Starting Late Today

We went to a book signing last night for our friend Kat Richardson, author of the urban fantasy Greywalker series. The signing was at Borders in Union Square, always a bit of a zoo on a Friday night. Before even reaching Union Square, however, I started the evening off by inadvertently sitting in a puddle of water on the Muni; one of the panels in the ceiling was leaking steadily, something I only noticed after soaking my skirt, the bottom of my jacket and yes, even my underwear. Not much I could do beyond being grateful it was just water (one never knows on the Muni) and hoping everything would dry off quickly. They didn’t, but by the time we ran the gauntlet of tourists and panhandlers from Market Street to Powell, at least they’d stopped dripping.  My clothes, that is.  I can’t speak for either tourists or panhandlers.

Kat’s signing was on the fourth floor of the Borders. They’d set up a table on a little stage, displayed her new book (Underground, third in the series) prominently on and around the area, and there was a respectable sized audience there for the event. We were a little late (and a little wet), but hadn’t missed the reading portion of the evening. Kat did what is one of the better author readings I’ve seen: her characterizations were distinct and she took her time. Too many authors rush through their readings, anxious to get to the end of it. To misquote Dr. McCoy, the majority of writers seem to subscribe to the ‘I’m a writer, not an actor, dammit!’ school of thought and they do NOT enjoy reading their own work to an audience.

After the signing, we went out for wine and snacks with Kat and her San Francisco ‘handler,’, author Frank Lauria, who, according to his bio on Amazon, ‘has published seventeen novels, including five bestsellers and the novelizations of Dark City, End of Days, Mask of Zorro, Alaska, and Girlfight.’ He was a hoot, a self-described food snob and excellent company. It’s something when you get four writers in a room together and they’re all as interested in what the others are doing as talking about their own projects. It wasn’t all ‘me, me, me!’ It was more ‘you, me, what about you?’

I had no complaints about the evening, especially after my clothes dried off. It was a late night, however, and we didn’t get to bed until well after midnight, which meant a late start on the morning routine of beach walk et al. I’m also feeling uninspired and dull, but that doesn’t let me off the August blog challenge or working on Champagne (current book project).

I’ve read the first two books in Kat’s series, Greywalker and Poltergeist, loved them, and recommend them to anyone who enjoys urban fantasies and is tired of Laurel Hamilton’s increasingly unbalanced ratio of sex versus plot/action in her Anita Blake books. I’ll do a proper book review of all three after I’ve read Underground. I hear it has zombies in it, so you KNOW I’m anxious to get to it. I’ll be checking out Frank Lauria’s books as well. And if you don’t know about my zombie fixation, it’s detailed on my website here.

And now it’s time to turn off WEBS (a made for TV movie featuring Richard Greico trapped in an alternate universe where spiders rule Chicago), and get to work on Champagne. Mutated spider people and literary erotica do not mix well together. Although…no…never mind. I’m not gonna go there. At least not today.

An Author By Any Other Name…

I need a pseudonym.

I recently had a short story accepted for publication by Ravenous Romances and just received a contract to expand the story into a 200 page novel. The story is erotica (in my pretentious moments, of which I have a few, I refer to it as ‘literary erotica’) and while I’ve got no problems or shame attached with writing genre erotica (Laurel Hamilton does is all the time and she’s considered mainstream), ‘Dana Fredsti’ is not a name that conjures up the right image. At least not to me. And since I’ve already published MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon under my real name, I think it’s better to reserve it for further mysteries. That being said, Fredsti is a unique name and you don’t get a lot of options when you google it. On the other hand, my dad would flip if he found out. On the OTHER hand, my dad doesn’t use or much else on the computer. Oh, the quandary…

Trying to come up with a suitable nom de plume (there’s one of my pretentious moments for you!) is causing my brain to spit out all sorts of silly names, like: Kiki Dupont; Angelique DuVallon (I like the ‘Du’ prefix, for some reason. You could say I’m ‘du-prefixated.’… BWAHAHAHAH!); Constance Melons; Forest Hill (okay, my Muni train just pulled up into the Forest Hill station); Flame Winthrop (don’t ask). What my brain is NOT doing is giving me anything useful.

I asked a friend at work and she thought I should dig into my family history and use a family related name. Can’t use my mom’s maiden name – it’s already been snagged by another family member as THEIR pen name – and HER mom’s maiden name was Butte. Yeah, that’d make for a great erotica pen name. Dana Butte. Fanny Butte. Dana Fanny?


You can see my plight here.

So I’m soliciting opinions and suggestions here. How many of you think I should use a pen name for my new projects? And for those of you giving a resounding ‘yes’ to that question, what do YOU think a good pen name would be for me?

I have to send my contracts off in the mail tomorrow, so any expedited suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Even the silly ones!