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R.P. BenDedek

What's in the Book Basket This Week? The Vicissitudes of Life
By R.P. BenDedek
Dec 14, 2014 - 12:13:41 AM

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"What's in the book basket this week?" brings to the attention of readers via publication of publicity material, various new book releases. The regular Sunday Book basket usually lists 15 such books. On an irregular basis we also publish a Christian Book Basket specifically listing 'Christian Books' and a 'Children's Book Basket.' These are published on a Wednesday. The publication and number of books in those baskets will vary.

We have some wonderful book reviewers at Magic City but unfortunately we can't do book reviews for every book. We do however assist authors to promote their books via a "No Charge - No Pay" self-promotions service in which we invite authors to give us 'stand alone' articles to publish at the bottom of which we can include their bios, photographs of book covers and links to purchase pages for their books.

We are extremely grateful to those authors who do provide our readers with interesting articles to read and we appreciate that those articles are sometimes exclusive to us or at least that we have been the first to be given the opportunity to publish them. A list of such articles from the end of June 2014 to December 2014 may be found here.

As you can see listed immediately below, we also list the articles published during the previous week which were supplied by book authors, and as well, we list whatever book reviews were published in the same period.

Author Articles published this week at Magic City
(Dec 7 - Dec 13)

None for this Week

Book Reviews Published during the last week
(Dec 7 - Dec 13)

Milt Gross Book Review: "Moo" by Jane Smiley
Dec 7, 2014

The back of Smiley's 1995 paperback describes as "born in Los Angeles, grew up in St.Louis, and studied at Vassar and the University of Iowa, where she received her Ph. D." And Moo was "selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club," according to the same page.

Martha Stevens-David Review: "Send Me some Love In The Mailbox" by Cherie Turlington
Dec 7, 2014

I found the book to be beautifully illustrated and the content takes one back to another place and time. A time when if one had a "mailbox" and lived in a rural place, then the mailbox was the place that one would run to everyday to check the mail and the mailman's schedule was closely watched and committed to memory. Sadly, with all of the additions that this "modern" world has produced such as the cell phones and computers, just to name a few, we have lost touch with ourselves and our ability to touch others.

R.P. BenDedek

NOTE: I will cease to be editor of Magic City on December 31st, and at this time I am in possession of no information as to what will happen after I cease my Editorial function. I would hope that I shall be permitted to continue publishing the Book Basket in my column and that author articles will likewise continue to be published.

No. 1

"Lucy's Rainbow: A Journey of Hope"

by Judy Hopkins

"Lucy's Rainbow: A Journey of Hope" by Judy Hopkins
United Kingdom -- They say that the first ten years of marriage allows you to really get to know your spouse but, by year seven, Judy Hopkins found herself a widow and single-mother after Leukaemia robbed her husband of his life. Hopkins spiralled into insurmountable grief, only to be pulled out by God and put on the long road to recovery. In 'Lucy's Rainbow: A Journey of Hope', Hopkins takes readers on a journey through her life and into her marriage, grief and redemption that can act as a saving grace to those battling tragedy's firm grip. The book is raw, frank and will touch the hearts of readers from all walks of life.

Synopsis: Judy Hopkins' husband, Russ, was diagnosed with life-threatening leukaemia. Then, after only seven years of marriage, Judy found herself a widow with two young daughters. Lucy's Rainbow tells Judy's story of her life up to that point, and how she journeyed through the pain and heartache of her husband's death and the challenge of single parenting and, finally, of hope for the future. It reveals how, earlier in his life, Russ survived the grip of heroin and went on to live a life of faith, purpose and intent; climaxing in extraordinary events leading up to his death. It is a tale of love, hope and transformation.

"Being a true story, my book reaches out to provide comfort to anyone who has either lost a loved one, or knows that they will soon," explains Hopkins. "Everyone needs hope during their darkest hours and, while my book relies heavily on the power of faith, those of no belief will also draw solace from its insights. But it's not just for those fearing life after loss. One of the biggest struggles I had was learning to become a single parent. I had to learn overnight and readjust everything my instincts had come to know. Therefore, this is a powerful book for those struggling to raise a family alone. There's very few books out there written by single parents, for single parents."

