...and I'm not just talking about the impending return of pumpkin spice season View in browser 

Mixed Metaphors

August 2023

news & musings from Autumn Konopka

In this newsletter.

Happy August, everyone

Updates & Announcements

  • e-book launching -- TOMORROW!!!
  • new website & newsletter format
  • social media check-in

Invitations & Offers

  • 8/26: pre-launch reading & author chat
  • e-book promotion on Amazon

Distractions & Delights

  • a few thoughts on Ted Lasso & Jane Eyre

Final Thoughts

    • coping skills & self-care for the changing season

    author's note


    Can you believe it's August already? 

    But wait... before I go into the welcome & pleasantries, I've got something REALLY exciting to share. 

    TOMORROW -- Monday, August 14th, Pheidippides Didn't Die will be available in e-book format!!

    That's just...




    I can hardly believe it. This time last year, I was deep in the throes of a presale campaign, still waiting for feedback on the first draft of this novel, and anticipating a teaching opportunity (which, unfortunately, fell through). I hardly had time to look up from my desk, let alone soak in the waning days of summer. 

    Thankfully, this year, August is a bit more August-y for me: equal parts exhausting, anticipatory, and bittersweet, as I try to eek out the last good pool days in between giddily shopping for school supplies. 

    Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want summer to end. I'm ready for cooler running weather and fewer mosquitos. I'm ready for my kids to go back to school. And I'm really ready to get my hands on the printed paperback edition of Pheidippides Didn't Die

    After a few setbacks and delays, I got confirmation last week that's it's gone to the printer, which means I should (fingers crossed) have books in my hand in about a month. Those of you who preordered will get your copy shortly after that. 

    Until then, I'll just be over here killing time with pre-launch readings, release party ideas, and revamping my website -- not to mention prepping syllabi, registering for fall races, and planning back-to-school schedules. 

    What about you? What were your summer highlights? What are you looking forward to this fall?

    Drop me a line. I'd love to hear all about it.

    required reading

    Updates & Announcements

    Pheidippides Didn't Die Goes Live!

    TOMORROW(!!!) the e-book for Pheidippides Didn't Die will officially be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other e-book retailers. 

    If you preordered, watch your inbox. I'll be sending along your electronic copy soon. 

    If you haven't ordered, now's the time! For the first 30 days, the Kindle edition will be just $1.99.

    That also means now is a great time to recommend Pheidippides Didn't Die to anyone you know who might be interested.

    Early purchases & reviews (especially on Amazon) go a long way to help an indie author like me stand out & attract even more readers. 

    in other news...

    I got a new look,
    & so did my website.

    Earlier this summer I "pinked my hair" (as one of my daughter's friends put it) because, well, every once in a while I want something completely different. 

    I get the same way with my website. Every few years or so, I think, "This isn't working," and I make a change.  

    This is one of those years. Over the past few weeks, I cleaned it up, decluttered, and voila! It shines like new. At least that's the hope. 

    Check out the new website & let me know what you think.

    Now it's time to storm social media (ha!)

    Something you might quickly notice on my new website is that snazzy, bright line of social media icons. It looks kinda like this...

    If you've been following me for a while, you might be surprised to see a Facebook icon in there -- considering the Facebook Drama of 2022. Well, it turns out time does heal all wounds (that, a new email address), and I'm back, baby! Not that I missed FB all that much. It's one of my major sources of social media anxiety, BUT it's also a hub for so many people I want to keep in touch with. Including YOU.

    So, if we're not already friends on Facebook, let's be. 

    I've also got a bunch of other links there: Goodreads, Mastodon, Spotify, Strava, LinkedIn. You're thinking: That's a whole lotta links for someone whose already said she has social media anxiety. And you're right. Which is why some of those accounts are pretty sporadic & bare bones. But, if you want to follow my random runs or follow as I attempt to navigate the confusing spheres of Mastodon (alterna-twitter), please do. Just don't expect much. 

    Speaking of expectations...
    I've given this newsletter a bit of a facelift too. Did ya notice?

    Nothing too drastic. I added a title (Mixed Metaphors -- b/c I'm always oscillating between running & writing, so I figured I'd just own it), I tweaked the colors, and I'm still playing around with section titles (like I said, always oscillating). 

    Let me know what you think. 

    Also, let me know what you want to see in the newsletter. More writing news or behind the scenes stuff? Less? More running updates? No running updates ever? (Probably can't promise that!) More reviews and random musings? Whatever. I'm curious about what keeps you reading and what sends you back to searching for cat videos.

    advanced training

    Invitations & Offers

    Join me for a Pre-Launch Reading
    as part of the Philly Indie Bookstore Crawl

    Sat.. Aug. 26th, 3pm

    Big Blue Marble Bookstore
    551 Carpenter Lane
    Phila. 19119

    At the end of the month, I'll be giving my first "official" reading from Pheidippides Didn't Die. This reading is extra special for a few reasons.

    First of all, the event is happening in conjunction with Philly's Indie Bookstore Crawl -- a citywide celebration of indie bookstores, featuring a full day of readings and events. I'm humbled to be a part of it. 

    This event is extra extra special because I'm sharing it with another brilliant local author, Elizabeth Lukács Chesla. Liz will be reading from her gorgeous new book, You Cannot Forbid the Flower, a lyric, genre-bending work of historical fiction exploring the rippling impacts of her father’s life as both revolutionary and refugee.

    Liz & I will follow our readings with a Q&A and discussion about the power of fiction for transforming trauma. 

    This event is free & open to the public.

    And I did say offers...

    DON'T FORGET: Starting tomorrow Kindle copies of Pheidippides Didn't Die will be only $1.99 for the first 30 days!

