Featured Author of the Month

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I am so honored to feature this months author because we are not only joined by heart, but by family. Marilyn Loy Turner is one of the most poetic voices I have ever read. Her words bring emotions from a deep place and her raw ability to describe matters of the heart will leave you sighing. Please join me as Marilyn shares a story of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE!

Once upon a Kentucky time when winds were high and spirits were low, a grand English duke rode swiftly over the bluegrass. He was in pursuit of the perfect family to bring up his infant daughter, the child’s mother barely buried beneath the British dust. Kentucky raised she was, and no better duchess existed, and so his little daughter too must grow up here in this beloved place.

Hi. I am Marilyn Loy Turner and you have just read the first paragraph of my book: “Once Upon a Kentucky Time.” I am thrilled to be a part of Tekoa Manning’s page. Actually, she selected me as “Author of the Month” for September. I was so excited, yet so shy, it took me all of 30 days to reply. Thank you for allowing me to share some of my humble writings with you.

I wrote this for “Guide Posts” but have yet to mail it. Talk about shy! Well, anyway: here goes!

by Marilyn Loy Turner

The sadness in my mother’s eyes began at my high school graduation. They saw more than a diploma tied in blue ribbon, In mother’s mind, I was still the little girl who cured the calamities of sick dolls, bandaged the neighbor kids ‘ skinned knees, walked the floor with sick siblings, and volunteered at the local nursing home.

Dad was remembering my first crush on a little crippled boy at school.

My parents knew that I burned with aspirations to help others. Although they admitted it was natural that I become a nurse, they feared my dreams were impossible.

I hadn’t realized that while I studied health and the biological sciences, they had been studying how to survive. Dad was a disabled veteran and it was all mother could do to raise food for the family. My small frame fit so easily into the seven-occupant, four-room house, that I didn’t miss what I didn’t have.

It was Dad who voiced their fears. “We can’t afford to send you to Midway College.” I was too busy completing forms and making plans to listen. Didn’t Dad know I had scholarships and was eligible for state grants? Wasn’t he proud that I had found my own way to my summer job at the hospital? (by riding with a neighbor)

“Midway College is over 100-miles away”, Daddy said, if you could come up with the money you have no transportation.”

Dad’s words brought anxiety. My transportation had always been simple. A bus had taken me to and from school. Without fail, a church bus had driven me to church every Sunday, but no bus, no neighbor, could take me to Midway.

It wasn’t fair! I felt nursing was my calling, my destiny, my small contribution to a hurting world. Midway was the best place for me. It was a Christian all-girl school which I considered the best nursing program in Kentucky. “Please, God help me,” I prayed. “Send me a ride.”

The nervousness increased when Midway sent the final communication. When was my arrival date and time?
Would I need a single room or a suite? The latter made me laugh. What a question for a girl without in-door plumbing!

The Sunday before I was to confirm my college registration, I missed the church bus. When I saw it whisk by, I burst into tears. Mother consoled me with a suggestion that I catch another church bus which would be arriving an hour later. It was from another county and another time zone, so I could still attend church.

As I waited outside for the other bus, a sense of peace enveloped me, as thick as the fog, it hovered, an assuring unseen presence. The feeling stayed with me as I climbed abroad the bus full of youth. There were teens from everywhere. I felt surrounded by friends.

Conversation on the bus soon turned to future plans as many were new graduates. When I explained my dilemma, the clamor suddenly stopped. All eyes turned to a quiet girl in the front seat. A red-haired boy broke the silence. “You see Janet up there?” She wants to attend Midway but her parents won’t allow her to drive back and forth alone. Now it looks like you both yourselves a ride!”

Once home, I rushed into the house with the news. Mother marveled. “All these years and you never missed that bus.”

I realized God had perfect timing. Missing the bus kept me from missing my education.

The happiness in my parents’ eyes began at my college graduation. They saw more than a diploma wrapped in gold ribbon. They saw a nurse.

Walter the Homeless Man


“Um, it’s a cat dad, can I keep it?”  Benjamin’s voice was trembling, and so were his fingers as he reached for a bowl and began pouring some milk into it. Ben could smell the liquor on his father’s breath as he continued to provoke him. “You think I got money to spare so you can waste milk on some damn cat?”  “You think money just grows on trees, is that it? Huh, huh, he slapped his head hard with an open hand. Well why don’t you go pick some milk money off one of them there trees,” he said, sarcastically. Ben’s heart sank, and fear had replaced excitement. Why had he thought any different? Was it because sometimes his father surprised him? Yes, sometimes he could confuse Benjamin with his actions and antics. There were those hopeful words his father could use, and he could still hear them.

