, so we can be as minimal as possible. The musical learning has consumed a great amount of my free time, much to my pleasure. We just recently had a release party for both our first full length Cd and our vinyl Ep, and now have a most righteous obligation to get our wild brand of sound out to anyone in earshot. Please give us a listen at: 

https://tailfromthecrypt.bandcamp.com/album/tail-from-the-crypt

P: What is your occupation?

B: I’m a starving artist. I live to write poetry, and maka the music. When I was homeless years ago, all I had was poetry and my band, and the Muse never dared leave my side. It’s always been my go to.

Rock’n’roll has teased my soul, and I like it. I’m also a Yoga instructor, and I do a little of that on the side. Got my start in that by teaching women at a Recovery Center.

Yoga is so very important in helping me calm my soul in times of psychic assault. Psychic assault comes from everywhere with our modern ongoing encroachment of technology.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

B: I would say my writing really took off with my intial obsession with William S. Burroughs, and the beats in highschool.

Even before that I had a poem published in a compilation book at 13.

But then there was a magical copy of Leonard Cohen’s Best Of from the 60s to the 70s on Cd that mysteriously just appeared on my kitchen table for no other reason but to get my wheels spinning.

Beyond that, probably the most inspiring music that got my mind soaring, and my gums flapping was the all instrumental band Future Sound of London that I began singing to in my teens before I started any band. The lack of vocals was truly inspiring because I could insert myself between the lines.

I’ve sang and wrote for many various bands since 2001 to now, pretty much nonstop.

I’ve also attended poetry readings and performed performance art(shudder!) or what I like to call it ‘self sacrifice’.

"For similar reasons, Grand Rapids native Josh Villaire began incorporating elements of performance art into concerts with his now-defunct music ensemble, Coin. Today, Villaire is involved in Butoh and other projects he describes as “experimental theater,” but he shuns the label “performance artist.”

“I prefer ‘self-sacrifice.’” Villaire said. “That’s what it is.”

He continued: “You’re up there ripping your heart out in front of people. And if they don’t like it, maybe it’s because they’re looking into a dark side of their soul that they don’t like. That’s what I like about it.”

At first glance, Villaire’s take might seem a little self-indulgent (yet another reason some members of the general population might employ the word “crap” rather than working out an understanding of a performance art piece). But Villaire doesn’t see it that way. Posing a challenge to audience members, as he explained, is a way of gifting them with something to think about.

“It’s kind of like the stuff Andy Kauffman used to do,” Villaire said. “You never know if people are going to like it, and that’s so much better than people just clapping without even thinking about it.

“Maybe they’re angry when they go home, but at least they’re thinking about why they’re angry.”

---From Grand Rapids Magazine, 2004

Well for the past couple of years now I’ve been forcing myself to write at least one poem a day. I believe that this strictness to my routine has helped my writing grow immensely.

I have written a large body of songs for my various bands, always in the role of singer song-writer in all my projects. It’s only recently that I have just started to become a musician as well learning drum machine and keys, although one could say that the voice in itself is one of the most magnificent instruments. I’ve always been drawn to the rawer, content heavy writers like Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, and Marianne Faithful.

At the same time, I cherish the ambiguous writers like William S. Burroughs, and Captain Beefheart. Rules are made to be broken when it comes to writing, and attempting various ways of producing literature.

I have self-published a zine of writing with a co-editor friend named Kevin Hovey. 

Together we focused on writing inspired by the nostalgic aura of trains, and train tracks. This venture, which landed us both in jail for breaking and entering on a train yard, was entitled ‘Track Marks’, and I’m still quite fond of it and the idea. It was a collection of short stories, and poems, and art. The newest zine that I’m now obsessed with completing is called ‘The Hairy Exchange’, and this newest project will be writing mostly focused on hard to find records(vinyl) and different avenues of acquiring vinyl, as well as incredibly strange music, and the history of the people behind it. There will also be stories of the cheapest record various collectors have ever bought, mainly the ones that are personal favorites in their collection.

The zine will also be rife with conspiracy stories, and perhaps some underground culture news.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

B: I remember a teacher once telling me that you should read more then you write, which I would agree with. Every time I read something I immediately find myself more inspired to write, and more inspired to speak my mind. Writing isn’t like most television. It doesn’t intimidate, it inspires, as long as you give it a chance. Although television nowadays has taken the form of Art House movies in the 90s. Reading literature, especially in physical book form, is a very engaging activity, because it allows you to form your own images.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

B: I’m currently writing a short story about a desert grifter right now who has a scam going with some prostitutes somewhere in California, and I feel my writing pushing towards a kind of Kafkaesque dark comedy region. Perhaps it’s in my blood, but I love the dark, and I’m feeling progressively driven towards that kind of formula of revelling in the unexpected, and championing the humor of the mundane and how it erupts into beautiful chaos. There's nothing more interesting to me than investigating the nuances of chaos.

P: What do you love about Prose?

B: I love the opportunity to meet so many of my ilk and breed. The writer in general is quite an interesting animal, and any chance I can get to break bread, and share thoughts with kindred souls is my cup of Whiskey.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

B: Amerika by Franz Kafka.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

B: My uncle Lou Villaire had a compilation book of poetry published when I was a preteen. I always looked to him as a great influence with his book ‘Worldings’, and many of his friends and connections from when he was in the poetry group the Twilight Tribe.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

B: Challenging, cryptic, and opaque.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

B: “Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly”

--Franz Kafka

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

B: I favor many musical genres. I’m an avid record junkie, addicted to many various styles of music, but the one style of music I’ve perhaps been most obsessed with lately is Italian Disco. Italian Disco is similar to Space Disco, but worlds away from American Disco. Lately I’ve been really in Funk also, and been trying hungrily to track down all the best Chaka Khan records.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

B: I think that the best thing to do in that situation would be to write a book. Maybe one with dirty pictures in it so's you can get their attention if their all deteriorated in the mental department. Whatever can get them reading again, and realizing it's vital importance in the scheme of things.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

B: I love to write under bridges, and underpasses. I love finding magical environments that resonant with the rebel, and the loner. The process of finding a secret place where you can feel comfortable writing can be quite rewarding as well. From experience, I've found that the best way to generate new writing material is by taking a long walk. This is where a tape recorder to record your thoughts comes in handy.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

B: I'd like to reiterate that my vinyl record, and my full length CD I just released with my band Tail From the Crypt is some of the best stuff (writing and otherwise) I've ever been a part of.

