top five, signs and signals edition

Here in New York, the first day of school was yesterday. Which, I mean, what? We’re actually into September already? Really? WHAT IS HAPPENING. But yes, these are the last days of summer to cherish, and yes, it is still summer. It is still summer until September 22 when it will officially become fall and don’t let anyone tell you any different. So keep working your graphic tanks and snapping those flip-flops with purpose as you walk down the street enjoying the summer breeze. Speaking of graphics…

1. You know you are dorktastic to the max when your idea of a fun night out is rocking your matching Mister Rogers and Bob Ross tees.

Mister Rogers + Bob Ross tees

We found these tees earlier in the summer and I freaked. out. My plan was to wear them to some upscale restaurant like the total dorks we are. So we went on a Citi Bike ride down the East River, chilled at Ost Cafe on the Lower East Side, rode to South Street Seaport and had dinner at Barbalu, a restaurant we discovered on a Citi Bike ride last summer that is so fantastic it will appear in Forever in Love, the final book of my City Love trilogy. But of course it was Labor Day weekend and no one was even around to notice the ironic fabulousness of our tees. What can I say? We were on fire.

2. In other Forever in Love news, I recently finished reviewing the copyedits. Which I was sort of avoiding because after copyedits there is only one step left in the publication process: looking over the first draft, a hard copy of the book’s layout. It has been really hard to say goodbye to my girls. After three books and so much more to write about, this is a difficult transition. Fortunately I am super excited about the new book I am working on!

Are you into audio books? You can listen to an audio excerpt of Lost in Love here.

3. Here’s a throwback to 9.09.09.

Susane Colasanti at Katikies in Santorini

What was I doing seven years ago today? Oh, I don’t know. Just chilling in this world famous infinity pool at Katikies in Santorini! Santorini is the most beautiful place in the world. The resort I stayed at was positioned on a steep slope on the rim of the caldera. So in this photo you are looking at me blissfully floating at the top of a volcano. How incredible is that?

4. Shout-out to my girl Andrea on Twitter for designing this:

John Mayer in Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

If you’ve read any of my books, you might have noticed that I love including music. It makes me so happy when readers tell me they are into The Cure or R.E.M. or Paul Simon or Fleetwood Mac because they were inspired by my books. But I don’t just include old-school sound. John Mayer is a big part of Waiting for You, a story of a girl dealing with anxiety and depression, and that makes this graphic especially sweet.

5. I don’t know how long it will take for me to not burst into tears when I hear “Empire State of Mind” around September 11, but apparently it’s longer than 15 years. This Sunday, September 11 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers attacks. I cannot believe that was 15 years ago. I remember lots of details about that day, both big and small, mostly because I have relived September 11, 2001 so many times: how perfectly blue the sky was, what I was wearing, that excitement I always felt as a teacher at the beginning of a new school year. And of course the fact that, out of all the possible days I could have gone, I had plans that day to go to the Twin Towers with my friend Stephen. We were going to meet up after school and go to the observation deck. But we didn’t because the Twin Towers were…gone. You can read archives of my past September 11 posts linked from here.

Our plan for that day was a sign. Every day since for the past 15 years, I have been grateful to simply be alive.

This September 11 I will be broadcasting my walk down to Ground Zero on Periscope. You can find me there @SusaneColasanti if you want to see the Tribute in Light. Every year when I see the Tribute in Light, I see it as a signal reminding me to be grateful for everything I have. And every day when I see One World Trade, now standing proud and tall near the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood, I see it as a sign of better things to come.

Anything is possible. This is New York.

One World Trade

We will never forget. ❤

shelf talker feels

Anytime a bookstore closes, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. When I think about all of the amazing experiences I’ve had in bookstores over the years, especially indies where you can just feel the passion and dedication the second you walk in, it is obvious that the bookstores I have visited across the country are an indelible part of me.

So it was especially heartbreaking when the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closed here in New York at the end of June. That store was huge. When I was starting out as an author, they had a really big teen section with lots of room for those cardboard floor displays you don’t see anymore. I went there to take photos with my displays, and everyone was always so kind and welcoming. I was honored to moderate the very last event that store had, a teen panel that was part of B-Fest. Lots of sweet memories there.

Every negative situation has a positive side. The positive side of the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closing is that they let me keep my shelf talker…and also take a few faves. Shelf talkers are those labels you see under some authors’ books in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. Here are the ones I took as mementos:

Susane Colasanti with shelf talkers by John Green, Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Hunger Games

I am beyond grateful to have a shelf talker, and to be in such good company with these rock star authors.

Laurie Halse Anderson has been my favorite YA author since day one. Laurie is the OG of YA. Speak was the catalyst for an actual teen section, which pretty much didn’t exist until around 2000. Back in the day, there were like two shelves of teen books in the children’s section. Laurie inspired the teen section we know and love today. She is a beautiful writer. Every single page of her books resonates with truth and brilliance and emotion so strong sometimes you actually have to put the book down for a minute to get yourself together. She dropped the mic before that was even a thing. I will always be grateful to Laurie for helping me find my own voice, and will always be her #1 fangirl.

Everyone was saying I needed to read The Hunger Games. This was right before the final book came out. I was like, “No thanks, I’m all set with my TBR stack of realistic contemporary teen novels.” I am all about the realistic contemporary teen novels, which is why they are all I write. But people kept insisting. They were like, “You don’t understand.” And I was all, “No, you don’t understand. I’m not into dystopia.” But they would not shut up about how I didn’t understand. The first two books sat on my nightstand for a long time before I gave in and picked up The Hunger Games one night. Next thing I knew, I was still reading at four in the morning, eyes burning out of my head, not caring that I would be an exhausted mess the next day. Because OMG HOW GOOD WAS THAT BOOK? So yeah. Took that one.

