What’s in a name?

Bronte Pat Rice checking in (actually, that’s Charlotte Bronte, but since we’re talking about pseudonyms today…), if –-in the spirit of retrograde—I don’t forget to sign in and post this.

Jaclyn Laurin asks: 

"I’m fascinated with pseudonyms. The why (were you embarrassed to use your real one?), where (did you get the inspiration for your pen name?), how (did it come about?), who (gave you the idea for it?)."

Jaclyn wins her choice of my books because I didn’t dare get into a historical opinion piece on our political process to go with President’s Day! Presidents_day

I don’t currently use a pseudonym.  I tried though!  I sold my first book the week I started work for an accounting company owned in part by a couple of Baptist deacons.  This being a very small town, I was sure my sexy historical would get me fired before I even started.  So once I picked myself up off the floor after the editor’s call (I’d been trying to find a job and/or sell a book for two years, so some planet was in the right house that week!), I wrote a letter explaining that I needed to use a pseudonym.  In the days before instant e-mail responses, we quickly became accustomed to not hearing from NYC unless it was important to them. Pseudonyms apparently didn’t fall under my editor’s radar, or the shortness of my name made it irresistible. The next thing I knew, I was looking at galleys with “Pat Rice” on them, and had to confess all before the book hit the stands. The Baptist deacons took it in good stride.  They were men. They didn’t read books. Wreaked havoc with the life of my teenagers though!

Magicman_4 Now I’m branded with the Patricia Rice label and my readers expect a certain kind of book when they see my name. (You can usually tell how well known an author is by the size of her name on the cover!)  A lot of readers recognize the label, so giving up this recognition would have to be a big decision.  Over the years, I’ve toyed with the idea since I’ve always found “Patricia” boring and unoriginal (I’m quite convinced 25% of my generation has the name), and “Rice” has been rather overused in the book market.

Currently, I’m toying with a few books that really don’t fit the Patricia Rice brand label, and I’m again contemplating finding a really sexy, exciting name, one that better fits my perceived image. <G>  This is not precisely a new marketing scheme. Charles Dodgson wrote his academic papers on logic under his real name, and wrote his Alice books under Lewis Carroll.  Agatha Christie wrote romances under Mary Westmacott.  And apparently, over the years, some writers were so prolific that they took pen names so their publishers didn’t know how many books they were writing! 

So, in the spirit of creativity, or procrastination, whichever, I used numerology to pick out the letters I want in my new name, and because it would be fun to sell these books to more than women, I decided I wanted a fairly androgynous nom de plume. (Shades of the Brontes, who did the same! Men apparently don’t take a writer seriously unless they have male names.) A lot of people call upon their maiden names or family names, but I’m stuck with a family that dates back to Adam and Eve and prides itself on family names like Hasbrouck and worse.  So not going there.  I want distinctive, but Hasbrouck is in a class by itself.  Besides, it’s too long. Book jackets look better with short names. I tried to persuade my agent that a one word name would do it, but she wasn’t buying it. 
She did, however, grasp what I was after and came up with a great name that I will reveal should I ever finish these books. Ha. That may happen in the next millennium.  But when it does, I’ll be prepared! Of course, given that I’m lucky to remember my real name, it could get interesting remembering who I am at a booksigning.  Maybe I better rethink this.

All right, ‘fess up, what would the rest of you call yourselves if you could choose any name you wanted? And why?

96 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Good Morning Wench Pat!
    Your new books sound soooo exciting. I can’t wait!
    I would like to publish under a pseudonym for two reasons. One is the same reason as you cited. (certainly can relate to the whole Baptist thing) The other is due to my actual name. My Christian name is decidedly Spanish. (My father named me after Christopher Columbus’s ship The Nina because it was the only one that made it back to harbor) My surname is German. Very German. So German that there’s a somewhat infamous General who served under Hitler with the same last name. (although the spelling has altered slightly over the generations) Such and eclectic mix of names, IMHO doesn’t belong on a paranormal romance set in 19c England.
    As for names, I prefer ones with an odd number of syllables. I also like it when the name can be lengthened or shortened (like yours (Pat or Patricia) and Mary Jo’s (Mary Jo or MJ)) Leaves room for a somewhat new identity without loosing the last name (by which books tend to be sorted and thus fans look for them that way)
    I do have a pseudonym picked out. One form is very feminine. The other shorter form sounds rather male. (I’d like to use that for my EHF, if I can ever find my way back to it through my current MIP)
    The question is, will my as-yet-to-be-discovered publisher go for the pseudonym I have in mind? Or will s/he go for one at all? Don’t know. How common is it for publishers to allow pseudonyms? Or should an unpub just present her work under a pseudonym and leave her real name out of it?
    Nina

    Reply
  2. Good Morning Wench Pat!
    Your new books sound soooo exciting. I can’t wait!
    I would like to publish under a pseudonym for two reasons. One is the same reason as you cited. (certainly can relate to the whole Baptist thing) The other is due to my actual name. My Christian name is decidedly Spanish. (My father named me after Christopher Columbus’s ship The Nina because it was the only one that made it back to harbor) My surname is German. Very German. So German that there’s a somewhat infamous General who served under Hitler with the same last name. (although the spelling has altered slightly over the generations) Such and eclectic mix of names, IMHO doesn’t belong on a paranormal romance set in 19c England.
    As for names, I prefer ones with an odd number of syllables. I also like it when the name can be lengthened or shortened (like yours (Pat or Patricia) and Mary Jo’s (Mary Jo or MJ)) Leaves room for a somewhat new identity without loosing the last name (by which books tend to be sorted and thus fans look for them that way)
    I do have a pseudonym picked out. One form is very feminine. The other shorter form sounds rather male. (I’d like to use that for my EHF, if I can ever find my way back to it through my current MIP)
    The question is, will my as-yet-to-be-discovered publisher go for the pseudonym I have in mind? Or will s/he go for one at all? Don’t know. How common is it for publishers to allow pseudonyms? Or should an unpub just present her work under a pseudonym and leave her real name out of it?
    Nina

    Reply
  3. Good Morning Wench Pat!
    Your new books sound soooo exciting. I can’t wait!
    I would like to publish under a pseudonym for two reasons. One is the same reason as you cited. (certainly can relate to the whole Baptist thing) The other is due to my actual name. My Christian name is decidedly Spanish. (My father named me after Christopher Columbus’s ship The Nina because it was the only one that made it back to harbor) My surname is German. Very German. So German that there’s a somewhat infamous General who served under Hitler with the same last name. (although the spelling has altered slightly over the generations) Such and eclectic mix of names, IMHO doesn’t belong on a paranormal romance set in 19c England.
    As for names, I prefer ones with an odd number of syllables. I also like it when the name can be lengthened or shortened (like yours (Pat or Patricia) and Mary Jo’s (Mary Jo or MJ)) Leaves room for a somewhat new identity without loosing the last name (by which books tend to be sorted and thus fans look for them that way)
    I do have a pseudonym picked out. One form is very feminine. The other shorter form sounds rather male. (I’d like to use that for my EHF, if I can ever find my way back to it through my current MIP)
    The question is, will my as-yet-to-be-discovered publisher go for the pseudonym I have in mind? Or will s/he go for one at all? Don’t know. How common is it for publishers to allow pseudonyms? Or should an unpub just present her work under a pseudonym and leave her real name out of it?
    Nina

