2021 Justin Alcala Schedule Released

Well, there’s always a silver lining to any adversity, and 2020 was no different. While it’s globally unanimous that 2020 was like skidding down a razor bladed playground slide, there were some benefits. Beyond the zenith of all joys, the birth of my son, Ronan, I could also get a lot of writing projects ready for their 2021 debut. So, strap on your helmet, squeeze into your short shorts, and grease those rollerblades, because we’re skating through 2021 with conviction. Here’s a look at the Justin Alcala schedule for the upcoming year. 

JANUARY 2021

  • Final edits for “A Dead End Job” were put together by Parliament House Press and myself
  • Production Meetings began for the future graphic novel, “Apollyon” with talented producers/creators James Rock and Alex Gomez
  • “Taming of the Cthulhu” 1st proof reaches 30,000 words. 
  • “A Dead End Job” cover artist completes project for acceptance 

FEBRUARY 2021

  • “A Dead End Job” cover reveal on February 25th 
  • “Magic of Motivational Quotes” by Wingless Dreamer publishing is released, featuring a Justin Alcala excerpt 
  • Cover reveal for the new anthology, “Citizen Survivors: The Red Book” released by BLK  DOG Publishing. This historical fiction piece about the world had Nazi Germany been victorious features a short story by Justin Alcala titled “The Entrepreneur” 

MARCH 2021

  • Proofreading for the Middle Grade book, “The Last Stop” begins. This young reader horror story follows seventh grader, Morrigan, and her little brother, Asher, as they explore the frightful history of their new town, and the connection with their eerie new bus driver. 
  • “Taming of the Cthulhu” manuscript should reach the halfway point for creation
  • Two new short stories will begin for Halloween distribution
  • “Citizen Survivors: The Red Book” hits shelves

APRIL 2021

  • “The Last Stop” will sent off to agents and publishers 
  • Short Horror Stories “A Horse for Us All” and “Buried in the Rain” hit anthology and literary magazine shelves
  • Finishing touches for the first proof of “Taming of the Cthulhu” complete and sent out to editors

MAY 2021

  • “The Last Stop” proposed to agents and publishers 
  • “Apollyon” finishes proofreads and illustrators begin early sketches

JUNE 2021

  • Early reviewers get their “looking-balls” on “A Dead End Job”
  • Interviews on podcasts, radio stations and literary journals for the premiere of “A Dead End Job”

JULY 2021

  • Early announcement about “The Last Stop” publication
  • Short Horror Story Projects Cut Off for Submission 
  • We will take part in the “2021 Charity Drive for the Extra Life for Kids” program 

AUGUST 2021

  • We will start the countdown for “A Dead End Job” with great giveaways, including e-books, t-shirts and other great 

SEPTEMBER 2021

  • “The Last Stop” continued publication announcements
  • “Taming of the Cthulhu” hits submission phase
  • “A Dead End Job” preorders completed 

OCTOBER 2021

  • “A Dead End Job” released (Woo hoo!). Parliament House PRess will release physical copies and ebooks starting October 5th, 2021.
  • Podcast interviews to continue in promotion of Parliament House Press in conjunction with “A Dead End Job”
  • Halloween Short Stories hit publication 

NOVEMBER 2021

  • “The Last Stop” begins editorial phase with new publisher
  • “Taming of the Cthulhu” early publication announcements 
  • Justin Alcala short story and novel contest results announced

DECEMBER 2021

  • Christmas Giveaways for “A Dead End Job” gifted for select readers 
  • “Apollyon” publication announcement updates 

Being Puck’s nephew comes with its own problems, including an evil fairy grandmother. Now, Adair is on the run in the mortal world, and he can’t get anything right.

A Dead End Job by Justin Alcala on Sale .99 Amazon Kindle

TODAY ONLY: FREE HALLOWEEN HORROR STORIES (FEATURING JUSTIN ALCALA)

GRIM AND GILDED DARK LITERARY E-MAGAZINE PRESENTS THEIR HALLOWEEN EDITION, FEATURING JUSTIN ALCALA, FREE W/ DONATIONS ACCEPTED. Grim & Gilded believes that the very act of art itself is magic – to lay words upon the page is to weave a spell into the fabric of the universe, a manifestation of an idea from nothing more than the spirit and the bones. We aim to protect this magic and to promote its emergence into the collective being by publishing and uplifting both new and established writers. By carving out a small, precise space for these words to land, G&G hopes to engage the reader in such a way that they are impacted – and indeed changed – by the incantation upon the page.

