Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bliss - The BookShed versus Litopia

In the interests of encouraging friendly rivalry between the “new writing” sites Litopia and The BookShed, I’m pleased to reveal that BookShed member Patricia J DeLois’ short story, Bliss, has received a glowing review from Michael Legat. Bliss was initially, it is rumoured, rejected by Litopian moderator Lynn Price, when it was used to apply for membership on Litopia. It was not, apparently, good enough. As to which site is spotting and attracting the talent, I suggest you read Bliss and draw your own conclusions. Personally I think it’s as good as any American fiction I’ve read recently. It’s up there with Annie Proulx and Tobias Wolff. DeLois is a new voice in American fiction and you heard it here first.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lying and Thieving

"The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki... demonstrates Ronald Suresh Roberts to be an extensive plagiarist, a fabricator and falsifier of history, and the author of a colossal literary fraud..."

Roberts is... "unfit to be relied upon for any purpose, even for directions to the post office."

Antony Brink on

Monday, November 19, 2007

FNB Bank Scam?

I have no account with First National Bank. However, I received this e-mail:

FNB Online Banking Website will be changing soon for the year 2008.To make your Online Banking services more safe and secure. It will have a great new look and some new features with the latest technology to keep your details secure, and dedicated teams to monitor Online activity and intercept any suspicious transactions. FNB security department has request for your account information including your registered Cell phone number to Online Account. These will be used in our New SSL Server Upgrade which will be taking place on the 30th of November 2007. These Information are mandatory to complete your verification as a legitimate member of First National Bank. please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and verify your personal records so that you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

Please click on update ( to continue to the verification process and ensure your account security.

It is all about your security.

Thank you

FNB Security Advisor

Then, at a separate, Google address, this:

If you follow the instructions and if you are honest by not changing the order of the name list, and you honestly make your deposits to all 3 names on your list, and you've e-mailed it to at least 200 people you will see within 90 days, a huge difference in your bank account. Very importantly, DON'T forget to fax your proof of payment to 086 607 8427 because this will double your income. By being honest you will be successful. If you cheat you cannot expect to see the results. "What goes around comes around - you will also be cheated."

Step One - Millionaire's List

If you have internet banking, your banking will be so easy. If not, call at the different nanks and deposit R50 into the bank accounts of each of the names listed below. If you have access to internet banking it would be quick and easy.

Make sure that you take correct details of accounts:

1. Mr P.S. Mtshali
Account type: Cheque Account
Account number: 405 7703271
Branch code: 632005

2. Mr E. Dube
Account type: Cheque Account
Account number: 405496 4226
Branch code: 632005

3. Hazel Swartz
Standard Bank (MTN Banking Account)
Account type: Transmission Account
Account Number: 0783 520 9349
Branch code: 490991

(Please note: tell the Standard
Bank teller that this is an MTN Banking Account)

Remember: This is a legitimate service for which you are paying. The listed people have bought this opportunity, as you will - and pass it on to others. There is a saying in the business world: "Always spend a small amount before you can expect to receive lots of it".

Step Two:
Edit the millionaires list by putting your name with your banking details in position number 1...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weep for the Old Man

This is from an Esquire article, The Last Man Standing, by Tom Junod

" I haven't spent much time in rooms like that, loaded with New York literary people. He, on the other hand, has spent his entire life in rooms like that, and that made me understand, at the very least, his bad behavior. If you're Norman Mailer, how can you walk into a room like that and not want to beat the shit out of someone?"

It's long, but I insist that you read right through to the end. There is a writer at work. Mr Junod is a writer, and he's setting things up, it's there for a purpose, so that he can pay it off. So that he can make you feel.

I wonder what Uncle Norm thought when he read it. I wonder whether he laughed, or whether he wanted to hit him. Or if he just thought: what a great writer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making a Cult of Yourself - New Writing from The Shed

The Other Side of Here - Perry Iles

"He made a cult of himself'" ...a comedy, a romance, an adventure and a novel that spans almost two centuries.

B.B. LeMarr's Domesday: Scenes from a Globalist Divorce - B.B. LeMarr

"This is a curious book, I will say from the start. The idea - reached after reading Redmond O'Hanlon's Congo Journey and rereading PJ O'Rourke's Holiday in Hell and drinking a little too much Tennessee whiskey - was to create a form of travel writing that took real places and tweaked them with magical realism..."

Bufflehead Sisters - Patricia J DeLois

"Janet has always wanted a sister, and she believes her prayers have been answered when she meets Sophie. It is only after 30 years of friendship that Janet discovers that sisterhood doesn't mean the same thing to Sophie that it means to her."

Bufflehead Sisters was the runner up at the YouWriteOn 'Book of the Year' contest in 2006. It was recently published and is now available from Amazon.

All courtesy of... The BookShed.

Playing to Climax

Here are some snippets from a conversation between two great writers:

PLAYBOY: Let's switch to censorship. Are you at all concerned about the government's intrusion into our privacy?
HELLER: Do I think, for example, this guy Pee-wee Herman should be arrested for playing with himself in an adult theater?
VONNEGUT: Did he play to climax? I really haven't kept up with the news as I should.
HELLER: But is that a crime? I would say no.
VONNEGUT: I agree with Joe.


