keep holding on excerpt

Dude. I’m getting super excited for Keep Holding On. I finished the whole writing/revision/copyediting process last summer, which seems like forever ago. But soon it will be June 14 and Keep Holding On will be out in the world.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

For now, you can read the first chapter on my website.

I hope you enjoy it!

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making the world a better place

Congrats to the winner of my Facebook Keep Holding On giveaway, Betsy H.! You guys told me some amazing ways you’re planning to help make the world a better place this spring. I am proud of each and every one of you.

You’ll have more chances to win Keep Holding On before it comes out on June 14. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. Less than three months to go! Have you entered to win an ARC on Goodreads yet? There’s still time:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On

by Susane Colasanti

Giveaway ends March 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Some other friendly neighbors are already making the world a better place. Here are a few of my new heroes:

Cassandra Bankson – This girl is fearless. It takes immense courage to reveal your true self to the world, which Cassandra does on her YouTube. Although my acne wasn’t as bad as Cassandra’s when I was a teen (hers is really improving – you GO girl!), my face was a horror show. Cassandra shows us her face without makeup and her steps for concealing acne in this video. I wish Cassandra was around when I was in high school. She would have made me feel better about myself, just like she does now for her tons of followers. Cassandra Bankson is a freaking rock star.

Lady Gaga – The Born This Way Foundation was founded by Lady Gaga and her mom. It’s an initiative to create an atmosphere of love and caring among teens, particularly in schools. Lady Gaga’s philosophy is right on: our existing culture of intolerance can be changed over time if enough of us work to change it. The three pillars of her foundation are safety, skills, and opportunity. Lady Gaga explains SSO here. Snaps for Mother Monster.

The Bully Project – The documentary Bully is an uncensored look at bullying in our schools.  You can share your bullying stories here and pledge to take a stand against bullying here. Bully will be out on March 30. Ironically, it received an R rating. Which is like saying the truth about how mean kids speak and act is so gruesome the kids they’re tormenting can’t watch. It’s saying kids can’t watch something they see every single day at school. This rating will prevent the kids who need help the most from seeing the film. You can sign the petition to give bully a PG-13 rating instead of R.

Regular readers of this blog know that my new book, Keep Holding On, focuses on the consequences of bullying. I decided to write this book to share some of my own experiences from when I was bullied pretty much every day. School was a nightmare for me. When I was being relentlessly tormented in junior high and high school, I felt like no one understood my pain. I know what it’s like to never feel safe at school. So I totally understand teens who tell me about their own agony and isolation. The thing is, there are lots of us who have survived bullying and are struggling every day to survive now. Please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Stay strong and never give up.

happy spring

Yay, spring is officially in the house! I was going to post on March 20, aka the vernal equinox, aka the Best Day Ever, but I was too busy with outdoor funtivities. I look forward to the vernal equinox more than any other day all year. This was the first one I can remember where it actually felt like spring on the first day of spring. Spring usually arrives along with crazy low temperatures or a snowstorm. I am just SO happy with this gorgeous spring week.

And can I just say the vernal equinox Google Doodle was the most adorable I’d ever seen?

Google Doodle for the 2012 vernal equinox

Other exciting things have been happening. I went to a new eye doctor who referred me to a specialist. Guess what the specialist said? I’ve been walking around with the wrong glasses/contacts prescription for, oh, four years. Without glasses, I can only see a few inches in front of me clearly. Plus I have astigmatism in both eyes. Which is a problem when I wear regular contacts. The astigmatism means that different parts of my eye have slight variations in vision. Dr. Amazing fitted me for the right contacts – different prescriptions, designed for astigmatism – and I can totally tell the difference. My contacts are actually comfortable! The computer screen isn’t blurry! I don’t get dizzy in Zumba when we do fast spins anymore! It’s a springtime miracle.

As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, there was a cute guy looking at frames at the same time I was. We totally bonded over eye-related freakouts. Like how I can’t stand the air puff thing and how it took me forever to be able to put in contacts. He’s the same way! It was such a good day all around. You know those smooth days when everything seems to fall into place? It was 71 degrees, I was outside all afternoon in a tee, and City Bakery finally had their elusive peanut butter cookies. I’ve lived here for 16 years and that was the first time I got to try their legendary peanut butter cookies because they always run out. It was just one of those days when the Universe made sure everything came together.

My new glasses will take a bit longer to get used to. My current frames have a sneaky little crack you can hardly see. The crack makes it impossible for the frames to take new lenses. Which means I have to give up these frames I love so much. These frames that have seen me through many book drafts and events and concerts and amazing New York experiences. I just have to take a deep breath, select new frames, and move on. Which was traumatic to hear at first. Change is often traumatic, but I’m working on welcoming all change the Universe brings instead of fighting it.