    Reply
  4. Good Morning Wench Pat!
    Your new books sound soooo exciting. I can’t wait!
    I would like to publish under a pseudonym for two reasons. One is the same reason as you cited. (certainly can relate to the whole Baptist thing) The other is due to my actual name. My Christian name is decidedly Spanish. (My father named me after Christopher Columbus’s ship The Nina because it was the only one that made it back to harbor) My surname is German. Very German. So German that there’s a somewhat infamous General who served under Hitler with the same last name. (although the spelling has altered slightly over the generations) Such and eclectic mix of names, IMHO doesn’t belong on a paranormal romance set in 19c England.
    As for names, I prefer ones with an odd number of syllables. I also like it when the name can be lengthened or shortened (like yours (Pat or Patricia) and Mary Jo’s (Mary Jo or MJ)) Leaves room for a somewhat new identity without loosing the last name (by which books tend to be sorted and thus fans look for them that way)
    I do have a pseudonym picked out. One form is very feminine. The other shorter form sounds rather male. (I’d like to use that for my EHF, if I can ever find my way back to it through my current MIP)
    The question is, will my as-yet-to-be-discovered publisher go for the pseudonym I have in mind? Or will s/he go for one at all? Don’t know. How common is it for publishers to allow pseudonyms? Or should an unpub just present her work under a pseudonym and leave her real name out of it?
    Nina

    Reply
  5. I guess having a pseudonym would be kind of like having an “evil twin” to blame if someone doesn’t like the work. It’s easier to take criticism with aplomb if it’s “her” work; it doesn’t feel so personal. I noticed the same thing when in high school about competing in music contests. When I played the flute I could put the instrument away in the case and be very philosophical about doing poorly. If I was singing and the judges were critical it felt like a slap in the face.
    BTW, Patricia is fairly common, but I’m 54 and just about everyone in my age group is named Kathy (or a variety of it) Susan, Debbie, or Linda.
    If I were choosing a pseudonym, I’d go for Catie (close to my real name so that I’d know if someone was trying to talk to me) and my grandmother’s maiden name, Crosby. It has an alliterative assonance. But since I have absolutely no ability to write fiction, that’s a pipe dream.

    Reply
  6. I guess having a pseudonym would be kind of like having an “evil twin” to blame if someone doesn’t like the work. It’s easier to take criticism with aplomb if it’s “her” work; it doesn’t feel so personal. I noticed the same thing when in high school about competing in music contests. When I played the flute I could put the instrument away in the case and be very philosophical about doing poorly. If I was singing and the judges were critical it felt like a slap in the face.
    BTW, Patricia is fairly common, but I’m 54 and just about everyone in my age group is named Kathy (or a variety of it) Susan, Debbie, or Linda.
    If I were choosing a pseudonym, I’d go for Catie (close to my real name so that I’d know if someone was trying to talk to me) and my grandmother’s maiden name, Crosby. It has an alliterative assonance. But since I have absolutely no ability to write fiction, that’s a pipe dream.

    Reply
  7. I guess having a pseudonym would be kind of like having an “evil twin” to blame if someone doesn’t like the work. It’s easier to take criticism with aplomb if it’s “her” work; it doesn’t feel so personal. I noticed the same thing when in high school about competing in music contests. When I played the flute I could put the instrument away in the case and be very philosophical about doing poorly. If I was singing and the judges were critical it felt like a slap in the face.
    BTW, Patricia is fairly common, but I’m 54 and just about everyone in my age group is named Kathy (or a variety of it) Susan, Debbie, or Linda.
    If I were choosing a pseudonym, I’d go for Catie (close to my real name so that I’d know if someone was trying to talk to me) and my grandmother’s maiden name, Crosby. It has an alliterative assonance. But since I have absolutely no ability to write fiction, that’s a pipe dream.

    Reply
  8. I guess having a pseudonym would be kind of like having an “evil twin” to blame if someone doesn’t like the work. It’s easier to take criticism with aplomb if it’s “her” work; it doesn’t feel so personal. I noticed the same thing when in high school about competing in music contests. When I played the flute I could put the instrument away in the case and be very philosophical about doing poorly. If I was singing and the judges were critical it felt like a slap in the face.
    BTW, Patricia is fairly common, but I’m 54 and just about everyone in my age group is named Kathy (or a variety of it) Susan, Debbie, or Linda.
    If I were choosing a pseudonym, I’d go for Catie (close to my real name so that I’d know if someone was trying to talk to me) and my grandmother’s maiden name, Crosby. It has an alliterative assonance. But since I have absolutely no ability to write fiction, that’s a pipe dream.

    Reply
  9. Good post, Pat. But if you won’t ‘fess up about the new psuedonym, can you at least reveal what you were planning for the cover of that first book? *g*
    I chose to write as an “evil twin” because: 1) my children were little; 3) at that time, Harlequin required it; 3) because, as Kathy noted, I fell into the generation of Kathys, Susans, Debbies, and Lindas. (In my high school english class of 20 kids, there were SIX Susans!)
    I also did it because in that ancient time, it was somehow expected for romance writers to have more flowery names. My psuedonym is hardly over the top (both Miranda and Jarrett are family names), but it has a lot more gushy-gusto than Susan Scott.
    Still, now that I’m back to my real name SHS, it feels weirdly right. Full circle, indeed. *g*

    Reply
  10. Good post, Pat. But if you won’t ‘fess up about the new psuedonym, can you at least reveal what you were planning for the cover of that first book? *g*
    I chose to write as an “evil twin” because: 1) my children were little; 3) at that time, Harlequin required it; 3) because, as Kathy noted, I fell into the generation of Kathys, Susans, Debbies, and Lindas. (In my high school english class of 20 kids, there were SIX Susans!)
    I also did it because in that ancient time, it was somehow expected for romance writers to have more flowery names. My psuedonym is hardly over the top (both Miranda and Jarrett are family names), but it has a lot more gushy-gusto than Susan Scott.
    Still, now that I’m back to my real name SHS, it feels weirdly right. Full circle, indeed. *g*

    Reply
  11. Good post, Pat. But if you won’t ‘fess up about the new psuedonym, can you at least reveal what you were planning for the cover of that first book? *g*
    I chose to write as an “evil twin” because: 1) my children were little; 3) at that time, Harlequin required it; 3) because, as Kathy noted, I fell into the generation of Kathys, Susans, Debbies, and Lindas. (In my high school english class of 20 kids, there were SIX Susans!)
    I also did it because in that ancient time, it was somehow expected for romance writers to have more flowery names. My psuedonym is hardly over the top (both Miranda and Jarrett are family names), but it has a lot more gushy-gusto than Susan Scott.
    Still, now that I’m back to my real name SHS, it feels weirdly right. Full circle, indeed. *g*

    Reply
  12. Good post, Pat. But if you won’t ‘fess up about the new psuedonym, can you at least reveal what you were planning for the cover of that first book? *g*
    I chose to write as an “evil twin” because: 1) my children were little; 3) at that time, Harlequin required it; 3) because, as Kathy noted, I fell into the generation of Kathys, Susans, Debbies, and Lindas. (In my high school english class of 20 kids, there were SIX Susans!)
    I also did it because in that ancient time, it was somehow expected for romance writers to have more flowery names. My psuedonym is hardly over the top (both Miranda and Jarrett are family names), but it has a lot more gushy-gusto than Susan Scott.
    Still, now that I’m back to my real name SHS, it feels weirdly right. Full circle, indeed. *g*

    Reply
  13. I’m keeping my name. I’ve explained before that if I ever get published, I’d be shelved near Nora Roberts. You can’t go wrong there! But if I were to attempt something “naughtier” than what I’m working on now, I might choose another name.
    But we had such trouble naming our four kids, I’d probably never figure out what to call myself!

    Reply
  14. I’m keeping my name. I’ve explained before that if I ever get published, I’d be shelved near Nora Roberts. You can’t go wrong there! But if I were to attempt something “naughtier” than what I’m working on now, I might choose another name.
    But we had such trouble naming our four kids, I’d probably never figure out what to call myself!

