Posted in Artists, author, Book Reviews, Bookaholic, Books, crafting, H. S. Contino, Inspirational, promotion, Reading, updates, Writing

Introducing Fan Mail Fridays!

 Good morning!

You’ve heard of “Meatless Mondays” and “Throwback Thursdays.” Today I’m introducing a new one: Fan Mail Fridays. Once a month or so, I’ll share a positive review of my books or handmade crafts from either Etsy or Good Reads.

As my fellow writers, artists, and other creative types know, it’s easy to get discouraged. Most people don’t pursue artistic pursuits to get rich. We do it because we love it. Creating art– whether it’s writing books, painting, crafting, making music, etc– is hard work. Most people only ever see the finished result, but those of us that create know how much hard work goes into creating our art. 

We also know about all of the failures. The projects that simply didn’t work out. The ideas that were better in concept than reality. And we’re familiar with the sad reality that sometimes we aren’t at the skill level that we need to do a project justice. To be fair, we get a little better with every project and every time we practice… but, we’re only human.

With all of this in mind, it can be really nice to receive positive feedback. And it’s worth occasionally going back and re-reading our fan mail.

To get this new series started, I’ll be sharing one of my most recent pieces of fan mail. It’s a positive review that I received for my most recently published book, “Alternatives.” The novel was a “labor of love” as the expression goes. Working on it helped get me through the 2020– which, as we all know, was an incredibly challenging year! Overall, I spent 2 full years working on the novel. Since I was working with a shoestring budget, I did everything from coming up with the idea, writing the story, editing and formatting the manuscript, and designing the cover. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I’m so relieved that my readers enjoyed the book too!

Thank you, Earnie and Ellie Efforts, for your positive feedback. I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading my book!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, community activities, H. S. Contino, Oregon coast, Oregon history, Outdoor Activities

Out & About: Finding Big Foot

Good morning!

I’ve got a fun blog post for you today. 🙂

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I frequently encounter references to “Big Foot” (also known as Sasquatch). After all, we’re living in his habitat. 

A few examples– The Sugar Shack Bakery in Reedsport sells a “Big Foot” donut. It’s a maple bar with a big foot painted on it with white frosting– and my niece’s favorite! There’s also a local company named “BigFoot Beverages.” and it’s pretty common to spot “Big Foot” themed art work or bumper stickers while driving around. 

My favorite:

Hide and Seek World Champion Bigfoot Sasquatch decal sticker image 0
Available for sale on Etsy through snappy Turtle Decals

Decal for Sale on Etsy from Snappy Turtle Decals 

When I worked at the Coos History Museum, it was still located in Simpson Park which shared a parking lot with the North Bend Visitor Center. I lost count of the number of times that people came in asking for a map of local Big Foot sightings.

Periodically, Geocaching HQ has programs where geocachers can collect souvenirs. In 2018, they had a program called “Hidden Creatures.” 

Naturally, Big Foot was one of the mythical creatures that we could find, and he was featured in some of the promotional materials. We attended a local event when the program launched where each of us signed a “Big Foot Crossing” sign. The event hosts hung the sign up near a new geocache that they hid a short while after our gathering.

Geocaching Pin

As you can see, we have a lot of fun with Big Foot and all of the above are great. But, recently, I found my favorite yet…

Appropriately, a friend and I were out searching for geocaches when we discovered a Big Foot couple!

Big Foot Couple

The metal sculptures are on display in front of the North Bend Powersports store. I reached out to the owners to try to find out more about the sculptures and the artist that made them. Unfortunately, all they knew was that the store owners purchased the statues from the Baja Imports store in Bandon, Oregon. I tried reaching out to the store, but I didn’t receive a response. 

While I wish that I knew more about who built them, the statues are still awesome! More pictures below:

How about you? Have you ever found Big Foot (in any form)?

Happy summer everyone!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in H. S. Contino

Welcome to my redesigned page!

Good afternoon!

This morning I decided to upgrade my Word Press account which unlocked a lot of new features. I’ve spent the last few hours exploring and making changes to my web page. So, please bear with me as I figure things out.

I’d love your feedback! What do you think of the changes so far? Is there anything that you think I should add?

Happy creating, everyone!

H. S. Contino 🤓

Posted in Artists, author, Book Reviews, Bookaholic, Books, community activities, crafting, H. S. Contino, motivation, Outdoor Activities, pets, promotion, Reading, social networking, updates, Writing

Let’s Connect!

 Good afternoon!

I hope that everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer. The weather here on the Oregon coast has been gorgeous! Loki and I have been enjoying lots of long walks! We’re so blessed to live in an area with an abundance of natural beauty to enjoy!

Walking with Loki in Mingus Park

Just a quick post today. Someone recently mentioned that they had trouble finding one of my social media accounts. So, I thought I’d make it easy for everyone and list them all here. I use most of the popular social media platforms, but I spend the most time on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to visit my social media pages, follow me, or send me a message. I love hearing from readers and befriending fellow authors/artists/creative types!

Facebook:

Author, H. S. Contino https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHSContino/

Reprieve’s Corner https://www.facebook.com/ReprievesCorner

Twitter:

@HSContino  https://twitter.com/hscontino?lang=en

Pinterest:

User name: Reprieve’s Corner

  • Note: Pinterest is fun because you can see that I really am a hodgepodge when it comes to my interests. I have boards on a variety of topics Including books, animals, stargazing, science-fiction (books, movies, and TV shows), & more!

