Wicca: The Goodreads Giveaway

The Goodreads Giveaway is almost here. Join the giveaway to win goodies and a signed copy of Wicca: The Witches Of New York. Starts May 1st 2017

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wicca by W.H.  Benjamin


by W.H. Benjamin

Giveaway ends July 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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A New York Fantasy

New York, new book, new heroine. As 2017 unfolds, I plan to return to the blogosphere. For my first trick, like any good magician, I will unveil the book cover for my new release – “Wicca: The Witches of New York.” It is a fun Young Adult fantasy set in the city where dreams are made. See below for the cover fresh off the printing, well electronic, press:


Walking in Ghana: The Monument

The Monument 


Not long ago, I took a walk through the old town in Sekondi; a place once called the European Town because  all the European Banks were located there, like, Barclays Bank and the Bank of British West Africa known today as Standard Bank. I was informed as I walked that the European bank managers used to live on top of the banks. My guide, pointed out buildings and explained that directly across from the Barclays Bank was the old police station and to the left of the police station was the Dutch trading Post; Fort Orange, built in 1640.  He explained that the area is now owned by the Ghana Navy which is based in the Harbour. We walked past the old Post office and there we found the Monument. We spoke to the ladies trading there selling Oranges and other goods and they cleared a small space to allow us to see; to have a full view of the Monument which provided brief details about a gentleman named “Kenneth Maclean.”
We agreed then, the two of us, that this man for whom a monument was erected must have done something very good for the society of Dutch Sekondi to commemorate his achievements in this manner. The question is who is this man “Kenneth Maclean” we did could not find any information about him. Sekondi is now run by the natives of the area as such the history has been lost and we would like to find out more about him. So, in writing this article, we are appealing to anyone who may know about the monument and the man for whom it was built, to anyone from the Commonwealth and the larger community as Ghana has been home to English men, Irish and Scots men as well as Indian and Chinese men. Any family member who knows the history of Kenneth Maclean or a person with a similar name who has any connection with him is invited to provide more information about the man for the whom the monument was created and to help piece together the historical puzzle.
Apart from unearthing and/or adding to the local history, our larger intention is to improve the area and turn the area surrounding the monument into a small garden with benches and flowers to preserve the piece of history it represents and to help others remember the good deeds of Kenneth Maclean. 

S̶o̶n̶g̶s̶ ̶A̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶J̶a̶n̶e̶- Facts About Songs


For as long as I can remember I have always loved Maroon 5. Hearing Adam Levine croon She Will Be Loved was a game changer in my teenage life – music wise.

Maroon 5 are hands down my favourite band, they sit in a trophy case, on a pedestal, in my iPod, with the likes of Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Whitney, Coldplay, Fallout Boy, N Sync and yes I said it: Notorious B.I.G. However, I have never been able to figure out the storyline behind the music video for She Will Be Loved. If, like me, you need to figure out and have a reason for everything you watch and you have some spare time on your hands then mosey on down to Songfacts.com. It was on this website that I found a string of theories on what’s going on in this video.

On Songfacts.com you can find people analysing song lyrics and video story lines for fun. Some times, when you just want to know “why did that happen,” in a music video, Songfacts.com will have an answer.

Now, while we’re on the topic of Maroon 5, I will add my own little fact; thanks to Google. Jane for whom Maroon 5’s album Songs About Jane is named is a real person. She is a former editor of Vogue and Maroon 5’s greatest muse; so cool. Adam Levine wrote the lyrics to his album whilst working on the show ‘Judging Amy,’ as a writer’s assistant.

Verdict: Songfacts.com is an amusing way to spend a few minutes when you have a theory about a song and you need to share it.

PS. I think we all need to thank the album’s muse and the band (round of applause) for showing us that break ups can be lucrative and serve a purpose other than heartbreak, thank you Jane.

