What’s in a Name?

Eye of God Cover ArtIn 2012, I launched my debut book, the Eye of God. Like most debut authors, I was quite proud of the time–I still am, despite its numerous warts and problems. I had a string of editorial issues. I hadn't found a superb proofing editor at that point. I learned a lot about writing. I'm still learning a lot about writing. I don't think I'll ever stop learning about writing.

Each book I write is stronger than the one before it, and I hope this doesn't change until the day I retire my pen once and for all.

I shared every single step of the process with all of you. I shared every failure and success. I put numbers out there. I discussed how I did what I did and why. I discussed how a failure happened–and what made up a success for me.

When I started my website, my altruistic nature bit me in the ass. I had so many problems finding good information on the internet about establishing a writing career. I didn't want people to endure the same sort of frustration. I started documenting everything I did, my processes, and how I was struggling to become a writer.

In short, I was connecting with other writers without really reaching readers. This is fine with me–I love working with writers. I love talking with writers. I'm a writer. We're a very special breed, and supporting each other is so often in our blood.

But, it doesn't make for commercial success. (Don't get me wrong, many writers are avid book lovers and readers, but most of us are in my shoes: scraping pennies together to buy cover art and so on.)

In my last post, I declared I was stepping away from working on Requiem for the Rift King and Witch & Wolf–and the Fall of Erelith. I have plans to continue these series, but here's the thing:

I have built my name hiding my  gender to fit the expectations of a crowd who dosn't like female writers.

I have built my name and reputation among writers.

I have not built very much for me–for what I want to be.

I want to be a proud woman writing science fiction and fantasy.

RJ Blain isn't a proud woman. She's rather genderless, hiding behind a mask hoping to become something she's not. Forgive the third person for a few minutes–there are two mes I'm discussing here.

I have been working on a pseudonym. No, I'm not saying what the pseudonym is–I will explain later. I have two identities.

RJ Blain is my real name with initials. My pseudonym is actually the author name I originally picked for myself over a decade ago. She's very obviously a woman–and she's far more close to a genuine me than ‘RJ Blain' me. RJ Blain me is afraid of the sad and rabid puppies, because she's seen their cruelty to other women writing science fiction and fantasy first hand. She's had run-ins with them herself.

Sad and rabid puppies are too often cruel people. Why? They don't feel women have any business writing speculative fiction. Some are more vocal about it.

New Me, New and Genuine Me, has only one thing to say to the naysayers:

Go fuck yourselves. I'm a woman, and I'll write science fiction and fantasy, and I don't give a fucking shit if you don't like it. Go cry into your damned beer and choke on it while you're at it.

RJ Blain me isn't that brave.

Under my pseudonym, I am shedding out of the old clothes and wearing new ones… and it took me from 2012 to now to develop the skills and confidence to make this move.

My writing skills have dramatically changed from 2012 until now.

What's in a name, exactly?

Let's talk about it. What is in my name?

RJ Blain loves helping people. That's in my name. I didn't edit for so long for the money, although I used my earnings to help my writing. I love books, and I love people.

Here is what's in my name, and I'm proud of each and every accomplishment.

In these eight novels are 860,000 (approximate) words of my life. Some of the words are wrong. Some of them could be written better. Some of them are in dire need of grooming. But all of them came from me. All of them I worked hard on, even though they're imperfect in so many ways.

What's in my name? These books.

Here's also what's in my name, and I'm proud of this, too, for so many difference reasons:

  • Over twenty authors given a chance to have developmental edits they could afford.
  • Five years of service in NaNoWriMo as a Municipal Liaison.
  • Writing Workshops and Panels in the Montreal area.
  • This website, with all of its warts, information on writing, and general news.

Most of all, I'm proud of my accomplishments, both fiscal and emotional. What's in my name? There's a lot of things, and so many of them are good.

As a woman, I've been told over and over the same shit. Here's a list:

  • Be humble
  • Keep your head down
  • Don't reveal you're a woman openly
  • Women can't do what you're doing–you want to write like a man.

And I listened, and that was a mistake. I want to be humble, because that is part of who I am. But I should be proud of what I've accomplished–and proud of the fact I'm willing to sit down and help others whenever I can.

