fabulosity five

1. Whenever I had to buy a new combo lock for school or the gym, I lived in terror of forgetting the combination that came assigned with the lock. Those numbers meant nothing to me. What if I forgot them between classes and couldn’t open my locker and went to English without that 15-page paper that was worth like half our grade? I even taped a tiny strip of paper with my combination to the back of my gym lock until I was sure I had it memorized. Which totally defeated the purpose of locking stuff up.

How much easier would my live have been if this existed back in the day?

WordLock Text Lock

This Text Lock by WordLock lets you program a word instead of numbers. Righteous.

2. A new jewelry trend seems to be bottles dangling from necklaces. All sorts of bottles. Not sure how I feel about this.

3. I have a new book recommendation for you: We Are All Fine Here by Mary Guterson. It was one of those books that was so freaking good I kept reading the same sentences over to more fully absorb their awesomeness. I know I mostly recommend teen novels (they’re pretty much all I read these days), but this is a grownup one you will love. Mary says the things we’re all thinking but would never admit. She goes there. You will relate to this book. And in other book news, I heard that Stephen King is writing a sequel to The Shining! Dude, I’ve only been waiting for this since 8th grade when I was reading The Shining for the first time and beyond obsessed with every SK book. The sequel has vampires, but I will make an exception.

4. Jean Villepique was in my high school class. I remember some random things about her, like how she was the tallest girl in 6th grade and how she was popular but never mean. She was in all the school plays. A few years ago, I saw a feature she did in Jane magazine (I miss you Jane – and I really miss you, Sassy!) and found out that she was on The Office. She played David Wallace’s wife. But I’d watched the cocktail party ep she was in without even realizing it was her! I freaked out over how that meant I’m connected to John Krasinski by two degrees. Since then, Jean has showed up in quality viewing such as I Love You, Man and 30 Rock. I just saw her on Modern Family and felt proud all over again. It took her like 15 years to break out. Jean followed her dreams and never gave up. Pure inspiration.

5. Tomorrow is October. Um, when did that happen? When I wasn’t looking, apparently. I am determined to cling to September and the last vestiges of summer with a mini golf/Shake Shack/50/50 night. The second I saw the preview for 50/50 I was hooked. Movie night means I’ll be missing Love Night. But not really. Joseph Gordon-Levitt always brings the love. And we are ready!

fog inside the glass around your summer heart

Yay, I’ve sent back the copyedited draft of Keep Holding On! The next step is the first pass printing to make sure the layout looks okay. Then ARCs will be printed. Which means we should have a cover soon! I know I keep saying that. The designers have been working on this cover for a longer time than usual, so I’m trying to be patient. But of course I cannot wait to see what they’ve come up with. This is not an easy book to design a cover for. Respect.

So I was on a hot teen lit panel with incredible authors at the Baltimore Book Festival. The event was on the autumnal equinox. For those of you familiar with my seasonal rants, you are very well aware that I don’t do winter. And that daylight hours have been decreasing by about two minutes per day since the summer solstice. I have tried really hard not to rant about these cyclical issues this year – and believe I have succeeded up until now. But it’s officially fall. It’s officially not summer. My boy John Mayer describes this feeling so eloquently:

When autumn comes

it doesn’t ask

it just walks in

where it left you last.

You never know

when it starts

until there’s fog inside the glass around

your summer heart.

Although I’m not sure my summer heart is sad just yet. It’s like 80 degrees and humid out. Plus, my heart is all happy about the amazing YA authors I got to festival it up with:

Maryrose Wood, Sarah Mlynowski, E. Lockhart, Susane Colasanti, and Joanna Pearson at the Baltimore Book Festival 2011

That’s Maryrose Wood, Sarah Mlynowski, E. Lockhart, me, and Joanna Pearson. It was a very sweet thing to do an event with authors I’ve been admiring since I began reading contemporary YA. I am so enamored with E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series that I had to document The Treasure Map of Boys with its adorbs cover in Vancouver. Then there’s Sarah Mlynowski, who is always shiny happy and one of the kindest people ever. Not only did I get to blurb her latest book, I got to do an event with her at Anderson’s Bookshop in Chicago. If you’ve heard Maryrose Wood read, you were treated to some seriously profesh acting skills. She is so entertaining all you can do is sit there and be totally enraptured. And it was super fun to meet Joanna Pearson. Her debut novel, The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills, sounds like an awesome read.

