Archive | June, 2011

A Little Inspiration

15 Jun

So, this week, I’m working on Tokyo, one of my projects that’s currently in first draft stage. It’s such a fun book to write, and I wish I could tell you all about it right now.

Instead, I’m going to share some photos of things that appear (or, *will* appear, when I’m done) in the novel. Enjoy!



How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr

14 Jun

Coming October 18, 2011 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Is it possible to give a book six stars?

This book…this book, you guys. I don’t really know where to begin about it. I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately, among other plot-driven novels, and novels with paranormal elements to them. It was refreshing to read a novel that was straight-up contemporary. But, by “refreshing,” I do not mean refreshing like a trip to the spa, or a day at the beach, or something else lighthearted and fun.

By “refreshing,” I mean this book made me feel, moved me to compassion and understanding in ways I haven’t felt in a long time (if ever, possibly). Sara Zarr has this utterly incredible talent for writing about the world in ways that are just so real, ways that shine light on life—even the most common, mundane things—in a way you’ve never noticed before.

My favorite books are always the ones that tend to rock my world in some way. The Hunger Games trilogy did that—after Mockingjay, sad as it was, I felt hope. Across the Universe helped me appreciate sunlight, Earth, stars, fresh air, freedom. The Harry Potter books, due to—how do you sum THAT up? Their magical epicness, I guess—were the books that pushed me over the edge toward “I want to write my own novel,” something that has changed my day-to-day life in a very real way. Divergent was an adrenaline rush that made me think about human nature, about the impossibility of perfectionism, the prevalence of flaws in humanity, and the importance of bravery.

How to Save a Life reminded me to assume the best in everyone, and hammered home the notion that there are a lot of broken people in the world who would give anything for a hug, or someone who will listen to them, someone who won’t break their word. Also, it strengthened my appreciation for my amazing parents, wonderful husband, the baby I’ll give birth to in September, and all the little things I tend to take for granted.

Here’s a link to the Goodreads page, where you can read the blurb for this book and put it on your to-read lists.

Don’t Stop Now Contest Winners!

7 Jun

A huge thank you to everyone who entered my contest to win Julie Halpern’s Don’t Stop Now, in stores today! As you saw from the interview, Julie is fabulous—and her fabulousness absolutely makes its way into her novels.

When the deadline hit, enough individual people had entered for me to add a second prize! Wheee! I used a random number generator to choose the winners¹…

Winner of the ARC is…


#27: April!

Winner of the hardcover copy is…

#19: Aleeza!

April and Aleeza, please shoot me an email to kayla (at) kaylaolson (dot) com — once I have your mailing information, I’ll get those prizes to you ASAP.

I had so much fun reading everyone’s dream road trip ideas—it made me want to take mine (another Disney cruise, and since we’re dreaming big, I’d choose a l-o-n-g one to the Mediterranean)!

If you didn’t win, never fear—Don’t Stop Now is out TODAY! And, if you’re financially challenged, or want to show Julie your support, or maybe you’re just obsessed with contests—check out Julie’s blog post from today, where she’s hosting her own contests and has links to a slew of reviews from around the blogosphere!

Happy reading, everyone! I hope you all get to take your dream vacations road trips one day!

¹And, in case you’re wondering about specifics: there were fourteen individual entrants. I listed your names out in the same order they appear in the comment section. For entrants who tweeted and/or included their dream road trip stories, I factored in additional entries, which ended up at 29 total entries. (So, for example, Melissa was entry #1 and #2, Beth was entry #3, #4, and #5, etc.)

Two Years!

3 Jun

Happy blogobirthday to you…

Happy blogobirthday to you!

Happy blogobirthday dear blog-o’-mine—

[insert warbling that goes on longer than it should]

Happy blogobirthday to you!

Ahem. *clears throat* (A warble got lodged in my windpipe.)(Never a good thing.)

As of today yesterday, the blog is a two-year-old! Now, we all know what they say about two-year-olds—they’re terrible, and whatnot—but my blog is determined to shatter that stereotype and prefers you think of him (I guess the blog is male?) as a terrific two-year-old instead.

These two years have flown by—in fact, it feels like just yesterday that I wrote this post (last year’s “it’s been a whole year!” blogobirthday post).

Following the tradition I started last year, here’s a list of things I have now that I didn’t have a year ago:

  • A so-close-to-being-finished novel (albeit one that still needs a bit of work)
  • Two more novels in the first draft phase
  • More amazing Twitter/blog friends, and deeper relationships with the ones I already knew
  • A very, very, very full bookshelf
  • A new apartment in a new city
  • A baby boy (currently, uh, still baking)
  • A first writers’ conference experience
  • Numerous in-person writer friends
  • A fantastic critique group, and more experience giving/receiving feedback

I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but that’s a good thing! There is much to be thankful for. Happy writing and reading to you all!

*ALSO*—don’t forget to enter my contest, if you haven’t already—we’re up to TWO prizes now (Julie Halpern’s Don’t Stop Now, which comes out next week)! All you have to do is leave a comment on that post to enter.


1 Jun


Six letters stand in the way of your best work.

Six letters can convince you you can’t possibly work harder. Sometimes it’s true. Not always.

Six letters can be the difference between succeeding at your goal and coming up just a little bit short of it.

Don’t settle for good enough.

Settle for your best.


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