For those of you who haven’t heard, our romance community lost a shining star today with the passing of Sammy Goode. It is a loss not just for the romance world, but for us here at Joyfully Jay, as well as for me personally.

Sammy was one of the first people I met in the LGBTQ romance community. I had been reading M/F romance for years, but just became active online in the LGBTQ romance world around 2009. As it turned out, Sammy lived near me and we got to know one another, chatting about books and interacting in various online groups, including Goodreads. She also helped launch our local LGBTQ romance group. She was one of the founding members and a leader in arranging our first meet up. I still remember meeting her for lunch as we talked about books and made arrangements for our first group get together.

When I started the blog back in 2011, it was a solo project, but as Joyfully Jay started to grow, it became clear we needed additional reviewers. Sammy was one of the first two people to join me here on the blog and she reviewed for us steadily for over 9 years. She joined Joyfully Jay in February of 2012 and, since that time, wrote 724 reviews for the blog. To say I couldn’t have done it without her is an understatement. Not only did she provide so much content through her reviews, she also helped give me a chance to grow the blog from the small one-person operation it was to the large review site it is today.

If you have read Sammy’s reviews, you know what joy she had for LGBTQ romance, particularly young adult stories. Sammy was such an eloquent writer and the pictures she could paint with words often moved me. When Sammy loved a book, it came through so intensely in her reviews. I often had authors tell me how touched they were reading her enthusiasm for their books, because she put so much heart into her reviews. When she loved a book, she loved it wholeheartedly. Her passion for books and her love of this community just shined through in all my interactions with her and, without question, our romance community will feel her loss.

While I haven’t seen Sammy too much recently, I have valued the long friendship we shared. Despite living nearby, the last time I saw her in person was at GRL a few years back and it was such a thrill to get to reconnect with her. You may have noticed that Sammy has been missing from the blog for the last couple of months as she dealt with her health issues. I knew from talking to her family that she would need some time off, but I was still unprepared to hear of her passing. It was such a shock and I just can’t imagine not having her as part of our community and this blog after so many years.

Sammy loved her family deeply and I know they are feeling her loss. I know her job as a reviewer took up a lot of her time, and I so appreciate that they were willing to share a piece of Sammy with us for all these years. Our thoughts are with Sammy’s family during this difficult time. And to all of you who enjoyed her reviews and her contributions to the community, please join me in remembering this lovely woman.

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