Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Leeper on the Emotions Punch Of Short Stories

Today on Mystery Mondays, we’re doing something a little different. Author, Jennifer Leeper is here to talk about short stories. I think this is the first short story collection I’ve hosted, so it’s a bit of a thrill for me. Enjoy!

Short, Not Small by Jennifer Leeper

515-HrYG7AL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Whether you’re a reader or writer of short stories, you know they can offer as much of an emotional gut punch or brain rock as a 300,000-word tome. Collections of short stories offer authors and readers the chance to quickly dive deep into the lives of characters and repeat this experience over and over between two covers. My latest collection, Border Run and Other Stories explores many characters within a relatively short word span, and I’m privileged to take you on a sampling tour here of these vastly different character worlds.

If the shoe fits

 In The Shoes, Carlos finds a letter from his abuela, who recently passed away, and in the letter she charges her family with conscientiously distributing her hoard of shoes. They can’t simply dump the house-sized pile of footwear at a thrift store, but must match each pair with the right feet. Not only does Carlos, his sister, and parents find it difficult to marry the shoes to wearers, but the result of hastily discarded pairs of shoes results in a horrific series of events that irreparably alters the lives of Carlos and his family.

The dead live on

In Book of the Dead, Violet Mora finds the “bucket list” Luca Barnes, the boy who bullied her in high school in the ashes of his family’s house that burned down after Luca fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his mouth. In the spirit of revenge, Violet decides to work her way through Luca’s list herself. Instead of revenge, however, Violet encounters Luca’s twin, Dominic, as she completes Luca’s objectives, and she experiences more than she bargained for when she took on Luca’s list.

 Take this job and shove it

In The Vortex, a man has been writing the same resignation letter in his head for years but he never actually submits it to his boss. Then, one day he decides to erase thousands of emails with one mouse click. He is set free and set off course all at once.

Though there are threaded themes of redemption, loss, and mortality across the 14 stories of this collection it’s the character development that allows each piece to stand apart. It’s not the word count that matters, but how words are used to bring lives on the page to life that counts.

Who Is Jennifer Leeper:

f792d207c31f8ddac4e71e9aaa583014_400x400Ms. Leeper is an award-winning fiction author who’s publications credits include Independent Ink Magazine, Notes Magazine, The Stone Hobo, Poiesis, Every Day Fiction, Aphelion Webzine, Heater magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, The New Engagement, Alaska Quarterly Review and The Liguorian.

She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Inwood Indiana Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, and Spider Road Press.

In 2012, Ms. Leeper was awarded the Catoctin Mountain Artist-in-Residency, and in 2013, Ms. Leeper was a Tuscany Prize Novella Award finalist through Tuscany Press for her short novel, Tribe. Ms. Leeper’s short story Tatau was published in the journal, Poiesis, and was short listed as a finalist for the Luminaire Award in 2015, and nominated by Alternating Current for Queen’s Ferry Press’ Best of Small Fictions of 2016 Prize. In 2016,

The Saturday Evening Post honored Ms. Leeper’s short story Book of the Dead with an honorable mention in its Great American Fiction Contest. Ms. Leeper’s short story The Bottle won second place in the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize through Spider Road Press.

You can find Border Run and Other Stories at Barking Rain Press: and Amazon. You can find Jennifer  and her other fiction on Twitter @JenLeeper1 or at her author website:



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