“THE LAST ROOM” by Justin Alcala

 For three years, the American Civil War spread hell across the countryside. Keelan, an upbeat Irish entrepreneur obsessed with his trade, detours the bloody roads near Richmond, optimistic to find new clients for his family’s textile factory. But the Charlotte Storm of 1864 injures Keelan, and he begs for shelter at the first farmhouse he can find. Abigail, the owner of the home, will take the weary soul in, but there’s evidence that not all is right in her tiny southern cottage. Abigail offers Keelan the only available room, a small attic space to rest, but he learns who lived there before. Abigail’s mysterious son who joined the Union army, once slept in the very bed Keelan now tries to recover in, and Keelan learns the young man wants his bedroom back.  

Get the full story @ https://www.grimandgilded.com

An Interview for New Writers

I love college. Each day, your future unfolds before you, possibilities limitless. Luckily, I have the privilege of going back, in a way, by being part of another amazing future writer’s thesis. Check out the latest interview I did for an amazing grad student, whose works are bound to be in the New York Times soon.

How did you get your start in writing? 

Every author gets struck by lightning. Sometimes, experiences inspire them to write a novel, or a book awakens ideas for a fictional world like none have seen before. It’s a point of no return when you capture that ethereal voice living in your mind’s wilds and force it on an intramundane stage. You need courage in order to take that first step, and for me, torpidity inspired my fervor. 

My parents were blue collar artists who raised my sister and me in a one-hundred-year-old house in an industrial part of Chicago. I read Halloween books and comics throughout my middle childhood, which roused my own editions of horror pamphlets and graphic novels. In my early adolescence, that muse came alive in written roleplaying adventures I shared with friends. Then, at eighteen, it all flipped upside-down when my father died.

My hero, and artistic cheerleader, left before I knew what to do with my shaken soda bottle of imagination. For five years I wandered in a gray world, choosing a practical major and stable corporate career while writing on the side as a hobby. Until I met a young actress who was all the things I remembered about myself. She was a fantastic performer with a thirst for art, story, and most importantly, the future. I was a love-sick swain for her, and with her encouragement, I dusted off my stories and took that first bold step forward. I changed my college major, learned about how the literary world operates, and unleashed a wildfire of manuscripts and short stories. Fifteen years later, and I’ve worked with over thirty publishers to create five award-winning novels, twenty novellas, short stories, and columns. Oh, and that young actress? She married me, then took the next courageous steps to follower her own new dream. She’s a board certified pediatrician now. 

What was your motivation behind wanting to write? 

There is an elephantine steel door hidden in the recesses of my brain. Only I know how to reach it. As I stumble through the day-to-day, experiencing fascinating people, places, and stories, I kidnap them at pencil point, forcing them into my mental depository. Then, when my mind wanders as it often does, I enter the safe place and gather them up for stories I’d like to hear. I put them on paper, hoping that the hidden treasures who influenced me will be as entertaining for readers as they were for me. And when it is; when readers claim my work was a great story, it inspires me to take the key to the steel door where I use life’s magnificence to tell more yarns.

Which authors inspire you the most when it comes to your style of writing? 

The funny things about a writing style is that artists of other mediums have just as much say as authors. The pantheon of afflatus comprises classics like Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, besides contemporary writers like Andrew Smith, Erin Morgenstern, Neil Gaiman, Maggie Stiefvater, Christopher Moore, and Jim Butcher. However, there’s other artists, musicians and filmmakers, who have just as much influence over my work as my book gods. Tom Waits, Florence Welch, Andrew Bird, Tim Burton, Ava Marie DuVernay, and Jim Henson saturate my style with the fantastic art they’ve created through the decades. 

What is your main goal when it comes to your stories? Do you want to solely entertain, educate, or something else? 

The goal is all the above, and yet none of the above. You build plots hoping they’ll be just as entertaining for the reader as they are you, with educative facts and life lessons filled between. When I’ve typed The End, and I sent the story out to through the publishing world, I don’t tell people what I want them to get out of the pages. It’s no longer my tale. It’s the reader’s story. What a reader gets out of the work, whether it’s heartbreak or basic andragogy, is their choice, and to me, that’s one of the most beautiful things about books. What I’ve read in my past, and what stays with me, may not have been the author’s intent, but it’s very real, and very important to my life. 

