less than three <3

Did you feel a powerful energy in the air last Saturday? Yeah, that was us. A bunch of authors, teens, librarians, teachers, and activists gathered in St. Louis for the Less Than Three Conference. Less Than Three was organized by the phenomenal Heather Brewer as a way to bring everyone together to rally against bullying. We all knew it would be an important event. But I was not prepared for how monumentally life-changing it was.

First off, I have to point out how profoundly words can hurt. The effects of verbal and emotional abuse can last a lifetime. If more kids understood this when they were very young, bullying wouldn’t be so prevalent. It just wouldn’t. One of the ideas to end bullying I discussed at Less Than Three was the need for every single elementary school to integrate an anti-bullying curriculum in first grade. Or even sooner. The earlier a person understands the power their words and actions have on others (in both a positive and negative context), the less likely they will feel the need to make others feel bad. Instead of stomping all over other people to make themselves feel better, potential bullies would know that the answer is this: reaching out for help in ways that will actually help them make their lives better.

This was one of the Bullying in School Panel’s hot topics. Fellow panel members Alethea Kontis, Jennifer Brown, and Dale Basye were freaking amazing. We talked about our own experiences with bullying back in the dark days. I told my story about the mean girl who wouldn’t let me sit across from her in the caf. She lied and said the seat was taken when it totally wasn’t. I had to sit alone at the next table while that chair stayed empty the entire lunch period. Letting me sit across from her was such a heinous concept that she would rather watch me sit alone. Which was more fun for her because then she could laugh at me the whole time. That’s the example I gave when we were sharing ways in which we were bullied. And yep, I used her real name. Just like I use her real name every time I tell that story at an event. If you are a dumbass, there will be consequences. We all used their real names. And I think we were all surprised by how raw their torment still was.

Heather Brewer and Susane Colasanti at the Less Than Three Conference, 2013

Heather Brewer is someone I’ve admired from afar. I love that she is badass. I love that she paves the way for her tons of loyal fans to let their freak flags fly. She understands what it’s like to be an outsider. She understands the relentless, unbearable pain loneliness brings. For these reasons and many others, we are kindred spirits. I cannot tell you how impressed I was by Heather for creating such a warm, safe space where everyone felt welcomed. Everyone felt like they were part of a group that would change the world.

Heather’s keynote address was amazing. She shared some of her own experiences with being bullied. Even though it was not easy, Heather felt compelled to reach out to everyone in that room and let them know they are important, the same way she reaches out to the whole world with love and support and virtual hugs. Heather ended her keynote with a slide show that blew everyone away. She compiled inspirational messages like you are not alone and keep holding on. The end had several slides with different images, but all with the same message, repeated over and over:

You are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.

That’s when I lost it. I was all determined not to need a tissue from any of the tissue boxes Heather had put out. Next thing I knew, Alethea was handing me a tissue like the princess she is. Why did this repetition resonate so strongly with me? I’d just found out why that message was so important for Heather to hear. It made me sad that I couldn’t be there for her in high school when she needed a friend. I remember being 17 and feeling like I had to cling to my first boyfriend because no one else would ever love me again. For the rest of my life.

That’s how I felt at 17.

I know I’m not alone. So many teens (especially teens from broken, abusive homes) have told me they feel like no one will ever love them. That they will never, ever find love. As someone who felt the exact same way, I’m here to tell you that I was wrong. You will find love. You are loved.

Jordan Brooks and Susane Colasanti at the Less Than Three Conference, 2013

There was a special guest speaker during the keynote. Jordan Brooks was in the house. Jordan and I met in person at the Rochester Teen Book Festival, but we’d been communicating online for a while before that. Jordan had also been communicating with Heather and they’d already met and general awesomeness ensued. One of the things that makes Jordan so magnificent is that she takes a stand against bullying by intervening when she sees other people being mistreated. She helps her friends when they tell her they can’t hold on anymore. Jordan is the kind of person I wish I had been back in high school. I was so focused on surviving my own bullying that I was afraid to reach out to anyone else. That is unacceptable. I regret that I didn’t speak up every single day. Which is why Jordan is a role model. She is Not Afraid. She stood there in front of a huge crowd and shared her experiences with being bullied. I wish every teen had the same courage to speak up. Snaps for Jordan for being an inspirational ripple of positive change!