    Reply
  15. I’m keeping my name. I’ve explained before that if I ever get published, I’d be shelved near Nora Roberts. You can’t go wrong there! But if I were to attempt something “naughtier” than what I’m working on now, I might choose another name.
    But we had such trouble naming our four kids, I’d probably never figure out what to call myself!

    Reply
  16. I’m keeping my name. I’ve explained before that if I ever get published, I’d be shelved near Nora Roberts. You can’t go wrong there! But if I were to attempt something “naughtier” than what I’m working on now, I might choose another name.
    But we had such trouble naming our four kids, I’d probably never figure out what to call myself!

    Reply
  17. When I sold my first book, I wanted to use a pseudonym simply because I’m a behind the curtain sort of person. I wanted to use Justine Kingsley. Kingsley is a family name, and I thought Justine was rather cool and Regency.
    Both my agent and editor ganged up to get me to use my real name. 🙂 It’s not too long, Putney is English (good for Regency)–and when I found out that there could be legal complications with a pseudonym, I was persuaded.
    Now I’m glad–some of my friends use pseudonyms, and my mind blanks when I have to remember what to call them!
    Mary Jo (not Justine)

    Reply
  18. When I sold my first book, I wanted to use a pseudonym simply because I’m a behind the curtain sort of person. I wanted to use Justine Kingsley. Kingsley is a family name, and I thought Justine was rather cool and Regency.
    Both my agent and editor ganged up to get me to use my real name. 🙂 It’s not too long, Putney is English (good for Regency)–and when I found out that there could be legal complications with a pseudonym, I was persuaded.
    Now I’m glad–some of my friends use pseudonyms, and my mind blanks when I have to remember what to call them!
    Mary Jo (not Justine)

    Reply
  19. When I sold my first book, I wanted to use a pseudonym simply because I’m a behind the curtain sort of person. I wanted to use Justine Kingsley. Kingsley is a family name, and I thought Justine was rather cool and Regency.
    Both my agent and editor ganged up to get me to use my real name. 🙂 It’s not too long, Putney is English (good for Regency)–and when I found out that there could be legal complications with a pseudonym, I was persuaded.
    Now I’m glad–some of my friends use pseudonyms, and my mind blanks when I have to remember what to call them!
    Mary Jo (not Justine)

    Reply
  20. When I sold my first book, I wanted to use a pseudonym simply because I’m a behind the curtain sort of person. I wanted to use Justine Kingsley. Kingsley is a family name, and I thought Justine was rather cool and Regency.
    Both my agent and editor ganged up to get me to use my real name. 🙂 It’s not too long, Putney is English (good for Regency)–and when I found out that there could be legal complications with a pseudonym, I was persuaded.
    Now I’m glad–some of my friends use pseudonyms, and my mind blanks when I have to remember what to call them!
    Mary Jo (not Justine)

    Reply
  21. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I’ll use a pseudonym or not. On the one hand, I’d love to have my actual name on book covers, and both my married name (Wilbanks) and maiden name (Stone) are easy to spell and pronounce. OTOH, they’re deep in the back of the alphabet, and I’ve never been all that crazy about my first name, though I like the sound of my married name and have a lot of family pride attached to Stone.
    So I go back and forth. Maybe there’s some benefit to my scattered genre interests after all–if I end up writing 3-4 different genres, I can be Susan Wilbanks, Susan Stone, and a pen name or two in the bargain!

    Reply
  22. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I’ll use a pseudonym or not. On the one hand, I’d love to have my actual name on book covers, and both my married name (Wilbanks) and maiden name (Stone) are easy to spell and pronounce. OTOH, they’re deep in the back of the alphabet, and I’ve never been all that crazy about my first name, though I like the sound of my married name and have a lot of family pride attached to Stone.
    So I go back and forth. Maybe there’s some benefit to my scattered genre interests after all–if I end up writing 3-4 different genres, I can be Susan Wilbanks, Susan Stone, and a pen name or two in the bargain!

    Reply
  23. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I’ll use a pseudonym or not. On the one hand, I’d love to have my actual name on book covers, and both my married name (Wilbanks) and maiden name (Stone) are easy to spell and pronounce. OTOH, they’re deep in the back of the alphabet, and I’ve never been all that crazy about my first name, though I like the sound of my married name and have a lot of family pride attached to Stone.
    So I go back and forth. Maybe there’s some benefit to my scattered genre interests after all–if I end up writing 3-4 different genres, I can be Susan Wilbanks, Susan Stone, and a pen name or two in the bargain!

    Reply
  24. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I’ll use a pseudonym or not. On the one hand, I’d love to have my actual name on book covers, and both my married name (Wilbanks) and maiden name (Stone) are easy to spell and pronounce. OTOH, they’re deep in the back of the alphabet, and I’ve never been all that crazy about my first name, though I like the sound of my married name and have a lot of family pride attached to Stone.
    So I go back and forth. Maybe there’s some benefit to my scattered genre interests after all–if I end up writing 3-4 different genres, I can be Susan Wilbanks, Susan Stone, and a pen name or two in the bargain!

    Reply
  25. Mary Jo Putney = I do like your name… Don’t know why but I do like to say it !!!! And when I saw it on a front cover (But it’s also the case for Miranda Jarrett / Edith Layton / Susan King), I’ll buy it without any looking on excerpts or back blurbs !!!! Silly, isn’t it ? Well, I’m not sure it’s so silly just because I wasn’t deceived very often !!!!
    But I don’t like much when authors have different pen names, it’s a little bit confusing : Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle… Wow, too much !!!! Even if each one is for a different writting style, it still confusing.
    I just discover that Sarah Gabriel is also Susan King when I first came to this blog some weeks ago !!!!

    Reply
  26. Mary Jo Putney = I do like your name… Don’t know why but I do like to say it !!!! And when I saw it on a front cover (But it’s also the case for Miranda Jarrett / Edith Layton / Susan King), I’ll buy it without any looking on excerpts or back blurbs !!!! Silly, isn’t it ? Well, I’m not sure it’s so silly just because I wasn’t deceived very often !!!!
    But I don’t like much when authors have different pen names, it’s a little bit confusing : Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle… Wow, too much !!!! Even if each one is for a different writting style, it still confusing.
    I just discover that Sarah Gabriel is also Susan King when I first came to this blog some weeks ago !!!!

    Reply
  27. Mary Jo Putney = I do like your name… Don’t know why but I do like to say it !!!! And when I saw it on a front cover (But it’s also the case for Miranda Jarrett / Edith Layton / Susan King), I’ll buy it without any looking on excerpts or back blurbs !!!! Silly, isn’t it ? Well, I’m not sure it’s so silly just because I wasn’t deceived very often !!!!
    But I don’t like much when authors have different pen names, it’s a little bit confusing : Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle… Wow, too much !!!! Even if each one is for a different writting style, it still confusing.
    I just discover that Sarah Gabriel is also Susan King when I first came to this blog some weeks ago !!!!

    Reply
  28. Mary Jo Putney = I do like your name… Don’t know why but I do like to say it !!!! And when I saw it on a front cover (But it’s also the case for Miranda Jarrett / Edith Layton / Susan King), I’ll buy it without any looking on excerpts or back blurbs !!!! Silly, isn’t it ? Well, I’m not sure it’s so silly just because I wasn’t deceived very often !!!!
    But I don’t like much when authors have different pen names, it’s a little bit confusing : Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle… Wow, too much !!!! Even if each one is for a different writting style, it still confusing.
    I just discover that Sarah Gabriel is also Susan King when I first came to this blog some weeks ago !!!!

