This is going to be a bittersweet week for me. I’ve decided to remove my first book from publication. There are many reasons for this decision, but before I go there I want to talk a bit about what this book means to me.
I started it when I was 21, a recent college graduate. I had hit that pivotal moment of, “I’ve graduated. Now what?” I started writing this before I landed my first post college job, before I moved out of my parents’ house. I started because I had been writing fan fiction in college and I really enjoyed writing and wanted to try my hand at a full-fledged book. I took my favorite fan fiction piece, removed the fan part of it, and got to work.
I worked on that book over the next twelve years. That book was with me when I moved in with my boyfriend, changed jobs, bought a home, got married, adopted a cat, lost a cat, adopted three more cats, and had my son. That book would lay dormant for years, collect dust, then be brushed off and worked on again. That book was with me when I finally took that step from “I want to write a book” to “I’m really going to make this a reality.”
That book also very much represented who I was at 21, not who I was twelve years later when I finally clicked publish.
These characters are a part of me. I know them well, loved them for years. I had a full series planned out, a second book drafted, a third book started. But something happened along the way: I started reading more. I decided to write a new novel, a different novel, a full-fledged contemporary romance. My voice changed.
These first few changes become more changes. My craft grew by leaps and bounds, to the point where this first book doesn’t match my other books. And I fear if readers of my other books were to pick it up, they’d only be disappointed.
Therefore it is time to put this book back on the shelf. One day I could dust it off and rework it to match where my craft has grown. But I don’t have plans for it just yet.
I learned so much with this story, started meeting my first fellow authors, found the start of my voice. So even though I know this is the right decision for my brand and my career, I’m still sad.
Writing is personal but publishing is business. And the business side of me knows it’s time. Therefore at the end of this week I’ll be removing Lila’s Choice from publication. My intention is not to erase it, one really can’t in today’s day and age, but to continue moving forward. It will always have a spot of my physical shelf at home, and a place in my heart.
I can't believe that A Perfect Mistake publishes today! Back in 2013 I first sat down to write this novel, my first contemporary romance, with a social worker character based on my former career. This novel has been through it all: so many changes and revisions and rejection. There was a time where I wasn't sure if it would ever find its way to readers.
As of today people can read this forbidden romance, read these two main characters, Nica and Cam, that I've come to know so well. I've planned out their future, down to the names of their future children. Maybe one day I'll share those tidbits with you. But first, you need to read their story.
This story has heart, heat, romance, and will tug at your heart strings just a bit. Or a lot. My hero is Deaf and, fun fact, he didn't start off that way. In the first draft I only had his grandmother as Deaf, and in a revision light bulb moment, realized he should be Deaf as well. And as I fixed the manuscript I realized he was always meant to be.
Cam does lipread in the novel, so let me be perfectly clear: lipreading is very hard and largely a guessing game. Only 20% of sounds are visible on the lips, the rest comes from inside the mouth. For most of us, lipreading is not a viable option for communication. But some deaf individuals do manage to lipread with decent accuracy. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of practice, which Cam was forced into as a child. So, yes, he does lipread more than most of us, but he also struggles with it.
I needed to get laid. At least, that’s what my amber cocktail made me think—correction, my third amber cocktail. If the first two hadn’t murdered my inhibition, the third managed to land the final blow.
Minus my usual filter, my eyes wandered around the room, hunting for a man to prey on. The bar was packed for a Tuesday night. Waves of chatter encompassed me, creating a low hum in my ears. But I didn’t care about the noise, not when a particular delicious specimen held me captivated, with hair the hue of rich caramel sticking out in different directions. He sat at the bar, hunched over his drink. A brunette with boobs practically spilling out of her top tried to speak to him, but he shook his head and tapped in front of his ear twice, before turning back to his drink.
She may have slinked back to her friend, but I bit my lip, taming down the grin threatening to split my face. Perfect. My fingers itched to communicate, or smooth down his messy hair.