Less Than Three Conference, 2013

Jordan wasn’t the only friendly neighbor I’d been communicating with online who I got to see in person. Sisters Sara, Catherine, and Rachel traveled many miles to be there. Here we are with David Levithan…who might still be there (corny inside joke!). I cannot adequately express what a thrill it was to meet the Less Than Three Sisters in person. They had been so immensely kind and supportive online for years. Fortunately this event was in the middle of the States and they are also in the middle. It made me so happy to finally see their smiling faces in person after all the photos they’d shared. As if that weren’t the ultimate gift, the Sisters arrived with warm fuzzies and more sweet gifts for me: a painting, framed artwork, collages, cupcake floss (you read that right), and enough scrapbooking paraphernalia for a year. How did they know what I loved?! It’s like they were inside my head. But of course the greatest gift was having us all gathered at one time in one place to enjoy the Now.

Everyone who was there is already counting down to next time. So will Less Than Three be happening again next year? The official word from Heather is YES. I wish we could have Less Than Three gatherings every day. You could, actually. Check out the Born This Way Foundation for resources to help you start a support group in your school or town. There is strength in numbers. You could feel the strength at Less Than Three, the energy of our group taking a stand against bullying, the power of us. You hold the same power. How will you use it to change the world?

national bullying prevention month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Those of you who know that I was bullied in junior high and high school understand why I want to do everything I can to reach out to others who are surviving daily torment and ostracism. That’s why I wrote Keep Holding On. Keep Holding On is about a girl who is relentlessly bullied at school and horribly neglected at home. Most of her experiences in the book were inspired by my actual experiences back then. I want my readers to know that they are not alone. No matter what you’re dealing with, there are other people out there surviving the same painful times.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

In conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Month, I’m giving away a signed copy of Keep Holding On. Let’s spread the word on Twitter! Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow me on Twitter.

2. Tweet this:

Win a signed copy of #KeepHoldingOn for National Bullying Prevention Month. Follow @susanecolasanti and RT to enter. http://susanecolasanti.wordpress.com

Tweet before Sunday, October 27 at 11:11 pm to enter. The winner will be contacted and announced on Twitter. US addresses only.

Less Than Three Conference

Are you in the St. Louis area? I’ll be there this weekend participating in Less Than Three, an anti-bullying conference to raise awareness and focus on positive approaches to end bullying. Here’s the event info:

October 19, 2013 – 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Less Than Three Conference
St. Charles Library
427 Spencer Road
St. Peters, MO 63376

I am so psyched to gather with teens, librarians, teachers, and a stone-cold pack of amazing authors. Hope to see those of you around St. Louis there!

A couple other items: Thanks to Justine Magazine for sharing some of my high school survival tips. And tomorrow, October 17, is Spirit Day. Wear your purple to take a stand against bullying of LGBT teens!

Feeling like you have no one you can talk to is the worst. But there are lots of friendly neighbors who want to help you. You can find a list of hotline resources on the Keep Holding On page of my website. And you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. The lifeline is available 24/7 and is a free, confidential service.

Stay strong, reach out, and never, ever give up <3

now and forever cover reveal

As an author, there are certain days every year I look forward to the most. Pub day. Book tours. Any opportunity to meet readers. And the day when I get to share the cover of my new book.

Today is that day.

A team of fabulous designers has been working on the cover of my new book, Now and Forever, for a while now. I’m beyond ecstatic to finally be able to share it with you!

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

Here’s the synopsis:


What if your boyfriend was the world’s biggest rock star?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she’s ever met, but he’s an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he’s believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he’s thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity—and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she’s attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan’s monumental sold-out concerts.

It’s a dream come true…but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when “forever” comes to an end?


Now and Forever will be released on May 20, 2014.

One of my biggest teen fantasies was that my boyfriend was the world’s biggest rock star. So I decided to bring that fantasy to life with Now and Forever. I hope you’ll enjoy the excitement, intense chemistry, and crazy drama this book brings. Rock on, friendly neighbors!

keep holding on giveaway

Congrats to the winner of last week’s book giveaway, Trinifer R.! I know it’s hard to believe, but the final week of August is here. Not sure how this Sunday will be September already. So this will be my last giveaway until ARCs of my new book are available this fall. Of course you’ll be the first to know when I have some for you!

This week’s prize is a signed copy of Keep Holding On.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Entering the giveaway is easy. Just comment here with a message that will help others to keep holding on. It can be some advice that has really helped you. Or an inspirational quote. Or maybe a mantra that motivates you. Anything you feel would help others stay strong is what I’d like you to share.

To enter:

1. Comment here with a warm fuzzy that will help others to stay strong. You can share some advice, an inspirational quote, a motivating encouragement, or anything else you feel would help everyone who reads it.

2. Include your name and email address with your comment.

Giveaway rules:

1. All comments must be made on this blog post by Sunday, September 1 at 11:11 pm.

2. The winner will be notified via email.

3. The winning mailing address must be located in the United States. If you live abroad and have a contact in the States who can receive the prize for you, it can be sent to their address.

