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8 May 2021

Carmen Electra and JeffBezos4skin Drop First NFT Collection With 'Cleavage For Sale'

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A unique real estate opportunity! (CNW Group/Foreskin inc.)
Carmen Electra recently rocked the NFT community by announcing her first NFT collection in collaboration with decorated NFT collector: @Jeffbezos4skin on TMZ. She will be dropping a series of digital art pieces, including a 1 of 1, exclusive opportunity to own a piece of her body (cleavage area) and use it as a canvas for art, promotional purposes or any other customizable message including logos or company names. 
  • To reiterate, this NFT will offer digital real estate on Carmen Electra's cleavage that the highest bidder can customize however they please. This project merges body art with digital art and introduces a new venue for advertising in the NFT space. Also, some of the proceeds from this drop will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research foundation at the Stand Up To Cancer organization.
Carmen and her agent Darren Prince, CEO of Prince Marketing Group / Prince Digital Group and her manager Thaer Mustafa , loved the idea of an interactive digital art project that provides a personalized value to both collectors and creators that can truly last forever. Further, they pledge to use their expansive networks to market the 1/1 customizable NFT together to ensure a lucrative experience for the auction winner.

Carmen, a woman well-versed in the entertainment industry as a singer/dancer discovered by Prince who then moved on to be an actress on Baywatch and model for Playboy, is very optimistic about NFTs. Unlike most celebrities who enter the space for a quick personal cash-grab, Carmen's attitude towards NFTs is best described as hopeful and committed. 
On the matter, she stated "My NFTs are not only here to arouse you, but here to make you money, which by the way you will enjoy for much longer than my marriage to Dennis Rodman."
Together, Prince, 4skin and Electra intend to release more revolutionary NFT opportunities similar to what they have called this "Cleavage Real-Estate" project. With the impressive roster of iconic athletes and celebrities represented by Prince Marketing Group, the collection and know-how of JeffBezos4skin and Electra's many assets, anyone with an eye out for NFTs should be paying attention. 
The drop will be announced on carmennft.com .

  • Follow @carmensnft and @jeffbezos4skin on all social media for more information.
SOURCE: Foreskin inc.

7 May 2021

Even Species at Risk are Cramped at Home

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Short–eared Owl © Gordon Court (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
For over a year now, Canadians have been urged to stay home. Sometimes, though, home can not only feel too small, it can be too small. At their most recent virtual meeting, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the status of 26 wildlife species, some of which have particularly small spaces to call home. While not all are actually declining, a single stroke of bad luck could eliminate their entire Canadian population. And climate change may bring that bad luck.
Two rare lichens were assessed. Both live in specialised environments, one on the Pacific coast and one on the Atlantic. 

  • The tiny Seaside Centipede Lichen occurs on a narrow strip of western Vancouver Island and nearby islands. It occurs only on small Sitka Spruce twigs that are within a few metres of the forest floor. This lichen also needs a nitrogen supply, and so is usually found on trees near Bald Eagle perches and sea lion haul-outs where poop supplies that key nutrient. 
  • In Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Vole Ears Lichen occurs in a few forests near the coast where necessary fog is common. We know more about this rare lichen because of the increased interest of naturalists -- the Canadian population is the only one remaining in North America and may number fewer than 2000 individuals.
Increasingly severe storms can damage the lichens and their host trees on both coasts, layered upon local threats. Seaside Centipede Lichen was assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened and Vole Ears Lichen as Endangered.

Black Hills Mountainsnail © Robert Forsyth (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
Black Hills Mountainsnail has been isolated in the Cypress Hills on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border since glaciers covered much of the continent. The Canadian population is one of only four in the world that survived on rare hills or "sky islands" above the ice (the others are in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota). Climate change-fueled megafires could affect all these Canadian snails in one fell swoop. COSEWIC assessed this snail as Endangered.
"Large wildfires can damage and even wipe out snail populations -- they really can't just run away!" noted Dwayne Lepitzki, Co-chair of the Molluscs Subcommittee. "The Cypress Hills had major fires in the 1880s and we know that wildfires are getting bigger and more common in western Canada. Hopefully, fire management can help protect this snail."
Edwards' Beach Moth © Nicole Kroeker (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
The attractive Edwards' Beach Moth is restricted to a few windswept beaches and small dunes around southern Vancouver Island, isolated from populations known in California. Thanks to work by dedicated volunteers, invasive vegetation is being kept at bay. However, climate change is a threat because warming brings rising sea levels and more numerous and intense storms that threaten to destroy the upper beaches and dunes where the moth lives. It was assessed as Endangered.

