Welcome to 
WritingWordByWord

I'm Beth and I have a thing for fairy tales, cupcakes, Sharpie extra-fine-point pens (black or purple ink), coffee, and the written word. —Not necessarily in that order. My middle grade novel WAITING FOR UNICORNS, out from Philomel Books/Penguin Group, is now available! Feel free to take a look around, comment if you like anything you read, or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday
Jun232015

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.

 

Saturday
Feb212015

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. 

Saturday
Jan242015

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!