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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 28
By R.P. BenDedek
Aug 12, 2015 - 9:08:30 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 has varied and while we still have book reviewers at Magic City we unfortunately can't do book reviews for every book. (List of Book Reviews 2015) 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 all of those authors who have already taken advantage of this offer both in 2014 and again this year. A list of those authors and their articles for 2015 may be found here.

Magic City Morning Star is looking for more writers and reviewers and additionally we invite all book authors to avail themselves of our 'self-promotion' offer.

If you would like to join our team just send an email to me at the address below.

Author Articles Since Basket No. 27

  1. America at Half-Staff by Patrick J. Fornari author of "Commoner Sense"
  2. "To Chelsea" - A Poem by Adena Trevor author of "Freddy and Mrs Goodwich"
  3. "Debate or Roast?" by Patrick J. Fornari author of "Commoner Sense"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 27

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Special Prisoner" by Jim Lehrer
Aug 2, 2015

This is an excellent book. The Special Prisoner is a novel, written by a career news journalist on public TV whose long-time job was telling the truth. John Quincy Watson, the lead characters, took part in bombing Japan during World War II. He was captured, when his plane went down, tortured and learned to hate his main torturer. Years later, as a bishop, Watson comes across the torturer by accident in an airport, follows the man to a hotel, and subsequently kills him.

R.P. BenDedek
Email
: rpbendedek@hotmail.com
www.kingscalendar.com


No. 1

"A Matter of Recovery: The Story of C.B. Miller"

By Wes Skillings

"A Matter of Recovery: The Story of C.B. Miller" By Wes Skillings
PHILADELPHIA -- It is estimated that nearly 50,000 Americans die from brain injuries due to violence, transportation accidents and falls each year. More than 80,000 people sustain significant disabilities or problems with thinking, memory, emotion and mobility. C.B. Miller defied the odds after losing almost half of his brain when a three-story balcony railing gave way in mid conversation and he plunged helpless and headlong through darkness, his skull colliding with inflexible hardness in an alley below. Now 20 years later, after numerous surgeries, demanding rehabilitation and literally thousands of hours of tutoring and instruction, C.B. has a college degree, lives independently and shares his story to motivate at-risk kids and educate college students about TBI.

"A Matter of Recovery" is a human-interest story, both inspiring and harrowing, that follows C.B., his family and a community of friends through a challenging journey, one that begins with sheer survival and ends with hard-won success. The book was written by Wes Skillings, a journalist and editor who first met the subject of the book a number of years ago when he wrote an article for his newspaper. Skillings and the Miller family quickly formed a friendship, and a few years later C.B.'s father, Mike, asked him to help them write a book about his son.

"We wanted to document our journey in hopes that we can be of help to others going through similar struggles," said C.B.'s father. "It is important for C.B. to motivate people to stay positive no matter what challenges they face."

"A Matter of Recovery" is a resource for the brain injured and their families and reflects on how to negotiate an obstacle course of red tape, apathy and ignorance that often stymies the disabled in their pursuit of a meaningful life. By sharing their experiences with others, the Millers hope to not only inspire, but also inform. TBI survivors face daily challenges and many of them, along with their loved ones, do not know how to advocate for themselves as they encounter systems that are ill equipped and people who are misinformed. If "A Matter of Recovery" helps just one person tackle the difficult tasks involved in making their own way, the Millers believe it will serve its purpose.

Wes Skillings has been writing and editing the words of others for his entire professional life. As an editor, reporter and columnist for Pennsylvania newspapers with a career spanning almost four decades, he wrote human-interest stories for thousands of readers on a weekly basis. Skillings currently lives in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania with his wife, Mary.

"A Matter of Recovery: The Story of C.B. Miller"
By: Wes Skillings
LifeRich Publishing
Published 10/31/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4897-0301-9
200 pages
Softcover $15
Hardcover $34
E-book $4

No. 2

"All I Can Do is Pray"

By Julie Cicora

"All I Can Do is Pray" By Julie Cicora
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- What does prayer do? This was the question author Julie Cicora decided to study as a hospital chaplain in her new book "All I Can Do is Pray." The book recounts vivid and heartbreaking stories of patients that were left with one option, prayer. The reader is allowed to discover how prayer transforms the patients and the author.

"I initially started writing this book to process my experience in the Clinical Pastoral Education program," Cicora said. "Prayer transforms those involved in it, and God is with those who are suffering."

