here we go!

Well, friendly neighbors, we’re almost there…just four more days until So Much Closer is out in the world and my book tour begins. The best part of my job is getting to meet readers. You are why I write. You make this life possible. I’m mega psyched to get out there and connect with you! Check out my tour schedule to see if I’ll be getting so much closer to you (I am very corny, obvs).

I’m actually leaving early for the tour on Sunday. Sunday = May 1 = May Day = my birthday. Which hasn’t been the best day for me. My Gram (i.e. entire family) died on my 30th. But! I am trying to redefine May Day as the happier one I used to know. So I’m heading down the shore to chill with a friend from high school, lay out if it’s sunny, walk on the beach, and research the town where I’m setting book seven. The Universe totally decided all this. My first school/bookstore events are near Long Branch, New Jersey. Which is like a five-minute drive from the town I want to research. It should be fun times.

My books usually come out a few days after my birthday. This was especially fun last year. The Something Like Fate tour began at the L.A. Borders. They were incredible. They had a cake and everyone sang when I came out!

Birthday cake for Susane Colasanti on her Something Like Fate book tour

One thing I’ll have to watch out for on tour is hotel rooms, aka the Land of TV. I was staying at the W last week (I adore W Hotels something fierce) for a top secret 24 mission (blog post coming soon) and I had the TV on. I was just minding my own business when a promo for The Office came on. Michael Scott was saying how he was leaving for Colorado to start his new life with Holly. Or something. I’m not really sure, because I immediately put my fingers in my ears like lalalala! But at the same time I was like, Dude! Did I call that or what? Right after I found out Michael was leaving, I predicted that he’d run away with Holly to California. There is a tweet out in the interverse to document this prediction. So hey, at least being attacked by that spoiler wasn’t a tremendous shock.

But I don’t know if I can handle The Office without Michael. And Steve Carell still hasn’t gotten his long-overdue Emmy love, which is just wrong. He has to win next time. The Office DVDs always come out in September. At least I have several months to wait until I have to say goodbye. Sarah Dessen was just saying on her blog how hard it was to deal with this on top of Friday Night Lights ending. I couldn’t agree more. Heart. In. Pieces.

Speaking of Sarah, her new book comes out a week after mine. Some people have already received their pre-ordered copies of What Happened to Goodbye. Mad early! And a few readers have told me that they’ve already seen copies of So Much Closer on the shelves. Like Sarah’s book, So Much Closer has a strict on-sale date. That means it’s not supposed to be out anywhere until May 3 (May 10 for hers). See, it even says so on the box of my author copies:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti strict on-sale

No worries, though. May 3 is almost here! I’ll be blogging from the road to keep you updated, of course. I’ll let you know how my redefined birthday goes. And hopefully, I’ll even get to see you. Which would be the best birthday present of all.

twitter q&a and foreign covers

Greetings, fellow tweeps! I’ll be doing a Twitter Q&A tomorrow, April 28, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Random tweeters will be selected to win ARCs of So Much Closer. All questions and questioners are welcome! To join the Q&A:

1. Be following me on Twitter – I’m susanecolasanti.

2. Ask your question between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with the hashtag #SoMuchCloser.

3. Random tweeters will be selected to win signed ARCs of So Much Closer.

A few other quick things going on…

Want to win a copy of Something Like Fate in paperback? My friend Melissa Walker is hosting a giveaway with her Cover Story.

I’ve already received so many awesome entries for my Fourth Annual Ginormous Contest! It’s going to be really hard to select three winners. You guys are amazing.

Did you get my newsletter today? If not, you can read it here.

Finally, I’m stoked to share the Polish cover of When It Happens with you. The title is When the Time Comes. My friend Anton told me that in Russian the title would be Hoping for the Right Hour. It kind of looks like a vampire novel, but I love it anyway. So dramatic!

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti Polish edition

And here’s the German cover of Waiting for You. I love that my German publisher is using the same flowers and happy clouds on all the covers.

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti German edition

Well, it’s volunteer work time. Last week I got to clean and totally organize my client’s desk. Cleaning and organizing people’s desks is so fun for me I can’t even tell you. Today I get to untangle a bunch of cords and then sort them with those color coding grippy things. Which, seriously, is so relaxing. I get very bothered when people have big, tangled bunches of wires showing. All wires should be hidden, IMHO. And even though I have a ton of work to do before my book tour starts next week, it’s been warm and sunny here in New York. That’s helping me keep it Zen. I even busted out my new flip-flops yesterday. Which means one thing – spring is officially here to stay. Yay!

fourth annual ginormous contest

It’s that time again, friendly neighbors! So Much Closer comes out next week on May 3. To celebrate, I’m giving away three copies in my fourth annual ginormous contest. All books will be signed and personalized.

