It’s Here! Pathways of the Dead Cover Reveal and Day Four of the #laboringaway Marathon

What a day! Labor day, cover reveal, and the finale for the marathon. Lots to cover.

First up, today is the official reveal of the Pathways of the Dead cover by Allison Jones. This one is designed to fit in with the new look of the revised Corridors (due early next week). The wave motif actually reveals a fairly major plot point that doesn’t crop up until late in the book, but captures an important theme of the entire series: the line between life and death. Without further ado…

Pathways Full ResObviously very pleased with the cover. Here’s the blurb:

Matty doesn’t want to end the world. Unfortunately, she has no choice.

Through a series of harrowing events, Matty DiCamillo discovered that she is the heir to an ancient prophecy, destined to destroy her own reality to save countless others. Now she finds herself locked away and interrogated by beings known as the Aetelia, who are out to force the apocalypse to their liking. After a breathless escape and an attack by the band of rebel Aetelia known as the Watchers, Matty must not only cross worlds but time itself to elude capture and face her destiny on her own terms. Aided by her lover Kristy; Tommy, a man trapped in a boy’s body; and an ageless woman named Omarosa; she must face death itself to reach the City of the Dead.

Currently aiming for an early November release. Editing is coming along very well and I’m close to handing it off to beta readers. Once that’s done, I may even schedule another marathon weekend to knock out the early portion of City of the Dead. Who knows?

Thanks to Dark World Books and all the kind bloggers for hosting the blog tour. I’m honored to share space on your sites.

Now, down to more business. Left yesterday with 36, 947 words, let’s just call it 36,900, and had just passed the book’s climax. There’s still some space to go, but I feel good about finishing the first draft at 50,000 words or thereabouts.

Then I get to go back in and add some scenes that have suggested themselves along the way. This fast-forward process is interesting; may even have the chance to release this book early next year, who knows? We shall see. Time to get to work.

12:59 PM

First break, lunch and kitty time. I’m sitting at 3246 words today for just over 40,000 words since Friday morning. With 10,000 to go this actually feels very doable. Five chapters remaining, and they’re not all super-long ones, either. Definitely into the endgame of the novel.

5:04 PM

Not taking breaks in the same way I have so far; the most I’m taking is 15 minutes, but I thought I’d share an update. I’m now at 5,584 for the day, 42531 total. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that I won’t make it 50,000 words but that’s okay because I have no doubt that I will finish this novel tonight. Only two-and-a-half chapters left and at the toughest scene that remains. Oh, also just learned that you can create fake iPhone conversations on the web, which lead me to insert my first image in a novel. Trust me, this is an important one.

Text from Jess

7:11 PM

“Imogene” is complete. Four days, 24 chapters, over 45,000 words. 8172 of those words came today, but I think the slower pace is down to grinding through the heaviest emotional stuff today. Make no mistake, though, I feel very proud of this accomplishment and can’t wait to share the novel with the world. It’s been a personal journey, super-condensed. I loved the experience.

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Next Phase With Day Three of the #laboringaway Marathon

Wow, can’t believe I’m actually posting this and I don’t feel like tearing my eyeballs from my sockets. How about that? Sure, I’m a bit more tired than I was Friday morning, but who the hell wouldn’t be?

Thought I’d share some info on the book in its current state. With an extremely tentative working title of Imogene (I’m already tossing around a few new ideas), it’s about the fall, rise, and fall of a sex addict dentist in rural Virginia and how he handles his wife’s death. As you would guess from the subject matter, there is indeed a great deal of (implied) sex. It’s not an erotica, but you can’t exactly shy away from the subject, just as you’d have to show a heroin user shooting up at least once in a novel about him or her. I just like to think of it as making up for lost time in my first few novels. Anyway, also contemplating whether novels like this should go under “JD Allen” or stick with what I have. Those considerations, of course, are still pretty far out, but it’s fun as a thought exercise.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m going to be participating in a short horror story contest this month? Might as well take advantage of this time of year, it’s my best writing period.

Anyway, off to the races. Goal today is 37,500, though I’d be ecstatic if I hit 40,000.

11:39 AM

Break #1. Lunch time and time to go visit the cat that I’m cat-sitting. It took a little bit of time to get going this morning, but I’m now sitting at a respectable 3017 words for the day, grand total of just over 28,000 words for the three days so far. I’ve just started Chapter Fourteen and a decision that will ruin the main character’s life.

