Submission Synopsis

Acquiring Elizabeth
by D. J. Herda

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75,000 Words


Author D. J. Herda

Author's Representative:
Faye M. Swetky
The Swetky Agency
2150 Balboa Way No. 29
St. George, Utah 84770

The Book in One Sentence:
The horrifying true-life tale of a young girl abducted from her home at knife-point in order to become the second wife of a delusional Mormon fanatic.

When 14-year-old Elizabeth Dove disappears from her comfortable upper-middle-class home in the middle of the night, her parents are frantic.  At first fearing the worst, they soon come to believe that forces other than kidnapping are involved.  When the missing girl’s uncle tells investigative reporter Jaime Wilson to back off the case, she soon realizes that Elizabeth is still alive and well ... but where ... and for how long?  And how on earth will she ever get her back?  Based on a true story of intrigue, crime, power, and corruption.


When fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Dove disappears from her bed one night in late spring, her Utah parents are frantic.  Local police launch an all-out campaign to locate the girl as they try to piece together what few clues are left behind.  They are baffling: a cut screen too small for human access, an eye-witness too young and too frightened to provide any meaningful information, and a mother in the habit of picking up vagrants and bringing them to her home to rehabilitate.


As the community mobilizes to locate the girl—or any sign of her abductor—Jaime Wilson, an investigative reporter for The Desseret News, interviews Richard, the uncle of the patriarchal Dove family.  Wilson leaves the interview with the distinct impression that Richard had been hiding something from her.  She begins an investigation into the man’s own leanings toward polygamy.  Her investigation takes her to a remote community of practicing polygamists and several frightening encounters with some of the communal leaders.  After receiving an anonymous threat warning her to back off the story, she returns to the news room to begin a laborious search of Salt Lake City’s polygamist underground. 


When she stumbles across a drifter who was excommunicated by the main body of the Church of Latter Day Saints, she sets out to find him.  After several close encounters, she receives a call from a friend who works at the city morgue: the drifter is dead.


Refusing to give up on her theory that Elizabeth was abducted to become the cornerstone of the drifter’s New Church of Holy Day Saints, she learns that the identity of the man in the morgue was actually not that of the drifter but of his brother.  She decides to go underground to locate the drifter—the beginning of a journey that takes her to the throbbing underbelly of Chicago, Sun Valley, and San Diego before finally bringing her back to Utah, where she returns to the polygamist community to come face-to-face with the drifter and his “two wives.” 


Barely escaping abduction, herself, she enlists the aid of a special undercover agent and close friend who helps her to set a trap for the drifter.  After being warned off the case by police-department officials, the two investigators finally manage to trap the cultist in an action-packed climax, when they recover Elizabeth, only to come face-to-face with Elizabeth's uncle and all of his maniacal political wrath.  The surprising climax is stunning in its sweeping dramatic scope.

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Author's Credits:

Novels and Single Titles (32)

Rings of Fire ("Rings" Series - Unpublished, Option Not Renewed)
Dark Winds of Pristina ("Rings" Series - In Progress)
Mistress of the Rings ("Rings" Series - In Progress)
Dial M (Mystery Novel - Pink Flamingo Press)
Bound for Carlotta
("Carlotta" Series - Unpublished)
Carlotta’s Return
("Carlotta" Series - In Progress)
The Death and Life of Hymie Stiehl
("Hymie Stiehl" Series - Unpublished)
Death Stalks Belize ("Hymie Stiehl" Series - In Progress)
Murder in the Court ("Hymie Stiehl" Series - In Progress)
The Winds of Kabul (Novel - Playboy Press)
Two Mules for McCandless (Detective Novel - In Progress)
California Dreamin’ (Literary Novel - In Progress)
The Other Road to Love (Non-Fiction - In Progress)
Chi-Town Blues (Short Story Collection - Unpublished)
Mister Chief Justice: Earl Warren ("Justices" Series - Nonfiction - In Progress)
And Justice for All: Thurgood Marshall ("Justices" Series - Nonfiction - In Progress)
The Afghan Rebels (Franklin Watts-Grolier)
The Cancer (Franklin Watts-Grolier)
Famous Outlaws of the Old West (Millbrook Press)
Land Use (Franklin Watts)
Energy Use (Franklin Watts)
Vegetables in a Pot (Simon & Schuster)
The Bicycle Book (Consumer Guide Press)
Dirt Bike Racing (Simon & Schuster)
The First Book of Roller Skating (Franklin Watts)
The Complete Book of Roller Skating (Consumer Guide Press)
The 1980 Photo Buying Guide (Consumer Guide Press)
The 1979 Photo Buying Guide (Consumer Guide Press)
Growing Trees Indoors (Nelson Hall)
Carpentry for Kids (Franklin Watts)
Native Plant Terrariums (Simon & Schuster)
Evonne Goolagong Free Spirit (Raintree)

