From Magic City Morning Star

R.P. BenDedek
Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 34
By R.P. BenDedek
Dec 9, 2015 - 6:38:12 AM

"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.

NOTE: Magic City Morning Star has received scant advice regarding new book releases since the end of June. We have therefore not been able to produce weekly Book Baskets and of necessity, have not been able to produce book reviews. Book Baskets will only be published if and when there are a sufficient number of entries to justify the publication.

Author Articles Since Basket No. 33


Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 33

Milt Gross Book Review: "Ashes to Ashes" by Tami Hoag
Dec 6, 2015

The first line, "Some killers are born. Some killers are made. And sometimes the origin of desire for homicide is lost in the tangle of roots that make an ugly childhood and a dangerous youth, so that no one may ever know if the urge was inbred or induced," sounds like it has a real message or guide to the plot. But I found it was as long and dragged out as the story itself. The author's photo shows her looking either serious or angry, I'm not sure which. Or it may have been to alert the reader to some of the tough story her 1999 tale tells.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life"

By Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D.

"Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life" By Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D.
PITTSBURGH -- In 2014, the average American spent five hours per day watching television. While the media is not necessarily representing reality, unconsciously the media is influencing viewers' thoughts, actions and self-image.

For more than 25 years, media expert and TV psychologist Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D., has been researching the effects of media. In her new book, "Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life," she empowers readers to take control of their lives by breaking free from the hypnotic trance that TV, movies and the Internet can create by exchanging unconscious viewing for media watching skills that can produce a more authentic life.

Dr. Mramor Kajuth provides an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at how to enjoy media by using conscious viewing skills that will in turn offer the ability to live a more authentic and happy life. With her professional advice, quizzes, humorous stories and other interactive activities throughout the book, readers will be able to enjoy interacting with media while avoiding the unconscious side effects that can occur.

"While you are enjoying fascinating dramas, comedies, reality shows, movies, the Internet and print publications, you are taking in ideas and absorbing beliefs that are below the level of the conscious mind," Dr. Mramor Kajuth said. "Many of those ideas are helpful, entertaining and educational. Others are not."

Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D, has been invited to more than 350 media placements in TV, radio and print, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS and many major magazines. She has been an author, speaker, on-air expert, producer at a local PBS network and scriptwriter on topics involving news, pop culture, health, relationships and parenting. The National Association of Professional Women, in the category of Pennsylvania Psychology, selected her as one of Western Pa's Most Successful Women and Outstanding Woman of the Year 2013-14. Dr. Mramor Kajuth has been interviewed and referenced in many publications including Woman's Health, Women's World, Men's Health, The New York Daily News and The Washington Post. For more information, visit

"Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life"
By Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Published Sept 24, 2014
ISBN: 978-1499734829
232 pages
Softcover $12.81

No. 2

"It's a Long Way from China to Hollywood"

By Grace Yang

"It's a Long Way from China to Hollywood" By Grace Yang
LOS ANGELES -- Growing up, Grace Yang was always mesmerized by the lives of Chinese actors but never had the opportunity to pursue a career in entertainment. When Yang and her family uprooted from China to the U.S., she was determined to make her dream come true.

After obtaining auditions and opportunities in Hollywood for her daughter Yvonne, who is a successful model and actress in the U.S. and China, Yang achieved her dream of being an actress and producer. She has appeared in shows such as "Weeds," "Happy Endings" and the hit show "24," as well as feature roles in the blockbuster movies "Gamblers" and "Gangster Squad."

Today, Yang shares her struggles and successes of leaving China to pursue what seemed impossible in the memoir, "It's a Long Way from China to Hollywood." This mother, daughter success story takes readers inside the entertainment world and what it takes to raise a child in the industry.

"Stay involved with your children and be willing and open to their ideas," Yang said. "I'm now doing what I love because I was willing to follow my daughter's heart."

Grace Yang is the founder and board of director of the American Dream Association of Culture Exchange and the Art & Acting Academy of Hollywood. She speaks Mandarin and English fluently. For the past five years her voice over work has been heard on commercial and private airlines. Yang lived in Houston, Texas when she immigrated to the U.S. Currently she lives in Burbank, California. For more information, visit

"It's a Long Way from China to Hollywood"
By Grace Yang
iUniverse Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4502-9660-5
244 pages
Softcover $17
Hardcover $27
E-Book $4

No. 3

"Once Saved, Always Saved: Satan's Greatest Trick"

By Stephen Pippin

"Once Saved, Always Saved: Satan's Greatest Trick" By Stephen Pippin
NASHVILLE -- For the majority of his life, Stephen Pippin was dedicated to his hip-hop career until his personal life became much like his stage name: Kaotik. His tumultuous world hit rock bottom following a suicide attempt. It was then that the artist with a history of substance abuse and alcohol addiction knew it was time to make a change.

