Friday, August 1, 2014

A Farewell Post


Over the past six and a half years, I have written more than 500 posts here and with the Romance Vagabonds. This blog got its name from my decision to continue blogging on my own after the Vagabonds broke camp. I began with a mix of fear and exhilaration. Those who know me best know that I am a classic introvert, and a shy one at that. I found sharing my thoughts about reading and writing and related issues without the security of planning and discussing them with the other Vagabonds* (Manda Collins, Lindsey Faber, and Sara Holmes) intimidating, but after years of being a closet romance reader, I was excited about going public with my enthusiasm for the genre. I loved my time as a Vagabond, but I felt that I had more to say when that time ended. In July 2009, I published my first post as Just Janga. It was about inspiration and perspiration and keeping on as an aspiring romance author. But in the five years since that post, that dream has been pushed further and further into the background as I did more and more freelance writing and wrote more and more book reviews.

I never planned for this to become a review site. In fact, I didn’t write my first formal review until April 2010 when I reviewed The Goddess of Fried Okra by Jean Brashear (a book I still love and have reread several times), Gradually, I wrote more and more reviews until the site became another romance review site. Don’t get me wrong. I have loved my role as a reviewer, and since I have reviewed only books that I have chosen to read, often by authors whose earlier books line my keeper shelves, I have been able to write not only honestly but also positively most of the time. I count myself privileged. However, writing two reviews a week—and sometimes more--meant less and less time was devoted to working on my own writing. While I still thought of myself as a writer, I identified as an academic writer and a writer about romance rather than as a romance writer.

My brother’s death this past January made me freshly aware that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. If I wanted to realize my dream, I had to get busy today. Since my freelance writing supplies strawberry jam for my bread (and I like strawberry jam), cutting it to gain more writing time was not an option. Cutting back on reviews was. Thus, I made my decision to stop blogging at this site.

I leave with a feeling of pride in what I have accomplished and with gratitude for you who have joined me here. The three posts in which I take greatest pride are

“Nice Is a Four Letter Word” (August 5, 2011) because I took a stand against a meanness in some online communities that I found disturbing.

“My Mother’s Books: Parts 1-6” (February 8, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23, and April 6, 2013) because this tribute to my mother and five romance authors she loved—Faith Baldwin, Grace Livingston Hill, Elizabeth Cadell, Emilie Loring, and D. E. Stevenson—made me cry and laugh and remember with a grateful heart.

“Girlfriends” (January 27, 2012) because it gave me a chance to say a public thank you to the women friends from every area of my life who have filled my life and my heart.

These are not my most popular posts. That distinction is reserved for various lists and one review. Based on blog stats, “Reading Beside the Christmas Tree” (December 23, 2010), a list of my favorite Christmas season readings from that year has proved to be my most popular post. “A New Cinderella Tale: Eloisa James’s A KISS AT MIDNIGHT” (July 8, 2010) is my most popular review. Strangely, “Periphrasis: Speaking Around” (September 30, 2011), a post I wrote quickly under deadline pressure from a freelance project, is another one that has been viewed thousands of times. I admit I’m puzzled by that one.

This last post here has me reflecting on what has been, anticipating new experiences, and feeling grateful to you who have read my posts. The comments and the numbers inspired me to continue for five years, and I value each one. I am particularly thankful for Quantum and Irish, my most faithful readers and my cherished friends. I hope you all will visit me at The Romance Dish where I will continue to review several times a month and at Heroes and Heartbreakers where I will occasionally post ruminations about romances past and current. I’ll also post reviews at GoodReads, a dozen of them within the next week or so.

Writers are notorious for pondering word choices. As I ponder my final words at Just Janga, I am reminded that the OED defines “farewell” as “an expression of good wishes at the parting of friends.” Ah, the perfect word for my purpose. Farewell, my friends, until another day, another place.

18 comments:

Keira Soleore said...

Janga, I, for one, am sorry to see you stop blogging here. I have followed all your posts and have read a few books on your recommendations. Glad to know that you'll continue to blog at The Romance Dish and H&H. I wish you all the best with your writing.

Keira Soleore said...

Hope to see you on Twitter.

Quantum said...

To quote from the Bard

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”

I will look out for you then at your favored book sites! :)

Maggie Robinson said...

You are one of the most thoughtful, eloquent reviewers in Romancelandia, and I'm glad you'll you'll still dip your oars in the water on occasion. Much good luck with your writing and your jam accession!

irisheyes said...

