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Saturday, April 23, 2011

CSS People of the Book Blog Tour and Contest

Interview with Kathi Macias


People of the Book is the fourth and final book in your Extreme Devotion series. Each book is set in a different country, with the theme of first devotion and commitment to Christ above all else running through all four. How is People of the Book different, and who/what inspired you to write this book?

People of the Book was the most difficult of the four Extreme Devotion series books to write, but it is also the strongest when it comes to a call to personal commitment to Christ and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. With each of the books, I began drafting the manuscripts through Internet research, since I had never lived in any of the four countries and had only visited one of them. After the original draft, I worked with someone who either currently lived in the country or who had recently spent many years there. People of the Book was the toughest because the Saudi women I connected with via the Internet were understandably apprehensive about associating with me. Most, in fact, were terrified to do so. I was therefore quite pleased to meet a young woman named Dolly Dahdal here in the States who, until just a few years ago, had spent the majority of her life in Saudi Arabia and understood perfectly why I had chosen to write this book. We shared a passion to help expose the fallacy of “honor killings,” a horrific crime perpetrated primarily against women and girls who in some way bring “dishonor” on their Muslim families, and Dolly was a major contributor to the authenticity of this book.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story?

Eighteen-year-old Farah, who lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, wants nothing more than to develop a deeper, more meaningful devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and she pursues that goal throughout the holiday. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. At the same time, her only brother, Kareem, who has never liked Farah, actively seeks an opportunity to expose her for the sham he believes she is.


Meanwhile, Farah’s seventeen-year-old cousin, Nura, has begun to frequent an online chat room where former Muslims gather to discuss their new faith, based on their belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. While there, Nura becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian named Sara—and a friendship quickly develops. However, Sara has problems of her own due to her fifteen-year-old brother Emir’s involvement with a gang.

The lives of Farah, Nura, and Sara ultimately dovetail until each finds herself at a place where her faith is put to the test. Will they remain faithful to the end? Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution and treachery? Or will they be required to pay the ultimate price for their faith?

Kathi, how did you get into writing? Has it always been your passion, or is it something you came to later in life?

I’ve always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader even before I started kindergarten. I wrote a short story in third grade that the teacher liked so much she showed it to the principal, and they decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! One day when I was about 13, I was walking home from school with my then boyfriend (now husband), Al, and I told him I’d be a writer some day. He often reminds me how blessed I am to have been able to do what I dreamed of all my life.

I understand you’re running a special contest that has to do with this book. Can you tell us about it?

Not only are there several opportunities to win a copy of the book on various blog sites included in this tour, but I’m giving away the entire four-book series at the end of the tour to someone who leaves a comment on one of the blogs, so be sure to check them all out and leave comments on each one!

In addition to writing, you are a popular speaker at women’s event, writers’ conferences, and various venues around the country. How can people find out more about you, your writing and speaking, sign up for your weekly devotional newsletter (in English or Spanish), and/or just view your many book videos, etc.?

They can find me at one of my websites (http://www.kathimacias.com; http://www.theTitus2Women.com) or on my Easy Writer blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. There is a “contact” button on my Kathi Macias website if they’d like to send me a message. I always respond to all my emails!





Please join me later this week for my personal review of this outstanding book by the very talented writer, Kathi Macia.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (http://www.christianspeakerservices.com/).





Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Kaydie by Penny Zeller

This week Write About Now was graced by a visit from author Penny Zeller. Today, it is my pleasure to bring to you a review of her newest release, Kaydie, which is book #2 in the Montana Skies Series.

Penny Zeller has created a book whose pages leap into life as the extremely credible characters are thrust into situations that no one should ever be forced to face. Kaydie, widowed and pregnant, takes refuge with her sister and brother-in-law following the death of her abusive husband. Kaydie has determined that she will never again be in a situation where she and her as-yet-unborn child will be in danger of being abused. Deciding that love and marriage are only for others, she vows to remain single and raise her child alone.

Jonah Dickenson is a man who has vowed he will never marry. Deserted by his mother when he was just a small child and left with a bitter and drunken father, Jonah wants no part of a wife and family because he fears that he will turn out to be just like his father.

