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My guest today is announcing new look for an old friend and favorite writer. Jessica Dale says she is the alter ego of retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer, Kassandra Lamb. She has been a human resources administrator, counselor, business owner and college professor. Now she enjoys writing romantic suspense stories with a psychological twist, which will make your spine tingle in more ways than one!

Please see her “birth story” below, and do come back tomorrow for my review of her spicy new romantic thrillers.


Dear Abby, How Many Alter Egos Are Allowed?

by Kassandra Lamb

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I have a guilty confession to make. Turns out my muse is a bit of a slut.

I woke up one morning about six months ago with an entire story outlined in my brain. It was totally different from anything I’d ever written (romantic suspense rather than mystery), with totally new characters.

And it was borderline erotica!

I resisted writing it for a while, but my muse kept waking me up in the middle of the night. So I finally gave in. My fingers flew over the keyboard as Ms. Slut egged me on, insisting I couldn’t gloss over much of anything.

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And when it was finished, it made me blush repeatedly while I edited it.

But it was also a darn good story (we authors don’t always feel that way about our own work), and it conveyed an important cautionary tale.

So what to do? I was pretty sure it would turn off (more likely horrify) some of my regular readers, who are used to mild profanity and gore and only a little sex (or none, depending on the series) in my books.

I decided to publish it under a pen name, Jessica Dale.

I considered pretending Jessica was my younger sister.

What’s the big deal, you might ask. Authors use pen names all the time.

Well you see, Kassandra Lamb is already a pen name. I have several very good reasons (and I assure you they have nothing to do with illegal activities) for hiding behind a pen name keeping my real name out of the public eye.

I chose Kassandra Lamb when I first published because it was similar to my real name, and yet not. Amongst close family and friends, my real nickname is Kass (although based on a different proper name) and Lamb was derived from my maiden name.

Kass Lamb (Jessica Dale’s alter alter ego)

So I knew if someone yelled, “Hey, Kass Lamb,” from across a room, I would probably turn my head their way.

And after so many years of using that name online, it really does feel like me. Indeed, I sometimes have trouble remembering my real name! Which can garner some very odd looks when filling out credit applications.

But now I’ve got yet another name I’m hiding behind writing under. Will people think it’s weird, or rude even, to be showing so many different “faces” to the world?

Then again, there are some pretty famous authors who write under two or more names, like Nora Roberts, aka J.D. Robb (for her futuristic mysteries, which I love!) and JK Rowling, aka Robert Galbraith.

Meanwhile, my muse has been having a great time coming up with more risque stories (although not as much so as the first one), and I do like variety and a challenge. So I decided to keep writing romantic suspense stories under the new name.

First order of business was to come up with a story I was willing to give away to Ms. Dale’s newsletter subscribers… because the huge downside to all this was starting over in terms of building an audience. Indeed, if I’d known what I was getting myself into, I might have stuffed that erotic masterpiece in a drawer somewhere.

My one attempt at a horrorish ghost story got rewritten as a romantic suspense.

Years ago, I wrote a stand-alone ghost story/mystery for Halloween. It was another one of those times I woke up with a fully formed story in my head. Perhaps that should have been a sign. (I’m beginning to wonder if I’m possessed.)

It hadn’t sold much in recent times, so I rewrote it as a romantic suspense story (I left the ghosts in). I ended up getting hooked on those characters, and my muse decided I needed to write at least two more stories about James and Carrie and their circle of friends (including the ghostly ones).

Thus the Unintended Consequences series was born. That’s when I really started having fun with this new persona of mine.

I now have this whole little imaginary corner of the northern Virginia woods where Carrie and James are trying to hide from the past, but end up fighting off the evil that the “real world” keeps bringing their way.

Which brings me back to the question of pen names. How many fictional personas can one have before one starts to lose touch with reality? And is it socially acceptable to have so many?

I thought about writing to Dear Abby, but maybe she isn’t the right person to ask. Where does one go to check on the etiquette regarding multiple alter egos?


[note from Barb: for my reviews of the first two books of this stylish and sizzling hot new series, please see my next blog post!

Meanwhile…who would you be if you could reinvent yourself?]

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