After 22 years working in corporate sales, Cicora found her calling as an episcopal priest and enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education program. Witnessing organ transplants, terminal illness and death, Cicora's book is an inside look into the life of a hospital chaplain and how to give hope back to the clinically ill, no matter their age, and their families. During her time as a priest, the most challenging patients to see were children. Cicora details how she gives hope to children and how she answered the difficult questions, such as "are there dinosaurs in heaven" from a child whose father is dying.

"I didn't believe in prayer at the beginning of that summer, I believed in action," Julie writes. This was the start of a three-month experiment that took her from the boardrooms of corporate America to various hospital rooms, where she discovered how to minister to the families of patients, the sick, and the dying. The Hospital Clinical Pastoral Education Program enabled her to create a learning contract that focused on prayer. Julie recorded numerous vivid and sometimes heartbreaking stories of how prayer can transform those in its path, especially Julie. (More Overview at WestBow Press)

"In the end it is about manifesting the love of God through our presence, words and actions," Cicora said.

Julie Cicora is an episcopal priest working on the bishop's staff in the diocese of Rochester as the canon for mission and ministry. She received her master of divinity at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, N.Y., and was ordained in 2000 after a 22-year career at Hewlett-Packard in sales. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and spends time visiting her five sons and four granddaughters.

"All I Can Do is Pray"
By Julie Cicora
WestBow Press
Published 4/22/2015
ISBN: 978-1-49087-712-9
122 pages
Softcover $12
Hardcover $29
E-Book $5
Retail price: $11.95

No. 3

"The Reaper"

by Dominic H. King

"The Reaper" by Dominic H. King
LONDON -- Though separated by nearly 400 years, London-based writer Dominic H. King is hoping that bloodlines from ancestor Jonathan Swift are evident in his new release, "The Reaper", the final instalment of his Twin Worlds trilogy. The trilogy follows Kal and Daine, a boy and a girl in their late teens, who are thrown together to battle the Reaper, an evil, menacing presence who started a war a generation before.

"When published in 1726, Gulliver's Travels was really fantasy, science fiction for its time," said King who is related to Jonathan Swift by way of his mother's side of the family. "I think that he would be pleased in my following in his footsteps."

Told in alternating chapters between the two main protagonists, the Twin Worlds trilogy is an epic tale of swords and sorcery; travel and adventure; love and loss; good and evil. But most of all, a tale of adolescence and growing up. The series has been well received by readers: The Chamber (2012) and The Black Gate (2013) have already received a number of positive reviews on Amazon.

"The love of adventure and fantasy is in my blood. My grandmother on the Swift side of the family read The Lord of Rings to me when I was about eight and after that I was hooked. I grew up reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and the Deptford Histories by Robin Jarvis, my favourite board game was called Fantasy Forest. But I think His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman is the best fantasy series I have ever read. His books are what I aspire to."

With Game of Thrones author George RR Martin admitting that the TV series may be finished before he ties together the last two novels, the pressures of pulling fantasy epics together has been in the spotlight. The world created by King is not quite on the scale of Westeros but he does credit Martin with dragging fantasy into the mainstream.

"Game of Thrones has been a real game changer. Before it came out lots of people I spoke with about my book simply said 'sorry, I don't like fantasy'. Then 'Thrones' hit our screens and these same people cannot stop talking about it. 'But it's historical fiction' they tell me. I have to inform that it can't be as none of it ever really happened. Now they are giving my books a second chance."

Dominic King is the author of the Twin Worlds trilogy that follows Kal and Daine in their epic battle against the Reaper - all three volumes are now available from Novel Concept Publishing. He cites writers such as Tolkien, Pullman, Martin and Bernard Cornwell and time spent in China, India, Nepal and Latin America as his major inspirations. For more information go to www.dominichking.com

"The Reaper"
by Dominic H. King
Novel Concept Publishiing, LLC
June 25, 2015
ASIN: B010GOK7IE
322 pages
Paperback $20
Kindle $3

No. 4

"A Spiritual Awakening"

By Kayelynn Grayce

"A Spiritual Awakening" By Kayelynn Grayce
TULSA, Okla. -- Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

One day in 2012, author and recovering alcoholic Kayelynn Grace was watching "Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer" when she decided that she would vow to become the "Joyce Meyer of Alcoholics Anonymous."

"I wanted to share with new members of my AA group how the Lord changed my life, and how He could change theirs, too," Grayce said.

In Grayce's book, "A Spiritual Awakening," she emphasizes to readers who might be struggling with similar addictions or other personal challenges that there is no sin too big or too unique to be deemed unforgiveable by God.

Grayce also channels characters and stories from the Bible throughout her book, intertwining them with similar events and people in her life.

