Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the YA Giveaway Hop here at Disgruntled Bear. The next stop is Enter the Spirit World.

I'm giving away a prize pack (open internationally) that includes:

An early copy (signed) of the new edition of Minder... 

... a Spencer Hill Press tote bag (ooh, stylish!), and a bunch of SWAG, including bookmarks, guitar picks, and stickers.

To enter, become a follower here at Disgruntled Bear and post a comment below. Write anything (clean) you want: "Happy Groundhog's Day Eve," "I <3 sock puppets," "San Dimas High School football RULES!" I'll use to pick the winner and announce it on February 1st. 

Easy, right? 

If you're a first-timer here and are wondering about this Minder book, it's the first book of the Ganzfield series, and #5, Operative, will be released March 15th: 

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place.

Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. 

But it's still better than New Jersey.  Especially once she meets the man of her dreams…

Best YA Series of the Year 
"Clever and creative...this book sucked me in and would not let me go--not that I would have wanted it to." – Escape Between The Pages

A Reading Teen "What to Read This Summer" Pick
"Absolutely flawless!" – Reading Teen 

A Reader's Choice Awards Top 5 pick for "BEST YA SERIES OF 2010," "BEST YA BOOK" (Minder), "BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE" (Adversary), "BEST SECONDARY CHARACTER" (Trevor), and "BEST COUPLE" (Maddie and Trevor) – Mindful Musings

Thanks for stopping by Disgruntled Bear, and have a Happy Weekend! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Trailers

What do you like in a book trailer? Production value? Humor? Sexy images? What do you think of this one?

What makes you buy a book? Does this one get you interested?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lessons from Open Submission

Well, another open submissions period has come to an end at Spencer Hill, and we'll be winnowing down the stack of potential projects in the next couple of weeks. BTW, if you submitted something and haven't heard anything back, we're still considering your project... or our response is in your spam folder.

< pause for people to go check their spam. No, we're not the ones whose passports were stolen, but if you want to send us money anyway... >

Lesson #1: Know whom you're querying
We received several of the usual "Dear Mr. Hill" queries, and an overly-friendly "Hi Spencer!" one, as well. That's not the problem--the military thrillers, the chick-lits, the poetry collections, and the others that weren't even CLOSE to the YA spec-fic that we publish were. Please, people, actually read what an agent or editor is looking for before querying. Queries that don't even fall into the right genre waste your time and ours.

Lesson #2: Have you ever wondered about rhetorical questions? 
Did you really think they would catch the interest of the reader? Would you believe they are one of the biggest "red flags" in a slush pile? Can you imagine going an entire submissions period without ever requesting material from a query with rhetorical questions? Can you taste the acrid sarcasm flavoring this paragraph?

Seriously, folks, rhetorical questions are NEVER an asset in a query. Best case, the agent or editor overlooks them. Worst case, they stop reading after seeing the opening question (or questions--I've actually seen entire paragraphs like the one above).

Lesson #3: Remember, we want to like you
Agents and editors read submissions hoping to find something that makes them go, "OMG--I've GOT to read this!" Keep your queries simple, entertaining, and to-the-point. Imagine someone picking up your newly-published book in the local bookstore, flipping it over, and reading the back jacket. Your query should read like that--give a sense of your narrative voice and entice the reader to want to know more about the story. 

Your biographical info should only be a sentence or three that either establishes your credentials (previous publications and writing awards) or is an entertaining read that makes us feel like we've just met you (for example, my standard bio begins: "Kate Kaynak was born and raised in New Jersey, but she managed to escape."). PLEASE don't give us three paragraphs about your writing process, your physical or mental health problems (unless they tie into the story, like Joseph Heller's did with God Knows), your previous inability to get your work published, or all the stuff that you don't like about your life. If you want to complain about how tough it is to write and publish a novel, start a blog.  :) 

Lesson #4: Don't give up
Publishing is hard, but if you have a well-told, engaging story, you eventually can find a home for it. However, while you've got that book out, shopping itself around, keep writing. Start another book, and another, and take the feedback you've gotten on the earlier works to make the later works better. 

Good luck! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hi folks!

I haven't been posting with my regular frequency in the past few months, since I've been in the editing cave, catching up with all of the work from the fall that got pushed back by family health issues.

But now... I'm baaaack!

This past weekend included the launch events for UnCONventional, the first Spencer Hill Press anthology.

We had the first reading and the launch party at Arisia, which is kind of like having a birthday party in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

There was a cake...

The cake was all kinds of awesome, both beautiful and delicious.

There were authors, that intrepid band known as the UnCONtributors...

The UnCONtributors (left to right):
 Top: Kimberley Long-Ewing, Rich Storrs (ed.),  Kate Kaynak (me), Trisha Wooldridge (ed.), Anthony Francis
Ira Nayman, the most awesome use of fondant ever (the cake, not Ira), Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg, Marie Romero (ed.)
Front: Jennifer Allis Provost, Vikki Ciaffone, Melina Gunnett

The reading was the most fun and animated I've ever attended...

Gordon Dupuis, reading from "A Comic End."

And there was even a surprise* cameo at the party by the Green Fairy:

*The surprise was that she wandered into the party not knowing she'd had anything to do with the book.

The Green Fairy was at Arisia last year, and she was part of the inspiration for this book, since I began to wonder about her connection to the Green Room... and whether the whole event might just be a cover for something.

I'm still all a-giddy over how well this book has been received. Trish and I have been thrilled to work with such a talented collection of writers. It has been an all-around wonderful experience.

Oh, and please keep an eye out for the call for submissions for the next anthology: coming soon!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


More widget fun!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Betrayed Widget

And the ELEMENTAL widget!

(I'm just full of widgets today)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And the Winner is...


Congrats, April!