Don’t Let History Repeat

As a Jewish person. As a disabled person. As a woman. I am scared. I grew up learning about my history—my past—the Holocaust. I thrived on the words: Never Again. I couldn’t fathom how someone like Hitler came into power, how so much hate could prevail.

I still can’t, and I’m watching it happen all over again. Parts of my family tree remain a question mark, and we can safely guess they died in concentration camps. Parts of my family, millions of my people, wiped out for nothing more than being part of our religion.

And now we are attacking different races. Religions. Sexuality. Genders. Disabilities. Now people are being told to go home, when the only ones who deserve to stay are the natives, and they are treated the worst out of all groups. Whites, you don’t own this land. You are immigrants, just like most of us. You have no right.

We are all humans. We all deserve peace and respect and love. Not hate. Hate has no place in this world, yet we fall back on it time and time again. When has hate ever done as much good as love can? How does hurting your neighbor benefit your soul?

It doesn’t, but somehow, others refuse to see someone different from them as deserving. And I can’t wrap my head around that level of hatred. I can’t condone it or support it. Those are the walls I want to tear down. The walls of hate. The walls that don’t accept.

Unlike people of color, I can hide behind my white skin, but not after declaring my religion. I can even hide my ears at times. And I don’t want to hide. Why should I hide when others can’t?

Please, see the hate. Recognize it’s real. Fight it. Don’t let WWIII happen. Don’t let people die for being different than white. Don’t. Let. It. Happen. Again.

I have a young son. I want to cry looking at him. I no longer know what world he will grow up in. If he will be safe. I see his smiles, his joy and happiness, and I worry. I see his friends, spanning different races, religions, etc. I see their smiles and I want them to remain. They are children, children who as of now understand love, not hate. I don’t want that to change.

And I realize I’m preaching to the choir here. Either you already agree with me, or I damn well am not going to change your mind. But if you don’t agree with me and are listening, if you are part of what created this, I urge you to open your eyes and your heart. See what is happening. See the fear. See the reality. Absorb it, understand it. And rise up. Do what YOU can to make a difference.

Our children—children of different races, religions, disabilities, sexualities, genders, etc—they all are looking to you. Their future is in your hands.

Pitch Wars Pep Talk

Some words to the lovely PitchWars Mentees of 2016:

You are all amazing, you know that? Every single one of you. In two months you’ve revamped an entire manuscript. You’ve listened to your mentor(s), you’ve learned, you’ve fine toned your craft, you’ve made friends.

You’ve won.

There is nothing quite like the thrill of an agent round. I find myself so excited to be able to continue participating from the other side, because it is a thrill. I liken the agent search to falling in love and getting married. Querying authors are searching for love, and when it comes through, it’s the best thing in the world.

And much like love, you are looking for one. Your agent might be out there, looking through the pitches as you read this. Or your agent might not be participating, waiting for your query to arrive in their slush. It’s about luck and timing and the two need to line up.

You have no control over this luck. The only thing you have control over is your craft and how you handle the ups and downs of this business. And if you don’t get any requests? That’s life in publishing. We all face rejection, every single one of us. It’s how we handle this rejection that separates us.

Last year I made it through in my first agent contest! I was thrilled, more so because it was a first chapter mentor contest. I had high hopes for the agent round, and knew there were a few agents participating I couldn’t wait to query.

I got no requests. None. Everyone else on my team got requests, most of the other authors on other teams got requests. I got none.

It sucked. But I took comfort in knowing I had been chosen, in knowing I had a shined up first chapter. I turned around and sent off my first ten queries on the project. And within that first ten included my agent.

But at the time, I didn’t know this. I didn’t know that I was on the right path. I entered more contests, made it to agent rounds, got requests! And still, they turned into rejections. Because I had already found my one. I needed time (and a revision) to know the match had been made.

And many times over this past year, I have looked back to that day where I got that email, had that call. Because it is one of those grand moments in an author’s career.

So take deep breaths, mentees. Some of you will get that call soon. Some of you will need more time for the stars to align. Enjoy the ride. Work on your craft. You are all on a different path. Cheer on your friends, take comfort in them as well. You are in the middle of your story, you just don’t know the ending yet.

And no matter what, keep moving forward.