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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 15
By R.P. BenDedek
May 6, 2015 - 9:22:40 PM

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"Magic City Book Basket 2015" brings to the attention of readers via publication of publicity material, various new book releases. This year the frequency of publication and number of books in each basket will vary and while we still have book reviewers at Magic City we unfortunately can't do book reviews for every book. We are still offering to assist authors in promoting their books via a "No Charge - No Pay" self-promotions service. We invite authors to send in 'stand alone' articles on a topic that readership might find interesting.

  • This is not an opportunity to rehash publicity material and authors should not use their book title as the article title.
  • When we publish author articles, we do include author bios and a photograph of the book cover and additionally add the link to a purchase page.

We are extremely grateful to those authors who took advantage of this offer in 2014 and a list of those authors and their articles for July-Dec 2014 may be found here. At the end of last year our book reviewers cut back on their book requests while waiting to see what changes would occur with a new editor in 2015. With the book baskets now recommenced our reviewers have once again started requesting books and once those books are received and read, will once again be offering us their reviews. (Books Reviewed July to December 2014)

Author Articles Since Basket No. 14

  1. Self-Mastery by Merima Jackson author of "Schiksal"
  2. Argumentative Poetry - No. 6 The Wondrous Life at Handby Yemant and Friends authors of "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 14

M.W. Johnson Book Review: "Jewels found along the path of life" by Michael Francis England
May 6, 2015

I personally found the book to be a very good, honest, straightforward and plainly written story or testimony of this man's experiences. The first half of the book walks us through his life up until his missionary experiences overseas. He mentions but glosses over his sinful pre-salvation life; a factor which I found refreshing since I have no interest in listening to people practically reminiscing about the good bad old days. The stories and anecdotes plainly told allow the reader to directly connect with the author's experiences and for that reason this book would be ideal reading for both the unconverted and the new convert alike. For the older souls it brings back to remembrance the many different fears and burdens during the initial walk with Christ and for me personally, brought back many fond memories of people, churches and circumstances about which I had not thought of for many years.

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Mists of Adriana Book I" by Roger M. Woodbury
May 3, 2015

The author, Roger M. Woodbury, is a retired military off, decorated for service during the Vietnam War, and resides in mid-coastal Maine. The story has a good plot. In the story, the first-person unnamed lead character first meets Adriana when he stops to change a flat tire for her. His acquaintance with her leads to the rest of his adventures. Adriana says she is a lawyer, living and working in Portland. A large part of the action occurs in Portland. The title of this Kindle, The Mists of Adriana Book I, is the first thing I questioned about it. There are no mists.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Accidental Droning"

By Pete Liebengood

"Accidental Droning" By Pete Liebengood
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Bo Granger encounters a political murder he shouldn't have witnessed while flying his drone in author Pete Liebengood's new novel, "Accidental Droning". This fateful moment causes his life to descend into turmoil as he is blackmailed, seduced, and nearly murdered himself.

"The idea for this story came to me while flying a friend's hobby drone one day," Liebengood said. "I thought about what it would mean if I caught a glimpse of something illicit with a drone's camera."

"You can buy them for a couple hundred bucks at a Best Buy, and they're a privacy concern waiting to happen," Liebengood added.

As drones come into mainstream use, from Amazon delivery drones to hobbyist pilots, "Accidental Droning" serves as an entertainingly modern cautionary tale. Bo Granger endures a series of misadventures and dirty political schemes as he wrestles with doing the right thing and turning over the murder footage from his drone to the authorities.

Pete Liebengood is a retired TV sportscaster who contributed as a play-by-play announcer for ESPN, working college basketball and football games, boxing, tennis, skiing and rodeo. He was co-creator and producer of one of the first local TV news magazine shows called "Seven Thirty". His first novel, Class of '62, was published by Moradal in 2012.

"Accidental Droning"
By Pete Liebengood
Xlibris Press
ISBN 978-1-50353-759-0
250 pages
Softcover $20
Hardcover $30
E-book $4

No. 2

"King Alfred's Jewel"

by David Hamilton

"King Alfred's Jewel" by David Hamilton
United Kingdom -- Thousands of historians have imagined what it would be like to bring some of history's most enigmatic figures back from the dead, for just one night, to hear their stories first-hand. In a wholly-unique new book by David Hamilton, the world is treated to exactly that -- with outlaws. 'King Alfred's Jewel' tells its gripping story through monologues, poetry, photography and a compelling opportunity for readers to experience a very special kind of spiritual exploration.