Stay strong and never give up <3

more indonesian covers

Keep Holding On was just released in Indonesia.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Indonesian edition

My Indonesian publisher has an amazing design team. The covers always resonate with my books in gently nostalgic ways. Like the cover of When It Happens.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, Indonesian editionVery cool guitar placement here. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with the original cover of When It Happens. The way Tobey is slinging that guitar over his shoulder? I don’t think so. He would never hold his instrument like that. This is a lot more realistic.

If you’re into foreign cover design, you might also enjoy Indonesia’s covers for So Much Closer, Something Like Fate, Waiting for You, and Take Me There. They all show details from the books that make me smile.

Snaps for Indonesia :)

classic pooh rules

TGIM! This week’s summer book giveaway is coming at you in the form of a contest. The prize is your choice of any of my books, signed to you. You must answer this question correctly to be entered to win:

Name one character from a previous book who appears in All I Need.

There are actually two. The first name of one of these characters is fine. To enter, email your answer and mailing address to me at susanecolasanti at gmail by August 25 at 11:11pm. Only one entry per person is allowed. One winner will be selected from the eligible entries. This contest is international.

Speaking of international, there was a very European-looking boy on the subway the other day. I love European tourists. They have the most eclectic sneakers. Their outfits are super cute. This boy was around 20 years old. He was rocking a red, white, and blue ensemble that looked really comfortable. I was reading and he was standing across from me and I noticed the cutest tattoo I’ve ever seen. Like, ever. He got out at my stop. So of course I went up to him and asked if I could document his ink. Does that make me a creeper? Maybe. But there’s no way I could pass up the chance to share this with you guys:

Classic Winnie-the-Pooh tattoo

Classic Pooh rules. He is old-school in the best possible way. That tat is so adorbs it almost makes me want to get one. My BF/soul mate and I have talked about getting yin-yang symbols. But I would never make such a serious decision in the lazy days of August. I’ve been reading on his sundeck almost every sunny morning. Without becoming a sweaty hot mess by noon. How is that possible when it should be scorching right now? Read on.

August in New York is usually not the most refreshing time. A typical New York August is so hot and humid that those of us still here have the city to ourselves. Which is awesome in its own way. No lines at the post office. Getting a table for brunch at Friend of a Farmer right away. Sailing through Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods without bumping at least three other people with your basket. What’s even better about this August is how gorgeous it’s been. Much cooler and drier than usual. We had an August like this five years ago. I documented it on my blog because no one ever remembers it. I’m like, “Remember August 2008? Cool summer breezes. Perfect sunny days in the 70s. Everyone wasn’t a sweaty hot mess after walking only five blocks. Remember?” And people are all, “Um, no. I think you’re confused with October.”

For the record, I am not confused. There were only two hot and humid days that August. The rest of the time was bliss. I’m so thankful for this other blissful August five years later. I just knew it would come around again. The best kind of full-circle moment.

Enjoy the cool summer breeze, friendly neighbors!

something like brazil

Yay, it’s pub day for Something Like Fate in Brazil!

Perhaps you’ll recognize the cover.

Tipo Destino by Susane Colasanti

Although I can’t understand all of it, the official trailer is super cute.

I have much love for my Brazilian readers. They have been so enthusiastic and supportive. That’s why I’m extra stoked about this foreign release. Thanks to Seja Cult for this fun interview and to my Brazilian publisher, Novo Conceito, for this one.

For those of you who speak Portuguese, Novo Conceito is hosting a Google Hangout with me today at 3:00pm EST. Hope to chill with you then!

all i need facebook giveaway

TGIM! This week’s book giveaway is happening over on my Facebook page.

How can you enter to win a signed copy of All I Need?

Susane Colasanti signing All I Need


To enter:

1. Like my Facebook page.

2. Comment on the FB giveaway post with your sweetest summer memory.

Giveaway rules:

1. Comments must be submitted by August 18 at 11:11 pm.

2. The winner will be messaged on Facebook and announced on my page.

3. This giveaway is open to US residents only. However, if you live abroad and have a contact in the States who can receive the prize for you, it can be sent to their address.

Hope you’re having a spectacular summer!

all i need behind the scenes

It’s that time. The photo shoot for the cover of my new book is happening soon. I can’t wait to share the cover (and title and synopsis) of my eighth book with you. While we’re waiting, I wanted to share some behind the scenes action from the photo shoot for the cover of All I Need.

