Beth Hautala

Children's Author

 

Cover Reveal!

The wait is finally over!
It's been over two years since my first book WAITING FOR UNICORNS released, and since then I've been working diligently to bring a brand new story to life. Today I am delighted to revel that story's official title, cover, description, and release date with you! 
Presenting . . . (drum roll please) . . . 

THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS 

 

Middle Grade Fiction
Coming February 20, 2018 

(From the publisher):
Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor's misplaced glasses. There's only one thing Olivia has never been able to find--her brother Jacob's toy ostrich. It wasn't until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she's his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it's Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow--unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob's sister, Olivia's not really sure who she is.


So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children's production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals--including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob's missing toy--only make matters worse, as Olivia's summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob's needs as the rest of her life has been. 

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

In this beautifully written novel, the bonds and challenges of caring for a sibling with autism are bravely explored, along with the pain and power that comes from self-discovery. 

 

This story is very dear to my heart. My team at Philomel/Penguin has been absolutely fantastic and I couldn't be happier about how this story has grown and developed. I am so excited to share it with all of you! 

Big News!

I feel like I've been waiting MONTHS to share this, and now I finally can! It is with such delight that I can finally say, I have another book on the way! THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS found a home with Philomel/Penguin this week, and I am overjoyed to be working with the marvelous people there once more. Thanks for all the warmth and support, my friends! I can't wait to share this new book with you! Stay tuned for updates!

Here's the rundown for the new project:

Olivia Grant, finder-of-lost-things-extraordinaire, is afraid of becoming just like her Autistic older brother. And she has a list of things she can never do—things her brother does all the time—to help keep her in check. But Olivia’s Neverdo list gets pretty messy when she unintentionally breaks the law. And as punishment, spends her summer in community service at the local zoo. To complicate matters, one of the zoo animals, an ostrich named Marge, keeps escaping her pen and showing up in Olivia’s backyard. 
Getting the part of Wendy in the summer theatre production of Peter Pan helps ease sting of community service and gives Olivia a chance to finally do something for herself—something her brother can’t mess up. But those hopes are dashed when her brother unexpectedly gets the part of Peter and throws everything into jeopardy.
An unexpected friendship with the zookeeper’s son Peter, who happens to be blind, starts to open Olivia’s eyes to the beauty of being different. And together Peter and Olivia set out to uncover the mystery of the escaping ostrich. But as her list of Neverdos grows, Olivia starts running out of time to find the one missing thing that will fix her brother, and save her from becoming like him. But when Jacob finally does the unthinkable and ruins everything, Olivia looses her temper, and Jacob disappears. With fear and guilt chasing her down, she must come to realize that sometimes life is a zoo. And learning to love others despite their lostness, and love yourself despite your mistakes is hard work. Harder than cleaning out monkey cages, or standing on stage, or finding a missing Ostrich. 
Often things that can’t be found leave room for the things that never go missing, and Olivia discovers that she has something beautiful to offer the world, no matter how lost or found she is.

 

Hometown Library Love


This past Thursday evening I had a chance to sit down and talk about Waiting For Unicorns at my hometown library. I know it's going to sound odd, but this was an event of a lifetime for me. Here's why:I grew up in this library. I came two, even three times a week and the librarian knew me by name. She never even asked for my library card—she knew my number by heart. I came because I was welcome. And I came to peruse the books and make sure I hadn't missed any new ones. I knew where all of my favorites lived in the stacks. Peter Pan, Where the Red Fern Grows, Pride and Prejudice, Caddie Woodlawn, My Side of The Mountain, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Story Girl . . . and so, so many more. These were my dear friends growing up, and the library was their home.

I used to stand and gaze around me wondering what it would be like to have a story of my own living among the books I loved so much. And last Thursday that childhood imagining became reality. Waiting For Unicorns now resides on a shelf at the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library in Crosby, Minnesota.

To the staff at the Library, especially Peggi, thank you for this precious gift. For keeping me in stories and for allowing me to find my way, one book at a time, into adulthood. I've been richly blessed by those who poured time and energy into that place and into me. Thank you for letting me share my own story and call the library home in a whole new way. 

