Electronic Press Kit by fxz3722



                             “I grew up in Oz -- Kansas -- and settled in Oz -- Australia --
                             so my Yellow Brick Road has a very long pontoon bridge in
                             it,” says author JAMES HOUSTON TURNER, whose upcoming
                             suspense thriller, Department Thirteen, has been described as
                             “Ludlumesque” by The Dallas Morning News and “Unputdownable”
                             by The Sunday Mail. His current eBook thriller, The Identity Factor,
                             was described by LA’s the Place magazine as “A Jason-Bourne-meets-
                             The-DaVinci-Code kind-of mystery inside a puzzle,” after which it
                             went on to scoop four finalist awards in US book competitions,
                             including the National Best Books Awards and the Eric Hoffer Award.

But the accolades have come at a cost, and Turner describes his personal Yellow Brick Road as anything but
Over the Rainbow. “When you fall on brick -- yellow or otherwise -- you get hurt,” he says from his home in
Adelaide, Australia. “But sometimes, the hard knocks of life are blessings in disguise.”

Most people have hard knocks in life, but Turner considers his successful battle against cancer as his defining
moment. “In 1991, I was given eighteen months to live,” he writes in the introduction to his reflective and often
humorous blog, The Infrared Highway. “People prayed for me. I made lifestyle changes. I beat the odds. Since
then, I look at things differently. Before that time, I cruised the highway of life without much direction or
thought. The road seemed endless and I thought I had all the time in the world. Then I was diagnosed with
something that was out to kill me. It nearly did. But a bunch of doctors opened up my face like a book and cut
out a tumor the size of an orange. Then they did their best to put me back together again. And I survived. Now
I’m writing about things I think are important...things that affect my writing...things I’ve learned now that I look
at life beyond the everyday spectrum.”

For him, this experience fused a wide variety of life experiences into a vivid databank from which he constructs
his thrillers. That databank includes his formative years as an adventuresome boy in eastern Kansas, a
Bachelor’s Degree in religion from Baker University, a Master’s Degree in history from the University of
Houston Clear Lake, a colorful array of jobs ranging from fry cook to farm hand, youth pastor, law clerk,
bartender, public relations executive, warehouse manager, university administrator, construction laborer,
photojournalist, and housecleaner, including a stint as “Spudman,” where he cooked potatoes for television
audiences across America, including appearances with Regis Philbin and Pat Boone.

He has chaired his own non-profit corporation that delivered thousands of pounds of medical supplies to needy
hospitals in Eastern Europe, has worked as a smuggler and courier behind the old Iron Curtain, has interviewed
film celebrities, gulag and death camp survivors, and the homeless and jobless of inner-city Los Angeles. He has
attended two National Prayer Breakfasts in Washington with the President of the United States, rubbed
shoulders with Hollywood’s A-list at the prestigious G’day USA black tie gala in Los Angeles, and yet at other
times found himself so poor he had to live on jars of peanut butter given to him by a church.
“As you can tell, I’ve done a lot of things,” he admits. “Unfortunately, I was good at moving on when the going
got tough. I knew how to fight; I just didn’t have the mettle. Like I said, I thought I had all the time in the world.
But when I got cancer, I couldn’t move on. That life-changing experience was my ‘line in the sand.’ It made me
what I am today.”

But writing is not an easy career path to follow. “Like it or not, rejection becomes your new best friend,” he
explains. “My first professional writing assignment was in 1972, and after decades of little more than sporadic
success, which included all kinds of odd jobs to support my passion to write, I questioned whether or not I had
what it took. For me, writing was a “chicken today, feathers tomorrow” kind-of way to earn a living. One day
you’re eating chicken, the next you’re eating feathers. Frustrated with the taste of ‘feathers,’ I applied for a full-
time customer service job with a large company. Yes, I loved writing, but my career was just not going
anywhere. I was turned down for that customer service job, not because I lacked skills, but because I was too
ugly (referring to the facial scars from my cancer operation). That experience was another defining moment, for
if I had been hired, I may not have persevered with my writing to become the published author I had always
believed I could be. So it bears repeating: Sometimes, the hard knocks of life are blessings in disguise.”

His upcoming “Too Ugly Tour” is his dedication to that moment. “Yes, I’ll be visiting bookstores and signing
books. But this tour is much more than that, and the name not only reflects what made me keep writing, but also
the message I’m carrying into schools where I’ve been invited to speak: believe in yourself and use the hard
knocks of life to make you stronger. For if we believe the shallow judgments thrown at us -- you’re too ugly, too
old, too young, too fat, too poor, too inexperienced, too...whatever -- then we become our own worst enemies.
Don’t fall into that trap! Don’t lose the battle before you even begin.”

James draws on his experiences and emotions to infuse both his speeches and his novels with the values,
triumph, wisdom, faith, and humor he has gained from living the life he has lived. Many authors write from their
imaginations. James Houston Turner also writes from experience.

To visit his website, click HERE.
To read the reviews of his current thriller, The Identity Factor, click HERE.
To visit his blog, click HERE.
Selected blog titles of interest:
         Defining Moments
         Merry Christmas 2010
         Three Women Who Changed the World
         A Cool Dude Writer Eats His Own Words

To top