Feedback for the book has been fantastic and includes comments like: "This book is written in a very readable style and made me laugh and cry. I can recommend this book to all those who have lost a loved one or who are going through the pain of nursing a loved one in a terminal illness." -- "I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone young or old, it is beautifully written and tells a story of hope in an unfair world. In the midst of Judy and her girls' pain, there was a God who was going through this with her every step of the way. It is very easy to read, it made me laugh and cry at the same time!" -- "When I'd read this book I felt positive, hopeful and closer to God. Whether you are recently bereaved or not this book will interest and encourage you, despite its many moments of sadness."

As a hospice nurse, Judy Hopkins has often stood alongside those nearing the end of their lives. In Lucy's Rainbow she portrays the reality of her own personal grief against this professional background and uses her training at the London School of Theology to make sense of the deeper issues.

No. 2

"My Rocky Road and Beyond"

by Mary Muriel Hall

"My Rocky Road and Beyond" by Mary Muriel Hall
United Kingdom -- For many born in WWII Ireland, life wasn't easy. Mary Muriel Hall's family not only suffered the rigours of a declining society, but an abusive household at the hands of her alcoholic and increasingly-angry father. But things got better; a move to England changed it all. 'My Rocky Road and Beyond ' is Muriel Hall's story. It was first released in 2007 and 2010 across two volumes but, with demand increasing and the story still writing itself, Muriel Hall's life is finally being put into a brand new single edition for all to enjoy.

Synopsis: Mary Muriel Hall (nee Burns) was raised in a humble four-room house in Ennis, Ireland, in the 1940s. In this touching memoir, she vividly recalls her harrowing-yet often humorous-childhood. Muriel became familiar with adversity at an unusually young age. In this book, she remembers family life as a toddler with an abusive, alcoholic father and shares stories of a childhood marked by the tumultuous relationship of her mam and dad. Muriel recalls with special fondness her grandfather, who becomes the lone beacon of hope in her increasingly turbulent life. She recounts the sudden death of her father, a loss that combined intense sadness with an odd sense of family relief. And she remembers the family move to England that allowed her to shed the negativity which surrounded her childhood and to look toward a brighter future. In all, this is a book that weaves together personal stories to reveal the rich tapestry that was an Irish woman's life.

Arrival in England was something that had filled the author, Muriel, with mixed emotions. Feelings of great highs but also the dread of a different educational system and the meeting of new friends, whilst at the same time trying to bury the past, the same past which had led her to pen the first book (My Rocky Road), accounting the early years in Ennis, Ireland. Circa 1940. And now, the publishing of this, the second book. The high expectations and hopes for the future. Can this cloud have a silver lining or is it possible that this silver lining is in fact full of clouds. Follow Muriel as she tells in her own words of the struggle to settle and shake the demons and the total disbelief when the unthinkable becomes a reality once again.

Mary Muriel Hall (nee Burns) was born in 1939 in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. She remained there for the first eleven years of her life before leaving shortly after the death of her abusive and alcoholic father, and starting afresh in Salisbury, England with her mother. Fom there she moved twice. Firstly to Harrogate and then finally to York, where she married her first husband in 1958, and went on to have 5 children. Alan and Kim, (who to add further heartbreak died when she was only a few days old) Wayne, Peter and Jane. he eventually settled in Girvan, Scotland in 1980 with her second husband and soul mate Alan Hall. She would remain there, happily married to Alan until her death in 2005. 'My Rocky Road and Beyond' is available at

No. 3

"The Legend of Joe Golfer"

by Chris Kalwa

"The Legend of Joe Golfer" by Chris Kalwa
TORONTO -- According to a recent article in Business Report, there are nearly 60 million recreational golfers worldwide. Golf enthusiast, Chris Kalwa believes that these players can improve both their score and overall enjoyment of the game by relying on their peers. His new book, "The Legend of Joe Golfer" is celebrates the trials and tribulations of the regular golfer. While there are many golfing books written by professionals or celebrities, very few have been authored by the recreational "Joe" golfer. Kalwa believes that a book for the standard golfer, by the standard golfer can contribute to overall satisfaction and knowledge of the game.