Both are available for listening and purchase at: 

https://tailfromthecrypt.bandcamp.com/album/tail-from-the-crypt

And that’s how you do a Friday Feature. Do your Prose thang and like, follow, love and interact with Bunny – and buy his record (do you ship to the UK? – PaulDChambers). Thanks for your answers, Bunny! You really gave in that.

If you are a regular user of Prose and want to feature, or you know someone that does (or should), then do please get in touch with us at info@theprose.com

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Friday Feature: @Bunny
Well blow me down, it’s already Friday - again! And that means the regular piece that you all enjoy, which is, of course, our Friday Feature. Each week we get to root through a Proser’s life, loves and linguistic leanings; and this week we have a smasher for you. Prosers, please be upstanding for @Bunny

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
B: My ‘given name’, bestowed upon me by one of my best friends Stacia, and the family Tattoo Artist, my aunt Isabelle, is 'Bunny' Villaire. For Prose I go as Bunny.

Legally my name is Josh Villaire, but that name don't mean squat to me anymore.

Bunny is my spirit name, and I can see myself going by it until I'm a funny old man.

I imagine myself living by the lake, and someone yells out "Hey, Bunny!", and my funny old ears perk up.

I'm in the process of legally changing it, but what's in a name?

P: Where do you live?
B: I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I’m really into moving around (upward and outward!), and my bands gearing up for a nationwide tour, (if not international) coming up real soon(at the latest, next Christmas). My band Tail From the Crypt is an underground Darkwave English and French bilingual band. We have electronic elements, and I have had to learn many new instruments for our band lately, so we can be as minimal as possible. The musical learning has consumed a great amount of my free time, much to my pleasure. We just recently had a release party for both our first full length Cd and our vinyl Ep, and now have a most righteous obligation to get our wild brand of sound out to anyone in earshot. Please give us a listen at: 

https://tailfromthecrypt.bandcamp.com/album/tail-from-the-crypt

P: What is your occupation?
B: I’m a starving artist. I live to write poetry, and maka the music. When I was homeless years ago, all I had was poetry and my band, and the Muse never dared leave my side. It’s always been my go to.

Rock’n’roll has teased my soul, and I like it. I’m also a Yoga instructor, and I do a little of that on the side. Got my start in that by teaching women at a Recovery Center.

Yoga is so very important in helping me calm my soul in times of psychic assault. Psychic assault comes from everywhere with our modern ongoing encroachment of technology.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
B: I would say my writing really took off with my intial obsession with William S. Burroughs, and the beats in highschool.

Even before that I had a poem published in a compilation book at 13.

But then there was a magical copy of Leonard Cohen’s Best Of from the 60s to the 70s on Cd that mysteriously just appeared on my kitchen table for no other reason but to get my wheels spinning.

Beyond that, probably the most inspiring music that got my mind soaring, and my gums flapping was the all instrumental band Future Sound of London that I began singing to in my teens before I started any band. The lack of vocals was truly inspiring because I could insert myself between the lines.

I’ve sang and wrote for many various bands since 2001 to now, pretty much nonstop.
I’ve also attended poetry readings and performed performance art(shudder!) or what I like to call it ‘self sacrifice’.

"For similar reasons, Grand Rapids native Josh Villaire began incorporating elements of performance art into concerts with his now-defunct music ensemble, Coin. Today, Villaire is involved in Butoh and other projects he describes as “experimental theater,” but he shuns the label “performance artist.”

“I prefer ‘self-sacrifice.’” Villaire said. “That’s what it is.”

He continued: “You’re up there ripping your heart out in front of people. And if they don’t like it, maybe it’s because they’re looking into a dark side of their soul that they don’t like. That’s what I like about it.”

At first glance, Villaire’s take might seem a little self-indulgent (yet another reason some members of the general population might employ the word “crap” rather than working out an understanding of a performance art piece). But Villaire doesn’t see it that way. Posing a challenge to audience members, as he explained, is a way of gifting them with something to think about.

“It’s kind of like the stuff Andy Kauffman used to do,” Villaire said. “You never know if people are going to like it, and that’s so much better than people just clapping without even thinking about it.

“Maybe they’re angry when they go home, but at least they’re thinking about why they’re angry.”
---From Grand Rapids Magazine, 2004

Well for the past couple of years now I’ve been forcing myself to write at least one poem a day. I believe that this strictness to my routine has helped my writing grow immensely.
I have written a large body of songs for my various bands, always in the role of singer song-writer in all my projects. It’s only recently that I have just started to become a musician as well learning drum machine and keys, although one could say that the voice in itself is one of the most magnificent instruments. I’ve always been drawn to the rawer, content heavy writers like Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, and Marianne Faithful.

At the same time, I cherish the ambiguous writers like William S. Burroughs, and Captain Beefheart. Rules are made to be broken when it comes to writing, and attempting various ways of producing literature.

I have self-published a zine of writing with a co-editor friend named Kevin Hovey. 

Together we focused on writing inspired by the nostalgic aura of trains, and train tracks. This venture, which landed us both in jail for breaking and entering on a train yard, was entitled ‘Track Marks’, and I’m still quite fond of it and the idea. It was a collection of short stories, and poems, and art. The newest zine that I’m now obsessed with completing is called ‘The Hairy Exchange’, and this newest project will be writing mostly focused on hard to find records(vinyl) and different avenues of acquiring vinyl, as well as incredibly strange music, and the history of the people behind it. There will also be stories of the cheapest record various collectors have ever bought, mainly the ones that are personal favorites in their collection.

The zine will also be rife with conspiracy stories, and perhaps some underground culture news.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
B: I remember a teacher once telling me that you should read more then you write, which I would agree with. Every time I read something I immediately find myself more inspired to write, and more inspired to speak my mind. Writing isn’t like most television. It doesn’t intimidate, it inspires, as long as you give it a chance. Although television nowadays has taken the form of Art House movies in the 90s. Reading literature, especially in physical book form, is a very engaging activity, because it allows you to form your own images.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?
B: I’m currently writing a short story about a desert grifter right now who has a scam going with some prostitutes somewhere in California, and I feel my writing pushing towards a kind of Kafkaesque dark comedy region. Perhaps it’s in my blood, but I love the dark, and I’m feeling progressively driven towards that kind of formula of revelling in the unexpected, and championing the humor of the mundane and how it erupts into beautiful chaos. There's nothing more interesting to me than investigating the nuances of chaos.

