Category Archives: Magical Realism

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

A Dead End Job is the perfect Stocking Stuffer

The Ghost of Christmas Future has his own intern, and they’re looking to give season’s beatings to anyone who tries to cheat Death. Put this award winning urban fantasy novel in your cart today!

Readers Love A DEAD END JOB by Justin Alcala

“A Dead End Job” Is Here

I give you 💀A DEAD END JOB 📖
Join Ned the undead hitman as he interns for Death. If you love absurdist fiction, urban fantasy or sarcastically fun books, this is the one for you. Find out why Publisher’s Weekly named it “Best Book of the Week” and why Speculative Fiction Foundation made it one of its top picks. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books or wherever great books are sold! ! !

Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or wherever else great books are sold.

A Dead-End Job https://www.amazon.com/dp/1956136088/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_4YXEZCB013WEFX6APWEQ

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.

Hahaha! You have to take this A DEAD END JOB Quiz to learn about your weapon of immortal destruction

“Lilith, my oldest work-friend since… well, friends became a thing. Unmentionables weren’t around when dinosaurs and other eat-poop-then-die creatures were on Earth. It’s only when sentience became all the rage that God cut off her finger and gave it to me as Lilith, divine retribution for anyone bold enough to manipulate the cosmic work schedule. Since then, Lilith has, and always will be, the most dangerous weapon in existence. While I used her special holy abracadabra to transform Lilith into a scythe, she adjusts to the user’s character in order to be the best possible work tool. So if you want to be my next intern, and you’re comfortable getting my dry-cleaning, let’s first see what’s in that mushy pink wetware between your ears. It’s a sorting hat sort of thing, only with irremediable, world ending consequences.”
-Death

https://www.buzzfeed.com/parliamentbooks/the-sorting-hat-for-killers-4l2ia0r8rv

Publisher’s Weekly just named “A DEAD END JOB” BEST BOOKS

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.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-953539-92-2

Check Out Justin Alcala’s Spotify Interview on YOUR INNER NERD

Join me on YOUR INNER NERD PODCAST. Let’s talk “A Dead End Job,” writing, history facts and Dungeons and Dragons on Spotify & Anchor. Link in bio or copy/paste the below URL…

We talk A DEAD END JOB, history facts and Dungeons and Dragons.

“The Last Stop” Yesterday’s Goosebumps Today!

“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.

Coming 2022, Submissions Open to Agents/Publishers

A…Dead…End…Job…Is almost here

Preorder on Sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo Today!

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.
PREORDER “A DEAD END JOB” on #amazonbooks #barnesandnoble and #kobobooks or wherever great books are sold.

A Dead End Job https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LQXMY5C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_12EBAT3NR40NPXR68KNN

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