On Saturday, December 8th, Huntsville Literary Association (HLA) and The Ardent Writer Press presented a program on writing and publishing to the public and the Murphy Writers Group at the Main Library in Huntsville.  Sponsored by the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library, the 2 hour presentation touched on a multitude of subjects that were important for aspiring writers and poets.

At the top of the agenda, Dr. Monita Soni, President of HLA, skyped in from her hotel in Atlanta.  Dr. Soni is a well-known pathologist who had to brief a conference in Atlanta but still took time out to talk to the public and the Murphy Writers Group about her passion, poetry.  She talked of her background from India and her parents who supported her literary fervor.  Then, she read some beautiful selections from her book of poetry, My Light Reflections.  Monita’s book of poetry was given a very positive review by the Decatur Daily.  The link to the review is HERE.  Her book is available on line through Author house, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Books A Million websites.  The Amazon link is HERE.

Monita was followed by Annie Laura Smith who discussed her career in writing and the rigors of becoming a successful writer.  Noting her over 400 articles and reviews in addition to her 6 novels, she explained that successful writing comes with a price.  Dedication and hard work.  Saying ‘no’ to disappointment.  And simply having fun with your craft. 

Annie, the author of Twilight of Honor, published by The Ardent Writer Press, and Monita both took questions from the audience.

Steve Gierhart, Publisher of The Ardent Writer Press, played an interview with Suzanne Johnson, author of the highly successful Sentinel of New Orleans Series of paranormal fantasy books (published by Tor Books) and the Penton Legacy series of dark romance (published by Montlake Books).  Suzanne had several interesting tidbits on successful writing (note yesterday’s blog).  Especially interesting was her discussion of the art of blogging and how that has helped her career.  Several members of the audience were astounded with her confession that she works a full time job and then does almost another full day’s work with her writing career, about 15 hours a day, including weekends.

Steve discussed Stephen King’s book On Writing and Stephen’s tips on writing and publishing.  Gierhart also related his experience as a small independent publisher. 

Refreshments were available to the public and fun was had by all.

Below Annie fields questions from Murphy Writers’ Group President, Kemi Elufiede (far left), and members, Jessica Morgan and Peggy Suggs.

 In the bottom photo, Annie discusses writing with the public while Steve listens and later fielded questions on publishing.

Members of the Eleanor Murphy Writers Group ask questions about writing of Annie Laura Smith, author of Twilight of Honor.


Annie Laura Smith Discusses Her Writing Career at the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library’s Celebration of Writing

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.