11 January, 2010

Oh those pesky questions - Part 2: Pen names and things

Krista and Monica both asked about pen names. Here's where it gets touchy. I can bitch and complain about my childhood and mental problems and the Dubric books 'til the cows come home, but when it comes down to it I alone am responsible for my own happiness. I alone decide whether to write or not, publish or not, blog or not. So all the blame lands right here in my lap and that's okay.

I love the WORK of writing, I love story crafting and thinking ways around plot problems and creating living breathing beings from just the fluff in my brain. I like how it feels, that humming little buzz way behind my ears, the thunk in my head as I downshift to creation mode, the flow, the surprise of how the best stuff I barely remember creating at all.

A lot of people write - and intend to sell - as some big goal, often so they can have that 'sense of accomplishment' or so that others can acknowledge them. I don't. Least not on any conscious level, in fact it's the 'notice' part that really freaks me out. Nothing will make me flaky and paranoid quicker than running into a fan or someone who goes 'OMG!! You're published?!?' when I'm just out being my regular, boring self.

So. Anyway. During my year and a half of brain-cooling here in the cornfields, I've had a lot of time to think about what *I* want, not what everyone else says I should. Because that's what all published writers do. Or because it's what they want. Nope. I'm 45, and this is all about me, my work, my plan, my happiness, my writing. Mine. Not yours or his or hers or theirs. Mine.

I love the work, hate the notoriety, that's what it really boils down to, in its simplest form. So, I could write only for me, no one else, not share or talk about it or anything. But that's not how or who I am, despite my freaking out over strangers who feel they must talk to me, or stalkers, or those damned public-appearance things. I am social and friendly - least I hope so - and it's really weird to lock the writing part of myself totally away and not speak of it, ever, as if it was some mutant child chained in the basement.

So, in an effort to both be open and honest, yet maintain some separation between Tammy Jones the quirky-yet-quiet-housewife and the work she does in the darkness of her mind, here's the scoop.

Yes, I am writing a novel. It will have a completely different name on it, which, at this time, I really do not want to disclose. My agent knows all about the book - he received the proposal packet before Christmas and liked it VERY much. It's modern, a lit or psychological thriller - least how I see it now - and I have a synopsis and everything. A very small handful of people have seen all or part of what I have written, including my agent, and a few more have endured me prattling on about story issues and things, but I'm trying really really hard to keep this for myself and not do what everyone else says I must.

So there it is. I am working, but I don't really want to talk about it yet. I especially don't want my extended family to know what it is, what it's called, and what name is on the cover. All that said, I really need to get it done and sold, though. It'll - hopefully - pay for Laura's next year of college. ;)


Maripat said...

you are a really brave woman, Tambo. Good luck with the story. I love mysteries so hopefully I'll come across it. Take care.

Krista Heiser said...

After your last post, your stance here is completely reasonable and understandable. I certainly believe anonymity can be very liberating and sometimes wonder what I would produce if my name & my face weren't attached to it.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I hope it doesn't sound too corny to say that I love you. Even though we've never met, I once dreamed that a bunch of writers showed up at your house as I imagined it from your blogs: country farmhouse, simple and wonderful as a quilt. We all just sat around talking about writing, the creation and love of it, not the business and misery part. It was seriously one of the best dreams I've had.

I'm so glad you're writing again. For you. I don't care what it is.

Tammy Jones said...


We don't live in the farmhouse anymore, we're in teeny-town victorian now, but that sounds like a WONDERFUL dream. You ever head up towards northern Iowa, let me know. You're welcome to stop by any time. {{hugg}}