January 29, 2005

VOTE, say all the naked starlets on MTV

1) THE NEW SITE IS UP and it is GO so please! take a look at the SPLASH and hit any link to see the content pages and be sure to tell the webmaster if you see any broken links or broken images or other techinical difficulties. It is more GODS-CENTRIC because the book's release date is LOOMING (more on my nervous prostration re: the release later). The whole thing was designed by writer extraordinaire JILL "I am not a web designer" JAMES. I want to hear what you think of it, and also there are two schools of thought on the menu, and I hope you will take a sec to ally yourself with a school...

One school says: The MAIN image is VERY COLORFUL and MULTI-TEXTURED, therefore get the FREAKING KUDZU out of the salmon-colored box with your navigation menu in it and leave the content area CLEAN and SLEEK. The CLEAN AND SLEEK menu is on display here.

Two school says: Oh heck, You can NEVER have enough kudzu! Clean and Sleek is BORING and you NEED a texture stamped into that salmon-colored box with the navigation menu in it. INFEST THE MENU WITH THAT INDOMITABLE WEED! The KUDZU INFESTED menu is on display here.

2) I had to get COLOR PICTURES taken. A magazine wants to interview me (more on my nervous prostration re: magazine interviews later) and they want a COLOR photo, and all the good-enough-quality (which translates to geek-speak as: 300 dpi jpg) photos I have are the super-fantastic 200 dollar hair/professional make-up, lighting by a VERY KIND GOD pictures taken by the 'scrutiatingly talented Elizabeth Osborne. You can see one on the bio page and this Liz Photo will be on the book jacket! But. Liz DOES NOT WORK IN COLOR. So. I had to find a new photographer.

For color, I went first to my hairdresser Amanda who suggested for winter very FAINT carmel and gold multi-toned highlights. I JUST LOVE HER. Then, hair-ready but still quaking, I went to Harris Ponder of Birmingham for the photographs. He always takes my KID's portraits. He's a REALLY good photographer, and my kids' pics always come out GORGEOUS but then, look at the raw material.. So. I am more of a challenge.

He did a VERY GOOD JOB, regardless. I picked out two, and then his e-mail person sent the wrong one, so I have three. I can only send TWO to my publicist because that is what I paid for, and I thought I knew which two but... Oh heck, these are good pictures by a great photographer, but I hate pictures of me, hate having my picture taken, hate looking at them, etc etc. I look at pictures of me and I always see a serial killer or a lobotomized monkey. So. Here are all three in POP UP form, pick your favorite please, or rank them in order from least to most likely to cause you to flee in terror.

1) In which I am a Very Serious Artiste with Issues, but at least I WEAR A COLOR.
2) In which I have CLEARLY just huffed some nitrous oxide, but at least I have definitively PROVEN THE EXISTENCE OF MY TEETH.
3) In which I LOOK RELATIVELY INTELLIGENT, but am unfortunately also evil, and am plotting right now to kill you.

3) My VERY FIRST interview already happened, and it was for PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (and they used the b and w photo) (and the woman who interviewed me was probably one of the ten coolest humans on the planet and I HAD no nervous prostration because when she called and I said a quavering, "hello" into the phone, the FIRST words out of her mouth were, "Honey, relax! I'm with Publisher's Weekly, and I am not here to hurt you!" I burst out laughing and fell in love with her. ALSO -- she turned out to be a HORSE PERSON, so it was all good, and I think she did a WHIZ BANG FANTASTIC job on the interview) (That was sure a lot of parenthetical digressions! I wonder if you recall where we were in the initial sentence before I went leaping off into the conversational long grass never to be seen again! CUZ I DO NOT, so let me go back and look...) and that interview is in the January 24th issue, OUT RIGHT NOW. On page 119, if you happen to subscribe, or if you happen to be in Borders (a lot of Borders stores carry PW).

I am one of about ten debut novelists in "First Impressions," interviews with writers whose books are PW's picks for possible break-outs. THAT WAS A GOOD DAY. What made it EVEN nicer was that they asked about seven independent booksellers from all over the country for THEIR picks for spring, and ONE OF THEM SAID GODS IN ALABAMA! It was ROBERT GRAY, a fellow blogger -- I like his blog, actually, so I mailed an ARC to him, which was kinda scary because Robert Gray is not famous for being a PUNCH PULLER, if you know what I mean. He isn't at all snarky or UNKIND, but if he doesn't like a book, he is not afraid to say so.

I just got my copy of PW so I am SHAMELSSLY going to quote him here:
"GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson. As a bookseller I'm confronted every year with new books that I feel I should sell, books that I feel I could sell and sometimes, when I'm lucky, books that I can't wait to sell. Jackson's book falls in to that third category. Booksellers have many devious techniques for talking a potential reader of a book into becoming an actual reader. With this one, all I'll have to do is open it to page one and say, 'Read the first sentence.' [There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniels, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.] Done deal."

