Shannon Stacey
Alias Smith or Jones or…Roberts?

I’ve been following a Q&A with the fabulously talented Lucy Monroe on AskAnAuthorPro. (Open to those with RWA PRO status.)

First, if you’re not reading Lucy’s books, you seriously should be! The Real Deal was one of my favorite books of 2004. Second, if you qualify for PRO status and you just haven’t bothered with the paperwork or dismiss it as a rejection pin (grrrr–don’t get me started), you are really missing out.

So, anyway, Lucy Monroe is doing a Q&A this week on Career Planning. One thing that particularly caught my attention was her comments on pseudonyms. Basically, one spends months–or in most cases years–interacting on message boards, readers’ loops, writers’ loops as one’s self, then you get The Call, pick a pseudonym, and…start all over.

I’ve been roaming around online for about 3 1/2 years. As me. After reading those posts, I realized that she was right–if you’re going to use a pseudonym, start immediately. Don’t wait for The Call.

This led to a rousing discussion with the husband on names. Every single one we came up with sounded incredibly stupid (I wanted to keep the Shannon part). I don’t like my maiden name, my mother’s maiden name, or any other maiden names on my family tree. Every one he came up with made me sound like the star of a backroom porn movie. Every one I came up with started with B, until he laughed and said “You just want to sit at the same table as Jaci and Mel. Hmmmm….

Finally it boiled down to a discussion of WHY the pseudonym? Pros: Ummm…1–Eventually if I attracted a nut, he wouldn’t be able to find my house, unless he has even a passing knowledge of the internet. 2–There are always people who assume that I’m stupid and just don’t know Stacey is my first name. It’s not, thanks. Cons: 1–Starting all over with a new identity. 2–Legalese. 3–I like my name. 4–And I want MY name on MY book. 5–And all the other choices sounded really dumb.

After many yeah-buts and much eye-rolling, we came to the conclusion that neither of us sees a reason for me to use a pseudonym. It wasn’t really a conversation I was comfortable with because, here in Red Sox Nation, we are more than familiar with the curse of putting the cart before the horse, but Lucy’s comments made me realize that in career planning, that’s exactly what you have to do.

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Adventures In Dirty Words

Okay. Call me offensive, call me a disgrace to female kind. Tar me and feather me. Whip me, beat me…hold on…distracted there for a sec.

When it comes to names for the female anatomy, I prefer the C-word to the P-word. *gasp* (And I hope you know what I mean, cause I’m not saying them in public. Nope.)

But I’ve seen a lot of commentary about how much women prefer the P-word to the C-word, and I see the P-word most frequently. Perhaps because the C-word is used in such a derogatory manner non-sexually–really negative associations there. And it’s too dirty and shouldn’t be used in romantic fiction, and blah blah blah. But the P-word makes me giggle. Sorry, but it does. It’s a silly word. Maybe it comes from watching too many episodes of Are You Being Served?

Why are there no feminine, attractive names for…down there? *g* In my childhood we referred to it as the ya-ya. And that was before I’d ever heard of Rebecca Wells, so you can imagine my reaction to THAT title. My stepmother, for some reason, has my sisters refer to anything covered up by panties as “bunny.” Sure, and wouldn’t that go over well at EC? (And I don’t know why they have bunnies, so I can’t explain it. I only know that as soon as my son was born I made sure everybody was clear there were no bunnies in HIS pants) (Of course, their 32-year-old sister is here saying P-word and C-word, so maybe it’s hereditary. *eye roll*)

So, until something better comes along (and please don’t suggest that hideous Q word), I’ll use the P-word and the C-word. I found in this book, I had a tendency to use the former in her POV and the latter in his. *shrug*

For the record, I love ALL the guy-part names. I have no problem using those. ;)

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Time Mismanagement, Inc.

The husband says to me this morning “If you give up watching TV with me at night you’ll get an extra 2 or 3 hours.”