Sarah Dessen paved the way for teen romance. She was a mentor when I was first getting started and is a friend I look up to today. I have learned so much from Sarah over the years. We have a lot in common, especially all things summer like flip-flops and long daylight time and fresh treats. Her books bring all the nostalgic feels. They have a timeless quality that feels like a dream to read. Leaving her shelf talker behind was just not an option.

There are some names that require no explanation. John Green is one of them. Enough said.

This Facebook Mentions Live video summed up my shelf talker feels:

Snaps for my readers on social who noticed the Joey + Pacey pic on my bulletin board. And yes, that is Jason Segel brushing his teeth in a scene from The Muppets!

Jason Segel in The Muppets

Fortunately our shelf talkers are in lots of Barnes & Noble stores. And B&N will be opening some new high concept stores that focus on community and ways to inspire more social interaction, bringing book lovers together in wonderful ways. I am really looking forward to seeing those.

Happy summer reading, friendly neighbors! xoxo

vp v. vip

Yesterday evening I looked out my window and saw some kind of event happening at one of the brownstones across the street. Actually it was like people were setting up for a big event. There were all these guys in suits and sunglasses walking around. Big black cars were parked. A white tent was set up from the door of the brownstone leading down to the sidewalk. At first I thought it was a wedding. But then I noticed that there were only guys standing around. No women. And the guys all looked like security. Especially the one standing guard outside the front door. There were police barricades along the sidewalk. The NYPD and FDNY were here. When I left for the gym, I saw that the entire street was blocked off. I looked at the brownstone with the tent outside. Five security guys in suits and sunglasses stared back.

Joe Biden was visiting a friend.

Or a relative. My doorman wasn’t sure. But according to him, Joe Biden makes this visit across the street about once a year. The street is always blocked off. Tons of security is on the scene. And the tent is put up so that no one has an aerial view of the Vice President entering and leaving the building. Lots of windows like mine were overlooking the scene. You never know who could be behind any of those windows.

This got me thinking about the extreme measures Joe Biden takes every year to visit his friend. He goes to these extreme measures for his visit, yet I have friends who live right here in New York City with me who I don’t even see once a year. And visiting them would take a lot less effort. I thought about how easy it is to get entrenched in your routine. Creative New Yorkers, the ones who came here to make their big dreams reality, are laser focused, driven, passionate people determined to succeed. We tend to be inflexible when it comes to protecting our professional time, and personal time if we are in a relationship. Which sometimes means less time for friends.

Who are the VIPs in your life? Do you have friends nearby who you have been meaning to spend more time with? Or friends who live far away you haven’t spoken to in a while? Summer is a good time to make those plans, pick up that phone, and rekindle your most meaningful personal connections. Because if Joe Biden can block off an entire street just to see his friend, we can certainly have dinner with ours. When an old friend visited me the other day, I wanted to share some of the best parts of New York living with her. Including my fave cookie (rainbow almond) at my fave place (the High Line).

Susane Colasanti on the High Line, June 2016

The ways in which friendships change over the years fascinates me. How you can be friends with one person for 20 years and still have all the most important things in common, while you might only have another friend for a few years before you grow apart. We never know how our friendships will change. Or if they will end. Let’s cherish them while we can.

Shower the people you love with love, friendly neighbors ❤

top five, deadline edition

TGIM! Today’s Top Five is going to be cat quick, as I am on deadline with line edits and have snuck over here like a ninja. So here are some super fast things…

1. New York City! I will be at the Barnes & Noble B-Fest this Friday, June 10 from 5:00 to 7:00pm at the Citigroup Center B&N. There will be games and prizes, including a raffle of those ginormous canvas book covers hanging all over the store! Hope to see you there.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016

2. I am loving this Booklist review of Lost in Love: “Teens who are drawn to new-adult titles and dream of romantic, parent-free summer escapades will be well rewarded.” Like all of my previous books, the City Love trilogy is YA, but I was hoping it would have crossover appeal. Good to see Booklist agrees! You can explore Lost in Love things here, and City Love here.

3. So there’s this sculpture called Looking Up by Tom Friedman that is on temporary display on Park Avenue. The second I read about it, I knew I had to go see. I mean, Look up is one of my main mottos, even right on the cover of City Love. It’s also a theme in So Much Closer. My whole thing is that we miss so much when we don’t look up. When we look up, not only do we discover beauty and history that we probably passed without noticing a hundred times before, but we invite positive energy into our day that can make magic happen. Anyway, I bookmarked an article about the sculpture and made a note to go see it before July.

The other day I was walking down the street when I looked up and noticed a cool sculpture. It was of a guy looking up. I was like, “Sweet! Look up!” But I totally forgot about the sculpture I had bookmarked. The next day I found it and realized I was on Park Avenue when I saw the guy looking up. I saw Looking Up without even realizing it at the time…all because I looked up. Full-circle meta, yo.

Then last night I looked up from my computer to look out my window and saw this.

New York City rainbow, June 5, 2016

There were lots of rainbow pics on social after the storms we had. But how many of those rainbows were radiating from a water tower? And dude, I have a thing for water towers. Always look up…

4. Taking a fangirl moment, I just have to say that this diagram perfectly quantifies my eternal love for the soul mate magic of How I Met Your Mother and Jason Segel as Marshall.

ceciliachart

I have been a huge Paul Simon fan since forever, so this dorktastic intersection of a fave musician and a fave show in science/math form blows my mind. Well played, HIMYM.

5. I will leave you with a warm fuzzy for the week about your time. Make the days count.

Make the days count

Much love ❤

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. ❤