Before I could make up my mind, his broad shoulders stiffened and he turned. My alcohol-induced bravado vanished, and I tried to wrench my gaze away. Except, I didn’t move. Not an inch. Total disconnect from cranial activity to body movement. Damn fruity drinks. A pair of brown eyes locked with mine. Crap. I knew better than to be rude and stare.
Quick, sign something, I willed my hands, anything.
About to attempt a feeble fingerspelled “Hi,” I was rendered incapacitated when he sent me a nipple-hardening, throw-out-the-vibrator kind of grin.
“Nica, what have you found?” my friend Lexie Edwards squealed, then let out a soft growl. “Yummy! Veronica, go get him.”
At the sound of my full name, I found the will to tear my eyes away from the man. I turned to Lexie, with every intention of telling her no and finding a cab home but “I need to get laid” popped out. And my inhibitions really were toast, because instead of warmth spreading over my cheeks, it spread in a decidedly lower area. Not able to look at Lexie, possibly ever again, I clunked my head down on the table.
“I’ve been telling you that for years. Does your body even know what to do anymore?” Lexie brushed my wild mass of hair off the table, probably littered with crumbs. Crumbs I could handle. Words, not so much.
I raised my head, wobbling like a bobble head. Lexie didn’t have the same problem—we’d had the same amount to drink and she didn’t appear affected at all. Her silky hair flowed to her shoulders like a hot fudge waterfall, not a strand out of place, unlike my unruly curls. It wasn’t fair, perfect hair and a tolerance for alcohol that resembled a frat brother.
“I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Yeah, you did.” Lexie glanced in the direction of Sexy Caramel Hair. “I think you should go for it.”
“You always think that.”
“Yeah, but this guy agrees with me.”
I'm so excited to share this cover with you all! A PERFECT MISTAKE, my forbidden romance/social worker romance, is a story near and dear to my heart. For over a decade I worked in social work, and while I never found myself in a situation like my main character, Nica, I enjoyed bringing a part of my former life to the page.
So, without further ado, here's the cover!
Don't you just love it?
Oh, wait, you want to see it? Okay...
Falling for the forbidden has never felt so right…
When social worker Nica Anders indulges in one night of sexual passion with delicious Deaf man Cam Thompson, the last thing she expects is to see him the next day while visiting her dying client. He’s Cassie’s grandson, and caregiver, the one treat she shouldn’t have tasted. Her job is now on the line, demanding she stay away, but their attraction builds like a raging inferno and Nica can’t help but get burned.
Cam Thompson’s life is a mess. He’s losing his grandmother, the one and only person who’s supported him his whole life, and her dying wish is for him to settle down with a good woman—specifically her social worker Nica Anders. Despite his family’s interference and Nica trying to hold tight to her ethics, Cam’s about to risk further heartbreak. He’s falling hard and fast. Only his grandmother isn’t the only matchmaker in the family, and someone will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
Steamy, touching, heart-warming. A much-needed #OwnVoices romance to go perfectly with that plate of chocolate brownies and glass of wine!
Pitch Wars is a mentor program where agented/published authors, editors, or industry interns choose a mentee to help them revise their novel and bring it to the next level for three months, ending with an Agent Showcase in February, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.
Hey Pitch Wars hopefuls, and other curious people! I’m thrilled to be back as an Adult Mentor for my fourth (!) year. There will be gifs below, so if you are not in a gif friendly environment, come back later to check me out! I’m flying solo this year, and while some of my wish list items might be the same, there will also be changes, so be sure to read on! I’ve had a soft spot for Pitch Wars since before I’ve had the honor of being a mentor, so let me say a few things first: this contest provides a wealth of information. Just by participating, by reading the mentor bios, by hanging out on the hashtag and making friends, you will learn so much. Trust me. I owe a lot of my success to participating in contests, and I’ve never been a mentee.