"The Bible is not a Who's Who book of saints, but story after story of real people who dealt with real life issues and sinned along the way," Grayce said.

Through Grayce's open and honest words, and the power of biblical verse, readers can explore their spiritualties and find paths to their own spiritual awakenings

....my awakening came when I began seeing the world through His eyes. God formed each cloud in the sky to be as uniquely beautiful as the people He created. He enabled the birds to sing in harmony as well as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Roses are red, violets are blue, and the grass is green because God painted them. Every sight, sound, smell, color, and texture you encounter originated from Him. The Creator of the universe handcrafted all of these for our pleasure so let’s honor Him by enjoying them. (Overview at WestBow Press)

Kayelynn Grayce currently resides in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Brutus and Tramp. She enjoys participating in volunteer activities and is a true humanitarian at heart. For more information go to www.kayelynngrayce.com

"A Spiritual Awakening"
By Kayelynn Grayce
WestBow Press
Published 2/24/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4908-6637-6
132 pages
Hardcover $29
Softcover $12
E-book $5

No. 5

"Chrysalis: A Dark and Delicious Diary of Emergence"

By Rachelle Chartrand

"Chrysalis: A Dark and Delicious Diary of Emergence" By Rachelle Chartrand
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- In June, the Guardian published an article from novelist Kamila Shamsie in which she challenged publishing companies to publish only women authors in 2018 to combat gender bias in the industry. But has simply talk of this gender bias already affected readers?

Award-winning screenwriter Rachelle Chartrand's response from readers points to a growing male audience for her debut novel Chrysalis: A Dark and Delicious Diary of Emergence. Men were not Rachelle's target readership when she published her diary, but from the people reaching out to her through her website and social media, she has found that her story resonates with many of them.

"I think men are drawn to Chrysalis as an opportunity to get an honest, unpolished look into the female mind," Chartrand said. "but are surprised by the rawness and humor of it. I'm getting a lot of feedback from men of all ages about how they can relate to my thoughts and experiences, the demons I faced, and the struggles I endured to open my heart."

Chrysalis is the yearlong diary of then 39-year-old Chartrand, who felt she was becoming a grown-up for the first time during this period that many would consider middle age. Along with her baggage from decades battling diseases like bulimia, alcoholism and depression, the diary features Chartrand's recognition of her destructive relationship with men and the steps she takes to heal this part of her.

"One of my missions in life is to dissolve this illusion of separation between men and women - end the battle of the sexes with peace. This was evident in my approach to being president of an organization such as Women in Film and Television Vancouver and how I approach all my relationships and interactions," Chartrand said.

Rachelle Chartrand is an award-winning screenwriter, producer and past-president of Women in Film and Television Vancouver. She has been involved with the film industry for fourteen years, first as an actress, then as story consultant and creative producer and now as a full-time screenwriter. Additionally, Rachelle holds a bachelor's degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from the University of Alberta. Her eclectic teaching experience includes working with ESL students abroad as well as at-risk youth, young offenders and autistic children at home. Rachelle currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit http://www.rachellechartrand.com/.

"Chrysalis: A Dark and Delicious Diary of Emergence"
By Rachelle Chartrand
Balboa Press
Published 9/11/2014
ISBN: 978-1-45252-006-3
348 pages
Softcover $22
Hardcover $40
E-book $8

No. 6

"Organizational Optimization"

by Robert Hutcherson

"Organizational Optimization" by Robert Hutcherson
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- How do we do more with less and still maintain successful organizations? In his book, "Organizational Optimization," Robert Hutcherson shares a new improvement methodology for organizations, based on more than 25 years of experience in federal and commercial markets. By following the strategies outlined in Hutcherson's book, business leaders can become more effective in their current markets and operate more efficiently in order to gain an edge among competitors.

"It is my hope and dream that organizations around the world will realize their full potential and understand how to optimize their efforts to be the best they can be. Governments must give citizens hope by managing budgets properly and not projecting future doom and gloom because of mismanagement and wasteful spending," Hutcherson said.

Federal government agencies can also improve wasteful operations and save taxpayer dollars by utilizing the strategies outlined in "Organizational Optimization."

