Sterling Lord Writers and Readers Festival

sterling lord banner

10AM - 2PM

  Author Showcase

Stop by the author tables to purchase books, ask questions, and get books signed.

Visiting Authors Series

10 am: Stacy Cordery, Historian and Sterling Lord Client

Noon: John Domini, Poet, Novelist, and Nonfiction Author

1 pm: Beth Howard, author of Hausfrau Honeymoon and former American Gothic House pie lady

Chris Murphy of Burlington By The Book will be on hand to sell the works of local authors as well as copies of Sterling Lord's book, The Lord of Publishing.

Meet the Authors

Barbara CarrollCarroll

Barbara is editorial director, partner, and writer for Moon Hollow Enterprises. She has published four children’s books: Harry the Mouse who Lived in My Car, Valentine, the Purr-fect Kitty, 3 Little Pugs and Other Dog Tails, and There’s a Snake in My Room. She integrates non-fiction elements into entertaining and whimsical stories using her 35 years of experience in education. 

Gary Chapman

After earning a Methodist license to preach at sixteen, Gary went on to graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University and earned a doctorate of ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the author of The River Flows Both Ways: Following the Mekong Out of Vietnam and Cambodia, A Family's Heritage -- Out of My Hands: The Story of Harold Hunsaker Chapman, and Our Land! Our People!: A Trail of Tears Narrative.

Serena ChaseSerena Chase

Serena Chase is the author of the critically-acclaimed Eyes of E'veria fantasy series and the contemporary YA musical theatre romance, Intermission. Formerly a professional book reviewer for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, Serena now operates a freelance developmental editing and marketing copy creation business from her home in Iowa as she works on her next novel. Connect with Serena at her website ( and on InstagramPatreonTwitterFacebook, & Pinterest.

corderyStacy Cordery

Stacy Cordery is currently working on a biography of Elizabeth Arden. This will be her fourth book with Sterling Lord. Her talk will discuss the process of writing historical biographies with examples and tips drawn from own research. Cordery is a professor of History at Iowa State University in Ames.   

John Domini

John Domini ( is the author of three books of stories, the latest MOVIEOLA!, 2016, which wdominion praise in Vanity Fair, Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.  He also has three novels, two set in contemporary Naples, Italy setting up a loose trilogy. The finale of the set, The Color Inside a Melon, will appear next spring. Other books include a selection of essays and criticism, The Sea-God’s Herb (2014), and he reviews regularly for Washington Post, Bookforum, Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. Awards have come both for non-fction and fiction, from the National Endowment for the Arts and elsewhere, and he has held long-term appointments at Harvard, Northwestern, Grinnell, and elsewhere. Originally from New York, he’s fallen in love with Iowa and lives in Des Moines with the science-fiction writer Lettie Prell.  

David W. Dorris

David W. Dorris coached Dad’s Club Softball for thirty years. He always taught the kids that played for him that life is like a sport, which encouraged him to write his other his books, Life Is Too Short and Life Is Too Short: Choice in Life. He has two children, Wendy and Douglas, and currently resides in Davenport, Iowa, with his wife, Sally.
Dorris David

Russ Fry

Russ Fry pic

Russ Fry, MA, rekindled his interest in research after retiring from 33 years as an adult probation officer. He has written several books and documentaries on local history. Russ lives north of Burlington, Iowa with his wife Connie.

Linda Gerdner

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.

Lyle GibsonLyle Gibson

A life-long resident of Burlington, Iowa, Lyle Gibson is a best-selling author of two different books. His first book “A Lifetime in Motion: Lessons Learned From a Student of the Game(s)” reached #9 on Amazon in its respective category.

The book is a collection of true stories from his experience as a baseball player, a tennis pro, Boston marathoner and a coach that pass on life lesson lessons to athletes, coaches, parents and people in general. A surprise ending tells how those life lessons are helping Lyle fight the battle of his life.

Lyle’s second book “From the Bench and Beyond” broke the top 100 on Amazon. From his experience as a player and coach of various sports at a number of skill levels, this collection of true stories is humorous, occasionally serious, inspiring and sometimes almost unbelievable.

It’s exceptionally interesting and fun to get a firsthand perspective as to what goes on during a game or practice or even off the playing venue. The things you don’t see or hear will give you a whole new take on sports.

