This is an eclectic collection of short stories, poetry and articles, most with the flavor of the Central Valley.
Winnie Enloe Furrer contributed true stories about the Huckababy family, a pioneering family complete with photographs. John Noel added a bit of non-fiction an some poetry. Mary Benton's short stories have their roots in the valley--and well-worth the read.
There is something for everyone in this anthology. Art Wallace Neeson's tales contain a wry sense of humor and Gloria Getman's stories often end with an ironic twist.
This review would be far too long if I listed every author and described every piece, so I'll conclude with anyone who has the opportunity to read this book will enjoy him/herself. Highly recommended and I give it 5 Stars.
From Gloria Getman:
Thanks, Marilyn, for inviting me to tell a bit about how Leaves from the Valley Oak came about.
Last April I suggested to the Visalia & Exeter Writers that we publish an anthology. Each member had written some outstanding pieces and it seemed like they deserved to be published. But the market for them is small and the competition is great. They agreed that they liked the idea—if it would be done economically. CreatsSpace seemed to be the best option, and Mary Benton and I volunteered to be the editors.
Editing and organizing the pieces was the easy part. Formatting a book with twelve contributors was the hard part. Word is a wonderful program, but tricking it into the desired format is a challenge. Each header needed to reflect the contributing author.
I downloaded the CreateSpace template and loaded the book into it. Each time I put in a page break everything in the book moved, fouling up the header and footers. To say I learned a lot is an understatement.
In the meantime, we decided we wanted to make our own cover. Mary and I took out trusty cameras and went looking for an oak tree to photograph. A dozen pictures later, we settled on the ones we liked best. Fortunately, Sylvia Ross, one of our members, is a whiz with Photo Shop. She made all our pictures better, so much better that the cover picture file was too big. She put a nice frame around it and then the people at CreateSpace accepted it.
By September I had the entire manuscript fixed in place and made it into a pdf. But when I scrolled through, I saw that somehow page breaks had moved and page numbers were incorrect after page 150. Back to the drawing board. It took three times before I had it laid out right and sent it off for CreateSpace approval.
Getting the first proof back was a thrill—until we found all the mistakes. I took the book down at the site to make the corrections, sent it again and ordered another proof. We were satisfied and gave our approval. It was the middle of November when we ordered our author’s copies. Expense wise, the books cost us a tad over $5 per copy. Not bad. Another plus for CreateSpace is that the books they publish are printed in the good old USA; South Carolina, to be specific.
DIY publishing has been made so easier with all the new on-line avenues. If anyone has questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out my blog: gloriagetman.blogspot.com and meet some of the contributors to Leaves from the Valley Oak.