Latest News, Short Fiction

8 Years!


Eight years. Since an idea by Adam West in response to a favourite site failing to today. Those of you who have been with us from the early days may remember the struggle for content when we put our own work in to fill the spaces. Later you may not have realised how we were breaking under the weight of work until Lovely Leila came to our rescue. She works incredibly hard since we ambushed her and dragged her into LS Towers and we are really glad we threw that sack over her head (sorry about the hair, Leila).

The site has witnessed quite a number of personal dramas for us as we’ve gone along and it’s only been the strength of support from all the editors that has carried us through the storms. We have stuck with it because of the friendships we have formed both with our regular contributors and the ones who have joined us recently, and even those who have popped in for one or two stories and then wended their way to other things. Every submission is valued. We don’t rubber stamp the stories, every one is read and considered and, as you may know, many are rejected. If you have received a rejection know that it’s never easy for us – we are all writers after all.

We do, at times, become frustrated with those people who don’t seem to realise that this is a huge commitment for us and takes many, many hours a week to read, discuss, respond and then upload and set up. You would think that the least we would receive would be a friendly email with a hello and maybe a thank you, but so often that isn’t the case. Please, we value the interaction, add a personal few words to your submission. We would love to see more comments but we know people are busy and sometimes don’t have the confidence to speak out but you know, if you can click the like button it is much more meaningful to just say something simple such as ‘I really enjoyed this’ or ‘You made me laugh.’ No matter we are still pegging away after eight years, who knows how long the journey will be, but for the moment we are keeping on keeping on and hope we will continue to do that while we have more than two thousand followers and many more visitors. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for visiting and to Hugh, Leila and Nik, thank you so much for your friendship. I hope you know how much it means to me.  



The odds of a daily online short story site reaching its eighth birthday are only slightly better than the prospect of meeting a fifty-year-old Hamster. Many would-be Editors jump off the busy wheel after only a few months, exhausted and disillusioned.  Although I speak only for myself, I have discovered that coming into a project already exhausted and disillusioned inures me to a state of being best described as “easily daunted.” 

The single most daunting task on the site is sending rejection notices. It is not for persons who cannot compartmentalize their softer side and do what is necessary. I bet I’ve been rejected five hundred times over the years, and number five-oh-one will suck as much as the first. So, I have sympathy. You can say you get used to it, but I really doubt that immortal Prometheus ever got used to the Hawk coming by to rip his liver out every day. Like Prometheus’ liver, hope grows back in a writer–even though the odds say it will end up Hawkshit.

Until becoming an Editor I had never read a story that somebody somewhere  didn’t feel was worth publishing–other than my own bombs. Now after a year and a half of exposure to both the highs and lows of short fiction, I understand why the squishy word “unfortunately” is in no danger of becoming archaic; nor is the evasive language we use to crush small dreams threatened by extinction. But since I hate getting those kinds of emails myself (and boy do I get them)  I resolve to depart from emailing stuff like “Unfortunately we have decided to pass on your work” in the future. Consider it my anniversary resolution. 

Diane, Hugh and Nik have been involved in this project for all eight years. Diane and Hugh on a daily basis. Life tries to get in the way–as does death. But both Hugh and Diane somehow keep pressing on and I owe it to them to do the same. Whatever joy I get out of life that doesn’t alter my consciousness, pay the rent or purrs when you scratch such between the ears to both my esteemed colleagues. Although I am separated from them by a continent and an ocean to my right and even more so to my left, I am closer to both than I am to my neighbors. So goes the modern world.

And here’s to everyone who makes an effort in this field. To those who keep coming back for more. And here’s my thanks to David Henson who shows up every day with a comment, as well as the frequent contributions by Steven French, Paul Kimm, Harrison Kim, Marco Etheridge and the redoubtable Doug Hawley. The problem with listing people who do good things is that one or two will always be missed, which is why I am penning this well in advance, as to allow me a chance to correct my oversight.

Also, congratulations to Tom Sheehan on landing at 200 and onward; the same to Frederick K. Foote who is steadily approaching the hundred mark. David, Marco, Harrison, Doug, Jane Houghton and Rachel Sievers are also progressing canon-wise.

