Sometimes, you follow a link, and you end up with a little gem. Julie Morrigan's The Writing on the Wall is one of those little gems.
Despite publishing a short story writing competition (Narrator Magazine), I'm not a lover of short stories per se - I'd rather a 60,000-120,000 word novel to sink my teeth into. However, I noticed a small plug for this on Facebook from the owner of A Reader's Heaven, and figured that, for $1.49, what did I have to lose? The answer, it turns out, was nothing!
I found this collection of seven short stories from Julie, plus one from Steven Miscandlon, surprisingly entertaining. I don't mind a little 'alternative energy' type story from time to time - things from the other side, things that can't be explained etc, but I can't generally read a lot of it. So what's the difference here? Talent.
Miss Morrigan writes for a 21st century audience - she uses modern, realistic, yet intelligent dialogue (both she and Mr Miscandlon both slip a well-placed 'fuck' in here and there, no pun intended!), and realistic events such as going down to the pub to discuss what to do next, or having one character playing with his Wii, but it's all done with proper sentence structure, proper grammar, punctuation and spelling, and the most important thing of all: strong, character-driven plots. Like other modern authors who have finally realised that people don't care what colour the sofa is unless it's important to the story, she doesn't waste our time painting a pretty (or in some cases, ugly) picture. If it's not important - it's out!
I won't tell you about the stories - that's not what I'm here for - but I will recommend that you go and investigate Miss Morrigan's book on Smashwords, and then if you're interested in more, visit her website. I'm not sure how long she's been around, but with quality writing like this, I feel she'll have a good chance of being around for a long time yet. Enjoy!!