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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 23
By R.P. BenDedek
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:03:21 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. 22
(No Author Articles)

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 22

Milt Gross Book Review: "My Own Cape Cod" by Gladys Taber
Jul 8, 2015

But Taber wrote about a quieter Cape, kind of like rural Maine was when I visited as a kid. Taber built a house at Still Cove near which is Mill Pond. She writes mostly about her neighborhood. But she does include a geological history going back 50,000 to 70,000 years, when she said the Cape was left when a sheet of ice from Labrador finally melted and, as Taber puts it, "Cape Cod was born." This edition of My Own Cape Cod was published in 1981 by Parnassus Imprints by an arrangement with Harper & Row.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Spirit Training"

by Dr. William L. Conwill

"Spirit Training" by Dr. William L. Conwill
CHICAGO, Ill. -- In light of recent events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, many black teens find themselves at a crossroads: Who are they today, and who do they want to be in the future?

Dr. William L. Conwill is hoping they will grow to be ethical, upstanding adults, but he understands the difficulties of navigating a world filled with destructive influences. His new book, Spirit Training, is a guide designed to help black teens develop their character and flourish as they grow into more prominent roles in their communities.

"As a psychologist I worked extensively with teens in various settings," Conwill said. "I realized their need for an introduction to ethical principles to guide their decision making."

Conwill drew heavily from his studies of ancient traditions and settled on a set of West African ideals as the foundation for the lessons of Spirit Training.

"The book aims to revitalize our upcoming black communities and make them healthy and whole through recognizing and living out the relevance of our cultural heritage," Conwill said.

Dr. William L. Conwill is the author of numerous international and national publications. His professional roles have included psychologist, healer, martial arts instructor, and educator. He consults for educational, governmental, community, and professional organizations. He is married, has three adult sons, and currently lives in Champaign and Chicago, Illinois. For more information, visit

"Spirit Training"
By Dr. William L. Conwill
Archway Publishing
Published Nov 24, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4808-1325-0
142 pages
Softcover $11

No. 2

"Tying Down The Lion"

by Joanna Campbell

"Tying Down The Lion" by Joanna Campbell
LONDON, UK -- June 9, 2015 -- It is the summer of 1967 and the Bishop family are departing their UK home for a continental road trip. Their destination: Berlin, a gritty city recovering from the bombs of World War Two and now sliced in half by the Cold War. Will the journey unite the Anglo-German family, or forever rip them apart? Grandma Nell loathes foreigners, especially German daughter-in-law Bridget. She's none too pleased about son Roy jamming the whole family into an aging Morris Traveller for the duration. Granddaughter Jacqueline observes the trip -- and the resultant spillage of family secrets -- with a keen eye and a notepad in which to pen it all.

This is a story of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, and the discovery of how something divided can be more revealing than a perfect whole. It is a quest for a family who build walls in their minds as they try to discover who they are and where they belong.

Author Joanna Campbell was born in 1960 and she lives in the Cotswolds. She is married and has three daughters. She has a degree in German from Exeter University and has taught both English in Germany and German in England. As part of her degree course, which included the study of East Germany, Joanna lived in West Germany for a year, where she taught English. All the people she met were keen to share their experiences of both World War Two and the Cold War in which they were immersed. Most of all, they were enchanted that an English girl could, despite past and present hostilities, choose to live in their country, learn their language and try to understand how the ordinary person felt.

Joanna is a qualified proofreader. She has also worked as a secretary, retail manager and financial adviser during the eighties, mainly because she liked having big hair and shoulder-pads. Her stories have been published in various writing magazines and she has also written for popular women's magazines. She has been shortlisted five times for an array of notable writing awards. In 2013 she came second in the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and she also won the local prize in the Bath Short Story Award. In 2012 she came second with the Scottish Association of Writers, and in 2011 she won first prize with Exeter Writers.