    Reply
  29. Nina, I suspect agents and publishers prefer to be the judge of when we use pseudonyms, but if your name (I love Nina, btw!) has bad connotations, they’d probably accept your logic.
    Oooh, I like the idea of an evil twin! I didn’t do it, she did! Must concentrate on that book… And Miranda, I leave covers to publishers. Heck if I know what belongs on them. besides me name, that is.
    Maggie, I’m down there with Nora’s books now, I’m here to tell ya, it’s a mixed blessing. Finding a couple of my books among the hundreds of Nora’s is a daunting task!
    “Mary Jo” is one of those wonderful names that people can say and know exactly who you’re speaking about, so I’m glad you stuck with it, too.
    And I totally agree about the pen name problem. It’s really bad when you know the person personally, are accustomed to calling them by their real names, and then need to go out and find their books under their pen name. My mind just can’t handle all that!

    Reply
  30. Nina, I suspect agents and publishers prefer to be the judge of when we use pseudonyms, but if your name (I love Nina, btw!) has bad connotations, they’d probably accept your logic.
    Oooh, I like the idea of an evil twin! I didn’t do it, she did! Must concentrate on that book… And Miranda, I leave covers to publishers. Heck if I know what belongs on them. besides me name, that is.
    Maggie, I’m down there with Nora’s books now, I’m here to tell ya, it’s a mixed blessing. Finding a couple of my books among the hundreds of Nora’s is a daunting task!
    “Mary Jo” is one of those wonderful names that people can say and know exactly who you’re speaking about, so I’m glad you stuck with it, too.
    And I totally agree about the pen name problem. It’s really bad when you know the person personally, are accustomed to calling them by their real names, and then need to go out and find their books under their pen name. My mind just can’t handle all that!

    Reply
  31. Nina, I suspect agents and publishers prefer to be the judge of when we use pseudonyms, but if your name (I love Nina, btw!) has bad connotations, they’d probably accept your logic.
    Oooh, I like the idea of an evil twin! I didn’t do it, she did! Must concentrate on that book… And Miranda, I leave covers to publishers. Heck if I know what belongs on them. besides me name, that is.
    Maggie, I’m down there with Nora’s books now, I’m here to tell ya, it’s a mixed blessing. Finding a couple of my books among the hundreds of Nora’s is a daunting task!
    “Mary Jo” is one of those wonderful names that people can say and know exactly who you’re speaking about, so I’m glad you stuck with it, too.
    And I totally agree about the pen name problem. It’s really bad when you know the person personally, are accustomed to calling them by their real names, and then need to go out and find their books under their pen name. My mind just can’t handle all that!

    Reply
  32. Nina, I suspect agents and publishers prefer to be the judge of when we use pseudonyms, but if your name (I love Nina, btw!) has bad connotations, they’d probably accept your logic.
    Oooh, I like the idea of an evil twin! I didn’t do it, she did! Must concentrate on that book… And Miranda, I leave covers to publishers. Heck if I know what belongs on them. besides me name, that is.
    Maggie, I’m down there with Nora’s books now, I’m here to tell ya, it’s a mixed blessing. Finding a couple of my books among the hundreds of Nora’s is a daunting task!
    “Mary Jo” is one of those wonderful names that people can say and know exactly who you’re speaking about, so I’m glad you stuck with it, too.
    And I totally agree about the pen name problem. It’s really bad when you know the person personally, are accustomed to calling them by their real names, and then need to go out and find their books under their pen name. My mind just can’t handle all that!

    Reply
  33. When I first started writing, I wanted to use a pen name because I thought it was exotic to do so. I’d use my first name (Sherrie) because it is inextricably linked with who I am, but instead of using my last name (Holmes) I would use my mother’s maiden name of LaVell.
    Mom was full-blooded French and I’m 3/4 French, so I thought LaVell would be perfect–until a friend quipped, “Sherrie LaVell? That sounds one step above Fifi LaFleur, bubble dancer.”
    End of story. I’m sticking with my real name. I have other reasons, too. All my friends and former school mates and former co-workers will recognize the name. I’ve already had one former school mate contact me after seeing my name among the list of authors when she bought an anthology last year.

    Reply
  34. When I first started writing, I wanted to use a pen name because I thought it was exotic to do so. I’d use my first name (Sherrie) because it is inextricably linked with who I am, but instead of using my last name (Holmes) I would use my mother’s maiden name of LaVell.
    Mom was full-blooded French and I’m 3/4 French, so I thought LaVell would be perfect–until a friend quipped, “Sherrie LaVell? That sounds one step above Fifi LaFleur, bubble dancer.”
    End of story. I’m sticking with my real name. I have other reasons, too. All my friends and former school mates and former co-workers will recognize the name. I’ve already had one former school mate contact me after seeing my name among the list of authors when she bought an anthology last year.

    Reply
  35. When I first started writing, I wanted to use a pen name because I thought it was exotic to do so. I’d use my first name (Sherrie) because it is inextricably linked with who I am, but instead of using my last name (Holmes) I would use my mother’s maiden name of LaVell.
    Mom was full-blooded French and I’m 3/4 French, so I thought LaVell would be perfect–until a friend quipped, “Sherrie LaVell? That sounds one step above Fifi LaFleur, bubble dancer.”
    End of story. I’m sticking with my real name. I have other reasons, too. All my friends and former school mates and former co-workers will recognize the name. I’ve already had one former school mate contact me after seeing my name among the list of authors when she bought an anthology last year.

    Reply
  36. When I first started writing, I wanted to use a pen name because I thought it was exotic to do so. I’d use my first name (Sherrie) because it is inextricably linked with who I am, but instead of using my last name (Holmes) I would use my mother’s maiden name of LaVell.
    Mom was full-blooded French and I’m 3/4 French, so I thought LaVell would be perfect–until a friend quipped, “Sherrie LaVell? That sounds one step above Fifi LaFleur, bubble dancer.”
    End of story. I’m sticking with my real name. I have other reasons, too. All my friends and former school mates and former co-workers will recognize the name. I’ve already had one former school mate contact me after seeing my name among the list of authors when she bought an anthology last year.

    Reply
  37. If I were to write, I don’t think I’d want a pen name, I’m fairly happy with my name, I just would hope they spell it correctly. LOL I’ve had so many dang variations of Lois and Merritt in my life it’s quite annoying.
    But maybe outside my sphere here, it wouldn’t be so bad. When I went to the NJ signing last year, I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane and people understood. All throughout school, people didn’t. Guess they just didn’t watch Superman or something. LOL 🙂 So I’ve been Louis, Louise, Luis (isn’t that a guys’s name?) and whatever else you can come up with.
    And then there would be missing r’s and t’s from my last name. Quite annoying. But at least that looks a bit more right that Luis. . . 🙁
    Lois

    Reply
  38. If I were to write, I don’t think I’d want a pen name, I’m fairly happy with my name, I just would hope they spell it correctly. LOL I’ve had so many dang variations of Lois and Merritt in my life it’s quite annoying.
    But maybe outside my sphere here, it wouldn’t be so bad. When I went to the NJ signing last year, I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane and people understood. All throughout school, people didn’t. Guess they just didn’t watch Superman or something. LOL 🙂 So I’ve been Louis, Louise, Luis (isn’t that a guys’s name?) and whatever else you can come up with.
    And then there would be missing r’s and t’s from my last name. Quite annoying. But at least that looks a bit more right that Luis. . . 🙁
    Lois