Synopsis: David Hamilton brings together two poems and a dramatic monologue in King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography. This contemporary, original poetry is inspired by the stories behind outlaw legends, and also takes the reader on a number of spiritual journeys. Hamilton's first poem, The Journey, remains almost as it was first written. In striving to keep his writing spontaneous, he chose not to over-develop the form of his writing. King Alfred's Jewel is the title poem and draws its inspiration from The Dark Night of the Soul by Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. Using a journey to find the king's jewel as a guiding theme, the poem is a metaphor for the depression many people feel today and mistakenly try to substitute with unhealthy pastimes. The dramatic monologue, Wolfshead, which comes at the end of the book, is an imaginative tale of outlaw legends. A 'wolfshead' was a resort of outlaws who formed a community, and this particular story is set in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood presiding. Using two chorus figures to link proceedings and set the scene, this wolfshead is a ghostly gathering who return to tell their legendary stories.

"The audience for this volume is all-encompassing," says Katie Lewin. "It will become a vital addition to the collection of any history fan, poetry buff or those studying drama and theatre. It's literally unlike anything written before on its subject, and will satisfy the thirsts of those who wish history's greatest outlaws had a chance to speak for themselves in the modern world. That's the other twist; even though these outlaws' lives span hundreds of years, this book takes place in the present setting. The historical context of their stories offset against cutting-edge contemporary society really does provide something quite special."

  1. 'King Alfred's Jewel' is available now:
  2. International purchases can be made here:
  3. It can also be purchased from Troubador:

David Hamilton has worked in factories, journalism and sales. He has studied English literature, dramatic structure, film structure, playwriting and script writing and has published many essays on art and architecture. David has visited many unusual places as a result of talking to the locals of towns and cities about interesting places that might not be recommended by a TIC.


No. 3

"The Tick Rider"

By William Street

"The Tick Rider" By William Street
TACOMA, Wash.--The U.S. Border Patrol is not the only entity that guards the Mexican-American boundaries. There is another group of patrolmen, and they are not looking for people--they are searching for ticks. "The Tick Rider" follows the story of a Texas cowboy whose job is to round up tick-infested Mexican livestock that have crossed the river and threaten cattle herds with Texas Fever. Guarding the buffer zone between Mexico and America, tick rider Jack Leavitt encounters wild cattle, illegal immigrants and, suddenly, a Mexican ranchero's beautiful daughter.

"This is a love story set mostly along the Rio Grande, where the obstacles faced by the lovers are complicated by the cartel wars going on in Mexico," author William Street said. "I tried to find a story that would be within my own experiences, and thus ended up one that shows how disparate persons, not knowing one another, are thrown together by their life paths."

Street, former pilot, rancher and commercial mushroom grower, lived part-time and traveled extensively in Mexico for twenty years. After experiencing a government that has a history of corruption, Street wanted to give a sympathetic portrayal of Mexicans seeking opportunity in America. Not only does Street reveal true ranch life, but he also delves into the common practices, competitive pressures and context surrounding the drug cartel wars that climax over the Rio Grande. He stresses that hard decisions are made to protect the ones you love.

It is at the border where character's lives intersect and change dramatically due to the cartel's influence. Readers are left with a gripping message that while violence and terror rein, love has a power to overcome.

William Street, a former pilot and rancher, is a retired businessman who owned and operated his own commercial mushroom packing company. Prior to that, Street managed a commercial cattle ranch in British Columbia, packed horses for hunting outfits in Alaska and spent two winters in Mexico managing his produce-buying operation. Street received a Bachelor's at University of Washington and resides in Lakewood, Wash. where he volunteers at the Tacoma Art Museum and plans to write a second novel.

"The Tick Rider"
By William Street
iUiverse Publishers
Published 2/4/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4917-5502-0
558 pages
Softcover $29
E-book $4

No. 4

"Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo (Deep Song of the Caves)"

By Harry Freiermuth

"Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo (Deep Song of the Caves)" By Harry Freiermuth
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In 1950, Reverend Harry Freiermuth was a young architectural draftsman living in Morocco and exploring the Spanish countryside during Holy Week when he came upon the gypsy caves.

The now retired Roman Catholic priest said, "When I heard the gypsies sing in the dark of night accompanying the candlelit statues of Mary, I felt the presence of God. It never left my imagination." Although the gypsy population has historically been the pariah of Europe, Freiermuth wanted to write a book that would help all kinds of people use God's grace to love one another.

"Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo (Deep Song of the Caves)" is Freiermuth's inspiring novella based in the 1760s. The main character, Jacaranda, is raised in a privileged Spanish family until the Spanish Inquisition reveals her gypsy heritage and orders her to be burned at the stake.

