Ardent Writer Press and Coffee Tree Writers attended Rocket City Lit Fest (RCLF) and a dinner party in celebration of RCLF at the farm of publisher Steve and Bonny Gierhart in Brownsboro. The dinner party was held on the Friday evening preceding RCLF which was held at the Von Braun Civic Center on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11.

Huntsville and the Von Braun Civic Center’s Rocket City Lit Fest (RCLF) was the place to be for writers and their readers on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11th. And for The Ardent Writer Press and the Coffee Tree Writers Group that was a good enough excuse for a party.

On Friday evening, October 9, Steve and Bonny Gierhart invited prominent writers and contributors for the Fest to their home in Brownsboro for beer, wine, steak and smoked chicken as well as the fellowship of literary artists with ties to the Press and Coffee Tree Writers.

Attending along with Ardent Writer and Coffee Tree writers were Homer Hickam (The Rocket Boys) and his wife, Linda, and Roger and Susan Reid, producers for Alabama Public Television and the University of Alabama’s Emmy awarded series, Discovering Alabama. Also attending was writer Robert Bailey, author of the well-received legal thriller, The Professor, and his wife, Dixie. Homer and Roger were both headliners for RCLF.

Appetizers and refreshments were outside for attendees at 6 p.m. along with the entertainment, Bob and Leo Larkin. Bob is a classically trained violinist who can also play a mean ‘fiddle’ with his wife, Leo, a former Tennessee harmonica state champion.

The dinner party ended at 8:30 in plenty of time for a good night’s sleep before attending the weekend festival in the South Hall of the VBCC in downtown Huntsville. Championed by director Ashley Chappell and her volunteer staff, things ran smoothly for the inaugural RCLF. The hard working and friendly staff were very helpful to both participants and visitors.

The Coffee Tree Writers Group also manned the Alabama Writers Forum’s booth during RCLF with Executive Director Jeanie Thompson talking to the public on Sunday, October 11.

Ardent Writer Press and Coffee Tree Writers and their friends participating in RCLF or the party included:

Carol Ealons (Tuxedo Junction-Right Back Where I Belong) and friend, Rose Jennings

Charles Farley (The Hotel Monte Sano and his Doc Berber “Secrets” Florida Mystery Trilogy) and wife, Patricia

Butch Carroll (Toker’s Blood) and wife and artist, Betty Carroll

Steve Gierhart (Shadow of the Conjurer) and wife, Bonny

Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th)

Annie Laura Smith (Twilight of Honor)

Shirley Garrett (Stop the Craziness: Simple Life Solutions) and husband, Bob

Mark Hubbs (The Archer’s Son and The Secret of Wattensaw Bayou) and wife, Phyllis

John Sims Jeter (…and the angels sang; brother of award winning and Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductee Sena Jeter Naslund) and wife, Derelene

Eric Herbert (Butcher’s Bill)

Stacy Kingsley (zombie themed books such as Zombies are People Too! and Zombies Bite!) and husband, Aristo

Rob Williams (In Search of Brandon Springs), and wife, Gywn

Doyle Duke (Extended Vacation) and wife, Fay

J.D. Frost (Dollface and Face2Face, both of the Moses Palmer Crime Series novels), and wife and artist, Donna Frost

Bonnie Libhart (Invisible Lines and Born Again Marriage)

Dianne Burch (Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees)

Mary Johnson (editor, Anne Rutledge’s Granddaughter of a Runaway Slave Boy) and sister Annie Wells.

Scott Hancock (Southern Fried Sci-Fi And Jambalaya Genres) and wife, Natha

Brett Jones (Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy Seal) CEO of Riley Security and partner, COO of Riley Security, Jason White

Jeanie Thompson (Executive Director of Alabama Writers Forum; author Seasons Bear Us: Poems)

Dan and Doris Posey (Coffee Tree Writers)

Jared and Dana Austin (Coffee Tree Writers)

Leo and Bob Larkin (Coffee Tree Writers)

John Langlois, webmaster for Ardent Writer, owner of Foggy Bottom Web Design, and wife, Marsha

Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th) was recently named “Knight” by the President of France for the Government of France’s highest military honor, The National Order of the Legion of Honor. Joe will receive his award for his military service in support of the invasion of France during WWII by the French Consulate in 2016.