So yeah. The panel freaking rocked.

Something else that rocked: receiving a wonderful gift from dedicated reader and professional photographer Bianca Inez Azcuy. She dedicated a gorgeous photo of a rose to me. How awesome is that? You can check out Bianca’s work on her website. I have to say, I am extremely impressed with her photography. Her work has amazing depth and conveys strong emotion. If you’re into photography, you will love checking out her website!

And now it’s time to say goodbye to summer. I’ll always have the memories. Like getting to meet yet another amazing author, the very famous Gordon Korman:

Susane Colasanti and Gordon Korman

Here we are in a hot pizza place during the heat wave. Just the kind of summer memory I will cling to when freezing winter winds are trying to slice me apart. We are invincible, friendly neighbors!


You’d think that I’d be over Steve Carell getting shafted at the Emmys. Again. I seriously do not understand. Have the wingnuts who decide these things even seen The Office? Ever?! If they had, it would be pretty freaking crystal clear that Steve Carell deserved to be honored for bringing Michael Scott to life. And now he’s gone and I don’t know how I’ll be able to stand it. No, I haven’t watched last season of The Office yet. The box set sits unopened. I am both savoring the anticipation and dreading his final show.

Fortunately, every negative situation has a positive side. The positive side of Emmy night was Jason Katims winning for his writing brilliance on Friday Night Lights. And Kyle Chandler winning because Coach Eric Taylor is made of all awesome things. At least one excellent show was recognized. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Well, blurry eyes and heart in throat when I watched Jason winning on YouTube, but still – can’t lose. Coach Taylor is one of those characters who feels so real I sometimes forget he is not. He’s all I can think about whenever I see Kyle Chandler. He’s the reason I seek out KC, like how I saw Super 8 just because he was in it. Or how I was overjoyed to see him chilling with my boy Dave Letterman:

David Letterman, Kyle Chandler, and the magical marble

Kyle’s daughter has a magical marble. He took the marble with him on his trip to New York. When Kyle showed the marble to Dave, of course Dave was all about documenting the marble. Dave rules like that.

Perhaps Steve Carell could have used a magical marble. Or a Mati. I discovered the Mati in Santorini two years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since. “Mati” means “eye.” It is known in some parts as the Evil Eye. But the Mati is not evil. The Mati wards off negative energy. I brought a few home from Santorini to help keep things shiny happy positive over here. There’s a big, glass one in my desk drawer and a magnet one on my bulletin board. And I was beyond stoked to find Mati bracelets in So Good the other day. So Good is this supercute jewelry store I found in SoCal a while back. That was back when those plastic rings were in. I love those freaking plastic rings – I have a whole collection of them. When not one, but two So Goods opened near me, I was excited to add to my plastic ring collection. But this is 2011. Other rings are in now. And so is the Mati! I am now the happy owner of two Mati bracelets with Mati beads:

Mati beads

Plus I scored a Mati ring at the Feast of San Gennaro before eating my annual order of fried Oreos. The Mati was a good sign that the fried Oreos would be extra delicious. And they were.

Next talisman I’m searching for: a yellow umbrella like on How I Met Your Mother. Random much? If you know of a good umbrella website, please share.

Whether your talisman is a magical marble, a Mati, a yellow umbrella, or something else, I’m wishing you lots of positive energy this fall. The autumnal equinox is tomorrow. Summer will officially be over, but the sunshiny goodness can live on. So here’s to a shiny new you for this shiny new fall.