    Reply
  39. If I were to write, I don’t think I’d want a pen name, I’m fairly happy with my name, I just would hope they spell it correctly. LOL I’ve had so many dang variations of Lois and Merritt in my life it’s quite annoying.
    But maybe outside my sphere here, it wouldn’t be so bad. When I went to the NJ signing last year, I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane and people understood. All throughout school, people didn’t. Guess they just didn’t watch Superman or something. LOL 🙂 So I’ve been Louis, Louise, Luis (isn’t that a guys’s name?) and whatever else you can come up with.
    And then there would be missing r’s and t’s from my last name. Quite annoying. But at least that looks a bit more right that Luis. . . 🙁
    Lois

    Reply
  40. If I were to write, I don’t think I’d want a pen name, I’m fairly happy with my name, I just would hope they spell it correctly. LOL I’ve had so many dang variations of Lois and Merritt in my life it’s quite annoying.
    But maybe outside my sphere here, it wouldn’t be so bad. When I went to the NJ signing last year, I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane and people understood. All throughout school, people didn’t. Guess they just didn’t watch Superman or something. LOL 🙂 So I’ve been Louis, Louise, Luis (isn’t that a guys’s name?) and whatever else you can come up with.
    And then there would be missing r’s and t’s from my last name. Quite annoying. But at least that looks a bit more right that Luis. . . 🙁
    Lois

    Reply
  41. I have published poems and essays under my real name, so if my WIP is ever published I will definiely use a pseudonym. People stumble over the pronunciation of both my given name and my sur name–another reason for a second identity.
    Mary Jo, your initals work so well too. When book discussions begin on various boards, everyone knows who MJP is.

    Reply
  42. I have published poems and essays under my real name, so if my WIP is ever published I will definiely use a pseudonym. People stumble over the pronunciation of both my given name and my sur name–another reason for a second identity.
    Mary Jo, your initals work so well too. When book discussions begin on various boards, everyone knows who MJP is.

    Reply
  43. I have published poems and essays under my real name, so if my WIP is ever published I will definiely use a pseudonym. People stumble over the pronunciation of both my given name and my sur name–another reason for a second identity.
    Mary Jo, your initals work so well too. When book discussions begin on various boards, everyone knows who MJP is.

    Reply
  44. I have published poems and essays under my real name, so if my WIP is ever published I will definiely use a pseudonym. People stumble over the pronunciation of both my given name and my sur name–another reason for a second identity.
    Mary Jo, your initals work so well too. When book discussions begin on various boards, everyone knows who MJP is.

    Reply
  45. I almost didn’t get any say when my first book came out. For some reason, though I gave the name Loretta Chase to my editor, they stuck in the middle name Lynda. I didn’t find out until I saw the book–too late then to fix anything, and that name still comes up on book searches. My decision re pseudonym was easy: I knew people wouldn’t pronounce my real surname correctly, let alone know how to spell it–so how would they find my books? As MJP can attest, I recently ran into this problem with Judith Merkle Riley, whose name I misheard as Judith Murphy Ruby. Couldn’t find her books anywhere.

    Reply
  46. I almost didn’t get any say when my first book came out. For some reason, though I gave the name Loretta Chase to my editor, they stuck in the middle name Lynda. I didn’t find out until I saw the book–too late then to fix anything, and that name still comes up on book searches. My decision re pseudonym was easy: I knew people wouldn’t pronounce my real surname correctly, let alone know how to spell it–so how would they find my books? As MJP can attest, I recently ran into this problem with Judith Merkle Riley, whose name I misheard as Judith Murphy Ruby. Couldn’t find her books anywhere.

    Reply
  47. I almost didn’t get any say when my first book came out. For some reason, though I gave the name Loretta Chase to my editor, they stuck in the middle name Lynda. I didn’t find out until I saw the book–too late then to fix anything, and that name still comes up on book searches. My decision re pseudonym was easy: I knew people wouldn’t pronounce my real surname correctly, let alone know how to spell it–so how would they find my books? As MJP can attest, I recently ran into this problem with Judith Merkle Riley, whose name I misheard as Judith Murphy Ruby. Couldn’t find her books anywhere.

    Reply
  48. I almost didn’t get any say when my first book came out. For some reason, though I gave the name Loretta Chase to my editor, they stuck in the middle name Lynda. I didn’t find out until I saw the book–too late then to fix anything, and that name still comes up on book searches. My decision re pseudonym was easy: I knew people wouldn’t pronounce my real surname correctly, let alone know how to spell it–so how would they find my books? As MJP can attest, I recently ran into this problem with Judith Merkle Riley, whose name I misheard as Judith Murphy Ruby. Couldn’t find her books anywhere.

    Reply
  49. Lois said…. “I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane…”
    Great one Lois! I like it when someone gives me a mental equate like that. Do you ever get “Lois Lane”?
    When I tell someone my name is Nina, it goes right on by. They’re forever asking me to repeat my name, or they shorten my last name to Paula and call me that. Now I say, “Hello, my name is Nina, just like Columbus’s ship.” If they smile and seem to make the connection, I’ll add, “and it’s the only one that made it back.” Work’s great for mixers, which I absolutely abhor.

    Reply
  50. Lois said…. “I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane…”
    Great one Lois! I like it when someone gives me a mental equate like that. Do you ever get “Lois Lane”?
    When I tell someone my name is Nina, it goes right on by. They’re forever asking me to repeat my name, or they shorten my last name to Paula and call me that. Now I say, “Hello, my name is Nina, just like Columbus’s ship.” If they smile and seem to make the connection, I’ll add, “and it’s the only one that made it back.” Work’s great for mixers, which I absolutely abhor.

    Reply
  51. Lois said…. “I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane…”
    Great one Lois! I like it when someone gives me a mental equate like that. Do you ever get “Lois Lane”?
    When I tell someone my name is Nina, it goes right on by. They’re forever asking me to repeat my name, or they shorten my last name to Paula and call me that. Now I say, “Hello, my name is Nina, just like Columbus’s ship.” If they smile and seem to make the connection, I’ll add, “and it’s the only one that made it back.” Work’s great for mixers, which I absolutely abhor.

    Reply
  52. Lois said…. “I’d say, Lois, like Lois Lane…”
    Great one Lois! I like it when someone gives me a mental equate like that. Do you ever get “Lois Lane”?
    When I tell someone my name is Nina, it goes right on by. They’re forever asking me to repeat my name, or they shorten my last name to Paula and call me that. Now I say, “Hello, my name is Nina, just like Columbus’s ship.” If they smile and seem to make the connection, I’ll add, “and it’s the only one that made it back.” Work’s great for mixers, which I absolutely abhor.

    Reply
  53. I have to agree with Joelle that it gets confusing when an author has more than one non-de-plume.
    I am not a writer nor an aspiring writer but I always thought that Katharine Hepburn’s character in MORNING GLORY (her first Oscar winner) has a very romancey name — Eva Lovelace. My current moniker is in tribute to Hepburn’s black sheep heiress character in HOLIDAY — Linda Seton.

    Reply
  54. I have to agree with Joelle that it gets confusing when an author has more than one non-de-plume.
    I am not a writer nor an aspiring writer but I always thought that Katharine Hepburn’s character in MORNING GLORY (her first Oscar winner) has a very romancey name — Eva Lovelace. My current moniker is in tribute to Hepburn’s black sheep heiress character in HOLIDAY — Linda Seton.

    Reply
  55. I have to agree with Joelle that it gets confusing when an author has more than one non-de-plume.
    I am not a writer nor an aspiring writer but I always thought that Katharine Hepburn’s character in MORNING GLORY (her first Oscar winner) has a very romancey name — Eva Lovelace. My current moniker is in tribute to Hepburn’s black sheep heiress character in HOLIDAY — Linda Seton.

