choose must

Today’s TGIM warm fuzzy is all about your must. Must is your passion. Must is what you were meant to do.

Must is who you truly are without fear.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Live your must.

This beautiful inspiration comes to us from The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. Thank you for your glorious book, Elle!

top five, happy springtime edition

Today is the 5th day of spring and flowering trees are already in bloom here in New York. Flowers on trees make me happy. And birds are chirping and it’s not freezing and just YAY. All of this springtime glee makes me want to share some things with you that will hopefully make you smile.

1. First off, I have to give a shout-out to my girl Ronni. Ronni is a longtime reader, aspiring author, and has been coming to my Chicago events for years. So when she told me that she would be in New York for the NYC Teen Author Festival this year, I was psyched for another reunion…local this time. Look how Ronni got the outfit memo I didn’t even send. BOOM.

Ronni and Susane, photo by Wanda Lotus

You know someone is a rising star when they travel with their own super profesh photographer. The remarkable Wanda Lotus took this happy photo of us at the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble. You can admire Wanda’s photography at Lotusland Fine Art.

2. Who else did I get to chill with at the big Reader’s Theater event? Oh, I don’t know. Only Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, a book I completely worship in a godlike way. You can read some of my Everything, Everything fangirling here. Nicola and I share a love for all things Little Prince. So when she rolled in wearing a Little Prince tee (which I believe is this Out of Print one), it just made me love her even more. And don’t even get me started on her Kate Spade typewriter bag. Could this girl be any cuter?

I was freaking out before the event (and decided to capture my freakout live on my Facebook) because we were acting out each other’s books and I was playing Maddy from Everything, Everything. And David Levithan was playing Olly. I KNOW. Not too much pressure or anything. David and I were joking in rehearsals about him doing Olly’s handstand for real. Then he actually went for it! Of course I spotted him cat quick.

David Levithan and Susane Colasanti acting out Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

All of the authors were hilarious. I really liked meeting multi-talented debut author Jeff Zentner.

Jeff Zentner and Susane Colasanti

The Serpent King has so many starred reviews it is pretty much its own galaxy. Snaps for Jeff on his stellar achievement!

3. Events are my fave part of author life because that’s where I get to meet my readers. You guys are why I write. Having the opportunity to meet you in person means so much to me. So yay for book events and all of you who come out for them!

On the other side of author life, the side where I exist most days, I am by myself writing in my home office.

Susane Colasanti's home office

I think it’s important to surround yourself with a creative space that inspires joy. Even if you are not working in a creative field. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things that spark joy and inspire positive energy will help you create your dream life. Finally being able to have the kind of home office I had envisioned was probably the most exciting part of buying and renovating my apartment four years ago. You can see how this office space was constructed here. Since then I’ve added more pieces to my desk, found the sweetest lamp for that corner, and snagged a violet window settee with the perfect dimensions. Curating your ideal creative space is a process. But the cool thing is, you can start right now by simply organizing and letting go of clutter. Then when you find your sweetest lamp, it will feel right at home.

4. This New York Times interactive article: 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going.

5. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Coldplay. I mean, they have been one of my fave bands for years. Coldplay was even acknowledged in When It Happens. But now I’m listening in a different way. The new book I am just beginning to work on is different in some major aspects that are challenging me as a writer, challenges that I felt the need to bring on. I don’t know, it’s like this music I have loved for years that has helped me so many times in countless ways is now inspiring me to take things to the next level.

You guys know that I obsess over The Office something fierce to the point where I could create an entire 5,000-card trivia game from memory. So when I found this video of Jim and Pam’s history set to Sparks, I freaked the eff out.

Enjoy those nostalgic Jam feels.

Enjoy surrounding yourself with a creative space.

Enjoy the spring.❤

the claire danes manifestation

Part of the reason I have never owned a TV (for reals, as in the last time I lived in a home with a TV I was 18, right before I left for college) is in protest of what TV is babbling at us in between commercials (and especially commercials). That said, you know I love my shows and don’t mind always being a season behind. But seriously. How could the two best shows ever, My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, only run for one season each?

That. Is. Egregious.

Jordan Catalano and Angela Chase

My heartache over never knowing what happens next will never die. I imagine Angela’s parents splitting up, her dad getting with Hallie Lowenthal while her mom falls apart. And what about Brian Krakow? Angela discovers that Brian wrote Jordan’s note right before the show ended forever. I mean hello, of course Angela gets back together with Jordan Catalano. You can’t not get back together with Jordan Catalano. But then what?

EGREGIOUS.

A part of our pop culture history has been irrevocably stolen from us. Stolen for eternity. That is an undefendable thing. The person in charge of that horrifying decision clearly had an unconscious wish to punish us.

