Tag Archives: Editing

Dragon*Con, Book Fairs, and Editing… Oh, the Editing

So, it’s rare that I take more than a few days off at a time, so when I had a 10 1/2 day break from 28 Aug at 4 pm until 8 Sep at 8 am, I took full advantage of it.

For starters, I and several of my closest friends made our annual pilgrimage to Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend for Geek Mardi Gras. That’s right… Dragon*Con, AKA 70-80,000 people, most in costume from your favorite movie / tv show / comic book / video game / anime / lunch box / etc. for the whole weekend.


Selfie with Jay and Margo at Soby’s

Started on Thursday night with a nice dinner in Greenville, SC at Soby’s followed by a delicious dessert at Underground Coffee.




Peanut Butter Pie at Underground Coffee













Friday morning, we drove in from our hotel in northern Georgia to begin the festivities. Just the people watching is worth the trip.


Baby Ghostbuster, right up there with baby R2D2 from last year




A warrior woman with very ineffective battle armor…













The hotels are magnificent, and none moreso than the Marriott. Though, for sanity’s sake, stay at the Westin…


Looking up at the Marriott


Looking down at the Marriott. Yes, that’s Gandalf the White… Funny, he wouldn’t let anyone pass…














I got to hang out with my good friend, Scully, who writes for The Backstage Beat, joined me for most of Friday afternoon and evening. Always great to see her when I hit Atlanta. We toured a couple host hotels (this thing fills 5 hotels, plus rooms in many others for guests), checked out the shops, toured the famous peeps a bit, and as above, did a ton of people watching. Her article is available here at The Backstage Beat – called “7 Tips on How to be Successful at Dragon*Con with photos by yours truly!


DK and Scully

Friday night was dinner with all my peeps and Scully got to join us before rejoining her family. Good pub food before our resident writers who actually are convention guests, namely John Hartness and A.J. Hartley, had to run off to do panels. The rest of us? General merriment!


Awesome people

I can’t stress enough. The main thing is hanging out with your people. Got to see Nicole, Robyne, Aaron, Jay, Margo, John, A.J. Scully, Ernie, Kathleen, Terry, Asher, Anna (no de la Torre pics, darn it…) Kevin, and made lots of new friends. That’s what this is all about.


DK and Kev


Aaron, Jay, and DK













Saturday morning, you might run into the Doctor at Starbucks….


6, one of the best costumes I saw…

Then, there’s the parade. Literally tens of thousands of people along a few blocks of Atlanta. Spartans, the Batmobile, female KISS, they’re all there…


Lined up several stories up for the show


This costume is where it’s at… at.


Holy 1960’s, Batman!


This… Is… Sparta!


Crowd of thousands as the Parade disperses







Give me a KISS…


















And a bit more people watching…


I totally wanted this outfit when I was six.


Hey! Who turned out the lights?














Some freaking awesome Kabuki??? costumes


Yes… That’s BatManuel.


Some Duck Tales cosplayers…

Somewhere in there I saw Lou Ferrigno, Gil Gerard that played Buck Rogers back in the 70’s, and sang the theme song to Land of the Lost  with Will from Land of the Lost, 40 years after the fact. Shopped till I dropped. Went to tons of cool panels where I learned way more than I wanted to about Sasquatch genitalia. Checked out tons of cool art and even bought a couple of neat prints I really need to get framed and hung. But most importantly, as I said, this was a great weekend with good friends.


My tribe

Mr. Burns daughter

Mr. Burns daughter

Jean Simmons

Jean Simmons



I have no idea

I have no idea

Blue Steel

Blue Steel

The Thinker

The Thinker























Sooooooo, after the awesomeness of Dragon*Con, what in the world did I do next?

Well, while in Atlanta, I managed to edit around 12,000 words of Operation: Ghost Story, my current Work In Progress. Over Monday through Friday of last week, I managed to edit the other 30,000 words, and have the WIP pretty much done except the Epilogue. I know, I know, Epilogues… but when you see this one, you’ll understand. We’re getting close on this one. Here it comes, Stacey!!!

So, caught up on rest and editing for the first time in many moons, I headed up to Winston-Salem for the Bookmarks Book Fair and got to meet three of my compatriots from Curiosity Quills and purchased their books as they were melting in the NC heat. Great to meet Ryan Hill, Krystal Wade, and Elsie Elmore. Maybe we can all hang out in Winston-Salem next year for the event! Also, I got to take my nieces, Katelyn and Olivia out as well as meet Matthew, Lara, Madeline (Rose) and Luke (Captain Jack) for lunch after the event. Great times, and good call on the Mellow Mushroom, Olivia!


