It’s been an incredible ride for almost six years, and for the most part I have really enjoyed it, so it is with great regret and mixed emotions that I announce the closing of Reviewsbyjessewave effective January 2, 2014.
Please note that you won’t be cut off entirely from the site as we will try to keep it open for awhile, but after January 1 there will be no new content. You will still be able to access past reviews or posts, but you won’t be able to comment. This, I think, is a reasonable compromise instead of shutting down altogether.
A bit of history about this site: Reviewsbyjessewave started out as a small blog on April 8, 2008 that I set up on the advice of an online friend. I just wanted a place to review books I wished to read, rather than the stories the sites I was reviewing for decided I should read and review as they really weren’t into this emerging romance sub-genre and it was difficult for me to post my reviews there. To be fair, there weren’t many male/male romance books available in the early to mid-2000’s. Since then, the genre has exploded, with hundreds (maybe thousands) :lol: of authors and a plethora of books. Another on-line friend, Christian Otto, who was reviewing for the blog at the time, persuaded me to move to a website format in 2009 after a year of struggling to meet the needs of readers who could not access it due to the heavy traffic and the limitations of Blogger. Christian then became the (unpaid) Webmaster as well as my partner, which added an incredible workload on top of his already busy daytime job.
Two years later (Aunt) Lynn joined Christian and me in March 2011 when it became crystal clear that we needed additional help and expertise if the site was going to continue, and the three of us became a team. Lynn was already a reviewer here by that time and it was a natural progression for her to move into the role of technical expert in the areas where Christian and I needed her expertise, as well as manager of certain areas of the site, such as the free giveaways and overseeing the new reviewers. For me it was great to have two wonderful partners, but not long after the popularity of the site turned it into a 24/7 project for all of us and it was no longer fun – and it was fun initially, but it became all-consuming because of the need to manage such a huge number of daily visitors, which imposed an incredible and unanticipated burden on our bandwidth allowance, server capacity, and created new technology requirements.
In addition to the massive amount of time it takes to run this monster, we have had to upgrade our technology a number of times, with a corresponding exponential increase in hosting and other costs and increased workload pressures to keep it going at an optimum level. It has now become impossible to continue operating without a huge infusion of cash and twice the number of hours we currently dedicate to site operations. I was not prepared to invest additional resources above what Aunt Lynn, Christian and I have been contributing to cover the hosting fees and software costs as it was never my intention for the site to become a business. As most of you know, from Day One I have refused to accept paid ads or charge any fees, opting instead to provide free advertising for authors and their books by profiling them in different ways. The costs to renew the current hosting agreement or obtain a new vendor (along with the time issues) have become prohibitive with no offsetting revenues, so the decision to close, while painful, is the only course of action we feel is available to us.
I’m proud of the record of reviewsbyjessewave, which in addition to book reviews has been a strong voice on many social issues such as bullying, teen suicides, the effects of coming out of the closet, etc. In 2008 I organized our first author book giveaway at Christmas – a paltry thing compared to what it has become today and this is one tradition I’m sorry will end this year. In addition, I spearheaded the first of several comprehensive lists of readers’ favourite gay books which were completed with the help of other readers. Also, In mid 2009 I dared to write several posts asking why there weren’t more diverse M/M books which stirred up a hornet’s nest as usual because I always went where everyone else was afraid to tread. Here’s one of them. Now several years later we have an exhaustive list of diverse M/M books, with the input and assistance of readers and authors. There is also an incredible number of author interviews that I conducted over the years of which I’m very proud.
Because I love to have fun, I even interviewed four favourite characters from two series that I love – Ty & Zane from Cut & Run and Will & Taylor from Dangerous Ground; these fictional characters’ interviews out-muscled those of real people and blew them away. :grin: :shock:
This site originally started out as a review blog for readers, but it soon evolved into a venue and resource for authors too, and I would like to express my deep appreciation to all of the authors who contributed articles and advice to their peers on a variety of subjects, but mostly on how to improve their writing skills. These articles will be available as long as the site is around.
However, it hasn’t all been wine and roses as I have written several articles that were critical of M/M books, especially the lack of editing as well as what I consider to be a general decline in the quality of the writing. Some authors and publishers were offended. C’est la vie. Just as we praise books that are outstanding and a joy to read, it is a reviewer’s job to critique books that are not up to what is considered acceptable publishing standards. I believe that reviewers should be honest and make purchasers aware of the good, the bad and the ugly so they can make up their own minds before they present their credit cards to merchants, and we always encourage readers to check out several reviews before buying.
Despite me pissing off many authors and publishers this site been incredibly successful. Why?
