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A Picture's Worth...A Pen Name, and more.

Monday was the day of the professional photo shoot. Chriselda did an incredible job. It was a challenge; I needed head shots plus photos that would complement the Undead Bar Association stories, the science fiction book, and the fantasy series I'm working on.

Yes, I was planning ahead. In the perfect world (the one that only exists inside my head), I will publish one Undead Bar Association book, the science fiction book, and the first book of the fantasy series this year. So I thought, let's take pictures for everything! And we did.

You can see a collage with some of the photos here, on the Chriselda Photography blog. So far, the friends and family favorite is the photo of me in the cloak and hood. Clearly, that is the fantasy influenced outfit. But I might be using the shot before the fantasy books come out, because it is so dramatic and expressive.

The cloak has a connection to two parts of my pen name. The middle name of the nom de plume, Mackenzie, comes from my mother's side of the family. And it was my maternal grandmother who designed and made the cloak, as a gift for my mother. My mother then passed it on to me, when I left for college.

The last name of the pen name, Wells, also has a connection to the cloak. A few years ago, I played the hypnotised maid Miss Wells in a local production of Dracula. The play is referenced in the UBA stories “No Fracking Way” as part of the Wells family history. In real life, I took a part back stage when I wasn't needed on stage. My job was to unlatch the door of the hidden bookcase at a critical moment, and re-latch it after the actors ran through. There was no time for me to change out of my maid costume and help backstage. I needed something that would completely cover me, in my little white and black costume, just in case the audience caught a glimpse of me backstage. So I reached for...Grandma's cloak! The Mackenzie touched cloak, that enveloped Miss Wells.

The first part of the pen name had a part in the photo shoot, too. My paternal grandmother's first and middle names were Mary and Anne, hence Maryanne. I inherited one of her old brass candlesticks. We used it in the background of some of the first photos we took on Monday. The candlestick is not in any of the collage shots, but you may see it later on.

Unbeknownst to Chriselda, she picked locations with personal significance for me. The first location was on a stretch of road I drive often, not far from some of my favorite haunts. The field where we took the cloaks photos was near my parent's house. And the alley that hosted the final photos was across the street from the courthouse where I was sworn in as an attorney.

Once I get the final photos, I'll be updating the blog. Stay tuned!