Category Archives: News

Darin Kennedy – 2015 Appearances (30 Nov 2014)

In case anyone is wondering where to find me in 2015, here is a list of my scheduled appearances. I plan to update this list as more are scheduled. Look forward to seeing you all out there!

Addendum 1 Dec 2014: Leaving this post up, but now there is an Events tab at the top and all future appearances will be updated there.

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park-road

Book Launch at Park Road Books – Charlotte, NC

10 Jan 2015 – 2-4 pm

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BN

Book Signing at Barnes & Noble – Winston-Salem, NC

11 Jan 2015 – Time TBA, Awaiting Confirmation

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Online Launch Event – Darin Kennedy – Author Facebook Page

12 Jan 2015 – 9 am – 10:30 pm

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Unknown

Bookmarks Moveable Feast – Winston-Salem, NC

25 Jan 2015 – 3-5 pm

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MystiCon

MystiCon – Roanoke, VA

27 Feb – 1 Mar 2015

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Unknown

ConCarolinas – Charlotte, NC

29 -31 May 2015

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ConGREG8

ConGregate – High Point, NC

10-12 Jul 2015


A Big Day

MR

A few weeks ago, I posted a reference to one of my favorite movie memories from The Jerk. Steve Martin’s character proclaims “The new phone book is here!” again and again as he tears into said phone book searching for his name. Seeing your name in print is a beautiful thing indeed.

When I arrived home from work tonight, there was a box on my front porch. There was a box last night as well, but that was the universe’s big fake out – a box full of Vistaprint swag for 2015 that got here REALLY fast. Definitely the dolphin from mine and Matthew’s Dolphin-Shark theory… but I digress.

Tonight, it was the real deal. My box of ARC’s for The Mussorgsky Riddle has finally arrived.

And they are beautiful.

It’s funny. Over the years, I’ve had several short stories published, held those books in my hands, felt the pride and wonder of the experience each time.

But to hold in your hands the novel you slaved over for months, nay, years? To see it in physical form, a real live book (Pinocchio, anyone?) is truly a miracle.

These are just the advance reader copies which I need to get to said readers in short order to get ready to put out the actual book, but it doesn’t diminish what I feel. To see your story on a screen as a PDF or a Kindle file is one thing. To feel the matte cover against your fingertips, to flip through the actual pages, to read words that once existed only in your head and find them now on paper for anyone to read? Incredible, and a little daunting.

This little story of mine is about to be let loose upon the world, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

But for tonight, I think I’m just going to curl up with a good book.

All best,

Darin


Mussorgsky Mondays – Cover Reveal

eCover

Two big things happened yesterday.

First, we revealed the cover for The Mussorgsky Riddle. Created by the lovely and talented Polina Sapershteyn, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I’ve been dying to get it out there for months so you all could see it, but I’ve been waiting for the right time. Apparently, that was yesterday.

Why, you ask?

Because of thing #2.

The Mussorgsky Riddle is now available for preorder on Amazon. Currently, for Kindle only, but in the next few days, my publisher thinks the book will be available for preorder in paperback as well as ebook. The novel comes out 12 Jan 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press, so we all still have just under 3 months to wait, but it’s getting close and it’s getting real. Very real and more exciting than I can relate.

I wrote no less than four pages of acknowledgements for this book as I so much to be thankful for. To all of you out there who have supported me in one way or another as I’ve poured hour after hour into this labor of love, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. (Which I suppose would be my… right ventricle?)

Would love to hear from any or all of you. Thoughts on the cover. Thoughts about the book. Thoughts in general…

Finally, here is the link in case you’d like to preorder – currently for Kindle only. Rest assured, I will put out another blog post, Facebook announcement, Tweet, and send smoke signals and carrier pigeons when the paperback is up on Amazon.

All best! Happy reading and writing to all!

Darin


Mussorgsky Mondays – The new phone book is here!

jerk

So, what does Steve Martin have to do with anything? Well, I’ll tell you.

Yesterday, I received from Curiosity Quills Press the galley for The Mussorgsky Riddle. Just the e-galley (a PDF of the entire book so I can look through it for any last minute errors or changes) but a galley nonetheless. The hard copy galleys should be available soon.