 As we journey through the pages of this book we see Kaydie grow from a meek and cowering girl to a strong and brave young woman. Jonah has grown from the days of a wild and reckless youth into a kind, considerate, and compassionate man.

As Jonah and Kaydie are thrown together more and more often, feelings begin to grow between them. However, both of them are adamant that there will never be anything more than friendship between them. In spite of their dissimilarities, Kaydie and Jonah both share a love for God and gratitude for all that He has done for them.

Throughout the pages of Kaydie, you will experience laughter, fear, tears, sorrow, and joy. You will meet the self-proclaimed matchmaker, Lucille Granger, who declares that she is going to find the perfect wife for Jonah. You will also meet Kaydie's mother, who insists on arranging a more appropriate marriage for Kaydie. It sometimes seems as if Jonah and Kaydie have little control over their lives and will be forced into marriages of convenience by well-meaning individuals.

As I read this book, I was frequently reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 3:5 that says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (KJV) Kaydie and Jonah thought that they knew what they wanted for themselves but Penny Zeller has very capably shown us that, " ...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 - KJV)

Since Kaydie is the second book in the series, there were several occasions when I found myself wishing that I had read book one first simply because I felt that some portions of the story that were revealed from book one will make it rather anticlimactic to read the first book, which I most definitely plan to do. However, there was nothing in the story that I could not understand and Kaydie can easily stand on its own.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kaydie  and now I am going to offer you an opportunity to read it also. I am certain that you will enjoy it and it gives me great pleasure to recommend it to you. For the chance to win this book, please leave a comment of encouragement for Penny. 

In addition, please become a follower of Write About Now and tell me in your comment that you are a follower for a second chance to win. Be certain to leave your email address in spam-proof format (name[at]provider[dot]com) so that I will be able to notify you if you are the lucky winner. If you do not leave an email address, I will be forced to select another name.

As with all giveaways on this blog, this contest is open only to those who reside within the United States. The giveaway will run until April 29th and the winner will be chosen on April 30th.

A copy of Kaydie was provided to me by the author in exchange for reviewing the book. All statements and opinions are my own and I was not obligated to provide a favorable review.

You can purchase Kaydie and Penny's other books from the publisher, Whitaker House, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite online or retail book store.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview with Penny Zeller

We have a very special guest with us today but first, before I begin the interview with her,  here is a brief biography about this lovely lady.

Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications. She is also the author of the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com). She 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. Penny devotes 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. Kaydie follows McKenzie in Montana Skies, her first series with Whitaker House. When she’s not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball. She and her husband, Lon, reside in Wyoming with their two children. Penny loves to hear from her readers at her Website, www.pennyzeller.com.

And now, it is with great pleasure that I welcome a new found friend to my blog today.  Please join with me in welcoming Penny Zeller, author of both Mandie and its sequel, Kaydie.

Hello, Jan Marie, it’s great to be a guest on your blog!

Hello, Penny!  Your bio makes it sound as if you are an extremely busy and active person. It makes me wonder how you find time to write such outstanding books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love the creation of characters. My books are character-driven, so I love being able to create situations and dialogue. I enjoy developing how the characters will respond to various situations throughout the book based on their personalities.

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

That would be easy – editing.

Wow! I certainly didn't expect that quick response! Most writers do say that editing is their least favorite part of the entire process but you answered so succinctly and without hesitation that it is quite obvious just how little you enjoy it! Tell us a bit about your typical (if there is such a thing as typical) day.

I agree, Jan Marie, there really is no such thing as a typical day!  Each day varies, but most of my weekdays follow this routine: When the alarm goes off in the morning, my young daughters come in for some snuggle time and morning prayers. Finally on the fourth or fifth alarm, we climb out of bed and prepare for our day. While my girls are getting ready for school, I spend time alone in God’s Word; then right before breakfast, we read Keys for Kids devotions together.

What a wonderful way to start the day! I work in an elementary school and see so many students come to school each morning with no breakfast, their parents have been yelling at them, or they have had to fend for themselves just to get to school at all. I wish more students could begin each day in such a positive manner. What a difference it would make!

