Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pen names.....yes or no????

I always said right from the get pen name for me. I loved the idea of seeing MY name on a book cover...not some made up name. And who doesn't dream of the day they hand their credit card to a clerk and they do a double take and ask "Are you THE (fill in blank with your name)?"

Okay, maybe that's just me. :)

I write romantic fiction and yes I have some pretty steamy scenes. It really does not bother me one bit if people know it's me who writes these things (and obviously has some lusty visions from time to time!! LOL!!) The people who's opinions I do care about, friends and family, have already read my stuff and they all loved it...even my mom and we really weren't a family that openly talked about sexual things. I did warn her though! But these are all the people who would know it was me even if I did use a pen name. I can understand teachers and other careers that involve kids or what not, where they would be looked down upon for writing sexual stories. I definitely get that reason for a pen name. And now that I've been published in my own name, in an erotic anthology and my novel which is chick lit with some sexual scenes, if I ever wanted to switch to childrens...a pen name would be a must.

But now I wonder if I should have went with a pen name anyway. Only because I'm afraid my last name is too hard to pronounce. It's Haefner, pronounced Hayf-ner. We're used to people mispronouncing it...usually we get Haf-ner (pronounced like half). I did debate on using my maiden name cause it's super simple: Stephanie Russell...but I googled it and there is another writer published under Stephanie Russell among tons of other people with that name. If I google Stephanie's all me.

So what do you think?? When you saw my name, did you know how to pronounce it correctly?? It is awkward to say??? (In all honesty, when I met my husband, I thought it was really weird to say! I debated on hyphenating my name when we got married because I really didn't like Haefner!) Does the name just look weird????


  1. I think Haefner is a very professional sounding name for some reason, like a professor in a college: Professor Haefner. And Stephanie is easy to remember. I say keep it!

  2. It looks like Hayf-ner to me! I think you should keep your name :) If you go with your maiden name, you could add a middle initial.

  3. I have to admit I had no idea how to pronounce your name. *blushes* I think it's great to use your own name, though.

    I use my WHOLE name, and it's way way long. Not sure what I'll do if I ever get the chance to publish. Good luck deciding!

  4. Dh had a friend in college that called him in Huge. We've gotten all kinds of variations!! I'm more amazed when someone actually gets it right!! I guess int he end, people can say it however they want as long as it's me they're looking for!!

  5. I think that your name would look great on a book cover, even though it may be a bit hard to say off the get go. But Stephanie Haefner has a nice look about it if that makes any sense. It would make you stand out a bit maybe with a last name that's not as common as some.

  6. Erm. I've been pronouncing it "Heffner" like Hugh, also. :)

    Pen name or no pen name is a really personal decision.

    Personally, I like my real first name (April) but for the last name - no way in hell. Nobody can pronounce it, ever. My maiden name is from my stepfather who's in the running for World's Biggest Jackass, so his name will NOT go up in lights for my hard work, and my birth name (Doolittle, heh... need I say more?) was a no.
    So I went to a bookstore and looked at the shelves, thought about who I'd want to be shelved next to (a bit of a commercial consideration, but hey, I'd read an agent's blog discussing how she had an author change her pen name and used this as a factor). And once I decided to branch into erotica, I knew I'd need 2 names to avoid reader confusion. Denna will be close to Devereaux... a long-time idol. My other consideration is, as you mentioned, my job at the school as a Teacher Stunt Double (sub). In a bitty town such as mine, keeping Piper on the down-low until royalties become sufficient to quit the stunt job is the smartest route. Not to mention I've got two teen n tweens who'd be mortified if their friends knew what their mom writes (they already curl their lip when Dad kisses Mom or grabs her butt!) or thinks about. They know about Piper, but it's not public knowledge. Now Autumn, they can proudly announce to the world. :)

  7. As you know, I've been having this debate too. Since I am certified to teach and may go into that when I return to work, I decided a pen name might be best. But it's a difficult decision.

    ANd I was pronouncing your name Half-ner. Sorry!