A Work of Heart

Let me take you on a trek that I hope brings you a laugh, a heartfelt moment or a reason to ponder your own journey along the path of life. Let me be your guide through my Work of Heart.

This is my first collection of poems, shorts stories and photos, many of which appeared in the Edmonton Journal’s Country Asides.

“She brushed the grey hair from her eyes and shook her head from side to side. Her sunken glassy eyes looked right through me. There was something haunting in her melancholy stare. It was colder than the coffee...”

- Excerpt from Time for Coffee, A Work of Heart
Hightops in the Snow

Mikey and Jeb have it all – family, friends, football. Could it get any better? Then Jeb is blindsided by the tackle that changes his life – forever. Now he’s in for his biggest battle – the fight to survive, and his teammates are powerless to help him. But sometimes help comes from the most unlikely of places…

This is my first novel — young adult fiction. This is a story of courage and determination in the face of adversity. It offers an inspirational message of hope and perseverance.

"A mysterious silhouette appeared in the distance running towards Jeb, getting closer and closer. Jeb could make out a jersey, a tattered and torn number sixteen, mangled in a mess of blue and gold. He tried to close his eyes but couldn’t. Suddenly the kid in the jersey reached out to touch Jeb, but the hand wasn’t a hand at all. It was a finger – a skeleton’s finger."

- Excerpt from Hightops in the Snow
Hightops in the Snow is available online. If you would like a physical copy of either book please contact me.
Praise for Hightops in the Snow

When you are eleven and a half, what is most important in the race of life? Winning? Perseverance? Teamwork? Executing perfect pranks without getting caught?  Or is there something deeper to discover?

Mikey Bellier lives in the city of Parkview with his parents and nine-year-old brother Jeb, in a time before smart phones, X-boxes, and home computers.  His father drives a rusty ’67 Chrysler whose climate control system consists of windows that can be rolled up or down. Mikey faces the usual challenges of his age group – parents whose standards differ from his, a home-room teacher he doesn’t like, and Biff O’Donnell, the chronic troublemaker who makes everyone as miserable as possible. When Mikey’s father signs his sons up for organized football, the boys revel in the opportunity to express their inner warrior spirit. Life is good, despite the bumps and bruises.

One night, Jeb has a nightmare about Sammy, aka the Lightning Kid, a former player on his football team who was taken by cancer at age twelve. Soon, the Bellier family faces an enemy more fearful than any school bully.

How do young people deal with the unthinkable?  With humour, courage, and support from their family, friends and community. Not everyone is helpful, but there are those who are willing to make serious sacrifices in order to help.

The story of the battle unfolds without sugar coating the difficulties and dangers. There is no contrived perfect outcome. Mikey and his brother continue wisecracking their way through the shadows, sustained by love and faith. They enjoy what life has to offer each day, even if they can’t win every race.  

Each chapter begins with a photograph which sets the tone for what is to come. Greg Turlock has dug into his own childhood experiences to compose an exuberant celebration of the journey into maturity. Young adults may read it as historical fiction, but they will recognize many issues they have in common with previous generations. Older adults might enjoy it as a trip down memory lane. For those whose lives have been touched by disability and serious illness, this story offers both chuckles and inspiration.

Christine Richardson
Freelance Writer 
Wednesday Night Writers, Spruce Grove, AB

“It takes more than a team to win the game of life.” Greg Turlock’s “Hightops in the Snow” is an uplifting story of determination and courage and is a great inspiration for youth. Although this book is for young adults, any reader at home and abroad can easily connect with this story.

Sense of humour enhances Greg Turlock’s story. Jeb, without his quick-witted imagination, could have been a predictable character against impossible odds. The author’s distinct talent reflects heavily in Jeb’s portraying a positive message on how a cancer patient can live ordinarily despite their medical conditions; unlike other literary texts where cancer stories spread deep fear among readers. I loved how issues like bullying, disciplining and the horror of cancer are overshadowed by the stronger messages of teamwork, friendship, family and caring.

I’m glad I got to read this beautiful piece of work. It captured my heart and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I give it a 5+ overall rating. I am looking forward to reading more form this promising author. Enjoy!

Sara Lamichhane, M.A. English
Pokhara University, Nepal
Parkland Poets Society, Stony Plain, AB

Few writers can take on a young person’s voice and a young person’s point of view, to tell a story dealing with adult issues—not without treating the readers as children. Greg Turlock has achieved that, though, in Hightops In the Snow. And more than that, he’s also written a nail-biter. 

The world of Hightops in the Snow is that of Mikey, a boy in middle school with a younger brother nicknamed Jeb and a friend named Harold. Theirs is a world of pranks, scrapes, schoolteachers, schoolmates, parents, grandparents, bullies, and… football. Football, in fact, is growing in importance in the lives of these three. We see them toughing through, striving not to let their teammates down, and standing up to bullies—in fact, we see them learning to act like men.

And suddenly the story takes a turn, into real difficulties for Mike and Jeb and Harold—the sort of difficulties grown-ups have to face. They’re still boys, but their challenges are now life-and-death, and for you the nail-biting starts. 

Then the story takes another turn, and you’re not just chewing your nails—you’re on the edge of your seat.
Like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Mikey and Jeb and Harold are real, three-dimensional boys. Their dialogue is real boy-talk, and the world we see through Mikey’s eyes is as real and solid and gripping as our own.
Bottom line: forget the age of the protagonists—this novel is a page turner.

David Routledge
Freelance Writer 
Wednesday Night Writers, Spruce Grove, AB

Greg Turlock Creative