Mike Befeler has six published books in his Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, the most recent being Nursing Homes Are Murder. He also has two published paranormal mysteries, The V V Agency and The Back Wing and a theater mystery, Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse. His First non-fiction book, For Liberty: A World War II Soldier’s Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience was released this year. His first historical mystery, Murder on the Switzerland Trail, will be published in October. Mike is past-president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
For Liberty: A World War II soldier’s inspiring life story of courage, sacrifice, survival and resilience. May 1, 2015
What price did our World War II veterans pay for Liberty? “For Liberty” is a World War II veteran’s inspiring life story of courage, sacrifice, survival and resilience Ed was a Jewish-American soldier who served in the 399th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Division in Europe during World War 2. From the end of 1944 through 1945, the division fought valiantly to expel the Germans from France. Ed recalls the battle in the foxholes, hand to hand combat that involved knifing the enemy, throwing Molotov cocktails at enemy tanks and more horrors of war during the relentless combat. The 100th division suffered over 12,215 casualties and hundreds of soldiers reported as missing in action were actually taken prisoner by the Nazis in Germany and mistreated as were all of the holocaust victims. Some, like Ed, miraculously survived. (There were over 94,000 Americans detained in the European campaign during World War II.) In order to transport the prisoners to the POW camps, the Germans forced Ed and hundreds of prisoners into overcrowded rail cars and locked them in for 7 days without food and water. They could only stand chest to chest. Ed survived but the time in the crowded box car damaged a leg. However, many perished before arriving at the camp.
Pen Names by Mike Befeler
When I started writing in 2001, I used my name Mike Befeler for all my manuscripts. Although my legal first name is Michael, I have gone by Mike since elementary school. The only exception was my mom would call me Michael when she was mad at me.
When my first mystery novel, Retirement Homes Are Murder, was published in 2007, I didn’t give it a second thought. Then I met authors who wrote under pen names. Some chose a pen name because their names were complicated or didn’t seem appropriate for the genre they wrote. I could understand this. One of my favorite non-fiction books is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Since I reference this book in talks I give, I had to go to a pronunciation web site to figure out how to say his name. This might not be the catchiest name for a mystery writer.
Then I learned of authors who have multiple pen names. To me this seemed confusing. I have enough trouble keeping my one name straight to say nothing of having multiple Facebook pages, etc. Some publishers required their authors to assume multiple pen names for different series. This didn’t make much sense to me. I could understand this if someone wrote both children’s books and erotica, but to have multiple cozy mystery series under different names appeared artificial to me. This was supposedly to not confuse readers about the different series. But readers are smart. They know who the author is so why go through the pretense of different names?
The most important reason to use different pen names is to meet readers’ expectations. But I think this can be achieved with clear communication on the type of book it is and a well-defined description on the author’s web site.
One of my favorite examples of an author who went to the extreme was thriller writer John Creasey who over a forty year career published 562 books under twenty-eight different pen names. In addition to crime fiction, he wrote science fiction, westerns and romance—the romance being under his wife’s name.
But I have stubbornly continued to publish under the name Mike Befeler for my geezer-lit mystery series, a standalone theater mystery, two different paranormal mysteries and a non-fiction biography. In addition I have my first historical mystery coming out later this year. Having worked with four different publishers, no one has yet tried to get me to change my name. So I can continue to hand out one business card.
What do you think about authors using more than one pen name?