Friday, February 9, 2007

Of noms de plume--and the contest winner!

I wanted to take on a nom de plume for my erotic historical novels that had some meaning--at least to me. Some kind of sly, wink-wink allusion, since I didn't want to use my real name.

My first choice was Colleen Réage, which anyone who's read The Story of O will understand immediately...and for those of you who haven't, well, get thee to a library and snatch up a copy. Note the author's name, and then enjoy the read.

The Story of O influenced my erotic writing quite a bit, and that and the A. N. Roquelaure (aka Anne Rice) books really set me off. (Although, admittedly, before that I'd glommed all the Bertrice Small Skye O'Malley historicals, and had delved into Ordeal: The Story of Linda Lovelace.)

So, anyway, now that you know my influences, you'll have an idea of what to expect in Unmasqued when it hits the shelves in August.

Anyway, I digress. (Get used to it. It happens a lot.)

My editor, much as I love her, didn't love my wink-wink choice of Colleen Réage, so she suggested I think of something else.

So I thought again and came up with Colette (as in the infamous Colette) as the first name. It was close enough to my real name that I might even 1) actually answer to it, and 2) remember what letters to write when I'm signing that name.

But for a last name...I was stumped.

Then about the time I had to actually give the final name to my editor, a long-awaited item arrived in the post. It's an adult comic book collection called Lost Girls, and it was created by the talented Alan Moore (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Melinda Gebbie.

The first installment of Lost Girls had come out in the format of a regular comic book about fifteen years ago, and I bought the original and then the next two editions. Then they stopped.

Now fifteen years later, the entire, complete collection, as planned, was released in a leather bound trilogy and in a slipcase. I'd ordered it three months earlier, and it finally arrived. And it was gorgeous.

What is Lost Girls, you ask? Get to the meat of the matter, Colette. (That was Jane, I'm sure. She's always concerned with meat.)

Anyway, Lost Girls is an erotic story about three women, grown up from the lost girls they were in children's literature: Wendy, from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz.

They're all grown up now, and they have different things from their youthful adventures that influence them as they explore their sexuality.

Alice has a laudanum addiction, and she has an intense fascination with a looking glass...Wendy and her husband have a very cool, reserved relationship, but their shadows are much more passionately involved...and Dorothy...well, she's a naive little girl from Kansas who becomes very experimental and daring in her sexual exploits. (Can't imagine why I chose her name, huh?)

It's an extremely well-done story--everything from the art to the themes and undercurrents is brilliant. I haven't read the whole three volumes yet; I've been savoring it. But I love it.

Anyway, that, my friends, is how I came up with my nom de plume.

Oh, and the contest winner of our Grand Unveiling Contest is:

Please post a comment with your email address so we can get in touch with you about your winnings (lucky devil!).


Little Lamb Lost said...

Hearty congratulations to Seton!

I have never heard of Lost Girls but it certainly sounds creative. Loved hearing about how you came up with your nom de plume.

Colette Gale said...

Thanks, Little Lamb Lost. (Dying to know where you came up with that nom de plume yourself!)

meardaba said...

I once wanted to write under the name Chocolate Zantiga. It was so rich and exotic sounding...then I realized that no one looks at the end of the bookshelf to find a book, so I figured whatever I wrote wouldn't get read anyway.

Alas, I still like the name Chocolate Zantiga (it's pronounced Zantiga).

Pam Rosenthal said...

You might have written as Colette Aury, you know -- Dominique Aury being Pauline Reage's real name. She was a brilliant woman, who wrote a wonderful essay about the great Colette, in fact. And about pen names, a piece of advice from aka Molly Weatherfield: do NOT chose a surname from the end of the alphabet -- I've seen my alter ego groveling around people's ankles in more bookstores than I can mention (pause a moment as double entendres are registered). What you want is a surname about a third through the alphabet, like... um... Gale. Yes, Gale.

Anonymous said...

