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Being One

There was this poster hanging in my junior high: The best vitamin for making friends is B1.

You know how sometimes when you read something to yourself, it doesn’t sound the way it sounds when you read it out loud? So the first time I saw it, I was thinking, “Seriously, B1 helps you make friends? My diet must be completely B1 deficient.” Junior high was a lonely time for me.

It didn’t sink in until I looked at the poster again, a close-up of two kittens in a feline-style embrace (because if my education taught me anything, it is that cats are the universal spokesmen, confirming everything from “hang in there!” to “I can haz cheezeburger.”) Be one.

Each night I asked God for friends. I told Him: If I can make a friend, I promise to be one.

It was a promise I took seriously, but unfortunately, friends were not to be for years to come. Plenty of people offered to be my friend, but suspiciously, all these people ended up changing schools or skipping town after only a few days of friendship. Things were not looking good.

So I turned to books, as I’d done since I was a child. In seventh grade I loved those novels about girls with life-threatening illnesses who had mere weeks to live. I read a lot of those. Because of my recent head injury, I was not a fast reader, as I had once been. Maybe that’s why the slim volumes appealed to me, with their tales of characters who, like me, were no longer who they had once been. It was all very pathetic.

But the truth was, it was healing, too. Books have always been the friend I never had, which I think is why YA speaks to me so loudly.

Because now I have friends. In fact, I have lots of friends—more than thirteen-year-old me would have imagined possible. Sometimes even thirty-year-old me can’t believe it’s possible. There are all these people in my life, and I love them all so much, and at night I pray as hard as I can: Help me to be one.

And honestly, sometimes I don’t know how. And sometimes I think that maybe the best way to be that friend is through books. Because sometimes no one person is ever enough. And I truly believe that books can fill that empty space where people can’t reach.

So tomorrow (Thursday, April 14) is YALSA's Support Teen Lit Day. And you can show your support by Rocking the Drop. Tons of YA groups are participating, including the readergirlz Divas and my own rad peeps The Contemps. Here's the plan.

1) Grab this banner, created by David Ostow, and add it to your website or blog.

This obviously isn't the most important part, but it's pretty darn cool looking. Also, if you include it and link back to this post or the Contemps or readergirlz or whatevs then we will all see how we can be this united force of literary friends.

2) Drop a book in any public place (bus seat, park bench, restaurant counter). Wherever someone will find it. Someone who just might have a space inside them that this book might fill.

If you want, you can put this bookplate in the front:

The good thing about including this bookplate is that hopefully people will open the book, see the bookplate, and not worry that someone misplaced their book. Because that would be my worry. Then again, I worry too much.

Oh, and also it spreads the word about Rock the Drop.

3) Then, snap a photo of your drop and email readergirlz AT gmail DOT com with the pic -- they'll be posting lots of pictures of drops happening all over the world.

I am totally planning to do this, because doing it will help me to be one.

But which book to drop? And where? Any ideas?




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'Tis The Season For Massive Hair Loss And Re-Gifting Writing Tips

Some of you know that I grow out my hair to donate to Locks of Love. And it was getting to be that time again, the time when the beater brush on our vacuum cleaner no longer spins because it's coated with my hair. So last week I went from this...

Hmm. Remember how last time the picture rotated by itself? Oh well, moving on, this was me before, and this is me after:

My hair is actually still sorta-long (enough so that I can put it in the ever-important ponytail) (and avoid getting stuff in it) (stuff = food).

Next: tomorrow night, which is Thursday, December 16, is an important day for all those who love The SIX (the writing group of which I'm a part). Why? Because at 9:00 P.M EST we'll all be participating in a conference call and it's sure to be filled with hilarity and inspirational tips. Although I'm not really sure at what ratio. I'm pretty sure that EVERYONE loves The SIX, but if you don't, you should still call in if you're an aspiring writer and want to get some free advice about all things YA-writing-related.