Fully 15 of the 26 wildlife species assessed by COSEWIC are threatened by climate change. Not all of them have restricted ranges. Short-eared Owl is still widely distributed, but Christmas Bird Count and Breeding Bird Survey volunteers have documented a worrying decline in their numbers.
"Citizen science observers across the continent are fundamentally important in determining population trends for this and many other species," commented Birds Subcommittee Co-chair Richard Elliot. "We couldn't do it without them."
Climate warming in the North is resulting in shrubification of tundra habitat, making it less favourable for the owl, and adding to human impacts it faces further south. Short-eared Owl was assessed as Threatened.

  • Altogether, COSEWIC assessed 5 birds, 5 plants, 3 insects, 3 reptiles, 3 molluscs, 2 sharks, 2 lichens, 1 amphibian, 1 freshwater fish, and 1 mammal wildlife species. Further details on all the wildlife species assessed at this meeting can be found on the COSEWIC website.

Definition of COSEWIC terms and status categories:

  • Wildlife Species: A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.
  • Extinct (X): A wildlife species that no longer exists.
  • Extirpated (XT): A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
  • Endangered (E): A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened (T): A wildlife species that is likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
  • Special Concern (SC): A wildlife species that may become Threatened or Endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  • Not at Risk (NAR): A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.
  • Data Deficient (DD): A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a wildlife species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the wildlife species' risk of extinction.
  • Species at Risk: A wildlife species that has been assessed as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
Even Species at Risk are Cramped at Home
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Logo (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)

About COSEWIC:

COSEWIC assesses the status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other important units of biological diversity, considered to be at risk in Canada. To do so, COSEWIC uses scientific, Aboriginal traditional and community knowledge provided by experts from governments, academia and other organizations. Summaries of assessments are currently available to the public on the COSEWIC website and will be submitted to the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change in fall 2021 for listing consideration under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). At that time, the status reports and status appraisal summaries will be publicly available on the Species at Risk Public Registry 

At its most recent meeting, COSEWIC assessed 26 wildlife species in various COSEWIC risk categories, including 7 Endangered, 9 Threatened, and 10 Special Concern.

COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal entities (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature), three Non-government Science Members, and the Co-chairs of the Species Specialist and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittees.

SOURCE: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

[Blog Tour] 'The Queen's Rival' By Anne O'Brien #HistoricalFiction #Medieval

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[Blog Tour] 'The Queen's Rival' By Anne O'Brien #HistoricalFiction #Medieval
 'The Queen's Rival' - Tour Banner

The Book:

The Queen's Rival
By Anne O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 15th April 2021(paperback) September 2020 (Hardback and ebook)
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Page Length: 531 pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

The Blurb:

England, 1459.

One family united by blood. Torn apart by war…

The Wars of the Roses storm through the country, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, plots to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne.

But when the Yorkists are defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.

Stripped of her lands and imprisoned in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit. One that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King Edward IV.

Buy Links: 

Amazon UK ✔ Amazon US ✔ Amazon CA   Amazon AU  
Barnes and Noble  Waterstones  Kobo ✔ Audio  Blackwells ✔ WHSmith  

'The Queen's Rival' - Front Cover

'The Queen's Rival' - Excerpt:

Duchess Cecily takes the King to task in Reading Abbey, September 1464

Edward, King of England, stood before me.

‘Where is she?’

‘Who?’

‘Do not be obtuse, Edward.’

I could not address him as Ned. There was no maternal affection within me.

His eyes widened with just the hint of the temper that he rarely showed to me.

‘You refer to my wife, Madam.’

A little silence fell, broken only by a squawk from the popinjay that had been consigned to the corner of the room. I ignored the wine poured and presented to me. Rejected the delicacy of fried fig pastries he had ordered to sweeten my mood. There would be no sweetening here.

‘What have you done, Edward? What in God’s name have you done?’

Replacing the cup on the salver, my son stood foursquare before me. He had known that he would have to face this conversation with me. They said that he was charismatic in his treatment of women. There was no doubting it. His smile could have melted winter ice.

‘I have entered into a marriage. Was that not what you had been commanding me to do since the day that I became King?’

The truth of this stirred my anger to a new level of heat.

‘I am finding it difficult to choose my words. You have married a commoner, a woman of no connection, a woman already wed, with a family of her own, and so defiled. A Queen of England should be a spotless virgin, not a widow. I can barely believe the truth of it, that you should have embarked on so misguided a policy.’

‘I regret that you are so dismissive of my choice of wife.’ How smooth he was. How adult. I remembered that he was now two and twenty years old. ‘Not one word to wish us happy. I might have hoped for more.’

At least his smile had waned.

