Tag Archives: Pawn’s Gambit

Pawn’s Gambit


Pawn’s Gambit

14 Oct 2016 – Falstaff Books





Until the sultry brunette in the little black dress

did her best to incinerate him.


Yesterday was just another day at the office for Steven.

Today, he is the White Pawn, a combatant in a nightmarish

game of chess where people are the pieces, and the world is at stake.

To survive the deadly Black Queen, Steven must

rush to gather the rest of his Pieces:


The Knight, a grieving teenage boy

caught up in a web of gang violence. 

The Queen, a young woman at death’s door,

her body ravaged by leukemia. 

The Bishop, a disgraced priest haunted by visions of the Game.

The Rook, a suicidal drunk reeling atop a storm-ridden skyscraper.


But Steven isn’t the only one looking for

the remainder of the White,

as the Black Queen already has her Pieces assembled,

and they are on the hunt…

Pawn’s Gambit Release Today!


Today is the official release date for Pawn’s Gambit from Falstaff Books, and I couldn’t be more excited!

As many of you know, this is the first novel I ever wrote, and though I’m a couple years into this whole publishing thing, this is the book I always imagined would be my first. Pawn’s Gambit is a story that’s been brewing inside me for the better part of thirty years and to see it finally available for the world to read is a dream come true. This marriage of contemporary fantasy, superheroes, and chess with just a sprinkle of romance brings together several of my worlds and I can’t wait for everyone to have a chance to read.

Thanks to John Hartness and Jay Requard at Falstaff for taking a chance on this book, to Roy Mauritsen for the gorgeous cover, to Sharon Pickrel and Melissa Gilbert for an awesome editing job, and to Susan Roddey for the beautiful interior layout.

Avengers + Magic + Chess = Pawn’s Gambit… Available now!!!

Come and get me...

Today is the day – Inaugural entry of my new blog “Checkered Ramblings”

Since July, I have been waiting for a good day to restart blogging. When I get back from Scotland. When life slows down a bit. When I finish all the revisions on the WIP. Lots of different “whens” entered into the equation. Well, guess what. I’m back from Scotland, life is a little slower this week, and as of two days ago, my WIP is no longer IP. So, here we go.

This has been a big year already thus far, so let’s catch up. The biggest news is that after more hours, days, months, years, rejections, revisions, edits, critiques, encouragements, disappointments, writers conferences, etc. than I’d like to remember, I finally have acquired what until a month ago might as well have been the Holy Grail – a literary agent. Stacey Donaghy, with Corvisiero Literary Agency, fell in love with manuscript over the summer and corresponded with me about her experience as she read, even while I was across the pond visiting relatives in Edinburgh, Scotland. I had been back stateside for a couple of weeks when I received the call. July 18, 2012, while I was at my Wednesday night Writer’s Clutch at Amelie’s, I received a conference call from Stacey and Marisa Corvisiero. To those of you who aren’t as familiar, getting the call is a big deal. They offered representation for Pawn’s Gambit and after doing my due diligence with everyone else who had materials, I signed on the dotted line. (Actually, it was solid, but let’s not split hairs.) Since that time, Stacey has been nothing short of outstanding in her diligence, communication, and general awesomeness. To all of you looking for an agent, let me tell you – wait for the agent who gets you and your stuff. It is qualitatively different. I feel that I don’t just have AN agent; I have MY agent. (and to whoever sent her a nastygram last night, look out – I have enough medical know-how to put you down and make it look like natural causes… 😉

So, as you can guess, my contemporary fantasy novel, Pawn’s Gambit, is currently on submission. And… that’s all I’m going to say about that. To paraphrase the great philosopher, Tyler Durden: The first rule of Submission Club is: You do not talk about Submission Club. The second rule of Submission Club is: You do not talk about Submission Club.

Speaking of my oh-so-recently completed WIP, I sent my manuscript which is codenamed “MR” to Stacey on Sunday (August 23rd) and eagerly await her thoughts. More on that as it develops.

