Let’s Chat! Featured Favorite: Jamie Langston Turner, Part One

Welcome, Everyone!

Jamie Langston Turner vies with a couple other authors for #1 in my hit parade.

Recently I decided I want occasionally to veer off my usual trail on “Let’s Chat!” to highlight certain authors—Featured Favorites–whose works have impacted me and my life. I love all my author friends (and lots I haven’t met), but if I must pick one for top billing today, it’s Jamie.

My favorite of Turner’s novels? No Dark Valley.

My giveaway this week: $5 Amazon gift card to someone who joins the chat below. (Winner can apply to any of Jamie’s ebooks)

Why Turner? And why No Dark Valley?

I’m drawn to any novel’s important themes. Well-drawn and memorable characters and storyline. Emotions. Beauty of the language. Take-away messages. Intrigue and/or surprise and more. I found all of this in No Dark Valley. So much so that I’m including it in the boxes of keepsakes I’m creating for my children and grandchildren.

I read all of Jamie Langston Turner’s books a few years ago and will never forget them. Call it a “soul mates” thing. Touching dim memories from my distant home and church past. Speaking to a tender place in my heart where regret and shame lurk. All of those are true. 

If mind-blowing adventure, crime, death and destruction, sex, and violence aren’t your thing . . . Rather, if you’re looking for beautifully written, touching, meaningful fiction that captures your imagination, whirls you into unexpected crevices, and thrusts you out into new landscapes with a chuckle or two, all the while leaving its mark on your heart . . .  If you’re looking for fiction that enthralls you now and stays with you always, Jamie Langston Turner is your gal.

No Dark Valley: Beyond the Remorse, Forgiveness Beckoned


A Little Something From the Front and Back Covers:

She had bolted shut the door of her heart . . . Now she held the key in her hand . . .

She had expected to feel angry. Anger was the kind of emotion that could carry you through a funeral with perfect composure. She hadn’t expected to look down at her grandmother and be flooded with this strange conglomeration of guilt, regret, curiosity, sadness . . .

Jamie Langston Turner

Her grandmother’s funeral meant Celia Coleman must return to the small town she had hoped never to see again. The memories of that long ago home and church–and of her own behavior there–are not happy ones But now the floodgates are about to open.

Bruce Healey is struggling with guilt over his own past, and Celia wants nothing to do with this neighbor of hers. But when God lifts them each from their dark valleys of shame, their hearts could indeed be ready to give and receive love.

Excerpt from Chapter One: “The Birds Hush Their Singing” in which Celia arrives in Dunmore, GA

Jamie Langston Turner

‘We been hoping you’d come,’ Aunt Beulah called. She stepped out onto the porch, letting the screen slam behind her. ‘Come on inside before you freeze to death. Everybody’s here eating.’ Her words came out in little white puffs. She was wearing a nubby black sweater over a navy blue dress and pink terry-cloth slippers on her feet.

Celia felt a wave of panic. So that explained all the cars parked up and down the street. If she had known about this, she would never have agreed to come. She had expected only Aunt Beulah and Uncle Taylor, not everybody. ‘Come on by the house first,’ Aunt Beulah had said over the phone. ‘We can have us a little visit before we go to the funeral home.’

Jamie Langston Turner

‘Now, tell me again which cow this is,’ Al said as they started up the sidewalk. On the drive here Celia had told him the names of her grandmother’s five sisters–Clara, Bess, Beulah, Elsie, and Molly–to which Al had replied, ‘They sound like cows.’ He had then laughed, for what seemed to Celia a little too long, at his joke. He was right about their names, of course. And her grandmother’s name had fit right in with the rest: Sadie.

‘This one’s Aunt Beulah,’ Celia said. ‘She’s the only one of them who ever liked me.’

‘Watch out for that icy patch there!’ Aunt Beulah called. ‘Molly nearly slipped on it earlier. I got Taylor to sprinkle some salt on it, but it might have refroze.’ She shaded her eyes as she watched Celia and Al approach. ‘I’m sure glad you could come. I told them you would.’ The implication, clearly, was But nobody believed me.

Aunt Beulah stepped back and opened the door again. Behind her Celia could see a roomful of people, all jammed together with plates of food balanced on their laps. Somebody cried out, “Mercy, you’re lettin’ the cold in, Beulah!”

