In case you didn’t know, Ashe Elton Parker is a pen name.
Back in the 90’s when I first conceived the goal of becoming traditionally published, I was more than ready to use something closer to my real name. I’d pretty much settled on using my first initial and real last name, and stuck to that until my first short story was published. There are some lucky people who purchased A Princess, a Boatman, and a Lizard before the editor reissued it, and that original print had my original byline on my submission there.
But after that, I rethought the byline thing. What had happened was that I’d gotten a bit of experience on the internet. I realized that by using my real first initial and last name, I may be putting myself at risk. Now, if you’re in any way familiar with this site, you’ve probably seen posts from cancer treatments to mentions of my transgender nature. I do not want trolls hunting me down in my real-life location and threatening me. While I live in a locked building, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for people who don’t belong to get in and cause trouble. I wanted my “internet home” to be as safe as I could possibly make it, and I wanted relative freedom to “move about” from place to place on the internet, under a recognizable name without putting myself at too much risk.
Hence the pen name Ashe Elton Parker.
This name is tied to my family, which was one of the main criteria I had for it; Parker was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. I wanted it distinctive, so I decided to use a first and middle name with my last name. And the name had to be relatively simple, so it would be easy to pronounce, easy to recognize, and, if taken all together, wouldn’t cause any confusion among readers looking for my name on searches. I also wanted a name that would reflect my feelings of masculine gender, but I didn’t like the spelling of “Ash” so I added the E to the end.
This is the name I want to be known by, my “public” face. This is not so I can sneak about around the internet and misbehave using another name, but because I want to build a good reputation for myself using this particular name. I have other pen names, which I won’t mention here, but Ashe Elton Parker is my primary public persona, and I intend to use it the rest of my online life.