Archive for January, 2013

Dealing with Rejection

It finally happened. I can make up all sorts of plausible excuses for why it happened. I can imagine all sorts of circumstances that have nothing to do with me.

None of that changes the bold faced truth. At my last author appearance, no one showed up. Nobody. My husband and I sat in an empty room for fifteen minutes, switching our lines of site between the clock and the front door. After twenty, I started to cry. We packed up and left.

I suppose breaking down and bawling like a big baby was unprofessional of me, but it’s cheaper than getting hammered and being hung over the next morning.

Regardless, every artist must deal with rejection because it’s inevitable. It’s also necessary. I certainly don’t like that it’s necessary. I hate criticism. I take my work very personally. My skin is translucently thin (literally and figuratively, but let’s stay on topic). Rejection is necessary because you can’t learn if you don’t fail.

Life has kicked me in the teeth on several occasions. When it does I cry. I grieve. I have my little pity party. I swear and curse people’s names. I lament the ignorance of the rest of the world to my creative genius (“stupid bastards”). The one thing I cannot allow, however, is debilitation.

It is very tempting to take rejection as some sort of cosmic sign that I am suppose to stop what I’m doing before I get rejected again. There are so many other, easier things that I could do with my life. I wouldn’t have to expose myself to criticism, or worse, indifference.

That’s not who I am. I’m the creative weirdo with alternative universes running through my head at any given moment. I’m the smut peddler who has the audacity to write a mystery series in which my characters swear and get to have sex. I’m the naive idealist that believes deep down in my soul that my self expression is meant to be shared with the world.

I’m a writer. Deal with it.

Here’s a scary thought…


Did Hell freeze over or is it just winter in Wisconsin?

Welcome to the Frozen Hell Poll.

No, I’m not calling it that because it’s winter in NW Wisconsin (though it would be fitting). This poll is for you to use your imagination.

Imagine if Dairyland Murders was made into a TV Mini series. I’m thinking one two-hour episode for each of the first three books. That’s three episodes in one week, maybe for Halloween or a creepy Valentine’s Week, or a sexy-but-bloody Christmas (severed head with your egg nog, anyone?)

I say use your imagination because the odds of such a thing actually happening are super model slim. Even if hell did freeze over just for me, and I did land a mini series for Dairyland Murders, I would have very little involvement in the process (the control freak in me is cringing painfully). Ask this author, if you don’t believe me.

So let’s have fun with this. What if you and I had COMPLETE control over making Dairyland Murders into a mini series? What if we were the production company with the obscene budget and clout to pitch our “fabulous” story to the Hollywood powers that be?

Each week I’ll toss out a survey question, and you decide with your votes what the decision will be.

Let’s start with a Network:

Which Network for the Dairyland Murders Mini Series?

  • AMC: Writers get lots of wiggle room. (75%, 3 Votes)
  • Netflix: Think outside the TV box (25%, 1 Votes)
  • HBO: Dream Big! (0%, 0 Votes)
  • LIfetime: Don't forget the romance. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • CBS: Simply the best (without cable) (0%, 0 Votes)
  • None of the above: place yourpicks in comments (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Fear of Expectation

I always do this.  I procrastinate trying something new because I know it can’t be perfect the first time out, and I’m not good at accepting my own mistakes. I really admire the people who can just bravely face the world with ignorant confidence and go for it. If they don’t have figurative balls the size of car tires, they sure act like they do. {My apologies to my husband and the rest of the blogosphere for using “balls” in my work again. It must be a compulsion.}

I go back to the concept of expectation. It’s a big word for a reason.  If you want to truly identify what separates the rich from the poor, you need look no further than that four syllable “e” word. {The middle class is extinct. People only say they are middle class to make themselves feel better. The middle class died out with leaded gasoline and cigarette commercials.}

In a very generalized nutshell, rich people expect their kids to succeed. Poor people expect their kids to survive. When those expectations are not met, there are dire social consequences. Furthermore, when those expectations are exceeded, there are also dire social consequences.

I grew up poor. My parents are loving, decent people who have always worked hard and done what was necessary to survive. At a young age it was made very clear to me what their expectations were. Get through high school without going to jail or winding up pregnant. That was it. After eighteen, I was the state’s problem. And, believe it or not, where I came from, that was considered a high expectation. I’m pretty sure they had no freakin’ clue what to do with me, when at age twelve I informed them that I planned on going to college.

I only made it worse when I said I was going to art school. “Why don’t you be a nurse or a teacher? They make lots of money.” These were the only female role models in my small community that my parents could relate to. But at the time most of the teachers seemed mean, and since I normally cried at the sight of my own blood, a medical career didn’t sound like a good idea either. Plus, when I was about seven, it became evident that I could draw. Being the validation junkie that I am, I clung to that positive reinforcement with every fiber of my being.

What I failed to recognize though, was that the combination of  “creative and poor” culminated into “weird”. I was social suicide, no matter the economic class. I did manage to find a few other “weird” friends, and we forged alliances that persist to this day. But try as I might, “uppity trailer trash” still clings to my psyche like persistent skunk musk. It’s downright debilitating, especially if there’s a risk of failure and embarrassment.

There have been numerous times throughout my life when I wished to God that I could live within others expectations of me. Life would have been so much easier, but I would have been miserable. Often, I was miserable anyway, but at least I was honest. Living a false life to make others more comfortable would have been so much worse.

By the way, this entire neurotic gripe is brought to you because I’m about to launch a Facebook fan page. It’ll be a first for me, and I’ll probably make mistakes, so please, for the love of God, lower your expectations (eek!).