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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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Exploring the Pen Name
With Guest Blogger and Author J'linn Kramer
(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 versions of Choices Meant for Gods and Apparitions. Details were posted June 1.)

When You Can't Write Under the Nickname "Spitz"

If procreation required more creativity than my parents mustered in naming me I’d have been a lost seed. My siblings didn’t fare much better: Daryld (who died as an infant), Karen and Don, II (twins), and Gary.

I went from being Linda Kramer to being Linda Hutchinson. Not an improvement, common-name-wise. Then each of my brothers married a woman named Linda. I had traded in my birth name and been replaced by two others.

Using a nickname might have been an option if my dad had ever called me anything but Spitz (I hated strained beets), Linny (I still hate that one), or Fluffo (which caused much consternation throughout my teen years). He finally settled in on “Linn” and I was grateful.

When buying a home several years ago we went to the bank to retrieve the down payment from our savings account. We were told we were overdrawn. How can one be overdrawn on their savings account? The clerk had pulled up another Linda J. Hutchinson’s account information. Her husband and mine shared the same common first name.

Being Linda Hutchinson isn’t so bad. I didn’t change it when I re-married because of professional credentials held in that name. But it is so very ordinary. When googling myself I find a host of other writers, a few Realtors, an artist or two, a doctor, a teacher, and a pseudo-hooker. Using my middle initial to differentiate myself doesn’t help. Why couldn’t my middle name have started with an X or a Z? It’s all my parents’ fault.

For a period of several miserable months, a teenage girl called half a dozen times a day accusing me of hiding her dead-beat father. Seems his last known girlfriend’s name was Linda Hutchinson – and she wasn’t highly regarded by his children. This child was angry. She would cry, scream, yell, and threaten until I’d repeat for the tenth time “I do not know your father” and hang up on her. A few minutes later she’d call again. I didn’t know her father but vowed to pop him in the mouth if I ever met him.

I thought the angry teenager’s verbal assaults were as bad as it could get. I was wrong. Her attacks were nothing compared to the bill collectors skip-chasing a woman who seemed to have scammed and conned her way through several states.

But it’s my name and I’m comfortable with it. I use it when writing non-fiction and it’s always a thrill to see that byline. It’s also convenient when depositing checks.

Fortunately, as a writer of fiction, I have the option – and near-duty – to come up with a pen name that is different from anyone else’s. I get to be someone else, one who lives in another world of my own making.

Being J’linn Kramer, knowing I’m the only one in the world – until someone with little creativity sees it and names their kid after me – is something I treasure.

Bio: Linda J. Hutchinson is frequently published in print and online media. She writes about construction, travel, food, volunteerism, writing, living with chronic illness, and parenting. She often spends too much time with hard-hat hair but has been told she cleans up real good. J’linn Kramer’s work has been published online. A novel is in process.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Blogger Kim Richards said...

Hi Linda! I've always like the name Linda. It means beautiful in Spanish and one of my best friends is a Linda. I understand about the need for the pseudonym for you. Sounds like you had identity theft your whole life! ;)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Diana Castilleja said...

Hugs Linda...

Under my maiden name the chances were very slim, however, I've since come to find about ten Diana's with my married name now. And one even lives where I use to live in South Texas!

I recently picked up a psuedo for my writing. I did some googling and the only thing I found the "family of" and the name wasn't even exact. So for the moment I'm in the clear. Hopefully I don't get any irate phone calls over it though.

I did hate getting the collection calls for a card that I had closed a year before. Yep, wrong Diana. Very, very wrong. LOL

11:11 AM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Hey Kim and Diana! Thanks for stopping by.

I'm still fighting to get my T-Mobile/Yahoo/Blogger issues straightened out, so I haven't been able to update any of my blogs. We're getting closer to a fix though- finally got one to admit there was a problem. HA!

Kim, "Linda" might mean beautiful in Spanish, and translate well (Lyuba) in Russian, but it is still SO VERY COMMON.

My protag in the present work is Annika Stupe. How's that? I've only known one Annika in my life. Oh ... and Annika's man is "Tav". It's so much fun to work with them.

