texas event

The Austin Teen Book Festival is this Saturday, October 2! If you’re in the Austin area, I’d love to see you. We’ll be at Westlake High School from 10:00 to 5:00.

Everyone keeps telling me how awesome Austin is, so I’m really stoked. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to explore downtown. In addition to the cool coffeehouses and live music and indie bookshop BookPeople, Sandra Bullock owns a deli called Walton’s Fancy and Staple that I need to visit. And I heard that some scenes from Friday Night Lights were filmed at the high school where we’ll be. If I get any inside info, I will def be sharing that with you.

Austin Teen Book Festival

These authors will be in the house:

Keynote speaker: Ellen Hopkins
Boundary Breakers: Charles Benoit, Susane Colasanti, Ellen Hopkins, Kenneth Oppel, Jon Skovron
Mustache Twirlers: Pam Bachorz, S.A. Bodeen, Ally Carter, James Dashner, Catherine Jinks
Dastardly Daydreamers: Alexandra Adornetto, Melissa de la Cruz, Sophie Jordan, Nancy Werlin, Kiersten White

Bring on the festivities!

jon stewart is my bff

Last night was spectacular. Jon Stewart and every writer on The Daily Show were at the Union Square Barnes & Noble to sign their new book, Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Being the Daily Show nerd that I am, I arrived at 5:00 for the 8:00 event. Think that’s crazy early? Dude, I got one of the last seats left in the front section! I don’t know how I thought I could waltz in three hours early and score my usual second-row aisle seat. The place was already packed. But I did snag a very respectable fourth-row seat next to three friendly neighbors. It was easy to make friends, all crammed together and clinging to our seats while the entire fourth floor of B&N filled up. People who got there two hours early had to stand.

As always when meeting the people who’ve inspired me, I was super nervous. I was trying to think up a good question for Jon. I was trying not to geek out. But when it was my turn to meet Jon, I totally did anyway.

Jon Stewart and Susane Colasanti

Here’s Jon looking at copies of my first two books. He got shout-outs in both When It Happens and Take Me There because he is made of all things awesome. I marked the pages with his shout-outs. At least, I thought I did. Until I was walking home and realized I completely missed the two biggest shout-outs in Take Me There.

* bangs head on several hard surfaces *

Why do I always do this? I’m always too nervous to think of anything good to say until after and I end up babbling like an idiot and I couldn’t even remember that I said all this cool stuff about Jon and The Daily Show in the books that I gave him.

That I wrote.

But it’s all good. Jon thanked me for the books. He even shook my hand!

Jon Stewart and Susane Colasanti at an Earth signing

Did I have a professional photographer following me around to capture this Moment of Zen? Sort of. One of those friendly neighbors I was sitting with was Robert Denbo, who has his own multimedia company. He had a mad profesh camera with him and was totally sweet about documenting me and Jon. If I hadn’t been sitting next to him, I wouldn’t be able to share these visual aids with you.

The Universe had my back on that one. Respect.

awesome alert

Some awesome people have recently been doing some awesome things. That is why I thought you might want an awesome alert.

Let’s begin.

By now, you probably know that I worship Jon Stewart in a godlike way. How stoked am I for his Rally to Restore Sanity? At first I thought the whole thing was a joke to compliment Stephen Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive.  But then I went to their Twitter page and it says how the rally is on October 30 from 12:00-3:00 at the National Mall. Dude, isn’t that where Forrest Gump and Jenny had their epic reunion? I’m so there!

Before I see Jon at the rally, I’m going to see him at Barnes & Noble tomorrow. He’s reading from Earth, his textbook about our planet for extraterrestrials. Like America, it’s packed with highly informative, highly hilarious material. Even the “this book is the property of” stamp in the front cover is funny. I hope I can think of a good question to ask him. I never think of anything good to say when I meet the people who inspire me and I end up sounding like a babbling idiot. And then walking home I’ll be like, “Dir! That’s what I should have said!”

I think I did okay with Demetri Martin, though.

