Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello internet community,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for helping support and encourage me and my writing career over the last year. I can't even begin to describe how much your support means to me. Thank you!

I also wanted to wish everyone a happy and wonder filled new year!

Happy 2014!

Best wishes,

~ H. S. Contino, author

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Update


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which takes place every November. I'm happy to announce that for the 3rd year in a row, I succeeded in reaching my NaNoWriMo goal. I wrote over 50,000 words in my new manuscript, a science fiction novel titled "The Surge." Woo-hoo! I'm a winner.

However, the story has taken on a life of it's own. I hit my goal of 50K words, but the story isn't finished yet. So, I continue to plug away at it. It's a work in progress, but I'm happy with what I've written so far. Past experience has taught me that the editing process usually takes twice as long as the initial writing process, so it'll be a while before the book is available for the public to read. But, I'm excited. Writing is all about the practice after all.

Once again, thank you all for continuing to support my writing career. It means a lot to me. Thank you!

Oh, and since tomorrow is the big day, I'd like to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

~ H. S. Contino, author in training

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

Happy November, everyone!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is in full swing! I'm happy to report that as of 11:15 last night, I hit 30,000 words. So, I'm 3/5 of the way to my goal. Yea!

I look forward to NaNoWriMo each year. In addition to motivating me to roll up my sleeves and type up some of the ideas that have been percolating in my imagination, I enjoy hanging out on the NaNo webpage. Each year, thousands of writers around the world take part in NaNoWriMo. The webpage offers forums and a message center where we can chat and e-mail with each other. We can also organize local get-togethers or "write-in's" where groups of writers can get together to write and motivate each other.

The webpage also offers pep talks and other useful features to help motivate, inspire, and encourage writers as they battle self-doubt and writer's block.

One of my favorite features of the webpage is the "stats" section. It allows you to keep track of your word count as you write. There's a chart that helps you stay on track in order to reach the 50K word goal. There are also running tallies of how many words you've written per day, your daily average, and a prediction of when you'll finish (at your current rate).

Now, to be clear, I'm not expecting to have a masterpiece by the end of the month. Instead, my goal is simply to have a rough draft of my current project. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I complete a rough draft. I know that once I get the story to that point, I'll still have months (maybe even years) of editing, revisions, and polishing ahead of me before the book is ready for publication. However, I see completing a rough draft as a major milestone. Prior to that point, all I have is some mental images stored in my imagination and pages of scribbled notes in one in a notebook. But, a rough draft is a starting point. It gives me something concrete to work with.

2013 is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. I'm tentatively calling this November's book "The Surge," and it's a science fiction story. The following is the text I created for the back cover. Just like the manuscript, the following is a rough draft. I'll edit and revise it later.

Tentative back cover text for "The Surge":

When the capital cities around the world are simultaneously attacked, disillusioned veteran, Lisa, assumes that a terrorist group is responsible. Instead of volunteering to help fight back, she packs her camper with supplies and heads into the woods. Using a portable radio, she monitors the progress of the war.

Lisa doesn't want to get involved, but things are far worse than she initially thought. As the unknown enemy continues to destroy major cities, millions of people are killed. It soon becomes clear that the enemy is not from this planet and Earth's weaponry is completely ineffective against the superior technology.

With the humans facing extinction, Lisa discovers an ancient secret. One that is capable of saving her planet. She realizes that she alone is capable of stopping the alien attackers; but, in doing so, she'll alienate herself even further from the people around her. The only people she's ever known.
Please feel free to leave me feedback. "The Surge" is definitely a "work in progress" at this point!
Happy reading (and writing)!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book Sale!


I'm excited to announce that starting on November 5th, you can purchase the Kindle version of "Paw Prints" for only .99 cents! This promotion will be only be available through Amazon.com-- one week only (the promotional price expires November 11th)!

"Paw Prints" on Amazon-- click here to take advantage of this sale!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Win a Copy of My New Book!


Now that my latest book, Shorts, has been published, I've decided to give away 1 free copy on Good Reads. I'll sign the book and give the winner the option of having the book personalized.