P: What do you love about Prose?
B: I love the opportunity to meet so many of my ilk and breed. The writer in general is quite an interesting animal, and any chance I can get to break bread, and share thoughts with kindred souls is my cup of Whiskey.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
B: Amerika by Franz Kafka.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
B: My uncle Lou Villaire had a compilation book of poetry published when I was a preteen. I always looked to him as a great influence with his book ‘Worldings’, and many of his friends and connections from when he was in the poetry group the Twilight Tribe.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
B: Challenging, cryptic, and opaque.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
B: “Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly”
--Franz Kafka

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?
B: I favor many musical genres. I’m an avid record junkie, addicted to many various styles of music, but the one style of music I’ve perhaps been most obsessed with lately is Italian Disco. Italian Disco is similar to Space Disco, but worlds away from American Disco. Lately I’ve been really in Funk also, and been trying hungrily to track down all the best Chaka Khan records.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
B: I think that the best thing to do in that situation would be to write a book. Maybe one with dirty pictures in it so's you can get their attention if their all deteriorated in the mental department. Whatever can get them reading again, and realizing it's vital importance in the scheme of things.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
B: I love to write under bridges, and underpasses. I love finding magical environments that resonant with the rebel, and the loner. The process of finding a secret place where you can feel comfortable writing can be quite rewarding as well. From experience, I've found that the best way to generate new writing material is by taking a long walk. This is where a tape recorder to record your thoughts comes in handy.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
B: I'd like to reiterate that my vinyl record, and my full length CD I just released with my band Tail From the Crypt is some of the best stuff (writing and otherwise) I've ever been a part of.

Both are available for listening and purchase at: 

https://tailfromthecrypt.bandcamp.com/album/tail-from-the-crypt

And that’s how you do a Friday Feature. Do your Prose thang and like, follow, love and interact with Bunny – and buy his record (do you ship to the UK? – PaulDChambers). Thanks for your answers, Bunny! You really gave in that.

If you are a regular user of Prose and want to feature, or you know someone that does (or should), then do please get in touch with us at info@theprose.com

#nonfiction  #adventure  #news  #FF  #FridayFeature 
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Prose Challenge of the Week #65

Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-five of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing about hilarious moments, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-four.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @SelfTitledKND with their piece, French Uno is Called Une.

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

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Prose Challenge of the Week #65
Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-five of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing about hilarious moments, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-four.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @SelfTitledKND with their piece, French Uno is Called Une.

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

#prose  #prosechallenge  #ProseChallengeoftheWeek  #CotW  #Itslit 
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Challenges Update: Now Live!

Good Morning, Prosers, 

Challenges have been updated! New options are available and you can now attach prizes and entry fees, in the form of Prose Coins to your challenges. Winners take home the purse, and entry fees serve to either increase the prize pool, or reward you for writing a great prompt.

Entry Limits: You can now specify the minimum and maximum number of allowed entries. Minimum entries determines the minimum number of entries required, before the end date is reached, for a winner to be declared. If the minimum number is not reached, challenge entry fees and prizes will be refunded, and the challenge will be marked "expired." Maximum entries determines the maximum number of entries allowed. If the number of entries reaches the maximum before time runs out, the challenge will be resolved early and applicable prizes will be distributed.

Judgement: Winners can be chosen in one of two ways. 

Democracy challenges automatically choose the post with the most likes at the time of the challenge resolution, either when the end date or the maximum entry limit is reached. 

Monarchy challenges require the creator (you) to select a winner when the challenge ends. You will be notified by email when it's time to make a selection, and can select a winner by pasting the URL of the winning post on this page. 

*Premium challenges (challenges with prizes), require the winner to be selected by the monarchy rule, and for the selection to be confirmed by Prose.

** You can now check out the winners of previous challenges from this day forward by visiting the following link theprose.com/challenges/archive. The winners will only be displayed for challenges created from this point onwards.

Prize Rule: The prize rule determines how entry fees and winner prizes are used. 

Flat Prize challenges require the creator to provide the prize purse up front. If the challenge does not reach the required number of entries in time, that prize will be returned to the challenge creator. If it resolves successfully, the winner takes the prize. Entry fees for flat prize challenges go 100% to the creator until the prize is fully reimbursed, at which point the creator splits entry fees with Prose 50/50. 10% of the prize is charged as a non-refundable posting fee when the challenge is created. 

Compound Prize challenges add 70% of each entry fee to the purse, 20% goes to the challenge creator, and 10% to Prose. Compound prize challenges cost 100 coins ($1) to create.

Prize: The prize only applies to challenges with the prize rule set to "flat" or "compound." For flat prizes, the prize you enter is the prize the winner receives. For compound prizes, the prize you set is just a starting point. 70% of each entry fee is added to the prize until the challenge resolves.

Entry Fee: Entry fees are paid by participants to enter the challenge. Entry fees are optional for flat prize challenges, but are required for compound prize challenges. For flat prize challenges, the entry fee is used to reimburse the challenge creator. For compound prize challenges, 70% of the entry fee is added to the total prize purse, with 20% going to the creator, and 10% to Prose. Of course, you can still set a free-to-enter challenge with no prize either. The above applies to 'premium challenges' only

Posting Fee: When you post a premium challenge, you pay the baseline prize up front. That prize is stored until the challenge resolves, at which time the prize is sent to the winner. If the challenge expires before reaching the minimum number of entries, the prize will be refunded to you. In addition to the prize, you will be charged a small, non-refundable posting fee, equal to 10% of the base prize.

Along with this huge update, we have fixed a handful of bugs and cleaned house. 

We've got a couple more challenge extras we want to bring you, and then we shall be moving forward with our goals for improving your experience. 

Until next time, Prosers, 

Prose. 