Celia felt her knees go weak as she started up the steps, Al at her elbow. “I don’t think I can do this,” she said to him. “These people are perfectly capable of violence. There’s no telling what they might do.” She could picture herself in the middle of Aunt Beulah’s living room, surrounded by all her Georgia kinfolk coming at her with their knives and forks.

‘Don’t worry, I’m here,’ Al said. ‘I won’t let them do anything.’ He put his hand on her back. Celia knew he was looking forward to meeting her relatives, to see for himself if they were as weird as she had claimed.

The hum of talk stopped as they entered. Celia glanced around at the cricle of faces and nodded. She didn’t actually look at the faces, but at the wall slightly above their heads. She could sense that they were all looking her up and down, that she was being weighed in the balances of their narrow minds and found severely wanting.

From Chapter 25, “One Holy Passion,” in which Bruce Healey observes Celia:

Jamie Langston Turner

On a Sunday afternoon in late October, Bruce Healey was sitting at the patio table in the backyard trying to carve a jack-o’-lantern to surprise Madison when he saw Celia pull into the driveway next door and park her red Mustang. It still surprised him that a woman like her, so efficient, sensible, and reclusive, drove a red Mustang instead of, say, a dark brown Volvo 280.

He had already gotten all the stringy goop and seeds out of the pumpkin and was working on the second eye–a simple triangular design, which was turning out to be larger than the first eye and a little lower on the face, down toward the middle of its cheek actually. So it would be a freak, but who cared? Nobody expected perfection when it came to jack-o’-lanterns.

Jamie Langston Turner

He paused for a moment to watch Celia get out of her car and walk to her front door. He opened his mouth to call to her but for some reason decided against it even though he had a legitimate question already framed and ready to ask: “How many trick-or-treaters usually come around this neighborhood on Halloween?”

In fact, he knew in his heart that he was sitting here in the backyard with the express hope of seeing her. But something about the brisk, beeline way she was moving toward the door kept him from speaking. Not that it was much different from the way she normally walked to the door–as if she had just remembered she’d left a cake in the oven. After watching her disappear inside her apartment, he turned his attention back to the jack-o’-lantern’s enormous misaligned eye.

Bruce Healey had met a lot of women in his life. All shapes and sizes, young and old, all kinds of dull and fascinating personalities, faces that made you look twice, others that made you wish you hadn’t. When he was in college, he used to say he could never get married because he’d always be wondering about all those other women he hadn’t had a chance to meet.

From an email written by a reader from Dover, PA:

Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Thank you for allowing God to speak through your words. Your work has blessed me abundantly.

Ditto from me! 

Jamie’s Books

Jamie Langston Turner_https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Again-Jamie-Langston-Turner-ebook/dp/B00IOE4L0O/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=To+see+the+moon+again&qid=1550612611&s=books&sr=1-1

How to Find Jamie Langston Turner

Website

Facebook

Jamie Langston Turner was born and raised in the South—Mississippi and Kentucky. She has lived in South Carolina for 45 years and in 2016 retired from teaching creative writing at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.

She began freelance writing in the early 1980s, and over the next ten years she wrote short stories, articles, plays, and poems for a variety of magazines as well as material for reading, science, history, music, and literature textbooks.

I
n 1992 she received a phone call from an editor of Moody Magazine, who had read two of her short stories and urged her to consider writing a novel. Within weeks she started her first novel, Suncatchers, which was published in 1995 by Thomas Nelson. Then she published her second novel, Some Wildflower in My Heart, with Bethany House in 1998. Thereafter, five others, also with Bethany: By the Light of a Thousand Stars (1999), A Garden to Keep (2001), No Dark Valley (2004), Winter Birds (2006), and Sometimes a Light Surprises (2009). Her eighth novel, To See the Moon Again, was released by Penguin/​Berkley in September 2014.

Awards

Four of her novels have been finalists for the Christy Award, and two were named winners of the award in the category of contemporary fictionA Garden to Keep in 2002 and Winter Birds in 2007. Also, Winter Birds was named as a best book for the year 2006 by both Christianity Today and Publishers Weekly

Jamie has been married for 47 years to Daniel Turner, who is on the music faculty at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, and they have a son, Jess, who is a composer living in Indiana, and two wonderful grandchildren, Carolyn Svana, 9, and Charles Kjell, 5.