Freiermuth's own oil and watercolor paintings illustrate the story of Jacaranda's adventure in escaping hatred and finding a place where she's accepted.

"'Lo! Jacaranda' presents the Spanish gypsies, Jews, pirates and native people of North America as human beings to be loved as brothers and sisters," Freiermuth said. "It has characters just like us with our faults and our choices to love those of different cultures."

Reverend Harry Freiermuth is a retired Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Monterey in California. His short fiction has been published in The Homestead Review of Hartnell College in Salinas, California, and in "A Miracle Under The Christmas Tree" for Harlequin. "Lo! Jacaranda" is his first novella.

"Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo (Deep Song of the Caves)"
By Harry Freiermuth
Trafford Books
Published 2/28/2015
ISBN: 978-1-49075-344-7 (sc)
98 pages
Softcover $30
E-book $4

No. 5

"Snake Amongst Shadows"

by Chima Ezechukwu

"Snake Amongst Shadows" by Chima Ezechukwu
United Kingdom -- While zombies and erotica mark a new dawn for the world of fiction, the traditional edge-of- the-seat crime novel has never gone out of fashion. In fact, the genre is experiencing something of a bold resurgence, and author Chima Ezechukwu is at its helm. Ezechukwu's latest release, 'Snake Amongst Shadows' proves just how powerful one man can be in the face of global crime.

Synopsis: Mac Logan is a man with a very dark past. He was once an educated cop. He's now an expendable P.I. called Jarrett. The story begins when he is assigned to investigate a series of muggings happening in town by his new boss and friend Derek Hawke. Logan starts the investigation to find out that there's more to the case than meets the eye. He discovers that this mysterious caper is linked with a treasure hunt in the bad lands of Tikal, in Mexico. Logan goes to Mexico with Hawke and uncovers a smuggling operation there. He has a run in with a gang lord craving for supremacy; and finds out the truth behind a girl's death. The man now called Jarrett also learns about his boss's past. As Logan keeps sleuthing, he discovers the real culprits behind the brutal muggings. Logan journeys back to England where he has another encounter with an old enemy. A notorious crook called Quentin 'the Rat' Baker. So when the expendable PI uncovers the man's secret he equally unveils the vicious and faceless criminal network responsible for the abrupt murders he sets out to investigate.

"It's always tough to work against crime greats such as Agatha Christie and John Grisham, but I believe I have hit on a winner with Logan," explains the author. "A good sleuth usually has a day job a million miles from their crime-fighting work but, with Logan previously being a decorated cop, it adds a huge level of authenticity you don't see in other novels. This is just the first of a planned series involving Logan and his work. The next book is just finishing up on the writing table and will be released very soon."

CHIMAIJEM IFEANYI EZECHUKWU was born in Clapton London on May 12th 1966. He spent several years in England before moving back to Nigeria with his parents. He attended the famous Ekulu Primary School and then went on to the College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC) in Enugu State. He also attended the prestigious Institute of Journalism and Continuing Education. CHIMAIJEM returned to the UK in 1997 to continue his studies. He studied Communications with Law, at the London Metropolitan University, Where he attained a BA Honors in the Discipline. He is a qualified Paralegal and is currently a professional Assistant Teacher. CHIMAIJEM has always been interested in writing. In fact, he started at a very early age. He was always encouraged by his late father. His influences in this area include his fellow African writers Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Wole Soyinka and more recently Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whom he has great respect for. If you would like to learn more about CHIMAIJEM'S writing exploits log onto his motivational blog which is

No. 6

"Banking on Confidence: A Guidebook to Financial Literacy"

by Dale K. Cline

"Banking on Confidence: A Guidebook to Financial Literacy" by Dale K. Cline
Dale K. Cline is a CPA, a CMA, a business owner, and a real estate investor and developer. Through his many years or experience, Cline has a strong understanding of economics, financial systems and money. Yet, while money makes the world go around, too many people do not understand how it works--and they pay the consequences.

In his first book, "Banking on Confidence: A Guidebook to Financial Literacy," Cline simply guides readers to a better understanding of the often-confusing world of economics, money and finances. Readers will leave with an understanding of basic accounting and financial statements and the role the government plays in economic cycles.

"The average citizen has a difficult time overcoming monetary illiteracy. Although a wealth of information is available from books and media outlets, much of it is laced with political sentiment. Separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, is difficult," Cline said.

