Pen Names – Yay or Nay?

Last November I participated in the NaNoWriMo contest (And won!!! Yay me!). As part of the contest I won 2 free copies of my book from http://www.createspace.com.

I had a look at the site and I’d  love to do that. Even if I don’t end up self-publishing.  I am just so ready to hold a book I wrote in my hands! Just to have that feeling, to know what it will be like when the dream is realized. So, I started setting up the site, uploaded the book, and even played around with the cover creator a bit.

Then I came across a problem. The author name. I don’t have one yet. I always knew I would be using a pen name once the time comes. There are many reasons for this. First of all I don’t have a very interesting sounding name. My name is distinct only in its blandness. And I can’t even blame my husband for it. My current name is actually an improvement over my maiden name.

Secondly, I’m naturally shy and don’t like talking about myself too much ( I know, hard to believe since this blog is all about me me me me and my writing ). I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I get asked about my books when I’m not expecting it.

There’s also the previously discussed matter of my inability to write in one genre. If I am fortunate enough to get  published the traditional route then a pen name might come in handy if I end up publishing works in different genres.

There are many factors to consider when decided if you want to use a pen name or not though. These article had good information on the subject:

http://www.writing-world.com/business/pen.shtml

Should You Be Using a Pen Name?

Once you decided to use a pen name it’s always a good idea to make sure there isn’t someone out there already who’s using the same name. That’s why  I don’t have an author name to use right now. Both time I thought I had the perfect name it turned out someone else already was using it, so needless to say I’m still looking.

How about you? Do you write under your own name, or do you prefer a pen name? And if you use a pen name, how did you come up with it?

In a language not my own

Back in October I did a post on why I don’t like to include that I’m from Germany in my query letters. Since then a couple of people have asked me why I don’t write in Germany vs. English.

Wouldn’t it be easier for me to write in German since it’s the language I grew up with?

You’d think so. And I did write in German for several years when I was a teenager. I wasn’t yet fluent in English and so writing in German made sense. When I turned 18 I went to Israel for several months and lived in an international youth hostel. There were dozens of languages floating around, but the one common language was English. Being forced to speak it improved my language skills rapidly. Before I knew it I was writing poetry in English instead of German. Somehow it felt better to write in English, the words seemed to flow more freely and the thoughts in my head came out more accurately.

After I left Israel I went to live in the UK for a few years and it was there that I decided to try writing a novel. By the time I started Goodbye November I had lived in English-speaking countries for so many years that I started to dream and think in English as well, so there was no question that my novel would be in the same language. It’s been this way ever since.

Now, when I try to write anything creative in German, it doesn’t sound right. Maybe it’s because in many ways German has become a second language for me. I guess that’s sad, but it is what it is. I often find myself speaking English with my German-speaking friends, and sometimes, when I do chat with someone in German, I can’t think of the words. I don’t think I could write a poem or novel in German anymore, even if I tried. It’s been years since I even read a novel in German so I imagine it would sound strange if I tried to write in it.

Although, maybe one of these days I’ll try to translate something I wrote into German and see how that goes. It’s an idea anyway.

Poetry- Nothingness

This is one of the first poems I wrote, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, still one of my favorites:

Nothingness

There is a nothingness,

all around me

I cry,

but I don’t feel pain

I laugh,

but I’m not happy

I scream,

but I’m not angry

I’m in a bubble of emptiness,

without feelings


I’m in a wasteland

of depression

I exist,

but I don’t live

Blog Update

The year is already a month old and I have yet to write anything on this blog. In my defense, I was busy with different things that came up, like a surprise move to a different apartment, among other things. I’ll make more time for this blog from now on though!

Well, let me start with a status update on my projects. I’m still querying In Absentia, with a brand new query letter. I decided to change my previous one because of the feedback from the agent who read the full last year. She said she expected more of a mystery based on the query (She requested a full based on the query letter alone, not sample chapters/pages).  It’s really not a mystery novel. There’s a mystery, yes, the ‘what happened to Adam’s brother’ mystery, but it’s not the central part of the book. Adam’s journey is. I changed the query to show this. I had some agents left to query and did so yesterday. After this I have a list of small prints to submit to, but I have to say I’ve been thinking about self-publishing too. The reason I didn’t consider this option before was because it’s a lot more work. Not only the publishing process itself, but the marketing too. I know that even if you go the traditional publishing route you still have to do a lot of your own marketing, but there’s a team behind you who knows what they’re doing. You don’t have that support when you’re doing it on your own. I’m starting to think that self-publishing might be the way to go though, especially if I do not find an agent. Scary thought, but worth investigating for sure!

I finished the re-write of my New Adult Goodbye December, which I renamed Goodbye November. I put it aside for now because I think it needs to simmer a bit before I can tackle the next draft.  There are some things I want to take out, and some I want to change.  All in all I’m happy with the re-write and hope to get it polished by summer.

Meanwhile I picked up my NaNo project from 2013 and started working on the second draft. I’m making slight changes to the story and so far it’s going pretty good. I’ve renamed it “The Pink Tourmaline” (from the previous title “Far from here”). It’s a historical romance (with a bit of time-traveling) set mostly in the 1920s, my favorite decade. I’m having a lot of fun writing it!

I’ve also sent out some of my poems to see if I can get a couple published. I was slacking in 2014 in the poetry department and didn’t send out much but better late than never!

That’s all that’s going on with my projects so far