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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pen Names and Me: Guest Post by Kris DeLake With Giveaway

Pen Names and Me
Author of Assassins in Love

     At first, I did it for sheer survival.
     Fifteen years ago, publishers had just started using computers to track book sales. And one thing publishers discovered was this: Some genres sell better than others. Mystery sells better than science fiction. Romance sells better than mystery.
     I’m a greedy little writer. I want to write in every genre—who cares how well the genre sells? I got my start in science fiction as Kristine Kathryn Rusch. So any move to a new genre would be a move up, right?
     Wrong. Editors from other genres would look at my science fiction sales numbers and laugh. Then they’d refuse to buy the new book. So first, I committed a mystery pen name (Kris Nelscott). And then, because that mystery novel was so darn dark, I had to write something funny to make me feel better.
     I wrote my first romance novel, and it was sweet and light and goofy. Enter Kristine Grayson.
     I discovered that I liked having different names. It gave me freedom. It also let my readers know what kind of novel they were going to get. Something unpredictable (but probably science fiction or fantasy in nature)? Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Something dark and brooding, set in the past? Kris Nelscott. Something silly with HEA? Kristine Grayson.
     I have other pen names as well. Some I share with my collaborator/husband Dean Wesley Smith (Sandy Schofield, Kathryn Wesley), and some are secrets, just for me. I have another romance pen name for contemporaries and romantic suspense. That’s Kristine Dexter, who needs to write another novel Real Soon Now.
     Then I wrote a short story called “Drinking Games” for an anthology. I published the story as Kristine Kathryn Rusch because the story is science fiction (kinda) and it’s short.
     What I knew—and the anthology editor didn’t—was that “Drinking Games” is the opening scene to a full novel. One with impossible space travel and non-techy world building. One that focuses not just on the characters (people expect all of my pen names to focus on characters), but on a hot, sexy romance between two unlikely characters.
     Oh, dear. The hardcore science fiction readers would hate the impossible space travel. The sweet-romance-only Kristine Grayson fans would turn away from the hot sex (and [I’m guessing here] the fact that the meet-cute is over a dead body). What to do?
     Simple: I invented another new pen name. And at first, this one was for me. I didn’t want to tell anyone who Kris DeLake was. Then I gave the opening three chapters to some hardcore sf friends of mine. They loved it. And I gave the same three chapters to some romance readers. They loved it.
     So I decided—then and there—to own up to the name. Yep, I’m Kris DeLake and Kristine Dexter and Kristine Grayson and Kris Nelscott and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. And I still have a few secret identities I’m keeping under wraps.
     Guess it’s still a survival strategy for me, but more of a silly survival strategy. I keep thinking I might need a secret identity some day, if my life ever devolves into some kind of world-threatening crisis. And I don’t want anyone to know that’s me.
     Yep. I make things up. Fortunately, I do it for a living. And I have fun with it.
     Just like I had fun with Assassins in Love.
     I hope you do too.

Sourcebooks is nicely offering a copy of the book for giveaway.

1. Visit the author's website and tell me something that interests you there. This is required for entry.

2.  For an extra entry, comment on my review of Assassins in Love. (Preceding Post.)

3.  For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

4. For two more entries, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Five total entries possible.)

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* Limit one win per household.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on March 30, 2012.
The winners will be randomly selected from all entries and announced on March 31 with 72 hours to complete the winners form.


  1. Her novels have made the bestseller lists worldwide and have been published in 14 countries and 13 different languages.

    I commented on the review Assassins in Love.

    gfc follower!/sweetums82/status/182436612855177216

  2. I love how we can read novel excerpts.
    GFC Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@GmailDOTcom subscribed

  3. I like that there is a Freelancer's Guide which is really interesting. My favorite section is the staying positive. It can be applied to all aspects of life.

    GFC: Na

  4. In 2008, she won both the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award and the Asimov’s Readers Choice Award.

    tiramisu392 (at)

  5. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book. I commented on your review.I''m a GFC follower under Lucky47. I found that she is the only person in the history of the science fiction field to have won a Hugo award for editing and a Hugo award for fiction.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


Your comments are always appreciated!


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