Have you entered my Facebook giveaway to win an ARC of Keep Holding On yet? Today’s the last day. Just like my Facebook fan page, then comment in the giveaway thread with one thing you will do this spring to make the world a better place.

A certain movie coming out today is already making the world a better place. I’ll be attempting (unsuccessfully, I’m sure) to avoid Hunger Games crowds by seeing the movie this Sunday instead of tonight. Whichever day you’re going and whatever you’re doing over this gorgeous spring weekend, may the odds be ever in your favor.

facebook giveaway

TGIM! I’m feeling refreshed after a chill weekend. Yesterday was basically this:

The Hunger Games and tea time

We have an amazing week ahead of us. The vernal equinox is tomorrow. It’s felt like spring for most of this winter, but it will be awesome when spring is officially in the house. The Hunger Games will be dazzling us on the big screen. Plus I have exciting apartment stuff going on, like picking out new wood floors and hopefully rocking my co-op board interview. I’m stoked.

In celebration of spring, I’m giving away another ARC of Keep Holding On over on my Facebook fan page. Entering to win is easy. Just like my page and leave a comment in the giveaway thread!

To enter:

1. Like my Facebook page.

2. Leave a comment in the giveaway thread telling me one way you will try to make the world a better place this spring.

Giveaway rules:

1. Comments must be made by Friday, March 23 at 11:11 pm.

2. One winner will be randomly selected.

3. The winner will be messaged on Facebook and announced on my page.

4. This giveaway 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.

The vernal equinox is the one day I look forward to the most all year. To me, it represents new possibilities, a fresh start, and everything that is shiny and new. I can’t wait to hear how you will spread the love this spring!

the difference between you and me

When I read Looks by Madeleine George back in 2009, I was completely blown away. Madeleine George is one of those writers whose words shine so brightly you need shades to read her books. So when her new novel came out yesterday, I did a little happy dance.

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

I had the excellent fortune of reading an advance copy of The Difference Between You and Me months ago and have been bursting with excitement to tell you about it. Not only because Madeleine’s writing is so beautiful. Not only because this story is painfully honest in a way few books dare to explore. But also because…

This is one of those addictive books where you have to stay up late reading it, eyes burning out of your head at three in the morning, knowing you’re going to pay for it the next day but not caring.

This is one of those books where every sentence is such a masterpiece you have to read them over and over again, basking in the glow of literary perfection.

Want to know more? Check out the summary on Goodreads. Then get ready for some really good reading time.

nyc teen author festival 2012

Well, it’s that time of year again. The NYC Teen Author Festival is back! Friendly neighbor David Levithan has organized another impressive line-up from March 26 to April 1. How does he do it? He has skills like that.

Here’s where you can find me during the festivities:

Saturday, March 31, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Symposium panel discussion
NYPL 42nd Street Branch, South Court
476 5th Avenue (at 42nd Street), New York, NY

Sunday, April 1, 1:00-1:45 p.m.
Ginormous signing!
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street, New York, NY

Here’s the complete schedule:

NYC TEEN AUTHOR FESTIVAL 2012

NYC Teen Author Festival logo

Monday, March 26, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Plotting Dangerously: Doing What it Takes to Find the Story
NYPL Mulberry Street Branch
10 Jersey Street (b/w Mulberry and Lafayette)

Authors: Coe Booth, Jen Calonita, Paul Griffin, Deborah Heiligman, Melissa Kantor, Morgan Matson, Kieran Scott, Melissa Walker

Tuesday, March 27, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The Mutual Admiration Society Reading
McNally Jackson Bookstore
52 Prince Street

Authors: Madeleine George, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Jennifer Smith, John Corey Whaley

Wednesday, March 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Things Fall Apart: World Building and World Destroying in YA
NYPL 42nd Street Branch, Bergen Forum
476 5th Avenue

Authors: Anna Carey, Sarah Beth Durst, Anne Heltzel, Jeff Hirsch, Andy Marino, Lauren McLaughlin, Lissa Price, Jon Skovron

Thursday, March 29
The NYC Big Read
Check for updates on times and Manhattan library locations at the NYC Teen Author Festival Facebook page.

Queens –
Queens Public Library, Long Island City Branch
37-44 21 Street, Long Island City, NY

Authors: Tara Altebrando, Brent Crawford, Gina Damico, Jeff Hirsch, Andy Marino, Jon Skovron, Alecia Whitaker

Manhattan –

Authors: Jen Calonita, Anna Carey, Matthew Cody, Jocelyn Davies, Melissa De La Cruz, Hilary Graham, Christopher Grant, Leanna Renee Hieber, Anne Heltzel, Gwendolyn Heasley, PG Kain, Kody Keplinger, Lauren McLaughlin, Sarah Mlynowski, Eugene Myers, Micol Ostow, Stephanie Perkins, Jessica Rotherberg, Lena Roy, Erin Saldin, Leila Sales, Eliot Schrefer, Samantha Schutz, Mark Shulman, Arlaina Tibensky

