Author’s “Western” Pen Name

Dear Ms. Moss:

I am trying to break into becoming a new writer. My editor has asked me to start thinking of a pen name for myself. I told her that I wanted my name to be Tim Brian (which is part of my name, first and middle) she doesn’t think that would fly too well in the book industry. Said the name Tim Brian is a little shaky, like you can tell its made up and stuff.

So my question is what do you think I should do for a pen name or any suggestions.

The story is a western and thought my pen name should be western-like. That is why I was thinking of Tim Brian as the name on my western story, think anyone would buy a book by that name? I hope you can help me.


Timothy England

Dear Tim,

I agree with your editor.  When I see a celebrity or writer with two first names, I just assume it’s his first and middle name. It’s a little trite, nowadays. 

I actually like your original name, Tim England – it’s memorable. Do you know why your editor suggested a pen name?  Or do you not want your writing to be associated with your public life? As an author, I also toyed with the idea of a pen name, but then realized that I wanted everyone to know that I actually did accomplish the feat of publishing a novel! I wanted it under my own name. Even JK Rowling can’t keep it a secret when she writes under different aliases.

But if you are set on having a different name, I would suggest a variation on your first and middle names, like Tim Bryant. But that is not very memorable, either. How about taking a name that evokes the Old West, such as:
Butch Bryant
Bodie Bryant
Tim Brocious
Tim Slaughter
Brian Earp

Check with your editor and see if this is what he/she was going for.Hope that helps!

Glenn for a Girl

Hi Jennifer!

My husband wants to honor his father (Edward) and uncle (Glen) by naming our first boy Edward Glen. I have suggested using each as a middle name as my uncle and cousin are both named Edward. I have also suggested using Glenn as a middle name for a girl (Emily Glenn being my top choice) but would this be strange if we are trying to honor a man?

Any help is appreciated!

Hi Sam,

No, it is not strange to have a unisex name as a middle name. Look at Glenn Close! She never had a problem, even using it as a first name. Also, the middle name is rarely used in school, so you don’t have to worry about her being teased.

Do what you want, honor who you want and go for it!


Baby Name is His Company Name

Dear Jennifer,

We are having a boy and the name we most like is the same name of part of the company my husband works with. What do you think about it as he is feeling strange about it given he answers the phone with the same name numerous times a day
Dear Bella,

It’s difficult to form an opinion if I don’t know the name as I go through a list of tests when making recommendations. How does the name go with the surname? Is it teasable? Is it easy to spell and easy to pronounce or will it be a burden upon the child?

I guess you and your husband have to decide whether it will be a burden on you, as a couple, and on him, as an employee.  Will it have any effect on his job?  If not, then there is not an issue.




Meaning of the name Siler?

Hi Jennifer,

I tried looking up info on my son’s name, Siler Everette, but only found Syler (assuming that is the same name kust a different spelling? ??) What are the origins & meanings of his name? And can you add them to the site. Thanks so much!

Trisha V.

Hi Trisha,

Most likely it is a variation of the name Syler, which is either a combination of Sy and Tyler or a variation on the English name Schuyler. Schuyler is pronounced like Skylar.

Hope that helps…


Math Genius Names

Hi Jennifer,

I’m carrying boy/girl twins. I really like the names Kepler and Ada. Folks seem to hate Kepler, though, as it’s unusual. Is it really that unusual? I don’t want a name that is too trendy, but I also don’t want to saddle my kid with a name that is more bizarre than I’m giving it credit for.

My back-up is Quentin. Except I’d feel weird telling Ada she has math genius Ada Lovelace as a namesake while for Quentin I just liked the name (Kepler has Johannes Kepler). So I’m thinking my double-back-up could be Quentin and Lydia (no namesakes for either – I just like the names).

I’m just torn. What are your thoughts?

Thanks so much,

Hi Amy,

I think Kepler is a fine name. It fits our recommendations: easy to spell, easy to pronounce. It is not obviously teaseable, either. So stop listening to what other people say and do what you and your partner want.

I also love that you want to honor Ada Lovelace–a pioneer in computer programming! As a female programmer, myself, there is a special place in my heart for ol’ Ada. :)


About the name Dymory

Hi Jennifer,

One of my all time favorite books has a character by the name of Dymory. I had never heard that name before and I am curious as to it’s origin. The book is Enemy Brothers by author Constance Savery and is set in 1940s England, which was also the era and place in which it was written. I’m assuming the name is English, but I’d love to find out for sure!


Hi Hadley,

Dymory is indeed a very unique name. And a very lovely one! As far as I can tell, it was an obscure English surname. That’s all I can find on it. It’s possible it was a respelling of the more popular surname, Dimory, or a variation of something like DeMoray.

Sorry I can’t be of more help!

Disney Princess Name: Merida

Hi Jennifer,

I recently watched the new Disney movie Brave and I love the name of the independent princess Merida. I looked up the meaning of her name, but couldn’t find anything. Could you tell me what it means. Also, would it be a bad idea to give your child the same name as a Disney princess?

Thanks for your help!

Dear Emily,

Excellent question. I think it would be okay to name your daughter after this particular Disney character because she is 1.) strong and 2.) hasn’t been around for decades to build a reputation, yet. Now that my daughter is grown, I had no idea who Merida was. Cinderella, on the other hand, would be a problem.

Merida is a created name, most likely from the name Mary and the Spanish word “Querida” which means “Darling.”

The closest Celtic name to Merida would be Mairead, a form of Margaret.


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