Friday, February 17, 2012

It'll never work, right? (warning: boring writer post)

I'm still pretty sick from the cold transmitted to me via the smooch that sealed the renewal of our vows for our 25th Wedding Anniversary (the party was alien themed, and the house was completely PACKED). However, I hauled ass into work yesterday and while my students were in small group sessions, I think I sketched out the plan for the new novel. The ideas have been floating overhead like Mike TeeVee, and I've been writing pages, but there's nothing quite like trying to nail down your method on paper and seeing the whole enterprise suggest its shape.

Lotsa cheese here--

Working title: Willie Judy & The Mystery House

things I plan to do--

tell the story in scenes, 3rd person, jumping into different pov for each unit
keep it lean (70k?)

dominant story line, chronological, treasure hunt in Death Valley, world's ugliest couture brooch (cursed? sure, why not)

subplot1--the history of the brooch and its owners
subplot2--the cowboy actor's career (western movies, tv cop shows, commercials, adult movie cameos)


Willie Judy, failed NPS worker, animal lover who can't stop killing animals. Now shuttles auto parts across the desert. Sometimes refereed to as weasel-girl, owing to sharp features.

Scottie aka Rhys Nash, a Welsh ultra marathon runner, proprietor of the Alkalai Springs Resort (crush on WJ). Profound nose. Never really able to relax. Expects to be disappointed. has pot-belly pigs.

Tony Jackpot, celebrity gambler from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, co-owner of Alkalai Springs Resort. Brains and a secret.

Dawn, Tony's niece, coerced to work in the ASR kitchens to keep her safe from boys (crush on scottie).

Rigg Dexon/Paul Lattanzi, retired cowboy actor. Convinced he is not long for the world, Dexon signs over The Mystery House to Willie in Part 1, mistaking her indigestion for starstruck admiration.

Death Valley during the Great Bloom of 2005
Alkalai Springs Resort, rustic accommodations, great food, greater bar. THE stop for the Outside Magazine crowd
The Mystery House--shack made famous in a 60s song

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Interview, New Blog

I'm so happy to be interviewed at The Nervous Breakdown by Jen Michalski. Much is revealed. Some of what I have to say may well bite me in the ass.

Also, we've dumped the go daddy site and switched Laura Ellen Scott over to a wordpress template. I'm still playing with it, but I wanted something brighter, busier, etc than what we had.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to being a novelist

Death Wishing did not make a lot of year end lists, but it seems to be getting steady lovin'. Just yesterday, Scott Garson posted a moving little review on his blog--which he hardly EVER updates, so a mention there feels pretty damned special. A couple of weeks ago, Robert Swartwood included DW in his year-ender, which doesn't feature much in the way of chick-lit. On New Year's day, DW was picked for the January Top 10 "Books to know" list by The DC Spotlight.

In addition to these lovely public endorsements, I've been racking up the sweetness on Goodreads--Thank you Kathy Fish, Lauren Becker, and all you strangers tossing out the stars. It's just lovely, weird, lovely, weird . . .

And you know what else is weird? Getting paid. Someone's offered me a nice chunka change to come read at their series. I want to say how much, but that's really crude. Need to do it in code. Count your fingers. Replace the word "bodies" with "bucks" at he bottom of page 9.

January 9, 2011

Celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We'll be having a party in February, where we plan to re-marry in an alien-themed ceremony. Yesterday we went to art galleries, ate and drank like sailors, and ordered Dean a new wedding band. He destroyed his burying a cat a few years ago.
Left to Right: Father of the groom, Mother of groom, Bro of groom, Gram 1, Groom, Bride, Gram 2. This was taken at our wedding party held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Millvale.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Friday, December 23, 2011

