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Tuesday, January 27, 2009:
The alter ego: to love or not to love?

Recently, Plotmonkey Leslie Kelly announced that she's created an alter ego as romantic suspense author Leslie Parrish. Instead of her usual light-hearted romances, as Parrish she's writing grittier, darker stories, inspired by her love of the novels by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Her first book, "Fade to Black", is scheduled for a July release. Here is the book blurb:
Dean Taggert, a former street cop turned FBI agent, has accepted a transfer into a new CAT for one reason: he needs to remove the violence from his life in order to get his ex to give him more time with his son. Not easy to do when he's been thrust into the darkest, most violent investigation of his career. A psychopath calling himself the Reaper is auctioning off murder at a deviant cyber club called Satan's Playground, and Dean and his team are forced to helplessly witness the killer's brutal crimes online.

Stacey Rhodes is happy in her quiet, sleepy little town of Hope Valley, Virginia, where she has taken over as Sheriff because of her father's ill health. Nothing much seems to happen here, except for the mysterious disappearance of the town bad girl a year ago. So she is shocked when a sexy, brooding FBI agent intrudes on her world, bringing evidence that the missing local girl was the victim of a serial killer. Even more shocking, that serial killer might be someone she knows.

Maybe even someone she loves....
Sounds pretty good, and I think I'll be reading this one. Personally I love it when an author branches out and tries something new. I don't expect them to stay in one genre if they have a desire to try something completely different, though I'd prefer it if they stayed within romance. I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of chicklit or women's fiction. I'm totally in love with the HEA and though I do occasionally read mysteries, biographies, classics, self-help, my genre of choice will always be romance.
Not all authors - such as Lisa Kleypas - create a new name and persona, but many of them do. I think it's fun to have separate identities, and I have to give the authors a lot of credit for keeping it all straight. Of course this means more books, and this always makes this reader very happy.
Here are some of my favorites (or surely soon-to-be favorites):
Toni Blake as Lacey Alexander
Colleen Gleason as Colette Gale
Janice Maynard as Elizabeth Scott
Lori Foster as L.L. Foster
Elizabeth Hoyt as Julia Harper
Sylvia Day as S.J. Day
Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb
How do you feel about alter egos?
Which alter egos would you add to this list?



  1. I don't mind alter egos. I would add Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley Macgregor to the list and Sue-Ellen Welfonder/Allie Mackay.

  2. Oh of course, I can't believe I forgot Kenyon/MacGregor. Good one Amy.

  3. I don't mind at all, sometimes you just don't know. Thanks to Barbara, I found out Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander!!!

  4. Oh I just love Toni Blake!! You're welcome, Cindy :)

    Now, although I love Toni's stories, Lacey's are give and take.

    However, I think it's wonderful that Toni/Lacey (or any of the above) offers such a great variety. Everyone's taste varies, so I think it's great that authors do that.

  5. I don't mind them. I think in some ways they are important such as romance/erotic. Some people don't read erotic but if they see that familiar author name they could pick it up and get a surprise. I have one for my erotic.

    Oh, and I LOVE Toni and Lacey's stuff!

  6. I'm a fan of anything Nora Roberts wants to write. I buy all of her books on release day.

    Same goes for Colleen Gleason. She could write a dinner menu and I'd read it. I'm so sad the Gardellas are ending.

  7. Oh, I can't wait to read this. It's in a genre I love! By an author I love. Thanks for the heads up, Stacy!

    As for alter egos, I think that authors have to do it because their audience is not accepting of them in a different role, which really is a shame if you ask me (which you did, LOL!). And perhaps it allows their different work to be accepted by a publisher. But still... it seems like those things should be doable all under the same name should they so choose.

    But I also think that maybe it helps the author get into a different frame of mind. That, to me, would be the only reason that should be legitimate. Unfortunately, I think it's probably the last reason on the list for most authors.

  8. I dont' mind the alter egos either. I think it helps them to become more accepted in the different genres. Some really diehard fans don't like when an author writes something outside their comfort zones.

    I love Kenyon/MacGregor and Robb/Roberts.

    Jayne Ann Krentz also writes as Jayne Castle and Amanada Quick.

  9. I can only speak about my situation -- having three pen names: Sylvia, S. J., and Livia Dare.

    For the S.J. Day books, I felt a new name was necessary because urban fantasy isn't romance (although my books do have strong romantic elements). The books are spined to be placed in the Fantasy section of the bookstore and not the Romance section, but booksellers will sometimes see the author's name, remember that they sell well in romance, and put their secondary genre books there. This is bad all-around for everyone. The romance readers find that they didn't get a romance and the fantasy readers who might have loved it don't find it in the romance section because they don't shop there. I'm all for making sure that readers aren't misled. :)

    There are also the readers themselves to consider. I've had fans tell me that if I ever stopped writing romance they'd be heartbroken, so a new name seemed the clearest way to make the distinction.

    The Livia Dare name ( writes romance, too, but in that case it was the publisher who insisted I take on yet another name for that series. My editor felt that readers might get "whiplash" from the new setting, which is historical/futuristic (fantasy).

    Still, it's me writing behind all the names and they should all feel familiar because of that. All three of us like the same kind of heroes and heroines, action and romance, sex and love. :) I hope that those of you who try the S.J. and Livia books enjoy them.


  10. I don't mind alter egos. I'm very excited to give Leslie's new books a try. As much as I love Nora's books, her In Death series written as JD Robb are my favorites.

  11. I would add Sophie Jordan/Sharie Kohler, Gayle Callen/Julia Latham and Maya Banks/Sharon Long.

  12. I like the idea of alter egos, especially when authors are fairly open about it. I think writing under a different name could be very freeing. Sounds fun to me. :)

    I knew about most of the ones on that list, but I had NO idea about Colleen Gleason's alter ego. Wow!

  13. I don't mind alter egos at all. That being said, (rhetorical question) why is it that I like Jayne Ann Krentz, but can't get into Amanda Quick and have no desire to read Jayne Castle?

    Did you list JR Ward/Jessica Bird?

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