Officially, the giveaway will begin on October 22nd. Readers will have a full month to enter the contest.

For more information (or to enter the giveaway drawing):


Entering the giveaway is simple. You just need to click on the "Enter to Win" button and follow the instructions (they'll ask for an e-mail address to contact you if you win).

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

H. S. Contino's Amazon Author Page

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Releases!


I hope this blog post finds everyone doing well. I love this time of year. The leaves are beginning to change colors here and the nights have been getting chilly. It's the perfect weather to curl up inside by the fireplace with a good book!

I'm happy to announce that my two latest projects are now available for sale. Both books are works of fiction.

Crossroads: A Quirky Choose Your Own Adventure Story

This book is by far the goofiest thing that I've ever written! The story takes place in "Anytown, USA." All of the characters have quirky but accurate names like "Plain Jane," "John Doe" (brother to Cookie), and "Busy Beebe." The book is basically a screwball comedy. It's also a "choose your own adventure." Once you get to a certain point in the story, the readers will face a series of choices-- or crossroads-- and they can choose where they'd like to go next.

From the back cover:

"Welcome to Anytown, USA, the setting of this quirky choose your own adventure story. The town is home Plain Jane who led a rather uneventful life until the day she discovered a remarkable self-help book:

“Are you living a hum-drum life? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Is the reality of your adult life far from the one you imagined as a child? Then look no further! The book in your hands has the power to change your life forever. Following our simple plan can break down the barriers that are keeping you from living an exciting life! You’ll never have to endure another hum-drum, boring day!

Iam Xcitin is the author of several ground breaking self-help books including Peon Me No Longer: Taking Charge of Your Life and Your Career, Are You a Doormat?, and How to Overcome Your Hum-Drum Life.”

Plain Jane was skeptical at first. The author claimed "changing your life is as simple as changing your attitude." Could it really be that easy?

Please, join our heroine as she chronicles a single week of her life. The story is a "choose your own adventure." Throughout the book Plain Jane will find herself at a series of crossroads. It's up to you, the reader, to choose where she'll go next or what course of action she'll take. The excitement or "boringness" of the story is entirely up to you!"



As the name implies, "Shorts" is a collection of short fiction that I wrote over a fifteen year period. There is a combination of short stories and poetry. Some of the entries are light hearted and fun, but some of the others are rather dark. I like to think of the latter as my "demon slaying" stories.

From the back cover:

"As the title suggests, Shorts is a collection of short fiction by the author, H. S. Contino. The book contains a combination of short stories and poems that were written over a fifteen year period. The subject matter of the work is diverse. There are light hearted pieces including "Grandpa's Tall Tale," but there are also much darker pieces such as "Hindsight." Many of the stories are infused with the author's unique sense of humor.

A firm believer that writing is a practice, Contino enjoys trying new things and tackling new challenges. She often begins her writing day with shorter "warm up" exercises before moving on to her longer works. Many of the entries in this collection are the result of writing prompts, free writing exercises, and experiments.

The collection demonstrates the diversity of the author, a self-proclaimed "hodgepodge." It also demonstrates how her writing style has developed over the years."


Both books are available on Amazon.com (retail price $10 US). Or, if you prefer to purchase a signed copy directly from the author, please e-mail me at H.S.Contino@hotmail.com.

In addition, I've listed 1 free signed paperback copy of each book on Good Reads. Please follow the above links to enter the free giveaway.

As always, I'd like to thank all of you for helping make my writing dreams a reality. Your continued support means so much to me.

Thank you,

H. S. Contino



Monday, September 30, 2013

3rd Annual Florence Festival of Books


I'm happy to report that the 3rd annual Florence Festival of Books was a success! In addition to selling books, I was able to meet and chat with the other authors and visitors to the event.

Unfortunately, our area was hit by a series of severe storms the weekend of the book fair. The bad weather made the commute to Florence and back a little bit scary, but my fellow writers and I all made it there and back in one piece!


