Entries tagged with “Victor David Giron”.


Part 7 of Flash Fiction Chronicles’ ongoing series, “Creating and Publishing a Flash Chapbook” by Bonnie ZoBell.”  Click HERE to find links to the entire series which includes articles and interviews by Bonnie ZoBell and Marko Fong.

by Bonnie ZoBell 

The busy Victor David Giron is with us today to talk about flash fiction chapbooks from his perspective as president, publisher, and accountant of Curbside Splendor Publishing based in Chicago and carried by Consortium Distribution based out of Minneapolis. The publishing outfit includes the imprints Curbside Splendor the journal, which looks for gritty, real, “urban” prose, poetry, and photography. And then there’s Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), which is more of a themed issue. And now Curbside Splendor also has Artifice Magazine, which seeks work that’s aware of its own artifice, and Artifice Books, which will start publishing books next year. Victor is a CPA and bar owner who says he can’t let go of his desire to be a philosopher. He started Curbside Splendor in 2009 to publish his debut coming-of-age novel Sophomoric Philosophy, but then was “like dang, publishing is fun,” and so here we are. Sophomoric Philosophy won Latino Literacy Now’s 2011 Latino Books into Movies Award. Victor’s short stories have been published in several literary journals.

BZ:  Hello, Victor. Glad you had some time to talk today.

VDG:  Hey, what’s up?  No problem, happy to talk.

 BZ:  What would you say Curbside Splendor Publishing is looking for in the way of fiction chapbook submissions?

VDG:  We look for stuff that’s punchy, that we’re excited about both in the writing and the fact that the author is someone who we think is writing great stuff but also has a vision, a dedication to promoting themselves.

BZ:  Does Curbside Splendor have a philosophy?

VDG:  We seek to play our part in supporting independent publishing and to publish work that is found interesting and entertaining by the casual urban reader.  We view our authors as brands and as partners.  We work hard to, and quite enjoy, promoting our authors and getting their books discussed by the press. We view ourselves as extensions of our author’s creative machine.

 BZ:  What mistakes do you see writers making who submit to you?

VDG:  Mainly that they haven’t edited their work well enough, and also they haven’t taken the time to understand what we’re seeking by reading the work we’ve published and are just blindly submitting.

 BZ:  What’s your idea of a perfect submission?

VDG:  I don’t know if there is such a thing.  Reviewing and accepting submissions can be pretty subjective.  We’re not pretending or advocating that we’re accepting only the *best* writing.  We’re self-funded, not affiliated with a university or public funding, and so we’re simply accepting books that we as individuals feel we should put our time and money behind.  Our staff members have regular (or irregular) jobs, some of us are parents, and we’re all writers ourselves.  So Curbside is this vehicle we use to publish and promote creative writing and art we’re excited about, that we’re inspired by, and we just think tons of people should be reading it.

BZ:  Name a few writers whose chapbooks you’ve published and tell us a few words about their books.

VDG:  There’s Franki Elliot, or at least that’s what she calls herself.  We published her first book, a small little pocketbook, Piano Rats, in 2011.  It’s 44 short raunchy pieces that cross across prose and poetry.  She works in the music industry and writes on the side, quite a lot, and we discovered that she had self-published a version of Piano Rats and dug the book so much that we decided to re-release it at a wider scale and have since agreed to publish her second book Kiss As Many Women As You Can in 2013. There’s Michael Czyzniejewski, the beer vendor / collegiate creative writing instructor whose chapbook Chicago Stories:  40 Dramatic Fictions we published in 2012.  It’s an amazing collection of 40 flash fictions each told in the persona of a famous Chicagoan and illustrated by Chicago artist Rob Funderburk.  And then there’s Amber Sparks, the Washington DC-based author whose short stories have been published all over the Internet, and we put together a volume of them in a handsome book called May We Shed These Human Bodies designed by Alban Fischer.  She’s a powerful writer whose work mesmerizes, drawing upon mythologies and fables for inspiration. 

BZ:  If you could put a fold-out in one of your chapbooks, who or what would it be of?

VDG: Um, I don’t know.  Marilyn Monroe I guess, because she’s hot and I love all her quotes.

 BZ: Talk a little about the production of your chapbooks. What size are they? How are they made? How much color do you use? What is the page range of most of them?

