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Friday, 29 March 2013

#FridayFeature - The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane

I have the greatest privilege of bringing you the first in the fabulous up coming The New Pioneers series. I had the honour of reading this book a few months back and loved it. Cannot wait for its official release. Its definitely on my must read list of 2013. And I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the next in the series. 

So for this weeks #FridayFeature I bring to you a guest post by Emily

The Smartest Girl in the Room   

Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?

The Smartest Girl In The Room is Book One in The New Pioneers series.

Why Does Emily Want Her Diploma So Badly?

I am not that smart.  I do enjoy learning, asking questions and talking to people about ideas.  But I’m not brilliant.  It only takes me a few minutes around someone who really knows their stuff for me to realize I little I know about anything.

What I have going for me is that I can work hard.  I have no problem reading or writing for long periods of time, and if I run into a difficult math problem, I don’t mind working for a hours to solve it.  (Although sometimes you do have to walk away for a little while to get some perspective.)  When I decide I want to do something, I’m not easily distracted from it.

It was when I was taking Summer classes my first year that I realized I could graduate early.  One of the other students in my Intro to Philosophy class was taking five classes so he could graduate.  He’d been at the university for seven years and he needed to finally get out.  He’d been taking five classes for the last few semesters.  “I wish I’d known I could have done this earlier,” I overheard him saying to another student.  “I’d rather have done this when I was eighteen.  All the parties I went to... most of them were fun, but I’d trade all of them to have my diploma by now.”

A few days later, I overheard another conversation, this time between my mother and stepfather.  “You’ve already gotten your Master’s,” she said.  “I’ve had it there.  I’m ready to leave.  The haven’t given me a raise in three years, and they’re always talking about layoffs.  I’m sick of feeling this way at work.”

I sort of wanted to throw up right then.  Didn’t she care that I was still there?  What was I supposed to do if she left the university before I graduated?  

Yeah, I know, student loans.  That just made me sicker.  I remembered a friend’s sister breaking down in tears a few months after she’d graduated from college.  She’d been able to find an entry level job in her field, but it was going to take her years to pay back her loans, even if she got a promotion once every three years.  She didn’t want to ask her parents for help, but she didn’t have a choice.

My mother really hadn’t gotten a raise in three years; she wouldn’t be able to help with my student loans even if she’d wanted to.

I spent the next couple of days thinking about... the eighth grade.  I was so excited to be leaving middle school.  I felt like I was going to be free- no one was going to make fun of me any more for knowing the answer in Algebra or roll their eyes when I raised my hand in Social Studies.  I was going to watch old Sixties television; I was going to read everything I could find about the history of the ancient world and Alexander the Great; I was going to teach myself Geometry and Calculus; maybe I’d finally learn to paint.

It was such a great fantasy, and it was exactly what I would have done if I didn’t have to go to high school.  But maybe I could finally have that if I didn’t have to college.

You know what?  That thought made me feel a little sick too.  It was one thing to do whatever I wanted when I was fourteen, but it was something else to do it when I was eighteen.  I wasn’t a kid anymore.

I went to the Registrar’s office that day and looked at the catalog for the Fall courses.  What do you know, there were five classes I could take that fit my schedule and my major.  I asked if they had the Winter catalog.  No, just last Winter’s.  Lightbulb.  Could I have last Spring’s too?

I spent that afternoon going through the last year’s catalogs and making tentative plans.  Then I added the credits up.  Including the AP credits I’d just barely managed and the Summer classes, I could be halfway done by the end of Spring.  But it was going to be a lot of work.  

I thought about my classmate, my mother, old
Sixties television and Alexander the Great.  That was okay.  I can do a lot of work.

Just a few more quarters now and I’ll be done.  It’s funny- I find myself thinking about what I want to do when I am finally out.  I know I should be thinking about a job, a place of my own and finally hanging out with my friends.  And I bet I will do all of that.  But I have to make myself think about that.  When I let my mind wander, I still see myself reading a book about Alexander the Great while Mission: Impossible plays in the background.

Who is Deborah Nam-Krane?


Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in Cambridge and went to school in Boston. You’re forgiven for assuming she’s prejudiced toward anything city or urban. She’s been writing in one way or another since she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that). She first met some of the characters in this story when she was thirteen years old, but it took two decades- and a couple of other characters- to get the story just right. 

In 2012 she wrote the History section of her sister Suzanne Nam’s Moon Thailand (Moon Handbooks). 

A blogger since 2006, she can be found in a number of places: 

Join her mail list to find out about new releases

Posts You May Have Missed

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Next Nigerian Lottery?!

