Book Spotlight: The Secret Lives, ed. by Paula Dias Garcia, Sam Agar, and Aisling Murphy

book spotlight the secret lives

The Lily Cafe is thrilled to present a collection of short stories by 15 authors who explore what could be happening outside of public view, The Secret Lives!


Title: The Secret Lives

Authors: Philip Berry, Georgia Dodsworth, Issy Flower, Srijani Ganguly, Anita Goveas, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Camila Loricchio, Rhona McAdam, Thomas Mozden, Stephen Schwei, Eoin Smith, Sarah Smith, David Wasserman, Allison Whittenberg and Claire J. Yaxley

Publisher: Sans. PRESS Team

Publication date: January 6, 2022

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories


About the Book

The Secret Lives is a collection of short stories that are all about secrets. The 15 writers provide fascinating views of what may be happening behind closed curtains (or deep in the woods… or inside that mirror that never seems to stay covered…), ranging from the fantastical and mysterious to the little hidden truths of our every day life. The stories are:

A Rare Vintage, by Srijani Ganguly A newlywed couple in an idyllic honeymoon runs into some old friends, and the trip takes a mysterious turn into the supernatural. The young bride is so besotted by her own love story that she misses the signs that her husband isn’t quite who (or what) she expected.

The One Where the Day Was Stolen, by Camila LoricchioTo justify a delay in a bar meet-up, the narrator starts unspooling a story that begins with a simple traffic jam, and goes on to involve picking fruit with a deity.

Dirty Money, by Sarah SmithSet against the bright background of Glasgow nightlife, a young couple develops a money printing/laundering operation with their elderly neighbour.

The Secret Mermaid, by Claire J. YaxleyWhile struggling to adjust with life with her aunt after the loss of her mother, a young girl finds a mermaid trapped in an aquarium, and sets off to free her in a mission that helps the family deal with their shared grief.

Praise Be, by Eoin SmithBehind the façade of a money-grabbing religious operation hides a supernatural secret that would shock their callers.

The Creature, by Thomas MozdenThe narrator sets off in a research of the occult to try and set protections on his home against the threat of a mysterious creature that is circling ever closer.

Stove, by Philip Berry – While visiting her childhood home with an elderly father, a woman finds evidences that make her question the narrative she always believed about her parents’ divorce.

Releasing the Secret to David, by Stephen SchweiA poetic confession from a father to his child, on the context that lead to his birth.

There Are No Winners on the Carousel, by Anita GoveasEtash searches for help with his vision problem, after being beset by haunting visions of all his past regrets.

The Bard of Frogtown, by Allison Whittenberg – A young writer rethinks their creative practice, life, relationship and sense of worth as a writer, all the while a poem tries to emerge into their consciousness.

Secrets, by Sandra Jackson-Opoku – The unseen residents of a house contemplate the changes that happened over the course of generations, distantly observing historical changes and patterns of institutional oppression.

Whats for You? by Rhona McAdam – The past and the present mend together in the mind of an elderly woman, while she tries to reconnect with the son that was forcibly taken from her decades prior.

The Mirror, by Issy Flower – A young girl prepares to face the mysterious entity that seems to inhabit the mirror in her room, seemingly a curse that plagued her much-admired late father.

Never Like This, by Georgia Dodsworth – While working out community service hours, a young man finds love (which quickly devolves into obsession) in the most unexpected of places.

Room to Grow, by David Wasserman – After being told by a fortuneteller that he’s a actually a house, a man receives cryptic visions about each of his rooms in the form of poetry.


About the Editors

Paula Dias Garcia is a writer and graphic designer from Brasília. She has recently finished her MA in Creative Writing in the University of Limerick, and her works include the YA Kyra, the non-fiction O Campo de Batalha Sou Eu [I am the Battlefield] and short stories in Silver Apples magazine and Riverbed Review.

Sam Agar has been writing for many years, enjoying a passion for fiction from a young age. With a BA in English and Film Studies, Sam has also completed a Masters in Creative Writing in the University of Limerick and was most recently published in Silver Apples magazine.

Aisling Murphy is a young writer from Donegal who recently finished an MA in English at the University of Limerick, after graduating with a BA in New Media and English. She has been reading and writing short stories from a young age and is currently working on a novella.


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