Did my reaction resemble Navin Johnson’s to finding his name in the phone book? Did I run up and down the hall? Did I jump up and down? Did I, perhaps, shed a few tears and ugly cry like Andrew Lincoln on a particularly poignant episode of The Walking Dead? I’ll leave the answers to these quasi-rhetorical questions to your imagination.

Needless to say, yesterday was a very good day, and today… just three months to publication!

Things are going to start happening to me now…


Mussorgsky Mondays – Hear ye, Hear ye

messageforyousir

So, it’s been another three weeks. Still catching up and enjoying the summer, but wanted to keep everyone up to speed on all the goings on in my little world.

#1 – We have a date! Well, sort of. Curiosity Quills has named 12 Jan 2015 as a “proposed” release date for The Mussorgsky Riddle. This is a Monday, which seems quite appropriate, don’t you think? All the edits and proof reading are in and the big thing we are waiting on (that I am waiting on, especially, with bated breath, even) is the cover.  This is currently in the very capable hands of Polina Sapershteyn, a graphic designer in New York City who went so far as to read the manuscript to ensure she captured the right flavor of the book. Her design is intriguing and I can’t wait to see a more finished version of her idea. Till we have a cover, however, all dates will remain in the “proposed” category.

#2 – My story, “Midnight Screening,” was officially accepted into Emby Press’s anthology, Reconstructing the Monster tonight. I will have four stories in Emby Anthologies hopefully by the end of the year, if they are all out before January 1st. Pretty exciting time to be a monster hunter.

#3 – I also have a short story coming out in CQ’s annual anthology. “Flight of the Pegasus” is my first foray into steampunk, but hopefully won’t be my last.

#4 – Work continues on my new project, code named “Operation: Ghost Story.” All but the last chapter is done and I am going through the critiques of my alpha readers/critique group finally after being busy with edits on MR for several months. This story is shaping up quite nicely. I had promised it to my agent by my birthday, but that ship has sailed, so now I’m aiming to have it in before Labor Day. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers… 😉

#5 – Lastly, trying to get something together for Dark Hall Press’s Techno Horror Anthology. Just started tonight. It’s got a little bit of a 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe. We’ll see how it turns out…

And now, a little something from my man Modest. Here is Mussorgsky’s, A Tear, for your listening pleasure.

All best, Darin

 

 


Mussorgsky Mondays – All Russian Night with the Charlotte Symphony

Charlotte-Symphony

A quick aside from the talented Mr. Mussorgsky, as Charlotte Symphony brought us and all-Russian evening this weekend featuring some other greats from our brothers on the other side of the globe.

What an impressive night.

They started with a fantastic performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36 (for those keeping score, Scheherazade is Op. 35 and he wrote these simultaneously as far as I know). This one was actually my favorite of the evening as it was old school RK (no, not R. Kelly) and the moving parts in the middle really, well, move. When classical can make you tap your foot, that’s pretty awesome.

Next up was Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 which showed some impressive violin playing by the night’s soloist. I wasn’t as familiar with this piece, but I enjoyed watching this unique piece being performed.

The soloist for the Prokofiev piece is normally the first violinist of the symphony and in his soloist role of the evening came back out and played a beautiful true violin solo in honor of a member of the orchestra who had recently passed. Beautiful and moving, I’m not sure what this piece was, but it was a fitting musical epitaph.

Lastly, they performed Stravinsky’s ballet, Petrouchka. A bit modern for my tastes, but still quite enjoyable. Though this was first performed in 1911, it’s amazing to me to hear how different the composition is when compared to Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and others of the previous generation. I plan to continue to check out Stravinsky and his various works, but I don’t know if they’ll ever touch my heart the way Pictures at an Exhibition has.

And with that, I bid you all a happy Monday. By the way, in case you haven’t checked out a calendar, this coming weekend is Easter. Check out the Rimsky-Korsakov piece above this week, as it is the season, and let me know what you think.


And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Waiting

Or at least the moment I’ve been waiting for.

Disclaimer: These are the scrambled thoughts of a man who is simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted, triumphant and tired, dauntless and overwhelmed.

