Sterling Lord Writers and Readers Festival


10AM - 4PM
 Local Author Showcase

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


The workshops are free and open to all.

10 am: Publishing Iowa’s Local History
11:15 am: It’s All Around Us: Everyday Poetry
12 pm: Publishing 101
1:15 pm: Researching Your Book
2 pm: Challenged Content
2:45 pm: Marketing Your Book
3:30 pm: On-Demand Publishing

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

Bruce Carlson

Bruce has written 160 books and published those plus 145 more through his business, Quixote Press and Hearts 'N Tummies Cookbooks, Co. Locally, his best known book is "Ghosts of Des Moines County." 

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

Rachelle ChaseRachelle Chase

From learning to ride a motorcycle and joining a motorcycle club to quitting her job and moving to South America, from majoring in biology in college to working as a claim adjuster, programmer analyst, owner of a multicultural software products business, a model, and a business analyst, Rachelle Chase believes in chasing her dreams and goals until she attains them -- or they change. 

One thing that has never changed is her love of books. In 2005, her love of reading books turned into a love of writing them with her first publication, "Out of Control," a novella in Secrets Volume 13. Nine of her romance books and novellas have been published, including her latest, "Hot Dreams." Her first nonfiction book, "Lost Buxton," was released January 9, 2017. In addition, Rachelle is currently a business analyst, speaker, and model who's appeared on national television. She also hosted two live talk shows. 

Alexander Dawson

DawsonAlexander is poetry incarnate. The enigmatic young writer was raised in the heart of the Midwest and draws from the simplicity of the small town for inspiration when composing (sometimes) eloquently complicated verses. He proudly recalls being a published poet since as far back as 1998. While his first collection of writings "Life: the F is Silent" was not released until the winter of 2009. 

In addition to writing Alex has experimented with other forms of expression. He has worn the hat of singer, songwriter, guitar player, musician, performer, producer, dancer, stage actor, improvisational actor, sketch comedian, stand-up comedian, and artist. But through all the wardrobe trials...poetry has seemed to hold firm.

Alexander released his 4th (& most recent) collection of writings "NOT JUST DARKER" in the early months of 2015. 

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

Vicky Dovenspike

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.

Anthony GerstGerst

Anthony begun being published in the letter section of The Hawk Eye in 1983. He has been published in 22 states, as well as foreign publications in England, Spain, Hungary, Brazil, Australia, and India. Anthony wrote a column called Earth Line in the Galesburg Zephyr prior to the passing of Norm Winnick, publisher. He has been featured in Planet Save, a contributor to Boomer Warrior in its early days, and has a seldom used ongoing spot with He is currently working on a sequel to The HAARP Letters, a climate fiction novel.

Lyle Gibson

Lyle 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 and hopes to be completed sometime in 2018.

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. 

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. 

Sandra Levins

Sandra Levins is the author of award-winning picture books Eli's Lie-O-Meter: A Story About Telling the Truth; Bumblebee Bike; Was It the Chocolate Pudding? A Story For Little Kids About Divorce; and Do You Sing Twinkle? A Story About Remarriage and New Family. Her latest venture, Either Way, Story of a Gay Kid, is a Graphic Novel. All of Sandra's books are published by American Psychological Association's children's imprint Magination Press.

Dennis Maulsby

dennis maulsby

Dennis Maulsby is a retired bank president living in Ames, Iowa. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Mainstreet Rag, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review (Pushcart nomination), and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His Vietnam War poetry book, Remembering Willie, won silver medal book awards from two national veterans’ organizations. His second book of poetry, Frissons, a collection of haiku and senryu was published in 2012. Some of the poems in this book have been set to classical music and may be heard at his website:

Prolific Press released a third book of poetry, Near Death/Near Life, in 2015. The book has since received a gold medal award from the Military Writers Society of America, was named a winner-finalist in the USA Book News contest, and nominated for the da Vinci Eye Award for cover art.

