Work’s in Progress~ 3rd Writers of Kern blog challenge post~

Work as in plural form.

Scattered thoughts jotted in stolen moments or demanded minutes result in binders, notebooks and scribbles on pieces of paper gathered and stored for later.

I know I have to be more determined to finish what I begin but between the many and I do mean the very many interruptions of life, I find myself always back at the beginning.

I opened the Writer’s Compass that I purchased at the Writers of Kern Workshop, and my eyes were drawn to a timeline type of drawing somewhere among the pages and after a quick read, I was inspired, which happens often. I began writing on sheets of white printer paper that I won at the writer’s workshop, to create character sketches of the characters of a novel I began over three years ago or is it more like four now? Four it is.  I have needed this bit of inspiration as a jump off point in the already decided goal to be published.

Now speaking of being published, here is my guilty admission in this post.  I have always been secretly a book snob of sorts. There I said it and believe me I am not proud of it.  In particular if I saw (please don’t hate me) a woman reading a particular book by a certain publisher I would judge very quickly the state of her life and mind. That is harsh, can you guess of which books I refer to? But God does have a sense of humor and a way of humbling me so no one else has to be ready to give me a what for in the future.  Because I am redrafting and altering three stories/novels I started a long, long time ago, when I was a bit of a book snob (which I had no right to be; considering my unabashed admiration for Stephen King), for submission to Love Inspired Suspense/ Harlequin Publishing. I think I have a stomach ache from divulging my secret.

That brings me to a much debated (in my own mind anyway), the need verse desire to use a pen name. I realize the obscurity of my name and the difficulty it presents to someone who is hearing it for the first time. You can imagine how fun it was growing up in a small farming community (Shafter Ca), to have a name as unique as Iola. Even the teacher’s stammered over it, like it must have been a misprint. So again I am thinking and of course over thinking the idea of using a pen name. Here is the one that I keep coming back to.

Fayeth Howard:

(Howard is my Great Grandfather’s last name. He is also the person who encouraged me to read with the statement that I should get a good education, cause no man would ever want to marry me, I was just too sickly.  Faye is my middle name and also my Grandmother’s who I am named after, add the th and we now have Fayeth (faith) which has been my saving grace.

So what do you readers think? To pen or not to pen that is the question.

Here is a smattering of a poem that I wrote while sitting in my husbands hospital room after he had his second surgery on his right hip and femur where they inserted a titanium rod. It was late and he was in so much pain that I was writing by the light of my lap top so that I wouldn’t wake him from his drug induced sleep.

I’ve Been Here Again~

River bends twists and turns,

Trickles down,

From snowy mounds,

Melting ice,

Rushing past.

Life pours down,


Unbridled spinning,

On without a breath,

Leaving empty lives,

Abandoned on the banks of time,

Sweeping past,

Down the hill,

Grasping life that is rushing fast,

Knowing nothing lasts.

The End.


Author: iola reneau

I am a writer and sometimes author.

14 thoughts on “Work’s in Progress~ 3rd Writers of Kern blog challenge post~”

  1. Grandpa Howard was a great man. You have to love his kind of wisdom. I’ll never forget him telling me about seeing a car for the first time, a phone, a television, and just about any other modern invention. I was mesmerized. He told me that “Hard work is good for a man.” I’ve never forgotten that. He also told me that I needed to pay attention; little did anyone know, I’ve had A.D.D. all my life. Grandma was an amazing woman. One of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. I’ll never forget her smile. So, I think Fayeth Howard is a great pen name. (I never thought of you as sickly.) You could never tell what Grandpa was going to say. You’ll always be “C” to me. Love your cousin, Jimmy.

    1. Hey there cousin~
      So cool to know you read my stuff. What do you think?
      I have Grandpa’s picture in a frame sitting in my study where I write and two picture’s of Grandma and Grandpa McClellan in my front room. They are with me
      everyday. I didn’t realize that you had A.D.D. but than again we were kids so of course I was unaware. Did Grandpa tell you about the one time he drank a little whiskey?
      One of the only funny stories I remember and the fact that he thought Wonder Woman was some kind of woman. I tried to tell him she didn’t really have those powers and he said
      “Now sister I seen her right there on that television.” I have a picture that I took of him and your mom sitting on our back porch talking. She had went out to ask him what he
      was doing, it was after one of his first strokes and he had a blanket wrapped around him chanting in Native. I’ll never forget it because that was when I realized we must have Indian blood. Of
      course you probably know the story. I am so glad you shared your memories with me. Thank you also for your feed back regarding the pen name. My husband Dennis likes it too. I feel like it would bring
      honor to the two people who loved me, were there for me and I will never forget that.
      Love you so much and have missed you and Michael through the years.

  2. Iola, your real name is musical. Here’s just one opinion on the pen name question: Sure, the pen name you’ve chosen would honor your grandparents, but your own name is YOU. It’s you and all and who you are that you will bring to the page. As far as your name being difficult, I don’t think so. Think about Maeve Binchy (I’m assuming that was her actual name.) and others whose unusual names have topped Best Sellers lists..Just my 2 cents worth.

    Enjoyed your poem. These lines struck me:
    Life pours down,


    Unbridled spinning,

    On without a breath,
    Thank you. xoA

    1. Thank you Annis. I do appreciate the subjective opinions, they give me more to consider than my own narrow view.

  3. I had once considered using a pen name, but somewhere along the line dropped the idea. I don’t even remember it being a conscious decision. As for you… I don’t think you should worry about having an obscure name. Don’t worry about whether your readers are pronouncing it right. Use the name you want to have people announce at your signings, even if you have to teach them how to say it before they do.

  4. Iola,
    I really think your name is unique. I agree with Annis, your name is YOU. As you continue to make the decision, something tells me you’ll wake up one morning and just know what name you want to use.
    Until then, just let it simmer in the back of your mind and work on all those bits and pieces of inspiration on sticky notes and pieces of paper. (I have quite a stack of those myself.)

  5. Iola, you have a fantastic name. Like Annis said, it’s musical, it rolls off the tongue beautifully, doesn’t look hard to pronounce and it looks great in print. Too nice a name to waste. I wish I had your problem – can you imagine gettting published with a name like Jerry Prigmore on the book cover? Ugh. Yeah, I already have pen names picked out. 🙂

    1. Thank You Jer~ So what are some pen names you picked? Just so I can be on the look out for them.

  6. Don’t know why I said “names,” I meant “name.” But I’m keeping it to myself; don’t want to jinx things. It won’t be on any shelves any time soon, anyway. 🙂

  7. I’ve thought about a pen name but always come back to the old dream of seeing a book on a bookshelf in the bookstore with MY name on it. I vote for the real name. But, if you must go with a pen name, the one you chose is very nice.

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