Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sharecropping in North Louisiana: A Family's Struggle Through the Great Depression Featured in Local Paper

By Linda Duff Niemeir

Sharecropping in North Louisiana: A Family's Struggle Through the Great Depression is the
true story of my mother's growing-up years on farms in Caldwell and Richland Parishes as a sharecropper's daughter. It was a hard life for a poor family and was complicated by the depression of the 30s and WWII in the 40s. Mama was one of five girls born to Clarence and Eliza Laird, but only three of the daughters lived to adulthood. Grandpa did not own any land, any tools or a team of mules. He and grandma worked land which belonged to other people and then shared the income from the harvested crops with the landowners. Usually this was a cotton crop and the landlord's share was half of the profit. Grandpa moved the family a lot because he kept looking for better land, or a better house or possibly a job with a closer location to town, church or school for the girls. Mama told me the stories of her younger life all my life and I was fascinated by the way her family lived. They were poor, but worked hard and did the best they could. I asked mama to help me write the manuscript so our children, and grandchildren would know of that era of our history and how the family coped with hard times during the Great Depression and WWII. It was friends and neighbors who encouraged us to find a publisher so the story could be shared with more people. The book tells of the family's daily life, their sorrows and the love they had for each other, as well as many historical events which happened during the 20s, 30s and 40s. Most readers are so fascinated with the details in the book, they say they read it without putting it down. We invite all ages of the community to come to the lectures in Lake Providence on Oct. 2nd to hear about this heartwarming story as told by Lillian in the book. We will be at the Louisiana Cotton Museum on Friday, Oct. 2nd from 10:00 until noon. Then we will be at the local public library that afternoon from 2 pm - 3:30. The lectures will start at the earlier times with a book-signing to follow.

I live in Camden, AR and my mother lives in Bastrop. She does not hear well over the phone, so I usually handle phone interviews. Attached are a few pictures, so feel free to use any of them as you prepare an article for the paper. Other book events from the past year can be found on line if you google the title of the book, or google our names. We have a website at and a blog at Our publisher is Tate Publishing out of Mustang, OK. Thanks for your time. Linda Duff Niemeir, Co-Author

Morton, IL girl, 13, publishes first book in series

Haley Armitage is an eighth grader at Morton Junior High and the first book in her juvenile fiction series, “Kataya’s Journey of Destiny,” will be published nationally in November.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tate Author Donna Vinke

By Phil Angelo with The Daily Journal

It is one of life's greater tragedies -- coping with the death of a child.

"It never goes away," says Donna Eden Vinke, of the pain.

Vinke, now 65, lives in Kankakee with her husband Bert. She has had the misfortune to have two children die. Her daughter, Lynn, had just turned seven when she was killed in an auto accident, returning from Michigan on a foggy Columbus Day weekend. Her son, John Michael, died of natural causes at 16 months.

Vinke has channeled her grief, her prayers and her hopes into a project that she has eyed for years -- a book. "Heaven at Seven," (116 pages, Tate Publishing, 2009, $10.99) pictures paradise through the eyes of a childIt is one of life's greater tragedies -- coping with the death of a child.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tate Author Janet Lee Scott

Author Janet Lee Scott's book featured on Pet MD site!

Heather Hollis featured on WCLO

Author Heather Hollis was interviewed recently on WCLO

Author Slideshow

Author Jill Connett featured on ABC

By Tisha Powell

A Southern Pines Army wife has found a special way to share her story with others, and she is this week's Person of the Week.

She is one of many who honored a loved one on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

On September 11, 2001, Jill Connett lost a special friend -- someone who was like family.

In the military, people who become an important part of your life often come and go, but Connett hopes that by sharing her story of joy and pain she can inspire others.

Home is where the army sends us," Connett explained. "Japan, Fort Bragg, NC, Fort Leavenworth, KS, Fort Carson, Colorado, Stuttgart Germany, Fort Benning, Columbus, GA, Patrick Henry Village, Heidelburg, Germany and we're back here to Fort Bragg NC."

Connett and her family have moved eight times in 15 years, but that's not unusual because it's the Army way of life.

Her story is a love story that started when a young lieutenant swept her, a young Alabama teacher, off her feet. He promised her the world, beginning with Okinawa, Japan.

"That was huge," she said. "I have to say I cried for about two months because I thought what am I doing in another country where I can't even speak the language, but at that point I decided I could either learn to love this lifestyle. Or I can be miserable. "

Connett decided to explore her new surroundings, get out and meet people and make the most of every move.

After settling into a new home in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, meeting her new neighbors was at the top of her list of things to do.

"When we moved in, I got out a plastic plate -- it happened to be green -- and I made some cookies and took them over to my neighbor to say hello and meet them," Connett explained. "And when I did, a tall man answered the door. His name was Dwayne Williams and that was the day that our friendship with me and his wife started."

The Connetts and the Williams became fast friends and for 10 months continued to pass the green plate filled with goodies from one home back to the other.

"When we moved, she didn't like to say goodbye, so she decided you know what I'm not going to say goodbye -- but she came over when the moving truck was about to pull out and said this started our relationship and I know it's plastic and I know it's just a plate, but I want you to keep it," Connett recalled. "So I kinda laughed, we cried [and] we said goodbye."

Three months later Dwayne Williams, who was just beginning his new assignment at the Pentagon, was killed on 9/11.

"At that point that plastic plate became like a little monument in my kitchen" she said. "I now put it out in my kitchen to remind me that you know what, you can't waste time. I knew I was only in Fort Leavenworth for 10 months, but I'm so glad I got to know that wonderful family and spend time with them."