‘Happy is not a concept for a King when entering into matrimony,’ I replied. ‘Did you not think? Did you not stop and consider before you committed the deed? As King of England you had your choice of European women of high birth. Bona of Savoy would have been the perfect match. Your children would be magnificently connected to the best blood of England and France. Here was a chance to tie France into an alliance which would defeat the Lancastrians for ever. Since, without a reply, Edward picked up his own cup and drank, I continued.

‘Instead you have chosen a woman who will give you no advantage, and in so doing you have antagonised Warwick, humiliated King Louis, horrified your Council. And if that were not enough you have angered the bedrock of your Yorkist followers whose blood has been spilt in our cause on the battlefield. They think that you have betrayed them by this marriage. Surely I and your father raised you to see the value of making and keeping friends in political circles. You have destroyed so much goodwill. It will serve you badly if King Louis, feeling thwarted by your inexplicable volte-face, promptly gives his support to Queen Marguerite and furnishes her with French troops to win the throne back for her son. We could have a French army landing on our shores within months, and it will be entirely your own fault.’

Which at last prompted my son into some level of response.

‘You take no account of the reason why I asked that she would wed me. It is very clear to anyone who knows me well, and who knows the lady. I fell in love. I wed her because I did not wish to live without her.’

His features were alight with it. I would not be persuaded.

‘Love! It is an embarrassment.’

And there again was the flash of temper in his eyes as they held mine without any sense of regret.

‘I love her! Did I not appreciate the problems surrounding this marriage? I am neither ignorant or naive, but the moment I set eyes on Mistress Grey, my heart was hers, as hers was mine. I wed her because I wished to spend my life with her. I know that she will be an unimpeachable Queen.’

His confidence was disquieting. 'You say that you are not naive. This marriage was the opportunity to make that one single irrevocable alliance with a European power through the hand of a foreign Princess. Instead you have thrown it away on a family of little renown. Rivers, a man of meagre nobility. Jacquetta, it is true, the daughter of some distant branch of the family of Luxembourg, but it does not make amends for Woodville’s less than glorious birth.’

‘I care not.’

‘You should care. A King, particularly a new King with a kingdom to take in hand, should wed a virgin, a woman of pure reputation. It is not acceptable for you to wed a widow.’

My son’s face was wiped clean of any expression, but he was not lost for words.

‘It’s always an education to hear your views of my character, Madam.’ Edward, opening the door for me to depart, bowed with a perfect degree of respect, denied by his closing words.

‘I hope you will change your mind. In the interest of harmony in my household. If you will not, then I fear that you will be the loser.’

Before the door closed behind me, all I heard was the popinjay’s shriek, startled by some reaction from within the room. Edward laughed. The popinjay had more effect on him than I.

All was clear, like iron nails hammered into a coffin. Elizabeth Woodville would be Queen of England. I had been supplanted by a woman for whom I had no respect.

At some point I would have to meet her.

What a game that would be to play out. Queen versus King’s Mother.
Anne O'Brien

Author Bio:

Sunday Times Bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history.

Today she has sold over 700,000 copies of her books medieval history novels in the UK and internationally. She lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels which breathe life into the forgotten women of medieval history.

Connect with Anne O’Brien:

Website ✔ Twitter  Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  

[Blog Tour] 'The Queen's Rival' By Anne O'Brien #HistoricalFiction #Medieval
'The Queen's Rival' - Tour Schedule Banner

5 May 2021

#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence

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#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence
Dane Figueroa Edidi (L) J Mase III (R) photo by Michael J. Eckert
Transphobia is rooted in white supremacy. This is what J Mase III & Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, executive producers of the forthcoming documentary, the Black Trans Prayer Book, continuously remind their audiences. 
At a recent workshop for Syracuse University, the two went through a timeline of ways that Trans & Non-Binary individuals have been targeted in North America since the 1500's. Dane spent some time sharing with the audience a poem for one of her biggest inspirations, Mary Jones, a Black Trans ancestor from the 1800's that lived in New York City; Mase did a call and response piece that moved the virtual room through a legacy of Black & Brown Trans experiences via the lens of a platypus. 

As performers and educators, the two have been skillful at combining a robust stage presence with insightful historical analysis and humor. Having co-edited a book published last year, the Black Trans Prayer Book, they have set their sights on producing their first feature length documentary using this text as a framework.

#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence
'The Black Trans Prayer Book' - The Book (image via theblacktransprayerbook.org)

About 'The Black Trans Prayer Book' - The Book:

The Black Trans Prayer Book is an interfaith, multi-dimensional, artistic and theological work that collects the stories, poems, prayers, meditation, spells, and incantations of Black Trans & Non-Binary people. Often pushed out of Faith spaces and yet still deeply connected to a historical legacy of spiritual essentiality, Black Trans People face unprecedented amounts of spiritual, physical, and psychological violence. The Black Trans Prayer Book is a tool of healing, and affirmation centered on uplifting Black Trans & Non-Binary people and celebrating our place within faith.