Ryan Hill, Krystal Wade, Elsie Elmore


Curiosity Quills! Represent!










The rest of the weekend was spent hanging with family. Got to take dad out for a great steak at Texas Roadhouse Saturday night and see all the extended family on Sunday evening for our annual summer get together. Great to see everyone. Feel free to send me pictures you might have and I’ll add to this blog.

So, all in all, a fantastic 10.5 days off. Back to Mussorgsky Mondays next week! We’re getting closer every week to  the release The Mussorgsky Riddle. Cover reveal coming soon! Four more short stories coming out in the next 6-12 months. Gala coming up in October. 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year.

And with that, it’s well past midnight! See you all on the flip side!

All best, Darin

Mussorgsky Mondays – Hear ye, Hear ye


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 – Update on The Mussorgsky Riddle, and a bit on editing…


Hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day today. It is a time of reflection, so reflect on the many men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so that we can live in such a great country, but don’t let the naysayers get you down about enjoying time with your family and friends. Americans work far too hard to start with, so enjoy the day. Me, I’m about to go hike Crowder’s Mountain – only 20% chance of rain, so we’ll see what happens… On to the update. On February 28th, 2014, Curiosity Quills Press, a small (but growing!) publishing house out of Leesburg, VA, expressed interest in publishing The Mussorgsky Riddle and by mid March, my agent and I had negotiated the various aspects of the contract and it was all official. Many of you may be wondering what I’ve been doing since. First, Lisa Gus, the acquisitions editor and co-owner of CQ Press, had about ten plot points that she wanted me to massage out in the story. Some of these were easy and some were a bit more work. All in all, however, even the two changes that seemed the hardest and that seemed to threaten destroying the nice bow I had tied on the end of the story, actually improved the story ending. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when someone points out a problem in your writing, they may not be technically “right” by your estimation of what the story needs, but just the fact that something in the story “tripped” them means that someone else is going to “trip” too. Therefore, that’s the section of story carpet that needs to be tacked down more carefully. Don’t want our readers to fall and hurt themselves, now do we? All of Lisa’s suggestions at the very least clarified the story, and the two big changes at the end actually revealed to me that there was one more layer to the onion I hadn’t considered. My lesson? Even when the suggested change seems like it’s painful, a lot of work, or even wrong, look for a way to use the suggestion to improve your story. I did, and it paid off. Once Lisa had okayed the story, I was transitioned to my actual editor for the project, Sharon Pickrel, who did a fantastic job. She did a story pass in record time and I got those changes back to her. Then she did a grammar pass, again in record time and again I incorporated those changes as well. Then she did a third pass, sort of a pre-proofreading, and I got all those changes back to her last night. Hopefully this is the “final” edit, though it does go before proofreaders now to look for typos. After that I will get one more look at the content to ensure I’m happy with everything. What I learned during this step is that the better self-edited your book is before it goes to the editor, the better off you are. Sharon told me multiple times how “clean” a manuscript I’d sent, and still there were many, many things she found that needed to be fixed. So, to all you writers out there: go find those adverbs and slay them, go make sure your commas have a degree from Oxford (if appropriate), and work on getting rid of filtering, etc. (look it up) Read widely from blogs and websites that teach how to self-edit and GET IT DONE. In the end, this is your project, but your editor’s fresh set of eyes is a resource of which you should take full advantage. What’s next? The manuscript has been sent back to CQ and after the above-mentioned pass by the proofreaders, CQ will start on cover design, interior layout, pricing, and other aspects necessary to bring this book to life. There is no release date as yet (the piece of information I’m the most interested in)  but I’m hoping that we have this one out before Christmas. I’d love for MR to be available for gifts, stocking stuffers, and the like, but mostly, as a great Christmas gift to me. It’s been my dream for a LONG time to hold a book I wrote in my hands, and it looks like that dream is about to come true. More updates as we get closer, but for now I will leave you to your barbecues, your swimming pools, and your remembrances of our fallen heroes. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Darin

The Importance of Beta Readers


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!


Happy Halloween!!!

Status of current project:


Word Count thus far: 33481

Page Count thus far: 106 pages

Goal for this week: So far behind it doesn’t matter… (technically, 145 pages)

Wow. What a week. Worked all week buffing my manuscript and synopsis to submit to an agent that I met at the Writer’s Conference in Cape Cod. Just e-mailed it two hours ago and so now, the waiting begins. Keep your fingers crossed everyone!

