thank you

Happy New Year, friendly neighbors!

I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate everyone who reads this blog. Blogging has changed so much in the past few years, and it’s been a challenging adjustment. Although I’m not blogging as much as I used to, please know that all of my important news and fun things to share with you will continue to be posted here in 2014. Thanks to everyone who checks in here now and then, and especially to those of you who take the time to comment. Your kindness means more to me than you will ever know.

WordPress has informed me that this blog had about 43,000 views in 2013. You guys were from a total of 112 countries. I am definitely feeling the global love!

Here are my Top Ten Fave Blog Posts of 2013, in no particular order:

Thank you thank you thank you for making this life possible. You are why I write. You inspire, motivate, and impress me every single day. And your positive energy is beautiful. What can I say? My readers. freaking. RULE.

Here’s to a spectacular 2014!

Advertisements

the station agent

You know that thing where a book or show or movie will speak to you so strongly that it takes on importance of monumental proportions deep in your soul? That’s what The Station Agent was like for me. I saw this phenomenal film when it came out in 2003. Not sure how that was 10 years ago. It seems like I was just lining up an hour early at the Angelika. Now here I am a decade later after watching The Station Agent a hundred times and obsessing over the town where it was filmed. That town is Newfoundland, New Jersey.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m from Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey. I’m from the country. We’re talking rural, cows and dirt roads, woods for miles nowhere. So I immediately connected to the setting of The Station Agent. Newfoundland is a small town that’s remote in a very similar way to my hometown. Even the trees looked the same. Newfoundland was portrayed with such sweet nostalgia and old-school charm that I set Something Like Fate and part of All I Need there. Those of you who’ve read both books might have recognized the same setting…and even a few of the same characters.

But guess what? I’d never been to Newfoundland. Until one Saturday a few weekends ago when my BF/soul mate was like, “Want to go to Newfoundland?” And I was like, “When? Today?” And he said, “Yeah. It’s about forty-five minutes away,” all super casual like we were going on a Home Depot run. When in fact he was talking about visiting a place I had tried to get to for years. The train doesn’t stop in Newfoundland anymore. I don’t have a car. One thing about Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey and its surroundings is you need a car to get around. So after doing lots of research, I concluded that it just wasn’t my time to visit.

Until it was.

Susane Colasanti at The Station Agent train depot, Newfoundland, New Jersey

The Newfoundland train depot was at the top of my list. That’s where Peter Dinklage’s character, Finn, moves to after his only friend dies and he inherits the depot. Finn loves trains. He loves walking the right of way along the tracks. He loves the sound of a train in the distance. Like Finn, I’ve always been obsessed with train tracks. The train tracks in my hometown were a symbol of hope for me. They led to the better life I would be living one day. I would stand on the tracks when I was 13, 14, 15, visualizing the happy life I would have one day when the worst part of my life was over. The train theme was another reason The Station Agent spoke to me.

Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale in The Station Agent

Here’s Finn and Bobby Cannavale’s character, Joe, chilling in front of the depot. Which I was determined to chill in front of myself. We didn’t know exactly where the depot was. But I knew we would find it serendipitously. And we did! Bigelow Road, baby!

Susane Colasanti at The Station Agent train depot, Newfoundland, New Jersey

I look calm in this photo, but trust me, I was freaking out. I was running all around like a spaz, pointing out where Joe’s food truck (Gorgeous Frank’s Hotdog Emporium) was and where Finn hung his mailbox and of course the train tracks. And yes, I totally walked the right of way on those same exact tracks.

Susane Colasanti at The Station Agent train depot, Newfoundland, New Jersey

Any film featuring Bobby Cannavale is a winner. You automatically know it will be indie gold. Same with Patricia Clarkson. Who doesn’t love her? Seeing them together in The Station Agent was a thing of beauty. There’s a scene where Patricia’s character, Olivia, climbs into a red train car by the depot. Finn has a meltdown in the same red train car later. How stoked was I to see that the red train car was still there?

Susane Colasanti at The Station Agent train depot, Newfoundland, New Jersey

Leaving the depot wasn’t easy. But we had other fun landmarks to check out from the movie like Olivia’s house and Green Pond Road and the Good to Go Deli (which we didn’t find). We also visited Echo Lake and Green Pond since they were featured in Something Like Fate. The area is just as beautiful as I pictured it while I was writing the book. There was even a house on Old Lake End Road that looked exactly the way I was picturing Lani’s house. It was as if I could see the house in my mind even though I’d never been there in person. We snuck a sand sample from Green Pond for my sand collection. The whole trip was awesome. And it was all possible because my BF/soul mate knows me so well.

