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The Writer's Life

What Writers Working Together Can Do

A few weeks back I wrote about my friend Jon Zech, whose cancer has him stuck in bed with little hope of recovery. I wanted to update readers on a couple of developments.

First, Jon is much more comfortable these days. The docs have finally got the meds right so he can function without the incredible pain of the disease pressing against his spine.

I had also mentioned that Jon wrote for thirty years without seriously pursuing publication, even though much of what he wrote could have been published. Our local writers groups are taking care of that too. We came together and realized that among us, we had the skills to produce our own books (some of us have started a small business to provide that service). In addition to being writers and editors, several among us are graphic designers, cover artists and proofreaders.

So a project was born. Fortunately Jon had most of his writing in digital form. We asked for a copy. Members of the group perused each file to determine which were complete stories and which weren’t. Then we created a logical order. We edited. We created a layout. We designed a cover. We proofread.

jon zech_pb front cover smA month later we have Sparks, a collection of Jon Zech’s work, a 366-page compendium of stories, poetry, and an unfinished novel. It went up for sale on Amazon this week and the response has been tremendous. We even produced a hardcover version just for Jon that includes his novel, Buck & Tangee. That one weighs in at 536 pages, and is a testament to a writer’s life.

The idea of writers as aloof, self-centered artists isn’t always accurate. We usually work alone, but when we have a good cause we can come together as well as any other group. The proof is in this book. I hope you’ll take a look.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


15 thoughts on “What Writers Working Together Can Do

  1. What a joy it was to read this post with my morning coffee. I just ordered my copy from Amazon. Congratulations Jon Zech!!!

    Posted by Teri | December 14, 2013, 3:21 PM
  2. Congratulations both to Jon Zech and to your group, to all of you for standing forth for what writers (and friends) can accomplish in this doubtful world.

    Posted by shadowoperator | December 14, 2013, 3:31 PM
  3. You’re a real sweetheart, Joe. I can only imagine what this must mean to Jon. Kudos to you and your writing group. I’ll order Sparks today.

    Posted by Darrelyn Saloom | December 14, 2013, 3:36 PM
  4. So glad to hear about this project, Joe. Thanks for sharing Jon’s book.

    Posted by LCEaton | December 14, 2013, 4:47 PM
  5. Joe, you are too modest. The group came together…around you. Your vision and energy created this small miracle in WEEKS where it would have taken another months, at least. Of course, that’s in no way to diminish Dora Badger’s brilliant cover and other folk’s superior editing and proof reading skills. Apart from the stories, all I contributed was the title. How much does it mean to me? You can only imagine, and then you’d only be half right.
    Think about this: My life is contained within about one cubic meter, my eating is seriously limited and for everything not within my grasp, I have to ask. Thank God the pain is now minor compared to what it was. So when this project appeared, I was thrilled. It was perfect for me in all ways: A whole new thing to think about, more contact and conversation with my friends and a validation of my writing life, for better or worse. I can honestly say that Sparks has done more for my state of mind than anything medical science has done. Thank you, Joe and company and all of you who might take a look at Sparks.

    Posted by jonzech | December 14, 2013, 8:40 PM
    • Well, you say “apart from the stories…” But Jon, it’s the stories that make Sparks the wonderful book it is. Our efforts to put the book together are nothing compared to that.

      Posted by jpon | December 16, 2013, 10:27 AM
  6. How positively outstanding to all who took part! I will check out this work…and, Jon, I hope this helps you in ways you can only imagine—and, please, do, IMAGINE. Wish the best for you—and thank you (in advance) for all your efforts in creating this work! I look forward to reading them.

    Joe…you’re one helluva guy. My hat’s off to you and those who helped you in getting this out there. We need more people in the world like all of you!

    Posted by fpdorchak | December 15, 2013, 3:01 AM
  7. Wow Joe, what a great story. I remember when you wrote about Jon some weeks back. It’s wonderful that you pooled your resources within your writers group to give him this gift. You’ve ensured his legacy will live on. Is Sparks also available on the B&N Nook?

    Posted by Gwen Stephens | December 15, 2013, 12:08 PM
    • Thanks, Gwen. We are working on the e-reader versions and will let everyone know when they’re ready.

      Posted by jpon | December 15, 2013, 12:13 PM
      • That’s great, I’ll look forward to it. I checked out the link above to Woodward Press. Have you considered making your involvement with it more visible here on your blog? I think it’s terrific that you’ve banded together with other writers to make it all happen. I see Jon has other work available through the site, and your collection is there too. I will definitely check them out.

        Posted by Gwen Stephens | December 15, 2013, 12:18 PM
      • Well, a couple of things: first, we’re still working on getting the web site done. The graphics you saw are not the final ones.
        But a bigger issue for me is the upcoming move to Tacoma, which includes another literary business opportunity. Since Woodward Press has been billed as local writers helping other local writers, it’s going to be difficult to make that work from 2,000 miles away. I’ll probably make my role more of a subcontractor to the main group. Plus I’m really excited about the other opportunity, but I can’t divulge details yet. Probably in the new year.

        Posted by jpon | December 15, 2013, 1:23 PM
  8. Boy, 2014 is really looking up for you. I’ll look forward to your news.

    Posted by Gwen Stephens | December 15, 2013, 1:25 PM
  9. That is awesome. My best wishes to Jon.

    Posted by Maria G | December 16, 2013, 4:32 AM
  10. Congratulation Joe and company, for putting together this collection of Jon’s work so quickly and beautifully. What a wonderful gift you have given us all. Best to you in your exciting new prospects. And Jon, you say your reach is merely arm’s length, but in fact you continue to touch so many lives. And now with this book, your reach widens—smile on that, old friend :-) We are.

    Posted by miriamagosto | December 16, 2013, 7:46 PM
  11. I’m proud to be a member of Jon’s writing group and was happy to help out with what little I did. Thanks, Joe, for spearheading this project and getting us all involved. For those who haven’t gotten a copy of the book, don’t miss the experience of reading Jon’s stories. So many are about ordinary people, about hope, about those sparks of humanity that, even in the dark, make us look up and wonder.

    Posted by Veronica Dale | January 7, 2014, 2:29 AM

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