Pippin, writer of "Once Saved, Always Saved", is a former agnostic who proceeded to dedicate his life to serving God and became an ordained minister. Pippin's book deals with his personal struggles as well as well as the question if heaven is guaranteed for all mankind.

In his book, he preaches that not everyone is secure with Jesus by just having a belief in God. Since his transgressions have outweighed the positive impact of finding faith, Pippin uses his own life as an example of this belief. He believes this is the case for everyone who has struggled with sin, not just himself.

"I began my life until the age of 30 believing that I was within God's good grace," Pippin said. "Once my beliefs changed in regards to this, I felt called to bring attention to its deception."

Not all readers may agree with Pippin's outlook on eternal security, but will still enjoy learning more about his personal life and message.

Stephen Pippin is a former hip-hop artist who is now an ordained Southern Baptist preacher. He resides in Tennessee. For more information, visit

"Once Saved, Always Saved: Satan's Greatest Trick"
By Stephen Pippin
WestBow Press
Published Aug 6, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5127-0435-8
202 pages
Softcover $17
Hardcover $34
E-Book 4

No. 4

"The Three Year Affair"

By Anny Omous

"The Three Year Affair" By Anny Omous
KATRINE, Ontario -- Popular show Sons of Anarchy ended their last season with the highest ratings overall on FX last year. Society's interest in motorcycle culture is evident, but how much do people really know about this subculture?

While struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Anny Omous found her outlet by delving into motorcycle culture in her new fiction book "The Three Year Affair."

This romantic drama takes readers into a world where true love and survival don't overlap. When protagonist Anny, a generational legacy of a notorious motorcycle club, falls in love with a policeman leading the organized crime unit, she must decide where her loyalty lies.

Throughout the book, Omous highlights the honest and loyal community of motorcycle clubs as well as many social issues relevant to society today, including bullying, spousal abuse and PTSD.

"After I had written the book it allowed me to feel confidant to make some serious changes in my life and be honest with myself and others around me," Omous said. "It forced me to face some truths about my life and the path on which I wanted to continue on."

Anny Omous is currently a part owner, author and consultant at Anny Omous Publishing, a Canadian and woman centric publishing house. Omous lives in Katrine, Ontario. For more information, visit

"The Three Year Affair"
By Anny Omous
Anny Omous Publisher
Published Jan 20, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9938933-1-5
144 pages
Softcover $8

No. 5

"Killing the Perfectionist Within"

By Honor Jane Newman

"Killing the Perfectionist Within" By Honor Jane Newman
MELBOURNE, Australia -- For some people, "good" is never good enough--you either know one of these people or you are one. To want to be better is human, but perfectionism may be detrimental to our mental health, according to psychologist and author Honor Jane Newman.

In her new book, "Killing the Perfectionist Within," Newman discusses a variety of topics perfectionism affects, including parenting, social anxiety, and romantic relationships.

The book is not only based on Newman's extensive experience in counseling others who deal with these issues, but also her own experience with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

"Perfectionism is so common, but is not discussed out in the open the way other conditions are," said Newman. "It is important for perfectionists to realize they don't have to stay stuck and unhappy."

The practical guide is an ideal tool for people struggling to live a joyful life due to their struggles with perfectionism, for their family and friends to better understand these issues and for psychologists to share with their patients as a recommended read.

For more information, visit or

Interact with Honor at and on Twitter at @HonorJane1.

Honor Jane Newman has a master's degree in psychology and specializes in helping women who deal with perfectionism, anxiety and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, two children and their pets.

"Killing the Perfectionist Within:
A Self-Help Guide for Women Suffering from Perfectionism, Anxiety and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
By Honor Jane Newman
Balboa Press
Published 7/15/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4525-2952-3
130 pages
Softcover $12
E-Book $4

No. 6

"Expressions of the Last Days"

By Jeff Porter

"Expressions of the Last Days" By Jeff Porter
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The world today is not as it used to be. Wars, natural disasters and other terrors are more prevalent than ever before. Is it a natural progression from bad to worse?

