Edit: Since writing this post, I reconsidered. I had some misgivings about changing my name as it took away all the work I had done over the past decade, and I had to start all over again. Plus, as much as a problem as it can often be (even people who have known me for years sometimes make the mistake and call me “Jim”, it is still a unique name and part of my Chinese heritage. So, in the end, I changed my mind. But I still wanted to leave the post up because it shows what I was thinking at that time.
I’m changing my name. Yes, you may have noticed it on the banner, but it is now official. I am writing under the pseudonym C.J. Cheung. So how did I come to that name? And why on earth would I change it in the first place, especially after all these years of writing under a different name. It will be like starting over.
Yes, yes it will. But right off the bat, I’ll have 3 projects coming out this year which will have that name on it. So I hit the ground running at least. And where can you find these projects? The first one, which I am incredibly proud of, is my story entitled “Clear Waters” which will appear in Laksa Media’s newest anthology, Seasons Between Us. This will be published later this year. The second is a story in an anthology for the role-playing game Blue Rose by Green Ronin Games. It is slated for release in the later half of the year and the anthology will be distributed widely in print and ebook. Finally, I just submitted a short story for an as yet unannounced anthology. It has a few scarier elements in it, and it was both a challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone, and a refreshing change of pace. Plus, I might have more stories set in this universe. A universe populated by Chinese vampires.
And you can thank Jonas Saul for the name change. I took his Masterclass at When Words Collide and he talked about pseudonyms – why to use one and how to create one. Using a pseudonym can boost sales if the name is simple enough. After putting a lot of thought into it, and asking a lot of friends and family what name I should use, I came up with C.J. Cheung as a combination of the initials of own name and my partner’s family name. It rings true. As for why I changed it, it’s simple: my actual name is confusing for those who don’t know me (and even confusing for some who do). My actual surname is an Anglicization of my Chinese family name and nobody ever mistook it for Chinese. It even created confusion a long time ago for a writing project in which cultural identity of the authors and editors was an issue. So, to cause less confusion, I took the pseudonym and I’m slowly changing everything to reflect the new name.
What can you expect from C.J. Cheung this year? Well, aside from the short stories (there are a lot of them), I’m also in the middle of a first draft of a new novel (which will likely become a novella or series of novellas). These are Japanese ghost stories set in modern day with a real estate agent protagonist who also exorcises ghosts. Sound interesting? I’m so excited to finally be able to bring these stories to you.
Oh, and I have one last project: my Chinatown Project. Late last year I was commissioned to write a short story as part of a project to raise peoples awareness of Calgary’s Chinatown (now more important because of the coronavirus outbreak – support your local Chinese restaurant). The story will be published on two broadsheets – one in English and the other Chinese. But it won’t make its way online. So that gave me an opportunity. Later this year, you’ll be able to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news on current releases and appearances, AND I’ll send everyone who signs up for the newsletter a copy of that story for free.
Keep watching this page for more news.