Launch Party at The Red Balloon Bookshop

Friday night, The Red Balloon Bookshop hosted a launch party for Waiting For Unicorns, and let me tell you, the ladies running the show there not only love books, but they know how to throw a beautiful party. I was so warmly welcomed, I considered simply curling up and making Home right there in the stacks. After all, what better place to call home than a giant old house-turned-children's-bookshop?

Many thanks to those who came and supported me, asking questions and talking about stories, to those who purchased my book and let me sign their copies. And a special thanks to Barb, Amy, Kate, and the rest of the staff at the Red Balloon. It was a night to remember!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Release Day

I‘ve tried to write this post four times today. I keep trying to adequately formulate words to match the emotion that’s hovering over this day—the day my first book has come to life.
I work in words. Have done for most of my life, so you would think I could arrange a few in this regard.  . . .

I wanted to start out by trying to tell you how this book came together, but that doesn’t really seem relevant to today. And then I wanted to tell you about my writing process—talk about story arc and syntax, research, development, and editorial details. But sometimes that comes off sounding vain and slightly stuck-up, so I dead-ended there too. Then I imagined saying something witty and flattering about traditional publishing—but that’s all been said before, by people far more skilled with the written word than I.

So all I’m really left with, at least for now, is this giant overwhelming expression of gratitude. And that feels right. And perhaps I’ll come off sounding a bit overly earnest and a tiny bit too sincere, but this is a big day for me. So I trust you’ll forgive me.

Many people make a book. —Yes, the author writes it. No doubt there.
But before pen ever meets the page there are people who pour love and time and build memories so the story has some kind of foundation to stand on.
There are  people who give a writer the tools she needs to write. The people who teach her to read, who teach her to hold a pencil, who patiently read aloud to her until she falls in love with words. There are the professors and the critique partners, the counselors and the friends, the proofreaders and the editors, the bloggers and blog readers, and other authors who teach her what good writing looks like.
After that come people who gave her the story she finally tells—the ones on whom her characters and their experiences are loosely or emotionally based.
There are people who give her daily challenges and motivate her to press on, people  who encourage her, tell her it can be done, and some who tell her it can’t.
There are those who transform the story into an actual book. The people of red pen and grammar rules, the ones of ink and paper, editorial prowess and story-arc policing. The cover designers and ISBN number recorders, the filers and e-mailers, press-release senders, and galley-copy distributers, the sales team and book-shop owners. —And others, so many others I don’t have names for, who have ultimately left fingerprints in my life, and thus in every book I will ever write. Every story I will ever tell.

This post is for them. For you.

Please know that I have told my story—my first story—to the best of my ability. It is the best version of itself.
Thank you for giving me WAITING FOR UNICORNS. Today I give it back to you.
I hope you like it.

Final Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations Annette, you have won the final ARC giveaway! Please message me with your postal address and I'll drop a copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS in the mail. 
Thank you all for participating, for leaving your comments, and as always, for being readers.

For those of you who did not win and would like a copy, WAITING FOR UNICORNS is finally on shelves and available for purchase tomorrow!

 

Winners are chosen at random by random.org 

One last giveaway


Today, January 15, 2015, marks the one-week countdown to book birthday! Seven days left, friends! And by way of celebrating, I'm giving away one last ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). After this (on Jan 22nd), you'll be able to find hardcover copies of Waiting For Unicorns wherever books are sold!

Here's the scoop:
Leave me a comment below with your name and the title of the last really good book you read. I'll choose a name and post the winner on Wednesday, January 21! On your mark . . . get set . . . LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN! 

Launch Party!!!

So, I have a book coming out in about a month and a half!
And there's going to be a party!
And you're invited!
(Really. You reading this right now. I want to see your face!)
I'll be there with this book. —But like, the real one. Hardcover. And they will finally be available for you to take home.



Place: Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN 

Jan, 23, 2015 

Time: 6:30pm

I'll be signing books and talking about Waiting For Unicorns. More details will follow so stay tuned!

