Monday, September 29, 2014

M. Bridget Cook, author of The Witness Wore Red




Author Bio:
M. Bridget Cook-Burch is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author best known for her riveting tales of transformation. Her gift is her courage to bring light into the darkest places of humanity, and illuminating paths that awaken readers to their own magnificent journey. Her powerful work has been showcased on Oprah, CNN, Good Morning America, and in People among others. Co-author of best-selling Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter with Melissa G. Moore, and Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope with former neo-Nazi TJ Leyden, Bridget’s stories continue to rock readers around the world.

Bridget’s 2013 book The Witness Wore Red, tells the astonishing life story of a woman who escaped from Warren Jeffs and the insidious organized crime ring of the FLDS church; and who has become a powerful advocate for the dignity of victims of human trafficking worldwide.
In writing as in life, Bridget loves to refute stereotypes. After operating two transportation companies, she is now writing, speaking and training full-time as CEO of Inspired Legacy, LLC.  Bridget enjoys her four amazing children and more pets than her beloved husband can handle. An internationally sought-after speaker and activist, Bridget wows audiences on the subjects of radical transformation, conscious business, and how to leave the footprints of an inspired legacy.
www.MBridgetCook.com

Title: The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice
Author: Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook
ISBN: 978-1-4555-2783-0
Page count: 338
Genre: Memoir
Price: hard cover $26.00, soft cover $17.00, Kindle $9.99, Audible $19.95, Audio CD $30.00

Tell us about your book:
Rebecca Musser grew up in fear, concealing her family's polygamous lifestyle from the "dangerous" outside world. Covered head-to-toe in strict, modest clothing, she received a rigorous education at Alta Academy, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' school headed by Warren Jeffs. Always seeking to be an obedient Priesthood girl, in her teens she became the nineteenth wife of her people's prophet: 85-year-old Rulon Jeffs, Warren's father. Finally sickened by the abuse she suffered and saw around her, she pulled off a daring escape and sought to build a new life and family.

The church, however, had a way of pulling her back in-and by 2007, Rebecca had no choice but to take the witness stand against the new prophet of the FLDS in order to protect her little sisters and other young girls from being forced to marry at shockingly young ages. The following year, Rebecca and the rest of the world watched as a team of Texas Rangers raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a stronghold of the FLDS. Rebecca's subsequent testimony would reveal the horrific secrets taking place behind closed doors of the temple, sending their leaders to prison for years, and Warren Jeffs for life.

THE WITNESS WORE RED is a gripping account of one woman's struggle to escape the perverse embrace of religious fanaticism and sexual slavery, and a courageous story of hope and transformation.

How long did it take to write the book?
Usually it takes me about a year to write a book, but this one was still taking place as I was conducting interviews.  It took over 2 ½ years.

What inspired you to write the book?
Just talking with Rebecca Musser over the phone, I knew she was a woman of great integrity, and almost unfathomable courage.  To do what was right and stand up against an entire population of family and people to protect young girls was unthinkable in that culture.  And yet she did it.  Her courage, tenacity, sass, and foresight is truly amazing.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
We were two single moms at the time, and it took a lot for us to be able to get together.  She was attempting to support her two little ones, I was supporting three (a bit older, but mostly still at home) and we had to do most of the interviewing and eventually the writing in the wee hours of the morning, before our kids stirred, and even as we were getting them off to school before work, etc.  So for many, many months in a row, we talked from 4:30am until 7:30am.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
The power of just one person to change the world.  The power of courage, of love, and of Genshai.