Curio the creeper

Unexpectedly, Curio is getting some year end attention. I hope you enjoy this interview in jmww. Beth Buchannan is the Writer-in-Residence at St. Alban's school in DC, and we talked at length after she invited me out to speak to her creative writing students in October.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

heart sick

Wednesday was a a bad one. Thursday wasn't so hot, either. We learned that the cause of our little Einstein's loss of appetite over the past 10 days was an inoperable mass constricting her small intestine. The oncologist detected several types of "bizarre" cancerous cells(her words, and she's a big deal researcher), none of which was reasonable to treat. She also said Einie's level of discomfort at the moment was like having the flu, but that it was going to get worse very fast. So we made the hard decision, made harder because Einie, although tired, seemed in good spirits. She was only seven. We only had her with us for four and a half years. She never stopped looking and acting like a puppy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top secrets of 2011

A very literary baby boy is due today, but then so are final projects for my class, and I bet those are gonna be late, too. Thinking good thoughts about little no-name-yet.

Speaking of the final project, this year I'm a genius. Instead of requiring a revision, portfolio or self-evaluative essay, I made my students interview each other--Smokelong style. The results, so far, have been amazing. NEVER have I enjoyed grading so much.

I'm also finishing up my reading my reading for my Wigleaf long list picks. In a year when I did not publish individual short pieces, I've felt a little untethered, but going through the year's output for these amazing online journals (I'm responsible for about 67?) reminds me how good and vital the art of vsf really is.

Let's see . . . 12 more days left in 2011. Still time to suck up, you know?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big Deal Round Up, Florida edition

I'm writing this in the Palm Beach International Terminal after a great visit with mom.

This morning my notes on "Being Indie" went up at the TNBBC blog.

Yesterday, The Orlando Sentinel recommended Death Wishing as a Holiday gift pick for hipsters.

The always-wonderful Jen Michalski also recommended DW as holiday pick at Karen Lillis' blog, Karen the Small Press Librarian.

And on Tuesday I read at the 8th installment of Jesse Bradley's fabulous Orlando prose series, There Will Be Words. Place was packed!And there were three other great readers: Leslie Salas, R.W. Graham, and Jesse reading for Ben Lowenkron, who came down with a sudden illness.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lurvely New Reviews

About Death Wishing

In the intro to my Book Notes Death Wishing Playlist largehearted boy says DW is a "charming and unforgettable comic fantasy that begs to be adapted into a feature film."

About Curio

Jack Kaulfus thinks my shorts are disturbing, in a good way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is this for real?

According to the tickets/pass site for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, I'll be on this panel:

Women to Watch: Bright new talents Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones), Ellen Baker (I Gave My Heart to Know This), Laura Ellen Scott (Death Wishing), and Jessica Maria Tuccelli (Glow) will discuss their latest works and their rise in the literary world.

That's right. Jesmyn Ward. Salvage the Bones. National Book Award.

Wonder if this will hold?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giveaway at Goodreads--in time for for Solstice Day!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Death Wishing by Laura Ellen Scott

Death Wishing

by Laura Ellen Scott

Giveaway ends December 15, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking a breather

The Barrelhouse party at The Black Squirrel was terrific, and Amber Sparks was amazing. The room was nice and full, the beer flowed, etc etc. Rather than read the intro again, I read three very short stories that came from the novel: "Do you know what it means to miss"/Juked, "Karaoke People are Happy People"/Storyglossia, and "The Dusty Bastards"/JMWW.

But now no more travel until mid December. What to do, what to do? Perhaps I should so some of that "grading" I hear everyone buzzing about. Sounds fun. Oh, and I could get caught up on the wigleaf reading.

On the Weather search page my auto-fill spits out Brooklyn, Seattle, San Francisco, Baton Rouge, Baltimore, New Orleans. Sweet. It's almost like I had a life for a couple of weeks there.

 me, robin, batman

second guessing

Saturday, November 19, 2011

BIG Week

So this week was/continues to be a whopper, starting off with a packed reading at Brooklyn's Greenlight Books, which was a semi-sloshy hoot with my publisher providing home-made hurricanes and Zapp's potato chips. Erin Fitzgerald trekked out to provide moral support and logistics, but I was reading on my own, no matter what this chalk and slate promised:

I stayed on the 19th floor of a Holiday Inn in Times Square. Check out the enchanting view:

Then last night was another jam-packed event at One More Page Books & More, a shop that sells books, wine & chocolate. Most of the people at the event were folks I know, but that didn't stop them from buying bags full of stuff.  Here's what happened when I asked how many of them were at the store for the first time. The manager was pleased:
Tonight, it's a Barrelhouse hosted "Evening of Death with Laura Ellen Scott and Amber Sparks" at the fabulous Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan. Really looking forward to it.