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Challenges Update: Now Live!
Good Morning, Prosers, 

Challenges have been updated! New options are available and you can now attach prizes and entry fees, in the form of Prose Coins to your challenges. Winners take home the purse, and entry fees serve to either increase the prize pool, or reward you for writing a great prompt.

Entry Limits: You can now specify the minimum and maximum number of allowed entries. Minimum entries determines the minimum number of entries required, before the end date is reached, for a winner to be declared. If the minimum number is not reached, challenge entry fees and prizes will be refunded, and the challenge will be marked "expired." Maximum entries determines the maximum number of entries allowed. If the number of entries reaches the maximum before time runs out, the challenge will be resolved early and applicable prizes will be distributed.

Judgement: Winners can be chosen in one of two ways. 

Democracy challenges automatically choose the post with the most likes at the time of the challenge resolution, either when the end date or the maximum entry limit is reached. 

Monarchy challenges require the creator (you) to select a winner when the challenge ends. You will be notified by email when it's time to make a selection, and can select a winner by pasting the URL of the winning post on this page. 

*Premium challenges (challenges with prizes), require the winner to be selected by the monarchy rule, and for the selection to be confirmed by Prose.

** You can now check out the winners of previous challenges from this day forward by visiting the following link theprose.com/challenges/archive. The winners will only be displayed for challenges created from this point onwards.

Prize Rule: The prize rule determines how entry fees and winner prizes are used. 

Flat Prize challenges require the creator to provide the prize purse up front. If the challenge does not reach the required number of entries in time, that prize will be returned to the challenge creator. If it resolves successfully, the winner takes the prize. Entry fees for flat prize challenges go 100% to the creator until the prize is fully reimbursed, at which point the creator splits entry fees with Prose 50/50. 10% of the prize is charged as a non-refundable posting fee when the challenge is created. 

Compound Prize challenges add 70% of each entry fee to the purse, 20% goes to the challenge creator, and 10% to Prose. Compound prize challenges cost 100 coins ($1) to create.

Prize: The prize only applies to challenges with the prize rule set to "flat" or "compound." For flat prizes, the prize you enter is the prize the winner receives. For compound prizes, the prize you set is just a starting point. 70% of each entry fee is added to the prize until the challenge resolves.

Entry Fee: Entry fees are paid by participants to enter the challenge. Entry fees are optional for flat prize challenges, but are required for compound prize challenges. For flat prize challenges, the entry fee is used to reimburse the challenge creator. For compound prize challenges, 70% of the entry fee is added to the total prize purse, with 20% going to the creator, and 10% to Prose. Of course, you can still set a free-to-enter challenge with no prize either. The above applies to 'premium challenges' only

Posting Fee: When you post a premium challenge, you pay the baseline prize up front. That prize is stored until the challenge resolves, at which time the prize is sent to the winner. If the challenge expires before reaching the minimum number of entries, the prize will be refunded to you. In addition to the prize, you will be charged a small, non-refundable posting fee, equal to 10% of the base prize.

Along with this huge update, we have fixed a handful of bugs and cleaned house. 

We've got a couple more challenge extras we want to bring you, and then we shall be moving forward with our goals for improving your experience. 

Until next time, Prosers, 

Prose. 
#challenges  #update  #TheNextChapter  #ListenUp 
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Friday Feature: @JamesMByers

It’s Friday. It’s a good Friday. And it’s actually Good Friday! Of course, every Friday we hungrily delve into a Proser's life in our Friday Feature. This week is no exception, yet is exceptional, as we are finding out all about a Proser that many of us know and love, but want to know more about. He actually answered our questions a while ago, but silly me (Paul), didn't post it for some reason! Please be upstanding for JamesMByers!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

J: Greetings Prose. I'm James Matthew Byers. You guys know me as @JamesMByers.

P: Where do you live?

J: I reside in Wellington, AL. What's special about that? Wellington, New Zealand happens to be where Peter Jackson filmed much of The Lord of the Rings films. I'd like to think of my home as a displaced component of the Shire. After all, our dog is named Arwen … My wife and two of my four children live with me in our above ground “Hobbit hole.”

P: What is your occupation?

J: By day, I'm a mild mannered middle school teacher. But when the sun sets, the mask appears. Then I am James Matthew Byers, writer, poet, and illustrator. Outside of my day job, I'm on the crew at Stitched Smile Publications, LLC as their resident illustrator.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

J: Writing has been an essential element for most of my life. I've been crafting stories and illustrating them since, believe it or not, age three. In sixth grade I had the pleasure of being introduced to poetry via Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It altered the course of my life forever. I began writing songs and poems. I wrote novellas. I illustrated everything. Through education and practice, I have evolved into a focused poet who utilizes rhyming mechanisms to primarily express what's in my soul. I've grown leaps and bounds with the use of meter. I wrote my first rhyming tale my senior year in high school. We had to construct a story similar to Chaucer’s style in “The Canterbury Tales.” I fell in love with combing story telling and rhyming. The rest, as they say, is history.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

J: Reading is why I'm here. I've been an avid reader my whole life. I taught middle school English and reading for ten years. Staying in books increases your vocabulary. It also teaches how plot devices are applied and how characters grow and change in their development. I've read nearly every DragonLance novel out there. Lewis and Tolkien are influences. There are so many! I'm an advocate for people to visit the classics, like “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Dracula,” “A Princess of Mars,” and so many other wonderful maps we all need to follow. I read to relax, and professionally, I read to stay relevant. As a writer, you must possess “withitness.”

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?

J: Currently I'm working on several projects for Stitched Smile Publications. I've got a rhyming story called “The Secrets That We Keep” in their latest anthology. It's called Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. I've also got anther mini epic called “Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space” in a collection of Easter themed horror tales called Collected Easter Horror Shorts. It's something that a wonderful fellow named Kevin J. Kennedy put together. And there will be sequels to my current release, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. In May, my poem, “The Dinner Fly,” will be in Weirdbook Magazine issue #35. I'm also going to be in an upcoming issue of Grievous Angel. (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/grievous-angel) The poem is titled “Conundrum of the Irish Sea.” As far as posts here at Prose, the skies the limit. I'll be crafting some nifty story poems, entering challenges, and offering a few surprises.

P: What do you love about Prose?

