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What's New at Be Ablaze! Magazine: March 2021 Edition

March 2021 Highlights:

Sammy Kay Books signs its third author of the year - introducing the debut picture book I AM A GIANT from author P. G. Rutledge, set for release in 2022!

Creatives Supporting Creatives: Friends of Phoenix Media & Books

- Life Finds a Way with Rachel Bray-Spezia

- Mains Playing Cards with Andrew Coats & Gregory Lewis

March 2021 saw Sammy Kay Books welcome its third debut Picture Book author of the year with a fresh Publisher's Marketplace Deal! P. G. Rutledge is a doctor, father, and fantastic author with a lot to offer.

Stay tuned to future editions of Be Ablaze! Magazine to learn more about our growing list of authors through featured interviews and opportunities to subscribe to their websites and social media.

Creatives Supporting Creatives:

Friends of Phoenix Media & Books

Life Finds a Way - with Rachel Bray-Spezia

One of the best parts of University experience is meeting people with similar skills and interests. The friendships formed while earning my Bachelor Degrees at Southern Illinois University are in my unwritten Top 10 Favorite Life Experiences List.

Staying in touch after Uni is the best part, especially when you get to watch your friends achieve greater heights than even they expected. Particularly when it comes to my friend Rachel Bray-Spezia. It's beyond satisfying to watch the life she wanted most unfold for her in ways that feel magical and, at times,


A kind, enthusiastic, witty creative with more talents and beauty than she likely realized, there was one thing above all else Rachel wanted: motherhood. Years after we graduated, I was overjoyed to see she found a wonderful husband. Their wedding emphasized for me the Ultimate Rachel-Truth: "Life finds a way."

So, in December of 2020, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to illustrate a gift for the couple who helped my friend finally achieve motherhood! I was even more pleased to see Rachel's talented writing skills published this month as she tells one of my favorite stories! Included, here, is an excerpt (and afterwards a link) to Rachel's story as it appears in the St. Louis Jewish Light:

Embryo Donation Made This Jewish St. Louis Couple’s Dreams Come True

"Getting pregnant with my son Wolfie wasn’t the easiest. We had to employ several reproductive medical treatments, medications and procedures. Ultimately, I did have a healthy and successful pregnancy after a family donated their remaining frozen embryos to my husband and me using a website that can only be described as “online-dating-meets-wanting-to-have-children.”

There is quite a bit of science and several legal steps to receive and medically transfer donated embryos, but in a nutshell it’s similar to the way that donated blood is used in a blood transfusion or donated kidneys are used in kidney transplants. To put it in a way that we all can understand, the ingredients came from someone else’s kitchen, but the challah baked in my oven.

"While the science behind getting pregnant using donated embryos is truly something out of a Mary Shelley novel, the heart of embryo donation lies within the donors who offer the gift of life and parenthood to individuals and couples affected by infertility – people like my husband and me. Our donors – who literally gave us a piece of themselves so that we could be parents — are a same-sex female couple living in Rhode Island. Because they are both women, they had their own unique journey to have a child, but with the help of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), they now have a spunky 5-year-old daughter who is a 100% genetic sibling to my son." -RACHEL BRAY-SPEZIA, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH

LIGHT Mar 30, 2021

<< Click Rachel's post to read the full article at St. Louis Jewish Light!

Mains Playing Cards

with Andrew Coats & Gregory Lewis

It's no secret that Phoenix Media & Books is a newborn baby bird rising fresh from the ashes of 2020, but we aren't the only company spreading new wings for flight to new heights!

Another treasured friendship formed at Southern Illinois University appears in the form of the BEST college roommate a weirdo artist like me could ask for, Andrew Coats!

If I thought living with this sharp design maven with phenomenal music and decor taste was the best life could get, I was greatly underestimating this future in which we get to share our experiences and mutually support our paths to growing our own companies.

I still fondly remember coming home to the apartment to find Andrew in the kitchen juggling those giant bright plastic balls (the kind seen in big cages in stores every summer).

I remember the sophisticated furniture choices, the fantastic lego sets beautifully assembled in unexpected places, and the CARDS! Marvelous card shenanigans and magic wallets that catch fire without burning the money inside, and just the flattered shock of realizing such a special, talented, FUN person wanted to be friends with me!

Andrew is a creative force of nature. This month, Phoenix Media & Books is proud to root for his work with Gregory Lewis and other talents as they build Mains Playing Cards

Below is an excerpt written by Andrew, as seen on their about page. Follow these radalicious creators for undoubtedly first-rate content:

"During this time of ebay and covid uncertainty something became really clear. I have always wanted to create my own deck of playing cards that are to my standards, and now seemed like the time. I had made 100s of Playing Card designs over the years, and knew this was my chance, and I had to give it a try.

Through covid, the road blocks seemed less and less. After losing my job early during Covid, I had nothing but time. I went to Greg with this idea and together we formed Legerdemain. Since then we have been working non-stop to put everything in place.

"The idea is simple. We want to provide high quality, good feeling, playing cards that are for anyone and everyone. We also decided to turn our business in the direction of promoting art within the playing card community. Through this branch of our business, we hope to discover new talent in all playing card industries and feature them. Then give them a platform to jump off into a career.

"To this day I am incredibly grateful for the friendship I have with Greg. We rarely see eye-to-eye on business ideas but we always come up with a collaborative idea that is above both of our expectations. We hope to grow this into a business that can support us and our incredibly talented friends, and the

major talent within the community that we have not discovered yet. I am also really grateful for anyone who has read this far, encouraged us, bought our merch or just said “Hell yes. Go get it.”. The time is going to pass for us either way. We are going to say we gave it everything from the beginning. So thank you for the support. It really means the world to us!

"Our first deck (The Mains) is set to launch early spring 2021. If you have any questions or would like to work with us; please reach out: Andrew@MainsPlayingCards.com .

Andrew Coats

Stay tuned for more great news from Phoenix Media & Books and the Creatives we support through Be Ablaze! Magazine - New Editions released once a month to minimize overwhelming your inboxes