"It's time that a regular player's golf story is told, warts and all," Kalwa said. "My hope is that by sharing these personal golf anecdotes, I can enhance reader's golfing enjoyment and knowledge level." Kalwa provides hands-on tips from real golfing scenarios as well as humorous 'golf gone wild' stories. The book appeals to beginning golfers, golf enthusiasts and weekend warriors looking for a good read and techniques to prepare their game for the upcoming season. Free Preview

Whether you're an unskilled and unseasoned regular recreational player, or you've refined your skill level and playing ability after getting many seasons under your belt, you regular players quickly realize that you won't demonstrate perfectly crisp ball-striking to generate accurate and precisely placed shots right off the bat-even though you might have purchased the best brand-name clubs and golfing equipment available. As a 'Joe,' you are no Tiger Woods-or as a 'Jane,' you're no Annika Sorenstam. Instead, you continue spraying your bad shots all over the course-like a groundskeeper watering the course grounds for the next day's play. Chris's four-stage golf journey takes all Joe Golfers on a wild and crazy ride: from shaping and defining your own legendary character; learning effective rescue shots; choosing a better physically fit lifestyle; to reflecting upon your golfing evolution over time. Ultimately, this story will inspire and encourage all you Joe and Jane Golfers to carve out your own legendary Golf Gone Wild stories. Read More at Authorhouse

Chris Kalwa is a lifelong educator, recreational athlete and a private golf instructor with a passion for inspiring others in golf and life. He recently founded his own home-based golf business called EZ Joe Golfer. Chris lives in Toronto, Canada and "The Legend of Joe Golfer" is his first book.

"The Legend of Joe Golfer"
by Chris Kalwa
Author House books
Published 2/10/2014
ISBN 978-1-49184-987-3
386 pages
Hardcover $32
Sofecover $24
Audio & E-book $4

No. 4

"Inner Peace Simplified"

By Cynthia Sholtis

"Inner Peace Simplified" By Cynthia Sholtis
PITTSBURGH -- Cynthia Sholtis overcame a nervous breakdown at the age of 22 and calmly survived the most difficult period of her life decades later, all thanks to her holistic approach that allowed her to discover true peace of mind.

Sholtis authored her new self-help book "Inner Peace Simplified: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Your Timeless Identity of Love (But Were too Fear-based to Ask)" to share how an eternity viewpoint can transform a person's life from anxiety-ridden to peaceful, regardless of the circumstances.

"This mind-body-spirit perspective will restore wholeness to a mind that has been torn between love and fear-rooted ideas since childhood," Sholtis said. "Discovering that you are an eternal spirit who briefly inhabits a temporal body frees you from searching outside yourself for completion."

In "Inner Peace Simplified," Sholtis explains how a negative self-image creates a contradiction between the public persona we portray and the turmoil we feel inside.

"Peace of mind is impossible without self-respect," Sholtis said. "If you do not comprehend your immeasurable value, you aren't able to consistently give and receive love."

Cynthia Sholtis has worked in nearly every aspect of the social services field, from counseling children and spiritual counseling to directing the social service department at a geriatric facility. From her varied experiences, Sholtis has realized that a quality life depends on understanding one's true value. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She resides in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

"Inner Peace Simplified"
By Cynthia Sholtis
ISBN: 9781452517568
Softcover, retail price: $19.99
Hardcover, retail price: $37.95
E-book, retail price: $3.99
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press online bookstores

No. 5

"Wounds Caused by Gossip"

By O.C. Isom

"Wounds Caused by Gossip" By O.C. Isom
DETROIT -- Gossip can have harmful and hurtful effects on people. In a workplace scenario, gossip can cause unhappiness and conflict that reduces productivity and negatively affects the environment. O.C. Isom is committed to educating, training, and equipping employers and employees on managing gossip, developing positive communication skills and being transparent in "WOUNDS CAUSED BY GOSSIP Attitudes and Conflicts in the Workplace."

