Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 7, 2022

Book Giveaway: PEGA SISTERS GO TO CAMP by Brooke Hartman

Brooke Hartman has a new picture book, PEGA SISTERS GO TO CAMP, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley and published by Page Street Kids. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Brooke and MacKenzie.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Lilly has waited for this day all year: It’s Pegasus Camp! And it’s finally here!

But this year, Lilly’s little sister, Filly, is tagging along. And wherever Lilly goes, Filly’s right underhoof, turning rainbow leaping, mane braiding, and cake baking into crashing, tangling, splattering messes! When Lilly’s temper finally snaps, Filly canters sadly away. Lilly wanted her Pega Sister to go―so why can she no longer have any fun without her?

Anyone with siblings will knowingly smile and roll their eyes, and all readers will laugh along with this rollicking, punny summer camp romp, which also serves as a sparkling reminder that sisters make the most marvelous magic together.

BOOK JOURNEY:

I titled my book journey Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches, the Magical Book Journey.

When Kathy first contacted me asking me to write about my publishing journey for one of my latest picture books, her email went to my junk inbox, because even my own computer was in disbelief that she—THE Kathy Temean of kidlit and SCBWI fame—would ask me for a blog post. Had I ever heard of her? the email said, listing her credentials. Oh, how I chuckled, because asking me if I knew about Kathy Temean was like asking Ginny Weasley if she knew about Dumbledore.

But let’s time-turner back to 2011. I’d been staggering through various writing projects for several years, using the flashlight method to find things like character arc, plot, and other minor details. After shelving a few YA projects (turns out that flashlight method isn’t for everyone) and having a couple kids (also not recommended for everyone), my writing brain turned the page to a younger audience. Because it must be easier to write a picture book… right? (insert maniacal laughter). But as these manuscripts went unnoticed by agents and publishers, too, I realized my words were missing something: that magical spark that makes editors ooh and ahh in wonder. I’d read picture book after picture book to my kids from authors who made it seem so easy. Presto change-o, and they produced another best seller. But how could I make such magic for my own less-than-sparkly projects?

I began to hear whispered rumors of a hard to pronounce organization (skibwee??) specifically for kidlit writers that seemed promising. Back then, writing conferences in Alaska were few and far between, so I flew to our sister state of Washington for their local SCBWI conference. The experience was nothing short of extraordinary. There were other people who write just for kids! There were other people who write just for kids—and aren’t published, like me! I sat in on workshops and keynotes, listening misty-eyed to kidlit greats such as Dan Santat and Judy Bloom, and even got a copy of Hatchet signed by Gary Paulsen (who coincidentally also lived in Alaska). I discovered the infinite knowledge of SCBWI Regional Advisors and mentors, such as Kathy Temean herself.

By the time I went home, I’d stuffed a few writing tricks up my own sleeve. Back to the idea cauldron I went, ready to Shazaam my stories right off their dusty shelves. Instead of focusing on one project at a time, I juggled several ideas at once, then developed those projects that got a positive reaction from my critique group audience. It wasn’t easy, and several of those juggled projects landed right back on the shelves I’d pulled them from. Then at last in 2017, I got an email from a small press that they wanted to buy a manuscript I’d pitched the year before. I remember reading the email, then reading it again, then writing a response with a whole lot of yesses and exclamation points, then quickly editing my reply to sound like a semi-normal person before hitting send. Was it a six-figure contract with movie rights? No, but it told me that I’d finally hit upon something that felt a lot like magic.

What followed was a whirlwind of more ideas, more manuscripts, and more revisions. Then one day while hanging out with my kids (where nine thousand percent of my ideas come from), we were playing My Little Ponies starring two pegasus-sisters, and my oldest said “we should call them Pega Sisters!” The idea grew wings and soon a fully fledged picture book manuscript was born. I queried the initial text to an agent who attended one of our first Alaska SCBWI conferences, Clelia Gore of Martin Literary Management, and she emailed a few days later to offer representation (cue all those yesses and exclamation points again)!

In my mind, what came after was going to be all curtsies and applause. My agent would don a star-speckled hat, waver her wand, and voila! publishing contract. But despite all the smoke and mirrors we see as a reader audience, no book is produced out of thin air. The story of the Pega Sisters was rewritten well over a dozen times before my agent pitched it to publishers, and then rewritten another dozen times for R&Rs.

Then at last, that magic spark glittered once again when Pega Sisters was acquired by Page Street Kids, who’d recently acquired my nonfiction picture book biography about Lotte Reiniger. The result was a match made in winged pony heaven; from Page Street’s editorial eye, to the illustrator, MacKenzie Haley, who brought the sisterly antics between the two main characters Lilly and Filly to life with her vibrant, whimsical style. In fact I loved every bit of this book and the process so much, I’m hoping Page Street will acquire a sequel so I can do it all over again!

