Day 7 of the Days of Christmas Book Giveaway Celebration with Penny Zeller & Karen Baney

I am super excited because today commenters have a chance to win a copy of Karen Baney’s book A Dream Unfolding and a copy of my book McKenzie – the first book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series! Scroll down for the fun question of the day and information on how you can have a chance at winning both books!

A Dream Unfolding 

Here is the blurb about A Dream Unfolding:

The promise of a new life and a chance to start over…
Hannah Anderson had the life she always wanted, married to the man of her dreams. When her husband’s brother gets in trouble with the law, the town turns against them, shattering her perfect life. Now they are left with only one choice–to head west to the Arizona Territory in the hopes of creating a new life. Will the journey be worth the cost?
Will Colter, after burying his father, is forced to leave the ranch he has called home for nearly thirty years. The journey is dangerous, challenging him and his men. Will he find the new life he was hoping for? 
Or, is there a new dream quietly unfolding before their eyes?

And the blurb about McKenzie:

Desperate to save her sister from an abusive husband, socialite McKenzie Worthington responds to a mail-order bride ad in the Montana Territory—where God-fearing rancher Zachary Sawyer prays for a wife to share his life. But when McKenzie arrives with a plan that includes divorce, will Zachary’s persistent kindness and self-sacrifice change her heart?

Today’s fun question is – what is your absolute favorite Christmas song? Leave a comment for a chance to win both books! And don’t forget to go back and leave comments on Days 1-6 for more chances to win. A winner for each day will be chosen at random on December 19. We have only a few more days of the Christmas giveaways left, so be sure to leave a comment! (U.S. residents only, please) Also, confirmed subscribers receive two entries!

And now for some Christmas memories and traditions!

My Christmas Memory by Karen Baney

Karen Baney Ever since I lost my mom, ten years ago now, I have a hard time looking back at holidays.  It seems far easier to stay in the present than to travel back in time to my childhood because I miss her so much.  So, when Penny came up with the idea for this series, I had to work up the nerve to go through some old photo albums.

Boy, am I glad that I did.  I came across this picture from my mom on Christmas Day 1986.  This is the perfect picture to describe a long standing Armstrong gift-giving tradition that Mom instigated.

Don’t worry.  Mom didn’t really get a box of Fruit & Cream Oatmeal for Christmas.  Nope.  Instead, Dad took the lovely string of pearls in the iconic felt jewelry box and wrapped it inside the oatmeal box which then got a layer of wrapping paper.

Our tradition: disguise gifts, double wrap gifts, hide gifts around the house.  Anything was acceptable.  I think one of us girls even got a bra wrapped in a two-cup measuring cup one year.  That was Mom’s idea.  She loved it—two cups having double meaning and all.

Yeah, we were creative (evil) with gift wrapping.  Half the time I think we put more thought and effort into making it a challenge to open gifts than we did on the gift itself.

Just in case you think this tradition died in the 90’s when the last Armstrong graduated high school, think again.  The story of how my brother proposed and gave his future wife the engagement ring involves many boxes, duct tape, and a very patient woman.

The best part?  As our family grows we have even more people to torture with creative (evil) gift wrapping techniques.  The Armstrong Family Tradition lives on.  (Mwahaha!)

Join Karen and 9 other Christian authors as they celebrate the release of her new novel Nickels, with a blow out $0.99 sale for Kindle books.   http://womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011-book-launches You can connect with Karen at http://www.karenbaney.com/

My Favorite Christmas Traditions by Penny Zeller

Years ago, my husband and I started three fun traditions with our children that we look forward to each Christmas season, in addition to attending Christmas Eve services at church. Each year…

We go “Lighting.” Everyone snuggles into their pajamas, then we head out in the car for a drive around town and a night of enjoying the creativity of those who use Christmas lights to decorate their houses. We then grab a bite to eat – since we’re in our PJs, we go through the drive-thru of course!

Our second fun tradition is that our girls exchange “Gag Gifts.” These are presents that appear to be normal to the unsuspecting eye (and are wrapped beautifully), but inside contain wacky gifts, such as an empty milk jug for the daughter who loves milk or an old avocado seed for the daughter who detests avocados! We capture these hilarious moments on film and laugh about these gifts for months afterward.

Finally, our third yearly tradition takes place on Christmas night. We watch Christmas movies (The Nativity Story, etc.) and for dinner we eat popcorn, crackers with spray cheese, and other fun junk food items. My husband found some large football-shaped plates from the Dollar Store that we use only on this special night. Our daughters have commented that we are the “coolest” parents because we allow them to have an all-you-can-eat Christmas dinner with nothing nutritious!

But no matter how many traditions the Zeller Family enjoys each year, the most important thing we celebrate as a family is the celebration of Jesus Christ!

Penny loves to hear from her readers at her website at www.pennyzeller.com, here on her blog,  and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks.

Day 1 of the Days of Christmas Book Giveaway Celebration with Staci Stallings & Sarah Witenhafer

Welcome to  day one of the Days of Christmas Giveaway Celebration! Each day for the next several days (excluding weekends), I will be hosting your favorite authors in a variety of genres for a chance for you to win their books!

Here’s how you enter…just leave a comment for the authors – it can be an encouraging comment or, please feel free to share your favorite Christmas memory or tradition. You can enter to win on as many days as you wish! For example, you can enter to win the two books for today and also the two books I’ll have on tomorrow’s post and the two books on any other day. Remember, anyone can enter, but subscribers to this blog (who have confirmed their subscription) receive two entries.

