All posts by justinalcala

GHOSTS OF THE PAST 4 Days Ago Have you ever opened up some of your long forgotten poems, short stories or novels? Painful right? The document is probably littered with vague pronoun references, unnecessary shifts in tense and fused sentences. Even worse, there are sections of the story that don’t contribute to the plot, insignificant characters and mawkishly sentimental underlying messages. If you’re like me, the first thing you do is plant your face in your hands (a.k.a. the “Face-palm”) and try not to cry. Afterwards, you stare at the Delete button, tempted to obliterate all proof that this story or poem was once yours. Finally, after waging a war with your conscience, you decide to live and let live, leaving the document alone, but lamenting about how terrible your writing once was. But wait, that’s not fair. Your old work shouldn’t be some dark secret that needs to be hidden from the world. It should be a testimony of what you’ve accomplished. Not only did the “old you” put a lot of effort into that story, but the work is a reminder of who you as a writer once inspired to be. It’s a roadmap of your writing life. Sometimes, we as writers are very hard on ourselves. We have to be because we’re constantly pursuing perfection. However, we forget that we didn’t just learn how to write overnight. There wasn’t some magical gift bestowed upon us by a divine being. No, we had to start somewhere and work at it, and those old documents are a symbol of that. For me, once the shock wears off of how bad my writing once was, I realize how beautiful these works really are. Because behind the jungle of grammatical errors and turbulent plot hooks is a vision I once had. I see Justin Alcala, the writer who wanted to give readers a little scare with his horror stories. I see Justin Alcala, the yarn spinner who wanted to give a fresh perspective on legends and folklore. I see Justin Alcala, the young man who wanted to make people happy by telling great stories. All too often, we authors get swept away by the power that comes with having your works published. I know I get a real kick out of talking to my publisher about cover art or sending new ideas to my editor. It’s fun to put your work onto bookshelves. But we can’t forget about the fundamentals. We need to remind ourselves why we started writing in the first place, and those old tales are just the thing. So the next time your dusting off an old manuscript, remember what those pages really mean. The words may tell a bad story, but the history of its creation is its own sort of autobiography.

Ever have one of those jobs that feels like an eternal punishment? Well, that’s better than an actual eternal punishment. Preorder “A Dead End Job” today to secure your copy, and find out why some career paths are worse than others.

Preorder today!

Turn the Page by Justin Alcala

You hear it all the time. Goodbye 2020. What a yearCan’t wait for 2021. We yearn to move on. We ache for a better tomorrow. And in the literary world, the uncertainty from the last twelve months drives a similar desire. 

According to Guardian journalist, Alex Clark, 2020 was a mixed year for the publishing life. While bookshops closed, literary festivals cancelled and hardback sales shrunk, digital books surged in the face of the pandemic. Lockdowns and work-from-home environments gave readers more time for books. Racism, COVID-19 and a divided nation drove authors to their keyboards, congesting the market. As a result, many established writers, such as novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls, are bowing out, focusing on other projects. 

But is stepping down the answer? Is it time for career writers to walk away in the face of a flooded environment? Unless you’re well established, even the best rising stars in the literary world will face a noisy market. Getting your voice heard and your book in front of an audience will be more difficult than ever. Should budding authors, columnists and screenwriters retire?

The answer is a simple sentence word. No. Writers run a parallel struggle with the rest of the world. Confusion, mistrust and disorientation fog the future. There are new hurdles. But one thing is for certain in these turbulent times. They will change. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

The fingerprint of the literary world will never be the same. Digital books, who were already on the rise, have clinched a large part of reading retail. Bookstores and libraries will need to change the way they do business, focusing on alternative ways to sell physical copies. Top tier publishers will have to be more selective on how they sift through thousands of authors, and independent writers will need to get creative with getting books in readers’ hands. What doesn’t change though is a writer’s desire to create.

