Surprise, surprise! Here we are, still at the same old website. I have waved the white flag and admitted (partial) defeat.
I feel like I tried out a thousand web hosts. I think it was really only eight or ten, but it felt like more. Do you know how sick I am of building test sites? Gah!
I really didn’t like any of them. Most of them are too expensive. All of them are boring. They offer hundreds of templates but all of them look exactly alike. And most hosts don’t offer enough customization to make your website stand out. The exception was Squarespace. They almost had too much customization and I was a little overwhelmed by it. I couldn’t justify the price, though. If I was more than just an unknown starving artist, then I would definitely go for Squarespace, but I just can’t justify the price right now.
Of course, cookie-cutter sites seem to be the thing right now. I Googled several famous authors to look at their websites for inspiration and I was shocked at what I found. If you blurred out the book covers so that you couldn’t read who was who, then you wouldn’t be able to tell the websites apart. Seriously, check out these sites:
The only thing that makes Neil Gaimen’s and James Patterson’s websites stand out is they’ve got big old pictures of themselves on the page. Take those out and the page is pretty generic.
I guess that’s the trend these days, and I get it: keep it clean, easy to read, easy to navigate, focus on the books. Perfectly understandable. BUT, I don’t see any reason why the site can’t reflect a little of the author’s personality, too. I don’t want to go all glitter-blinkie Geocities on you, but I do want you to know you’re at MY website when you visit here!
JK Rowling’s website is a great example of the kind of website I’d like to create: https://www.jkrowling.com/
To that end, I’m staying with WordPress. I’ve purchased their paid hosting and, as I have time, I’ll be seeing what I can work out here. I love my current theme, but it’s going to have to go. My biggest problem with it is the “stay updated via RSS feed” text and link at the top of the page; it doesn’t work, and you can’t edit it. On top of that, this theme is ancient and no longer supported. So I’ll have to find some other theme I can work with within the customization parameters allowed by WordPress.
Enough with the website drama! On to the good stuff.
I’ve got two book recommendations for you this month (besides my stuff, of course). If you are a reader who prefers books with a literary bent, I recommend There,There by Tommy Orange. Mr. Orange was a guest at our writers conference this year and he was amazing! His book focuses on the stories of several different Native American characters whose lives all converge in an epic event at the end of the book. If you love work by David Truer or Louise Erdrich, you’ll love There,There by Tommy Orange.
On the genre front, I read Wastelands 2: More Stories of the Apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams. This is a great collection and includes authors both well-known (like George R.R. Martin & Orson Scott Card) and lesser known. I love anthos that include authors you know are going to hit it out of the park AS WELL AS letting you discover some new favorite authors.
In no particular order, my favorite stories in this collection were:
“The Tamarisk Hunter,” by Paolo Bacigalupi;
“Deep Blood Kettle,” by Hugh Howey;
“Animal Husbandry,” by Seanan McGuire;
“Ellie,” by Jack McDevitt;
“Dreams in Dust,” by D. Thomas Minton;
“Monstro,” by Junot Diaz;
“Biographical Fragments from the Life of Julian Prince,” by Jake Kerr, and
my favorite: “When We Went to See the End of the World,” by Robert Silverberg.
Definitely a thick collection with a variety of stories, so I’m sure you’re going to find several you really love.
That’s it for this month! Don’t forget to head over to Amazon and buy these latest collections that include my stories:
You can also follow me on Facebook!
Until next month, stay spooky, my friends!