Saturday, October 9, 2021

Ch-ch-changes!

Ch-ch-changes! I just learned that they renamed the local winter farmers market, and they've moved it to a new location. 

 
Beginning the 1st Wednesday in November, the "Bay Area Farmers and Artisans Market" will be held every week from 10 am until 2 pm at the "999 Building" on North Front Street in coos Bay (just south of the history museum).

Please, help spread the word! 
 
If you're interested in signing up as a vendor, please contact Lex at "Bridgeview Coffee Roasters."
 
More information coming soon!
 
Thanks!
 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Welcome Fall!

 Good morning,

Here on the Oregon coast we've transitioned into the time of year where it's necessary to wear layers. It tends to be chilly in the mornings, warm up to t-shirt weather during the afternoons, then get overcast and chilly again overnight. The result is a bunch of people constantly adding and removing layers of clothing as needed. (LOL)

Nature's Fall Color Show...

 

It's also the time of year that I start planning my holiday shopping. I've always been an introvert and large crowds give me anxiety, so I like to shop early. It's also always a relief to have the shopping done ahead of time.

Since I'm sure I'm not the only one that takes this approach to gift shopping, I like to start running early sales and other promotional offers in my online Etsy shop, Reprieve's Corner. Beginning October 1st, I've marked everything in my shop 30% off. This includes everything-- my hand painted signs, hand made jewelry, hand sewn plush toys, autographed copies of my books, and even my new clay art!

 


 Save 30% Shop Wide!

I've also been lining up fall and winter in-person markets. As everyone knows, we're still in the middle of a pandemic, so it won't be a normal holiday shopping season. Some events have already been cancelled. Others are still being planned with plenty of restrictions in place to try to keep everyone healthy.

I'll be posting more in the next few weeks as I line up in-person markets. If you're local (southern Oregon coast) and here about an upcoming market, please feel free to send me a message. I'm always open to suggestions!

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying watching the leaves change colors and having an excuse to sip more warm beverages while snuggling in our warmest sweaters!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

Saturday, October 2, 2021

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. 

 


 

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

Friday, September 24, 2021

It's Fan Mail Friday!

TGIF, everyone!

I just wanted to share the following:

 

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I love that they posed the lizard so she's holding a pencil! Tanks so much for your positive feedback! :)

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

~ H. S. Contino



Thursday, September 16, 2021

2021 Florence Festival of Books

 Good morning!

Mark your calendars! This Saturday is the Florence Festival of Books. I hesitated to write about this before because I was worried that the event would be cancelled due to the current coronavirus surge in Oregon. However, I received an email this morning from the event sponsor and we're still good to go.

As my regular followers are aware, I'm a big fan of the Florence Festival of Books. It's one of the largest annual book festivals on the Oregon coast. The first annual event just happened to be in 2011 which was the year I published my first full length book, Shipwrecks of Coos County (Arcadia Publishing). I had good timing! Because of this I can proudly say that I have had a booth at every Florence Festival of Books.


 

Last year (2020) would have been the 10th annual event but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus. As I mentioned earlier, I was worried that year's event would be cancelled as well-- especially since we're int he middle of a virus surge-- but they're going forward with the event. In order to keep everyone safe, there will be some additional rules and restrictions. For instance, everyone-- both attendees and authors/publishers-- will be required to wear masks. They're also encouraging us to have hand sanitizer available at our booths and the event hosts will be setting up hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.

The Florence Festival of Books is a great venue. Every year it gets a little bit bigger. The majority of the booths are for authors, but there are usually a few publishers as well. One of my favorite parts is the diversity. The event draws a mix of traditional and independent (self) published authors who represent a variety of genres and reading levels. 

My booth at the 2019 Florence Festival of Books.

 

Since I usually attend the events alone, I don't get a lot of time to wander through the booths. But the venue does provide volunteers that are available to watch your booth for short periods of time. I like to take advantage of this opportunity to walk around, say hello to the authors I know, and purchase a few new books for my personal collection. 


 

There's something for everyone! During past events, I've visited with fellow authors that write books for kids through adults, fiction and non-fiction, and a variety of genres. My personal favorites are local history, science-fiction, and I have a soft spot for children's books (I have a healthy inner child!). But, the event draws a variety of other genres as well includes graphic novels, romance, and mystery.

***

The Florence Festival of Books is held at the Florence Events Center which is located at 715 Quince Street in Florence, Oregon. It's a two day event.

On Friday night (September 17th, 2021) they will have a presentation featuring Melody Carlson as the keynote speaker. There will also be an educational panel featuring local authors Bob Welch and Bill Sulllivan.

The actual book fair will be held this Saturday, September 18th from 10 am until 4 pm. Attendance is free, but there will be numerous books available for sale. They also have a small cafe that sells food and drinks.

If you're in the area, please stop by my booth and say hello! If you mention this blog post, I'll give you a 25% discount toward the purchase of any of my autographed books.

I hope to see you there!

~ H. S. Contino


Friday, September 10, 2021

Online Writing

Good morning!

It occurred to me recently that I don’t think I’m shared my online articles on this blog. Over the past ten years, I’ve published numerous short articles online on the webpage, HubPages. Often these are practice articles or things that I wrote as “warm ups” before moving on to bigger writing projects (like my novels).

As my regular followers know, I’m a hodgepodge. I’m interested in a variety of topics and this is reflected in my writing. The articles that I’ve published on HubPages vary from recipes to book reviews to financial management to pets to fun outdoor activities. 

 

 

Most of the articles are short, so they won’t take up a lot of your time. Please, feel free to check them out. I’ve published articles under my usual pen name, H. S. Contino, but I’ve also published under the nickname “Reprieve26.”

My HubPages author profile:

https://hubpages.com/@reprieve26

 

Have a great weekend!

 

~ H. S. Contino 🤓

Friday, August 27, 2021

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!

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

 

~ H. S. Contino