Here's what to do:

1: At the appointed time, dial
(long distance charges may apply, depending on your phone plan)

2: Enter the Conference Code: 245657

3: To raise your hand and ask a question, dial 5*

4: To Mute yourself, dial 4*

For more information, visit http://www.authorsadvisory.blogspot.com/

Call in and learn our secrets (Brodi has good ones that she's dying to share). In fact we all, each and every one of us, live to give.

Happy Holidays from The SIX!
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Current Obsessions


I just finished reading this yesterday, and can I just say, WOW. I savored this book for exactly one week and I will tell you, it made the whole WEEK awesome. Natalie Standiford is a terrific author (who , yes, has blurbed my forthcoming BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE. Score!) and she's totally outdone herself with this one. Plus, its got so many stars it could be an American flag! Okay, so I meant starred reviews, but whatev.


This picture is misleading because it shows one bride and one groom, and the TLC program is about one groom (who I not-so-affectionately refer to as "Kody-with-a-K") who miraculously managed to get four brides. But not all at once. I attribute his good fortune to this first bride, Meri. Here she is, looking positively bodacious in this wedding pic (hence why I chose it, natch):

Without her, my guess is Kody-with-a-K would be even more of a tool than he already is, but with her, he's managed to build a pretty cool polygamist family. And having grown up in Utah, I can tell you that before this show, I would never, ever have believed there was such thing as a pretty cool polygamist family.

After seeing what happened to my other favorite pretty cool TLC family (yes John and Kate, I'm looking in your direction) I'm a little nervous for next season of SISTERWIVES. Nervous, of course, and way, way excited. BOOYAH.

3. To assure this post is not about how I am currently obsessed with sisters, next up is TAYLOR SWIFT, who doesn't even have a sister. If she did, I wish it could be me. How great would that be? I know, it's totally trendy and I should be ashamed to even admit it, but I love everything about this girl: her music, her style, and her priceless monologue on SNL.

This was going to be a picture of Taylor, but it looks like the one I saved is actually of a karaoke lounge. Which is cool, because it segues into the next crazy obsession, which is that I officially reserved a cabin on this Royal Carribean cruise. Yes, Taylor Swift will be performing onboard! Yes, I have a balcony cabin overlooking the theater! This is in case I'm not lucky enough to win tickets throughout the week by participating in Taylor Swift trivia, look-alike contests, and karaoke. This is not going to keep me from trying, however. I have eight weeks to make myself look like Taylor Swift.

4. Happy days are here again because the muse has finally returned and MY NEXT PROJECT is at 44,320 words! This may not seem like much until you realize that most of my books weight in at about 49K. Homestretch, baby, and I'm more ready than ever!

Also, this has been a good week for EASIER TO LOVE. In her blog, Mary Kole mentions it as a popular title in contemporary YA fiction. AND I found out that award-winning author Sara Zarr had this to say:

“Emily Wing Smith understands obsession and the acute condition of the heart when broken, and when on the mend. Also, she makes me laugh.”

See, this is true not only of EASIER TO LOVE, but of me in general. Oh, I know obsession. I don't just write about it, I live it. On a daily basis. Hopefully, I also make Sara laugh.

Any of you have obsessions I should add to the list?

Please note: I do not know why this text is so small. It is not on purpose. I have tried to fix it but currently have no solution. Sorry about your eyes.
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Don't Worry Be Happy And Other 80's Trends

Some (okay, many) have commented on the abundance of proper photos in my recent posts. Some (okay, Sara) haven't known quite what to make of this. The secret revealed? I HAVE BEEN SHAMELESSLY PILFERING PICTURES! I've found stealing other people's pictures to be infinitely easier than using my own. But no more. We'll see how that works.

For my recent birthday, I decided to throw a killer 80's Prom to celebrate while paying homage to my birth decade. In preparation, I painstakingly scoured the Billboard Top 100 from 1980-1989. Yes, the music library in our home includes all 1000 of these titles. I have to admit, I have, on occasion, wondered as to the usefulness of this collection. No longer.

