book expo america

Okay, I was planning to do a journal entry with both BEA and NYC Teen Author Carnival highlights, but I have way too much for Show and Tell. So I’m sharing all of my BEA stuff today and I’ll do the Carnival journal entry next time.

BEA was freaking awesome! Before heading over, I had lunch with a mystery guest:

Susane Colasanti and Sarah Dessen at Empire Diner

Oh, you thought that shadow effect was a mistake? Heck no, it was intentional. I like to build up suspense. My mystery guest will be revealed later. Do you want a hint? I’ll give you three: We are both diner people, we both love The Office, and we’re both Penguin authors. Hmmm…

Here’s someone you definitely know:

Susane Colasanti and Meg Cabot

It was my first time seeing Meg Cabot! Her signing line for the latest Allie Finkle galleys was crazylong. We did not care. It’s so exciting when you see someone you feel like you already know from online and then there they are, all live and in person. I always get overwhelmed. Especially since Meg is the queen of this scene, what with her zillion books and super fun blog, which I always love reading. Awesomeness ensued.

Balloon animals at BEA

This girl had a balloon animal hat, so of course I was like, “Where’d you get that?” I love balloon animals! Or any balloons, really. Can you imagine how thrilled I was that the Guinness Book World Record holder for Fastest Balloon Dog was there? No, you cannot. He is John Cassidy. He was making balloon animals (above, he is making a tree for a monkey). He went, “I’ll make you anything you want.” I was freaking out, all like, “Anything? Anything?!” The options were infinite! I didn’t know what to pick. I went with two penguins. Then I brought them over to the Penguin booth to share the love. John also gave me a huge giraffe because I love giraffes.

I knew exactly who would appreciate the giraffe as much as I do:

Susane Colasanti and Jon Scieszka

Ambassador Jon Scieszka! Jon was signing posters for his new book, Robot Zot. I’m so proud of Jon for writing such magnificent children’s books and inspiring more boys to read with his Guys Read initiative. There he goes, making the world a better place. Rock on, Jon.

So did you guess who my mystery guest was?

Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti

Yes, that’s totally Sarah Dessen! You should know that Sarah is every bit as sweet as you think she is. That’s why her books all have such a beautiful, timeless quality. You might have seen a pic of Sarah’s new touring shoes on her blog. They are some serious pink, glossy wedges. I’m five-eight and she was about my height in them. It takes big talent to rock shoes like that (I’d fall flat on my face in them), so I give her props. And more props for the paperback edition of Lock and Key being her first number-one New York Times bestseller! She is pure inspiration. Here’s to the magic of possibility.

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creative people, doing their thing

My Floor Display Contest is heating up! You guys are made of magic. You have until next Friday, June 5 to enter. However, some of the Waiting for You floor displays that went up early may be coming down before then, so plan accordingly. The most creative photo of you with my books (taken in a bookstore or at home) wins.

In all of the book release excitement, my interview at Books Make Great Lovers didn’t get a shout-out. I have a lot more to say about teen sexuality, but I think the interview sums up my main points.

Something awesome: Google asked kids to redesign their homepage logo to encapsulate what they wish for the world. I absolutely love this contest! The teacher part of me is always interested in what kids can do with their creativity (which is why I’m so excited about my Floor Display Contest) and these kids did an incredible job. Check out the state finalists.

Super exciting events are happening over the next few days around here. I’ll be at the NYC Teen Author Carnival today and BEA tomorrow. There will be so many amazing authors at both events, so of course I’m bringing my cam to document everything for you. Hopefully, I’ll be posting a later journal entry tomorrow evening with some news and photos from both events. See you then!

work + fun

There’s a new line-editing process that I’m working with for the first time. The coolest thing about it is that it saves tons of paper because no one has to print out the manuscript to work on it. Yay for saving trees! A typical line-edit works like this: The editor writes comments and makes changes directly on the manuscript, then the author uses that info to do a final revision (before copyediting and first pass pages). With this new green way, both the editor and the author use the Track Changes feature in Word to make their comments and changes. I’m loving the adventure. It’s important to go with the flow. Only, I miss seeing the smiley faces my editor draws. Now her smiley faces look like this:

