10th annual nyc teen author festival

Has it really been 10 years since superstar David Levithan organized the first NYC Teen Author Festival? A whole freaking decade?

Apparently.

Get ready for the 10th Annual NYC Teen Author Festival, happening March 18-26!

NYC Teen Author Festival 2017

Dude. SO many fabulous authors will be at this thing it’s unreal. I mean, just look at the full schedule of events. How amazing is that?

If you are in the New York City area the weekend of March 25-26, you can totally find me at the festival. Here’s where I’ll be:

Saturday, March 25 – 7:00-9:00 pm

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012

What Is a Love Story? panel with Kayla Cagan, Susane Colasanti, Pete Hoffmeister, Adam Silvera, Sarvenaz Tash, Maggie Thrash, and Nicola Yoon. Moderated by David Levithan.

Sunday, March 26 – 1:30-2:00 pm

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

10th Annual Ginormous Signing! With a ridiculous amount of authors! Which you absolutely do not want to miss!

Hope to see you at one of these events, friendly neighbors! xoxo

20th new yorkiversary

I’m just going to say it.

2016 sucked every which way a year could possibly suck. Seriously with that ish? What even was that? You know it’s not a good year when you set your alarm clock to NPR every morning at the start of a major news hour so that the second you wake up you can find out where a shooting was and/or who died. I mean…I cannot EVEN.

Focusing on good things helps. One good thing about 2016 (that automatically included lots of other good things) is that January 6 was my 20th New Yorkiversary. I moved to New York City for grad school on January 6, 1996 in a blizzard with no money, no friends, and no job, just big dreams I was determined to make reality. So all this year I have been celebrating 20 years in my dream city, the city that makes me feel alive every day. Even when I woke up day after day to horrifying news, I was grateful to live in the city where I belong. And right now I am relieved that, as of December 22, daylight time is increasing a little every day. That is a very good thing.

Winter solstice

Some good things that happened in 2016? I got engaged. A scene from City Love manifested with Claire Danes on the street. The second book of my City Love trilogy, Lost in Love, came out and Epic Reads did an author fun facts video to celebrate. I got to be Maddy from Nicola Yoon’s spectacular Everything, Everything. I went to YALLWEST and chilled with author rock stars and fangirled all over the place. I made some dorktastic YouTube videos. I shared one of my favorite hidden West Village areas with you. And every day, no matter what sad things were happening in the world, I was feeling the city love. The past 20 years have been filled with magical New York City moments that have shaped the person I am today. I am forever in love with my home and the infinite possibilities it brings.

Something tells me you are looking forward to 2017 as much as I am, if not more. I am here to tell you this: You can turn your big dreams into reality in 2017. How do I know? Because dude. I went from having 73 cents in my bank account in college to becoming a homeowner in downtown Manhattan. With enough kitchen counter space to bake my annual 200+ Christmas cookies.

Christmas cookies by Susane Colasanti

That journey was not an easy one. Anything worth achieving requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and the passion to keep going when it feels like everything is falling apart. And I have to say, time is a wild thing. You are just living your life one day at a time. The next thing you know, 20 years have suddenly gone by. 20 years.

Where do you want to be in 20 years? 10 years? 5 years? 2017?

One technique I have used since I moved here is creative visualization. I picture my goals with clarity, then take steps every day towards achieving them. Try writing down your biggest goals for whatever timeframe you choose. Then write down one thing you can realistically do every day to take steps closer to achieving each of them. This process, the passionate dedication of working hard to achieve your goals, is how big dreams become reality. It worked for me. And if I could do it, you definitely can.

Happy New Year, friendly neighbors! Much love to you from New York City. xoxo

Empire State Building at Christmas

serendipity day

Happy Serendipity Day! Every year on December 20, I repost my annual Serendipity Day reflections to celebrate the power of this auspicious day with you. Here’s to positive energy, following your heart, and the magic of soul mates. Much love xoxo

*

Today is Serendipity Day, aka Serendipity Do Da, aka Do Da Day.

You would probably like an explanation.

If you didn’t see the movie Serendipity, then not to be bossy? But you really need to go ahead and do that. It’s all about fate and destiny and positive energy and has some amazing New York City scenes. Films like Serendipity take city love to a whole other level. But even if you did see it, you probably didn’t pick up on the fact that Jonathan and Sara meet on December 20. Being obsessive about those kinds of details, I totally did. Then I immediately made an executive decision that December 20 will always and forever be known as Serendipity Day.