I'd like to offer a heart felt thank you to all of you that braved the storm in order to attend the event and show your support for your west coast authors. It meant a lot to me-- and I'm sure the other authors and publishers would agree!-- to see so many friendly faces and recieve so much positive feedback.

Thank you, again. I realize that it's only been a few days, but I'm already looking forward to next year's festival!

~ H. S. Contino

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Checking In


I just wanted to take a few moments to check in and give everyone a quick update.

First, I'm excited about this Saturday's 3rd Annual Florence Festival of Books. The event is free to the public and the doors open at 10 am. Last year there were around 50 different authors and 2 or 3 publishers. It's a great place to meet and visit with some of your favorite local authors or chat with a publisher about getting your writing published.

I'll have signed copies of my two published books, Shipwrecks of Coos County (Arcadia, 2011) and Paw Prints: A Collection of Pet Stories (Create Space, 2013), available for sale.

I'm also planning on bringing a handful of "test copies" of my latest project. The fictional book is a "choose your own adventure" story. I'll be offering the books at a discounted rate in exchange for feedback. The book was a challenge to write because it's full of choices. The story changes depending on which paths the reader chooses. I'm looking for test readers to go through the book with fresh eyes and help me identify any discrepancies or other issues that I may have missed during the editing process.

If you're interested in becoming a test reader, please e-mail me at H.S.Contino@hotmail.com.

Finally, I've been lining up markets and book festivals for the upcoming holiday season. For now, I'll be attending the Coos Bay Farmers Market on Wednesdays (weather permitting!) from 9 am until 3 pm. I'll also be at the Bandon Old Town Marketplace on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am until 4 pm. I'll have both my books and handmade crafts at both of these events. I'll continue to update this blog as I schedule events.

Have a great week!

Thank you for your continued support of my writing career,

H. S. Contino

Friday, August 16, 2013

Florence Festival of Books


I'm happy to announce that I'll be attending the 3rd annual Florence Festival of Books. The event brings together authors, readers, and publishers. It will be held at the Florence Events Center on Saturday, September 28th. The doors open at 10 am and close at 4 pm.

Please feel free to stop by my booth to say "hello." I'll have signed copies of both of my books, Shipwrecks of Coos County and Paw Prints: A Collection of Pet Stories, available for sale.

This will be my third year attending this event, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope to see you there!

~ H. S. Contino

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Author Night" Bandon Public Library


 Last night I gave a 45 minute presentation at the Bandon Public Library as part of their monthly "Author Night" series. It was an honor to be invited to speak. I'm happy to report that the event had a good turn out. I also received a lot of good feedback on my presentation. Rather than simply talking about my books, I also spent a few minutes discussing the act of writing and my own personal writing journey.

Perhaps the best indication that the night was a success, I received numerous queries during the Q and A session at the end of my presentation. The questions were engaging, and I really enjoyed the group discussion that followed.

I also happy to report that I was able to send several copies of my books to happy to new homes. :)

I'd like to take a moment to thank the Bandon Library for inviting me to come speak. In particular, I'd like to thank Maureen Haggerty since she was my personal contact with the library. I'd also like to thank all of the people that attended last night's event. I really appreciated their support.

Writing and trying to get published is hard work. I feel so validated when I get invited to events like the one last night. I also enjoy meeting and chatting with my readers. Honestly, visiting with them is one of the best parts of being a writer. I love receiving their feedback-- both good and bad-- because I can then take that advice and apply it to my future work. After all, writing is a practice. No matter how much time I spend putting words on the page, I'll always know that I have room for improvement. I can only hope that my writing will continue to improve and evolve as I continue on my literary journey.

Thank you again!

~ H. S. Contino

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bandon Author Night


Just a friendly reminder that I'll be the guest speaker at the Bandon Library Author Night this Monday at 7 pm. I'll be giving a 45 minute long discussion on my two books, my writing experience, and then hosting a Q&A session with the audience. Signed copies of both of my books, Shipwrecks of Coos County and Paw Prints, will be available for sale.

See you there!

