Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Color is Your (Independent) Bookstore? Launch Week Round-up

Happy Easter, happy everything! It was a heck of a launch week, with a guest talk in a publishing seminar, two readings, lots of books to sign, a tidal wave of internet promotion, and of course, the holiday, for which we rushed to the country to set up an egg hunt for our gosh-daughter. She’s 8 now, but a wonderful actress, and it’s always fun to watch the gas-lighted become the gas-lighter. It must have been particularly tough for her keep up the act of innocence, especially when she came across a huge bag of Easter stuff in her parents’ car the day before. She’s a terrific, smart kiddo, declaring this year’s egg hunt haul “the best ever,” thereby guaranteeing that the adults will attempt to outdo themselves next year.

The DC launch event at Upshur Street Books was lightly attended—not unexpected for a mid-week rush hour reading—but it was a delightful party made bright by friends Art Taylor, Danny Collier, Lucy Jilka, Joe Killiany, Terry Nebeker, and David Olimpio, who came all the way from Jersey with Rothko, his internet famous dog. The gosh daughter was there too, and she peeled the edible emerald decal off the cake and said, “I know what happened to The Juliet!” Then she jammed it into her mouth and made monster-yum-yum noises. Despite the low attendance, I somehow had a generous wad of cash in my grip when we got back into the car to go home. My husband, Dean, and Art Taylor—who also read from his great book, On The Road With Del and Louise—talked politics all the way home, while I sort of disappeared inside my own happy bubble. The top pic looks like a band pic.

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The Northern Virginia launch at One More Page Books drew a big crowd—it was Friday night, when a lot more people were ready to relax and kick off the holiday weekend. I was joined by Erin Fitzgerald, who read from her exquisite novella, Valletta 78. Erin stayed at our place, and in addition to being a terrific writer, she has the patience of a saint with my dogs. The older pup freaked out every time Erin used hand gestures or took an audible breath, whereas the younger one was smitten, on the edge of obsession. This is her rolling around on Erin’s sheets, followed by Erin and me at our author table:




The great news about the NoVa launch is that the store sold out of copies they ordered, and had to use some of my copies to meet demand. Erin and I signed a TON of books, and almost missed out on the cake. Terry Nebeker, who attended both readings, almost stole the show though, with her non-ironic cowboy hat and cardboard mustache.

Finally, something that my husband and I found interesting—but you may not—is that Upshur Street Books is green inside, something we referred to as indie bookstore green after the event, remembering that OMP was green, too. But wait. One More Page is blue now. It used to be green. I can prove it. This is from 2014.


I guess that isn’t super-interesting, but it just goes to show how an author sees the world with wonder and joy when her book is released, lol. In either case, these are great little stores with excellently curated selections, very knowledgeable and clever staff, and a devoted clientele. These are not just shops, but destinations—beautiful models of the independent bookstore renaissance.

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Reston Reading Series Launched!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading at Reston’s Used Book Shop yesterday, helping kick off a new monthly reading series with poets Gregory Luce and Carina Yun. Though The Juliet is not released yet, I gave away bookmarks, read from the middle like an insane person, and even sold a couple of copies of Death Wishing. A 4 year old friend attended the reading, so I did my best to say “shoot” and “darn” as alternatives, but he still had a problem when I said “son of a gun.” I gotta clean up my act, I guess.

Photo by Art Taylor.

“Staycation” Article in ArtsHub

Early last summer I took a “staycation” to work on The Mean Bone in Her Body, the first of the New Royal Mysteries series that I’m writing for Pandamoon Publishing, and I made a point of blogging my progress each day. I started my very first blog, Probably Just a Story, because I wanted to keep a log of my writing projects so I could keep my thinking straight, and the Staycation posts were serving the same purpose. Well, a freelancer for ArtsHub, a website for the Australian Arts community, interviewed me and three other artists– Richard Streitmatter-Tran (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Tara Lynn Groth (Raleigh, North Carolina), and Tracy Durnell (Seattle, Washington)–about our staycation experiences. The article is located under the “Career Advice” area, and it’s behind a paywall, so I can’t link to the full text or reproduce it here, nor do I expect you subscribe to a site that is sort of like AWP for Australian artists, but here’s a snippet from my section:

The staycation boosted her productivity. “I was writing a murder mystery that was a clutter of disparate scenes, and on the final day I found my theme—misconceptions of mental illness. The focus required time to concentrate, plus a deadline to achieve, which was the whole point of the staycation. From then on the writing went very quickly.”

Thank you ArtsHub and Naima Morelli. This was fun.

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Getting Real! The First Necklaces Have Arrived (thanks, mom!)

Back in 2011 when my debut novel, Death Wishing was published, my mom made me dozens of beautiful necklaces so that I would never have to wear the same one twice for my book tour. This year, because The Juliet is about a cursed emerald, she’s focusing on making green necklaces for my readings–actual emeralds would be rather costly–and the first two have arrived. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Here’s a portion of the necklaces she made in 2011, with cat assist.


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My Multi-Book Deal with Pandamoon Publishing!

From the official press release:

Pandamoon Publishing Acquires Author Laura Ellen Scott’s Series, the New Royal Mysteries, in a Multi-Book Deal

Austin, TX – 02/03/2016 – Pandamoon Publishing is pleased to announce that Laura Ellen Scott has signed a multi-book deal with Pandamoon Publishing for her exciting new series, the New Royal Mysteries. The first book is entitled The Mean Bone in Her Body and is scheduled for a Winter 2016 release. “The series is set in a fictional college/prison town and centers on Elizabeth Murgatroyd, a professor in New Royal University’s Crime Writing Program and her most successful, yet unstable, student Jeaneane Lewis. Shortly after beginning her studies, Lewis discovers a murdered military widow and her two small children in a backyard garden pond. When Jeaneane writes about the crime, she exposes the college town’s darkest secrets, but it’s a one-night stand with the killer that leads Murgatroyd to the truth of what really happened in that backyard and inside Jeaneane’s broken mind,” stated Zara Kramer, Publisher of Pandamoon Publishing.

