WITNESS TESTIMONY AND OTHER TALES
Please welcome Patt O'Neil and her journey to the publication of "Witness Testimony and Other Tales" on the Writer's Journey Blog!
I didn’t start out writing a book—well, yes, I did, but not this book. Four years ago, I woke up one morning knowing I had to write a novel. Working for two-and-half weeks, I “birthed” Finding Jane. I shared it with a few friends, and I liked the way it felt knowing someone else was reading, and supposedly enjoying, my work, I decided to become a professional writer.
Friends recommended Facebook writing groups, which led me to writing friends on Facebook.
It was through them I learned about how the Internet had expanded
opportunities for publication. My book was not ready to be self-published, having been described as, “a beautiful model with nothing to wear down the runway.” I needed to improve me skills, and on the suggestion of my new friends, I started penning short stories. I’m now in love—with short stories that is.
I submitted a couple of stories to one of the anthologies sponsored by the writing groups and was flatly rejected. They were good stories, but like Finding Jane, amateurish. If I wanted to write just for my own amusement, they were fine, but I wanted them to reach a wide audience, so I hired an editor. Best decision I ever made, probably other than marrying my husband.
The first few stories needed a great deal of work, mostly grammatical and punctuation errors. One thing I recommend to people who are just beginning with editors is to learn from what is returned. I was making the same errors over and over, now I consciously work to not write that way. Just because you’re paying for someone to clean up your work, doesn’t give you license to produce a sloppy product.
I belong to is the Inner Circle Writers’ Group, which is sponsored by Clarendon House Publications. Shortly after joining, ICWG announced themed anthologies, where a publication contract is awarded to the author whose story was chosen the best as voted by the members of ICWG. Though my work appeared in many ICWG anthologies, I never won.
When the anthology, ENIGMA, was announced, I knew I had a winner. “Her Sister’s Keeper,” had started out as a Sherlock Holmes radio play. I rewrote it as prose twice, even editing it twice, and that version tied for the best story and the publishing contract.
I set myself to write for the collection, but in June 2019, I had a mini stroke. It took three months before I could work again. Producing fresh material was slow, so with new and selected reprints, I sent off 70k words to the publisher. I chose the name, “Witness Testimony and Other Tales”, giving tribute to an early, and I think the best, story I’ve had published. It was published in late April, as I recuperated from cancer surgery. It has been well received with its many 5-Star Ratings.
I have asked readers to send me photos of them with the book for the “Witness Testimony and Other Tales” Facebook scrapbook.
Born in southern California, P.A. O'Neil experienced what might be considered culture shock when her family moved to a small town in Washington State. The year was 1970 and the community was not necessarily culturally diverse. Proud of her Mexican and Irish heritage, or "Smoked Irish" according to her father, she learned what it meant to be simultaneously in the minority and the majority. It's important for her to encourage others and support their writing, regardless of where they are on that journey. It's been said, "40 is the new 30 and 70 the new 50," and with that in mind, P.A. O'Neil believes she is starting middle-age all over again. You can follow her writing journey on either her:
Contact her by email at: p.a.oneil.storyteller@gmail
Click to purchase or read a sample!