Taona D. Chiveneko

November 25, 2014

On his website, Taona D. Chiveneko is described as “the most antisocial author in Africa.” Perhaps because of this aversion to attention and publicity, the details of Chiveneko’s life are shrouded in mystery. He is reported to be a citizen of Zimbabwe who was born either between the Zambezi and the Limpopo rivers, or along the road running from Mutare to Hwange. He is equally evasive when it comes to questions of his age.

In 2013, Chiveneko published his debut novel, The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption. Told through the shifting perspectives of characters whose lives have been affected by a nation’s efforts to recruit a new executioner, The Hangman’s Replacement was the recipient of a silver medal in the adult horror category at the 2014 Reader’s Favorite Awards.



Royal Canoe

November 24, 2014

The winter climate of Winnipeg can be cold, crushing and claustrophobic. But its harshness is balanced out by the region’s warm, euphoric summers and their seemingly-endless blue skies. These cyclical extremes, and the effects that they can have on one’s psyche — both positive and negative — are reflected in the music of Royal Canoe, a six-piece band that calls the city home. Featuring Matt Peters (vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar), Bucky Driedger (electric guitar, vocals), Matt Schellenberg (keyboards, vocals), Brendan Berg (bass, keyboard, vocals), Derek Allard (drum kit) and Michael Jordan (electronic drums), Royal Canoe’s sound is a unique fusion of indie rock, jazz, pop and hip-hop that is, at times, difficult to define, but is nonetheless remarkably cohesive and crackling with an infectious energy.



Prashant Pinge

November 21, 2014

After spending his childhood years in the quaint neighborhood of Shivaji Park in Mumbai, India, author Prashant Pinge earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University, then a master of science degree in management from Lancaster University. His love of campus life then carried him to the Indian School of Business, where he enrolled in the post-graduate management program before earning a post-MBA master in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. After working as an engineer for awhile, Prashant returned to Mumbai to join the family business and start his own marketing and branding firm, Media Panther.

Prashant began writing in 2003, after a vivid dream compelled him to climb out of bed and put pen to paper. While he has yet to work out the details of that story, he has released several children’s books and young adult novels in the fantasy genre. His first book, Avantika’s Garden, was published in 2009 and told the story of an adventurous group of animals that live in and around a house in suburban Pune. His books have been nominated for the Crossword Book Awards, with Raja & the Giant Donut being shortlisted in the Children’s Writing category in 2011. His recently-released novel, Sceadu, is a fast-paced tale that takes place in a land within the human shadow.



LaSuria Kandi Allman

November 19, 2014

In an iconic photo from the civil rights movement, a young black woman and two men are blasted by a fire hose, the water pinning them violently against a Birmingham, Alabama brick wall. Taken in 1963, the era-defining photo gained national attention and helped to alert the world to the horrors that African-Americans were facing in America at the time. For decades, a woman by the name of Carolyn McKinstry claimed to be the woman in the photo. McKinstry appeared at numerous events around the country and told her story at dozens of speaking engagements. In November of 1999, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her life and the circumstances of the notorious photograph.

Watching from her home in Detroit that afternoon was Mamie Chalmers, who recognized herself — not McKinstry — in the famous photo. In 1963, Chalmers had been in Birmingham, serving as an organizer of the foot soldiers and The Children’s Crusade, who were summoned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to protest and march against the racism and segregation plaguing the country. Chalmers wrote letters to McKinstry, Oprah Winfrey and the Life photographer who had taken the picture. Six months later, McKinstry responded and insisted that it was indeed her in the photo. For years, Chalmers attempted to set the record straight, contacting each television program on which McKinstry appeared. She got nowhere, though, until McKinstry, who runs a ministry, backed off her claim in 2013, stating to The Detroit News, “I don’t know who’s in the photo but it’s not me.” Later that year, Chalmers was recognized by the city of Birmingham and presented with a key to the city.


Authors, Entrepreneurs

Crystal Victoria

November 17, 2014

Raised by her mother in Denton, Texas, author and motivational speaker Crystal Victoria was an intelligent, curious child who suffered from bullying and teasing and the hands of her peers. Her search for acceptance and purpose led her down a long, dark road of drugs, violence and self-doubt, taking Crystal from the Honor Roll to Texas jail cells and juvenile detention centers.

Through faith and perserverence, though, Crystal Victoria emerged from her trials and tribulations as a stronger person, and at the age of 25, she found her passion in the world of motivation, business, and writing. Today, she is the President and Founder of Target Evolution, Inc., an online educational institution and incubator that provides students with a quality post-secondary education and the tools needed to begin a sustainable and successful business enterprise.