2017 Year on Fire

Ten years ago, I took a major risk by leaving my teaching career to become a full-time author. I only had one book out at the time. I had no idea if my next book would sell, or how many more books I would have published, or exactly how I was going to pay my rent without a steady paycheck. I just knew that I had to overcome my fear of failure and take a major risk to create the life I wanted to live.

Some of you know that 2017 was my Year on Fire. I decided 2017 would be my Year on Fire near the end of 2016. You may recall that things were not all sparkly hearts and unicorns around that time. I was sad every day. I cried every day. I felt beaten down, defeated, even on the verge of nihilism. I couldn’t believe this was real life, that the world we were living in had become one I didn’t recognize anymore. But the sadness and crying didn’t help anyone. So I made an executive decision. 2017 would be an entire year of converting negative energy into positive energy every. single. day.

And it totally was.

Failure was not an option. 2017 would be a year in which I took the heartbreak and meanness and violence and transformed all of that negative energy into something positive that would help other people. I hit the ground running on January 1 and never looked back. Whenever I heard bad news (where bad = the most disgusting, horrible, insane information that my mind could not possibly wrap itself around), I turned off NPR or shut down Twitter and wrote 20 pages of whichever new book I was working on. I did not wallow in the badness like I did at the end of 2016. I did not have an apoplexy every time I heard the next depressing thing that would leave me curled up in a ball on the floor, bawling over war and injustice and racism and so much freaking hate like I did at the end of 2016.

I made a choice to respond in a way that was productive.

Controlling my news intake was key. Not having a TV helped tremendously with this. I did think it was important to stay informed, but there is a difference between learning about current events and wallowing in the depths of despair. I made a choice that 2017 Year on Fire would be a no wallowing zone. My technique was simple: I set my alarm every morning for the top of the NPR news hour to hear the worst, turned off the radio, and wrote 20 pages. If bad news infiltrated during the day, I learned the basic information about what happened, then shut it down and wrote 20 pages. That was my way of converting negative energy into positive energy.

All of those 20 pages added up.

2017 Year on Fire pages by Susane Colasanti

This is the stack of pages I wrote in 2017 Year on Fire. It’s about, oh, three thousand more pages than I would typically write in a year.

By May I had three books written, plus a 65-page proposal for a fourth book. How did I do it? How did I write four books and start a fifth by November when for the past ten years I had written only one book a year and was overwhelmed enough just doing that?

It’s amazing how much power is generated by converting negative energy into positive energy. As Carrie Fisher advised, “Take your broken heart. Make it into art.”

This was some extreme physics at work. EPA being dismantled? Go write 20 pages. Reduced funding for climate change scientists? Go write 20 pages. Planned Parenthood locations closing? Go write 20 pages, then 20 more. Increased emphasis on oil/coal and less on solar/wind? Go write 20 pages. Federal protections for transgender students withdrawn? Go write 20 pages. Syrian refugees banned? Go write 20 pages. White supremacist Nazi idiots stomping around with tiki torches? Yeah, I just went ahead and started that fifth book.

Around this time, I read an interview with Shonda Rhimes. When she was asked about her success, she said, “I was willing to stay longer and work harder than most people. You can have one show or you can have six — I thought, ‘Why not have six?’”

Year on Fire was like that for me. I didn’t come to play. I came to SLAY.

One of the four books I’ve written this year has been the most challenging book of my life. I’m collaborating with Alloy Entertainment at Warner Bros. This is a book I never ever ever thought I would write. Like EVER. But here we are. Year on Fire began with a development meeting at Warner Bros. in January, and rounded out the fall with another one in October.

Susane Colasanti at Warner Bros.

How did I finally get to their door after years of envisioning this big dream? Why am I writing a book that is painful and difficult and was like the last thing I ever thought I’d write?

My Year on Fire wasn’t only about showing up and doing the work. It was about being uncomfortable. Not just a little uncomfortable, like when it’s freezing out and you’re walking home in the icy wind slashing across your face and you can’t wait to get out of your cold, bulky winter gear and snuggle under a warm throw in your PJs and fuzzy socks with a good book, sipping hazelnut coffee topped with melty Marshmallow Fluff. I’m talking about being more uncomfortable than you have ever been in your whole entire life. I’m talking about the kind of uncomfortable that rips you wide open and spills your guts out.