Published Books in Series (47)

Landmark Supreme Court Cases Series (Enslow Publishers)
Roe v. Wade
v. Georgia
Dred Scott
v. Sanford
New York Times
v. United States
United States
v. Nixon
Regents of University of California
v. Bakke
v. Maryland
v. Madison
v. United States
v. Hardwick
v. Ferguson

Famous Supreme Court Justices Series (Enslow Publishers)
Thurgood Marshall
Earl Warren
Sandra Day O'Connor

Historical America Series (Millbrook Press)
6 Separate Regional Books in Series (NE, SE, NC, SC, NW, SW)

Ethnic America Series (Millbrook Press)
6 Separate Regional Books in Series (NE, SE, NC, SC, NW, SW)

Environmental America Series (Millbrook Press)
6 Separate Regional Books in Series (NE, SE, NC, SC, NW, SW)

Photography Series (Raintree Publishers)
Take a Look
Picture Perfect
Close Up
Through the Lens

Model Series (Franklin Watts)
Model Railroads
Model Cars
Model Boats

Holiday Series (Franklin Watts)

Microcomputer Series (Franklin Watts)
Microcomputer Peripherals
Microcomputer Maintenance

Satellite Series (Franklin Watts)
Operation Rescue--Rescue Satellites in Action
Communication Satellites
Research Satellites

Published Magazine Articles and Short Stories (400-Plus)

Published in Parade, True, Ski, Consumer Guide, Conde Nast, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Northshore, Chicago/FM Guide, Detroit Monthly, Miami Southwest Florida, Milwaukee Magazine, Denver Magazine, San Antonio Monthly, Mpls/St. Paul, Twin Cities Magazine, San Diego Magazine, Rockford Magazine, Utah Holiday, Holiday/Travel Magazine, Catholic Digest, The Elks Magazine, VFW Magazine, The Lions Magazine, Computers and Electronics, Outside, Success Unlimited, Cross Country Skier, Organic Gardening, The Writer, Writer's Digest, Writer's Annual, etc.

Published Newspaper Articles and Short Stories (4,000-Plus)

Published in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Oakland Tribune, The San Diego Union, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Milwaukee Journal, The Milwaukee Sentinel, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Times-Herald, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Star, The Toledo Blade, The  Houston Post, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, The Arizona Daily Star, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Orlando Sentinel, San Antonio News-Express, etc.

Published Newspaper Columns (260,000-Plus)

Former author of several nationally and internationally syndicated columns, including "In Focus," "Photographically Speaking," "Skiing Today," "Traveling Today," "Travelers' Cove," and "Traveling Photographer," appearing in as many as 1,100 newspapers and reaching more than 20 million readers weekly.


Former writer, director, producer of nationally syndicated weekly television spot, Skiing Today.


Writer, director, producer of two consumer videotapes on photography.


Exhibits in the Russell Rotunda, Dirksen Senate Building, U. S. Capitol Bldg., Washington, D.C.; Nikon Galleries, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY; Graff Fine Arts Center, St. George, Utah; and in galleries and collections throughout the U.S.   More than 50,000 photos published in most major magazines and newspapers.

Book Production

Designer, producer, and co-publisher of the award-winning 18-book children's series, "The American Scene," examining key issues affecting Americans and their country.


