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

Fan Mail Friday!

Good morning!

Can you believe that we’re approaching the end of 2021? Time sure does fly by!

For this month’s Fan Mail Friday, I’m sharing another older review. This one is for a collection of pet and animal stories that I published back in 2013. I self-published the book so I could easily donate a portion of the sales to a local animal shelter. I initially chose Pacific Cove Humane Society because they were fund raising to build a new local shelter. Eventually, the organization re-reviewed their priorities after realizing that there was no longer a need to build a second shelter. Since then, I’ve been making donations to the Coos County Animal Shelter.

“Paw Prints” was a lot of fun to write! It’s a bit of a memoir since it includes numerous stories about myself, my childhood, and the pets that I’ve had over the years. I also invited a few friends to contribute stories to the collection– including my mother and sister-in-law.

The best part? The photo on the cover is Loki, my black Labrador Retriever. She’s a puppy in the photograph, but she’ll be 10 in February 2022. Like I said earlier, time flies by!

I hope you all have a great weekend! 

~ H. S. Contino

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, Bookaholic, Books, Camp NaNoWriMo, community activities, H. S. Contino, Inspirational, motivation, NaNoWriMo, Reading, social networking, updates, Writing, Writing Advice

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo!

Good morning!

As my regular followers know, I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I’ve written about it in the past. For those that are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is basically a huge online writing community. They’re run by a non-profit organization and their basic mission is to encourage people to write.

November is the official National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Every year, tons of people from around the world sign up to participate. The goal is to write a full length novel with a minimum of 50,000 words within the month of November.

“30 days and 30 nights of literary abandon!”

The best part is the online community. There are forums, pep talks (often from well known and successful authors), and other online resources. You can also join writing groups and add writing buddies. All of the above comes together to create a supportive community for writers— where we all do our part to help and encourage each other.

Like I said earlier, I love NaNoWriMo!

The November big event was so popular that they eventually created Camp NaNoWriMo which is held in April and July.

The great part about the Camp NaNoWriMo events is that they’re much more laid back and the writing goals are flexible. You can also choose to work on any writing project and choose your word goal. I usually use the camps to work on editing existing rough drafts. Having the NaNoWriMo community support is incredibly motivating!

This month, I’ll (once again) be working on editing the rough draft of “This Forgotten Life.” You may recall that I worked on the same project during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo too. In fact, I’ve been working on the manuscript— off and on— for the past six months. I’ve been making progress— at a snail’s pace. 🐌 I’m hoping that Camp NaNoWriMo will help motivate me to get more work done.

For my fellow writers (and those that dream of becoming a writer), feel free to look me up on the Camp NaNoWriMo webpage and add me as a writing buddy. My nickname is “Reprieve26” (the combination of my favorite word and number).

NaNoWriMo.org (http://nanowrimo.org)

Have a great weekend!

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 Artists, crafting, Inspirational, motivation, Raku Pottery

Inspirational Quotes

Hi!

Just a quick post today. I just read a quote on another blog that struck a chord with me, so I decided to share. It comes from the blog “The Alchemist’s Studio” (https://rakupottery.ca/2021/03/09/transitions-4/):

“Transitions are a part of life, allowing for perpetual renewal. When you experience the end of one chapter, allow yourself to feel the emotions of loss and rebirth.

A bud gives way to a new flower, which surrenders to the fruit, which gives rise to a seed, which yields a new sprout. Even as you ride the roller coaster, embrace the centered internal reference of the ever-present witness.”

-David Simon

I LOVE this! The past year and a half has been incredibly rough for so many of us. I think that it helps to keep things in perspective. This quote reminds us that life is a series of transitions or phases. As much as we’d like for things to always go smoothly, we’re bound to encounter rough patches.

Now that there are several coronavirus vaccinations available and countries are working hard to get them distributed to their citizens, we find ourselves in another transition period. We’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, but we’re inching our way closer to the day when our lives can start returning to “normal”.

So, hang in there everyone!

~ H. S. Contino

PS– Please, check out the original blog. The Alchemist’s Studio specializes in raku pottery. They often name their pieces off of characters from mythology and then share the stories (and photos of their pottery) on their blog. It’s fun reading about the antics of the ancient gods while viewing their latest creations. The blog can be found here: https://rakupottery.ca/.