Before we get into what you really want to know (what’s on your wishlist!) let me tell you a bit about me: I write Contemporary Romance and have two NA books out with Avon, Signs of Attraction and Friend (With Benefits) Zone. I have an adult contemporary romance publishing in November with Lakewater Press, A PERFECT MISTAKE, and a rom-com coming next year with Entangled, MATZAH BALL SURPRISE. I’m represented by Lynnette Novak of The Seymour Agency. I also offer some editing services, including sensitivity reads.
Beyond the professional stuff, I live with my husband, son, and two cats in Massachusetts. By day I work in the family window treatment business, squeezing in my writing anywhere I can. I’m Hard of Hearing, and neuro-diverse, a big supporter of disabilities.
But, enough about me, you want to know what I’m looking for this year, right? You’ve probably guessed by now the main element I want: Romance! What does that mean? I want a novel that has a heavy dose of romance, complete with HEA (Happy Ever After) or HFN (Happy For Now) and all the swoony feels. Yes, there are some exceptions to that list, and I’ll get to those below. Your novel has to have an obvious romantic plot for me, so if the romance doesn’t naturally work into your query, I might not be the mentor for you.
I’m open to New Adult novels, but like you’ll see others mention, it will probably have to be aged up or aged down. I love NA, I write NA, but the market isn’t giving NA a clear home. So send your swoony NA my way, just be prepared to have a chat about how to alter things.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (or scrolled to, it’s cool if you have, just scroll back up at the end and read more, okay?), my specific wish list:
There are certain tropes and themes that I tend to shy away from as a reader. This by no means they are on my no list, I've read plenty of books with these areas and loved them, but it does mean that it needs to have other elements from my list in order to be a good match. With that said, I might not the best match for sports or horse related stories.
Things I am not a good match for:
So why should you choose me? I will praise you as much, if not more, than I will point out areas to fix. I’m a firm believer of the compliment sandwich. I’m a plot hunter. I love nothing more than to find plot issues and point them out. Developmental edits are kinda my jam. And I will go back and forth happily over issues until they shine! I love seeing how things can be made better and stronger. I’m a revision nut. Some of my best work has come from revisions and I’m not afraid to rip things apart and put them back together. I have a soft spot for kick-ass romance black moments. I may have also developed a fondness for torturing characters.
I communicate mostly via email or messaging due to my hearing loss. However, I’m happy to work with what form is best for you!
Some of my favorite stuff, to help give you an idea of what I like. I love to watch romantic comedies (While You Were Sleeping, Stardust, Penelope, Sweet Home Alabama) and a romantic plot or subplot has addicted me to more than one television series (Frasier, How I Met Your Mother, Coupling (British version, American doesn’t exist), Once Upon A Time).
My favorite author list ranges from those I’ve followed for a long time, to those I’ve recently discovered and can’t get enough of: Jennifer Crusie, Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts, Tracey Livesay, Naima Simone, Alishia Rai, Alyssa Cole. I’m currently devouring the Stiletto and Oxford series by Lauren Layne, around other books on my way too long TBR list!
I'm always happy to chat or answer questions if I can! You can post a comment below, find me on twitter, or check me out at my AMA on the Pitch Wars Pro Boards. Happy mentor hunting! And be sure to check below for other mentor wishlists! You can also find the main Pitch Wars blog post here.
Pitch Wars 2019 Adult Mentors' Wish Lists
If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice I’ve started to do an #ASLSignOfTheDay, and have been surprised by the amount of interest it has received! A big thanks to everyone who is supporting me, and coming back to learn more and more signs.
But, in light of all of that, especially since I speak in the videos, I want to make a few things clear: ASL (American Sign Language) is its own language, with a different grammatical structure. It is not a word for word translation of English. It's not an universal sign language, different countries have their own. You can learn vocabulary by watching my videos, but not how to use it correctly.
