What’s in a Name? – They Call Me Pokercubster

What’s in a Name?

world series of poker 2010


Branding ourselves as authors on our platforms, social media and blogs with alias names or unrelated names for the work we produce, sometimes becomes an oversight as time passes and we connect with a growing readership. It’s essential to build a platform as published authors to gain new readership and let the world know that  us and our books exist. But many of us don’t realize that  not using our name (or pen name) for these purposes, can potentially present problems down the line.


I broke the rules before I even published my first book.

My Twitter handle is pretty out there when I share links and retweets. In fact, if you’ve ever read any guest posts by me and saw my shared social links below a post, you’d see a little tag line beside my Twitter URL stating: “Yes, there’s a story to this name.” – Pokercubster.

I’ve had that on my links for so long, but only recently while I was guest posting at Esmesalon, did I get questioned about it from Esme and Carol Taylor of Retired and No One Told Me. I thought it was funny because nobody ever cared to ask until then.

When I began writing my book and working on my platform by adding new social media accounts, I already had a Twitter account I’d opened in 2010, so I was good . . . or so I thought.  As I was getting closer to publication date and adding my social links to the back of my book, I began to question myself about keeping that handle I’d already established on Twitter. I already had a few hundred followers and wasn’t sure if I should start fresh or grow it. The problem was the name I went by, that handle was related to my name I went by when I used to play online poker and went to Las Vegas frequently to play in some live tournaments. I also visited the World Series of Poker there two years in a row where I’d befriended some pro poker players, so I didn’t want to lose the connections.

Me and a few pros I jumped in photo ops with:

Me and poker pro


Poker pals

Poker pro


In hindsight, I should have ditched the handle because it doesn’t have any bearing on my writing name, but I did seek some advice from my then mentor, almost famous now, horror author, James Thorn, who had basically held my hand through beta reading and the publishing process. I asked James what his thoughts were about my dilemma.

He responded by asking me if the handle had anything to do with me or my ‘book’. At the time, it was my first book and I couldn’t see the long term. I told him in my past I’d worked in the gaming industry for quite a few years from casino to private companies dealing Blackjack and Poker and moving up to Pit Boss, and of course, it was my passion for playing poker where I’d play online tournaments in the evenings and weekends. And I told him I mentioned a bit of my ‘dealing days’ in my book.

Playing poker online, I’d chosen that name for my avatar. Nobody uses their real name and my husband calls me by the nickname ‘Cub’, so I thought it was slick to be the Pokercubster. Besides, I didn’t want to be Pokercub without the ‘ster’ on it because I didn’t want to be mistaken for a baseball Cub’s fan when my team is the Toronto Blue Jays.

James told me I then had a choice to make, but if I felt okay with it to keep it. Foolishly, I did. I say foolishly because really, the name has no bearing on my writing life now, I was sentimentally attached to it. And so, in honor of the ‘good old days’, studying and playing professional poker, I became a writer and continued to build my following as Pokercubster on Twitter.

[bctt tweet=”In hindsight, I should have used my author name for my Twitter handle, but I decided to remain as @pokercubster” username=”pokercubster”]

I sure do miss those exciting days. My passion for writing took over my passion for poker, and the long hours it took to play a tournament became gobbled up by the longer hours taken to become a writer, publisher, blogger and marketer. Would I change anything about that now? The answer is no, not even my Twitter handle.


Who Has a New Book? – Guest author Sally Cronin – What’s in a Name?

Featured author of the week


I’m delighted to have over here today, author/blogger and great supporter of other artists, the talented Sally Cronin.


Sally always amazes me because she reads many blogs, shares many on her own blog,  hosts various series and promotions, and writes her own posts in various categories such as: short stories, health and nutrition, and more. And Sally still manages to get her book writing done. So today Sally is here to share some of her knowledge and tell us about her latest book, What’s in a Name?

Sally Cronin

About Sally:  

My name is Sally Georgina Cronin but you will find that I have had a number of variations online and for my books including Georgina Cronin and Sally Cronin.

After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released eight others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.

What's in a Name by Sally Cronin

Get this Book on Amazon!



There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?


Welcome Sal. I’m so happy to have you over today and share more of yourself and your writing with us all. So let’s dive in!


Can you share with us where your story ideas came from for this book?


