And the winners of Shellie Neumeier and Fay Lamb’s books are…

One of my favorite things about having author interviews and giveaways is blessing someone with a copy of the awesome books I have the honor of highlighting on my blog! This week, I have two winners to announce, chosen from random through random.org. The first is the winner of Shellie Neumeier’s fantastic tween book The Wishing Ring. That winner is…

Bryan!

And the winner of Fay Lamb’s new book Because of Me is…

Andrea!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and leave a comment. I appreciate you all SO much, and I know my fellow authors do as well. If you haven’t yet won, keep entering because I have TONS of AWESOME authors on the agenda for the coming Thursdays. The giveaway is still open for Laura V. Hilton’s newest Amish book Promised to Another, so if you haven’t yet entered, be sure to do so, and remember…subscribers receive two entries!

Have a blessed weekend!

Author Spotlight/Book Giveaway with Laura V. Hilton!

I’m excited to welcome my friend, Laura V. Hilton, back to my blog for a book spotlight and giveaway! Read on to find out more about Laura’s new book and how you can enter to win your own copy.

Laura’s latest book Promised to Another will soon be released by Whitaker House and is the third in her Amish of Seymour series. Following is the blurb…

Annie Beiler is a spunky, spirited schoolteacher, but she’s struggled ever since the man she was promised to “jumped the fence” and left the Amish of Seymour. To make matters worse, she’s in danger of losing her job because she took her students on an unauthorized field trip.

Soon after Joshua Esh moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Seymour, Annie Beiler caught his attention. He’s disheartened to discover that she is promised to another man-Luke, who left the Amish but vowed to return one day and claim “his” Annie. So, Joshua mingles with all of the girls but Annie, not wanting to rock the boat.

Before long, Luke and Joshua are fighting over Annie, and God alone knows what will become of this triangle of tension.

I caught up with Laura to ask her a few questions…

What prompted your interest in writing about the Amish community?  Well I love reading Amish books.  I read somewhere to go check your bookshelves to see what genre of books you keep and then write that genre.  Hmmm.  Not sure that’d work for me.  I have chick lit, contemporary, women’s fiction, children’s, YA, Amish, suspense, historical…..   LOL  But then my agent suggest I “try” Amish fiction.  I thought about it, prayed about it, and well, I knew I had Amish background, but wasn’t sure I could do the Amish justice. But I gave it a shot.

Very fascinating! I love discovering how other authors have chosen the genre in which they write.  So…can you tell me what role have your life experiences played in the characters and/or the situations you develop in your books?   Well, I’m a quiet shy person, so I struggled with acceptance and finding my place in the world. Still do at times. I’ve found that even seemingly outgoing people have issues they struggle with where they find they don’t quite fit in.  We are all made from a different mold.  So, finding your special niche or gift where you fit is a topic that always seems to make it into my stories – so far.

I have been wondering, and I’m sure others are wondering as well…do you want to be Amish?   No, I don’t want to be Amish. I’m too attached to air conditioning.  And being able to go someplace w/o hitching up a buggy to a horse or finding a ride.

Would you please share with us your bio? Sure! Here is my “official” bio:  Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college.  Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past from Treble Heart Books; a devotional in a compilation from Zondervan; and the first book Patchwork Dreams in her Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House released in April 2011, the second book, A Harvest of Hearts in September 2011, and Promised to Another in April 2012. Laura has her business degree from Ozarka and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

Laura loves to connect with her readers through her blog, where she also writes book reviews.

Thank you so much for for joining us today, Laura. It’s always a pleasure to have you as my guest!

And now, my wonderful blog readers, you have a chance to win Promised to Another. The rules to enter are super easy! Leave a comment for Laura (and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries and be sure to remind me that you’re a confirmed subscriber!)  Giveaway ends on March 8, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

I will be announcing the winners of Fay Lamb’s book and Shellie Neumeier’s book this Friday, so if you haven’t entered to win Shellie’s awesome book, there’s still time by going here: https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/author-spotlightgiveaway-with-shellie-neumeier/

Join me each Thursday for author interviews and giveaways. Also, join me on Mondays for Movie Mondays, where I review movies, and on Tuesdays for my humor posts.  If you enjoy humor, please check out my most recent humor post Extreme Bathroom Makeover!