Storytellers are storytellers. Journalists need to report. Artists can’t cease the call for expression. Fresh stories, no matter what the temperature of the market, need writing. An author shouldn’t ever compromise their work because of business complications. Once the book is ready, then one can worry about market strategies, sales profits, and whether they need to find other ways to help establish income. It won’t be easy, but there’s no wisdom in trying to take the fire from a dragon. 

We may want to move on from the past. The future may be confusing. But in the literary world, one thing is for certain. Readers need books. There will always be a desire to read insightful columns, inspiring stories, and other forms of written art. Authors are going to need to think of novel ways to get their work into readers’ hands, but it can never deny the call to write. 

Preorder “A Dead End Job” Today and Dive Into the Absurd

One of my favorite parts of “A Dead End Job” was taking a classically ominous figure like Death and making him into a funny, likable guy. Early readers seem to love it too. Preorder “A Dead End Job” on Amazon today to guarantee your copy. It’s a wild ride through the absurd.

Death needs a vacation. Badly. But there’s a catch: There are certain people who just seem to cheat the system, always falling through the cracks and not ending up dead like they’re supposed to—who’s going to take care of them while he’s out?

The answer is simple. He needs an intern. So, with the help of his I.T. guy, Jumbo, he starts scanning through a list of potential candidates.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one prospect—Buck Palasinksi, a bankrupt hitman with a roleplaying addiction—could have what it takes. After he’s drilled in the forehead by a bullet while scoping out his next target, he falls right into Death and Jumbo’s laps.

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 man…That is, if he can take out Public Enemy Number one, John Dillinger, while he’s got a werewolf sidekick and tries to quit smoking.

A Dead End Job https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LQXMY5C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_D-E6FbZQJ0SMQ

“A Dead End Job” Releases to Bookshelves October 2021

Check Out My Christmas Appearance on the Podcast “Were You Still Talking?”

Check out the latest podcast appearance on the fantastic Joel Albrecht’s “Are You Still Talking?” In this Christmas episode, we discuss the new book, “A Dead End Job”, Dracula, The Mandalorian, and gallons of other nerdy topics. On that note, have you preordered “A Dead End Job” on Amazon yet? 

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Book Preview: Preorder “A Dead End Job” Today

Death needs a vacation. There’s only one catch. Who’s going to do his job while he’s out? The answer is simple. Death needs to hire an intern. So, with the help of his I.T. Guy, Jumbo, the two look for a qualified candidate. It doesn’t take much to learn that their prospect, Buck Palasinski, could have what it takes. He’s a Chicago hitman that’s just been killed on the job. If they bring Buck back from death, he’ll have a few weeks to prove that he has what it takes to be Death’s right-hand man…that’s if he can kill the Underworld’s Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger. ​ ​ Finalist for the 2019 Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Writers Award. ​ “This reads like a neo-noir mixed with a hefty dose of dark humor, and I’m loving it. The story grabbed me initially, and I liked the personification of Death and the little, nerdy details that make the author (and the characters) genuine.” -Speculative Literature Foundation Juror Preorder on Amazon Today!

I’d like to meet you this Friday

COME JOIN ME AT THE (VIRTUAL) MIAMI BOOK FAIR!
November 20, 2020 @ 5:30 PM EST
Humor in Fantasy
Moderated by: Michael Feeney
In discussion with:
Sarah J. Sover (author of Double Crossing the Bridge)

Sean Gibson (author of The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True)

Justin Alcala (author of A Dead End Job)

urbanfantasybooks #comedy #miamibookfair #bookfair #authorpanel #authorpanels #authorsofinstagram #bookstagram #humorwriter #humorwriting

https://www.parliamenthousepress.com/post/we-are-at-the-virtual-miami-book-fair

Continue reading I’d like to meet you this Friday

Coming October 2021: “A Dead End Job”

Coming October 2021: Death needs a vacation. There’s only one catch. Who’s going to do his job while he’s out? The answer is simple. Death needs to hire an intern. So, with the help of his I.T. Guy, Jumbo, the two look for a qualified candidate. It doesn’t take much to learn that their prospect, Buck Palasinski, could have what it takes. He’s a Chicago hitman that’s just been killed on the job. If they bring Buck back from death, he’ll have a few weeks to prove that he has what it takes to be Death’s right-hand man…that’s if he can kill the Underworld’s Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger.