I was fascinated with the origins of my name when I was young, and I asked my mother why she had called me Sally Georgina. Apparently she just liked the name Sally, but Georgina was after her mother. My grandmother was a very petite woman with small hands and feet and very ladylike.  As I grew, and grew to nearly six feet tall, with very large feet and hands I felt increasingly embarrassed by my middle name.

However, as soon as I read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five with my namesake known as George, I immediately felt much better.  Since then I have enjoyed a fascination with the origins of people’s names and this book is the outcome.


Is there any ‘nonfiction’ in some of the stories in this book about people you actually know, or perhaps about yourself?


I have used locations that I have either visited or lived in for a period of time. There are also some elements of my own experiences in those places since it is sometimes more authentic to bend the truth rather than create a new one.


Once again, you’ve published many of these stories on your blog as you wrote them, just as you did with The R’s of Life. Can you share you strategy with us for wanting to publish these stories on your blog first, and the benefits you found by doing so?


I find that it is very valuable to share the stories as early as possible for a couple of reasons. Beta readers are important to iron out elements of a story however long it might be. Faced with the task of writing 52 stories with each letter featuring a female and a male with the same letter of the alphabet, I thought that I should find out early on if the concept was going to be interesting for readers. There are a number of themes associated with the stories and it was also useful to see which themes seemed to be the most popular. Whilst you are looking at 75 to 100 people reading the post, about half might like or comment. Those stories which did not elicit the average response obviously needed some tweaking.


You’ve led such a creative and colorful life. Have you ever considered writing a memoir about some of the adventures you’ve experienced?


I think that my life has been wonderful but as everyone does, I have had my share of ups and downs regarding relationships and events. However, I feel that integrating those elements into the fictional stories instead gives me an opportunity to revisit them and change the ending to perhaps a more preferred outcome. I have used visualisation techniques in the past for myself and for my clients and using my own experiences in fiction but adapting them is actually quite therapeutic.


For those who don’t yet know you, you write not only short fictional stories, but you have a fantastic series on health on your blog, among many other series. What inspired you to educate yourself on the functions of the human body? And where did all the knowledge come from?


In my early forties, I was told that making 45 was touch and go if I did not get my weight and health issues under control. I had followed many diets touted by others, but apart from basic biology at school, I had very little knowledge of how the body worked and how to provide it with what it needed to be healthy.  That was in 1995. I spent the next two years reading books on the body and its structure and organs, and also every nutritional handbook I could get my hands on. During this time, I took what I had learned, adapted and applied it. The one thing that struck me was that most of the information available was written by academics for academics.

As I lost weight and regained my health I kept a journal in ‘plain English’ so that I could explain how the body worked and what it needed clearly; in what I hoped was an interesting and entertaining manner. My first book was followed by a monthly magazine on health covering a number of topics, which ended up being my third health book. I am inspired to continue this on the blog to spread the message of how we can take back responsibility for our body and health as far and wide as possible.


Your blog is titled ‘The Smorgasbord Invitation’, aptly titled for the variety of articles readers can expect to find on your blog from health to laughter to various series including, but not limited to musical featured artists, and your Blogger Daily where you share some of your favorite picks of other’s posts of the day. Besides all of this, you generously offer other writers to have their work promoted on your blog and your Virtual Book Café. I know what it takes to prepare just one blog post and I commend you for keeping up with it all besides writing books. Would you like to share anything about how readers can go about taking advantage of your generous offer, and note anything you may request in return for promoting the works of others?


The current promotions that are available on Smorgasbord are in this link.


My blogging and my books would be the poorer if it were not for the supportive community we all belong to. I know how tough it was to promote a book before social media and blogging and if I can help another writer to get some exposure then I am only too delighted.

Of course, when it comes to my own books I am very grateful for an opportunity to promote it.  Your kindness today is a prime example of that. However, one of the key elements that I really do ask for is that authors and bloggers participate in their own promotions on Smorgasbord.

There have been occasions when an author has asked me to promote their work but then does not share on their own social media or respond to any comments. This cuts down the effectiveness of the promotion considerably.  It also discourages the readers of the promotion to share or comment the next time that author is featured.

None of us can write a book, upload to Amazon or any other site and expect readers who buy our books to flock immediately to the page and spend money.  People buy people first and they will respond much more positively to an author who communicates well than they will to silence.


Now, getting back to the book, What’s in a Name, please give us a little introduction to the book and share an excerpt with us.


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.


An excerpt from the story of Clive.