Movie Monday – Drive Thru History Holy Land Volumes 1 & 2 – 2/20/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie night suggestion is Drive Thru History With Dave Stotts: The Holy Land Volumes 1 & 2…

As most of you probably know by now, I (along with my entire family) am a huge Drive Thru History fan. When I heard that the first two volumes in the new Holy Land Series were released on DVD, I immediately knew I had to go shopping! 🙂

Dave Stotts, the host of Drive Thru History again brings viewers into the world of fascinating history in Volume 1: Egypt to Qumran – Covenants, Kings, and the Promised Land; and in Volume 2: Jericho to Megiddo – Conquest, Canaanites, and the Holy City. Each volume contains three episodes for a total of 85-90 minutes.

Typical of Dave Stotts, he brings history to life with his intriguing historical facts and well-done visual effects. And let’s not forget his quirky humor! This time he drives through Israel in a Fiat, traveling the roads to the places of Jerusalem, Masada, Samaria, Shiloh, and Beersheeba, just to name a few.

As I watched these movies, I had several “ah hah” moments, as I connected the words of the Bible with the places Dave visited. I was able to put a visual with the accounts in the Bible, including the place where David slayed Goliath and the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. The archeological evidence is astounding! My favorite part was seeing the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and then finding out a bit about the men who discovered the amazing scrolls while herding sheep.

Perfect for families, homeschoolers, youth groups, and anyone who loves history, especially Biblical and ancient history, these newest volumes ofDrive Thru History are a must have for any DVD library. There is nothing objectionable in either volume, although young children may not yet be interested. Also, the brief information about David slaying Goliath may scare very young viewers if they are not familiar with the account.

I highly recommend these latest volumes in the Drive Thru History saga!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

And the winner of Cherry Blossom Capers is…

First of all, I want to thank everyone who visits my blog and enters to win these fantastic books by these awesome authors! I really appreciate you!

Secondly, I am so thankful for random.org, which helps me decide who wins these fantastic books! If you haven’t used random.org, it is so easy – just plug in the number of entries (in the case of my blog, those who are confirmed subscribers receive two entries) and wah-lah, it gives me a number for the winner!

So…without further ado, the winner of Cherry Blossom Capers by Gina Conroy, Cara C. Putman, Lynette Sowell, and Frances Devine is…

Cindy Regnier! Congratulations, Cindy! Gina will be in touch with you soon.

Again, thank you to all who entered. If you haven’t had a chance to enter this week’s giveaway, you still have time to leave a comment to win Fay Lamb’s Book Because of Me at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/interview-and-giveaway-with-author-fay-lamb/ and this Thursday, I’ll be hosting one of my favorite author friends, Shellie Neumeier. She’ll be giving away a copy of her new book The Wishing Ring, which is written especially for tweens, so be sure to sign up for a chance to win a copy for your son or daughter!

 

 

And the winner of Peg Phifer’s new book is…

Whew! I can’t believe I forgot to announce the exciting news about the winner of Peg Phifer’s new book To See the Sun…

 

The winner, chosen at random, is Cass! Cass, Peg will be in touch with you soon. Thank you to everyone who entered! There’s still time to enter the giveaway for Gina Conroy’s book, and tomorrow, I’ll be hosting a giveaway by author Fay Lamb.  Have a great evening!

book spotlight and giveaway with author Peggy Blann Phifer!!!

For all of you who love the suspense genre, I have a special post just for you!

Author Peggy Blahn Phifer is giving away a copy of her new book To See the Sun.

Here’s the scoop:  This giveaway is open to those in the lower United States for paperback and to everyone for the ebook version. One book will be given away to a winner chosen at random.

