Category Archives: Author

“The Devil in the Wide City” Hits Amazon

“The Devil in the Wide City” is now available in both ebook and paperback. Get your copy today.

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wide-City-Justin-Alcala-ebook/dp/B01E1R504I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465854233&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Devil+in+the+Wide+City

When Ned, a fallen angel who’s as suave as he is brainy, accidentally starts the Great Chicago Fire during an assignment, he all but gives up on ever visiting Earth again- that is until his replacement goes missing, and Ned gets a chance at redemption. 

Book Excerpt 

“It was one hell of a day, and that’s saying a lot where I’m from. It began as cliché as one might expect when living in the nine circles of Satan’s abyss. My girlfriend dumped me, my dogs ran away from home, and work gave me the pink slip. Things were looking dismal. If only I knew then that by this time tomorrow I’d be back on Earth, I might not have been so whiny.”

Justin Alcala, Author of “Consumed” and “The Devil in the Wide City”

On the tracks

 

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Win an Ebook Copy of”The Devil in the Wide City”

Hello readers,

Below is a bona fide link to the Zharmae Publishing Press Giveaway, “The Devil in the Wide City.” Supplies are limited, so click now. You’ll be the envy of WordPress if you’re the lucky ebook winner, Act now, and as an added bonus, I’ll also pray for your immediate career success in a remote Shaolin Temple that I’m currently training at.

“The Devil in the Wide City” Ebook Giveaway

And remember, “The Devil in the Wide City” officially hits shelves May 26th, 2016.

Sincerely,

Justin Alcala

Author of “Consumed” and “The Plenty Dreadful” Series. 

The Devil in the Wide City Zharmae Cover

The Parking Lot Goose

Chicago is no stranger to the goose. Its home to Goose Island, The Mother Goose Parade, and it supports one of the largest Canadian Geese populations in the United States. There’s geese in the Chicago River, geese in Lake Michigan, and geese all over the north and west suburbs. And why not? With fresh grass, large parks and few natural predators, the goose can flourish. That’s why what I’m about to tell you is so interesting. For there’s a goose in Chicago that refuses to be like everyone else. It’s known as The Parking Lot Goose.

 

The Parking Lot Goose is a loner. It lingers along a near vacant parking lot between an electronic store and a furniture depot. There’s no pond to swim in. Food consists of scraps by a nearby dumpster and there’s no other goose to interact with. This is The Parking Lot Goose’s home. But, as dismal as this goose’s existence might seem, the bird refuses to leave. 

 

The first time I drove past the goose, I thought that this was something random and that the bird would surely move on and reunite with other pond geese soon. But one year became two, two became three, and after sometime, I’d come to the realization that The Parking Lot Goose wasn’t going anywhere. This was its kingdom, where it felt most comfortable. Living in the vast gray cement field with scraps as its feast and puddles of water as its wine was what the goose enjoyed. And who was I to judge?

 

Often in writing, we hurry to critique literary Parking Lot Geese. Stephen King’s recent genre exploration has been frowned upon. Andrew Smith’s consistent choice to write about teenage angst is often berated. Even young authors are attacked. Literature websites and blogs demand inspiring writers to get out of their comfort zone. There’s more than one article out in the world that states, “You need to remember that you’re writing to sell books. Target an audience, not yourself.” This is faulty logic. 

 

We live in a consumer’s world, so I get it when someone’s criticism is that a book will not sell. We have these expectations that everyone wants the same thing. And don’t get me wrong, if an author reaches out to a publisher, to a certain extent, they do want people to read their work. But we have to remember that if an author isn’t enjoying writing their book, you’re not going to enjoy reading it. Maybe it’s time to stop castigating writers for creating books that make them happy, and instead come to understand that not everything is made to fit the norm. If we can all learn to appreciate those Parking Lot Geese out there, we may discover that their peculiar way of going about things can be just as great.  

Justin Alcala

Author of “Consumed” and “The Devil in the Wide City” by Zharmae Publishing

http://www.justinalcala.com

On the tracks

And Don’t Forget…

“The Devil in the Wide City” is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle May 26th, 2016

The Devil in the Wide City Zharmae Cover

Come Say Hello at My Book Signings...