Reporter, The Southtown Economist, Chicago; Articles Editor, The Elks Magazine, Chicago, producing an award-winning monthly publication for the B.P.O.E.; Managing Editor, The Madison News, Madison, Wisconsin; Book Editor, The Raintree Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Wrote and directed The Trouble with Pirates, Chicago, 1969; wrote for production The English Carpheads, Muse Theatre in the Flats, Cleveland, 1972.

Art Pieces

Award-winning creator of paintings, sculptures, pottery, and miscellaneous art pieces in galleries, shops, and private collections throughout the country.   Represented worldwide by Galleria Eros Artists Lounge.

Web Sites

Former Editor-in-Chief and exclusive provider of travel content for several high-end web sites, including Traveler’s Cove, Galleria Eros Writer's Lounge, and Galleria Eros Artist's Lounge, with combined visitor hits of more than 20,000 monthly.


Former ghost writer for Ronnie Schell, Lawrence Welk, and Art Linkletter, etc.  Former ghost writer/photographer for Sammy Davis Jr.  Scriptwriter for educational and consumer cable television, in-flight airline, etc.

List Any Pre-Publication Sales:
Galleria Eros Writer's Lounge wants 1,500 copies for its members.  The American Society of Authors and Writers wants 1,000 copies for re-sale.  The author wants 250 copies initially for promotion.

Explain How Author Will Help in Marketing This Book:
I have a public relations agency under contract to represent me, and I would want them to work in conjunction with the publisher's marketing department on various promotional/marketing plans.  I am an excellent on-screen talent and very good at interviews, as well as proficient at book signings, etc.  Associations: I am President of the American Society of Authors and Writers (, a member of the Author's Guild, etc., and a former member of the National Press Club and ASJA and can get excellent coverage via them.  I also run a BDSM Forum with several thousand members and have connections with others and memberships totaling several hundred thousand.  Newspapers: I have associations with several hundred of the largest daily newspaper editors in North America, as well as numerous additional writers/readers/reviewers groups with which I'm associated.  Magazines & Trade Publications: I work with editors of over 400 entertainment magazines and trade publications, such as American Cinematographer, Daily Variety, TV Guide, Time Out New York, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, Soap Opera Digest, The New Yorker, Movie Line, Media Week, Editor & Publisher, Boston Book Review, and Writer's DigestRadio: I have connections at more than 650 radio stations and programs, including ABC Radio Network, USA Radio Network, Spotlight on the Arts, Inside the Movies, Heart of Hollywood, E! Entertainment Radio, and Book Talk.  Television: I periodically consult with more than 350 television networks, stations and programs, including NBC Television Network, Access Hollywood, CNN showbiz Today, E! News Daily, Entertainment Tonight, and Fox on Entertainment.  News Wires, Syndicates & Databases: I have access to direct delivery to newswires and syndicates such as AP, Reuters, UPI, BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL service, Dow Jones, New York Times Syndicate; and research databases, including Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, Dialog, Hoover's, Standard & Poor's, and Edgar Online.

List Any Prominent Persons Willing To Endorse This Book:
Several producers/directors who have already expressed an interest in acquiring an option on this project plus North American Features Syndicated editor-in-chief Don Bacue, Chicago Tribune book reviewer.

Explain How This Book Lends Itself to Movie and/or Television Rights' Sales:
It was written visually, with strong character and scene elements and naturally occurring dramatic breaks.  Its dialogue is hip, pointed, quirky, and humorous, and the scenes contain good descriptive passages for visualization purposes.  Several producers have expressed interest in seeing the book. 

Author's Qualifications for Writing This Book:
Herda is one of the best and most prolific writers working today.  His own independent investigation into the Elizabeth Smart case brought him to the conclusion that the young girl was taken "with some knowledge and acquiescence" to become a polygamist's wife--a mere 12 hours after the girl's announced "kidnapping"!  Herda has written on the case and is one of the most knowledgeable people around on the subject of communal polygamists and delusional criminal personalities.

NOTE: All material is copyright protected.  No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically,  mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author.  All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers.  Copyright 2006 by The Swetky Agency