First prize: So Much Closer plus your choice of any two of my books
Second prize: So Much Closer plus your choice of any one of my books
Third prize: So Much Closer

So Much Closer and Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

The contest theme this year is Your Zen Place. In So Much Closer, Brooke likes to chill in a Zen garden she discovers in her new neighborhood. That Zen garden is real. It’s a place that speaks to me in an intense way. I just feel totally at peace when I’m there, looking out across the water or watching the city lights come on. I can always rely on the Zen garden to make me feel better. Another Zen place is my future home. I haven’t seen it yet, but I imagine the view would be something like this:

Zen place

What about your Zen place? It could be a place in your town. It could be a place you once visited. It could be a place that you want to visit one day. Or it could even be a place that you wish existed. Wherever it is, I want to know about it.

To enter the contest, email a photo of your Zen place to me at susanecolasanti [at] gmail [dot] com. The photo can be an actual picture, artwork, text, or other type of homage to your Zen place. You can add a quote or anything else you’d like to your photo.

Ginormous Contest Rules:

1. Email a photo representing your Zen place to me at susanecolasanti [at] gmail [dot] com. Tell me where your place is and explain your connection to it.

2. Include your full name and complete mailing address with your entry.

3. Entries must be received by May 10 at 11:11 pm.

4. This contest 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.

I can’t wait to be dazzled by your creativity. Ready…set…dazzle!

creating the cover

When I found out my publisher did a photo shoot for the cover of So Much Closer, I was ecstatic. Cover shoots are pretty rare. Even better – they actually brought my dream cover to life! You can read how it happened here.

I wasn’t at the cover shoot, but my editor was. She’s also into documenting. So I can share some behind-the-scenes pics and info with you about the photo shoot. First off, I’ve been wondering what the models look like from the front. Four Lots of people have told me that it looks like me and John Mayer on the cover. I am totally going with that. Although the boy looks more like Taylor Lautner from the side to me. The models’ headshots were much different than what I was picturing!

Model for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Model for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Jim Hoover is my magnificent cover designer. He also did the cover of Something Like Fate. There was a photo shoot for that cover as well. I asked Jim to tell you a bit about his process. He agreed because he is awesome like that. From Jim:

“Susane and I had discussed very early on that we’d like to shoot on the High Line on Manhattan’s west side for this cover. I scheduled the shoot, and did a little reconnaissance the week before just to be safe – (always do your homework, right?). I wanted to find the perfect time for when the sun was setting and do a little location scouting. I realized quickly that, while the views were stunning, there was a lot of parking lot space between the park and the Hudson river. I ended up taking some close up images of various buildings, the river, and New Jersey beyond, knowing that we would likely need to composite various elements into the cover to get just the iconic look we were going for.”

The background of the original photo was changed. There’s not much on the New Jersey side from that spot. So Jim took other background photos from different locations on the High Line and Hudson River Park, then Photoshopped in a new background. That clock tower and the other buildings on the cover are actually located south of the High Line. Here’s a photo I took of them from the High Line:

View from the High Line on So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

The left side of the photo had to be completely changed, too. There was this big, dark wall that looked kind of evil:

Models for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Evil Wall was substituted with a less obtrusive, glossy building. Glossy buildings rule. They did try shooting in the opposite direction, but I guess they originally wanted the sunset.

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover photo shoot

Which brings me to the pink sky. The very first cover design I saw had a gorgeous sunset. I was stoked. Then the sunset was toned down to look more like the pink sky I know and love. Here’s the Pink Sky cover:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti alternate cover

I love this cover! I think it’s even better than the final version. I fought to keep some of the sunset in the sky. I really did. Even just a tinge of pink would have been sweet. But the important thing is that my dream cover became reality. That, like, never happens. The only thing I wasn’t able to get changed that still bothers me is the whole pink shirt and purple sweater combo:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Um, hi, 1984 called? They want their clothes back. I tried to explain that they don’t go. I tried to explain that no one would wear that. Why oh WHY didn’t they just go with the white tee? We will never know. However, Jim was kind enough to share some insight regarding the sunset:

“Art directing a photo shoot on location is always challenging. You have to make sure the lighting is just right, and hope it won’t rain. It is best to go in with a very clear idea of what you want, and sometimes that might just be a tight sketch that I put together before hand. You want to get the best performance out of the models and get a little variation in the poses and interaction just to be safe. Working with digital cameras makes that much easier nowadays, and you often go into the office the next day with a very clear picture of what you have to work with. Then all of the elements come together in Photoshop like building blocks or a puzzle. We toyed a little with a few palates, and in the end, decided the orange sunset was just a little too distracting from the two main characters, and ended up going for the look of a more natural light.”