Naturally being a hardcore fangirl of My So-Called Life comes with adoring Claire Danes in general. Her intelligence, radiance, and outstanding talents shine in any role she plays. Right before I moved to Gramercy Park about four years ago, I lived in the West Village for nine years. A few blocks from where Claire Danes lives now. My celeb encounters over the years, from talking to Philip Seymour Hoffman about his son’s new skateboard to asking David Duchovny to move aside so I could open the gate of my building’s stoop when he took over my street for filming and was totally hanging out with us, inspired me to write a scene for City Love in which my girls pass Claire Danes on the street. Of course they follow her. But not in a creepy stalker way. In an adoring fangirl way. The Claire Danes scene is on pages 37-39 of City Love.

Claire Danes in City Love by Susane Colasanti

You know that I am all about dreaming big. About creating your dream life by visualizing your goals, then taking steps every day towards making them reality. Part of this process involves putting your dreams out there with positive energy. Every time you express your dreams in verbal, written, or artistic form, you are making them known to the Universe. I wrote this scene a few years ago. And this weekend, it manifested. Not in the exact way I wrote it. Even better.

My friend Linden and I were having dinner Saturday night. Linden said how she saw Claire Danes on the street right before we met up. I am not embarrassed to admit that I knew Claire’s address because I counted it as “research” I was doing for the book. We were having dinner like two blocks from Claire’s place. So after dinner we decided to go see her townhouse. Because dude. That’s how hardcore fangirls roll.

Here’s the fascinating thing about how the Universe works with us to manifest our goals. I knew where Claire’s townhouse was. I only lived a few blocks from it for nine freaking years. But as we were walking to find it, I suddenly blanked. It was the weirdest thing. We were wandering around for longer than it should have taken. Which made no sense until we were standing in front of Claire’s door for three seconds…and Claire pulled up in a cab. She got out, looked at me, and I looked away out of respect. Because a person should be able to open their front door as, like, a basic human right. Yeah, part of me wanted to rattle off an obscure MSCL line like, “Excuse Angela. She’s the product of a two-parent household.” Or tell her how much that show has meant to me, how many times rewatching those eps have saved me from feeling sad. But Claire’s privacy was more important. She was going home.

The timing of every single thing that happened to allow us to have that small encounter blows our minds. If we had gotten there a few minutes, or even seconds, earlier or later, we would have never seen her. I am in profound awe of that moment. Moments like that one spark renewed city love…and make me appreciate celebrating my 20th New Yorkiversary this year even more.

This also makes me wonder what will manifest from Lost in Love, the second book of the City Love trilogy, coming out on May 3. Into the Hall of Books wants to know. And I’m about to revise book three of the trilogy. Better pay extra attention to detail :)

leap day style

TGIM Leap Day style! I considered posting something epic for Leap Day. Or reporting on how I celebrated in some big way.

And then I was like, We don’t need a calendar to give us extra minutes to celebrate time. Every single minute of every single day is an opportunity for you to shine. No matter how you choose to enrich your life.

This moment is your life.

So if you are like me and didn’t do anything major to celebrate? Why not take one of these extra minutes to just breathe? Or practice gratitude? Or enjoy a treat that makes you happy? Isn’t it all about the little things, anyway?

“This moment is your life.”

believe in love

Valentine’s Day is here, which could mean one (or a combination) of a few different things for you. Either a.) You will be spending at least part of today with someone you love, b.) You are fighting to not get sucked into a downward spiral of depression, having been accosted by annoying displays of hearts and chocolates and flowers everywhere you go, and will be self-medicating with discount Russell Stover’s tomorrow, c.) You could not care less about a commercialized holiday that puts an enormous amount of pressure on everyone involved; your day will be business as usual, or d.) You will be taking back VDay with your friends, celebrating the love you have for one another and the love you are developing for yourself.

If you are in a b.) situation, please know that I hear you. Loud and clear. Like, we could be binge watching The Office and baking chocolate chip cookies together right now. I cannot even tell you how much day-after-Valentine’s-Day discount chocolate I have drowned my sorrows in over the years. My comfort chocolate of choice has always been Russell Stover’s Assorted Creams. Their Nut, Chewy & Crisp Assortment was backup, followed by their milk chocolates. Because really, who wants to deal with dark chocolate when you’re depressed?

During those years of Valentine’s Day sorrow, feeling like I would never find true love and would not only die alone, but would die one of those miserable urban deaths where nobody would even know I died and my body would not be discovered until days after when the smell of my decomposed, Russell Stover’s rotting corpse would seep out from under my apartment door and someone down the hall would smell me and be like, “Is the garbage chute backed up or something?”

So yeah. I know all about being depressed on Valentine’s Day.

But here’s the thing. I refused to die that way. Not finding my soul mate was just not an option for me. Now, if you are in a c.) and/or d.) situation and are totally cool with being single, enjoying a girl or boy break or savoring the tingly anticipation of your first relationship to come, you freaking rule right now. I wish I’d had the confidence to be you. Maybe you don’t even want a relationship. I am impressed with your swagger. No matter which situation you are in today, I want to share something about my own process of dreaming big and making that dream reality. I have shared lots of these examples over the years. Today the story is about my fiance, but this is an example that will hopefully inspire any of you with big dreams, no matter what your dreams are.