As a result of all my travels in October and trying to get everything ready for this latest submission, my time on Four Corners has been limited at best, but along with the rest of the NaNoWriMo writers, I plan to start cranking out some serious pages in November. I may blog again in November, but I hope to blog again on December 1st and have at least fifty more pages under my belt. That is my goal, and I’m sticking to it. (The poor NaNoWriMo people are trying to churn out around 170 pages in comparison. Wow…)

And with that, back to the fray. Page 107, here I come!


(Imported from original website)

Back in the Saddle

As I sit down for the first time in just over a month to blog (in Spanish is that blogar?), I have many reasons to be thankful. I’m halfway through my first year in Charlotte, I still love my new job, my house in Georgia sold and the closing is in four days, I’ve kicked the writing back into high gear (currently minimum 5 pages per week which by Stephen King standards is pond water slow, but I digress), and lastly, I have found a truly great group of writers to help with the fine tuning and at times, massive overhauling. Yesterday they gave critique on Chapter 2 of Pawn’s Gambit and with their help, I finally figured out what’s been bothering me about some of the events/writing in that chapter. I spent most of the afternoon and evening yesterday with a serious bout of editing and rewriting, and for the first time since finishing the book last year, I feel like Chapter 2 is up to the standard of the rest of the book. I guess that means it’s time to get back on Book 2.

For three weeks now, I have kept up with my 5 page minimum; however, this week, I am a bit behind (gasp, Darin has a full time job and a life!) so I plan to finish this blog entry, then get back to work on Chapter 7 of Four Corners with a goal of four pages of keepable manuscript before I hit the sack tonight. I think I can do it, in fact I know I can do it.

Lastly the news page remains empty for now. No bites from any agent as yet, and in fact, at this time, I don’t think I even have any active irons in the fire. If I get any further news, I’ll post.

Best wishes for a happy rest of July, everyone! I doubt I’ll post again before August, but we’ll see.


(Imported from original website)


The website, at least in its earliest incarnation, is now complete. I’m sure that there will be many modifications, some major and some minor, in the coming weeks. After all, I am Darin Kennedy, self-proclaimed master of tinkering. Just wanted to drop a quick note tonight before I turn back to editing Chapter 14. I’m in the midst of a 350 page comma hunt, and approaching the end. Look out punctuation, here I come!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


(Imported from original website -ironically, as I am now far from done some three years after the original post)


It is hard to believe that I’ve been working at Eastland Family Practice here in Charlotte for almost 5 months now. It seems that just yesterday I was attending the Christmas party at Dr. Hall’s house and meeting everyone for the first time. Tonight was the night where we all met at Dr. Menscer’s and began the month long process of saying goodbye to our graduating residents. It has been an honor and a privilege to work along side such a fine group of young physicians. I wish them well as they embark upon their various careers and hope to cross paths with many of them in the future.

I also wanted to comment on how much I already feel a part of the residency staff here at Eastland. It’s is very much a family, and I feel like a long lost cousin more than a stranger and for that, I am grateful. At work and at play, this group is a good fit. It’s nice to know in your heart of hearts that you have made a good decision.

Clinic was great today. Precepted all morning with lots of interesting cases with the residents, then powered into the afternoon clinic full force. My first seven all showed early then the last three either cancelled or no-showed. Thus, I was done at 4:30. Note to those who don’t work in a clinic – this NEVER happens. All in all, a great day.

As for the writing, not much done today, not even any editing. Was gone from the house from 0745 to 2200 and barely stopped moving the entire time. Just enough time tonight to answer e-mails and drop a blog. I do, however, hope to finish editing the last few pages of Chapter 13 tomorrow and then hit Starbucks tomorrow afternoon on my much vaunted afternoon off and knock out Chapter 14. We’ll see how that goes.

Have a great end of the week everyone!!!


(Imported from original website)

Day Two

I must say, for a day that started with only five and a half hours of sleep under my belt, today turned out pretty well. Was it the plethora of no shows in morning clinic? The high percentage of cute kids with colds/minor issues that made the day go quickly? The satisfying diagnosis at the end of the day and the very satisfied patient that left the clinic to go get her CT scan? Hard to say.

Darin is home. Time to strip away the white coat and tie put on my virtual turtleneck and rectangular glasses and start making the magic happen. I plan to work on editing the rest of Chapter 13 of Pawn’s Gambit and getting it into the hands of my latest reader/sage Eden Royce for evaluation.

A quick shout out to my friend, Dwight Baldwin. His story “Repercussions” has just been published in a literary trade paperback called Iconic due out this summer. His story explores what would happen if Sherlock Holmes turned his attention on Jack the Ripper and the “repercussions” of such a meeting. It’s definitely worth a look!

That’s all for tonight. I’m off to edit, among other things. See you tomorrow!


(Imported from original website)