I love Alan Moore. His Miracleman/Marvelman is one of my all-time favorite comics. I will look out for the LOST GIRLS.

Colette is a very sexy name, so French. I like it verra verra much.

And now my jaw is dropping that I won. (picks up jaw from floor)I am so excited. My email is

Thank you verra verra much, Spicy Tea Party

Jane Lockwood said...

Congrats, Seton.
I love your nom de plume, Colette. Nice associations for both words.
I originally wanted to call myself Ashe Lefebvre--I just loved the silent e and b, and the inherent symbolism of fire and fever--but my editor and agent suggested choosing a name that didn't produce helpless laughter every time I attempted to tell someone what it was.
Meardaba, I'm sorry to say that to me Chocolate Zantiga sounds like either a new Starbucks concoction or a stripper, but I agree that Zantiga is a beautiful word.

Celia May Hart said...

Chocolate Zantiga might work as a heroine name. Although I don't think a mother would ever name her daughter Chocolate - but it could be a nickname.

Ok, Colette -- where oh where can one buy "Lost Girls"? Linky, linky!

(says she who still needs to find the last couple instalments of Gaiman's "Sandman")

Colette Gale said...

Congrats again, Seton! We'll get your prize out to you asap.

Meardaba...unlike Jane, I think Chocolate Zantiga sounds very exotic. And I do look near the end of a bookshelf when the genre leaks into another one next to it....

Pam, I'd forgotten about Reage's real name...darn! And with Aury I would have been near the beginning of the alphabet...bummer.

But I shall have to look up Dominique's essay on Colette. Was unaware of it!

Colette Gale said...

For the curious minded, here's the link to Top Shelf Productions, the publisher of Lost Girls:

You can find the lovely piece of work there.

Pam Rosenthal said...

It's in an out-of-print essay collection called Literary Landfalls (most of which, I have to admit, are about classical French authors I've never heard of, but the Colette essay makes it worth the price of admission.) I quoted it in an review about Colette I once wrote for (as Pam).

Kate Pearce said...

What a thoughtful way to choose a pen name. I'm so impressed,and it's easy to remember and slap bang in the middle of the book shelf for easy eye level access!
And congrats Seton!

Little Lamb Lost said...

I am afar and lacked access to English books. Stumbled across a chat at Writerspace where people explained about ebooks and about author and publisher blogs and yahoo groups to get the news on releases for print and ebooks. Such had been completely new to me. Everyone was helpful and kind but it took time for me to get up to speed...hence my moniker Little Lamb Lost. Whenever we get home, I take time to submerge in a few bookstores and indulge in stockpiling...but I need to know what books to buy so I gambol about the net.

meardaba said...

Yes, I know Chocolate Zantiga is a bit out there...but I was 14. I mean, it's not like we had a lot of practical experience back then.

Well, I didn't.

Pam Rosenthal said...

I mean, it's not like we had a lot of practical experience back then.

Meardaba, I think the soul of my writing was born during that time of imagining, before practical experience. Since then, as best as I can judge, it's been a dialog between the power of that early imagination and the practical knowledge (literary and otherwise) gained in the interim.

Little lamb, I hear the songs of William Blake and Ira Gershwin both, in your nom de plume.

Little Lamb Lost said...

I commend you for your insight for I did in my innocence need someone to watch over me.

Pam Rosenthal said...

imo Ira Gershwin was one of the most romantic writers of all time.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I love LG.... I wish I could justify the expense to get my own copy!

Lacy Danes said...

I will have to pick up a copy of LG Colette!
Sounds like a wonderful thing to read.
I love your name and the story on how you came up with it is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

hi, was someone suppose to contact me about the prize? Or was I suppose to contact someone? I havent gotten an email yet :-(

Pam Rosenthal said...

Oh great, Seton -- glad I found you here. Email me at with your snailmail address, and I'll share the info with everyone who'll be sending you a goodie.