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Stepping Out: Short Stories [Paperback]

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Item description for Stepping Out: Short Stories by Lori L. Lake...

In these 14 short stories, Lori L. Lake captures how change and loss influence the course of lives: a mother and daughter have an age-old fight; a frightened woman attempts to deal with an abusive lover; a father tries to understand his lesbian daughter's retreat from him; an athlete who misses her chance---or does she?

Lovingly crafted, the collection has been described as a series of mini-novels where themes of alienation and loss, particularly for characters who are gay or lesbian, are woven throughout. Lake is right on about the anguish and confusion of characters caught in the middle of circumstances, usually of someone else's making. Still, each character steps out with hope and determination.

In the words of Jean Stewart: "Beyond the mechanics of good storytelling, a sturdy vulnerability surfaces in every one of these short stories. Lori Lake must possess, simply as part of her inherent nature, a loving heart. It gleams out from these stories, even the sad ones, like a lamp in a lighthouse---maybe far away sometimes, maybe just a passing, slanting flash in the dark---but there to be seen all the same. It makes for a bittersweet journey."

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Item Specifications...

Pages   180
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.61 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 5, 2004
Publisher   Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC
ISBN  1932300163  
ISBN13  9781932300161  

Availability  0 units.

More About Lori L. Lake

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Lake works as a supervisor in a government office. In her off hours, she is a writer, editor, housework avoider, and weightlifter.

Lori L. Lake currently resides in the state of Minnesota.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Stepping Out: Short Stories?

Tales From The Heart  Jun 7, 2006
Lori Lake's writing truly does defy categoration, and this splendid collection of 14 stories, some of them lesbian themed, some of them not, perfectly illustrates that point; but if there is a common theme that runs through them, it is that of pain and loss, and coming through it better, stronger, wiser. She looks unflinchingly at some little-discussed and very difficult subjects - domestic abuse in lesbian relationships, a parent's difficulty in accepting a lesbian daughter, a father's loss of his son - and does so with great compassion and profound insight. These stories from one of today's best authors will make you think - and make you care. Victor J. Banis, author of Spine Intact, Some Creases
A Powerful and Impressive Collection  Jun 4, 2004
With Stepping Out, popular lesbian author Lori L. Lake has crafted a charming and impressive collection of short stories. The name of the book was inspired by the fact that the characters in each story have reached a turning point in their lives, and they must now choose to step out in a new direction. Each story touched me in some way, but some more than others.

"The Bright Side" tells of a young woman faced with the inevitability of aging parents. "Everything You Learn in Kindergarten Can Ruin Your Life" takes us back to grammar school and the world of bullies. "Propane" is a powerful tale of domestic abuse in a same-sex relationship. In "Mouse", we come face-to-face with a homeless woman, forced onto the street when her partner passes away and the family refuses to acknowledge their relationship.

Lake isn't afraid to tackle the tough issues-alcoholism, physical and mental abuse, self-esteem issues, aging parents, homophobia-in her stories, but she does so without ever feeling preachy or confrontational. Her stories are filled with grace, second chances, and self-discovery. All of her characters are fully-realized, even when their stories are sometimes less than ten pages. You feel as if you are being afforded brief (sometimes too brief!) glimpses into the lives of real people-people who could be your neighbors, your friends, or even your relatives. Her writing style is very accessible; the stories quickly draw you in and make you care about their protagonists.

Everyone who reads this book will have their favorites. Mine were "Busybody", "Defending Angels", and "Jumping Over My Head." In "Busybody", an aging lesbian couple tries to live their lives in peace and privacy while fending off the well-meaning but unwelcome interference of loved ones and neighbors. However, the couple gains a new perspective by the story's end. "Defending Angels" tells the emotionally charged story of a young man trying to rebuild his life in the aftermath of an abusive father and an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Of the fourteen stories in this collection, "Jumping Over My Head" felt the most personal to me. It is a story of overcoming self-perception, of the power of having one person who believes in you-and having faith in yourself.

While those three especially stood out to me, I believe this book will have something for everyone. In these fourteen short stories, Lori L. Lake, also the author of the popular Gun series, as well as her most recent novel, the well-received Different Dress, shows off her versatility and considerable talent. I highly recommend this book. the stories.  Jun 3, 2004
I finished "The Big Eddy" in the wee hours this morning and I sobbed. What a heart rending journey for the father in the loss of his son. I'm so impressed with the writing. Each story captures a person right from the beginning. What comes through so clearly to me is the love and understanding that is needed between all of us.....and how premature judgments are haunting at any point in our lives. The "Bright Side" really examined family relationships and the ending was tender between the two sisters. And, "Busybody" truly made me stop and think about importance of not prejudging where someone's coming from....and then realizing the importance of sharing one's life with others. "Propane" hit home too because of the abusive marriage my sister was in years ago. At least the character had the guts to finally deal with it. All of these stories have left openings for future writings.