A winner will be drawn for each day at random using random.org. All winners will be announced on December 19, just in time for Christmas!

We have two wonderful books up for grabs today…

Product Details

Tamed is an action-packed Christian novel.

Cowboy by Staci Stallings is a love story that will tug at your heart and have a special place on your own book shelf.”  For more information, please see http://ow.ly/79VkM

And now, for fun, here are Staci and Sarah’s favorite Christmas memories/traditions!

The Great Tumbleweed Christmas by Staci Stallings

West Texas in December means tumbleweeds. Rain in the summer will make any field not plowed for a crop grow thick with iron weeds.  When winter hits, the iron weeds wilt and wither.  Then the wind starts, breaks the stems, and off they go.

When I was a junior in high school, we had a wet year–perfect conditions for growing tumbleweeds.  Now my mom had this thing about flocking our real Christmas tree every year. She would take the tree to the barn and cover it in flocking.  However, that year for some unknown reason she had an idea…

Why buy a Christmas tree when she could take two tumbleweeds, tie them together and flock them?   Funny.  I never thought of my mom as particularly crafty, but she put her heart and soul into that Tumbleweed Christmas tree.  She flocked it green (yes, they have green flocking… why?  I don’t know!).

Then she reflocked it white.  Well, all that flocking made the thing extremely heavy.  Plus, a tumbleweed stem was never meant to go in a Christmas tree base.  (I’m not even sure how they got it to stand up in the living room at all, but they did.)

Christmas Eve was always when our family celebrated Christmas because Christmas Day was spent at Grandma’s house.  My sister and I were old enough by then to “know” things about Christmas, but for the sake of hanging on for one more year, Mom and Dad sent us to our room. With my brother’s help they commenced putting gifts under the Tumbleweed tree.

That’s when we heard the crash!  My sister and I ran out only to find Mom, Dad, and my brother sprawled with the presents under a giant tumbleweed that had lost most of its flocking in the topple from its perch in the corner.

The moral?  Texas tumbleweeds were never meant to be flocked and decorated!  Leave them in the fields where they belong!

Favorite Christmas Tradition by Sarah Witenhafer

Like many people, Christmas as a child was not the happiest time for me. So when I began my own family I stuffed the season things to make it memorable. My kids were going to get enough traditions to convert any Grinch.

On the list to buy each year: Christmas mugs, Christmas books, Snowbaby ornaments, Christmas candy to stuff the advent calendar, more candy to decorate the gingerbread house, Christmas snow globes, and of course – a new Nativity set – let’s not forget Jesus! We did Christmas crafts for friends and stamped cards. Then there was the baking, twenty different types of cookies, at least six dozen of each, made ahead of time and frozen so we could feast on them Christmas Eve.

Added to all of this were the Christmas events I thought were a must – Zoolights, Nutcracker, and such. Needless to say, I had our Christmas budget blown before we purchased one gift! Plus, I was exhausted from chasing away ghosts of Christmas past. That’s when my husband, Dale, and I started to reevaluate.

We ended up dropping the shopping spree. No more mugs, snow globes, books, or Nativity sets. How many do you really need? We scaled back the candy, and we limited the cookies to twelve different kinds.

And what we kept became sweeter. Christmas Eve is spent in candle light, singing hymns, reading from Luke and eating cookies. We break bread together, reminding ourselves of Christ’s mission: He came to save us from our madness, to free us from our past, and to bring peace with God into every season. May God rest you this Christmas.

Join Sarah Witenhafer and 9 of her author friends at WoMen’s Literary Cafe’s Christian Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their ebooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!

Link: http://www.womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011book-launches

Don’t forget to enter and join us tomorrow for authors Amanda Beth and Lisa Mukkove Johnson!

And the winners are…

I love announcing winners of the giveaways on my blog – especially when there are TWO winners! So…drumroll please…

The winner of Amanda Beth’s book You Can Have a Happy Family is Linda Wagner! Linda, Amanda will be in touch with your shortly. For those of you who didn’t win, I encourage you to check out Amanda’s book at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Have-Happy-Family/dp/1463764642/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321027428&sr=1-1

The winner of a download of  Dawn Byrd’s book This Time for Keeps is rbooth43! Dawn will be in touch with you shortly regarding your prize as well. For more information about her book, please see http://www.amazon.com/This-Time-for-Keeps-ebook/dp/B005VKMQUG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321027777&sr=1-1

A big THANK YOU to all who entered! I always appreciate you taking the time to stop by and enter. By the way, we have some EXCITING things coming up soon! Check this out…

November 17 – I will be having my big website remodel party! My website at www.pennyzeller.com was recently remodeled by website/graphics designer Bev Nowlin. To celebrate, I’m giving away a Starbucks Giftcard. Come by this blog on the 17th for more details!

December 1 -16 – I will be hosting The 12 Days of Christmas Celebration here on my blog! There will be at least 24 authors giving away books for this special event. You won’t want to miss this! Come back by on December 1 to share your Christmas memory and to be entered to win – and the great part about it is that you can enter once every day if you’d like for as many giveaways as you’d like!

Feel free to subscribe if you haven’t already to stay posted on upcoming events.

Also, stay tuned for my Movie Monday posts, Tuesday humor posts, devotionals, and a special Thanksgiving post on November 24. You for sure won’t want to miss my hilarious Christmas post about what men shouldn’t buy their wives for Christmas on December 20.

Have a blessed weekend!