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After the Earthquake a Fire
Published online in Bloodstone Review #2, Fall 2015.

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On November 3, 2015, one week prior to its release, William Shunn appeared at Tuesday Funk in Chicago to read an excerpt from his memoir The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary.

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On November 10 (the same day The Accidental Terrorist was released), I mailed my resignation letter to the LDS Church via USPS Priority Express with delivery confirmation.

You see, unlike in many Christian churches, having your name and records removed from the rolls of Mormonism is not as simple as refraining from church attendance. Mormons are sticklers for records, and unless you do something drastic, they continue to count you as a member whether you want to be counted or not. If you move, your church records will often follow you, whether you want them to or not, and the leaders in your new city will send people out to your house to make sure you get involved in the local congregation. I've heard from former members whose repeated requests to be left alone were completely ignored, to the point where it could be called harassment.

I had not attended a Mormon church in nearly twenty years, and my address had changed eight times, but on May 29, 2014, I nonetheless received an email out of the blue from the local Mormon ward in Astoria, Queens, asking for volunteers to help out with a weekend service project. I still don't know how they knew where I lived, never mind what my email address was.

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Ella un-a-cyst-ed

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Ella in her Surgi Snuggli after cyst surgery
I've been so focused on my book for the past year or more that I can't even remember the last time I posted an Ella update here to the blog. I find that unconscionable, so I'm here to remedy that.

First off, Ella is doing just fine, despite the fact that she had surgery last month, the second time this year. Like many wheaten terriers, Ella is prone to developing big sebaceous cysts, which for the most part we have left alone. They're mostly only a problem if they start to grow. In that case they can cause intense discomfort, or they can even burst and get infected.

Normally we've handled Ella's cysts by having them drained with a needle when they get too big, but in February we finally had to send her under the knife for the first time to have four of them removed. One had burst, another was getting bigger, and we figured we would just take as many off as possible as long as she was under anesthesia anyway.

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On his new comedy tour, Lewis Black has been reading rants submitted by fans at the end of each show. On November 8 in Oklahoma City, he read a rant from 18-year-old Trevor Sepulvida of San Diego, who had just sent in his resignation letter to the Mormon church.

The rant is brilliant, profane, delightful, and irreverent in the extreme. If you're Mormon, it may well singe the ears right off your head. We desire all to receive it. Bow your heads and say "Yes."

People: Video of Political Comedian Lewis Black Reading Teen's Mormon Church Resignation Letter Goes Viral on Social Media

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latest proper manuscript format post

Paragraph formatting box from Microsoft Word 2010
A reader writes to ask:

I want to submit a novel manuscript to a small press in the US and their guidelines say "indented, not tabbed."

What's the difference? Usually I just hit the tab key once. Should I be doing something else?

I have Word Starter 2010, and I can't see any distinction between "indent" and "tab."

How do I make sure I'm indenting and not tabbing? If I'm tabbing, how do I change it to indent?

This is an excellent question, and I'm sure the cause of much confusion among word-processing novices. There is in fact a distinction between tabbing and indenting—or rather, it might be more accurate to say that tabbing is only one way to indent a paragraph. I will try to explain a method for indenting paragraphs that makes your document more portable* and easier for your publisher to use.

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latest perry slaughter post

'Deus ex Machina' by Perry Slaughter
Sigh. Much as I try, I can't keep those crazy kids at Sinister Regard from putting out new ebook editions of my juvenilia. The latest novella to get this pixelation treatment is Deus ex Machina, my ridiculous sci-fi romp about an artificial intelligence who tries to kill God and take the Big I AM's place.

The trade paperback edition of Deus ex Machina was released late last year, but for the ebook release Sinister Regard has given it a spiffily updated cover. And the ebook is available pretty much everywhere! Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, iBooks and Kindle all have it for a measly $1.99, and it's also available for your reading pleasure on such subscription services as Oyster and Scribd. How do you like me now?

But wait! That's not all! Sinister Regard will be bringing out three more of my books in print and electronic editions over the course of the summer, including two that have never before seen the light of day! First, on June 16th, is Whether We Are Mended, my collection of three long sci-fi love stories, which is also getting a cover that's a vast improvement over its original hardback edition.

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Tuesday, November 5, 7-9 pm MST

About William Shunn

William Shunn is the Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author of over thirty works of short fiction, which have appeared since 1993 everywhere from Asimov's Science Fiction to Salon. A collaboration with Derryl Murphy, Cast a Cold Eye, came out from PS Publishing in 2009. For three years he hosted Tuesday Funk, an eclectic monthly reading series in Chicago, and he occasionally writes in the guise of Perry Slaughter.

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