See, I was super comfortable before. My writing schedule was pretty much the same every year. A new book published every summer, usually in May. Lots of vacay time in the summer. Starting a first draft in August, due by February 1. Repeat. I was extremely fortunate that this was my life for a decade, and every single one of you who have read my books made this life possible. I want to thank you with my whole heart. You are why I write. So yes, I knew comfort. As a Taurus, I crave comfort.

But then it was 2017 Year on Fire. And I yanked the soft, fluffy throw off my cozy comfort corner.

Not an easy thing to do for someone who loves routine and formerly hated change.

I busted down the walls of my comfort zone. We’re talking wrecking ball, Jaws of Life level destruction. I did scary things I’ve never done before in anticipation of transforming my life into something it had never been before. I not only learned to accept change, but I – wait for it – embraced change. What I learned is this: If you want big changes to happen, you have to make big changes. Maybe that sounds simple, but making big changes with the Unknown looming all big and scary down the line was the hardest thing for me. Big changes are scary. Big changes are hard. They take an exhausting amount of physical and emotional work that is anything but easy. Plus the whole time fear is trying to bring you down. Fear gets in your face all like, “Give up already. Give up and go back to your cozy comfort corner where everything is familiar and way easier.”

Tempting. But there was too much negative energy I wanted to convert into positive energy. There was no time to be comfortable.

2018 will be my Year of Happy. Simple in concept, challenging to implement, entirely new and a bit intimidating. The idea is this: I am only going to do things that make me happy. If it will not result in happiness, I will not do that thing. Let’s break it down. Cleaning counts as happy because a clean home equals happiness for me. Same with laundry. I am not happy doing laundry, but I am ecstatic when everything is clean and folded and put away. So yeah, the cleaning/errands/standing in line at Whole Foods parts will remain. But spending time with negative people that drain my positive energy? Going places and doing things that feel like work instead of fun? Allowing others to dictate what my life looks like, or bending and twisting my choices to squiggle out from under the tremendous weight of their judgments? Nope. No more. Time to bring some comfort back.

2018 Year of Happy

My Year of Happy will be a year in which I will choose to focus on happiness for myself and others. When I am happier, I can inspire more happiness in others, and that cycle will come into play stronger than ever in 2018. I’m looking forward to focusing on the things that bring me joy, immersing myself in positive energy, and eliminating negative, toxic forces from my life. Continuing to make my big dreams reality is of course a major part of what makes me happy, and there is much more hard work ahead. But that’s the thing about my work. I love what I do, so my career doesn’t feel like work. Do what you are. Do what you love.

And YOU? What did you learn about yourself in 2017? About your strengths? About the things you can tolerate, and the things you no longer want to? What will you focus on in 2018? Whatever you went through this year, whatever next year brings, know that I am right there with you in the face of change, fighting for what I believe in. This is all new for both of us, and we are in this together. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to show up every day. We’re going to do the work. On days when we don’t show up or we don’t do the work, we’re going to take a deep breath and try again. We are going to keep doing this, the showing up and the work, until we have reached our goal. And then we’ll move on to the next goal. And then, when our goals have been achieved and our life looks a lot happier than it used to, we will celebrate making our big dreams reality.

Here’s to a whole lot of happy in 2018!

xoxo-
Susane

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city love trilogy cover models

How much do I love behind the scenes stuff? SO much. Which is why whenever I get to see photos of the models on my book covers, I’m obsessed. You can’t quite see the models’ faces on the City Love trilogy covers. But now you can!

The City Love trilogy models were en fuego. They had the right look, the right clothes and accessories, and their poses were on point. Gustavo Marx, the cover photographer, shared some fun outtakes from the two-day photo shoot. The first day was on a rooftop in Brooklyn to capture the Manhattan skyline in the background. The second day was on a pier near the Brooklyn Bridge.

The City Love cover models were adorbs. They looked super comfortable together as Sadie and Austin, and I love the look of their clothes and sunglasses here.

City Love cover models

They played around a little. With the Empire State Building in the background.