His latest book of linked short stories, Free Fire Zone, was released by Prolific Press in November 2016. It has been named a finalist in the International Book Awards contest. The book has been reviewed by the Military Writers Society of America and received a 2017 silver medal award. Maulsby is a past president (2012 – 2014) of the Iowa Poetry Association


Leigh Michaels

Leigh Michaels

Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 100 books, including contemporary romance novels,  historical romance novels, and non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. She has received two Reviewer's Choice awards from Romantic Times (RT Book Reviews).

Her work has been translated and published in 120 countries in more than 25 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech, Bulgarian, Russian, Turkish, Hebrew, Greek, Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Africaans, Arabic, Indonesian, and Chinese.

She received the Johnson Brigham Award presented by the Iowa Library Association to an Iowa author for outstanding contributions to American literature.

She is the author of On Writing Romance, published by Writers Digest Books, Creating Romantic Characters, andWriting Between the Sexes. She has produced audio programs and written magazine articles on subjects of interest to writers in general. She blogs on reading, writing, and the Regency historical period at She also writes local history books. Her husband was artist/photographer Michael W. Lemberger.

She teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers' Workshop. Men and women from around the world have participated in her workshops, and a number of them have gone on to publish their own romance novels with commercial publishers.

She wrote her first romance novel when she was a teenager and burned it, then wrote and burned five more complete manuscripts before submitting to a publisher. Her first submission was accepted and published by Harlequin Books, the first publisher to look at it.

Tommy MurrayTommy Murray

Carson and Connie Odecarson ode

Carson and Connie Ode were born in Iowa at opposite ends of the state. Connie's birthplace was Mrs. Murphy's Nursing Home in Kingsley and Carson was born at his grandmother's farmhouse near Ossian. They each stayed in their respective area of the state for their college education. Connie graduated from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City and Carson from Luther College in Decorah. Their lives merged when they each obtained their first employment in Minneapolis. Connie was employed as a medical technologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Carson found work at an advertising art studio. They met, dated, married and moved to Owatonna, Minnesota, where Carson began a new job as a designer of Christmas and other greeting cards at Jostens, Incorporated. After he served two years as a Jostens branch plant art director in Porterville, California, they chose to move back to the Midwest. Carson secured a job as a graphic designer with Meredith Corporation in their Better Homes and Gardens® Special Interest Publications department. After two years in this position, he began freelancing with Connie by his side—doing everything but the artwork. They have made the southside of Des Moines their home and have raised five children in this environment. They love Iowa and won't be moving south anytime soon.

Austin Sane


Austin Sane is a local writer and filmmaker. Born in South Dakota, he was raised in Illinois.  Austin found his love for writing  at the age of 16 when he was inspired by his cousin's first book entitled Life the f is Silent. By the age of 18 his first book, Life's Abyss was written. Soon to follow was his latest book, ILL Scene, a collection of short stories and poems on the subject of dealing with depression and suicide. A horror fanatic, Austin Sane's work is inspired by the wicked minds of Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, as well as his favorite author Darren Shan, and the band Twiztid. Austin Sane is now branching out set on bringing his short stories to the big screen by writing and directing his own short films. Austin Sane loves to collaborate with fellow writers and artists, Alexander J. Dawson, Scott Riege, and Craig Gaul. He is determined to make it to the Sundance Film Festival to share some of his stories on the big screen.

Ruth Skeins

Brandy Walsh walsh author image

Brandy Walsh is an Iowa math teacher, which in no way explains why she is also a fiction writer. She was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa but now lives with her "hubby" and their two youngest children on their western Iowa farm, tucked away in the absolute middle of nowhere: where cell service is sporadic, Internet service is nonexistent, and orphaned wild animals of all kinds are welcome. The most common saying around Brandy's home is "Well, you don't see that every day."
Brandy writes suspense, mystery, paranormal, and science fiction but struggles a bit with short author bios. You can read about Brandy's debut book, Dead Line, and get news on her upcoming novels on her website at

Connie Corcoran Wilson

Connie Wilson

Connie Corcoran Wilson graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and has written for five newspapers and two blogs. She is an active, voting member of HWA (Horror Writers Assocation). Her stories and interviews have appeared online and in numerous journals. This year, her work has won prizes from Whim's Place Flash Fiction and Writer's Digest (Screenplay). Connie reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years and wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois) Daily Dispatch.