Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Story Time with Penny Zeller - Interview & Giveaway

Today I'm excited to welcome Penny Zeller to my blog to talk about her novel, McKenzie. Penny and I started emailing a while back while she was still in the seeking-endorsement stage of publication, and I was thrilled to get to help her out with out. And now all of you get a taste of her historical romance!

Penny's generously offered a copy of McKenzie to one lucky reader, so as usual, leave your comments below with an email address. And be sure to follow if you don't already!


About Penny

Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles. She writes the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com), 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, encouraging, 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.


About McKenzie

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston's high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband-whom she'll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God's own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach's ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart-and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie and Kaydie will soon see.


Welcome, Penny! What's your latest book?

My latest book is titled McKenzie and is the first in my Montana Skies Series. It is a Christian historical romance and was released September 1, 2010 by Whitaker House.

I actually got my copy in the mail not long ago. =) It's sitting on my READ THESE! shelf, just waiting for me to have time to finish it, LOL. What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

Writing is my ministry and I hope my readers will get from McKenzie the power of God’s love, redemption, hope, and forgiveness. Readers will get a glimpse inside McKenzie’s life and see that God can and does change hearts.

What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to write, followed by contemporary fiction. In third place would be nonfiction, which I also enjoy writing as well. As for reading, I would have to say my favorite is historical fiction. There’s something neat about being able to pick up this genre and escape into a simpler time.

Ah, blissful sigh. I just love historicals. What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

That the hardest work comes after the book is published!

Yeah, what's up with that?? Shouldn't we just be able to move into our mansions where our mad genius can terrorize the help? ;-) Okay, back to reality. Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

I rely heavily on my family, both immediate and extended. My husband, Lon, and my two young daughters are very supportive. I also rely on my friend, Barb, who reads through everything I write and offers comments before I send it to my publisher. Then of course, I rely on my editor, Courtney, at Whitaker House. She always has wonderful suggestions and is awesome to work with.

Here's one of my favorite questions: if someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)

No charities, saving, or gifts? What about paying bills? *grins* Actually, I would take my family on a vacation or buy my husband flying lessons, since it’s always been a dream of his to learn how to fly. And if there’s any money leftover, I’d probably buy a cute new outfit since I love clothes!

I sometimes dream about walking into "my" closet and seeing rack after rack of adorable clothes. Somehow, they're never there when I wake up. LOL. What writing goal have you set for yourself that would be the most rewarding to achieve?

That a reader’s life would be impacted for Christ through one of my books. That is my ultimate goal.

Beautifully noble. So what are you writing right now?

I am working on Book Three in my Montana Skies Series, which will take fans of the series into the lives of more Pine Haven characters and a glimpse at the main character’s chance for love in an unexpected place! I am also starting a new series that takes place in the Civil War era.

Fun! Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

Book Two in my Montana Skies Series, Kaydie, will be released in April 2011.  Here is a short blurb:

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law, Zach Sawyer, at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to protect. As she looks forward to her baby's birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won't be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach's new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there's something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor.

When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie's, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

(A side note: readers can read the first two chapters of Kaydie in the back of McKenzie).

Sounds great! Is there another author who has greatly influenced your writing?

Sharlene MacLaren has influenced me in that I have “adopted” her as my mentor. She is a gifted writer with a wonderful and encouraging personality. Plus, I love to read her books! Another author who has influenced my writing is Janette Oke. I love that her books touch the heart and are wholesome and God-honoring.

Oh, Shar's such a sweetie! It's impossible not to be her friend, isn't it? =)


Thanks for visiting, Penny! Readers, you can check out her website at www.pennyzeller.com and her blog at www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com and find her books at Amazon, ChristianBook or CrossPurposes.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Chance of winning depends on number of entries. Contest ends 10/18/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim prize.


  1. Hi...I'm a new follower and would love to be entered in your giveaway for "McKenzie". I'm enjoying your blog, and the interview from Penny.
    Thank you for the entry.



  2. I'd love to win this book!
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  3. Love mail-order brides. Some haven't a clue what they are getting into. Please enter me.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Sandee, Kathy, and Carmen! Penny Zeller here...I thought I would stop by and say "hi." I'm excited to see who wins the copy of "McKenzie."

    Have a blessed day!
    Penny Zeller

  5. I've loved every Whitaker House book I've read. I'd love to win Penny's book!

    Stephanie at StephanieMorrillBooks dot com.

  6. I haven't heard of this book yet. Thanks for offering it.

  7. I'd love to win. Thanks for the drawing. :)

  8. Id love a chance at winning this book! Ive been wanting to read it for some time! Thanks!!


  9. McKenzie sounds like a wonderful book.
    I am a follower.
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    Thank you for the chance.

  10. This sounds like such a good book. I enjoy historical fiction and mail order bride stories.Please enter me.


  11. Sounds great, please enter me to win a copy!!


  12. This series looks great!


  13. McKenzie sounds like the start of a great series, one which I'm eager to read. Whoever designed the cover art did a beautiful job.

    You've got an excellent mentor in Sharlene MacLaren, Penny. And Janette Oke's books are classics; I just reread one of hers the other day.

    Thank you for the interview and chance to win McKenzie.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  14. I enjoyed the interview with Penny and look forward to reading McKenzie and Kaydie. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!

  15. Please enter me! It sounds extremely wonderful! I would love to read it! Thanks!

    God bless!

    ~Katie G.

    katiegalyean (at) yahoo (dot) com

  16. Please enter me in this giveaway. I would love to win it!

    Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

  17. please enter me in this giveaway. i'd love to read the book!

    neednspace at aol dot com

  18. Enjoyed the interview, I would love to win this book.

    sonflower277 at gmail dot com

  19. I've been wanting to read this book. The first chapter was very interesting.


  20. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for giving away a copy.

  21. enjoyed this posting...thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel :D

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  22. Enjoyable interview. Penny is a new author to me, but I'm anxious to know about her writings. They all sound like appealing reads to me and I like the story ideas. McKenzie is already on my TBR list. Thank you for this giveaway and the chance to win the book. I hope I do.

    Sharing Christ's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  23. I'd love to win this book!
    Carman sent me..
    cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

  24. I really enjoy books about Mail Order Brides...think that must have taken a lot of courage to do.

    Carman sent me


  25. Please enter me! I want to read this book so bad!


    Penny, if you would be interested in doing an interview/giveaway of this book on my blog, too, I would love that! If you are, just respond to this comment or send me an email at the addy above. :)

  26. Good interview.a follower . McKenzie sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thank you for this giveaway. augustlily06(AT)aim(DOT)com.

  27. Hello, Everyone!
    Thank you for stopping by and entering for a chance to win a copy of "McKenzie." Thank you also for your sweet comments!

    I hope you all have a blessed week in the Lord.

    Hugs and Blessings,
    Penny Zeller

    P.S. Carman - I would be honored to be interviewed on your blog! I'll email you...

  28. Awesome! Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you. :D

  29. This book looks really good. Would LOVE to read it! Thank you!

  30. This looks like a lovely story. I'm a new follower on GFC.