Cline focuses, in plain English, on the nuts and bolts of the economy including how: confidence, monetary policy and fiscal policy form the economy's foundation; banks interact with each other, the Federal Reserve, and the US Treasury Department; prices for goods such as gold, oil and real estate are determined.

Through Cline's use of simple language, readers will have the facts they need to transform their financial futures by "Banking on Confidence."

"This book is not a full economics course by any means. It is meant solely to offer the average citizen a fundamental understanding of the economic world in which we live and work from an everyday point of view," Cline said.

""Banking on Confidence: A Guidebook to Financial Literacy"
by Dale K. Cline
iUniverse Inc
Published 1/16/2015
ISBN-13: 9781491755822
228 Pages
Softcover $17
E-Book $3.50

No. 7

"Sir Christian de Galis and the Fish Gravy"

By Carl E. Ramsey

"Sir Christian de Galis and the Fish Gravy" By Carl E. Ramsey
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- If you have faith to believe and courage to press on, some difficult decisions can yield incredible results. Carl Ramsey wrote "Sir Christian De Galis and the Fish Gravy" to share that great outcomes can come from complicated beginnings.

Despite his past misadventures and supposed lack of skills, Sir Christian is chosen to take on an extremely important quest for the realm. But along the way he suspects the true object of this quest, may be Sir Christian himself and his earlier discovery of his father's long-lost substance of great power (with such an innocent name). But on such might depend the survival of the kingdom.

Ramsey is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served in the Vietnam War and has since continued his devotion and service to others. He used his Marine Corps training to graduate from college with high distinction, studying English literature and biblical theology. Ten percent of the proceeds from autographed copies are donated to help veterans, churches and people in need.

"Sir Christian De Galis and the Fish Gravy" promotes spiritual and life lessons learned through a fun and laughter-filled adventure. Families can be assured that the content is clean and upholds traditional values.

"I identify, in a humorous way, five major themes that include making a difference with an undesired solution and that prayer changes things." Ramsey said. Fellow veteran, Paul Dillon, further enhances the humor with his comedic illustrations.

Carl Ramsey is a devoted Christian and a Vietnam War Veteran. He is active in many organizations dedicated to serving other veterans, including those that are homeless. He currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. "Sir Christian de Galis and the Fish Gravy" is his first book. Autographed copies available upon request. For more information, visit

"Sir Christian de Galis and the Fish Gravy"
By Carl E. Ramsey
Westbow Press
ISBN-10: 1490856706
266 pages
Softcover $20
Hardcover $26

No. 8

"The Singer and His Songs"

By Deke Rivers

"The Singer and His Songs" By Deke Rivers
TORONTO -- Summer concert season is rapidly approaching. Music lovers around the world will soon be buying tickets to see their favorite bands. This year, they will have some companion reading to take them inside the minds of music superstars.

The Singer and His Songs, a new novel from author Deke Rivers, tells the tale of Chris Wild, a musician who abandons his music career in Australia to move to the United States -- only to see his worlds collide when his songs hit it big in both countries.

Rivers crafts a story that travels around the world as Chris deals with his ascending fame and tries to reconcile his new flame with his original muse. The novel highlights the power of music -- particularly the spellbinding quality of a true entertainer on stage, in front of a rapt audience.

The first time Chris Wild sees an electric guitar, it is as if he has found a long-lost friend. As soon as he touches the smooth surface of the guitar and his fingers wrap around its neck, his life changes forever. It is the mid-1950s in Australia when Chris realizes he possesses a musical gift and joins the teenage band, the Offenders-never realizing he has just embarked on a life-spanning career.Forced to leave the Offenders behind when his family emigrates to Canada, Chris never hears that their first single has become an Australian chart-topping hit. (Read more on the Author's Website. )

Deke Rivers currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. As an architect, he designed numerous recording studios. Rivers witnessed the birth of rock and roll and its evolution throughout his youth in Australia as well as during his teenage years in Canada and the United States. For more information, visit

"The Singer and His Songs"
By Deke Rivers
iUniverse Corp
ISBN: 978-1-4502-1792-7
484 pages
Softcover $26
Hardcover $36
E-book $10

No. 9

"The Divine Curse"

by Pat Smith

"The Divine Curse" by Pat Smith
United Kingdom -- Writers are inspired by all manner of weird and wonderful places. For Pat Smith, it came from a house restoration her sister's friends were undertaking in a French medieval citadel. A chance outing with a metal detector unearthed an ancient metal cross, leading Smith's imagination to wildly-fire and wonder what would happen if it had once marked a grave. These images were too bold to ignore, compelling Smith to turn the modern thriller she was writing into a saga set in a tumultuous medieval world. The result is 'The Divine Curse', a dark historical trilogy with a difference. Volume one is just about to hit the shelves, with volumes two and three due shortly thereafter.

