Joan Aiken Nom de Plume Giveaway!

Mon 21 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 60 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Joan Aiken giveawayWe just sent none other than a new collection by the late and much missed Joan Aiken to the printer. What a storyteller! It’s been pure pleasure working on The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories. It’s full of spooky, funny, heartbreaking, enchanting, clever, and sometimes wicked stories.  There are 19 stories in all, six of which have never been published(!), and two of which were first published in Argosy Magazine under the pseudonym Nicholas Dee.

Which is where the fun comes in. Tell us either

  1. your favorite pseudonym (and, if you want, why it’s your fave)
  2. your pseudonym (own up!)
  3. or a pseudonym you’d like to use (it can be serious or . . . not so serious!)

On publication day April 19, 2011 we’ll use to pick two winners each of whom will receive not only a copy of The Monkey’s Wedding, but also an original copy of the issue of Argosy containing one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories—as well as any goodies we have lying around the office. And, three more readers (in the US & Canada only, sorry) will receive copies of the book!

Here are the Tables of Contents of Argosy with “Red-Hot Favorite” (this issue also has a story by Isak Dinesen) and “Girl in a Whirl” and above is a pic of the original magazines. (Which make for fascinating reading, btw: from the ads it looks like there were as many people willing to part new writers from their money then as there are now!

And of course you can make sure you get your copy (hardcover or ebook) of The Monkey’s Wedding by ordering it here.

That’s it! Enter as many times as you like. Can’t wait to find out who you all really are!


60 Responses to “Joan Aiken Nom de Plume Giveaway!”

  1. Sandra Kasturi on March 21st, 2011 3:41 pm

    I actually have several noms de plume: (1) Toots Westmount, my porn name. (2) Nova Lushponce, my glam name (my favourite) and (3) Jerome Stueart, as apparently that’s who wrote all my poems in Tesseracts 14, according to ISFDB. Jerome’s nom de plume is now Sandra Kasturi. We are both confused.

  2. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 3:45 pm

    Hey Jerome, er, Toots, or is it Sandra? I didn’t find this at all confusing!

  3. Beroaldus Cosmopolita on March 21st, 2011 4:00 pm

    I have usually written and published as “Ned Brooks”. I have a shelf of Joan Aiken and will try to order the book – your e-mail and website are rather obscurantist….

  4. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:03 pm

    Hi Ned, any feedback on the site is very welcome: what we want is simplicity and transparency! Please email me ([email protected]) with what you found the opposite—thanks.

    And, yes, we’re very happy to be adding this Aiken book to our own shelf. If we can get this one out to enough readers, there’s a chance we may get to do more . . . !

  5. Maggie Croft on March 21st, 2011 4:04 pm

    The name I would use if I didn’t use my own? V. Gina Dentata.

  6. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:06 pm

    Wow, that is superb. But I hesitate to say that I love it!

  7. Mgr. Moustachio on March 21st, 2011 4:08 pm

    I believed I just signed this post with my pseudonym.

  8. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:12 pm

    I believed you did, too. Don’t know if it will get you a book, but methinks thou art already a winner!

  9. Sean Tibbitts on March 21st, 2011 4:20 pm

    I come up with a new pseudonym every other month and immediately forget it. My current choices:

    Christopher Barrett or Heather Cole.

    I guess if I forget these I can always visit this page to refresh my memory.

  10. Alissa Grosso on March 21st, 2011 4:25 pm

    I once had a plan to write some science fiction stories under the name Buck Starweaver, but never actually did. I still think Buck might find his way into a future story or two as a character as opposed to my pen name.

  11. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:31 pm

    I totally think you should still use Buck Starweaver. (This wasn’t, by any chance, a decision made at a young and tender age?) It’s all there: the energy of the young buck and Heinlein’s blind singer of the stars all woven together. I can just about see the huge starships on the covers of your space opera series.

  12. Ray Davis on March 21st, 2011 4:32 pm

    1. Occasional blogging pseudonym: Cholly Kokonino
    2. Pseudonym when forced to input a name by idiotic marketing BS: Ricky Dineros
    3. Massively shared poetic identity a la Alan Smithee: Anselm Dovetonsils

  13. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:35 pm

    1. Ok, I know that.
    2. I love it. Better than mine: First name: Ihateyour. Surname: Stupidsystemformakingmelogon. (Hello WashPo.)
    3. Googling him now. Ack, it’s a rabbit hole. Aieeeeeeee.

