As I mentioned in previous posts, recent events have caused me to take a long hard look at what I do here.
Circumstances and thieving bastards have forced me to take some long overdue steps to protect my intellectual property. Additionally, as has been noted by my family and many readers, it’s long past time that I get serious about transitioning to professional writing as a full time occupation. And, again as noted by a number of readers, the design of Stonekettle Station was starting to look more than a bit outdated.
As such, I’ve been making some changes over the last month. One of those changes is a redesign of Stonekettle Station itself. If you haven’t noticed already, the appearance of the blog has been significantly overhauled (If you don’t notice a new look, try clearing your cache and refreshing your browser). Most of the obvious changes are cosmetic, I wanted to update Stonekettle Station to more reflect contemporary blog design and to better protect myself.
Since a number of folks asked, the background picture is Pioneer Peak in Palmer, Alaska – that is, it’s my backyard. And yes, I took the picture. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a photographer in addition to being a writer and artist. Some of my photography will start appearing for sale via a link on this site in the near future.
Not all the changes to Stonekettle Station are cosmetic. I've changed how things work under the hood, streamlining the underlying structure of the website which should speed up load times and make things work better for both you and me. You’ll also note that I’ve updated the information appearing on the right sidebar, including my bio which now includes the occupation “freelance writer” because I’m now getting paid for some of my work. Speaking of which, as I move towards becoming a full-time professional writer with a kid in college, it has become necessary for me to monetize the blog. Many of you asked if you could help keep me in cheese sandwiches (writers run on cheese sandwiches, coffee, and strong whiskey. That's a fact and you can look it up on the internet). The answer to that question is: yes, hell yes, and thank you. There is now a "donate" button displayed prominently on the right side of the main page. You may, if you think the content here is worth anything, give me money directly through PayPal or via whatever form of electronic tender you desire including credit/debit cards. You may give as much or as little as you like. You can even set up a reoccurring donation on a monthly or yearly basis. It’s entirely up to you.
Additionally, within the next several days, Google ads will begin appearing on the blog. I will attempt to limit them and make them as unobtrusive as possible. But ads are how websites make real money, especially if they pull in the volume of traffic Stonekettle Station now does. And I'm not in a position where I can ignore that opportunity. If you're running an ad-blocker, you won't see them but I won't make anything from your visit either. And that's okay, I'm not asking you to turn off your ad-blocking plug-in. But you might consider a small donation if you don't want to be bothered with the ads when they begin to appear. Note: this holds true for all blogs like Stonekettle Station and other small independent news sites. If you enjoy what you get there, you might consider turning off your ad-blocker or making a donation to help keep these places running. But again, that’s entirely up to you.
Let me be clear, I am not asking you to donate. I'm not asking you to suffer the ads. You are welcome to continue enjoying (or hating) Stonekettle Station for free. But if you do choose to donate or allow ads then you will have a huge warm fuzzy feeling of awesome goodness, and I will personally put in a good word for you with the deity of your choice –or– I will raise a glass of good Irish whiskey in your honor, whichever tickles your fancy.
Expect continued changes and refinements over the next few weeks. Hopefully this will make your visit here better. Feel free to offer suggestions, I’ll probably ignore them, but hey, doesn’t hurt to try.
And thanks. Thanks for everything, thanks for coming by, thanks for reading, thanks for your interest, thanks for your kind words and constructive feedback. I sincerely appreciate it.
//Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station