The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention-not even that of space and time-which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.


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Scott is the author of THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER, a commercial fiction novel with a fantasy premise releasing August 4, 2015 that tells the story of two pen pals who are fighting against the clock to solve the mystery behind the hiccup in time connecting their homes before one of them is convicted of a murder that is yet to happen… and yet somehow already did.

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I just don’t understand why it’s so upsetting when I get up from the breakfast table and say, “Let’s go, iPad. You’re my only friend.”

What’s A Parade Without It?

The Orlando massacre is barely in my rear view window, and I’m already seeing it.  My LGBT family is doing what it does best.  We’re dusting ourselves off, reaching out a hand to lift one another up, and getting ready for the next round, because, let’s be honest, when it comes to the queer community, there’s always another round.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Thank you, Ms. Angelou, thank you.  You know.

It’s happening as I type—our stubborn refusal to be erased—though, by God, there are a lot of people trying.  It started quietly, unremarkably, but has built quite a head of steam.  It’s a grassroots groundswell that is best illustrated through an example that’s repeating itself around the world like some queer, universal ditto.

My husband called me during my stateside visit the day the heartbreak made the news to tell me he’d attended a vigil back home in Auckland, New Zealand.  A single call had gone out—one—and before the sun had fully set that same evening, in a local park on the other side of the planet, seven hundred people had gathered.  They embraced, lit candles, and raised their flames overhead to memorialize our dead and console the living, while trying to make sense of the senseless—the nature of hate, and our role in it.  Words were spoken afterward, some in the form of prayer, others an acknowledgement that while we are not victims, neither are we the cause to hate’s effect.

Seven hundred flames to counter a pastor in Sacramento and another in Tempe who both lamented that not more of us had died.

How many, I wonder, in Paris, then?  In Seattle?  London?  How many calls?  How many thousands and thousands of flames to illuminate a path for the “peaceful migration” of our brothers’ and sisters’ souls*, even as the Twitterverse erupted with countless versions of the following from one Jonathan Howell: “Florida Pulse gay club attacked I’m so happy someone decided to start shooting perverts instead of innocent people.”  Or this one from Drew (last name blocked out): “Nothing wrong with shooting a few gays.”

Drew added a laughter emoji to impress upon everyone that he thinks killing us is… funny.

To these people, we’re not headlines.  We’re punchlines.

The truth is we’re old campaigners when it comes to hate, all of us in the LGBT community; battle scarred veterans who are forever dusting ourselves before stretching out a hand to those of us still on our knees.  We’re a team, but never more so than after a tragedy; a bloodied, big hearted amalgam of the little engine that could, no one left behind, and the ugly duckling.

Not so long ago, it was the fight for marriage equality.  Before that, the big bugaboo—AIDS.  Sixteen thousand died—among them my partner and twenty-odd friends—before President Reagan even acknowledged its existence publicly.

My participation in this larger cycle began with Anita Bryant.  I was a teenager, all of sixteen, and while I should have been addressing issues no more grave than acne, I had to grow into my sexual awareness as she marched across America to “save the children” from those animals.  Which was I, Ms. Bryant?  The child or the animal?  It doesn’t matter, I guess.  Your lesson plan, with its orange juice wholesomeness, big teeth, and talk of God’s will, was effective.  I learned to hate myself and to fear everyone.

And that, my friend, is why Gay Pride Month is so necessary.

Somewhere within all these battles, and within my personal recovery, lies its essence, at least to my eyes.  Triumph.  Indomitability. Perseverance.  Self-worth.


So it shouldn’t come as any surprise when I say I’ve been thinking about the connection between the Orlando atrocity, Gay Pride Month, perseverance, and, more to the point, parades.

My thoughts, though, have taken a decided departure.  I’ve not been thinking of these things from the perspective of a gay man in a straight world. Rather, I’ve been thinking about my LGBT siblings who find our celebrations embarrassing, even mortifying.  Strip away the pretty words, and their arguments are all variations on a simple theme:  We must fit in.


The truth is that we must not, especially now, and for three reasons I can immediately see.  Though I’m sure others will come to mind.

Fear.  It’s not an argument.  It’s a reaction.  And it’s the last thing we should succumb to.  Its focus is survival, which is, despite what just happened in Orlando, the antithesis of Gay Pride.  We’re not throwing on the paint and glitter bomb to survive.  We’re doing the bloody opposite and thumbing our noses at it with as much leather, chenille, and theatre as possible.

Beyond their wayward concern over how others may perceive us when we throw caution to the wind for a single day and unleash the full force of our fabulous differentness, our square-peg-in-a-round-holeness, the people who subscribe to the conformity argument are missing the point altogether.  Our parades are for us, and us alone.  If the world wants to join, it’s more than welcome, but this is our playground, and while you may not understand the rules, they must be respected.

You see, we’re celebrating the fact that we’re the every-colored polka dots in a world of hole-punch tabs.  And that makes us a gift the world has yet to open.

We’re defined by our theatrics, and we should be, but what does it say about those who are blind to our other qualities; the patience, the compassion, the empathy, the right-brained, left-handed brush stroke of the master, the insistent tap at the door of the world’s conscience, the paradoxical shaking-in-our-boots courage that marches relentlessly forward, the collective will to forgive, and now the NRA’s worst nightmare, because, what the hell, we’ll be your knights in shining armor, if you’d only let us.

If you’d only let us.