The best way to learn ASL is with a Deaf teacher! Because job discrimination is so high for those of us with hearing loss, it’s highly frowned upon for a hearing person to take that job, especially as a non-native signer (I’m Hard of Hearing and didn't start learning ASL until I was 18). If you want to learn, I suggest checking to see if there are any classes with Deaf teachers near you. I know from experience that hearing teachers don’t always teach the language correctly, and some people that I know who’ve taken those classes come out with some funky looking signs. We can spot you.
ASL has regional varieties! So note that I’m from New England, some of my signs will differ from those on the west coast, or in the south.
There are some signs I probably won’t be able to show in my videos, as ASL has this amazing thing called classifiers. Simply put, classifiers are ways of expressing thoughts in a 3D space. My fellow authors will understand this as the difference between show and tell. With a classifier I can show that something is just a little bit away, or a very long way away, all by using the same sign, just differing how it’s performed.
ASL uses a dominant hand. No, you don’t need to all make it your right. If you happen to be left handed, go ahead and use your left hand. Just be consistent. A common newbie mistake is to switch back and forth. I did it at first, but I’m also slightly ambidextrous, so I took some time to figure out which hand I wanted to be my dominant.
ASL involves facial expressions! You won’t catch it in many of my videos, as I’m showing a word not a sentence, but eyebrows and mouth positions can be part of the grammar.
Two handed signs can be done one handed! In the real world sometimes a person has an injury, or a disability, or happens to be holding something. In those cases the signs can be performed one handed, or use an arm or a nearby object as a prop. It’s pretty cool.
Because of the different grammatical structure, there are some English words that are not found in ASL (the is a prime example), and others are used in different context. Another cool thing? While ASL does have some gendered signs, it doesn't have pronouns like he or she. We essentially use they.
A few resources beyond my daily videos to help out those that want to learn:
Dictionaries: Handspeak, Signing Savvy, Sign ASL.
Try this link for some app suggestions! Or this link!
I also love Sign with Robert on giphy!
Questions? Ask below and I'll do my best to answer!
Publishing is an amazing world, full of luck, opportunity, and so much talent. Authors, agents, and editors share quite a bit about the process, and aspiring folks learn a lot through those facts. But publishing also has a lot of secrets, a lot items we don’t talk about.
Going through more than one agent is one of those topics.
In my newbie days, before I landed my first agent, I thought of the agent/author relationship as a magical and special unicorn that would last a real long time. And for some, they do. But once I “crossed over” so to speak, and got to interact with agented and published authors, I learned a very common fact somehow missed my attention: most authors have multiple agents over the course of their career.
The reasons are vast, but the ultimate bottom line is this: writing is a business. An agent/author relationship is a business one, and anyone who’s held a job knows that there are many reasons why they might leave that job: unhappy working conditions, better opportunities, business closes down, etc, etc.
I was thinking of all this as I landed my second agent, and thought about the fun blog post I had made when I landed my first, full of fresh eyed innocence and GIFS and excitement for the future. And I knew I could write a post again, my split with my first agent was amicable and I have nothing negative to write. And yet, I hesitated.
This is an area we don’t talk much about. We don’t talk about all the reasons why an author leaves an agent, or an agent drops an author. And I realized I wanted to collect some data, confidentially, so that the results wouldn’t link back to any author or agent.
So that is what I did. I collected data from 27 authors who have had more than one agent (or at least left their first agent). I don’t know who filled out the questionnaire, I can’t match up any responses. The goal being to create a safe space to share some details that previously might not be shared.
Below are the results:
Why did you split with your first (or any previous) agent(s)?
Four responders mentioned their agent quit the business, one had two agents quit, another had an agent retire. The rest are below:
I also asked if there was a specific event that triggered the separation. A few indicated there were, but weren’t comfortable in sharing. The rest are below:
How long did it take to land your next agent?
Did you find querying to be harder or easier the second (or third, etc) time around?
Any negative experiences, or warnings, you'd like to share?
Any positive experiences to share?
Anything else you'd like to add?