Hmm. So this Jem cake is my first photo fail. Not that showing the cake was a fail. Not at all! My super-rad, ultra-talented friend Lisa made this, and besides looking AWESOME, it was delicious. But I meant to insert a picture of me belting out 80's karaoke, to illustrate the music riff I was on before. No matter, though. Anyone who has heard Jem's truly, truly, truly outrageous melodies know how fitting this picture really is.

Anyway, one of the Top 80's songs was the ridiculous "Don't Worry Be Happy" and I refused to play it at my party because I blame it for all that is wrong with my generation. When I was a kid and heard the song, I thought the lyrics were: "The landlord say your rent is late--he may have to mitigate." Hence--"Don't worry; be happy." I knew from the school spelling bee that "to mitigate" meant to make something less harsh, less severe. So I always thought, "What a great landlord! He's taking care of that guy, even if he can't pay his rent." When I learned the truth--he may have to litigate--I was beyond disillusioned. Litigation is cause to worry, my friend, not to be happy. I blame our law-suit crazy culture on Bobby McFerrin.

Here is me NOT singing "Don't Worry Be Happy."

So, of course I have had this song in my head for the last two weeks. It's someone's idea of a joke.

I procured a full-size cardboard stand-up of everyone' favorite 80's icon, but in most pictures you couldn't see him:

So, in this picture you can actually see him quite well, but when it's small it looks surprisingly like one where you...couldn't. Anyway, moving on.

I made Pac-Man cookies for the event.

The secret is using upside-down tulip cookie cutters for the ghosts, and cutting out Pac-Man's mouth with the bottom of a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Genius! (I didn't think of it. See the above link).

There's nothing like an 80's prom to bring everyone together, both male and female...

Both geek and chic

(I won't say who's who, but the guys in the latter picture are sitting around playing Tetris)

Brat Packer, Stoner, Punk--all were welcomed with open arms.

Wow. I am in shock as I type this but by 80's magic this picture has rotated itself so as not to appear sideways! More likely this was my webmaster husband tweaking something on the site, but I choose to go with 80's magic, baby!
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What's Up With Me

1. I blogged over at The Contemps website this fine Hot Topic Tuesday. Check it out and let me know what you think!

2. Today is the official release date for BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It's the next book in their NY Times bestselling Caster Chronicles (along with the first book, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES). I'm also beyond excited to announce that I'll be interviewing these lovely and talented ladies when their completely amazing, larger-than-life tour stops at the King's English in Salt Lake City on Thursday, October 21st. That, my friends, is NEXT Thursday. Mark your calendars, because this is not your run-o'-the-mill tour. Which reminds me, I've been invited to join in their massive giveaway by contributing my own shwag for my upcoming title BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE. Alas, I currently possess zero shwag. Any suggestions? Also, time is of the essence. Did I mention it's only 9 days away?

3. Speaking of awesome Thursdays, this Thursday is my birthday. October is a great month for birthdays!

4. Speaking of great month for birthdays, on Friday my adorable nephew will be two.

As you can see, October has been very, very good to me.
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Will Work For Muse

Recently VH1 had one of their legendary "Greatest Whatever" countdowns, and this time it was "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."   Broad, yes.   Broad and long.   So while all five hours were on our DVR, I only watched the intermittent bit between loads of laundry or while eating chocolate snacks.   That's why I don't know what musician it was who said it (some seventies guy with long hair, but what white guy from the 70s doesn't fall into that category?)   Anyway, his words were this:  I work for the muse. 

I was like, dude, right on!  Because how he feels when he's writing songs?  I bet it's like I feel when I'm writing books.  We don't work for the Man, yo.  We work for the muse.

I imagine the Man to sound like one of those bosses on cartoons who are always yelling:  Jetson?!  Flinstone?!  Skinner?!   I imagine that when you work for the Man and don't do your work, you straighten up and fly right pretty quickly.  But when you work for the muse and the muse isn't around?  Well, then the muse isn't around.  You can do whatever the heck you want. 

This is a problem for me, since I've felt a significant absence of muse lately.   What do you do if you work for someone who's taken a sabbatical of  indefinite length?

