Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Robin
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:11:36

    LOVE IT!

  2. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:20:02

    Very nice! I panicked for a minute, thinking ‘recent comments’ was lost, but then I found the big box at top right does all three with a hover. Nice!

    And congrats! Makeovers are always fun.

  3. Fionn J.
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:20:06

    :( Wish I could say the same, Robin. I sort of liked the rather spartan design.

  4. Robin
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:24:49

    LOL, Fionn, compared to some of the other blogs I visit, this seems *really* spartan to me! When the Smart Bitches redesigned, for example, it took me almost a month to get used to it. Although you and Jane probably share the same design sensibility. ;)

  5. Janine
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:25:36

    :( Wish I could say the same, Robin. I sort of liked the rather spartan design.

    I did too, Fionn. This color scheme makes me feel as if I ate too much candy.

  6. vanessa jaye
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:29:30

    I like. The colorways are unsual, but not jarring (don’t know how the colors are showing for others, but I’m seeing taupe, a dull red, and a lovely bluey-green. I’ll have to poke around to see how the fuctionality works.

  7. JC
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:32:12

    Nice. Kinda subtle, but enough that you notice it. I like that things are a bit more… I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it.

  8. Keishon
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:32:40

    I love it. I think she did a great job and I like the graphics.

    ETA: I do miss my clickable header.

  9. Janine
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:34:22

    don't know how the colors are showing for others, but I'm seeing taupe, a dull red, and a lovely bluey-green.

    I’m seeing puce, bright red, and deep aqua.

  10. Dana
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:37:10

    I like the new design, but (and this might only be on my screen) there’s a really wide space between the main blog entries and the margin that has the news/poll/ect. Is there a way to minimize that space so I don’t have to keep scrolling side to side?

  11. Jane
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:38:32

    @Dana: Can you tell me what your browser is? Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc? and version? You can usually go to “About” and it should tell you. That can help us troubleshoot.

  12. Jess
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:41:29

    I like the new look, especially the beige background on the sidebar and the alternating blueand white in the comments.
    Nice work.

  13. Shanna
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:42:08

    I like it, it seems more polished. The colors look fine on my screen and browser.

  14. Dana
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:42:46

    I have Firefox 2.0 and I’m using a MacBook Pro.

    I just checked with Safari, and the site comes up fine with that browser. Maybe it’s time for me to update to Firefox 3.0.

    Oh, and I really like the colors, I’m seeing the same colors as vanessa jaye.

  15. Robin
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:43:23

    I’m on Firefox 3.0, on a Mac, everything looks in the right place, and I see the same colors Vanessa Jaye does. On my screen, at least, it’s very soothing and harmonious, albeit in an unexpected way.

  16. Ann Somerville
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:45:13

    It’s very smart – Smart Bitches :)

    I like.

    Would be nice to have which post the recent comments came from, showing up as they used to, though.

  17. Dana
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:55:45

    Ok, so I just updated to Firefox 3.0 and everything looks fine. Thanks for trying to help!

    And I really do love the new look. :)

  18. roslynholcomb
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:59:59

    I’m running Safari on a iMac and I see sage, a bluey-green and a bright red. I’m not feeling it, but then I adore white space.

  19. Roslyn Holcomb
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:02:26

    Okay, checked it in Firefox and the green looks more taupe than sage, the other colors are still the same.

  20. Meredith Duran
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:09:03

    LOL. This debate about the color scheme reminds me of the time I revamped a website and inadvertently created a page with hot-pink accents against an ocher background. Oof! Thus ended my experimentation with web design.

    Anyway, on Google Chrome, and with my monitor settings, the “new” DA looks lovely and very mellow. Pale yellow-green trimming, with light blue and brick-red accents that offset the comment boxes. I like! (But hard-won experience compels me to say, to each browser, its own!)

  21. Ms. Bookish
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:23:53

    I like it – very easy on the eyes, and it looks like pics will jump right out at you. I’m not seeing any taupe, but a few different shades of a very lovely sage green (plus the reds, of course)!

  22. Jennybrat
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:31:33

    Love the new colour palette. Very soothing.

  23. Eliza Gayle
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:43:38

    I think it looks lovely.

  24. SonomaLass
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:51:48

    I like it. It isn’t too busy or crowded, but it does have a little more variety and spice than the old look. If you wanted a change, this is a good one.

    Although I also miss seeing which threads the new comments are from.

  25. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 00:56:10

    @SonomaLass and @Ann Somerville: I changed it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  26. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 01:13:54

    Using Firefox 2 with XP, and there is no sidebar…you can also try using to see the same page on different OS and browsers….

  27. EC Sheedy
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 01:36:25

    I think it’s great! Crisp, clean, and clear. Super job.

  28. Estara
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 01:45:22

    The aquablue will take some getting used to in the comments, but I heartily thank you for no longer having that horrible mirror effect on the book covers of the front page.