  14. Amy Halloran on March 21st, 2011 4:39 pm

    My father’s tiptoe toward a pseudonym was using his first initials instead of his first name — he was writing short stories and thought he might have a better chance with women’s magazines if he wasn’t clearly identified as male. Being a good reactionary, I decided not to hide behind my initials but dare the world to publish me in my fully female form. Still daring, by the way!

  15. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:43 pm

    Dare! Dan Dare! The World’s No.1 Space Hero! Yay! (Or maybe I got caught up in something else there. Hmm.)

    Ok, but to be entered for FREE BOOKS! are there any pseudonyms you liked? You know, Sherlock Holmes writing as A.C. Doyle? Elizabeth Bennett writing as J. Austen?

  16. Carrie Cuinn on March 21st, 2011 4:48 pm

    When I was younger I wrote as “Miranda Adams” but decided a long time back that I’d rather write as myself. Given the last book I edited, and some of the emails I now get because of it, I’ve occasionally thought, “Gee, I should have used a pen name for that one.”

  17. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 4:51 pm

    I see a quick trip to the deed poll office (or the equivalent) in your future wherein Carrie will become that pseudonym. Well, either that or the elder gods will come down and eat us all.

  18. Tammy Muldoon on March 21st, 2011 5:07 pm

    Tabitha Stevens. I was a big Bewitched fan as a child, and our initials matched.

  19. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 5:10 pm

    Aw, me too! Except I don’t think I could write as Tabitha. I’d be worried about her mother appearing . . .

  20. Karen on March 21st, 2011 5:13 pm

    My mom (“Dorothy”) purposely gave her 5 daughters names that “couldn’t be made into nicknames”. Hehheh. I’ve been Carrie (okay, predated the movie), Kez (I write under this, i.e. my pron name, “Spider Executioner” and my favorite, “Warrior of Worry”

  21. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 5:16 pm

    I love that concept “names that couldn’t be made into nicknames.” Only adults who have totally removed themselves from childhood ever attempt it. Children: sometimes nice, often not!

  22. Susan on March 21st, 2011 5:34 pm

    I’ve actually published under a pseudonym! I briefly had a column in the Chronicle of Higher Education, about life as a grad student on the job market, under the name Elizabeth Leitner. Which was cobbled together from family names–Elizabeth is my mother’s name and also my Catholic confirmation name, and Leitner was my great-grandma’s maiden name.

  23. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 5:46 pm

    Susan, like Mgr. Moustachio below, methinks you’re a winner! (Although may disagree come the 19th, but what does it know?)

    I can totally understand why that column would be pseudonymous!

  24. RE on March 21st, 2011 6:04 pm

    Amanita Basket. I just like it! It’s not the one I actually use, though maybe I will…

  25. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 6:24 pm

    “I’m so hungry amanita basket of fries!”
    Mmm. Me, too.

  26. Davida Gypsy Breier on March 21st, 2011 6:39 pm

    My current favorite is Hai Anxieti, but years ago I used Rana Fisheri, which is actually the extinct Vegas Valley Leopard frog.

  27. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 6:55 pm

    Was it bad luck to use an extinct frog?

  28. Davida Gypsy Breier on March 21st, 2011 7:10 pm

    Not sure. I think I just got more used to embarrassing myself with my own name.

  29. Bob Neilson on March 21st, 2011 7:12 pm

    I have written several stories and a non-fiction book under the nom de plume of John Lee. Not too excitng but I used it because John Lee was the man they couldn’t hang and I just liked the idea. See the Fairport Convention album Babbacombe Lee or google the name. You might not get me but you will find the real John Lee.

  30. James on March 21st, 2011 7:34 pm

    When I long ago worked for a telephone market research company, I used to give myself a different name with every conversation. I started out with obscure sports figures from the cities I was calling, then became various historical figures, and eventually realizing that no one was paying attention to the names I gave, began choosing the most obviously famous ones I could think of. I was only caught out once in thousands tries, when I called myself Bob Dylan. The guy on the other end of the line said, “Oh yeah, where’s Janis Joplin?” I said I got that a lot and that my name was spelled D-I-L-L-O-N and he felt a little bad for making fun of me.

    One of my favorite literary pseudonyms, though, is the one used by Alvaro Yanez Bianchi. He called himself Juan Emar, taking the name from the French phrase “j’en ai marre,” meaning “I’m fed up.”