Now, I know my husband pretty well. I know what he really meant was “It’s okay if you write at night instead of sitting in the living room with me, staring at the TV and dissecting the shows during the commercials.” What he doesn’t get is that, after nearly eleven years, we’re barely clinging to our identity as a loving, married couple as it is. Co-parents, yes. Cohabitants, yes. Co-managers, yes. Husband and wife…getting fuzzy.

Sure, he’s in his recliner and I’m on the couch and we’re both engrossed in the idiot box, but I see this as our “deep breath” time. So he says, “watch the eight and nine o’clock shows, but write during the ten o’clock hour.”

My first thought: But CSI Miami! Without A Trace! I can’t do that!

His last words as he walked out the door to go to work: “Hey, if you wanna watch TV more than you want to be published, be my guest.”

(You CAN dent a steel door, FYI)

Well…I want to be published more than I want to be an unpaid, underappreciated home office manager, so who’s laughing now? HA!

Now I’m off to choke on my lesson for the day.

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Cue the crescendo

Another snow day–kind of. The weather kept me from my chapter meeting. And it’s really making my Christmas shopping a pain in the butt.

Yes…Christmas shopping. I’m STILL not done! We’re getting together with the inlaws tomorrow, and because of that pesky flu thing, I was shopping on an as-needed basis. Now they’re needed. But for now, I’m writing.

I HATE the IloveyouIloveyoutoo scene. You know, the one at the very end of the book where the hero and heroine confess their love for each other. No matter how hard I try to make them different and really emotional, I can still hear that hideous music playing while my characters run toward each other in a daisy-infested field. The IloveyouIloveyoutoo scene is the single hardest scene for me to write in every manuscript. I try to edit and edit and edit the corniness out, and I just seem to make it worse.

Maybe I should have them fax their declarations in, then just get together for post-declaration sex.

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I got my box of GH entries to judge today. And I made the mistake of looking at my calendar–my chapter meeting isn’t the Saturday after next as I thought. It’s this Saturday coming. Not good. Since I’m the Secretary and the Newsletter Editor, you can guess what I’ll be doing in the near future. Oops. I don’t know why THIRD Saturday is so stuck in my head.

On a positive note, my hero’s finished masturbating! YAY! Tis a good thing, because pretty soon we were both going to start chafing.

I was also slapped upside the head with an epiphany while waiting for the short kid to pee in Walmart, because we’d walked all the way back to the truck before he announced he had to go and he knew he was going to suffer if he didn’t squeeze out at least a few drops.

I’m afraid of rejection. (I didn’t say it was an original epiphany) I was thinking about a conversation with the husband in which he said (basically) “Did you wash my blue sweatshirt? Have you started the year-end paperwork for the company yet? Where’s the charger for my drill? Did you finish your book yet? Wow, the house is trashed.”

My response: “Yes. No. F-d if I know. If I don’t finish it, they can’t reject it. And bite me.”

It was meant to be off-the-cuff. I mean, in the last several plus years I’ve gotten rejections. Good rejections, too. Yeah, I ranted and raved and drowned my sorrow in chocolate. But it’s a learning curve. So anyway, back to the epiphany–my subconscious coughed up a nasty little tidbit for me.

I know the how-to, the why-to, the who-to, POV and GMC and BM and I’ve memorized The Writer’s Journey and Writing the Breakout Novel, and blah blah blah. So now that I have the tools, if I get rejected it’s because I’m just not good enough.

Not that a writer isn’t always learning and honing her craft–I’m aware that you learn and grow or you stagnate like Thanksgiving leftovers. I didn’t say it made sense. My subconscious rarely does. I’m also terrified of any discussion regarding the scope of the universe, and if you talk long enough about the rotation of the earth and spinning on its axis, I’ll get dizzy and throw up. (Earth Science was a bitch.) But the cesspool in the darkest regions of my mind is telling me I’ve got no more excuses for the next rejection, other than just plain old didn’t cut it.

And then he peed and we left.

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