I want to thank all the authors who participated. To anyone out there who is finding themselves between agents, or unsure if their current match is the right one, I hope this helps give you some hope and guidance. This is all a normal part of the business.
As for me, I happily have my second agent and I'm excited to see where our relationship goes. My journey in between was on the longer side of those surveyed above, which is daunting and full of stress. But I knew more about what matched me as an author and what I needed and that helped me search for the right potential matches. And it was just as GIF worthy when the offer came around!
Ultimately, we each never know what the future will hold, but we all deserve to have a good agent/author relationship.
Over the holiday break I found myself at my local Barnes and Noble with money to spend. I happily made my way to the romance section, eager to pick up a book or two on my list.
I walked out with nothing. I first looked up an author whose series I’d been following. I found only one of her books, and I already owned that one. The little romance corner consisted mostly of a few very popular authors, and very little diversity.
I paused to wonder why and the answer came to me immediately: eBooks. Many romance readers predominately buy ebooks, so the buying trends change the dynamics, which leads to me finding a diminished selection.
It’s more than just romance. I headed over to the fiction area and still couldn’t easily find my diverse authors. Young Adult was fortunately different, and I was thrilled to see a “recommended by Angie Thomas” display featuring other authors of color. While my local store might be failing the adults on diversity, it did a better job on the young adults.
Still, I would have liked to see a better selection. Heck, a day later I was at a movies/music/books store that had new and second hand options and not only found a few of my diverse friends, but I also found two books, at a great deal, to purchase.
Whether this is a shifting of trends or not, it would be great to see more diverse romances given shelf space. Let readers find us! Sure, we all want to check out the latest from A list author, but we also need new voices to read. The same old same old left me walking out empty handed, knowing I could go to my TBR list and order a bunch of ebooks.
Perhaps we’ll see more change soon. Perhaps this is just the start of limited options with the digital phase of publishing growing stronger. Especially in romance.
I still dream of finding my books on the shelves, and my friends books on the shelves. I love a good paperback. But I, too, predominately buy digital. It’s easier on storage and my budget. I find perks to both methods of reading. Doesn’t change the desire to see many diverse titles in the fresh new book smelling store.
In 2018 I stopped giving myself reading goals, with a few small exceptions, because it created added stress that I didn’t need. Add to that a great deal of the books I read are unpublished, and therefore harder to count and track on a place like Goodreads, and it made more sense to simply keep track on my own.
So what did I make a goal out of? Not number of books or pages or anything like that. My goal was to have half the books I read be diverse stories. Ultimately I prefer diverse stories written by diverse authors, but that’s not always something easily visible. For my own notes I mark down when I know it to be ownvoices, beyond that I simply enjoy.
Why only half? The answer is simple: I already follow a lot of non-diverse authors and have those books in my collection, waiting to be read. I am also building my list of diverse authors to read and follow, because unless one is actively seeking out diverse voices, it’s too easy to overlook them.
So how did I do with that goal? Out of 29 books I read 15 diverse novels. Not bad. And out of those 15 I suspect 12 are ownvoices, or at least a diverse author writing diverse characters. I think it’s important to read when the ownvoice status is known, to help identify potential bad rep when it’s not. No one wants bad rep out there!
Now, 29 books is on the small side, I know. I did also read 6 full length books from my critique partners, beta reads, and contest submissions, along with who knows how many chapters and pages. The 29 is low for one simple reason: my mental health. It’s no secret I’ve been struggling with this, to the point where I’m pretty darn proud of those 29. For me, the hardest part of a book is the beginning. I need something to really grab me and pull me in. There are two I did not finish on my list, but the other 27 I enjoyed quite thoroughly, and those special words were a great help in lifting me out of my funk.