If you’re in the Baltimore area, please stop by the Baltimore Book Festival tomorrow night and say hi! Event details are here.

baltimore book festival

Yay, the Baltimore Book Festival is this Friday! I’m super excited for the festivities. Especially because I get to be on a panel with these amazing authors: E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Joanna Pearson, and Maryrose Wood. Sweet!

Here’s the event info:

Friday, September 23, 2011
6:30 pm
Baltimore Book Festival
600 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD  21201

The BBF is going on all weekend, so def check out the awesome lineup on their website. Even Patrick McDonnell will be there. He is the creator of the best comic strip ever, Mutts. It looks like I’ll be gone before his event. But if I do get to meet him, just know that I am totally going to freak. Yesh.

Hope to see you in Baltimore!

copyeditor love

Yay, I have some book news for you! The photo shoot for the cover of Keep Holding On was last week. Which means we’re getting so much closer (sorry, corny habit) to seeing the cover. My editor will send me the designer’s draft, then I’ll give her my comments for changes, and then I’ll post the cover here for you! Can’t wait to share it.

In the meantime, I have an early review of Keep Holding On to share with you. My amazing copyeditor, Susan Jeffers Casel, was so sweet about sharing some of her thoughts when she handed in the copyedits. Susan is a legendary copyeditor. She has copyedited many famous books. I have no idea how I got lucky enough for her to work on mine. But I am very happy she does. Here’s what she had to say about my new book:

“This is by far the best book by Susane Colasanti that I have worked on. It’s important and so very needed by teens. And it is wonderfully written; it is never sentimental or maudlin, but looks at the life of one bullied teenage girl with clear eyes and a truthful heart. The characters are so incredibly real that I found myself getting sick to my stomach at the bullying, and so angry at the bullies (including the protagonist’s mom) that I wanted to slap them myself! The narrator/protagonist is a very likable girl, who is easily identified with, and I believe the readers will have great sympathy for her, especially because she is not whiny or self-indulgent. She just tells it like it is, and that is heartbreaking, especially since she keeps trying to not break your heart – or have hers broken for that matter. The plot never lags, and the storyline is more than realistic; it is almost as though it is happening right in front of you.

This is such an important, must-read book for all teens and tweens. I have enjoyed all her books, but this one is very special, so very heartfelt, and so timely that I think it should be on reading lists at schools.”

Well. I am blown away. What touches me the most about her words is that, in a lot of ways, Keep Holding On is my story. I wasn’t sure how it would be received or even if it would get published. My goal in writing this book was to reach out to anyone who is being bullied, anyone who has ever felt left out, neglected, or alone. Hopefully, it will achieve that goal.

Now I’m going through Susan’s copyedits. Scrutinizing every word. Debating optional punctuation. This is the part where I want to make sure the book is perfect. Of course, it never is. Far from it. There will always be things I’ll want to change. But I’ll always want this book to reach out to readers and help them feel less alone. Maybe even make them feel like anything is possible. And that will never change.

texas event

Greetings, friendly neighbors in the large state of Texas! I’ll be heading your way for LibraryPalooza in San Antonio. The event isn’t until February, but I’m already psyched.

Check out this fabulous lineup:

LibraryPalooza 2012 in San Antonio, TX

The schedule sounds awesome. We’ll all be doing a Q&A to kick things off. Then we get to do three individual break-out sessions. It’s always fun to chill with readers in big and small groups, so I’m happy we’ll get to do both. You can find more info on the LibraryPalooza website.

Hope to see you in San Antonio!

school visits!

I am beyond psyched to tell you that I’ll be doing school visits this year! I can’t believe it’s been four years since I resigned from teaching high school science. Although I love my job to pieces, I really miss being around my people all day. So it’s time for me to get back into the classroom by scheduling school visits – all across the country!

