Friday, April 21, 2017

Interview with Author Theresa Konwinski

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Theresa. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, focusing on poetry as a kid. I took some writing classes in college, but those were mostly geared toward my profession – nursing. A few years back, I wrote a couple of the chapters for this first book but never had time to fully develop the novel, coming back to it once I retired. I love connecting with people through the written word, allowing peoples to envision the story using their own imaginations.

Please share with us, one book that you recently read that you think readers of this blog might enjoy.

I recently read “The Glass Castle,” a memoir by Jeannette Walls. I picked it up based on the recommendation of a friend who knew about my own book. It’s a book that’s hard to enjoy, exactly, because of the very, very difficult (almost impossibly difficult!) life that young Jeannette and her siblings had to endure. However, the writing is beautiful, and I think Jeannette tries to help the reader understand that no matter how hard her life was, her life turned out to be exactly what it was supposed to be. I recommend it without reservation, but it may not be for the tender-hearted because of what the children are subjected to.

Tell us a little about your book, An Extraordinary Year.

Though it is a book largely about kids, it is not really for kids. I would say An Extraordinary Year is a light-hearted book for “kids of a certain age,” and Baby Boomers will get all the references. It’s a highly-fictionalized memory of my own life and my brothers’ lives in 1963.

John Reed is a ten-year-old who lives in a small northwest Ohio town with his mother, father, and younger brother. John begins 1963 with a revelation that the year will be quite extraordinary, and indeed, each new month brings significant events that John must cope with, learn from, and assimilate into his understanding of life.  John learns that not everything that happens in life is good, but that life unfolds as it will.

Through various trials and tribulations of others he cares about, John learns the importance of human dignity, human connection, and respect, not just for people, but also for the natural world. The story is told plainly from his ten-year-old perspective. John’s year, from beginning to end, is full of important events and small moments that deepen his love of his family, as well as his town and its inhabitants. For John, the miraculous and the mundane have equal impact on his experience of 1963.

If you could share lunch with any two authors, who would you choose, where would you dine, and what would you hope to discuss?

You didn’t specify dead or alive, so first, I’d invite Ray Bradbury. My favorite book in the world is Dandelion Wine, and anyone who knows me is aware that An Extraordinary Year is a bit of an homage to Bradbury’s beautiful book. My writing style is completely different from Bradbury’s, but I like to think he would understand his influence on my own story telling. I’d love to ask him about how he develops the lovely, lyrical descriptions he writes in Dandelion Wine.

I think the second author I would invite to lunch might be John Irving. I’m a long-time fan and have read almost every one of his works. He tells stories within stories, a skill that is amazing to me. He understands the human condition and sees irony and humor in all the goofy things we human beings get ourselves cooked into. I don’t know that I’d have any particular questions for Irving, but I sure think he’d be a fun guy to share a meal with.

I’d probably ask both of these great writers to join me at Mancy’s, a family-owned steakhouse that is renowned throughout the Toledo area.

Do you have any other books in process right now?

Yes. I just finished a second book called Ragged Road. It is the story of a wealthy, dysfunctional family in North Carolina in 1968, and what happens when their teenage daughter becomes pregnant by a middle-class teenage boy. Prior to the 1970s, young women and young men had fewer options than they do now. Family secrets lead to tragedy in this tale. It’s a far cry from An Extraordinary Year - there’s nothing light-hearted about this one. I’m also starting to develop the ideas I have for three additional books. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but when it’s fun, it’s not really work, I guess.

What events might you have coming up?

One small book signing at a local hospital happens on April 26…I’ll be in the Gift Shop at St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Ohio from 11:30 – 1:30 signing copies of An Extraordinary Year.

I’m happy to share that I’ll be participating in Independent Bookstore Day on April 29 from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. This is taking place at Gathering VolumesBookstore, which is located at 196 East South Boundary in Perrysburg, Ohio. The owner of Gathering Volumes, Denise Phillips, is dedicated to bringing out the best local talent – and not just authors! It’s very exciting to be involved with people who are supportive of local writers, musicians, dancers and artists. I have now met many other local authors because of this event, a real serendipity for me. We’re all very different from each other, but we all share the same passion for writing.

Finally, on July 20, 2017, I’ll be appearing with other local authors at the Findlay-Hancock County Library located at 206 Broadway in Findlay, Ohio. We’ll be at the library from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. I must admit, this is particularly exciting to me because this is my home turf – the area where An Extraordinary Year was lived out. I’m hoping to see lots of old friends that night.

As we’re closing in on the end of the interview, Theresa, is there anything else you’d like to add or share?

Only that I appreciate the opportunity to tell your readers a bit about myself and what I’m doing because they are the very people who help keep local talent alive through their interest and support.

Where Theresa’s Book can be Obtained:

On Amazon Print and Kindle
At Barnes & Noble

Where you can find out more about Theresa and her Writing:

On Twitter - @TLKonwinski

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Relic Tech on Sale for 99 Cents!

Hey Folks,

Gryphonwood Press has placed Relic Tech on sale for a short time, available in ebook through all regular vendors for 99 cents.

If you haven't obtained a copy, or you've picked up a print version or audiobook version, then why not get another format?

Also, if you pick up the Kindle version, you can obtain the audiobook through Audible for $1.99!

Either check out the blog's feed on the left-hand side, or follow the link below for where Relic Tech is available.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ohioana Book Festival Follow Up

I had a great time at the Ohioana Book Festival, meeting new readers and authors, and had the chance to tour the State House during the reception that followed.