Brooklyn –
Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch
Grand Army Plaza

Authors: Kate Ellison, Gayle Forman, Melissa Kantor, Barry Lyga, Michael Northrop, Matthue Roth, Victoria Schwab, Melissa Walker

Bronx
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road

Authors: Elizabeth Eulberg, Paul Griffin, Alissa Grosso, David Levithan, Sarah Darer Littman, Kieran Scott, John Corey Whaley

Friday, March 30, 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Symposium
NYPL 42nd Street Branch, South Court
476 5th Avenue

2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00  Being Friends With Boys

Authors: Elizabeth Eulberg, Jenny Han, Terra Elan McVoy, Stephanie Perkins

3:00-3:50  The Writer as Time Traveler: Writing the Past While Sitting in the Present

Authors: Judy Blundell, Matthew Cody, Jennifer Donnelly, Leanna Renee Hieber, Suzanne Weyn

3:50-4:40  No Ordinary Love: How to Create a Satisfying Love Story and a Satisfying Supernatural World at the Same Time

Authors: Andrea Cremer, Melissa de la Cruz, Jeri Smith-Ready, Victoria Schwab, Margaret Stohl

4:40-5:30  New Voices Spotlight

Authors: Emily Danforth, Kate Ellison, Lucas Klauss, Carley Moore, Aleica Whittaker

Friday, March 30, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing
Union Square B&N, 33 East 17th Street

Authors: Andrea Cremer, Emily Danforth, Lucas Klauss, Stephanie Perkins, Siobhan Vivian, John Corey Whaley

Saturday, March 31, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Symposium
NYPL 42nd Street Branch, South Court
476 5th Avenue

1:00  Introduction

1:10-2:00  Rising to the Challenge: YA Characters Facing Down What Life Throws Them

Authors: Tara Altebrando, Matt Blackstone, Susane Colasanti, Kody Keplinger, Siobhan Vivian, K.M. Walton

2:00-2:50  Killer Instincts: Death, Murder, and the YA Novel

Authors: Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Gina Damico, Kim Harrington, Barry Lyga

2:50-4:00  Moments of Truth: Characters at a Crossroads

Authors: Natasha Friend, Margie Gelbwasser, Jennifer Hubbard, Stewart Lewis, Sarah Darer Littman, Jess Rothenberg, Daisy Whitney

4:00-5:00  Looking Forward to Fall

Authors: David Levithan, Marie Rutkoski, Eliot Schrefer, and more authors reading from their upcoming books

Sunday, April 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder
Books of Wonder, 18 West 18th Street

1:00-1:45

Jennifer Barnes (Every Other Day, Egmont)
Matt Blackstone (A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, FSG)
Caroline Bock (LIE, St. Martin’s)
Jen Calonita (Belles, Little Brown)
Anna Carey (Eve, Harper)
Susane Colasanti (So Much Closer, Penguin)
Andrea Cremer (Bloodrose, Penguin)
Gina Damico (Croak, HMH)
Emily Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Harper)
Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark, Harper)
Sarah Beth Durst (Drink, Slay, Love, S&S)
Elizabeth Eulberg (Take a Bow, Scholastic)
Gayle Forman (Where She Went, Penguin)
Natasha Friend (For Keeps, Penguin)
Kim Harrington (Perception, Scholastic)
Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers, Little Brown)
Daisy Whitney (The Rivals, Little Brown)

1:45-2:30

Margie Gelbwasser (Pieces of Us, Flux)
Alissa Grosso (Popular, Flux)
Jenny Han (We’ll Always Have Summer, S&S)
Leanna Renee Hieber (Darker Still, Sourcebooks)
Anne Heltzel (Circle Nine, Candlewick)
Jeff Hirsch (The Eleventh Plague, Scholastic)
Jennifer Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe, Penguin)
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of True or Dare, Penguin)
PG Kain (Famous for Thirty Seconds, S&S)
Melissa Kantor (The Darlings in Love, Hyperion)
Kody Keplinger (Shut Out, Little Brown)
Lucas Klauss (Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, S&S)
David Levithan (Every You, Every Me, RH)
Stewart Lewis (You Have Seven Messages, RH)
Sarah Darer Littman (Want to Go Private?, Scholastic)
Elisa Ludwig (Pretty Crooked, S&S)