J: Prose has risen to the top of my favorite social media outlets. This is where I've found my tribe. I enjoy encouraging other writers and poets. I enjoy sharing my work with a community who get it; get me. I'm plugging it like crazy on all my social media venues. I wake up excited every day to see new faces and old friends publish their works. You can't get that kind of excitement just any where. I'm still I awe that I've won three of the weekly challenges. What do I love about Prose? EVERYTHING!!!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

J: There are so many great books! The classics would be an easy go to, but I'm going to plug a literary hero of mine. J. Robert Kings “Hellmaw: The Incubus Tweets” is my sacrificial lamb. It's out now from The Ed Greenwood Group. (Onder Librum) It's hip, relevant, and quite humorous. This generation would get it, and for reading to be relatable conquers many battles in the most simplistic of fashions. The protagonist/antagonist, Frank Demonkowski keeps you in stitches. I'd like everyone to laugh hardly as they go gently into that good night …

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

J: My senior English teacher, Marie Duncan, definitely played a critical role in who I am today. She's my friend on Facebook. Recently she celebrated her eightieth birthday. I'm so happy she's getting to see me break into this wonderful industry!

P: Describe yourself in three words!

J: Enthusiastic, poetic, unique

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

J: “To a young heart everything is fun.” – Charles Dickens

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?

J: I'm into so many facets of music. If I'm reading or writing, I primarily stick with soundtrack scores. Conan the Barbarian is a fave. I also love The Last of the Mohicans. Anything John Williams will do. When I illustrate, I alternate between classical, symphonic metal, and Garbage. I've created many entries into the art world while thumping along to “Version 2.0.”

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

J:

Once upon a time we had to write our stories down.

Now you have no books that I have noticed in your town.

What's a book? I'm glad you asked- I'll fill you in right here.

Paper bound containing words, they filled the mind with cheer.

Some expressed a broken heart, and some expressed its joy.

Some related grown adults, and some a girl or boy.

Some expressed adventure and some told a tragic tale.

Some invoked emotion and some helped us to prevail.

Some taught lessons granted and some talked about the past.

Books were lovely in design; I'm sad they didn't last.

My idea birthing new- you have to make this right.

Grab some paper and a pen, and watch me shed some light.

Do you all tell stories? Yes, I thought you surely did.

Even if they come from someone who is just a kid-

Write them down and share their worth- bring back the written word!

This is what I leave with you; I hope I'm being heard.

I must go back to my home, but spread these newfound strengths.

Reading will evolve your kind and take you to great lengths.

Put it all together and have others take a look.

Now you know what you have missed; I've given back the book …

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

J: In 2010 I graduate from Jacksonville State University with my Master's in Secondary English/ Language Arts Education. My bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts with a concentration in English/Lit. Having a solid background in poetry has molded me into a more prolific and precise writer. Before attending JSU, I took art courses from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or better known as U. A. B. I've written several poetry compilations and have been published through JSU as well. I do have an unpublished novel that doesn't rhyme. I'm saving it. I just love telling tales that use verse to explore the situation at hand. I reworked “Beowulf” into rhyming iambic tetrameter. I mentioned the title earlier- Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. It stays true to the original in every way. The only difference is it rhymes. It also contains “The Wanderer” as an epilogue. I've always felt that classic tale was none other than Wiglaf, the young hero who aided Beowulf against the dragon. I did the cover and interior illustrations. I'm signed with a wonderful indie press called Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. I believe I mentioned I'm their resident illustrator earlier. They have many talented authors on board. In fact, several of them are here at Prose! If you're a fan of horror and dark fantasy, they've got what you need. I'm including the link to their website below. I'm a poet first, but I'm also a story teller and an artist. I want to share, motivate, and inspire the literary community abroad. I want to make rhyming hip again. I've always wanted to be a combination of Dr. Seuss and J. R. R. Tolkien. More than anything, I want to encourage everyone out there to follow their dreams. If you believe you can, you will. Thanks for having me, Prose!

Here are a few ways to find me:

http://jamesmatthewbyers.wordpress.com

https://m.facebook.com/Mattbyers40/

www.Twitter.com/MattByers40

https://theprose.com/JamesMByers

https://www.wattpad.com/user/JamesMatthewByers

http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

Well thank you very much, James. It may have been a while coming, but it was worth it. 

You know what to do now – follow, like, comment, love and do all those things that make us as a community unique.

As ever, if you want to feature, or you want someone to feature, get in touch on info@theprose.com

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Friday Feature: @JamesMByers
It’s Friday. It’s a good Friday. And it’s actually Good Friday! Of course, every Friday we hungrily delve into a Proser's life in our Friday Feature. This week is no exception, yet is exceptional, as we are finding out all about a Proser that many of us know and love, but want to know more about. He actually answered our questions a while ago, but silly me (Paul), didn't post it for some reason! Please be upstanding for JamesMByers!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
J: Greetings Prose. I'm James Matthew Byers. You guys know me as @JamesMByers.

P: Where do you live?
J: I reside in Wellington, AL. What's special about that? Wellington, New Zealand happens to be where Peter Jackson filmed much of The Lord of the Rings films. I'd like to think of my home as a displaced component of the Shire. After all, our dog is named Arwen … My wife and two of my four children live with me in our above ground “Hobbit hole.”

P: What is your occupation?
J: By day, I'm a mild mannered middle school teacher. But when the sun sets, the mask appears. Then I am James Matthew Byers, writer, poet, and illustrator. Outside of my day job, I'm on the crew at Stitched Smile Publications, LLC as their resident illustrator.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
J: Writing has been an essential element for most of my life. I've been crafting stories and illustrating them since, believe it or not, age three. In sixth grade I had the pleasure of being introduced to poetry via Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It altered the course of my life forever. I began writing songs and poems. I wrote novellas. I illustrated everything. Through education and practice, I have evolved into a focused poet who utilizes rhyming mechanisms to primarily express what's in my soul. I've grown leaps and bounds with the use of meter. I wrote my first rhyming tale my senior year in high school. We had to construct a story similar to Chaucer’s style in “The Canterbury Tales.” I fell in love with combing story telling and rhyming. The rest, as they say, is history.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
J: Reading is why I'm here. I've been an avid reader my whole life. I taught middle school English and reading for ten years. Staying in books increases your vocabulary. It also teaches how plot devices are applied and how characters grow and change in their development. I've read nearly every DragonLance novel out there. Lewis and Tolkien are influences. There are so many! I'm an advocate for people to visit the classics, like “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Dracula,” “A Princess of Mars,” and so many other wonderful maps we all need to follow. I read to relax, and professionally, I read to stay relevant. As a writer, you must possess “withitness.”

