Identity or What’s In A Name?

As many of you are aware, I just got married. With that came many changes. Ok, who am I kidding? Almost nothing has changed. My new husband and I are still stupidly in love. We still hang out with our dogs and play video games and D&D in our spare time. He’s still my biggest fan, friend, and advocate. I still cherish every moment we spend together. So what, you may ask, has really changed?
My name.
Yeah, I know, obvious and small, right? Well, obvious sure. But small? Not at all.
While I still have the same initials (in all honesty, only 2 letters in my last name are actually different) everything has changed.
As you may have noticed, I’ve hung up the old “Alyn Day” cleats. I’d like to take a moment or two to explain why, especially to those of you that knew me only by that name.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time going down the negative path leading back to why I chose to use a pen name to begin with. After all, this is a happy, exciting, wonderful time for me and I really don’t want to dwell on bad experiences or past miseries, but I know that some of you may have questions, so hopefully the next few paragraphs will answer them for you. If not, feel free to poke me onTwitter.
There were a lot of reasons I chose to use a pseudonym even before I began my writing career. I’d been born with a name that wasn’t given to me out of love or pride or anything like that, but more out of obligation. I was never allowed to forget that as a child, either. I knew the man that gave me my last name never wanted me to have it, and in fact, he told me several times over the course of my childhood that I was disgracing it. It’s a pretty unique name, too, so there was no use pretending otherwise. The name made me recognizable as well to people my father had pissed off or owed money to and they didn’t hesitate to vent their displeasure at me, his daughter, even after he’d disowned me and I’d moved to the other side of the country.
I also worried that my father himself would track me down and demand or beg for money. He has the sort of reputation that would lead me to fear something like that. After the way I was raised and the hand he had in that, I’d rather he not be able to locate me, at least without expending some serious effort.
I also had a very traumatizing experience with a stalker. No, not the infamous Tony G situation some of you may recall, this was years before that happened. I was in college. It was bad. The depraved slimeball behind it ended up behind bars. Not because he terrorized me for months on end, but for child pornography and violating the terms of his probation. But my issues with him had brought those transgressions to the attention of the authorities, so in a way I guess I’m to blame for his incarceration. I worried that he’d find me online, through social media or otherwise, once he was released. Whether he wanted to apologize or begin the nightmare anew didn’t matter. I wanted to be hidden from him.
Lastly, I spent many years being told that I’d never be a writer from a number of sources. My father, teachers and professors, friends and romantic partners all discouraged me from pursuing my love of scribery and horror. I can’t tell you how many times my dreams of seeing my name in print were mocked, made fun of, or were flat out disparaged. I never had aspirations of being the next Stephen King, either. While that would be awesome, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I wasn’t even looking to write for a living, I just wanted something that was mine, that I had penned, with my name on the cover, to hold and to sign and maybe to donate to a library, a dream that tens of thousands of people have realized. It might seem foolish, maybe even pathetic, that I believed them, but after so much time with so much discouragement and so very little in the way of support or belief, you begin to question yourself and your talents. Maybe they were right. Maybe I was being stupid. Maybe I’d try and fail spectacularly. Creating a pen name to write under was a way for me to distance myself from that possibility. It wouldn’t be me putting my name on the line, facing rejections and dealing with the potential for harsh critiques and even death threats from people who didn’t like my work, it would be Alyn. (Which started as A. Lynn, short for Amber Lynn, before I did away with the initial and squashed it into one name).
But now, all of that is behind me. Now I have a new name, one that was given to me by a man who loves me and values me for who I am, who believes in me and supports me and my writing career, who acts as editor, muse, prereader, and sounding board for my ideas, and who has even gone as far as helping me act out scenes from my current WIPs, just so I can be sure I have the angle of the knife swing or the grip on that machete right when I put it down on paper.
I’m proud to carry his name, my new name. I’d like to shout it from the rooftops, but the last time I did something like that, the neighbors got mad. (Kidding!… well, mostly) so instead, I’m sharing it in other ways. Social media, of course, my blog, business cards (for the day job) and now my writing. Everything I do going forward will be under my awesome new name, starting with the novella I wrote for this year’s Maelstrom set from Thunderstorm Books. I’m thrilled to be a part of that project, even moreso because it will be the first thing I have published under the name Amber Fallon.
I hope everyone understands the reasons for the name change, and I hope that all of you will continue to share your friendship, support, and amusing cat videos with me long into my bright, beautiful future. I wouldn’t be here without all of you. I will always cherish the legacy of everything I built as Alyn and I hope to continue to build on that as Amber, finally stepping out as who I really am, who I’ve always wanted to be.

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