city love photo shoot

Breaking City Love trilogy news! The first book cover photo shoot happened on a Brooklyn rooftop yesterday.

City Love by Susane Colasanti photo shoot

Snaps for these fantastic models who braved the extreme heat and humidity. It was totally gross out, but they looked absolutely gorgeous. As models do.

This cover will be stunning. New York City skyline in the background? Yes, please.

City Love by Susane Colasanti photo shoot

The first City Love book will be out in April 2015. I can’t wait to share the cover with you soon!

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now and forever behind the scenes

Capturing the tone of a book in a book trailer is not easy. There’s a lot to think about – casting, locations, music, editing. I wanted the Now and Forever trailer to capture both the dreamy romance of falling in love and the exhilaration of rising fame. Which is why, when my BF/soul mate said he’d write and direct the trailer, I was all over that.


The first step was to find actors who would bring Sterling and Ethan to life. I was thrilled when Lily Zahn and Ben Bowers responded.

Lily Zahn

 

 

 

Ben Bowers

Lily is freaking adorable. As soon as I saw her reel, I knew she had the talent, depth, and right look to play Sterling. Ben showed up looking like a total rock star. Dude, he is an Abercrombie model. Ben submitted this ad he did with his resume and I was like, Um, yeah, you might want to work on your abs more? But other than that…

This past winter was so cold that we had to wait forever until it was warm enough to shoot. Finally the trees were flowering and we were good to go. Our shoot was a full day with four locations in downtown Manhattan, including my apartment. Ben brought the world’s biggest rock star to life right in my living room:

Ben Bowers, Now and Forever book trailer

My red couch will never be the same. Especially after the hot makeout scenes:

Ben Bowers and Lily Zahn, Now and Forever book trailer

What’s it like to show up for a job and kiss someone you just met (while dealing with horrible allergies and getting locked in a diner’s bathroom)? Lily shared some reflections from the shoot:

It’s somewhat rare when filming that we would get to have the writer (in this case, author) on set. Since the book hadn’t been released yet, it was so helpful to have Susane there guiding us to bring her characters to life. It was also really comforting to know that Susane had handpicked us for the task. Sterling’s specific experience is pretty incredible – I’ve never dated a guy who became a world-famous rock star (…yet). But in playing her, I keyed in to what I could relate to about her story, which is being young and in love and having to realize that things change as life takes each person in a different direction.

Oh gosh, I had the worst allergies the day we shot the trailer. It was April and everything was starting to bloom. Probably the biggest challenge of the day was to not let feeling under the weather impact my performance. After all, Sterling wasn’t feeling sick! In that case, all you can really do bring is some Zyrtec and power through – keep the energy up, try to enjoy the experience, and ignore that stuffy nose and headache.

As an actor on set, one of the weirdest things we do is form an “insta-relationship” with a co-star. In a play, I usually have weeks of rehearsal to get to know someone and build a rapport. When I’m called in for a one day shoot, I may show up on set, shake hands, and start making out. No matter how you slice it, it sounds pretty weird. But I think we all know it’s part of the job and when you have someone nice and hygienic (and let’s face it, not bad on the eyes), it’s generally fine… and even a little fun. But it’s also pretty technical; you might get directions like, “put your hand here,” “smile earlier,” or “no tongue.” Once that first kiss is out of the way, it’s sort of business as usual (how many jobs can you say that about?).

Oh! Kissing schmissing. I have the most awkward story of the day. On our lunch break, I got locked in the restaurant’s restroom. Literally, the lock jammed and I could not get it off. I had a bigger emotional journey in those 10 minutes than I did the whole day of the shoot. I went through annoyance at the faulty lock, panic that I’d delay the shooting schedule, embarrassment at what everyone must think I’m doing in the bathroom, laughter at the absurdity of the situation, and finally determination to unjam that lock with brute strength (which I did… eventually, thank you very much). I flung out of the bathroom, took a deep breath and returned to our table. Show must go on, right? Even with the allergy attack and bathroom debacle, it was such a great day. I wish all jobs could be that fun and relaxed (and on schedule!) Susane and Matt brought such a positive energy that it really made my job easy and enjoyable.

