|The cause of more problems than you can imagine.|
(Of course, the following post assumes that they were not on Amazon--the reason I have nothing on Amazon is a whole another post.)
The short answer is Yes, I write under a pen-name. Actually, I write under several pen-names.
In fact, Morgan Eckstein/Morgan Drake Eckstein is a pen-name.
(Let the trolls of flame war cry havoc and fraud as they proclaim that only people using their real names are allowed to comment, write and blog about all matters esoteric.)
Now, for the long answer--feel free to wander off if you already know this information or simply do not care.
There are several reasons why I use several pen-names, and generally keep knowledge about the specifics out of general circulation.
The original reason that I started using a pen-name was that one of my relatives was concerned that people might learn that I was a writer--writing was considered to be generally a sin, especially if you chose to write anything other than Christian literature. (And given the fact that I have been Wiccan all my life--well, one can see the problem with that one.) Especially wrong was any writing focused on Wicca, paganism, and other esoteric matters.
At a certain point, I did start writing about such matters. Plus opening asking questions of people in order to write such material. Given the fact that this behavior was unacceptable, I needed a pen-name. I chose to use the "Dion Fortune" option--my choosen pen-name for such matters is a variation of my Golden Dawn motto. (Well, actually my second motto, but that is another story for another time.)
The second reason that I decided to dodge behind a pen-name, or a dozen, was the fact that the first genre that I realized that writer had to be getting paid for was erotica. And not one of those clean vanilla types either; no, this was one of the types that Paypal tried to eliminate in 2012. I will be coming back to this one in a few moments.
Third, my writing models (mentors) in general, all used pen-names. One of my writing friends uses four pen-names because she writes in four different genres. The more varied your writing is, or the more rapid that you write, the more pen-names one tends to have...or at least, that seem true of the writers that I have used as my models for how to be a writer.
Now, up to this point, these reasons have been in play for years. I started writing erotica in 1984. I first used Morgan Drake Eckstein as an alias (pen-name) in 1992. In fact, given the fact that I have used Morgan to introduce myself for twenty years, some people do not know the name that I was born with. Nor do they actually care.
But there are some people who do--failing to notice that I only use my birth name to fill out government paperwork.
And this brings me to my fourth reason for concealing most of my pen-names.
Witch wars, trolls and the Golden Dawn.
Last year, I ended up reviewing a book that some of the players in Golden Dawn took a major dislike too. It does not matter if they were right or wrong, nor does the correctness of the other side matter either. What matters is the tactics used in what I refer to as "The Great Book Burning of 2012."
Basically, instead of just giving one-star reviews to the offending book or two, the one side decided to give one star reviews to the offending author's entire body of work. Yes, the entire career of this writer was dragged though the mud.
And if you thought there was any merit in this book(s), then your reputation was also dragged though the mud. At one point, I was called a Neo-Nazi...I imagine that my long-dead Jewish ancestors were not particularly happy at that point.
As I have said, it does not matter if one side was right or not--what matters is that the entire product line, the entire life work of an author was downgraded during this argument...
...because if they used the tactic once, they are sure to use the same nuclear option again.
And in my case, it is only a matter of time before I do something that they do not like. Such as write erotica--this particular group has dragged out the sexual misdeeds and rumors about several of the people they do not like. In fact, I am surprised that they have not gotten up on their soap box to yell that I should not be writing erotica already. By the way, this is a group that only calls me a Golden Dawn leader when I have done something they do not like.
Therefore, I am refusing to issue a list of my pen-names to the general public. In fact, not even the members of my lodge actually know my pen-names. And all simply because some people feel that it is ok to destory other people's reputations.
The cherry on top was the fact that one of the parties involved in the issuing of one-star reviews actually came out and told me that it was ok to destory my reputation because I did not belong to their Order--so much of the GD oaths applying to the entire tradition and its membership.
Does the decision to keep my pen-names private cost me money? Probably. But given the fact that I am still seeing fallout from the Great Book Burning, and knowing a couple of future GD writers also making the same decision, it seems to be the right decision to make at this time. In the future, we are going to see a lot of GD writers refuse to reveal their real names, Order afflications, and the other pen-names they use, to protect their income and reputations.