Jaxton Kimble

Jaxton Kimble

- making stuff and rambling about it -

Pen Names Are eXTra (but this one lets me pun)

Photo credit: Mark Glancy

I should have known in high school, really. Despite the fact that my graduating class was fewer than 200 people, there were at least four other Jasons in the group (that I recall. It’s been mumble mumble years since then, and I’m known for memory leakage at the best of times, so you’ll hopefully forgive me if I missed someone). I was also one of three Jasons in a department of fewer than a dozen at the day job. Folks, there were two Jasons in my wedding party of four.

But I was the only Jason Kimble, so I had that going for me.

That’s pretty much how it’s been as I started submitting and occasionally selling short fic, as well. There were other Jasons, but still just the one given-and-surname pairing of mine.

But then I started tinkering with (whispers) a novel, which inevitably lead to thoughts of things like agents, and advice about same insofar as most agents who are interested will probably at least plop one’s name into the search engine and / or book listing resource of their choice.

Where, it turns out, I wasn’t quite as distinct as I’d have hoped. On a casual search, I came across not one, but at least two other Jason Kimbles with their names on books. Genre books, even. Sure, I could explain all that to someone who’d gotten us mixed up, but that would be after the fact. If they bothered to ask me at all — if they weren’t, in fact, sending messages to one of the other folks sporting my name that some poor soul was deleting as inexplicable spam.

I decided it was time to putter about finding a pen name. Something I’d answer to, something that didn’t seem to have a presence in the places I’d be using it. Hey, I kept seeing advice about having a proper author-y website, might as well find something with an unregistered domain and putter about with a bit of standalone WordPress and see what I could put together. It would be a decent distraction in those periods of writer’s block, and since it had been over a year since I’d sold any short fiction, might as well take advantage of the lack of things to hype to put all the pieces together at a nice, leisurely pace.

Which of course meant I sold a story. This was (1) awesomesauce, but also (2) felt like a good excuse to launch my attempt at a re-brand. A couple rounds of searching and domain lookups and sounding a few people out on options and writerly me became Jaxton Kimble.

It was a chance to dip my toe in, and I could still fiddle with the ancillary bits for a while longer. One sale does not a dry spell evaporate, right?

Every once in a while, the universe has the best sense of humor, of course, rather than its usual tendency toward bitter irony. Which is to say, then I sold another story! It’s not particularly impressive in comparison to some other folks’ track records, but honestly, it’s practically a streak for me.

I can take a hint: finish the new site, it is. Most of what was over at my Process Wonk blog has jumped over here. Gotten a bit of a makeover. Rearranged a few things. If you go looking for me online, the domain proper should land you on my bibliography first, for example. The blog’s still here, but it’s less of the point. I updated the usual “About” blurb into a slightly more versatile “Press Kit,” where folks can find high res author photos (courtesy of my hubby) and an array of bios of various lengths. In the case where that’s not all a visitor is after, I’ve got a gussied up contact form, too.

I also shamelessly plopped a few of my sketches into headers here and there, and have probably used a few more colors than are, strictly speaking, graphically advisable. I’m trying to be a grown up, here, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving up all the toys.

It’s been a mostly-planned, slightly-unexpected ride, but here we are. A couple of letters off where we started, but nevertheless still a force for rainbow-powered chaos. On with the show!

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