According to author Jeff Porter, the direction our world has taken is a sign that we are rapidly approaching the end times.

Something seems to be pushing our world into a new era. People sense that something monumental is about to take place. The book of Revelation describes a time of great upheavals and terrible events that will rock and shake planet earth. This writing is designed to provide insights into the nature of those last days and how to survive in the midst of them.

Porter's new book, "Expressions of the Last Days," shares his trepidations about the world we have created and provides an understanding of what the Bible says is to come. Porter discusses apologetics, symbolism in the book of Revelation and the problem with setting false dates for the end times.

"Expressions of the Last Days" is a call to action for all to examine their understanding of Christianity and the events to come. The book explains how the distressing and controversial events of today are connected to the last of faith existing around us.

Jeff Porter is a Christian and author who is concerned about the direction our world is moving in. He is looking for new ways to help meet the questions and challenges of our day through factual and fictional writing. He likes to dive into studies involving apologetics, Bible prophecy, and theology in order to achieve those goals. For more information see expression of the last days .com

"Expressions of the Last Days"
By Jeff Porter
WestBow Press
Published 5/26/2014
ISBN: 978-1490832548
176 pages
Softcover $14
Hardcover $31
E-Book $4

No. 7

"DANCE -- An Illustrated History"

By Helene Andreu

"DANCE -- An Illustrated History" By Helene Andreu
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Although many professional dancers begin dance lessons at a very early age, Helene Andreu did not begin to study it until after she turned 17. What some would consider a disadvantage only made her want to learn more. Andreu went on to study at numerous schools, including several years at The School of American Ballet. She sang, danced and choreographed for summer stock and off-Broadway performances, including a stint with The American Savoyards.

With years of experience in the world of dance and a master's degree in dance education, she continued to teach. From two-year-olds to senior citizens, public schools to private dance studios and colleges, Andreu has danced through life with one goal: to help others find fulfillment in dance the way she has.

She has pursued that goal through the written word. A lifelong learner herself, Andreu believes it is important for people of all ages to discover things that interest them. Ideal for the classroom or just for fun, Andreu's new book, "DANCE -- An Illustrated History," provides important background and theory to both longtime lovers of dance as well as those just dipping their toes in the subject for the first time.

"DANCE -- An Illustrated History" highlights the development of dance through the ages. The influence of peoples' beliefs, cultures, and lifestyles, as well as the functions of dance in various societies are all discussed and richly illustrated with 300 images of dance, including photos, paintings and sculptures. The book explores the background of today's dances: tap, ballet, modern, and jazz, while also looking into the early dances of many countries.

Helene Andreu is the author of "Jazz Dance -- An Adult Beginner's Guide," "Aerobic Razzmatazz," "Jazz Dance Styles and Steps," and "Dance, Movement and Nutrition." Most recently, she has taught History of Dance for Brooklyn Lifelong Learning (formerly Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education) at Brooklyn College. Andreu lives in Brooklyn with her sister and cats and enjoys gardening.

"DANCE -- An Illustrated History"
By Helene Andreu
AuthorHouse Books
Published 8/3/2015
ISBN: 978-1-50492-046-9
320 pages
Softcover $73
E-Book $4

No. 8

"Intentional Living and Leadership: Consciousness, Choice and Planning for Success"

By Craig C. Sroda

"Intentional Living and Leadership: Consciousness, Choice and Planning for Success" By Craig C. Sroda
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Life didn't always appear to be full of promise for Craig Sroda. After his mother passed away while he was in high school, his father disengaged, and at 18, Sroda was on his own. Starting with his third grade paper route, he worked many jobs in the inner city of South Bend. It's a story many have heard, but Sroda intentionally gave his life a happy ending.

Through hard work and perseverance, Sroda was able to put himself through college and soon became an architect of an accounting software solution at one of the top 10 accounting firms. In 1996, Sroda cofounded Pinnacle, a technology and enterprise resource planning implementation firm, which he led as CEO for 18 years, making it the largest Microsoft Certified Partner in Northern Indiana.

Now serving as Pinnacle's Chief Information and Strategy Officer, Sroda also focuses on helping others outside the world of information technology. Using the tools he learned along the road that led him to today's success, he wrote "Intentional Living and Leadership: Consciousness, Choice and Planning for Success."

"I want to encourage people to know their foundation so they can be better and happier than they think they can be," said Sroda. "My goal is to help everyone I meet to reach their 'sweet spot'--the place where their natural strengths and passion intersect."