“Benjamin wants a cat aye; well let’s have a look at the little fellow.” He picked it up and began stroking its fur; the cat had even begun to purr. “Nice kitty, you’re a nice, nice kitty aren’t you?” Benjamin had felt a twinge of hope and then his father had walked to the sink in front of the window, all the while stroking it and speaking friendly hopeful words. “What a good, pleasant girl,” he said, as the cat rubbed her head along his arm purring. He kept stroking it and talking to it. Then the evil voice that Benjamin was too familiar with took over, “Benny wanna kitty?” “Ahh does little Benny want a kitty?” “Stop it!” cried Ben, but it was no use, and then his father held the cats head under the sink full of dirty dishwater. He held it hard struggling with it until his father’s arms were clawed and bleeding from the fight the cat had put up. He remembered his father throwing it against the wall and Ben guessed what people say about cats was true, they do have nine lives, or at least this one sure did. That was the last time Benjamin had asked for a pet of any kind.

Photo by boredpanda.com

Contest Winner

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We would like to thank those who purchased two books to enter the drawing to win a Print by Tekoa.  We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and our hope is that these books are a blessing. 


This morning we have drawn a name and we would like to announce the winner of the painting titled “The Green Lady.”


Congratulations Marilyn Turner!

For more artwork by Tekoa click here.


If at any time you do not want to receive emails from Tekoa please reply to email and let us know and we will take you off the email list.  Thanks!


Adair County Public Library’s Book Signing

I was so blessed by the Adair County Public Library and my marketer, Paige Nickel, on Tuesday! After meeting with the director, Lee Ann Jessee, she agreed to offer Walter the Homeless Man and Polishing Jade as reading material on their shelves. Each librarian present made me feel warm and special. I want to thank Ernestine, Anita, Aleina, and Jewel for staying late and providing snacks and beverages for the people who came and also for purchasing copies of my books. What a blessing these ladies were. I also would like to thank my cousins and family members for coming out to support me.

Two exceptional young ladies also made the book signing memorable, and I was honored to get to know them better. The evening was very surreal for me. When I started writing stories in a spiral notebook at the age of thirty, I never dreamed that one day they would be published and available to the public.

I can remember sitting in my brother’s house, a landing spot for me and my children after a divorce and wondering where we would eventually call home. I also began to ponder what I would do if I had no family and was literally homeless. And that is how I conjured up this character Walter in my mind. What if he were able to seek shelter in a person’s home when they were at work? What if he could be supplied with food, water, and shelter from the elements unknowingly? But what if he eventually changed their lives and also the lives of a whole host of characters intertwined to the homeowner? Walter and his homing pigeon indeed find their compasses back home, but what a journey they invoke upon.

A young lady in 2nd grade wanted to video me speaking Tuesday night at the library. She held my husband’s phone up and recorded my speech. What a little darling she was. Later I watched myself speak with trembling words as I attempted to read an excerpt from Walter a little too fast.  I was aware after viewing the tape that I need to prepare better for these types of events! Ha! But I was also aware that a high school dropout like myself, with only an associate’s degree to show for, had come full circle. Yes, my tattered past, homelessness, and sickness were now being used for His glory. I stand in awe of the grace and gift of My Creator.

My husband and I felt led to pray for two special women present and as my husband began to pray I glanced up at the Librarians and the people present and noticed that they too had their heads bowed. Amazing!

We are looking forward to our next events on Friday, September 11th on Market Off Main, Campbellsville, KY, and the 12th at The Fall Heritage Festival at the Home Place_ Green River, Columbia KY.

Hope to see you there!



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The Screech of the Door Challenged the Silence

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“It won’t be long until dark, Jade, so I ‘spect we should finish up our lemonade and get you goin’ on down the hill.”

“Yes, ma’am, Miss Ellen.  Thank you for the lemonade and for being my friend.”  I smiled at her and looked down at the kitchen floor.  I noticed the checkered pattern and the way my shoes fit into the blocks just right.  My bottom felt glued to her chair at the mention of ‘get goin down the hill.’  I desperately wanted to walk down her hallway to her guest room and sleep one night without fear.

She clapped her hands together, waking me out of my daydream and gave me another big hug, squeezing me real good.  It felt so sweet to be wrapped in those loving arms.  Nice.  I stepped down the porch steps and gazed in the direction of my house.  My heartfelt like the sun, sinking in the background.  A flushed, golden haze covered the skyline, and the lightning bugs began to sparkle.  I still had a picture of my mama’s bruised face in my mind, so I listened intently for any commotion as I stepped into the yard.  All seemed quiet at the Gentry house; I held my breath as my feet slid across the hardwood and gently turned the doorknob to my room.  The screech of the door challenged the silence, and I stood still and waited to see if the silence would speak.  My heart chimed with the clock in the living room as I quietly released the doorknob and clicked the lock.  I hesitated, but no one stirred, perhaps the demons had grown sleepy.  I had learned to be painfully quiet in order to not rouse them from their slumber.  Rousing them could be most fearful.

Photo by Vintage Antique Door Red Fine