Your Ideal Life is a presentation I’ve created to share with teens of all ages. You can read a synopsis on the Press & Presentation page of my website. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m all about using positive energy to create your ideal life. I want to share my techniques with teens and encourage them to start shaping their lives into the ones they want to be living. You can turn your dreams into reality. This presentation helps you get started right away.

My objective is for all participants to:

  • Identify their most important goals
  • Develop an effective plan to work towards achieving those goals every day
  • Understand how our thoughts, words and actions affect our quality of life
  • Make positive choices that will shape both their present and future
  • Help make the world a better place by reaching out to those in need

If you’re a student who would like me to visit your school, please let a teacher or librarian know. They may contact me at susanecolasanti[at]gmail[dot]com to schedule a visit.

I’m always bummed that I don’t get to visit more cities on book tours. This is an awesome opportunity for me to visit readers I haven’t been able to see! I can’t wait to get out there and spread the word about the power of positive energy. We all deserve to be happy. I’d love to help you create more happiness in your life. Starting now.

10 years

Ten years ago tonight…

My friend Stephen and I walked down to the Twin Towers. He knew I was obsessed with them. He knew how their energy had been calling to me for years before I moved here. And he knew how all I had to do was look down 5th Avenue and see the Towers standing over everything to feel safe. To me, it felt like they were protecting the city and everyone who lived here.

No one else was there that night. I stood where the Towers began, leaning way back to see all the way up. We wanted to go to the observation deck at the top of the South Tower, but it was closed. So we made plans to go on Tuesday.

Tuesday was September 11, 2001.

Time was the only thing that saved us.

Stephen has come back to New York almost every 9.11 since. We always walk down to Ground Zero. We always get as close as possible to the Tribute in Light. It’s our way of remembering. We were there last year:

Stephen Venters and Susane Colasanti at the Tribute in Light, 9.11.10

I was teaching on September 11, 2001. But Stephen went down to the Towers to help. He was down there for a few days. There’s even a picture of him in Time magazine looking at the wreckage, the only person not in uniform, surrounded by firefighters. He said that, in a way, I was with him at the top after all.

People knew we had plans to go to the observation deck that evening. They asked me why we didn’t go. I said, “Because it wasn’t there anymore.”

Every single one of us has things that have been taken away. We’re all dealing with our own unique set of loss. We can’t ever get those people or chances or treasures back. But what we can do is reach out to the people who are here. We can help make the world a better place. We can try to bring out the positive side of negative situations. And we can keep holding on to hope.

No matter how hard this life thing gets, no matter how much we want to give up, we can’t. We have to keep going. We owe it to the people who aren’t with us anymore. They no longer have an opportunity to turn their dreams into reality. But we do.

So take it. Take this chance to create the life you want to be living. This is your time.

It’s time.

make new friends but keep the old

Yay, the chapter outline for book seven is done! It’s 30 pages of fun times and I am buzzing like neon with excitement over this book. To clarify, this is not the chapter outline for Keep Holding On. Keep Holding On is my new book coming out next year. I should be able to share the cover and synopsis with you soon. Please stay tuned! So yeah, now I’m writing the novel that will be out in 2013. Seven books later and I still get that same excited/nervous/scared feeling I always get when I’m starting a new book. Reliable turmoil.

Some of you have asked me about my writing process. Do you have to write a chapter outline before you begin? No, you do not. I know several authors who never outline. There are lots of ways to approach writing a book. The important thing is to do what works for you. I like to get to know my characters really well before I start writing a new book. I also like to know where they’re going. That’s why I spent a few weeks on character development and outlining before I even began writing the first chapter. It’s kind of like getting to know new friends. Does this mean I stick to the chapter outline entirely? No, it does not. The outline is always changing, evolving, and growing as I write. My characters reveal more of themselves to me as the story progresses. Unexpected plot turns arise. When I’m in the zone, sometimes my characters even take over. They start saying and doing things I never would have seen coming. Seriously, I’ll be writing a scene and suddenly a character will take over the keyboard and I’ll be like, No she didn’t! But she totally did.