We all have to start somewhere. And when you do your name is barely noticeable on a book cover. But as your books become more popular your name gets bigger and eventually its your name that sells attracts the reader to the book.

Case and point: I don't even know what the latest title is by Bella Andre. But its everywhere!

To an author "Your Name" is everything. Its your brand. A side from your novels your name is how your readers perceive you. So you try to do anything to protect your "Brand" as you grow your author platform.

Last week! I received a concerning email. An urgent email from China informing me that a company wanted to register my brand name as their own and register domain names. They'd carried out a search and discovered I was using this brand name and had I authorized the use of my brand to the company. I have 7 working days to reply.

The first thing I did was turn to big brother Google. I looked up this company wanting to use my brand. Google threw up nothing. Not even an address and telephone number. I thought this was odd. So I turned to the company contacting me. They had a website with some high profile clients. However their website doesn't work properly and to me what their email claims they do compared to what the website claims they do it doesn't tie up. I'm suspicious. But the email looks official so if its a scam then these people know what they're doing. They're pretty sophisticated. So I emailed them back on Friday and advised I hadn't authorized the use of my brand.

I received a reply today. Now my spider senses started tingling. The poorly written English, says they've already started the process because I was late replying and they've gone into their default phase to register the brand and if I wanted to protect my brand I had to tell them immediately.

I replied informing them I'd replied within the 7 working days and would seek further advice. I got on to the IWU Facebook group, I'm not overly active here, between my crazy uni, work and writing triple life I don't have time to be active in every group I'm a member of. But the other writers here are wonderfully helpful and better than any encyclopedia you'd find anywhere and instantly they were screaming scam!

One person suggested to contact the to report the cyber crime. ( But because both parties are outside the US I can't. I did however report them to the UK action force as a fraud attempt. (

A friend suggested I should protect my brand by registering the domain name myself. Of course, once you own the domain name if they want it they have to buy it from you, which could be their game. To register the .com domain name and then try to sell it back to me for some exorbitant price. So now I've beat them to it.

I guess my instincts are not off base. I knew something was fishy about this email. I don't talk openly about the fact that Erin Cawood is a pen name. That I use it because there are too many questionable characters out there and when you live most of your professional life online, without the benefit of all five senses you never really know if what your getting is real, you have to feel as though you can protect you personal life from the immoral antics of others.

But when you spend so much time and effort building a reputation and a brand, in my case, years before I released my first novel Of course you become protective of it, and there's a little part of me that wonders what if its genuine? How do I protect my brand in future? If it wasn't for my friends and acquaintances in the IWU, people in the online writing community all around me this could have been the equivalent to winning the Nigerian Lottery!

Apparently, I'm not the first to receive this email so I definitely won't be the last which means there are the same dangers out there for us as writers as there are for any other web user. I have no doubt the next step - had I have said yes I want to protect my brand - would be to hand over all of my personal details as well as my bank details!!! So I've shared the correspondence between myself and the company. Here's my warning.

Be vigilant my friends and I urge you to spread the word.


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

From: "SZ"
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:28:55 +0800
To: erin<>
Cc: info<>
Subject: Re: Re: Re: URGENT:"erincawood" Brand Name and domain name registration

Dear Erin Cawood,

Because your late reply, we defaulted that you had authorized,we are preparing for the registeration of that company now.If you want to register and protect those domain names,please let me know in time.

Best Regards,


Regional Manager

AnHui Office:
Phone: +86-551 XXXX
    Fax: +86-551 XXXX XXXX
Postal Code:23XXXX
----- Original Message -----
From: erin
To: SZ
Date: 2013-03-25, 19:18:38
Subject: Re: Re: URGENT:"erincawood" Brand Name and domain name registration

Dear Ms Z,

I believe you asked me to reply within 7 working days and according to the time stamps of the emails I replied within 7 calendar days.

I'm afraid I will have to seek further advice before I can discuss this matter with you.

I will reply as soon as I can.

Kind Regards

Erin Cawood
Sent from my BlackBerry  wireless device

From: "SZ"
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 18:46:52 +0800
To: Erin<>
Cc: info<>
Subject: Re: Re: URGENT:"erincawood" Brand Name and domain name registration

Dear Erin Cawood,

Excuse me,we were at rest last two days,so we reply late.Because your late reply, we defaulted that you had authorized,we are preparing for the registeration of that company now.If you want to register and protect those domain names,please let me know in time.