What does it mean to have a faith practice that simultaneously challenges white supremacy and transphobia? Where is there a theological framework that centers the most marginalized and creates pathways towards an active spirituality moving alongside social justice? How might a spiritual practice not in tune with these questions cause harm? The #BlackTransPrayerBook, is holding these very questions.
  • Having launched a GoFundMe to call attention to this daring project as well as raise funds for its completion, these two have begun production all while keeping COVID safe. 
When asked what they imagine this film will do, Dane shared she believes it will, "Help build a world free from oppression." While Mase views it as, "the first film of its kind to connect white supremacy to transantagonism, by centering the experiences of Black Trans people."
SOURCE The Black Trans Prayer Book

P&G Encourages Women To Talk About Imposter Syndrome in #RealDeal campaign with Lazada [Video Included]

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P&G Encourages Women To Talk About Imposter Syndrome in #RealDeal campaign with Lazada [Video Included]
P&G and Lazada Empowers Women To Feel More Confident Together in their #RealDeal campaign
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) has launched a new #RealDeal campaign with Lazada, Southeast Asia's leading e-commerce platform to raise awareness around Imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome
is the feeling of inadequacy despite's one capabilities. According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, up to 82% of the general population experiences imposter syndrome in different periods of their lives. 

Statistics from the 2019 Imposter Syndrome Study (Josa, 2019. Ditching Imposter Syndrome. Beyond Alchemy Publishing, United Kingdom), also shared that 1 out of 2 women experience imposter syndrome on a daily or regular basis, attesting to the fact that women often doubt their own abilities through feelings of fraud and belittlement of their own experiences and expertise.

P&G Encourages Women To Talk About Imposter Syndrome in #RealDeal campaign with Lazada [Video Included]
P&G Encourages Women To Talk About Imposter Syndrome in #RealDeal campaign with Lazada (Screengrab)
Dr Lim Boon Leng, Psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness shared that, "Imposter Syndrome should be taken seriously. Women who experience imposter syndrome need to come to the realization that people value their expertise, and they can focus on growing through the process. Additionally, they can speak to someone they trust to help them realise that their fears are unfounded."
  • Although imposter syndrome is prevalent in our society, it is less talked about in Asia. This campaign aims to shed light on this through a short film  telling the real life story of Singaporean entrepreneur, Ms Yeo Wan Qing, founder of social enterprise Hatch, who overcame imposter syndrome by being open to those around her about the struggles she was facing.
Alexandra Vogler, P&G e-commerce Senior Director, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said, "P&G is deeply committed to equality and inclusion. Through this campaign, we want to bring to light the inner struggles that go unnoticed among women experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Through this short film, we hope to inspire people to start conversations about Imposter Syndrome, and support one another in overcoming it."
  • Beyond the film, the campaign will also come to life on Lazada across five Southeast Asian markets including Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam in May and June, with a wide range of exclusive offers on P&G products such as Olay, Pantene and Oral-B celebrating female shoppers

4 May 2021

7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things

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7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things
7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things
When you make it a goal to try something new, you may not realize why you’re setting out to do something new in the first place. There is a slew of benefits that come along from incorporating “new” into your life; here are 7 of them:

1. Learn New Things

How will you learn new things if you never try new things? Think about an activity you’ve never tried before. You probably don’t know much about it, right? As soon as you put yourself out there and try it out, though, you’ll probably learn a lot more about it.

7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things
7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things (Photo by Min An)

2. Get Rid of Boredom

Boredom is the worst – we all can attest. When you’re trying out new projects, new places, new people, etc., that boredom slips by the wayside. Keep your brain engaged, and you won’t have to deal with monotony creeping in.

3. More Stories to Tell

As you try new things and meet new people, you accumulate more stories about your adventures. Whether it’s a funny story or a scary story, your stories become part of who you are. What a great perk!

4. Get a New Perspective

Sometimes, you need to sit in another area of the room to change your perspective – similarly, you need to try new things to change your perspective on life.

7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things
7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

5. Self-Discovery

Let’s face it – we spend a lot of time with ourselves. A whole entire lifetime, in fact. So if you do the same thing day in and day out, you probably won’t see many different sides to yourself. Self-discovery leads to many great attributes – confidence, self-awareness, perceptiveness, to name a few.

6. Gain Confidence

Why fly when you can soar? You can amount to great things by simply expanding your horizons and trying new things. Time after time, you’ll begin to gain a new sense of confidence in yourself and your capabilities.

