Sunday, December 11, 2011

Making Use of her Gift in a Way that will Bless ... Her Greatest Passion

     Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles. She is also the author of the blog "A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author" where she also provides weekly doses of humor, along with movie reviews from a Christian worldview, and interviews with some of her favorite author friends.
     Penny is an active volunteer in her community, devoting her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom.
     Among other books, Penny is the author of McKenzie, Kaydie, and Hailee in her Montana Skies Historical Romance Series and 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others.When she's not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball. 

SDC: It's so great having you here, Penny. You are fast becoming both a well-known and talented writer. Before you tell us about your newest release please fill us in on what inspired you with the book(s) you’ve written up until now.

Penny: Hello Shirley! Thank you so much for having me as your guest. Wow, what a great question…I have written nonfiction and children’s fiction in the past, but my favorite genre to read and write is historical romance. The Lord gave me the opportunity to pen the first book in my Montana Skies Series, McKenzie, while recovering from injuries I sustained in a car accident. I have always wanted to write a novel about a mail-order bride, and from that passion came McKenzie. Kaydie, whose character learns to trust in God for all things, soon followed. I was inspired to write Hailee, the third and final book in the series, when I received a piece of mail about an orphanage. I was eager to write about the experience of a girl who spent time in not only an orphanage, but an orphanage for wayward juveniles. I am humbled that God could use me to impact lives through my books.

SDC:  It is humbling, isn't it, but also such a blessing. What kind of response to you receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who have been influenced greatly by your writing? 

Penny: Regarding your first question: I recently received a phone call from a friend whose grandmother is hospitalized in serious condition. She's an elderly woman (in her 90s) who isn't doing well healthwise and she doesn't know the Lord. Her family has been praying for her and trying for years to witness to her. My friend told me that her grandmother requested the other night that a book be read to her. I was humbled that out of all the books she could have chosen, she requested McKenzie. I pray that something of God's Word that I have written in my book would help to soften this woman's heart toward Jesus and pave the way for her family to again tell her about God's eternal gift for her.

For your second question: I recently heard from a woman who has been caring for her mother who has terminal cancer. Her mother can no longer talk, but receives great comfort just in knowing that her daughter is there. While her daughter remains by her bedside, she told me she read my Montana Skies Series and was greatly blessed by it. “I needed to be able to escape the harsh reality of watching my mother die by escaping to Pine Haven, Montana. Your books allowed me to do that. Thank you.”

It is times like that or when readers write to tell me how my books had an impact on their lives that are such great moments and make it all worthwhile.

SDC: Those are both great testimonies. Thanks! Tell us five things you like that no one might know about and that make you, you.

Penny: Ooh! Fun question!

1. My favorite thing ever is spending time with my family.

2. My favorite food is pizza (make that pepperoni with extra cheese) followed by popcorn.

3. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 7 and I love to sit and daydream about new characters.

4. I met my husband through a prank phone call.

5. I love clothes and have a weakness for cute shoes.

SDC:  LOL. I love how you met your husband. That's a story in itself! What question regarding the season of Christmas would you like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner? (if the winner resides in the U.S., they will receive a personalized paperback copy; if they reside outside of the U.S., they will receive an ebook copy).

Penny: What is your favorite Christmas tradition and why does it hold special meaning for you?

SDC: As always, Penny, it has been a real pleasure having you here again at A Pen for Your Thoughts. I love it when you come over our way. Let us know where we can find you and your books.

Penny: My books can be found at your favorite bookstore or at any online retailer including

I love to connect with readers -

On my website:

Thank you again, Shirley, for graciously hosting me on your blog. To you and to all of your readers  – may you all have a blessed Christmas season!

THANKS SO VERY MUCH! And same to you and your family, Penny.
Readers, please take a few minutes to share with us YOUR favorite Christmas tradition, as Penny asked above.
Lord willing, I will draw YOUR name and you can enjoy Penny's book too.

Here is a little what the book is about. Read on...
For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she's still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.

Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Nate Adams would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate's parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.

When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?
The newly-produced book trailer for Hailee can be seen here


  1. My favorite Christmas tradition is drawing names instead of buying for all family members. When I was young, we started this because we were a family of 8 and couldn't afford to buy gifts. Daddy would take us one at a time to the basement to work on the gift for whom we had drawn. Some of the best gofts came out of that and to this day we still draw names in our family.

