Friday, March 19, 2010

Guest Blogger, Cilla McCain

Today I’d like to introduce author Cilla McCain as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress.

Cilla is currently promoting her true crime military book, “Murder in Baker Company: How Four American Soldiers Killed One Of Their Own” during her first blog tour with Pump Up Your Book.

Here’s a brief blurb about the book:

Murder in Baker Company begins as a journey to uncover the truth about what happened to Army Specialist Richard Davis. By using court transcripts, personal interviews, and police records, Cilla McCain unfolds the events of the case and soon reveals a disturbing, eye-opening look into today’s military that goes beyond the Davis case and that affects all troops and their families.

Soldiers are handed antipsychotic drugs and sent into battle. Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is stigmatized. Gang members carry their affiliation from the streets to the barracks. And many of our soldiers are forced to face down two separate enemies, one in the same uniform they wear. By the end of the book the reader will learn the devastating truth about the injustice and disrespect our military families are forced to endure when their soldier dies a non-combat death.

Cilla joins us today to talk about “touching a nerve” in writing her book.

I get asked a lot about the potential backlash I've experienced with the release of my book “Murder In Baker Company: How Four American Soldiers Killed One Of Their Own.” The truth is, that for the most part there has not been any. I did read about one blogger who suggested my book be burned. He also wrote that he had not read the book. Can you imagine that in this day and age there are still people who would actually suggest burning a book? And in America of all places?

I didn't let it get me down though. This is an important story, so I keep forging ahead. I also participated in the 2010 Savannah Book Festival. This was interesting. I love Savannah. But on this particular weekend it was rainy and cold. Nevertheless, I sat outside, bundled up in the exhibitors tent with the wind constantly blowing over my display, trying my best to smile and engage potential readers. Luckily, despite the dreary weather, thousands of people turned out for the event. Savannah loves its literature!

I quickly learned how to recognize the type of reader a person was by the expression on their face when they looked at the cover of Murder In Baker Company. Older veterans had a look of knowing on their faces. They would look at the book, nod a little, look back up at me and then walk on. It was obviously a familiar subject to them.

The mother's and grandmother's of soldiers currently serving, always approached the book with a fearful look on their faces. One sweet lady said “I want to, but I just can't.” She looked like she might cry.

Young soldiers walking by with their wives or girlfriends, sped up their pace to avoid looking. One poor young soldier had to drag his lady away. She kept saying “Don't you want to see this one honey?”

But they all had one thing in common: the topic touched a nerve. It's as if they all know these issues exist, but they can't believe that I had it sitting there for the whole world to see.

The festival turned out to be a positive experience. When I returned home from Savannah, my email inbox was flooded with people who had attended the festival and couldn't get the book out of their mind. They ended up ordering it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Like I said, this is an important story because it has or will in some way touch all of our lives. Keep this in mind: our soldier's defend our freedoms every single day. But they can't always defend their own, so that's our job. We people at home safe and sound, we are the ones, we have to educate ourselves about their struggles in order to help them in the ways that matter the most.

Please visit for more information.

Cilla, thank you for guest blogging here today. I know this is a topic of great interest and a difficult one at the same time.

 Here’s an excerpt from the book: 
“In November 2003, a letter typed on Fort Benning stationery and signed “Men of Baker Company” was mailed to members of the local media and legal communities of nearby Columbus, Georgia. In the letter, these unknown soldiers, just back from America’s march through Baghdad, pleaded for help. They complained of war atrocities committed by commanders, and of mental health problems that were being ignored by the U.S. Army.

Told by their superior officers to keep these matters quiet because a leak would be embarrassing, the soldiers had to be secretive in their attempts to let people know the hell they were enduring. Along with the letter, anonymous tips were phoned in to local newspaper reporters asking them to investigate these issues. In the letter, their desperation is obvious and heart-wrenching. These young men, who put their lives on the line in service of their country, were now begging total strangers to come to their aid.”


  1. Mason - Thank you for hosting Cilla.

    Cilla, thank you for sharing Murder in Baker Company with us. I respect your willingness to tackle a controversial topic, and I think true crime stories can be compelling. I wish you the best with this book.

  2. It does sound like an important book and I'm sure cases like this happen often. I do like true crime stories.


  3. It does take a special something to tackle a subject like this - one that people know about, but pretend it just doesn't exist.

    Maybe someday, the book will find its way to an Indian bookstore, and I will read it.

  4. Burn the book? And he hadn't even read it? Don't you love people who criticize something they know nothing about?

  5. Cilia, good luck with your book. It sounds very eye-opening, as true crime stories usually are!

  6. Good morning everyone, thanks for stopping by. I think Cilla's book is one that needs to be written, but is hard for some people to be able to read. And I can't image in today's world someone wanting to burn a book that they've never read.

    Cilla, thanks for stopping by and sharing this book with us. Wishing you much success with it.

  7. It sounds like a difficult book to read and a difficult one to research and write.

    I can't believe someone would actually burn a book, but there's a lot of anger in today's world....

    Straight From Hel

  8. Wow - this is an important topic. Many people don't understand the difficulties of being in the military - I've had a few students involved who've come back to talk aobut it - but that's only a glimpse. There's so much more going on than meets the eye.

  9. Cilla, I commend you for taking on such a strong and emotional topic. It can't have been easy writing it, but most often in life, accomplishing anything truly worthwhile is not an easy task, though our efforts are worth it. Best wishes with your book.

  10. Cilla, I have a lot of respect for you for taking on a project like this. It takes a lot of bravery to write about a topic that stirs up such strong emotions in people.

  11. Love author and books that take on controversial subjects, and this sounds like a good one. Good going, Cilla, and thanks Mason, for this heads-up feature.

    Marvin D Wilson

  12. Cilla, I'm sure you had your own share of hard times during the research phase of this book. Kudos for seeing it through.

  13. I have a son in the army, so this book really touches a nerve. I will have to check it out.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.