Contest recognizes Longview author

Award-winning local author Kimberly Fish and her “Comfort Foods” won the Women’s Fiction category of the Maincrest Media Book Award Program.

Maincrest Media is a book marketing company that offers authors, publishers and literary professionals easier, simpler, more cost-effective ways to promote their books. Books entered in the Maincrest Media Book Award Program are evaluated by a panel of industry professionals who provide insight into what influences book buying decisions.

“From the award-winning author of ‘Comfort Plans’ and ‘Comfort Songs’ comes a story of two rising stars blitzed by social media. Lacy Cavanaugh and single-dad Rudy Delgardo live a hundred miles apart but meet in the worst possible way. Working at a weekly paper and creating social media for area businesses helps Lacy connect with locals who open her mind to a perspective beyond Instagram,” information about Fish’s winning book says. “In launching a food-and-wine festival to support Comfort’s new event center, she discovers surprising skills bubbling over, much like the food she’s attempting to cook.

Rudy, on the brink of his restaurant’s takeover, struggles to improve time management so he can create a better relationship with his daughter. Distracted by Lacy and her invitation to the festival, he’s tempted by her beauty, wit, and courage, but as a chef, he rarely gets to enjoy life outside the kitchen. Enemies, illness, and exes add unwelcome spice to the dish they’re concocting — one that will teeter with misunderstanding until the very end.

Will Lacy and Rudy embrace their second chances and discover the perfect seasonings of family, resilience, and grace to create a handwritten recipe of love that will stand the test of time?”

Fish, a Longview resident, said she is honored by the Maincrest Media award.

“Receiving this Women’s Fiction award from Maincrest Media gives applause to the characters and plot of ‘Comfort Foods,’ fun folks who’d have thoroughly enjoyed the attention. As a writer, receiving this award gives credibility to my craft and encourages me to keep on writing,” Fish said.

Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for more than 30 years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. Her books include two historical fiction stories set in Longview, “The Big Inch” and “Harmon General.” The “Comfort” series is set in the Texas Hill Country. For more information, visit kimberlyfish.com.

Smallwoods CEO featured on Dallas Market panel

Josh Smallwood, founder and CEO of Smallwoods, a home decor manufacturer in Longview, was featured on a panel of business executives during the recent Dallas Market.

Dallas Market is a wholesale trade show center in which business owners come from across the country to shop and build relationships with vendors of a variety of products. Smallwood was part of a panel of business executives who discussed the use of social media strategies in growing a business, including content creation, story engagement and posting cadence.

“Showcasing what Smallwoods and our East Texas community is doing today was pretty special,” Smallwood said. “Social media has become such a staple in all of our daily lives, but as a company we really focus on truly telling the story of not just our brand, but our community and the drive to enrich people’s lives with our product and how we do life.”

Smallwood was joined by two other panelists: Heather Fujikawa, president of House Sprucing, and Ellis Winstanley, co-founder of El Arroyo.

“We’ve really been strategic with content creation,” Smallwood said. “Starting with story development and what we want to communicate, we work to be extremely concentrated on quality and giving the customer what they want, when they want it.”

Smallwood cited the importance and effectiveness of analytics tools but encouraged businesses to not lose sight of the relationship they build with their customer.

“When you can, take the pressure off the product and focus on your customer and how your product can impact and enrich their life,” he said.

Longtime NET RMA Board Chair honored

Former North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board Chair Linda R. Thomas was honored at the agency’s board meeting on Jan. 11.

Thomas, a Longview resident, retired in 2021 after more than 18 years of service on the NET RMA Board. Thomas was originally appointed as the Gregg County representative on the board by Judge Bill Stoudt in 2004. In 2011, then-Gov. Rick Perry appointed her as chair and she was reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“We thank Linda for her dedication to the organization and for making Northeast Texas a better place to live,” said state Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, who was among the dignitaries present to honor Thomas. “Through her leadership, NET RMA has enhanced mobility in our region and established the institution as a true leader in the Texas transportation landscape.”

Thomas’ accomplishments leading NET RMA include: In 2013, leading the complex process of taking over operations and management of Toll 49 from TxDOT; opening Toll 49 Segment 3B in 2013, giving people easy access to Interstate 20; establishing the Priority Project Program in 2014, which provides funds for important transportation projects across all of NET RMA’s member counties; opening of the Lindale Relief Route (NET RMA Segment 4) in 2016; in 2017, inspiring the NET RMA Transportation Forum, bringing together leaders from all over East Texas to initiate transportation solutions; and leading efforts to launch an environmental impact study for the potential future expansion of Toll 49 for Segment 6.

Representatives from U.S Sen. John Cornyn’s office also were in attendance to honor Thomas.

Thomas is a general partner at Butter-Ryan Partners in Longview and has also served on various transportation boards, including the Texas Department of Transportation’s I-20 and I-30 East Texas Corridor Advisory Committees, and the East Texas Council of Governments Rural Planning Organization.

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