Big WOW! Publisher’s Weekly just named “A DEAD END JOB” BEST BOOKS this week along w/ a generous review. I couldn’t be more honored. Check out the link in my bio and don’t forget to preorder your copy.
Book Reviewers: Get an early e-copy of A DEAD END JOB before it hits shelves October 6th. Just drop a message to be the first to read this hilarious urban fantasy book following Buck, the lovable Chicago Hitman, as he interns for the Grim Reaper.
“What a lame day to die. It was Friday, possibly the best time of the week for any seventh grader, it was ruined. People should die on Mondays. That sounds right.”
-Morrigan, The Last Stop
Morrigan’s family needs out of the city. So they move to suburbia where her special needs brother, Asher, is closer to his treatments. Life in a little town though isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and soon Morrigan grows tired of discourteous classmates, quiet streets and strange neighbors. What’s worse, she and her tag along brother are the last ones dropped off every day on the school bus, dragging out her drab existence. The none day a new bus arrives and Morrigan’s life gets deader than she could have ever imagined.
There’s never been stranger urban fantasy than with “A Dead End Job” presented by Parliament House Press. Buck was just a lowlife Hitman trying to make his way through this miserable world when the gun was flipped on him. Now he’s interning for the Grim Reaper in an attempt to dodge eternal damnation. His new job entails taking out “Unmentionables,” those who cheat death. The only problem? When you know how to dodge your final demise it’s usually because you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Poor Buck.
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“The hardest thing about a job isn’t the killing. It’s the freaking planning. Tailing your mark’s whereabouts is expensive on a hit man’s pockets. Especially in Chicago. Oh well. Should’ve stayed in school I guess.”
-Buck, Death’s Intern
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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.
- 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
- “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”
- 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
- “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
- “The Last Stop” proposed to agents and publishers
- “Apollyon” finishes proofreads and illustrators begin early sketches
- 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”
- 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
- We will start the countdown for “A Dead End Job” with great giveaways, including e-books, t-shirts and other great
- “The Last Stop” continued publication announcements
- “Taming of the Cthulhu” hits submission phase
- “A Dead End Job” preorders completed
- “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
- “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
- Christmas Giveaways for “A Dead End Job” gifted for select readers
- “Apollyon” publication announcement updates
You hear it all the time. Goodbye 2020. What a year. Can’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.
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.
Who doesn’t love to be scared? Check out my latest short ghost story, “A Lantern Quietly Screams” in the 101 Proof Horror anthology by Czykmate Productions/Haunted MTL. There’s so many talented authors in this book of horror, it’s scary.
“A Lantern Quietly Screams”
When four history students researching the Underground Railroad can’t find records on the old network near the Blue Ridge Mountains, they put out an ad in the paper. Luckily, an archivist, and descendent of a former slave-gone-guide, agrees to drive up to tell her grandmother’s tale. However, as the group waits along the base of the dark mountain, ghostly lanter lights flicker in the wood line. Will their source arrive before anything happens? Only time will tell.
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