What’s In A Name?

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Earlier this morning while drinking my coffee, I decided I needed a pen name.  After all, I don’t want to be forever known as “that lady who co-wrote that book about that weird haunted house.  That Jenny B. Scott lady.”

If you don’t already know, I AM that lady who co-wrote that book about that weird haunted house (and proud of it).  The book hasn’t come out yet.  It’s in the hands of our brave editor this VERY moment, and we hope to have it published this fall.

Anyway, I’m not good at telling ghost stories.  I’m only good at telling my own ghost story, which I happened to live through for five awful months in 2012.  I don’t know anything about ghosts, ghost hunting or demonology….so I just leave it to the experts in that field.  After what I went through personally, I don’t even watch many horror movies anymore.  I still watch the really old ones like “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi from the 1930’s and the silent films like “Nosferatu”….but you won’t see me watching Paranormal Activity 19 or Amityville Horror 372, the re-make of the re-make, of the re-make.

I do plan on writing more books, but paranormal non-fiction just isn’t my thing.  I like to tell funny slice-of-life stories about the American South.  I like to listen to a story told with a long Southern drawl….a drawl so Southern, you can almost taste the sweet tea (maybe with a little Bourbon mixed in….or a lot. Whatever floats my goat.)

So, I had myself a little conundrum this morning: What does one do, when one will already be known for writing a book in a certain genre?  Well, Hell’s Bells, honey child…..you come up with a nom de plume!

So, I went online….as one does, and I found a neat little pen name generator. I thought I had found the perfect place to find my new name. I had struck internet gold, Honey!

All I did was select a gender, and I got:

Maude Tagloff

No offense to anyone named Maude, but that name just doesn’t suit me. I’m only 38 years old.

I tried again, and got these:

Una May Doop

Maurits Manfredi

Shaun Socrates

Erin Huggins

Starlin Zahn.

Some of those names sound like a serious infection. The kind you’d get if you sat all the way down on the toilet seat in the public restroom.  I can imagine the conversations around town:

“What’s wrong with Jenny?  Why isn’t she on Facebook much lately?”

“Girl….didn’t you hear?  She’s got a BAD case of Maurits Manfredi!  The doctor said if she hadn’t come to the emergency room when she did, she could have ended up with a Starlin Zahn infection, and they woulda had to take her uterus out!”

“Oh, my Lord! Bless her heart!”

So, I decided I’d better think up my own pen name.  I got out my notepad and favorite pen, and came up with these:

Mary-Margaret Fenton

Lillian B. Harris

Lillian Harper-Harley

Lilly Leigh McGee

Mary Grace Mercer

Mary-Margaret Montgomery

Lillian H. Sheridan

Marie Tucker Sheridan

Virginia Grace Montgomery

Lillian Thomas Pratt

Martha Patty Patterson

Sallie Maude McGee (see how I threw that ‘Maude’ in there like a rock star?  It’s actually my great-grandmother’s name)

Not bad, I thought.  But, none of them sound like me.  A few of them are actually family names, just jumbled up a bit.  But, family names or not….I began to change my idea about a nom de plume.  I can’t help who I am.  I’m just me.  My mama named me, so why not just use the name I already have, and just change it up a little?  I can’t use my maiden name, because it’s too hard for people to spell, much less pronounce properly, so I decided on a variation of my married name.

Turns out, there IS a lot in a name.  Your own name is your identity, your heritage and your legacy.  I can’t exactly leave a decent legacy with the name Maude Tagloff.  And Lillian H. Sheridan sounds too uppity for my taste.

So, I’m just Jenny.

Jenny Marie Scott.  No muss, no fuss, and easy for me to remember.  I’m still Jenny B. Scott, and I’m still that “haunted house book” lady….but for my fiction writing, I’m still the same, just a little bit different.

And I’m GLAD I don’t have a raging case of Starlin Zahn.

Makes me itch just thinking about it.

 

 

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