A little love goes a long way with my crowd.  We can ration that shit like there’s no tomorrow, because, as Orlando proved, there may not be one.  Yet, even in the face of all that—and here’s the main point—we remain the Ever-Ready Bunnies, staring the world down from behind our Ray-Bans, our lips set in a grim line, as we beat our drums on and on and on.  We’re Matthew Shepard.  We’re Virginia Woolf.  We’re Bayard Rustin, Jane Addams, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, Alice Walker, Alan Turing, Michelangelo, Cole Porter, Frida Kahlo.

We’re confetti.

And let me ask you.

What is a parade without it?


*Thank you for the reference, Lucy.  I’d attribute it to the author, but I don’t remember her name.


An Exploration Into The Interconnectedness Between My Absentmindedness and J.R.R. Tolkien

It ‘s my opinion that a natural consequence of being a writer by trade is a condition that looks and feels like absentmindedness, but isn’t. It’s something for which I don’t have a name, is much more insidious, and comes from living so aggressively within my own headspace that the outside world fades into the incidental. This morning, alone, I’d already forgotten why I’d wandered into the kitchen by the time I got there.

I found myself blinking stupidly, while trying to get my bearings. Whatever had sent me there must have been important, but I’ll be damned if I could sort it out; that is, until I noticed the oatmeal boiling over on the stove.

Oh yeah, breakfast. I’d started making it when an idea for a blog—this blog—sent me scurrying for my laptop.

I’d take the time to be properly embarrassed by such shenanigans, but what’s the point? It’s not like it doesn’t happen all the time.

Happily, I have a husband who takes it all in stride, though he watches me like a hawk, won’t let me near sharp objects, has forbidden me from mowing the lawn (my mowing pattern tends to mimic my thoughts), is constantly checking to see if I’ve closed the garage door, or is following me around the house to turn off the lights in the rooms I’ve just vacated. Regarding the latter, and to be fair, he’s a little over the top when it comes to saving money, and would rather submit to frostbite or heatstroke before turning on the central air conditioning system for which we paid a fortune to have installed, yet have never used. We all have our cross to bear, it seems.

A perfect example of this condition that lacks a name happened only last week. I’d been walking to the gym, thinking about my latest manuscript as usual, when I’d made a quick call to ask my friend Ian a research-related question. Whatever I asked had stumped even him, and his suggestion that I do a Google search got me to frantically patting my pockets before yelling into the receiver, “Ian! I lost my phone!”

I’m never going to live that one down, but it’s nice to know that I provided him a belly laugh. We can all use one of those now and then.

And even now, as I’m typing this, I can’t remember whether or not I’d taken my pills. They’re kind of important. Normally, I’d ask Mike, but I’m in San Marcos, TX visiting my parents, and they’ve both vacated the premises—mom to art class, and dad to his little office casita nestled in the corner of their property.

But back to this thing that looks and feels like absentmindedness, but is more closely related to preoccupation. When I was preparing for my first book tour back in July, I’d written a passel of guest blogs, one of which seems to have fallen through the cracks. Whether I’d forgotten to send it, or the administrator of the site had determined it irredeemable, I don’t know, but the truth of the matter is that it was my favorite of the entire lot.

I’d been asked to write a literary love letter to my favorite author, and as is typical of me, had wandered down a crooked path. (Perhaps that is why it was never posted.)

So in the spirit of my husband’s frugality, and in deference to my own absentmindedness, I present my literary love letter without further ado.

(Please read it with a British accent.)

Dear Mr. Tolkien,

Now that the dust has settled with my book deal, and you’re safely (and simultaneously) in the ground and my heart, I think it’s high time I told you something.

Ms. Austen is the bomb. The… bomb.

Are the two of you acquainted, by chance? I think she’s on LinkedIn. Sort of a Tina Fey type, only with a take-no-prisoners attitude and dialogue to die for. If you’re Googling, and I suspect you are, ignore the links that suggest she’s fodder for the pithy and shallow. The only thing uglier than jealousy is ignorance-with-an-opinion, I always say. (And from the looks of reviews my novel has been getting, the latter is reaching epidemic proportions.)

And while it’s true that she inspired every little particular in my protagonist—Annabelle Aster—from her sartorial eccentricity to her flowery prose, you, YOU, my dear sir, are the reason I even put words to paper in the first place. Your trilogy turned me into a book-a-day nerd by the age of fourteen, fuelling the very outside-the-lines imagination that landed me this featured article.

My mom blames you for my socially maladaptive ways, of course, and that’s fair enough. I suppose some might consider it unnatural for a man of tender years to pitch a tent in the sci fi-fantasy aisle at the B. Dalton Bookseller in the local mall, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer. That being said, she, likewise, credits you with inoculating me against the eighties. I mean, just look at my brother. How he made it through that decade without asphyxiating on all that hair spray, I’ll never know.

So take a word of advice from an old trooper, and look Ms. Austen up. A collaboration would be epic. I mean, imagine the literary traction you’d gain with Ms. Bennet in Middle Earth.




Numbers Don’t Lie

Let’s do the numbers.

Eighteen. That’s how many months it’s been since I was offered a book deal.

Seven. I’m a fan of prime numbers, but this one leaves me a little conflicted, as it represents the number of years it took from the day that I wrote the first word of The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster to arrive at the above offer. […]

About Those Magic Marker Drawings

I had a deplorably short attention span as a kid. One week I was a piano-key-tinkling fiend, then a Pelé-in-the-making the next. I was relentlessly and tirelessly on the go. Let’s be clear, it wasn’t so much that I was prone to boredom, but that I found so many things interesting. I just wanted to gobble up the world in a single sitting. […]

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