City Love cover models

Brilliant cover designer Erin Fitzsimmons went with different outfits for the cover. They were still hot.

City Love by Susane Colasanti paperback

Speaking of hot, this photo shoot went down over two days in the summer of 2014 during a crazy heat wave. Erin said she didn’t know how the models weren’t drenched in sweat. After seeing how cool they look in these photos, I suspect that models may have anti-sweat superpowers.

Lost in Love is my favorite cover of the three. And these were my favorite models. Darcy and Jude were totally represented.

Lost in Love cover models

Love the clothes. Love her topknot. Love how she looks like Keira Knightley. Just. Freaking. Love.

And the lighting at sunset? Stunning.

Lost in Love cover models

The backlighting is so gorgeous, and that radiant shine of the sunlight on the water made the Lost in Love cover stand out.

Lost in Love by Susane Colasanti

The Forever in Love cover is a bit different. The models’ faces are the most visible. The focus is the sharpest. And the pose is super romantic. Ironically, Forever in Love is the least romantic book of the three, but we didn’t know that back in 2014! Back then I had no idea so much devastation would come crashing down at the end of the trilogy. But as this trilogy unfolded, I knew I needed to push my girls harder so they could push themselves out of their comfort zones. If you want big changes in your life, you have to make big changes, and that doesn’t happen when you’re stuck in a comfortable routine.

This girl looks like Brooke Shields here.

forevermodels

Rosanna and Donovan, of course. D is looking extra preppy here. And on the cover with that watch! But it was a good way to distinguish the unique characters.

Forever in Love by Susane Colasanti

HarperCollins did a behind-the-scenes photo shoot video you can watch here. You can watch my City Love trilogy tour featuring locations from the books on my YouTube. And Forever in Love can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or your local bookshop.

Happy summer reading, friendly neighbors! xoxo

girl boy stuff

SO THIS HAPPENED.

Susane Colasanti and Blake Nelson, July 2017

I have been a hardcore Blake Nelson fangirl ever since I discovered Girl in 1994. I was in college and it was in the adult section because we really didn’t have a teen section yet except for a few sorry shelves in the children’s section and I could not even wait for another Blake Nelson book to come out. But that was before, like, the internet, and way before socials, so there was no way to just contact Blake directly and be like, “Do you have another book coming out?” I stalked the area where I found Girl for a long time afterwards. No new books were ever there.

Years later when YA was established, you can imagine how stoked out of my head I was to discover that Blake Nelson had several books on the shelves. They are all amazing and brilliant and I highly recommend you read each and every one of them.

For the past 10 years of my author life, I have been hoping to be on a panel with Blake. And then BOOM! My Forever in Love book launch event happened at Books of Wonder, the best indie bookstore in New York City that has hosted all of my City Love trilogy launch events, and we were finally on a panel together. Perfect timing so we could celebrate shiny new Boy and fresh faced Girl.

Basically? Don’t stop believing.

What else. The City Love trilogy tour videos are rolling out on my YouTube. The third location is 43 5th Avenue, the building where Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are sharing an apartment together the summer before college. Which was also the dorms where Felicity Porter and her friends lived on Felicity! This building was University of New York (which doesn’t exist IRL) student housing, so I brought it back in the trilogy as UNY student housing again because Felicity is one of my Top Five Fave Shows and hopefully the trilogy has some Felicity feels.


The theme is resilience. Story of my life.

More soon. xoxo

forever in love today

Today is here! Today is here!

Forever in Love is out in the world!!!

Susane Colasanti with Forever in Love

For those of you who missed the billboard I rented about it, Forever in Love is the final book of my City Love trilogy. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or at your local bookshop.

Speaking of online booksellers, if you read Forever in Love and enjoy it or have read City Love and/or Lost in Love and enjoyed those, would you kindly consider sharing your review online? Your opinion matters to me and to others. Those bright stars attract new readers!

I’ve been doing online Q&As with giveaways this week. Tomorrow, July 12, I will be answering your questions all day in my Goodreads Q&A group. On Thursday, July 13, I’ll be doing a Twitter chat 7-8pm EST. Everyone who asks a question will be entered to win a signed copy of Forever in Love, two winners per event. My goal is to answer as many of your questions as possible, but I usually don’t get to them all. A remaining one that made me smile is this:

Q: What are your Top Five Reasons to Love the City Love trilogy?

