Short Stories

I've got a few friends who rave about how awesome short stories are. My mom likes them because it's all she has time to write. But I'm the kind of person who sits down to write a paragraph and ends up with a 20 page paper, or comes up with an idea that can be summed up in one sentence (ex "guy asks out wrong girl on facebook") and it turns into an 65,000 word novel (hence Accidental Girlfriend).

But recently I've written a few short stories and they've been pretty exciting. Here's why I like them:

1. You don't have to put in all the details, because what you leave out is more important than what you put in. For example, in my latest short story, French Fries, one of the characters shoves his wallet into his back pocket. That's all that's said, but you can infer from it so much. But I don't have to write it!

2. You can say a lot in very little words. Short stories are the Haiku of fiction. Again with French Fries, it's barely over 1000 words. But I had an hour long discussion about it with one of my friends. Jesus, Babies, and Fishing was also very short, but it said a lot. So much so that a friend of mine is recommending it for a short film.

3. It means something different to every person. You don't have to make the "deep meaning" obvious. In fact, there doesn't have to be one. Jesus, Babies, and Fishing was just something I wrote from a prompt. I didn't purposefully make it beautiful or profound, but those are the responses I've gotten. Everyone finds something different within a short story. For example, Last spring I read The Price of Eggs in China, a story by Don Lee in his short story collection Yellow. During our discussion in class, it was obvious that everyone had an idea of what happened after the story ended, and everyone's idea was different. Also, the story itself was illusive about what actually happened, and everyone had different ideas of who actually did what. Because of that, rest assured that people will find what they need in the story.

I'm currently reviewing a book of short stories. I'll link this post to it and vice versa when it's up.

What's your opinion on short stories? do you like writing them or reading them, or do you prefer longer works?

The Scorpio Races

Ch-ch-check it out!

Also, Maggie is having a contest here.

Review: Don't Check Your Brains At The Door!

Don't Check Your Brains At The Door by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler
Genre: Christian Apologetics
Published: August 2nd 2011 by Nelson, Thomas, Inc. (first published February 19th 1992)

Rating: 3

This book aims to look at common myths and lies about Christianity. Many unbelievers will use these lies or myths to try to sway young Christians from their faith. This book attempts to "bust" the myths that you may be told.

Which is great. Hypothetically.

There were some good topics and subjects in this book. A lot of things I've heard before were addressed. I had two problems with it.

1) The tone was very negative, and I felt like I or the potential unbeliever was being talked down to.

2) They started busting the myths, but didn't finish very well. I felt like I'd been told that something was a myth, but that it hadn't been proven to me.

I didn't read this book cover to cover. I'm getting ready for my second year of college and I don't have time. I did flip through and chose some random chapters to read though. I liked it, and it was a good start, but I felt like it didn't finish.

This book would be great for High School or College students in a group discussion setting. I felt it lacked a lot of content for a go-to reference book, but it would be great for a discussion guide, topics to get you started thinking and bouncing things back and forth between people.

This review was part of the tour with LitFuse. Check out the rest of the tour!

Interview: Quinn Barrett

Quinn Barrett is visiting The Life and Lies today! She recently released her novel, Invisible Snow.

Invisible Snow is a classic family drama about wealth, power, greed, and redemption. Marriage is a delicate dance of power between lovers, but Kate and Paul Delacroix are strangers caught in a disparate union somewhere between betrayal and truth. Confronting their true selves for the first time results in an epic clash of wills where only one will prevail. The legacy of the family business is at stake, but power is not always about money. Their showdown results in a shocking twist of fate—a destiny Kate never saw coming.

1) Why and when did you begin writing?

During my sophomore year in high school, I had an English teacher who helped me develop my writing skills which led me to become an English major in college. I always thought I'd write a book at some point, but career and family had a way of intervening until recently. I suppose in some weird way I was waiting on more life experiences for better material to write about.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The idea itself has marinated over time from years of sitting in work and church meetings, women's groups, booster club and PTA meetings. I sensed an underlying hostility from many dutiful women who performed their simple assignments with masterful precision, but seemed frustratingly unfulfilled. It made me realize that most of us lose ourselves in simple tasks to avoid walking our true path, living our own dreams. Kate's journey is about coming to terms with her choices and breaking free of her self-imposed limitations.

3) How did you come up with the title?