And, it is so much fun to be J'linn! Can't wait to put that on a name tag at a conference - and have books to match.


11:26 AM  
Blogger Doc Cook said...

I always thought Linda Hutchinson was the pen name of the real person J'linn Kramer. I figured you were in a witness protection program.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Doc Cook said...

I always thought Linda Hutchinson was the pen name of the real person J'linn Kramer. I figured you were in a witness protection program.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

To Doc,
After the harassing calls Linda was getting from that teen, I think I'd have ASKED for a protection program of some kind - a restraining order maybe. Who knows who else in that guy's family would have been after her next if he was able to stir that kind of anger in the kid. Criminy...
Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

12:10 PM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Ohhhh, my friend doc cook! Thanks for stopping by. I have a number of attorney and cop friends and relatives, but none who might get me into "the program".

I can assure you that I, J'linn, have had a much more interesting life than that other personality that peeks through from time to time. That other one is all business - and a real pain to be around. Asks waaaay too many questions. Always in the way and being too careful. Just no fun at all, that one. Hate to even say her name.

I'll keep your pen name to myself. HA! See "her" website for links to fabulous books written by Bruce Cook/Brant Randall! ("She" hasn't given me my own website yet, the witch.)


12:36 PM  
Blogger Lisa Haselton said...

Hi Linda,

My oh my, what a great reasons for wanting a pseudonym! I had similar instances with bill collectors under my first married name, and talk about common, my real name is at least as common as yours. But, I really love the uniqueness of your pseudonym name. Maybe you can be known just by the first name J'linn! You know, like 'Cher' and 'Tina', etc. :)


5:15 PM  
Blogger Glenn Walker said...

Great stuff as always, Linda!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Hi Lisa and Glenn! Both team mates at The Writer's Chatroom, along with the early bird of the day, Kim. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Lisa, you always make "it" seem not quite so bad, and Glenn, you are always an inspiration.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand.

I wimped out though. There were two Ed Easleys in my family when I started writing. There was my uncle, now 80, and me.

Ed Easley senior was a loveable, hard-drinking, skirt chasing, thieving scoundrel. Me? I wasn’t loveable. So I became E.D. Easley.

Oh, I’ll name my second daughter after you, Linda. Right after I get my vasectomy reversed.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was lucky. There aren't a lot of Audrey's out there. I think I've met a total of seven in my entire life. One, I was named for. One was named after me. lol

J'Linn, don't be so rough on Linda. She tries hard! ;)

9:24 PM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Only you, Ed! Think I'd rather have you name a character after me. The effect may not be as long lasting.

Boy howdy. A female Ed Easley, with my name. Stephen King wouldn't even touch that one.

Let's see, J'linn Stretch-etta Walker ... That might just crinkle the starch right outta Linda's bloomers.


9:31 PM  
Blogger Mario said...

I tried to write under Steven King but that didn't work.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...


Yep. Linda works too hard. Just today, she spent 4 hours writing this dry, uninteresting, diatribe about construction on State Route 8. Who cares?

She could have been writing much more interesting stuff. See, I "know" about all that fun stuff that goes on in her head. (wink)


9:51 PM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Mario Acevedo?? Now there's a guy who knows how to have fun!

Believe it or not, Linda finally decided to enjoy a good read. She's about six chapters into X-Rated Blood Suckers and I swear I've heard her laugh right out loud a few times.

She hasn't eaten the chocolates you sent HER (where's mine?), but "the duck" watches over her laptop, so just maybe there's hope for her yet!


9:57 PM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

What I wanna know is which of E.D. Easley's daughters would call J'Linn demanding to know his whereabouts...muahahahahaha. Or are those days over and I misread it? He he he.

You know, J'Linn, part of the deal posting the guest blog is to share the chocolate with all, so you just let Linda know...


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

6:49 AM  
Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Sandy, she doesn't let me out much, except when she allows herself to write fiction. And she surely won't share her chocolate with me - which is why my azz isn't as broad as hers. Or is it the spandex?

This has been great fun! A whole day just to be ME. Thanks for the invite!


7:24 AM  

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