It’s super duper easy to enter! All you have to do is leave a comment for Peggy. Those who are confirmed email subscribers to this blog receive two entries. Giveaway ends on Thursday, February 9, 2012.

I haven’t yet had the privilege to read this book, but doesn’t it just sound awesome?!

Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . .

Erin Macintyre never expected to be a widow and a new mother in the same year, anymore than she expected mysterious notes, threatening phone calls, and a strange homeless man who seems to know all about her. The thought of raising a child without a father is daunting enough—worse when you have no idea who might want to harm you. Put an old flame into the mix, and her life begins a tailspin into a world she never knew existed.

When P.I. Clay Buchanan, stumbles upon Erin at her husband’s gravesite, he’s totally unprepared for her advanced pregnancy. Her venomous reaction at seeing him, however, was predictable. But Clay can’t let her distrust, or his guilt, get in the way—not when he has evidence that proves Erin’s life is in danger.

With few options left, Erin begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.

And just to get you hooked, here is the first couple of paragraphs…

Friday, March 26, late afternoon

What a fantastic day. A bid won. A contract signed. The job of a lifetime that would put Stuart and Macintyre at the top of the construction heap, not just in Las Vegas, but all of southern Nevada.

Whistling, Justin Macintyre pressed the keyless remote of his Cadillac Escalade, tossed his briefcase across the console to the passenger seat and slid behind the wheel.

To top it all off, after seven long years, he and his wife, Erin, were going to have a baby. A baby! He laughed aloud at the overwhelming joy of it.

“Hey, world, I’m going to be a daddy!”

He shifted the SUV into gear and pulled out of the Mt. Charleston Lodge area onto Kyle Canyon Road and headed down the mountain to the Las Vegas Valley below. Despite the successful day, Justin couldn’t banish his worry over a recent discovery of some irregularities in the company’s finances. Nothing concrete, and his Uncle Sebastian, S&M’s CFO, assured him everything was fine. Nevertheless, Justin’s uneasiness had prompted him to send what little proof he had to his long-time friend, Clay Buchanan, a private investigator in Texas.

Preoccupied with his thoughts, he vaguely registered the yellow and black blind curve warning sign. Too late he saw the stalled car across the center line. No time to stop! He spun the  wheel to the right.

I’m going too fast! God, help me . . .!

###

Seconds passed and silence settled once more over the mountainside. A shadow emerged from behind a Joshua tree and stepped to the edge of the ravine. After a moment, the form walked to the car in the road and drove away.

Here is a bit about Peggy…

Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader and loves to escape between the covers of a good book. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband Jim.

TO SEE THE SUN is Peg’s debut novel, released January 2012

Contact her at her website at: http://peggyblannphifer.com

Visit her blog “Whispers in Purple” at http://whispersinpurple.blogspot.com

To See the Sun is available at the following…

Be sure to leave a comment for Peggy for your chance to win! Remember, confirmed email subscribers receive two entries!

Grabbing the Moment

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

I am excited to have a special guest writer on my blog today – my friend, Jennifer Slattery. Today, Jennifer shares with us of the importance of spending time with the Lord.  Be blessed as you read her fantastic post!

Grabbing the Moment

By Jennifer Slattery

Something happens during the teen years. That child that used to follow you around with wide-eyes and constant questions disappears and an independent, resident expert on all areas of life takes their place. Or at least, that’s the way things are in the Slattery home–most days.

It’s almost comical how far the tables have turned. My doting little princess is growing up and now I’m the one following her around, bombarding her with questions, hoping to find a way into that ultra-independent heart. Which makes those rare moments when my adult-sized, emotionally-childish teen curls up beside me, special. A stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands special.

One morning, before my daughter left for school, she curled up on the couch beside me. We sat for a good ten minutes, not saying anything. As I held her, my mommy instincts took over and I had an urge to protect, even though there was nothing to protect her from. I didn’t want her to do anything for me. I didn’t need her to say any magical words. All I wanted was her. And I could have sat there indefinitely.

