Sterling Lord Writers and Readers Festival

Thank you to our 2019 authors!

Meet the Authors

Stephen BraytonBrayton

Stephen L. Brayton is a Sifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association. Currently, he is an Assistant Graphic Designer for Gannett Image and Design Company and lives in Carlisle. He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project. In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper. During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy based story and a trilogy for a comic book. He is a current member of the Iowa chapter of Sisters in Crime.

His current publications include the Mallory Petersen mysteries of Alpha, Beta, and the forthcoming Deltaa; White Belt Weapons, a Mallory Petersen short story that is included in the Iowa’s Original Writers Anthology, The Christmas Visitor, a short story in The Light Won’t Go Out anthology, and Senior Year Soda in the Death of the Demon Machine anthology, and four short horror stories in the anthology Chills Down Your Spine. Find more information on Stephen at:,, Twitter: @SLBrayton, or Facebook:

AlexaAlexander J Dawsonnder J Dawson

poetry man - former depression artist - maybe, a sore thumb in a world of freshly manicured fingers - a failed musician (if playing and singing could accompany failure) - an old soul - a late bloomer - a stand up comic - a mental mosh pit - an eye opened to the limited sky.

Ned FryNed Fry

A first-time author in June 2019, Ned Fry's book tells some of the many stories of his race team and family from his over 60 years of racing. "Win, lose, or draw, we enjoyed a great deal of it. The stories tell the fun, the problems, the pain, the travel, and the places we raced. I would like to say that I would do it all over again - though there were also several nights I wish I would have stayed home."

Russ Fry

Russ Fry pic
Russ Fry, MA, is a historian in Burlington, Iowa. He has written 13 books and directed 10 documentaries on local history. He most recently has written three history and nostalgia books tailored for Burlington, Notre Dame, and West Burlington High Schools.

Margaret HonnoldHollond

Margaret-Maggie (Cutler) Honnold writes based on her life as a registered nurse, health educator, widow, mother of 2 grown children and 6 grandchildren, and a past Alzheimer’s caregiver. A graduate of Kankakee Community College Nursing Program, and Eastern Illinois University with a BS degree in Community Health Education, she has a combined 50 years of experience in both the hospital and community nursing settings, thus, having insight into life circumstances for all ages.

Her books consist of essays, poetry and hobby photography. The Cloisonné Heart: A Memoir of Love was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and Finalist in the 2018 International Book Fest Awards. It is the story of caring for her late husband who had Alzheimer’s and is filled with truth, tips, and encouragement for those walking that same path. Volume #2 The Song of the Lamb: A 40 Day Nourishment for the Grieving Heart will be out prior to Lent and volume 3# The Art of Continuing Anyway: Painting a Vibrant Old Age prior to Mother’s Day. She has several compilation books published and 2 more will debut on December 5, 2019—Heaven Sent and Kindness Crusader. 

After 43 years away from the area, Honnold now lives back in her hometown of Carthage, IL. with her beloved Basset Hounds, Huck and RozE and Bloodhound puppy DazE.  She serves as an Elder for her church, as a board member for both the Kibbe Historical Museum and Hearts of Hancock Humane Society. Find her on her FB author page Margaret-Maggie Honnold, Author, her web page or email at

Brice HughesBrice Hughes

Brice Hughes grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, then lived in Appalachia for almost 25 years, absorbing the unique language and culture of the region. He currently lives in southeast Iowa. His career path has included hospice social work, parish ministry, public health, and a stint as the owner of a specialty film processing business. Summer days find him as often as possible aboard his sailboat Pneuma, or working in his own or a community garden. Up from Sockless Road is his first novel. He has begun writing the sequel, and a book of devotional meditations is expected to be out soon. Brice Hughes has a writing style that has been described as "painterly," drawing details in words that make the story feel rich and lush. He has a real gift for narrative and dialogue; it's not hard at all to hear the character's voices, even for those who aren't from around those parts. He has a special gift for writing the slimy SOB characters in the story. His narrator's voice sounds authentic, accessible, and consistent; a voice a reader would want to lean in to. Junie Stafford, the protagonist, is a compelling heroine. Readers will want to stay with her and cheer her on, and will draw inspiration from her.  