The Gierhart family children, Erin and Justin Gierhart, also attended the dinner party along with Erin’s friend, Robert Lewis, and Justin’s wife, Faith. Bonny’s sister and her husband, Betty and Larry Augsburger attended along with long time friends, Richard and Brenda Parton, and Rich and Nancy Corbeille.

Photos are on the following page:

Photos from Bonny and Steve Gierhart’s RCLF Celebration Party

Roger and Susan Reid (Discovering Alabama) talk with Charles and Patricia Farley (Hotel Monte Sano) while Richard and Brenda Parton listen.

Roger and Susan Reid (Discovering Alabama) talk with Charles and Patricia Farley (Hotel Monte Sano) while Richard and Brenda Parton listen.

Nancy and Rich Corbeille are greeted by Ardent Writer publisher, Steve Gierhart. Bob and Leo Larkin provide entertainment in the background.

Nancy and Rich Corbeille are greeted by Ardent Writer publisher, Steve Gierhart. Bob and Leo Larkin provide entertainment in the background.

Bob and Leo Larkin provided entertainment at the RCLF Dinner Party in Brownsboro on Steve and Bonny Gierhart's farm

Bob and Leo Larkin provided entertainment at the RCLF Dinner Party in Brownsboro on Steve and Bonny Gierhart’s farm

Inside Steve and Bonny's home in Brownsboro, Alabama during the RCLF Dinner Party

Inside Steve and Bonny’s home in Brownsboro, Alabama during the RCLF Dinner Party

Erin Gierhart and Robert Lewis talk with Justin and Faith Gierhart. Erin and Justin are children of publisher Steve Gierhart.

Erin Gierhart and Robert Lewis talk with Justin and Faith Gierhart. Erin and Justin are children of publisher Steve Gierhart.

Dan Posey and Betty Carroll (artist and wife of Butch Carroll, Toker's Blood). Scott Hancock and Richard Parton in center.

Dan Posey and Betty Carroll (artist and wife of Butch Carroll, Toker’s Blood). Scott Hancock and Richard Parton in center

Photos from the Rocket City Lit Fest are on the next page:

Robert Bailey, The Professor, Stacy Kingsley (Zombies are People Too!) and Eric Herbert (Butcher's Bill). Robert's book, The Professor, is in its second edition with over 500 Amazon reviews and a sequel has been signed.

Robert Bailey, The Professor, Stacy Kingsley (Zombies are People Too!) and Eric Herbert (Butcher’s Bill). Robert’s book, The Professor, is in its second edition with over 500 Amazon reviews and a sequel has been signed.

Dianne Burch (Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees) with Shirley Garrett (Stop the Craziness: Simple Life Solutions) and Stacy Kingsley (Zombies Bite!)

Dianne Burch (Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees) with Shirley Garrett (Stop the Craziness: Simple Life Solutions) and Stacy Kingsley (Zombies Bite!)

Group shot of Ardent Writer and Coffee Tree Writer participants at our booth at RCLF on Saturday, October 10

Group shot of Ardent Writer and Coffee Tree Writer participants at our booth at RCLF on Saturday, October 10

Doyle Duke (Extended Vacation) and his wife, Fay, and Mary Johnson (assistant to Anne Rutledge for her memoir, Granddaughter of a Runaway Slave Boy, far right) manned the Alabama Writers Forum booth during RCLF

Doyle Duke (Extended Vacation) and his wife, Fay, and Mary Johnson (assistant to Anne Rutledge for her memoir, Granddaughter of a Runaway Slave Boy, far right) manned the Alabama Writers Forum booth during RCLF

Madison County's District 10 legislator, Representative Mike Ball, talks at opening ceremonies. Homer Hickam (The Rocket Boys; sitting center) and Jenny Lawson (Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir; far right) headlined the authors at RCLF.