LinkedIn:

H. S. Contino, Writer & Small Business Owner at Reprieve’s Corner

https://www.linkedin.com/in/h-s-contino-0ba72929/

Instagram:

User name:  hscontino  

https://www.instagram.com/hscontino/

Tumblr:

User name: hscontino

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/hscontino

Blogs:

Blogger https://hscontino.blogspot.com/

WordPress https://hscontino.wordpress.com/

HubPages:

User name: HS Contino (Reprieve26)

https://hubpages.com/@reprieve26

Amazon Author Central:

User name: H. S. Contino

https://author.amazon.com/home

GoodReads Author Profile:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6916217.H_S_Contino

As you can see, I’ve signed up with numerous platforms over the years. I know that everyone has different preferences and favorites when it comes to social media, so my approach has been to create accounts where people can find me (and by extension, my work).

Have a great week everyone!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, Bookaholic, Books, Camp NaNoWriMo, H. S. Contino, NaNoWriMo, Reading, social networking, updates, Writing, Writing Advice

Book Title Announcement: “The Other Mae”

 Good afternoon!

Thank you all for your comments and feedback on my recent post, “A Rose by Any Other Name.” After giving it a lot of thought and considering dozens of options, I settled on a new name for my most recent novel: “The Other Mae.” (I’m still working on the cover art).

Possible Cover Art
Another Cover Option

I like this title for several reasons. The story is about a woman finding herself after a traumatic attack that leaves her with amnesia. The main character’s full name is Ellie-Mae, but she shortened it to Mae as an adult. I like how the new title plays on the word “me.” The novel chronicles Mae’s journey of self discovery as she slowly heals both physically and psychologically from the attack. It’s the story of Mae finding herself. 

* Spoiler Alert *

At one point in the story, Ellie-Mae comes across some of her old journals. As she reads them, she gains insight into her life before the attack; but, she often compares herself to the person she was before the attack– in other words, “The Other Mae.”

Phew! I really like the new title, and I’m so relieved to have finally solved this problem. I wrote the initial rough draft of the novel back in the fall of 2019. I gave it the working title “This Forgotten Life,” but I was never happy with it.

I’d also like to acknowledge my friend and fellow writer for her help. She uses the pen name “Tatiana Foxx,” and she writes erotic romance. Thank you, Tatiana, for helping me brainstorm title ideas and providing feedback. I really appreciate your help!

Feel free to check out Tatiana Foxx’s webpage and sign up for updates. She’s currently working on her first novel, “Not My Alpha.”

Tatiana Foxx Romance

Happy reading (and writing) everyone!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, Bookaholic, Books, Camp NaNoWriMo, H. S. Contino, motivation, NaNoWriMo, Reading, Writing, Writing Advice

“A Rose by Any Other Name…”

 Good morning,

As Shakespeare famously said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” For today’s post, I would like to get our little community involved in my current writing project. In particular, I could use some help coming up with a better title for the novel.

The working title for this project is “This Forgotten Life.” I wrote the initial draft immediately after I completed the rough draft of what eventually became “Alternatives.” but the novels are very different. There are a few common themes including families and overcoming past hurts, but the novels are very different. “Alternatives” is a soft science-fiction story with a strong romantic story line.”This Forgotten Life” is a little harder to classify. It’s more mainstream fiction with a strong dramatic flare. It could also be described as “Women’s Lit” since a big part of the story is about the main character trying to find herself after a traumatic event.

“This Forgotten Life” is an accurate title for the novel, and I have been experimenting with some cover options using this title. The following are a few of my favorites so far:

The current title could work for the book, but… it’s kind-of a boring name. I’d like something with more oomph! For example, I’d love to work the word “shattered” into the title. The word accurately describes what happens to main the character in the 1st scene in the book. A single event destroys everything, and she’s left to pick up the pieces. And the image of a broken mirror or shattered glass on the cover would be powerful and carries a lot of emotional weight.

 I also love the concept of Kintsugi, which, according to Wikipedia, “is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum…” It also involves accepting (and embracing) imperfections.

Kintsugi provides the perfect metaphor for what the main character experiences throughout the course of the book. In the beginning, she’s shattered and broken, but with work she slowly puts the pieces back together again. She becomes a better person through her journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, there is no English translation/equivalent. And I’m worried that if i tried to use the Japanese term then I’ll be constantly having to explain it to people. It’s a great concept, but as the title of a novel it may be too abstract.

The problem is that every time I come up with a more exciting title, I discover that it’s already in use by another author (through a title search on Amazon or GoodReads). While technically, I could still use those titles, I would prefer to come up with something unique.

That’s where all of you come in. Suggestions, please! Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post or send me an email.

I’m still working on the back cover text for the book, the following should give you a general idea about what the book is about:

In an instant, her life changed forever…

Thirty-seven year old, Ellie-Mae Rossi was happily married with three children and another on the way when, in an instant, her life was changed forever. Waking up in the hospital, the doctors realize that she’s lost twenty years of memories.

Reverting to her 17-year-old self, Ellie-Mae is forced to confront the hopes for her future that never realized and past betrayals that had long been forgotten.

With her sense of self shattered, Ellie Mae struggles to put the pieces of her life back together.

Possible titles:

This Forgotten Life (working title)

Finding Ellie-Mae

Finding Kintsugi (to abstract?)

Shattered Sense of Self (too much alliteration??)

Your suggestion here!

Themes: journey of self discovery, picking up the pieces, overcoming challenging, betrayal, broken dreams, disillusionment, past hurts, overcoming amnesia/memory loss, rebuilding relationships, forgiveness

So, what do you think? All feedback welcome!

Okay, I better get back to work. I’m currently working on the 3rd draft of the novel. It’s been slow going, but I’m slowly making progress. More updates soon!

Happy reading (and writing) everyone!

~ H. S. Contino 📚