` ~ ~ ~

What wonderful gifts You give, Lord. And when the recipients of Your gift of writing like Jamie use them as You intend, what glory they bring to You and encouragement they provide to readers.
We pray You’ll bless each word Jamie writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

16 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Featured Favorite: Jamie Langston Turner, Part One

  1. Chloe Flanagan

    I’m not entering the giveaway, I just wanted to say that it’s so great to read this post about Jamie Langston Turner’s work, especially No Dark Valley. It’s such a great book that I think about parts of it even now, several years after reading it. I also loved To See the Moon Again. Her work really overturned my preconceived ideas and definitions of Christian Fiction.

    Thanks!

     
     
    1. Ditto, Chloe! And you’re welcome 🙂 I’m the same way about No Dark Valley. I’m leaving it in a keepsakes box for my children and grandchildren. (One day when they remember their crazy ol’ Mama D, I think that story will resonate.)

       
       
  2. Melissa Andres

    I love learning about new-to-me authors! Jamie’s books sound wonderful. I’ll definitely try to get my hands on one! Thank you!

     
     
    1. You’re welcome, Melissa. It’s my joy and honor to feature Jamie.

       
       
  3. Judi Marshall

    From just the snippets that I read here her books sound wonderful. I am so glad you choose to do something like this

     
     
    1. Hi, Judi. Great to see you in our circle. I think you’ll love Jamie’s books. Needless to say, I do. 🙂

       
       
  4. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds

    I have not heard of this author. I look forward to reading her books. Thank you for sharing.

     
     
    1. Welcome, Lucy! I hope you get to read Jamie’s work. I think you’ll love her too.

       
       
  5. Faith Creech

    I have read some of Jamie’s books and I love them. Thank you for highlighting her!

     
     
    1. I’m so glad you’re in our circle, Faith. Jamie’s books are truly memorable.

       
       
  6. Thank you for sharing about Jamie Langston Turner. I am glad to learn about her and now, I want to read her writings.

     
     
    1. Hi, Melissa. Welcome to the circle. You’re entered in the drawing, girl.

       
       
  7. Paula Shreckhise

    I love stories about quaint towns in the south. This sounds right up my alley! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

     
     
    1. Hi, Paula. I love having you here in the circle. I hope you get to read Jamie. She’s fantastic.

       
       
  8. Kim G.

    I absolutely love Jaime Langston Turner books!! I wish she would write another story. I really enjoyed this Linda, it’s rare to find someone who’s read her fabulous work.

     
     
    1. Hi, Kim. You and I are soul mates I guess. Jamie’s stories stay with you, don’t they? You’re right … It’s been awhile since she’s released a new one. Let’s pray she’ll do so again before too long. Too wonderful to miss.

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Liz Tolsma

Welcome, everyone!

Liz TolsmaLiz Tolsma honors us as our guest author this week. In her own words, Liz writes a little bit of everything, but her specialty is WWII women’s fiction. 

Liz is giving away a digital copy of her October 2018 release, When the Heart Sings. So chat along with us, and you’re entered in the drawing!

P.S. Michelle is the winner of Liz’s giveaway: When the Heart Sings!

Liz Tolsma’s Life Before Writing

I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and have two younger sisters. When I was eight, my family moved to Wisconsin, where I still live. I love it here and have little desire to go elsewhere. My husband and I met when we were in sixth grade and started dating our senior year of high school. There is a story I’ve heard that his locker was across from mine in eighth grade, and he had a crush on me then. Much to my chagrin, I don’t remember that. While I went away to college, he stayed in Wisconsin. That was tough.

I graduated from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and returned to Wisconsin to marry Doug. For four years, I taught second grade at a Christian school, and then I quit to start a family. God had different plans for us, though. Years of infertility and treatments followed. They were difficult times for us. I was devastated and questioned how this could be His will for us. Slowly but surely, he worked in my heart to accept his perfect plan. For us, that meant adoption.

A Family for Liz

Liz Tolsma
T
wenty-three years ago, we brought a beautiful baby boy home from Vietnam. Five years later, we added an infant daughter from Korea, and eight years after that, a five-year-old girl from the Philippines. What was the hardest trial of our lives turned out to be the greatest blessing.

