Laura Mazzuca Toops Bio · Contact · Business · Editing · Articles · Essays · Books

 New Title
Manos cover
5 star 5 Amazon customer reviews

Amazon (hardcover) Amazon (paperback) read customer reviews

For Jackey Neyman Jones, who played Debbie in Manos: The Hands of Fate , the “worst movie ever made” is, at its heart, a home movie that just happens to be shared with the world. Equal parts memoir/family saga/film book, Growing Up with Manos: The Hands of Fate shares the behind-the-scenes story of the making of Manos: from creator Hal Warren’s alleged bet with TV producer Stirling Silliphant that “anyone could make a movie,” to the tragic suicide of John Reynolds (Torgo), right up through the newest Manos-related projects that are carrying the film into the digital age. Jackey’s stories dispel much of the Manos mythology while crystallizing a unique time and place in America, where a crew of actors with a bad script and a rented camera set out to make a bad movie—and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Jackey Neyman Jones is a professional artist living in the Great Northwest. Laura Mazzuca Toops is a writer/editor with more than 30 years’ experience in business and fiction writing. She is the author of three historical novels.

Author Laura Mazzuca Toops is a Chicago-based writer with more than 20 years of professional experience, most recently as executive managing editor of National Underwriter, a business-to-business magazine for the property-casualty insurance industry. Her writing, editing and reporting experience includes stints at Chicago's legendary City News Bureau, Crain Communications, freelance work for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and other local and national publications. She also worked for five years as a film critic for a Chicago monthly entertainment magazine. Her degree in journalism is from Columbia College, and she has taught classes and workshops in fiction writing. She is the author of four books:  A Native's Guide to Chicago's Western Suburbs, The Latham Loop, Slapstick, and Hudson Lake.

Contact Laura

twitter icon

Linked In graphic
Linked In

email icon

Business Writing

        Laura has specialized in business reporting since 1986, when she began working at  Crain Communications’  Business Insurance  magazine.  Since then,  she has developed an expertise in writing about all facets of the insurance industry. Her published credentials include Best Review, Rough Notes, Independent Agent, and other trade magazines. Some of her freelance clients included  The HartfordArthur J. Gallagher,  and Zurich-America. She served as the editor in chief of American Agent & Broker magazine, executive managing editor of National Underwriter, and agent/broker portal editor of She is currently engaged in contract work for NetVU and other clients.

Editing and Critiquing Services

        Laura is now offering editorial services for writers with completed manuscripts who are seeking in-depth analysis of their projects. She can provide line edits, developmental edits, and written page-by-page commentary of your project, including recommendations on how the work could be improved.

Here’s what Laura’s students have to say about her and her classes:

“She is very supportive of writers...I would like to see more writing classes, more often, particularly for people who work full time.”

“This class stirred up my love of writing.”

“She was organized and well-prepared, but more importantly, flexible and professional.”

“Laura, thank you! I learned a lot and loved the assignments.”

“Excellent coverage of topic...  the class opens new dimensions of writing.”

“She gives good feedback.”

“The good exercises make you think.”

“She listens attentively. She's a good editor. She's flexible and friendly.”

“Laura really engaged the class; very informed and informative...  This course was great. Laura does a terrific job.”

“Toops is very well versed in her work and she gives out great ideas on improvement...  The class was very fun!”

“A great course! Laura does a wonderful job with leading discussions and exercises.”

“She is a motivating instructor who can help get people started on writing.”

“The most valuable thing about this course was working with an experienced published writer.”

Feature Articles


· Welcome to the 1920s
· Bix Beiderbecke
· Harold Lloyd
· Red Nichols
· Clara Bow

photo of Laura Mazzuca Toops

All written content ©2016  Laura Mazzuca Toops
(unless otherwise indicated)
Website design & maintenance by itpwebdesign
Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks is being displayed under the fair use provision as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The image has been significantly changed from the original form, is low resolution, an old work of art, and is displayed for informational purposes only.

This site updated August 3, 2016