“Scott’s incredible knack for mystery and suspense writing is kicked into high gear as she masterfully executes this intriguing story with grim, unexpected jolts of suspense in each book of the New Royal Mysteries. This is not your Mama’s cozy mystery, that’s for sure,” Kramer added. “The Mean Bone in Her Body series is a wonderful addition to Pandamoon’s growing catalog of Mystery/Thriller/Suspense novels, including Laura’s own novel The Juliet, slated for release March 22, 2016 and A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post.

Laura Ellen Scott teaches creative writing in the English Department at George Mason University, in Fairfax Virginia. Her debut novel, Death Wishing, a comic fantasy set in post-Katrina New Orleans was released in 2011. She has published several short stories with Pank, Ploughshares, Smokelong Quarterly, and The Collagist, and currently serves as a reader for the Wigleaf Top 50.

Pandamoon Publishing focuses on publishing quality and unique fiction works and distributes them through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Ingram, as well as other book distributors and bookstores worldwide, including Powell’s and Books-A-Million. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Pandamoon Publishing is dedicated to growing good ideas into great reads…one book at a time. Review copies of our books are available to journalists and qualified reviewers through our media contact. Learn more at

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Writing Desk Shaping Up

I haven’t posted in such a long time! No excuse except for intensive edits on The Juliet, which may or may not still be on track for a winter 2016 release. Under the category of “ways to avoid writing” I’ve made some changes to my writing space, which his now developing as a study in blue and green. I’m not done yet, but this gives you an idea of the mood I want to enter as I begin writing The Orphans Court, the second novel in the New Royal Mysteries series.

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The Indie Spirit

This weekend I met Conrad Trump ,who was signing books at the Berkely Springs Apple Butter Festival. He’s published several short stories under the name Chapin Shaw Tucker, but he decided to publish his novel under his real name. Parisa is about an injured champion snowboarder from West Virginia who accidentally releases an ancient magical spirit.

It sure looks like his home town is rallying behind him. There was a wonderful profile in the local paper, the Morgan Messenger, and Douglas Autos was advertising the book on their traffic stopping electronic sign. Berkeley Springs is an Arts town, with a growing population of local authors.

Can’t wait to read the book!

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Publishing: The “How do I start?” Question & My Updated One Sheet

I got the question again this morning: “I’ve written some stories, but I don’t know where to send them. How do I start?” I think this kind of question is irritating to writers who believe 1) that they found their way through natural curiosity and love of literature, and 2)that they never sought short cuts. I get that, but as an educator it’s my responsibility to provide education, and entertaining irritation actually makes the job harder. When I get the question, I have a one sheet that I explain is a very selective list of resources to browse. What may not be explicit is that it’s not the resources themselves that are as important as  developing an awareness of the possible categories . . .

Publishing Resources

 What’s new in books?

The Millions

The Nervous Breakdown 

The Rumpus

General Resources

Poets & Writers


Duotrope ($)


Agent Query

Market Guides-Pop Genre

Dark Markets

Writer’s Market sub-guides (Writer’s Digest Books)–example Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market

Find a writing conference

Poets & Writers Database

 AWP Conference & Center Guide

Author Pages

Steve Himmer

Roxane Gay

Matt Bell

Jen Michalski

Art Taylor

Sample Guidelines

Ellery Queen


Strange Horizons


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Sleeping as Lifestyle

When my husband and I married in 1987 we spent a year in our first apartment with a bed that was too small, so we slept head to foot, foot to head, mainly because Dean’s normal resting position back then was crucifixion style. Since then I think it is fair to say that our marriage has been a journey towards finding the ideal bed. My husband and I are a model couple who does everything perfectly together EXCEPT sleep.

It’s time again for us to buy a new mattress. If I could work it out, I’d spend my whole life in my bedroom, and I’ve always dreamed of having a full room bed like this:



However there are many reasons why the above is impractical for our needs, but I cannot pretend that we aren’t going to do something stupid. When it comes to home furnishing, we always go stupid: We installed a hammock inside our house; we bought an extra large Lovesac (now in the attic wrapped up like a swollen sarcophagus); we have owned a series of unfortunate red sofas . . . This time we have decided that  if we’re going to do something stupid again, we’re going to do the same stupid thing everyone else is doing: buy a hospital bed.

Of course, they don’t call them hospital beds anymore, and the model we are looking at has features you can’t find in your local recovery room, such as heat, vibration, and “sky” modes. Sadly, it does not come with the little button that gives you more morphine or tells the nurse your pan needs emptied.

Why do we want this thing?

Because it might be nice to have a situation after 28 years of not having to compromise.

Because we love reading and watching TV in bed.

Because we need more remote controllers.

Because we snore, and maybe having a tilting bed will stave off our need for matching CPAP machines for another year.


I guess what I’m saying is, don’t try to stop us. We’ve rationalized the hell out of this poor decision. And the lady at the furniture store is so lonely. She needs us to do this.

So here is a link to a recent WSJ article about the emerging popularity of home hospital beds. I really wished they’d used some beardy millennial as their model in the pic, but I guess I shouldn’t pretend that the in-home adjustable bed skews younger. It’s also not a consideration in this helpful site that rates mattress types for sex. I think this last site is really the reason I wrote this post, that and the fact that my publisher may be looking at my blog today and I don’t want the most recent post to have the word fuck in the title.

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