Birthday Giveaway #5 With Guest Author, Penny Zeller!
Penny Zeller is the author of four books and numerous magazine articles. She writes the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author", is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. She devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. When she’s not dreaming up new characters for books, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball. Penny’s most recent book, McKenzie, was released in September 2010 by Whitaker House and is the first in the Montana Skies Series. Her second book, Kaydie, a touching book of trust and God’s provision, is scheduled for release in April 2011.
1. Who / What was your inspiration to start writing?
I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. (I suppose you could call it grade-school commentary!) My second grade teacher, Mrs. Vernon, encouraged me to continue writing about Jesus. In fourth grade, I began to write fiction stories about a dog named Muffie and her adventures, as well as, other short stories neatly composed in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books. I loved telling stories at a young age and enjoyed sharing those stories with my sister and cousin. In fifth grade, I won in the Young Authors contest at our school and had my first poem published in a children’s magazine shortly thereafter. My parents bought me my first typewriter (ok, I’m dating myself!) when I was 10 years old. I would sit and type up stories on that electric gray typewriter for hours on end.
Years later, my inspiration continues to come from the Lord and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I get ideas from the Scriptures often and I build my book around certain biblical themes, such as, forgiveness and redemption. My Christian characters pray and seek God for direction. And as a writer I am in constant prayer for wisdom, guidance, and that my books would be life-changing – that they would bring others to the Lord or closer to the Lord. Writing is my ministry, and I have chosen Psalm 19:14 as my life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
2. What do you enjoy least about writing? And most?
There’s nothing I don’t like about writing, as I love it all – it’s my passion. However, I would have to say my least favorite thing is revising. The thing I enjoy most about writing is building the characters and their personalities so they will come alive in the reader’s mind. For example, I love writing dialogue and thinking about how each character would react in each scenario. The creation of the characters is so exciting because I love the newness and freshness of the ideas God gives to me.
Almost everyone has had some sort of inspiration to draw them to writing a particular story.
3. What was your inspiration for McKenzie?
I love historical Christian fiction and especially the 1800s era. My first love is fiction (although I do enjoy writing nonfiction as well). When the Lord gave me the idea for McKenzie, it actually surrounded interesting circumstances. My family and I were in a car accident a couple years ago where I suffered neck and leg injuries. During that time period of seven months, I was also hit with back-to-back bacterial infections. Because of the injuries and illness, I was pretty much homebound and my active athletic lifestyle suddenly became limited. I look back now and praise God that He gave me McKenzie, as well as two other manuscripts (another historical and a contemporary) I wrote in that seven month period of pain and illness. God took what was a difficult time for me and turned it around to something positive that can be used for His Kingdom – taking the time to write the books that I had always wanted to write. He has since healed me and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I think that’s why Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “’For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” is so close to my heart.
4. If you could meet 1 person from the Bible, who would it be? (besides Jesus, of course)
Wow, I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one person! There are so many amazing people in the Bible. I would have to say there would be a three-way tie between Esther, Daniel, and John the Baptist. All exhibited such courage in the face of adversity, and I love how God brought them through that adversity. What testimonies and what inspirations to us all!
5. Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with your readers?
When I meet a reader or fan face to face, I love to chat with her about what she envisions herself doing for God’s Kingdom and how can I pray and encourage her in that pursuit. If she is pursuing her dream as a writer, I tell her that one of the most important things to remember in being a writer is that if God has called her, He will guide her. In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social service agency to stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my writing career, beginning with the magazine articles. I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens another (much better) one.
Visit her website, http://www.pennyzeller.com/!
McKenzie Worthington is desperate to rescue her younger sister from an abusive husband. She runs away from her stately Boston home as a mail-order bride for a rancher in the rugged Montana Territory. Desperation also prompted Zach Sawyer to post the ad for a bride, and he eagerly awaits the woman God has chosen as his wife. When they meet, McKenzie tries to keep her distance, but she can’t help feeling attracted to Zach and his selfless ways. What will become of McKenzie’s plan to annul the marriage when she finds her sister?
Little Naniekyns has severe food allergies to most of the plants and leaves int he forest. Her food choices are limited to grass blades while her friends enjoy various different forest delicatessens. Join Naniekyns and her friends, June-Bug and Aunt RudyBee, as they attempt to find a delicious food that Naniekyns can eat without having an allergic reaction. Travel on an adventure where the well-crafted text and enchanting illustrations will captivate audiences of all ages.
77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference
Serving others - loving them the way we love ourselves - is the heartbeat of the Christian faith. As parents, we want to instill this virtue in our children, but simply telling our kids to love their neighbors isn't enough - they need to see and experience love in action.
Packed with 77 suggestions and activities designed to serve the different needs of people in your community, this fun and insightful book will help you cultivate love and compassion in your kids as you discover ways your family can make the world a better place by impacting the lives of others.
This practical and easy-to-use book includes:
•Creative activities that can be adapted to fit your unique family
•Service ideas for a variety of budgets
•Bible verses tohelp children connect God's truth to their lives
•Interactive discussion questions to help your family understand the importance of each activity and correlate it to God's Word
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~U.S. Residents only please.
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~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES visit Penny's site or blog and let me know what you liked best!!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.
*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*