Preorder Today at:

 https://www.amazon.com/Dead-End-Job-Justin-Alcala-ebook/dp/B08LQXMY5C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=justin+alcala&qid=1605016863&sr=8-1

Buried In The Rain

Check our my latest creepy short just in time for Halloween.

Drunken Pen Writing

It was a stormy night at the Steamy Beans cafe. Crackled jazz played from faulty speakers. Nikki cleaned the register glass shielding leftover sandwiches. Steve pretended not to watch her from a back table, shuffling student papers while staring at his smartphone. He’d finished grading papers an hour ago, but didn’t have anywhere to go. His entire life revolved around being a professor.

Steve snuck another glimpse of Nikki from the corner of his eye. She leaned over the table, her slender arm stretched over to the tip jar. She collected the few lone singles Steve bequeathed on his first, second, and third round of pumpkin spice latte. She looked up at Steve. Their eyes met and she smiled. Steve beamed widely, resting his hand on his arm, and promptly knocking over his coffee. His graded papers drank up the river of pumpkin spice. Steve hurried for dispenser’s napkins, dabbed…

View original post 2,179 more words

READERS, Don’t PAY THE PRICE

It’s the spooky season, and Covid has created a need for scary books, but holy smokes, they’re expensive. That doesn’t seem fair. So, it’s time to flip things around. For a limited time, I’m offering a few short stories and books for free, and another set at discount price. Check them out below and enjoy. Some are online magazines, others Kindle based. All are for your enjoyment. Happy Halloween!

FREE

Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine

A Horse for Us All

http://blackpetalsks.tripod.com/blackpetalsissue71/id35.html

Killian Black is a ruthless highwayman on his last shilling due to a treacherous epidemic in eighteenth century England that’s forced everyone into hiding. Luckily, he’s heard rumors of a royal convoy riding from the King’s country estates, a score that’ll replenish his pockets and pay for his many vices. The only catch, his informant can’t confirm that there’s riches in the royal carriage, so it’s up to Killian to investigate. 

Drunken Pen Writing & Podcast

Buried in the Rain

(Available 10.25.20)

https://drunkenpenwriting.com

Steve is a stuffy professor down on his luck, grading papers on a rainy night at a coffee house. His only excitement are the glances from his crush, the barista, Nikki. Then something strange happens. While Steve reads about a possible killer in the area, a teary eyed girl appears in the entrance of the lonely cafe. Steve tries to comfort her, but scares her back into the stormy street. Torn, Steve pursues her through the bleak weather, beginning a chase that takes him to a broken house in a bad side of town, and ends… in blood. 

DISCOUNTED PRICES

A Forest Only Whispers (99 cents)

DLG Publishing 

A Forest Only Whispers is a romantic witchcraft story about Melissa, a contemporary witch that lives with her mother and Nanny in a charming New England village. Years ago, her high school boyfriend, Rían, disappeared in the nearby woods, and since then Melissa has never been the same. Now a college student, Melissa spends time with her family, the O’Phelans, her coven sisters and best friend, Hellwise. While the story starts off with a simple family tradition of baking Nine Maidens Pie during the Autumn Equinox, the reader learns that Melissa is sneaking off to join her sisters in praise. As the plot continues, Melissa joins her modern day coven as they go into the legendary Limingdover Woods, where Rían disappeared.

Consumed, BLKDOG Publishing ($3.99)

Sergeant Nathaniel Brannick is trapped in Victorian London during a period of disease, crime, and insatiable vices. One night, Brannick returns from work to find an eerie messenger in his flat who warns him of dark things to come. 

When his next case involves a victim who suffered from consumption, he uncovers clues that lead him to believe the messenger’s warning. Despite his incredulity, he can’t help but wonder if the practical man he once was has been altered by an investigation encompassed in the paranormal. That is, until he meets the witch hunters, and everything takes a turn for the worse.

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