WHOOPS just noticed there is nothing to vote on here in section 3. So. HMM, Let's see. As you may recall, I decided on January 24th that SPAIN is the new black, but WHO is the new Spain? Has to be either Robert Gray or Jill James...

Posted by joshilyn at January 29, 2005 10:13 AM

I think that I like pic #1 the best. The color warms you, and you have pleasant but thoughtful look about you. Yes, that's it, #1.

Posted by: Cheryl at January 29, 2005 11:16 AM

Good mornin, hon!

For section 1: no kudzu. I really like the clean lines and it lets the text show through, which is (afterall) the point of a web page ;-)

Section 2: third photo. Intelligent but evil is very in right now. And as much as I've argued with you before about your impression of yourself in photos, you do look like you're high on cow fumes in the second photo, I'm afraid.

Section 3: Robert Gray. I'm still bummed that it takes so long for a librarian to get their hands on issues of PW! I just got the last of November and two from December on my desk after we emailled. Sigh.

Looking forward to seeing the interview!

How's Maisy?

Posted by: Kestralyn at January 29, 2005 11:19 AM

Redo looks good, though the banner on some pages takes up 45% of my 1024x screen. (majority of people still use 800x600)

Pic #1 definately. Listen to no one else. I won't explain why... *wink*

Posted by: Shawn B. at January 29, 2005 11:39 AM

Loved #1 photo the best! You go Girl. aunt mern

Posted by: Aunt Mern at January 29, 2005 11:42 AM

I like the second web page and first photo.
Hope everyone's feeling better :)

Posted by: Dianna at January 29, 2005 11:47 AM

I like the kudzu. It's a texturey kind of page and 'just pink' looks a little nekked. . . . and I second what Shawn B. says about the usage of the 'space'.

I like pic #1 the best in which you wear a color. Simply, it looks like you . . . lovely, pleasant, intelligent, approachable.

Posted by: Dana at January 29, 2005 12:38 PM

Please do not eat my spleen with your pointy teeth, master.

Posted by: Mir at January 29, 2005 12:39 PM

Photo #1. You look smart and not evil, kind but not TOO approachable in an established-author-y way.

Shawn: Joss didn't like a lot of white space on her 1024 screen so I planned it to look okay on an 800 screen where, if I coded it right, the kudzu on the right gets cut off but you can still see the driving girl, and the menu scoots over to butt up to the content.

If the menu disappears on anybody's screen please let me know.

PS I AM NOT a web-designer, I am a writer with Photoshop 7 and Eric Meyers' CSS book and a lotta nerve.

Posted by: Jill James at January 29, 2005 12:50 PM

The NEW NEW NEW blog header makes a WORLD of difference. Now I can start to read the blog without scrolling....


Posted by: Shawn B. at January 29, 2005 2:00 PM

Jill did a beautiful job on the website.

Picture #1 is the best -- you look pretty in red.

I like the kudzu better than no kudzu.

Posted by: KarenB at January 29, 2005 2:22 PM

Like Shawn I also like the blog way better with the bottles and the recent entry right up at the top. Yay for Mr. Husband, the savant of MT! I wish livejournal was as easily customizable. I sacrificed some appearance for cross-browser compatability.

But livejournal has a SPELLCHECKER for commenters so I can correct my typos, which MT does NOT have. Every time I comment here I have an opportunity to type like a dylexic under the influence.

Posted by: Jill James at January 29, 2005 3:48 PM

I vote kudzu over no kudzu. I don't think it intrudes with the reading, but it gives it some textural interest.

My photo pics were 3-1-2, but my DH liked 1-3-2 and had some very strong reasons for saying so. Me? I just liked 3.

Can't wait for the book!

Posted by: Katrina at January 29, 2005 6:27 PM

My preference?
1. Clean -- no Kudzu. But it won't break my heart either way cuz both versions still feature that gorgeous, savory looking creature with the Long. Dark. Brown. Hair. *panting heavily*
2. Picture #1. No doubt about it. Artiste exraordinaire. *nods emphatically*
3. Robert Gray. Anyone who can make me laugh so hard over smashmouth bookselling has got my vote.

Posted by: David at January 29, 2005 7:10 PM

I'd go without the Kudzu and picture number one. As we say up here in Canada, "You rock, eh!"

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at January 29, 2005 8:34 PM

Kudzu and colour.

Posted by: Shelley at January 29, 2005 8:48 PM

Picture #1 is my fave, but I also like #3 and do not think you look evil.

I prefer the menu without the kudzu, only because the header is busy enough and I don't think it needs the competition. A totally different issue, though, is that the menu box stops so suddenly, thus leaving the rest of the body of the page very narrow compared to the width you start out with in the header at the top. (Did you follow that?) Somehow, that just feels unbalanced to me, but clearly that could be my own personal little issue, as some folks have dared to call ME unbalanced at times. ;)

Overall, I LOVE the new site design. Jill did a fantastic job!

