Posted in Artists, author, Book Reviews, Bookaholic, Books, community activities, H. S. Contino, history, Images of America, markets, Oregon coast, Oregon history, promotion, Reading, sale, social networking, updates

Florence Festival of Books Follow-Up

Good morning! 

Earlier this month I wrote about the upcoming Florence Festival of Books. The event is usually annual, but it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. I was excited to return this year. (Fun fact: the 1st annual Florence Festival of Books was in 2011– which was the year my first book was published. As a result, I can proudly say that I’ve attended every year!). 

This year got off to a bit of a rough start. It was stormy on the Oregon coast Friday night. I’m such a light sleeper that the strong winds and heavy rains woke me up several times. Fortunately, by Saturday morning the storm was letting up. It rained off and on during my drive to Florence, but it cleared up about an hour after the festival opened. 

My 2021 booth

I knew when I signed up that this year’s festival would be different. In fact, for the week leading up to the event, I half expected to receive a message saying it had been cancelled. We’ve been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases on the Oregon coast over the past few months (mostly due to the Delta variant). But, they decided to go ahead with the event while implementing several safety efforts. 

If you look closely, you might recognize the author in the lower left photograph.

In addition to requiring everyone (both vendors and visitors) to wear masks inside the Florence Events Center, they limited the number of booths. If I remember right, they said there was 1/3 less booth this year than in past years. This allowed them to space out the tables which made it easier for participants to practice social distancing. They also had hand sanitizer stations set up throughout the building.

Despite advertising the event through all of the regular channels, this year’s book festival didn’t draw as many visitors as it usually does. Given the circumstances, this wasn’t surprising; but, if I’m being brutally honest, it was still disappointing. 

I’m incredibly grateful to the people that did attend the event. I enjoyed chatting with the visitors to my booth. Since I wrote two books on local history, I tend to catch the attention of fellow history enthusiasts. This inevitably leads to interesting conversations! I also enjoyed catching up with several of my fellow west coast authors.

Baby book’s 1st book festival…

I’m looking forward to next year’s Florence Festival of Books. Fingers crossed that the world has returned to “normal” by then!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, Books, crafting, H. S. Contino, history, Images of America, Oregon coast, Oregon history, promotion, Reading, sale, shipwrecks, updates, Writing

Liquidation Sale (Save up to 50% off!)

 Good afternoon,

I usually try to put a positive spin on my posts, but the truth is that the past year and a half have been incredibly difficult. In addition to my writing and running my home-based crafting business, I usually have a part time job. Book and crafts sales can vary a lot from month to month, so it’s good to have a steady source of income. Unfortunately, I lost two jobs last year due to the pandemic.

Once again, I tried to remain optimistic. I used my additional free time to catch up on projects around my house, make new craft inventory, and work on editing the manuscripts of two novels.

Editing in progress…

Understandably, with everything that has been going on over the past year and a half, people have mostly been spending their money on essentials. And for most people this doesn’t include books or handmade crafts. As a result, my sales have nose dived.

With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to have a liquidation sale in my Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner. From now through August 1st, 2021, all of my crafts and craft supplies are 50% off and autographed copies of my books are 10% off. Free shipping on orders of $35 or more (US only).

Here’s hoping that from now on things start looking up!

As always, thank you for reading and for supporting my creative efforts. I really appreciate it!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, Beach Day, community activities, H. S. Contino, history, Inspirational, motivation, Oregon coast, Oregon history, Outdoor Activities, social networking, summer, updates

Out & About: Circles in the Sand

Good morning!

Welcome to the first post in my new series, “Out & About.” Today we’ll be talking about “Circles in the Sand.” This is a local event that people can check out every summer– and it’s a lot of fun.

Circles in the Sand, Bandon, Oregon
Circles in the Sand, Bandon, Oregon 2021

“Circles in the Sand” was created in 2011 by local artist, Denny Dyke. He draws elaborate labyrinths in the sand on the beach near Bandon, Oregon. The designs are both beautiful and interactive. The artist creates paths for people to walk through his designs. He also includes a place for people to sign their names in the sand.

As Denny Dyke states on his webpage: “The intention of Circles in the Sand is to share love, joy and kindness.  Team Circles will be creating a sandy path surrounded by intricate designs and artwork for everyone to enjoy a walk on the sand path.” (Circles in the Sand)

Since the drawings are made in the sand, they’re temporary. Most drawings take around 2 hours to complete then visitors have 2-3 hours to visit and enjoy them before the tide comes in and washes it all away.

