not so bad

This is going to sound weird considering that we’re only like a third of the way through winter, but winter doesn’t seem so bad this time around. I know I shouldn’t say things like that – cue record-low temps and biting winds – but for some reason I’m not completely bummed about the dreariest season the way I usually am. Probably because it’s not even February yet. February is the coldest month. February is when I don’t want to go anywhere. February is all about survival. It’s busting in tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes.

Maybe I’m not as afflicted because there are so many awesome things to look forward to this year. Or maybe it’s because despite the perpetual heaps of snow and ice patches, snow never really bothers me. I’m sure I would be singing a different tune if I lived in suburbia and drove a car and had to dig myself out. But this is New York City. No car. No shoveling. I just put on my boots and go. And admire the creative works of those who like to play with snow. Of course we had to document this fun guy on top of a parking meter:

Parking meter snowman

To go with boots, one naturally needs knee socks. My knee socks must meet the following criteria:

1. They must be cute.

2. They must be soft.

3. They must have fun designs.

Mine were kind of falling apart. So I asked my friendly neighbors on Twitter where to get new ones (love Twitter for that kind of stuff). Which is how I found out about Sock Dreams! What an outstanding selection of socks. I prefer stripey ones and Sock Dreams did not disappoint. I got rainbow stripey ones and pastel stripey ones and white-and-pink stripey ones that are just the cutest thing. Then I got purple ones that say NERD down the side. Hello, designed for me much?

I’m not only buying socks, though. I am in desperate need of more bookshelf space. My bookshelves are packed two deep and there’s just no more room. So I’m figuring out how to extend one shelf to the ceiling by adding on some kind of unit. There’s a woodworking place down the street that would do it for $350. That is outrageous. That is more than I paid for each bookshelf, and these are some quality bookshelves. We’re talking solid wood. I was in The Container Store (i.e. my second home) yesterday and found this shelf addition for $18 that would be perfect. It’s supposed to be for shoes, but who cares? An excellent example of how thinking outside the box pays off. Literally.

NPR just said that snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice will arrive tomorrow morning, followed by a lingering wintry mix. Sounds like February’s in the house! But no worries. We can do this, people. It’s not so bad. And hey, in a few months it’ll be crazy hot. Let’s cool off while we can, shall we?

after the deadline

Woot! I submitted my manuscript of book six yesterday!

:: breathes ::

When I’m on deadline, I tend to lock into this extreme state of tunnel vision. It’s all about the work. Grocery shopping is neglected. Dust accumulates. The bathroom gets kind of gross. I’m always paranoid right before I hand stuff in. Like of course this will be the day when my computer blows up. Or back when we submitted manuscripts as hard copies, I’d always worry that my printer would break down right before I had to print it out. Or that it would break down while I was printing it out, which actually happened once. That was some fun times. But I should relax about stuff like that now. My sexy iMac would never let me down. Just another way in which Shiny Happy Apple World has changed my life. Less stress = happiness. Plus I always try to hand things in early. That’s the teacher part of me. I’ve learned the hard way (exploding toner cartridge, anyone?) that if you wait until the last minute, crisis usually comes knocking.

But yeah, everything else besides work was pretty much ignored for a few weeks until I handed in book six yesterday. It was like this weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe again. The first thing I did was run out to play while there was still some light left. I stocked up at Whole Foods (yes, that’s my version of playing), rewarded myself with the last Coffee Toffee cupcake left at Crumbs (best. thing. ever.), and got my Glee season two on (freshly out on DVD).

“What up, grilled cheesus? First off, you’re super delicious.” Love Finn.

People are saying that season two of Glee was worse than season one. So far I have determined it to be awesome. That “Empire State of Mind” number? Blew me right out of my freaking chair.

There’s even more awesome stuff happening, you guys. Like how this is No Name-Calling Week. A lot of people still don’t realize that verbal abuse kills. Let’s spread the word.

I wish I could tell you that Sprinkles was about to open here in New York. Tragically, its opening has been postponed until April. Now, I know I’m always raving about Crumbs. You can check out the treats tag of this blog to see past entries featuring their amazing cupcakes. And if you’ve read Take Me There, you’re familiar with the sweetness that is Magnolia. But. Sprinkles takes cupcakes to a whole other level. Their cupcakes are the best in the world.

Sprinkles peace cupcakes

You heard me.

Best. In. The world.

“But how do you know?” you ask. “Have you tasted all the cupcakes in the world?” No. Because I don’t need to. Cupcakes are like true love. When you have a transcendental experience, you just know. And that is how I know Sprinkles rules. I’ve only had them one time so far. When I was in L.A. on my last book tour, my incredible author escort whisked me right over to Sprinkles because I’d been wanting to try them for so long. I cannot even begin to describe to you how ethereal their cupcakes are. You can check out their flavors and philosophy on their website. I can’t wait for their NYC opening (the line will be like 20 blocks long; I do not care), but I’m glad they’ll be on the Upper East Side. I’m rarely in that area. That is a good thing.