 

Week Seven ARC Giveaway—Noticing

I've found lately that technology is making it very easy to go through life distracted. Some days I must actively force myself to set my phone aside, close my computer, and look around. Or conversely, take a breath from the chaos of family life, step outside, and look around. As a writer, noticing is very important. So I work to practice it. Whenever I am just sitting, waiting for something (grocery line, doctor appointment, at the stoplight, etc) I look around and try to 'write' the place in my head as though I were writing a letter to a friend who had never been to, nor could imagine the place I was currently occupying. It's a good practice, and it makes me an active participant in my own life.
So, do you notice?


Question #7)
What is one thing you have noticed because you were actively paying attention that you otherwise would have missed or missed out on? Or, have you ever missed something that you wish you could go back and notice more fully?


Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs of WAITING FOR UNICORNS. Winners will be announced Monday Dec 8th.  

Week Six ARC Giveaway Winners—Storytelling

Week six giveaway asked the question,

Is there a particular story that holds great weight in your life? Or perhaps a particular storyteller whose tales you find especially moving or profound?

I love hearing the stories that connect us—that pull us all together and cause us to think (or sometimes say aloud), "Yes! Me too!" It makes me feel alive and not alone. Thanks for sharing your stories! 
This week's winners are: 

1) Rachel Hamilton

2) Katelyn

Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on its way to your doorstep.

Week Six ARC Giveaway—Storytelling

“A story never belongs to just one person,” she explained to me. “It belongs to every person who has ever told it, and to every person who has ever heard it. And that makes storytelling quite an important thing.”

In WAITING FOR UNICORNS, this is how Talia's mother explains the value of telling a story to her daughter. Essentially, it's the idea that stories hold weight, because we are recounting (to ourselves and to others) bits and pieces of human experience. We are reminding each other what it means to be alive!
 
Question #6)

Is there a particular story that holds great weight in your life? Or perhaps a particular storyteller whose tales you find especially moving or profound?

Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs of WAITING FOR UNICORNS. Winners will be announced Wednesday Dec 3rd. 

Week Five ARC Giveaway Winners—Memory

The week five giveaway asked the question,

Do you have a memory, uniquely yours, of a person or a place or an event? Have you ever found that someone else also has a memory of that same person, place, or event, but that it is completely different? Has it surprised you? Has it made your own memory better or worse, or just different?

Memory is powerful! It never ceases to amaze me how the scope of informaiton we hide away in our hearts and minds can truly alter the way we see and feel about something. Thank you for sharing your memories! This week's winners are:

1) Kassie
2) Izabela

Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on its way to your doorstep.

Week six giveaway will be posted shortly for another chance to win one of three ARCs! 

Week Five ARC Giveaway—Memory

Sorry we are off to a late start on the giveaway this week! I'm backing up the week's deadline so you have a bit more time to participate before I choose the winning names.

This week I want to touch on the significance of memory in everyday life . . . In WAITING FOR UNICORNS, Talia has been surviving emotionally off memories of her mother. —The way she looked, the things they did together, her words, her stories . . . But Talia comes to find that she is not the only one who has memories of this woman who is so special to her. Also, she has brought herself into each of her memories. As do we all.
     Someone else may 'know' someone we have also known, but know them differently! Just as our relationships in real time are unique, our memories—past tense—are also unique. Even when they orbit the same thing.

Question #5)
Do you have a memory, uniquely yours, of a person or a place or an event? Have you ever found that someone else also has a memory of that same person, place, or event, but that it is completely different? Has it surprised you? Has it made your own memory better or worse, or just different?

Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs of WAITING FOR UNICORNS. Winners will be announced Wednesday Nov 26th. 

Week four ARC Giveaway Winners—The importance of Place

Week four giveaway asked the following question:

Is there a Place in your own narrative—in your own life story—that holds significant meaning to you? Did it reflect changes in your life for a season? Did it become a refuge? Is it a place to which, you ever wish to return?