After dropping my daughters off at school, I spend the first couple hours or so responding to emails and taking care of the marketing side of writing. Then I break for some exercise and to listen to David Jeremiah’s broadcast on the radio.  After that, it’s time for lunch, then back to writing. I spend the latter half of the day working on my newest writing projects.

Because I do a lot of volunteer work, I also factor in time for that as well, which varies from day to day. (And I also fit in the housework too, LOL). Once I pick my girls up from school, writing work for the day is done, unless I’m on a tight deadline. Time for my “mom/wife life” to begin - soccer and piano practice, homework, and preparing dinner before my husband comes home become my focus.

It wears me out just thinking about that hectic schedule. You must have a lot more stamina than I do! Let's pretend that you just finished your book several days before your deadline. How will you celebrate or reward yourself?

My husband takes us out for a delicious dinner at this tiny Mexican restaurant in our town. I am quite fond of cheese enchiladas and Spanish rice. 

That sounds good to me too. What genre do you enjoy reading the most?

My favorite is historical romance. There’s something neat about being able to pick up this genre and escape into a simpler time.

For many years, I was interested only in contemporary reading. It is only recently that I have begun reading more historical fiction and I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of escaping into a simpler time. What was your favorite subject, or subjects, in school?

English was my favorite subject (surprise, surprise) after recess, of course! I liked pretty much all of the subjects in school, with the exception of anything related to math. Math and I have never gotten  along!

Ha! I loved both English and math but didn't care much for the science. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

I love so many verses in the Bible that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. However, Psalm 91 is high on the list of all-time favorites.

Good choice and I agree with you on that! That chapter thrills me anew each time I read it! Your most recent book is Kaydie, which is Book 2 in your Montana Skies Series, and is scheduled for release this month. Can you please give us a brief synopsis?

I am thrilled about the release of Kaydie. A short synopsis is as follows:

Since the death of her abusive husband, Kaydie Kraemer’s life has been easier, but she’s wary of men and builds a wall of protection around her, staying with her sister McKenzie as she awaits the birth of her baby. Haunted by her painful marriage, Kaydie is determined never to fall in love again, and it will take the grace of God to change her mind—the same grace that works in the heart of ranch hand Jonah Dickenson, a confirmed bachelor who has unhealed wounds of his own to overcome.


Cindy Sproles produced a fantastic book trailer for Kaydie, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwihs6rsqDk

I was fortunate enough to be able to read an advance copy of Kaydie and I can promise everyone that they will fall in love with Kaydie and the other characters in this book. Where can readers purchase a copy of Kaydie?

Kaydie is available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Kaydie-Montana-Skies-Penny-Zeller/dp/1603742174/ref=pd_sim_b_1

What’s up next for your readers?

I just finished the third book in the series, Hailee, which is scheduled for release in September. I'm also working on a second historical romance series that takes place in the Post-Civil War Era. I recently finished book one in the series and have started writing book two.

I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new books! Where can fans find you on the Internet?

I love to connect with my readers at my website www.pennyzeller.com, my blog www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com; on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pennyzeller; and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Penny-A-Zeller/96391560959?ref=ts

It's been a real pleasure to have you join us today, Penny! Do you have any parting comments for our readers?

I would like to thank you, Jan Marie, for having me here, and also thank my readers for their support and encouragement. I couldn’t do it without you! Secondly, I would like to let everyone know that from April 1 – May 15 is my official blog tour for Kaydie. I will have all the details (including a chance to win Hailee, the third book in the series) on my FB author page, so be sure to stop by!

Be sure to visit again on Sunday when I will be posting a review of Kaydie and giving you the chance to win a copy of Penny Zeller's newest release!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Secret is Out!

  Hear Ye,
          Hear Ye ...

The lucky winner of Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy is none other than ....

             Linda Kish!

Congratulations, Linda! You will be receiving an email from me soon requesting your address so I can mail the book to you.

Readers, Linda will have one week to respond. If I do not hear from her by next Monday, April 11, a new name will be drawn.

Thanks so much to all who participated in this contest. It has been so much fun to hear about all of your various musical experiences. 

For those of you who would like another chance to win this exciting book, another giveaway is currently underway at:


I'm not sure how long this contest will run so hurry on over and throw your name in the hat for a chance to win.  Come back soon for a chance to win another wonderful book!