you are not alone

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Facebook Q&A last week! It was super fun. So fun that I’m planning another one for later this summer with an international giveaway of City Love. Thanks also to No BS Book Reviews for taking it all off in this City Love edition of Novel Nudity. And this Justin’s Book Blog interview in which I was asked only one question: How has your life impacted your writing? I could have rambled forever on that one!

There was one question during the Q&A that I started to answer, but decided to answer more completely here when it was taking up too much time. Catherine S. asked, “What advice do you have for dealing with loneliness?”

I know what it’s like to feel so alone that you can hardy breathe. To feel like no one will ever love you or even understand you. To feel like you will never have a true best friend or find people who are really your people. Feeling alone makes everything in your life an enormous struggle. Things that seem easy for everyone else are almost impossible for you. You feel like you’re living in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language and don’t know the local customs. I wish I could have told myself back then what I know now. But I can tell you, and if you are feeling alone, hopefully it will help.

Here’s the first thing I need you to know: You are not alone. This phrase gets thrown around a lot. Kind of like It gets better and You are loved. These three encouragements would have done pretty much nothing to make me feel better in my teen years. My argument would have shot them down like this: Yes I am totally alone, things getting better later does nothing to help me now, and no one loves me. I felt so trapped in my small world that it was extremely difficult to see the bigger picture.

The thing that helped me survive the most in high school was hope. Hope that I would eventually create a happy life. That life felt like it was a million years away, but I knew it was actually four years away, then three, then two. Senior year was much easier since every experience was the last. The best advice I can offer is to find your hope. What do you hope for that will make your life better? Carry that hope in your heart. Remind yourself of that hope every morning, every night, and as many times during the day as you need to. Believe with everything you are that what you hope for will happen. Hope is a really good reason to keep holding on.

You are the architect of your own destiny. That means whatever you are hoping for is in your hands. Your actions in this present moment are shaping your future life. How will you achieve your most important goals? What can you start doing right now to begin working towards turning your dreams into reality? Identify at least one thing you can do every day that will bring you a step closer to achieving your goals. Then make that action a daily priority. Taking control of the things you can in a situation where so much is out of your control will make you feel more connected to your world, and inspire you to build connections with new people who are on your wavelength.

Books were my best friends in high school. My favorite time of day was after school when I could go home and read on my bed. Books, shows, movies, and of course music saved me. They made me feel less alone. Because even if I was only connecting with characters in books and on TV, that sense of connection and validation helped me feel understood. The work that authors, show writers, directors, and musicians were creating inspired me. They gave me safe places. They gave me a sense of community. Now you can go online and find actual communities of people who love what you do. Find your happy. Let the things that make you happy show you that people are out there who are dealing with the same challenges you are.

Are there already people in your life who want to help you, but you’re not letting them in? I kept my high school friends at a distance. There were so many embarrassing parts of my life I was too busy hiding from my friends to show them the real me. But if I had opened up to them, I would have realized that I was not alone. And I was already loved. And it could have gotten better just by reaching out to the people who were right in front of me.

Volunteer work helped me feel less alone in high school. I was a candy striper and a Girl Scout leader-in-training, both of which gave me a sense of purpose and places to belong. Find your people in the places you love. If you love bookstores, coffeehouses, and parks, your people love them, too. Connect with them. Build new friendships. Do not let fear hold you back. A world of possibility is waiting for you to discover abundant happiness. What are you waiting for?

You are loved.

It gets better.

You are not alone.

top five, july edition

Welcome July! July really is the best month of summer. It’s usually warm without too many hot days. It’s not August with the impending sense of summer vacay coming to an end. July is an entire month to live on your own terms, chill days to kick back included.

Here are some things July is bringing.

1. I will be doing my first Facebook Q&A tomorrow, July 2, 7:00-8:00pm EST on my Facebook page. Everyone who asks a question will be entered to win this signed copy of City Love.

Susane Colasanti with City Love

The winning address must be in the US, but everyone is welcome to participate. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about life, love, writing…anything at all. Hope to see you then!

2. Speaking of City Love, Too Many Books Not Enough Shelves posted this sweet review. Can we please get this girl some more shelf space? Savvy Naddy’s review contains a LOT of spoilers, so proceed with caution!

3. As of today, Styrofoam is banned in New York City. That is freaking awesome news. Every time I see one of those horribly disrespectful coffee cups (because, duh, we’re the only ones who can protect our planet), I want to scream. Styrofoam is a massive problem. It’s not recyclable, takes up tons of landfill space, and contaminates waterways. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. have already prohibited the use of this nasty product. Here’s hoping more states step up to advocate for this important step in protecting our environment!

