Category Archives: Death Wishing

Reston Readings Series Launch Tomorrow

Feb 28, 5:30 is the start of a new local reading series at the Reston Used Book Shop, and I’m delighted to be taking part, reading along with two poets, Carina Yun and Gregory Luce. Though The Juliet is not out for nearly a month, I will have copies of Death Wishing to sell, and I’ll hand out some nifty bookmarks I had made. These are “special edition” book marks in that I’ll get new ones after my blurbs come in. Thanks to Nathan Leslie for organizing this event and inviting me to read at the debut. Best wishes for a successful series.


Death Wishing for Cheap

I feel slightly awkward promoting the ebook version of my novel Death Wishing during Fall For The Book week, but yesterday I noticed the price dropped to $2.99 everywhere. I have zero idea how long it will be that cheap or why these things happen, but the fall out is that the book broke the top 100 in Amazon’s biographical fiction list (didn’t even know that was a category). DW made # 91. Last Temptation was #83. DW has Elvis content, so I guess that’s why it’s tagged biog.  I expect the reviews from this boost will be quite cruel . . .

In print news, I read at a “Noir at the Bar” event hosted by Fall For The Book & One more Page Books & More, and they sold out of copies of Death Wishing, so that was brilliant. Open Bar=book sales.

Yaroos! Reviews Death Wishing: 5 Stars

Completely out of the blue, reviewer Joe Taylor from Yaroos! Books For Young Adults began tweeting his admiration for Death Wishing, and today he’s posted his review, awarding it Five Stars. I should ask him how my book fits into the Yaroos! world (it is tagged “Adult literature” in the site), but in the mean time I’ll just enjoy the praise.

For those readers who venture out with a book in public be warned: This book is laughing-out-loud-to-the-point-of-embarrassment, funny.–Joe Taylor


Happy Birthday Death Wishing!

Last year on October 1 my debut novel, Death Wishing was released. (Although, to be honest a box was delivered for my reading at Fall For The Book more than a week before). It has been an amazing year that I will never forget. Thanks to all my friends who supported me, and thanks to all the strangers for stopping to take a look.

Death Wishing Reviewed in The Ampersand Review

Maybe Death Wishing will turn out to be the little novel that could. The book tour season was energetic, followed by a sleepy summer of putting together a collection of short stories, and now I am really pleased to see that my novel, which came out last October, is still on some reader’s minds. Here’s an excerpt from a new review by Joseph Clifford  from The Ampersand Review that takes a tough look at the novel’s post-Katrina context:

Katrina made us look at American life differently, and not just in terms of FEMA (here lampooned by the T-shirt Victor wears: Find Every Mexican Available).  However undesirable, catastrophe presents the opportunity to evolve.  This is certainly what happens with Victor, who comes to realize that his love for Pebbles betrays selfishness; the higher calling demands altruism and guidance.

Reviews and other kinds of press coverage, at this late stage in the life of a novel, are wonderful. But I’m also really surprised and pleased by the folks who are coming up to me and saying things like, “We were talking about your book at dinner last night,” or “I read it during the heatwave,” or “I miss Victor.” This was what I was going for, but never expected to happen.

Death Wishing Reviewed in The Collagist

So thrilled to see a review of Death Wishing in The Collagist this month by Marshall Yarbrough. Yarbrough says wonderful things like, “Scott pulls off wonders with her novel’s twisted scenarios. They are funhouse mirrors, warped enough to hold our attention but not so distorted that we don’t fail to recognize ourselves.” He also writes about the relationship between the extraordinary and the ordinary is a major theme of the novel, and that’s quite true, but it got me to thinking how that theme asserted itself organically while I was writing. Does anyone plan these things?

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“I found Lala!”

My four year old gosh daughter called me last night because she opened up the 2012 issue of Cornerstone, the alumni magazine for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, and found my picture on the back page, along with an excerpt from Death Wishing. I didn’t understand all of what the GD was telling me, but she did ask me if I wrote this story in a day. She also said that story writing was “like art, but with paper.”

I was pleased to be asked to contribute, but I admit to doing a bit of clean-up on the excerpt, removing the fucks and some xenophobic flourishes that aren’t in keeping with the spirit of the mag.

Goodbye Book Tour, Part Two: Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

Been putting this off, and I still don’t know if I have a handle on what has happened to me.

It was a dark and stormy night, no kidding. We left Lafayette Thursday evening and drove east on I-10 towards New Orleans into  a howling storm. I-10 is about 130 miles of low, slippery bridge over swamps, and as you approach the metro area, you’re driving along the edge of Lake Ponchartrain. The rain was pounding down, hitting the windshield of our compact rental with that chrysanthemum effect while it seemed like everyone else on that bridge was zooming past in ghost-white pick up trucks.  We’d forgotten what Louisiana rain was like. And we remembered why, in the 3 years we’d lived there, we never owned an umbrella. No point to it.

The next day was the last formal event of the book tour: a panel at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. The normal promotional life of a new book is about three months I’m told, but my events scattered over nearly six months. While being invited to the Fest was a dream come true (thanks to Paul J. Willis, and I’m sure to the loving influence of Darrell Bourque and Dorothy Allison, both of whom have supported me for years), by the time it rolled around we were fatigued and stressed and dreading more travel. As my husband observed, Death Wishing is set in New Orleans, I received my book contract in NO, and I started the tour there, so it made sense to think of this trip as a natural end.