    Reply
  56. I have to agree with Joelle that it gets confusing when an author has more than one non-de-plume.
    I am not a writer nor an aspiring writer but I always thought that Katharine Hepburn’s character in MORNING GLORY (her first Oscar winner) has a very romancey name — Eva Lovelace. My current moniker is in tribute to Hepburn’s black sheep heiress character in HOLIDAY — Linda Seton.

    Reply
  57. Judith Murphy Ruby, I love that! I think that’s a name we should all aspire to.
    Sherrie, I think I’d think of Patti LaBelle if you’d gone French on us!
    I hadn’t thought about using names from book or film characters. Now that’s a really cool idea.
    Heck, I could spend the day making up names rather than writing. Much more entertaining!
    aol and typepad are apparently having a retrograde catfight, so if this post shows up half a dozen times, sorry!

    Reply
  58. Judith Murphy Ruby, I love that! I think that’s a name we should all aspire to.
    Sherrie, I think I’d think of Patti LaBelle if you’d gone French on us!
    I hadn’t thought about using names from book or film characters. Now that’s a really cool idea.
    Heck, I could spend the day making up names rather than writing. Much more entertaining!
    aol and typepad are apparently having a retrograde catfight, so if this post shows up half a dozen times, sorry!

    Reply
  59. Judith Murphy Ruby, I love that! I think that’s a name we should all aspire to.
    Sherrie, I think I’d think of Patti LaBelle if you’d gone French on us!
    I hadn’t thought about using names from book or film characters. Now that’s a really cool idea.
    Heck, I could spend the day making up names rather than writing. Much more entertaining!
    aol and typepad are apparently having a retrograde catfight, so if this post shows up half a dozen times, sorry!

    Reply
  60. Judith Murphy Ruby, I love that! I think that’s a name we should all aspire to.
    Sherrie, I think I’d think of Patti LaBelle if you’d gone French on us!
    I hadn’t thought about using names from book or film characters. Now that’s a really cool idea.
    Heck, I could spend the day making up names rather than writing. Much more entertaining!
    aol and typepad are apparently having a retrograde catfight, so if this post shows up half a dozen times, sorry!

    Reply
  61. All you Susans and Lindas and Patricias can just stop complaining. I am still one of the few people I’ve known with the name Gretchen. It is, however, a very popular name for dogs. I wish I had a dollar for everyone I’ve met who says, “Gretchen! My neighbor has a (dachsund, weimeraner, German shepherd,St. Bernard) named Gretchen.” I have sworn that someday I will get a dachsund and name it “Debbie” in retaliation… And my last name? Maiden name is too ethnic, and married name, besides being my ex’s name and another very different ethnic name, is spelled
    F-U-C-I-O which is too scary to pronounce. If I ever wrote, I’d like to use McClain or Haviland, both family names. I always heard if you want a good pseudonym, use the name of the street you lived on as a kid. Sherman in my case. But my daughter could write as Laura Northgate. Is that a cool name or what? – Gretchen, whose cats are Felicity and Ursala…..

    Reply
  62. All you Susans and Lindas and Patricias can just stop complaining. I am still one of the few people I’ve known with the name Gretchen. It is, however, a very popular name for dogs. I wish I had a dollar for everyone I’ve met who says, “Gretchen! My neighbor has a (dachsund, weimeraner, German shepherd,St. Bernard) named Gretchen.” I have sworn that someday I will get a dachsund and name it “Debbie” in retaliation… And my last name? Maiden name is too ethnic, and married name, besides being my ex’s name and another very different ethnic name, is spelled
    F-U-C-I-O which is too scary to pronounce. If I ever wrote, I’d like to use McClain or Haviland, both family names. I always heard if you want a good pseudonym, use the name of the street you lived on as a kid. Sherman in my case. But my daughter could write as Laura Northgate. Is that a cool name or what? – Gretchen, whose cats are Felicity and Ursala…..

    Reply
  63. All you Susans and Lindas and Patricias can just stop complaining. I am still one of the few people I’ve known with the name Gretchen. It is, however, a very popular name for dogs. I wish I had a dollar for everyone I’ve met who says, “Gretchen! My neighbor has a (dachsund, weimeraner, German shepherd,St. Bernard) named Gretchen.” I have sworn that someday I will get a dachsund and name it “Debbie” in retaliation… And my last name? Maiden name is too ethnic, and married name, besides being my ex’s name and another very different ethnic name, is spelled
    F-U-C-I-O which is too scary to pronounce. If I ever wrote, I’d like to use McClain or Haviland, both family names. I always heard if you want a good pseudonym, use the name of the street you lived on as a kid. Sherman in my case. But my daughter could write as Laura Northgate. Is that a cool name or what? – Gretchen, whose cats are Felicity and Ursala…..

    Reply
  64. All you Susans and Lindas and Patricias can just stop complaining. I am still one of the few people I’ve known with the name Gretchen. It is, however, a very popular name for dogs. I wish I had a dollar for everyone I’ve met who says, “Gretchen! My neighbor has a (dachsund, weimeraner, German shepherd,St. Bernard) named Gretchen.” I have sworn that someday I will get a dachsund and name it “Debbie” in retaliation… And my last name? Maiden name is too ethnic, and married name, besides being my ex’s name and another very different ethnic name, is spelled
    F-U-C-I-O which is too scary to pronounce. If I ever wrote, I’d like to use McClain or Haviland, both family names. I always heard if you want a good pseudonym, use the name of the street you lived on as a kid. Sherman in my case. But my daughter could write as Laura Northgate. Is that a cool name or what? – Gretchen, whose cats are Felicity and Ursala…..

    Reply
  65. Gretchen:
    Years ago I had a standard poodle named Krista whom I dearly loved, but I discovered through sad experience that it wasn’t a good conversation starter to say, “Krista? I had a poodle with that name.” So now I have another poodle whose name is FouFou. I’ve never met any person with name, so it’s pretty safe. And it’s hard to think of a more appropriate name for that “Barbie doll” of dogs.

    Reply
  66. Gretchen:
    Years ago I had a standard poodle named Krista whom I dearly loved, but I discovered through sad experience that it wasn’t a good conversation starter to say, “Krista? I had a poodle with that name.” So now I have another poodle whose name is FouFou. I’ve never met any person with name, so it’s pretty safe. And it’s hard to think of a more appropriate name for that “Barbie doll” of dogs.

    Reply
  67. Gretchen:
    Years ago I had a standard poodle named Krista whom I dearly loved, but I discovered through sad experience that it wasn’t a good conversation starter to say, “Krista? I had a poodle with that name.” So now I have another poodle whose name is FouFou. I’ve never met any person with name, so it’s pretty safe. And it’s hard to think of a more appropriate name for that “Barbie doll” of dogs.

    Reply
  68. Gretchen:
    Years ago I had a standard poodle named Krista whom I dearly loved, but I discovered through sad experience that it wasn’t a good conversation starter to say, “Krista? I had a poodle with that name.” So now I have another poodle whose name is FouFou. I’ve never met any person with name, so it’s pretty safe. And it’s hard to think of a more appropriate name for that “Barbie doll” of dogs.

    Reply
  69. Thank you very much for taking my question and turning it into a very interesting debate.
    I never liked my first name growing up. The only people with it were all old! My friends were all Martine’s, Dominique’s, Catherine’s & Isabelle’s!
    My mother is from the U.S. and wanted to give me a French name with an English spelling. I ended up with JACLYNE. Most girls in Quebec whith my name would have been Jacqueline’s so I always need to spell both first and last names (which is Laurin).
    If I was ever to buckle down and write the story I’ve been toying with, I’d try and have it published under the name of Lauren Jackson. It’s close enough to my real name and I wouldn’t have to spell it out for everybody!