Here’s that bugaboo with over looking again. 


It’s wonderful to see this place going strong through another year and much of the current impetus is down to Leila joining the ranks. She brings energy, humour (or perhaps humor) and a unique perspective which has reinvigorated both the site and my two dear, long time friends Hugh and Diane. Thank you to all three of you for carrying this special corner of the internet forward and for being the quite fantastic human beings you are.

As someone more on the periphery these days it’s so good to see new faces and new voices writing and commenting, along with the continued contribution of site stalwarts. Adam, Tobbe, Hugh, Diane and myself all became friends via a shared love of a now defunct short story site and I hope that a new generation of writers are building relationships via LS and will continue to do so.

Thank you Leila, Diane and Hugh for your hard work, your empathy and your friendship. The fact that you still invite me back to say a few words now and then and haven’t requested the return of my keys to LS Towers speaks volumes for the people that you are. My life is richer for you being in it and the internet is a better place with LS.



As has become an LS tradition we have chosen, out of the many thousands of sentences we have read this year, those that have stood out as fine examples of fiction writing. You may have your own favourites, tell us about them in the comments. Anyway, these are our choices.

Memorable Lines

The return of memory is far more painful than the loss of it.
(Marco Etheridge – Architects Of Their Own)

He beat the fear into me.
(Engela Snyman – Eye Of The Hurricane.)

He was little more to us than our surname
(Leila – Good News Club)

‘It contains a sum of breathing bodies greater than the number of active minds.
(Leila – Calling Occupants.)

‘My name is Horace. But you can call me Pops if it gives you a thrill. Step over here and let me touch your tender place.’
(Frederick K. Foote-Dauntless–in fact the whole thing is a memorable line)

“Take that you ketchuppy Feckwit!” 
(Cataldo Carroll–A Dose of the Glitters–another tale rich with lines)

“Seen from behind, his huge ass appears to be impaled on a steel stem with wheels.”
(Marco Etheridge, Created Image)

“Don’t you hear how hungry they are, Mister?”
(Kat Hutchson, Becoming Human)

“Him wae the roofies in his wallet.”
(Hugh Cron, “A Typical Scottish Story) 

“No man ever looked at me like that, like there was no quit in you, and that there never would be. I loved that in you.”
(Tom Sheehan, Too Lonely For Dying)

“Now we have perfection: a currency of serpents backed by the ultimate faith.”
(David Henson-A Currency of Serpents)

“Gordon Ramsey says you should leave the skins on but the fella’s a foul-mouthed twat who doesn’t know his head from his bollocks.”
(Jane Houghton-Frank)

“His were the only footprints in the snow on the path down to the footbridge. He took pleasure in this – putting his imprint on the Earth.”

(Michael Bloor-The Next Morning)


I’m a bit late coming to the party this year. I normally get this done first and as I sit here typing, I realise that is the best way to go.

You see all the thanks and plaudits have already been handed out by Diane and Leila so I have no-one left to thank but her fae the big hoose for finally retiring and jesus for never existing.

To all the folks already mentioned, folks, I tip my hat to every one of you – You have all made my life a happier and more interesting place.

The site has been a home where I can vent, laugh, be disappointed, be grateful, be sad, be happy, be drunk, be sober. It is a life that I can choose when to immerse myself into and in that way, it is a happy life as I decide the when, the where and the involvement, no matter how many fucking romances I have to read! Those are the days that I want to feel furious anger and unrealistic preconceptions!

I have one regret that I have mentioned on numerous occasions and that is the fact that I don’t write so much now-a-days. I have thought on this and I really do believe that one of my problems is that nothing surprises me anymore. Those surprises used to be my inspiration to explore. A high percentage of my work came from what I saw and heard around me – A lot of that is now repeated. I have no imagination and that is why I am in awe of the likes of Leila, Dave, L’Erin and Marco. Tom’s output of shorts amazes me as does Diane’s twenty or so books.

I really do wish I had all of those mentioned creativity in whatever way. But then I find that I run out of time doing what I need to do so maybe it’s a good job that I’m not filled with ideas needing to be typed!!

As always, I will toast you all and I will raise a special glass of Drambuie for Diane, Leila and Nik this very night. (Well, that will be three then!!)