With more than forty years of experience dealing with conflicts in the workplace, Isom highlights the importance of effective communication and the negativity gossip brings to a working environment. He has learned the main reasons for most disorder in workplaces today--including the White House--are poor communication, refusal to work as a team and bad attitudes. These can all lead to division, bitterness, and emotional wounds that cause the workload to seize. When issues go unresolved or ignored in workplaces, employees become frustrated and even discouraged.

In each chapter, Isom offers steps and tips on achieving a happy and healthy working environment that minimizes gossip and conflict. There are many inadequate and tyrant leaders in workplaces who abuse their power, which can give employees emotional wounds. With improved communication skills, both leaders and employees can have a more enjoyable and beneficial workplace.

"It is time for employees and employers to maximize their potential, performance and productivity," Isom said. Isom speaks out to all businesses because workplace growth and development are essential for a working environment. It increases moral growth and greater customer service that will benefit organizations and employees.

O.C. Isom earned his bachelor's degree in theology and his master's in counseling from Cypress Bible College in Van, Texas. He is the founder, Bishop and Senior Pastor of Word up Apostolic Ministries. Along with this book, he has published "WOUNDS CAUSED BY GOSSIP Attitudes and Conflicts Within the Church." Isom resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan with his wife of 40 years. Together they have three children.

"WOUNDS CAUSED BY GOSSIP: Attitudes and Conflicts in the Workplace: How to deal with difficult people and situations on the job"
By O.C. Isom
ISBN: 978-1496900890
Author House books
Published 7/8/2014
186 Pages
Hardcover $28
Softcover $17
E-book $4


No. 6


By Debby Throckmorton

"PurposeFULLwork" By Debby Throckmorton
KANSAS CITY, Miss. -- According to a study by Harris Interactive Research, only 20 percent of working Americans feel passionate about their job. When working accounts for an average of 40 hours per week, lacking passion can negatively impact one's overall satisfaction of life.

Life coach and author Debby Throckmorton is dedicated to raising the percentage of passionate Americans in the workplace by aiding them in self-discovery and unveiling their purpose. With her five-part process detailed in her new self-coach book, "PurposeFULLwork," readers will attain the necessary skills for long- term success.

"Research shows that the need for purpose and self-actualization crosses all generations," Throckmorton said. "Millennials seek a sense of meaning in their careers. Attaining this desire can be a reality. It is never too late to begin the 'purposeFULLwork' journey."

Throckmorton challenges readers to discover their innate talents and strengths as well as develop a solid sense of purpose. She has personally discovered many passions, including avid gardening and advocating for the environment. A number of leadership positions in the mutual fund industry led her to pursue a life coaching certification. As a result, she discovered her true purpose is developing people through life coaching. The inspiration for this guide came from her work with a women's employment center--witnessing the need to encourage others to find purposeful work that meets their individual needs.

Debby Throckmorton began her working career serving others as a chief therapeutic dietitian before working as a communication director for both a 150-billion/one million dollar investor mutual fund company. Throckmorton has fought and won an advance stage of cancer battle. In 2010 she gained her life coaching certification from Fielding Graduate University and established a coaching program at a women's employment center.

By Debby Throckmorton
ISBN: 978-1-4931-7280-1
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

No. 7

"Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work"

by Deb Snyder

"Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work" by Deb Snyder
Portland, ME, November 11, 2014 - Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work (NorLightsPress) provides readers with deep wisdom in a fun, approachable style empowering anyone to improve their life using the CALM concepts. Snyder gathered holistic techniques and lessons to help readers transform their lives for the better. Ignite CALM takes the steps of embracing conscious business qualities, teaching how to bring your best self to work each and every day and discover true happiness while on the job, no matter what the job. The advice and practical guidance is for those who want to improve their lives and take positive action to attain success not just at work but in all aspects of daily living. Snyder says, "we can't expect to live happy lives if we're miserable at work. Within us, we each have the power to create working lives that are both pleasant for us and profitable for our employers. It's up to us to make changes, and those changes begin in our own hearts and actions." CALM = Creativity, Authenticity, Luminosity, and Mindfulness. "Four questions connect people to their soul's wisdom," Snyder explains. "To ignite CALM, ask yourself these four essential questions and be absolutely honest in your answers."