M/M readers, you made us an (almost) overnight success. :smile: Our success has been unprecedented for whatever reason — probably mostly luck! — and it exceeded expectations I could never have imagined. The numbers are staggering and it’s all due to you. I still can’t believe our incredible good fortune to have found each other and how many of you log on every day to check out what’s new. You guys rock!! Our stats indicate that to date there have been 361 million hits, 59 million posts accessed, and 6.140 million visitors from 200 countries, with the bulk of visitors from the US, Britain, Canada and Germany. However you may be surprised to learn that we have visitors from Qatar, Togo, Vatican City, Bahrain, Uganda, Kuwait, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Congo, Djibouti, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Rwanda – to mention just a few countries that are not known for being gay friendly. While these numbers may not seem impressive when compared to those of long-established review sites that review a full range of romance books, mostly het romance which is the dominant genre in the publishing industry, (both print and ebooks), and garner huge numbers based on the genre alone, I think our achievement is quite remarkable for a blog that started from such humble beginnings and only reviews male/male books – a very small segment of the romance genre, but clearly there’s a large audience for these books going by our numbers.
The addition of my partners Aunt Lynn and Christian. Without their technical expertise, professional input and guidance I probably would have closed the site years ago because of the workload.
Our guest reviewers. We write honest reviews, and a reviewer who has integrity is priceless: The high calibre of reviewers on this site speaks for itself. Your praise and critiques of our reviews have given us the impetus and encouragement that made this job worthwhile despite the long hours. Reviewing is probably one of my toughest gigs, except maybe bungee jumping in Oz and ballooning in Albuquerque (I’m afraid of heights). :grin: Zip lining is next. :eek: I’m very pleased with what we have achieved over the past several years. Our original list of reviewers included Jenre, Kassa, Christian, Kris, Aunt Lynn, Leslie, Maddy Cain, Lily, Erastes and Buda, Along the way we’ve welcomed Alexi, Stacey, Val Kovalin, John, Cole, Damon Suede, Crys, Stuart and Jeayci. Our current slate of reviewers includes: Victor J. Banis, Tj, Sammy, Feliz, Raine, Leslie S, Lasha, Andrea, LenaLena, Sirius, Larissa, Zac D, Orion, Lloyd Meeker, J.K. Hogan and Lady M. You readers benefitted from the knowledge and critiques of the best talent in this business. (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone – if I have, I apologise profusely).
I would be remiss if I didn’t express my personal and sincere gratitude to those who helped me and the site along the way in the past six years:
On the top of the list is Josh Lanyon who granted me my first BIG interview which will probably go down as the longest interview on record on the face of the earth. (He claimed it was eight pages of questions but I think it was only six pages, seven tops). :lol: Josh has been incredibly supportive and generous to the site over the years by writing countless articles on different topics despite his time commitments and heavy writing schedule. In addition, he has donated every book he has ever written – some of them in multiple copies and formats – to readers throughout the years and especially during the holidays. Josh, if I had a hat I would tip it to you, but instead I’ll send you a virtual bottle of Irish coffee and raise a glass in your honour. :cool: Thanks also for your amazing writing that always moves me, which is one of the reasons I continue to read books in this genre. On a personal note, your practical advice when I needed it over the years was always on point and very welcome.
Amber Allure. I approached this publisher way back in 2008 to donate copes of all their M/M books to readers every week. This was uncharted territory for an epublisher and it must have taken a huge leap of faith for the partners to agree to provide free books for readers of a small, unknown and unproven blog with no credentials to speak of. Amber Allure granted my request and the rest, as they say, is history. This publisher’s confidence in the site was one of the cornerstones in our wall of success and it gave me the courage to approach other publishers later such as Elizabeth North at Dreamspinner who was just as generous. Many other publishers followed (Samhain, Lethe, Wilde City, Torquere, Riptide, Carina, MLR, eXtasy and Loose id) but the first was the sweetest. :bravo:
K.Z. Snow has been a fan since I started the blog, and every week she would stop by to count the paltry number of bloggers who checked out the few reviews posted; she was just as excited as I when the numbers started their incredible upward climb. Thanks for your support KZ. I’ll miss your humour but not your books as I will buy them as long as you continue to write because I really, really love your stories which are so different, thought provoking, definitely not cookie cutters and far superior to most of the usual fare. Xylophone is a tour de force that moved me so much I couldn’t put it down.
