Posted in about my books, about the books, Book News, Growing in the Lord, miscellaneous

Writing Update: When One Door Closes

In Love’s New Beginnings, one of the main characters, Solomon Eliason, struggles with whether or not he’s where God has called him to be.

Have you ever wondered the same thing?

Yesterday I received an adorable gift from one of my awesome readers, Beth. She’d read my book, Hollyhocks, and found a stuffed animal that was an exact replica of Aunt RudyBee, one of the characters.

I started thinking about God’s plan for my writing career and how He has been with me every step of the way, even in times of doubt, and there were many.

In 2004, when I published Hollyhocks, I thought for sure God was planning to have me write children’s books. And continue as a photojournalist, a career I’d undertaken after I quit my career in social services to stay home with my young daughters.

But God had other plans.

In 2005, He redirected my path when a small publisher picked up a nonfiction book I’d written. Later, in 2008, when my second nonfiction book, 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others, was released by Beacon Hill Press, I figured God was leading me along the path of nonfiction. After a flurry of TV appearances, speaking engagements, and numerous radio interviews, it was all but confirmed. Plus, I was still writing nonfiction articles for my photojournalist job. Surely nonfiction would become the gig God wanted me to follow, right?

But God had other plans.

After a door closed on the next nonfiction book, I wondered where God was leading me. Did He even still want me to write?

My family was involved in a serious car accident that, only by His hand, we walked away from it with minor injuries. While I was recovering from those injuries and back-to-back bacterial infections, God redirected my path.

Toward Christian romance.

As I recovered from the injuries and infections, I began to write a historical romance novel, and soon McKenzie became more than just an idea in my mind. After much prayer, I reached out to a publisher. Whitaker House accepted McKenzie and contracted me, not for one, but for three books in the Montana Skies Series. Kaydie and Hailee soon followed.

But then there was a lull for a while after the series. Was God still leading me to write historical romance?

In 2013, I secured an agent, and in 2017 and 2018, I was blessed to be a part of two Barbour Publishing novella collections.

But then there was another lull. What were God’s plans for my writing? During this time, our family had been through a lot. I almost lost my husband after open heart surgery for a hereditary heart condition. The hospital who operated erred and my husband ended up with only one functioning lung. There were also a plethora of other health-related issues, including covid and shingles. My husband also lost his job of nearly two decades.

God is faithful and He brought us through that extremely stressful time in our lives. I’d given Him my writing to do with as He wished when I penned my first book.

But what were His plans?

The wait was hard.

In late 2021, the most exciting thing happened. After an extensive amount of time, Love Under Construction, my contemporary Christian romance novel was released and was the springboard for a barrage of books published in 2022. Historical romance has always been my first love, with a side of Christian contemporary romance, of course.

I recently entertained the thought that God might be calling me to write Christian romantic suspense in addition to historical and contemporary, and two novels were born. But after a couple of very obvious closures on big projects, I again wondered where He would redirect me.

I have those two suspense novels, and I do believe they will see publication someday, but for now, God has kept me on the path of historical romance with a side of contemporary romance.

And I’m fine with that. One hundred percent.

I seek to do what He calls me to and impact lives for Him through my writing. Historical romance is my favorite to write and favorite to read. I pray it’s His will for me to hang-out in the late 1800s (and early 1900s, as is the case for Love in Disguise).

The Lord has closed doors and He has opened them. I’ve received numerous rejections, but He blessed me with the opportunity to release six books in 2022.

And through it all, I pray that I glorify Him with every word written. My prayer is that readers see Him through the words I write.

And speaking of readers, none of this is possible without you.

So what’s next on the agenda? Lord willing, Love’s New Beginnings (Wyoming Sunrise Prequel) will be released on December 13 and Dreams of the Heart (Wyoming Sunrise Series#2) will be released March 7.

When I look back on the past several years of writing, God’s fingerprints on this journey have been evident.

No matter where He leads me in my writing, I pray I heed His direction.


Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website,, her blog,, and through her newsletter via

4 thoughts on “Writing Update: When One Door Closes

    1. Aww, Terri, you made my day. Thank you, my friend. And thank you for taking this journey with me. I’m so appreciative of all your support and encouragement waaaayyyy back from the Montana Skies Days. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! 🙂

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