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?
J: Currently I'm working on several projects for Stitched Smile Publications. I've got a rhyming story called “The Secrets That We Keep” in their latest anthology. It's called Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. I've also got anther mini epic called “Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space” in a collection of Easter themed horror tales called Collected Easter Horror Shorts. It's something that a wonderful fellow named Kevin J. Kennedy put together. And there will be sequels to my current release, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. In May, my poem, “The Dinner Fly,” will be in Weirdbook Magazine issue #35. I'm also going to be in an upcoming issue of Grievous Angel. (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/grievous-angel) The poem is titled “Conundrum of the Irish Sea.” As far as posts here at Prose, the skies the limit. I'll be crafting some nifty story poems, entering challenges, and offering a few surprises.

P: What do you love about Prose?
J: Prose has risen to the top of my favorite social media outlets. This is where I've found my tribe. I enjoy encouraging other writers and poets. I enjoy sharing my work with a community who get it; get me. I'm plugging it like crazy on all my social media venues. I wake up excited every day to see new faces and old friends publish their works. You can't get that kind of excitement just any where. I'm still I awe that I've won three of the weekly challenges. What do I love about Prose? EVERYTHING!!!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
J: There are so many great books! The classics would be an easy go to, but I'm going to plug a literary hero of mine. J. Robert Kings “Hellmaw: The Incubus Tweets” is my sacrificial lamb. It's out now from The Ed Greenwood Group. (Onder Librum) It's hip, relevant, and quite humorous. This generation would get it, and for reading to be relatable conquers many battles in the most simplistic of fashions. The protagonist/antagonist, Frank Demonkowski keeps you in stitches. I'd like everyone to laugh hardly as they go gently into that good night …

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
J: My senior English teacher, Marie Duncan, definitely played a critical role in who I am today. She's my friend on Facebook. Recently she celebrated her eightieth birthday. I'm so happy she's getting to see me break into this wonderful industry!

P: Describe yourself in three words!
J: Enthusiastic, poetic, unique

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
J: “To a young heart everything is fun.” – Charles Dickens

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?
J: I'm into so many facets of music. If I'm reading or writing, I primarily stick with soundtrack scores. Conan the Barbarian is a fave. I also love The Last of the Mohicans. Anything John Williams will do. When I illustrate, I alternate between classical, symphonic metal, and Garbage. I've created many entries into the art world while thumping along to “Version 2.0.”

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
J:
Once upon a time we had to write our stories down.
Now you have no books that I have noticed in your town.
What's a book? I'm glad you asked- I'll fill you in right here.
Paper bound containing words, they filled the mind with cheer.
Some expressed a broken heart, and some expressed its joy.
Some related grown adults, and some a girl or boy.
Some expressed adventure and some told a tragic tale.
Some invoked emotion and some helped us to prevail.
Some taught lessons granted and some talked about the past.
Books were lovely in design; I'm sad they didn't last.
My idea birthing new- you have to make this right.
Grab some paper and a pen, and watch me shed some light.
Do you all tell stories? Yes, I thought you surely did.
Even if they come from someone who is just a kid-
Write them down and share their worth- bring back the written word!
This is what I leave with you; I hope I'm being heard.
I must go back to my home, but spread these newfound strengths.
Reading will evolve your kind and take you to great lengths.
Put it all together and have others take a look.
Now you know what you have missed; I've given back the book …

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
J: In 2010 I graduate from Jacksonville State University with my Master's in Secondary English/ Language Arts Education. My bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts with a concentration in English/Lit. Having a solid background in poetry has molded me into a more prolific and precise writer. Before attending JSU, I took art courses from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or better known as U. A. B. I've written several poetry compilations and have been published through JSU as well. I do have an unpublished novel that doesn't rhyme. I'm saving it. I just love telling tales that use verse to explore the situation at hand. I reworked “Beowulf” into rhyming iambic tetrameter. I mentioned the title earlier- Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. It stays true to the original in every way. The only difference is it rhymes. It also contains “The Wanderer” as an epilogue. I've always felt that classic tale was none other than Wiglaf, the young hero who aided Beowulf against the dragon. I did the cover and interior illustrations. I'm signed with a wonderful indie press called Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. I believe I mentioned I'm their resident illustrator earlier. They have many talented authors on board. In fact, several of them are here at Prose! If you're a fan of horror and dark fantasy, they've got what you need. I'm including the link to their website below. I'm a poet first, but I'm also a story teller and an artist. I want to share, motivate, and inspire the literary community abroad. I want to make rhyming hip again. I've always wanted to be a combination of Dr. Seuss and J. R. R. Tolkien. More than anything, I want to encourage everyone out there to follow their dreams. If you believe you can, you will. Thanks for having me, Prose!

Here are a few ways to find me:
http://jamesmatthewbyers.wordpress.com
https://m.facebook.com/Mattbyers40/
www.Twitter.com/MattByers40
https://theprose.com/JamesMByers
https://www.wattpad.com/user/JamesMatthewByers
http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

Well thank you very much, James. It may have been a while coming, but it was worth it. 

You know what to do now – follow, like, comment, love and do all those things that make us as a community unique.

As ever, if you want to feature, or you want someone to feature, get in touch on info@theprose.com
#nonfiction  #news  #opinion  #FridayFeature  #interview 
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PoetsINPrison - A Year On

PoetsIN is more than a company, it’s a movement. One that aims to rehabilitate and aid mental wellbeing through the power of words. For the past year, we have been working in HMP Peterborough, UK, working hard to fine-tune our creative writing workshops.

The following piece is written by one of our service-users. She joined us on week one of the program and is still working with us today. We couldn’t be prouder of the progress she has made.

* * *

It's been one hell of a fantastic year!

For the past 12 months, I have been involved in a creative writing group run at HMP Peterborough. When I first started, I felt shy and uncomfortable.

I've always had a passion for writing, but I never felt I actually had any skill.