Posted by: Lisa at January 29, 2005 10:57 PM

Poop. It looks like I'm in the minority here, because I like the Kudzu. It's not intrusive and gives the menu a bit of texture.

But I join the majority again in saying I like picture #1.

Posted by: ViVi at January 30, 2005 6:51 AM

I like the kudzu. It's texture-y without being distractingly, annoyingly so.

I love pic number 1. Perfect professional author expression and the color of the jacket is great.

Pic number 3 looks like you're thinking about what groceries you need to pick up on the way home.

Pic number 2 scares me. Deeply.

Posted by: DebR at January 30, 2005 9:23 AM

I like the kudzu, and I vote for evil # 3...why? Because you look intelligent, and pretty...or was that the kudzu?

I don't think you could take a bad picture anyway...ugh! I hate you! (only kidding)...
take care,

Posted by: dee at January 30, 2005 10:52 AM

I like the kudzu and picture #1 then #3, I really liked #3 but #1 is better for a book jacket.

Posted by: carolyn at January 30, 2005 11:14 AM

I think that the texture (Kudzu) looks best. The plain looks unbalanced with the rest of the layout.

Picture #1 is by far the best of the 3! A much more warm and friendly picture.

Posted by: Lisa at January 30, 2005 11:16 AM

I like the second website look and the first picture. :)

Posted by: Audra at January 30, 2005 12:12 PM

If this were a democracy I would vote for pic# 1 or 2. #1 Gives me the impression of someone who is starting out on a happy adventure.
#2 Says 10 Print "Happy Yay", 20 GOTO 10

Pic #3 scares me. And makes me want to go fidget and hide. It says no nonsense or else. However it does contain a glimmer of happy mischief. But has that "alpha-editor" power to it. I suggest you keep #3 if you ever decide to run for a tough political office.

Posted by: Klint at January 30, 2005 12:38 PM

Keep the Kudzu and use the pic where you are wearing a color.

And oh my goodness on that quote. You so rock!

Posted by: Heather at January 30, 2005 12:52 PM

Oh, pic #1, definitely. I like #3, too, but I think he color works for you. And I say, keep the kudzu!

Posted by: Aimee at January 30, 2005 12:54 PM

Pic #1 by far. I love the color.

No kudzu. As a former Alabamian I know that it's true that yes, you can have too much.

I'll have to go with Robert Gray. He quoted your book and that's a killer line.

Posted by: debra at January 30, 2005 12:57 PM

1 - Kudzu-infested
2 - Photo #1
3 - Jill James, because putting together great webpages is harder work than saying nice things, even if they are really nice. :)

Posted by: Jensgalore at January 30, 2005 4:01 PM

Love the Kudzu, picture #1 (#2 doesn't even look like you, sweetie, and #3 is too dark) and Mr. Gray! The new web site is beautiful, but "books I can't wait to sell"?! I want to kiss him on the lips and I didn't even write the dern thing! I'm going to Borders tommorrow to see if I can get a copy of PW - then I'm going to take it to school with me when I pick up Jack and brag to all the other moms about how cool my friends are!! :)

Posted by: Amy at January 30, 2005 5:56 PM

My Official voting is as follows:

1- The current splash page. I kinda dig it sans kudzu.

2- Picture # 1. For reasons unknown.

I also vote this blog entry as #1 for the abundance of linkage.

Posted by: Matt at January 30, 2005 6:31 PM

ok, Amy made me post - pic #1 is best. Pic #2 is what I would see if I were a Mormon you just opened your door to, thus interrupting your "experiments with the Jeffery Dahmer cookbook" phase.

Posted by: Kevin at January 30, 2005 8:39 PM

The web page looks great! I would go with the clean lines. I also prefer the first picture, the jacket is terrific.

Posted by: Lisa at January 31, 2005 9:58 AM

Love the kudzu myself (clean & sleek - boring!) and picture #1...but that's just me. I'm getting really excited to read your book! :-)

Posted by: carrster at January 31, 2005 12:50 PM

If you get two pics to send off - use #3 & #1. I like #3 best. #2 has that quality of forced smile that says "I know you meant well but I really want to smack you a good one." The next time you do pictures, get bring Maisy and have her make funny faces in the back of the room. You'll get real smiles that way, I promise. ;>

Clean lines all the way - after all, you want little old ladies to be able to read your website as well as young hip bloggers, right? ;> The no kudzu varient will be easier to read for people who need reading glasses.

Posted by: Christina at January 31, 2005 1:07 PM

#3 is professional and has an air of mystery to it -- a good mystery, not evil. #1 is a bit too approachable and #2 is, well, it's silly.

Kudzu please. Looks kinda nekkid without it!

Posted by: Kimberly at January 31, 2005 8:51 PM

I like the kudzu-free version and the first picture. Smiley = pageant contestant.

Posted by: Kristin at February 1, 2005 3:47 PM