Train tracks will always symbolize hope and endless possibility to me. Whatever symbol you carry in your heart, may it help you stay strong and always dream big.

Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, and Patricia Clarkson in The Station Agent

classic pooh rules

TGIM! This week’s summer book giveaway is coming at you in the form of a contest. The prize is your choice of any of my books, signed to you. You must answer this question correctly to be entered to win:

Name one character from a previous book who appears in All I Need.

There are actually two. The first name of one of these characters is fine. To enter, email your answer and mailing address to me at susanecolasanti at gmail by August 25 at 11:11pm. Only one entry per person is allowed. One winner will be selected from the eligible entries. This contest is international.

Speaking of international, there was a very European-looking boy on the subway the other day. I love European tourists. They have the most eclectic sneakers. Their outfits are super cute. This boy was around 20 years old. He was rocking a red, white, and blue ensemble that looked really comfortable. I was reading and he was standing across from me and I noticed the cutest tattoo I’ve ever seen. Like, ever. He got out at my stop. So of course I went up to him and asked if I could document his ink. Does that make me a creeper? Maybe. But there’s no way I could pass up the chance to share this with you guys:

Classic Winnie-the-Pooh tattoo

Classic Pooh rules. He is old-school in the best possible way. That tat is so adorbs it almost makes me want to get one. My BF/soul mate and I have talked about getting yin-yang symbols. But I would never make such a serious decision in the lazy days of August. I’ve been reading on his sundeck almost every sunny morning. Without becoming a sweaty hot mess by noon. How is that possible when it should be scorching right now? Read on.

August in New York is usually not the most refreshing time. A typical New York August is so hot and humid that those of us still here have the city to ourselves. Which is awesome in its own way. No lines at the post office. Getting a table for brunch at Friend of a Farmer right away. Sailing through Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods without bumping at least three other people with your basket. What’s even better about this August is how gorgeous it’s been. Much cooler and drier than usual. We had an August like this five years ago. I documented it on my blog because no one ever remembers it. I’m like, “Remember August 2008? Cool summer breezes. Perfect sunny days in the 70s. Everyone wasn’t a sweaty hot mess after walking only five blocks. Remember?” And people are all, “Um, no. I think you’re confused with October.”

For the record, I am not confused. There were only two hot and humid days that August. The rest of the time was bliss. I’m so thankful for this other blissful August five years later. I just knew it would come around again. The best kind of full-circle moment.

Enjoy the cool summer breeze, friendly neighbors!

all i need facebook giveaway

TGIM! This week’s book giveaway is happening over on my Facebook page.

How can you enter to win a signed copy of All I Need?

Susane Colasanti signing All I Need

 

To enter:

1. Like my Facebook page.

2. Comment on the FB giveaway post with your sweetest summer memory.

Giveaway rules:

1. Comments must be submitted by August 18 at 11:11 pm.

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

3. 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.

Hope you’re having a spectacular summer!

all i need behind the scenes

It’s that time. The photo shoot for the cover of my new book is happening soon. I can’t wait to share the cover (and title and synopsis) of my eighth book with you. While we’re waiting, I wanted to share some behind the scenes action from the photo shoot for the cover of All I Need.

The models on my covers fascinate me. Not that I get to pick them or meet them or anything. But I’m always fascinated to see what they look like. Models’ faces are hidden on my book covers. For some reason, I always imagine them looking way different than they actually do. When I saw the models from the cover of So Much Closer, I was shocked. They looked totally different than I thought they would! Same with the Keep Holding On cover boy. He got in touch with me and sent me pics after I posted about creating the cover. I don’t have the All I Need models’ headshots, but I thought this outtake from the photo shoot was adorable:

All I Need by Susane Colasanti photo shoot outtake

Authors usually have zero input in the planning process when it comes to cover design. Fortunately, my editor asked for input before this photo shoot took place. I told her I’d love to see the models in Vans and flip-flops. Just like Seth and Skye wear in the book. After trying them out, the photo shoot art director decided that barefoot was a better look. Which totally worked out for the best. I love the heart as a tool for hiding their faces. Faces are always hidden on my book covers so you can imagine what the characters look like yourself. The endless possibilities for hiding models’ faces is astounding.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti photo shoot outtake

My friend and photographer of the last three book covers, Jayd Gardina, shared this inside info about the photo shoot:

We went to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn! When we arrived the beach was packed with people even though it was a weekday in the late afternoon. We were all talking out how to make it work and if we should stay or try to make the hour long drive to Long Beach, when a woman who overheard us suggested that we drive to the other end of the beach. Fifteen minutes later we were at a much emptier section that was peaceful and perfect. You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but about a mile away was Coney Island and we could see all of the rides from where we were! The models in the photo were actually a couple in real life so I think their comfort level and love for each other helped make the photo shoot more authentic and emotional.