Organizations are constantly trying to figure out how to improve and do more with less, especially with today's budgetary pressures. We must not only find a way to improve our companies and countries, but we must find a way to optimize them. How do we get the biggest strategic bang for our budgetary buck? There is continuous pressure on corporate leaders and government officials to reduce waste, improve services and margins that provide a better overall value to its shareholders and citizens. Organizational Optimization is the new way to look at your organization, assess it's current health and optimize it's future potential. Its purpose is to strategically align the organization, optimize the execution of its strategy, and culturally set the stage for growth and prosperity. It can be applied to any type of organization whether an international conglomerate, a federal agency, a city, a professional sports team or an entrepreneurial organization looking to optimize their true potential. (Amazon Overview)

Robert Hutcherson is the founder and CEO of Optimize Consulting, Inc., a minority (8a) service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that has provided more than $2.6 billion in cost savings to federal and commercial organizations around the world. He has as bachelor's degree in industrial engineering technology and a master's degree in business management. Hutcherson was born in Zaragoza, Spain, is a military veteran and currently resides in Florida. For more information, visit http://www.ooptimization.com and http://www.optimizeconsulting.biz.

"Organizational Optimization"
By Robert Hutcherson
AuthorHouse Pub.
Published Dec 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4969-4480-1
308 pages
Hardcover $29
Softcover $20
E-book $5.37

No. 7

"Me and the General"

By Rosemary Valenti Guarnera

"Me and the General" By Rosemary Valenti Guarnera
CLEVELAND -- A person's name is a large part of his and her identity. When that name becomes wrongly defamed it is difficult to vindicate the damaged reputation.

For Ralph Liguori, being close friends with Charles "Lucky" Luciano (the father of organized crime in the U.S.) wrongly cost him 10 years in prison. In 1936 both were caught up in the New York prostitution trial where the betrayal of Thomas E. Dewey incarcerated and exiled Luciano and Liguori back to Italy.

Years later, friend of Liguori and author Rosemary Valenti Guarnera presents Liguori's side of the story in the memoir "ME AND THE GENERAL." Highlighting Liquori's life beginning with his trying boyhood to his fascinating adventures with celebrities and famous gangsters in New York during the 1920's, Guarnera tells a true story of a man whose loyalty and good looks lead him into moral gray areas.

This fascinating chase between the villain, the boss and the accomplice delves into the history of organized crime and the fine line of good and evil.

"Without a doubt Liguori was an interesting personality," Guarnera said. "I realized from the start of our friendship, Liguori's desire to tell his story."

Rosemary Valenti Guarnera was born in Cleveland, OH and later went to work at the ABC affiliate WEWS-TV Channel 5 where she was chosen Woman of the Year. After moving to Rome, Italy, Guarnera worked at the Institute of American Poultry, attached to the American Embassy and then became co-owner of the European Coach & Travel Co. She subsequently joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Bank and Rockwell International. Guarnera married the late Italian Captain Eugenio Guarnera and divides her time between the United States and Italy. For more information, visit www.meandthegeneral.com.

"Me and the General"
By Rosemary Valenti Guarnera
Xlibris publishing
Published 3/12/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49315-832-4
520 pages
Softcover $25
Hardcover $35
E-book $4

No. 8

"You Can Be Lucky Like Me"

By Dr. Ron Deigh

"You Can Be Lucky Like Me" By Dr. Ron Deigh
LOS ANGELES -- Illness, family problems and personal relationship issues all rank among some of the most stressful situations people face. The impacts of these experiences can influence mental health and future successes. For Dr. Ron Deigh, the power to overcome these stressful life-changing events is in perception and attitude. Starting at a young age, Deigh experienced child abuse and abandonment and, later in life, failed marriages. Instead of carrying the negativity throughout his life, he chose positivity for progression.

"There are no mistakes, only experiences that have shaped my life," Deigh said. "Perceived mistakes don't have to impact the opportunity for success."

In his new autobiography "You Can Be Lucky Like Me," Deigh aims to help others achieve their goals and overcome personal obstacles by using his own past experiences transforming misfortunes into successes.

In addition to using his book as a way to assist others process their setbacks, Deigh used his background as an expert in public health to develop a childhood wellness program designed to prevent diseases in his community. He illustrates that optimism, luck and determination can be used to persevere through life's difficulties, whether emotional or physical.

"One must continuously move forward, to strive to succeed and prosper," Deigh said. "We can learn from the decisions, advice and wisdom of others in order to become productive, successful and happy."

Dr. Ron Deigh is a retired community college professor, entrepreneur, and an avid writer. He has earned degrees from the University of California, Ohio State University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is currently a member of the Visalia Optimist Club and Optimist International and is working on his next book. Deigh resides in Visalia, California, with his wife. For more information, visit www.DrRonDeigh.com

"You Can Be Lucky Like Me"
By Dr. Ron Deigh
Balboa Press
Published 5/22/2015
ISBN: 978-1-5043-3269-9
146 pages
Softcover $13
Hardcover $31
E-book 44


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