My writer’s group gathered last night around the incomparable Gail Martin for our monthly meeting to discuss publishing, marketing and other facets of this writing business. The talk surrounded such things as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Shelfari, Reddit, and others, but as always we started our gathering with announcements, and this month, boy did I have an announcement to make.

On 28 Feb 2014, Lisa Gus at Curiosity Quills Press contacted my agent, Stacey Donaghy, with an offer to publish The Mussorgsky Riddle. On 13 Mar 2014, we accepted her kind offer. It’s been a long haul, this hike from novice writer to not so novice writer, unagented to agented, unpublished to contracted with a publisher, and at every step, I’ve always repeated the same mantra.

Patience, Darin. Patience.

Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond thrilled and can’t wait to hold this book that took me over two years to complete in my hand, but having had a week for all of the excitement to sink in, I’ve thought a lot about the experience. I fully expected to sit down tonight and turn out a full-on Kool and the Gang, Celebrate Good Times blog post, but as I sit here and listen to the 80’s shuffle echoing from my AppleTV, I became a little nostalgic–I know… that never happens to me ;-)–and this is what came out.

I’ve read stories of all the “overnight” successes who have been working at their craft for years, and though I have done anything but “arrive,” I get it. I’ve been writing for almost exactly ten years now, having written the first word of Pawn’s Gambit as I sat in a MIG hangar in northern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, back when I stared up at Mars and it’s baleful red eye every night and wondered about having the god of war look down on me as I stood on a battlefield. Since that time I’ve written two complete novels, am currently on the last chapter of a third, have written half of a fourth (the sequel to PG), written and published 19 short stories among six small publishers as well as a rare piece of fiction in Chess Life magazine, attended half a dozen writer’s conference, met countless authors through local, regional, and national writers groups, participated in (and ran for two years) a writers group with 500 members that critiques writers’ works twice per month, and led a successful small critique group out of my home for years. And all this with a full time job and still needing to sleep and eat occasionally. Oh, and watch The Walking Dead, of course.

The constant along the entire way and at every step: waiting.

Not all waiting is the same.

There is counterproductive waiting. Waiting till I had time to write. (honestly, med school and residency had a lot to do with that) Waiting till I felt like writing before sitting down at the computer. Waiting till I had everything all worked out in a story to actually put down words. Lots of stuff like that. As a dyed in the wool procrastinator, I know all about that kind of waiting.

Then there is productive waiting. Keeping your eye on the ball. Being in it to win it. Being patient. Waiting for the right story idea. The right word. The right ending. The right agent. The right publisher. Have I been impatient at times? Of course. But sometimes, good things actually do come to those who wait. Just the right kind of waiting, I believe.

There’s a lot to be said for patience, and I will need plenty more as I have no doubt that the waiting has just begun. I have just started the editing process to get my manuscript up to speed for CQ standards and I see more waiting on the horizon. Waiting for first edits. For second edits. For the cover. ARCs. First reviews. First sales. First royalties.

And starting the whole process over for the next book.

These are all good things to wait for, but as I sit here and take a deep breath, I realized one important thing.

You can’t just mope while you are waiting for the next step. You have to enjoy it.

Mountain top experiences are just that. Brief views of breathtaking beauty punctuating miles of often brutal hiking. But despite the blisters and leg cramps,  there is joy not only in the vistas from the mountaintops, but from the water of a valley stream, the green of the forest, the camaraderie of your fellow hikers. You have to enjoy the process, not just the highs, and when I look back, I can say that my hike has been a good one.

A few quick thank yous to my fellow hikers, because you can never say thank you enough.

To Lisa Gus at CQ for giving me a chance.

To my Captain, Stacey Donaghy, for being the absolute best advocate for my work I could have imagined. Oh Captain, my Captain, thank you.

To my friends among Charlotte Writers, for being my Charlotte family. You all are the best. Don’t ever forget it.

To other friends, both near and far, for a million things, many of which neither of us may even remember anymore.

To my family, for their LITERALLY never ending support. You are on every page.

To God, for giving me at least my fair share of patience.

