In honor of National Library Week, the Exeter Branch Library will host an Author’s Night for five local writers at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17.
The evening will honor a diverse group of Valley writers and a chance for local readers to talk with them over light refreshments. The author’s featured during the event are: Mary Benton, author of Winds of Time and Plain Molly; Suzanne Clevenger, author of Pastures of Hope; Gloria Getman, author of Lottie’s Legacy; Jeff Spalsbury, author of Hunt the Hunter and The Hunted Return; and Sylvia Ross, author of Acorns and Abalone, Acts of Kindness, Acts of Contrition and East of the Great Valley.
Ross’ latest work, East of the Great Valley, is a historical novel set in California’s Sierra Mountains during the time of the Gold Rush (1850-1870). Ross, who makes her home in Merhten Valley east of Exeter, has also written short stories and poems included in several anthologies and published in the award winning magazine, “News from Native California.”
East of the Great Valley shines with cultural and historical detail, based on considerable research. This returned an accurate and enthralling portrayal of the Yokut and Miwok natives during the invasion of white men.
Because East of the Great Valley accurately captures California’s native past so well, it has become available for purchase at The Three Rivers Historical Museum and Porterville Historical Museum.
Another Central Valley period piece is Benton’s Plain Molly. Set in California’s Central Valley of 1897, 17-year-old Molly dreams of continuing her education in Sacramento where she hopes to obtain her teaching certificate. Her strict father refuses to let her attend, citing she is needed on the farm to help with the chores and to care for her ailing mother. Resentful of her two older sisters, who are engaged to be married, Molly runs away with Charles, a traveling tinker man in hopes he will take her to Sacramento. Molly soon discovers that Charles is not the man she thought he was, and his promises of the good life have a hidden agenda. When he leaves her stranded in California’s fading gold fields, Molly must not only find food and shelter, but defend herself against a charge of murder.
Jeff Spalsbury of Visalia presents the reader with a classic western, The Hunted Return. After being framed for robbing a gold shipment, “Big John” Warner receives an early release from prison, and now payback’s coming to Ross Butcher, the outlaw who set him up and destroyed what he cared about most. Though the aches in Big John’s bones tell him he isn’t young anymore, nothing will keep him from his vengeance.
Doc Whitfield and his brother, Red, also have a score to settle with Butcher. They head to Montana to square off with the man who set them up for murder and chased them out of town. But revenge isn’t their only reason for returning home: Butcher is intent on claiming their ranch and keeping their mother hostage. Now Doc, Red, and Big John will team up and drive a posse straight into Butcher’s black heart.
Spalsbury, who has been a research librarian, director of a college library and a college professor is now a full time novelist. He writes Christmas short stories, contemporary, western and science fiction novels. For his western novels he has traveled extensively throughout the Southwest, exploring unique locations for his Western novels. Using factual sites, people, and events to enhance his fiction, he manages to capture both the spirit and the mystique of the Old West. His desire is to instill in the reader a respect and a wonder for the courage and the fortitude of the men and women who settled the American West.
All of these books available at the signing this Thursday would make wonderful Christmas gifts for the readers on your list.
Getman’s book, Lottie’s Legacy, is a modern mystery that takes place in a town suspiciously likethe author’s city of residence – Exeter. Lottie’s Legacy is a cozy mystery which, by definition, is a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. So, when private investigator Deena Powers discovers the officer investigating the crime is her former high school sweetheart, Avis “Buzz” Walker, sparks fly, while the book remains suitable family reading.
Getman admitted she used Exeter as a backdrop for her fictional town of Four Creeks. She also said Lottie, the rather colorful murder victim slain in the opening sequence, is loosely based on a former Exeter resident, now deceased. The reader may also recognize some locales including a variety of Exeter restaurants, given fictional names, where some scenes occur as the story progresses.
Searching for greener pastures, in 1973 the Getmans and five of their six children moved to a 10- acre plum ranch in Exeter. When the plums did not prove profitable, they pushed out the plum trees and planted orange trees. Getman’s husband passed away in 1995. Gloria continued to operate the ranch on her own until 2002 when she decided it was too much work, sold it and bought a beautiful home in one of Exeter’s newer suburbs where she began to focus on her writing. The result of her newfound time was Lottie’s Legacy.
Clevenger has created a modern psalm with a look at 12 women’s stories of spiritual pain an dhealing in Pastures of Hope: Walking with the Shepherd in Difficult Times. In her description of the book, Clevenger asks the simple questions, “Have you experienced a critical time when you felt like you’ve hit a brick wall with nowhere to turn? Then come and join these twelve courageous women in the Pastures of Hope.” Each story tells a woman’s emotional, physical, or spiritual pain, and how she found healing and hope waiting for her in the likeness of a Shepherd.
The Author’s Night is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Exeter Branch Library at 559-592-5361.