When they meet, Jonathan and Sara are in Bloomingdale’s trying to grab the same pair of gloves. You know how sometimes you meet someone and there’s this instant intense connection? That’s what happens to them. So of course they can’t just go their separate ways. They have to go to Serendipity 3 (which is only a few blocks away – love the accuracy) for frozen hot chocolates. And then they go ice skating in Central Park. It’s one of those magical New York nights, filled with excitement and possibility.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Serendipity

But then.

When Jonathan writes down his number for Sara, the wind blows it away. She thinks it’s a sign that they’re not meant to be together. Or at least, not right now. She’s all about fate and destiny. So she makes him write his name and number on the back of a five-dollar bill, which she immediately uses to buy mints. Sara’s idea is that if the five-dollar bill makes its way back to her, then they’re meant to be together.

Good, right?

If you’ve read Something Like Fate, you can understand why I love this movie. I love it so much that my friend Joe and I used to celebrate Serendipity Day by reenacting the original Serendipity Day’s events. First, we put our names in at Serendipity. There’s usually a three-hour wait for a table around the holidays. I am not exaggerating. Serendipity is a gorgeous winter wonderland right now, all sparkly lights and trees and tinsel. Everyone wants in. But it was perfect because we needed those three hours to reenact scenes from the movie. We would head over to Bloomingdale’s, where we both grabbed a pair of gloves at the same glove counter. That counter doesn’t have gloves anymore so we had to bring the gloves over from the gloves section, but it still counted. Then it was off to Wollman Rink in Central Park. It was always the Coldest Night Ever when we did this. I don’t know how to ice skate, so we would kind of just stand there shivering and watching the glittery skyline and sending positive energy out into the Universe.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Wollman Rink in Central Park

 

Then our table was ready at Serendipity 3 and it was frozen hot chocolate time! In the movie, Jonathan and Sara get red and blue straws in theirs. But we always got regular straws. So I asked about the red and blue ones. I was monumentally disappointed to discover that they don’t have those red and blue straws anymore. But then I got over myself because their frozen hot chocolate is the best in the world, regardless of straw color.

If Joe and I were at a point in our lives where we were single, we would each take out a five-dollar bill and write our name and number on the back (in red pen for accuracy). Then we’d give the bills to the waiter as part of his tip. Not that anyone ever called us. But that’s not the point. The point is that we put positive energy out there. We made a choice to create more possibility for finding true love. Anything is possible here in New York. This city makes magical things happen when you take action to work towards your goals.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager, reunited

How can you celebrate Serendipity Day if you’re not here in New York? Well, if you are already with your soul mate you can make frozen hot chocolates and call it a day. But if you are still searching, send positive energy out into the Universe today. Take some time to write down your goals. Visualize what you want your love life to be like. Then make a plan to take steps every day towards finding your person. All of these actions will help you get closer to turning your big dream into reality.

Oh, and PS? Serendipity 3 is also home of the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, served in a Baccarat crystal goblet (which you get to take home), made with the world’s most expensive chocolate, and covered in 23-carat edible gold leaf. Just in case you weren’t sure what to order.

Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity

Happy Serendipity Day, friendly neighbors! Go make magic happen.

typo annihilator

You know how some things just annoy you so much you can’t even with them? But other people might not be bothered at all, or even notice?

Typos are like that for me.

Now and Forever typo sign 1

I mean, I cannot with this. “Your being video taped.” Seriously? And on printed signage?

Every time I see a glaring typo on a sign, I document the offense for my personal photo collection. Why? Because I’m a weirdo like that. But also because these are too good not to share. And rage/laugh/shake our heads over. Thus this overdue blog post!

Let’s revisit the time my favorite vegetarian restaurant had a new awning made, shall we?

Vegetarians Vegetarian's Paradise

So like…not only does this brand spanking new awning have a huge typo, but given its two different connotations of “vegetarians” you could say it has two. How can Vegetarians Paradise not know it is a paradise for more than one vegetarian? Hello, no wonder the singular possessive side got graffitied.

Creating a character who rages against typos was inevitable. That’s why in Now and Forever, Sterling is a typo annihilator. She whips out her black Sharpie and corrects typos on signs like an intellectual ninja. Fun fact: Sterling is Marisa’s best friend in Waiting for You. And Marisa has a cameo in Now and Forever. I’ve been bringing back previous characters from my backlist in my recent books, and will continue to have fun with this moving forward. My ultimate goal is to have all of my characters linked to one another by one degree as a statement on how we are all connected. Let’s see how it goes…

But yeah. I just can’t with this random capitalization.

