Not just empty talk

            

Holy cow. Just got this email from my agent:

I talked to Jim Frenkel yesterday and he said that I should send the first half of Missionary Man [the memoir] to him, and that we should send him Silvertide [the novel] when you're done. Seems like you (or in point of fact, Laura—he kept talking about her!) really charmed him!
That's a rather spectacular vindication of the past weekend, if I do say so! I'm getting straight to work on the revisions to Silvertide, and Shawna is sending Missionary Man straight out to him. Fingers crossed, everybody!

Full entry

First, reader mail

            

So, in the wake of my agent's email, I got very depressed. Laura had been telling me for a month and a half, and continued to tell me, that she thought world events only made the public's need for my book more acute. So I decided to poll my readers, the kind folks who had been reading my book chapter by chapter, some of them for two years, for their thoughts on the issues raised by my agent. Here is what I said:

Well, of course my feeling is that the book just cannot exist without the bomb threat, and that they're both wrong about the market right now. I know some of you have expressed opinions that now is exactly the right time for a book like this. I'm just curious to know what you all think—whether you as book buyers would be turned off or turned on by a book about a Mormon bomb threat right now, and why? What can I tell my agent that will convince her—and maybe a skittish editor too—that the problem is not a problem? Or am I wrong? Is it?
And here are some of the replies I got back:

Brian in Virginia:

Unbuyable? Hrm. I don't know about that. I know I'd buy it—but I can see how some may consider it bad taste. (Five minutes has passed—I've been thinking about it.)
Full entry

Missionary Man

            

My memoir is finished. Well, the first draft, anyway. Time to go and lift a pint.

Better idea than trying to lift the manuscript. It rolled in at 1,076 pages.

Next step: blue pencil.

Full entry

Chapter 46: "The Long Finger of the Law"

            

Back from Worldcon, and the strip-search chapter is done! 923 ms pages. Now it's off to my friend Robert's birthday party. Fashionably late.

Full entry

Chapter 45: "Two to Life"

            

At Worldcon in Philadelphia. Got in from partying around midnight. Saw Cory at one party. He's been reading the book and commented favorably on the last couple of chapters. Returned to the room and while Laura slept, cranked out the rest of Chapter 45. 910 ms pages. Now sleep.

Full entry

Chapter 44: "To Book a Mormon"

            

Another chapter done, and up to 888 ms pages.

Full entry

Chapter 43: "Whiplash"

            

Hey, I'm back in the game, and back up to 870 ms pages. Woo-hoo!

Full entry

Clarion, My Wayward Son

            

By the way, in the process of editing down my memoir for my agent to send it out again in May, I compressed four chapters dealing with my stint at the Clarion workshop down to one. The original four chapters are now posted on my site at:

http://www.shunn.net/writing/clarion

The excerpt deals more with the experience of being a Mormon among gentiles for the first time than it does with the mechanics of the workshop itself.

Full entry
            

[from Missionary Man, a memoir still in progress]

I had a very stupid argument once with my girlfriend Bertha, back when we were still living together. (Actually we had a lot of very stupid arguments, but I only plan to consider one here.) This was 1995, and we were at a small club in Seattle waiting for Barenaked Ladies to take the stage. We had both enjoyed the opening band, an act which managed the impressive feat of playing tunes in tricky time signatures without ever alienating the audience.

"How would you count that last song they did?" Bertha asked me. She had taken a class in music theory in college, coming away with just enough knowledge to make her a danger to herself and those around her. "It didn't sound like you could count it like a normal song."

This was her way of asking the number of beats per measure. "It was in five," I said.

Full entry
            

Back up to 848 ms pages. Manuscript goes in the mail to my agent first thing tomorrow. Or today, rather.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!