warm fuzzy

How stoked am I that So Much Closer comes out in paperback tomorrow? On May Day? Which is my birthday? I’m very fortunate that my books tend to be released around my birthday. Having a paperback release on my birthday will just make tomorrow even sweeter.

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti paperbacks

This is the last week to win a signed copy of So Much Closer on Twitter. Congrats to last week’s winner, Moira E.! Your hashtag to enter the giveaway this week is #warmfuzzy. Just tweet a warm fuzzy using #warmfuzzy to enter.

Warm fuzzies are an important part of So Much Closer. A warm fuzzy is a note you give someone to make them feel good. They’re supposed to be written on pretty paper with glitter pens and sequins and things, but virtual warm fuzzies also rock. Sadie loves giving out warm fuzzies in the book. She’s all about random acts of kindness. At first, Brooke thinks warm fuzzies are dorky. But she later realizes they are dorktastic. Warm fuzzies have the power to turn someone’s day around. Warm fuzzies make the world a better place. So let’s get together and tweet some warm fuzzies! They can be messages for everyone in general or for someone special. They can be original messages or quotes you like. Anything to brighten up someone’s day will do.

I’m also stoked that Keep Holding On will be out four weeks from now. May 31 is almost here! Melissa Walker just posted a Cover StoryThis Blonde Reads reviewed the book. And this review comes all the way from the Netherlands. Thanks to all of you who have read ARCs and shared your enthusiasm for the book. I really appreciate your early support!

May Day is a European holiday. I wish we celebrated it here. There are maypoles and May baskets and it just looks like such a fun springtime celebration. I would like to dance around a maypole. They have pretty ribbons.

Maypole

But hey. May Day is my birthday. So I might just go up to Central Park, make my own maypole, and invite a bunch of friends to come dance with me. That would be an epic birthday in a year of epic wishes coming true 🙂

behind the scenes

To celebrate the May 1 release of So Much Closer in paperback, I wanted to share some pics from the cover photo shoot. The models’ faces on my book covers are mostly hidden. Which always makes me wonder what they look like. I’ve seen head shots of models from the last three photo shoots and none of them look like I imagined. You can see pics from the hardcover photo shoot plus head shots here.

Jayd Gardina is the outstanding photographer who took these photos. She selected some beautiful locations around my neighborhood (the West Village, where the book takes place). I really admire her work. Jayd also did the cover photo for Keep Holding On. Her photos make me happy. She just has this way of perfectly capturing the tone of my books.

Here’s a sweet photo taken at the location that ultimately ended up on the cover, Hudson River Park:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti paperback photo shoot

This photo is beyond adorable. And I seriously want that umbrella. The funny thing about the umbrella is that it was the kind I wanted on the cover. The cover is super cute, but I’m not crazy about the zigzag umbrella. It just looks like something a mom might pick up at Filene’s. How sad is it that Filene’s went out of business? They had one of the best juniors sections. Freaking tragic. Anyway, when I saw the initial cover design I asked for the umbrella to be changed to a vinyl one with a younger look. I had no idea they’d used the exact one I wanted! Also interesting – the girl model’s dress color was changed to green. I guess there was too much blue with the boy’s shirt and the water. The clouds and the buildings were blurred to give the background a softer look:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Could I possibly love this photo any more?

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti paperback photo shoot

No, I could not. This would have made an excellent cover. I think the photo that was selected for the cover is the best one, but that decision must have been hard to make. This shot was also taken in Hudson River Park. In So Much Closer, Brooke likes to go to the river and look across the water to New Jersey, where she’s from. It’s her way of appreciating how far she’s come while still connecting with her past. And it’s a ritual I share with Brooke. Which is why this photo speaks to me.

You can sort of see the models’ faces here:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti paperback photo shoot

Again, I was totally picturing them differently! This photo makes me wonder what the designers would have put on the book cover if they ended up using this shot. There’s no way we could show so much of their faces, though. Imagination is the best part.

