All Stories, Writing

Week 200 – Four Years And Still Here!!

As this is our Four Year Celebration, we will do the reviews first and then we have a wee spiel each for your entertainment and enlightenment. That’ll cover Diane and Nik, I’ll just write my usual pish!

This week we had three new writers, but only two stories from them. I think this is the first time that we have had a collaboration. We also had three old friends showcased.

The topics this week include carpentry skills, delegation, relating, a graveyard and Celine Dion.

As always, our initial comments follow.

One of our Newbies was first up. We welcome Barrie Wayne Sherwood and hope that he sends us more of his work very soon.

Chairs‘ began the week.

‘A well written and thoughtful piece.’

‘Powerful, well crafted and well observed.’

‘Different and interesting.’


We are having a weekly input from Tom Sheehan, so all is good in the world.

A Cryptic Night For Halloween‘ was published on Tuesday.

‘Tom gives us some of his usual brilliant descriptions.’

‘This was done with tongue firmly in cheek!’

‘A nice piece of horror writing.’


Our Sunday Champion, Leila Allison broke the back of the week with the wonderfully titled ‘Glooning The Lemon Chartreuse.’

‘Leila always writes beautifully. These stories are excellent!’

‘The clarity is brilliant. You could ask her anything about these situations and characters and I reckon she would never need to consider.’



On Thursday we had the return of a fourth timer.

Fernando Meisenhalter continues to send us in very interesting work.

Boundaries‘ was next up.

‘There were some cracking lines for such a short story.’

‘Very understated in a good way.’

‘I loved the comment on sexual harassment being job security.


And on Friday we had our first double act. We welcome both Darren Nuzzo and Todd Smith. Hopefully all our new writers will be with us for many stories to come.

Amy‘ finished off the week.

‘The request for the photo made you consider either curiosity or grooming.’

‘There is a lot to consider in this.’

‘The grief and love came through very well.’


Just to finish off this section.

Please have a look at the Sunday Re-run Postings and have a go.

All we need is a suggestion of an older story and a wee spiel of what it means to you or a critique, whatever you want!


Now onto our four years on site!

We decided to have a look back to when this all started.

The year 2014 was a very important one for Scotland. The Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow. Britain and Europe retained The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Independence was bombed out and doctors found a woman’s sex toy that had been missing for ten years.

The sporting events speak for themselves.

The Scottish Nationalist Party led the way and instigated an Independence Vote. Their leader, Alex Salmond was interfering with the Status Quo and maybe with a few women. He wanted to be King Of Scotland but a prison number may yet have to suffice.

The Independence vote is very similar to what happened to America with their President. (In so many ways!) I think not voting for Scotland to go it alone was a dirty secret. A bit like how many folks wouldn’t admit that they wanted to vote for Mr Trump.

You would hear all our nationalists shouting from the roof-tops what way they were voting, but there was a silence about those who wanted to stay as part of Britain. Playing Devil’s Advocate, I would say that Mr Salmond’s lack of answers was probably what put most folks off. We knew nothing about currency, pensions, borders, jobs, passports, import, export. Our so called leader knew just as much. The man has never been the same. Asking for answers to these questions he didn’t understand the word NO. (In so many ways)

And to the climax of this segment, the woman’s toy turned up, with an emphasis on the word up! Unlike Salmond, she probably said ‘YES’ quite a lot.

So with this all going on and my own celebration as it had been thirty years since I had met Gwen, it was my great pleasure to be asked to become part of Literally Stories. I was a bit apprehensive as my technical abilities at that time were limited. I also wasn’t sure if I would be able to do the site any justice. With the help of all the editors, I have come to accept my role and be part of this amazing group of writers, readers and commentators

When I look back, I realise I have grown. Not as a humanitarian, not as a writer, not as a critic, I’ve just put on a stone in weight. Oh and I am even more shite at the technical side!!

But no matter what, I am privileged to know all of you and share a site with some good friends, amazing writers and some very interesting people.

Just some snippets from 2014:

Box Office success – Mainly fantasy or Superhero shite. But I must admit the soundtrack to ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ was excellent!

Songs of that year – Robin Thicke (Don’t get me started about this being censored) and Meghan Trainor were refreshing. But fucking Coldplay was there. Has there ever been a more moaning sounding prick than Chris Martin?

Popular TV – I had a look at the top twenty and I haven’t watched any of them. There seems to be a lot that are still around. And of course an influx of reality TV with the mutants and media whores who are only famous for being bawbags and titwanks.

Best Book – I don’t really know as I haven’t read many novels over the last few years. There is one that I want to read and that is simply because of the brilliance of the author. Irvine Welsh’s ‘The Sex Lives Of Siamese Twins’ was published in 2014 and is still on my ‘to read list’.

And lastly- My first story for Literally Story was ‘Dilemma – An Experiment’. I see that my outlook hasn’t changed much over the years! I would like to re-write this and incorporate some paper cutting and forcing the victims to listen to Coldplay!

Thanks for everything!

You all make my life even slightly tolerable!!!



It’s true – he really has become worse at using the technical stuff – when I looked he’d managed somehow to hide the memorable lines!!! – I found em Hugh – I found em.

Silkworm was published four years ago – I like JK and I loved that she hid herself behind the Robert Galbraith name so that she played on the same field as the rest of us.

I have tried to think of other things that happened then that made an impression – I had my first novel accepted to be published so I guess that was the highlight for me. I didn’t need to hide behind a nom de plume! It came out the following year but the thrill and buzz was rather special – so all of you out there who are working on a book – keep on – it’s well worth it for that delight when you are asked to send in the full manuscript – no matter what happens later that is something to own.

