Romance By Catherine: Pen Names...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pen Names...

This is a topic that comes up a lot. I'm always interested in how an author came up with their pen name, and why they decided to use one.

I'll go first:

Catherine, as many of my author friends know, is my real first name. I thought it would be easier to respond to if I recognized it during a chat or in the off chance that someone recognizes me on the street. LOL -

Bybee, is a family name... but I didn't finalize on Bybee until after I made sure there wasn't another Bybee author out there to compete with shelf space. I read somewhere, from an author blog, to make certain that the .com was available for the pen name you've chosen.

So there you have it... how Catherine Bybee came to be!

What's your story?


Clare Revell said...

Clare Revell is my real name. Pretty boring.

however my fanfic/internet sci fi stuff is under pen name of Tels Merrick/Tels/Telsia Charis. this is because its mainly stargate sg1 fic and Tels Merrick was my name on all the stargate sites before they fell into the wormhole and vanished. Therefore it was how most ppl knew me.

but my orig stuff is under my original name. Think that makes sense.

BrennaLyons said...

I've got three separate pen names and my legal name. When I was a kid and young adult, I published everything (articles, poetry, essays...) all under my legal name, first my maiden name and then my married name.

Skip forward to 1996. I was a member of the SCA, and I was publishing poetry and bardic work under my three SCA names (Brenna of Lyonsbane, Brenna la poetessa dei Leoni, and Mallie inghean Bhrain Cadal).

I was also writing articles for a local ezine under my legal name. I wrote an article that was political in nature, and (knowing humans are very touchy and rather crazy when it comes to politics and religion), I decided to use a pen name for it. All my SCA friends already called me Brenna, and Stuart was a family name from my husband's family. Brenna Stuart became my name for political articles.

Skip forward to 2001. I wrote my first novel. Most people already knew me by my SCA names, so why not stick with a pen name based on that? Not to mention that I didn't want to be "too easy to find" for one old acquaintance. So, Brenna Lyons was born.

Now, I publish pretty much everything in the main Brenna Lyons pen name these days. But, I wrote a children's book in 2004, and you just don't mix horror, erotic, and children's together. So, I needed a new pen name. I went back to the SCA name again. Might as well keep the Brenna in there...and steal the Bane half of the last name (which was a family name from my side of the family)...and throw in a middle name to break up the two Bs... Brenna Dawn Bane was born, and that name remains in stock, in case I write any more children's or YA.


Mary Ricksen said...

I use my name. I want every one I know, to hear about my book! One even one book is a thrill!
If I wrote erotica, I'd still use my name. Let them know this ole broad still thinks!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Catherine. At one point I had two pen names, but have since dropped one. M.J. Sager is my real intials and my maiden name. I'm published under that, but don't use it now. I got it when I thought I would write erotica. Then used it for a couple of contemporaries.

I also wanted to write historicals, so I choose Anna Kathryn Lanier. I have two daughters. One's middle name is Anne and the other is, you guessed it, Kathryn. I thought Anna went better with Kathryn. Lanier is a family name, my great-grandmother's maiden name. I write both contemporary and historicals under it now.

Honestly, most people know me by my real name, too. Half the time, I sign my emails by Melinda

I love your covers, btw.

Jill James said...

My real name was already taken by a romance author, so I asked my husband, "If I weren't me, who do I look like." He said, "You look like a Jill." Since my father had recently died at that point I added his name, James and became Jill James.

Lu said...

Well, since hubby works with children and I write steamy, hehe, I felt it wise to get a pen name, just to avoid any confusion. Grace was my maternal grandmother. Hood is from my father's side, a great-great-grandfather. Ta-dah, Grace Hood was born.

Lilly Gayle said...

Love your story! Lilly Gayle is a pen name, but it's sort of my real name. I've always gone by Gayle, which is actually my middle name and my grandmother's maiden name. My first name, and one I have NEVER used is Lillian. I was named after my great aunt, Lillian Gayle. So, I just shortened Lillian to Lilly and use my middle name as my last name. I thought I needed a pen name because when I first published my paranormal romance, I had an agent for my historical work and she didn't think I should use the same name for both. And she didn't represent paranormal. I eventually dropped the agent but I'm keeping my pen name for my upcoming historical release from TWRP.