Through PoetsIN and the tasks and challenges set, I've not only found I have a talent and flair for prose, I have also found my voice.

My self-esteem has soared and now I feel like the sky's the limit.

Poetry - there was no way I was going to enjoy that.

True life - I never had the urge to tell my story.

Fiction - Didn't think I could put down my ideas on paper.

Yet a year later, I excel.

For me, learning new techniques and styles of writing has helped me to express my feelings, deal with the unknown, and beat my demons of self-harming.

Oh, I dip in and out of these negative, dark places; I wouldn't be human if I didn't. But the gaps of desperation and feelings of hopelessness are few and far between.

All of the work that is posted online on my behalf gets the most amazing feedback - of which I get a copy.

The words I read from my readers bring on more encouragement, tips, and advice than I ever thought I'd get. I expected criticism and belittling words at my perceived failures. I get the opposite of both.

I have now got a book deal, the chance of a lifetime. To write a novel and get it published is a heck of a challenge and I'm loving every second of it. The opportunities on offer to me, push and drive me towards working hard to get my parole.

Before all of this, I couldn't have cared less about a future I never thought I had

I'm now in a different prison, and through the grace of the gods, I can still write and get my work over to you.

I finally realise that I am worth more than rotting away behind bars. I have a purpose and can share with the world all that I can offer.

Every day I thank Sammie and Paul for coming into HMP Peterborough. I thank those who are dedicated to reading my words each week.

Every task I get, I put my all into it. I sit at my table, day in, day out, planning the next page, the next thought I can put on paper.

No longer does the razor blade speak for me upon my skin. The pen in hand calls me day and night.

I have been given a wonderful chance here and I have embraced it with open arms.

Bring on the tasks; let me enthral you with my mind.

No matter how cramped my hand gets from all of the writing, I will still go on. Because I am someone of worth.

@Squeakypeewee01 

* * *

We have many residents who boast of their own journeys, along with staff who speak of our successes; we’ll leave you with one that we are most proud of.

PoetsIN have added tangible value to our education department. In the year that they have been delivering the creative writing workshops I’ve seen mental wellness increase, self-harm decrease dramatically, addictions handled, self-worth improve and marked positive changes in the participants’ behaviour and skills in preparation for their release. The measurements they provide are extremely valuable. I highly recommend them.

– Wayne Peters, Director of Education, HMP Peterborough

We aim to make a difference in many different ways. Through our methods, we can increase mental wellness; giving our service users new techniques and coping strategies geared towards depression, anxiety, stress, self-harm, low self-confidence, to name a few.

Whilst delivering the above psychological benefits, we are also teaching core skills; speaking and listening, equality and diversity, communication - both spoken and written, language and grammar, presenting an argument assertively and intelligently, along with appreciation of others' views and more, which all help our service users become more employable, sociable, and able to maintain healthy relationships with those around them. The modular nature of our groups can be tailored in many different situations and scenarios.

To get involved or to make a donation to enable us to reach more vulnerable people, contact us either here via direct message, or at poetsin.com.

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Written by Prose
PoetsINPrison - A Year On
PoetsIN is more than a company, it’s a movement. One that aims to rehabilitate and aid mental wellbeing through the power of words. For the past year, we have been working in HMP Peterborough, UK, working hard to fine-tune our creative writing workshops.

The following piece is written by one of our service-users. She joined us on week one of the program and is still working with us today. We couldn’t be prouder of the progress she has made.

* * *
It's been one hell of a fantastic year!

For the past 12 months, I have been involved in a creative writing group run at HMP Peterborough. When I first started, I felt shy and uncomfortable.

I've always had a passion for writing, but I never felt I actually had any skill.

Through PoetsIN and the tasks and challenges set, I've not only found I have a talent and flair for prose, I have also found my voice.

My self-esteem has soared and now I feel like the sky's the limit.

Poetry - there was no way I was going to enjoy that.
True life - I never had the urge to tell my story.
Fiction - Didn't think I could put down my ideas on paper.

Yet a year later, I excel.

For me, learning new techniques and styles of writing has helped me to express my feelings, deal with the unknown, and beat my demons of self-harming.
Oh, I dip in and out of these negative, dark places; I wouldn't be human if I didn't. But the gaps of desperation and feelings of hopelessness are few and far between.

All of the work that is posted online on my behalf gets the most amazing feedback - of which I get a copy.

The words I read from my readers bring on more encouragement, tips, and advice than I ever thought I'd get. I expected criticism and belittling words at my perceived failures. I get the opposite of both.

I have now got a book deal, the chance of a lifetime. To write a novel and get it published is a heck of a challenge and I'm loving every second of it. The opportunities on offer to me, push and drive me towards working hard to get my parole.

Before all of this, I couldn't have cared less about a future I never thought I had
I'm now in a different prison, and through the grace of the gods, I can still write and get my work over to you.

I finally realise that I am worth more than rotting away behind bars. I have a purpose and can share with the world all that I can offer.

Every day I thank Sammie and Paul for coming into HMP Peterborough. I thank those who are dedicated to reading my words each week.

Every task I get, I put my all into it. I sit at my table, day in, day out, planning the next page, the next thought I can put on paper.

No longer does the razor blade speak for me upon my skin. The pen in hand calls me day and night.

I have been given a wonderful chance here and I have embraced it with open arms.
Bring on the tasks; let me enthral you with my mind.

No matter how cramped my hand gets from all of the writing, I will still go on. Because I am someone of worth.
@Squeakypeewee01 

* * *

We have many residents who boast of their own journeys, along with staff who speak of our successes; we’ll leave you with one that we are most proud of.

PoetsIN have added tangible value to our education department. In the year that they have been delivering the creative writing workshops I’ve seen mental wellness increase, self-harm decrease dramatically, addictions handled, self-worth improve and marked positive changes in the participants’ behaviour and skills in preparation for their release. The measurements they provide are extremely valuable. I highly recommend them.
– Wayne Peters, Director of Education, HMP Peterborough

We aim to make a difference in many different ways. Through our methods, we can increase mental wellness; giving our service users new techniques and coping strategies geared towards depression, anxiety, stress, self-harm, low self-confidence, to name a few.
Whilst delivering the above psychological benefits, we are also teaching core skills; speaking and listening, equality and diversity, communication - both spoken and written, language and grammar, presenting an argument assertively and intelligently, along with appreciation of others' views and more, which all help our service users become more employable, sociable, and able to maintain healthy relationships with those around them. The modular nature of our groups can be tailored in many different situations and scenarios.