The panel I was on was called “Singular Women, Singular Worlds,” moderated by the amazing Bev Marshall. The other panelists were Lucy Ferriss, Ellen Baker, and Jessica Marie Tucelli. Each of these women are publishing with big presses, and I was the only indie gal up there. It is probably worth noting that of the books we were discussing mine was 1) the only one set in NO, and 2) the only one that was funny. The rest were fascinating but on the grim side. Here we are, speaking to a crowd of more than fifty attendees:

So this is what happened and I don’t know why it happened. Bev asked great questions of us all, but every time I opened my mouth–even when I was giving a serious answer–the crowd laughed their butts off. I guess they were in a mood, my kind of mood. We started by describing our book concepts, and when I talked about weight loss programs and the way men are often singled out for special attention, I saw a lot of nodding. There was one quasi-aggressive question from someone in the crowd on the topic of cultural appropriation and respect, and I had a ready answer, but apparently the questioner was a legendary fest agitator, so we were segued onto a new topic quickly. Other than that slight hiccup it went well, and I admit to trotting out a little of the Dean & Laura Show (We were all asked who read our first drafts, and the other panelists talked about their book groups. I pointed out Dean and said he liked poetry and science and hated fiction, so he was my go to guy). Later a woman said, “You two make each other laugh all the time don’t you?”

Anyway, before we finished I saw a group of women get up and leave. I assumed they’d had enough, but directly after the panel ended Dean ran up to me and said they were off to buy my book before anyone else could get to the book fair. And another woman said to him, “You are a lucky man.” A couple of people talked to me after the panel, so Dean went off to check the book fair. He came back to tell me there was a line and that everyone had a copy of Death Wishing on their stack. I should point out here that when we arrived Death Wishing was stacked in a hard to reach corner. By the time we left, they’d moved the remaining copies (only two!) up to the front of the register.

I was stopped several times in the hotel. I was stopped on the street. I was stopped in a coffee house blocks away. One woman said she hoped the book was just like me. At the author’s cocktail party that evening I was speaking with two Louisiana Poets Laureate, and a couple interrupted to shake my hand and tell me how much they enjoyed listening to me. The next day we attended a presentation by American Routes’ host Nick Spitzer, and people recognized me at that event as well.

It was great and it was weird and it just like my dreams.

Okay, so this was a cool thing to happen, but what does it mean? Learning to write and being a writer are two different points on a continuum. I’ve been writing since before I could read (true–ask mom), but I think I learned to be a writer in Louisiana twenty years ago when I found a voice that was strong enough to share with strangers. Now I can tell you that I finally feel like a novelist. (Mark it: March 23, 2012.) This novelist identity is a definitely different, and it took more than just publishing a novel to convince me. I suppose I should be worried about how much I need readers, but I’m not. I’m just going to try to ride this ride again.

Death Wishing Review & Mini-library Giveaway at [Pank]

Over at the [Pank] blog, the amazing Ethel Rohan offers her review of Death Wishing, along with a fabulous giveaway! If you leave a Death Wish in the comments by noon April 6, you’ll be eligible to win

Death Wishing (signed), novel by Laura Ellen Scott
The Curfew, novel by Jesse Ball
Echolocation, novel by Myfanwy Collins
Hard to Say (signed), stories by Ethel Rohan
Um, that’s a damned good haul.

Goodbye Book Tour, Part One: Allons Y Lafayette

Last weekend I returned to southern Louisiana for the final events of my book tour to promote  my novel, Death Wishing.I had been invited to participate in the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, which was a dream come true (more on that next post), but we also took the opportunity to visit The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I was lucky enough to score a slot at their Thursday Night Reading Series. Dean and I attended graduate school there more than twenty years ago when it was still called The University of Southwestern Louisiana. I’ve said this before, but Louisiana changed this Ohio girl’s writing forever.

We got to town early enough to tour the campus, and we were delighted to see that not a whole lot had changed except that there were several new buildings made to blend in with the old ones, making campus seem a little more crowded. Griffin Hall, where the English Department is housed, still had that Griffin Hall smell, and The Fellows office (where Dean and the other PhD freeloaders pretended to toil [PhD fellows got $, free tuition, subsidized housing, and they were not required to teach or in any way serve the University. I wonder if that is still the case today] ) was exactly as it had been when we left–right down to the beardy poet in the corner, reading with his feet up on the desk.

In the center of campus is Cypress Lake. It has alligators in it. What’s your campus got? Some crummy mud pond with a sad swan in it? My eyes are closed here, but it’s a good pic of the lake. The second pic is a typical snap of an alligator–you always have to point out the bumpy ripple.

What made the trip so special was meeting up with dear friends who are still in Lafayette-Joe, Gail, and Lauren–arguing about literature and enjoying life.

In the evening we headed to the Jefferson St. Pub for the reading. A different beardy poet went first and he read for what seemed like a long time. But to be honest, we were all pretty giddy to be in each other’s company again, and some of us were not completely receptive to the nuances of his work.  I wish him more attentive audiences in the future.

By the time it was my turn to read, we’d run out of light, so I eschewed the podium+mic set up for a position at the bar where I could read under the glow of a televised basketball game. This turned out to be a great move because every time I looked out into the audience, it appeared as if they were paying close attention to my words.  Gail and Lauren sat next to me, so I asked them for performance support. Each time I said the word cats, they meowed. I read from the first chapter, and the word cats is mentioned 8 times? And it’s mostly in a sad context, so let’s just say it got weird. Anyway, because I was without a mic, and we were in a bar with spots on TV and a band setting up in the next room, I kinda shouted the whole thing. Dean said it was my best reading of the whole tour.

Good thing, because it was the last reading I’m doing for the foreseeable future.

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