Ethan Day writes amazing books but in addition he has been a source of joy and fun for me over the years and it was wonderful to meet him in person at GRL in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ethan thanks for your contributions to the site which far exceed all of the books you donate every year, and thank you also for your guest posts which tickled me and made my days a little brighter and lighter. :grin: I’m sure now that you’re a Very Important Publisher you’ll be very happy I won’t be around to hound you in your new role. :lol:
To Victor J. Banis, who has made all of our lives richer by his gift of writing such deeply moving stories and characters that only he could create, it was my great honour to have your presence, knowledge and expertise as a guest columnist and reviewer on this site. Most important, I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy your wonderful books which have given me so much pleasure and have a special place on my bookshelves, both virtual and real. I’m thankful that your writing will live on for generations of readers.
To Erastes who was a fixture on the site for a couple years both as a guest columnist and reviewer: You rock girl!! :hurrah: You are the only guest columnist who posted weekly on every topic under the sun to get us riled up. :grin: Thank you for adding a bit of British class to an already classy group of renegades.
A special “thank you” to author and guest columnist Rick R. Reed who has written an incredible number of books in different genres from horror to paranormal to romance, many of which I have reviewed and enjoyed enormously. Some of your stories have moved me to tears Rick, especially Raining Men which still haunts me. I look forward to your future releases which I know will be just as great. :cool:
What can I say about Nicole Kimberling? As a guest columnist, she illustrates clearly why her books are always bestsellers and why she is highly sought after as an editor. With a minimum number of words she shows us what’s wrong with different types of characters and how an author can easily correct fatal flaws. :sad: She has also shared her insights and expertise on a number of topics of interest to writers and readers. Nicole is a gifted writer and I absolutely love her new fantasy series Sea of Stars, especially Heir of Starlight, her most recent release.
James Buchanan you are a true gentleman. One of my highlights of GRL 2012 was meeting you and having the opportunity to talk to you in person for hours. Did I pay for the drinks or stick you with the bill? :lol: I love all your books and characters mainly because they are so different from others in the genre, but I’m in love with Deputy Joe and Kabe and I look forward with great anticipation to their future adventures. BTW James, you have the distinction of having written a post about BDSM which has the highest number of hits here (almost 40,000), but your article that resonates with me the most is called Living in Someone Else’s Skin about being transgender. Such a moving and informative post should be a must-read for everyone, not only those who read gay romances!
Jordan Castillo Price you are the reason I love ghost stories because of your PsyCop series. Victor and Jacob have my heart but Crash is giving them a run for their money. :lol: Petit Morts and Sweet Oblivion/Channeling Morpheus are some of my favourite series that I re-read whenever I need a kick of adrenaline. Thanks also for your wonderful posts – Notion Potion – A Stiff Shot of Inspiration – which inspired me as well as hundreds of other readers to get off our asses.
M.L. Rhodes: First, thank you for being a friend of the site. Second, I absolutely love your writing and I have enjoyed every one of your stories for many years and reviewed most of them, (some on other review blogs), but The Draegan Lords series will always be my favourite of all your books. You made me fall for a race of draegans and especially Keiran and Gaige and I can’t wait for the conclusion of their story.
To Jay Bell whose books I adore, especially Hell’s Pawn, thank you for everything you have done for the site. I would also like to express my thanks to you for always responding to my requests for yet another post. :grin: I appreciate you so much.
My thanks to Tj who not only reviews for the site but gave me a new perspective on the many issues facing gay men and GBLTQ teens today. Thanks for being my friend Teej and for keeping it real. Thank you for editing many of my posts so that I didn’t get into too much trouble. :lol: :shock:
In 2009 Stuart sent me several emails asking strange questions about M/M romances and gay men that I could not answer, so I wrote a few posts based on his emails to see if other readers had the answers. Here is the first post in which he wondered whether penises twitched when erect and what was the scoop about thumping cocks in M/M romances. :lol: He brought so much laughter to me and other readers that I eventually persuaded him to become a reviewer and occasional columnist. I miss you Stuart.
Thanks also to so many others who were contributors to the site including Sean Kennedy, Jaye Valentine, Reno MacLeod, Alex Beecroft, Josephine Myles, Lisa Henry, Damon Suede, Cody Hecht, Jeff Erno, Stephani Hecht, Clare London, Marie Sexton, Angela Benedetti, Geoffrey Knight and Ethan Stone, in addition to all the authors who wrote articles for our in-house writing series. There are many other contributors to thank but there’s only so much space I can use up before I bore you to tears (if you haven’t fallen asleep already). :grin:
When I started reviewing M/M books almost 10 years ago, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. weren’t invented yet or were just a gleam in someone’s eyes. Now almost everyone (authors especially) start their day by checking out social media, something that was unheard of at the time. This is just one indication of the evolution of the writing business. Who knows where future advances in technology will take us – scary, isn’t it? :???:
A big thank you to those authors and publishers who respected the site policy of M/M only, even when they didn’t like it – it takes a big person to support you when they disagree with you. To my detractors – certain authors and one publisher in particular who was really vicious and took umbrage at the site policy and used it to spout hate and take pot shots at me personally – I’m sure you know what I want to say to you, but I’m much too polite and will take the high road because you really aren’t worth it. I’m leaving on my own terms with my integrity intact. My last message is directed to those authors who send me hate mail when their books receive well-deserved negative reviews on the site: write better books.