It took a long time and several working titles before Invisible Snow came to me while exercising one day. I knew that I wanted to use the imagery of Snow in the title as it was relevant in the character name, location and as a metaphor for transformation. But It still took a while before I put the two words together.

When we first meet our protagonist, Kate is the essence of invisibility in her own life. I also see snow as having that same quality of invisibility in the sense that despite its presence and inevitability in winter, Snow is often ignored as well as being something of a cover or camouflage of sorts. I also like the imagery of a fresh blanket of morning snow as if it were a clean, blank slate waiting to be written on.

4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

I had a couple of great English teachers in high school as well as in college at UCLA. In terms of famous authors . . . I'd say that Harper Lee was the first author that made me believe writers had a unique opportunity and responsibility to shape the world.

5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I try to write about what I know and take liberties with various stories and experiences for the purpose of moving the story forward to the end or moral I want to teach. For character development or geographic location unfamiliar to me, I try to find people I know that can help me flesh out the details. Book research is also a good excuse to visit locations like Park City. And finally living in the age of Google and Wikipedia is a huge advantage I'd imagine most writers utilize (present company included).

6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Very loosely, but characters have a way of creating themselves during the re-writes. By the time Invisible Snow was finished, I'd say that all of the characters were unique and any relationship to real people known to me was purely inspirational.

7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but nobody can prepare you for the challenge of marketing a book. Even with help and guidance, it's hard work!

8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

I'm working on a sequel as well as one other original book, but I have lots of ideas in notes and journals that I plan to develop and write eventually.

9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Each character is a part of me, so I love them all... even the more annoying ones, but Kate has to be my favorite (once she begins her journey of self-realization) because she is the heroine of the novel. She is an extraordinary woman with resources beyond belief. She is capable of anything as long as she can stay out of her own way. And isn't that true for all of us?

A few other characters were also a lot of fun for me to write. Louise and Mary made me laugh a lot. Even I couldn't believe how ridiculous they could be as characters until I typed it. I also loved Walker and Joan's wisdom, but that's easy. Loving the darker characters is an interesting process.

10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Writing is the fun part, but deciding which publishing path to take is tricky. The traditional publishing process can take a couple years or more depending on the type of book and the publishing cycle. Regardless of whether you have an agent or you decide to self-publish you're going to have to learn to create your own market/audience for your book so be aggressive in getting your name and title out in the blogosphere, local radio, newspaper, and anywhere else you can think of.

Just for fun:

1) What are your ten most favorite things?

These are in no particular order: Ralph Lauren T-Shirts, my Curious George coffee mug, my iPod, Bose ear buds, Angels baseball games, NetFlix, Panda Raspberry Natural Licorice, Chipotle salads, my novel, my family

2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

Web development and design.


3) Do you have any pets?

No . . . just a teenage son.


4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

There isn't much I don't like. I look forward to a juicy slice of Lawry's prime rib on Christmas Eve. I'm not a huge fan of onions and garlic.

5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I have a home office with lots of windows and French doors so I don't feel isolated.


6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Kashi crackers and veggies.

7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

South Lake Tahoe in the mountains near the California, Nevada border.

[Haley: Lake Tahoe is beautiful! I used to live near there!]

8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

I loved English and creative writing. I wasn't crazy about Spanish.


9) What book are you reading right now?

I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy which was enjoyable. I've been trying to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I honestly don't see what the fuss is about.

10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I watch the movie Ground Hog's Day every February 2nd with my son and we recite many of the movies lines as we watch.


Thanks for stopping by Quinn! Check out the Invisible Snow website and Facebook page.

Blood & Water by Ephraim Rodriguez

Ephraim is visiting The life and lies today while promoting is novel Blood & Water.

About the book:

Blood & Water chronicles the life of an American lobster-fisherman haunted by his father’s ghost.
Henry Michael Fischer wanted nothing more than to be like his forefathers; become a lobster-fisherman, get married and have a son of his own to carry on the family tradition. But when Henry suspects he is being haunted by his father’s ghost, he must lay the past to rest, even if it means digging up his father’s grave to return what has been taken - his identity.

Ephraim Rodriguez lived in Maine when he was a boy. He's also lived in Pennsylvania, Boston, Florida, Washington D.C., Washington state, WV and California. He's married with children and hopes you enjoy Blood & Water.

Learn more here


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.