Setup for Event
As an author guest, I was offered 1/2 of a six-foot table, and allowed to provide a maximum of five titles to readers, so it sort of limited my setup, display and offerings to readers. That's okay, I was able to discuss all of my titles with interested readers :)

Me hanging out with the Library Mouse

View during the State House Tour

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ohioana Book Festival (April 8): Hope to See You There!

Hey Folks,

Just a notification that have been invited and will be participating in the Ohioana Book Festival this Saturday (April 8).

The Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capital Square
75 E. State Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

10:30 am to 5:00 pm

Special Information:
I will be participating in the panel: Submitted for Your Approval: Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror
Time: 2:30  pm to 3:15 pm.

There will be over 100 authors attending.

Hope to see you there, to talk about reading, SF and Fantasy, and sign come copies of my books, if you're interested!

Link for more Details: 2017 Ohioana Book Festival

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dueling Ogres Interview of Me at the Classic Plastics Expo

Here's a link to the Dueling Ogres website where they did a brief interview with me at the Classic Plastics Expo last weekend.

Link: Classic Plastics Toy & Comic Expo: Interview with Terry W. Ervin II

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pics of Readers/Endorsements from Classic Plastics Toy & Comic Expo

Had a good weekend at the Classic Plastics Toy & Comic Expo 2017, meeting readers and talking fantasy and SF.

Below are some pics from the event.

Readers/Endorsements of My Works

Table with New Banner (and my wife Kathy)
Poor lighting made taking pics tricky.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Classic Plastics Toy and Comic Expo 2017 (This Weekend)

This is where I'll be this weekend:

Link: Classic Plastics Toy and Comic Expo 2017

Parkersburg Art Center
725 Market Street
Parkersburg, WV

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Remembering the Elephant March

Back when I was a kid we (my brother and sisters) would sometimes get a treat, listening to records on our family's console stereo/record player in our living room.

One of my favorites was to listen to the Jungle Book, and my favorite part was the Elephant March (Colonel Hathi's March). Sometimes my older sister would join in, and even my younger one, sort of. My main memories memory of this was when she was a toddler. However, you had to be careful marching in circles to the beat...too much jumping or hard marching could make the record skip.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rock House is now Available!

Hey Readers,

Rock House is now available!

Trouble seems to find retired Navy SEALs Dane Maddock and Bones Bonebrake everywhere they go. A brief visit to a state park turns into a dangerous hunt for a forgotten treasure. Can Maddock and Bones find the treasure of Rock House?

Click on over and check it out.

Link: Rock House

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Contest Associated with Rock House

Below is a picture associated with a Contest to win a signed print copy of any one of my novels.

Contest guidelines will be released in my upcoming Newsletter.

To participate, you can opt to receive my newsletter by clicking Here.

In addition, by signing up you'll receive a free short story.

Contest Details will be released in the Newsletter on or shortly after February 10, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Five Roger Zelazny Books that Changed My Life by Being Awesome (by Steven Brust)

Came across this article by Steven Brust, where he discusses how Roger Zelazny's writing changed his life, influenced his desire to write.

A pretty good read.

Link:  Five Roger Zelazny Books that Changed My Life by Being Awesome

The thing is, both of those authors (Zelazny and Brust) have influenced my writing (and decision to write)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rock House, an Upcoming Release

To be released the 2nd week in February, Rock House is a novelette co-authored with David Wood.

It's set in the Dane Maddock Universe (a new Kindle World's release).

More information forthcoming...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

One-Eyed Pelican's Fish Soup Recipe

Readers of the First Civilization's Legacy Series probably recognize the infamous tavern, the One-Eyed Pelican. Readers might also recall the single meal that Flank Hawk (Krish) is willing to eat and Road Toad's (Major Jadd's) favorite place to dine. The red, greasy, fish soup.

Well, I decided to actually cook what I imagined it to be, with an eye toward making it more palatable, by using better quality ingredients, clean cooking pots and utensils, and not re-heating day after day, adding water to stretch it.

Reviewing my notes on the novels, I determined what would be available to the One-Eyed Pelican's cook, and what such an establishment might use (of what's available).

Fish Soup Ingredients
Here's the list of ingredients:
3 Tomatoes (large)
1 beet
1 onion
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of flour
2 cod fillets
6 cups of water

Peel beat and dice.
Dice tomatoes.
Peel and dice onion
Dice cod fillets

Place in pot.

Add butter, olive oil and salt.
Add 5 cups of water.
Stir flour into warm cup of water, and add to pot.

Prior to Cooking
Cooked Soup

Cook under low to medium heat, with a lid on the pot, for two hours and fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve in bowl (Flank Hawk ate the soup with stale bread and bitter ale--I'd suggest choosing your own accompanying food and drink).

I actually enjoyed it. A little on the salty side. My daughter said it was okay, but not something she'd order. My wife thought it had too fishy of a taste, maybe more mild of fish would make it better. 

Post Cooking Observations:
I would've preferred using a turnip in place of a beet, but really, the Pelican's cooks would use whatever is on hand. I also would suggest using 2 turnips (or beets). I'd hoped it would've been a little more red in color, but neither the beet nor the tomatoes carried the day. In truth, the Pelican's cook would use some sort of grease from other food cooked, instead of butter or olive oil but, again, I wanted to make it palatable.

Soup in Bowl
 Any thoughts?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Relic Shield (working title) for the Next Installment of the Crax War Chronicles

Well, I've begun the writing of the third book in the Crax War Chronicles, with the working title Relic Shield.

That may or may not remain the title, but having one offers focus for the project.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Closing in on 1 Million Words

With six novels and one short story collection published, I am closing in on one million words in print. The current rounded off word total is 866,000.

That's one longish novel away. It might not even be that, if my current project (a novelette of about 18,000 words) reaches publication.