We will update you on the status of the site as soon as we have a new hosting agreement in place. It may take a few weeks before we know for sure, but we’ll try to ensure that any hiatus during the transition will be a short one.
If you’re a publisher or author, outstanding reviews will be posted during this month and we anticipate that they will all be completed before we close the shop.
And of course, the last Big-Ass Holiday Author Giveaway begins December 13, so we hope you authors and readers will participate. (p.s. authors, if you haven’t had a chance yet to donate this year, it isn’t too late!)
In closing, (I bet you thought this post would never end – you can set fire to it later) :lol: many thanks again to everyone who helped make this site the success it is today. To the authors who have been incredibly generous with their time and books, my deepest gratitude; to our reviewers, you’re the best because only the best can work here. :grin: Our achievements speak for themselves. I’m very proud of our record which is due mainly to our loyal readers, as well as our guest reviewers and my partners Christian and Lynn.
I will miss all of you who drop by the site or email me from time to time. I’m already having withdrawal symptoms but this decision was unavoidable. I made some wonderful online friends and I will miss you but I hope to hear from a few of you about new book recommendations. Au revoir.
The guys in the hot tub are waving goodbye too, but I won’t tell you what they’re waving. Billy, stop that. It’s not a toy. Damn perv. Billy!!! :sex2: :beer: He’s drinking already even though it’s not yet noon.
Lynn has added a short post at the end of this one but you won’t hear from Christian because the rat-bastard shuffled off to Vegas this weekend for some R and R he said, which translated means he’s picking up men in seedy bars. :eek: :shock: He sends his love but not his money – he says he needs it to buy body shots to impress the guys.
A few words from Aunt Lynn
I “met” Wave back in January 2009 in a poll post she did called Burning “Gay” Questions. I had seen some of her reviews on Amazon, found the blog from that and jumped into the conversation with two feet. I was fairly new to the genre at that time, coming in though Harry Potter fan fiction, and was really glad to find an already-established community to plug into. I posted my first review for Condor One by John Simpson late that month and the rest is history, as they say.
When Wave thought about closing the site a few years ago because there was simply too much work to do for one person, I jumped in and changed my role from reviewer to partner so she could keep it open, and the response from the announcement post was resoundingly positive. We merrily continued on, weathering storms of many kinds, but happy and energized.
Things have changed some over the last year, though, and we haven’t been so happy and definitely not energized. Between the workload (this is not the primary job for any of us, and more like a second full-timer), the costs of running the site, and some increasingly unpleasant…unpleasantness that goes with running a site for which not everyone agrees with the policies we’ve set, we’ve grown tired of this draining venture. We’ve tried to stay upbeat, but we made the decision to close after we found out what getting the next level of web hosting would be to meet our ever-increasing needs.
That said, I’ve truly loved being part of this venture. I’ve loved working with and alongside of our super team of reviewers. I’ve loved interacting with readers, authors and publishers’ staff. I’ve loved critiquing stories. I’ve loved giving away books; it’s like being able to play Santa every day for me.
Wave says above that Christian and I are one of the main reasons why the site is successful, but she is wrong. The site is successful because of her. It was her, alone in this thing, back in 2008. It was her deciding to bring on guest reviewers as the number of books in the genre grew. It was her who reached out for help to develop and improve it. It was her who developed and nurtured relationships with authors and publishers. It was her who branched out and went beyond reviewing to make this a resource for authors as well as readers. It was her who stuck to her principles, not budging when the shit hit the fan frequently over policies she made (and we upheld). Make no mistake – we would not be here if it wasn’t for Wave and I thank her for letting me be a part of it all.
Finally, I join Wave in thanking the 6+ millions of visitors who have racked up hundreds of millions in hits and crazy numbers of bandwidth that drive our hosts nuts each month; the authors that donate time, advice and free shit; the publishers who put up with us; and the wonderful group of reviewers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working for the last five years. It’s been a wild ride indeed.