Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Hey, is that … Spring?


Look quick! Don’t blink! We’re having Spring–for a week. Well, five days. Then BOOM! Summer.

Damn. I love Spring, and it’s way too early for 80 deg F temps in MN. Besides, the earlier it gets warm, the earlier I need to get the garden in. We’re past the usual last-frost date (not that it matters much in MN; we’ve had frost halfway through May), and the stinging nettle, quackgrass, and creeping charlie are popping up like it’s a race, so of course Hubs decides we need to get the garden in.

Okay, buddy. First, kill the weeds along the fence that we didn’t pull out last year, or the year before, or the year before that (I used to take the fence down every year, but since we wrapped the chicken wire around it, it’s a PITA to take down in the fall after the weeds have grown into it). We try not to use chemicals, so he got one of those dragon torches to kill the weeds. Great, except it’s more effective when you actually use it, and when said weeds aren’t a foot tall.

And the creeping charlie managed to breech the ramparts last year. I am this close to using an herbicide on that stuff. Hubs staunchly refuses, but damn it, he’s the one who brought home the grass clippings that started the invasion from another property we had. And I’m the one who maintains the garden.

Might need to be a little covert on this one.

Anyway, I didn’t intend for this to be a rant about weeds, or even about the “don’t blink, you’ll miss it” spring. I actually had a question for my fellow writers who have author websites.

So here’s the thing. I put together my website before Murder in Plane Sight came out. I was in IT for years, so doing it myself was a given. I looked at other authors’ websites to get ideas, and some authors posted about websites and tools on their blogs.

So, I did my research (ad nauseum) and picked a tool that worked well for me. It had more capability than WordPress, and I could use one plugin vs many. It worked great! Until it didn’t. So, this tool, at some point, stopped playing nice after it updated, and I couldn’t edit my webpage. So, I check in with the plugin’s tech support, who gave me a bunch of suggestions I couldn’t do because I don’t host my own site. I finally got it working again. For a while.

Then it happened again. I needed to update my site, and the damn tool stopped working again. So back to tech support. Basically, they said to rollback the updates. I did, and it worked! Rinse and repeat. It’s happened again, and I’ve turned off the auto-updates (which we all know is going to bite me in the ass at some point, because you should always keep software updated).

I’m done fighting with this plugin. Yes, it’s a subscription thing, but not too expensive (Elementor, if you are curious. And other people might not have any problems with it at all). Still, it should work after an update, right? Especially after I’ve followed all of their tech support suggestions to fix it.

Anyway, for those fellow writers who maintain their own author site, what themes or tools do you use? Suggestions? I’m starting the whole researching websites thing again, but I’m reluctant to spend a ton of time I could use to write (or plant the garden) looking for reviews and playing around with trial versions. Or playing around with my website when I don’t know if the tool I try will work for me, or even if I should redesign my whole author site. And that’s a whole ‘nother rabbit hole–looking for ideas on website design. Hell, designing a website when I don’t know what design resonates with me.

So, if anyone has any suggestions, toss them my way. I’ll probably have to set up a temporary new website to play around with until I get things figured out so I don’t mess up my real one.

Hope everyone is having some nice spring weather! Take a walk, enjoy the tulips and daffodils fast, because they won’t last long.

Happy Writing!

Watching chipmunks really wears a gal out

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, five chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

8 thoughts on “Hey, is that … Spring?

  1. I like spring, too, Julie, although my top season is autumn, I must admit. The nice thing about spring is that you get some great outdoor time, and I think that recharges the writing batteries, so to speak. As to your question about author websites, I use WordPress. It’s not expensive, the tools are not hard to use, and there’s lots of great ‘how to’ help available on the web. I hope it helps, FWIW.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot! And absolutely, outdoor time recharges the writing batteries. I’ve been able to walk the past few days, and I can tell my creative energy feels more energetic 🙂

      I’ve been thinking about just using whatever comes with WordPress. I’ll have to check out other author websites and get ideas (because graphic design is not my forte 🙂 )

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to steer frustration out of my life, so I have Dandelion Marketing take care of my website. …I feel your pain on creeping Charlie, which started invading our yard from a neighbor at our former place. It’s frustrating when a neighbor turns their entire yard into creeping Charlie. Or…maybe that’s the way to go, LOL. My grandmother did that–she just mowed creeping Charlie and let it be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I leave the creeping charlie alone–except around the garden 🙂 Then again, the creeping charlie is way more aggressive than the stinging nettle, ragweed, and quackgrass–well, maybe not the quackgrass. 🙂

      Have a great writing week, Chris!


  3. I use WordPress.org templates. Using Catchbox right now. Tried one or two others years ago and eventually landed on Catchbox. Siteground is my domain host. No major problems with them, although now and then I try to “make things better” and make them worse, which requires a note to Siteground asking them to fix my blunder. Fantastic customer service by the way.

    I’ve done a lot of free online learning through Siteground and Yoast (SEO) webinars and articles. I doubt my website is first-class fast , efficient, and effective, but it’s good enough for me at this point. Has the basics and a few things I’ve added and tweaked over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris! I’m thinking of checking out some WordPress.org themes. I’m sure there are a lot of new ones since I last looked. I was using Siteground, but I’m using Hostgator now. Cheaper than Siteground (which is why I switched). I’ll have to check out some webinars on Yoast; that whole SEO stuff is a lot to figure out.

      Have a great writing week!


      • I hear ya, kid. If I was making serious money selling books, I’d probably hire a social media/web specialist to do that end of the business. Good luck with whatever you decide going forward.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. The image of Zoey watching chipmunks… so sweet. Ooohsheboo…


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