"Tying Down The Lion"
by Joanna Campbell
ISBN: 9780992886332
Available in ebook
Brick Lane Publishing

No. 3

"Big Bang Problems: How the Universe Began"

by Bobby McGehee

"Big Bang Problems: How the Universe Began" by Bobby McGehee
A Retired engineering physicist born and raised in Oklahoma City, Bobby McGehee, presents proof that the formation of the universe did not take place in the way currently supported by the status quo of astronomers and cosmologists.

"It is now proved and recognized that the Big Bang concept was inferred from misinterpretations of redshift observations first acquired in the early 1910s at Lowell Observatory," McGehee said. "We have had huge discoveries in chemistry and physics since then, such as the existence of positroniums. They have not been incorporated into the theory. This is a huge mistake."

Accessible to laymen, McGehee's work also includes the math and hard science to back up his assertions for consideration from astronomers, physicists and cosmologists. McGehee currently resides in Phoenix, AZ.

McGehee earned degrees in physics, engineering physics, and education at Oklahoma State University. He then went on to become supervisor for development of laboratory test facilities at The Boeing Co. for aerodynamics, propulsion and mechanical systems.

After a career of more than 30 years, he went back to school to study geology and astronomy. He began to develop his theory after downloading data catalogues, conducting studies and analyses to arrive at a concept for the origin of the universe that fits both proven facts and the laws of physics.

Bobby McGehee earned degrees in physics, engineering physics, and education at Oklahoma State University. He then went on to become supervisor for development of laboratory test facilities at The Boeing Co. for aerodynamics, propulsion and mechanical systems. After a career of more than 30 years, he went back to school to study geology and astronomy at Seattle Community College. He began to develop his theory after downloading data catalogues, conducting studies and analyses to arrive at a concept for the origin of the universe that fits both proven facts and the laws of physics.

"Big Bang Problems: How the Universe Began"
By Bobby McGehee
AuthorHouse Publishing
Published Oct 17, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4969-4646-1
132 pages
Softcover $15
Hardcover $24

No. 4

"An Invitation to Think and Feel Differently in the New Millenium"

by Professor Harry Bury

"An Invitation to Think and Feel Differently in the New Millenium" by Professor Harry Bury
The year 2015 is halfway gone, yet some people still cling to outdated ways of thinking and feeling about life. Professor and author Harry Bury seeks to inspire readers with the enthusiasm to leave the ways of the 20th century behind.

His new book, "An Invitation to Think and Feel Differently in the New Millenium", is exactly what it purports to be. One's emotional outlook can impact their surroundings on a global scale. Overcoming cynicism is the first step of what Bury terms "conscious evolution".

"'Conscious evolution' is a movement toward controlling change to improve everyone's lives" Bury said. "We are more in control of our lives and the world around us than ever before, and recognizing and taking advantage of this requires a new millennium mindset."

Bury has developed this new perspective based on his own diverse life experiences as a world traveller, business consultant, clergyman, peace activist and more. With his new book, he seeks to share it with the world and help other people break free of restrictive old ways of looking at life.

An Invitation to Think and Feel Differently in the New Millennium describes an innovative way of looking at life that brings meaning and fulfillment to oneself and others. It tells stories that touch the deepest layers of our humanness, awakening our imagination and transforming our understanding in a manner that delights and fulfills us. The intent of this book is to generate new stories for the New Millennium in order to overcome cynicism with reasonable hopefulness, while suggesting practical measures “the least of us” can take to make life wonderful for ourselves and for everyone in the world. This Emerging Worldview consists in each person’s changing four unconscious, fundamental assumptions; together with a critical mass of people across our planet, we find that this change in consciousness is transforming human life in the New Millennium. Readers are urgently invited to create their own stories to manifest and improve the transformation. (Author's Website Softcover $26 including postage)

Harry Bury is a professor emeritus at Baldwin-Wallace and a passionate lifelong advocate for tolerance and peace. He hopes to help move the world beyond the methods of the 20th century.

No. 5

"Murder Now and Then: 1919 to 2019 Murder Mystery"

by Diana Jackson

"Murder Now and Then: 1919 to 2019 Murder Mystery" by Diana Jackson
United Kingdom -- Some have coined it a thriller, while others class it as a murder mystery. But there's nothing conventional about Diana Jackson's new novel. At a time when readers and critics are calling for a shake-up to the crime fiction landscape, Jackson steps up to the plate with gusto. 'Murder Now and Then: 1919 to 2019 Murder Mystery' plots its course through one hundred years of unsolved murder -- as a new dead body opens up (and could be about to shed new light on) a case that was thought to be unsolvable.