To my readers out there, I have multiple short stories coming out in various anthologies and magazines in the next few months.

1) “Midnight Screening” in Pill Hill Press’s Anthology, Psycho Cinema, due out later this year. — A vampire and a werewolf stand in line for a movie and bemoan the way their respective “people” are presented on the silver screen. Went for the funny on this one.

2) “The Sicilian Defense” in the October issue of Chess Life magazine, the official publication of the U.S. Chess Federation. Think Sports Illustrated for chess players. — The chess board on Ray’s living room table starts playing a game with him, and Ray is more than willing to meet this invisible opponent across the 64 square battlefield, that is until his first piece is taken and people in Ray’s life start to die.

3) “Flight of the Pegasus” in the winter issue of White Cat Magazine, an online publication. Their fall issue is available right now – go check it out. — My first foray into Steampunk, this story is the first of hopefully many adventures of Captain Craig Carruthers who may as well be played by Buster Crabbe (look him up). Airships? Check. Automatons? Check. Mysterious foes? Check. GIANT MECHANICAL CENTIPEDE TO FIGHT ATOP SKYSCRAPER? Check, and check. Now, “check” it out… 😉

4) “Solomon” in Kerlak Publishing’s anthology, The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil. Edited by my good friend John Hartness (at johnhartness.com) and a new friend of mine, Emily Leverett, this anthology will be tale after tale of stories told from the point of view of the villain and should be very cool. This story is the fourth in my “April Sullivan: Necromancer for Hire” series, the first three of which will be available later this year as an e-book and will sport a cover by another great friend of mine, Roy Mauritsen. (Check him out at roymauritsen.com for his awesome artwork and his fantastic debut novel: Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder.)

To close out this inaugural edition of the new blog, I am rechristening this little corner of the internet “Checkered Ramblings” and as soon as I can get a little tech assistance, the new title will be in place. Please excuse the website not being quite done. I’ve been quite busy getting MR ready for Stacey, but now that my little 108,000 word love letter to Pictures at an Exhibition is done, you may be seeing more of me.

I look forward to reading your comments. Enjoy the website. Feel free to check out some of the old blogs from my previous website if you like. Still have to bring forward all the old publications, but that is coming soon. Any suggestions are welcome. See you back here soon.




The First of December

Status of current project:


Word Count thus far: 40,060

Page Count thus far: 127 pages

Goal for this week: Technically, 165 pages

(I started November 40 pages behind, and am now only 38 pages behind so actually I’m quite pleased!)

First off, to all of you who cranked out 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo, congrats and wow. I churned out 6500 words, and even those aren’t perfect. Got to keep at it for December. Hope to blog a bit more frequently in December, but was purposely waiting to see how much I could get done in November.

Still working on making connections in the writing world and going for the ever elusive representation. Not much news on that front, but Book 2 is shaping up regardless. The first “act” is basically done with two or three more to go. Depending on how many pages the next two acts take will determine whether the fourth act remains the fourth act of Book 2 or the first of Book 3. Still a bit up in the air. And with that, it’s one till midnight and I promised I would submit this blog before 2 December. Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Going for 50,000 words by New Years. We’ll see.

Lastly, I have recently made the acquaintance of Carrie Ryan, young adult author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a post-apocalyptic tale of zombies, isolation, religious fanatacism, and love. I am in the last chapter and hope to finish it tomorrow night. Check it out if you haven’t already. It is well worth the read!


(Imported from original website)

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)

Cover Coverage (that should cover it…)

First official news item. While at Dragon*Con a few weeks back, I discovered the artwork of Roy Mauritsen, a professional artist / graphic designer whose specialty is, of all things, fantasy chess artwork. Needless to say I was pretty sure I had found a kindred spirit. We’ve exchanged a few e-mails and he offered to produce a mock up cover for Book I. It is available for viewing on “The Pawn Stratagem” page. Take a look and make sure you check out Roy’s website at www.roymauritsen.com if you want to see some pretty cool fantasy chess artwork. Also, let me know what you think on the Guest Page. I just refurbished it earlier today so that it is a little more intuitive as to how to leave a comment. Guest pages are one thing that iWeb unfortunately does not do very well. Look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the cover idea and to Roy: THANKS!!!