  2. Sounds soooo good! Hope I win!

  3. Spending Christmas Eve with all my family members, I think is my favorite tradition. We always look for a church to go to (since ours doesnt do Christmas Eve) and enjoy that time, then we spend time gathering together for snacks and sharing in the joy of Christmas and usually at my home. I love that.
    Janice Ian

  4. I love the whole mail order bride thing. I enjoy those so much.
    My favorite tradition has changed a little in the last few years since several people in my family have gone home. We meet on Christmas Eve at my house. We have Chili soup and lots of snacks. We always have a houseful and it takes hours to eat. then we play a card game called OH Heck (the original name we don't use) It is so good to share everything that's happened in the last year and just laugh together.
    Glenda Parker

  5. Hello Yellowrose ~ I love the idea of drawing names - it makes the present all the more special! Merry Christmas!

  6. Hi Susan~ Thank you for your enthusiam about my book! Have a fantastic week. :)

  7. Hello Janice ~ We, too, love to attend Christmas Eve services. What a special time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas! Thank you so much for stopping by. :)

  8. Hi Glenda~ It's always nice to e-meet another writer :) I love your tradition of the chili soup and snacks and board games on Christmas Eve. What a fun way to reconnect with family! Have a Merry Christmas!

  9. Shirley ~ Thank you SO much for having me as your guest on your blog. It is always an honor to be here. By the way, I love the new layout of yoru blog - very classy! Have a wonderful Christmas, my sweet friend!

  10. My favorite Christmas tradition is drinking wassail and playing Christmas music as a family. Most of of have musical talent and those of us who don't get to dance!

  11. That sounds like a lot of fun, Tiffers77! And how nice that those who don't have musical talent (I would be one of those!) get to dance. Thank you for sharing your tradition!

  12. We celebrate together with our family as a Christmas tradition...enjoy a big dinner, open presents, watch a movie together, and if their is snow we all go out and go sleigh times...celebrating the birth of our

  13. My favorite Christmas tradition is reading the 'real' story of Christmas on Christmas Eve night as the kids' (now grand children's) bed time story. No discussion, no preaching, just the story and hugs all around.

  14. Would love to read Penny's books! I like her blog, too!

    Favorite tradition of Christmas besides being with family (a given) would be enjoying the music of Christmas whether at the special concert, "Carols by Candlelight," or at church services during Advent, or on the radio or CD player, or at the mall or grocery store. I especially love when the lights are turned off and people sing Silent Night at a Christmas Eve service.

    Hoping to get good news about Penny's book at jsmithg@hotmail(dot)com.

    Merry Christmas,

  15. Nice interview. I grew up having oyster stew on Christmas Eve. Until only a few years ago, I also made it four our family. then my sons-in-law fessed up to not caring for oyster stew. (My hubby and I have it on New Year's Eve now. We have two or three other soups on Christmas Eve now.

  16. I read Hailee and Kaydie but still have not read McKenzie and looking forward to reading.

    My favorite thing was to be with my children and family to share our time with good food, fellowship and watch the kids open their presents. The adults did not exchange gifts but my parents gave gifts to all of us and we gave to them.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  17. Penny, what a wonderful interview. Thank you for giving me a glimpse at your life and your heart.

    My favorite Christmas tradition is Christmas Eve . . . alone. After all the shoppiing, visiting, Christmas wrapping and baking, I love to take time alone in my living room with just the lights from my tree and candles. Everyone has gone to bed, and I will watch a Christmas movie or church service or just listen to music and contemplate the first Christmas and think on my blessings. It's kind of like taking a deep breath and remembering what it's all about.

    Christmas blessings to you.

  18. Hello Eyeballlucy ~ I love your Christmas agenda! What wonderful memories and traditions. Have a Merry Christmas!

  19. Marla, what a blessing for your grandchildren to hear the real story of Christmas and to be reminded about the real reason we celebrate. Awesome!

  20. Hello Janice ~ I, too, love the Christmas Eve service! Thank you for sharing and have a Merry Christmas!

  21. LoRee, I chuckled when I read your comment. I love the idea of having something "different" for Christmas dinner, such as oyster stew (even if you've had to change the menu for your sons! :)

  22. Hello MissKallie~ I really appreciate you sharing how you enjoyed reading Kaydie and Hailee. Thank you so much! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  23. Hello Bonnie ~ Thank you for your compliments about the interview. It has been such a blessing to be Shirley's guest!

    I loved your comment about just taking time in the peace and quiet to remember and to reflect on what Christmas is all about. Christmas blessings to you as well!

  24. a wonderful favourite christmas tradition is attending mass on christmas eve :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com