  • Creativity: Have I looked at this situation creatively?
  • Authenticity: Am I being true to my personal values and goals?
  • Luminosity: Am I bringing the best of me to this issue?
  • Mindfulness: How does this situation affect my life and others?

"This technique gets us into our best place, so we can see a situation clearly without distraction," she continues. These four questions are the heart of the CALM approach - all you need to get the internal fire started. "This is your flash point, where you strike the match."

Deb Snyder is an inspirational speaker, personal development teacher, and award-winning author of four books for adults and kids. She holds a doctorate in metaphysical philosophy and empowers people to live their best lives through embracing their own unique challenges, opportunities, and blessings. Deb offers her heart- centered services in workshops and private sessions worldwide to individuals, businesses, and groups of all sizes. She is also founding director of The HeartGlow Center, a public charity focused on wellness and conscious living. For more information, please visit the website:

"Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work"
by Debra J. Snyder PhD.
Published November 11, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0-9906862-2-4
172 Pages
Paperback $13
Kindle $8

No. 8

"The Scent of Eternity"

by Alan McKean

"The Scent of Eternity" by Alan McKean
United Kingdom -- Many would raise an eyebrow upon hearing that a Minister moonlights as a time travel author. That's exactly what Alan McKean does, and his first two novels -- 'The Scent of Time' and ' The Scent of Home' both became a runaway success.

'The Scent of Eternity' goes above and beyond his previous works, described as a "movie in a book" for McKean's unique ability to drag readers through the pages and into action that you'd rarely expect from a man of the cloth.

Synopsis: In the third instalment of The Scent trilogy, evil time travel organization PATCH seeks to change history to their agenda. Time traveller Drew Faulker attempts to counter their efforts while others try to end his life. Amidst a mix of adventure, kidnapping, and attempted weddings surfaces the realisation that the fight against evil never ends.

"The narrative is extremely bold," admits McKean. "Our leading character's adopted daughter develops a mystery fatal illness that nobody can explain, so he takes her back in time to see the greatest physician in history -- Jesus. But that's not all, this race through time throws up a piano-playing blind woman who can shoot a gun with pinpoint accuracy, a female gladiator who needs rescuing, a native American and even various kidnappings. You'll want to keep the light on late into the night!"

"I strongly urge all readers to dive into the first two novels, to really get a sense of what our leading men, women and PATCH are all about. It's a trilogy, so you can come full-circle with this final novel as the story ties itself together and leaves you with plenty to think about."

Alan McKean was born and educated in Glasgow. He has served as a minister for more than 30 years and now lives in the Black Isle with his writer-wife Stephanie Parker McKean and the couple's rough collie, Angel Joy. An avid historian, Alan uses his free time researching his books for historical accuracy before he writes them. He also enjoys drawing, painting, photography, and hiking.

No. 9

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around

edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks

"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks
Albany, NY--Barbara Smith has played a groundbreaking role in opening and expanding our national cultural and political dialogues about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender. Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, brings to life the controversies, players, and strategies that expanded the definitions of freedom and liberation over four decades. As an organizer, writer, publisher, independent scholar, teacher, and most recently as an elected official, Barbara has contributed to multiple freedom movements (Civil Rights, Feminism, Lesbian and Gay Liberation, Anti-racism, and Black Feminism). She offers a distinct lens on the nature of liberation struggles and the difficult arts art of building political movements that embrace and reflect our full selves. Barbara and colleagues are credited with the first published work that utilized the term "identity politics," defining it as a political analysis and organizing approach critical for recognizing and addressing of the often "interlocking oppressions" of race, gender, class and sexuality. Now re-popularized as "intersectionality," this analytical approach has shaped scholarship, teaching, and progressive activism for at least two decades. Her work has been a source of guidance and inspiration to coalitions activists and movements battling classism, sexism, racism and homophobia both outside and within.