Susane Colasanti and Demetri Martin

He had a show here Saturday night which was, as always, the Best Comedy Show Ever. I’ve been a huge fan for many years and am thrilled that Demetri is starting to get the attention he deserves. If you’re unfamiliar with Demetri, I suggest you get acquainted. He does comedy for people who think. And he’s so sweet to his fans! He took the time to talk with every one of us who were waiting for him after. He took pictures with all of us and signed stuff. And he did all of this while eating an apple. Which he eventually had to put down. I felt kind of bad for him, like can’t the guy even eat his apple? He was probably really hungry. But it must have been a thrill for Demetri to see such a big crowd waiting out there for him. I told him about his upcoming shout-out in So Much Closer. He was really appreciative. John Oliver from The Daily Show stopped by to do a bit on stage. When he came out after, he was on his phone and didn’t come back to us. That’s cool, though. I’m sure we’ll catch up at the rally.

Here’s what the stage looked like from my front row seat (score!) before the show:

Demetri Martin show at Town Hall

Could I have been any closer? No. I could not have been. I couldn’t wait to find out what those weird symbols were. Especially that angry cat (which turned out to be Demetri’s idea for a bird feeder where badass birds would go in the mouth part and then it would look like the cat was spitting out birds when they flew away). Really good times.

As if things weren’t already awesome enough, Blake Nelson comes along with a new book and bam! I’m totally hooked.  It’s called Recovery Road, it comes out in March, and you want to add it to your list.  Trust me. Blake and I go way back, although he didn’t know it at the time. Girl was shelved in the adult fiction section when it first came out (along with Judy Blume’s Forever). After I read it and was completely blown away, I kept checking back for a new book by Blake. I just had to find out what happened to Andrea Marr and was hoping for a sequel. But there was nothing. Followed by more nothing. I was so disappointed. But then! I found out that Blake had all these other books out and they were all in the teen section. It was like Christmas, except without the family drama. I highly recommend everything Blake Nelson has ever written.

Well, this completes your friendly awesome alert at this time. I will keep you informed as more awesomeness develops. Oh, and if you think of a good question for Jon, please let me know!

thoughts on the autumnal equinox

Well, it’s officially fall. I wasn’t planning on blogging today. But you know when you have all these random thoughts rattling around and if you try to go to sleep you just end up with a case of noisy brain until three in the morning? In my experience, writing stuff down helps. So here I am sharing with you!

1. It didn’t feel like fall when school started. It felt like fall when I went into Whole Foods and saw that they’re transitioning from berries to pumpkins. That is a sad state of affairs. Because it means that the long wait for quality fruit to come around again has begun. I am a total fruit addict. Apples and oranges just don’t cut it when that’s all there is. Oh, plums and berries and melons, how I already crave you again. Until next time…

2. The Feast of San Gennaro is in full swing. It’s an annual street party in Little Italy where you go and eat. And appreciate Italian culture. But mostly, you just eat. My friend Jim and I are going this Sunday. We will pretty much be inhaling all of Little Italy. Seriously. It is a non-stop eating frenzy, complete with fried Oreos. It is the feast of our people and we are ready to bring it.

3. A while ago I wrote about finally getting around to reading The Hunger Games. I was absolutely blown away. Of course, all I could think about after was immediately tearing into Catching Fire. But I’ve made an executive decision to save Catching Fire to read on the plane to the Austin Teen Book Festival next weekend. Outstanding books for planes are essential. When I’m reading a good book in the airport and on the plane and waiting in all those lines, I’m in a happy place. I’m pretty sure I’m about to return to that happy place again. Cannot. Wait.

4. By now you’ve most likely heard about that wingnut who wants to ban Speak. Which is equivalent to banning literacy, compassion, and support. Oh, and a book teens actually like to read that can inspire a lifelong love of reading. Laurie Halse Anderson explained the situation on her blog. Then the #speakloudly hashtag took over Twitter to the point where it got a shout-out on NPR! What an awesome example of how passionate online discussions can influence other media. If you contributed to the discussion or are someone who speaks up for sanity in a time of much craziness, be proud.

5. Alain de Botton has a new book out. He’s my fave contemporary philosopher, so I am psyched. Get this – he was an actual writer-in-residence at Heathrow Airport. They set him up with a little desk right in a terminal. He observed airport culture. Then he wrote A Week at the Airport. I find this fascinating.

I think that’s about it for now. Let’s hope noisy brain doesn’t take over…

shiny new website

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of my shiny new website! I’ve been working on it for the past few weeks and have finally finished the redesign. I needed to make some changes to get ready for my new book, So Much Closer. And I wanted a more polished look. At first, I was going to have a professional designer do the overhaul. But then I was like, “Wait. Why did I learn HTML and CSS and Dreamweaver and Photoshop if I’m not going to redesign my own website? I can do this!” I was doubting myself. I didn’t think I could create the look I was going for.