Brand Name:


Domain Name:

Best Regards,


Regional Manager
AnHui Office:
Phone: +86-551 XXXX
    Fax: +86-551 XXXX XXXX
Postal Code:23XXXX

----- Original Message -----
From: Erin
To: SZ
Date: 2013-03-22, 22:08:34
Subject: Re: URGENT:"erincawood" Brand Name and domain name registration

Dear Ms Z,
Sorry, for the delayed reply.
There has not been any approach by any companies to use the "erincawood" brand and therefore I have not authorised their use of my brand name. This matter is of great concern to me as an author I have used the brand name Erin Cawood for many years and have established a reputation with this brand.
Kind Regards
Erin Cawood
On 15 March 2013 at 08:03 SZ wrote:

(Mail to the brand holder, thanks)
Dear Brand Holder,
We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China. I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on March 15, 2013 that a company which self-styled "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" were applying to register "erincawood" as their Brand Name and some domain names through our firm.
Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company's, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we will finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we will handle this issue better. Out of the time limit we will unconditionally finish the registration for "FuYun International Co.,Ltd". Looking forward to your prompt reply.
Best Regards,


Regional Manager
AnHui Office:
Phone: +86-551 XXXX
    Fax: +86-551 XXXX XXXX
Postal Code:23XXXX


Friday, 22 March 2013

#FridayFeature - Forever: The Dragon Wars by Rebecca Royce

For me, Fridays have this mystical end of the work week. A kicking back, relaxing and enjoying the weekend appeal to them (I know! With my crazy life what planet do I live on?). But #FridayFeature is all about finding something I can enjoy over the weekend and I hope you'll enjoy it too!

This week I welcome Rebecca Royce, author of Forever: The Dragon Wars, and she's taking Beyond My Writing Space back to its roots as she answers the question 'What does a creative writer do when they're not creative writing?' 

Rebecca is also offering you the chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. But first I bring to you  ...

Forever: The Dragon Wars

Devin Owen has come back from the Dragon Wars a changed Werewolf. For one thing, he's lost his wolf side as well as most of his desire to live. He spends most of his life doped up to handle the pain from his injured leg.

Lena Knox knew the moment she met Devin that he was her mate. But, she'd been a child at the time and he hadn't noticed her at all. Now, all grown up she wants Devin to be the wolf she’s waited for. Not that she has a lot of time for longing with life crumbling around her.

A couple of heated encounters draw them together but is it enough to overcome the war wounds they both carry? Or will an outside enemy destroy them before they get the chance to know?

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle: 


What I do when I’m not being creative

by Rebecca Royce

What I do when I’m not being creative

When I’m not being creative, I am a full-time wife, mother, and chauffeur.  Does it sound dull? I hope not. So many of us fulfill these roles and yet I think they are not valued all that highly in our society. Anyway, I digress. 

I have three children, all boys, ages of 3, 5, and 7.  They are sweet kids.  I cannot, however, get over how many after school activities they have.  Now, I am mostly responsible for this.  I signed them up for the things they do. Its not like they put themselves in soccer, basketball, football, karate, cooking, piano, and speech therapy.  I did.  So, as a result of all of the things that I decided, either based on their request of my belief in that they should just do these things, I drive them around like a chauffeur.  From about 3 PM on every day. 

Don’t get me wrong, I really like watching them do most of these things. Swimming, for example, I love to see how the boys are improving. It makes me feel really good about spending the time, and money, to see them take the classes. 

I also spend as much time as possible with my husband—we try to have date night every Saturday—and see my friends.  In addition to all of this, I’ve been on a big weight loss journey and I have to get weighed in once a week to see how I’m doing. 

I guess that’s it. Its funny to blog about this today.  I’ve never really written down what I do in a week—in addition to writing—and I’m pretty sure I sound horribly boring.
What do you do?

Soccer, basketball, football, karate, cooking, piano, speech therapy and swimming? Sounds like your boys have a lot of fun things to keep you on your toes Rebecca and not boring at all. Thanks for coming on Beyond My Writing Space and sharing.
Rebecca is awarding a $50 Amazon Gift Card to a random commenter throughout her virtual book tour.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.
Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They’ve just moved to Texas where Rebecca is discovering a new love for barbecue!
She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.
In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

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The Legal Bit

All characters have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone baring the same name. They are not inspired by an individual known or unknown by the author and all incidents are pure invention.

The articles, excerpts, and other written work published under the pseudonym Erin Cawood are copyright protected by the author. Guest articles are published by arrangement and also copyright protected by the guest author.

Images of Erin Cawood are provided by Paul Miguel Photography.

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