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is formatted as a reflective conversation through four decades of activism. Editors Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks were enlisted by Barbara Smith to explore her life from her childhood to her recent work as an elected official in Albany. They meticulously selected material from over two hundred articles, images, and recordings and a dozen original interviews. The book juxtaposes hard to find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists and scholars bringing to life the controversies, players, and strategies that challenged movements to expand their definitions of freedom and liberation. In a clear, accessible, and conversational style, the book engages readers in fundamental questions that those committed to social justice must grapple with in order to deepen their work and heighten their integrity, accountability, and courage. (See the Author Website for more information)

Alethia Jones is Director of Education and Leadership Development at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and a former professor of public policy and politics. Virginia Eubanks is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York and author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age.

Barbara Smith is Public Service Professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She served two terms as a member of the City of Albany's Common Council, and is the author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom.

"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around"
edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks
SUNY Press
Published Nov 2014
ISBN 978-1-4384-5114-5
324 pages
Softcover $29.95

No. 10

"For the Record"

by Eric Focht

"For the Record" by Eric Focht
'For the Record' by Eric Focht details the author's unorthodox life including his career in music, his difficulty in relationships, and his battle with alcohol and depression.

Eric Focht's memoir, For the Record, is the gripping story of the author's uncommon life. Focht grew up as the elder of two adopted sons of a small-town preacher and his wife. He faced inept and abusive authority figures, began having experiences with sex and alcohol at a very young age, and always paid attention to popular music of the time. Focht grew into a complicated and often conflicted man, and For the Record is the story of that journey and beyond.

It should be known that For the Record begins with Focht's suicide attempt: a two-day bender filled with alcohol, pills, and a note he wrote to his best friend. The author then goes back to the very beginning: his birth and subsequent adoption. The reader learns of the formative summer times spent at his family's lake house, and the many horrifying incidents he faced in school, never quite forgetting that this story leads up to Focht's choice to kill himself. It makes for a gripping read, and the young man's moments of suffering stand out most.

That is not to say that Focht doesn't make any blunders. The book is full of his mistakes concerning friendships, romantic relationships, and his career. The author candidly shares his reasons for all the choices he's made, both good and bad. Ever defiant, Focht still wholly owns that For the Record is a cautionary tale, and is his attempt to share what he's learned with the young people in his life.

Eric talks candidly about the odyssey of his unorthodox life; of his pressures as a preachers' son in a small town; of his sexual adventures at an alarmingly young age; of his unique musical education in college; of his distressing, difficult days in the rock band EGO; of his emotionally empty marriage; of his misguided misogyny in his 30's; and of his near fatal battle with alcohol and depression. For The Record weaves in Eric's own personal anecdotes, perspectives from his friends and family members, but also offers a scathing indictment of society and a call to action for a divided nation currently subject to scrutiny. Read More)

Eric Focht grew up an adopted child in and around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. At the height of his musical career, Eric Focht was in contract discussions with record producers of such famous musicians as and David Bowie, Trent Reznor, and U2. For The Record is his autobiography from those early beginnings through his darkest hour four decades later.

"For the Record
by Eric Focht
Published June 2014
326 Pages
Paperback $20 + Shipping
E-book $8

No. 11

"Laura and Me"

by Sylvia Peterson

"Laura and Me" by Sylvia Peterson
It's the most wonderful dangerous time of the year. The holidays bring family gatherings, gifts under the tree, travel, and winter break, but these are the same things that can be most dangerous this time of the year. With the alcohol flowing, the kids home from school, and spending stress at an all time high, frazzled parents and family members may take their frustration out through abusive behavior.

Sylvia Peterson is a victim of childhood abuse, a pastor, an author, and an advocate for survivors, and she wants to help ensure our children stay safe this holiday season. From tips on identifying and preventing abusive behavior, to advice for healing to those who have been or are in an abusive situation, Peterson shares her timely message with your audience. The holiday season can be and should be a happy and joyous time -- let's help to make it so by creating awareness and keeping kids safe.