Other fun facts

Fairy Tale in New York, Paris (Around The World)


Air B’n’B – Apartment in Rome

If I were going to write a fairy tale for travellers it would start like this:

“Once upon a time, in Silicon Valley, two clever men designed an app and a website that allowed travellers to cut the costs of their holidays and stretch that dollar, pound or yen much, much farther than the big hotels would allow.”

If you haven’t heard of the phenomenon yet, let me introduce you to Air B’n’B. Air B’n’B allows ordinary people to rent out their spare rooms and whole empty apartments in a number of locations, Paris, New York, Palo Alto ; ) and advertise these spare rooms to, potentially, millions of travellers.

That means if you’re travelling on a budget or you want to live like a king, queen or a local you can save money on a hotel and stay in a very nice apartment. It also means that if you have a spare room and need extra money you can potentially make hundreds of pounds/dollars from it. One man in Las Vegas claims to have made $13,000 dollars of profit on renting out his condo.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, I will say this I haven’t tried Air B’n’B personally so I can’t in good conscience recommend its services. However, I would say if you want to travel somewhere and save money have a look at the places on offer, read the reviews and assess the risk for yourselves.

Air B’n’B has faced some controversy in New York because the regulators there have taken the stance that it acts as a sort of illegal hotel. This has not been proven in court, as far as I know, and to date it appears to be a legitimate operation and a great idea.

Before you pack your suitcase lets talk about the potential risk.

The Risk:
1. One apartment owner reportedly had their apartment trashed. However, hotel rooms also get trashed.

2. Similar sites, have unearthed the risk to personal safety. For instance, the free Couch Surfing website was in the news a while back because one of the hosts offering a room for a couch surfer/ traveller from Hong Kong attacked and sexually assaulted the traveller.

Verdict: With Air B’n’B you can rent a beautifully designed apartment in a number of locations for a reasonable price.

Air B’n’B is a great idea for travellers but always research where you are going and take into consideration any potential risk to your personal safety. After all criminals are everywhere but so are good people. Travel safely.

Check it out:

The Hunter Gatherer (of words)


If, like me, you think that you don’t like poetry because its confusing and often a mish mash of words flung together but you would like to like poetry. Then I recommend Poemhunter.com. The Top 100 list of poems on Poemhunter.com manages to overcome the fleeting faith that the modern person has in the usefulness of poetry and can inspire anyone by giving them a new love of words.

To start you off I suggest:

– Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”
– Rudyard Kipling’s “If”
– Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee”

Now I like my poems short and sweet. When poems are longer I prefer them to include beautiful expressions like this extract from the “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake:

“To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.…”

Poem: Auguries of Innocence
By William Blake

Verdict: Reading Poem Hunter’s top 100 poems is a great way to fill a journey or time between work at work. It is also a nice introduction to the work of some of the greatest poets in history.

Poem links:
Annabel Lee – http://m.poemhunter.com/poem/annabel-lee/

If – http://m.poemhunter.com/poem/if/

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – http://m.poemhunter.com/poem/i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings/

Zeus Would Be Proud

Olympus Has Fallen…but Mr Butler has the situation under control


Just when I thought that Ancient Greek Mythology couldn’t get any cooler, someone went ahead and proved me wrong. Okay, strictly speaking The Hollywood Blockbuster ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ isn’t about Mythology; it’s no Percy Jackson sequel, but the scriptwriter’s delicious use of code words with a mythological theme is part of the fun in this movie. Wait until you see the Hydra.

I haven’t been this impressed with a film since Bruce Willis fought a bunch of crazy terrorists bare foot in Die Hard.

If you’re looking for an action film that keeps you on the edge of your seat you need to see ‘Olympus Has Fallen.’ There’s a solid plot line and lots of action and suspense to boot. This film is all about a secret service agent’s mission to rescue the President when the White House comes under attack. The fate of the country rests in Gerard Butler’s hands and he handles it all with ease and a look that says “if you look at me or the President the wrong way I will slap you back to Hades.”

Verdict: ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is a great film that would make Zeus and John McClane proud. It should have been a ‘Die Hard’ sequel.

