Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Now that the novels are all e-booked and half the storm shutters have gone up on the Writer's Lair before we start south this weekend, I'm taking a mop, bucket and paintpot to the old web site. Until a few days ago it hadn't been updated for more than a year, and the cobwebs and dust-bunnies are showing.

Maybe all it needs is a fresh banner, the home-page photograph that bears the name of the site. Here's the present one (click on it, and all the others, for larger versions):

That red-tailed hawk portrait is one of my favorite bird shots, but after a year it's too much the same old same old. Maybe one of the summer's better merganser photos:

On the other hand, maybe those piggybacking babies are too cuddly-cozy for a Web site that features murder mysteries. Perhaps a young bald eagle would be more macho:

Briefly last year there was an eagle banner, but the photograph made the home page a little too deep to be viewed without scrolling on most monitors:

For a while I used a couple of grizzly bear shots taken during an Alaskan trip, but eventually they seemed not quite appropriate for the Web site of a mystery author who writes about a region that harbors only black bears:

That Alaskan trip also yielded a picturesque shot of a White Pass & Yukon train entering a tunnel, but probably the photo would work better as the herald of my rail travel blog:

Same, perhaps, with this shot of the West Texas desert taken from the last car of Amtrak's Sunset Limited:

There's a soft spot in my heart for Lake Superior sunrises and sunsets, but are they really effective illustrations for a mystery author's web site?

Last year I simply loved Arches and Canyonlands National Parks for their breathtaking scenery and tried a couple of banners, but let's face it, Utah just doesn't convey the green forest-wilderness ambience of Upper Michigan, where my sheriff hero works:

I'd appreciate your thoughts. Which of these banners, in your opinion, would be the most effective for an Upper Michigan mystery writer's home page?


  1. I think you should go back to the drawing board. The photo you choose should say something about the types of books you write. Just seeing your name and a picture of an eagle or ducks or whatever they are makes me think you're doing nature books or wildlife stuff. Yes, they're great photos. But what do they have to do with what you're trying to peddle? Why didn't you use one of those photos for your book cover? Exactly.

  2. I hate to tell you, but the hawk photo is still my favorite, though you may be sick to death of it. The ducks are too namby-pamby.

  3. Since they are, after all, murder mysteries, the hawk should be carrying prey in its mouth :)

    I vote for the sunset shot because at least that's regionally accurate.

    Don't you have some shots of creepy abandoned copper mines or shots of the Porcupine Mountains enveloped in an ominous fog or something? :)

  4. Methinks you need some symbology. Your mysteries are about a lawman in the woods. What about a gun and a badge against a forest backdrop?