Remembering John Turansky


John Turansky, Carrie’s Father-in-law

It’s hard to say goodbye to a much-loved family member. This past weekend my father-in-law John Turansky passed away. John had a stroke several years ago and progressively lost much of his memory, but his wife took excellent care of him, making sure he could enjoy his remaining years. As I sort through photos and we get ready to honor him at a memorial service on February 4th, it made me think about the wonderful legacy he has left for us.

John was an energetic pastor who planted several churches and discipled believers for almost 50 years. He memorized hundreds of verses of Scripture and preached practical sermons that touched countless lives. But even more than all those things, I remember the fun family times we shared with him. He loved to play games, especially backgammon and card games. He also enjoyed traveling and liked to take his kids and grandkids on adventures.


Back row: John, Scott, Josh, Melinda, Carrie, and Shirley. Front row: Melissa, Ben, Lizzy, and Megan at Josh’s wedding in 2002.

He was a very wise and thrifty man, often saying things like:  “Do your homework before you spend any money” . . . and . . .  “Turn off the lights!” He also loved to share practical advice with young people: “You don’t fall in love – you fall down stairs. You fall in ditches. You plan your love life.” And, “You’ve got to marry someone who is going places.” His most famous saying was added to all his sermons, encouraging us to apply what we’d heard: “So what?  How does this apply to me?”

Three gereations.

Josh and Scott in the Back, Hudson, John, and Hayden in front.

John was always a great encouragement and support to Scott and me as we raised our children. His powerful, positive impact on our children’s lives cannot be measured. He invested love, time, and attention on each one, often making cards and booklets by cutting out photos from magazines to create funny stories, or to illustrate Bible verses or topics. He had a powerful influence on them spiritually. Our oldest son Josh posted about his grandpa’s impact on his life. Even though John lived in Hawaii for many years, he would regularly make the long journey to New Jersey to see his grandkids.

When I think of John, I think of faithfulness . . . devotion to God and family . . . humor and creativity . . . and so much more. He has left us a great expample to follow. He fought the good fight and finished the race well. Now he gets to enjoy heaven, and best of all, see the Savior he loved and served so well all these years.

We love you, Dad. Thank you for leading the way home to heaven.

Would youl like to know more of John’s story? Visit his online memorial page.



Google Searches, Little Green Men, and More…

17288762Hi Friends,

It’s surprising what you find doing a Google search!  Today I was looking for a painting I’d seen at Tyntesfield, the estate I have in mind as I write my Highland Hall books, and I found a blog post written by the photographer whose photo was used on the cover of The Governess of Highland Hall. When the book came out he recieved a copy from my publisher and wrote about it on his blog – Little Green Men Photography.

This quote stung a bit:  “Reading the blurb on the back, it’s clear that the story is some kind of Edwardian bodice-ripper, unashamedly cashing in on the current popularity ofDownton Abbey.”

Hmmmm, an Edwardian bodice-ripper? I think he must not have read the story. I wondered if I should respond and leave a comment on his blog to set the story straight or let it go. After a thinking a about it a few minutes, here is the comment I posted:

Hello, I’m the author of The Governess of Highland Hall, and the one who pointed the art director to your lovely photo for possible use on the cover. Your photos were a great help to me as I wrote the story and imagined what my characters would do and see at Highland Hall. I watched a documentary about Tyntesfield and found several more photos online that I saved on a Pinterest board . . . but yours were the first. Thank you for sharing them!

I was very excited to finally visit Tyntesfield last May. What a delight! It is even more beautiful in person than in the photos. The National Trust staff was very kind and gave me a private tour of several of the rooms that were closed to most visitors. It was a wonderful day that I will never forget. I took a lot of photos myself that day.

Daughter Highland HallI’ve gone on to write two more books in the series. The Daughter of Highland Hall released last October. It is mainly set in London, and now I’m working on A Refuge at Highland Hall, which releases this coming October. This story brings us back to Highland Hall (Tyntesfield) and follows the Ramsey family through WW1. The hero is a very brave and daring British pilot who must learn how to build a new life after he is injured in the war, but not before he takes down a German zeppelin. I enjoyed the research and learning more about WW1 in England and France. I try to give my readers a look back at history as well as romance, family drama, and inspiration.

The Governess of Highland Hall is not a bodice-ripper. My novels are inspriational, clean-reads that can be enjoyed by teens through greatgrandmothers with no embarrassment. I’m very happy about that, and so are my readers. The Governess of Highland Hall has done well in the US and has been translated into Dutch. It’s been a finalist for two national writing awards and has some great reviews on Amazon.

I hope you’re pleased to see your photo used for the cover. I would’ve sent my thanks earlier, but I just found this blog post when I Googled Tyntesfield images. I hope you keep taking and sharing great photos! You never know who you will inspire!

Want to read the books for yourself and see? Just click on over to my book page.


When we or our work are criticized or belittled, we have a choice how we respond. It felt great to set the record straight, yet do it in a way that I hope was kind and informative. I hope the Little Green Men agree! :  )

***Update, check out Ian Wilson’s reply to my comment. It seems I’ve won a friend who is eager to share more photos with me for future projects.

Happy Reading,



Looking Back With a Grateful Heart

Out Front - TyntesfieldHi Friends,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2015. As I look back at 2014, I am grateful for so many blessings and experiences.

One of the highlights from last year was my trip to England in May. My Edwardian Brides series is set there, and I was eager to see more of the country and visit the location I’d chosen for the setting. For months my friend and fellow author, Cathy Gohlke, and I exchanged emails and phone calls as we planned our trip. Our excitement grew as we made reservations and purchased our tickets.

Finally on May first, we flew overnight from Philadelphia to Manchester. From there we took a train down to Bristol. The next morning we set off to explore Tyntesfield, the beautiful country estate I have in mind as I write about Highland Hall. I’d seen several photos of Tyntesfield online and even watched a documentary about its history, but I was not prepared for how amazing it was to see it in person.

Tyntesfied with Cathy Gholke and Carrie Turansky

We went to the gift shop first where we met our friend and fellow author Melanie Dobson, who was also doing research for her novels. The day was bright and sunny, and the gardens were in bloom. As we toured the house and grounds I was continually awestruck by the beautiful details in the woodwork, tile, furniture, paintings and sculptures. Cathy, Melanie, and I kept smiling and saying how beautiful it was as we snapped more photos. It just felt so unreal to be there!

TyntesfieldTyntesfied Great HallI’d hoped to see the night nursery, since many of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall take place there, but we were told an antique mirror had fallen and broken on the floor, causing a mercury spill which was dangerous, so the room was closed. But when the staff learned I was an author who had set a novel at Tyntesfield, we were taken upstairs on a private tour of the day nursery and shown the governess’s bedroom. What a delight! It was just as I had pictured it. We saw several other beautiful rooms as well.

Nursery at Tyntesfield

One of the most surprising and beautiful parts of Tyntesfield is the chapel. The Gibbs Family who oringially build Tyntesfield were deelply committed to their faith and added this lovely chapel to their home. The stained glass windows and the mosaics are amazing.

Tyhtesfield Chapel


smaller mosaic

I treasure the memories of that visit to Tyntesfield. And as I look back on the photos and read the notes in my journal, I’m thankful I could share the day with two good friend who understood how meaningful it was to me.

You may not be able to visit Tyntesfield in person . . . but you can get a taste of what it’s like when you read The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and next fall, A Refuge at Highland Hall. You can order your copies here.

The governess of Highland Hall

Daughter Highland Hall

Until next time, Happy Reading!