Pitch Perfect: The University of Virginia Hullabahoos


I used to think of a capella singing groups as Barber Shop Quartets in red blazers who started every song by playing a harmonica. Then I watched Pitch Perfect and discovered that a capella performances have evolved.

Pitch Perfect is an entertaining film about a rag tag bunch of misfits that join an a capella group and compete against rival groups at their college and other colleges in order to try and win a national competition.

The cast of Pitch Perfect and the real life group The University of Virginia (“UVA “)Hullabahoos have introduced me to a world of fast beats and pop songs made up of a harmony of voices and beat box. Imagine a church choir that has the Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a Choirmaster.

If you watch Pitch Perfect keep your eye out for a Cameo appearance by the real life a capella singing competition Champions ‘The UVA Hullabahoos.’

I discovered this amazing group by accident. After watching the film, I was scouring the Internet trying to find out which novel Pitch Perfect was based on and discovered the film was based on a non-fiction book, of the same name, by Mickey Rapkin. The book is about real life college a cappella singing groups. There is a plethora of YouTube videos showcasing these groups.

I like the college a capella singing groups in general because they’re made up of people that focus on their education but who have also made time to recognise and develop their other talents.

Needless to say, I’ve watched a few YouTube videos of the Hullabahoos performing in their many incarnations and I’m impressed. The Hullabahoos have performed at The White House, appeared in a major television show and a Hollywood film.

This group is cool they have their own unique take on the Barber Shop style uniform which really reminds me of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode when Will Smith goes to school and turns his school blazer inside out because the pattern on the inside of the blazer is more funky (photo above). This is exactly what the Hullabahoos do with songs they remix it for their voices and they bring a fresh take to overplayed well worn hit songs. Quite frankly, I find the Hullabahoos cover of Maroon Five’s song ‘One More Night’ more catchy than the original song.

Every Soloist/ lead singer of The Hullabahoos brings a different flavour and overall they work really well as a unit.

Verdict: The UVA Hullabahoos are a unique singing group that bring new life to any song they touch. Check this out: http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plpp&v=84_Hl_w1Q6k


Treasure Hunt

Okay, so I’ve discovered a really interesting blog, apart from my own. It is called “Things I Find in The Garbage”, I know you’re thinking eeewwww really. At first, I was like that is gross….ick dumpster diving, sounds dirty among other things. But, it’s not like that, it’s actually really interesting and encourages recycling. I respect the resource and energy efficiency and the unique perspective of this blog.

What is it about? This person goes around Montreal looking for items that have been thrown out by their owners, for example, gold jewellery, antique furniture, books and record collections. Sometimes the garbage is sold to other people who are on the lookout for such items on the Internet and at yard sales. One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure. This is a really good way to make money, one that is currently used by many charity shops, “vintage shops”, car boot sales, eBay, antique shops and Art Auctioneers.

When I think about it logically it really isn’t so disgusting, it’s more like treasure hunting. I have to say I am curious to find out what else the blogger will find in the Garbage. If I’m being honest the curiosity stems from a childhood fondness for Sesame Street. I’m really hoping that the mastermind behind this blog is Oscar the Grouch and he’s the one who’s actually pulling the strings. If not, it is at least one very interesting blog that’s easy to read. In addition, you may have just stumbled across the person most likely to discover the legendary Maltese Falcon or the very real, gold and diamond statue, the Maltese Eagle which has an estimated value of 6 million dollars.

Verdict: For an eyebrow raising read I recommend Things I Find in The Garbage


Shakespeare in Vogue

So, the upcoming release of the new Romeo and Juliet got me thinking. Can you really top Baz Luhrmann’s homage to the star crossed lovers? The answer is no, well not aesthetically. The gun play, helicopters, car chases and young Leonardo Dicaprio are hard to beat. But when the subject matter is love and the words are as beautiful as this:

“Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night.”

Then, maybe, yes it’s possible to make a film that introduces an old play to a new audience. Whether the pacing, costumes and actions will appeal to the audience as being fresh and relevant remains to be seen.