For now, I am in Chill Mode. My editors are reading my manuscript and hopefully concluding that it doesn’t suck. While I’m waiting to hear from them, I’ll be catching up on my scrapbooking and revving up my reading and generally taking it easy. Oh, and cleaning the bathroom. And the rest of my place. So everything will be all polished and sparkly for…taking it easy some more. I need a break and I’m letting myself take one. Hey, I don’t have a World’s Best Boss mug and keychain for nothing!

Peace.

so much closer arc giveaway

A while ago, I gave away an ARC of So Much Closer on Twitter. It was so much fun that I’ve decided to do another Twitter giveaway this week!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow me on Twitter. If you’re already following me, proceed to step two.

2. Tweet the following:

Win a signed ARC of SO MUCH CLOSER! Follow @susanecolasanti and RT to enter. Giveaway info here: http://tinyurl.com/smcarc

Giveaway rules:

1. All entries must be completed by Sunday, January 30 at 11:11 pm.

2. Only one RT per entrant will be counted.

3. I will announce the winner on Twitter on Monday, January 31.

4. The winner will have two days to email me (at susanecolasanti[at]gmail[dot]com) their full name and mailing address. If a response is not received in time, an alternate winner will be selected.

5. The winning mailing address must be located in the United States.

TGIM ūüôā

make your own meaning

I know I’m a nerd. And I love it. I am a proud nerd and anytime you want to challenge me to a dork-off, just let me know.

I’m one of those people who likes to play board games and work on my scrapbook and spend hours at a time reading. Don’t get me wrong. Going out makes me happy, too. A good dinner with friends or a highly anticipated movie night can be super fun. But for me, so can kicking it low-key. I’ve always been this way. I’m an arts & crafts person. I was even the arts & crafts director at a summer camp. So when my friend Tim saw this new arts & crafts mecca on the Upper West Side, he knew I was the perfect person to go with.

As soon as I got to Make Meaning, I was pretty much in heaven.

Susane Colasanti at Make Meaning

They had stained glass! And beads! And ceramics and soaps and paper crafts and tons of other fun things to make. You could make whatever you want. It’s an arts & crafts enthusiast’s dream come true. I painted a heart keepsake box for my rings. Tim is an artist, so he got mad profesh on a bowl by painting an intricate New York City skyline around it.

Tim busting out mad art skills at Make Meaning

We had so much fun talking and painting and just appreciating that a place like Make Meaning existed in Manhattan. I don’t even care that it’s not a standard grownup activity. I’d much rather have fun doing something I want to do than be miserable doing something someone says I should like because it’s fun for them. Of course we should try new things. New experiences are exciting and challenging. But once we know what makes us happy, those are the things we should focus on. Not what anyone else thinks we should be doing instead.

I get lots of emails from readers asking for advice. One issue I’m hearing more about lately is how teens are feeling pressured to do things with their friends that they don’t want to do. This problem has been around for a really long time, but I think it’s even more prevalent today. Here’s the advice I give them that I wish someone had given me:

Being unique rules. If you’re going to make a difference in this world, that means you’re going to stand out in some way. You can’t stand out if you’re an average person who’s following the herd. Part of the way you distinguish yourself is by having courage. Having the courage to live your life the way you want to is really important. So if your friends want you to go to a party where everyone’s going to get wasted and end up puking on themselves, it’s okay to be like, “Um, that sounds super fun? But I’m good, thanks.” True friends would never force you to do something you don’t want to. True friends love you because you are awesome.

I didn’t learn this the easy way. When I was in college, I felt the same pressure from my friends and people I wanted to impress. I thought that if I went to a few frat parties, I’d make some new friends. And get the attention of this guy I liked in one of the frats. So when his frat had a party, I was there. I was there fake-sipping my beer because if you didn’t have a drink in your hand someone was going to put one there and I wanted to fit in. So I’d tilt the cup back as if I were drinking, but I didn’t actually drink. Why? Because alcohol makes me extremely sick. My system is sensitive – even caffeine makes me feel disgusting. But when I’d tried explaining that to people, they’d just give me a weird look and walk away. So I didn’t bother trying to explain. I just keep fake-sipping like a total loser.

Living the life other people think you should live instead of the life you want to live will not make you happy.

We all want to be happy. Being true to yourself is the only way to make that happen. So let’s not waste any more time trying to fit in. Let’s not let other people decide what we should be doing. We’ll do the things that make us happy and give our lives meaning, even if other people think we’re huge nerds for doing them.

Some people are sad because they conform to everyone else’s expectations.

Some people are happy because they refuse to let anyone else dictate their choices.

