Pen Names

I hope this doesn’t jinx anything….

One of my chaptermates sold to Avon last week and she’s working on a new pen name. She has one for Ellora’s Cave, but Avon didn’t want her to bring it. So she’s thinking, and she’s come up with some good ones.

I, however, have been thinking for YEARS and haven’t been able to come up with one I like. Clearly, being a third grade teacher, I can’t use my real name, though that would be cool to see on a book, and I’ve built up name recognition through contests. Also, no one EVER spells it right, so if you’re trying to buy it on or something you’d never find it.

But I’m thinking I need to have a few options ready, you know, in case.

My maiden name is Barclay. I could use that. I would really like to use Evans, because that was my grandmother’s name, and she was always my biggest supporter. I hear advice that you should have the same first letter of your pseudonym as of your real name so you will react when someone calls out to you. With a name like Mary, I’d like something a little more exotic, ya know? But nothing’s coming to mind.

Have you got your pseudonym picked out, or are you going to use your name?

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Stephanie said...

I'm using my own name for ST, but I love Evans as a last name. How about Monica Evans? Or Meredith Evans? Or Miranda Evans? Or Maya Evans? Or Marianne Evans?

: ) Barclay's cool, too, though...

Can you tell I like to make up names??!

Good luck with it. You'll find just the right one...


Trish Milburn said...

Bosey suggested something close to what I was thinking -- Mari Evans. It still sounds the same, you wouldn't have to learn to react to a different first name, and I think it'd look cool on all those covers you're going to have. And it's short -- good for book signings.

Me, I'm going to use my own name. I've worked so hard for this, I want people to know it's me. :)

Anonymous said...

Mar, I chose Joanna because it's so close to my actual name that I will naturally answer to it. I kept the middle initial I always use, and then I choos a family last name. Joanna K. Moore was born. :) I LOVE Mari Evans. It just seems to fit.


Anonymous said...

chose, not choos. Gads, I need my caffine.


Rachel Vincent said...

I'll be using a pseudonymous last name, but I'm having trouble coming up with one. It's harder than I thought. My agent suggested I keep my own initials, but all the names I like so far are taken--mostly by adult film stars. Seriously.

Don't forget to make sure the URL is still avaliable before you get your heart set on something.

Paula said...

I'm with you, Trish--I'm using my own name, even if my family is scandalized. ::g:: Although, for a time, I was considering a combination of family names: Hollis Blackwood. If I ever do straight thrillers, I might use that name.

I like Mari Evans, or, to go a little wild, I kind of like Barclay Evans, too. It's different, and unisex names for writers aren't unusual.

Or maybe Maria Barclay.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to use my own name too.

Toni Anderson said...

I'm using my own name. Anderson is so common it is like a pseudo anyway :)

But for anything erotic I'd use a pseudonom, I couldn't take the pressure otherwise. And for straight mystery I'd go for T.A. Anderson.

One thing to think about. Don't go for your mom's maiden name. Always freaks me out when people float that name out there because it is a banking password. Yikes, I am so paranoid!!

Marianne Arkins said...

My husband insists that I use a pseudonym because of his VERY conservative family. My first name "Marianne" is very close to my real name and my last name "Arkins" is actually an anagram of my legal last name. The best part is, though, if you say them together fast enough it sounds like me, so I figure I'll answer to it.

It was agonizing choosing one, though, and I'm still not entirely happy with it, but such is life.

Good luck!

Dana Pollard said...

I'm voting for Barclay! Keep in mind who's books yours will be setting next on the book shelf at ye olde bookstore though...

I've always had a hard time coming up for a 'new name' for myself. I like my best friend's maiden name. She's also my #1 fan. So, Dana Russo?

MicheleKS said...

I'd like to keep my real name when I sell to HQ/NY publisher but I'd be willin to change my last name but not my first. I like Michele too much and I will keep the one 'L' spelling. For my erotica though I've chosen 'Kathleen Dare' as my pen name because Kathleen is my middle name and I dared myself to write erotica hence the 'Dare'.

Anonymous said...

I find my real name boring and/or annoying, so I started trying to come up with alternatives. And Tori Lennox was born. :)

Peggy said...

I'm using my maiden name, that way I keep my privacy and still feel like it's me.

I like Mary spelled with the "i" with either Barclay or Evans. But I also like it with the "y". :-)

MJFredrick said...

Dang, Bosey, I'm going to hire you! I like Meredith and Miranda.....

Mary, even with an 'i', is just so....boring. Of course, Mari Evans would be pretty good sized on a book cover, right?

Then again, if I go with Mary Barclay, all those who knew me back in the day would know I FINALLY made it.

My dh used to tease me about being Katy Mills, after the shopping center outside of Houston (we'd stop there every time we'd take my son to Vans Skatepark).

Good point about the website, Rachel! And LOL on the names being taken!

Paula, I wanted my street name as my first name (a little too paranoid to mention it here) and Evans as the last name. It sounds cool. But everyone thinks it's too "western."

Toni, the mom's maiden name is a banking password??? Who knew?

I like Dana Russo and Kathleen Dare!

I have to admit to being a bit jealous of you guys who get to use your own names!

Anonymous said...

I'm using my maiden name Willingham for my pen name (if they let me!). Like you, I can't use my real name or my students' parents would...erm...make me uncomfortable. I'm not in any way ashamed of what I write, but I don't want my sixth graders trying to read books inappropriate for their age.

April said...

Can't make up my mind! There were three other girls in my graduating class with my name, so I guess the maiden name is out since it was so common.

I like my mom's maiden name, but passed on it because of the password thing too. Although that info is so easy to get, I wonder why it's used anyways.

I'm considering my grandmother's maiden name, but for now, I'm just sticking to plain 'ole me.

Bosey is definately quite the creative thinker when it comes to names! I like Evans and I like Barclay. Sorry I'm not much help :)

Stephanie said...

Hey, one last one.


Mimi Evans.

What do you think, Mary? Is it you? He he! Oh wait. Mandy. You can be a Mandy :)

Seriously, I think Mari Evans is cool. Maybe you could pronounce it with a long r, like Marr- i, instead of pronouncing it Mary. The spelling's unusual and memorable.

Bosey (still being silly!)

See, you have so many options!

Dana Pollard said...

Noticed your a bit of a Gerard Butler fan...

One of my dear friends runs his Official Unofficial site. Her name is Tamara. it's or net.. or com.. not sure. but its her's! She knows him personally. Heck he's even paid for her to stay at a hotel... and no, get your mind out of the gutter, it was for something buisness.

Thought I'd share!

Oh, and Dana Russo is MY chosen author name. I like it too, but its MINE! hehehehe

MJFredrick said...

Bosey, I knew a girl named Mari in elementary school, pronounced with the r-controlled vowel. That is a thought. Not crazy about Mimi or Mandy, though.

So, Dana, she knows Gerry, huh??? I think I have probably been to that website. That is so cool!!! Is this like, three degrees of separation now?

Dana Pollard said...

She knows Gerry very well. They even talk on the phone quite a bit. Her record three hour conversation is what sparked my imagination for the contemporary I just finished writing!

So, yes, it's that three degree thing... Strange thing too, you look A LOT like Tamara. A lot.

MJFredrick said...



I'd just have to hear that Scottish burr and....THUD!


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