The drawings are completed on the beach below the Face Rock Viewpoint, so visitors can get an aerial view of the entire labyrinths before walking down the wooden steps to the beach to get an up-close view.

Each drawing has a central theme. For example, when my family visited recently, it was “You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.” Appropriately, there were suns, stars, and moons incorporated into the design.

Since it’s clear that a LOT of work goes into each drawing, I thought it would be good to credit the entire team behind the “Circles in the Sand” (from their webpage):

  • Denny Dyke, Labyrinth artist and founder
  • Christine Moehring, Sand artist
  • Bethe Patrick, Sand artist
  • James Ferreira, Labyrinth artist
  • Jacquie Ferreira, Shell/Sand artist

After walking through the labyrinth, it’s fun to check out the local tide pools which are always overflowing with local marine life. On this particular trip, I was with my nieces and nephew. It was fun showing the different animals to them– especially the well disguised little crabs and pointing out the sea stars (starfish) that were in the middle of consuming shellfish.

I’m looking forward to sharing my future summer adventures (away from my computer and keyboard) with you! Until then, happy reading everyone!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in author, community activities, H. S. Contino, history, Oregon history, updates, Writing

New Blog Series: Out & About

Good morning!

Inspired by the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, I’ve decided to start a periodic blog series called “Out & About.” As the name implies, the posts will discuss my adventures away from my computer and keyboard.

Bandon, Oregon

Living on the Oregon coast, we are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. There are tons of outdoor activities to choose from– walking/hiking, camping, kayaking, beach combing, geocaching, swimming (just not in the ocean– brr!), … Just to name a few!

There are also quite a few annual local events and celebrations including North Bend’s July Jubilee (which celebrates the city’s birthday), Coquille’s Gay 90’s, Lakeside’s Crawdad Festival, and Coos Bay has several including the Fun Festival and Blackberry Arts Festival.

Coos County is also proud to be the home of Shore Acres State Park. The land was once owned by Louis Simpson, the father of North Bend. The mansion is long gone, but the gardens and caretaker cottage are still there. People come from all over every summer to view the gardens (my particular favorite is the wide variety of roses). And then, every winter, volunteers decorate the entire garden with lights. Some of them are even animated! Once again, lots of people travel to the coast to view the light display– which gets a little bit bigger every year (my favorite is a small display of forest animals including a porcupine– my spirit animal!).

Shore Acres light display

And a list of things to do on the Oregon coast wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our excellent museums, visitor centers, historical markers, and memorials.

I love the Oregon coast. Can you tell?

I plan on writing an “Out & About” once a month or so. I’ll include photos and information on how to check out the places yourself (if you’re in the area).

So, stay tuned…

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in author, Bookaholic, Books, history, Images of America, Oregon history, promotion, sale, shipwrecks, updates



Just a quick post to let everyone know that I’m running a promotion in my Etsy store, Reprieve’s Corner. From now through September 6th, you can save 25% off store wide. This includes signed copies of my books!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Despite all the craziness going on in the world, we’ve been having some really gorgeous weather here on the Oregon coast. I enjoy opening most of the windows in my house to let in the fresh breeze. I’ve also been enjoying extra long walks with my Labrador, Loki.

Until next time!

~ H. S. Contino

Loki Swimming at the Lake, August 2020
Loki Swimming at the Lake, August 2020

Posted in author, Bookaholic, Books, history, Images of America, markets, Oregon history, promotion, Reading, sale, shipwrecks, updates, Writing

Etsy Sale!

Like many people around the world, the ongoing coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on my finances. Under normal conditions, I have three jobs (one traditional and two freelance). I work part time at a local public library, I write and sell my books (which includes giving book talks and history lectures), and I run a handmade craft business (which includes selling items both online and at local markets).

Since mid-March, all three of my jobs have come to a screeching halt. Technically, I still have books and crafts listed online; but, people have been more focused on purchasing staples and paying their basic bills.

In an attempt to (hopefully) get more online sales, I’m running several promotions through June 25th in my Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner:

25% Off Autographed Copies of My Books

30% Off of All Handmade Crafts and Craft Supplies

50% Off of items in my Clearance Section

Additionally, I’m offering free shipping on orders of $35 or more (US customers only).

Please, feel free to check out my Etsy shop and take advantage of these discounts.

Thank you! Stay healthy everyone!