Track changes

As much as I love paper, I love how the publishing world is taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint more. Most people hate change, but now is the time to embrace it. At first, I was concerned about missing some things on screen that I would only absorb on paper. There’s something about holding a hard copy of a manuscript in paper form that allows me to work with it more effectively. But maybe I just think that because I’m so used to working that way. So I’m going to assume that I’m not missing anything on screen. Moving forward, maybe publishing houses can also require that all manuscripts be submitted by email. Then all those slush piles could become “slush files.” Oh! Corny alert!

In entertainment news, my Netflix queuing/returning skills recently paid off big time. I received season three of Friday Night Lights the day it was released on DVD. I tried to resist watching all the eps right away. My plan was to spread them out. My plan was to have a modicum of restraint. Yeah, no, that didn’t work. I watched the whole season in about three seconds. But it’s not my fault! That show is too good! And there were only 13 eps in the whole season. That’s just wrong! I’ve come to a realization this season. As much as I love Tim Riggins, I’m admiring Matt Saracen more. How sweet is he? I also think moving that last ep ahead five months to skip over the second semester of senior year was a bold move. I wanted to see that last semester, but I guess there are more exciting things in store for us.

Quick reminder about the NYC Teen Author Carnival. It’s tomorrow, May 28, at the New York Public LIbrary at 6th Avenue and 10th Street. We’ll be serving up the fun from 4:00 to 6:00. RSVP and see the deets here. Games and prizes, anyone?

contest news & upcoming event

I’m thrilled to announce the winners of the Living In the Now Contest! won Waiting for You and Rachel won Take Me There. Winners, please send your names and addresses to me at friendly.neighbor [at] hotmail.com so I can get your prizes right out to you.

Some things regarding my ginormous Floor Display Contest. Not all Barnes & Noble locations have the displays up, so you can take your photo with just my books instead. Your photo can be taken with one or more of the books at home, but Waiting for You has to be included since that’s what we’re celebrating. Also, I’ve been hearing from booksellers across the country and it sounds like some displays just got put up. Therefore, I’m extending the contest deadline to Friday, June 5. The most creative photo wins signed copies of all three of my books!

Yay for Teenreads! They totally reviewed Waiting for You and also interviewed me. Find out how I (try to) balance writing with online time, why I love writing about soul mates, and why I have no worries about including pop culture references in my books.

I will be at an exciting event coming up this week here in New York. It’s the NYC Teen Author Carnival! The fun will go down this Thursday, May 28, from 4:00 to 6:00 at the New York Public Library at 6th Avenue and 10th Street. Check out the list of attending authors, get the link to watch the event live, or RSVP if you’ll be in the nabe – it’s free. I’ll be bringing some games, so come on by if you want to play!

what’s good

Are you entering my ginormous Floor Display Contest? I hope so! I’ve extended the entry deadline to May 30. Also, if your local B&N doesn’t have the floor display up, you can take your photo with my book(s) in a bookstore or at home. Whichever place will allow you to be your most creative self!

Some awesome teens got together and created a special upcoming event here in New York. It’s the NYC Teen Author Carnival! The fun will go down on Thursday, May 28, from 4:00 to 6:00 at the New York Public Library Jefferson Market Branch, located at 6th Avenue and 10th Street. Check out the event site for a list of attending authors and a link to watch it live if you can’t be there in person. I hear there won’t be bumper cars or cotton candy, but I’ll be bringing Chinese Checkers and Set (cool logic card game I can show you) if you feel like some game time.

Two new reviews of Waiting for You are out: one at The Book Obsession and another at Y.A. New York.

You have two more days to enter my Living In the Now contest. From the comments I’ve received so far, it sounds like most of us use reading or chocolate to feel better when we’re sad. I know they work for me. Also, our Soul Mates Contestis accepting entries all month. I love hearing about your most adored soul mates.