    I miss the big capital letters you had for a time at the beginning of paragraphs, but those were gone on the old layout as well.

  29. Sayuri
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 02:06:08

    I love it.

  30. Elle
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 02:30:53

    Ooh, I like the colors. I have the same problem as #10 – big gap between the side bar and main content which requires scrolling. I’m using Firefox 2 in XP.

  31. Jules Jones
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 02:33:14

    Not seeing the list of most recent comments, which I find useful on a blog. Firefox (yes I know, I just haven’t got around to installing 3 yet) on XP Pro. There’s a big white sidebar with nothing in it.

  32. K. Z. Snow
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 02:33:46

    Lovely, fresh . . . CD does amazing work.

  33. Selene
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 02:48:13

    I like it! Any chance of getting a direct link to the RSS feed of the comment trail of a specific post?


  34. Ann Somerville
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 03:25:21

    I don’t think WordPress offers that facility. Joomla does but in the interest of blogger sanity, I would never suggest that CMS for a blog.

  35. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 04:16:37

    Actually I can do an RSS feed for individual post comments (as well as RSS feeds for categories). I wonder where I would put the link.

  36. Jessica Kennedy
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 06:36:19

    Looks good!

  37. Kristen
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 06:58:22

    I like it, but it doesn’t look that different to me. But then, this is from someone who’s blog has a leopard print background and fushia accents. Subtle isn’t my style. ;o)

  38. Mia
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:10:21

    On IE 6, the sidebar also shows up only after all the main content. Other than that, it looks nice.

  39. Ann Somerville
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:29:27


    subtle isn't my style. ;o)

    Yeah, but you make being loud almost cool :)

  40. GrowlyCub
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:30:16

    Style: Can’t say I like it much. Too colorful, too cluttered.

    I thought the old site looked a lot classier and was much easier to read for folks with eye issues.

    Bugs: The banner is offset on the right. I’m using Firefox 3.0.3 on XP Pro.

    I do like that you now have an easier way to get to the reviews!

  41. meanne
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:31:34

    I’m using the latest version of Opera 9.62

    On my screen, there’s also a wide space between the blog entries on the left side and the recent posts/ polls etc. on the right side…

    If this can be fixed, then I would consider this a nice and subtle makeover change from the previous look..If not, please bring the old DA back!

  42. Laura
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 07:43:57

    I like the new look. It’s understated and not too fussy, and the colors look really nice together.

  43. SB Sarah
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 08:11:03

    Congrats on surviving your redesign! I, from the opposite of “Spartan” (heh heh) say WOW. It looks great! Croco Designs did a great job.

  44. Sarah Parr
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 08:16:05

    Nicely done!

  45. Danielle
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 08:20:37

    Love the new design.

  46. Selene
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 08:52:02


    Most blogs have this link at either the bottom of the original post or at the bottom of the comment trail (or both).


  47. katiebabs
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 09:18:19

    Very nice and classy :D

  48. azteclady
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 09:19:44

    I really like it myself.

    Muted color scheme, nice graphics, really quick to load. Very classy, methinks.

  49. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 09:51:04

    @Selene: Actually, Selene, it is already there in the section right above the author biography part. It’s just very small. I’ll see if I can increase the font size for that area.

  50. Nonny
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 10:05:54

    Very nice! I like! :)

  51. Selene
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 10:30:03


    Oh, there it is! Great, thanks!

    Speaking of font size, this site ignores user settings for fonts, which is sort of a bug I suppose (at least for Internet Explorer, where I use the view->text size->larger setting). One of the reasons I’m glad there are now handy comment trail feeds. :-)


  52. Sarabeth
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 11:38:36

    I like it.

  53. TracyS
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 11:45:45

    I like it. The colors are very nice on my screen. I’m using FireFox (whichever is the newest version) on XP. The colors are a sagey green, light blue and Red. The comment boxes are all gray for me with red letters for the date and time.

  54. Robin
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 11:46:41

    What happened to the blue? Oh, now I’m kinda sad.

  55. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 11:51:16

    @Robin: What do you mean, what happened to the blue? Oh! In the comments. Yeah, I thought it was too glaring.

  56. Robin
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 11:52:58

    Also, the blue on the homepage seems *way* toned down. It was never very glaring on my screen, but not it’s almost imperceptible. I miss it — such a happy color, blue is.

    Actually, did you mute the whole palette?

  57. Sherry Thomas
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 12:40:49

    Frauke is the best. I use her for all my design needs.

  58. theo
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 13:22:28

    I like the fact that Jane’s posts show up in green, all the others (at least for me) are a blue-grey color.

    The topics on mine, both previous and newer, are at the bottom of the screen, underneath the submit comment section.

    Firefox and XP, and I do have the standard side bar, FWIW

    But I mentioned yesterday I like it. It’s different. And I know that a few kinks, once they’re worked out, will change the design slightly too so I’m guessing it will be a bit different when it’s stable and finished.

