News & Updates

Ft. Worth, Texas, January 7, 2020 — Jana Grissom at INtense Publications, the Texas-based independent publishing house, has acquired Summer of L.U.C.K., a contemporary middle grade fantasy for ages 8 to 12, by Los Angeles-based writer Laura Segal Stegman. Stegman’s debut novel, the story of three youngsters finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival, will be released on September 15, 2020.


Laura Segal Stegman grew up in Southern California with parents who valued reading, and she remains spellbound by middle grade fiction. Some of her favorites, then and now, are The Diamond in the Window, Ellen Tebbits, All of A Kind Family, Wonder and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. As a writer, Stegman’s non-fiction credits include collaboration on the travel book Only in New York, and her feature stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways Magazine and Christian Science Monitor, among others. A long-time publicist, she owns Laura Segal Stegman Public Relations, LLC, which has represented a wide-ranging client list of businesses, arts organizations and non-profit events over the years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC Irvine and lives with her husband in West Los Angeles and part-time at a home in New York City. Summer of L.U.C.K. is her debut novel. 

Website: Twitter: @LauraStegman  Instagram: laura_stegman


Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at Camp Inch, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate — without words. Why? 

When they sneak into the building to find out, it bursts into a magical carnival, and they’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who can’t rest until his property brings joy to children. He asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach Darby, Justin, and Naz how to find their voices. 

Mr. Usher sweeps them off on a series of adventures where they learn they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to sell the carnival to Camp Inch. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows.

But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp’s talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.


INtense Publications strives to promote literacy by releasing cutting-edge, diverse novels that tackle difficult themes such as bullying, disability, discrimination, and family issues. INtense was founded in the summer of 2018 by educator Jana Grissom, whose goal is to improve the lives of kids. As a middle school teacher, foster parent, and the author of a YA fantasy series, she believes literacy will change the world one word at a time. INtense Publications accepts submissions for fantasy, science fiction, self-help, plus young adult and middle grade stories, especially those that address social issues from the perspective of characters with challenges such as disabilities, stereotypes, or bullying. 

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