Then I created it anyway.

When my website was built in 2005, I absolutely knew I wanted a scrapbook theme. I think the scrapbook reflects the tone of my books. So I kept that going. It’s not as glossy profesh as I’d like, but I had such a specific vision of what I wanted that it was easier to do it myself. Plus, I saved almost a month’s rent. Bonus!

The new homepage looks like this:

Susane Colasanti's shiny new website

I love the pretty watercolor stripes on my new paperback editions so much that I used them for the website. Each page contains the stripe artwork from one of my books, with colors taken from the stripes’ palette.

The website pages are:

Books – From this page, you can click on each book’s cover to go to a detailed page for that book. Each book’s page contains a playlist, reviews, excerpts, ordering info, and extras.

Q&A – Contains links to interviews, a set of frequently asked questions, and related photos.

Events – This is where you can find details about my upcoming events, including readings, signings, and book festivals.

Life – A bit about where I’m from, why high school was the worst time ever, why I love writing books for teens, and the power of creative visualization.

Connect – You can sign up for my newsletter here.  Links are included for my Facebook, fan page, Twitter, MySpace, and Goodreads.

Contact – How to reach me by email or vintage mail and contact info for my agent, publicist, and school visit coordinator.

Video – Links to my YouTube.

Blog – Links here to my WordPress.

So there you go, friendly neighbors. If you have any thoughts about my shiny new website, please share. I’d really love your feedback!

it’s an apple world

Finding your way around my neighborhood can be challenging.

West Village street signs

The Village is a super cute area. One thing that makes it so unique is the street orientation. Most of Manhattan is on a numbered grid system, which makes it easy to navigate. But once you get down here, streets zigzag and curve and lots of them are only one block long. And most of the streets have names instead of numbers, which makes them hard to find. Tourists often ask me for directions. Like the other day when some tourists asked me how to get to a certain lacking cupcake shop. Naturally, I directed them to the far superior Crumbs. Their Cupcake of the Week was the Big Apple. Which I of course needed to try.

Big Apple cupcake from Crumbs

Even better than an apple cupcake (which was actually vanilla with chocolate buttercream filling)? A visit to the Apple Store, aka Shiny Happy Apple World. I was there a few weeks ago, trying to decide between getting an iPod touch and an iPad. I was like 90% sure I’d leave with one or the other. I decided to go with the iPod touch, but something made me wait. I even asked, “Do you know when the new ones are coming out?” They never know. I know they never know but I always ask anyway. It’s funny how we’re so used to the newer and better models blowing away the old ones that we’ve become reluctant to get anything right now. But dude, I am SO happy that I waited. The new iPod touch is amazing! I returned to Shiny Happy Apple World yesterday to get mine. The cameras! FaceTime! The incredible resolution! I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be obsessing over it for a while.

Which doesn’t mean that I won’t make time for new adventures in Netflix. I’m currently into Fringe. I loved the first season. And not just because Joshua Jackson is in it and I’m still missing Pacey Witter so much that sometimes I forget he’s a fictional character and I sit around wondering how he’s doing and if he and Joey are still together. Fringe is excellent on many other levels. It appeals to my scientist side, has really good writing, and is funny when you least expect it to be. Recommended, yo.

On an entirely unrelated note, there are two reviews of Waiting for You that I keep meaning to link to. Open Mind, Insert Book’s review is touching. And Fluttering Butterflies says that the whole book made her feel relaxed and content.  Nice.

No matter what you’re obsessing over this weekend, I hope you have a good one!

whip it

Like every other person I know, I absolutely loved Ellen Page in Juno. Isn’t she the best? Naturally, she also dazzled in Whip It. It was such a good movie that I immediately went out after and got the book.

So. Freaking. Good.

Whip It by Shauna Cross

If you haven’t seen or read Whip It yet, a. you really should do both right away and b. you really should know that it’s about badass roller derby girls, which only reinforces a. What makes this story even cooler is that Shauna Cross was on an actual roller derby team called the L.A. Derby Dolls. I have a feeling that if I lived near roller derby activities, I’d definitely go and watch. But it’s all good because we have the book. And that’s the next best thing.