Snowflakes in a Blizzard

Just a little book buzz… 🤓

Happy Trails!


I started this blog, “Reaching for Reprieve” several years ago with the intention of creating a place for creative people to hang out online. Unfortunately, I never really got this project off of the ground. I had good intentions, but I had limited time. I was working two jobs and attempting to juggle my fledgling writing career. Plus, I was maintaining my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner ( That was a lot of juggling!

As a creative person, I found myself frequently choosing to spend my limited free time working on creative projects–like my writing and crafting– rather than blogging. As a result, I often went months without updating the blog. It’s not surprising that the blog didn’t get much traffic– which also meant that people didn’t leave many comments on my post. So, it wasn’t the fun online hang out place that I envisioned.

Like millions of other people around the world, I lost my day job last year as a result of the coronavirus. The silver lining was that I now had more time to”work from home”- which translated to more time to work on my creative outlets. I spent a HUGE amount of time working on editing and revising a novel that I recently self-published titled “Alternatives” (available on Amazon).

So, it turned out that even when I had the time, I wasn’t working on this blog… 😦

Part of the problem is that I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions and there are only so many hours in the day. I’ve also been attempting to maintain several different blogs– this one and two dedicated to my writing (one on WordPress and one on Blogger). On the occasions that I was inspired to write a blog post, I found myself copying the same posts on all 3 blogs. This made sense for my two writing blogs– since I created them both so readers would have the option of using their preferred platform (WordPress or Blogger). But, I felt like this blog should have had its own unique content.

After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to discontinue it. I’m going to wait on deleting it in order to give my handful of followers a chance to read this post and the option of finding me on the blog that I do update semi-regularly, “H. S. Contino” (the blog dedicated to my writing).

So… sadly, this will be my final post for”Reaching for Reprieve.”

I’d like to take a moment to thank my handful of followers for hanging in there despite my infrequent posts. I really appreciate your support,and I hope that you’ll check out my other blog (and hopefully subscribe).

Have a great summer everyone! And happy creating–whether you’re an artist, writer, crafter, or whatever!

~ Hannah 🙂

2020 Blow… Out Sale!

Good morning and welcome to my blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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Life’s better with a little fresh air and a dog.

Okay, let’s face it: 2020 has been a major challenge for all of us. Between the world-wide pandemic, job losses, natural disasters, and nose-diving economies around the world, it’s been rough.

On a personal level, I was furloughed from my day job in March then officially let go in July. In late September, I applied for and was offered a new position which I started in mid-October. Things finally seemed to be looking up; then I overheard part of a phone call between my new boss and a co-worker– who had the call on speaker phone– about things “not working out” with me. After only a month on the job, they let me go– while I was home sick and the day before Veteran’s Day. (How’s that for honoring veterans? Letting the only veteran on staff go the day before the holiday intended to honor them).

I’m not the only one that has been struggling. I have many friends who also lost their jobs due to the coronavirus (either during the shutdown in March or later when businesses re-opened with limited capacity). I have other friends who have been battling major illnesses and disease. One friend’s husband had a major stroke this suffer, but he survived. Another friend’s husband had a major heart attack, but he didn’t make it. Fortunately, he lived long enough for his family to come to the hospital to say goodbye.

So, like I said, it’s been a rough year!

In an attempt to simultaneously increase the sales in my online Etsy shop and make the holidays more affordable for the many people out there that are struggling financially this holiday season, I decided to run two big sales:

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Starting today, ALL of my handmade crafts and crafting supplies are 50% off of their regular prices. And, all of my autographed books are 25% off (personalized messages available).

I’m calling it my 2020 Blow… out sale (since this year seriously blows)!

Sale runs through December 23rd, 2020.

Please, feel free to check it out:

Reprieve’s Corner 2020 Blow-Out Sale!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I appreciate the support– especially during such trying times. I read somewhere that 2020 was the year that “people came together while staying apart.” While we all practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we have the opportunity to come together virtually through social media, blogs, and other online activities.

Wishing everyone health and happiness during this unusual holiday season. Fingers crossed that 2021 is better– for everyone!

Until next time…

~ H. S. Contino

Fall Blowout Sale!

Good afternoon!

 Just a quick post today. I’ve been enjoying watching the trees in my neighborhood begin to change colors. Using this as an inspiration, I decided to have a “Fall Blowout” sale in my Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner. Starting today, you can save 40% off of the original price store-wide (excludes clearance items which are already marked down 50%). The sale ends Oct. 4th, 2020.

 The sale includes signed copies of my books– which make great holiday gifts! I’m also more than happy to include a personalized message (just leave me a note when checking out).

Happy fall everyone! 

~ H. S. Contino

Staying Constructive During the Pandemic

Editing in Process

Editing in progress…


Well, it’s officially September which means that it’s been a full year since I first started working on my novel “Timelines.” This time last year, I pulled out a spiral notebook and started jotting down my ideas about the story. Then, in October, I sat down at my computer and started writing it.

The rough draft for “Timelines” came together quicker than any other writing project that I have ever worked on. I was thrilled when I had a completed rough draft within 3 weeks– which is the equivalent of warp speed for me!

The next step was to set the manuscript aside so, when I returned to it to start the long, agonizing process of editing it, I would be able to view it with fresh eyes.

(My cat, Sir Fluff, likes to “help” me edit…)

Amazingly, I succeeded in writing another novel manuscript a month later which I’m tentatively calling “This Forgotten Life.” I chose the word “amazing” because I have always struggled to complete drafts. I’m really good at getting ideas and starting rough drafts, but I usually run out of steam mid-way through a project and then struggle to finish it.

