Valerie Banfield 

Author and Basket Weaver

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- Stories set in that place known as Almost Heaven -

Valerie and Sue's Yarns:

When a city girl and a country gal write a few of books together, the results look something like:

West Virginia Crude,

West Virginia Still,


West Virginia High

Valerie and Sue are proud as peacocks with the outcome of their joint ventures,

and they hope you’ll take a gander through their tales and let them know if you agree.

July 1968, South Vietnam. Greg Merrick’s stint in the jungles of Vietnam makes the prospect of working in the Logan coalfields a heap more appealing than it did before he enlisted. He’s learned to cope with fatigue, violence, and cruelty, but fears his survival methods will stalk him as long as the memories linger. Forever changed, he returns to an unrecognizable place where transplanted hippies and war-weary folks went on with life . . . without him.


 March 2010, Logan, West Virginia. Gina White rides a pretty high, self-righteous horse when it comes to people who abuse drugs. She’s lost count of those who’ve buried loved ones or watched them destroy their lives. The use of substances for medical purposes sounds like unfounded hogwash to her—until the benefactor is someone she loves more than life. And so, she weighs the risk.

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October 1929. After the stock market nosedives, and before his duped investors tally their losses, Amos Kimble hits the rails. When a thieving hobo ejects him from the boxcar as it passes Spencer, West Virginia, Amos finds himself in a heap o’ trouble, the likes of which he’d never imagined.


Goldie Morgan doesn’t like the looks of the new patient. Something is off, and it isn’t just his mental state.


April 1976. Lois Shaffer’s first day on the job at Spencer State Hospital unhinges her enough to send her running far, far away. If not for her empty pocketbook, her children, and her useless excuse for a husband, she’d answer the urge to flee. The evidence surrounding her is a stark reminder that the line between coping and crumbling is all too thin.

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1879, Walker, West Virginia

Sidney Crenshaw wants no part of the frenzy that overwhelms the hills and hollers that he calls home. He savors the simple things in life and has no need to don a wildcatter’s hat or to spoil his farmland looking for a black-gold reservoir that may—or may not—rest beneath the soil. The one thing he can’t abide is the cheerless shadow that haunts his disheartened wife.


Bess Crenshaw craves one thing, and it’s become apparent that she can’t have it. Sidney wants his old wife back, but Bess can’t find her. She disappeared along with her wishes. A change of scenery might help her mend, might help her realign her leftover life. It wasn’t running away if it was temporary. She and Sidney would pick up where they’d left off before . . .


It’s 1949 and when trouble arrives at the Crenshaw’s homestead, six-year-old Billie Jean sets out to save her family from ruin. She’s motivated and determined, but after depleting her arsenal of clever little-girl antics, she starts to wonder if she can outsmart her greedy kin.

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Sue Copeland is a misplaced West Virginia girl who spent fifteen years in Ohio before she returned to the hills and hollers where she could raise her two children as genuine hillbillies. It worked beautifully. When they moved to Florida to find gainful employment, just as the generations before them left the red clay for city streets, she followed so that she could be near her first grandchild.

     Her career encompassed many occupations, including a stint at an accounting firm managing a massive number of oil and gas leases, and a position as a medical secretary in a West Virginia State Hospital. She also served as a legal secretary for the Florida State Attorney’s Office. Her passion is sewing—everything from custom yacht décor to buttery, silk bridal gowns. She recently added the title SceneStitcher to her vocational hat collection.

     Going back to her beloved hills and her lovely people has always been high on Sue's list of wishes, and she now lives a stone’s throw from the Ohio River where she enjoys the warm West Virginia people and tolerates the cold weather. Writing about West Virginia tugged her heart and brought her home.