I’ll be at Bucket O’ Blood Bookstore in Late June (Date to be announced)

Bucket

3182 N Elston Ave,

Chicago, IL 60618

AND…

Days of the Dead Horror Convention, June 24th-26th, 2016

Days of the Dead copy

The “Consumed” Horror Novel Giveaway

As part of our excitement for Justin Alcala’s next novel, “The Devil in the Wide City,” we are giving away 10 copies of Justin’s first novel, “Consumed.” Readers if you love Gothic-Horror mysteries, this is the book for you.

Please follow the link below for your chance to win!

“Consumed” Giveaway

Consumed 2

Horror Bookstore? I think I’m in Love.

There are some things in life that you just can’t ignore. One thing recently for me is Bucket o’ Blood bookstore. This wild establishment specializes in horror novels and horror-vinyl. It has anything a blood sucking vampire or misunderstood gothic kid could ask for. It’s one part macabre library, one part vinyl depot, and perhaps most importantly, a community hub where people can get together to enjoy the simpler thing in life- like discussing Zombie Apocalypses during their book club events or live music on specific weeks.

If you’re a Chicagoan, please feel free to stop by (3128 N Elston Avenue, Chicago IL 60618). Their awesome selection of novels will leave your head spinning and speaking in tongues. Not in the Chicago area? No problem. Check out their online Discogs page for great music and more (https://www.discogs.com/seller/BucketOBlood/profile).

Am I a Chicago lover? Of course. Am I also a fan of all things creepy? Well, yeah. But, it’s not to say that I’m alone. Remember, it’s places like this that keep weirdos like us happy, so please stop by or visit online.

Bucket

Official Site: http://www.bucketoblood.com/index/index.html

Events Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/119769541743572/

 

“The Devil in the Wide City” Official Publishing Date 5.26.16

It’s official! Zharmae Publishing Press has announced that “The Devil in the Wide City” will be available on Kindle May 26th, 2016, with paperback copies to follow shortly afterwards. For those who don’t know about the book…

When Ned, a fallen angel who’s as suave as he is brainy, accidentally starts the Great Chicago Fire during an assignment, he all but gives up on ever visiting Earth again- that is until his replacement goes missing, and Ned gets a chance at redemption. 

Excerpt:

 “It was one hell of a day, and that’s saying a lot where I’m from. It began as cliché as one might expect when living in the nine circles of Satan’s abyss. My girlfriend dumped me, my dogs ran away from home, and work gave me the pink slip. Things were looking dismal. If only I knew then that by this time tomorrow I’d be back on Earth, I might not have been so whiny.”

Stay tuned for more!

Justin Alcala

Author of “Consumed” and “The Devil in the Wide City”

http://www.justinalcala.com

By the Pond

 

 

Let the Right Ones In

No writer should ever go without critiquing. Receiving writing advice is beneficial. It helps test our mindset and keeps us thinking about the reader. However, there are many types of advice- sometimes good and sometimes…well, corrosive. It’s the responsibility of the writer to understand the difference between a valuable assessment and harmful opinion. While you may think that this is easy, you’ll find that your relationship to the source, the experience of the contributor and the preference of the reviewer all come into play when measuring the value of one’s opinion.

 I’m a strange kind of writer (shocked, I know). I write for friends and family, but rarely ask for their opinion. That’s because I learned early on that I associate deep rooted emotions in anything that loved ones might say. On the contrary, I’ve been told by editors, reading analysts and critics alike that they strongly disagree with the direction I’ve sent a story, and I haven’t minded one bit. That’s because I understand that outside sources aren’t judging my work based on the link between who I am and what I put on paper. Bending a paragraph in order to satisfy a friend’s opinion can be counterproductive. It’s up to the writer to understand that asking a loved one what they think may leave you more confused than when you started. 