So there you have it, friendly neighbors. That’s how this cover became a cover! Fascinating, right?

15 more days…

…until So Much Closer is out!

*throws sparkly confetti just because*

In other book news:

1. Congrats to the winners of my Something Like Fate contest, Brittany H. and Ashley S.! They will be participating in Screen-Free Week this week by turning off screen entertainment and turning on life. That rules.

2. Something Like Fate comes out in paperback tomorrow!

3. To get the So Much Closer party started, I’ve created a Goodreads Q&A group. All Goodreads members are welcome. Please join us!

4. My Scribd sampler has been updated to include the first four chapters of So Much Closer.

Susane Colasanti chapter sampler on Scribd

5. Recent book reviews can be found at The Book Girl Reviews and The Book Sp(l)ot. Thanks, ladies 🙂

Update: The book blogger giveaway has been moved to Penguin Teen’s Facebook page.  You have until Friday to enter.

reaching out

Here’s something you probably don’t know about me.

I have a thing for colored sand.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved colored sand. I loved colored sand in kindergarten when we glued it to popsicle sticks. I loved colored sand at Great Adventure and Asbury Park when we poured it into tall, clear bottles to make sand birds. I loved colored sand enough to order 10 different colors of it and make those sand birds again as a camp activity when I was an arts and crafts director. I just adore the vibrant colors, the smooth feel, the infinite ways it allows you to express yourself. Basically, colored sand rules.

So when I was walking to the doctor’s and trying not to stress about the part of my annual physical where they take blood because needles have, like, the opposite effect of colored sand, I cannot explain to you how ecstatic I was to encounter:

Joe Mangrum sand painting

Artwork with colored sand! Exclusively! It made me so immensely happy to find another person who also feels a bond with colored sand. I felt such a strong connection to this sand painting. Of course I ran up to the artist all like, “I LOVE colored sand!” Naturally, he understood. The amazing artist behind this gorgeous creation is Joe Mangrum. Colored sand is his most recent medium of choice. You can check out his incredible sand paintings and other works of art on his website.

I told Joe I’d be back after my appointment to see the progress of his sand painting. He had a huge crowd, but I found a space and sat and watched Joe work. I could have watched all day. Hot pink sand was touching turquoise sand. The effect was electric. By the time I left, the piece looked like this:

Joe Mangrum sand painting

I can’t wait to run into Joe creating another sand painting! I know the Universe will make it possible.

Something else touched my soul recently. A reader’s mom sent me this email (which I am posting with her permission):

Dear Susane:

When I bought my fourteen year old daughter the book Waiting for You, it just sounded like a good read. She has liked your other books and I love to find good YA for her to read.

I was totally blown away when I picked the book up after she had had it for a few weeks and saw she had highlited many lines…unfortunately about suicide. I had no idea that these thoughts were in her head and she obviously didn’t know how to tell me. I think having your book gave her the opportunity to bring her troubles to my attention (she left the book out on the kitchen island).

We talked about what was going on and I have made an appointment for her to talk to a therapist. Neither of those things would’ve happened I believe without you.

So I just wanted to say thanks. I’m a writer myself, and I hope as I continue to work on my craft, I can connect with readers the same way you do.

You rock!

I’m relieved that my reader was able to reach out for help in a way that worked for her. Talking about hard issues can be really embarrassing – even impossible for lots of people. As someone who was never able to talk about hard issues with anyone as a teen, I can relate. This is a reminder that there’s more than one way to reach out for help. And there are so many ways to make a difference in this world. Whether you’re creating art that speaks to others or finally deciding to get the help you need, you are making a difference.

It’s easy to forget how strongly our words and actions can affect others. Something that means nothing to you could mean the world to someone else. We are all connected. We can all create the change we desire.

