a humorous tale of pen names…

Will they notice? It’s just one of those things. I’m certain it happens every day, right? Honestly, I checked Amazon. I searched Google for the domain name, searched the name with quotes. I searched WorldCat. I’m a librarian by day. I know how to search. Even Neil Gaiman recognizes the awesomeness of librarians. (They may boot me out for this. Sigh.)

So how the #@%@! did I manage to miss just a plain-old-google search that turned up this?!?!?!searching for kate st. ives

I should have known to go beyond the first page of search results. Amazing what Google shows – check the difference in a search with quotes and without. *shakes head*

Well guess what? That’s just a bit too close for comfort. Nonetheless, I will keep my lovely graphic header, because as I said back in one of my original posts here, St. Ives is one of my favorite places on Earth. So I can look at my header longingly and enjoy it. I just won’t use it as a pen name for my mainstream fic.

So meet Kate Wesley. (Yes, there are other KW’s but they haven’t claimed the domain and don’t appear to be writers.) Wesley was Dad’s middle name. It’s been in the family for generations. I think it’s a great fit!

who is this kate person?

Oh come on. Admit it! Did you ever want to be someone else? Or want to have a different name? I know I did. As a kid, I didn’t really care for my given name. It was…different. My friends had ‘normal’ names like Mary, Nancy, Susan, Debbie, Karen. I was Charlene.

You can’t exactly tell your folks that you don’t like your name, especially when I assumed for years that I was named after my Dad, Charlie. I mentioned that to my mom when I was well into my 30s and she just looked at me like it was something she & Dad had never considered. Huh? Then where did it come from, I asked. We just liked it, she said. I do know that her godmother had a daughter with the same name. Maybe it was just transference? Though Mom never did admit that was its origin either.

But Kate St. Ives? I don’t know that it’s as true these days, but in the ‘old days’, many writers chose pen names so they could not be identified. (I wonder if that’s harder to do with the internet.) Some who wrote in different genres were told to do so by agents or publishers. There were concerns that so-so sales in their published romance line might reflect badly and influence sales in their successful mystery line. Think about it. Have you been hooked on a writer’s science fiction and then picked up one of their fantasies and discover it’s just not your cup o’ tea? You love the Stephanie Plum series but aren’t as enthralled with Janet Evanovich’s other books?

Okay…back to Kate…Katie, Katherine. It’s a name I’ve always liked though Katherine, while classical, sounds a bit too formal. If I’d had another daughter I would’ve campaigned to name her Kate. But it’s still rather weird to think about my novel by Kate St. Ives. I actually don’t picture myself as a Kate, but since I won’t have another child in this lifetime, I’ll use the name. It’s a girl-next-door kind of name. And my novel is one of those family dramas that could come from next door. Other lit fic I write in the future may have similar themes.

And St. Ives. Did you notice the header on my blog? I took that photo in 2009 when I spent 3 days in St. Ives, Cornwall. It called me back for 6 days in 2010. Sigh. It is one of my favorite places. I want to live in a little cottage there. I want to take long walks along the coastal path, along the marina, and through the narrow, cobbled streets. I’m ready to go back! Take me away.

This is how I became Kate St. Ives.

So writers out there – do you use a pen name? or multiple pen names? Did it take you a while to get used to the idea of publishing under another name? What’s your story?

Let’s get started…

Haven’t even published the novel yet and here I am starting a blog specific to my adventures in fiction. I guess I’d started thinking about this as I crept toward the climax of my novel. That may have been about the time WordPress suggested I should buy the domain that I’d used for blogging since 2006. But I didn’t want to buy that domain. I wanted this one! I’m attached to the name. My parents gave it to me, and I chose to use it for all my published fiction to date. But I won’t be using it on my first novel. Let me introduce Kate St. Ives, my new nom de plume. But…but…why???? Keeping the Family Peace plunges me into a completely different genre, call it general fiction or mainstream drama. I’ve looked at other writers’ websites to see how they’ve handled their split personalities. Using a different pen name when writing in multiple genres isn’t uncommon. Granted, I don’t have a string of stories in general fiction (yet), nor have I done more than a sketchy outline for the historical fiction I’ll be writing. But, my plan is to be more prolific–and write faster–in the coming years. Using different names just makes sense. When you see by Charlene Newcomb in the future, you’ll know the story has elements of science fiction. Now about my plans for this site: it seems a bit odd to presume you’ll stop by and listen to me describe the process of writing, editing, revising, beta’ing, revising, editing, and production work involved in getting published. I won’t keep you long because I’m not usually one for long, drawn out posts. I hope to entertain and educate–or at least have you hear the good, bad, and ugly as I experience these things myself. I’ll toss in other posts along the way. Watch for a variety of topics including my research antics for the historical fiction I’ll be writing, revisions to a sci fi novel that’s been sitting on my hard drive far too long, using social media, my travels, and occasional thoughts on posts I read in the blogosphere. I hope to build relationships with other writers, have a guest blogger now & then, and exchange ideas with readers and writers. Join me on this journey! It’s a new blog. A new pen name. A new day?