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Pen Name or No Pen Name

We probably all know about how women through the centuries have taken on male-sounding names to get their books published with respect.  In my first professional job out of college, I worked on a government magazine in which all names on the masthead used first two initials and a last name. The idea was to disguise how many women worked on the magazine (a lot).

Are we beyond the need for that?  I’m an enthusiastic member of Sisters in Crime, an association of mystery writers and fans established in 1986 when major women authors realized that men authors got more lucrative publishing contracts, more marketing and promotion dollars, and more awards than women authors. Sisters in Crime works to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.

An easy to remember pen name can also be a marketing ploy. Actors in movies have used this for years to disguise ethnic ties or replace nerdy or ungainly names.  Roy Rogers certainly is more memorable and evokes a better image than Leonard Slye for a cowboy star.

So here I am, an author who chose the overlong, unmemorable name of Eileen Haavik McIntire. Why did I do that? I ask myself.  I certainly wasn’t thinking of marketing or promotion possibilities with that name. For years, I was Eileen Haavik Davis or Eileen H. Davis. Than I married a McIntire, so it became Eileen McIntire. Given to do everything all over again, I would have stuck with Haavik, my maiden name. Maybe with future books, I’ll use E. Haavik.

So here’s why I chose to write as Eileen Haavik McIntire.  The first reason is that I wanted to use my real name because I don’t like having to introduce myself as Eileen McIntire, then explain that, yes, I write as Jane Doe or whatever name I chose. And then be called one name here and another, there, and having to figure out what was appropriate where.

I like the name Haavik. My nephew, Alec Haavik, is a well-known jazz musician in Shanghai, China. My brothers regularly play in bands in their communities. My niece Amy is an art professor in Philadelphia. Another nephew manages historic properties in New England.  Throwing my name in the ring, so to speak, as an author seemed like an extension of the creatives named Haavik.

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April 1, 2023: Author Showcase, The Last Word Bookstore, Savage Mill, MD. 1 p.m.

April 23, 2023: Kensington Day of the Book. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Exhibit.

April 28-30, 2023: Malice Domestic Conference, Bethesda, MD.

Listen to my podcast interview by the Dark and Stormy Book Club -



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See BLOG Page for complete column.


I once asked this literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, ‘ransom notes.’


I love reading and writing mysteries. Here are two of my latest.

The Two-Sided Set-up


From Kirkus reviews -

“... fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings.... An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological suspense.”

The House on

Hatemonger Hill


"“An engrossing tale of suspense, treachery, and bad choices made for good reasons…. Historical novel readers with special interest in a suspense story that embraces civil rights activism and gang activity will find The House on Hatemonger Hill hard to point down.”  – Midwest Book Review

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