A Hollywood motion picture based on both books is presently in the works.

hillerH. Max Hiller

H. Max Hiller’s first taste of New Orleans was as a cook on Bourbon Street at the age of seventeen. His resume includes many of New Orleans’ iconic dining and music destinations. These jobs have provided a lifetime of characters and anecdotes to add depth to the Detective Cooter ‘Cadillac’ Holland series. The author now divides his passions between writing at his home overlooking the Mississippi River and as a chef aboard a boat traveling America’s inland waterways.

Beth Howard

Beth M. Howard is the author of Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie and Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic HouseHausfrau Honeymoon: Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany is her third book. She blogs at The World Needs More Pie and her radio commentaries can be heard on Tri States Public Radio. She has written for The New York Times, Real Simple, Country Living, among other publications. From 2010 to 2014, she lived in the iconic American Gothic House where she ran the Pitchfork Pie Stand. She has given a TEDx talk about her story, which has also been featured on NPR, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, CBS This Morning, and more. Her websites are and

Lisa Knopp

Lisa Knopp is a Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction. She grew up in Burlington, Iowa, and now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Author of Bread: A Memoir of Hunger, she is also the author of five collections of essays, each of which explores the concepts of place, home, nature, and spirituality. What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte was the winner of the 2013 Nebraska Book Award in the nonfiction/essay category and tied for second place in the 2013 ALSE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) book awards for environmental creative nonfiction. Knopp’s essays have appeared in numerous literary publications including Missouri Review, Michigan Review, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Northwest Review, Cream City Review, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, Connecticut Review, Shenandoah, Creative Nonfiction, Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, and Georgia Review. For further information on Lisa Knopp, visit

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. 
Adam Kugler

Adam lives in the small town of Aledo, Illinois, and has been in the area his whole life except a 9 month period of time when he lived just south of Chicago while going to College. He holds a degree in three subjects: American History, Political Science, and Sociology. Adam is currently a writer for and also pursue a life writing novels and looking forward to the book that he is currently writing about the Battle of Shiloh. He has worked with the local newspaper to write a historical column on area history and is also preparing to write a book on local history as well. 

Thomas Mavitymavity

A 25-year law enforcement veteran, Thomas Mavity is the author of  T.H.A.N.K. Y.O.U., a book in which he provides powerful, positive words to help others find success. 

Rhonda Reif

Rhonda Reif is an expert in the field of communications, especially in intrapersonal (mind/body) and non-verbal (colors, numbers and symbols) communication. She has written and produced her own relaxation CD, "Pathways to Paradise" for the body, mind & spirit, and has also written a children's book "Serinah and the Butterfly." 

Daniel Roberts

A graphic artist and cartoonist, Daniel Roberts is a graduate of commercial art from Iowa Wesleyan University and a graduate of the Art Instruction School which he participated in during his junior and senior years of high school. A life-long resident of the state of Iowa, he has been drawing since he tried copying the Peanuts comic strip characters at the age of 4. This introduced him to his first taste of comic strip drawingRoberts. His cartoons, illustrations and artwork have appeared in a number of publications, several book jackets and on several websites. Roberts' continuing comic strip named "Haley's Comment" has been appearing in the publication "Toons" since 2003. He has written and illustrated four cartoon books as well as written and illustrated a number of children's picture books and easy-reader chapter books.He has illustrated several children's books for other writers.

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:

Misty Urban

Misty Urban is a fiction writer, medievalist, essayist, editor, and lifelong bibliophile. Her award-winning short fiction has been published in several national journals and she has written scholarship on medieval romance, women in medieval literature, European history, and world literature. She holds an MFA in fiction aurbannd a Ph.D. in Old and Middle English Literature from Cornell University and was an assistant professor of English at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID. She now lives in eastern Iowa, where she reads and writes in the company of a handsome park ranger, two small people who like to be read to, and a rather heavy collection of books.

Writers on the Avenue

Writers on the Avenue is a non-profit organization devoted to supporting local writers and promoting the literary arts in and around Muscatine, Iowa. Members meet to share work, inspiration, experience, and advice. In addition to hosting workshops, group writing projects, and being involved in area events, WOTA members have published several anthologies of shared work as well as independent publications. Writers on the Avenue meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Musser Public Library. Inquiry meetings are free; ongoing membership is $10 a year. Writers of any genre and any level of experience are welcome to attend. Participating author Misty Urban is a member who can share more information on the group.