4. I adore this diagram for combining two of my fave things: moon phases and watermelon.

Melon PhasesSee, this is yet another reason why I have the best readers. A reader knew I would love this and shared it with me on Twitter. How amazing is she?

5. Summertime is amusement park time. And you know I get down with Disco Cookie.

Susane Colasanti with Disco Cookie

Going back to Sesame Place 33 years later was a fun full-circle moment. Something tells me July will bring a few more of those.

Wishing this summer is your best one ever, friendly neighbors :D

harperaudio presents city love

Interviews rule. Especially ones you can actually listen to. That’s why I’m stoked about this podcast interview HarperAudio Presents did with me right before City Love came out.

Here’s the interview description:

Hear bestselling author Susane Colasanti talk about her new book City Love, the story of sisterhood in NYC – three girls move in together for a summer of adventure, romantic love, and self-discovery. Susane tells us what a soul mate is – and isn’t, how the hope for a happy life got her through miserable years in high school, and the power of being exactly who you are.

Can your BF be a soul mate even if he doesn’t rinse the dishes? Listen and find out :)

You can hear this interview on SoundCloud or iTunes. And you can find my interview archives on the Press page of my website.

periscope is a go

TGIM, friendly neighbors! I hope you rocked this first full day of summer. For those of you embarking on a summer of reinvention, your journey starts now.

I have also begun a journey of fun new adventures on Periscope. My username is the same as on Twitter, @susanecolasanti. My third broadcast was today and, although the broadcasts keep going way longer than I mean for them to (sorry about that!), I really like Periscoping. Today I attempted to sneak into Gramercy Park like a ninja. Or Jack Bauer. Or a member of B613 on Scandal. Which, excuse me, could Scandal be any better? It is scary good. I’m Netflixing Season Three right now and keep having to scrape my chin off the floor. And I was bawling over the ep where we find out about Huck’s past. Bawling. 

Anyway. My ninja skills weren’t on a black ops level, as you can see from today’s broadcast.

But! I did snap some fresh pics of Gramercy Park this spring, ninja style through the gate:

Gramercy Park, Spring 2015

So pretty, right? I didn’t get in today, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Anything is possible. Keeping the dream alive!

What’s up next on my Periscope? So. many. things. Manhattanhenge was my first broadcast and it was an epic fail due to the wall of clouds where we should have been watching a perfectly framed sunset. But no worries, because I got you for the second Manhattanhenge (there are two every year) on July 12. My second broadcast was from One World Observatory, 101 floors above everything. I’ll be going back around September 11 to broadcast before sunset, sharing daylight views with you and watching the city lights come on from far above New York City. The sunset and night views were tremendous, as you can see from this photo I took of the 9/11 Memorial in the rain:

One World Observatory view of the 9/11 Memorial

The Help Wanted feature I started on my YouTube will be moving to Periscope. Now it will be Help Wanted Live! I’ll take a few questions that you guys have been emailing me, plus I will take live questions as well. That will be super fun. I love being able to interact with you in real time. I’m also going to be doing What’s On My Bookshelf?, Show and Tell, and surprise giveaways. And of course more New York City scenes like the High Line, settings from City Love, So Much Closer, and Take Me There, night walks, and my fave West Village streets. So follow me on Twitter for broadcast announcements and find me on Periscope, where I am still Susane Colasanti.

See you again soon <3

top five, nostalgia edition

Happy almost summer, friendly neighbors! The summer solstice is this Sunday, June 21. Time for flip-flops, popsicles, and lots of sunlight. I don’t know about you, but I’m already in summer mode. Here are some warm fuzzy updates for you as we say goodbye to spring and get the summer party started.

1. HarperAudio Presents did a podcast interview with me about City Love, dreaming big, and how your BF could still be a soul mate even if he doesn’t rinse the dishes. You can listen to the City Love podcast on SoundCloud or on iTunes.

2. We did a New Jersey road trip last weekend so I could sign books at the Bridgewater, North Brunswick, Springfield, and Livingston Barnes & Noble stores. For those of you in the vicinity of these stores who would like a signed copy of City Love or my backlist, here you go! You can find all of my books in the Teen Romance section with a cute shelf talker: Realistic Romance from Susane Colasanti Shout-outs to Kara at the Bridgewater Barnes & Noble and Mara at the North Brunswick Barnes & Noble for being the most amazing teen leads ever. They totally put up displays of my books when they heard I was coming. Booksellers and librarians automatically rule, but ones that go the distance to connect readers and authors get gold stars.

3. Speaking of amazing booksellers, I was at Chelsea Market the other day hunting down a Cookie Monster cupcake and was devastated to discover that the bakery had closed. These Cookie Monster cupcakes were my fave. Yes, even more than Sprinkles and Crumbs. Why? Not only were they freaking adorable, but they had that old-school frosting I haven’t been able to find anywhere else for years. Now where will I go for that rush of sweet nostalgia? Moving on (or trying to), I went into Posman Books and found this: Posman Books manifesto This manifesto speaks for itself. Well played, Posman.