How will you?

switching gears

In between deciding not to attend my 20th high school reunion (seeing everyone who tormented me every day sounds super fun, but I think I’ll pass) and drooling over my new MacBook Pro (the back-lit keyboard! the speed!), I’ve been switching work gears. I just handed in a revision of book six – for which I have a title, but cannot yet reveal – and am now getting ready for my book tour. I’m doing LOTS of school visits on this tour. I’m beyond stoked to get back into schools and chill with my people. A new seminar/workshop has been taking shape over the past couple of years that I’ll be presenting on my school visits. So over the next two weeks, I get to focus on putting that together. I’ll be using Keynote, which looks like a much cooler version of PowerPoint. Picking out fonts and colors and photos is going to be a blast!

My book tour starts on May 3 with a sweet pub day event at River Road Books in Fair Haven, NJ. We didn’t have the details finalized when I announced my tour schedule, but now I have an update for you about this event. It starts at 5:00. There will be pizza. We’ll kick back and discuss matters of importance. Or how cool it is that James Franco will be teaching at NYU next semester and I live two blocks away and will probably be running into him all the time. Or just, you know, whatever you want. This is a ticketed event, so if you’re planning on going please call River Road at 732.747.9455 to RSVP. You can find my complete book tour schedule here.

Also exciting: My new Flip cam. After an intricate process involving screen grabs and color palettes, I’ve designed a customized one I adore. First, I took the stripey spine artwork from Something Like Fate. Then I played with various designs to see which part of the stripes would look best on the cam. Some possibilities were:

Something Like Fate Flip cam design   Something Like Fate Flip cam design

Something Like Fate Flip cam design   Something Like Fate Flip cam design

Obviously, I had a hard time choosing. But in the end I went with the first one. Which I will be using on the High Line this summer to film a video about So Much Closer. And an author video next week. Until then, you can watch the adorable So Much Closer book trailer.

In other book news, I just signed a five-book deal to publish all of my books in Brazil. This is crazy exciting. I get lots of email from people in Brazil who want to read my books. Now I finally have some good news for them! When I posted this on Facebook, I got 70 likes and 27 comments. Which supports a theory I have. Do you think blogs are a bit outdated? I’m noticing way more activity on Facebook and Twitter and less over here. Maybe it’s partially because LiveJournal has been the victim of several large security attacks lately and hasn’t been working as well. Which is such a shame. It would be awesome to keep my blog here, but I won’t be able to for much longer. No worries – the changes I’ll be making will be better for all of us, plus you’ll still find my blog here. But I’ll fill you in on the changes after my book tour. For now, I’m just wondering if people are switching social media gears even more and only want short snippets of info instead of longer blog posts. In any case, I’ll still be blogging, and I hope you will still be reading!

something like a contest

It’s that time of year again, friendly neighbors! Something Like Fate comes out in paperback on April 19. Which means free copies for you!

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Like last year’s paperback contest, this one involves National TV Turnoff Week. Except now it’s called Screen-Free Week. That was a necessary change for people like me who watch DVDs on their computers. Screen-Free Week 2011 is next week, April 18-24. The goal is to watch zero TV/movies/screen entertainment during the entire week.

If that seems impossible, please note that I spent 12 YEARS without a TV/internet/any kind of screen to watch in my home.

Why did I live like that? Because it was awesome. Most of my home entertainment time was spent reading and writing and I loved it. Did I survive? Heck yeah, I did. Even better – I managed to be a teacher and write my first two books. The only way I wrote those books was chilling unplugged style. I just know that if I’d had a TV and DVDs and internet access, there’s no way I would have focused enough to write them. It’s absolutely astonishing what you can accomplish by eliminating screen entertainment. Even in one week.

I would love for you to give it a try. And enter my contest! Two winners will be randomly selected. First prize is a signed copy of Something Like Fate and your choice of When It Happens, Take Me There, or Waiting for You. Second prize is a signed copy of Something Like Fate.

Something Like Fate Paperback Contest Rules:

1. Enter by leaving a comment here telling me three things you will do instead of watching screen entertainment during Screen-Free Week.

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

3. Entries must be received by 11:11 pm on Sunday, April 17, 2011.

4. This contest 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.

5. Your entry will be counted twice if you link to this contest on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other site (leave that link with your comment).

