Random Inspirations

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Macmillan Children's Publishing Group launches crowdsource YA Romance imprint Publishers Weekly reports Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has launched a new crowdsourced imprint called Swoon Reads. The YA Romance imprint will create a community online allowing writers to submit their manuscripts directly to the publisher. Visitors to the site will be encouraged to read, rate, comment on submissions, and share feedback on cover design and marketing. The manuscripts achieving the highest ratings by readers and an in-house Swoon Reads editorial team will be published in paperback and e-book editions. The Swoon Reads website will launch in spring 2013; the first Swoon Reads novels will be released in 2014. Between this venture, Random House’s recent signing of a 17 year old YA novelist, and the New York Times’ distinction between YA and Middle Grade on their Children’s fiction bestseller list, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for Children’s Book authors. Of course, with all eyes on the Children’s…

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Chance to Dance Part 3

Last week, our sassy MG heroine Arianna survived her first experience dancing with a boy. Bravo! That’s a huge achievement for a nine year-old, as I can recall from my own rather unpleasant memories of my school’s third grade “Square Dance,” the inspiration for this story.

But, as in YA or any other fiction genre, the story can’t go on unless there’s more conflict. Enter Ms. Indyk’s fairly harsh reprimands…not the best thing when Ms. Indyk has the power to make or break Arianna’s dream! Read on to see how Arianna copes with her mini-drama.


“It was awful!” Arianna wailed later that night. “Ms. Indyk yelled at me, and Meredith will probably beat me now! It was all Ethan’s fault. Boys are soooo annoying.”

“I’m sure Ethan only acts that way because he’s insecure and hates to dance,” Arianna’s mom said.

“Well, I hate dancing with him!” Arianna exclaimed. “I hate dancing with all boys!”

“Don’t be so hard on us,” Arianna’s dad said good-naturedly. “We’re not so bad to dance with.” He grabbed Arianna’s hands and spun her in a perfect twirl.

“You’re not,” Arianna said, “but the boys in my class are atrocious.”

“Why don’t you practice with Dad for awhile?” Arianna’s mom suggested. “You’ll get more confident with partner dancing.”

Arianna showed her dad the routine, and they danced in perfect harmony. By the end, Arianna was rosy-cheeked, laughing, and happy. “That was fun!” she exclaimed

“Sure was!” Arianna’s dad agreed. “Hard to believe I used to be one of those annoying boys, isn’t it?”


Has Arianna learned enough about partner dancing to nail the audition with Ethan? And will Arianna’s passion and dancing skills be enough to beat Meredith, who’s got nepotism and attitude on her side? Find out in the grand finale of One Last Chance to Dance, coming soon!


Chance to Dance Part 2

Thanks to everyone who read the first section of my MG short story. And now, for anyone wondering how Arianna copes with her own personal hell, read on!

Arianna’s dance partner was Ethan, a gangly boy with dirty fingernails. Arianna concentrated hard on learning the tricky new moves Ms. Indyk demonstrated, while Ethan mimicked Arianna, laughing the whole time. Arianna whirled, and Ethan did an exaggerated whirl, even flicking an imaginary ponytail.

“Ethan!” Arianna hissed. “That’s mean!”

Ethan shrugged, and continued to imitate Arianna as she executed a series of bouncy dance steps. He was so busy mimicking Arianna that he wasn’t learning his own dance steps.

“Stop mocking me!” Arianna cried. “You should be focusing on your moves!”

 “Hey, gotta have some fun in this lame-o dance class,” Ethan said.

 “Dancing is not lame-o,” Arianna said. “Why are you even here?”

 “My mom makes me come,” Ethan replied. “I never dance unless I’m forced.”

  “Lighten up,” Arianna said. “If you give dancing a chance, you’ll love it.”

Ethan shrugged again, but at least he stopped making fun. He grabbed Arianna’s hands, and, with a resigned sigh, tried the footwork Ms. Indyk was demonstrating. For a moment, Arianna thought he was actually enjoying himself, until he spun her around and accidentally stepped on her toe.

“Ooooooow!” Arianna howled, jumping backward.

Ms. Indyk stopped the music. “Arianna and Ethan,” she said sternly. “What is going on?”

Arianna tried to explain, but Ms. Indyk interrupted her. “You need to learn teamwork. Your audition depends on it.”

 Arianna glared at Ethan, who started making faces the moment Ms. Indyk’s back was turned. From across the room, Meredith gave Arianna a snobby, superior smile. Arianna swallowed hard. She was close to tears, but she couldn’t let Ethan, Meredith, or Ms. Indyk know it.

Look for more coming soon!

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