Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Why I Use a Pen Name

Some years ago, I Googled myself and was not pleased with the result. My name was there, but it wasn’t me the name referred to. It seems a bunch of other bozos share my name. The Real Me was waaaaaaay down on the list.

I can’t have that.

Since I write murder mysteries, my mind wandered to a number of inappropriate options, all of which required more work than I was willing to put in. So I opted for an easier solution. Thus was Sorchia DuBois born.

Sorchia is my alter ego—I often wonder if I invented Sorchia or if it was the other way round.   She writes paranormal and fantasy novels and is building a bit of a following. She is the one who writes this blog most of the time. I have her branded as a witch and a lover of all things off kilter, weird, and macabre. Fortunately, I love all those things too.

Sorchia learned a lot by writing the Zoraida Grey series. This three-book urban fantasy follows a small-town fortune teller to a haunted Scottish castle where she wreaks havoc, to the Caribbean where she chases a Voodoo Queen, and back again.

By the way—the last in the Zoraida Grey series, Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes, will be out in October.  Here’s a link to a sneak peek.

Early next year, Sorchia is going to switch genres for another three-book series. All the Pretty Knives, Birds of a Feather, and Corked will be small town mysteries and they will definitely contain many of the things Sorchia loves—Scotsmen, whisky, ghosts, mayhem.

Here’s  a sneak peek of All the Pretty Knives. (Warning: bad words ahead.)

[scroll-box]Three police cars slid to a smooth stop up beside Sluggo’s. Not your run of the mill police cars, either. These were sleek, black government cars. Each car vomited forth four burly, uniformed police officers with glow in the dark letters on their flak jackets. Specifically, the letter F followed by the letter B and finished neatly with the letter I.

Those three letters and the unmistakable glint of blue steel in their hands gave wings to my feet. Nate and I scuttled out the back door just as two officers rounded the corner of the building. They didn’t see us until we broke from the shadows and made a run for the Jeep.

Thunder crashed and the rain started again. One of the agents yelled, “FBI! Freeze!”

Ninety percent of the time, they probably have luck with that phrase. For Nate and me, it had the opposite effect.

I peeled out of the driveway of Sluggo’s Fine Jewelry and Gold Exchange, spinning gravel and chirping the tires on the pavement. The speedometer needle buried itself in the red and never came up for air.

“We can’t outrun them,” shouted Nate. “That’s the F.B fucking I.”

During our modest crime spree, we’d been chased by a few local cops and one irate liquor storeowner. Never in my wildest dreams—okay, maybe in a few wild dreams–did I expect to be chased by the F.B fucking I.

“We don’t have to outrun them.” Lights flashed in the rear-view mirror. I grabbed the last gear. “If we can get across the bridge, we’ll head off road. I know a short cut.”“It’ll be underwater.”

“We can make it, but they won’t. Their cars are too low for the cow path I’m heading for.”Nate whooped and held on for dear life.

I’d driven this road every day for the past month on my mail route. I knew every twist and turn, every dip and every piece of gravel. I was acquainted with side paths, deer trails, and logging roads all over the county. It’s kind of my thing.

We were doing a hundred and twenty miles per hour when we topped the last hill before the bridge.

Trouble was the F.B. fucking I. was doing a hundred and twenty-one.

Question: As a reader, are you okay with the writer shifting genres or should I use a different pen name for each genre?

I guess I could build on the original. Mystery writer Sorchia can be Sorchia “Danger” Dubois and if I ever write kids’ books, she can be Auntie Sorchia.

Interesting note about pen names– pen names are legal! I assumed there was a kind of pseudo-legality for pseudonyms, and if you got caught you would be hurled into a special prison for imposters. Turns out, as long as you have established that identity, you can create bank accounts or any other kind of thing you want. As long as you are not intending to commit fraud. Some institutions may ask for a business license in the pen name or other proof you are identified by that name, but otherwise, the path is clear to be whomever you want to be.

Facebook, of course, insists on real names for profiles but they do allow an author page. The party poopers.

If you want to be uber-legal, you can register your pen name as a trademark. I explored that option and may do it, but I’m a-scared of the government right now.

Read more about the process Here.

What do you think of multiple pen names—Confusing? Helpful? Not important at all?

Has anyone trademarked your pen name? I would be interested to hear your experience.


Bardot, Jean. “How to Legally Establish a Pen Name”, 3 July 2020.

The government site: Here

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