Tag: Beth Hautala


Friday Favorites: Minnesota Authors!

This pretty much sums up how I feel about this week

I sit here writing this on a gorgeous sunny Friday morning with a mug of Irish breakfast tea. Not a bad way to end a week, and Holy Cats, what a WEEK! Some pretty cool stuff has happened the last five days, and here are my favorites:

Meeting Beth Hautala!

I was fortunate enough to meet Middle Grade author Beth Hautala this past Monday at the very first Brown Bag Lunch at the Brainerd Public Library. Beth kicked off the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series by talking about her wonderful debut novel, Waiting for Unicorns. Her novel is a heartfelt tale about 12-year-old Talia who, having just lost her mother to cancer, goes on a trip to the Artic with her whale-researcher father. In the ice and snow of Manitoba, Talia learns the truth about love, wishing, and saying goodbye through the magic of the “Artic unicorn”–the narwhal.

I loved Beth’s lyrical writing style and beautiful characters. Meeting her was fantastic, and I wish her much fun and success!

(And don’t forget I’ll be at the Brainerd Public Library on July 13th from 12-1 as a part of the Brown Bag Author Series! End of shameless plug)



Of course, this was one of my absolute FAVORITES of the week. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet (and I don’t know how you couldn’t have with so many amazing people sharing, liking, posting, and retweeting the video. THANK YOU!), here it is in all it’s literary glory!!! 😀


Book of the Week: Shelterbelts by Candace Simar

I’ve been waiting to read this book, and the wait was TOTALLY worth it. Candance Simar–author of the award-winning Abercrombie Trail series–is known for her love of historical fiction based on the Norwegian immigrants of Minnesota. While Abercrombie Trails focused on the pioneers and Sioux Uprising, Shelterbelts takes place just as World War II is ending.

Tia Fiskum, the old maid of Tolga Township, yearns to retain her hold on the family farm after her shell-shocked brother returns from World War II. The neighbor she hopes to marry chooses a town girl for his new wife.The Potato King listens to the radio preacher and prays for a miracle. Eddy Root fears a return to the asylum. A German war bride struggles to find acceptance in this tight-knit Scandinavian community. Woven throughout is the man who walks lizards, a grieving father, a disillusioned pastor, and the neighborhood gossipmonger. Shelterbelts chronicles the life of a community struggling to return to normal after war. This is a story true to history of those difficult times while rich in the complications of the human spirit.

Candace is one of those authors whose characters take hold of you and don’t let go. I am really enjoying the novel, and learning a ton about the time period and Norwegian culture (being Irish and Scottish in Northern Minnesota is a bit of an oddity. I’d never even heard of lefsa before we moved up here 😉 ).

Even more exciting: Candace has graciously accepted an invitation to be interviewed right here on The Open Book! Stay tuned for the first-ever guest star on my blog! 🙂


Word Count

Drum roll please…979. Poop. I was shooting for 2,000. While I didn’t reach my word count goal, I do feel like all 979 of those words are keepers. I feel pretty good about what I wrote, and spent a lot of time reworking the chapter I scrapped last week. So, by next week, I should have two new chapters. Yay!

I’m going to keep my word goal at 2,000 words for next week. I am NOT one of those super-fast writers like my friend, Katie. She can whiz through chapters at lighting speed. I’m more like George R. R. Martin. It’s gonna take a while. But that’s the point of my keeping count of my words: to increase how much I write every week. Wish me luck!

Happy Friday!