7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things
7 Significant Benefits to Trying New Things (Photo by Nina Uhlíková)

7. Experience Life to the Fullest

There’s a reason why people say you only have one life to live. If you take this sentiment to heart, you’ll want to get as many experiences out of life as you possibly can. That begins with your habits – your day-to-day life. When you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll gain more of these experiences. Who knows what you could learn about yourself or your life? You’ll have to try to find out!

3 May 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' (The Theodosian Women, Book Two) By Faith L. Justice #HistoricalFiction

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[Blog Tour] 'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' (The Theodosian Women, Book Two) By Faith L. Justice #HistoricalFiction
'Dawn Empress' - Tour Banner

The Book:

Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
(The Theodosian Women, Book Two)
By Faith L. Justice

Audiobook narrated by Kathleen Li
  • Print/ebook Publication Date: 24th May 2020
  • Audiobook Publication date: 19th February 2021
  • Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books
  • Page Length: 354 pages
  • Audio Book Length: 12 hrs 41 min
  • Genre: Biographical Historical Fiction

The Blurb:

As Rome reels under barbarian assaults, a young girl must step up.

After the Emperor’s unexpected death, ambitious men eye the Eastern Roman throne occupied by seven-year-old Theodosius II. His older sister Pulcheria faces a stark choice: she must find allies and take control of the Eastern court or doom the imperial children to a life of obscurity—or worse. Beloved by the people and respected by the Church, Pulcheria forges her own path to power. Can her piety and steely will protect her brother from military assassins, heretic bishops, scheming eunuchs and—most insidious of all—a beautiful, intelligent bride? Or will she lose all in the trying?

Dawn Empress tells the little-known and remarkable story of Pulcheria Augusta, 5th century Empress of Eastern Rome. Her accomplishments rival those of Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great as she sets the stage for the dawn of the Byzantine Empire. Don’t miss this “gripping tale” (Kirkus Reviews); a “deftly written and impressively entertaining historical novel” (Midwest Book Reviews). Historical Novel Reviews calls Dawn Empress an “outstanding novel…highly recommended” and awarded it the coveted Editor’s Choice.

Buy Links:

Print/eBook
Audiobook
[Blog Tour] 'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' (The Theodosian Women, Book Two) By Faith L. Justice #HistoricalFiction
Dawn Empress - eBook Cover

'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' - Excerpt:

From Chapter 12

Imperial Palace, February 420

“Brother, you missed the morning audience and the day’s prayers.” Pulcheria’s gaze pinned Theo as he traversed the corridor to his private rooms. The boy emperor had grown into a man during the past five years. Riding, hunting, and sword practice honed his body and gave him an animal grace. He would never be a burly man, but her brother was handsome and healthy.

He turned; a blush crept up his neck to suffuse his face. “My apologies, Sister. Paulinus invited me to spend the day. We rode and dined at his father’s estate.” His eyes took on a wary cast. “I told the Master of Offices. Did he not inform you?”

“Of course.” Little or nothing happened in the palace that she did not know of. When she took over running the household after Antiochus’ retirement, she also took over his network of informants among the servants. As government absorbed her time, over the past couple of years she had turned more and more responsibility for running the palace over to Arcadia. Luckily, her younger sister showed an admirable talent for organizing, and took to the tasks willingly. Pulcheria did not want another eunuch meddling in her life.

She took her brother’s arm as they walked towards his rooms. At their posts, the ever-present guards stared straight ahead. Servants retreated to the walls to stand with downcast eyes as they passed. “I was disappointed you did not see fit to tell me yourself.” She let him squirm during the moments of silence that followed.

His mouth twisted into a sulk. “I never get to leave the palace. I’m emperor and have less freedom than any of my subjects. People attend me constantly. Court ritual and Church obligations mark my hours, night and day.”

“God did not make you emperor to constantly carouse and ignore His business on earth. You were chosen and must fulfill your obligations to empire and Church.” She patted his arm. “But I’m sure God did not intend you to have no recreation to lighten your burden. You are just shy of nineteen. Exercise and pleasant companionship are good for the soul, as well as the body. What did you and Paulinus speak of?”

“Not much. Hunting. Horses.” His voice trailed off.

Pulcheria gave him a sharp look. Theo’s boyhood companions were a constant thorn in her side. Her brother had a true and loyal heart. He lavished honors on the boys and their families. Placitus had taken an important position in Moesia and was thankfully gone from the palace, but Paulinus shadowed Theo still. She suspected Isidorus coached the boy to bend Theo to his will. She could almost feel Anthemius’ son lurking in the shadows. She needed to keep a closer eye on Paulinus.