4:54 PM

Break #2, almost two hours late, but I only got revved up at 1:30 and had to make up some lost time. Currently sitting at 7,116 for the day, with a total of 32,116. Feels like pulling teeth and yet I’m ahead of yesterday’s schedule. Go figure. The ‘villain’ (as much as a work like this can have one) has finally appeared on the scene, and she’s quite the character. Things have almost thoroughly fallen apart. Oh, I’m also on Chapter Sixteen, but very close to Seventeen.

Quick nap, dinner, and I’m back at it.

10:29 PM

Decided to push on through after dinner without stopping. Came about a thousand words short of today’s goal, but I really have nothing left in the tank. The story is stopping at a good spot for picking up tomorrow, and I actually think I’ll cross the finish line on the first draft, though I have lots of new scenes to go in and backfill. I guess final version will sit somewhere around 80,000 words with the new scenes. So today’s numbers, 11,497 words, for a grand total of 36,947. I had no idea I was even capable of something like that. Unreal. One more day to go! See you then.

Carrying on with Day Two of the #laboringaway Marathon

Getting a late start today as…well, long story, but I’m catsitting this weekend and the keys ended up lost, necessitating an early morning trip to Gettysburg, PA. I hadn’t built my schedule for this so it cost me some precious sleep that I’ve now caught up. I’m going to be cranking away from noon to midnight now.

2:50 PM

First break of the day, hour long. I’m sitting at 3963 words for the day, a grand total of 17,076 words into the novel. I’m really hoping to hit the 25,000 word mark today so there’s still a lot of work to go, but feeling good. I’m currently embroiled in Chapter Nine, wherein the main character sees his addiction begin to escalate.

6:37 PM

Starting to feel the exhaustion. Not great news when I’m still about 5,000 words from today’s goal. I’m now at 7,372 words for the day at a total of 20,485 since yesterday morning. Just finished Chapter Ten, wherein we had a significant proposal.

10:27 PM

Calling it a day at 11, 895 words. Fewer than yesterday, but not bad considering I started three hours later and am wrapping up at just about the same time. The book now sits at a hair over 25,000 words, just where I wanted to be. Things have gotten very dramatic and are approaching the endgame, but new scenes are continually suggesting themselves as I write so it’ll be no problem hitting that 50,000. See you tomorrow.

Welcome to Day One of the #laboringaway Marathon…

A couple months back, I guess it was mid-June, good friend and fellow author Marie Loughin approached me about a contest that seems to be held every year in which a group of seemingly-insane authors attempt to write a novel over a weekend, then submit it to the contest for judgment. Being insane myself, the concept of writing a novel over a weekend intrigued me for reasons that I can’t quite fathom, as I generally don’t care for the NaNoWriMo stuff. I also didn’t care for the contest aspect of this particular marathon as there were absolutely no safeguards to ensure that someone didn’t just submit a pre-written novel.

But the thing is, I’ve had this ever-morphing idea for a (very adult) literary novel bouncing around in my head. I despaired if I’d ever find the time to get it down on paper. Of course this gave me just that opportunity, so I decided I’d participate without joining in on the contest. Marie decided to join in as well. Our goals are a little different, as she’s using hers to kickstart her new novel and shooting for 25k words and I’m trying to grab the moon with a semi-complete novel and 50k words. Aniko Carmean has also joined us and is shooting for 15k. Is it possible? Who the hell knows, but I’ve built a schedule and loaded up on stuff that should keep my brain sharp over the next four days. I’ll check in with you guys as the progress goes along, give you my rolling word count. Let’s start the insanity…

11:27 AM

Lunch break, first check-in. I’m still in Chapter One, but am 3,750 words in so far. I’ve finished the first “section” of the first chapter and am currently in a dark park with the Main Character, Ken, and a prostitute. Thank goodness for outlines is all I can say. I’ve been breaking writing into 20-minute timed sections with 10 minute breaks in between and that’s turning out to be a very effective approach.

3:05 PM

Siesta break time. Built in time for a power nap and, if necessary, a few errands. I’m at 6,769 words thus far and just starting Chapter 4, where we go to a 12-step meeting for the first time. This is officially the most I have written in one day. Now off to nap and I’ll get back to work around 4:30.

7:12 PM

Dinner time. I had originally intended to knock off for dinner at 6:30, but I was too deep in the scene to let go until it was finished. I’m sitting at 10,184 words for the day and feel shockingly good. Right now my main character has made a discovery that tempts him and makes him feel old at the same time. Important moment for him.

10:02 PM

Stopping for today. Day 1 totals, 13,448 words, seven chapters, and a huge chunk of story. I feel really good about this novel so far. It seems to balance nice, uplifting scenes with some really depressing stuff. Very, very different from anything I’ve written to this point, but I’m loving it. See you tomorrow.