Our son is now a U.S. Marine. We couldn’t be prouder of how he’s chosen to serve the country that he feels has given him so much.

Our oldest daughter has just started college. It’s been hard on this mama to be so far away from her girl, but we are equally proud of the bright and talented young lady she is.

Our youngest daughter has multiple physical and cognitive delays. She’s our “lifer”, so we’re as empty nest as we ever will be. But that has been a blessing, too. She keeps me from getting too lonely with the other kids gone.

Debuts for Liz Tolsma, the AuthorLiz Tolsma

My first publication was in a Barbour novella collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Wanda Brunstetter was the lead author on that, and it made the NY Times bestseller list. I was literally about to start another book – blank document open, thinking about the first line – when my agent sent an email about this project and asking if I would be interested. I only had a few days to put together a proposal and write the first three chapters. While I did go camping with my family that weekend, I spent much of it in the camper writing.

Liz TolsmaMy debut full-length novel was Snow on the Tulips in 2013. It is based on a family story of a Dutch woman during WWII who hides a wounded resistance worker in her home. All of it was such a learning curve, from editing (cue panic attack at an 8-page editing letter) to cover design, to marketing, to speaking and appearances. And I loved every minute of it.

What’s Up With Liz Tolsma Now?

Since then, I’ve written several more WWII books, several novella collections, and even an Amish romance. My first romantic suspense, The Pink Bonnetis due out in June 2019. So, I’ve been very busy. While I enjoy writing across a wide range of genres, my favorite by far is WWII.

Right now, I’m editing my sixth WWII novel. The fifth, When the Heart Sings, is releasing in October and is set in a Polish labor camp. It’s very personal for me because it also explores infertility, pregnancy loss, and adoption, all of which I’ve experienced in my own life. The one I’m editing now is set in Hungary and deals with the Zionist Youth movement in that country.

I have another novella to write, but after that, I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. I would dearly love to keep writing WWII novels, but we’ll have to see how interested my publisher is in keeping going with that line.

All I know is that I do want to keep writing.

A Giveaway From Liz Tolsma


I
will be happy to give away a digital copy of When the Heart Sings.

A Peek Inside When the Heart Sings

Natia has a secret—and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose.

In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. . .

Where Readers Can Find Liz Tolsma

Website

Facebook 

Twitter

Instagram 

When the Heart Sings  

The Melody of the Soul

The Amish Widow’s New Love 

Snow on the Tulips 

Other Stories by Liz Tolsma  

The Amish Widow’s New Love      The Rails to Love

Liz TolsmaLiz TolsmaLiz TolsmaLiz Tolsma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melody of the Soul    Remember the Lilies

~ ~ ~

Lord, we bow before You in adoration and thanksgiving, for You alone are worthy of worship. You alone are the Fount of Every Blessing. What a joy it is to read Liz’s stories and see You working the threads of characters’ lives into beautiful tapestries, just as You do the lives of Your children. We exalt Your name above every name in all the Earth. Please bless each word Liz writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

9 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Liz Tolsma

  1. SARAH TAYLOR

    BEAUTIFUL COVER AND SOUNDS LIKE AGREAT READ IF IT WAS ONLY IN PRINT!

     
     
  2. Perrianne Askew

    Congrats to Liz! Her books sounds like something I’d really enjoy reading.

     
     
  3. A Log Cabin Christmas looks inviting and what a lovely debut.
    I would love to win a copy of `When The Heart Sings`
    I love reading historical fiction because of all the research behind them.

     
     
  4. Alison Boss

    I LOVE Liz Tolsma’s books! She is an amazing author. I enjoyed reading more about her and her writing journey. Historical Christian fiction is my favorite genre to read, and WW2 is one of my favorite time periods to read. I am so excited to read Liz’s newest book, When the Heart Sings!! Thank you for the chance to in a copy!!!

     
     
    1. Hi, Alison. Lovely to have you in the circle. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

       
       
  5. Becky Smith

    This cover is really amazing! I so enjoyed reading this! Sadly, I have not tried Liz’s books yet, but now, after reading this, I want to read them!

     
     
    1. Great to see you in the circle, Becky. I feel the same way about Liz’s book cover and reading her stories.

       
       
  6. Liz Tolsma

    Thanks for having me!

     
     
    1. My honor and privilege, Liz!

       
       

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