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Guest Post: My Friend Sya

I’ve known Sya a loooooooooong time.  All the way back to when I was newly married and the mom of one little girl.  Back then I was new to blogging, I actually had never even heard the term “Blog” before!  She has always been a sweet person, she even offered to read and critique my attempts at creating a book!  I really want to help her- And she only needs another 300 or so comments.  There are WAY more people reading this blog!  So if you are reading this, please take a few minutes to watch her vlog and leave a comment?

Joni and I go way back. And I mean way back to the dim and distant days of her very first online journal when I found her blog by accident and was instantly hooked. I’ve followed her pretty consistently ever since, through the birth of several babies, house moves and a variety of trials, tribulations, love and laughter. I appreciate her humour, her pragmatism and her unadulterated honesty. However, one of the main reasons I owe Joni, is because of a small incident that happened about six years ago.

Joni, at the time, was living on what it would be generous to describe as a shoe string budget. James was working his ass of bussing tables (if memory serves) and Joni was at home with tiny children and a house that seemed to consistently have something wrong with it that the landlord would never fix. The post that moved me to tears, though, was not about the leaks or the diapers or the lack of disposable income, it was about a book that Joni had seen: World War Z.

Joni loves reading, she loves Zombies and she really, really wanted this book – but it was in hardback, it cost many dollars and it was completely out of reach. It was a throwaway post where all Joni really wanted to do was express her excitement about a book that she one day hoped to read but it broke my heart. So I looked up World War Z and, without putting too much thought into it, bought Joni a copy. Now, I’m not really an altruist, and had I thought it through perhaps I’d have decided I was being a bit weird but am I glad I sent that book because it set me on a path that is still firmly
under my feet today.

Joni’s reaction was phenomenal – she was just so pleased. She had her book, her zombies and vitally something that was just hers, that she could curl up with at the end of a bad day. I spent a lot of time then, and in the years since, mulling over Joni’s
reaction and the ability of a book to change a life – for an evening, a month or maybe, if it’s the right book, forever.

I started to think about friends, family, colleagues and what they might like to read –particularly the non-readers that I knew. I became convinced that they too could be given a book that would make them feel like they had something really special in their hands, a story that felt like it was specifically for them. Because that’s how a really good book feels, like it has been written just for you.

The years passed, I had a daughter, I continued to try and match books and people but increasingly felt like I wanted to share all the wonderful books out there with a wider audience. So I did. I started a book review blog – The Mountains of Instead
(www.mountainsofinstead.com) – and started talking about Young Adult fiction, raving about the books that I was reading and loving. And I haven’t stopped since.  Over time, my blog took on regular contributors (the awesome Cannonball Jones
and Polka Dot Steph) and we now review adult and young adult writing – all of us hopefully helping to find perfect books for our readers.

I also started tutoring a young girl who really didn’t much like reading. We talked, and talked some more, discussing covers and blurbs and first lines until we hit upon a story that opened her eyes to the transportive power of reading. Millie and Percy
Jackson remain the best of friends and, much to her credit, she asked for Kindle this Christmas. Millie proves that book matching is not only fun but vitally important.

So all is well and good. What started with a spur of the moment purchase for an overburdened friend has led to many, many good things. Yet I want a louder voice, I want to share more books with more people which is why I’ve competing to become
the voice of Mira INK, a young adult publisher that I greatly admire and who have a diverse and interesting range of titles (perfect for any book-matcher, yes?). In order to win this contract, I had to film a vlog about why I should win and spread the word far and wide. I need comments and likes and re-blogs and shares and tweets. In short, I need YOU. Go and have a look – it will literally only take a minute and, at the very end, is a BOOK FORT. Really. Help me find that louder voice – you never
know, it might change a life. It would certainly change mine.

You can find the vlog here (currently at 500 plus views, I’m hoping for at least 750 by my 11 Dec. deadline):

And here: Tumblr

And here: Bitches, Books and Baking

And here: Jeri Smith-Ready

And here: YAckers

And probably a few other places by now, too… please feel free to visit THEM ALL and re-blog, share, comment, like, tweet (#blogINK, #teamsplendibird), do a happy dance etc.

Additionally, I’m giving away rainbows, lollipops and the odd unicorn on my blog.

And you can come and tell me about YOUR perfect books on twitter!

One Response to Guest Post: My Friend Sya

  1. Loved your guest spot! I love to read Joni. I too, have known her quite a long time, and I have loved watching her become a wonderful wife, Mommy, writer, artist etc. My shy little Joni! lol I always told her life would be wonderful for her one day, and I am so happy to see it is! Joni used to love Dean Koontz, lol I am not sure if she still does, but I know she has many of his books! 😉 I will go check your vlog now! We don’t talk as often now, but I love you Joni! :)

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