Initial Praise for Mexican Bestiary

Authors have already begun to express their delight at Mexican Bestiary. Here are a few quotes:

“It ranks right up there with Stories That Must Not Die by Juan Sauvageau. Puro Cucuys!”
-Xavier Garza (Award-winning author of Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys & Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel)

“What a fantastic resource! I love the content and the many, many creatures included here.”
-Guadalupe Garcia McCall (author of Under the Mesquite, winner of the Pura Belpré Author Medal and William C Morris 2012 Finalist)

“For me, books like this are a necessity. I mine them for new ideas. But I recommend this one because of its particular regional flair. It speaks to me of the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico, of dust and sun and cool nights and demons that walk the earth. Feathered coyotes and devils at the dance, chupacabras and horsemen that warn of impending plague. I really recommend Mexican Bestiary and hope you pick it up.”
-Jason Henderson (author of the Alex Van Helsing series):

New Anthology: Arriba Baseball!

We are seeking submissions for a collection of the best Latino/a fiction that both celebrates and complicates the American pastime tentatively entitled Arriba Baseball!: A Collection of Latino/a Baseball Fiction, to be published early in the spring of 2013.

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America,” wrote historian Jacques Barzun, “had better learn baseball.” The first of its kind, Arriba Baseball! seeks to challenge established paradigms within literary baseball fiction, a genre traditionally sustained by works from predominantly white, male authors (such as Bernard Malamud, Lamar Herrin, Eric Rolfe Greenberg, and W.P. Kinsella), and one which has historically excluded the Latino/a voice and other writers of color.

We invite such fiction (up to 5,000 words) concerning the game of baseball which challenges any and all exclusionary ideologies that have historically delimited the sport, and that meditates on the Latino/a contributions and experiences both on and off the field of play. While climactic homeruns and strikeouts are okay, we prefer scoreboards but upside down. We also invite works that confront any of the issues surrounding baseball today, such as (but not limited to) the use of performance-enhancing drugs, queer and feminine performativity in baseball, the globalization of the sport, and baseball’s legacies of white privilege, racism, and male exclusivity in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other countries throughout Latin America where the game continues to flourish.

All fiction must be previously unpublished and of literary quality. Translations and works in Spanish will also be considered. We particularly encourage fiction from Latina and LGBT authors. Please send your work to our submissions manager:

For more information, contact the editor at

About the Editor
Robert Paul Moreira is an English Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas-San Antonio researching alterity and constructed identities in sports fiction, films, and performance. His fiction, interviews, criticism, and scholarship have been published in a variety of venues, including Aethlon: Journal of Sports LiteratureStoryglossia, Breakwater Review, Emprise Review, Metazen, and the anthologies SOL: Vol. I (SOL, 2012) and New Border Writing (Texas A&M Press, 2013). He is the recipient of two graduate fiction awards from the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers in 2009 and 2010, as well as the Wendy Barker Creative Writing Award in 2011. He serves as a Contributing Editor for Dark Sky Books and head intern for American Letters and Commentary.

Book Launch for Mexican Bestiary | Bestiario Mexicano

On June 30, VAO Publishing will launch its new bilingual title Mexican Bestiary at Carino’s in McAllen, TX. The event will last from 1 pm to 3 pm and will feature talks/readings by the authors, a raffle of original artwork from the book, art activities for kids, and great food. Books will of course be on sale, with free t-shirts given out to lucky attendees.
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Mexican Bestiary: Sneek Peak #3

Here is another glimpse at our upcoming bilingual encyclopedia of fantastic creatures, titled Mexican Bestiary | Bestiario mexicano.


A TLAHUELPUCHI (tlah well POO chee) is a sort of shape-shifting vampire who lives with her human family and prefers the blood of infants. The vast majority of tlahuelpocmimi (the plural of tlahuelpuchi) are female, and the females are more powerful than the males. Differently from European vampires, a tlahuelpuchi is not made: she is born with her curse, which cannot be removed. Tlahuelpocmimi first learn of what they are when they reach puberty, often from a family member who shares the condition. Once the curse manifests itself, these Mexican vampires must drink blood at least once a month. If they don’t, they will suffer an agonizing death. As the condition can’t be passed on, victims never become vampires; instead, they simply die. Though a tlahuelpuchi will always prefer to attack babies, often as they sleep snuggled beside their mothers, she can also survive on the blood of older children and teens. The typical sign that the victim was killed by the tlahuelpuchi are bruises on the upper body and small puncture marks.
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Mexican Bestiary: Sneak Peek #2

Here is another glimpse at our upcoming bilingual encyclopedia of fantastic creatures, titled Mexican Bestiary | Bestiario mexicano.


Chupacabras are reptilian monsters with scaly grayish-green skin, large eyes that glow red in the darkness, stiletto-like fangs and sharp spines along their backs. The goatsuckers stand some 3 to 4 feet tall, and they get around by hopping like a kangaroo. When startled or angry, the creatures hiss and make a chittering, whining sound.  Most predators kill their prey; the chupacabras, however, drain all of an animal’s blood through three holes in the shape of an upside-down triangle that they make with their teeth.

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Mexican Bestiary: Sneak Peek #1

Here is a sample from our upcoming bilingual title Mexican Bestiary | Bestiario mexicano.

La criatura de la laguna el Jabalí

The Creature from Jabali Lagoon

In the state of Colima, near the town of Comala, the rivers that flow from the nearby volcanoes and mountains have formed beautiful, mysterious lagoons like El Calabozo and El Jabalí.  From ancient times, weird tales have been passed down about the supernatural occurrences near these bodies of water, from balls of fire, to disembodied voices and flying witches.  One of the strangest and most moving of these stories is that of the creature of Jabalí Lagoon.

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Short Story #3: The Pulga

TO celebrate National Short Story Month, VAO Publishing is posting some of the fiction pieces published in last year’s Along the River.

Today we present Evangelina Ayon’s “The Pulga,” which won the third-place prize for prose.

Yawning, I fought the urge to drop my head the entire drive. The only thing keeping me awake was the thrill of a new experience. Glancing at my mother’s face in the rear view mirror, I knew she didn’t share my excitement. Her face was hard, and those black eyes stayed stony the entire drive, except for those rare occasions when the stones melted into glistening pools of water that ran down her face then disappeared forever. The sun had not yet risen, yet my stomach was wide awake and burning with hunger. But I would’ve starved before complaining to that face in the rear view mirror.

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