Sylvia Peterson has over 30 years of experience as a volunteer in Washington State prisons. She and her husband have written two offender re-entry programs that are currently being used by the WA State Department of Corrections: "Preparing for Release" and "Staying Free." They co-pastor the Bald Hill Community Church. Sylvia retired early from a 35-year career as a registered nurse so that she could write this book. She attends Covenant Bible Seminary in Lakewood, WA where she has earned a Bachelor Degree in Theology, a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies, and a Master of Divinity. Her weekly religious newspaper column also appears online at

Peterson's visits with Laura took place at Washington State's Special Commitment Center for Sexual Predators, which is located on McNeil Island, the last island-bound prison in the United States. Laura also contributed her autobiography, personal letters, and legal paperwork for this book. Because of Sylvia's personal access to those documents and to Laura, she was uniquely equipped to write this story. Website:

"Laura and Me"
by Sylvia Peterson
Xulon Press
Published 7/31/2014
ISBN-13: 9781498403733
Pages: 250
Paperback $14
E-book $9

No. 12

"Life in Babylon: A Memoir of Joy and Anguish"

By Theresa M. Santmann

"Life in Babylon: A Memoir of Joy and Anguish" By Theresa M. Santmann
BOOK COVER AND AUTHOR PHOTO BABYLON, N.Y. -- "To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse." - Rawsi Williams

These powerful words capture the spirit and resilience of healthcare advocate, Theresa Santmann, the first woman in New York State to obtain a FHA-backed loan to build a nursing home.

Santmann's story begins in 1976 when her husband was diagnosed with ALS. With two young children and mounting bills, Santmann needed to make a drastic change. She found a four-apartment rental property in Babylon, New York and turned it into an adult home where her husband, Jack, became her first patient.

Santmann returned to school for nursing and began a new career that changed the lives of everyone around her. Her resourcefulness led her to becoming first woman in New York State to obtain an FHA-backed loan to build a 160-bed nursing home, with only a woman's name on the application. She operated one of the most successful nursing homes on Long Island, invented and patented a unique walker, became an airplane pilot, and so much more.

Santmann chronicles her journey in her newly published memoir, "Life in Babylon".

Theresa Santmann is a health care advocate, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is also a pioneer, innovator, and a woman whose determination led to a life of remarkable accomplishments. In 2008, Theresa wrote her first book, "In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel"

"Life in Babylon: A Memoir of Joy and Anguish"
By Theresa M. Santmann
iUniverse, Inc
Published 8/29/2014
ISBN-13: 9781491742518
Pages: 260
Price: $19.95

No. 13

"Curse of the King"

by Omari Pye

"Curse of the King" by Omari Pye
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Will Smith said it best, "parents just don't understand" and while "Ginger Snaps" used werewolves as a metaphor for adolescence it stuck too close to traditional werewolf mythology.

Author Omari Pye rolls these themes together with a twist in his new novel, "Curse of the King." A traditional werewolf is created when someone is randomly attacked and they only transition into beast form during specific times. Pye shifts his monsters' curse into a hereditary trait that could come out at any time, transforming his characters into Werelions.

"We have all inherited something from our parents that we wish we hadn't," Pye said. "The curse in this book is a metaphor for the strain between parent and child, while examining the importance of the choices we make."

Lions traditionally have a very aggressive relationship between fathers and sons while living in large family units. Between the pride and power of these creatures they act as a natural metaphor for the characters of the novel.

"Curse of the King" takes nature vs. nurture and pits it against classic mythology in a modern society.

It is 1655, and King Dahon of the South African Hiandi tribe is a powerful leader with one flaw: an insatiable lust for power. Obsessed with his hunger for control, Dahon has been wiping out entire civilizations for years. Now, as he begins sacrificing his own people in order to appease his animal gods, the curse of an old woman changes his family's destiny for generations to come. As Dahon is cursed, his mind and body both transformed into a creature called a Vandara, he pays a million times for the lives he has destroyed. Worse, his sons are cursed as well, guided by an instinct to kill the king and carry on the curse. The Vandara kings would rule for centuries. Read more at iUniverse

Omari Pye has been writing since he was in high school in various capacities. He holds a bachelor's degree in management, is an electrician by trade and currently serves in the U.S. Air Force.