(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)

100 Hits!

So, I’m enjoying my customary Thursday afternoon off (hey, they can’t work me all day every day) and finally have time to write another blog entry. Was excited to see that the website has now had 100 hits (I was number 100. Do I get a prize? I think so!) Only about 20 of those are me (checking site status/functionality) which I guess means several people have been checking it out. I hope that all of you like what you see.

Last night, I sent out my new and improved query letter to Ginger Clark, who from what I can tell from my research is a champion for new writers of contemporary fantasy. She comes highly recommended by many of her clients and I eagerly await to see if she is interested in representing Pawn’s Gambit. We will see. Everyone send positive thoughts her way. Who knows? Maybe the guy that wrote The Secret is right and if we think about it hard enough… but I digress.

The writing is stalled out for a moment as I fix commas and other minor grammatical errors in the last three chapters of Pawn’s Gambit, but as soon as that’s done, it’s back to the fray. I may have to flip a coin to see if I continue work on Four Corners or begin the process of bringing The Mussorgsky Riddle to life. Danielle and Anthony are pretty much stuck in Dreamland till I get back to them. I hope they packed a lunch.

Had some interesting stuff in clinic this week. Saw a patient with intractable hiccups, another patient with what I believe is a relatively rare condition called hemochromatosis, and for the first time in my career, saw someone with a copperhead bite. And all on a Wednesday afternoon! Not your usual high blood pressure/diabetes/cholesterol/common cold/etc. that’s for sure. It’s made for a very interesting week. Can’t wait to see what next week brings.

While you’re on the site, check out my new guest book. First person to sign it gets a prize! (The prize is unfortunately the honor of being the first person to sign the guest book.)

That’s all for now. If anyone has any thoughts about the blog, just let me know. I’m open to suggestions!


(Imported from original website)

A Night of Firsts

Just twenty-four hours ago, I didn’t have a website, didn’t have a blog, didn’t have all the nifty little chess pictures that are littered around the site. Time to finally enter this corner of the twenty-first century, I suppose. I enter with a bang, not a whimper, contrary to the esteemed Mr. Eliot’s prediction of the end of all things. I have a lot of work to do to get this virtual house of cards to stand up, but as it is quickly approaching midnight, on this the first day of the last month of my thirty-seventh year on this planet, I shall be brief.

If you are visiting this site for the first time, I’m Darin Kennedy. Doctor by day, novelist by night, not to mention most weekends. I have completed my first novel, a contemporary fantasy called Pawn’s Gambit, the first in a trilogy I call The Pawn Stratagem. (Ahhh, that explains all the chess imagery everywhere.) My tale of Steven Bauer and his brave compatriots has been a true labor of love, and as I approach what has to be the fourth or fifth complete edit of the book, I’ve got to say, I think it’s ready. Like a good soup that has simmered for the better part of a day, it is ready to be consumed.

Chess theory states that every game has three distinct parts: the opening, the middle game, and the endgame. My opening moves are complete, and as I enter the middle game of this grand endeavor, I am simultaneously excited and daunted. I’m about six chapters into the sequel, Four Corners. This looks to be a very different book, in subject matter if not theme, and the story is taking me in directions I never dreamed, or at least not while I was hewing Pawn’s Gambit out of a large pile of words. It’s been fun incorporating elements from the first book that I had no idea would come full circle in this book about squares and corners. The third book, whose working title is Endgame, exists only in the roughest of forms, though the final outcome is written in my mind’s eye and is just waiting for me to get there.

And with that, I must bid you a good night. My patients in the morning most likely would prefer their physician to be conscious, so it’s to bed with me. Come again sometime. I’ll be here…


(Imported from original website)