Finally, I started doing the only thing I could thing of, which was force myself to write a certain number of words each day, no matter the quality.  I've never worked  this way before, but it had to be done.   At first everything sounded lame.  Who would read such a lametastic book?  But eventually I felt my groove coming back; my inspiration coming back.

I agree with that seventies singer, but I'd re-puncuate. 

I work:  for the muse.

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Distractions From A Grocery List

My problem with blogging is merely a reflection of my problem with life in general, which is this: I don't know how to prioritize. Seriously. No idea.

Lately it's been especially bad. Say there are three things I need to do today:

1. email my editor

2. go to the grocery store

3. put out the grease fire in my kitchen

I'd be like, well, I should probably email my editor first. Because she's a Very Important Person and I don't want to make her wait. But then again, my book doesn't come out until April, so how pressing can it be? And besides, I haven't been to the grocery store since the Utah Book Bloggers social which was...wow, August 28th, no wonder we're out of food. I should really get on that. But I'd need to make a list or something before I go, and...oh, look, the curtains just caught on fire because, oh yes, my entire kitchen is ablaze. I guess I should have put the fire out first. Except that email would only take like two seconds to answer...

I guess I should be grateful no such disasters have occurred, allowing me to fritter away my time trying to decide if it's more important to organize my food storage or get my photos from 2006 into an album. Ugh. Obviously, my problems go deep, but the good thing is that I've prioritized blogging every Tuesday for WEEKS now, which is a huge accomplishment.

Meanwhile, check out what arrived on Friday:

Why did I take this without remembering I can't rotate pictures!? Anyway, this is the galley, or Advanced Reader Copy, of my book. I'm surprised and so, so pleased that I got one so quickly. I know this is weird, but my favorite part is the spine, which I didn't know looked like this:

Is that cute or what? I would TOTALLY pick that book out of a shelf-ful of other spine-out-only books. Also, if you've noticed from the background of these photos, the cover looks so good with my office decor. Which doesn't matter, but makes me hold the copy against my wall anyway.

If you're a book blogger and interested in having one of these ARCs for review, they're not available yet. BUT if you want to be added to the list I send to my publicist for distributing them when the time comes, send me an email with your your blog name and address: emilywingsmith AT gmail DOT com.

Or, even better if you're local, come visit me this Saturday, September 18, at the Orem Barnes and Noble. I'll be there from 1-to-almost-4, signing with a billion other Utah authors (give or take). It will be a rockin' party, so don't miss out, even if you're not a book blogger and you don't want a copy of my book anyway.

Okay. Back to the grocery list.
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My Ultra-Skinny Vietnamese Wedding

Okay, so this was not really my wedding. I, as many of you know, am already married-- to a half-Japanese man with a half-Japanese brother who married a whole-Vietnamese bride over the weekend.

As one of the only Caucasian females at the celebration, I was forced to reflect on the sad disparity between I and my Asian counterparts.

#1: Where there are Asian weddings, there will be cranes. I could not fold cranes for my own wedding over seven years ago. Number of cranes I can now fold?

Still a whopping 0.

#2: The Vietnamese have MAD style, yo.

I have no such style. Even a trip to The Great Mall in fashion capital of the world Milpitas, CA, didn't help.

#3: It's Vietnamese tradition to serve a full-course meal at every wedding reception.

This is a significant step up from the Utah-Mormon nut-cup-and-Sprite-based-slush combo.

#3: In spite of all the food, every Vietnamese woman remains a size 00.

It's possible that the absence of size 00 in my life has less to do with my Whitey McWhite genetics and more to do with my habit of eating desserts like these. But can I pretend it doesn't?

Congratulations, Josiah and Ha!
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Viva la BSC!

As I mentioned before, I'm not so good with the traditional love languages. Namely, gifts.

I think deep down I've always known I was a bad gift giver. I blame it on my mom. And not just because in this society you seem to be able to blame everything on your mom and get away with it. When I was a child picking out birthday gifts for my friends and couldn't decide on what to give, she'd say, "Just get them what you would want." BIG mistake. I wanted glue, because for some reason I was always running out. Tape (ditto). The good pens that don't smear ink if you're left-handed (like I am). These are not gifts most seven-year-olds want.