She left and I turned to my to-do list. After four days zonked out in bed with the flu, it had quadrupled. The house was a mess and laundry was piled so high I was ready to send out avalanche warnings. But another voice called just as urgently, although much softer. In fact, it was just the faintest whisper. If I chose, I probably could have ignored it. Even convinced myself I didn’t hear it. But somehow that tender moment with my daughter had opened my heart, reminding me of another parent recently forgotten.

In Isaiah 6:5 I hear the tender heart of an ever-pursuing father in God’s words, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.”

And in Isaiah 65:12, “For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen.”

Only this time I did. I ignored my to-do list, let the clutter piled around my house wait, turned on some praise music and grabbed my Bible. And I could have sat there in my Father’s arms, indefinitely. He didn’t need me to do anything. I didn’t need to say any magical words. All He wanted was me. It was one of those stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands experiences.

Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, The Christian Pulse, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement.  She loves to hear from her readers at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

The Hazards of Christmas Shopping

My daughter, Sunshine, is becoming quite the cartoonist. I thought I would share with you this hilarious rendition of the hazards of Christmas shopping…

Once upon a time in a nearby village, there lived Mr. Snowman. Never one to have his Christmas shopping out of the way by November 2, Mr. Snowman waited until the last minute, once again, to buy that special gift for his beautiful bride, Mrs. Snowman.

At 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Mr. Snowman climbed on his horse, Blizzard, and headed for the nearest Sno-Mart. “I’ll see you when you get back, Dawling,” said Mrs. Snowman, as she lovingly looked at her husband. “Ride carefully and don’t forget to pick up some snowcones for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner.”

“Don’t worry, Lovemuffin. I’ll be back before you know it,” said Mr. Snowman. He tightened his scarf and with his treebranch hand, reached for the reins to summon Blizzard on her way.
 

Mr. Snowman heads to Sno-Mart for some last minute shopping...

 
 
Mr. Snowman entered Sno-Mart. He had never seen so many snowmen, women, and children, all going in different directions! “Hmmff,” thought Mr. Snowman. “Why is it that everyone waits until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping?!”
 
“Attention Sno-Mart shoppers,” said the voice over the loudspeaker. “So that our employees may spend Christmas Eve with their families, Sno-Mart is closing in 12 minutes and 15 seconds. Please bring your purchases to the front counter where your friendly Sno-Mart Associates are waiting to ring up your purchases. And as always, have a Merry Christmas!”
 
Panicking, Mr. Snowman rushed down the aisles while throwing things into his cart, including the snowcones. Mr. Snowman then focused on a gift for the love of his life.  Finally, he saw it…the most beautiful snowflake necklace he’d ever seen. Hurrying to the jewelry counter, he made his purchase and exited Sno-Mart with 10 seconds to spare.

 

Being a former first place winner of the SnowUniverse Muscle Man Competition, Mr. Snowman opted to carry all 20 bags of purchases instead of pushing them in a cart.

And then something awful happened. Absent-minded Mrs. Daisy Snowball was jibber-jabbering on her cell phone with her best friend, Margie, and singing Christmas carols at the same time. Her shopping cart was overflowing with enough food to feed a small country, and she could barely see over the top of it. Not that this mattered since her eyes were closed.

Mrs. Daisy Snowball came from the left side of the store. Mr. Snowman came from the right side of the store. And that’s when it happened…Mrs. Daisy Snowball ran smack into poor Mr. Snowman and knocked him off his feet. Sno-Mart bags went everywhere and Mr. Snowman crashed to the ground with a thud. 

  
 
 
 
 

From out of nowhere, Mr. Snowman was attacked by an overloaded shopping cart…

Minutes later, Mr. Snowman was rushed to Snow Valley Community Hospital with multiple injuries. 

Mr. Snowman braces himself for his ride to the hospital…

 

Mr. Snowman spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Night in the hospital. It was there that Mr. Snowman presented his wife with her gift. As the two of them sat eating snowcones in Hospital Room #5284, they realized something important. It didn’t matter where they spent Christmas, as long as they were together. 
True love…

 

The End