Archive for the ‘Wordpress’ Category

mystery, websites, Wordpress


Do strange things happen to you, occasionally?
Last week, my website experienced a series of unexplained glitches. I think that everyone who works in an office, or runs a website, blog, or simply uses computers, sooner or later will come across some issues. That is part of life.

Between Monday and Friday last week, that is only five days, the following happened to my website:

1)      My newsletter sign up fields disappeared.
At first I thought I messed it up myself, because I had changed some of the wording in the sign up description. I couldn’t believe it. All those people queuing to sign up to my newsletter… what were they going to do now? So I emailed the techie guy who helps me with this kind of thing.
Three hours later, he emails me back asking if I had solved the problem by myself. I went to look again at my website and the sign up fields were there again. I hadn’t done anything. Basically it had broken and fixed itself.

2)      The cover of my new book, The Broken Heart Refuge 1, had disappeared from my website.
Considering that this is my latest book, I was kind of annoyed that it should just vanish; it was there on the 2nd of January, so why should it suddenly go two days later?
Well, it turned out, after some careful investigation – I put my Marlowe hat on, just to stay in character with my series – that this book cover is only visible on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer latest version. It doesn’t affect the other book covers, but only this one. You try and explain that to me!

3)      Still staying on the theme of book covers, I also found out that my first book A Deal with a Stranger, was displaying the English book cover on my Italian book page. I am sure that I never loaded on that page the English book cover, the Italian stuff goes on the Italian pages and the English stuff goes on the English pages. Why on earth would I have two flags up there, otherwise?

I wondered how these things came about. As you know, I have a four-year old daughter, Sofia. She is attracted to computers, gadgets, and things with buttons. She owns two toy-laptops (thanks to her generous uncles/aunts) and even her own tablet (thanks to grandma/grandpa). Her latest tablet is a dream: it’s colourful, it’s got fairies and princesses, you can do everything on it, videos, photos, drawing and games. I am jealous, because I don’t have such a cool toy. My laptop is boring, it’s black with a hint of red around it. That’s as much colour as it gets. The most exciting video I’ve watched on it is of a guy in a dark suit talking about marketing. Despite all of this, Sofia is attracted to my laptop. When I’m not looking, she’s in there like a shot, at my keyboard. I always lock it, but she bashes it and presses all the buttons until she eventually crashes the thing and I have to restart it. If I forget to lock my laptop (God forbid!), the instant I’m throwing the spaghetti into the boiling water, for example, she manages to move all the icons on my desktop and activate commands I didn’t even know existed.

So, I was thinking, could she have done that to my website, last week?  Mmhhh… Sofia doesn’t have the login and password to start with. Second, she knows the letters of the alphabet, but cannot read or write; navigating the commands of a WordPress website may be beyond her reach. OK then, who is responsible? Since we are talking about disappearances (fields from newsletters, invisible book covers), and here at home we have other things that vanish, namely socks from the washing machine and teaspoons from cutlery drawers, could it be that there is a single, how shall we call it, entity, involved?

But, do strange things happen to you too, occasionally?


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We made it!


blog, website design, Wordpress


The title says it all. Notice the use of ‘we’. I didn’t say “I made it!”, but “We made it”. I’m referring to the launch of my new website.

I couldn’t have it done on my own. OK, I had a clear idea of what I wanted on it, but actually getting it done is another thing. I’ve been thinking about having a website dedicated to me as an author (rather than to a specific book) for ages.

The easy part was the content: I knew what needed to go in there; the tricky part was how to present it. There are so many options out there, the choice is huge, where do you even start? So I started by browsing hundreds of WordPress themes: one was better than the other, and the next one was even more alluring, it was overwhelming. What could work best for me?

My brother Ferruccio, in the end, picked the theme  – just as well. He designed the draft website and presented it to me. Then the whole “maybe I’ll have this bit instead of that” or “maybe I’ll try something different here” started. Well, he was fantastic and very patient with me. I changed my mind several times, over the colours, the layout, the images, the slider, everything, really. I’m sure that, after a while, every time he heard from me via email or text, his heart started to race. That’s big sisters for you.

My friend writer Stefania Mattana was of immense support over some technical glitches. Because things never go as smoothly as you think. You do everything by the book, you follow each step carefully, then you check everything, and double-check, just in case. All seems well. You finally do the testing with the newsletter signup or the blog posting, and what happens? There’s a problem. Really? Are you sure? Yes. What do I do now? Call Stefania. She’ll fix this. And she did. I am really impressed with her. Because she’s not only a very talented crime writer, she’s also a bit of a techie too.

Last but not least, my friend Siv Lien, who designs my book covers, provided some wonderful advice on the general look of the website. She’s a graphic designer, so she’s definitely qualified for the job. I think that her input gave it that extra spark that it was missing before.

So, all in all, this was a fantastic team effort. We made it! At the end of the day, though, it’s you guys who will be the final judges. Have a look around and let me know what you think.


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