Monday, January 7, 2013

Why I do not reveal my pennames

The cause of more problems than you can imagine.
The other day in the comment section, someone asked me if I am writing under a pen-name...because they could not find anything under "Morgan Eckstein."

(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.


Alyssa said...

so do you use your own picture and just a different name? Curious. . .

Frances Beldia said...

Hey there. Awesome post. I've always been interested in Wicca and sometime not in my not-so-distant past, people around me thought I was either possessed or was completely whacked...all that for worshiping Brother Moon and loving the earth...and... er--not attending Sunday masses.

S. J. Reisner || Audrey Brice || S. Connolly said...

People are nasty and they don't realize that they could be destroying an author. I sometimes worry this will happen to me, being as public as I am. As a matter-of-fact I'm pretty sure some of my bad reviews were from occult-world trolls (and were removed by Amazon because they attacked me as a person). I'm also pretty sure some of the bad reviews on some of my novels were from competing authors because they were removed recently during Amazon's "Great Author Review Cleansing". LOL!

Beth Camp said...

Maybe that black background on your blog is tied to one of your genres, but gosh, it's really, really hard to read! And your blog IS worth reading. I liked the self-deprecation. You made an excellent case for keeping those pen names anonymous. Thanks for visiting my site. Hope to stop by again.

Unknown said...

Great post! I recently, and almost reluctantly, entered the "blogosphere" on occult matters. I wrestled with whether or not to use a pen name.

On one hand, it would be easy for those who already know me in the occult to community to find my writing if I just used my real name.

On the other hand... I live in the deep south, so I had more to worry about than malicious magicians. Employment is hard enough around this area without people finding out your affinity for barbarous words of power.

So I went with the pen name. Good to see I'm not the only one conflicted about it. I think I made the right call.

S.V. said...

Thanks for the answer, Morgan.

I thought it might have been that you wrote erotica, but I was unaware of the other reasons.

The incident you speak of did get a little hot--but on both sides, Morgan. Honestly, can you state you did not fan those flames some yourself with a few well-placed insulting jabs, regardless of who was right or wrong?

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

SV--I did what I did. And that is all the guilt that I am willing to assume. And in the future, I will do what I do. And that is all the guilt that I am willing to assume in the future.

Sooner or later, I make everyone upset. Wait long enourgh, and both sides will hate my guts. It is only a moment of time before both sides agree that I am a villian...because I do what I do.

S.V. said...

Fair enough. I, for one, hold no grudge. I think we all said things that in retrospect could have been handled much better.

Peace :)