Madison County’s District 10 legislator, Representative Mike Ball, talks at opening ceremonies. Homer Hickam (The Rocket Boys; sitting center) and Jenny Lawson (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir; far right) headlined the authors at RCLF.

Roger Reid (center), producer of Alabama Public Television's Emmy awarded series, Discovering Alabama, talking to employees of The Valley Planet, local weekly based in Decatur.

Roger Reid (center), producer of Alabama Public Television’s Emmy awarded series, Discovering Alabama, talking to employees of The Valley Planet, local weekly based in Decatur.

Steve Gierhart (Shadow of the Conjurer) and John Sims Jeter (...and the angels sang)

Steve Gierhart (Shadow of the Conjurer) and John Sims Jeter (…and the angels sang)

Charles Farley reads from his novel, The Hotel Monte Sano (Ardent Writer Press)

Charles Farley reads from his novel, The Hotel Monte Sano (Ardent Writer Press)

Death's assistants from the RCLF Costume Parade

Death’s assistants from the RCLF Costume Parade

A Harry Potter themed witch from the Costume Parade

A Harry Potter themed witch from the Costume Parade

Another RCLF Costumer, Deadpool, from the Marvel Comics series

Another RCLF Costumer, Deadpool, from the Marvel Comics series

One of the colorful costumes in RCLF's Costume Parade

One of the colorful costumes in RCLF’s Costume Parade

Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th) and Annie Laura Smith (Twilight of Honor) enjoy Joe's poster announcing his membership in France's Highest Military Honor, The Legion of Honor. He was appointed a "knight" by the President of France, Francois Hollande, in August.

Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th) and Annie Laura Smith (Twilight of Honor) enjoy Joe’s poster announcing his membership in France’s Highest Military Honor, The Legion of Honor. He was appointed a “knight” by the President of France, Francois Hollande, in August.

Butch Carroll (Toker's Blood), Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th), Rose Jennings, assistant to Carol Ealons (far right; Tuxedo Junction)

Butch Carroll (Toker’s Blood), Joe Connaughton (Tales of the 319th), Rose Jennings, assistant to Carol Ealons (far right; Tuxedo Junction)

RCLF Cake made by Eric Herbert (Butcher's Bill); Butch Carroll (Toker's Blood) and Rob Williams (In Search of Brandon Springs) talking

RCLF Cake made by Eric Herbert (Butcher’s Bill); Butch Carroll (Toker’s Blood) and Rob Williams (In Search of Brandon Springs) talking

Steve Gierhart
Dale “Steve” Gierhart is a retired business manager for the United States Army. Based in Huntsville, Alabama on Redstone Arsenal, his career lasted from 1975 to 2010 in which he managed contracts, finances/accounting, and cost estimating for several missile defense systems, among which were Stinger, Avenger, Chaparral, Sentinel, JLENS, SLAMRAAM, and Non-Line of Sight.  The author wishes to thank the many co-workers, peers, and contractors who made these programs successful.  It is their tireless work that brought these systems to the soldier that needed them.  While budget constraints made it difficult for some of their work to see its full potential, they never blinked, they adjusted.  They persevered. Steve hails from Shawnee, Oklahoma; but most of his adult life has been spent in the beautiful hills of North Alabama where he lives with his wife, Bonny, who raises Tennessee Walking Horses. Between them, Steve and Bonny have 5 children and 7 grandchildren, and another grandbaby is on the way. Steve enjoys writing now that he is retired and plans more excursions of the imagination. He and Bonny, a retired engineer who worked as a contractor on several NASA and Army programs, will travel in their retirement though 15 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats can crimp the best of plans.