“My name is my identity and must not be lost.” Lucy Stone
“Identity is an assemblage of constellations.” Anna Deavere Smith
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and “Never say anything you don’t want to hear repeated on the radio” – My Mother
When Carina Press bought my novel Priestess of the Nile, which was to be the first book of mine ever to be published, I’d submitted it under the pen name Veronica Scott. I’d always wanted a name that started with a V and had many syllables. (Some other day I’ll tell you the tale of how I received my actual, economical first name.) And Scott was my late husband’s middle name and he’d encouraged my writing ever since we met in the 10th grade. He was my champion, who sadly didn’t live to see anything of mine published. So I honor him with every book.
I felt I needed a pen name at that time due to my day job. I had no intention at the time of telling my very nice co-workers that I was now writing science fiction and paranormal novels that contained – gasp! –SEX. On occasion people who aren’t writers will assume the author is writing from personal experience. (Riiigghhtt, I was an ancient Egyptian priestess who had hot sex beside the Nile with the Crocodile God in his human form…) I didn’t want any professional meeting I was in to become distracted by people pondering my book’s sex scenes.
I had next to no social media presence when Carina bought the book but by the time it was published I had a very active blog, a Facebook page and was tweeting up a storm. (Have I mentioned how much I love twitter?) I’ve maintained those and added more, with my column for USA Today/HEA and of course being a Word Whore, and other author-related activities.
The thing I always remember is WHY I’m blogging, tweeting, FBing, presenting a workshop or a panel, doing a book signing, at a reader event…It’s because I’m an author. I LOVE the conversations going on in the various media, I relish curating good content and sharing it, I’ll chat with anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat. I like nothing better than meeting readers online or at events and talking books.
I’ll even talk about my family online in a very limited sense.
I’m me and me is I – I may have chosen to have a pen name, but anything I say or do is the real person talking. That’s another basic tenet I cling to. If I say it, write it, tweet it, post it, publish it – I believe it and will stand behind it. Whatever the topic “it” may be. BUT – and this is a big caveat – I’ll also adhere to my mom’s advice (although nowadays we’d probably phrase it as don’t say anything you don’t want to see on the internet). As the other Whores have mentioned over and over in various ways this week, I’m not going to post negative things, not going to complain about aspects of what I do (because this writing career is the best thing EVER and I’m lucky to get to do it fulltime now), not going to overshare about personal health/family/what-have-you…I will support things I strongly believe in, like the debt we owe our military and their families.
I’ll overshare about my cat Jake. No promises when it comes to his lovely self!
I’m human. I have strong opinions about a lot of things. People do irritate me on occasion. I do have good days and bad days health wise. Certain things make me crazy and I can be snarky and sarcastic with the best of them….privately. I vent about stuff. With my family and my close friends, including other authors. Then I get over it and move on.
You know what? This is pretty much how I’ve always lived my life, so it just made sense to me to apply the same principles to my author self. Why change what’s always worked?
I’m an optimistic, sunny Libra, who’s a Lark (morning person all the way) and that’s whether I’m being Veronica or not!