Synopsis: It is 2019 when cow's milk themselves and computers are the farmer's friend, or at least they should be. Joanna Thomas, a less than conventional farmer's wife is accused of murdering her husband, but with no motive or murder weapon uncovered, the likelihood of a speedy conviction is diminishing, much to the dismay of the, soon to retire, Inspector Norton. His officers try to placate him whilst uncovering a series of most strange coincidences, all compelling them towards an unsolved murder back in 1919. From no obvious suspects they now have several seemingly unlikely candidates, none with totally believable alibis. While puzzling over the complexity of this strange case DS Tony Brown and DC Cathy Peterson take a trip to Jersey, but losing their lead they return just as the case turns decidedly sinister. Could an unsolved murder in Haynes, Bedfordshire back in 1919 really have a bearing on this case?

"While this may appear to be thoroughbred fiction, it isn't," explains Jackson. "The narrative actually takes its cues from the true unsolved murder of a girl called Nelly Rault at Haynes Park army camp. Her story was so fascinating that I wanted to bring it to a modern audience, albeit with some fictional twists thrown in. The plot is so diverse that it's tough to pigeon-hole it into a single genre. There's naturally a thick murder mystery undercurrent, with a character-led format that allows readers to cut to the core of everyone on the story and piece it together logically. It is incredibly thrilling, and feedback to date has been fantastic!"

Diana Jackson lives in Bedfordshire, UK and has published two novels in The Riduna Series, historical fiction set in the Victorian era through to the early 20th century. She was originally moved to write 'Riduna' by her love of the island of Alderney and its fascinating history and then she developed an unusual interest in the history of early flying boats when working on her second novel 'Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home'. Her most recent novel, venturing into the genre of crime, is 'Murder, Now and Then,' which was inspired by an unsolved murder back in 1919 in the heart of Mid Bedfordshire. This murder mystery weaves the intriguing events of 1919 with a murder set in 2019. Murder revisited! Diana has two blogs,, where you can read about the background to Diana's writing and from May 2014 you can also follow her personal adventures, a year of discovery and other true stories, on

No. 6

"Until We Meet Again"

By Thomas Toren

Until We Meet Again By Thomas Toren
Spending one's childhood years surrounded by the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Japanese and Soviet Russian occupations would be enough to make anyone cynical. Tom Toren survived all of it, yet he wants to send one message loud and clear in his new book, "Until We Meet Again": life is full of blessings, big and small. Toren was the son of a Christian woman married to his Jewish stepfather. His family suffered terribly as a result of Nazi persecution and was forcibly separated and scattered. Toren escaped with his stepfather and grew up under Soviet Russian occupation in Harbin, China, then escaped the Soviet bloc, all before the age of 20. Eight years after marrying the love of his life, Lisa, in Israel, and seven years after becoming a successful qualified engineer, he made his way with his wife and daughter to Australia in 1963. Now, widowed, he lives in Australia with his daughter and granddaughter, and seeks to share his remarkable story with the world.

He was born in Berlin in 1931. He was expelled from two German primary schools because of his stepfather’s Jewish surname. From age seven, he was raised by two women in the Russian immigrant community of Harbin, China, where he finished a Russian high school at the top of his class. Having spent his formative years there and suspecting that his biological father was either Russian or Polish, Toren considers himself Russian. (Read More Overview at Balboa Press.)

"I firmly believe the famous saying that 'all it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing," Toren said. "We are all given blessings, big and small. We need to recognise and fully appreciate them, not merely count them."

Toren's autobiography doesn't hide the dark moments of his life story, yet still imparts his attitude that a sense of humor is essential to finding the determination and perseverance to achieve one's goals.