    Reply
  70. Thank you very much for taking my question and turning it into a very interesting debate.
    I never liked my first name growing up. The only people with it were all old! My friends were all Martine’s, Dominique’s, Catherine’s & Isabelle’s!
    My mother is from the U.S. and wanted to give me a French name with an English spelling. I ended up with JACLYNE. Most girls in Quebec whith my name would have been Jacqueline’s so I always need to spell both first and last names (which is Laurin).
    If I was ever to buckle down and write the story I’ve been toying with, I’d try and have it published under the name of Lauren Jackson. It’s close enough to my real name and I wouldn’t have to spell it out for everybody!

    Reply
  71. Thank you very much for taking my question and turning it into a very interesting debate.
    I never liked my first name growing up. The only people with it were all old! My friends were all Martine’s, Dominique’s, Catherine’s & Isabelle’s!
    My mother is from the U.S. and wanted to give me a French name with an English spelling. I ended up with JACLYNE. Most girls in Quebec whith my name would have been Jacqueline’s so I always need to spell both first and last names (which is Laurin).
    If I was ever to buckle down and write the story I’ve been toying with, I’d try and have it published under the name of Lauren Jackson. It’s close enough to my real name and I wouldn’t have to spell it out for everybody!

    Reply
  72. Thank you very much for taking my question and turning it into a very interesting debate.
    I never liked my first name growing up. The only people with it were all old! My friends were all Martine’s, Dominique’s, Catherine’s & Isabelle’s!
    My mother is from the U.S. and wanted to give me a French name with an English spelling. I ended up with JACLYNE. Most girls in Quebec whith my name would have been Jacqueline’s so I always need to spell both first and last names (which is Laurin).
    If I was ever to buckle down and write the story I’ve been toying with, I’d try and have it published under the name of Lauren Jackson. It’s close enough to my real name and I wouldn’t have to spell it out for everybody!

    Reply
  73. That’s a toughie, and a bridge I’ll cross only when I need to.
    I really like my name. So much so that I kept it when I married.
    But I write in two very different genres and I just know that it’s going to be an issue. One way to solve it would be to use the more androgynous (you are so right, Pat) first two initials coupled with my last name, like J.K. Rowling, or J.D. Robb, for my mainstream stuff, and my fully identifying female moniker for the romance.
    I’m also toying with writing some erotica. That adventure would definitely require a pseudonym. I’ve decided on using my great-great-very-puritan grandmother’s name. Yes, I’m bad. But it’s an awesome name and her life wasn’t very fun. She deserves to have some (posthumous)fun.
    Great post. I’m rooting for your new work. Rice overused? Piffle!
    Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

    Reply
  74. That’s a toughie, and a bridge I’ll cross only when I need to.
    I really like my name. So much so that I kept it when I married.
    But I write in two very different genres and I just know that it’s going to be an issue. One way to solve it would be to use the more androgynous (you are so right, Pat) first two initials coupled with my last name, like J.K. Rowling, or J.D. Robb, for my mainstream stuff, and my fully identifying female moniker for the romance.
    I’m also toying with writing some erotica. That adventure would definitely require a pseudonym. I’ve decided on using my great-great-very-puritan grandmother’s name. Yes, I’m bad. But it’s an awesome name and her life wasn’t very fun. She deserves to have some (posthumous)fun.
    Great post. I’m rooting for your new work. Rice overused? Piffle!
    Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

    Reply
  75. That’s a toughie, and a bridge I’ll cross only when I need to.
    I really like my name. So much so that I kept it when I married.
    But I write in two very different genres and I just know that it’s going to be an issue. One way to solve it would be to use the more androgynous (you are so right, Pat) first two initials coupled with my last name, like J.K. Rowling, or J.D. Robb, for my mainstream stuff, and my fully identifying female moniker for the romance.
    I’m also toying with writing some erotica. That adventure would definitely require a pseudonym. I’ve decided on using my great-great-very-puritan grandmother’s name. Yes, I’m bad. But it’s an awesome name and her life wasn’t very fun. She deserves to have some (posthumous)fun.
    Great post. I’m rooting for your new work. Rice overused? Piffle!
    Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

    Reply
  76. That’s a toughie, and a bridge I’ll cross only when I need to.
    I really like my name. So much so that I kept it when I married.
    But I write in two very different genres and I just know that it’s going to be an issue. One way to solve it would be to use the more androgynous (you are so right, Pat) first two initials coupled with my last name, like J.K. Rowling, or J.D. Robb, for my mainstream stuff, and my fully identifying female moniker for the romance.
    I’m also toying with writing some erotica. That adventure would definitely require a pseudonym. I’ve decided on using my great-great-very-puritan grandmother’s name. Yes, I’m bad. But it’s an awesome name and her life wasn’t very fun. She deserves to have some (posthumous)fun.
    Great post. I’m rooting for your new work. Rice overused? Piffle!
    Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

    Reply
  77. Gretchen, loved your comment about using the name of the street you lived on. Unfortunately, my name would then be Sherrie Burley-Olalla. What a mouthful! On the other hand, I would have a hyphenated last name! *g*
    I’ve heard others say when they name characters in their books, they use the names of those sending them spam mail. They’re made-up names anyway, and by golly, some of them are pretty cool! If I used a spammer’s name, it would be for the villain!
    I can sympathize with those of you whose names are always mangled. People are always misspelling my first name. I had no idea there were so many variations of Sherrie. The funniest misspelling was “Sheriff.” I started getting junk mail addressed to Sheriff Holmes, and that resulted in my being added to some sort of police mailing list. Suddenly I was getting postcards reminding me of law enforcement fundraisers, or inviting me to hire Beeny the Clown for my next police department retreat. My friends started calling me Sheriff Holmes, and even gave me a toy sheriff’s badge. *g*

    Reply
  78. Gretchen, loved your comment about using the name of the street you lived on. Unfortunately, my name would then be Sherrie Burley-Olalla. What a mouthful! On the other hand, I would have a hyphenated last name! *g*
    I’ve heard others say when they name characters in their books, they use the names of those sending them spam mail. They’re made-up names anyway, and by golly, some of them are pretty cool! If I used a spammer’s name, it would be for the villain!
    I can sympathize with those of you whose names are always mangled. People are always misspelling my first name. I had no idea there were so many variations of Sherrie. The funniest misspelling was “Sheriff.” I started getting junk mail addressed to Sheriff Holmes, and that resulted in my being added to some sort of police mailing list. Suddenly I was getting postcards reminding me of law enforcement fundraisers, or inviting me to hire Beeny the Clown for my next police department retreat. My friends started calling me Sheriff Holmes, and even gave me a toy sheriff’s badge. *g*

    Reply
  79. Gretchen, loved your comment about using the name of the street you lived on. Unfortunately, my name would then be Sherrie Burley-Olalla. What a mouthful! On the other hand, I would have a hyphenated last name! *g*
    I’ve heard others say when they name characters in their books, they use the names of those sending them spam mail. They’re made-up names anyway, and by golly, some of them are pretty cool! If I used a spammer’s name, it would be for the villain!
    I can sympathize with those of you whose names are always mangled. People are always misspelling my first name. I had no idea there were so many variations of Sherrie. The funniest misspelling was “Sheriff.” I started getting junk mail addressed to Sheriff Holmes, and that resulted in my being added to some sort of police mailing list. Suddenly I was getting postcards reminding me of law enforcement fundraisers, or inviting me to hire Beeny the Clown for my next police department retreat. My friends started calling me Sheriff Holmes, and even gave me a toy sheriff’s badge. *g*

