Laura Ellen Scott

les reads and writes

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Family recipe repost: Weapons Grade Holiday Food

Mom lost the stew recipe, but luckily I blogged it in 2008:

Insane amount of work coming my way via email tomorrow (yeah Sunday), so tonight I hope to write. I don’t know what about, but the title I’m playing with is ‘hey. I have something for you.’But first, it looks like women are supposed to put recipes on their blogs. Here are the only ones I know. I’m sure they are not original. For the meat dishes, roast in 350-475 degree oven for two to nine hours, and for God’s sake, don’t wander off.

for Christmas day: Mom’s beef stew
2 or 3 packages of stew beef (weight watchers can get away with 1. Makes no diff, all you will taste is salt. yummy,yummy salt)
1 can soup each flavor: tomato, cream of mushroom, french onion, beef broth
hunks of onions, carrots & potatoes (2part onion to 1part each other veg, in the proportion that fits in the pot. do not peel the potatoes, you wuss.)
chopped garlic (cook’s choice)
probably some water (a cup or two? ish)
definitely some cheap intense red wine, like Carlo Rossi Paisano, although I have no idea what you can do with the rest of the jug. It’s pretty nasty.
1 small can corn (Warning: do not ruin this stew with peas)

combine everything except corn and cook until the beef is not even remotely beefy anymore—oven or stovetop is fine, but watch the liquid. When done, mix in the corn. Serve with rice first day, over French fries all subsequent days.

New Year’s or your Father’s Wake: Pork Roast and Knedliky
The roast is a no brainer, but you need one of those big pork loin roasts with actual fat on it—not a tenderloin. If you are cooking for someone over the age of 38, please remember that he/she grew up when trichinosis was still a concern, and firm, sliceable pork is repulsive. This roast is not done unless the meat explodes and collapses at the touch of a fork. In fact, to be on the safe side, wait until the meat is so defeated that you can eat it with a spoon.
Garlic , Salt. Pepper
Some liquid, to about ¾ inch of the bottom of the pan—I’m a recent enthusiast for Progresso Hearty Tomato, but you may be getting tired of my canned soup promotion, so water will work fine.
Half stick butter
Roast all this forever under a tight lid, but watch it any way. When done, remove roast from pan to platter—this should be extremely difficult if you’ve cooked the thing properly. And the plattered meat will look like a nightmare. But the most important thing is: SAVE THE POT LIQUOR. My grandmother called it some Polish or Czech or maybe even secret nazi term that sounded like vuh-muss-tik. You pour the vuh-muss-tik on the klen-necky. Which I have since learned is actually

6 eggs, sure
one or two boiled mashed potatoes (peels removed this time)
4 to infinity handfuls of flour
teaspoon of baking powder
again with the salt, whatever
milk to work it—1/2 cup?
mix all together and knead until just elastic.
Form into golf-tennis ball size dumplings and boil. They will rise before they are done, so test one before you drain and keep testing until you find a cooked one. These are heavy, chewy dumplings that you cut with a knife and fork. In fact, they will be significantly more authoritative on the plate than the pork roast. I suppose you could serve a veg with this. Dad liked creamed corn. ugh. Next morning cut up the leftover dumplings and fry up with scrambled eggs.

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The Juliet is Under Contract: Let’s Celebrate


First, apologies to anyone who saw my premature post/announcement back in October when I signed the contract to publish my novel, The Juliet, with Pandamoon Publishing. Yesterday was the official announcement, so now I’m a free to bore you to tears with how happy I am.

I was looking through my DV photos for the above image, and I was totally unaware of the Jameson bottle on the memorial to Mona Bell.  Or rather, I had forgotten it was there. This is from page 5 of the draft ms:

It was midnight, and Lily Joy’s gravesite was lit with candles. The glow gave away its hiding place behind a hardened dune of rubble. Rhys Nash brought a bottle of Jameson with him that cost eleven of the fifteen bucks he had left in the world, but since he’d be on a plane back to the UK tomorrow it didn’t matter. He’d spent the last three months in the States, and he couldn’t believe he had to leave.

I steal everything, even from myself.

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2 years, 7 months in the life of a novel manuscript

Today I clicked the clicker, sending the edited novel ms to a very important person. In Feb 2012 I posted my last entry on my old blog, describing what I thought the book would be. I came close. Below, my notes then with what actually happened:

Working title: Willie Judy & The Mystery House

Actual Title: The Juliet

Tell the story in scenes, 3rd person, jumping into different pov for each unit–I think I did that.

keep it lean (70k?)–more like 106k

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

err, sorta? the whereabouts of The J is one of several mysteries, like why the retired cowboy actor gives away the deed to The Mystery House

subplot1–the history of the brooch and its owners –check

subplot2–the cowboy actor’s career (western movies, tv cop shows, commercials, adult movie cameos) –there is some emphasis on the cowboy actor’s past, but I ended up spending a lot more time on his present


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.—yup

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.–yup. part of my ongoing campaign for more large noses in literature

Tony Jackpot, celebrity gambler from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, co-owner of Alkalai Springs Resort. Brains and a secret.–yes to all, but sadly no room for the secret. also I can’t remember what it was. 

Dawn, Tony’s niece, coerced to work in the ASR kitchens to keep her safe from boys (crush on scottie). –became two characters, Dawn, Tony’s recovering addict daughter, and Hilly, a worker at The Alkalai  with light brain damage. She’s seen a ghost at The Mystery House.

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. –yup. I was supposed to kill him off in 15 pages, but I liked him so much he kind of took over. 


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

yup, yup, yup, plus the ghost town of Centenary (based on Rhyolite).


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Mysterious list

I found this in an unnamed folder. I think I was working through the category of “books that I feel weird about”

  1. Anne of Green Gables: because I didn’t know you could swap reading for sleep
  2. Mandingo: I guess it was a movie tie in. Perry King was on the cover and he hypnotized me. Jesus, they boil a guy
  3. Shibumi: I didn’t know it was a parody
  4. Our Bodies Ourselves: Most embarrassing birthday present ever. Pro-tip: Vag leads to Ute.
  5. Harrold Robbins books: I bought most of my books at the damned grocery store when I was 15. MESSED. UP.
  6. Tarantula, Kathy Acker. Recommended whisperly by the poet who taught research methods. I read it because I was afraid of him.
  7. A Tale of Two Men. Taylor Caldwell. Really hot scene of a guy touching a girl’s ankle.
  8. The Inheritors, Goldman. I was in a crosslisted course packed with athletes, given free range. Had no idea.
  9. The Girl With The Curious Hair. One day you will be adrift in an MFA program and A*** C***** will slide a book your way and say “you need to read this.”
  10. I bought your book at AWP to be polite.
  11. The Catalogue

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