Just to finish, I’ve decided to do something a wee bit different. I’m giving you a quiz. I hope between you all you can complete this. Although, I don’t think anyone has ever managed!

Thanks again guys – It’s a continual pleasure!!!


Look at the letters and the numbers and think on songs, titles, attributes and lyrics. (The capitals also tell you something!)

For example:

1 D I’ll F A

(One Day I’ll Fly Away)

– 50 W To L Y L

– 1 E P on PB

– 2 d’s in the G B

– 16 v v in a W S O P

– 2 O O 3 A B for M L (O – Letter)

– 24 H To G P T

– 3 P in the T T

– F V And The 4 S

– 7 S Of R

– O, T, 3 T A L

– 99 R B sang N

– 3 S To H

– 3 b w in the 3 D

– 1 a on the D L d

– K 3 T On The C I Y W M

– 2 L B Had 2 L T

– 15 M To The C G

-P W sang 18 W A B

-L R 11 sang H M

– N N N N 19 sang P H

And we didn’t forget the reviews of this week’s stories!!

We had two new folks who we welcome with open arms, a returner and two amazing writers who have around two hundred stories between them.

As always our initial comments follow.

First up was Naga Vydyanathan with her second offering, ‘Daddy’.

‘There is sincerity and a look into a different culture.’

‘This gives the reader something to think on.’

‘Excellent writing.’

Fred Foote is one of our most industrious writers. He is also an amazing story teller. ‘The Influencer’ was published on Tuesday.

‘This will wake folks up!’

‘So refreshing.’

‘This is the Fred I really enjoy.’

Matt King was our first new writer and he broke the back of the week with, ‘The Good, The Bad And The Zombie.

‘What a weird little parable.’

‘Possibly a play on ‘The Good Samaritan’??

Our next new writer was Jessica Hutter and her first story was ‘Thorong La’

‘A very smooth style.’

‘Jessica has a voice of her own.’

‘There is a strange charm to this.’

And we finished off the week with our lovely fellow editor, Leila.

‘Small God Syndrome’ was last up.

‘Great fun!’

‘Very sharp indeed!’

‘There were a few prompts throughout.

That’s the last round-up of our eighth year – Onwards and upwards!!!

Hugh, Diane, Leila

52 thoughts on “8 Years!”

  1. Eight years (must be about 150 in internet time) is an amazing accomplishment, and you are all to be complimented … admired even. I’ve wondered how many hours a week you give to LS. Whatever the total, please keep doing what you’re doing and know how important you are to so many of us you’ve never met.

    Fifty ways to leave your lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Dave,
      You have been part of the site for so long and your imagination never ceases to amaze me.
      And you are spot on with the song.
      All the very best my fine friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got a couple of them
    Once twice three times a lady
    Nineteen by Paul Harcastle
    Fifeteen miles to the Cumberland Gap
    99 Red Balloons by Nena

    I need more time to come up with some more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Guys,
    Happy anniversary to all of us, no matter when we became involved.
    It’s always a pleasure.
    I’ll edit this (If it goes any further) but Dave, Diane, Mick, James and Leila have a few between them.

    – 50 W To L Y L – 50 ways To Leave Your Lover. (Dave, Leila)

    – 1 E P on PB

    – 2 d’s in the G B

    – 16 v v in a W S O P – 16 Vestal Virgins in a Whiter Shade Of Pale (James)

    – 2 O O 3 A B for M L (O – Letter) – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad for Meat Loaf

    – 24 H To G P T – 24 Hours To Gene Pitneys Tulsa (Diane)

    – 3 P in the T T

    – F V And The 4 S – Franky Valli And The Four Seasons. (Leila)

    – 7 S Of R – 7 Seas of Rhye (Leila)

    – O, T, 3 T A L – Once, Twice, Three Times A Lady. (Diane)

    – 99 R B sang N – 99 Red Balloons sang Nena. (Leila)

    – 3 S To H – 3 Steps To Heaven (Diane)

    – 3 b w in the 3 D

    – 1 a on the D L d

    – K 3 T On The C I Y W M – Knock Three Times On The Ceiling If You Want Me (James)