I initially began editing “Timelines” during the winter, but I only had a limited amount of time to work on it, and I didn’t make much progress. Then, in March, most of the country shut down due to COVID-19.

Like the majority of workers, I was furloughed from my job at a local library. I remained in email contact with my supervisor, who reassured me for months that I still had a job whenever things returned to normal. But, even after the library re-opened for a limited number of hours per week, they didn’t need me to come in. Then, on July 31st, I received an official letter informing me that they were letting me go.

While it’s been an incredibly difficult year, I have attempted to stay busy and focus on constructive tasks to get through it. I’ve completed several home projects including painting the ceiling in my attic office/studio/spare bedroom. Since we’re living through such stressful times, I wanted something cheerful and fun. And, since I use the space to do a lot of writing, painting, and crafting, I wanted the room to be inspirational. So, I chose a blue skies with clouds theme. What do you think?

To make the project even more fun– and to amuse my nieces and nephew when they come to visit– I added stencils of different animals, plants, and bugs. So, when you’re in my attic you can play the game where you look for shapes in the clouds.

I had so much fun painting my attic ceiling! I already had glow in the dark stars and planets, so I added some stencils with glow in the dark paint. The result: during the day the room is blue skies and clouds and then at night the stars and planets are visible.

I’ve also been plugging away at editing my “Timelines” manuscript. For the past six months, I have worked on it for anywhere from thirty- minutes to several hours nearly every day.

Slowly but surely, the story is coming together. I’m currently on the 7th draft. For the first few, I read through the manuscript on my computer and made changes. For this draft, I printed everything out and I’ve been attacking it with a colored pen. Then, one chapter at a time, I’ve been making these changes in the computer version.

My current plan is to go through two more drafts– one where I highlight sections based on the type of content (dialogue, action, backstory, etc) in an attempt to make sure the story is “balanced.” Then, I plan on reading the story out loud from start to finish (which can help identify problem areas).

Once I’ve completed these steps, I’m going to release a “Beta Reader Edition” of the novel. Since I’m working with such a limited budget and I don’t have the backing of an established publisher for this project, I don’t have the money to hire a professional editor. So, instead, I plan on putting the novel out there and encouraging people to read it and then provide me with feedback.

What have you been doing to stay positive and/or constructive during the pandemic? Feel free to leave a comment.

Stay healthy everyone and thanks for reading!

~ H. S. Contino


Etsy sale!

H. S. Contino


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

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THE ANTI-BOOK by Raphael Simon

I really enjoyed reading this blog post, and I hope that you will too. Raphael Simon’s new book sounds amazing– and contains just the type of messages that kids need to hear– and I can’t wait to read it!

Nerdy Book Club

Next year I will publish my twelfth book, but I am as nervous as a first-timer—because The Anti-Book will be the first book to appear under my own name.

Already I can see myself obsessing over the Goodreads reviews: Remember, it’s just one reader’s opinion, well, one hundred readers’ opinions…Okay, so maybe the book stinks, that doesn’t mean you do! I think you smell quite nice…


Until now, my career as a children’s author has been about hiding my identity. “The infamously anonymous Pseudonymous Bosch, secret author of the Secret Series.” The pseudonym was a gimmick, sure, but the anxiety was real. I wanted to write, to express myself, but I didn’t want to be exposed. So I disappeared.

Funnily enough, my new book is about a boy who wants not just himself but his entire world to disappear.  (Spoiler alert: it does.) The Anti-Book is the most…

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Etsy Sale!

Good morning!

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!

On Dragons, Mismatched Socks, and Magic Librarians by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Well worth the read! I agree completely with her assessment that libraries (and books) are magical!


via On Dragons, Mismatched Socks, and Magic Librarians by Maggie Tokuda-Hall


Feedback, Please!

Good morning!

I’d love to have everyone’s feedback on something.

I created my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner, back in 2011. Personally, I love the name. Reprieve is my favorite word in the English language. As I explain in my shop’s “about” section, my logo is a frog taking shelter under a mushroom during a rain shower. I relate the image to the items in my shop since pretty much everything could be given as a gift. They’re like my “little moments of reprieve”– things to cheer someone up or make them smile. Eventually, like the frog, they’re going to have to step back out into life’s rain shower; but, hopefully,  the items that I sell will help bring them moments of happiness.

The problem is that I’m finding that most people don’t understand my concept and they find the name of my business both confusing and hard to remember.

So, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my shop. I’d like something catchy and easy to remember. The hard part is finding something that “fits” since I sell a variety of different products. I’m a published author, so I sell my books– which, like my crafts, cover a variety of topics. And I sell handmade crafts including jewelry, greeting cards, plush toys, hand painted wooden signs, pictures, and magnets. I also recently started making items out of clay (figurines and jewelry components).

The following are some of possible shop names that I’m considering and my concerns about each one. Please feel free to leave a comment on your favorites or add a new suggestion. (I use the free version of WordPress, which doesn’t offer the option of creating an interactive poll).


Hannah’s Handmade (although this doesn’t completely fit my books)

Contino’s Creations (but, I worry that people will have trouble remembering my last name)

Hannah’s Creative Corner (too vague?)

Hannah’s Hodgepodge (covers the variety, but I worry that it implies that I’m unorganized)

Hannah’s Handmade Gifts

… ?

Thanks everyone for your feedback!

  • Note: I’m posting this on both of my blogs (this one which covers crafting and other art projects and “H. S. Contino” which discusses my writing).

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