Literally Stories – Week 56 – A Tale of Two Emails


*The names in this blog have been altered to protect the innocent — not the guilty.

Email One — 23 December 2015.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

In actual fact Twas the night before the night before Christmas, when an email landed in the Literally Stories inbox. Attached to the email a short story for our perusal.

Standard acknowledgement email is dispatched by yours truly.

All well and good.

Christmas came and Christmas went. New Year beckoned. New Year came and was soon spent and the story we received 23rd December continued to languish in our gmail account.

Forgotten. Unloved. Unread.

9 January 2016  — Email Two.

A standard rejection email is sent out to a much-loved LS published author, *Gertrude Ponsonby.

11 January 2016 — Email One

Email One is unearthed by the same buffoon who forgot to bring it to the attention of fellow Editors. Sincerest apologies email is duly dispatched to potential LS author patiently awaiting a reply:

Sorry *Engelbert — we somehow failed to flag up your story for reading… we will read it and get back to you very shortly.

12 January 2016 — Email One

Email is sent to the author of unloved, abandoned, forgotten story to tell them it is no longer unloved and will soon have a home at Literally Stories.

14 January 2016 — Email Two

A standard rejection email is sent out to the much-loved LS published author, *Gertrude Ponsonby; the same author who received the same email for the same story five days previously.


Later that day

Much loved LS published author replies with typically pithy good humour:

Wow. You must really have a special hate for this thing. I’m used to rejection, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anything given the old heave-ho twice in one week. To be honest, I concur. The story sucks.
*Gertrude Ponsonby

Monday shrugged off its more highly-regarded weekend buddy to witness the return of twice (now thrice) published LS author Martyn Clayton.

Milltown, a former textile town, plays host to the full range of Socio-Economic groupings in Martyn’s deeply moving examination of  a relationship sagging under the weight of mental health issues.

It might be grim Oop North but there’s redemption in them thar hills… isn’t there?

‘Fiona and Claire made a home half way up the hillside, on a terraced street of three-storey houses once home to mill workers. The street is narrow and cobbled. The house opposite has a Bob Marley poster in the window. Another is filled with spider plants, forever reproducing themselves never being expelled. An attic window in a shared house plays ambient house in the early hours. In the summer months the sound of electronic birds compete with the sound of the real ones in the high trees that bank the valley side.’

Tuesday’s poor showing in the best day of the week popularity stakes didn’t stop it from attracting another fine story to LS.

Step forward Literally Stories débutante and master of the macabre, Bill Vernon.

After Evening Benediction is pitch-perfect creepy.

‘Father Karavich glanced from the mirror at me and smiled. “Christ himself rose from the dead, you know. Death is not our enemy.”

I jumped up as if a nail had suddenly pierced my buttocks. A casket! What I’d seen my father buried in the year before. My mouth gaped. “What’s it here for?”

The priest went back to combing his hair and apparently spoke to his own image, not turning toward me. “Memento mori.”’

Welcome to LS Bill. Horror is a hard-sell here but we are really glad we bought into your fiction.

Wednesday thought nothing of grabbing unwary visitors by the scruff of the neck and yelling READ ME!

‘I, the most hated and reviled, the duly convicted mass murdering, monster calls and he, the newly anointed great red, white, and blue America white hope, comes to me like I knew he would. He enters with a mouthful of self-serving, homogenized bullshit.’

Frederick K. Foote rarely makes a slow start to his short story narratives and once again wasted no time with the opening lines of Guilty.

His MC has a DA trapped by the SAC (short and curlies), it would seem — and it’s only ten years from The White House.


Thursday held that familiar cusp-of-the weekend feel which made it a comfy fit for The Chocolate Kid.

If you haven’t heard of its author, Tom Sheehan, then I conclude one of the following describes you well:

a) Aardvark b) Ghost of Christmas Future or c) newcomer to Literally Stories.

I don’t know if Mr. Sheehan has a sweet tooth but his protagonist is undoubtedly a glucose-fiend.

‘Of course, before The Creole suffered his entertainment, she welcomed The Corsican, and The Hammer-Thrower and The Glutton and The Sword-Swallower. From the earliest I had reduced her many friends to short descriptors, each of them following one another like trail hounds after my father walked away that day. Obversely I’d bet to a man they called me The Candy Kid.

New to LS readers is Daniel LaPonsie, who shook a chunk of self-satisfaction out of smug Friday.

Welcome Daniel.

His short story Body Art might be hard to pigeon-hole in terms of genre but such descriptors as bizarre, brave, weird, engrossing and I suspect, ‘gross’ are all richly deserved.

‘Cold air and loss of blood are doing strange and wonderful things to the loose-fitting, ninety year old flesh. But it matters not. There are undoubtedly laws against this sort of thing, but it matters not. People are gawking and gaping, and calling for help. But. It. Matters. Not.’

What does matter is that Daniel added something new to our literary domain.

Another man doing his bit for the written word is Literally Stories Editor, Hugh Cron.

The Ayrshire Post’s, Lorraine Howard, interviewed Hugh regarding our publication, Literally Stories – The Anthology. A substantial photograph of Hugh brandishing a copy of said book, alongside the article, can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Literally Stories – Week 56 – A Tale of Two Emails

  1. I loved this week’s collection, but I had to wait until deep into the week to read it because I found myself spending many hours consoling my dear friend, Gertude Ponsonby. Between tear-filled martinis, G.P. bemoaned her latest failure. Then she told it to me. Complimenting it was like congratulating Medusa on how she now wears her snakes. Around about the fifth martini, I told Gertie how I really felt about the hot steaming pile she had tried to dump on LS. For some reason she got mad at me, and I haven’t seen her since. People. Go figure.
    Irene Allison


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