VONNEGUT: There's no urgency about reading anymore. We're not trying to keep up. I have that big book by Mark Helprin and I don't think I'm going to read it because I'm too lazy.
PLAYBOY: What about Norman Mailer's?
VONNEGUT: That's none of your business. Norman's a friend of mine.
HELLER: I intend to read it at one sitting. I read contemporary writers.

Note - a lot of great writers called Norman Mailer a friend.


PLAYBOY: Does sex get better when you're older?
HELLER: Does what?
PLAYBOY: Does it get better when you're older or not?
HELLER: I don't know. I haven't had it since I was young.
VONNEGUT: I don't know if he's kidding or not.
HELLER: Oh, I've had no sex as an adult.
VONNEGUT: He's a comedian.
PLAYBOY: Well, what about you, Kurt? Does sex get better when you get older?
VONNEGUT: You get to be a better lover.
HELLER: I find I'm much more virile now than I was.
PLAYBOY: More what?
HELLER: More potent. I want to do it more often than when I was seventeen or eighteen.


PLAYBOY: Isaac Bashevis Singer said, ''In sex and love, human character is revealed more than anywhere else.''
VONNEGUT: He is liable to say anything to be interesting. He entertains in that way. Do you know what he said about free will? ''We have no choice.''


PLAYBOY: Is there anyone for whom you lust in your heart?
VONNEGUT: My goodness!
HELLER: Madonna. Madonna.
VONNEGUT: Joe mentioned one of Artie Shaw's wives. Seemed to me the sexiest woman I ever saw was Ava Gardner.
HELLER: Kathleen Winsor was pretty hot.
VONNEGUT: Rita Hayworth. I took it hard when she came down with Alzheimer's.
PLAYBOY: Joe, were you serious about Madonna?

It comes from here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mailer on Bush - "this overnight clone of Honest Abe."

Bush proceeded, however, to turn his declaration of the Iraqi campaign's end into a mighty fashion show. He chose—this overnight clone of Honest Abe—to arrive on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on an S-3B Viking jet that came in with a dramatic tail-hook landing. The carrier was easily within helicopter range of San Diego but G.W. would not have been able to show himself in flight regalia, and so would not have been able to demonstrate how well he wore the uniform he had not honored. Jack Kennedy, a war hero, was always in civvies while he was commander in chief. So was General Eisenhower. George W. Bush, who might, if he had been entirely on his own, have made a world-class male model (since he never takes an awkward photograph), proceeded to tote the flight helmet and sport the flight suit. There he was for the photo-op looking like one more great guy among the great guys. Let us hope that our democracy will survive these nonstop foulings of the nest.

From The New York Review of Books.

Bloom on Mailer

This is from a piece by Elaine Woo, writing in The Los Angleses Times.

Mailer, according to Yale scholar and critic Harold Bloom, belongs in the pantheon of literature's giants. "He may be remembered more as prose prophet than as a novelist," Bloom wrote some years ago, "more as Carlyle than as Hemingway. There are worse literary fates. Carlyle, long neglected, doubtless will return. Mailer, now celebrated, doubtless will vanish into neglect, and yet always will return, as a historian of the moral consciousness of his era, and as the representative writer of his generation." By his own account, Mailer was, even at his lowest moments, "still worthy of being a character in a novel by Balzac, win one day, lose the next, and do it with boom!"

More on Mailer

There's a great piece on Mailer in the New York Times. It's by Charles McGrath, and includes the following assesment:

Gore Vidal, with whom he frequently wrangled, once wrote: “Mailer is forever shouting at us that he is about to tell us something we must know or has just told us something revelatory and we failed to hear him or that he will, God grant his poor abused brain and body just one more chance, get through to us so that we will know. Each time he speaks he must become more bold, more loud, put on brighter motley and shake more foolish bells. Yet of all my contemporaries I retain the greatest affection for Norman as a force and as an artist. He is a man whose faults, though many, add to rather than subtract from the sum of his natural achievements.”

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Great Man Has Left Us

NEW YORK (AP) — "Norman Mailer, the macho prince of American letters who for decades reigned as the country's literary conscience and provocateur, died of renal failure early Saturday, his literary executor said. He was 84."

When he was young, Mailer said, "fiction was everything. The novel, the big novel, the driving force. We all wanted to be Hemingway ... I don't think the same thing can be said anymore. I don't think my work has inspired any writer, not the way Hemingway inspired me.'' - Richard Pyle in The Guardian.

Well, for what it's worth, Uncle Norm, you inspired me. Let us hope that, in your own words, you sail "across dominions barely seen, washed by the swells of time." May "past and future come together on thunderheads" and your dead heart "live with lightning in the wounds of the Gods."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Big News From a Small Shed.

The BookShed is a babe in arms are far as “new writing” and “peer review” sites go. But The Shed has attracted big talent in a short time

Patricia J. DeLois’, The Bufflehead Sisters, having won a YouWriteOn Book of the Year Publishing Award, awaits your purchase on Amazon.

David Wardale's Kat Danzak and the Twelve Days of Christmas, another YWO best seller, is being packaged and distributed, by YWO, to top UK agents.

Perry Illes’ The Other side of Here is top of the YWO monthly charts.

Patricia DeLois’ Bliss is at number two on the monthly charts.

Nick Poole's Monster in The Mirror is in the YWO best sellers, and sitting at number three in the horror genre.