Posted in author, Bookaholic, Books, business advice, community activities, markets, poll, social networking, updates, Writing

Feedback, Please!

Good morning!

I’d love to have everyone’s feedback on something.

I created my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner, back in 2011. Personally, I love the name. Reprieve is my favorite word in the English language. As I explain in my shop’s “about” section, my logo is a frog taking shelter under a mushroom during a rain shower. I relate the image to the items in my shop since pretty much everything could be given as a gift. They’re like my “little moments of reprieve”– things to cheer someone up or make them smile. Eventually, like the frog, they’re going to have to step back out into life’s rain shower; but, hopefully,  the items that I sell will help bring them moments of happiness.

The problem is that I’m finding that most people don’t understand my concept and they find the name of my business both confusing and hard to remember.

So, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my shop. I’d like something catchy and easy to remember. The hard part is finding something that “fits” since I sell a variety of different products. I’m a published author, so I sell my books– which, like my crafts, cover a variety of topics. And I sell handmade crafts including jewelry, greeting cards, plush toys, hand painted wooden signs, pictures, and magnets. I also recently started making items out of clay (figurines and jewelry components).

The following are some of possible shop names that I’m considering and my concerns about each one. Please feel free to leave a comment on your favorites or add a new suggestion. (I use the free version of WordPress, which doesn’t offer the option of creating an interactive poll).

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Hannah’s Handmade (although this doesn’t completely fit my books)

Contino’s Creations (but, I worry that people will have trouble remembering my last name)

Hannah’s Creative Corner (too vague?)

Hannah’s Hodgepodge (covers the variety, but I worry that it implies that I’m unorganized)

Hannah’s Handmade Gifts

… ?

Thanks everyone for your feedback!

  • Note: I’m posting this on both of my blogs (“Reaching for Reprieve” which discusses crafting and other art projects and “H. S. Contino” which discusses my writing).
Posted in author, Bookaholic, Books, community activities, markets, NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

A Few Updates

Good morning!

I always have great intentions when it comes to this blog. I tell myself that I’m going to start posting regularly and that I’ll include different types of articles so visitors have something interesting to read. Then life happens, I get busy, and my poor blog sits mostly neglected in a dusty corner of the internet…

Part of the reason why I don’t post very often is that I created this blog to promote my little writing career. But, while I continue to practice writing and create new writing projects, I haven’t done much actual publishing lately. And, I don’t usually share my works-in-progress since they still need a ton of editing and refining before they’re ready for public consumption.

So, I figured that I’d take a few minutes this morning to fill my followers in on what’s been keeping me busy this summer.

H’s Summer Updates:

1) Camp NaNoWriMo

Congratulations-Wrimo April 2019

I really enjoy the NaNoWriMo writing challenges (www.nanowrimo.org)! I spent the month of July creating the rough draft of a new novel. I’m tentatively calling it “An Unreasonable Proposal,” and it’s my first attempt at a “mainstream” story-line in a few years (most of the ideas that I’ve had over the past few years have been either related to local history or science-fiction).

The basic plot of “An Unreasonable Proposal” is that a woman named Celine (“Cee Cee”) Alexander gets a call out of the blue from her ex-husband, Brad Wilson. It’s been twelve years since their divorce, and they’ve had zero contact with each other for most of that time. However, when Brad calls he offers her a bizarre proposal: he asks Cee Cee to re-marry him. It turns out that Brad was recently widowed and needs someone to watch his three young children while he’s gone on a six month deployment in the Army. Calling your ex-wife to ask her to babysit would be a strange move for most people. However, Cee Cee knows that her ex grew up in foster care and has no extended family. He claims that the children’s mother came from a similar background, so he has no one else to asks. He also knows that his ex-wife is a softie– give her a sob story and she’ll help out anyone. Even knowing that Brad is manipulating her compassionate nature, Cee Cee considers helping him.

There’s a bit more to the story and there are several plot twists, but you get the gist. I’m happy to report that I met my July word goal, and I’ve got most of the rough draft of the novel finished. I’m now letting the story “percolate” before I roll up my sleeves and start editing!

 

2) Crafting

As most of my blog followers know, I do a lot of crafting in addition to my writing. Since I only have four published books (so far!), my booth at local farmers markets and festivals would look pretty empty if I just brought my books to sell. So, for years, I’ve taken advantage of my passion for making small crafts.

Like my writing, where I like to experiment with different genres and writing styles, I make a variety of handmade crafts including jewelry, hand painted signs, magnets, sewn items (mostly pillows and plush toys), etc. I’ve even tried baking homemade dog and cat treats to sell.

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I often describe my booth, which I set up under the name of my home-based business “Reprieve’s Corner,” as my “hodgepodge” since it reflects my passion for trying new things and learning new skills.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working hard on a new batch of handmade jewelry, hand painted wooden signs, and hand painted wooden magnets. I’ve been having fun using scrapbook stickers and wood cuts as decorative elements.

I also recently purchased the materials to try something completely new: clay. In the past, I’ve purchased pre-made beads and pendants and then gone from there. However, I would like to try my hand at making my own beads, pendants, and focal pieces out of clay. I also plan on trying to make clay figurines. Some of these will be large enough to be desktop/table decorations. But, I also want to make some that will be small enough to fit on earrings or to be focal pieces for the necklaces that I make.

The only catch is that the last time I worked with clay, I was in elementary school and I don’t own a kiln. So, librarian that I am (by day), I’ve checked out several books to study up on clay art. I also intentionally purchased clay that air dries (and doesn’t require baking). If my experiments go well then I’ll look into purchasing a kiln in the future (although they’re pricey!).

I’ll share pictures once I roll up my sleeves and start playing with the clay! I’m excited to see what I can come up with!

Oh, I almost forgot– Etsy is encouraging shops to offer free shipping on domestic orders of $35 or more. So, I’ve signed up to be part of the promotion. I’ve also discounted several of my older craft pieces to make room for the new items that I’m in the process of making.

Please, feel free to check out my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner (www.etsy.com/shop/ReprievesCorner).

 

3) Markets

Coos Bay Farmers Market

cb farmers market

Throughout the summer, I’ve been setting up my booth every Wednesday at the Coos Bay Farmers Market. I’ve also been squeezing in a few less regular markets including the Green Acres Grange sales (which tend to be every other month or so). Technically, the Coos Bay Farmers Market runs from May through October. But, I know from past experience that the chance of rain during the first and last month is 50/50– and I don’t like risking my books getting wet. So, I usually skip May and October. This summer, I’ve only committed through the end of August– which means that I just have two weeks left at the market.

 

Florence Festival of Books

florence festival of books

I’m a big fan of this annual book fair which is held at the Florence Events Center on the last Saturday in September. It seems like every year the event grows and includes more authors and publishers.

This year, the event will be on Saturday, September 28th from 10 am until 4 pm. I’ve already reserved my booth. I hope to see you there!

 

Well, that pretty much catches you up on my summer 2019 creative exploits! I’ve said it before, but I really love summers on the southern Oregon coastline. We are so blessed– from the mild temperatures to the abundance of natural beauty. There’s just something about the gorgeous summer weather that makes me want to pursue my creative outlets– including both my writing and crafting.

I hope that, wherever you are, you’re also enjoying that last few weeks of summer. Please, feel free to leave a comment on this blog about your summer adventures.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. Your support of my writing and my little crafting business means the world to me!

~ H. S. Contino