The evolution of a pen name…

So for those of you that don’t know me personally, I have a confession…Charlotte Copper is not my real name. It is a pen name. Why a pen name? I have to admit, I did want to see MY name (my real name) on the cover of my book, but I chose a pen name because in this world where everything can be found on the internet, I wanted a little bit of privacy. Not a lot, because I know I can still be found…but a little.

So how did I come up with Charlotte Copper? It was an accident actually.

My soon-to-be released book is titled Silver Blade. All the other stories I’ve written, am writing, and hope to publish, have colors in their titles, too. I’ve submitted Golden Star to Wild Rose Press in hopes of getting a second novella published, and Red Forever was my first (sob, sob) rejection letter. Based on this trend, I decided I wanted a color in my name.

The first name I decided upon was Amber Rose. How perfect! Colors in both first and last, and (in my opinion) a true romance writer name. However, as some of you may know, Amber Rose is also the name of (according to Wikipedia, anyway) a model and actress. Yes, I could still use it, but I decided to keep looking.

Then I moved to Amber Lee. Good name, keeps the Amber, puts me in the middle of the alphabet on book lists. Again, thanks to the internet, I found out Amber Lee is also a model. This Amber, however, is known to model bathing suits, lingerie, and less. Moving on…

I threw around ideas like Roni Rose, Wendy White, Velvet Green. I was rambling on about this one day in the car to The Daughter, when I said, “I should just use my grandmother’s name, Charlotte Cowper.” “Why don’t you?” she asked. “Because I want a color,” was my answer.

A couple of days later, I’m lying on The Daughter’s bed as I try to wake her up for school, and I’m rambling once again about trying to find a pen name. The Daughter, who is not truly awake and is simply trying to get rid of me says “Why don’t you just use your grandmother’s name. Charlotte Cowper. Or Charlotte Copper. Or whatever!”

And voila! A tribute to my grandmother. A color in my name.
A pen name…and author…were created.

Writing does not have to be a solitary act

They say writing is a solitary act. That is true, and yet there is a lot of support out there if you look.

For a few years now, I have been a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR); an amazing group of writers who are very supportive and encouraging. Some are multi-published, some are just thinking about writing, and many are in the business (editors, teachers, etc).

I joined the WCDR after I wrote my first novel. “Wrote” mind you…not submitted, not published. I joined to find out how to get it published, and I learned a lot. The one thing I learned is that the book will likely never see the light of day. Although my first book ended up being shelved (or more correctly removed from my computer to a USB key), what I gained resulted in Silver Blade being seen and accepted.

The one thing that seemed to be lacking from my WCDR experience was other romance writers. Romance is the largest book market out there, and yet I felt like I didn’t belong with these writers. “What do you write?” I’d ask and get answers like poetry, non-fiction, and memoir. “What about you?” they would ask. “Paranormal Romance” I’d say and feel like I wasn’t a serious writer.

Now let me clarify that no one…ever…at WCDR made me feel that way. It was all of my own doing, and yet I decided I needed some more interaction with like-minded individuals. So this year I decided to spread my wings and join the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the TRW (Toronto Romance Writers)…you must join the RWA before you can join the TRW. And both memberships were Christmas gifts from my mom – thanks mom!

Anyway, my first TRW meeting was yesterday, and it couldn’t have been better. Yes, it was 95% women (and I think 2 of the men were there simply because they drove their wives) but just listening to some of the women talk, I knew I was in the write place (pun intended).
What made it even better, was that Kelley Armstrong was the speaker at my first TRW meeting. She spoke from 9 – 4 about the business end of writing, as well as her own personal writing. I’ve got her entire Otherworld series, and can’t wait for her new adult Cainsville series to come out in August. Here is a photo of me with Kelley. (Yes, I did ask her permission to post her photo on my blog.)
Me and Kelley Armstrong

I’m looking forward to learning and sharing with these women (and men). If I could achieve a fraction of Kelley’s success with my books, I’d be happy. As I said before, as a romance writer, I believe in happy endings!

Big happy face

As I sit here typing, I’m wearing a big, silly happy face. I was going to post a picture, but I also have a big cold sore at the moment, so I’m not getting anywhere near a camera!

Why the smile? Because my editor just said we are done with all our work, and my novella has moved on to the copy editor. As I understand it, the copy editor is the one that checks the punctuation and format…which means my book is almost ready to go. My editor says the release date will probably be about 3 months. Once I get the final date…and a copy of my cover…I will post them here.

I am soooooo excited and thrilled, and just beside myself. To make things even more exciting, Eilidh (my editor) asked me if I have another book ready. So I’ll be working this weekend on Golden Star, what I hope will be my second novella. The story is pretty much done but I’ll be trying to do some of the edits to this one that Eilidh already had me do to my previous one. Of course I realize it is better for Wild Rose Press if they can have multiple books under my name and hopefully generate a following, but I still can’t get over the fact that they liked my first book enough to ask for a second.

In the meantime, if I was going to post a photo, it would look something like this: smile