What I love about this photo is how well it captures the magic of the West Village:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti paperback photo shoot

This one manages to be cute, edgy, classic, and romantic all at once. Which is what my neighborhood is all about. It would have made a gorgeous cover. The main reason the paperback edition got a shiny new cover is that the hardcover was too street. So I guess this would have been too much of an urban vibe. Love.

Thanks to Jayd Gardina for a gorgeous cover. And thanks to my paperback editor, Kristin, for sharing this fun look behind the scenes!

so much closer contest

So Much Closer comes out in paperback one week from today!

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

You have a fresh new week to win a copy on Twitter. Congrats to last week’s winner, Ashley R.! Your new hashtag this week is #lookup. In So Much Closer, John encourages Brooke to look up and notice things she’s never seen before. Like gorgeous rooftop gardens. And the awesomeness of water towers. But the “look up” theme is also about the importance of having a positive attitude. It’s about staying strong and fighting on. And being true to your dreams, even when negativity tries to bring you down. We notice and realize so much when we look up in life. To enter this week’s Twitter giveaway, just tweet a motivational message using #lookup. I want to see lots of happy tweets that will inspire everyone! Complete giveaway info is here.

To celebrate the May 1 release of So Much Closer in paperback, I’m also running a special contest here on my blog. As some of you may know, I’m a huge fan of Screen-Free Week. When I was a teacher (it was called National TV-Turnoff Week back then), I used to give extra credit to anyone who avoided watching TV for one week. All my kids who participated were amazed at how much free time they had. Everyone would fill out pledge forms and I’d hang them around my classroom. Here’s mine from 2006. Tobey Maguire was my #1 husband at the time:

Susane Colasanti's National TV-Turnoff Week pledge form

For this So Much Closer contest, I want to know what you’re going to do during Screen-Free Week instead of staring at a screen. April 30 – May 6 will be your week to work toward a major goal or catch up on your reading or play outside or chill with friends. Or just take time to breathe and enjoy life in the Zen lane. The point is to create more time for yourself to do something spectacular, whatever that something may be.

Prizes:

Two winners will be randomly selected. First prize is a signed copy of So Much Closer and your choice of Waiting for You or Something Like Fate. Second prize is a signed copy of So Much Closer.

To Enter:

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

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

3. 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).

Rules:

1. Entries must be received by Friday, May 4 at 11:11 pm. The winners will be announced on May 7.

2. 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.

Let’s get our Screen-Free Week celebration on!

david duchovny on my block

Um. Is that me with David Duchovny? Yes IT SO IS.

Susane Colasanti and David Duchovny

David Duchovny was filming Californication on my street all day Friday and Saturday. Right outside my door. For reals. David even had to move out of my way one time so I could go home. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I saw the signs posted before they started shooting, I was hoping it wouldn’t be a repeat of a certain other boy on my block who may or may not have even been on my block. This was the total opposite. The Californication shoot took over my entire street. A huge crew, cameras, lighting, cranes, trucks, and tons of equipment filled my street for two days. Trailers and craft service tables were around the corner. I’ve always wondered about craft service tables on the street. Like, what stops people from walking by and snatching food?

On the first day of filming, a huge crowd of fans gathered across the street from my building. I ran over to join them. David was chilling under a little VIP tent set up with chairs and monitors. I made friends with a few guys on the crew who told me that David was directing this ep. We watched him consulting in a directory way. It was kind of awkward with all of us staring at David while he talked to his crew and stood around under his tent:

David Duchovny filming Californication in the West Village

But then the most amazing thing happened. David walked right over to us! My friend Stefanie and I were standing at the front of the crowd, bonding over our love of all things DD. He walked up to us and smiled.

David Duchovny filming Californication in the West Village

Crowd: [stunned silence]
David: Is anyone going to say anything?
Crowd: [stunned silence]
Me: Will you take pictures with us, David?
David: Yeah, sure, get in here.

And that’s how I was able to document my ten seconds of pressing up against David Duchovny. Not that this was the first time. I’ve met David before along with a bunch of Santas. But this time was so much better. Even when Stefanie and I proceeded to freak out that we didn’t have something brilliant ready to say when David asked if we were going to say anything. We’re two writers, for freak’s sake. Two writers couldn’t come up with anything?! This was my third time seeing David and I’m a complete idiot every time. We were in full regret mode.

