Face-Off with Zachary Bartels!!

Zachary is the author of multiple critically acclaimed suspense thrillers. His newest release, The Last Con, is a finalist for the prestigious Carol Award! Can’t wait to see what happens!!!biopic

Check out his latest!! Links are in the pics.

Zachary is a pastor, blogger, author, husband and father. Sounds like a lot of work to me…Let’s see what he can bring to the table, shall we? But, before we start, this is for you, Zachary. (and I’ve gotta say that it’s probably the worst movie clip of all time…)

PicCollageWe both look like bugs.

The rules are simple. I ask Zachary some random questions. He replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have you ever hit an animal while driving? If so, what did you do?

Zachary – No, I have not. I love all animals (except mosquitoes, who should all suffer horribly and die a coward’s death!) and I am perhaps the world’s best precision driver (at least in my own mind), despite how often my wife works the ‘invisible brake’ while I’m at the wheel. The only time my driving dips down below mind-blowing is when I’m kind of overwhelmed with awe at how amazing it is, which causes me to lose focus for just a second in a sort of fishtail of irony…but then I steer into said metaphorical skid and begin driving amazingly again. I imagine (seriously, I imagine it frequently) that if a large animal were to run out in front of me, I would pull a Dukes of Hazzard over that sucker and land cinematically on the other side.635713579229865733-XXX-ZX37507-d-dukes-hazzard-mov- Also, my horn would magically become the General Lee’s horn.  And I would have John Schneider’s hair.


Wait… what was the question?

Charity – Oh my stars. I don’t remember the question. The Dukes of Hazzard had nothing on The A-Team and their mad van jumping skills. I mean, think about it. The could build an entire vehicle in 15 minutes. AND, in every episode there was a car explosion, AFTER WHICH, the people miraculously climbed out of the car.  I mean, come on. That’s precision combat right there.

— huh?!

Charity 1 / Zachary 1

2. Do you go Black Friday shopping?

Zachary – Oh, heck yes! I actually love crowds, unlike anyone else in my family. We usually crash at my parents’ or my in-laws’ house on Thanksgiving night (because they live a ways away) and then I drag people with me — against their will — in the morning, because I don’t like hunting for deals by myself. But I also don’t like getting up super-early, so by the time we leave the house all the good deals are over and the good merch is gone.

Charity – Nice!! We are definitely Black Friday peeps. In fact, I think it is our favorite day of the year. It’s such a joyous occasion to be trapped in small buildings with thousands more than the fire code legally allows. One year, we were just doing our thing at Target…trying to wedge past people to get to the good “merch” when, out of nowhere, some psycho (let’s just call her Annie Wilkes) starts shopping out of our cart. She totally grabbed a bunch of our goods and took off. hahaha. We were just dying laughing because, that’s really all you can do so you don’t go postal in those situations. It was funny to see her running with our stuff under her arms.

— Again, we are both too cool for school.

Charity 2 / Zachary 2

3. What was your favorite song/band from your high school years?

Zachary – If you had asked me in high school, I would have used the question as an opportunity to plug my own garage band “(couch.)” (with the parentheses and period; those are part of the name).  We were a sort of prep-punk-rock wannabe. In reality, though, my favorite band was MxPx and my favorite song was called “Want Ad.”  Or was it “Missing You” by Value Pac? Wait, forget all that. My favorite song was Jesus Freak, as it is twenty years later and it’s still my ring tone. (Also here’s a link to a video of my then-five-year-old performing it as special music in church with a little help from me and his mom). Yeah, I have to say DC Talk was ultimately my favorite, in that I still hope to somehow finagle a hang with all of them before I die. It’s not looking really good at this point…although, through my buddy Cliff Graham,  I’ve got Kevin Max following me on Twitter, so I’m like 1% there.

Charity – Oh man! I love his little “whoop whoop”s in that! So cute! You can go wrong with a long crotch scratch during a song in front of church either. Oh man! Kids are awesome!!!

I loved MxPx. I like NoFX too. All those great, punk bands. My favorite song of high school days was…I am going to totally embarrass myself here.

— I can’t really compete with your little man singing Jesus Freak! I do wish he would have sang the “silly” version though…

Charity 2 / Zachary 3

4. So [Or you could go with “speaking of which,” as it segues nicely, no?], tobyMac is like 50 years old. No joke. Do you have the energy or talent to jump around stage and do back flips while rapping?

Zachary – Yes. Let me explain. This shrine is located in my basement:


That’s literally 25 years of Jolt Cola represented there.

Charity – Um, never heard of Jolt Cola. Looks….like something that DOES belong in your basement. And, I am insanely impressed if you can pull off some tobyMac moves.

It is my policy in life to never exert myself. So, I don’t.

— Jolt Moonshine gets that one!

Charity 2 / Zachary 4

5. Ever broken any bones?

Zachary – I’ve never had a cast, but I have freakishly wide feet, such that my second-smallest toe is where a normal person’s little toe would be, and then my little toe is hanging way out there, waiting to snag any and all furniture, walls, toys, whatever may be lurking in the dark. Both of my little toes have been broken many, many times over and are now just sad, battered little nubs of pain and regret.