Excerpt from book:
“Please,” I begged, tears in my eyes, “Please do not do this to me.” Warren knew—he knew I struggled with marital relations! And still he was forcing me.
Suddenly the fire that I was known for welled up inside of me, and I could not stop it. My head pounded with the heat.
“I will not say ‘yes’ to something I don't agree with, Warren.”
“You'll be blessed if you do,” he said flippantly, shrugging. Then he turned to look at some papers on the side of his desk as if he had become bored by the discussion.
“I’ve heard that before!” I snapped, my tone insinuating many things. I couldn’t believe my audacity, but there it was before me. My father and mother. Uncle Fred and my mother. My marriage to Rulon. Elissa’s situation. The list of supposed blessings went on and on and led only to heartbreak and denial.
Finally, Warren looked up.
“You know that this is what God and Father want,” he said.
“No, I do not. I do not know that this is what God and Father want for me.”
Warren’s eyes turned to steel, filled with cold malice.
“I-WILL-BREAK-YOU,” he said, with deliberate pronunciation on each word. “And I will train you to be a good wife. You have had too much freedom for too long, Becky. No matter who you marry, I will ALWAYS have jurisdiction over you.”
The reality of his words sank in. I was enslaved to Warren Jeffs, who had just claimed my life, my marriage, my body, and my soul. The buffer of Rulon gone, any rights had disappeared just as surely as if I were bound, hands and feet. I thought of all the times I had disobeyed Warren. He would show no mercy now.
When I rose to leave, he stopped me.
“I want to know where you are at all times, Mother Becky,” he declared. “I want to know who you are talking to. If I don’t know, do NOT go.”
 “Please, do not do this to me, Warren,” I beseeched one last time. “I'm begging you.” He looked up at me for a less than a second.
“You WILL be remarried. One week from today.”

Where can we go to buy your book?
Barnes & Noble, Hachette and Amazon, as well as Kindle and Audible

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
www.RebeccaMusser.com

Book Trailer Link:

M. Bridget Cook will be at the St. George Book Festival October 24-25, 2014. See all the events and sign-up at http://stgeorgebookfestival.org
 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Johnny Worthen, author of Eleanor, The Unseen Book 1



Author Bio:
JOHNNY WORTHEN grew up in the high desert snows and warm summer winds of the Wasatch Mountains. He graduated with a B.A. in English, minor in Classics and a Master's in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including years abroad and running his own bakery, Johnny found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do -- write. And write he does. Well versed in modern literary criticism and cultural studies, Johnny writes upmarket multi-genre fiction - thriller, horror, young adult, comedy and mystery so far. "I write what I like to read," he says. "That guarantees me at least one fan and a hectic job for my publicist."

When not pounding on his keyboard, attending conferences and conventions, Johnny Worthen can be found with his wife and two boys in Sandy, Utah.

Title: Eleanor, The Unseen Book 1
Author: Johnny Worthen
ISBN: 978-1939967343
Page count: 360
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Price: $14.99

Tell us about your book:
It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.

Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

How long did it take to write the book?
Not including pre-writing, life or editing, it took me 39 days to write Eleanor. It exploded onto the page.

What inspired you to write the book?
There’s an old Navajo legend about Skinwalkers – shape-shifters, that got my brain cells firing. I saw it as a metaphor of change in a radical form. That was the starting point, but over time it evolved into questions of trust and being, predator and prey, love and loss. Watching my own boys grow up, facing the pains and challenges of adolescence colored my perceptions.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I only work on one book at a time. Once I decide on a subject I pre-write for between 30 and 60 days, usually closer to 30. Then I write. I write every day. I write at least 1,666 words per day straight through until it’s done. Then I edit it. Only then do I even consider another project.
I tend to write best at coffee shops or late at night at home.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I’d like them to have enjoyed the book. I’d like them to have fallen in love with Eleanor the way I did, have an emotional connection to her struggles and losses, challenges and loves. I’d like them to see the humanity in a monster, and the monsters in humanity. It’s a pretty complex book, a Trojan horse of adult concepts and challenges hidden in a young adult narrative.

Excerpt from book:
It came on Eleanor instinctively; a muscle memory, a sudden recollection. Her throat tensed. Her vocal chords contorted . Her jaw jutted out. From her mouth came a sudden sharp bark before her teeth snapped in Barbara’s face.
The girls staggered back. Barbara tripped over her backpack and fell on her boney butt. The others stared slack-jawed and wide-eyed. The canine yap had silenced the chatter in the hall. Everyone searched for an animal loose in the school. Unbelieving eyes fell on Eleanor and then looked elsewhere.
She ducked her head and walked away. She took a deep breath and got a hold of herself. She relaxed, but her throat was too taut with adrenalin, and she dared not speak.
She walked to the office and scribbled a note claiming laryngitis and wanting to go home. After a call to Tabitha, Eleanor was checked out. She walked home crying. 

Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon :

Barnes & Noble


Any other links or info you'd like to share?

My Twitter @JohnnyWorthen: https://twitter.com/JohnnyWorthen
Eleanor’s home page: www.EleanorUnseen.com
Me on Facebook: fb.com/Johnnyworthenbooks

Johnny Worthen will be one of the Featured Guest Authors speaking at the 2014 St. George Book Festival. To learn more and see a full list of events, visit http://stgeorgebookfestival.org
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dan Willis, co-author of Lincoln’s Wizard

 

Author Bio:
Born in Washington DC and raised just east of there in Maryland, Dan grew up among the most practiced of storytellers, politicians.  Despite that, he decided to become a writer rather than a professional liar or grifter.  He moved west to Utah to attend college, studied writing.  Like everyone who studies writing, he had to find some way to make money and worked as a mechanic, a customer service rep, a programmer, a web designer, a software tester, and, occasionally, a copy writer.

Eventually, Dan’s writing caught they eye of Wizards of the Coast, and he began writing for their DragonLance: The New Adventures series.  Dan has self-published his own Steampunk western, The Flux Engine.  Most recently, Dan worked with NYT Bestselling author, Tracy Hickman on a new alternate history Civil War series, Dragons of the Confederacy.  The first book Lincoln’s Wizard is available from Wordfire press.

Title: Lincoln’s Wizard
Author: Tracy Hickman & Dan Willis
ISBN: (I don’t have this as the book is not yet released. Release date is in September.)
Page count: Around 250 pages (Format isn’t final at this point)
Genre: Steampunk
Price: Not yet set by publisher.

Tell us about your book:
Imagine the American Civil war only the south has dragons from Austria and an alchemical formula to bring dead soldiers back to fight again and the north has walking tanks and airships.  In an effort to break the stalemate the war has become, Allan Pinkerton sends unwitting pawn, Braxton Wright, south in an effort to free his secret weapon and super-spy Hattie Lawton from the infamous Castle Thunder prison.

How long did it take to write the book?
The “talking about the book” phase with Tracy took about a year.  Once we decided that we were, in fact, going to do the book, the writing took about four months.

What inspired you to write the book?
The Civil War is such a fascinating time in American History, especially from a technological standpoint.  It seemed like a natural place for some olde timey Science Fiction (aka Steampunk).  Heck, the Civil War had so many technological leaps just in reality from the Gatling gun to the repeating rifle to exploding mortars to ironclad ships.  It’s practically a Steampunk story by itself. 

I wanted to tell a story about an engineer who was drawn into the war by something he invented, a story with lots of intrigue, danger, and daring do.  Tracy had a story he wanted to tell about the indian wars where the South used dragons in the Civil War and how that came into play later.  We decided to put the two ideas together and it worked out great.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Well, when you’re dealing with an actual, historical event, you have to do your research, even if you’re going to heavily fictionalize it.  I had to read a mountain of histories about individuals, places, and battles of the war.  We really wanted the details to feel as real as possible.  At the same time, our made up tech and the more mystical elements had to feel like they existed in a real world and that the world reacted to their existence. 
When it came to people, we decided early not to shy away from showing important historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Alan Pinkerton.  One of the lead characters in the book is actually based on a real-life northern spy named Hattie Lawton.  She worked for Pinkerton and was instrumental in foiling the infamous Baltimore Plot to assassinate Lincoln on his way to be inaugurated.  The really interesting thing about this is that we felt safe to use her as a character in our book because she disappears from history after the war, so there weren’t any family to offend if they didn’t like our portrayal of her.

