Hear ye, hear ye! I have an announcement to make: I’m changing my author name.
For going on 6 years, I’ve been publishing under the name S. L. Saboviec, but from henceforth, I will be publishing under the name Samantha L. Strong.
I’ll be updating my social media, website, and other places over the next few weeks, including working with the original cover artists for my books to update the covers that are out in the world already.
Going through something like I did is bound to change a person. I have been changed, and I’m still being changed, but sometimes one needs to pause and take stock.
I came to the decision a while back that my author pen name no longer suits me. I tried to live with it for a time, not wanting to uproot a perfectly healthy, if underwatered tree. As I moved into a better place mentally, however, I realized that the name no longer fits, if ever it did.
With my depression taken care of for the time being, I’ve been doing some writing-adjacent things. I’ve been submitting short stories to magazines. I’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes stuff so that I can finally, finally get Warring Angel into the world. I’m planning a soon-to-be-released collection of my short stories that will be available in eBook format out on Amazon, et al, but will be free for members of my newsletter. (If you do click on that link, please excuse the mess. I’m still working on all the things.) And…
I’m plotting a new novel trilogy. Soon I might actually put fingers to keyboard, so now seems to be the time to make this change. Whether I like it or not, I’m in a writing lull, so it’s now or never (but not really, more like now or it will be even more work and stress in the future).
I chose my previous pen name, S. L. Saboviec, for several reasons.
The first was that I struggled with gender and claiming myself as a woman. “Initials read as masculine and can bring more credence to your author brand,” went the wisdom. And I wanted that credence. I will use what tools I have at my disposal to be taken seriously.
But fuck that.
First of all, not claiming womanhood is just a bunch of bullshit internalized patriarchy garbage. I’ve had it with that. I’m a woman, and if you don’t want to read my books because of that, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Secondly, I have always liked my first name, except for a brief teenage rebellion time period when I disliked it because I thought everyone was required to dislike their name. But the sound of it always brings to mind a black-and-red-lace-wearing southern belle who’s sweet but lives her life unapologetically. So I like it. I can’t help but enjoy the picture it conjures in my mind.
Even more than that, though, I like the meaning. “Listener of God.” What an astounding concept. It is, quite simply put, the person I aspire to be. When I write, I want to channel the Divine. As I live, I want to hear the Divine Voice. Alone or with people, I want to listen to God–you know, the real one.
So I’m ditching the initials and I’m using my own first name and middle initial. The middle initial is practical–it’s to separate me from the others out there since “Strong” is a more common surname than “Saboviec.”
My old last name was never mine, and it’s the part I started regretting the earliest. I’ve always struggled with the question, “Who am I?” I’ve never felt tied to one thing, even when it became most synonymous with me, such as tae kwon do in high school. I never wanted to hook myself into one thing because what if that thing changed? Again, as with tae kwon do — I stopped doing it 20 years ago. It did not represent me.
So when I chose “Saboviec,” it came from an early form of my married name, Sabovitch. It belonged to my husband’s family and I decided to borrow it. I like the alliteration of my first and last names, which I also had in my maiden name. And Saboviec was an interesting-sounding name to me.
But–it belongs to my husband’s family. It is not part of me. It isn’t mine, and claiming it was a way of turning away from figuring out who I am. A fear-based decision that shirked the hard work I needed–need–to do.
“Strong” is fairly self-explanatory. I wanted something that was alliterative and incorporated who I am into my author brand.
And that’s who I am. Strong. I’ve proven it and will continue to prove it to myself. And on days when I’m a wreck and don’t feel much like I’m making it, the name will remind me that one day doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. It will point the way back to every hard day that I ever overcame because that is who I am.
Samantha L. Strong.