Monday, April 8, 2013


Photo Credit: S. R. Karfelt

Recently I posed the question of writing under a different name to a group of writer friends. You’re familiar with writing under a pseudonym, right? My novels will be published in a few months under S. R. Karfelt, my real and actual name, but I’m also working on two non-fiction books. It is those books I’ve considered publishing under a different name, simply because they aren’t novels. They’re travel books that will be ala Glitter Globe style, meaning just for fun. Imagine the fun and adventure of taking a flight from New York to Athens via Reykjavik, Iceland and also managing to tag Denmark and Rome on the way, and that is the premise for the books. Airports of the world, and beyond! Or getting as many miles as possible when you travel (at no additional cost). It was a whim that came to me when I booked a recent flight from New York to Charlotte via Detroit. If you think that the airlines are just torturing you, then you’re missing the whole point. The journey can be the fun part.

Book premise aside, most of my writer friends encourage me to own my writing with my real name, and not bother with pseudonyms. That got me to thinking about my real name. Technically I’ve had four last names and I’ve only been married once. Yes, that’s three maiden names. There is the biological father’s name, for short we refer to him as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. You heard it here. Voldemort is my father. (It’s okay to say it out loud now, thanks to Harry. Thank goodness, because ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is way too long to put on a name tag, but when you have Voldemort on your name tag no one even talks to you.) That is why the Bohemians gave me their name. Pazicni is shorter, and doesn’t scare people. Unless you know us directly. Since there are at least half a billion Pazicni’s on earth – many of whom are my first cousins – it would make good marketing sense to write with that name. If only a fraction of existing Pazicni’s saw that book and bought it, (which they might, because we belong to the same tribe, and we’re supportive like that) I could take the proceeds from the sale and maybe afford to buy a direct flight someday. At least I think I could. Are there really such things as direct flights?

After years with the Pazicni Tribe I was adopted and received a third last name. The fun part of that is the person who adopted me had also been adopted late in childhood, and the name was of a nationality that fit neither of us. Do I look like a Patil-Balasubramanium? Neither did my adopter. So we had that in common, the random uncomfortable borrowed surname. That’s not the actual name by the way. If I told you what it was, I’d have to go change all of my passwords, and it’s the perfect password because even if you KNOW it, you can never spell it right and hope to access my remaining $17.14 writer goldmine.

So three maiden names in, I met and married a Karfelt, and briefly debated hyphenating all the names into a new and torturous one for my offspring. After about a nanosecond of deliberation I vetoed that and took Karfelt on the condition that we’d have it legally changed to start with a C. Didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life correcting the spelling of everyone I ever met. It’s still on the to-do list, and all my paperwork is misfiled under C right where it belongs. I’m busy writing novels, okay?

S. R. Karfelt
So how many last names do you have? Is there a story there? How is your name misspelled? Is it just a letter, or something more fun? And do you spell out your name whenever you have to say it? I like to say, “K as in knife…”. 
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