On April 19 in Montgomery, Alabama, The Ardent Writer Press attended the Alabama Book Festival.  The festival is heavily supported by the Alabama State Council for the Arts and the Alabama Writers’ Forum.

The Ardent Writer Press participated in a packed Alabama Book Festival this past Saturday, April 19th, in Montgomery, Alabama.

A select few authors conducted discussions about their book and signed copies for the public, including Ardent Writer Press’ own Mike Wines!  Mike discussed Stupid Alabama and showed his scaly and slimy friends, the Indigo Snake and a Spotted Salamander.  Mike noted that Alabama has the highest bio-diversity of any state in the union.

Other Ardent Writer attendees were Larry Williamson (Legend of the Tallassee Carbine), Carol Ealons (Tuxedo Junction), and forthcoming authors Butch Carroll (Toker’s Blood) and Charles Farley (The Hotel Monte Sano).  Publisher Steve Gierhart and his daughters, Stephanie and Erin, also attended, with Erin’s friend Jonathan. The Alabama State Council for the Arts and the Alabama Writers’ Forum are heavily involved in supporting the annual event.

Other highlights included a poignant and stirring account of remembrances of the Birmingham church bombings from the civil rights era.  Heading this reading was Carolyn Maull McKinstry, a survivor of the September 15, 1963 bombing.  Carolyn was a friend of the girls killed.  She also read from her book, While the World Watched.  Accompanying her with his own accounts of change from that period was AWF Board member and writer Chervis Isom, author of The Newspaper Boy.  Carolyn and Chervis both conveyed the knowledge that whether you were victim or product of a terrible time and culture, change for the good was not just a hope, but a reality for many. Carolyn and Chervis were personally responsible for starting a movement that resulted in a statue being placed for the young girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The Four Spirits title was inspired by Birmingham-born writer Sena Jeter Naslund’s novel of the same name.  Sena attended the reading at the Book Festival.

Steve also attended the readings of poet Randall Horton from his collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.  AWF Executive Director Jeanie Thompson was the moderator for both of these wonderful events.

AWF Board President Kirk Concutt and members, Sue Brannan Walker (former poet laureate of Alabama), Jim Buford and Patty Pinkerton were on hand to help with the event.

All AWP authors visited and talked with fans. 

Photos are on the following page (click “Continue Reading”).

Carolyn McKinstry discusses her experience surviving the September 15, 1963 Birmingham church bombing along with fellow panel member, Author Chervis Isom (The Newspaper Boy) and moderator/Executive Director AWF Jeanie Thompson.

Carolyn McKinstry discusses her experience surviving the September 15, 1963 Birmingham church bombing along with fellow panel member, Author Chervis Isom (The Newspaper Boy) and moderator/Executive Director AWF Jeanie Thompson.

 

Randall Horton, author and poet, sits with Moderator Jeanie Thompson at the Poetry Tent during the 2014 Alabama Book Festival.

Randall Horton, author and poet, sits with Moderator Jeanie Thompson at the Poetry Tent during the 2014 Alabama Book Festival.

 

Mike Wines handles the rare Indigo Snake at the 2014 Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery.

Mike Wines handles the rare Indigo Snake at the 2014 Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery.

 

Mike Wines, author of Stupid Alabama, shows Erin Gierhart, daughter of Ardent Writer publisher Steve Gierhart, how gentle a rare Indigo Snake can be.

Mike Wines, author of Stupid Alabama, shows Erin Gierhart, daughter of Ardent Writer publisher Steve Gierhart, how gentle a rare Indigo Snake can be.

 

Mike Wines, author of Stupid Alabama, Showing Spotted Salamanderto audience at 2014 Alabama Book Festival

Mike Wines, author of Stupid Alabama, Showing Spotted Salamander to audience at 2014 Alabama Book Festival

 

Cover Illustrator Stephanie Gierhart and author Mike Wines with a poster of his humorous novel, Stupid Alabama.  Jennifer Jones of Edmond, Oklahoma and Chay Nabors of Madison, Alabama also contributed to the cover.

Cover Illustrator Stephanie Gierhart and author Mike Wines with a poster of his humorous novel, Stupid Alabama. Jennifer Jones of Edmond, Oklahoma and Chay Nabors of Madison, Alabama also contributed to the cover.

 

Ardent Writer authors Charles Farley, Carol Ealons, Butch Carroll and Larry Williamson signed books for the public at the Huntsville Literary Association tent at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery.

Ardent Writer authors Charles Farley, Carol Ealons, Butch Carroll and Larry Williamson signed books for the public at the Huntsville Literary Association tent during the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery.

 

Steve Gierhart, Publisher of the Ardent Writer Press, poses with Ardent Writer authors Butch Carroll, Mike Wines, and Carol Ealons at the Alabama Book Festival.

Steve Gierhart, Publisher of the Ardent Writer Press, poses with Ardent Writer authors Butch Carroll, Mike Wines, and Carol Ealons at the Alabama Book Festival.

 

Alabama Writers' Forum board member and former poet laureate of Alabama, attends the reading of Poet Randall Horton at the Alabama Book Festival.

Alabama Writers’ Forum board member and former poet laureate of Alabama, Sue Brannan Walker, attends the reading of Poet Randall Horton at the Alabama Book Festival.

 

Street Scene at 2014 Alabama Book Festival held in Montgomery, Alabama

Street Scene at 2014 Alabama Book Festival held in Montgomery, Alabama

 

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 9 grandchildren. 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.