    Reply
  80. Gretchen, loved your comment about using the name of the street you lived on. Unfortunately, my name would then be Sherrie Burley-Olalla. What a mouthful! On the other hand, I would have a hyphenated last name! *g*
    I’ve heard others say when they name characters in their books, they use the names of those sending them spam mail. They’re made-up names anyway, and by golly, some of them are pretty cool! If I used a spammer’s name, it would be for the villain!
    I can sympathize with those of you whose names are always mangled. People are always misspelling my first name. I had no idea there were so many variations of Sherrie. The funniest misspelling was “Sheriff.” I started getting junk mail addressed to Sheriff Holmes, and that resulted in my being added to some sort of police mailing list. Suddenly I was getting postcards reminding me of law enforcement fundraisers, or inviting me to hire Beeny the Clown for my next police department retreat. My friends started calling me Sheriff Holmes, and even gave me a toy sheriff’s badge. *g*

    Reply
  81. Gretchen, Sherrie, Pat, Wenches,
    If I joined the ranks of the street-namers I’d be “Melinda Via Sacra.” Not too bad but it does sound a little bit like an erotica pseudonym, don’t you think?
    Melinda is a romance-y name and my last name is The Most Common Name in America, so even if I did use my real name people would probably assume it was a pseudonym.
    There aren’t a lot of good surnames in my family history so I’d probably go for the one famous family name, Starbuck, and combine it with my middle name. “Anne Starbuck” sounds good, doesn’t it? (Maybe a little bit puritan-y.)
    Melinda
    PS Do you think there’s a romance novel out there with a heroine named Melinda? If not, could one of you write one? It would do wonders for my self-esteem. . . (smile)

    Reply
  82. Gretchen, Sherrie, Pat, Wenches,
    If I joined the ranks of the street-namers I’d be “Melinda Via Sacra.” Not too bad but it does sound a little bit like an erotica pseudonym, don’t you think?
    Melinda is a romance-y name and my last name is The Most Common Name in America, so even if I did use my real name people would probably assume it was a pseudonym.
    There aren’t a lot of good surnames in my family history so I’d probably go for the one famous family name, Starbuck, and combine it with my middle name. “Anne Starbuck” sounds good, doesn’t it? (Maybe a little bit puritan-y.)
    Melinda
    PS Do you think there’s a romance novel out there with a heroine named Melinda? If not, could one of you write one? It would do wonders for my self-esteem. . . (smile)

    Reply
  83. Gretchen, Sherrie, Pat, Wenches,
    If I joined the ranks of the street-namers I’d be “Melinda Via Sacra.” Not too bad but it does sound a little bit like an erotica pseudonym, don’t you think?
    Melinda is a romance-y name and my last name is The Most Common Name in America, so even if I did use my real name people would probably assume it was a pseudonym.
    There aren’t a lot of good surnames in my family history so I’d probably go for the one famous family name, Starbuck, and combine it with my middle name. “Anne Starbuck” sounds good, doesn’t it? (Maybe a little bit puritan-y.)
    Melinda
    PS Do you think there’s a romance novel out there with a heroine named Melinda? If not, could one of you write one? It would do wonders for my self-esteem. . . (smile)

    Reply
  84. Gretchen, Sherrie, Pat, Wenches,
    If I joined the ranks of the street-namers I’d be “Melinda Via Sacra.” Not too bad but it does sound a little bit like an erotica pseudonym, don’t you think?
    Melinda is a romance-y name and my last name is The Most Common Name in America, so even if I did use my real name people would probably assume it was a pseudonym.
    There aren’t a lot of good surnames in my family history so I’d probably go for the one famous family name, Starbuck, and combine it with my middle name. “Anne Starbuck” sounds good, doesn’t it? (Maybe a little bit puritan-y.)
    Melinda
    PS Do you think there’s a romance novel out there with a heroine named Melinda? If not, could one of you write one? It would do wonders for my self-esteem. . . (smile)

    Reply
  85. I’m one of those early babyboomer Susan’s — in my 8th grade class there were only eight girls, but three of us were Susan. I longed to at least be Susannah or some other more exotic variant but it didn’t happen. I was named after my Hungarian grandfather, Szern, so there was no way anyone in my family would allow me to be called anything other than Susan, the closest American name my parents could come up with. Having such a common name meant I wanted something rather less yawn-inducing for my children and led to a number of slightly testy conversations with my husband while I was pregnant. Our oldest is Jeremy, which I like because it’s not too common but not weird. On the other hand, in Romance Land it never seems to be the name of the hero but always the nice-but-boring guy who doesn’t get the girl, so I hope he does better in Real Life.

    Reply
  86. I’m one of those early babyboomer Susan’s — in my 8th grade class there were only eight girls, but three of us were Susan. I longed to at least be Susannah or some other more exotic variant but it didn’t happen. I was named after my Hungarian grandfather, Szern, so there was no way anyone in my family would allow me to be called anything other than Susan, the closest American name my parents could come up with. Having such a common name meant I wanted something rather less yawn-inducing for my children and led to a number of slightly testy conversations with my husband while I was pregnant. Our oldest is Jeremy, which I like because it’s not too common but not weird. On the other hand, in Romance Land it never seems to be the name of the hero but always the nice-but-boring guy who doesn’t get the girl, so I hope he does better in Real Life.

    Reply
  87. I’m one of those early babyboomer Susan’s — in my 8th grade class there were only eight girls, but three of us were Susan. I longed to at least be Susannah or some other more exotic variant but it didn’t happen. I was named after my Hungarian grandfather, Szern, so there was no way anyone in my family would allow me to be called anything other than Susan, the closest American name my parents could come up with. Having such a common name meant I wanted something rather less yawn-inducing for my children and led to a number of slightly testy conversations with my husband while I was pregnant. Our oldest is Jeremy, which I like because it’s not too common but not weird. On the other hand, in Romance Land it never seems to be the name of the hero but always the nice-but-boring guy who doesn’t get the girl, so I hope he does better in Real Life.

    Reply
  88. I’m one of those early babyboomer Susan’s — in my 8th grade class there were only eight girls, but three of us were Susan. I longed to at least be Susannah or some other more exotic variant but it didn’t happen. I was named after my Hungarian grandfather, Szern, so there was no way anyone in my family would allow me to be called anything other than Susan, the closest American name my parents could come up with. Having such a common name meant I wanted something rather less yawn-inducing for my children and led to a number of slightly testy conversations with my husband while I was pregnant. Our oldest is Jeremy, which I like because it’s not too common but not weird. On the other hand, in Romance Land it never seems to be the name of the hero but always the nice-but-boring guy who doesn’t get the girl, so I hope he does better in Real Life.

    Reply
  89. I’ve only ever had one person call me Lois Lane, but he thought he was trying to be cute. . . you had to know him. LOL When he was high, I was Laura, when he wasn’t, I’d get, “hey, where’s Superman.” Ugh. But he’s the only one, that I can remember anyway. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  90. I’ve only ever had one person call me Lois Lane, but he thought he was trying to be cute. . . you had to know him. LOL When he was high, I was Laura, when he wasn’t, I’d get, “hey, where’s Superman.” Ugh. But he’s the only one, that I can remember anyway. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  91. I’ve only ever had one person call me Lois Lane, but he thought he was trying to be cute. . . you had to know him. LOL When he was high, I was Laura, when he wasn’t, I’d get, “hey, where’s Superman.” Ugh. But he’s the only one, that I can remember anyway. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  92. I’ve only ever had one person call me Lois Lane, but he thought he was trying to be cute. . . you had to know him. LOL When he was high, I was Laura, when he wasn’t, I’d get, “hey, where’s Superman.” Ugh. But he’s the only one, that I can remember anyway. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply

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