 Another factor a writer must consider is the knowledge of their contributor. In my early years as a writer, I often made the mistake of asking someone that I wanted to be my reader (coworker, blogger, and online-reader) to analyze my work without considering what they know about the writing process. I’ve bounced ideas off of these respected individuals, only to find that I’ve let them deviate me from an underlined theme, highly thought out conflict or well developed character. In essence, their opinions have derailed the course of my story. By the time they read the book, they’re either disappointment that I didn’t take their thoughts into consideration or I’ve compromised, forcing a triangular thought into a circular peg. Once again, shame on me.

 Finally, one has to question the source of a critic’s literary preference. I’ve made the mistake of asking a biography editor about absurdist fiction, and a rationalist about urban fantasy. That’s like asking a Trekkie why Darth Vader ultimately returned to the light side. You’re begging for the Vulcan Death Grip. Instead, make sure that your source has written about the subject or is a knowledgeable fan. Ask the butcher about steak, not taxes.

Writing and criticism go hand-and-hand. The wrong kind can complicate your story. No criticism and you detach yourself from the reader. Critiques are useful. It’s up to us as writers to decipher the delicate balance between the beneficial and the poisonous. Just remember- don’t ask unless you’re prepared for something negative. We’re writers. It should be expected. In the words of Grub Street journalist, Samuel Johnson, “I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.”

Justin Alcala, Author of “Consumed” and “The Devil in the Wide City”

Visit at http://www.justinalcala.com

Drink Sewer Thoughts

It’s Christmas Time- Roll With It

 

I must confess, at one time in my life I was a naysayer, a bah-humbugger, a downright Grinch when it came to Christmas. It was my first years of college- a time when being uniquely tetchy was in, and all of the dark clothed art students along Michigan Avenue groaned at the sight of bows and stringed lights. I use to sit inside the Artist’s Diner between classes, hovering over my notebook and coffee as shoppers passed by- wishing they’d wake up from their commercialized delusion. Luckily, as time went on, I became less of a…well, dumbass. After a few lumps of coal, I realized that Christmas wasn’t some object of ridicule. It was a window of opportunity. As Fred from A Christmas Carol once said “[it’s] the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

 

But it wasn’t just my attitude that needed adjusting. It was my writing style as well. Early on, I’d refused to let my work be tainted by the feelings invoked from Christmas. No sir, I was a writer. I was focused and poised- immune to the unabated atmosphere of sparkling trees and jingling bells. If it were a noir piece I was working on, then damn it, I’d commit to my grim mood.

 

Unfortunately for young Justin, it would take a lot of life lessons to understand that being unyielding was not what a good writer does. A good writer understands how to adapt to new inspirations. They know how to hone creative stimulus and orchestrate it into something innovative. It might not necessary be a chapter that forces a Christmas-peg into a square hole, but it could be a provoked theme or emotion that’s woven into one’s work. It’s a simple formula. Take inspiration and apply it to your craft in order to create a great act, character or story.

 

Hundreds of well-known authors have honed this technique. Some, like author Jean Shepherd, wrote an entire book based on his cherished Christmas memories as a child in Hohman, Indiana, while others like J.K. Rowling, gave a simple tip of the cap by adding short scenes that celebrated the holidays. But it doesn’t even have to be that direct. Are you feeling a bit of cheer this holiday? Why not return to that optimistic character in Chapter 5 to see if any of it rubs off in the dialogue. Are you mesmerized by the snowy weather? Time to go back to that mountaintop section and see if you can strengthen the description.

 

Listen, I’m not saying that just because it’s Christmas, we should all write about elves, candy canes and mistletoe. No way. I’m just reminding fellow writers that inspiration is not an enemy. It’s a tool. It could be a book you’ve read, deep thought you’ve pondered or an event in your life that conjures the same emotions. It’s mulishness that’s your nemesis, and it will keep you from strengthening your trade if you allow it.

 

Happy Holidays to all,

Justin Alcala

 

 

 

Radio Z Interview w/ Justin Alcala

Check out the Halloween interview that I was on recently. We talk about all my favorite creepy things!

 

From Radio Z Site:

We talk to authors J A Ironside and Justin Alcala about all things Halloween and spooky and hear about their latest booooooks! <<< see what I did there. Call in 4PM PST – 7PM EST (347) 996-3900. Make sure to stay tuned for a very cool and special guest! This will be the inaugural Tom and Emma show!