And speaking of ebooks, it would be remiss of me not to mention Discount Noir, edited by Steve Weddle and Patricia Abbott. It’s a dandy collection of more than 40 flash stories, all under a thousand words and all set in a great big discount chain store that in no way resembles any actual chain store that you might think of when reading them. Disclaimer: I have a story in this one, along with James Reasoner, Ed Gorman, Chris Grabenstein, and a host of others. My story brings back a couple of characters from my Edgar-nominated “Cranked,” in case you were wondering.
Nigel Bird is a well-known blogger who features authors interviewing themselves. But he’s also an accomplished short story writer, as evidenced by his ebook collection titled Dirty Old Town. The book contains eight stories, two of which are original to the collection. They’re dark and surprising and sometimes brutal. I was particularly taken by the first one, “Drinking Wine (Spo-dee-oh-dee)” because of my fondness for the old song of that name as well as some of the others mentioned in the story.
Marcus Sakey has several well-received novels to his credit, including his latest, The Amateurs, but he’s also written dozens of short stories. He’s chosen seven favorites for an e-book collection called Scar Tissue: Seven Stories of Love and Wounds (e-book, July 2010, $2.99). The title lets you know that these aren’t necessarily going to be happy tales, but one of them, “Cobalt,” is both dark and funny at the same time. Remember Y2K? Can you believe it was so long ago? Read this story for a little trip back in time. And speaking of time, these stories are in Sakey’s preferred format for short pieces, brief blocks of prose that jump around in time and even setting. It sounds odd, but it works very well.
Besides the stories themselves, there’s something else I like about this collection. Each story is preceded by a short introduction that tells a bit about how the piece came to be written. I love introductions like that, and they add a lot to the stories. (Note: this $2.99 e-book may be found online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.—ed.)