Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Choosing a Pen Name


A few weeks ago, I came clean about using a pen name to write New Adult contemporary romance. I had two reasons for the pen name. First, branding. Kelly Hashway is a paranormal/fantasy author. Second, my NA titles are steamy and not for younger readers. So you can see why I needed a pen name. But you might be curious to know how I came up with the name Ashelyn Drake.

Here's how:

I took my full name: Kelly Christine Bradley Hashway
Yes, that's my first, middle, maiden, and married name. Then I pulled letters from each name. I wrote down an entire page of names and then Google searched them all. Why? I'm the only Kelly Hashway. I've checked on Google. And I wanted my pen name to be just as unique. So any name that came up in a search, had to get discarded. Well, I neared the end of my list and while I had a few names I liked, there was one I loved. Here are the letters I pulled:

Kelly Christine Bradley Hashway

Rearrange those letters and you get Ashelyn Drake. At first, I didn't have the "e" in Ashelyn but with the suggestion of my friend Beth Fred, I added it in there, and I had a name that didn't come up in Google searches. Yay! Plus, I love the way the name sounds. Maybe more so than my real name. ;)

So that's how Kelly Hashway became Ashelyn Drake.

If you used a pen name, what would yours be?


48 comments:

  1. How fun. I'm lucky like you in that I'm the only Sarah Negovetich out there. Shocking I know. If I ever needed a pen name I think I'd go with my middle name and college nickname. That way it would still feel like me. :)

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    1. Ooh, I like that idea. Yeah, I wanted something that was still me in some way. Pulling from my name helped me find something I could be happy with.

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  2. WOW! that's a great way to create a pen name. If I used a pen name I'd go with the last three letters my first name then play around with the second one until I find a suitable one.

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  3. Crazy creative, Kelly! I like it. :)

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  4. I love the name game aspect of how you came up with your name! I do have a pen name for my upcoming new adult romance novella, out in early 2014! It's Kitsy Clare. Kitsy is my actual nickname, and I like the last name Clare. Not too complicated though I did go through a bunch of other names first.

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    1. Thanks. So your pen name is part of your real name too. :)

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  5. That's really cool how you came up with it, Kelly and how it's still a part of your real name. Kudos to you for going for the uniqueness factor!

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  6. Clever. I recently decided to add the inertial "J" to my author name, as despite not meeting anyone (Except one) with my first name, there are few Taureans, particularly in other countries.

    Of course my last name is highly common.

    There aren't a ton a Taureans where I hang out online, but there are a few on Facebook who I don't want to be confused with.

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    1. Smart move then. I think it's good to be the only one with your name.

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    3. Well, there are PLENTY of girls name Kelly. Just not with your hyphenated last name, to be fair...

      For me, aside from pronunciation issues on my part, I've learned to love the name I was given, even if it's not unique from a marketing standpoint. Fair enough?

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    4. Plenty of guys named Kelly, too! But I'm the only Kelly Hashway. I used to have such a common name, and I hated that. I met so many people who knew other Kelly Bradleys. For some reason that always bothered me.

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    5. I know now "Kelly" can be a male name, too, just like say Jan or Max (Sometimes short for "Maxine"), but apart from the suffer, I'd never personally heard of another male Kelly. Still, point taken.

      I just didn't like my name having a zillion different pronunciations, and I hope to get on that part of "Teachingauthors.net" list of author names correctly pronounced. Thankfully, my nickname "Taury" is less likely misspelled or pronounced.

      Do you know how many girls in my classes in grade school (90s) were named "Brittany?" This was WAY before Brittney Spears went big. aA least three until I was in junior high. Nice name, but you know what I mean...

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  7. That's interesting! Really cool how you came up with your pen name.

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  8. I've definitely heard it suggested to take on a pen name for different genres. I love the way you came up with yours :) Cool idea.

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  9. Also, I meant to say thank you for signing up for The Labyrinth Wall Challenge cover reveal event :) It should be fun. I really appreciate your help.

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  10. I've used two pen names to publish short stories (1 for adult; 1 for MG/YA) and Lexa Cain's the pen name I'm using for novels. My real name shows up on a couple of forums, but I like my pen name so much better! lol

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    1. I didn't know you had other pen names. Interesting.

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  11. I'm not sure yet, but I do want a pen name. Cool idea on how you got your.

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  12. How clever! And the name really sounds great! :)

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  13. I've been thinking about having one since I write MG & YA that's quite a bit different from each other, ex. how Kelly Armstrong has a pen name for her MG series or if I ever write Adult. Possibly P.C. Howard, the P & C come from initials of first and last name, the Howard is completely random, just a name I've always liked.

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    1. I like P.C. Howard. :)

      Okay, how didn't I know Kelley Armstrong has a pen name?

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  14. Very creative, Kelly:) I'd probably find my first name using the same method as you, maybe Bree. But then I think I'd find a last name from within our family tree. My uncle has traced ours back to the 1200's!

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    1. Ooh, very cool. I like that idea. If I even need another pen name I may steal that idea. ;)

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  15. A good way of going about it, Kelly!

    I dislike my real name, so my penname is the one I'm known by online. I do have a second penname, for a different genre. James Morgan is for a co written work in the erotica genre.

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  16. It was so fun to learn how you came up with your pen name! How creative. I like the idea of taking the letters from your full name and rearranging them. :) I don't have any pen names- yet.
    ~Jess

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  17. What a neat way to have created your pen name, Kelly. I love Ashelyn Drake=)
    I actually have two pen names; one for my adult branding and one for my children's book I have published. I love my real name and would rather use it for my adult writing but due to some of the things I choose to blog about, I can't let it surface just yet. There are delicate tragedies that have happened which I will talk about from time to time so I had to disguise my real name. But I love my children's book pen name and the work I do over there=) Someday, I might reveal it!

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    1. I'm dying to know! lol I want to read your books.

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  18. Clever use of your name.I haven't thought about it, honestly. I do use my maiden name when I publish. Not very clever, but so far it is working fine. :-)

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  19. Hi Kelly!

    I loved how you came up with your pen name. A very creative way and unique name too!

    Nas

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  20. I have thought about this so much. I'm sure if I ever do need a pen name, I'll start the thought process over from scratch.

    Oh, and all four of your names are so pronounceable and spell-able. I'm jealous. :)

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    1. My maiden name is so common though. It was tough being one of many with the same name.

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  21. That's a very clever way to come up with a pen name. I also love how Ashelyn Drake sounds. :)

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    1. I love the sound of Ashelyn Drake too—maybe more than my real name. ;)

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