Who is your general target audience with your stories? Why did you choose your target audience as opposed to another one?

I’ve said it years ago, and the sentiment still endures. Book elitists and academic reviewers are a fantastic type of reader, but I inspire to write about the wonderful critical thinkers living common lives. They’re who I yearn to connect with. I daydream about an ironworker perched on their lunchbox flipping through one of my novels, a teacher reading one of my short stories during coffee break, or a mortician with a copy of A Dead End Job in their lower desk drawer. Why? Because that’s who I think am. I’m an ordinary guy, who’s also a mental escape artist, leaping from reality in order to weave curious tales from the world before me. We’re out there, everywhere, from line cook to librarian, spicing up the everyday with our thoughts. 

Night Time Readers, Get Your Nightstand Books at www.justinalcala.com

Readers of the night, get your fantasy, horror, absurdist fiction, sci-fi and urban fantasy at http://www.justinalcala.com.

A Dead End Job Summer Sale

📚READERSHIP SALE: 💀
Limited Time Discount on Amazon and B&N.
Publisher’s Weekly Review: “Alcala (Consumed) takes readers on a humorous romp through modern-day Chicago’s realm of the undead when workaholic Death hires a hitman to sub for him while he takes a vacation. Wounded army vet Buchanan Palasinski, abused as a child and mourning the death of his girlfriend, is desperate enough to kill people for money. But when his latest mark takes him out instead, Buck comes face-to-face with Death and Death’s IT guy, Jumbo. Jumbo’s elaborate computer program handles routine deaths, but Death needs someone to hunt down those who try to cheat their fate while he’s away. After Buck successfully dispatches singer Zombie Pete, who steals souls through his guitar, with Death’s powerful scythe—which transforms into a sniper rifle in Buck’s hands—Buck’s next target is famed gangster John Dillinger, who supposedly died in 1934 but lingers as a vampire. Buck recognizes Dillinger as the mark who killed him, but when he confronts Dillinger, he’s in for a shocking discovery. Alcala cultivates Chicago’s dark underbelly, revealing an abundance of obstacles and adversaries, among them a warlock, a doppelgänger, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Readers will merrily breeze through this twisty tale, cheering for droll Buck to rise above the danger. This proves a rewarding adventure for fans of urban paranormal.”

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Ukraine: Readers Help Through a Tour de Force

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a big fan of written word. Blessed are the readers. It also means you likely know what’s going in Ukraine. It’s ugly. It’s wrong. It likely stirs difficult emotions. We all work through the jarring daily reports in our own ways, but early studies show that most people feel a form of helplessness. But what if I told you that the reader is one of the most important champions in this war? That’s right, you the reader can make a compelling difference in this attack on Ukraine. 

The first casualty of war is truth is a quote credited to Senator Hiram Waren Johnson in 1917 (nerd fact: There are different forms of this quote since the ancient Greeks). The quote’s essence is simple, without a community’s support, wars cannot be fought and won. Facts are sacrificed in order to garner advocacy for conflict. No where is this more true than Russia’s complete media shut down to outsiders in order to feed propaganda without an opposing view. Russian citizens are fed disinformation so its leadership can continue their antiquated crusade to conquer land and people. 

But wait, aren’t we all being fed subjective information? Yes. 

Here’s the difference, experienced readers who aren’t trapped in Russia’s information blockade are blessed with a divine talent to separate authenticity from agitprop. They’ve spent decades reading novels, columns, blogs and other forms of written word, and have mastered a writer’s motivation. A veteran reader can point out when a writer is penning earnest details and when they are manipulating specifics. A trained reader goes over multiple reports on the same subject matter from opposing viewpoints and then piece together the bottom line— be it political opposition or adverse countries. But, there’s one step that these marvelous readers like you forget to do in order to consummate their efforts for truth, and that’s to share it.   

Participating in refined data sharing, that which only states the facts, creates a global chronicle to assist other readers sift through conflicting views. Be it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., this powerful step by experienced readers who’ve sifted through columns and posts aids others troubled by contradictory viewpoints decipher truth from fiction. The communication should have a simple mission, to fend off personal opinions and communicate accurate notes, materials, and testimony. If we as readers can help cleanse disinformation from truth, it will clump together factual narrative for the grander audience. So please, if you can’t donate, set the facts straight. You the reader are one of the most powerful sources of helping truth surface.