I loved hearing your thoughts—finding that I was not the only one who had specific places in my life that were meaningful. Thanks for sharing and for participating! Here are the three winners for week four:


1) Jeremy
2) Laura


Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on its way to your doorstep.

Week five giveaway will be posted shortly for another chance to win one of three ARCs!  

Week Four ARC Giveaway—The importance of Place

As a storyteller, the idea of Place is quite significant to a story's authenticity. In fiction, it has to feel real, even if it isn't. In Nonfiction, is has to be real or the narrative lacks integrity. In the case of WAITING FOR UNICORNS, Place became both a way to ground the story—situate it in the world—and a way to expose some of the main character's internal processing. Her emotions were often reflected in what was happening across the landscape.

Question #4) Is there a Place in your own narrative—in your own life story—that holds significant meaning to you? Did it reflect changes in your life for a season? Did it become a refuge? Is it a place to which, you ever wish to return?

Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs of WAITING FOR UNICORNS. Winners will be announced Monday Nov 17th. 

Week Three ARC Giveaway Winners!

Week three giveaway asked the following question:

Do you have a friend, or have you ever had a friend, who stepped into your life exactly when you needed him/her, and lifted the load a bit—or simply helped you see that you were not alone?


Your responses were fantastic. I love how there are people in our lives—every one of us—who have supported and helped us out in various meaningful ways. We leave our fingerprints in the lives of others, and that is an amazing thought! 
Thanks for participating! Here are the three winners for week three:

1) Harmony
2) Lisa
3) Heidi

Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on its way to your doorstep.

Week four giveaway will be posted shortly for another chance to win one of three ARCs! 

Week Three Arc Giveaway—Friends

In WAITING FOR UNICORNS, Talia's whole life feels like it's coming unraveled. She has lost her Mom, has moved away from home and everything familiar, has said goodbye to old friends, and goodbye to her Dad as he heads off to do his whale research. And just when everything seems dark and hopeless, two new friends sweep in and remind Talia that love and light exist in the most unexpected places.

Question #3) Do you have a friend, or have you ever had a friend, who stepped into your life exactly when you needed him/her, and lifted the load a bit—or simply helped you see that you were not alone?

Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs! Winners will be announced Monday Nov 10. 

Week Two Arc Giveaway Winners

Week two giveaway started with the following question:
What are you afraid of?
I was so honored by your responses. It takes such courage to vocalize your fears and even more to look past them. I hope you were encouraged . . .
Thanks for participating! Here are the three winners for week two:

1) Andrea
2) Cierra
3) Shiana

Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on its way to your doorstep.

Week three giveaway will be posted shortly for another chance to win one of three ARCs! 

Week Two Arc Giveaway—What Are You Afraid Of?


In WAITING FOR UNICORNS, Talia discovers she has a lot of fears—moving to new places, polar bears, the dark, losing people she cares about—but mostly she is afraid of what she can't control. 

"'Everyone is afraid of what they are unable to control,' Mom had told me. 'All fears can eventually be traced back to that'. It made sense, what she said. But it didn't make me feel any better." 

 

Question #2) Do you have a fear that holds you back from new things? What would it take to leave that fear behind?

Leave your response in the comments for a chance to win one of three ARCs! Winners will be announced Monday Nov 3. 

Week One ARC Giveaway Winners

Week one giveaway started with the following question:
Have you ever had to make a move (physical or otherwise) to a place you didn't want to go, or a place you knew nothing about?   
Your answers were fantastic! Isn't it nice to know this idea of leaving 'home' is a universal one? We all have a place (literal or figurative) that feels safe and familiar, and the thought of leaving it is difficult, and at times frightening. And yet, sometimes life finally begins, or begins again, when we leave the familiar behind. 
Thanks for participating! Here's the three winners for week one:

1) Theresa Sullivan
2) Jolene Ludeman
3) Alisa Alcott 

Please email me your mailing addresses, at beth(at)writingwordbyword(dot)com, so I can get your copy of WAITING FOR UNICORNS on it's way to your doorstep.

Week two giveaway will be posted shortly for another chance to win one of three ARCs!