Prompt to Publication | Joel Realubit

Today we are celebrating Joel Realubit. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.

Author feature: I’d like to introduce Joel Realubit.

Joel completed the 12 Short Stories Challenge in 2020. He is currently taking part in the 2023 challenge.

What have you published?

Joel Realubit: ‘First Dragon’, an urban fantasy short story that will be featured in the ‘Reign of Fire’ anthology by Dragon Soul Press.

Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?

Joel Realubit: Yes, it has! I learned a lot from the feedback and support from the community when I participated in the challenge!

What did you learn that you applied to your story?

Joel Realubit: I learned to use a deadline, a target word count, and a specific theme or prompt, to drive and focus my creativity. There was a 1-to-1 direct correspondence between what skills and mindset meeting 12SS challenge requires, and what the publisher required from would-be contributors to their anthology.

I’ve mentioned the discipline required for the 12SS challenge, but in addition to that, the feedback from the challenge helped me find what worked for me and what didn’t and helped me hone my own craft. It helped me ‘know myself’ as a writer, and gave me the confidence to actually try to submit a story for publication. And to everyone who ever commented on my stories — thank you!

What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?

Joel Realubit: My favorite is still my first-ever submission to 12SS, under the pseudonym Joel Salamangka: Mages and Tentacles. Not because it’s my “best”, but because it was my first — after the fairly good reception it got, I started thinking ‘hey, maybe I can do this creative writing thing after all.’



Joel Realubit is a software manager from the Philippines. A 27-year software engineering veteran with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology, he enjoys writing code almost as much as he loves writing fiction. His urban fantasy stories are colored by, among other things, 80s comics, decades of FPS and RPG video games, the most excellent folks at the Deadlines for Writers community, his love for Muay Thai, and every New Age guru and esoteric practitioner he’d ever met, befriended, and sometimes fallen out with, since becoming vegetarian back in the 90’s.

Read an excerpt from Joel‘s story.

Reilly smelled it literally a mile away before he saw it: a gigantic mound of dung about 5 feet high and 10 feet wide in a large clearing in the rainforests of Basilan island, Mindanao. He stepped out of the woods and walked towards the mound, all the while glancing around the clearing, the 10am Sun burning bright in the clear blue sky above.

He pulled up his neck gaiter to cover his nose and mouth and squinted through an imagined fog as he came near. It was a futile gesture as a spandex neck gaiter would hardly block any kind of air pollution, let alone the stench of a giant heap of feces.

As Reilly walked around the heap, he spotted a large hole, about 20-feet wide, in the ground some 100 feet away on the other side of the clearing, along an upward slope towards the rest of the rainforest.

Something was off. He drew three arrows with his right hand from his back quiver and nocked one with a ready thumb draw while still holding the other two between his middle and ring fingers, and his ring and pinky fingers.

He caught the subtle pungent reptilian scent of the beast as he approached the hole, now only 50 feet away. The hole itself was strange — normally, the creature would collapse and fill the hole behind it as it moved under the earth, making the ground behave like water filling the gap after the wake of a submarine or boat. So why would this hole still be here?


The hairs on Reilly’s arm and the back of his neck stood on end, as he felt a faint vibration under his boots.

TRAP! The crafty beast had set a trap! 

Buy the book.


Caution: Dragons ahead.

Prepare to delve into fiery worlds full of dragons. From hatchlings to ancients. From tame to wild. Many have their own goals, and most want to see the world reduced to ash. To reshape the world in their own reptilian image. Others struggle to survive, but heroes rise among them.

Which side will you choose?

18 stories by the following authors: Deborah Brown, Zachary Vincent, Eric Tobiason, Bruno Lombardi, Joel Realubit, Katie Kent, Barend Nieuwstraten III, E.B. Hunter, Dylan Roche, Lucy A. McLaren, Aaron H. Arm, Jennifer Strassel, Natascha Eschweiler, A.E. Lowan, Ash Vogler, Kim Adkins, Monica Wenzel, and J.E. Feldman.

Well done, Joel!

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