VDG:  Our standard ones are 5 x 8, about 150 pages long, though the smallest Piano Rats was only 72 pages long and it’s 4 x 6, and the largest now is this huge 10 x 10, 240 page-long anthology about beds and the things that happen there called The Way We Sleep coming out soon (though I suppose that’s no longer a chapbook).  TWWS will feature prose along with color comics.  We have one chapbook that featured color drawings, a romance poetry book called The Chapbook:  Poems by Charles Bane Jr. that came out in 2011. We’ve since started a bilingual imprint called Concepción Books under which we’ll publish another book utilizing color called Always / Siempre, a collaborative photo-poem book by Helen Vitoria and B.L. Pawelek. The book will be stunning with color pages and photographs. So we’re definitively into using color when it makes sense, but plenty of our other books feature art in black and white because that also makes sense sometimes. We like using Lightning Source to print because they’re an “on-demand” printer and allow a ton of flexibility from a print-run perspective—we can set our print runs based on demand basically. Their quality is good, but they’re limited in terms of print sizes and color, so when we want to get highly creative we us other “traditional” printers.  Lightning Source is improving all the time though.

 BZ:  Do you accept manuscripts all year round or only during certain times of the year?

VDG:  Yeah, we pretty much are always open. Check the guidelines to know what’s up.  For books, it’s basically you email us a pitch, a query letter / email telling us about your book and yourself, and if we think we can get behind it, we’ll ask for more. 

BZ: Are you interested in chapbooks from new writers who haven’t had books or chapbooks published before?

VDG:  Yes. See Franki Elliot, who had never been published anywhere before. Some of our more recent and now planned projects are with more “established” writers or brands, but that’s because they dug us and we dug them and got to working on something.  But as we work with these more established writers to bring out their projects, we’ll continue to seek out the diamonds in the rough and work to put their work out as well.

BZ:  How many stories in the chapbooks submitted to you do you like to see already published?

VDG:  It ranges from zero (again see Franki Elliot’s Piano Rats) to 100% (Amber Sparks and Michael Czyzniejewski).  It’s good if the work has been published as it means the author has built appeal / a potential fan base, but not always necessary. In general I would say that if you are compiling a story collection, you should try as hard as you can to get them published. It only helps, plus you can get a sense as to what objective readers think of your work.

BZ: Any last advice or tips you’d like to give writers?

VDG:  Keep writing, keep editing, have other objective readers like not your mom or sister read your work and give you feedback.  Read your work aloud.  Go to your local open-mic and throw it down, even if it scares the crap out of you.  Have fun with it. Pour yourself into it.  Make sure you take the time to know the publishers you’re submitting to because it pays off.  Oh, yeah, and read, a lot, and go out and experience stuff.

BZ:  Thanks so much for all this valuable information, Victor.

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Bonnie ZoBell’s fiction chapbook THE WHACK-JOB GIRLS is forthcoming with Monkey Puzzle Press in March 2013 and her short story collection WHAT HAPPENED HERE is forthcoming with Press 53 in spring 2014. She’s received an NEA, the Capricorn Novel Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, and a spot on Wigleaf’s Top 50. Her work has appeared in Night Train, The Greensboro Review, New Plains Review, PANK, Connotation Press, and elsewhereShe received an MFA from Columbia, currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College, and is Associate Editor of The Northville Review. More of her work can be found at www.bonniezobell.com.

 by Gay Degani
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Gay Degani
Life is a crossword puzzle done in ink.No matter the effort, I still mess up.  Thank goodness, I am not alone in this human flaw.   I put in the “perfect” answer with confidence until I run out of squares.  Why didn’t I count before I brandished my pen?

So I apply White-Out. Now I can’t read the numbers on the grid.  I squint, I use my nail to scrape, dig in the basket on the breakfast table for the magnifying glass.  I look at the numbers around the “unreadable” number and deduce.  Oh yes it’s number 4 or 7 or 9, isn’t it? Why don’t I just take my time?  Make sure everything fits before I go for it?  Sometimes I just don’t.  I want to “go.”  The trick is once I decide to go and it doesn’t work, I have to “let go” and get on with it.

This is how I feel when I write, too, that organic unwieldy process. Get an idea and dive in, feet first, an adventure that could lead me just about anywhere.  Let’s go.  Bombs away.  Then I realize I’ve gone on a tangent.  I look around for the white out, but there isn’t any for this particular kind of puzzle.  What I’ve got in front of me is a mess that doesn’t make much sense.  I highlight those 1000 or so words and let my finger hover over the “Delete” key. But wait, I don’t tear up a crossword puzzle when I screw it up, do I?  I reread, rethink, reconstruct and review.  And that’s what needs to be done with the story too, but this is hard.

There are things I understand about the revision process after years of trying to learn to write well, but sometimes knowing something intellectually doesn’t always translate into using the tools you should.  I’ve written articles, here in fact, about questioning the text, asking yourself what does your character want, what stands in her way, what does she do about it, and how is it resolved. But sometimes I cannot see through the jumble of words on the page.  I can’t let go of what came out of my brain the first time.  But I need to.  This is important.  I need to.

I need to push away from myself and search through my own writing as if I were someone else. And when those “other” eyes reveal that “the story doesn’t work,” “the story doesn’t satisfy,” “the character takes no action,” “there is no change,” “there is no meaning,” then I need to let go of the piece as it is and be willing to challenge the story in whatever way that  joggles me into better understanding its structure, its characters, its emotion, its theme.