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Paw Prints" Update!


Just a quick update-- my latest book, Paw Prints, is now available in both print and e-book (Kindle only) formats. It was published through Create Space, which is owned by Amazon.

The books are available here:


Or, if you would prefer to purchase a signed and/or personalized copy, please feel free to e-mail me at H.S.Contino@hotmail.com.

As always, thank you for your support!

Have a great week!

~~ H. S. Contino

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Paw Prints" Update!

Hello everyone,

Yea! My new book, "Paw Prints: A Charming Collection of Pet Stories," is now available on Kindle. You can check it out here:


I'm taking pre-orders for print copies of the book. To celebrate the new publication, I'm offering free shipping for the first 50 orders. The print copy is $14.99. Please e-mail me at H.S.Contino@hotmail.com is you're interested.

Thank you! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Paw Prints" Available Soon!


I'm thrilled to announce that my latest book will be available for sale soon. I've submitted the final draft to the publisher. I'm just waiting for the proof to arrive so I can do one final read through. I'll have one last chance to catch any sneaky typos or other mistakes. After that I'll be able to release the book into the world. Yea!

My latest project is called "Paw Prints." It's a collection of short stories about pets and animals that either myself, my friends, or my family members have known over the years. I've included quite a menagerie. There are cats, dogs, guinea pigs, fish, horses, a donkey, a goose, goats, crabs, a rooster, crayfish, and even a chimpanzee-- just to name a few! The stories are as diverse as their subjects. There are funny stories, sad ones, and a few that are "stranger than fiction."

For fun, I invited a few friends and family members to contribute stories to the collection. I'm happy to announce that Debbie Newman, Brenda Salzano, and Mindy Mallory-Newman chose to participate. Their contributions help to add depth, diversity, and a different perspective to the stories in the book. Thank you all for participating!

The Kindle version of the book should be available by the end of the week. The print version will take a little bit longer. I'm hoping to have both on the market prior to Valentine's Day. I'll be sure to update this blog as soon as I have more details.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shop Special!

* Shop Special: In honor of the post holiday shopping lull, I'm offering 25% off all purchases with the coupon code "StarvingArtist." Simply enter the coupon code while checking out to recieve the discount. Thank you for your support! *

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New Projects

Happy New Year! Here's hoping we can all have a lucky '13!
I'm happy to report that I've been hard at work on a new project. I'm in the process of editing a manuscript that I'm calling "Paw Prints." It's a collection of touching and funny pet stories. Most of the stories come from my personal experience but I've also invited several friends and family members to contribute stories of their own.
"Paw Prints" is a laid back collection of stories. My goal is to write the stories as if I'm sitting down having a conversation with someone. I've had animals my whole life and I can't ever imagine a time when I wouldn't have at least one pet sharing my home with me. The animals have been a constant source of companionship, amusement, and (at times) exasperation. There are funny stories, sad ones, and stories that are "stranger than fiction."
Although the majority of the stories are about cats and dogs (my two favorite pets), there are also stories about pet snakes (my brother's), horses (my mother's), tarantulas (which we caught as children living in Arizona), and more!
At the moment, my plan is to self-publish the book through a print-on-demand publisher. I'm hoping to publish the book by March. I divide my time between writing and crafting (www.etsy.com/etsy/ReprievesCorner). The craft fair and festival season begins in April, so I'm hoping to have "Paw Prints" already published so I can bring copies of it with me to the Farmer's Market and other events to sell.
Since the stories are focused on pets and animals, I've decided to donate a portion of the sale of each book to one of the local non-profit organizations, Pacific Cove Humane Society. Although they're a small group, their devoted volunteers work hard to find homes for animals. They also provide vaccinations, low cost spaying/neutering, and foster homes for animals that need rehabilitation. It's a great organization. To find out more, please visit their webpage: www.PacificCove.org.
Well, I'll keep everyone posted. I'm really looking forward to hearing the feedback on "Paw Prints" once it's published!

The cats doing their best to prevent me from working-- they're sprawled across my desk chair. ;)