Janga, my friend, I count you as one of the best treasures I found when I, another introvert, ventured out onto the world wide web and started to communicate with like-minded romance readers! I will miss your regular presence at Just Janga, but will not say goodbye because just as when The Vagabonds disbanded and I followed you here, I'll follow you to The Romance Dish and H&H (and anywhere else you'd like to share your thoughts on the wonderful books you read).

Sending lots of positive writing vibes your way and hugs of gratitude for turning me onto to such an awesome and varied array of reading material!

Jean Brashear said...

I am the luckiest writer in the world, I swear, that the absolutely wonderful and amazing Janga would mention me and my book in her farewell post! What an honor!

You have made SUCH a contribution to all of us with your insightful, remarkable posts and reviews. I have found terrific new authors through you, and the fact that my work caught your eye has both humbled me and made my heart soar.

Thank you for the gift of your warmth, your wit and your keen mind. Be well, dear heart. You have made the world a better and brighter place.

PJ Ausdenmore said...

Janga, you have introduced me to so many wonderful authors and books that I have long since lost count of the numbers. Your reviews are insightful and eloquent; admired and appreciated by readers and authors alike (as evidenced by the number of published authors who sang your praises at the recent RWA national conference).

As I have told you many times, I look forward with anticipation to the day I can curl up on the couch and lose myself in one of your stories. In the meantime, I'll count myself fortunate and blessed that you'll continue to share your thoughts about romance and specific romance books at H&H and with Andrea, me and our readers at The Romance Dish.

More than the blogs and the reviews and the recommendations though, I give thanks for the wonderful friendship we forged on Squawk Radio and at the EJ bulletin board all those years ago. You are a special light in my life that I will treasure always.

(((Hugs)))

Vanessa Kelly said...

Janga, I've so enjoyed reading your reviews and your many insightful posts on the romance genre. And I'm very grateful to you for writing such lovely reviews of my books. May the wind fill your sails and carry you to wonderful new adventures, dear lady!

http://kriskennedy.net said...

Janga! I'll miss your blog, hon. I stopped by every month, quietly, never saying a word, but seeing what you had to say, and checking out the books you rec'cd (you turned me onto Jean Brashear--hi Jean! I had no idea that was your first review!)

These kinds of changes can feel so sad, but only if I focus on the 'ending' part, the letting go. But the reason you're letting go here is because you want to grab hold of something over there more. That's the best reason ever. :hugs you:

MsHellion said...

I'm saddened for such an institution to close its doors--and your work is brilliant and so must be considered such. However if this means you'll finish and publish your gorgeous stories I'm all in! I too can't wait for the day I can curl up with your book and just thank heaven for you.

I don't think I heard your brother had passed away and I do want to extend my greatest sympathies. My aunt Helen has been gone 6 years and I don't think there's a day doesn't mention her and miss her. I miss my brother Eldon frequently but mostly at big holidays when I spent the most time with him. There was only 2 years between aunt Helen and dad and of all his siblings it's she I think he misses the most.

Kathleen O said...

I have found so many good books and the wonderful author's who write them here.. I wish you well and I know what ever you do, you will be successful.. Good Luck

Jean Brashear said...

Oh, Kris Kennedy, you sweet pea! Thank you!

hope said...

All I can say as I feel my stomach tightening and the urge to cry....yes, cry, is, good luck and best wishes for you to live your dreams. I understand as something has also dug into me these past few months....you must go amid your dreams and make that path your life. I will follow you around and continue to ask and take your advice on authors to follow and books to read. You were a kind good soul who led this passionate reader to many a treasure. Thanks from the bottom of my heart and I am happy that you will remain a voice somewhere here in the romance catacombs .....if you need anything, anything at all, please feel free to ask. Thanks again....ta ta for now....

fsbuchler said...

It's not Farewell or goodbye, it's Au Revoior.....

dotland101 said...

Good Luck with your next endeavours, and your books. We'll see you on TRD. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Janga, thank you for your interesting and thoughtful posts here, reviews and otherwise! And thank you, especially for the recommendations. I've picked up some of my fave authors thanks to you. I look forward to seeing your reviews on the Romance Dish!

Helena said...

I have now added The Romance Dish to my reader and hope to see you there soon. Thank you for all your posts on this blog, and all best wishes with your work and everything else.

zannerina said...

Thanks Janga for your many thoughtful posts! Good luck in all your next endeavors.