    – 2 L B Had 2 L T – Two Little Boys Had Two Little Toys (Mick)

    – 15 M To The C G – 15 Miles To The Cumberland Gap (Diane)

    -P W sang 18 W A B – Pete Wingfield sang 18 With A Bullet (Leila)

    -L R 11 sang H M

    – N N N N 19 sang P H – N.N.N Nineteen sang Paul Hardcastle. (Diane)


  4. Congratulations to all the Editors and thanks for your work bringing the short fiction to Literally Stories “literally” almost every day. (The word “Literally” is used now as a common adjective all over the world e. g. – “I was literally eating a bagel with cream cheese.” thanks to LS for starting that trend he he he). On rejections: I’ve had around 256 rejections myself, it is par for the course, water off a porcupine’s back, I haven’t written as much in the last six months, maybe running out of surprises, as Hugh says, but I tune in here to see what stories have made the cut each week, and there’s always a mighty variety. Every author has a individual style. I learn something from each one. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Harrison,
      Thanks so much for the kind words.
      Writers like yourself are what all of this is about.
      All the very best my fine friend.


  5. We go back at least as far as 2015. I either was denied the first year or didn’t know of LS until 2015. If it helps, unfortunately is an adverb and could be missused as often as hopefully (typically should be replaced by I/he/she/they hope(d)). People are as bad at that as “issue”. More curmudgeon points.

    LS gets almost all of my stars – art, comments, likes, free online. It only misses available physical anthologies (see Down In The Dirt, Dark Dossier). As editor and long suffering spouse & editor could tell you, I’m a big time whine baby.

    Many people say (I’m on the subject of big time whine babies – 45 TFG reference) Doug Hawley is doubtable.

    May you Roll With It while Rocking In The Free World

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Doug,
        Thanks as always!
        You have always made the site a more interesting place!!

        All the very best my fine friend.


  6. Congratulations on your eighth anniversary! Beats me how you can be so quick to respond and so cheerful and so supportive for so long. Very well done.
    Tried really hard, but I could only come up with one additional unspotted (and awful) song ‘Two Little Boys Had Two Little Toys’ by Rolf Harris.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Mick for all of your contributions over the years.
      And yes, Auld Pervy Rolf is correct.

      –Kin ye guess what it is yet?
      -Aye and put it away!!!

      Although Ewen Bremner as Spud in Trainspotting did that song some justice!

      All the very best my fine friend.


    1. One bourbon, one Scotch and One Beer. Was George Throrogood the first to record, or was it a cover? Here’s one. It is somewhat obscure from the late Mr. Berry, it has been covered many times and been sent into space L I R. The title never occurs in the song, but he does the title.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks so much.
      It has been a pleasure working with you.
      If you continue to grow as a writer, the literal world will be your oyster!!


  7. Having reached eight years of continuous stories, the team deserve every praise. There is an enduring passion from the editors which I admire and respect and long may their endeavour continue.

    16 v v in a W S O P Sixteen vestal virgins in a whiter shade of pale
    K 3 T On The C I Y W M __Knock 3 Times on the Ceiling if you Want me.

    All the easy ones have been solved,; this is a hard quiz.

    As for hairy armpits! Well!
    Gabriele Susanne Kerner (Nena), in the early eighties, was for me a real doll in leather trousers.
    The German version was a satirical dig at the Cold War; the english version being more upbeat.
    Just me.

    I look forward to more of the best on LS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi James,
      Thanks so much for the kind words!
      Gwen hates the ’99 Red Balloons’ song and also Suzanne Vega’s ‘Joe’s Diner’ so if I want to annoy her, I’ll belt them out.
      Another two songs have been found, congratulations. I’ll add them to the answer sheet, further back. I think I’ll also put your names on who got what.
      It’s always a pleasure to see you around the site my fine friend.

      Oh and I always thought Suzi Quatro with her leather trousers was a stunning looking lady.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Leila,
    He was the only one that I know of.
    I was trying to think of the B side to that single but can’t remember it.
    It’ll maybe come back to me some day.


