Rae: If we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an Iced Latte with Coconut Milk. What would you order?
Jay: Well, it varies based on the day. I am not a monogamous coffee drinker! But my favorites are a caramel macchiato, a mocha latte, or when they are in season, a peppermint mocha or a salted caramel mocha – yum!
Rae: Thank you for being here. I wanted to showcase a blogger that had a genre I don’t usually review. While I’ve featured M/M, M/M/F books on the blog, it’s not a regular post on my blog. I know that I have readers out there who want to know where to go for M/M books that are hot and not so hot and Joyfully Jay is just the place!
Jay: Thanks so much! It is great to be here, and welcome to all your readers! I hope you have a chance to stop by the blog!
Rae: How do you get through all of your books? I feel privileged and blessed to read a book before it’s released. Are you an e-book reader or a paperback junkie?
Jay: I used to be a die hard paperback reader, but since starting my blog, I read almost exclusively electronically. Almost everything I read at this point is a review book and we get them all as ebook copies. Now I am never far from my Kindle!
Rae: So, that begs the question, how did you get your start? Did you start out with associate reviewers? How often do you add associate reviewers?
Jay: I started out as just me. I never planned for it to be a book only blog, I just figured I’d use my blog as a place to ramble about assorted things. But honestly, within weeks I was pretty much exclusively a review blog. I was on my own for about 8 months, at which point I added two reviewers. We have grown quite a bit over the past 5+ years, and I currently have nine fabulous folks who review for me. People have come and gone over the years as other interests or obligations have come up, but I am usually at about 7-9 reviewers. That seems to be about the sweet spot for us, as we review about 20 books a week.
Rae: Is blogging your only job or do you balance with another career?
Jay: I have worked from home part time since I had my oldest daughter, so about 16 years. That makes it a little easier for me to blog, because as you probably know, it can be a full time job in and of itself. So I try to stay off the blog for a chunk of time each day to focus on work, but they are both time consuming.
Rae: Who would you say is a must read for a new reader in this genre?
Jay: Oh, that is a hard question. We review pretty much exclusively GLBT romance, with a focus on male/male. So that includes all sort of other combinations, but primarily we are all about the dudes. This is such a rich genre that is growing every day, and there are so many wonderful books. If your readers are interested in getting their feet wet, I’d suggest they check out our Favorite Books lists. These are lists of our favorite books in a variety of tropes/themes. For example, we have virgin heroes, vampire/shifter pairings, amnesia stories, rock stars, men in uniform…. So you can check out those lists for themes you like and then see our favorite books in those themes. You can find the lists here: https://joyfullyjay.com/favorite-books-by-topic/
Rae: There are so many conferences out there to connect with professionals and authors in this industry, which ones are at the top of your list?
Jay: Well, my favorite event of the year is always GayRomLit (https://gayromlit.com). It is a great event celebrating all things gay romance. We are a growing community, but still a relatively small one, with a really close relationship between authors and readers. So GRL is a great event to catch up with friends who you only get to talk to online the rest of the year. This year it is being held in Denver in October so I am really excited. It will be my 6th year and I wouldn’t miss it!
I also love the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (which was just last week) and this was my fourth year. RT is a totally different vibe from GRL. Big and bustling and full of excitement. It is also a great chance to connect with the larger romance community and I always have a wonderful time there.
Rae: If readers and authors want to find you, where will you be in the upcoming months.
Jay: Well, the best places to find me are on the blog (https://joyfullyjay.com), as well as on social media on Twitter (https://twitter.com/jayhjay432), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/joyfully.jay) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/joyfullyjay/). After RT, the next event I think I will be at is GRL, and then hopefully a few more things early next year.
***** 8 Tantalizing Tidbits *****
1. What is a must read book and why? Oooh, this is a hard one because I have so many favorites. But I would say, read Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk (https://amzn.to/2pk3ZeK). It is a historical/paranormal mix with amazing characters. It is a long running series and I have yet to meet a reader who doesn’t love it. Jordan is an amazing author with several other wonderful series, but if you haven’t read Widdershins, you should definitely try it.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?
Well I live in the DC suburbs, so my town itself is nothing particularly exciting. Great place to live, but not sure you would want to go out of your way to visit. But since I live so close to DC, I would say when you come to town, you need to visit the Smithsonian. We have wonderful museums and beautiful monuments. And if you come in the next few weeks, you may make it here before it gets unbearably hot!
3. Castles or Beaches? Beaches. Always beaches. We go every year since I was a kid and now we try to make it to the beach at least 2-3 times a year.
4. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Australia. I have always wanted to go, and it is so far away that it is one of those places that you really need to have time and money to get the most out of a trip.
5. What are you afraid of? I’m deathly afraid of anything in the rodent family. I even hate squirrels. They are just rats with fluffier tails!
6. Organized or Free Floating? Oh, organized. Well OCD is probably a better description. I am a planner in every way.
7. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Mostly a weekly viewer. I live by my DVR. Never watch anything live. But I occasionally binge watch, especially in the off season. I watched all of Orange is the New Black in about three weeks.
8. Are you a crafter? If so, what is your go to “thing” to create? I am a knitter. I picked it up about two years ago and now you will find me knitting needles in hand, watching tv most nights.
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