Lily and Ben were amazing to work with. And I was happy that they had fun with each other. They made the relationship between Sterling and Ethan adorable and relatable.

Lily Zahn and Ben Bowers, Now and Forever book trailer

Thanks for all of your kind comments about the trailer, friendly neighbors. Here’s to bringing books to life!

Lily Zahn, Susane Colasanti, and Ben Bowers

crumbs bake shop forever

I really, really don’t want to write any of this down.

Because if I write it down, then I’ll have to admit this is actually happening.

Crumbs Bake Shop has just closed all of its stores.

Sprinkle Crumbs

Heartbroken. I am just…heartbroken.

Was there advance warning? No, there was not. Which is weird. If Crumbs had announced it was closing its stores even a week ago, sales would have spiked with superfans like me scrambling to get their last Crumbs fix on. We would have snatched up all the Girl Scout Cookie cupcakes and Rainbow Cookie cupcakes and the best freaking danish in the world.

Don’t even get me started on the danish. Don’t even.

But they didn’t give us any advance warning. According to these articles in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Daily News, and The Wall Street Journal, Crumbs announced they were shutting down all of their stores yesterday. Then every location closed last night. I can’t even rush in to my nearest Crumbs now for a last hurrah. Unless my last hurrah includes staring in the window mournfully with big, wet eyes.

This cannot be happening.

How can there never again be a new Cupcake of the Week to obsess over?

Berry Berry Crumbs Cupcake of the Week

Or special edition cupcakes like the Big Apple, circa 2010?

Big Apple Crumbs cupcake

And how are we supposed to celebrate summer without a Pina Colada cupcake? With a tropical drink umbrella and a cherry on top?

Pina Colada Crumbs cupcakes

Even in a horrible situation like this, I always try to look on the bright side. More than try. I find a bright side and try to stay focused on that. Because even in a negative situation, there is always something positive. The good news here is that we still have Sprinkles. But man…I was so proud of Crumbs branching out from their one little Upper West Side store in 2003. I remember the day I discovered Crumbs. I had a Snickers cupcake and it was the best cupcake I’d ever had in my life. More stores started appearing a few years later. A bunch of new stores came on the scene in the past few years. And now…

Maybe they shouldn’t have expanded so widely? Maybe they should have just had a few locations in New York? But no. I love that they took a chance and expanded. Crumbs became the nation’s largest cupcake chain. That is a monumental achievement. Snaps to Crumbs for being brave. Snaps to Crumbs for dreaming big and turning that big dream of national cupcake domination into reality.

Some tool quoted in this article was saying that the cupcake trend is over. He said that people can just bake cupcakes at home. How dare you, sir. There is no way the magic of a Crumbs cupcake can be replicated at home. Take the Rainbow Cookie cupcake, for example.

Rainbow Cookie Crumbs cupcake

The cake is an almost exact replica of the rainbow cookie in both taste and appearance. The cupcake has raspberry filling, just like the raspberry filling between colors of the rainbow cookie. And an actual rainbow cookie sits cheerfully on top of the chocolate-sprinkled chocolate ganache.

Let’s see Mr. Cupcake Apocalypse bake that at home.

Or wait, not even. Why don’t you bake these Crumbs Halloween cupcakes from 2008 at home?

Halloween Crumbs cupcakes

Each one is unique and beautifully decorated. But yeah, I’m sure you can dash right home and whip up a batch.

My rant seems to have disintegrated down a negative spiral again. Must identify more bright side. Here’s something positive: Crumbs will always live on in my books. Crumbs has been featured in Take Me There and So Much Closer and will continue to be featured in future books. That will be my way of preserving its memory.

Goodbye, Crumbs. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. I will remember your goodness fondly…and smile.

Smiley Face Crumbs cupcake