Jennifer Fallon, Author of Demon Child Trilogy, The Hythrun Chronicles, The Tide Lord Quadrilogy, The Second Sons Trilogy, The Rift Runners Trilogy and The War of the Gods Trilogy, wrote the foreword for my short story collection, Shifting Worlds.
Here's an advance peek at what she said:
Any experienced writer asked to judge a short story competition would probably confess they approach the task with a mixture of caution and trepidation. For every gem one reads, there are ten less shiny baubles that need polishing, cutting or simply throwing back into the grinder for some serious reworking.
Imagine my delight, if you can, in stumbling across the gem I was hoping for in a pile of rather ordinary entries into a writing competition I had been asked to judge. This was my first taste of Darian Smith. His intriguing mix of superpowers and Pasifika simplicity made his story stand out, head and shoulders above his competition.
I had no idea who Darian Smith was at the time. The entries were unmarked, so I couldn’t tell anything about the author, other than he made me sit up and take notice. It is a delight to recognise one is reading the work of an author with true talent, rather than someone who simply wanted to write.
Darian continues to intrigue and delight me. “Shifting Worlds” features stories from the realms of fantasy, sci-fi, and literary fiction. All of them challenge their protagonists by fundamentally altering their reality in some way. Whether the poignant personal touches of stories like Atrophy, Spring or Seahorses, the thought-provoking The Girl in the Window, the mischievous, Cut and Colour, the delightful Drag Marks, or the intriguing Banshee, Darian never fails to entertain and surprise the reader with his skill and his insight into to the human condition.
As a bonus, Darian offers a peek into his private world with a short explanation of his inspiration, motivation and sometimes raw, personal connection to each story, making you want to go back and read them again with the knowledge of what inspired it breathing new life into each story, doubling the reader’s enjoyment with the benefit of this additional insight.
And then there is A Suitor, which begins: It is my wedding night and I’m holding a knife stained with blood. By far the best first line I have read in a long, long time.
This collection has it all. Honesty, insight, mischievousness. And fearlessness. It is also a great read.
I hope you will enjoy reading it as much I did, and maybe, if you’re lucky, as much as Darian obviously did writing it.
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