This magazine ad of a snowman holding a Tiffany’s ring bag was on my dream board for years, then on my scrapbook treasure map.

My Tiffany's vision...

I looked at my Tiffany’s snowman on my dream board every day and visualized finding my soul mate. While the snowman was in my scrapbook, I didn’t see it every day, but the power of creative visualization was still at work because I had put that positive energy out there and was taking steps every day toward making that dream a reality. This photo shows the actual Tiffany’s ring box and bag that Matt (I never told him about the snowman, FYI) gave me when he proposed…in the winter with snow on the ground and the New York City skyline glittering in the background. And this is my engagement ring!

After years of dreaming big and putting those dreams out there in verbal, written, and artistic form, it never ceases to amaze me when I go back to one of my goal lists and can check something off I’d written years before that I’d totally forgot about. Although I never completely forgot about my snowman, I hadn’t looked at him in a long time. That winter Tiffany’s part of my vision was already manifesting in way more specific detail than I expected it to. I mean, why did I put that particular Tiffany’s ad on my dream board? I don’t do winter. Why not one from spring with pretty flowers, or glowing in the summer sun? You can’t just cut something out of a magazine, glue in on your treasure map, kick back and expect a Tiffany’s ring box to knock on your door. You have to work toward achieving your goal, no matter what your goal is, every day. But it is fascinating how powerful the visual components of your dream can be, and how closely they can manifest in real life.

Matt Huntington and Susane Colasanti

It’s okay to have bad days where everything is going wrong and you feel hopeless and alone. Feeling like your dreams are out of reach, or worrying that you won’t be able to achieve them, is a natural part of the process. But then a shiny new day comes and you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on your creative visualization track. Visualize your big dream. Take steps toward achieving it. Put positive energy out into the Universe. And refuse to give up.

Believe in your dreams. Believe in love❤

bright colors, big city

February greetings, friendly neighbors! January pretty much zoomed by in like three seconds. I think it was a combination of being on deadline with my new book and…no, that was it. Writing the final City Love trilogy book was not easy. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to my girls. But now I am already starting my next book – which will be the 12th – and I am excited for this new beginning in a way I haven’t been before. The City Love trilogy is the only series I’ve written, and it has sort of become a diving line between my previous novels and what is to come. No worries, I will still be writing realistic teen love stories! There is just a bright new energy in the air here at the home office in New York City.

Authors can’t always rely on a set schedule year to year. Every time we sign a new book contract, we are agreeing to a new delivery deadline for the manuscript and tentative publication date. This is why I have been extremely fortunate that for the past ten years, my new book has always been due on February 1, and every book has been released in May (except for City Love, which came out last April). Being on the same schedule every year works well for organization freaks like me.

When I submit a new manuscript, it is actually my third draft, not a first draft. Writing a first draft is the most difficult part of the process for me. Facing the blank page can be terrifying. But the key is to dive into writing a new book without fear. Let the words flow. Let them glide you down meandering streams, race you through steep valleys, and arrive at an aqua sea glittering in the sunshine…which is how I feel when I print out that first draft. The manuscript still needs tons of work, but at least I have something on paper to work with. I like to do my second draft on the hard copy, then the third draft back on the screen. But that’s just how I work. Every writer works differently. The important thing is to find what works best for you, and then work it and own it.

Speaking of diving in…have you read This Raging Light by Estelle Laure?

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

 

How gorgeous is this cover? The second I saw it I wanted to dive right into its painted paper. And I don’t even know how to swim. This beautiful design is a perfect reflection of the beauty of Estelle Laure’s writing. I was riveted the whole time. You know those books that are so good you stay up reading until four in the morning, your eyes burning out of your head, knowing you will pay the next day but not caring? Oh yeah. This Raging Light takes you places. I cannot wait for the sequel, These Mighty Forces, coming next January. Snaps to Estelle for her extraordinary debut!

Speaking of debuts…it’s kind of blowing my mind that my first novel, When It Happens, came out 10 years ago. And get this. My new book, Lost in Love, will be released 10 years to the day of When It Happens on May 3, 2016.

You know how I love a good non-coincidence.

So what will this next stage of my career bring? Too early to say. All I know is that I am excited to dive into writing a new book and let the energy of New York City keep inspiring me every day. This energy makes me feel alive. See, my city love isn’t about a boy. It’s about this place I knew in my heart was my true home way before I got here 20 years ago. It’s about visualizing my dream life and taking steps every day towards making that dream reality. And, as always, remaining dedicated to writing books that hopefully make you feel less alone. You are why I write. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Here’s to those magic changes❤