Then we got over ourselves. Because we were allowed anywhere on my street since I live here. Everyone else was herded into these sections or had to cross the street or walk around. But we could watch all of the action right from my stoop! Just one of the many reasons I pay insane rent.

We watched for a few hours on Friday. They did the same shot over and over. David and this girl walked down some stairs, then they walked along the street. They stopped and she loped around him in this sexy circle. Then they stared at each other. Not sure what was going on, though. I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying even though I was only a few feet away. Before each take, a water truck would drive down the street and spray water everywhere. My building is the one with the awning on the left. Good thing I wasn’t sitting on my stoop then – the truck sprayed my whole door:

Water truck for Californication filming

Have you ever noticed in shows and movies that outside city scenes usually show wet streets? I think it’s because wet streets at night look more beautiful, the way they reflect light and all. Also, the crew was afraid it was going to rain (it never did). The street would obviously have to look the same during both days of shooting. The two days of shooting will amount to about two minutes of scenes on the show. The amount of resources that went into those two minutes is astounding. There was a crew of at least 50 people. I can’t imagine how expensive those two minutes were.

The crew was pushing everyone farther down the block after a few takes. The guy in charge of handling the crowd told us that when he said they’re rolling, we had to be super quiet. No flashes or shutter clicking allowed. But the paparazzi ignored all that and we got in trouble. So Stefanie and I went to my building to watch the next take. When David and the girl walked down the street, they stopped close to my door. We’d be able to see everything! We hid in my doorway, stealth style. I was shaking when I took this:

Californication shoot, West Village

At about 7:00 they set up the VIP tent right outside my door. David was leaning against my building’s railing. You guys. His butt was on my railing. Since he was, like, right there, I decided to take a chance and talk to him. Maybe something brilliant would materialize.

Me: Thanks for being so nice to us, David.
David: Oh, you’re welcome.

That’s the best I could come up with? Really?!

They were still shooting the same scene they were shooting all day. The cameras let in different amounts of light, so it didn’t matter that it was getting dark. I think it will end up looking like dusk on the show. It was weird to come up to my apartment and try to act normal when David Duchovny was still right outside. But at some point you have to break away.

The next day, I promised myself I wouldn’t stalk the shoot again. Maybe I would just go down for an hour. I was really behind on work and had errands to run. Ha! I left at 3:00 for Staples. And guess who was chilling in his little tent right outside my door? David Duchovny outside my door had become like a thing. Of course I called my friend Stefanie as soon as I got home to come over. Watching was like a drug. We were hooked. We ended up watching for another four hours. It was just too hard to leave when we could sit on my stoop and watch Hollywood in action.

I came down when Stefanie buzzed me. But we were trapped in my doorway. Because they were shooting the same scene with David and the girl walking down the street…and this time they stopped right in front of my building. We were frozen in awe. Just a few feet in front of us was the action. We didn’t want to distract David. And it would have been disrespectful to whip out a camera. But let me just tell you it was one of the most intense moments EVER. Here’s the blue mark where they were standing, taken from my doorway:

The final mark

Then Natascha showed up! Word on the street was that they were filming a flashback scene from 1992. They did two scenes: one with Karen yelling down to Hank from her window and another with them walking down the street and getting in a fight. The only thing I could hear was when Karen yelled, “Oh, and by the way?” I was like, “By the way what? By the way what?!” Here’s Karen yelling down at Hank:

Natascha McElhone filming Californication in the West Village

You can see hundreds of profesh pics from the shoot here.