As for a writing routine, I’m an outliner.  Before I even start, I’ve got the whole book down in the outline.  Working with a partner meant that our outline was very detailed and we’d pass it back and forth making notes and sitting down to go over it until it was the way we wanted it.  Once that was done, I wrote the book. My writing process is to do a chapter a day, four days a week until I’m done.  Now things come up and I don’t always make my target, but I like having goals to keep me going.  Once the first draft was finished, I did an edit pass, then sent it to Tracy, who did an edit pass.  After that it went to the publisher for their edit.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I don’t write message fiction, so nothing heavy like that.  I want readers to be entertained.  I want them to fear for the hero, to exult at his triumphs and despair at his failures and, in the end, I want them to rejoice when good triumphs over evil.  I hope they feel sad for some of the bad guys, that they were on the wrong side, and I want them to sorrow for the brave souls who died along the way. 

I once had a very large man come up and slug me on the arm and curse me.  When I recovered myself enough to ask why he said, “I read your book and you made me cry at the end.”  It was the most sincere and wonderful compliment I’ve ever received.

Excerpt from book:
(“Where are they?” Colonel Jonathan Hendricks demanded, squinting through his spyglass across the dark, open field that separated his men from the Confederate lines. Hendricks had deployed his forces along a narrow line just west of Belle Prairie extending from the Ohio River on his left flank on the south to the low Appalachian range on his northern right. Across the field, he knew in his gut, the Rebel force gathered, setting up for their attack. Even with the moon up, the shadows of the trees by the shoreline and the mist off the river obscured any movement, but he knew they were out there. “Do you see anything?”
This last was directed at the Colonel’s adjutant, a young lieutenant with a mop of blond hair and a pockmarked face.
“I can’t see anything sir,” he responded in a voice that made him sound much too young. “Are you sure they’ll come tonight.”
“They’ll come,” Hendricks said. The rebs had been ferrying their Grays across the river all day, several thousand of them if his scouts were to be believed.
Grays... an abomination straight out of hell, Hendricks thought. Bad enough the South should deal in live slave trade but to then to enslave the dead was past the colonel’s comprehension. Grays had no fear, no hesitation at charging into the darkness. As soon as the rebel commander had his artillery in place, he’d attack. Hendricks knew that by the time he could see them, it would be too late to move his artillery. The Grays would sweep his lines, largely unhindered by cannon fire.  By the time he got his artillery in position, his forces would be in the press of battle.
Which, he grimaced into the darkness, was why he needed the Monitor.
He took another look through his spyglass and swore. “Where are they?”
“Sir!” the Lieutenant grabbed his shoulder as a blaze of light washed over the river bank to their left. “It’s a starlight shell. It’s them.”
“About time!” Hendricks took advantage of the temporary light bathing the landscape in front of him. His heart sank. Three artillery batteries were plainly visible across the field, one covering each flank and one in the center with ranks of Gray troops in the spaces between them, ready to march.
“Can you make out their colors, Lieutenant,” he said, straining to see across the mile that separated them. Each Gray unit had a rallying flag, indicating their unit.
“Antietam sir,” he responded. “And it looks like some Hampton Roads.”
“Get the war historian up here,” Hendricks ordered. “I want to know what we’re facing. And get Major Thompson, I want him to redeploy his guns immediately.”
The Lieutenant saluted but before he could turn the sounds of cannon fire echoed across the empty field. Hendricks turned back in time to see the rebel battery on the flank fire to the extreme left.  Almost immediately they were answered by a shot that struck a gun in the center of the battery, igniting its powder store and sending burning chunks of metal and wood in all directions.
“Sir, look,” the Lieutenant called.
Colonel Hendricks didn’t need his spyglass to see what happened next. Like a mythical titan of Greek mythology, the Monitor rose up above the line of trees at the riverbank, towering over the rebel forces. It had a round, barrel-like body supported by three metal legs that held it thirty feet in the air. A turret sat atop the body, looking for all the world like an infantryman’s kepi. Two forty-caliber Gatling guns emerged from slots in the front of the body and Hendricks could see one of them spitting fire as it tore into enemy flank.
He wanted to watch, but Hendricks couldn’t spare it any more attention, he had a battle to wage.)

Where can we go to buy your book?
The book will be available in ebook form from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, & Smashwords.  Physical books will be available from Amazon and Wordfire.com.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
My website is dansrealm.com.



Dan Willis will be one of the Featured Guest Authors speaking at the 2014 St. George Book Festival. To learn more and see a full list of events, visit http://stgeorgebookfestival.org