A: The summer before college, New York City, finding your people, embracing change, and dreaming big beyond fear. Oh, and summer love.

To show you what I mean, I am rolling out videos all week of my City Love trilogy tour. Each tour stop features a location from the book, and I tie in a theme from the books at each location. Of course the tour had to begin at the High Line.


Stay tuned to my YouTube for more tour videos rolling out this week!

Thanks to everyone who has read the City Love trilogy and is excited for this final book. I love connecting with you on socials, and am eternally grateful for your enthusiasm and support. You are why I write.

Forever in love with the infinite possibilities the future holds…

xoxo-
Susane

forever in love online events

Dear Readers,

My City Love trilogy is coming to an end next week!

Please join me in celebrating the release of Forever in Love on July 11 with some online events and giveaways from July 9 to July 13.

Forever in Love online events and giveaways with Susane Colasanti!

Everyone who participates in these chats and Q&As will be entered to win a signed copy of Forever in Love. Here’s how this will go down:

Sunday, July 9, 2017   7-8pm EST
Instagram chat + giveaway

Earlier in the day on July 9, I’ll put the chat post up on my Instagram. Everyone who asks a question for the chat will be entered to win a signed copy of the book. Two winners (US only) will be randomly selected right after the chat ends and announced on the post. You can comment with questions for me about love, life, literature, or anything else before or during the live chat. This will be my first Instagram chat and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Monday, July 10, 2017   7-8pm EST
Facebook Q&A + giveaway

There will be a Q&A post on my Facebook before the live Q&A starts. Everyone who comments on the post with a question will be entered to win a signed copy of the book. This giveaway is international! Two winners will be randomly selected and announced in the post right after the Q&A ends.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017   all day
Goodreads Q&A + giveaway

Our group for this event, Susane Colasanti Q&A + giveaway, is already live on Goodreads! You can go ahead and join, and post your questions anytime. Everyone who asks a question will be entered to win a signed copy of the book. I will be answering your questions throughout the day. Two winners (US only) will be randomly selected and announced in a post to the group immediately following the Q&A.

Thursday, July 13, 2017   7-8pm EST
Twitter chat + giveaway

Let’s talk about all the things you will be forever in love with. I want to know what makes you feel alive! I’ll announce that our chat has begun on my Twitter, and then have fun with it. Everyone who tweets with #ForeverInLove will be entered to win a signed copy of the book. Two winners (US only) will be announced right after the chat ends.

And yes, if you’re participating in more than one of these events you can totally ask the same question if I haven’t answered it yet. My goal is to answer as many of your questions as I can!

If you’re in the New York City area, I’m doing a launch event on Tuesday, July 11, 6-8pm at Books of Wonder. With some freaking amazing authors. Info here.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with you. See you soon.

xoxo- Susane

forever in love launch event

I am SO excited that I can finally share details of the Forever in Love launch event with you! Happening three weeks from today!

If you are in the New York City area on July 11, I hope to see you at Books of Wonder, 18 West 18th Street, 6-8pm.

And there’s more. Just look at who is joining me.

Great Summer Teen Reads event at Books of Wonder, July 11, 2017

Dream panel much? Ann Brashares, Blake Nelson, and Heather Demetrios?! I KNOW.

Here’s more info and links to all these dope books.

Yay yay freakng YAY. ❤ ❤ ❤

your dream life in connecticut

Connecticut! I am coming your way on Tuesday, May 16, 6:30-8:00pm at the Meriden Public Library for a presentation of Your Dream Life. Your Dream Life focuses on how to make your big dreams reality starting right now.

Your Dream Life with Susane Colasanti

When I was a teen, I felt like I was always waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for things to change. Waiting for my life to get better. I didn’t get the memo that, although there were so many things I had no control over, I did have the power to start creating my dream life. I had the power to make some of the changes I wanted to see happen.

That’s why I am doing this presentation. To give you the memo no one gave me.

A Q&A discussion and book signing will follow this free event. Bonus: refreshments will be served. Hope to see those of you in the area there! xoxo