In the meantime, I keep polishing those lamps of inspiration and flexing those writing fingers. I now have a new agent with the same agency, Sera Rivers, and another book coming out with Page Street in 2023 called Watch Out for the Lion, as well as three other projects launching next year with different publishers. And while none of those books feature sibling winged horses, I’m just as excited for every one of them. Because for each book, I had to work just as hard to finally pull off that final publishing act. Each story has its own magic formula: some are sleight of hand, taking time and practice to perfect; some are crystal balls, delivering a surprise message even as you write them; while still others are white rabbits, popping up from your writer’s hat when you least expect it.

So join that organization. Sit in on that workshop. Find your audience. Practice your craft. Seek out that tingly zap of inspiration. Because behind the curtain, every one of us has the magic it takes to make our stories appear.

BROOKE’S BIO:

Brooke Hartman is an Alaskan mom and award-winning author of books for children. She serves as a member of the board of directors for the Alaska Writers Guild, a volunteer for the SCBWI Alaska Chapter, and an occasional instructor of writing for Alaska Pacific University.

She writes silly, serious, and sometimes strange stories for children and young adults. Her writing has garnered national awards, including honors from Writer’s Digest, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Her debut picture book, DREAM FLIGHTS ON ARCTIC NIGHTS, released in 2019 from West Margin Press and received a starred review from Kirkus. Her picture book biography, LOTTE’S MAGICAL PAPER PUPPETS, the Woman Behind the First Animated Feature Film, released in 2020 from Page Street Kids. Her second book, THE LITTLEST AIRPLANE with West Margin Press started 2022, folowed by PEGA SISTERS with Page Street Kids in May.

Forthcoming titles include: WATCH OUT FOR THE LION! (2023, Page Street Kids), KLYDE THE KRAKEN WANTS A FRIEND (2023, Hazy Dell Press), LITTLE NARWHAL LOST (2023, West Margin Press), and ALL ABOARD THE ALASKA TRAIN (2023, West Margin Press).

When Brooke isn’t writing, you can find her flying, fishing, and having fun with her family, enjoying all the magic life has to offer in her home state of Alaska.

Follow her Alaskan writing adventures on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram at @BrookesBooksAK

MACKENZIE’S BIO:

MacKenzie Haley is an illustrator, runner, and cat whisperer who currently resides in Louisville, KY. She has her BFA in illustration from the University of Dayton, and is represented by Advocate Art. Her clients include Harper Collins, Cottage Door Press, Page Street Publishing, Albert Whitman & Co, Highlights Magazine, Magination Press, Oxford University Press, Apples & Honey Press, The National Center for Youth Issues, Worthy Publishing, and Storytime Magazine.

She’s completed three full marathons (slowly), fostered about twelve cats (not at the same time), and has two codependent cats named Booger and Abby. She has drawn her whole life, and flunked a math test in the third grade because she turned the test over and used the entire time to draw characters and faces out of numbers.  She loves including small, interesting details in her work, and uses bold colors, patterns, and textures. 

MacKenzie Haley is an illustrator, runner, and cat lover who currently resides in Louisville, KY. She has her BFA in illustration from the University of Dayton. Her clients include Harper Collins, Little Simon, Cottage Door Press, Page Street Publishing, Albert Whitman & Co, Capstone Publishing, Highlights Magazine, Magination Press, Oxford University Press, Apples & Honey Press, The National Center for Youth Issues, Worthy Publishing, and Storytime Magazine. She’s completed three full marathons (slowly), fostered about twelve cats (not at the same time), and has two codependent cats named Booger and Abby. She has drawn her whole life, and flunked a math test in the third grade because she turned the test over and used the entire time to draw characters and faces out of numbers.  She loves including small, interesting details in her work, and uses bold colors, patterns, and textures. For work inquiries, please contact Nicole Tugeau with Tugeau 2 Art and Literary Agency at nicole@tugeau2.com. For personal questions, or if you know any good jokes, you can reach MacKenzie at kenzehaley@gmail.com.

Brooke, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Children love ponies and they will love this cute story of a big sister, Lilly, and her little sister Filly. Everyone has seen how a little sister looks up to their bigger sister – follows them around and tries to copy their every move. That’s what Filly does with her big sister Lilly when she’s allowed to go to camp, until Lilly loses her temper and yells, “This camp day’s ruined. I want you to go!” But Lilly quickly discovers how many cute things her little sister does and she misses all of them. Mackenzie’s illustrations are so perfectly playful. They are the icing on the cake. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Responses

  1. So so adorable! I’m down here in your sister state! And I have a grand who is going to love reading about the Pega Sisters! Congratulations!

    I follow by email, Kathy, and I tweeted this post. 🙂

    Like

  2. Congrats, Brooke & MacKenzie! (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)

    Like

  3. This looks and sounds like an adorable book! Congratulations, Brooke! Best wishes! I shared on Twitter and receive your blog daily, Kathy.

    Like

  4. This book looks so bright and fun and will make the best read aloud with my nieces and nephews. I’m an email subscriber and shared: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570620215297791500

    Like

  5. So nice to see an Alaskan writer featured here. Congratulations, Brooke! (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)

    Like


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