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Thursday, March 1, 2018

APOCALYPSE ALLEY by Don Allmon Blog Tour

Hello, all! I’m Don Allmon and this week I’ll be touring the web to promote my new book, APOCALYPSE ALLEY, the second in the Blue Unicorn series.

If you’re looking for fast-paced cyberpunk/fantasy romance – Terminator 2 meets Fury Road with two sexy guys and a dragon – this is your jam.

Join in the fun by leaving a comment which enters you to win a Riptide gift card!

About Apocalypse Alley

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah "Comet" Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT's home has been shot up like a war zone, and his friend has gone missing.

Comet's only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name's Buzz Howdy. He's a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they're sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

Despite their mutual distrust, they'll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a killer Buick, and rampaging cannibals. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn't work out so well.

The First Paragraph: Before & After
If you’ve ever read something and wondered about the process—Where did this come from? Did it always read this way? What did the author and editor(s) change?—well here’s a bit of insight into that:
The original first paragraph of APOCALYPSE ALLEY (original = the first version I sent to the editor, which was far from the actual “original”) read like this:
Spent casings everywhere across the parking lot like peanut shells on a bar floor.  A dead off-the-shelf, ball-based Danoru Technologies Samurai Interceptor in a twisted, gleaming heap, drowned in its own hydraulic oils. Scraps of high-tensile netting. Plastic shards from burst floodlights. There were bullet holes punched in the corrugated walls and divots blasted out of concrete. The whole compound stank like burnt wiring.
The published version reads like this:
Spent casings littered the parking lot. A dead Atari Koroshiya 036 urban combat drone lay drowned in its own hydraulic oils, a twisted, scarred wreck. Scraps of high-tensile netting and plastic shards from burst floodlights sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. There were bullet holes punched in the corrugated walls and divots blasted out of concrete. The whole compound stank of burnt wiring.
Walking through the changes, first the relatively minor but significant change: the name of the drone.
Using an imaginary company, “Danoru Technologies,” didn’t really do any work for the story. “Atari,” on the other hand, shows the reader that this world is sort of like ours—both have a company called Atari—but in this world the video game company also manufactures killer drones, which is a comment on… well, a lot of things.  
“Samurai” became “Koroshiya” because I wanted to ditch the connotation of “nobility” or “honor” and focus on sudden death.
I added the designation 036 mostly for my own amusement (I make a lot of references no one but me will get). In this case, .36 is the caliber of the 1851 Colt Navy revolver, the gun used by a character in my short stories.
I changed the description slightly because the overall look of the drone also changed in my head. It was no longer “off-the-shelf” or “ball-based” (think BB-8, or the dwarven spheres from Elder Scrolls) but more mantis-like, because mantises are cool, yet creepy.
And then the major change: I took a bunch of sentence fragments and made them into sentences. The original idea was that sentence fragments would feel “edgy.” Instead they felt clumsy and static. The word “littered” was better than the peanut simile; and “sparkled” was a nice contrast to the violence it described.
The editing on this paragraph isn’t necessarily representative. There are plenty of paragraphs in APOCALYPSE ALLEY that weren’t changed at all, and others that were rewritten entirely. But I chose this one to share because the changes were pretty straightforward and gave a useful insight into how books change over the editing process.

About Blue Unicorn

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

About Don Allmon

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.

Connect with Don:
      Twitter: @dallmon


To celebrate the release of Apocalypse Alley, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents


  1. Thanks for the interesting post. I look forward to reading your book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  2. I have to read the first one now!
    jlshannon74 at

  3. Thanks for the insight on the book.
    heath0043 at gmail dot com

  4. Thank you for the insight of the book.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  5. Congrats, Don, and thanks for the peek into editing. I wasn't sure how much of this was your doing, versus an editor, but however, I like the published version better. Except I liked the image of peanut shells on a bar floor. Just me. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    1. If I remember correctly, these edits were all my choice but there were plenty of other places the editor made valuable suggestions. (And I liked the peanut image too!)

  6. Congrats on the new release! I've heard great things about this series, I added it to my TBR list.