"Curse of the King"
by Omari Pye
Publisher iUniverse
Published 9/17/2013
ISBN: 978-1-49170-221-5
140 pages
Hardcover $22
Softcover $12

No. 14

"The Soho Don"

by Michael Connor

"The Soho Don" by Michael Connor
United Kingdom -- From before WWII through to the 1960s there was a dark and unstoppable crime underworld that ruled the city with whatever violence it required. Everyone knows the names of the usual suspects; From Darby Sabini and Jack Spot to the Kray twins, Ronnie Knight and the Richardsons -- but few have heard too much about Billy Howard - the powerbroker, the settlor of grievances, the man with the respect and obedience of the London criminal fraternity -- The Soho Don. Ironically, in view of his influence and disregard for the law, Howard was an incredibly private man. For the first time as an ebook - his definitive life story is extending its reach to a wider audience 'The Soho Don' by Michael Connor is aptly titled and makes for a stunning read.

Synopsis: The Soho Don is the story of a shy south London boy from a respectable family who became a shadowy, but powerful figure in the Soho, Mayfair and Brighton underworlds. Smartly dressed and well spoken, Billy Howard dominated the London crime scene for 30 years, a reign punctuated only by short stays in prison. The Krays said he feared no one and that Howard was the one man they truly respected. Unlike many of the notorious figures that emerged from this era he was in many ways a loner, preferring to control his own operations and eschewing the leadership of a gang. In contrast to the Krays, he did not court publicity but on the occasions his name did hit the headlines, it was often with the tag 'Laughing Boy'. The Soho Don is a gripping account of Howard's violent life and it exposes the links between the vicious gangland bosses, the police, and the celebrity hothouses of Mayfair clubs, high-class prostitution and international gambling. It portrays his slide from power and, finally, his pathetic death in 1984.

"I can best describe this as a 'non-fiction novel", explains Connor. "Readers can explore Howard's criminal successes, defeats, love interests and strange charisma. His demise is also as fascinating as his life, which gets due attention in the book. But the focus isn't just on Howard himself. Being so heavily integrated into the London crime scene, readers will meet many other notorious figures of their generations. The period from the 1940s through to the 1960s was something of a revolution for crime in London, and I make some startling revelations about entertainment and establishment figures and their vices."

Michael Connor, also author of 'The Cleansing', is a freelance writer specialising in food, travel and crime issues. He is hotel-school trained and has spent lengthy periods in Africa (including Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone), China, Greece, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the Caribbean and the UK. He has researched and written a full page weekly feature for the Caterer and Hotelkeeper over a six year period, plus a variety of pieces for Now Magazine, GQ, Adrenalin, The Guardian, The Mirror and The News of the World. Michael Connor is a member of English PEN which promotes free speech, human rights and a greater understanding through literature.

No. 15

"You Are a Powerful Creator, My Little One"

by Monica Iglesias

"You Are a Powerful Creator, My Little One" by Monica Iglesias
SALT LAKE CITY -- Francesco is a typical child, until one day he learns that he possesses the power to create his own happiness. In her new children's book, "You Are a Powerful Creator, My Little One," by Monica Iglesias, young readers discover where positivity begins, and how Francesco is able to create it in his own life.

Inspired by actual events, Francesco's story teaches a universal message emphasizing that no matter what the readers' background is, they are in control of their own experience. By informing children how to take charge of their own destiny, Iglesias helps her audience take accountability for their future.

"Through a series of inquiring questions, the mother in this story facilitates her son to discover how to create what he wants through choice, intent, behavior, and evaluation," said Penelope Eicher, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "The child discovers how choice and accountability generates well- being."

In order to deliver her message accurately, Iglesias observed events that had happened within her family. By working with her own children, the author has created a book that readers of all ages can benefit from.

"Children love feeling empowered and making their own decisions," said Iglesias. "My desire is to empower children, youth and adults alike to consciously create a happy life for themselves, their families and positively influence the world around them. A waterfall begins with a single drop."

Monica Iglesias is a mother of four, a business owner, and a former high school teacher. She grew up in southern Utah, and has lived in Puerto Rico and France. The author currently lives in southern Utah with her husband and children.

"You Are a Powerful Creator, My Little One"
by Monica Iglesias
Balboa Press
Published 8/4/2014
ISBN 978-1-45251-587-8
28 Pages
Price $14
E-book $6

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