The boy stirred in his cot and waved his chubby fist in the air. The mid-afternoon sun was barred from his room by the rattan blinds at the window. The slowly moving blades of the fan above his cot sent a welcome and cooling breeze across his hot skin. The rest of the house was quiet, except for the gentle snoring of his amah as she dozed fitfully on the pallet on the other side of the room.


The boy was called Clive and was the fourth child and first son of a naval officer and his wife who were stationed here in Trincomalee. He was three years old and his curly blonde hair now lay slick against his scalp as he recovered from the fever. It had been a worrying few days with the doctor calling in every few hours to check on his condition. The household, including his three older sisters and his parents, were exhausted having had little sleep for the last few nights.


Measles in this climate could be very dangerous for a child Clive’s age and he had been restricted to his cot in the darkened room to prevent the risk of blindness. Thankfully his fever had now broken, and the family having enjoyed their Sunday curry lunch, had retired to their bedrooms to sleep the afternoon away beneath their ceiling fans.


Clive had been woken every hour or so to sip his favourite fruit juice and water from his beaker and the doctor was now happy he was past his crisis. But, the child was now hungry and the lingering smell of the chicken curry that the family had consumed at lunchtime drifted into the room.


Relieved that her charge was out of danger but extremely tired, his devoted amah had failed to latch the side of Clive’s cot securely. Seeing that there was a means of escape; he lifted his body up into a sitting position and swung his bare legs over the side of the mattress. It was easy enough to slide down onto the stone floor with its fibre matting where he held onto the side of the cot for a few minutes; his legs wobbling beneath him. But he was a strong little boy who spent hours on his tricycle and swam most days and this was evident in his recovery from this recent illness. Of course his growing hunger was a great motivator.


Carefully he moved across the matting intent on seeing if his friend the family cook had a special plate of his favourite mild curry and banana. He moved into the hall but was disappointed that the door to the kitchen was firmly closed and the handle was out of reach of his eager fingers.


The door to the long veranda however was much easier to open and Clive pushed his way through into the stifling heat and the raucous sound of the monkeys in the trees in the garden. He loved the little macaques and often sat on the veranda in the cooler mornings and watched them play fight over the ripened fruit. He drifted across the wooden floor and down the two steps onto the dusty path. He was now in uncharted territory.


Link for book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1


Thank you so much Debby for this wonderful opportunity to talk about my blog and my latest book.. It is always a wonderful experience being here on your blog.


It was a pleasure having you over Sal. ❤


Sally Cronin's books



Connect with Sally on her social sites:


Read about Sally’s books and reviews:




Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/sallycroninbooks


Blog:  http://www.smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com








What’s in a Name short story – ‘E’ For Elaine – Shining Brightly | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life


My friend and creative writer/blogger/author Sally Cronin has multiple series on the go she posts weekly on her blog. In one of her series she takes each letter from the alphabet and writes a story about a person’s name corresponding to the letter. I always enjoy reading all of Sally’s posts, as they all leave me with some great insight, whether it be on nutrition, health, interviews with other talented authors and creatives, or in this case, her own creative writing. This post in particular I found extremely touching to the human heart.

What’s in a Name short story – ‘E’ For Elaine – Shining Brightly

The Greek and French meaning of the name Elaine is Shining Light or the Bright One.


Agapanthus, the “Lily of the Nile” is native to South Africa. The variation ‘Elaine’ grows up to 36 inches and has green strap like leaves with dark violet-blue flowers which certainly adds brightness to a garden.

What’s in a name –  ‘E’ for Elaine – Shining Brightly

Elaine lay under the warmth of the duvet and her hand crept across the mattress to touch her husband’s hand. Not enough to wake him but just a gentle touch to remind her of his presence. Jack’s even breathing and gentle snore was comforting and Elaine smiled to herself, savouring the delicious secret that she was desperate to reveal.

She had been saving up the news until today as a gift for Jack’s birthday. They had been married for two years and she knew that his greatest wish was for them to have a baby. His large family had already provided his parents with six grandchildren and whilst he might not talk about his desire for a family; he wanted to hold their child in his arms almost as much as she did. She had remembered the look on his face when she had thought that she might be pregnant but it had turned out to be a false alarm. This is why she had waited until she was absolutely sure; today would be the perfect time to reveal the secret. . . CONTINUE READING


Source: What’s in a Name short story – ‘E’ For Elaine – Shining Brightly | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life