They arrived at the brass-bound door marking Theo’s suite of private rooms. He dithered, obviously not wanting to invite her in.

She dropped his arm to confront him. “We have important news from Persia. May I come in?”

“What news?”

“Something not to be discussed in the corridors!” She pursed her lips in exasperation. What’s wrong with Theo?

“Fine. Come in.” He opened the door and bowed her in.

His rooms were austere, but not as monastic as her own. The walls of his personal audience chamber sported frescoes of nature and hunting scenes. Niches which normally held statuary contained fragrant pots of flowers grown indoors over the winter. The lavenders teased her with the scent of spring, still a month or two away. Pulcheria passed carved oak chairs sporting purple cushions with gold tassels but chose to sit on a bench devoid of padding.

Inside, Theo relaxed a bit, taking one of the chairs across from her. Pulcheria glanced at the servants. “Warm spiced wine for the emperor.”

Her action brought another frown to Theo’s face. “I am capable of directing my servants, Ria.”

“I know.” She waited until the servants left the room. “It was my way of getting us a little private time. The palace will soon be ringing with the news.”

“Are you going to tell me before the servants announce it?” His eyebrow rose in imitation of her own when exasperated.

“King Yazdgard executed a Christian bishop and several of his followers.”

“What?” Theo leapt to his feet and started pacing—echoing another of her habits. His cheeks turned red again, this time with the hot blood of anger. “How dare he execute Christians? We have a treaty!”

Pulcheria’s fears that the Hellenes led her brother to light-mindedness receded. She had been unaware she carried such a burden until it lifted like a weight from her shoulders. She should never have doubted her brother’s faith and dedication to the Church, having raised him in piety. His occasional small rebellion was a function of his youth and vigor, to be expected. I should find him a suitable wife soon, one without the burden of too many family connections. It is time he fulfilled his dynastic obligations and produced an heir.

“The bishop destroyed a state Zoroastrian fire-altar. He and his followers did not repent. I’m afraid Yazdgard had little choice but to execute them. However, we must be on our guard and object to any further persecution of our co-religionists.”

“I don’t understand.” Theo sat, a frown puckering his brow. “We’ve been at peace with Persia for years. Prefect Anthemius insured Christian freedom from persecution in exchange for granting the same rights to Persians in our lands.”

She reached across a low marble table to grab his hand. It was imperative Theo understand her next point. “Brother, it is time your people see their emperor not just as Protector of the Empire, but Protector of the Faith. We will meet with our generals tomorrow to plan our strategy. I hope to avoid further bloodshed, but if Yazdgard pursues Christians, we must respond. This will not be a normal skirmish about borders or trade. If it comes to it, this will be a holy war.”

“I understand, Ria.” He squeezed her hand, looking grim. “Now I must repair to bed. Only a few hours until midnight prayers.”


[Blog Tour] 'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' (The Theodosian Women, Book Two) By Faith L. Justice #HistoricalFiction
Faith L. Justice

Author Bio:

Faith L. Justice writes award-winning historical novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and the requisite gaggle of cats. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, and many more publications. She is Chair of the New York City chapter of the Historical Novel Society, and Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine. She co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.

Connect With Faith L. Justice:

[Blog Tour] 'Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome' (The Theodosian Women, Book Two) By Faith L. Justice #HistoricalFiction
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2 May 2021

2021: The Year of the Clog

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2021: The Year of the Clog
2021: The Year of the Clog (Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová)

The coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic effect on nearly every aspect of our lives, and fashion is no exception. While clogs were once considered a “mom” shoe, they’ve become one of the most fashionable styles over the last year or two.


If you’ve been following the latest trends, you know clogs are getting even hotter in 2021. You can check this collection of women's supportive sneakers if you’re interested in a new pair of shoes.

When Did Clogs Become Popular?

One well-known example of the rising popularity of clogs was a 2020 collaboration between Ugg and Eckhaus Latta. This elevated the clog to new heights and gave it a spin that most of us hadn’t even imagined.


By October, Lyst Insights had already taken notice of the increasing interest surrounding clogs of all kinds. They found that searches for clogs went up by an incredible 27 percent from one month to the next, illustrating the rapid increase in popularity over the second half of 2020.

What About Crocs?

You might not have expected Crocs to benefit from greater interest in clogs, but they’ve now been seen from leading brands including Balenciaga, Barneys, and Christopher Kane. Even more people started taking notice when celebrities like Justin Bieber and Post Malone started showing off their Crocs.


Unsurprisingly, Croc sales were way up in 2020, and we expect that trend to continue in 2021 and possibly even beyond. They offer a unique combination of comfort and style that instantly sets them apart from any other variety of shoe.