These new characters I’ve been developing are speaking to me in all sorts of ways. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” by The Cars was playing in my head for like a week. I know it will play a key role in this book. I’m not sure how yet, but it will. Now it’s “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. How embarrassing is it to admit that I played that tape so many times in junior high it wore out? Pretty freaking embarrassing. Whatever. I still love that song. Mainly because it is awesome. This book is demanding that I listen exclusively to 80s music, so it’s pretty much all 80s all the time around here these days. Again, not something I saw coming, but it’s important to go with the flow!

I thought about starting a master list of characters’ names when I was writing When It Happens. But then I thought there was no way I’d ever forget the names I used. That would be like forgetting old friends! So I never made a list. Then the other day I was looking over the names I’m using for this new book and I couldn’t remember if I used one of them before. Dude. I’m forgetting minor characters’ names. Of my own characters! That’s crazy. Or I’ll see a new quote from one of my books pop on on Goodreads and I’ll be all, I wrote that? I never thought it would be possible to forget my own lines. But here we are! Looks like it’s time for that master list of names. Which reminds me of that make new friends song we used to sing in Girl Scouts. Do they still sing those old-school songs? Or is everything updated now?

Speaking of making new friends, this Thursday is the first day of school here in New York. Just because I’m not going back doesn’t mean I’m any less excited about fresh school supplies. Hot back-to-school gear I’m stoked about: Pilot FriXion erasable pens.

Pilot FriXion erasable pens

Their smooth gel ink slicks over paper, then erases completely with friction. Back in the day, erasable pens used to write all lumpy and would never erase all the way. And they only came in boring colors. Not anymore! I’m currently obsessed with the orange one (saving the pink and purple for later).

For all my friendly teen neighbors out there: Whether you’re going back to school this week or have been back for a while, keep that fresh year feeling going for as long as you can. It’s full of possibility. This could be your best year ever. Show them who you are. Work it. OWN it!

imperial woodpecker sno-balls

Dear Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls,

Well, it’s official. You have packed up your cute corner shop to fly south for the winter. I know you’ll be back next summer. I know this is just a trial separation. But my heart already hurts that you’re gone.

We were meant to be right from the start. The way we met was total serendipity style. From the moment I first saw you, I knew we’d be spending lots of quality time together this summer. It was love at first sight.

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls blueberry/watermelon

I remember this blueberry/watermelon sno-ball with much affection. The super fresh flavor! The way they met in the middle with their purple deliciousness! As Angela Chase would say, we had a time. Then Jordan Catalano would lean on some lockers and distract her.

You were a safe haven during that horrible heat wave. Remember how it was 103 degrees and my friend and I didn’t want to go back outside so we ordered seconds? Ah, the refreshing spearmint/lemonade. Such a perfect combination. My tongue was crazy green.

Susane Colasanti enjoys spearmint lemonade

Even your pillows are adorable. I think the Peace one is my fave. You’re probably wondering which sno-ball is my fave. That is a really, really hard thing to decide. But I will have to go with watermelon/tangerine. Especially since “Summer Breeze” came on while I was enjoying it, which made the whole experience even better. Thanks for playing it just for me. I know you know it’s my summer jam.

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls watermelon/tangerine

I hope you weren’t mad that I didn’t visit every day. Yeah, I lived right down the street from you. But savoring sno-balls is a social experience. That’s why I only showed up with friends. My people know a good party when they taste one. Like this sweet Granny Smith apple/cherry combo.

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls Granny Smith apple/cherry

So thanks for the memories. Thanks for cooling off crowds of hot New Yorkers in August. Thanks for making me smile with your old-school cuteness. Oh, and thanks to your owner who made all of this possible, Neesa Peterson. She is one of those people who is always cheerful and bubbly. Thanks for sharing your positive energy with us, Neesa!

Susane Colasanti and owner Neesa Peterson at Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

Until we meet again…

With emotions,