Connett writes about the Williams family and military life in The Green Plate -- a book she hopes will inspire others to extend a hand of kindness, cherish those you hold dear and make the most of everyday.

"The green plate reminds me that whenever I have to move and start over again that you know what, I can be the one to get out and meet somebody and start my life over," Connett said.

And if you happen to be on the receiving end of a greeting from new neighbors, Connett says, ""What I like to get out to people who aren't military is you can be a part of making up feel welcome. You can be a part of recognizing a new kid on the block and new kid in the school. Teach your children to welcome those new kids and make them part of your school, your community because that means a lot to us."

There will be a book signing at Borders Books on Walnut Street in Cary Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. Connett will be there signing copies of her book. If you would like to buy a copy for yourself or donate one to a wounded warrior,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Author Danny Kofke Featured on Local FOX Channel

ATLANTA - Many of us wish we had made smarter choices with our money through the years -- especially in these tight times. Well, if you're a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can offer your child might just be money skills.

Local Special Education teacher Danny Kofke has written the book, " How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher's Salary ."

Kofke has some tips on how to translate valuable money lessons into habits your kids will really understand, and even enjoy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Author's Newsletter Idea!

Tate Author Jim Baumgardner has seen a lot of success emailing a monthly newsletter to his readers. When his third novel, Sarah’s Escape, became available in pre-release, he already had over 100 books sold before he bought them because of his newsletter.

The newsletter’s content expands on the characters and setting of his novels. Each newsletter includes the following elements:

Interesting Facts such as:

A horse over 9 years old is considered 'aged'.

A "bomb-proof" horse is one that doesn't spook. In Sarah's next adventure she becomes the owner of a bomb-proof horse.

(Note how Jim uses the second fact to stir up interest in his next book.)

A Question of the Month that may be a trivia question (Example: What was a 19th Century pound cake, and why was it called by that name?) or a question about one of his books.

Answers to Last Month’s Question of the Month. Jim prints the answer and the names of everyone who got it right.

Comments from readers. Primarily, these are raving reviews about the book.

Words of Wisdom. Some of Jim’s favorite quotes.

Note to New Readers. Jim brings forward some facts from past newsletters.

His marketing rep, Jim Miller, asked him a few questions about the newsletter that may help other authors.

JM: Do you design it yourself? What program do you use?

JB: I use Bravenet for my website and newsletter. All I do is fill in the areas with information I want to send to my readers.

JM: I’m guessing you send them a handful at a time in the BCC box, since your own email is in the “To” field.

JB: Yes, I do. I send out several hundred and break it up with 4 e-mailings. Bravenet has a sign up and I could use that, but I prefer this way.

JM: How do you build your list?

JB: I have a sign up sheet at my book signings. I get a lot of new readers that way.

Jim has some additional tips for a successful newsletter:

1) Always include a note that says, “Forward this email to your friends.” Find ways to customize the note to your book.

2) Make sure every newsletter has links to your website and/or Tate’s website to buy books.

3) Post back issues of your newsletter on your blog or website. This will improve your Google rankings for key words related to your book’s topic.

A newsletter is an excellent way to increase word of mouth and keep your book on the top of your readers’ minds.

Spring Ridge mom writes children's book

Allyn Atadero Featured on Local TV Station

Great Report from an Event!

I wanted to let you know that the festival sales were great. It was small with only 19 vendors, including food vendors, but my table stayed busy the whole time. It might have had something to do with the fruit salad I was serving as a sample recipe from the book. I'm working on a possible book signing with the librarian at University of NC. I'll let you know if it goes through.

Martha A. Cheves

Author's Slideshow

Author Heath Sommer Reviewed on Blog

Months after his mysterious disappearance from a routine fishing trip, no one really expects over-the-hill Texas housewife Lory Latchley to find her missing husband—especially her husband. The Manufactured Identity is clinical psychologist Heath Sommer's ever-escalating immersion into the world of unlikely friends who each awaken to find their faithful companions missing without warning or reason. Desperate to find meaning in their pain, they are thrust by the auspices of fate into a common thread of mystery and human frailty. In the end, the fate of all may reside in the unstable hands of rookie pastor John Joe, but ultimately Lory and her newfound partners will uncover a truth so unnerving it makes even infidelity look palatable.

As soon as I picked up this book and read the first chapter, I couldn't put it down. It kept me wondering until the very end. The character development pulls you in and won't let you go. I give this book 4 stars and this one I will probably read again.

Danny Kofke mentioned on YAHOO Finance

Pinching pennies reduces pain

Danny Kofke, author of "How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary," is a big believer that trimming small expenses can add up to big savings and better spending habits.

Kofke and his family of four in Hoschton, Ga., have been able to live exclusively on his $37,000 a year salary -- and save money -- by making adjustments to small expenditures, such as switching to cheaper cell phone plans, using the library instead of buying books and making their own coffee at home.

Saving money on little things has a snowball effect that can lead to better financial habits, he says. Once people cut down on a few things and see the positive financial impact, they are often motivated to cut back on the big stuff.

"Small steps are the best way to form habits that will stick," Kofke says.

Saving money is like losing weight, Kofke says. Trying to make drastic, wholesale changes can quickly become discouraging. However, if you cut back a little at a time, you'll have better success.

While he acknowledges that big expenses can pose outside risks to a person's financial stability, he contends that it's a mistake to overlook the power of trimming back on smaller spending.

"I know many people who got into trouble because they bought big-ticket items they could not afford," Kofke says. "But I think those smaller everyday purchases also played a major role in our country's economic problems.

"Little things do add up."

The Importance of Social Networking