  31. Gavin on March 21st, 2011 7:59 pm

    First time I’ve thought the site needs a “Like” button. Last time, too, but I like all of this!

  32. Amy Halloran on March 21st, 2011 8:54 pm

    Okay, favorite real fakes: George Elliot and Currer Bell. And the fake name I never used: Yma Narollah. I titled myself for porn writing, but that name, like the manuscripts, is lost on an old computer.

  33. Amy Halloran on March 21st, 2011 9:01 pm

    Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell, that is. The Brontes were built to be admired.

  34. Richard on March 22nd, 2011 4:35 am

    I am known around the web as…..winter1610….a time and a hero once written now forgotten

  35. Benjamin Rosenbaum on March 22nd, 2011 5:33 am

    In the shadow history in which this world is a shadow history, “Benjamin Rosenbaum” is a pseudonym for Gabriel Goodman, who took it from the Scarlet Pimpernel…

  36. Liam Astley on March 22nd, 2011 11:21 am

    I plan to write a series of fantasy novels using the pseudonym K.J. Lowring

  37. Kate Pennington on March 22nd, 2011 11:56 am

    I’m fond of Edward Gorey’s pseudonyms, particularly Dogear Wryde and E.G. Deadworry.

  38. Gavin on March 22nd, 2011 1:25 pm

    Following in the footsteps of many other excellent KJ’s (even if you are going for the low ring, not the high ring) seems very sensible.

  39. Gavin on March 22nd, 2011 1:26 pm


  40. Gavin on March 22nd, 2011 1:26 pm

    I do not believe you are the real (poet) Benjamin Rosenbaum.

  41. Gavin on March 22nd, 2011 1:26 pm

    Ok Richard: enlighten me!

  42. Gavin on March 22nd, 2011 1:27 pm

    I don’t know if they were built to be admired. I’d go with They built themselves . . .

  43. Jennifer on March 22nd, 2011 6:26 pm

    James Tiptree, Jr. has always amused me. There is something so sneaky (and cheeky!) about that Jr.

  44. Doug Mathewson on March 22nd, 2011 6:49 pm

    My fave (but it’s taken) is Fiben Neo-Chimp.
    I have used Otis Zip and the less perky
    Gus Anderson. I might write Southern Gothic as
    “Magnolia Veranda” or is that more a stripper name?

  45. Heather on March 22nd, 2011 7:10 pm

    Once in high school we all wrote down fake names on a marching band trip. I was the only one who didn’t get caught, because the band mom didn’t recognize “Emily Dickinson” as a fake name. I was embarrassed for her as I meekly called “here!”

    I’ve written under H.L. Shaw, assumed by those who don’t know me to be male, and my husband has written under a pseudonym assumed to be female, which amuses us greatly.

    Not that I’ve had the guts to use it, but I’ve always thought a good nom de porn (for a science fiction writer) would be Jane Pushbush Sr. (sorry, sorry).

  46. Heather James on March 23rd, 2011 6:26 am

    Juniper Nightshade.

    Ok, probably not. I’ve thought of using my deceased grandmother’s first and maiden names – Katherine Colson – to write mysteries, but will probably have to wait until one other family member has shuffled off the mortal coil.

  47. Will Alexander on March 23rd, 2011 9:27 pm

    Here’s a favorite: Samuel Delany submitted his first manuscript under the name Bruno Calabro.

  48. Francene Lewis on March 25th, 2011 3:08 pm

    When I wish to be anonymous, I use the name “Catalogermom” since I am a cataloger of stuff and a mom. In library school I did a project on The Handbook of pseudonyms and personal nicknames, compiled by Harold S. Sharp. While my project was dull, the books were interesting. It’s quite amazing, just how many different folks have used the name “Anonymous” and how often they failed to remain so.

  49. Wesley on March 25th, 2011 7:12 pm

    I occasionally run across really good names in history books. One of my favorites is a name from 18th-century America: “Preserved Whipple.” Another one was a woman’s name from about a century earlier: “Remember Garlick.”

  50. Sofia on March 26th, 2011 7:20 pm

    I like Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. You can tell they had fun with it.

    When my husband’s second novel was published, I used the pseudonym Iris Christiansen (???) to write him an Amazon review. I thought that if a review with his wife’s name appeared, it would be lame. This logic now strikes me as lame.