I'm keeping the book by my's so great when I wake up at 4:00 a.m. and can't get to sleep. I pick up the book and read as much as I like before I get ready to sleep again. I hope this author keeps those beautiful, meaningful messages coming to all of us. It is needed.
A Collection of Interesting, Impactful, Intriguing Stories!  May 3, 2004
Ms. Lake definitely continues the tremendous style of writing displayed in her earlier books: Gun Shy, Under the Gun, Different Dress and Ricochet In Time.

Stepping Out: Short Stories takes the reader on a terrific journey through a gambit of emotions with each of the stories: sympathy, dismay, shock, anger, fright, empathy, anger, loss, laughter, and love. Although Jumping Over My Head and Vagabond are my personal favorites, each story will move you in its own unique way. While each story may not be long in length, there are 14 stories total, each is quite impactful. You will feel like you are right there with each of the characters, sharing their feelings - whether crying with them or laughing with them - helping them fight their way through their trials and troubles.

Already a fan of Ms. Lake's work, Stepping Out: Short Stories just reinforces the reasons why. It is a great book and will be one picked up and read time and time again!

Review of "Stepping Out: Short Stories" by Cheri  Apr 8, 2004
Lori L. Lake has written an insightful collection of short stories in her latest book, "Stepping Out: Short Stories". If you are not familiar with her other best-selling books, "Different Dress", "Under the Gun", "Gun Shy", and "Ricochet In Time", "Stepping Out," will have certainly whet your appetite.

Each story brings forth interesting characters and situations you long to know more about. Lori Lake can easily have fourteen more novels to write and the reader is left hoping that is her intention.

It is much more difficult to write a short story than a novel because the writer has limited time and space to expand upon the characters and story line. There is little time to develop the plot - it has to be there and be there quick. Lori Lake does an excellent job with this task.

Each of the short stories is timeless and authentic in its portrayal of real people and their lives. I appreciate how Lake mentions the feelings of elderly parents about having their independence interfered with, even from well meaning children, as in, "The Bright Side". This is a point that hits home for any baby boomer currently worrying about who will take care of their aging parents. And more importantly, how will they get their parents to accept their help? In this story we also see a mother who is so critical of her daughter she compliments her on her weight loss even though it is due to chemotherapy for breast cancer! This is in addition to her disappointment that her daughter is gay and throwing it in her daughter's face even during a family crisis. Anyone who has a critical mother and most of us do in one way or another can relate to this story. This is not to say that we don't love our mothers, but our mothers' unfavorable comments can hurt the worst.

"Afraid of the Dark", is about a mother and daughter who get lost while driving to an American Quilt Exhibit and end up stuck in a bad neighborhood. The author so perfectly shows the ignorance and potentially dangerous side of prejudice. It is a sad story about a mother who can't get past her prejudices enough to love or trust people who are different from her. The daughter, Marin, allows herself to be set up for the verbal abuse her mother consistently dishes out while secretly hoping her mother will change and accept her for who she is and accept people for who they are and not based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, this is not a new story with racial profiling and homophobia ridiculously ingrained in our society so that even many parents have trouble accepting their own children. Like Marin, we hope this will change in our lifetime.

I also enjoyed, "Busybody" because it is so true that you cannot judge a book by its cover. What we perceive in a person may not be what is really there. In fact you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find if you open up your heart.

Each story brings forth a wisdom that we all should possess as we go through life. Lake reminds us of society's short-sightedness to allow discrimination of overweight or obese people while glorifying anorexic models and actresses and paying them millions. It is no wonder that most girls have distorted body images and that eating disorders are prevalent.
"My Lifesaving Journal" is about a girl who dreams of being a hero because she has a low opinion of herself. She is fat and feels unworthy of love - even life. Isn't it about time society learns that a person's size is not what matters; it is what is inside that counts? It is about time we moved away from being so beauty and weight conscious and concentrate on being happy and healthy by exercising, eating right, and feeling good about ourselves.

The father who writes to his daughter in "A Letter from Father", pleading forgiveness for any homophobia he may have possessed in the past while hoping to regain her presence in his life, is heartwarming. These are just a few examples of what you may find in this book. Something positive can be said about each story but I prefer you read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions and choose the ones that hold the most meaning for you. Each reader will find something that they can relate to or learn from in this fine collection of short stories. I highly recommend this book and will add it to my collection of favorite authors.


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