Who will you be?

dreamers improve the world

TGIM, special edition style! It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. When I think of friendly neighbors dreaming big, he always comes to mind. His big dream made the world a better place. And it still continues to shine on.

Here’s another friendly neighbor who’s dreaming big. He says:

“I am a performer. I have a roof over my head and I have yet to start my own family. But this video isn’t about me. This is for the men, women and children on our streets who don’t have bright green puppets on their hands. The people who aren’t always as easy to see. This is for you.”

Here’s to celebrating all the people who make the world a better place in their own unique ways. Thank you.

turkey surprise

Dude, I’m stressing out. First of all, I banged my head on the glass shelf in my bathroom. It didn’t really hurt. But I have this thing where every time I bang my head, I’m convinced that it will result in a massive brain injury and I’ll be dead within the next three hours. Could I maybe just calm that down? Not yet.

Regular readers of this blog know that I try to keep it Zen as much as possible. I enjoy minimizing stress. But I’m about to submit the manuscript of my new book (not So Much Closer, which was finalized last summer – I’m talking about my next book). Whenever I get to this point in the writing process, all attempts at a Zen lifestyle pretty much go out the window. I never know if a book is any good until my editors tell me it is. So I will try not to worry (about the book and head injuries and everything else) and keep it in the Now.

A few quick things to share with you:

The Book Queens interviewed me about transitions, writer’s block, and advice for aspiring writers. Thanks, ladies!

The More You Read, The More You Will Know! posted this early review of So Much Closer. I know that some of you have gotten ARCs through Library Thing or at ALA and I’m psyched for your feedback.

In foreign edition news, I’m thrilled to report that both Something Like Fate and Take Me There are being translated into Spanish!

Waiting for You
was published in Turkey last July, which I think is crazy cool. I mean, Turkish? Wild. Usually foreign edition covers are way different than the American ones. So I was surprised to see that the Turkish cover of Waiting for You looked really familiar.

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti Turkish edition

It’s also common for book titles to be changed. I had no idea what this one meant, but luckily my friend Umit is from Turkey. He told me that the title is When Are You Coming? Which really is the main question when the waiting becomes excrutiating, isn’t it?

Okay, back to polishing this manuscript. And trying to keep it Zen. I hope your weekend is a peaceful one!

defying gravity

As of January 6, I’ve been a proud New Yorker for 15 years. Carrie Bradshaw said that you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve lived here for at least 10 years. But in my heart, I always knew this magical place was my true home. I moved here in the Blizzard of 1996 from Philadelphia, which had just gotten over two feet of snow. But nothing could stop me. Actually, nothing could stop my friend Tim from helping me move. He was the one who shoveled the snow and drove the U-Haul. And now he lives here, too, which is awesome.

I was going through this crazy stomach churning thing at the time. For weeks before the move, my stomach was perpetually upset. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the stomach churning was caused by severe stress. Even though I was beyond excited to finally start my life in New York City, it was really scary. I had like 73 cents in my bank account. I didn’t know anyone here. I didn’t even have a job lined up. All I knew was that I’d be starting grad school and that I had a tiny studio waiting for me in Chelsea. But I guess that was enough. Because as soon as I saw the Twin Towers in the distance, my stomach instantly felt better. For reals. And I never had that weird stomach churning again.

You’d think that I was planning to live here all along. New York City has had an intense pull on me since I discovered Late Night with David Letterman when I was 12. But I never made a definite plan to live here because it felt like a fantasy world. Like this unattainable dream that would always be impossible for me to achieve. That felt especially true back in high school. Back then, it felt like forever until my real life would start. Books and shows and music saved me. But what saved me even more was the hope that I would one day be living my ideal life. I held on to that hope and refused to let go, even when it felt like I wouldn’t survive.

One song that helped me hold on was “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty. I still listen to it (and this other song of his called “Right Down the Line”) often when I’m writing. These lyrics helped me keep hope alive, like if I could just keep holding on things would get better:

Another year and then you’ll be happy
Just one more year and then you’ll be happy
But you’re crying
You’re crying now

Two days before my New Yorkiversary, I was folding laundry and listening to NPR when “Baker Street” came on. They said something like, “You probably recognize this song, but might not remember the artist behind it.” And I was like, “Gerry Rafferty!” Then they said that Gerry Rafferty had died. One of the people who helped me survive and would never know it was gone forever. And I was folding socks.

Let’s just say I was relieved to have season one of Glee.

Rachel and Kurt diva-offing "Defying Gravity" on Glee

I’m not finished with season one yet, but do I really need to tell you I’m a proud new Gleek? Not just because I’m crushing on Mr. Schuester (as if I really need another crush). Not just because another one of my Hold On songs back in the day was “Don’t Stop Believin'” (along with several other Journey classics). But that “Defying Gravity” diva-off between Rachel and Kurt? Has been on repeat mode in my brain for days. Seriously, I’ll be at the gym doing a mash-up of whatever’s playing in class and “Defying Gravity” in my head. Their voices are incredible. I mean, everyone is super talented, but that song just got me. Of course Kurt is my fave character. But you already knew that.