The really cool thing? Is that I tweeted Friday morning how I was determined to make the day shine. Thursday wasn’t the best day for me and I was in desperate need of some happy times. My tweet that morning was:

Yesterday’s suck factor is why today HAS to be better. Not sure how yet. But I am determined to make today shine. #keepholdingon #dreambig

And look how the day exceeded my wildest expectations. Dream big, everyone!

the knowing

I am happy to report that the evil fibroid is GONE! This was my first official hospital surgery in a serious OR. It was like Grey’s Anatomy, minus McDreamy. Even though I was terrified, I was so in awe to actually be in a real OR – as the patient! – that my fascination weirdly mellowed me out. Well, that and the anesthesia. I don’t remember what happened right before or right after surgery, but I do remember having a crazy laughing fit in the recovery room at one point. Everything was beyond hilarious for like 10 minutes. Or maybe it was 30 minutes. Let’s just say my friend Joe got sprayed with cracker crumbs more than once. Which of course made everything even funnier.

My new doctor really is the best. Her team ruled all others. This surgery was completely different from the first try back in December (which was an in-office procedure). No wonder it didn’t work before. Last time was like Ghetto Doctors R Us. This time I went in for pre-op the week before, I spoke with the anesthesiologists and my doctor right before the surgery, and they ran all kinds of tests. None of that happened the first time. Plus all of the nurses were extremely caring and wonderful. They even gave me ginger ale and crackers in recovery. Last time my friend Elizabeth had to go out to the grocery store. How lame was that?

So yeah, last week was wild. I closed on my apartment last Monday. Took the evil fibroid down last Thursday. And of course I’m on deadline. Doing all of these things at once? Is not recommended. But that’s the thing about life. We can’t control everything. We just need to stay strong and fight on.

We’re getting so much closer to the So Much Closer paperback release on May 1. Congrats to last week’s Twitter giveaway winner, Danielle M.! This week’s hashtag is #theknowing. The Knowing is a big part of Brooke’s life in So Much Closer. It’s been a big part of my life, too. There have been some things I’ve known with absolute certainty. The Knowing is not logical. The Knowing usually involves dreaming big. Like when I had the Knowing that my first book would be published way before I signed the contract, despite haters telling me it would never happen. Or the Knowing back when I was in high school that New York City would be my true home one day. What do you have the Knowing about? To enter this week’s giveaway, follow me on Twitter and tweet one thing you know with unshakable clarity using #theknowing. Complete giveaway info is here. The winner will be announced on April 23.

TGIM 🙂

susane vs. fibroid – ultimate smackdown

Remember when I had surgery a few months ago?

Yeah. It didn’t work.

Back in December, I told you guys about the evil fibroid who was taking over my life. My doctor thought the surgery was successful. But then I was like, Wait, why am I still having the same symptoms a month later? Being the eternal optimist, I kept telling myself I was just taking longer than normal to heal. Any day now I would wake up without pain. Any day now the bleeding would stop. I had so much hope, even on the worst days.

Then Dexter Morgan knocked on my door for some blood spatter analysis. With backup.

Dexter Morgan does not need backup.

It was time to get a second opinion.

See, this is when it’s good to be friends with doctors. My best friend from college, Laila, found an amazing surgeon for me. My new doctor is the best. At first she wanted me to have a hysterectomy. That’s the only way to fix the problem completely and ensure that it will never come back. But then a few weeks ago, we were able to see the fibroid for the first time. Yay, technology! She decided that if she did a myomectomy (slicing out the visible part of the fibroid) and repeated an ablation (removing the endometrium), my chances of recovery would be excellent. So that’s the plan.

I’m having surgery tomorrow, April 12. You guys were so incredible last time with all of the healing energy and encouragement you sent. If you have a chance, please send some positive energy my way tomorrow. I know that it will work this time – it HAS to work this time – but I’m still terrified. I just have to keep reminding myself that everything will be okay. Lots of people are dealing with much worse than an evil little fibroid. People survive brain surgery. People survive quintuple bypass surgery. My friend Peter’s heart was on a freaking plate. What I have is curable. So I just need to get a grip. Things could always be much worse.

You wouldn’t believe how many people have told me that their sister/mother/friend/student  is dealing with the same fibroid issues. I never realized how common this was before. Now it seems like every single person I know knows at least one woman who has faced down fibroids. Make no mistake. Tomorrow will be an ep of 24 that will not end well for the evil fibroid. Jack Bauer is enraged. The evil fibroid stands zero chance.

Talk to you soon.