Nom de WHAT?!?

Pen name = Nom de plume.

I recently published a short piece of horror fiction under my pen name Arlene Stuart.  It set off a firestorm of questions. 

Okay, it was three questions.

First, hunh?  Yeah, I know.  Delusions of pretension over here.  Like I’m Mark Twain or J.K. Rowling.

Second, why?  It’s fairly common for authors to use different names for different genres.  I’ve published a fair amount of non-fiction under my legal name (clips are here) and I’m working on a Middle Grade historical novel that I hope to publish.  But I also have a few romances drafted, ranging from clean to a little smutty.  Plus the short horror.  It’s pretty simple — I want to keep the non-fiction and kids’ stuff separate from the smut and scary stuff.

And third, why Arlene Stuart?  Family members will recognize both of these names.  “Arlene” is my birth middle name and “Stuart” is my grandmother’s maiden name.  So, in a sense, I’m honoring both myself as a youngster, and my ancestry.

But there are hoops to deal with.  When I submitted the horror story, I noted that I was using a pseudonym.  Unlike J.K. Rowling when she started to write mysteries, I’m not trying to keep it a secret.  There’s no worry that I will be outed and then have to deal with the backlash.  I told the anthology editor that I wanted to put this other name on the story and she handled the blurb perfectly.  Which, of course, gives me direction for the future.

There are the post-publication the questions, the puzzled looks, getting paid, and autographs.  I’ve compared myself to Mark Twain, which clears things up some.  His nom de plume is way cooler than mine, though.  And as for payment, hey, we live in a digital age.  I didn’t get a check; I just provided a PayPal e-mail address.  Easy peasy.  As for autographs, I haven’t gotten to address that, yet.  I imagine I’ll just sign “Arlene Stuart”.

Ironically, if I’d used my real name, I would be first on the list of authors on the back cover.  Oh well.

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