I’ve tried having pen names. At first, it was because I’d only written Glimpse and Glimmer and I was solidly a YA AUTHOR, who just wanted to put more sex in her stories. (Some of you all are like, SWB you totally write the smuttiest YA around, WTH?) But, I still wanted people to know it was me…just a more adult (not that kind!) me. That’s why I wrote the Day of Sacrifice Omnibus as S.W. Benefiel.
Guess what? No one gave a crap. Most of the people that read YA are adults or kids that are smart enough to know that reading above their age level is the sweetest, nerdiest rebellion in the land.
Hold up! I don’t mean that twelve-year-old’s should read Fifty Shades…but, y’all, twelve-year-old’s are reading Fifty Shades…and it will scar them for life way less than the YA that sexed up fanfic came from.
Anywaaaaaaay, back to me. So, when I decided to publish The Toilet Business, which is a book of essays mostly written prior to my ever having attempted to write a novel, there was slightly less hand wringing over people associating my name with YA, and slightly more hand wringing over my mom reading the book and finding out all the stupid shit I did when I was seventeen.
Again, no one gave a crap. (Like, really. I think 100 people have read that book and my mom wasn’t one of them.)
Surely, though, people would care if I started writing erotica as SWB. That HAD TO BE taking things too far!!
Like with anything I write, I mostly started writing erotica, well, erotic romance, really ’cause it turns out I’m not as pervacious as I thought I was, just to see if I could and if anyone would read it. My entire career is based predominantly on my comfort with winging it. Never written a novel – whatevs! Want to write a serial two years before everyone figured out how to properly write a serial? Sure! Got a bunch of essays burning a hole in your hard drive – pretend you’re a Sedaris and publish that shit!
Therefore, when my brain said, “Dude, you can’t put all of these horndog ideas you have in any of your other books, even if you do write a Ben Fontenot spin-off,” I decided to become Reina Stowe.
Writing the Reina stories was fun. No pressure, no one waiting on the next. I even found another writer friend who was doing the same pen name thang to swap dirty story beta reads with. What wasn’t fun was having another e-mail, website, twitter, Goodreads, and facebook account to maintain. What sucked was talking to people on social media as Reina that I was really friends with as Stacey, and having to pretend that I hadn’t been chatting with them online for over a year. I felt like a big, gross faker and I hated it.
So, I threw the stories in KDP Select and stopped promoting them and didn’t write any more. That was a year ago.
I just looked at the Reina blog today and my last post was December 24th. I was happily promising to publish one short story a month and a full-length novel by December 2013. I’d say that plan went to hell about four minutes after the post went live.
Rewind to the beginning of this month. I’m freaking over not being able to write Frayed and I want to write, but I just can’t seem to get it together enough to write something complicated with powers and futuristic worlds and teenagers. I re-read these two short stories I’ve got sitting on my desktop. They’re easy. They’re set in the present. They’re set in the fictional city of Upton which is pretty much Portland.
Here’s what else – tons of YA authors trying on NA for size happened this year. Erotic Romance serials happened this year. I’m sitting on four completed, related stories, with two more half-finished ones that I could just…finish and I’d have a series.
And I could also just be myself and say, “Yeah, I write some pretty hot, funny short stories as Reina Stowe and if you’re not twelve, you should totally check them out.”
Really, you should:
Many thanks to the awesome Steven Novak for creating these covers for me in five seconds flat. 🙂