March 30, 2014

Tied Up in the Tangled Web … and Loving It

In life, we all wear a blank nametag, to be filled in by those who come to know us.
In life, we all wear a blank nametag, to be filled in by those who come to know us.

By Alexa Day

If I’m doing my job correctly, my boss thinks that butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth.

It’s probably more correct to say that if I’m doing things right, he has no fact-based reason to think I am anything other than the competent woman with the frumpy clothes. I don’t know what he’s really thinking. I could drive myself crazy trying to figure that out, but I bet the trip would be as enjoyable as it would be brief.

Earlier this year, I had a little fun with the proper care and feeding of a secret identity. If I sit still long enough to really think about it, I have to admit that it is pretty cool to have a double life as an erotica writer. If I’m really looking for a good time on a slow work day, though, I start thinking about the secrets other people are keeping. That’s the sort of thing I do wherever I go — as a writer, I’m quick to make up a backstory for all the strangers who cross my path. My day job is a real gold mine for this sort of thing.

I’m convinced that my line of work is a magnet for folks who don’t fit the traditional career model, and I’ve met some fascinating people on the job. Truck drivers, former cops, musicians, you name it. We’re all doing the best we can in a conservative industry in a conservative part of the country. We’re all in this weird, gossipy, judgmental Petri dish of personalities, and we all spend a certain amount of time wearing our Competent Employee masks so that we can afford the secret lives we love so much.

Hell, some of us might even be wearing the Tough But Fair Boss mask to support a secret life as —

See? I was just trying to avoid thinking about that, wasn’t I? I need to be able to look at all the people in my web of command (we do not have anything as linear as a chain at my job) without wondering about what else they might be up to. I know my limits. Once I start thinking about what my bosses are doing outside the office, I know I’m going to have a hard time stopping, and that’s where awkwardness really starts. It starts in the mind, along with the struggle to keep it there.

Maintaining a double life isn’t all roses and cake frosting. (Or cake-frosting roses, which are the best thing ever.) It’d really be nice to tell an alumni magazine, or a job interviewer, or a date about my secret identity. It’d be nice to tell them about both my names or that the trip I took a few months ago was actually a conference with demonstrations. It’d be nice to use some of my publishing credits on my resume.

Maybe someday.

Today, I can keep my mind busy with making sure the boss thinks butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. And maybe I can plan another one of those innocent trips. That always starts my work day with a smile.

Like Honey (eBook)

You want to add a little secret spice to your life? You need to check out Liz Everly’s Like Honey. It’s coming out on April 3, it features a hot hero with a secret, and it opens with some sizzling outdoor action at a masked ball. It’s enough to make you wonder about the things other people are keeping under wraps, right?

Have a peek at it. Get in line for it.

And get to following Lady Smut. We are full of surprises around here.


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  • Post authorLiz Everly

    Thanks for the shout-out!

    Reply to Liz Everly
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Of course! I’ve got to get in line for my copy, too. 🙂

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

    I love having secret identities — even if they’re not very secret. Delicious fun ( as I expect Liz’s book to be too. Yum!)

    Reply to C. Margery Kempe
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      It is really cool, isn’t it? I saw some bachelorette party nametags once that said “Tonight My Name Is …” and then I think there was a game where you were supposed to make up a name to put there. I guess having a secret identity is like playing “Tonight My Name Is” every night.

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorBarbara Mikula

    When I first started writing erotic romance, I kept it kind of secret. I was a little embarrassed. My cousin said, “Where did this stuff come from?” I didn’t tell a lot of people my pen name, etc. Now, I proudly tell anyone who will listen that I write spicy romance novels like 50 Shades. That gives them a frame of reference for something they may not be familiar with. LOL – I’m having a ball! – Skye Michaels

    Reply to Barbara Mikula
    • Post authorElizabeth Shore

      I know exactly what you mean, Skye. For a long time I told no one about my other secret life. (great post, Alexa, btw!). I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops because of my DAY JOB, but slowly but surely I get the word out. I share with a select bunch of people who I think will get it and be supportive. Too bad not everyone fits in that group, but the ones who do are awesome.

      Reply to Elizabeth Shore
      • Post authorAlexa Day

        Yep, this is how I’m doing it, too, Elizabeth. I know someone who almost lost a job offer for being photographed with a red Solo cup in his hand at a party. And this was an employer that would have encouraged attendance and participation at cocktail parties. So the threat, sadly, is real. Still, finding an underground network of supportive people has been a lot of fun. It’s a little bit like being in the Avengers or the X-Men or something like that. 🙂

        Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Alexa, you woman of mystery, you. I’m a simple person. I never thought I would love using a pen name but I WAS SO WRONG! I lurv it.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      It is awesome, isn’t it? Even with all the little things like remembering to sign “Alexa J. Day” instead of using my driver’s license name.

      Reply to Alexa Day

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