Guest post

Guest post: The Pros and Cons of Using Pseudonyms by John Murray and Abby Jones

Today I have a pleasure to host John Murray and Abby Jones, the authors of Code Name:  PapaMy Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight. John and Abby share with us their experience with writing under the pseudonyms! Enjoy reading!!

Ah, pseudonyms!  The challenge of every writer—especially beginning writers—is to understand whether or not to use them and how it affects your personal life and career (approaching publishers and paying Uncle Sam… Ka-ching).

John:  For this book using pseudonyms was a no-brainer.  Due to my career as an international, undercover covert operator, then leader, my real name cannot be told.  Working with my wife, Sharon, and our co-writer/editor, Abby, it was a matter of both privacy and safety because I don’t know who might want to see me dead.  So, we chose names and set up a corporation away from us to properly collect and dispense our royalties.  Of course, this also involves paying annual corporate dues and a top-notch CPA.  (Ka-ching!)

Abby:  This is my fifth book (we’re now working on Book # 2 of Code Name: Papa’s trilogy, so much more planned).  I’ve also written approximately one hundred published magazine articles. (Either I’m prolific or down-right old… choose carefully!)  However, long before I started working on Code Name: Papa, I decided to use a pseudonym.  In fact, I’ve used several over the years.  For me it’s never been a problem with the IRS and state, because my real social security number has always been used.

I was originally asked by a publisher to use a pseudonym because my name was quite well known to people who read his publication. With a very unique real name that is easy to spot, this felt like a good call. It was an instant disguise and I LOVED it.  Especially living in this small town called Hollywood, I immediately realized using a pseudonym would keep my sanity in check and allow me to run to the grocery store without a hint of makeup.  Happily, it allows me anonymity away from my career.  So, if on any level you love your freedom and privacy, a pseudonym (or two or three) is a great way to go.

I need to add that using a pseudonym—in my humble opinion—doesn’t mean you can fudge on the facts.  When I’m writing fiction, it’s fine. In fact, I’ve found not being named allows me to be a little more silly, crazy and push the envelope, so to speak.  However, when writing non-fiction, such as our current book, the facts still really count.  That’s where honesty in detail is imperative.

John and Abby:  Good luck with your writing career!

Please see below the details of Code Name:  PapaMy Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sightcode-name-papa-book-cover

After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.

“With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission.

The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.

These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.


 Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.

Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years. 

Praise for Code Name: Papa: 

“Readers of thrillers, mysteries, and crime and espionage stories will find few can compete with the real-world encounters of Papa as he walks a delicate line between disaster and success in all facets of his life, making Code Name: Papa a top recommendation and a standout across many genres. It’s quite simply a compelling, riveting page-turner from beginning to end.” – Diane Donovan for Midwest Book Review

“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”S. King

“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”Max’s Mom

“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”L. Lynch

 About the Authors:

For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.

John Murray:

A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.

John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.

John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible.

Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.

Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify.

Sharon Murray:

Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia.  Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past.

After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world.  Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry. 

Abby Jones:

This is Jones’ fifth book.  She also writes for numerous magazines.  The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.

Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites.  She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text.  By the way, she has never met John!

Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.

Code Name: Papa—My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is the first in a planned trilogy. John, Sharon, and Abby are currently working on the second book, about Papa’s mentor, Amy.

To learn more, go to: | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


6 thoughts on “Guest post: The Pros and Cons of Using Pseudonyms by John Murray and Abby Jones

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    Liked by 1 person

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