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Month: October 2012

What’s In A (Pen) Name?

I’ve been thinking a lot about names lately. For one thing, I recently got engaged, and my fiance isn’t super keen on the idea of me keeping my maiden name. As Kelly Hitchcock, I’ve published one novel (and hopefully one more), a few short stories, and several poems. Still, he maintains that he wants me to take his last name, which is four syllables… not exactly hyphen-friendly. And anyone who has read my work knows I am a big fan of the hyphen; almost as much as I would be a semicolon superfan if it didn’t make me look like a pretentious a-hole.

It also came up in my writer’s group the other day – when is it appropriate to use a pen name? I imagine that if your given name at birth is Brad Pitt or James Cameron and you plan on making a serious living as an author, you might want to use a pen name to distance yourself from the celebrity namesakes (then again, you might want to invite the connection). Then there’s the case of writers who cross over into writing in another genre – like erotica – and use a pen name to maintain the separation between the two genre’s writings.  Or maybe your name just sucks, like Dentenia Zickafoose.

What I wonder is:

  • It’s common practice for doctors and lawyers to keep their maiden names based on public professional accomplishments. Income disparity notwithstanding, does the same expectation exist for authors?
  • Is it icky to take on a pen name for no apparent reason? No evidence of genre-switching, crappy namesake, or celebrity doppelhood?

What do you think?

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Library Bookspotting for September 2012

September was a great month for me, both personally and professionally, both of which I will elaborate on in a future post. For now, savor these tasty gems I found while volunteering at the library last month.

It’s a good this fiction (?) novel is geared toward junior high boys, because otherwise men of all ages might track it down and enjoy it. How do I know? My fiance laughed hysterically and said he would read it, and all he reads is programming books. I think we can all recall a day this very thing has happened – I once ate street tacos for every meal and yes, it ended badly. And The Day My Butt Went Psycho is supposedly based on a true story…

This one’s a little hard to read since the cover’s so busy, but it’s a children’s cookbook called The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes. I’ve been trying to get a good shot of this one for awhile, but it never stays on the shelf for long. I want to believe that the publishers of this fine specimen had no idea that Wookiee Cookie had another, more grownup, meaning, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they knew the correct spelling of Wookiee – which blew my mind when I discovered it. I’ll have to check it out and try the Boba Fettucine for myself sometime.

Remember how I told you that mystery novels, particularly those in series, have ridiculous titles based on bad puns? Well, here’s another case in point. Roast Mortem (part of the Coffeehouse Mystery series) is about as stretchy of a pun as you can get. Despite its terribly punny title, this book actually doesn’t look half bad.

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln is an I-Can-Read book. I can’t think of more appropriate subject matter to use to teach my child to read with than the in-cold-blood killing of our 16th president. I’ll avoid this one like the plague – I’d rather wait until the dog passes away to explain the concept of death instead of using poorly illustrated photos of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Stay tuned for October’s finds!

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Six Sentence Sunday 10/7/2012

Welcome back to my 6-sentence snippet series from my book, Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook. This is the final week I will be sharing with you snippet from each chapter. (Click here to see last week’s snippet)

Today we meet Erika, a new mother who uses her tattoo as a way to heal from her debilitating fear of phone calls and her father’s death.

As she exited the shower, she caught her reflection in the full-length mirror, reminding herself for the hundredth time not to get in too big a hurry to get back in the gym.  There would be plenty of time for that when her maternity leave was over, which would be here before she knew it.  Maybe tomorrow, she thought to herself, she’d take Josie for a few laps in the park in the expensive jogging stroller that was currently being used as a clothing rack.  As she toweled off her back, her eyes were drawn, as they always were, to the tattoo over her left shoulder, just behind her heart.  Erika stepped backwards, closer to the mirror, tracing the part of the tattoo’s outline she could reach.  Almost four years, and it was still as vibrant as the day she’d gotten it.

That’s all for today! Be sure to check out some of the other talented people over at

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