    If you already ordered, yours will be on the way ASAP, but this is a great way to share the book as a gift or encourage friends & fellow readers to buy it. Early ebook sales will go a long way to building the platform for the paperback when it launches next month. 

    recovery run

    Distractions & Delights

    You may have seen Pheidippides Didn't Die described like this...

    Let's say you took Jane Eyre & Ted Lasso, asked them to run a marathon, and gave them a 90s-era soundtrack. This is that. Only different.

    I wanted to take a minute to explain what those references mean & what makes them important -- at least to me.

    Let's start with Jane Eyre.

    Jane Eyre has all the trappings of a good romantic drama: 

    • unlikely heroine
    • brooding, mysterious hero
    • unexpected, overpowering love, and 
    • a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. 

    It's also got the kind beautiful language, well-drawn characters, and plot tension that make great literature. 

    But what really stands out to me is the novel's spot-on representation of post-traumatic attitudes and behaviors -- which is surprising when you consider the very concept of "post-traumatic attitudes and behaviors" didn't really exist until the 1970s (give or take). 

    I've written a whole blog post on this, and I'd love for you to read it. But, the point is, Jane Eyre is relatable and relevant in ways that I didn't even understand the first time I read it. I just felt seen, understood, and comforted, which is why I return to the book again and again.  

    And then, there's Ted Lasso.

    If you haven't already seen this show, I'm probably not the first person to recommend it. I might not even be the first person to tell you, it's just perfect. It's a perfect show. And, I'm assuming, if you haven't seen it, you're skeptical. That, or you just don't want to pay for another streaming service, which is totally fair.

    I was skeptical too: I had "meh" feelings toward both Jason Sudeikis and football (aka soccer). Here's the thing, if I'm any kind of a case study, you don't need to like either to end up loving this show. What makes Ted Lasso so special is that it just feels good to watch it. This is partly because of the non-stop 90s-era pop culture references. This is clearly a show made by and for my generation (Gen X in the house!). More than that, however, Ted Lasso speaks to the better angels of our nature, without being over-idealized or unrealistic. It's got all the typical dramedy elements -- failed relationships, goofy friends, sex, drugs, homemade biscuits -- but it also presupposes a world where toxic masculinity, dysfunctional communication, and manipulation aren't the prereqs for acceptance and success. 

    Although at the start, with his puffy vest, thick accent, and furry mustache, Ted Lasso might seem like a caricature, there are, in fact, no caricatures on the show. Everyone is three-dimensional and flawed, but also growing, striving -- believing. And as hokey as it sounds, it's makes me believe too. In fact, watching Ted Lasso makes me feel warm and inspired in ways no other show ever has.

    I could go on, but I won't. 

    Instead, I'm curious: What are your favorite books, shows, and movies? What inspires you? What could you watch or read again and again and still smile/laugh/cry like it was the first time?

    Drop me a line. I'd love to hear about it, so I can check it out too.


    Final Thoughts

    The season is changing,
    how will you take care of yourself?

    Personally, I love the fall, with it's crisp air and changing leaves. I love driving with the windows open and running outside without feeling like I'm going to melt.

    On the other hand, fall running often means getting out when it's still dark (in the morning) or getting dark (in the late afternoon). 

    (I've never actually watched Game of Thrones, but it's ominous tagline feels appropriate)

    And that can be pretty demotivating, at least for me. The thing is, I don't just like to run, I need to run. It's a pretty critical part of my self-care. When I don't run, or move my body in some serious way, my mood starts to get wonky. 

    So, what to do?  

    Well, I try to build as many mid-day runs into my schedule as possible. But, let's be honest, it's easy to skip a mid-day run (or anything "optional") when other commitments come up. And, I don't know about you, but something's always coming up.

    So, to keep myself motivated, I like to register for a race. Having a goal -- one with a clear distance and deadline -- gives me a reason to keep moving when the lack of sun, ick of allergies, or general seasonal sadness makes me want to curl up and hide. It helps beat back the doldrums as the days get shorter and shorter, and it gives me something to look forward to. 

    I like a good in-person race, especially one that promises finish line beer (or soft pretzels, at the very least). But a virtual race can also be pretty great, especially if your plans are in flux like mine are right now.  

    That's why I've locked in my registration for the Still I Run World Mental Health Day 5K on October 7th. 

    This one's virtual, so I can do it where ever I am, any time of the day, even the day before or the day after if I have to.

    Even better, I get to support this great cause.

    This fall I've got my eye on the Philly Half, which is part of Philadelphia Marathon weekend. (I'm hoping to take on the full marathon in 2024.) I'm also thinking about the Run the Bridge 10K, but for now, I've got this intermediate goal set, and I'm hoping that keeps me on track.

    But let's be clear: Running & races aren't the only helpful goals.

    Maybe you like to walk? Many races, have a shorter walking option, too. There are also a lot of strictly walking events, like the Out of the Darkness Walks, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I'm relatively confident that if you search for a particular cause or organization, you can find something. 

    Maybe you'd rather try a yoga class or kickboxing, and instead of a culminating event, you'll have that weekly commitment to keep you accountable. Or maybe you don't want to exercise at all, but you'd like to read more books or practice the guitar or... whatever. 

    You know yourself best. So, whatever it is -- you know what you need and you know what keeps you motivated. It's just we all sometimes forget to make ourselves a priority, especially in the upheaval of change that happens this time of year. And we could all use a reminder every once in a while. This one is yours:

    You're important. Take care of yourself. 

    And that's it for me. Till next time.

    Thanks for being here,

    Autumn Konopka

    [email protected]

    You received this email because you signed up on our website 
    or pre-ordered my book.