Patricia McConnel's Home Page

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Published works
Scheduled workshops and readings

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Work in progress (under construction)

Recent news

After many delays, my novel, Sing Soft, Sing Loud, was published in Japan. SSSL has already been published in France. This book has legs. It has been fifteen years since it was first published in the USA by Atheneum. It is still being used as a supplementary text in universities around the country in diverse disciplines such as sociology, women's studies, criminal justice, and literature, partly because it is the only novel in print about women on the street and in prison that is written by a woman who lived it. Take a look, as Oprah would say.

Work in progress: The Quest of Elizabeth Halfpenny is an adventure set in the Four Corners area of Southeastern Utah in the 1930s. The structure of the novel is based on the classical heroic quest myth, revised to have relevance to the lives of 21st century women.

Also in progress: Old Woman Walking. I planned a solitary backpacking trip along Comb Ridge in the red rock desert country of Southeastern Utah to celebrate my 70th birthday in October of 2001. The trip and my preparation for it became a focal point for dealing with spiritual and psychological issues regarding growing old and reviewing and evaluating my life. However, the trip had to be postponed because of a back injury, but I am using the preparation for it as a hub for an autobiography. You can read more about the book at

Want to see my house in the mountains and read about all the freeloaders I support?




Sing Soft, Sing Loud: hard cover edition Atheneum, 1989; Paperback edition: Logoría, 1995

California Song, the French edition of Sing Soft, Sing Loud: Editions Fixot, Paris, France, 1990

Japanese edition of Sing Soft, Sing Loud:Tokuma Publishers, Tokyo, August 2004.

The Woman's Work-At-Home Handbook: Income and Independence with a Computer: Bantam Books, 1986. Out of print.

Eye of the Beholder: Deer Hunting Through the Eyes of a Born-Again Pagan: Logoría, 1994

Editor: Women's Voices Within: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Correctional Facility, Draper, Utah: Utah Arts Council, 1993

Creativity Held Captive: Guidelines for Working with Artists in Prisons Logoría, 1995

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Selected Short Stories, Essays, Articles

"The Floor": Great & Peculiar Beauty: A Utah Centennial Reader, anthology, Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 1995; Passages North Anthology, Milkweed Editions, April 1990.

"Edna": Sojourner; Selected Tumblewords, anthology, University of Nevada Press, 1995.

"The Way I Live": Title story of The Way We Live, anthology, Signature Books, 1994; Neon, the literary magazine of the Nevada Arts Council, 1995.

"The Orderly World of Salvatore Scipio": Crosscurrents, 1993.

"The Calling": Crosscurrents, a literary magazine, 1992; The Best of Crosscurrents, anthology, 1994.

"The Triangle": Touching Fire, An Anthology Of Erotic Writings By Women, Carroll & Graf, December 1989.

"Sing Soft, Sing Loud" (title story from novel of the same name): Wall Tappings: An Anthology of Writings by Women Prisoners, Northeastern University Press, 1986.

"The Aviarian", one of Ten Best PEN Short Stories of 1984: The Available Press/PEN Short Story Collection, Ballantine, 1985; also published in seven major metropolitan newspapers by the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, 1984.

“On desert water rights, the relevance of literary traditions to interspecies relations, and the Disney Weltanschauung”: Petroglyph, a literary magazine; The PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, multiple newspapers, 1984; Desert USA, an online magazine, 2002; The Las Vegas Sun, 1989

I have published many columns and articles in magazines and newspapers, too many to list here.

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Patricia (Toni) McConnel has had a distinguished career. By her sixteenth birthday she had already ridden freights and hitchhiked across the country and had accomplished the first of several incarcerations. Before she was out of her teens she had been fired from two waitress jobs for general inefficiency, one job as a B-girl for the same reason, and two jobs for refusing to sleep with the boss.

Desperate, she joined the WAC (Women's Army Corps), but was discharged in less than a year for general inadaptability. After a series of short-lived jobs in machine shops and cocktail bars (she had learned to quit before she was fired), she turned to a life of crime, which seemed to offer high wages for people like herself, that is, with no particular skills. After failing at that as well, eventually ending up in a federal prison, she tried marriage, the worst disaster of all. When you've failed at everything you ever tried, what's left? To become a writer, of course.

As a writer, McConnel continued the pattern of failure for many, many years, but eventually found an agent who recognized the value of her work. In 1986 her first book was published: The Woman's Work-At-Home Handbook: Income and Independence With A Computer (Bantam Books). While working on that book McConnel won her first creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1983) for work that eventually became her book of autobiographical fiction, Sing Soft, Sing Loud, about women on the street and in prison, published originally in hardcover by Atheneum and now available in paperback from Logoría.

A second NEA fellowship came in 1988. Her short story "The Aviarian" was chosen as one of the Ten Best PEN Short Stories of 1984. In 1985 she was invited to give a reading at the Library of Congress. She has won several other literary grants and awards, but, with few exceptions, literary magazines still do not publish her work.

With two published books in lieu of academic credentials (in fact, she never finished high school), McConnel taught creative writing for a year at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, but she failed to adapt successfully to the academic environment. She now visits jails and prisons to give readings and teach writing workshops, and, having accepted once and for all that she is unemployable, makes her living at home as an independent contractor doing technical writing and editing. She teaches occasional writing workshops, and is at work on a novel, The Quest of Elizabeth Halfpenny (pronounced hay-penny), which is an attempt to write a heroic quest myth that has relevance to the lives of 21st century women.

McConnel lives in Dead Cat, Arizona with two cats, Samantha and Mitzi; assorted freeloaders who come in the cat door to raid the kitchen, including three feral cats, a skunk, a raccoon, and a porcupine; and two old trucks, Serafina and Suzie, at least one of which is not running at any given time. McConnel attempts to repair them herself but, of course, usually fails.


The Misfit Women web site is a place for women who can't or won't conform. Check it out.


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