Okay, my flip-flops have been taunting me for weeks, but today it’s already 80 and sunny. I’m out.

defining chick lit

When people ask me what kinds of books I write, I tell them that I write novels for teens. When they ask what kind of novels, I say that I write about soul mates. Soul mates have been at the heart of every one of my books. So technically I write romance, but I would never describe my books that way. Language is an interesting thing. A word that has a negative connotation to me could be totally positive to you. But to me, the term “romance novel” smacks of a helpless girl clinging to a shirtless boy with way too many muscles. I can’t get past the cheese factor enough to describe my novels that way. Maybe I need to replace my old word association with an updated one.

Which brings me to the issue of chick lit. What is it? Does it have a negative or positive connotation?

Here’s the Kirkus review of Waiting for You:

Kirkus, 5/15

Marisa spent freshman year grappling with anxiety disorder and depression. Now the amateur photographer is heading into sophomore year with some coping skills and waiting for love to find her. While her best friend is IMing older guys and her once-“normal” parents are separated, Marisa thinks she’s finally found romance with popular Derek, her first boyfriend. Why, then, would she rather hang out and discuss her problems, especially her relapsing depression, with her “totally geeked out” chemistry partner, Nash? Maybe while Marisa’s been waiting for love, it’s been in front of her all along. The story isn’t new, but Colasanti keeps it fresh by speaking to teens in their own language. Marisa’s realistic, first-person narration ably captures the importance of typical adolescent problems. The author also offers a hint of mystery (although readers will soon figure it out) with a late-night radio show featuring Dirty Dirk, an anonymous student who reaches out to Marisa. Chick lit for girls who think. (Fiction. YA)

Now, I totally appreciate a good review, and this one seems okay. It’s just…um, I wasn’t aware that I write chick lit. I’m assuming “Chick lit for girls who think” is a good thing. If we’re going by the definition of chick lit recently mentioned in The New York Times, “fiction by and for women,” then I guess I write it. But if that’s all there is to the definition, then why do so many people perceive chick lit as fluff? It’s true that I write about love, but every one of my books deals with serious issues. Some of these include physical abuse, sexual abuse, death, neglect, divorce, infidelity, and depression. Does chick lit define books dealing with serious issues? Or does it imply a light, fun read?

How do you define chick lit?

contest extravaganza!

The thing about living in a 400-square-foot apartment is that you can’t have as many bookshelves as you’d like. I have all these:

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

but, like, zero shelf space. So I’m having yet another contest to win them! This will be the final contest to celebrate the Waiting for You release, which was last week.

Before I explain the new contest, let’s review the existing ones:

  • Soul Mates Contest – this is a joint contest with Melissa Walker. To enter, watch our video and then tell us your favorite TV or movie soul mates. Ends June 1.
  • Floor Display Contest – take a photo of you with the Waiting for You floor display, out now in Barnes & Noble stores. The most creative photo wins. Note: I’ve extended the rules to also include photos of you with just my books because not all B&N locations put up floor displays. Ends May 30.
  • Blog tour contests – I’ve compiled a list of my May blog tour stops on the Waiting for You page of my website. Each site offered a chance to win a signed copy of Waiting for You. Some of the contests are still open.

And now…this week’s contest! I’m calling it the Living In the Now Contest. In Waiting for You, Marisa struggles with living in the Now. It’s hard for her because she has an anxiety disorder. She’s constantly worrying about stupid things she said and what people think and a bunch of other stuff that prevents her from being present in the moment. So I want to know what you do to enjoy the Now. What things usually make you feel better when you’re sad? When I’m feeling sad, I watch The Office or put on some John Mayer and that fixes me right up. What about you?

To enter: Leave a comment here, telling me your best Living In the Now feel-better strategy. I will select two winners. First prize is a signed copy of Waiting for You. Second prize is a signed copy of Take Me There. You have until 11:11 p.m. on Saturday, May 23 to enter. Good luck!