Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Think Tank: Pen Names and other Affectations

Good Afternoon, gentle readers.

Er, or whatever time it is when you finally see this post.
I have a few things to say today that may piss some of you off. That's the warning. I do try to keep things light here, because...well, this is entertainment. Not therapy. Except today it's a fairly irritated rant.

In light of that, and some other supposed "scandals" going on I just need to get some stuff off my chest.

First of all, my readers are welcome and even encouraged to get off on my CHARACTERS. Hell, yes, get stroke happy with Christie and Robert, or Neil, Kevin and Tony, or any of the others I write about.

But do not confuse authors with their characters. Leave them the fuck out of it, unless you know them personally. And by that I mean you've actually met in RL and have a close personal relationship. 

Just sayin.

And, heh. 
I know it's shocking, but just for a moment imagine that authors want to make a living. Are you actually suggesting there's something wrong with that? I'm pretty sure that all of us have a need to eat, have shelter, etc. So we need to have a way to make money to buy those things...some of us have Evil Day Jobs, and some of us don't, and some of those day jobs are ones that would be DESTROYED if our real life names got linked to our pen names. It's not new for authors to use pen names for exactly this reason. Look at George Sands...who couldn't get published as a woman so she pubbed as a man.
I know for a fact that some authors practice law, or work as education specialists...and they could lose their jobs if they went public...hell, some of them HAVE lost their jobs when what they write got made public knowledge. Some authors have had to either stop writing or hide behind different gender pseudonyms to protect themselves from Real Life scary-ass stalkers, and I'm talking the kind with guns and knives and "moral certitude".

Should we dig into the lives of these people? Is it our right to prove or disprove he/she/they have an authentic knowledge of law/education/whatever if they choose to write about law/education/whatever? Cause them to lose their jobs because the rabid and misguided or whomever chose to expose them for *gasp*writing a fictional account of something?

How very shocking.

How duplicitious!

I don't know. Do you want the entirety of your life held up to a microscope? Am I, as a woman writing M/M romance about soldiers (as a former soldier) somehow less authentic than a gay man (never been a soldier) writing about the same trope? I don't think so. If we both do good research and write well, that's all that matters, cause seriously people, this stuff is FICTION.


I don't think I owe my fans a damn thing except my best attempt at a ripping good read. They don't get automatic rights to my personal life, and whom I do or do not fuck, nor which body part I use to do so. I'm not writing an autobiography. I'm writing fiction, and my family and friends? Are unequivocally off limits.

Real deal there, babies. Fuck with my family and I'll eat your liver with a nice Chianti and some flipping Fava beans.

*come on peeps. Silence of the Lambs? Anybody? Bueller?*

Hemmingway didn't know shit about being female. Nobody says don't buy his books because he wrote female characters. They may say he doesn't write women well, and that's valid. If you think I got the M/M sex wrong, or the M/F sex, feel free to say I screwed the pooch *figure of speech there* as an author...But don't you dare say something can't have happened just because it never happened to you. If I wrote it you can be damn certain I researched it, either through personal experience or through a first person interview. Or else it's something totally made up like shifters, and even then I likely researched the body parts and the animal counterparts.

If you don't like my writing, don't buy it. 

Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.

If you like it, buy it.

Remember, before you go prying into authors personal lives, that you are culpable for the fruits of that prying. There are people who may lose their jobs, the jobs that have nothing to do with writing because of your "need" to have them live under a microscope. There are authors out there who live in countries where they can be put into prison for writing erotica at all, let alone M/M erotica/romance. There are authors who have Real Life issues crashing down on them to the point that they become depressed, even suicidal. And if you chose to dig into their lives, poke around with the sticks of your belief that you have some sort of right to be privy to their personal life? You are culpable in what happens.

There are professions that will fire someone for writing what we write. There are countries that will jail us. If we want to write this stuff without becoming martyrs, who are you to tell us that's wrong?

Yeah, I said it.


If you don't like the economy bitch about that.
But don't say that I as a writer am not allowed to make a decent living because you as a reader are feeling strapped for cash. Shit, my grocery bill went up too. And serving my country has left me unable to get an Evil Day Job. This is it for me.

Yeah, random ranting now.

But, maybe?

Some stuff to think about.


  1. You don't even really owe anyone a good read, given the subjectiveness of the reading experience. God knows, I've read plenty of stuff that has gotten rave reviews here there and everywhere that, for whatever reason, just didn't work for me, or that I thought completely blew chunks.

    Ditto the reverse.

    All you owe anyone is the promise that you'll do your very best. And at the end of the day, the only people you *really* owe anything to are yourself and whoever you're supporting -- emotionally or financially.


  2. Right on Cherie!!! Brilliant post and so very, very true. Honestly, if people don't like something then truly they shouldn't read that author's stuff but how dare they think that they have the right to tell others how they should think and how they should live their lives?

    Isn't the LGBTQ community supposed to be all about open-mindedness and equality for all? I'm amazed at how these so called "allies" to the cause are just as close-minded, just as hypocritical and judgmental as Republicans and close-minded Christians (*gasp, did I just say that? I do believe that I did*)

    It almost makes me wonder if maybe the ones who are proclaiming to be so open-minded and are claiming to be allies aren't really homophobes in disguise.

  3. I've said it before and I'll say it again: self-entitlement is the ugliest thing ever!


What's your take?