I may not be writing new books under RJ Blain for a while, but I won't be abandoning my website. However, I will be writing about my efforts as an entirely new person breaking into a writing career again.

Second chances and all that.

I know a lot of authors have pseudonyms. I also know a lot of them are extremely open about it. If you love my books and want to know who I'm writing as, reach out. I'll send you the links.

But I am not going to announce it in public. If the identity spreads, I don't have a problem with this. But, RJ Blain has always been more than just me. In so many ways, my identity as an author, as RJ Blain, has been built by other writers–writers who found this website, found useful information, and wanted to help out.

If only I could really show you how much I have appreciated your help over the years. I really have. Every time someone has come up to me, telling me one of my posts really helped them, it has been a little like a light in the darkness.

As many of you know, I suffer from depression. I control it fairly well, but it's always there under the surface.

My decision to hide behind my initials makes it worse. It's not me. It's not who I really am.

So, while I will be coming back to this name, I will be doing so in a few years, and I will be saying, “Hello. My book titles say RJ Blain, but my name is Rebecca, and I'm pleased to meet you. I'm a woman, and I write science fiction and fantasy.”

I will tackle all of the things I hid face on, and do so with pride.

In the mean time, I am going to let myself out of the cage I built, and I will pursue the stories I never had the courage to tell–until now.

Readers, fans, lovers of books–I haven't forgotten about you. Without you, I am nothing.

But, I don't want the writers to feel they have to contribute to me financially because I give away what I've learned. That isn't going to change. The nature of it, however, will. I'll still be using RJBlain.com as a platform for discussing writing, my process, and what works and doesn't for me.

The only difference is, the books I discuss will be a bit of a mystery. There won't be links to the titles. What you will find here is for you, and it will be without obligation.

But What if I want to know?

Among the writers are those who genuinely love my books, my characters, and my worlds.

You're welcome to join me on my new adventure… but you'll have to reach out to me. Consider it a scavenger hunt. New Me is out there, somewhere.

Here's how you can find me:

  • Use facebook. Find RJ Blain. Confirm it's me. Send a message and ask. I will tell you–in private.
  • Use google plus. Send me a post, tag me, and ask. I will tell you–in private.
  • Use Twitter. Send me a message, and ask. I will tell you–in private.
  • Finish reading this post and send me an email. We'll talk.

I'm sure someone will eventually blurt, “RJ Blain is $This Author!”

In public, I will deny, deny, deny… but in private?

You'll be right.

If you love supporting me as an author because you like me as a person, reach out to me. We'll talk. If you have questions on my decision, I'm happy to discuss them with you. There are a lot of ways you can help me, if you truly want to. Not because of guilt, not because I begged, and certainly not because you felt an obligation.

I want New Me to have a fresh start, and I want her to share her books with people who just want to love fun stories–without any strings attached.

blain (dot) rj (at) gmail (dot) com

Write me, if you want. And if you don't… keep enjoying this website. This is for you, and always has been.

Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, and thanks for being my friend.

You mean the world to me.

Leave a Comment:

Debi says October 12, 2015

Yes, please, RJ, I’d like to keep up – would appreciate being in the know when the name is released!

Gaiawa9999 says October 22, 2015

Hello RJ!
I was deeply touched by your generosity here and your story of writing ‘anonymously’ to hide yourself. Thank you for your amazing wisdom and guidelines here. I’m very grateful.

I’ve recently entered the NaNoWriMo comp and am excited beyond words to have been given the kick in the pants to finally pull my story together.

I too am writing anonymously to protect my Mum as I do not wish to inflict anymore pain on her but I must speak out for the healing of Little Gaiawa inside me.

My story I hope will help inspire nurture and heal others who live in situations of domestic violence because I’ve survived learned healed and transformed fifty years of abuse.

It ends with the most beautiful Love Story.

It’s my truth. It is coloured with poems, doodle artwork and paintings to lighten the heaviness and give others some artwork to colour in too.

I’m not published but have a contract with Balboa Press to publish as an ebook to start with and I’m hoping to see it on paper one day.

I look forward to a time when Women have taken back the power in this world to bring great healing to all.

Love and light to you beautiful being.

Beneath a Blood Moon has released! | On Writing says November 10, 2015

[…] I discussed in a previous blog post, this will be my last release for a while. I’ll be back to posting writing-related material […]

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