A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Remember the game show “I’ve Got a Secret,” which began in 1952? Celebrity panelists tried to determine a contestant’s occupation by asking questions of the participant who could only respond with “yes” or “no” answers. This secret occupation could be something unusual, embarrassing or humorous.  

Well, I’ve got a secret, too. I wrote about an earlier secret I was carrying last year when I was told not to announce my addition to the 

“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Believe in Miracles” anthology until several months later. The publishers, Simon and Shuster, wanted to keep the news quiet a bit longer.

My secret today is about my author name, Lee St. John. If you have heard me speak at one of your meetings, you know that. But if you haven’t invited me to come be a guest at one of your past meetings, you don’t know that. I will tell you today why it is I have a nome de plume, a pseudonym, or pen name.

But first, why shouldn’t I have a pen name? Samuel Clemons did. Benjamin Franklin used one. I’ll even go so far to say William Shakespeare did, too. 

Here is a list of a few others. Can you match the author with their pseudonym?

1. J.K. Rowling a. Ayn Rand

2. Stephen King b. Ann Landers

3. Anne Rice c. Robert Galbraith

4. Nora Roberts d. Dr. Suess

5. Charles Dickens e. Richard Bachman

6. Louisa May Alcott f. Curren Bell

7. Charlotte Bronte g. A. M. Barnard

8. Emily Bronte h. Boz

9. Anne Bronte i. Ellis Bell

10. Ruth Crowley j. Acton Bell

11. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson k. Lewis Carroll

12. Eric Arthur Blair l. George Orwell

13. Mary Anne Evans m. George Eliot

14. Theodor Seuss Geisel n. Anne Rampling

15.Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum o. J. D. Robb

In my case I thought my pen name sounded more like an author’s name than my real one. But also, I was trying to get even with my own children. You see, I have two millennial sons who have never married, do not have children, and are not listening to anything I have to say. While writing my first book, I’d want to share one of my family stories with them about their childhood but they didn’t want to hear it. I’d ask “Why?” and they would answer that they lived it so why would they want to hear it again?

So I did the next best thing to get their attention. I slapped their names on the cover. You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t get mad. Get even.”  My oldest is Lee. My youngest is John. And I am a SAINT for having raised them. 

Here are the pen names with the real ones.

Samuel Clemons – Mark Twain 

Benjamin Franklin – Mrs. Silence Dogood

J.K. Rowling – Robert Galbraith

Stephen King – Richard Bachman

Anne Rice – Anne Rampling

Nora Roberts – J.D. Robb

Charles Dicksons – Boz

Louisa May Alcott – A.M. Barnard

Charlotte Bronte – Curren Bell

Emily Bronte – Ellis Bell

Anne Bronte – Acton Bell

Ruth Crowley – Ann Landers

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – Lewis Carroll

Mary Anne Evans – George Eliot

Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss

Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum – Ayn Rand

And Lee St. John? – Gonna keep you guessing.

Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a No.1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on Amazon.com.

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