Sustainable Clogs

A new footwear brand named HILOS pre-launched sustainable clogs in the fall, taking the unique approach of 3D printing their shoes from brand-new materials. Since they can be created for each individual order, there’s no need to produce any more shoes than there is demand.


With the rising popularity of clogs among typical Americans as well as high-fashion types, there will only be more interesting shoes developed over the next several years. They will generate even more demand as consumers continue to look for sustainable options.

Clogs were the perfect shoe for the 2020 lockdowns, but it doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon. It will be intriguing to see which shoes are released in 2021 and beyond. Feel free to look at this catalog of mens comfortable sneakers for unique takes on some of the latest styles.


30 April 2021

Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'

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Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'
Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love' (Photo by Katie Krauss) 
EDGEOUT Records and Nashville-based pop-rock trio The Revelries are excited to present "Cliché Love," the band's latest single and bold introduction to 2021. 
Produced by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Matt Wallace (The Replacements, Faith No More, Maroon 5), "Cliché Love" is an energized, pop-rock breakup anthem serving as the band's first official offering in two years. 
"I've always loved the idea of 'cliché' sayings because most of them, if not all of them, are true," frontman Beau Bailey said. "This song is about having your heart broken and then saying, 'Forget all this breakup stuff. Gimme that Hollywood, cheesy, over-the-top cliché love'."
The Revelries began late one night in the Fall of 2016, when lead singer Beau Bailey and drummer John Lewis decided to get together to jam in a Louisiana State University dorm room. The two wasted no time getting things moving and rapidly infiltrated the local Baton Rouge music scene. Performing their own version of high-energy, U.K.-style pop-rock, the band quickly went from playing small, local dives to bars, private events, and venues all across the Southeast.

The band released its first two singles, "Blonde Hair. Blue Eyes" and "Abbot Kinney," in 2018. The singles landed them on countless Spotify-curated playlists, and that same year the duo added guitarist Logan Maggio to the lineup, a musician whose musical background and tone contributed a deeper dynamic to the band's developing sound.

Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'
The Revelries (Screengrab)
Following the release of their first two singles, the band went back into the studio in Nashville to record their debut EP with GRAMMY-nominated producer/engineer John Rausch (Taylor Swift, P!nk, Moon Taxi). In April of 2019, the band released its debut EP, After 7, a title paying homage to the police-enforced curfew they experienced while practicing back in the days when the band all lived together in Baton Rouge.
"Our neighbors loved us. So much so that they called the cops on us almost every other week," Lewis recalls. "Luckily, we were able to work out a deal with the police that allowed us to practice until 7 p.m. 'After 7' is when all the acoustic writing and demoing would happen."
That summer the band made a trek out to Los Angeles to play a showcase for team members at EDGEOUT Records, UMG and UMe, and in the fall of 2019, the band performed over 25 shows across the Southeast. Most notably, the band opened for Moon Taxi in Oxford, MS, playing to over seven thousand people at Jam for Cam in Athens, GA, and performed a sold-out show in Nashville at The End. In January of 2020, the band signed a development deal with EDGEOUT/UMG/UMe and entered into their program, THE STUDIO, a development program designed to discover, vet and sign young, radio-friendly rock bands and artists.

With catchy hooks from start to finish, the release of "Cliché Love" is the perfect, and new, introduction for a band whose focus remains on the future. 
"We are a band from Louisiana that plays a style of music you wouldn't expect," Bailey said. "Our goal is to create an atmosphere so contagious that everyone wants to be a part of it."

'Cliché Love'


Beau Bailey: age 24, Hometown: Monroe, LA (lead vocals/rhythm guitar)
Logan Maggio: age 23, Hometown: New Roads, LA (lead guitar/vocals)
John Lewis: age 25, Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA (drums/percussion/vocals)

  • Stream "Cliché Love" via American Songwriter here and on all platforms here
Stay tuned for more music from The Revelries and EDGEOUT Records throughout 2021.

Connect With The Revelries:

FacebookInstagram ✔ Twitter  Youtube 

SOURCE: EDGEOUT Records/UMe

29 April 2021

Graphic Novel 'Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness' by Ken Mora Receives Independent Press Award

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Independent Press Award Win, 2021 added to accolades for Caravaggio: A Light Before The Darkness
'Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness' by Ken Mora is recognized as Winner in the category of Graphic Novel by Independent Press Award, 2021.
The Independent Press Award is judged by experts from the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers, and professional copywriters. Winners and distinguished favorites are awarded based on overall excellence from entries worldwide. English Language publications were considered from the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and worldwide.
"We congratulate this year's 2021 winners and distinguished favorites in the annual Independent Press Award. The quality and quantity of excellent independently published books hit a record. Independents recognized are thriving around the globe. We are so proud to announce these key titles representing global independent publishing." - awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.
"We are delighted to have signed Ken Mora's 'Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness'. Although we are a small publishing house, we have been around for some 15 years now, so we know quality when we see it. When Ken sent it over, it didn't take me long to recognize how well produced it was, and as such we are proud to be the publisher of such a book. I look forward to getting it out to the masses!" - Harry Markos, publisher Markosia Enterprises
WINNER 2021 Independent Press Award, 2021 in the category of Graphic Novel

'Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness' - The Blurb:

  • His art saved the dying Church. 
  • Ambition exposed his secret lover. 
  • His sword sealed their tragic fate.
The artist known as Caravaggio must flee to Rome to protect his lover from The Inquisition. In Rome, his art spurs the faithful to return to The Church at the time of The Counter-Reformation. Hubris exposes his secret lover and forces him to flee Rome on a journey of penitence fraught with peril, intrigue, and murder.
  • Previous accolades include Winner of the 2020 Screencraft Cinematic Book Award and finalist in the Eric Hoffer, Wishing Shelf, and National Indie Excellence awards.
  • 'Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness' is available at major international booksellers including Amazon

SOURCE Bella Fe Media

27 April 2021

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]

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Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port: Port of Newcastle (Screengrab)
Alley Cat Allies has launched a special investigation into a ghastly mass-shooting of feral cats, also called community cats, directed by the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, that left at least 12 cats dead, maimed or missing. Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, is calling on the Port's leadership to immediately end all killing and instead embrace humane, nonlethal management practices for cats.
"The Newcastle Port Authority called this a 'cull,' but there is no whitewashing the fact that this was a massacre, plain and simple," Robinson said. "Cats are sentient creatures who feel pain, and the cats who were the victims of this late-night hunt by the Port Authority endured horrific injuries and tremendous suffering. Killing cats does not have a rightful place in conservation strategy. The Port Authority must stop shooting and killing cats and needs to make a public commitment that it will never happen again. We demand that they adopt sane, humane, effective methods centered on spay and neuter, also known as desexing."
Alley Cat Allies, in collaboration with supporters in Australia and the Animal Justice Party of Australia, learned that the Newcastle Port Authority hired a contract killer to hunt down and shoot sterilized cats at the Stockton Breakwall, a public beach jetty, in December 2020. The next morning, devastated caregivers for the cats discovered a bloody, disturbing scene.

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port (Screengrab)
  • One cat, Rosie, was shot in the eye. The attack left another cat, Lily, blind and with a hernia. As many as eight cats are missing and presumed killed. Some surviving cats still suffer from their gunshot wounds as caregivers scramble to trap them. The caregivers and local veterinarians have grave concerns that these powerless, wounded cats remain in danger.
The Port Authority's attack came despite the fact that the cats were sterilized, vaccinated and cared for through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program practiced by compassionate caregivers. TNR successfully reduced the number of cats at the Port from 100 to approximately 40 in recent years. These caregivers were neither warned about the hunt nor told that the Port took issue with community cats in the area to begin with.

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port (Screengrab)
  • Killing cats is not an effective means of population control because of a well-documented scientific phenomenon known as the Vacuum Effect. When cats are killed, new cats move in to take their place.
"The Port's actions serve as a reminder that in far too many places around the world, including in Australia and the United States, there persists an archaic mindset that killing cats is viable and necessary," Robinson continued. "Humane, nonlethal sterilization is being utilized all over the globe because it works. Killing does not work. The Newcastle Port Authority needs to wake up to the reality that hunting cats is not acceptable and join the rest of civilized society with a lifesaving policy for its cats."
The Alley Cat Allies investigation has prompted international condemnation of the Newcastle Port Authority's actions. Alley Cat Allies has posted a short documentary film with the findings from its investigation at alleycat.org/StocktonBreakwallCats, where it will continue to post more information from the case as it becomes available.

The Documentary:

About Alley Cat Allies:

Alley Cat Allies is the leader of a global movement to protect cats and kittens. Now in our 31st anniversary year, we are joined by more than 650,000 supporters worldwide.

Alley Cat Allies believes every cat deserves to live out his or her life to the fullest. We exposed an entrenched system in which animal control agencies and shelters have been killing millions of cats for over a century. Today, the programs we introduced in the United States are mainstream.

To achieve our goals, we collaborate with grassroots advocates, animal shelters, municipal managers, and lawmakers to replace deadly laws and policies with ones that protect cats. We defend all cats by offering cutting edge education online, in person, and through one-on-one dialogue. We advance lifesaving innovations such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter, microchipping, anti-declawing legislation, and any program that best serves the interests of cats.

SOURCE: Alley Cat Allies

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