  51. Gavin on March 28th, 2011 8:14 am

    Preserved Whipple and Remember Garlick sound like a 18th century crime/vampire fighting duo!

  52. Caleb Wilson on March 28th, 2011 12:36 pm

    One pseudonym I’ve actually used is “Guy Minor”.

    Another which I haven’t used yet, but might someday, because it’s a nice anagram of my name, is “Isabel Clown”. As is “Ice Snowball”.


  53. Robin Mayhall on April 3rd, 2011 4:44 pm

    My own pseudonym is Aleta Daknis, which roughly translates from Greek as “The Truth Is Out There.” It was first conceived as a nom de plume for an X-Files/Xena: Warrior Princess crossover fanfiction story I wrote for a friend’s Xena website (hence the Greek connection). I used it after that for a few other fanfiction-related pieces, then began to use it seriously when I signed on as interim poetry editor for Abyss & Apex Magazine. I was submitting poetry to other zines under my real name and didn’t want other poet-editors to think I would in any way try to gain favor for my own poems by publishing theirs in A&A.

    Eventually I decided to “come clean” and merge the two personalities. Today, “Aleta” still receives a lot of e-mail, but it’s mostly spam!

  54. riye on April 5th, 2011 8:34 pm

    I use my middle name “riye” as my pseudonym online because I’m paranoid and have high privacy needs.

    I’d use “Eumenides” but it’s too hard to spell and most people don’t know who they are. Plus I’m probably not cool enough.

  55. Alison on April 8th, 2011 1:24 pm

    My favourite pseudonym has always been Currer Bell, because it sounds like a name for the smartest cat in the world.

    I have only ever published under my own real name, but I used to blog as Girl Detective. It was a misnomer, though, as I rarely did any detecting.

    As for a pseudonym I would like to use, perhaps in a nod to my beloved Brontes, I would go by Argyle Bell. Just like the ring of it. (Heh. Sorry.)

  56. Tibs on April 8th, 2011 4:29 pm

    Names I go by.

    Well, half the people I know call me “Tibs”, including all my other half’s family, so perhaps that is not a pseudonym. (It dates from some friends in university giving me a cat tag saying “My name is Tibs” which I rather liked, wore all the time, and thus it goes. This is also why the spelling diverges from my surname.)

    One advantage of living in the UK is that we don’t distinguish “legal” name in the way you seem to in the US – one can use any name one wishes so long as it is not for fraudulent purposes, so there’s no problem in being Tibs for postal deliveries, etc.

    My livejournal tag is much_of_a, because they don’t allow a name as long as much_of_a_muchness. I always said that “Much of a Muchness” was the obvious next name for a Joan Aiken collection, and hence the tag.

    Off to pre-order…

  57. Sofia on April 8th, 2011 10:56 pm

    We really should also mention Isak Dinesen, since she’s got a story in Argosy. She used her maiden name, Dinesen, a connection to her father, to whom she was very attached. The story of Isaac also meant a lot to her. I think she chose the name that she felt expressed the self she wanted to be as a writer. (Yes, a man’s name. Lots of places you could go with that.)

  58. Paige Morgan on April 10th, 2011 10:09 pm

    I’ve always thought that I’d like to use Naomi P. Anger as a pseudonym, since it’s an anagram of my name.

  59. Sarah on April 18th, 2011 6:55 pm

    I’ve always used Nick Carmine as my online pseudonym when I don’t want something to be google-able back to me. It’s one of the aliases used by the main character in the ’90s quasi-Sherlock Holmes comedy Zero Effect.

    I was in high school and had just seen the movie. I was going to use the lead female character’s name to register anonymously for some website, but one of my friends who a)was male, b)was far more familiar with the internet than I was at the time, and c)was trying to make me like the internet too, suggested I go with a boy’s name instead of a girl’s because girls often got hassled in chatrooms and he was afraid if that happened it would turn me off from going ever again.

  60. Francene on April 20th, 2011 1:10 pm

    I love the pseudonyms from early books in the sixteenth thru eighteenth centuries. Some of my favorites include:
    “an Elderly man, a Master of Arts, of above forty years standing.”
    “By a Church of England man; a gentleman born,a merchant”
    “a Plain Man, in a Plain Dress.”
    “a Man Who Never Had a Place.”

    People had fun with their names even then.

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