"Intentional Living and Leadership" is designed to help readers capitalize on their strengths, improve their weaknesses and uncover their blind spots. By setting goals and making decisions that support those ambitions, people in all walks of life can live the life they have imagined.

Craig Sroda cofounded Pinnacle of Indiana and led the company to health and wealth as its CEO for 18 years. He now serves as its Chief Information and Strategy Officer. Sroda lives in Mishawaka, Indiana, and is a member of Granger Community Church. His commitment to personal growth is evident in his faith, family, health and writing. For more information, visit

"Intentional Living and Leadership:
Consciousness, Choice and Planning for Success"
By Craig C. Sroda
AuthorHouse Publishing
Published July 29, 2015
ISBN: 978-1504924887
76 pages
Softcover $13
E-Book $4

No. 9

"A Drill Sergeant's Fame"

By Kimberly Mae

"A Drill Sergeant's Fame" By Kimberly Mae
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This past Veterans Day, we honored those who have served in the military. However, it's important to commend these extraordinary service men and women throughout the other 364 days of the year.

In "A Drill Sergeant's Fame," Kimberly Mae compiles comical, cunning and transcendent poetry to share her experiences while serving in the U.S. Army, and to give respect to her drill sergeants and those who served alongside her.

"After Basic Combat Training, soldiers become new beings, contracting their bodies out for the greater good," Mae said. "Drill sergeants are incredible to take on the task of changing us for the better."

In her book, Mae also includes journal notes about the specific events that inspired each poem, ranging from the challenges she faced while in basic training, to her experiences and thoughts while deployed in Afghanistan, to later finding solace in God and family.

Mae also hopes "A Drill Sergeant's Fame" will spark readers' thirst for life, urging them to see the good in the most challenging of times and to ardently pursue their ambitions.

"Many times in life, we have a definitive answer for what is a good, acceptable or bad outcome, yet we fail to see all the other issues and possibilities in between," Mae said. "Happiness and peace can creep through the darkest of situations in unexpected ways if we are open to seeing and understanding them."

Kimberly Mae comes from a large military family. She served in the U.S. Army for three years, including one deployment to Afghanistan as a generator mechanic. Four boys filled her home and time as she progressed from military life to a newfound career in writing. Settling in her hometown, Mae plans to assist other veterans by donating some of the proceeds from her book to organizations that help veterans in need. For more information, visit

"A Drill Sergeant's Fame"
By Kimberly Mae
AuthorHouse Publishing
Published 8/29/2015
ISBN: 978-1-49187-032-7
114 pages
Hardcover $24
Softcover $15
E-book $4

No. 10

"Between Black and White"

By Tony Bethel

"Between Black and White" By Tony Bethel
CHICAGO -- Just as there are many colors contained in one visible spectrum, a variety of shades are present within one racial spectrum: the human race. In his memoir, "Between Black and White," Dr. Tony Bethel traces his family lineage, beginning with his great-great-great-grandmother Nidra as a slave shipped to the United States from an African tribe; to his slave ancestors who migrated from North Carolina to West Tennessee in search of better lives; to his own youth growing up in the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood in the '60s and '70s; to present day as a loving father and grandfather of an ever-growing, multi-racial family tree.

Throughout his detailed account of his ancestry, Bethel notes that while many "mixtures" of African Americans are present throughout American history, records documenting African slave lineage are very limited.

"I could tell you all my European components, yet I could not tell you with certainty any of the African tribes in my family, which is a shame," Bethel said. "It is also a testament to the suppression of knowing about one's African past and the enforcement of white culture -- in more ways than one."

In his book, Bethel emphasizes that one's identity is not exclusively determined by genetic factors, and that everyone, regardless of skin color, is interconnected.

"If we can learn to embrace our own heritage and reconcile our past with our present, I believe we can learn to live in harmony with one another," Bethel said.

Dr. Tony Bethel is a U.S. Navy veteran, massage therapist and doctor of naprapathic medicine, focusing on nutritional counseling, manual therapy and care of the developmentally disabled. He has written three books of poetry, including one with his son Brian titled "Father and Son: A Connection through Poetry." Bethel is also a distant cousin of "Roots" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" author Alex Haley. For more information, visit

"Between Black and White"
By Tony Bethel
Xlibris Books
Published May 8, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5035-5678-2
150 pages
Hardcover $23
Softcover $16
E-book $4

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