And lastly, to one of my favorite movies, for teaching me five simple words: Never give up. Never surrender.

On another night, I will type my “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” post, but for tonight, thoughtful introspection is the order of the evening.

 

Good night! And remember, if your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough. Now get out there and WRITE!


Two new acceptances! Callooh! Callay!

Dark Hall Emby

Great news this week! Found out earlier this week that my story “The Eye of the Beholder” was accepted into Dark Hall Press‘s Cosmic Horror Anthology and just got my e-mail from Emby Press that my story “Middle Ground” was accepted into their Steampunk Monster Hunter Anthology, The Dark Monocle. Very exciting. Both of these anthologies are due out in early 2014. Special thanks to William Renehan at Dark Hall and Miles Boothe at Emby for believing in these stories.

And now we return you to your regular scheduled programming while I return to Operation: Ghost Story. Closing in on the climax of the story and can’t get there fast enough!

Oh yeah. A quick shout out to all my friends either at or watching the game today. Go Panthers!

Darin

 


State of the Onion – January 2014

No tears, please...

No tears, please…

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.

Takes long breaks between appearances? Sure.

Almost Tom Scholz like in its capacity to make you wait for the next entry? Possibly. (Though hopefully my latest entry will be less disappointing than Boston’s…)

But ending? Never. (Or at least hopefully not for a VERY long time)

A lot of people were posting about New Year’s Resolutions. I want to post about goals. Resolutions are things you either succeed or fail at. Goals are things you strive to attain. And trust me… I know how to strive.

A little about what’s going on with me. Just finished up my first week of call for 2014. Taking care of the new mom’s and babies in the hospital as well as the sick kids that come from the three clinics we cover. You want fun? Try taking care of seven different babies between 1 and 12 months old that all have bronchiolitis and try to keep them all straight. But seriously, back to full time clinic work tomorrow. Had two full weeks off in December as well as this past week with mostly inpatient duties and got a lot of writing done. And that’s where the focus of the rest of this blog post will remain.

I was asked this week by one of my residents if I NaNoWriMo. I had to answer – not really. Between the doctoring, eating, sleeping, Thanksgiving, and general business of the season, November just never seems to be the month for me to get anything done. I did sign up for this “write 50,000 words in 30 days” challenge and kept painstaking track of said words. However, by the end of the month, I had put down a whopping 9637 words. These were good words and many or most of them will stay, but the purported goal of being within striking distance of the end of my “Operation: Ghost Story” manuscript were shipwrecked on the rocks of a busy November.

Come December with a bit of time off and it’s different story. Proud to say I knocked out 25,000 words this December (technically 7 Dec – 5 Jan, but who’s counting, right? – besides me, of course), bringing the manuscript up to about 65K and hopefully about 15-20K from typing “THE END”. As stated above, it’s back to full time fun at work tomorrow morning, but I was excited to get that much done in a month, likely the most I’ve ever done in a month, though I could be wrong on that front.

As for the first two projects, my literary agent, Stacey Donaghy, of Donaghy Literary group continues to shop those projects to various publishers trying to find the right editors for those books. Pawn’s Gambit is a bit on the back burner at the moment, but we’ve got some heavy hitters looking at The Mussorgsky Riddle and I keep my phone close at hand 24/7 waiting for the latest news. Fingers and other appendages all crossed appropriately. I think the only person more excited for me to finish “Operation: Ghost Story” than me is Stacey. She is truly the best and most supportive literary professional I could ever have imagined loving my stuff. Stacey – as you can see, I’m still working on it. ;-).