After tonight, nothing booked until December 13. I'm really okay with that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

3 fab things

1) The provost has approved my promotion to Term Full Professor and the reappointment of my contract for five more years, effective August 2012. So I'm booked until 2017.

2) An amazing, a wee-bit spoiler-y review of Death Wishing  at David Allen Barker's excellent blog.

3) My contribution to The Story, So Far feature at The Northville Review.  (Yeah, I don't know what I'm talking about there, either)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing Tip

When writing fiction, try to make it up.

Book tour adjustments, drama

Back from readings in San Francisco (City Lights)  and Seattle (Elliott Bay), only to learn that the author with whom I had been partnered is unable to continue with our schedule and will not be attending any of this week's events (Brooklyn, Providence, Arlington VA, & DC).  As the Providence stop was something he had arranged with friends, that won't be happening now. However, we're hoping that the other readings go forward with modifications. So it hasn't gone off the rails or all pear-shaped--at least not yet.

While the Elliott Bay reading was not nearly as well attended as the one at City Lights, both events were really positive experiences. In addition to meeting up with old friends at both readings, I also hooked up with writers Ethel Rohan, Lauren Becker, and Matthew Simmons (who has a pinball finder app on his smart phone). 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

West Coast Beckons, plus mentions and reviews

Off to San Francisco's City Lights for a reading Wednesday the 9th, and then to Seattle's Elliot Bay Book Company for a reading on Friday, the 11th. Both with start at 7pm. Love this mention about the Seattle reading: "Scott's Death Wishing is about a world in which wishing actually does something for a frickin' change." I've never been out to these parts of the country, so forgive my ignorance, but I have two questions: 1) They don't really call it "Frisco," right? And 2) Will Seattle folk get upset because I can't stop humming the opening theme to Here Come the Brides? I was a huge Bobby Sherman fan, thought David Cassidy was sleazy.

Jen Michalski wrote some gorgeous thoughts about Death Wishing over at her blog last week:  "With the commercial fiction market often saturated with sameness, I'm always excited when I read something so completely bizarre and engrossing."

I stumbled over a very nice review by Diane Pinckley over at wasn't completely convinced by the ending, but she did dub Death wishing a "fun fantasy captures the feel of this unique city."

Finally, the relentless Tara Laskowski interviewed me at Art and Literature. It was big fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Other Kind of Promotion

A week ago I was in a room in what has been called the most haunted hotel in New Orleans, getting ready to out to a restaurant where later we'd disagree about the steak I'd ordered; it was either carved from God's back or merely "cooked in fuck" (Dean's theory). But before that, I got a call from one of my colleagues telling me that the department had met that day and unanimously voted to recommend me for promotion from Associate to Full Professor status. The decision is in the Dean's hands now, and I'll let you know what happens. I've been in my job since 1993, ineligible for tenure-line at Mason because I got my MFA there. So yeah, looks like I'm about to hit a plexi-glass ceiling, and I'm pretty happy about that. My department has always been pretty noisy about respecting my publishing activities along with all the other things I do. I know not everyone is as fortunate.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More from the Louisiana Book Festival

We are back from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where I did three events--readings with Mark Yakich at The Garden District Bookstore and Antenna Gallery, and a panel on post-Katrina novels at the Louisiana Book Festival, which was a terrrific, inspiring event. I presented with the amazing Rosalyn Story, author of Wading Home, a novel that you need. right. now. Gorgeous prose and a riveting story.

Here's me, happy: