Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Exploring the Pen Name

With Guest Blogger and Erotica Author nikki hale

(During the month of June, here at Today the Dragon Wins we explore the use of pseudonyms. Don't forget to participate in the discussion in the comment field to enter the contest for a copy of the eBook version of Choices Meant for Gods. Details were posted June 1.)

Writing By Another Name

Because I write erotica, I needed a different name. nikki hale is a far cry from my given name and was the first name I could choose for myself. I tried selecting a name based on the pornographic film industry. If I have this wrong, I hope you’ll forgive. For your first name you pick the name of you first dog or cat. My Mommie hated cats so that left only the dog names.

I couldn’t see myself using King Baby for my first name. It had a ring to it. It would cause people to pause and think about what I said. It would even draw in people to see if a man named King Baby was any good at writing erotic romance. But I laughed so hard, I almost wet my pants, and so did every one else. So King Baby was out and I was back to square one.

Okay, I guess I could have shortened the name to Baby, but it didn’t grab me. I wanted something that made me feel sexy, sultry and sassy.

Okay, since the first name didn’t work maybe the last name thing would work. For the last name you pick the street where you grew up. The place were the neighbors have stories you don’t want anyone to know about. I live on forty-second street. I would have used ‘street’ but I would be at the end of the alphabet again. (My maiden name begins with a ‘W’.) I worked hard to find a man that was not only intelligent, thoughtful, and employed, but had a name at the top of the alphabet. They couldn’t pay me to move to back to the end.

So using ‘street’ was out. Okay maybe I could use forty. It was unusual. It was easy to remember. It was near the top. I could go with that. A friend asked if it was a last name or a statement about my age. So, I’m back to square one with both.

I grew up in a corner house on forty-second and hale avenue. Thoughts of using ‘Avenue’ flashed in and out of being the top contender quickly. hale emerged from the pile of broken letters to capture my imagination. It would make a great last name. It was close to the top. It wasn’t first like avenue, but it made me smile. The only thing left to do was to find a perfect first name.

I could always go with an original, my own name Cheryl. I have written under my own name. I have scientific journal articles and a fantasy romance under this name. It’s a major stretch for me to see the science person, ‘Cheryl’, writing erotic romance.

I finally remember the perfect first name for me, nikki. It was the name I couldn’t have during French class in high school. Someone else got to be called nikki for the entire year. Couldn’t people see that I would make a better nikki than my classmate? My teacher should have recognized the signs. I was fun-loving, lively and outgoing. How could they not let me be nikki? It should have been my name. nikki is all attitude, hence the name in lower case. nikki hale was born.

When I write as nikki, I have no problems with making my characters suffer, grow and develop. I can write a faster first draft. And my characters like me better. My nikki persona allows me to stretch.

Cheryl writing as nikki can be reached at Her first novella as nikki will be out this summer. Check out her web site at for a preview of Kunzite Crystals.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Anonymous Andrea Jackson said...

Hey, nikki, funny story! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who didn't get the name she wanted in French class. :)

5:37 PM  
Blogger Cheryl B said...

Hi Andrea,

I'm glad you enjoyed my story. At least now I do have the name I like. I wonder if I can find my old French teacher and tell her she gave the wrong girl my name?

I might have to try and find her.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

Oh, you guys, I took Spanish, but I didn't get the name I wanted, either! The teacher assigned me the name Nancy, which is my mom's name. So I was kinda okay with it, but kinda not. I mean, when you're a teen, you don't necessarily want your mom's name. How uncool is that, right?


Better story: When I got into college and took Spanish, this professor would stand at the front of the room sipping vodka out of a styrofoam cup. He was always soused. He made us read a Spanish romance novel (all semester) and, even though we were well beyond the alphabet, he had me recite the alphabet "as if it were a sad, morose poem." Bizarre! Needless to say, I did okay in the class, but learned "nada" so the next semester, omg, my grade tanked. I knew NOTHING that we were supposed to know!

Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

7:55 PM  
Blogger nikki said...

I forgot about college. In my last semester of French class I had a nutcase. The only reason I managed to pass, she like the short story I wrote about a human turning into a robot. Only the robot was never human.

being naughty is underrated

6:16 AM  

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