Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Say Our Names

Big changes afoot here at Damned Scribbling Women, born of our rediscovered writing mojo. We're back, we're busy, and we're ready to tackle this business like never before.

So, to begin, a word about the shiny new names you see to the left of this post under "Meet the Scribbling Women." Kate D. is now the dazzling Kate Diamond, while theflitgirl has unveiled herself as Anneliese Kelly. We're tying the blog to our individual writing projects, so blogging under our writing names is a natural fit.

Yes, I said "writing names", not "names." Kate and I have followed in the footsteps of luminaries like Lemony Snicket, George Eliot, and all three of the Bronte sisters (Acton, Ellis and Currer Bell) in adopting pseudonyms, rather than publishing under our everyday names.

The decision to use a pseudonym of course brings up a host of conflicts and questions. It's fairly common in the romance industry, although increasingly less so. Writing under a name like Lulubelle von Flurryfeathers does feed into the stereotypes about this genre: frivolous, ridiculous, outdated, over-feminine. It also smacks of "hiding" behind a false name out of shame or embarrassment.

So why have two modern, unabashed women like us decided to go this route. For starters, both Kate and I are involved in education and literary studies. While we feel that writing romance only adds to our credentials as proud feminists, not all our current and potential bosses/teachers and coworkers/fellow students will agree. Additionally, the parents of the little darlings we instruct may not want to associate Junior's English teacher with lusty Regency dukes or shag sessions in lakeside cabins.

For me, however, there's another factor: my life-long love of names. Since I was a child I've poured over baby name books and as an adult must confess to an addiction to baby name messageboards. When else will I have the opportunity to name myself? My new name comes from my family history (my mother's maiden name) and from several of my favorite, most life-changing novels. Plus, it's pretty!

We'd love to hear from other readers and writers. What do you think about noms de plume? Would you/ Do you use one? Why are they more common in romance than any other genre, even mystery fiction?

Finally...what do you think of ours??

Friday, August 10, 2007

Big News

Guess what? The Boyfriend is now The Fiance.

How did it happen? Well, with lots of love, a few ultimatums, and almost four years together it all came together one Saturday morning. After hearing several stellar proposals engineered by my college buddies (Parag's roses and love notes tacked on trees, Riley's miracle rays shining down on Romanian mountaintops, etc), my own proposal story is deliciously mundane. I was puttering in the kitchen and told The Fiance I was getting frustrated with his indecision. He said something along the lines of, "Dammit! I haven't figured out how to propose yet and there's no way I'm going to top Parag, but I sure as hell didn't want to propose next to our nasty sink full of dishes." Whereupon I shrieked like a banshee, asked "Really?" several times, and finally made it clear that my answer was yes.

Maren wanted to know if I was wearing yellow dish gloves at the time of the proposal. Sadly, no--but feel free to spread that rumor. It makes the story more entertaining.

We decided to tell our parents in person. At the same time. Which was rather crazy, since the ring is a family heirloom that's been hiding in my mom's underwear drawer for about five years now. The Fiance didn't want to ask for it--because then my parents would know before his--and he didn't want to go looking for it himself, for obvious reasons. So, we invited our parents over for a Wednesday night dinner and on Tuesday morning I completed a Grand Theft Diamond after rooting through several hiding spots (my mother's all about the "places no self-respecting burglar would look." See underwear drawer comment, above).

Anyway, it was quite the high. I think I've missed my calling as a petty thief. Yet after the big production of stealing the ring and getting our parents together (not to mention the absolutely fabulous dinner I made), it was a little anticlimactic when we announced, "We're engaged," and they said, "We knew it!" Ah, well. Turns out I'll never be a professional poker player or an international spy. But who cares? As The Fiance said, "Honey, I'll be annoying you now for the rest of your life."Perversely enough, I'm looking forward to it. :)

Special bonus: I guess everyone knew before The Fiance and I told them. In Theresa's case, she knew long before The Fiance and I even contemplated marriage! On a trip to Washington several winters ago, she gave my mother a beautiful, handmade lace shawl. The knitting is gorgeous, and the pattern is all symbols of the Pacific Northwest. She said, "He's The One. When he proposes, give her this." My mother was so sure of what was happening, that she brought that shawl to dinner.

Thanks, Theresa! I love it!