First, it’s hard because there are often many things I love about what I’ve just put on paper, a turn of phrase, a character who is funny, a scene that really seems to work, but taken as a whole?  It has no meaning.  Sometimes it is easy to get rid of the mess.  That’s why they put trash cans on your computer screen, right?  Second, it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?  The story I just whizzed through?  My subconscious  is more creative and original than the left-brained me, isn’t it?  Third,  there’s so much fun in that initial rush of words, I just wanna do that again. But I can’t  let any of this stand in my way because the reality is first drafts aren’t perfect.  I have to let go of that idea–and the idea that writing could be easy.

I have to realize that my  mess-up isn’t a mess-up.  It’s a search.  It’s like filling in a word in a crossword puzzle that turns out to be wrong.  Do I leave the incorrect answer there because it “fits?”   It looks right?  Am I really too lazy to change it?  Does that help me to complete the puzzle or does it lead me astray? I know that I must let go of first words and first thoughts and use the tools of craft to help me work toward a piece of art.

String-of-10 FIVE is LIVE

For the week of February 3 through February 9, Flash Fiction Ch

ronicles is having its Fifth String-of-10 Contest—String-of-10 FIVE—for the best 250-word story written from a randomly selected string of ten words.  GUIDELINES

 STRING-OF-10 FIVE PROMPT:

EVENING-QUARRY-ACCENT-ROSE-TEAR-MINUTE-GRAVE-CLOSE-ENTRANCE-BOW 

I want to put a ding in the universe. –Steve Jobs 

STRING-OF-10 FIVE GUEST JUDGE: KATHY FISH

I am pleased to announce that this year’s Guest Judge will be Kathy Fish.  Kathy Fish’s short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, The Denver Quarterly, New South, Quick Fiction, Guernica, Slice and elsewhere. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three collections of stories: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women, (Rose Metal Press, 2008),  Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011) and Together We Can Bury It, forthcoming from The Lit Pub.

Coming this month:

Flash Fiction Chronicles Series of Creating and Publishing Fiction Chapbooks From Bonnie ZoBell:

Victor David Giron at Curbside Splendor, February 7Tammy Lynne Stoner at Gertrude Press, February 21

Every Day Fiction’s Top Author Interview

Aliza Greenblatt will be interviewing Kevin McNeil whose story “The Merry Jester” was the top story for January at EDF.

 

Gay Deganiby Gay Degani

First, I want to wish everyone reading this a very happy and productive New Year.  Hopefully you are working away in your garret, at some coffee house, or on the beach, but writing writing writing.   With a new grand-baby in the picture and a newly retired husband, this year has been a great deal of fun, but also one of the least productive I’ve had in the last five years.  The struggle to balance REAL LIFE and the writing life never seems to get any easier.  With that in mind, FFC co-editor, Jim Harrington, offered some advice in a November article about setting goals, “Thoughts on Writing Goals” and Tara Laskowski ‘s article, “My New Year Writing Resolutions,” will appear in this space on January 7.

 

Flash Fiction Chronicles’ String-of-10 FIVE Flash Fiction Contest coming in February

I am pleased to announce that this year’s Guest Judge will be Kathy Fish.  Kathy Fish’s short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, The Denver Quarterly, New South, Quick Fiction, Guernica, Slice and elsewhere. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three collections of stories: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women, (Rose Metal Press, 2008),  Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011) and Together We Can Bury It, forthcoming from The Lit Pub.

For the week of February 3 through February 9, Flash Fiction Chronicles is  having its fifth annual contest—String-of-10 FIVE—for the best 250-word story written from a specific prompt.  At 12:01 on Sunday morning, February 3rd, we will post  a string of ten random words and a thought-provoking aphorism as our contest prompt.  Entries will be accepted during the designated time period  using our SUBMISSION MANAGER.  Guidelines and List of Prizes forthcoming.

 

Bonnie ZoBell’s Chapbook Interviews

 

Bonnie ZoBell

Flash Fiction Chronicles Series of Creating and Publishing Fiction Chapbooks featuring  Bonnie ZoBell’s interviews with the editors and publishers of chapbooks by writers of short fiction, poetry, and novellas continues this month with the following:

Gloria Mindock at Červená Barva Press,  January 10

Diane Kistner and Jon Pineda at FutureCycle Press,  January 21

Interviews in the following months include talks with Victor David Giron at Curbside Splendor, Tammy Lynne Stoner at Gertrude Press, J.A.  Tyler at Mud Luscious Press / Nephew chapbook series, David McNamara at Sunnyoutside Press, and Diana Arterian at Gold Line Press.

 

 Something to Think About

“The desire to write grows with writing.” Desiderius Erasmus

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