Fiona said...

I googled my maiden name, because I had promised my father-in-law, a devout Catholic, that I wouldn't use "his" name because I write erotic romance, with, ahem, sex scenes. He nodded and thanked me. He's since passed away and I miss him, but can't take the chance he'd haunt me for going back on a promise! Plus I sub for high schools for my day job. My maiden name is popular the world over, where-ever there are Celts: Scottish, Irish, Welsh, you-name-it. There are many women publishing various subject matters all over the net with my maiden name...even my middle name, which was my paternal grandmother's name, but also the queen's! So I combined my maiden name and real married last name to "make up" a name, and when I googled it, the computer asked if I meant "McQuire", which means it doesn't's not a real name. BINGO! So now if you are looking for my books, I'm the only one you will find.

Catherine Bybee said...

What great stories! When you have a family to consider, name changes are in order for many of us.

Keep 'em coming!

Gail Roarke said...

Gail Roarke isn't my real name. Not even close. I chose it more or less on a whim when I submitted my first piece of erotica to Cobblestone. It was the name of a character I'd written in other things (who was a novelist, as it happens), so I figured it would do.

I'm happy with it, and my stuff comes up right at the top of a Google search for Gail Roarke, so that's good too.

Eliza March said...

I have a big family, therefore my erotic pen name Eliza March developed out of my love for "Little Women" my first favorite book other than "The Pokey Puppy".

Now I'm writing romantic suspense under another name, Elizabeth Marchat which could be Eliza's real name.

Keeping all of me's straight does get confusing, but I've learned to answer to most of my names. ;-)))

LaVerne Clark said...

I use my real name, LaVerne Clark. I decided it was an unusual enough name and I was proud to say I'm a published author! : )

Imagine my surprise when I googled it and found LaVerne Clark is a heavily muscled MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter! As far from a romance writer as you can get I would've thought. I wonder if he's googled his name and seen little old me there? Hehehe...

Angel Martinez said...

I do write mainstream SF under my given name, Sandra Stixrude. While I am married, I never changed it - always been my name and rather suits an SF writer.

But when I started writing erotica, I was advised for the sake of my son (who was in Middle School at the time) that I should have a different name. Not to mention the fact that I did want to keep the erotic fiction separate from the mainstream and, er, it didn't sound much like an erotic romance writer.

Angel was the first name of my first openly gay character - a rather flawed thief, rogue and unlikely hero by the name of Angel Julian Mateo DeFalla. Since "Angel" is a gender-nonspecific name, it worked quite well.

Veronica Lynch said...

My first novels were written under my maiden name with my father's first name slipped in the middle so that I would always "see" him when I opened emails, went to my website or blog. Last summer, I submitted to a new and different publisher and sensed from the start I should use a different name.
It took maybe ten seconds to honor a contemporary of my father and his siblings, Veronica Lynch, who served as a role model for young people throughout the Syracuse, NY area. A professional educator, Ms. Lynch demonstrated one did not need a man or his name or his approval to be a success. I want to honor her name with stories about women who spend their time and energy helping others, who succeed very well on their own and do not need measurable levels of testosterone to feel worthwhile.

Then, of course, they meet a man who compliments them and what do you know--a romance in the making.
Thanks for letting me share.
Veronica Lynch aka Kat Henry Doran

Julianne said...

My stories have always been written under my married name. But there is a girl with that name (strangely enough) which seems like it would be confusing. Then my father recently passed away, so I'm toying with putting my maiden name in--whether first or second, I'm not decided yet. Maybe that will make a distinction between us.

Kienna Riley said...

Hi Everyone! My real name is unusual, which would have easily sufficed as my author name. However, in the interest of my family, I try to keep my real name and pen name seperate. My first novella (released yesterday) has a steamy scene;) Not something I want to sit down at the Christmas table and chat with Mom about!