The models on my covers fascinate me. Not that I get to pick them or meet them or anything. But I’m always fascinated to see what they look like. Models’ faces are hidden on my book covers. For some reason, I always imagine them looking way different than they actually do. When I saw the models from the cover of So Much Closer, I was shocked. They looked totally different than I thought they would! Same with the Keep Holding On cover boy. He got in touch with me and sent me pics after I posted about creating the cover. I don’t have the All I Need models’ headshots, but I thought this outtake from the photo shoot was adorable:

All I Need by Susane Colasanti photo shoot outtake

Authors usually have zero input in the planning process when it comes to cover design. Fortunately, my editor asked for input before this photo shoot took place. I told her I’d love to see the models in Vans and flip-flops. Just like Seth and Skye wear in the book. After trying them out, the photo shoot art director decided that barefoot was a better look. Which totally worked out for the best. I love the heart as a tool for hiding their faces. Faces are always hidden on my book covers so you can imagine what the characters look like yourself. The endless possibilities for hiding models’ faces is astounding.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti photo shoot outtake

My friend and photographer of the last three book covers, Jayd Gardina, shared this inside info about the photo shoot:

We went to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn! When we arrived the beach was packed with people even though it was a weekday in the late afternoon. We were all talking out how to make it work and if we should stay or try to make the hour long drive to Long Beach, when a woman who overheard us suggested that we drive to the other end of the beach. Fifteen minutes later we were at a much emptier section that was peaceful and perfect. You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but about a mile away was Coney Island and we could see all of the rides from where we were! The models in the photo were actually a couple in real life so I think their comfort level and love for each other helped make the photo shoot more authentic and emotional.

Dude. The models were a couple in real life. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT?

The Brighton Beach photo shoot location was supposed to represent Sea Bright, New Jersey. I’m happy that I captured Sea Bright in the book. As part of my research for All I Need, I visited Sea Bright. The actual town is not entirely like what I’ve depicted in the book. But the colorful, lively Sea Bright I created will live on. Brian Williams was on Letterman right after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey shore. I got chills when he said, “Sea Bright is gone.” Sandy changed the Jersey coast landscape forever. Entire areas of vegetation were ripped out. Atlantic City’s beachfront sand width decreased from about 125 feet to 25 feet. Parts of the boardwalk and rides are gone. But the Jersey shore’s spirit lives on in All I Need. And I will cherish my childhood memories of summers down the shore forever.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti

This heart on the sand was a beautiful design choice. To me, the heart represents the sweet nostalgia I will associate with the Jersey shore forever. I carry you in my heart, NJ.

summer breeze

TGIM! The first thing I decided on this gorgeous summer morning was to have weekly book giveaways for the rest of August. All I Need is a sparkly summer romance. What better time to give away copies to you guys?

Entering this week’s giveaway is easy. The first 100 people to sign up for my newsletter starting today will be automatically entered to win a signed copy of All I Need. US mailing addresses only. You can sign up for my newsletter/enter the giveaway here.

Hostess cupcakes are back. Sort of. I was beyond psyched to hear that Hostess snack cakes would be back in stores this summer. Those cupcakes with the icing squiggles make me happy. Even the tag line for their ad campaign was awesome: Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever. So when I saw them at 7-Eleven the other day, I got a little thrill. Until I looked at them more closely. Upon further inspection, I was devastated to discover that the icing squiggles were much thinner. These impostors are not the classic Hostess cupcakes we knew and loved. Less icing = less excited Susane. Will I still try them? Probably. But don’t expect a rave review. RIP, Hostess CupCakes. You were the bomb.

I love when readers are inspired to create art. Whether it’s making wish boxes and treasure maps like Sara in When It Happens, warm fuzzies like Sadie in So Much Closer, or collages like Seth in All I Need, seeing photos of your work makes me happier than an old-school Hostess cupcake. I find this nail art inspired by my book spine stripes to be awesome:

So Much Closer nail art

In other book news, Miss Print interviewed me about All I Need. Some fresh reviews are up on It’s a Book Thing and Winter Haven BooksThe Reading Girl posted a beautiful review of Keep Holding On with visual aids you’ll want to snag. And Pretty Little Memoirs posted a cute review of Something Like Fate. Thanks to these friendly neighbor bloggers for spreading the love!

Speaking of friendly neighbors, I’m off to Crumbs for a friendly neighbor reunion with some old students (aka vintage noodles). Although I absolutely love my job, I miss chilling with my people. Teens are and will always be my people. That’s why I write for teens. That’s why my purpose in life is to reach out to teens and help them feel less alone. I remember that sinking feeling at the end of summer when there were only a few days of summer vacay left. Like I couldn’t hold on to them, no matter how hard I tried to freeze time. Later in life, I discovered that being in the Now helps to create inner peace. Taking even one minute to be still and connect with your environment can improve your attitude so much.

It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Take one minute to tune out any negative thoughts or feelings. Really see your world. Connect with the things around you. Appreciate everything you have. Just one minute can turn your day around. Anytime you want it to.

Enjoy the summer breeze, friendly neighbors!