Updated: Jul 11
Though I'm originally a New England boy who currently resides in the most unforgiving reaches of the American Southwest, once upon a time I lived in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I went to college there, left for two years, and then came back. All told, I spent a decade in the Keystone State. As such, I can tell you with authority that the state bird is without a doubt an orange traffic cone. When you enter the state, the sign at the border says "Welcome to Pennsylvania: State Under Construction." It's just a rule of life there.
The same can be said of this very website. I've been known to tinker with it rather consistently, especially as means of procrastination from the writing I know I should be doing. But it's been a long time since I've given it a major facelift--or it had been until this past weekend.
On Sunday my girlfriend asked me to help her design the website for her editing business (And yes, I highly recommend her as a copy editor). I helped her put together a template, and then she took over the rest of the design process. Personally I think it came out looking great. But of course working on her website got the wheels spinning on how to improve my own site. And thus we spent most of Sunday sitting next to each other with our laptops open working on our sites together.
In the end, I have to say that this site looks a lot cleaner and modern than it did before. The truth is, I'm a writer, not a graphic designer. Everything I've done with this website has been self taught through trial and error. But with every tweak, I get it looking a little bit more like the website I had originally imagined in my head.
Some of the biggest changes have come on the product pages for my books. They now have backgrounds that fit each title instead of the generic black. I've also given the review ads at the bottom of the The Forbidden Scrolls Trilogy and The Stairs in the Woods pages a makeover. I think the new ads are a significant improvement over the old ones--especially for Stairs, though the map background for the Scrolls one is pretty sweet too. You can check them all out by clicking the images below:
That being said, even the black pages (such as this one) have texture now. I had never really been happy with the old look. I'm glad to say that as subtle as that change is, I think it makes a big difference in the professional quality of the site. Though if I have to claim a favorite page, it is the Error 404 page, because you have to have a sense of humor about things when they go wrong.
I'm also a lot happier with the homepage. It's significantly less cluttered than it used to. Keeping a gallery of the ads I'd done on the front page wasn't helping the look of things, no matter how much I might have l liked to show them off. Besides, you probably clicked on one of them to get to the website anyway, so it was a bit of repetitive overkill. And as a writer one of the things we have to learn to edit out is unnecessary repetition. Besides, now it's easier to find the link to sign up for my newsletter.
All in all, I'm happy with the results and I hope you are too. At the very least, I should be able to stop tinkering with it for a while and get back to writing one of the two books I'm currently working on. That's right, I'm working on two titles right now. My priority is getting the sequel to The Miranda Project ready for you all, but I've got a new dark fantasy novel in the pipeline as well. With luck, I should be able to work on both of them a little more over the rest of the summer now that this pet project is off my plate and I have no excuses ... you know, aside from my day job, my kid, the other responsibilities in my life that I need to put first.
In the meantime, hang in there. It's been a rough year for all of us so far. Here's hoping we have a lot more to look forward to in the second half of 2022.