Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

Joyfully Jay has now been live for just under four months.  I am so pleased and excited about how well things are going.  I am having a lot of fun and I hope you all are too.  A lot has happened in the last four months.  We now have over 100 official Followers and I have made 142 posts.  We have had 65 book reviews, 14 author interviews, and 15 giveaways. Not bad for just a few months!

So where do we go from here?  I hope that this year will be equally exciting and I wanted to share my plans and goals for the blog this year, as well as few updates and changes.

Site Updates
First off, I have made a few changes to the site. Nothing major, but just tweaked a couple of things over the past few weeks.

  • I changed the top banner for the blog just a bit to use a new image and slightly different font.
  • I have moved the Search bar to the right-hand side of the blog rather than the bottom. I hope this will make it easier to find and use.
  • I added a Grab My Badge feature on the right side as well (why does that sound vaguely dirty?).  This is an easy way for folks to post a link back to Joyfully Jay if you are referencing a review, or for some reason want to give me a little promo.
  • I added a Q&A page with all kinds of information about the site.  You can access it from the list of pages across the top of the blog.  I tried to address all kinds of issues folks might want to know, but if I missed anything you are curious about, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add it.

New Features

This year I’d like to kick off a few new content items on the blog.  The first one is a new feature called Series Spotlight.  For these posts, rather than review individual books, I will highlight all the books in a particular series in one summary post.  I think this will be nice way to showcase a series of books, especially when new installments come out in an established series.   I already have the first one planned for February, but I may squeeze one in before then.

Ok, for the next idea I need your help.  So I mentioned the reason I started the blog is because I love to read and I always have something to say about a book but I didn’t have any place to talk about them.  Enter Joyfully Jay! So I thought it might be fun to start a new feature called A Book I Love and invite readers to write a post to share a book they love with our other readers.  It doesn’t have to be written as a review.  It can just be a chance to talk about a book or series you read that you really enjoyed and you want to tell everyone about.  I would love it if anyone was interested in submitting a post (I am happy to help clean it up so don’t worry if you aren’t a confident writer).   My author readers are welcome to join in as well.  So if you have a book you love that you want to talk about, drop me a line and we’ll get the ball rolling.

Theme Weeks

I mentioned when I started the blog that I wanted to do regular theme weeks. We held our first theme week on October 31-November 4 and Virgin Hero Week was a huge success!  So I have been hard at work, thinking and planning for our next one, which is… ROCK STAR WEEK!  Woo hoo! I am so excited about this one.  It is scheduled for February 5-11 and it is going to be a lot of fun. More details to come in a separate post, but just wanted to give you all a heads up to get your leather pants out and your singing voices warmed up!

My goal is to run 3-4 theme weeks a year.  I am thinking the next one after rock stars will be Athletes, and then maybe Men in Uniform.  And toward the end of the year I’ll do another Virgin Hero Week as that will always be my personal favorite!

As we kick off the new year I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who has helped make this a great start for Joyfully Jay!  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all my readers and the time you spend here at my site. I know there are a lot of blogs out there and it means so much to me that you choose to hang out here with me!

I also want to thank all the authors who have so generous with their time and their giveaways. I know writing is busy work and I appreciate you taking time out of your schedules to do interviews and guest posts and generally hang around. A special thanks to Marie Sexton who was the first author to stop by my little blog and do an interview and giveaway.  And another big thanks to the folks over at Riptide who were willing to join hands with my blog and take me on to their big launch party after I had only been live a few weeks.

And a big thanks to all my fellow bloggers. Getting to know you all has been the unexpected bonus of doing this blog. So many of you have held my hands, given me advice, retweeted my posts, promoted my blog, and dealt with all my questions as I have muddled along these first few months and I really appreciate it.  Special thanks to Mandi at Smexy Books, Brie at Romance Around the Corner, Amara at Amara’s Place, Darien at Pants Off Reviews, Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos, and Matt and Brad at 2 Boys in Love.  You guys are great.

So that’s it for now.  Looking forward to a great year and spending more time with all of you!  Hugs, Jay