Synopsis of volume one: Anton, desperate for glory, is one of hundreds of Cathars besieged in the doomed citadel of Monts├ęgur. Reluctantly he agrees to smuggle a small package to safety and leave the Citadel to its fate. Even more reluctantly he must accept a companion -- Anna Marie, feisty, resourceful and able to charm the leaves off the trees. Inside the package lies a secret that many will torture or kill to possess -- is it God's greatest gift which will redeem mankind forever, or 'the divine curse', destroyer of Christianity? They flee across a divided, violent and fearful France, seeking sanctuary which they never find, relentlessly pursued by the mysterious Inquisitor. But they have their own demons to face -- and a relationship to forge. This enthralling historical novel brings alive the dark world of medieval religion and hypocrisy where innocence is no protection. No protection at all.

"This series follows a unique format," explains Smith. "Volume 1 is a conventional 'good read'. But volume 2 comprises two separate books. Each covers the same period of time but from the perspective of two different characters as their fortunes interlock. Readers can flick between books to piece the story together as and how they want to. It's more of a holistic reading adventure, rather than separate books you complete cover-to-cover. History lovers will appreciate the accuracy of the narrative and the periods in which it is set, covering Cathar France and the dramatic epoch of Henry III with his struggles against Simon de Montfort. It shines a different light on timeless themes though at its heart is a dark narrative of greed, suffering and love."

  • Volume one of 'The Divine Curse' is due for imminent release.

Pat Smith is a retired teacher who has worked in the UK, Ethiopia and Thailand. After retiring, she embarked on the biggest challenge of her life and backpacked alone around the world. She has also travelled throughout Africa by truck. Smith has an unusual way of writing. "I research thoroughly and note everything on rolls of wallpaper. The characters emerge from all this -- they do what they must but I rarely plan ahead. I often sit down to write with no idea what will happen. And what does happen often astonishes me."

No. 10

"Wind in Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth"

By David J. Greer

"Wind in Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth" By David J. Greer
Vancouver, BC, April 13, 2015 David J. Greer launches his book "Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth." Drawing on 35 years of entrepreneurial experience, Greer has delivered a book that helps experienced and novice entrepreneurs alike get clear on their strategy and purpose so they can achieve the progress and results they desire. "Wind In Your Sails" is a comprehensive manual containing the theories and practices that set entrepreneurs up for immediate and lasting success. Greer's goal when writing the book was to ensure that readers, even those who spend just an hour with the book, walk away with three concrete actions to accelerate their business within ninety days.

Greer's book comes at a crucial point as millions across the globe attempt--and often fail--to build and grow their own companies. According to a study in Forbes, although around 543,000 new businesses are started every month, even businesses shut down. More than ever, people are aspiring to become entrepreneurs and found businesses, however, most struggle to achieve the growth and stability they need. As a life-long sailor, David brings a unique perspective and vibrant stories to the challenges of growing a business. "While you can beat your way against the wind, successful entrepreneurs learn to harness their efforts to seamlessly blow them in the direction they want to go," says Greer. Throughout the book, Greer also highlights ten other entrepreneurs--bringing an even greater depth to his decades of experience. "Wind In Your Sails," published by Inside Out Publishers, includes eleven chapters covering every subject vital to an entrepreneur's success. Addressing everything from "Innovation Strategy" to "Exit Strategy," Greer takes time to address each step of the entrepreneurial journey. For more information on "Wind In Your Sails," (including a free sample chapter, details on Greer, advanced praise, and purchasing information), visit

David Greer joined Robelle Solutions Technology as the first employee after the founders. During David's tenure as co-owner and President of Robelle, he built Robelle into the world's leading provider of HP 3000 solutions. Since leaving Robelle in 2001, he has been an investor, consultant and employee to a number of technology companies, focusing on turning ideas into products, messaging and results. David now works directly with entrepreneurs to help them bridge to the next level of results--in business and in life. In his spare time, David enjoys the beauty, water, and mountains of the Vancouver area, while taking occasional adventure breaks with his wife, Karalee. David and Karalee are committed to their three children, spending time supporting them in the many and varied activities they are involved with, including skiing together as a family in Whistler.

"Wind in Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth"
By David J. Greer
Inside Out Publishers
April 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9940364-0-7
202 pages
Paperback, $29
Nook Book $10.50

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