Linda A. Gerdnelinda gerdnerr

Linda A. Gerdner PhD, RN, FAAN pioneered the development of individualized music for persons with dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease). She began this work in the early 1990s and has won national and international awards for her contributions. Her work has been the impetus for further testing by researchers and clinicians across the globe. She developed an evidence-based protocol for the use of music in this population, now in its 5th edition. Musical Memories incorporates basic principles of this protocol to empower Gabrielle in maintaining a relationship with her grandmother. Dr. Gerdner is also the primary author of the award-winning book, Grandfather’s Story Cloth, a bilingual book for Hmong-American children and their families. 

Mary Krohlow

Mary Krohlow

Mary Krohlow is a local historian and author. She turned a weekly newspaper feature into a book on the history of street names in Burlington. "Streets of Honor" is filled with interesting characters and fun facts for Burlington's past. 

J B MarsdenJB Marsden

JB “Joey” Marsden wrote her first short story at age ten, but, needing to make a living, spent most of her life writing academic tomes that no one enjoyed reading. Now having published four novels, she has realized her childhood dream. Joey lives on her family farm in Illinois with her wife. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, and classic movies. Even though she can be found most often basking in the quiet of rural living, she travels for work and fun both in the U.S. and abroad.

dennis maulsbyDennis Maulsby

Dennis Maulsby is a retired bank president and military veteran. A former Burlington resident, his poems and short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines and on National Public Radio. His book of war poetry, Near Death/Near Life, and a book of short stories, Free Fire Zone, both published by Prolific Press, won a gold medal award and a silver medal respectively from the Military Writers Society of America. His latest book, Winterset, was released in March of 2019 by NeoLeaf Press. His first novel, The House de Gracie, will be released by NeoLeaf Press in late 2019. See for more information.

Lynda MurrayLynda Murray

Lynda Murray is better known as The Dietitian Magician. She authored a newspaper column for 10 years that ran in several states. "I call myself an interior decorator of the edible kind," she says. When she isn't out slaying cholesterol she enjoys writing and baking. Her latest book contains her almost famous recipe for peanut butter popcorn. Other works include Missing Mousey and Keep the Skinny Kid Skinny cookbook. Murray lives in Burlington with four dogs, a cat, gecko, beaded dragon, and a tankful of fish. Luckily, she resides in a big Victorian home so there is room for her husband, Matt and two sons. Canine Caper is based on a true story with a portion of the proceeds going to the Des Moines County Animal Shelter. Murray enjoys the sport of triathlon and has a blackbelt in shopping.  

Betty Brandt PassickBetty Brandt Passick

Betty Brandt Passick is married and a grandmother, retired from a Fortune 500 Company, and spends her days with their bichon “Butters” at her side while writing books renowned for their infusions of earthy soul, faith-isms, and Midwestern values. In early 2016, she decided to research the “mystery man” who first came to her Iowa hometown around 1920. Locals believed he had links to Al Capone, but sixty years later no one still knew for sure. Through FBI and police reports, newspaper accounts and the embellished tales of those who knew the gangster best, she weaves this unique and sometimes wacky story. Gangster in our Midst is her third book and first historical mystery novel. Read more at

Rhonda Reif

Rhonda Reif's children's book, Serinah and the Butterfly,  is a motivational story written for both children and adults. This true story is about the power of believing in yourself and accomplishing anything you focus your mind on achieving.

Daniel Roberts

A graphic artist and cartoonist, Daniel Roberts’ artwork has appeared in Dan Roberts booksmagazines and publications as well as a continuing comic strip named Haley‛s Comment that appears in the newspaper “Toons”. He has also written and illustrated a number of children‛s picture books including the Harrison and his Dinosaur Robot series, The Dragon, the Princess and the Peanut Butter Sandwiches and There‛s a Cookie Stuck to my Nose, easy-reader chapter books including Boy and Dinosaur, The Two Witches and Douglas Diggly: Super Spy and the Pep Squad Mysteries series for young readers as well as four cartoon books.

Society of Great River Poetspoets

The Society of Great River Poets has been helping area writers for twenty years. Our 18th anthology of members' works, STAND FORTH,  makes 70 group tomes. Individual members have also put out books and are included in various selected volumes from others, including Lyrical Iowa from Iowa Poetry Association. 

Poets and writers of all genres are invited to attend meetings, which are held every Saturday afternoon, alternating between Burlington Public Library and Mount Pleasant Public Library. There are no dues. Contact:

JW ShaneJ.W. Shane

J.W. Shane is a poet. who was born and raised in the Midwest. Self described as "A lover of all things worth experiencing. Always fascinated by anything that happened to crawl across my path, and the stars that illuminate the night sky."