Four years, a lot has happened hasn’t it – Hugh has mentioned so much of it and I do think that the world is a little colder  (notwithstanding global warning), more bitter and divided, and sadder.

But through it all we have had this. Sometimes it seems a bit overwhelming, stories flooding in and all the other stuff snapping at my heels. There is family to attend to, my own writing to take care of, oh well you are all fully aware of all of that, you have it yourselves. But this so rewarding, partly because of the super stories and though we have read thousands of words we still find gems and jewels and that’s always a thrill. And then there are the wonderful authors that we deal with – what a privilege that is, and last but definitely not least my best mates. Hugh and Nik – It’s always a delight, to touch on each others lives in the small way that we do and have a laugh and just feel that no matter what, they are there, hidden under the table with a bottle of – oh no wait that was me!!

Seriously though – thank you each and every one for making this such a great four years



As the resident stats-nerd and keeper of spreadsheets I couldn’t resist digging around to see what I could find in relation to the milestone numbers of 200 and 4 (thanks to the legendary Leila Allison for the kind email reminder!)

For example, if we throw away the catch-all GenFic bucket, humour is the only category that has received over 200 submissions since LS started (Horror is ranked number 4). There have been no less than 264 stories claiming to be funny as they chortled their way into our inbox. It would be fair to say that in some cases it was a fairly bold claim. It would be equally fair to say that their ranks could have been bolstered by several unintentionally hilarious ones…

When we look at all our submissions the number 200 throws up a tale of 3 editors (and one writing about it now so that makes 4). Our 200th submission was Diane with The Loan (which we rejected just in case you think there’s any funny business going on around these parts), our 200th acceptance was Hugh with He Stood And Stared and our 200th rejection belonged to Tobias with Daphne. I don’t think he was actually with Daphne. Sophie might have something to say if he was.

4 is the least number of profanities Hugh has constructed in a sentence, and no prizes for guessing his record number…

When you break numbers up into blocks of 200 it shows just how much LS has grown. In our first 200 days we had 259 submissions…in the last 200 days we’ve had 554. With a 40% reduction in editors that’s a major workload increase which may at least partially explain the amount of empties gathering in the recycling vault at LS towers.

Very weirdly, submission numbers 4, 40, 44, 400, 404 and 444 were all rejected or withdrawn. And stories with 4 words in the title have the 4th highest number of submissions…

Numbers rarely tell the full story however. They don’t explain the fun we have as a team keeping the site running or how privileged we feel at reading so many wonderful works that you are willing to share with us.

There have been many times where the juggling act of being a parent, a full time worker and a committed runner has made trying to keep up with the LS reading queue a seemingly overwhelming task. Luckily for me my two dear friends Hugh and Diane shoulder much of the responsibility and keep me sane and laughing as I flit in and out.

If you’d asked me four years ago if the site would still be going in 2018 I’d have answered “impossible.” If you’d asked me at the same time if I could run a step further than a marathon you’d have got the same answer. And yet…several thousand stories and 6 ultra marathons later, here we are.

As the wonderful Nelson Mandela said, it’s only impossible until it’s done.

Thank you all for the support – here’s to the next 4 impossible years.



This is an item we came up with over the last couple of years and it is our memorable lines.

There are no stipulation to these, they just need to mean something to us.

We hope that you enjoy them!

‘If you don’t use profanity in dialogue, you probably have never listened.’
(Comment on Week 159 – Leila Allison)

‘Pages are venal, and their ephemeral loyalty can be purchased with  junk food.’
(The Smiling Face Of Darkness Turns Green – Leila Allison)

‘I’m not lazy. I’m selectively ambitious.’
(Saturday Post: Lost In Seclusion Because Reality Bites – Shamar English)

‘Maybe I’m sulking But It Doesn’t Mean I’m Wrong.’
(Saturday Post: Lost In Seclusion Because Reality Bites – Shamar English)

‘The Sky Was As Clear As The Devil’s Conscience’
(A Condition Of Absolute Reality – Leila)

‘A stray maggot is crawling over the cookie tin and inches over Santa’s right eyebrow making him look skeptical.
(The Garbage Man – Rachal Perlez)

I wouldn’t trade my imperfect past for the most promising future
(A Condition Of Absolute Reality – Leila)

‘They’re going to say in the funeral service that he’ll soon be in the company of angels. I knew him in the company of men. And he was the best of them..’
(Tom Sheehan – Company Of Angels, Company Of Men.)

6 thoughts on “Week 200 – Four Years And Still Here!!”

  1. Happy 4th Birthday LS. Thank you, Hugh, ever-patient Diane (who unflinchingly receives and intelligently replies to some of the most bizarre emails sent in recent human history), and Nik, who is as creative with numbers as the most crooked Mafia accountant. As another writer commented last week, I like Hugh’s punch in the face line. Speaking of such, time to toddle off to work.
    Happy Birthday, again.


    1. Thanks Leila,
      You enhance the site with your involvement.
      We can only gather together what we are given, so it says more about who we are working with rather than what we are doing!
      The world is a more interesting place with you being you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, friends. Isn’t it interesting that the collapse of SBS (Shortbread Stories) four years ago became the starting point of LS? This, once again, reminds me that I shouldn’t be scared of changes in my life. I should embrace them and keep living strongly. Thank you Diane, Hugh and Nik for the time and the energy you spend on this precious place. And let me not forget to thank our dear Adam West for all his efforts and kindness. (Although I’m aware that he’s not active as an editor any longer)


    1. Hi Sam,
      It’s great to see you here and thanks so much for the kind words.
      Adam is always in our thoughts and we have much to thank him for.
      Hope to see either some submissions from you, more comments or even a Sunday Re-run critique one of these days.
      All the very best my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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