Jana Bommersbach

has given thousands speeches over her career, on everything from her book on Winnie Ruth Judd to the problems of domestic violence, to politics to overcoming the problems of communicating.

She is direct, pithy, funny, engaging, entertaining and informative.


Jana’s definitive book on this 1931 murder case that riveted the nation—first published by Simon & Schuster and now reissued by Poisoned Pen Press—never fails to fascinate audiences. While history said Winnie Ruth Judd was a murderer and a butcher, Jana’s exhaustive investigation shows she was neither—that Arizona took 40 years of her life for a crime she didn’t commit. It appeals to anyone interested in crime, women’s rights, mystery, history, fairness, intrigue and justice. This is the book all of Arizona read in 2010 as it was awarded the state’s highest literary prize—selected as the ONEBOOKAZ by the State Library. Jana traveled throughout Arizona in the spring, making 33 presentations to nearly 2,000 people in libraries and bookstores. Murder and mystery don’t get more compelling than this story.


From Wyatt Earp to a modern day Calamity Jane, this wicked and wild romp through Arizona’s colorful history will delight, inform, tickle and leave them wanting more! Jana borrows from both her work for True West Magazine (covering the Old West) and her work for Phoenix Magazine (writing about contemporary Arizona) to put the 48th state in perspective. You’ll learn why this small state has had an inordinate influence on American politics; how it captured the nation’s first and its largest public works projects; how the state once tried to pass a “dildo bill”; and the inside scoop on Geronimo. This speech is a perfect introduction to Arizona.


If you think the political scene today is nasty, wait till you hear Jana romp through a couple hundred years of grimy American politics!


For a century, western history labeled “Cattle Kate” a rustler and a whore. Nobody shed a tear that she was strung up in Wyoming Territory in 1889—the only woman ever lynched in the nation as a cattle rustler. It was, after all, “range land justice!” But history was wrong. She wasn’t a rustler. She wasn’t a whore. And she’d never been called Cattle Kate until she was dead and they needed an excuse. Jana’s first historical novel lets the real woman—Ella Watson—tell her own story. It’s the story of a 29 year-old homesteader and wanna be American citizen who got in the way of powerful cattle interests. The story of a bold, courageous, “uppity” woman who dared go West by herself to build a new life. The story of a moment in time in western history when the world was changing. This spellbinding story is both shocking and inspiring.


Although history tries to tell us ONLY the men settled the Old West, that bit of ridiculous nonsense is shattered by Jana’s verbal tour through some of the amazing women who made all the difference. Any woman who came West in the 1800s had to be full of grit and spit to survive–and Jana has collected the stories of dozens of women who prove it. How about Donaldina Cameron, who saved 3,000 Chinese slave girls in San Francisco; or Sacagawea, America’s first female explorer who twice saved the Lewis and Clark Expedition; or Lozen, an Apache medicine woman who fought for her people alongside Gernonimo; or Biddy Mason, a former slave who gained her freedom in a landmark case and became a California leader; or Pearl Hart, the West’s last stagecoach bandid who was a hoot, humiliating the men who tried to incarcerate her; or Luisa Ronstadt Espinel, Linda Ronstadt’s great-aunt who toured the world as an artistic interpreter of Spanish Culture; or Vera McGinnia, a rodeo pioneer who became an international star.You’ll never think of the Old West the same again!


Jana’s journalistic experience covers the entire range, from print to broadcast journalism. She’s watched the profession change and evolve and provides insights into a journalist’s mind and what’s wrong with the profession today.


“Did you really mean to say that?” Jana spotlights communication problems in a funny, yet valuable lesson in saying what you really mean.


Jana discusses her 2008 book for St. Martin’s Press on the recent murder and secret desert burial of Loretta Bowersock, a beautiful and accomplished businesswoman whose death sounds alarms about “elder abuse”–the fastest growing segment of domestic violence in the nation. This is a heartbreaking story, as her famous daughter (then a major businesswoman in Arizona) searched in vain for 13 months to find her mother’s buried body. As Jana says, “My dream is that women suffering from elder abuse—whether physical, mental or sexual—will recognize themselves in Loretta and walk out the door. After a lifetime of abuse, you can’t confront your abuser and hope to win—if only Loretta had realized that.”