The problem ensued until I got married. Daniel was perplexed by my lack of gift-giving finesse. Later, I would learn that "gifts" was his love language. "Family," I told my family one night, "it has come to my attention that I give lame gifts."

"True dat," said my brother, who has always fancied himself from da hood. "You once gave me a can of soda for my birthday."

"Stickers," said my sister.


I vowed to mend my ways, but gift-giving is tough. I think I lack a certain gene.

So when my friend Bree said she had a present for me, I panicked. Had some event meriting gifts transpired without my knowledge? It was close to Mother's Day. Was I a mother and didn't realize it? But no, Bree said, this present was for no other reason than because she was my friend. Which led me to believe it was the same thing I got my friends: non-smeary pens. Or glue.

But Bree's gift was this:

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge Baby-Sitters Club fan, and Bree had gotten me an advanced copy (ARC) of the highly anticipated prequel to the series. Not only is an advanced copy awesome in and of itself, but it's also soft cover, making it blend in seamlessly with the rest of my collection:

See how perfect? I was so excited I almost missed the next part: when I opened the book, what should I see but the signature of one Ann M. Martin herself, mother of the Baby-Sitters Club phenomenon!!!

Wow. It still makes me breathless.
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Male Nudity!!! Now That I Have Your Attention...

I came home from LA to mail galore, of both the electronic and snail varieties. The electronic is proving to be my bane--I'm still responding to it. But I'm good with snail mail, systematically sorting, filing, recycling. I was a well-oiled machine by the time I reached my last piece of mail, a padded envelope. With no time to flip the package over and check the return address, I opened it up and slid out a catalog with this cover:

Why is Thunder Down Under sending me a catalog? I mused. Did Sara B. give them my address?

But no. As you may note from the small Penguin logo just below the front guy's crotch, this was my publisher's spring catalog, sent to booksellers near and far. And to me, because it contains a page devoted to BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE (released from the Dutton imprint of Penguin on April 28th). Of course, I was excited to find my page. But I have to admit, the other part of my brain was trying to figure out if a World Wide Wrestling picture book was going to be on shelves soon. Alas, while I found my page (59, not that it matters) I was unable to locate anything referencing the vague, verging-on-creepy photo on the back cover, with its lack of book-related details. Hmm.

Meanwhile, savvy readers may have noticed that my countdown widget is at zero because The Contemps officially launches today! Add the site to your Google Reader or Follow Us or do whatever you have to do so that you can keep up with us. Oh, and we're on Facebook , Twitter, GoodReads--we're like the wind! (everywhere). Expect much, much more Contemps awesomeness to come.

Now, most importantly : Writing for Charity, an event this Saturday, August 21 in Sandy, Utah at the Waterford School. An event so big, I was going to put it at the top of my post. But this is their image:

Just to recap, this is the image I went with:

You can see I had no choice.

But seriously, if you don't have plans this Saturday, or even if you do, go to Writing for Charity. I'm going to be at both the Writer's Workshop during the day and the Evening Extravaganza from 6:00 to 8:30, so I'm planning on a full twelve hours of fun. And if you haven't experienced twelve hours of fun with me...or for that matter ANY of the local authors who are going to be there...well, you should. You want to. Plus it's for a good cause. If you haven't visited the site yet, even when I so conveniently hyper-linked it for you, all the proceeds will go to getting books into the hands of kids. This is a great (cheap!) opportunity to learn more about the craft and mingle with other book lovers.

AND if you stay for the evening, there'll be tunes, laughs (okay, so there will be laughs all day, but these laughs will be courtesy of the Divine Comedy Troupe), and a few mystery guests. Okay, so the guests aren't a mystery, but I'm still not typing their names here. You'll have to check out the website. Kids are invited to this part, so if you want a night out for the family, come one, come all. You don't have to be a writer--just be ready to PARTY in the name of literature.