Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Pain of having a Penname

When you chose to write a certain genre of book, and you want to remain obscured behind the steamy subject matter, you oft need to adopt a nom de plume. I recently read that Anne Rice began her Beauty trilogy in this fashion, but has since reclaimed those books as her own. We may live in different times than when she originally wrote them, but in North America founded by the Puritans, writing erotica is still unaccepted in certain quarters. And most especially in small towns.

But with that decision comes a huge headache. Promoting another name to sell books. Oh my. I have enough trouble marketing under my own name as I don’t at all enjoy the work involved in being online in the social community. What I love is pure and simple: writing. This is how you get a book noticed by a publisher, but not how you get a book picked up by readers. Or at least that is the conventional wisdom.

So I tried creating a dual set-up of author pages, twitter and facebook accounts and tried the art of managing two different online presences. I suck at it. And I find it too much. I think a writer needs a publicist to do that work for them. What other job do you have to do the work and then tell everyone else about all the work you’ve done to be vindicated? Anyone else faced with this daunting dilemma?  Any ideas of easy solutions for this problem?

Happy writing everyone!

Hugs, January Bain

Seventh Son excerpt:
An ancient werewolf curse, a darkly handsome nobleman, and a desperate woman all meet up in the haunted forests of ancient Albion. Some say it is destiny. Some say it is a curse brought about by the devil’s own. But all say divine intervention is necessary if history will claim the victory of the Dragonstone Clan over the wild Northmen.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth,
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
~John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV

A sound. A shadow. The breath stilled in my lungs. I froze mid-stride, icy tentacles of fear twisted around my desperate heart. I waited; every fibre of my body alert to my surroundings. This close to my goal I could not, nay, would not be denied. A board creaked. The certainty I was not alone slithered through my mind. Evil surely awaited in the rising mist of the gloaming. It crept silently in over the water and beclouded the bottom of the river below. I must hurry. I willed my body to move and lurched to the dark wooden railing, grasping it with stiffened fingers. Looking down, I could see the mist rising thicker and settling on the cold rushing water. I shuddered. I fancied the swirling mist forming itself into the searching fingers of death. A macabre welcome awaited me with absolution for my sins, an end to the agony that my life had become. I felt no hesitation in my mission.
A creak. There was someone on the bridge with me. I panicked and looked back towards the muffled footfalls and barely discernible creaks that echoed loudly in my head. The mist was a living entity; it pursued me over the wide wooden planks and obscured my view. Wait. The deep voice pierced my head a split-second before I threw a leg up over the wooden railing and hoisted myself upwards. No time to waste. Just a couple more seconds and my pain would be over forever. The devil would not win my soul.
Strong arms pulled me off-balance and I tumbled off the railing against a hard body. I screeched with anger and agony, fighting the interference tooth and nail with my clenched fists. Food and shelter cost too dearly. I wanted no part of any rescue.
“Let me go! I want to die!”
“Hush, no one wants to die,” a low throaty voice soothed. His body radiated heat and calmed my tormented mind. I found I wanted to stay within their confines and be warmed. What had happened to my death wish? Was a warm man enough to turn me away from a choice that had seemed inevitable and well-chosen only moments ago? That I had promised myself this very night. I couldn’t go back. No one could make me. I would not, could not let that happen, but still I did not struggle. I let myself be embraced by the stranger while my mind raced.
He held me for an indeterminable amount of time till my thoughts finally quieted. I could hear the water as it rushed over the rocks fifty feet below. I breathed in his fresh woodsy odor of pine and wood smoke and I began to recover. I become aware that he was far taller than I for my head was tucked in well below his chin. As he held me thoughts came into my mind, thoughts of not being hungry and having been reduced to consider begging for a single hard crust of bread in exchange for sexual favors. Death would be preferable. Thoughts instead of what it felt like to have a full belly and lie in a warm bed. Luxuries I had not had thought existed for me anymore. The man’s arms were indeed magical if they could offer such comfort, fleeting though it may be.
“Are ye feeling better, lass?” His lilting accent further soothed me as I recognized a fellow countryman.
“Aye,” I answered simply, surprised that I was. I should pull away but I found I could not. I wanted to stay in his embrace. My arms crept around him of their own violation and I hugged him closer. His breathing slowed while his lower body pressed hard into mine. I was alive. Life was still possible. My body wanted to celebrate its victory.
*Coming soon from Ellora's Cave Publishing


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Beautiful, January. Well chosen quote, too.

Michele said...

I have enough trouble keeping up with one life, let alone two. I decided that if I can't be proud enough of what I write to put it under my own name, I just won't write it.
But then there is the issue of writing children's and erotic. You don't want kids to look for more of your books and find...!!!
So there are valid reasons (besides this one) to using a pen name. If you have a name that people could snicker over if you write erotica, for instance.
But for me, I just don't think I could handle promoting TWO personas!

January Bain said...

Thanks Julie and Mike! Yes, I am at a different life stage than you Mike so I know I need a pen name. And yes, I wish it were different as I have enough trouble promoting one name! But I am proud of my work, some of my erotica is the best I have ever written, especially the prose in the Seventh Son set one thousand years ago. But I am in a small town so must suffer two names. Maybe some day if I move to a big city it will be different. Have a great day everyone! Hugs, January