  59. Chicklet
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 13:30:31

    I love it! I’m viewing it on my work PC, using IE (don’t know which version), and the colors are not at all jarring. I also appreciate the new format for dating entries, as well as the tags and “filed-under” notations.

    However, it looks like the tag cloud is truncated in the right-hand column; it cuts off at “ad-agency,” but I can’t see how to navigate to the rest of the tag cloud. (Clicking on the “TAGS” header doesn’t do anything.)

  60. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 13:34:51

    @Chicklet: I hadn’t thought of creating a tag cloud page, but I will do that right now. I redid the tag cloud so that it showed the most popular tags.

  61. Sasha
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 13:57:39

    WOW! It loads so much faster. I love it!

    I also love Frauke, she’s been my design Goddess for a few years now, and she always thinks of everything.

  62. Ann Somerville
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 14:54:45

    I liked the blue too, but maybe it was a little bright.

    The gray header for comments is so subtle (at least on my iBook screen) that I keep scrolling past it when I’m looking for the end/start of posts – an effect exacerbated by the comment number being centred against the text. May I suggest you either deepen the header colour to make it more definite, or move the number to align with the top of texts?

    The functionality of the site is great, and I shall be looking into some of your clever plugins, esp maintenance mode.

  63. KMont
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 14:59:16

    First impressions: I thought the site was broken. Then I immediately thought yall must have done an upgrade. Then I immediately thought after that that I liked the old layout much better because the site still looked broken to me. Then I thought shad up, ya twit, you’ll get used to it, you were simply used to the old one.

    I don’t even remember what the Smart Bitches site looked like before their upgrade this year, :) and I’m sure this one will soon gel together in my blog brain stem with all the others I visit daily. It does seem to load faster.

  64. orannia
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 16:43:58

    I like it (and I’m so not a change-happy person :) It feels more roomy too! Oh, and I’m seeing shades of green… (and skies of blue….sorry, the song just started playing in my head :)

  65. meanne
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 17:58:52

    A few hours ago I commented that with my browser Opera 6.2, there was a wide space between the left side entries and the right side ones..( See Post no. 41 )

    Now it’s all good!! Thanks for fixing this!

    Keep up the great work on this fantastic blog!!

  66. LinM
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 19:31:48

    I like most of it. The pages do load quickly which is a real pleasure.

    I do have 2 complaints; one minor and one that bothers me more.

    The “skies of blue” (orannia #64) is startling on my screen. If the designers could see it through my eyes, that colour would be verboten.

    But my real complaint is the same as Ann Somerville’s (#62). I would like the numbers to appear at the top of the comment instead of vertically centered. I was reading the comments on “Does an Author Have to Live It to Write It?”. For some of the longer texts, the numbers appear 3 screens down. I’m a mono-tasker; I like to recognize the start of a new comment, the author, and the comment number before I read the text. But when Robin posts (except for comment #1), the numbers appear many screens down. The numbering cue interrupts the comment instead of prefacing it.

  67. Mary-Frances Makichen
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 19:36:31

    Love it, great job!

  68. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 21:27:35

    I’ll fix the comments. Keep the suggestions coming. Some I can change and some, not so much.

  69. Jane
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 22:25:58

    What do we think of the What You See Is What You Get comment editor instead of the quicktags?  You can’t use the Preview button (presumably because this is what your comment would look like anyway).  It has spell check (nice) and a full screen (also nice).  Thoughts?

  70. Jenyfer Matthews
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 03:25:19

    Lovely! I love Croco Designs – Frauke is a genius :)

  71. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 05:41:53

    Is anybody else having problems with the preview feature?

  72. Leeann Burke
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 13:27:17

    Jane, the site looks fabulous.

  73. Karen Scott
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 15:57:53

    I love it!

  74. Sybil
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 20:31:14

    I loved it! Tres nifty.

  75. Anion
    Nov 21, 2008 @ 07:24:26

    Oh, dear.

    I used to be able to click on a particular comment in the “Recent comments” box, and it would take me directly to that comment. Now it just takes me to the top of the post and I have to scroll down and try to find where I let off/where the comment is.

    It’s not a huge deal, but I liked it better when I could go directly to the comment I clicked.

  76. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 21, 2008 @ 08:47:21

    I still can’t get the preview to work. Is it just me???

  77. Jane
    Nov 21, 2008 @ 09:06:57

    @Anion: You have to click on the commenter’s name to go directly to their post.
    @Shiloh Walker: Hmm. I thought it was working. I’ll have to look into it.

  78. Anion
    Nov 21, 2008 @ 09:38:47

    Ahh. Thanks! Is that new, or am I really that embarrassingly forgetful?

  79. MB (Leah)
    Nov 21, 2008 @ 11:28:04

    I just posted and the preview didn’t work for me either. I submitted the comment and the edit thingy seems to be working though.

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