So yay for Glee! Yay for everything in this world that makes us happy and keeps us moving forward. Yay for today being 1.11.11, a major wishing day. Not that you need a magical day to get your wishing on. Every day I’m here is another day that proves you can turn your dreams into reality. Trust me. If I can do it, you totally can. The fact that I live here is my way of defying gravity. Just as I defied gravity on January 6, 1996 by taking a huge leap of faith. Or, as Gerry Rafferty put it:

When you wake up it’s a new morning
The sun is shining it’s a new morning
You’re going
You’re going home

roundup

My next book, So Much Closer, will be out on May 3. I know we still have four months to go, but I think that time will zip by for me. A lot is going on over here in the hunker down! Since I’ll be starting my book tour on May 3, I’m trying to get some things done now that need to be in place at that time. We just had an exciting marketing meeting at Penguin and I can tell you that some fun things are in store for this book release. It looks like in addition to a book trailer, we’ll be doing a walking tour of locations in So Much Closer right here around the West Village. Plus, I’ll be doing an extra video this summer. So I went ahead and got my YouTube channel on. Come join me if you’re also on the Tube.

While I was favoriting videos and such, I found this sweet Waiting for You book trailer. I’m in love with it. The images and music and fonts all perfectly evoke the tone of the book. Impressive!

A few new reviews of Something Like Fate have also popped up. The Bookologist¬†and¬†The Garden of Books¬†kindly shared their thoughts. I can’t read Portuguese, but in case you can I wanted to mention that my boy Julio in Brazil posted his review on Blog do Julio. ¬†Brazilian readers representin’! ¬†And The Book Queens did a cool overview of all my books because they are awesome like that.

Thanks to everyone who’s requested an ARC of So Much Closer. Your enthusiasm makes me even more stoked for this book release! I used to compile lists of book bloggers for my publisher to send out ARCs. However, I can no longer put those lists together because I’m getting more requests now – sorry about that! If you’re a book blogger and would like to receive an ARC of So Much Closer, you can email my publisher at yrmarketing[at]us.penguingroup.com with your name, blog address, and mailing address. They can’t guarantee that everyone will receive a copy, but it’s worth a shot.

Things will be getting crazyfunbusy soon. For now, I’ll enjoy the fat snowflakes that are falling and a peaceful weekend of work ahead of me. That might sound weird – associating “peaceful” with “work” – but I actually feel the least stressed when I can get my work done without a bunch of distractions. Wishing you a peaceful weekend as well!

fun with snow

I grew up in the country. When it snowed, I would go outside with a glass, fill it with fresh, fluffy snow, and take it inside to make a slushie. Things are different here in New York. You can’t really eat the snow, but you can definitely celebrate its beauty. Especially over the holidays. When we had that blizzard here last week, it was fun to see people cross-country skiing down the unplowed streets of my neighborhood. It was also fun to see how these neighbors decorated their stoop. Although…they were sort of showing off.

West Village Christmas decorations

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you not see how they blocked their entire second doorway that they don’t even need because THEY OWN THE WHOLE FREAKING DOUBLE BROWNSTONE?

Show off much?

Yeah. We hate them.

But there’s stuff we hate way more. Like when all of the melting snow creates enormous puddles at almost every corner. Which makes crossing the street quite treacherous. The slush puddles are black and it’s hard to tell how deep they are. They’re usually way deeper than they look. I’ve seen lots of people step into one of these evil puddles under the erroneous assumption that it’s shallow. Suddenly, they lurch forward – glunk! – and the next thing they know half their leg has disappeared underwater. I have found myself in that predicament as well and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. Not at all. Which is why I decided to kick some evil slush puddle butt last Thursday.

The puddles were abundant. I had errands to do. So I put on my turquoise Rocket Dog rain boots and got gone. As people were poised at corners trying to gauge how deep puddles were, I plowed right through. It was sort of a public service. I’d go through first so the people behind me could see how deep the puddles were. One boy ran ahead of me and totally destroyed his sneakers and jeans. It was not pretty.

Despite the evil slush puddle drama, I saw a sweet reminder of how fun snow can be at one special street corner.

Snowmen chilling in New York City

I love this big snowman and his little friend! I have not named them yet, though. We have to be extra creative with the snowman-making process around here. This duo is a winner. It’s funny because when my friend Mike and I passed by the day before on our way to the High Line, there was a different snowman on that corner. He had a glass bottle for a head. The little guy hadn’t even been put together yet. It just shows how one work of art can inspire others.

A slushie toast to inspiration!