2:30-3:15

Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us, Penguin)
Andy Marino (Unison Spark, FSG)
Wendy Mass (13 Gifts, Scholastic)
Terra Elan McVoy (The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, S&S)
Lauren McLaughlin (Scored, RH)
Sarah Mlynowski (Ten Things We Did, RH)
Carley Moore (The Stalker Chronicles, FSG)
E. C. Myers (Fair Coin, Pyr)
Michael Northrop (Plunked, Scholastic)
Micol Ostow (What Would My Cell Phone Do?, Penguin)
Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door, Penguin)
Jessica Rotherberg (The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Penguin)
Marie Rutkoski (The Jewel of the Kalderash, FSG)
Erin Saldin (The Girls of No Return, Scholastic)
Leila Sales (Past Perfect, S&S)
Kieran Scott (He’s So Not Worth It, S&S)

3:15-4:00

Melissa De La Cruz (Lost in Time, Hyperion)
Alyssa Sheinmel, (The Lucky Kind, RH)
Jennifer Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Little Brown)
Jeri Smith-Ready (Shift, S&S)
Jon Skovron (Misfit, Abrams)
Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, Hyperion)
Mark Shulman (Are You Normal?, National Geographic)
Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Chaos, Little Brown)
Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fell Apart, S&S)
Siobhan Vivian (The List, Scholastic)
Melissa Walker (Small Town Sinners, Bloomsbury)
K.M. Walton (Cracked, S&S)
John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back, S&S)
Alecia Whitaker (The Queen of Kentucky, Little Brown)
Maryrose Wood (The Unseen Guest, Harper)
Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo (Sirenz, Flux)

Hope to see you at the festival!

fixtures

Good news! I’ve submitted my new book to my editors. This is mainly just good news for me, as it means that I get a week or so off while they read it. Then I’ll go in for a meeting to discuss revisions. Until then, I have some time to catch up on everything that gets put aside while racing the clock to meet a deadline. Plus I’ll get to enjoy a whole week of temperatures in the 60s. In the winter! This winter has been such a gift. It’s a good thing I’ve been documenting it here. I never want to forget the way Mild February made me almost like winter. So yeah, it will be a good break to switch gears and focus on things other than writing for a little while. Like my new apartment.

In case you missed the billboard I rented about it, I bought an apartment here in downtown Manhattan. It was my dream for, like, ever. I found it at the end of January, signed contracts in February, and now the co-op board is reviewing my application package. They should be setting my interview date soon. After I have board approval, we can start renovations. Let’s hope the board approves of true love. That’s what me and my new BF (aka apartment) have.

Planning the renovations has been ridiculously fun. My architect and I took a field trip to the Architects & Designers Building, which has many showrooms featuring appliances, fixtures, tiles, and furniture. I have been psyched out of my mind to start selecting fixtures. There’s something about getting to choose the exact kitchen faucets and towel racks and drawer pulls and doorknobs I want that makes me giddy. Fixtures are my drug of choice.

But first, I had to select my Sub-Zero:

Sub-Zero, aka My Destiny

That’s my guy on the right. The whole freezer drawers thing looks so fancy. Actually, the whole freezer thing is fancy, given that I haven’t had a freezer for the nine years I’ve been living in my current place. Ah, the sacrifices we make for location. The first thing I shall put in my new freezer will be a box of old-school popsicles. It will be epic.

After visiting Sub-Zero (and also Smeg…

Adorable Smeg refrigerators

…those refrigerators are adorbs, but I had to stay strong), it was time for fixtures. We had no idea what we were about to discover.

Fantini showroom at the A&D Building

Discovering Fantini blew our minds. First off, I should explain that my architect and I have the same taste. We’re both into minimalist streamlining with clean, smooth lines. So it’s no surprise that we love the Italian designers. Look at all those fun colored knobs when you go in! I’m into the sleek, polished chrome look, but they were so freaking cute.

We did not want to leave. I wanted every single Fantini faucet I saw. Like these:

Fantini faucet. WANT.     Fantini faucet. Also WANT.

Let me tell you something. Fantini fixtures are the most gorgeous fixtures in the history of fixtures. No question. Each one is a work of art. And if I could afford them, the search would be over. Yeah, they’re kind of pricey. But hey, a girl can dream, and you know I dream big! Like when I announced that this would be my new shower:

Fantini shower

Water comes out of those holes on the left. Cool, right?

Now that Fantini has shown me exactly which fixtures I want, I can move on to things like furniture. I am happy to report that I’ve found my new couch. This will be my very first grownup couch! Where more than two people can sit! We’re talking 11.5-foot sectional, coffee table, the works. I’d been dreaming of a big, puffy couch my whole New York life. So I decided to go all the way. When I arrived at the couch store and said, “I’ve come for the Big Kahuna,” it sounded like a line from a movie. But it was real life. And now I have a really big couch! Puffy. My look is all white walls with pops of color. The couch is bright red in a soft microfiber. It’s going to be beautiful. And have I mentioned puffy?

One last thing about Fantini. Leaving that showroom was not easy. But I have a Knowing that I’ll be back. Dreaming big is the first step in turning your dreams into reality. Let’s turn our wishes into fixtures together. Dream big, everyone!