4. My refrigerator might be telling me it’s already summer. Summer refrigerator There were two ginormous watermelons in my kitchen when this week began. Aaaand my grocery shopping was done for the week. Because what else do I want to eat in the summer besides summer fruit? Not a whole lot. You know it’s summer when your refrigerator is dominated by watermelon. I also enjoy living vicariously through Bubby’s foraging journal. When it comes to summer fresh produce, this girl can’t get enough.

5. Hardcore stamp collector teen me still fangirls when I see cute new stamps. Back when I collected stamps regularly in high school, I would go to the post office every month and see what new stamps they had. Things have changed a lot since then. It’s not easy being a philatelist in 2015. So when I was at the post office the other day, I was stoked to see these: From Me To You stamps Awww! Not only are these stamps totally adorbs, they come with matching stickers to put on your envelope and letter. I would love to see a resurgence of kids writing actual letters, summer camp style. Stamps like these offer some fun motivation. Yay for letter writing. Yay for stamps. Yay for books made of paper. Yay for popsicles and old-school frosting and watermelon. Yay for each and every little thing that brings a rush of nostalgia. There’s so much more to appreciate when you’re all about the little things.

I can’t wait to see what this summer brings. Wishing you a summer that is your best one ever <3

the love of your life

Happy NewYorkiversary to me! Nineteen years ago today, I moved to New York City to start a shiny new life, build my dream career, and find love. Not just any love. True love. The love of my life. I’d always had a Knowing that soul mates were real and I was determined to find mine. New York City was actually my first true love and the inspiration for my upcoming City Love trilogy. All these years later, I still feel the city love every single day.

Tribeca rooftop, New York City

Growing up across the water in New Jersey, I knew New York City was my true home. I could feel the pull of this magical kingdom even before my first visit. New York is a place where everyone is free to be exactly who they are. No more feeling like an outsider. No more feeling like I needed to escape. When I finally turned this big dream into reality, I knew my whole life would feel completely different in a way I’d always hoped it would. I practiced a lot of creative visualization: imagining my ideal life, writing out my goals, and taking steps every day to turn my dreams into reality. When you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, it’s easier to recognize once you find it. And having that calm clarity allows the things you want to manifest.

Back in my teens and early 20s, I thought that once certain things changed in my life I would finally be happy. I really believed those things had to happen first before I could find happiness. These were some of the big ones:

  • When I get married, I will be happy.
  • When I find an apartment in the West Village, I will be happy.
  • When I finish paying off my student loans, I will be happy.
  • When I reach my fitness goals, I will be happy.
  • When my first book gets published, I will be happy.

But I was wrong. I had it backwards. It wasn’t that those things had to happen first and then I would be happy. I had to be happy first and then those things would happen. I had to build my own internal happiness, to love myself for exactly who I was, to allow those external things to happen. When you are at peace with yourself, you are able to attract the positive energy necessary to turn your dreams into reality.

When I  am happy, things will change.

Ever notice that negative people who are constantly complaining about their life never seem to get what they want? Negative energy attracts negative energy. You get what you give. If someone is spewing a lot of negative energy out into the Universe, that is exactly what they will get back. Being happy first is key to achieving your goals…and then your happiness grows even larger once those goals are achieved.

How can you be happy when there are so many goals you want to achieve? By appreciating what you do have instead of fixating on what you don’t. The decisions that you make earlier in life shape your future. Being the best version of yourself ensures that you are creating the best possible future for yourself and your loved ones. Being on your game as often as possible opens so many doors of opportunity for you. Everything from recommendations to internships/jobs to special favors someone in power decides to do for you because you are so sweet/awesome/intelligent. The possibilities are endless. Including the possibility of finding a soul mate.

I refused to settle for less than finding the love of my life. Even when people told me that I needed to settle if I ever wanted to get married because I was in my late 30s and this is New York City where the probability of a woman getting married over 40 is smaller than the probability of being struck by lightning while simultaneously having a piano dropped on your head. Even when people told me I was being unrealistic, that the total package didn’t exist, that true love was a myth, I had a Knowing that the love of my life was out there. I allowed myself to find him by never giving up.