I’m not going to list all of the books I read, but I will mention my favorites, let me see how long this list becomes:
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Hard Pursuit by Sheryl Nantus
Reality Wedding by Laura Heffernan
Toxic Desire and Captive Desire by Robin Lovett
A Lady’s Honor by A.S. Fenichel
Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward
Forbidden Hearts Series by Alisha Rai
Only For A Night and Only For Your Touch by Naima Simone
Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
R is for Rebel by Megan Mulry
Acting on Impulse and Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa
A Princess in Theory and a Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Scoring the Player’s Baby and Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone
West Coast Love by Tif Marcelo
Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
That “short” list of favorites turned out to be 22 out of those 29 books read, and 27 finished. I’m not able to pick just one favorite, don’t make me! Quite a few of those authors are ones I’ve read before and keep going back for more of their lovely words. And, writer bonus, I know a few of them! It’s a special writerly honor to know people with such talent, and extra special when gobbling up their words.
In case it’s not obvious, I highly recommend those authors and books above. Many of them are diverse, so check them out!
For 2019 I only have two small goals: continue ensuring diverse authors are in my list, and maybe read 30+ if I’m able. That’s it. Life comes with enough stressors, reading should not be one of them. Heck, I actually let go of the diverse goal at one point this year, but since I make a point of out searching for these voices, I still got them in without trying.
I hope your own 2018 read list contains many wonderful treasures in them. And may 2019 bring more!
The end of the year is a time for reflection. Writers tend to compile a list of books read and share some of the highlights and favorites. I hope to do that in a week or so. For now I want to focus on something different, something I don’t talk about often in my personal life but end up sharing a bit in my writer life for the sake of awareness and de-stigmatization: my mental health.
For the past few years I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety, going on and off medication. I’m currently in an okay place. Not perfect but I’m managing with the help of magnesium and inositol and I plan to discuss my anxiety at my next doctor visit.
Why mention this now? The answer is partly in the above: I don’t know how long I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. I’m sure it’s been a year, or two. But it could be three.
I also have no clue when things turned around.
I want to say it was some time this year, but I’m not sure. It could have been this summer. Or was it last? Perhaps the fact that I can’t answer this question means I’m struggling more than I think. I don’t know. When I look back beyond the past few months they grow fuzzy. Time is speeding by, my growing son reminds me of this daily, and the days blend together. The when and the where and the how long gets lost somewhere along the way.
Good things have happened this year. I think. I had to look up dates to verify that my latest book contract came this year. And I am currently in the editing cave working hard on getting this novel ready for publication! Which is great and wonderful and extremely daunting. That’s the highs and lows of writing. And I’m able to handle it. The joy of my words is not robbed from me, and I’m even able to work a little on the parts of writing that is hardest on my mental health: the marketing side.
Without time stamps I can’t tell you for sure what’s happened this year vs last, with the exception of the last few months and more noteworthy moments. It’s been a long year. And the political environment doesn’t help, and I know it’s been a very long year for many of us, amidst any joys and sorrows.
I’m grateful to be feeling better. Not perfect, not yet, but better. Recovery while life continues, the world is on fire, the family needs you, jobs, ambitions, everything, is increasingly difficult.
I want to take a few moments during the holidays to breathe and enjoy my family. But as always, the holidays breeze past in a flash. Chanukah is over, Christmas is almost here, and there is still so much left to be done in 2018. Before I know it the New Year will be here and I’ll be back to trying to figure out what things happened when, as time continues to speed past and everything blurs together.
This did not begin on such a melancholy note, and yet it appears to be the way things grew. And I’m okay with that. This time of year has so much pressure to be happy and enjoy, but everything happens on top of our daily requirements and all that joy is squeezed between moments of panic and chaos. And still those moments are precious. I haven’t been up to baking lately, not that I ever was much of a baker to begin with. But I’ve told my son we should make cookies on Friday and I’m keeping it in my mind so I can be prepared to do so with him.
Baby steps. Small moments. Time will continue to fly past. Life demands won’t quit. Mental health may be lurking in the shadows, trying to let bygones be bygones.