Thomas Toren was shaped by the horrors of the Holocaust. When he was six, his Christian mother was imprisoned by the Nazis, and he did not see her again for twenty-two years. After the Crystal-Night Pogrom, he and his Jewish stepfather escaped to Japanese-occupied Harbin, China. He has an engineering degree. A widower, he lives in Sydney, Australia, with his daughter Iris, a professional artist, and grand-daughter Laura, a student of art history.

"Until We Meet Again"
By Thomas Toren
Balboa Press
Published 12/17/2014
190 pages
Softcover $14

No. 7

"Travels with King Kong: Overland Across Africa"

by James Henderson

"Travels with King Kong: Overland Across Africa" by James Henderson
LOS ANGELES -- Africa--a continent that's countries are often found in world news. Colored in the minds of many as a continent filled with poverty, war-torn countries and rampant disease, photographer and author, James Henderson, has a different experience to share.

"Travels with King Kong: Overland Across Africa" is the personal memoir of Henderson's 7-month journey traveling across the African continent. Henderson recounts his life-changing experience in the form of a travel journal.

"I literally wrote this book as I traveled overland across Africa by keeping a daily journal of things I saw, challenges I faced, people that I met and the emotions that I felt at the moment," Henderson said. "When I began the journey, I had not an inkling of what lay ahead of me for the next year of my life."

His experience in Africa, he recounts, was a life-changing experience, still impacting his life after 40 years. "Travels with King Kong" is told with reverence, heart, and humor, complimented by beautiful photographs, as Henderson urges readers to step outside of their comfort zone and experience the unknown. Having traveled to all 50 states, all Canadian provinces, and 102 countries on six continents, the unknown is perhaps where Henderson most commonly dwells. Henderson notes that things may not always be as they appear in the news or in stories, and one might just find their life forever changed for the better.

"Join me and King Kong for some of the most amazing experience you will ever encounter. They will be beautiful, sometimes ugly, and almost spiritual at times as well as beyond description," Henderson said. "This is a trip full of wonder and challenge through a part of the world that most people have never seen. Come and enjoy it with me."

James Henderson currently resides in Redlands, CA. He holds hold his B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Illinois, M.F. in Forest Engineering from Oregon State University, M.S. in Environmental Planning from the University of Washington, and his Ph.D. is Satellite Image Analysis from the University of British Columbia. Henderson has a great love for travel and currently works as a freelance photographer and author. For more information, visit or

"Travels with King Kong: Overland Across Africa"
By James Henderson
Published Feb 17, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4969=6776-3
156 pages
Softcover $31.99
E-book $3.99

No. 8

"Too Many Assassins"

by Kevin Ramsey

"Too Many Assassins" by Kevin Ramsey
United Kingdom -- Too Many Assassins is the author's second book in an exciting and fast-paced three part series which takes the read from the UK to Australia and New Zealand via Singapore. The reporter John Foster is a central character in both books which deal with fictional plots based on real life events. However, the plots aren't too far-fetched so that the reader finds them utterly believable. The two men in Australia that Foster spots -- brothers Tony and Greg Andersen -- both featured heavily in the first book Too Many Victims, at the end of which they became wanted men. Too Many Assassins takes up at a point where the two brothers have evaded police capture and are now on the Most Wanted register. Too Many Assassins is the second book in a trilogy The Andersen Plan. This book, based on Britain's recent election and the rise of UKIP is a beguiling mix of politics and crime and set in Britain and Australia. His final novel is based on the threat of terrorism and looks at the connections between it, the security forces and governments.

Synopsis It's London and the UK is still buzzing with the 2015 election results which saw the Tories gain a landslide victory. However at the same time the right-wing UKIP party have clinched many Tory stronghold seats. This doesn't please a group of influential Tories who have already failed at discrediting UKIP and replacing its charismatic leader Nigel Farage. When Farage announces a plan to take his message to Australia, those same Tories decide he won't be returning to Britain's shores alive. English reporter John Foster is covering the Australian tour when he spots two security guards he recognises. Rightly he begins to suspect a plot. The story ends with Foster a pawn in a political cover-up which is sanctioned by both the British and Australian governments.