The Long Game: A Success Story for Writers

4 minute read

The illusion of success is that it came overnight. It’s easy to understand why. Who doesn’t like to think that one great idea, or one focused effort, can make our dreams come true? As a culture, we glorify the rags to riches story. We celebrate athletes, businesses, and stars that seem to come out of nowhere and take the world by storm. But while these cases arise, the prevalent success story comes from grit, endurance, and a desire to develop.  

One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, once told a story on his Masterclass session about a timeworn work that still lives in his attic to this day. He described how he dusted off the manuscript one day, read it, and then shoved it back into the attic where it belonged. Gaiman implicated that the book left a lot to be desired, but reading it again gave him peace of mind. It helped him realize that his voice was there, but his craft still needed work. He gathered the tenacity and withstood, growing with each published project, which would accumulate into his vast extension of accomplishments that today makes him a world esteemed storyteller. 

Writers live off of the hunger that our next work is going to be the big one. If you want to survive in the publishing market, that’s the attitude you need to have. However, like a set of ascending stairs, each project, if it gains an ameliorated quality, brings you closer to your aspirations. Set goals, expectations, and add a bit of a dream to the equation, and your next title will be a success whether it upgrades you to a larger publisher, gets you that agent you’ve been drooling over, or it turns into a New York Times Best Seller. Still don’t believe me? Just look at these stats. 

According to a study by writer, Joseph Epstein, 81% of Americans feel they have a book in them and should write it. That’s 200 million aspiring authors. 97% of people who write never finish their book. So, for every thousand people, thirty complete the task. Then there’s the demanding job of being published. A report taken from Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Surveys states that of those survivors who wrote a book, only 13.4% earn a traditional publishing contract. Even after that, according to Quora Digest, the odds of being able to make a living as a writer are 1 in 10,000, but that likely means you’re also writing as a journalist, freelancer, etc., besides books. If you want to become a household name, at least in your genre, odds of that happening are 1 in 100,000. 

Given these proximate numbers, it’s clear that defying the odds and transforming into a success overnight, no matter how good your work might be, is unlikely. An author might set themselves up for failure by placing all their hopes on one work. Rather, they should feel assured knowing they’re determined to push forward with a new marvelous project, inching towards the top with every improved manuscript. The more monumental projects you put out into the world, the stronger the odds grow. After all, the illusion of success is that it comes overnight, but it’s the plural form of the word “overnight” that gets a writer where they want to go in their career.

Looking for an amazing, original URB Fantasy?

Fans of Terry Pratchett and Shane Kuhn’s THE INTERN’S HANDBOOK will love this noir supernatural thriller. 

Death needs a vacation. Badly. But there’s a catch: There are people who cheat the system, always falling through the cracks and not dying like they’re supposed to. Who’s going to take care of them while Death’s sipping on sangria? 

The answer is simple: Death needs an intern, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one prospect, Buck Palasinksia-a bankrupt hitman with a roleplaying addiction-might have what it takes. While scoping out his next target, Buck gets drilled in the forehead by a bullet and falls right into Death’s lap. 

If they shove him back into his body, he’ll have a few weeks to prove that he has what it takes to be Death’s right-hand. 

All he has to do is take out Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, and quit smoking.

A Dead-End Job https://www.amazon.com/dp/1956136096/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_B33RW1KWF1CRFXYQS4MK

Urban Fantasy Fans Act Now

Hurry! Love is in the air, and it looks like Urban Fantasy on sale! Get your digital copy of A DEAD END JOB for $1.99! @parliamentbooks

Description 

Fans of Terry Pratchett and Shane Kuhn’s THE INTERN’S HANDBOOK will love this noir supernatural thriller. 



Death needs a vacation. Badly. But there’s a catch: There are people who cheat the system, always falling through the cracks and not dying like they’re supposed to. Who’s going to take care of them while Death’s sipping on sangria? 

The answer is simple: Death needs an intern, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one prospect, Buck Palasinksia—a bankrupt hitman with a roleplaying addiction—might have what it takes. While scoping out his next target, Buck gets drilled in the forehead by a bullet and falls right into Death’s lap. 

If they shove him back into his body, he’ll have a few weeks to prove that he has what it takes to be Death’s right-hand. 

All he has to do is take out Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, and quit smoking.

Storyteller