  9. Happy anniversary LS editors! LS is like that refreshing friend you can always count on to be real. It’s a gift reading the inspiring stories & thoughtful comments you bring to us from all over. The care and energy you pour into the site is amazing. Thank you and keep on truckin’!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan,
      As with all those who get involved with the site, all we can do is thank you so much for your kind words.
      I can’t express to all of you what a pleasure it has been working with you all!!
      Thanks again Susan and I hope that you stay happy and inspired!


  10. Come on folks!!
    You have done brilliant and there are a few that I have been a tit about.
    But there is one really famous one that was released from a 1977 album and that album has been in the charts for years. The single is not as famous as the title song, which is beyond famous!!. Look at the initials and think on a famous singer with the strongest of voices. Poor soul died this year.


  11. YES!!!
    For two reasons!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Brilliant Diane!
    The others need a bit of out the box thinking except the L R 11 sang H M.
    I think that was the oldest song at over 60 years old.


  12. Congratulations to all the people behind Literally Stories – 8 years is a big milestone! I have submitted to several online magazines, and based on my experience, I can say with full conviction that I have not seen any other magazine that takes the time out to give a personalized feedback on the submissions and the effort to mentor new writers as much as Literally Stories. Kudos and thanks to all of you!. I feel lucky to have been associated with you all – Leila, Hugh and Dianne, thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Naga,
      Thanks so much for your kind word!
      But to be honest, working with folks like you makes all this very easy and rewarding!!
      All the very best.


  13. Greetings, my LS friends!

    Wow! Look at you guys! Eight years. Amazing.

    From the bottom of my heart (though some might think it a swinging brick…), THANK YOU for all that you do. Thank you for sooooooooooooooooooo many things. Creating this literary haven. Working on it tirelessly. Every. Single. Day. Providing encouragement. Thoughtful feedback. Crucial support.

    When I first submitted, three years ago, I had zero confidence and was on the brink of giving up. I felt like an impostor. Like I was wasting everybody’s time. Like, how could a gal like me from the wrong end of town be a writer?!?! Like, seriously? Get in the real world, Jane! Hugh, you were gracious and kind enough to give me the time of day. You were the first writer that I ever spoke to – your advice was invaluable. You made me believe that there might, just might, be a smidgen of talent within me. I will be eternally grateful to you. You will never know how much your words meant to me.

    And so the thank yous continue. Thank you for selecting one of my lines in the memorable quotes section. Amaze-bells! Leila, thank you for giving me a shout-out in regards to my slowwwwwwwly expanding canon. I am in awe of your energy and imagination. I’d feel blessed if I had just a tenth of it.

    This site is a treasure trove. One last time: THANK YOU one and all.

    Much love, and respect

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you Jane – from all of us for sending your wonderful stories and being a joy to work with. It’s authors like yourself that keep us going. dd


  14. Awww Jane, you made my black heart a wee bit lighter!!!
    You have been a pleasure to work with and always KNOW that you have talent. Forget about success, that comes down to 90% luck and 10% good timing. HAH! But you do need the talent – Which you have!!
    I’m going back to work today after a ten day holiday and am in the mood for killing people but your message has made me a tiny bit more happy!!!!
    Always enjoy the whole process and NEVER stop writing.


  15. Hi Paul,
    Thanks so much.
    It has been difficult at times but we have managed to build something that we are extremely proud of.
    And it is an absolute pleasure and bonus working with everyone who gets involved!!
    All the very best my fine friend.


    1. Dear Ed’s. and Authors at Literally Stories

      For a week we of the Fictional Character Community have been grinding our fangs, stamping our hooves and wringing our tentacles awaiting fair mention and perhaps a little posterior kissing. And yet we who populate your fictions have once again been sent to the Literary Children’s Table while the “grown ups” attempt to solve a puzzle. It was all a bit disheartening until we saw that the gleaming 50th comment was there for the taking.
      And take we do. So here’s to all the Fictional Characters out there, long may we vex or creators.
      The Membership of the Union of Imaginary Friends and Fictional Characters


  16. Hello there your Membership,
    That was what we were planning – You to have the fiftieth word!!
    Always remember that your creator is wiser than you think!!!!
    And for you to accept that bait is a tad disappointing!!!!!!!!!!!
    All hail your creator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    All of us at Literally Stories.


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