Kevin Ramsey, former IT expert and technical writer has travelled the world, working and living in Australia, the Far East and England. His frequent relocation has given him an insider's knowledge into the countries portrayed in his books. Following years of writing white papers, technical books and reports he finally gave in to his passion for crime writing and recently penned first novel Too Many Victims. That looked at Britain's immigration rules and the incidence of people smuggling.

No. 9

"The ALTA Project"

by David Chen, M.D.

"The ALTA Project" by David Chen, M.D.
BILLINGS, Mont. -- What would happen to civilized society in the aftermath of a global pandemic? Dr. David Chen, a medical administrator, ponders that question frequently. His new novel, The ALTA Project, imagines a doomsday scenario in which a third of the world's population is destroyed by a deadly disease. The entire world is thrown into chaos as financial, political, and religious systems are turned upside down.

The ALTA Project follows a few central characters as they weave through a dangerous new world in an attempt to restore order despite mysterious forces working against them at every turn.

James Jeffreys has mysteriously disappeared following an accident. Dr Albert Anderson, the chief medical officer at BCG, awakens after a 5 year coma in 2017. Isolated and unable to communicate with the outside world, he learns of the developments that have transpired under the new military police state. The 2009 pandemic has reduced the world population by 1/3, and the ensuing chaos creates a financial, political, and religious climate unimaginable; but previously predicted. As Anderson is trying to figure out where he is and how he got there, the Jeffreys family makes a disturbing discovery in their home, launching a search which leads to a shocking turn of events. When BCG CEO Donald Parsons realizes there is a glitch in the project, things start going horribly wrong. Learning of Anderson and Jeffreys whereabouts or their fate, becomes the all consuming focus of the US military police, as well as a mysterious and dangerously powerful Italian man, Giovanni. Science, politics, and prophecy all converge on the success or failure of the ALTA project. Only a small group of individuals understand the true implications of the ALTA project, and how it could change the world forever. (Overview at AuthorHouse)

Dr. David Chen currently works in hospital administration. In addition to his vast medical experience, he has also spent a great deal of time studying history and prophecy. These converging interests led to the writing of The ALTA Project. Dr. Chen resides in Montana. For more information, visit

"The ALTA Project"
By David Chen, M.D.
AuthorHouse Publishing
Published 11/4/2013
ISBN: 978-1-4918-2563-1
236 pages
Softcover $17
Hardcover $28
E-book $4

No. 10

"The ABC's to Starting at a California Community College"

by Dr. Bertha Barraza

"The ABC's to Starting at a California Community College" by Dr. Bertha Barraza
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Many students are unaware of nontraditional options for higher education -- they think that if they don't fit the mold for the typical four-year universities, their schooling has reached the end of the road.

A group of community college experts have come to challenge that method of thinking. In The ABC's to Starting at a California Community College, Dr. Bertha Barraza and her colleagues at Mt. San Jacinto College compile a guide with all the knowledge needed to enroll, and excel, in programs at community colleges.

"This book serves as an eye-opener for students, parents, schools, and other agency officials to provide them with an understanding of the matriculation process and beyond," Barraza said.

Together, Barraza and her collaborators have over 70 years of experience working and studying in the California community college system. With four easy-to-read sections and 50 illustrations, they hope their book delivers a comprehensive understanding of how community colleges operate in order to make students' entrance a pleasant experience in higher education.

"The goal is to provide a tool to facilitate the opportunity for everyone, including non-traditional and low- income families, to have conversations about going to college," Barraza said.

Bertha Barraza is a counselor and professor at Mt. San Jacinto College in San Jacinto, California. She wrote this book in collaboration with Miranda Angeles, MA, Alex Cuatok, MA/MS, and Monique Salgado. Angeles and Cuatok are both Mt. San Jacinto employees, and Salgado is a former student.

"The ABC's to Starting at a California Community College"
By Dr. Bertha Barraza
Xlibris Books
Published 12/18/2014
ISBN: 978-1-50352-159-9
58 pages
Softcover $32
Hardcover $42
E-book $15

© Copyright 2002-2014 by Magic City Morning Star

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