As far as short stories go, I’m still in the game there as well. As of the end of 2013, I have 15 stories published in various magazines and anthologies from a few different publishers, all of which you can check out earlier in this blog. 2014 is shaping up to be a great year. I already have two acceptances with the relatively new Emby Press, run by the incredibly devoted Miles Boothe. (Get it? Emby? Only took me about a year…) The focus of this press is stories about practitioners of one of the more dangerous professions, that of Monster Hunter. My story, “The Long Game,” will appear in Blood Trails from Emby Press early in 2014, and will feature my new character, Gabriel O’Connor, the Immortal Hunter. Another story, “Midnight Screening,” was just accepted today into Reconstructing the Monster which Miles will likely have out before the end of the year. This story features a vampire and a werewolf in line to see a movie and discussing how Hollywood has their respective attributes all wrong and is a little more tongue in cheek than my usual stuff. I have another story in with Emby called “Middle Ground” which again stars the illustrious Mr. O’Connor in a story, shall we say, a bit more steampunk. Should hear on that one in about a week. I have an April Sullivan story in with Dark Oak Press for their Big Bad II Anthology and another quite strange story in with Dark Hall Press for their Cosmic Horror Anthology and am eagerly awaiting hearing back on both of those. The Dark Hall story was my first attempt at something a little Lovecraftian. I suppose the readers will let me know if I succeeded. Mr. Renehan’s (Dark Hall) prompts tend to bring out the darker side of Darin… Lastly, I have a steampunk story awaiting Dark Oak to open up their doors to that genre for the year.

So, with that as all the layers of the onion, my goals for 2014:

1) To finish Operation: Ghost Story by early spring so Stacey can get to work at doing what she does best.

2) To work with Stacey in whatever way possible to promote the first two projects to help bring them to light.

3) To write my April Sullivan novella and keep the tales of my wonderful little Necromancer For Hire rolling. (Poor Gavin…)

4) To write two more Gabriel O’Connor shorts for Miles’s Deep Sea and Superhero Monster Hunter anthologies. (Superhero one is already underway…)

5) To write everyday to the best of my ability. Any forward progress is forward progress.

And with that, it’s almost midnight. Time for Darin to hit the sack. To everyone, Happy New Years and may your 2014 be all you want it to be.

No.

All you dare it to be.

Darin

 

 


The Importance of Beta Readers

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For the second week in a row, a Facebook status has tickled my brain enough to warrant evolving into a blog post.

And no, I’m not talking about the post about how the news of the death threats against Ben Affleck for being cast as Batman is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

I’m talking about something with which I am blessed with an abundance of, both in quantity and quality: beta readers.

No matter how awesome you think your writing is, no matter how many times you’ve pored over your poor beleaguered manuscript, no matter how perfect a proof reader you think you are, a good set of beta readers will prove you wrong.

Surround yourself with good beta readers and you will be a better writer. They will find your gaping plot holes, your enormous leaps in logic, your unintended character shifts, your penchant for using the same word three times in one paragraph, not to mention your (likely) many gaffes in spelling, grammar, historical accuracy, and writing in general.

Just going through a couple critiques on “Operation: Ghost Story” and getting some spot on recommendations from both the critiquers on that one.

My recommendations – get beta readers with different reading and writing backgrounds, ones you can trust with your “darlings” even as they are telling you which ones to assassinate, ones who know how to sprinkle a little sugar even as their rubbing salt in the wounds of your suddenly red manuscript, and ones who are reliable enough to get you what you need in somewhat of a timely manner.

I participate in both large and small critique groups. The small group provides focus and particular attention on a more detailed level, but a large critique group provides a different degree of “eyes on” and getting such a wide swath of readers to give you advice at once can be immensely helpful.

That being said, there are pitfalls here. Sending something that you’re not happy with first probably is a recipe for unhappiness because you are likely to have things pointed out to you that you already knew weren’t working and that can be a bit disheartening. (Part of why I haven’t looked at Ghost Story much in the last two months – still licking manuscript wounds from June!). Also, listening to every bit of advice and acting on it will drive you mad, especially when one individual likes a particular section and another hates the exact same section. Which way do you go? Who do you trust? Answer: trust yourself. At root, you are the creator, and all critique is just a suggestion (unless it comes from Stephen King, in which case, take it to heart). 😉

As I said in my two Facebook posts, thanks to all my AWESOME beta reader and critique partners from now and the last ten years. From my first reader ,Lisa Postell during OIF1 in Iraq, up to my current two critique groups, you all have made me a better writer and my manuscripts much shinier (for all you Firefly fans out there). And with that, I will return to looking at suggested edits for Part I of “Operation: Ghost Story” – as always, with one or two grains of salt!

Happy Writing!

Darin