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.
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.”
“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!)
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.’
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!’
‘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.
‘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