How do you know when you’ve found the person you’re meant to be with? You have this feeling of clarity you’ve never had before. The feeling is undeniable. The feeling tells you the search is over. Of course there are more specific details that are evident to the whole world. One way you know you’ve found a soul mate? Is when you get each other the same holiday card. Like these adorable Papyrus cards my BF/soul mate and I got each other this Christmas:

Soul mate holiday cards

To clarify, finding the love of your life does not mean finding a perfect person. No one is perfect. It’s just that the love of your life is perfect for you. Soul mates have flaws just like the rest of us. The love of my life doesn’t rinse the dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher. He struggles to maintain the closet organization systems I have established at his place. Sometimes he doesn’t read emails carefully and misses important information. But so what? If I listed all of my flaws, there would not be any more room on WordPress for anyone to blog about anything else. So please don’t misinterpret “soul mate” to mean “perfect person.” Soul mates are real, just like anyone else.

You can find the love of your life. Love yourself first. Build your own happiness. And refuse to settle for less than what your heart desires. Your dreams deserve to become reality. You deserve as much happiness as your heart can hold.

Here’s to infinite possibilities in 2015!

 

ultimate office throwdown

Think about the things you’re obsessed with. Now narrow them down into categories (books, music, shows, movies). What’s your #1 show? For me, it’s The Office. I should note that My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Dawson’s Creek are included when it comes to my hardcore fangirl obsessions. I should also note that I ranked #1 in the Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge back in the early days of Facebook. Okay, I was only #1 for like a day (this Australian girl was always beating me with her scary knowledge of everyone’s license plate numbers and birthdays). But still. My obsessions don’t play.

You know how you feel a sense of ownership with your fave show? Like no one could possibly know anywhere near as much as you do about it, including those super obscure details you only know because you froze the screen to read that address/note/flyer? That’s totally me when it comes to The Office. Which is why, when Carmen and Layla were visiting this summer with their incredibly cool parents, I challenged them to the Ultimate Office Throwdown.

Ultimate Office Throwdown participants

We immediately bonded over our love for all things Office the second we met. We spent hours tossing around quotes, reenacting scenes and cracking up over the kind of inside jokes only hardcore Office freaks like us would understand. I would have been impressed with anyone who could match my Office skills like they did. But Carmen and Layla are in middle school. That made them way more impressive. Could I let some middle school boy best me in the world of Jam? It was time to throw down, girl power style.

Carmen and I wrote 20 questions each (Layla also wrote some good ones!). We were not allowed to consult the show or anything online. Our questions and answers were strictly from memory. We had the option of challenging if we didn’t agree with an answer. But please. We’re so hardcore the answers had been burned into our brains long ago. If you think we tossed out easy stuff like What does Dwight grow on his farm?, think again. We didn’t call it the Ultimate Office Throwdown for nothing.

Here is a sampling of my trivia questions. These were the hardest ones I could think of with answers on the spot. If you love The Office, you might want to challenge yourself with these. The answers are listed at the end of this post.

Ultimate Office Throwdown Questions

1. How many words per minute do Pam and Jim type?

2. What is the street address of Dunder Mifflin?

3. When Michael wants to do Yankee Swap at the Christmas party, what does Jim say Yankee Swap is called? What does Pam say they call Yankee Swap in her family?

4. When Michael cooks his foot on the George Foreman Grill, what does he ask Ryan to get at the gas station that they didn’t have? Which town is the gas station in?

5. At Pam’s art show, what does Michael have in his pocket?

6. How much did Michael pay for the iPod he gave Ryan for Secret Santa?

7. At Dwight’s wedding, what is the first thing Dwight says when he sees Michael? What is Michael’s response?

8. When Dwight meets with Jan secretly trying to steal Michael’s managing job, near which outlet do they meet?

9. What new nickname does Andy give Jim the morning of Jim’s job interview in New York?

10. What is the name of Jim’s avatar in Second Second Life? What does Pam call his avatar?

11. When Dwight is taken to the hospital for a concussion, what does he tell Michael his middle name is?

12. What are Michael and Jim’s final lunch orders when Michael takes Jim to Hooters?

13. What time is Michael’s birth moment?

Dude, Carmen was crazy good at answering these. The throwdown was a tie! And we had the best non-coincidence after. We all went to Central Park. The kids were climbing a tall boulder. This couple walking by looked up at the kids on the boulder and said, “Hardcore parkour!” No one jumped into a Vance Refrigeration box, though.

Ready for the answers?

Ultimate Office Throwdown Answers

1. Pam – 90 wpm. Jim – 65 wpm.

2. 1725 Slough Avenue

3. Jim – Nasty Christmas. Pam – White Elephant.

4. Yams. Carbondale.

5. A Chunky bar

6. $400

7. Dwight: Michael. I can’t believe you came. Michael: That’s what she said.

8. Liz Claiborne

9. Big Haircut

10. Jim Samtanko. Philly Jim.

11. Danger

12. Michael – Gourmet hotdog. Jim – Ham and cheese sandwich.

13. 11:23 am

So. How did you do?!