Now and Forever typo sign 2

Or this.

Now and Forever typo sign 3

Because if you are on line at CVS browsing the magazines on the rack at checkout, you are only required to put one of the magazines back? You’re allowed to keep the others? I am also fascinated by the new vocabulary word “Thankyou.” I can understand its origin. The space between those words was such a hassle.

Down the block at another drug store chain, I spotted this beauty.

Now and Forever typo sign 4

So. Many. Things.

I will leave you with this gem…and best wishes for happy typo hunting!

keys

grand foyer

So the holiday season is here. For some of you, this is a fun time with friends and family, days off, and general cheer. But for others, the holidays are the most difficult time of year to endure.

I was one of those others.

If you have separated from your family as a survival tactic or don’t have a family to be with, I feel you. You are definitely not alone. I am sending you sparkly positive energy right this second. And also, I hope, sharing some inspiration that might help make the holiday season more bearable. This post also applies to anyone who has big dreams, who is working on achieving goals, or wants to make changes in your life. So, you know. Everyone.

Here in New York City, closet space is treasured even more than an amazing view. Ripping out a closet is unheard of. People buy apartments and build more closets. But after I bought my apartment and was planning a gut renovation, my architect wanted to do something outrageous. Something no one ever does. He wanted to remove a closet by the front door. At first I was waiting for the punchline. Because of course he must have been joking. But he wasn’t joking. He wanted to take out the closet and create a foyer. Note that pretty much anywhere else, a foyer is a large entryway area, measuring about 40 square feet. In downtown Manhattan, an entry space that’s like 2 square feet is considered large enough to be classified as a foyer.

By ripping out this closet, I wouldn’t just be gaining a foyer. I would have a grand foyer. Because there were about 10 square feet to work with.

Here’s what the entryway looked like before renovations.

Grand foyer before

That open door was to the closet my architect wanted to remove. Those slatted doors were to another closet which I kept (but of course had nicer doors made), so I wouldn’t be missing out on a front closet for coats and things. I decided to go for it.

Letting go of something you thought was essential to make room for something even more amazing is a vital part of evolution as an artist. You have to take risks. No matter what you are creating – music, photography, film, books – you have to challenge yourself to grow. To reach the next level in your journey. To keep things fresh and relevant.

I saw the bright potential in destroying that dark space. It was an unthinkable change. But. Look what it allowed me to create.

Grand foyer after

My grand foyer! And it makes me so. freaking. happy.

To make this holiday season more tolerable, perhaps even enjoyable, why not make a change you would have never considered before? Maybe something you desperately want to accomplish that everyone says would be crazy. Maybe something that scares you. Maybe something that you know will be a lot of work and have been putting off taking that first step. When you follow your heart instead of the discouragement of others, you can manifest your dream life. You can create impossible beauty. You can transform darkness into a bright place.

This holiday season I am working on the second draft of a new book. Writing is my happy place. It’s my way of focusing the swirl that could potentially erupt into a downward spiral into a productive activity I love doing that will help me grow as an author. I am feeling all sorts of revitalized, fresh energy with my writing, and am super excited to see where this journey leads. For now, I am enjoying the process of getting there.

Where is your happy place? Where is the darkness you can transform into light?

What is your grand foyer?

Wishing you a productive, exciting journey this holiday season! Much love xoxo

love on the weekend

If you know me, there is a good chance that you know John Mayer plays the soundtrack of my life. He just gets me. From little things like how blue lights on a black night can make you feel more to big things like the monumental euphoria of falling in love in New York City. My novels even reflect the strong connection I have to John Mayer’s music. There is a reference to the blue lights thing in When It Happens and the City Love trilogy covers that NYC euphoria.

So when John Mayer came out with a new single right before this weekend, of course I could not wait to be swept away again.

Love on the Weekend by John Mayer
And I was.

I will be grooving to “Love on the Weekend” all weekend. This song has JM’s old-school musical sound, but reinforced by the recent journeys he has taken. Artists have to take risks at certain points in their career to stay fresh, to grow, to evolve. I feel like the past four years have been that time for John to explore new territory and travel new roads. Now he is back and it’s 2003 all over again. This song. Nostalgic. Full-circle. Bliss. Fellow fans will understand when I say this song brings the heart and soul of JM right back to you. I cannot wait for the entire album to drop. Of course it is called The Search for Everything.

Even the artwork of this single resonates with me. All of this just makes me smile and feel like sunshine and mellows me out. Perfect weekend feels.


Happy Weekend, friendly neighbors ❤