Dude. The models were a couple in real life. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT?

The Brighton Beach photo shoot location was supposed to represent Sea Bright, New Jersey. I’m happy that I captured Sea Bright in the book. As part of my research for All I Need, I visited Sea Bright. The actual town is not entirely like what I’ve depicted in the book. But the colorful, lively Sea Bright I created will live on. Brian Williams was on Letterman right after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey shore. I got chills when he said, “Sea Bright is gone.” Sandy changed the Jersey coast landscape forever. Entire areas of vegetation were ripped out. Atlantic City’s beachfront sand width decreased from about 125 feet to 25 feet. Parts of the boardwalk and rides are gone. But the Jersey shore’s spirit lives on in All I Need. And I will cherish my childhood memories of summers down the shore forever.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti

This heart on the sand was a beautiful design choice. To me, the heart represents the sweet nostalgia I will associate with the Jersey shore forever. I carry you in my heart, NJ.

summer breeze

TGIM! The first thing I decided on this gorgeous summer morning was to have weekly book giveaways for the rest of August. All I Need is a sparkly summer romance. What better time to give away copies to you guys?

Entering this week’s giveaway is easy. The first 100 people to sign up for my newsletter starting today will be automatically entered to win a signed copy of All I Need. US mailing addresses only. You can sign up for my newsletter/enter the giveaway here.

Hostess cupcakes are back. Sort of. I was beyond psyched to hear that Hostess snack cakes would be back in stores this summer. Those cupcakes with the icing squiggles make me happy. Even the tag line for their ad campaign was awesome: Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever. So when I saw them at 7-Eleven the other day, I got a little thrill. Until I looked at them more closely. Upon further inspection, I was devastated to discover that the icing squiggles were much thinner. These impostors are not the classic Hostess cupcakes we knew and loved. Less icing = less excited Susane. Will I still try them? Probably. But don’t expect a rave review. RIP, Hostess CupCakes. You were the bomb.

I love when readers are inspired to create art. Whether it’s making wish boxes and treasure maps like Sara in When It Happens, warm fuzzies like Sadie in So Much Closer, or collages like Seth in All I Need, seeing photos of your work makes me happier than an old-school Hostess cupcake. I find this nail art inspired by my book spine stripes to be awesome:

So Much Closer nail art

In other book news, Miss Print interviewed me about All I Need. Some fresh reviews are up on It’s a Book Thing and Winter Haven BooksThe Reading Girl posted a beautiful review of Keep Holding On with visual aids you’ll want to snag. And Pretty Little Memoirs posted a cute review of Something Like Fate. Thanks to these friendly neighbor bloggers for spreading the love!

Speaking of friendly neighbors, I’m off to Crumbs for a friendly neighbor reunion with some old students (aka vintage noodles). Although I absolutely love my job, I miss chilling with my people. Teens are and will always be my people. That’s why I write for teens. That’s why my purpose in life is to reach out to teens and help them feel less alone. I remember that sinking feeling at the end of summer when there were only a few days of summer vacay left. Like I couldn’t hold on to them, no matter how hard I tried to freeze time. Later in life, I discovered that being in the Now helps to create inner peace. Taking even one minute to be still and connect with your environment can improve your attitude so much.

It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Take one minute to tune out any negative thoughts or feelings. Really see your world. Connect with the things around you. Appreciate everything you have. Just one minute can turn your day around. Anytime you want it to.

Enjoy the summer breeze, friendly neighbors!

summertime twitter giveaway

Why am I giving away a signed copy of All I Need on Twitter this week?

All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Because I can. And I don’t need all these copies. And it’s summertime, which is the perfect time to read a sparkly summer teen romance. Yay 🙂

How to enter:

1. Follow me on Twitter.

2. Tweet this:

Win a shiny new signed copy of #allineed! Follow @susanecolasanti and RT to enter. Giveaway info: https://susanecolasanti.wordpress.com/

Giveaway rules:

1. All entries must be tweeted by Sunday, July 28 at 11:11 pm.

2. Only one tweet per entrant will be counted.

3. I will announce and contact the winner on Twitter.

4. The winning mailing address must be located in the United States.

Happy summer reading!