What’s the saying? Life is what happens when you were busy making other plans. I think that is definitely true.
I do hope this year has been good to you, my readers. And I hope to get the timeline of my life aligned once again. I do know my creative juices are flowing and I have four books desperate for my attention, and two others that deserve it. So, yes, next year is almost here. And I think it will be a good one. I think, I’m not positive but I think, I will be starting it out on a healthier mental state. And that is reason to celebrate.
Over the weekend my husband and I watched The Christmas Chronicles. Husband had started it earlier and thought it to be a typical cliché Christmas movie, but Kurt Russell added a nice new spin to it. So we settled down to watch.
And I eventually stopped watching after the movie inadvertently (or intentionally) insulted me.
Let’s start with the basics here, because just about every Christmas movie ever is guilty of this: the outside view of the street on Christmas Eve. Every single house will be decorated for the holiday, sans the one house where the Christmas spirit is lacking. While I’m sure there are neighborhoods similar to this, let’s call out the elephant in the room:
Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas!
On a normal street there is bound to be a house or two that doesn’t celebrate, or only puts up a reef, or will be going to family so doesn’t bother putting up decorations. But, this is a Christmas movie, so we go for the full on cheer, and by default disrespect every non Christmas celebrating person out there.
But, this is normal, we’ve come to accept this from Christmas movies (not holiday, let’s be perfectly clear because no other holidays exist, unless you’re watching Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, so holiday movies doesn’t apply). So let’s jump to the next issue:
Christmas must be saved or everyone will suffer!
Here’s a wild thought, how about saving Christmas for those that celebrate it? Because while I may celebrate Christmas with my husband as an adult, Santa never made a dent on my holiday celebrations as a child. (Except for that feeling of being small and insignificant because my holiday didn’t matter.) My parents purchased my Chanukah gifts, end of story.
Back to this movie. At one point, while the kids are starting to work together with Santa to save the day, he mentions how bad things happen when Christmas is ruined. For example, the dark ages.
Hold up a moment! Let’s ignore the fact that we’re blaming the dark ages on Santa having a bad day. We’re now saying that no other religions matter. That no one who doesn’t celebrate Christmas matters.
I will be the first to admit that the majority of people, at least in my country, celebrate Christmas. But there are people like me that celebrate Chanukah. There are people who celebrate Kwanza, or the Chinese New Year, or nothing at all. Or even another holiday that I’m not immediately thinking of, and my apologies for excluding you as I know it sucks to be excluded. These Christmas movies forget about us. Ignore us. And in the case of The Christmas Chronicles—insult our existence.
Just once I’d like to see a movie incorporate us into their cheer. Heck, Santa’s having a bad day, why not have a bunch of non-Christmas celebrators save the day? Because the rest of you are already celebrating or rushing around for last minutes gifts and treats. We’re the ones with not much to do.
This is why every year I say I’m going to write a Chanukah story. This is why this year I happen to have a solid concept outlined and even though I won’t have the chance to work on it for a few months, I’m going to work on it. And if I wrote screenplays, you can bet I’d be working on one of those. But I also know that regardless of the validity of my complaints, my ability to sell this novel will be challenging. Because the majority celebrates Christmas, to the point where they don’t see those of us who don’t. To the point where heaven forbid we say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
I digress. This movie insulted me and I started playing with my phone rather than watching, because the end all of Christmas dominating our world left the taste of bile in my mouth. To be clear, the movie did seem like a cute, cliché, typical Christmas movie, and Kurt Russell did seem to have a fun time in this role. But the wording, the acknowledgement, needed a lot of work.
I exist. And even though I now celebrate both, even though my kid celebrates both, he still is taken aback by how little Chanukah is represented.
Write your Christmas books and movies, please don’t stop. But keep in mind the rest of us and maybe toss us a little holiday cheer while you are at it. Because while you all are ringing bells and caroling and hanging lights, we sit in the dark corner feeling small, ignored and forgotten.
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