This is a chance for you to start that project you’ve been putting off, to reconnect with those friends you keep meaning to get in touch with, to create a healthy new lifestyle, or to discover a new activity. Or you can just take time to breathe and enjoy life in the Zen lane. Whatever you decide, I know it will be spectacular!

so much closer playlist

You guys. So Much Closer comes out on May 3. There’s less than a month to go! And have you been waiting for Something Like Fate to come out in paperback? If so, you are in luck. The paperback edition comes out on April 19! I’ll be doing my annual contests for each book release where you can win copies. The Something Like Fate paperback contest will be posted on Monday and my ginormous So Much Closer contest will be posted near the end of the month. As always, I’m really looking forward to basking in your creative brilliance.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to post the So Much Closer playlist. This will give you a feeling for the tone of the book. But I don’t want to give anything away. These are just the songs for now. I’ll explain why each song was selected (like I always do for my playlists) after the book comes out. Enjoy!

1. "Empire State of Mind Part II" – Alicia Keys

2. "Second Chance" – Shinedown

3. "Better Than Me" – Hinder

4. "Break Me Out" – The Rescues

5. "Strange Currencies" – R.E.M.

6. "Train in the Distance" – Paul Simon

7. "The City Lights" – Umbrellas

8. "Don’t Stop Believin’" – Journey

9. "Skyway Bridge" – Melissa McClelland

10. "Hey There Delilah" – Plain White T’s

11. "Baker Street" – Gerry Rafferty

12. "Angeles" – Elliott Smith

13. "A Heart in New York" – Simon & Garfunkel, The Concert in Central Park

twitterhood of the traveling pajants

You know how in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants there was this pair of jeans that magically fit all the girls? Even though there were some really different body types going on? It has been noted that a product called Pajama Jeans does the same trick. They are comfortable, stylish (sort of), and they have magical butt-lifting properties. Most astonishing of all, they promise to fit all body types regardless of height, weight, and amount of junk in the trunk.

They feel like pajamas but look like jeans. We are calling them the Pajants. The Pajants even have a hashtag on Twitter. They are that famous.

Who are “we,” you ask? We are some YA authors who love the idea of passing these Pajants to one another, creating an enchanted chain of events in which the Pajants are worn by each of us in public. It counts as putting positive energy out in the Universe. Then we each bedazzle the Pajants with our mad art skills before passing them along to the next wearer.

Literary chicks seriously know how to rock the party.

So how did all this start? After examining the chain of events on the official Twitterhood of the Butt Lifting Pajants Facebook page, it appears that Julia DeVillers fired up the festivities in Georgia. The country, not the state. Which makes them International Pajants of Mystery! The mystery being how they managed to lift my butt like that. Magical properties, indeed.

After Julia embellished the Pajants by signing them in silver and adding a heart, they were sent to Lauren Myracle in Colorado. Lauren made an excellent decision to wear the Pajants to Pilates. Then she painted the most majestic unicorn ever down one leg and sent them off to Sarah Mlynowski here in New York. Fortunately, I am friends with Sarah and was totally there when she wore them to her symposium panel during NYC Teen Author Festival week. My friend Courtney Sheinmel was also in the house. She was documenting Sarah’s time in the Pajants, which you can read about here.

Then it was my turn. Sarah and I met up in a schmancy Tribeca hotel bar. Sarah had an adult beverage like a grownup. I had a Shirley Temple like my eternal 16-year-old self usually does. I discreetly changed into the Pajants. Well. It was supposed to be discreet. In reality, it was me coming out of the bathroom in the bedazzled Pajants and everyone staring. The manager was suspicious. People didn’t understand. But dude, I rocked those Pajants something fierce. Check out my cuffed look with rain boots:

Susane Colasanti rocking the Pajants

Sexy much?

People could not stop staring at Lauren’s unicorn. Then I took the subway home. People stared some more. That unicorn was just brightening everyone’s day, for reals.

Sarah had a really cute idea for her artwork. She painted a cell phone sticking out of the back pocket for her book Gimmie a Call. I was not as creative. On a whim, I went ahead and embroidered the Pajants without even knowing if that’s allowed. Talk about living on the edge. Then I signed them in gold glitter glue. I was out of pink glitter glue. I am always out of pink glitter glue. I added my main motto, Dream big:

Susane Colasanti's artwork on the Pajants

Next up for the Pajants is Elizabeth Eulberg. We had dinner and talked for hours and marveled over the magical butt-lifting powers of the Pajants. She will be wearing them at tomorrow evening’s Teen Author Reading Night. I will be there to document. Let’s hope David Levithan doesn’t get jealous and snatch them away.

Which reminds me. I heard a rumor that a boy author will be wearing the Pajants. I believe this boy to be David Macinnis Gill. Having already worn them, I cannot attest to their magical properties extending into the boy range. One would think they’d be super short on him. But hey, the cuffed look works, as shown above. Pajants for one, Pajants for all!