Every other week, Jersey City Writers focuses on workshopping member projects. Sometimes we sign up weeks in advance to make sure we will have writers queued for workshop. It was because of this that I experienced that surprising terror that strikes on Sunday night:
Oh crap! I have to e-mail Jim with something for workshop!
On one such occasion, I thought, “Okay, I don’t want to totally embarrass myself by turning in some half-baked haiku, so I will just have to write something silly about sky pirates!”
So I stayed up all night weaving a tale of a cross-dressing sky pirate and her ragtag band of social misfits and to my amazement, the next day, my fellow writers loved it. The group is always supportive and constructive in their feedback, but something was different about this project. They expressed a genuine interest in reading more of this crazy adventure. Perhaps it was because we got to do pirate voices and partake in the humor of renegade thugs, but I wholeheartedly plunged myself into completing Sky Song Overture.
Soon enough what started out as whacky dialogue between a couple of miscreants became a novella, and then a novel. Jersey City Writers turns us into writing machines, because when you start doing prompts, marathons and workshops every week, you get the writing bug.
To complete my final draft for self-publication, I utilized the help of Full Story partners Kay Dominguez, Rachel Poy and Sara Stone.
Full Story is a branch of Jersey City Writers organized by Allison Goldstein that meets once a month on Wednesday night at Indiegrove. It pairs writers to work on their novels together and provide mutual feedback.
These brave souls Dominguez, Poy and Stone took on the arduous task of line-editing my beast of a yarn. Their careful proofing and close reading was essential in putting out a final product, and I think any writer trying to survive in the fiction market today needs that kind of support. All of my friends at Jersey City Writers have helped me grow in the last two years. Joining the group was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Wherever you are, my biggest recommendation to aspiring writers is to get involved with your local writing community. Not only will you refine your craft and be privy to new opportunities, but you will make lifelong friends along the way.
Several of my chapters were workshopped with Jersey City Writers. If anyone is interested in reading it in its entirety, Sky Song Overture is available for purchase on Amazon, both as an ebook and a paperback. There is also a giveaway going on right now on Goodreads, where you can enter to win a free copy. If you want to sample it first, the first five chapters are available on Wattpad.
So, maybe you’re left wondering what Sky Song Overture is even about? Aside from the magic of friendship, this novel is about freedom, fearlessness and the importance of speaking out against corruption. There are also sky shanties and a hydrogen airship rigged to explode. Need I say more?
To close, I would like to ask readers to please leave me a book review on Goodreads or Amazon. As a self-published and self-promoted author, I face much adversity competing with big name publishing companies. To support all those underdog publications that have touched your heart, you can do so much by leaving reviews, liking their pages on Facebook and telling your friends.