To get involved or to make a donation to enable us to reach more vulnerable people, contact us either here via direct message, or at poetsin.com.
#poetsinprison  #PIP  #PoetsIN  #AYearOn 
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Prose Challenge of the Week #64

Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-four of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing a twisted tale, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #64: Write about the most hilarious thing you have ever witnessed. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-three.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @jwelker76 with their piece, Until Morning.

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

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Prose Challenge of the Week #64
Hello, Prosers,

We hope this challenge announcement finds you well and writing!

It’s week sixty-four of the Prose Challenge of the Week.

For the last week, you have been writing a twisted tale, and man, did you deliver. Before we check out who the deserving winner and recipient of $100 is, let’s take a look at this week’s prompt:

CotW #64: Write about the most hilarious thing you have ever witnessed. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.

Now, back to the winner of week sixty-three.

We have read all of your entries, and have come to a decision. The winner of the Twisted Tale challenge is @jwelker76 with their piece, Until Morning.

Congratulations! You have just won $100. We’ll be in touch with you shortly.

In the meantime, you have one week to get your write on!

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

#prosechallenge  #challengeoftheweek  #CotW  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Friday Feature: @istoppedtrying

It’s Friday again. HUZZAH! Of course, this means that we delve into the life of another member of this great writing community of ours. This week we head over to California to meet the very splendid @istoppedtrying

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

I: My name is William and my Prose name is @istoppedtrying.

P: Where do you live?

I: Palo Alto, California.

P: What is your occupation?

I: I am a middle school student braving math tests, structured essays and the social perils of stereotypes.

Writing, (on Prose), is the highlight of my day.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

I: My relationship with writing began with reading as it did for many others. I became entranced with the crude honesty of Cowper and the meaning packed poetry of T.S. Eliot.

I've been reading more and more contemporary poetry as the months go on and the poetry I write has reflected what I read.

I have used writing as a coping tool and as a boat for my "literary exploration."

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

I: Reading adds another depth to literature that I can't achieve through writing exclusively. Street signs and advertisements have a new importance to me.

The most nondescript parts of our society suddenly have so much meaning to me.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures?

I: Possibly some more books (collections of poetry, I don't have the stamina to write a full-length book) and similar individual posts to those I write now.

P: What do you love about Prose?

I: Prose is positive. Though many writers (including me) write about sadness and negativity, the overall vibe of Prose is positive.

This level of opposition creates a desire for me to never stop writing.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

I: The Dream Songs by John Berryman is the most gruesome and vivid anthology of confessional poetry that has ever been written, in my opinion.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

I: I had an English teacher in second grade who saw something "different" in me and allowed me to write a poem instead of a paragraph about The Little Engine that Could.

I've been writing ever since.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

I: Idiosyncratic. Evanescent. Ignorant.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up

I: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. -Winston Churchill

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

I: I am a growing fan of alternative, electronic and folktronica music. I write to the latter daily, simmering in the abstract and strange.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

I: Is there a rock and some mud around?

No mud?

My blood will do...

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

I: I find darkness and silence to produce some of my freshest ideas. If silence isn't possible, white noise will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

I: I have a speech impediment. I practically cannot pronounce the "r" sound. It began when I was five and has continued, unabated to this day.

This is why I prefer writing to public speaking.

A thousand thanks to William for opening up to us and sharing his life. You know what you’ve got to do now. Follow. Like. Love. Interact. Do the Prose thang. Meanwhile, get in touch if you want to nominate someone, even if it’s yourself. 

Do it on paul@theprose.com or info@theprose.com

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Friday Feature: @istoppedtrying
It’s Friday again. HUZZAH! Of course, this means that we delve into the life of another member of this great writing community of ours. This week we head over to California to meet the very splendid @istoppedtrying

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
I: My name is William and my Prose name is @istoppedtrying.

P: Where do you live?
I: Palo Alto, California.

P: What is your occupation?
I: I am a middle school student braving math tests, structured essays and the social perils of stereotypes.

Writing, (on Prose), is the highlight of my day.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
I: My relationship with writing began with reading as it did for many others. I became entranced with the crude honesty of Cowper and the meaning packed poetry of T.S. Eliot.

I've been reading more and more contemporary poetry as the months go on and the poetry I write has reflected what I read.

I have used writing as a coping tool and as a boat for my "literary exploration."

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
I: Reading adds another depth to literature that I can't achieve through writing exclusively. Street signs and advertisements have a new importance to me.

The most nondescript parts of our society suddenly have so much meaning to me.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures?
I: Possibly some more books (collections of poetry, I don't have the stamina to write a full-length book) and similar individual posts to those I write now.

P: What do you love about Prose?

I: Prose is positive. Though many writers (including me) write about sadness and negativity, the overall vibe of Prose is positive.

This level of opposition creates a desire for me to never stop writing.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

I: The Dream Songs by John Berryman is the most gruesome and vivid anthology of confessional poetry that has ever been written, in my opinion.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
I: I had an English teacher in second grade who saw something "different" in me and allowed me to write a poem instead of a paragraph about The Little Engine that Could.

I've been writing ever since.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
I: Idiosyncratic. Evanescent. Ignorant.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up
I: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. -Winston Churchill

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

I: I am a growing fan of alternative, electronic and folktronica music. I write to the latter daily, simmering in the abstract and strange.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
I: Is there a rock and some mud around?

No mud?

My blood will do...

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
I: I find darkness and silence to produce some of my freshest ideas. If silence isn't possible, white noise will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
I: I have a speech impediment. I practically cannot pronounce the "r" sound. It began when I was five and has continued, unabated to this day.

This is why I prefer writing to public speaking.

A thousand thanks to William for opening up to us and sharing his life. You know what you’ve got to do now. Follow. Like. Love. Interact. Do the Prose thang. Meanwhile, get in touch if you want to nominate someone, even if it’s yourself. 

Do it on paul@theprose.com or info@theprose.com
#nonfiction  #news  #opinion  #FridayFeature  #interview 
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