Charity – Whyy!!!?????? Why did you have to bring that up?!?!

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Last year I had an…incident. It was a clean break. Caught my toe on the side of my desk and it totally tore through the entire bone. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I had surgery, got a pin in it, waited a few weeks to get the pin out. THE. DAY. AFTER. I. GOT. THE. PIN. OUT. I. DID. THE. SAME. THING. TO. THE. SAME. TOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— I win because I have pictures.

Charity 3 / Zachary 4

6. Worst pick-up line?

Zachary – When I first asked my wife out, it was 1995 and she was fifteen and I was seventeen. Actually, I didn’t ask her out. I just said, “So we’re doing something Friday.” Come to think of it, that was my best pick-up line because we got married five years later. I (wisely) haven’t used any pick-up lines since then.

Charity – Nice!!! Right to the point! My oldest son, a few years back, thought one of my friends was pretty. When she came over one day, he walked past her and dropped a sugar packet on the ground. He picked it up and handed it to her saying, “Hey! You dropped your name tag”. I was impressed. hahaha

— Your’s won you the girl!

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

7. Best crime/action show on tv?

Zachary – Best of all time? Easy: Breaking Bad. It’s not technically on TV anymore, but it’s on my TV frequently. Also, Better Call Saul is one of the most tightly-written things I’ve ever encountered. Oh, and Marvel’s Daredevil blew me away. Remember when people thought Netflix would kill TV? They were sort of right, except that it did it by raising everyone’s standards to the point that regular TV all seems just…sad.

Charity – Daredevil is really good! I agree. However, I think that Blacklist wins for me. I love that show! So awesome. My hubs and I are watching The Killing right now. It’s really good too.

— Tie

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

8. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Zachary – I like John Piper’s twist on the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which reads “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Piper said that we might paraphrase it, “To glorify God by enjoying him forever.” When I find my satisfaction in Him and Him alone and do everything (whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I Cor 10:31) in a way that increases my gratitude, rather than in a way that vies for my allegiance and affection, I bring Him glory. Or, as Dr. Piper puts it, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Charity – I know those phrases well! My son is studying to be a pastor, so we have learned a lot about the Westminster Cat (too hard to finish writing it out). And…Come on, that quote by John Piper has to be our family mantra. Love that man!

— God. Wins!

Charity 3 / Zachary 5

9. Have you ever taken a ride in a cop car?

Zachary – No, but I just wrote a scene for a Parker Saint sequel, in which a detective takes a ride on top of of one!

Charity – Boo! Doesn’t count!

A friend of mine is a cop and I went on a “Ride Along”. They make it sound like you are a child when you go. Ride Along. Anyway, it was amazing. He’s a K-9 cop and so he  took me out into the woods and had me try to run and hide from his dog. AH!! Scariest thing ever!!!!! I thought I was going to die from a dog or a crooked cop that I thought was my friend and had me run into the woods in the pitch black of night while he sent his dog after me.

— I totally get that one.

Charity 4 / Zachary 5

10. Do you have any trophies? If so, what from? 

Zachary – Ummmm…


Charity – hmm. Fail. Unless, of course, I was right about what Jolt really is. Then that would count.

I have a trillion piano and drum trophies. You know. Because I was that good and took home 20 gold medals in our local piano olympics. Believe me, it’s not as cool as it sounds.

— Woot! I get it!


Charity 5 / Zachary 5

20130805_its_a_tie_ta WOO HOO!!!! Nice!!!!

ThCustom-Balloon-design-toolank you so much, Zachary! This has been a blast!

GUESS WHAT, GUYS?? This is incredible because he has offered to give away 3 BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two copies of The Last Con and a copy of  Playing Saint! (Pics and links above). Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering!!!

*US Rez only (We do love the rest of you too!)
** Entries will be checked, so don’t get yourself disqualified with false entries…

Face-Off with Kristy Cambron!!

I am super excited to introduce you all to Kristy Cambron today!! KC31 Most of you have probably heard of Kristy, or even read her books, but you’ll get to find out a whole lot more! I will be reviewing A Sparrow in Terezin later today, so start holding your breath!!

This awesome new author has beautiful books that are FLYING off the shelves!!

kristy's awards

Awesome? YES! But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!! We will discuss her books later…Right now, we play!

Displaying PicCollage.jpg

The rules are simple: I ask Kristy some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. What’s the most annoying Christian phrase you can think of? (ie: Hedge of Protection)

Kristy – It’s not the phrases that annoy me — it’s when I don’t understand them and have to Google something in the middle of church. Try whipping out your phone in the great auditorium. I know people think I’m checking sports scores or shopping for shoes, but I’m really just trying to keep up sometimes! 🙂

Charity – I noticed one very important word in that sentence. “Sometimes”. Well played.

I can’t handle the weird Christian phrases. blech. “I’m so blessed” makes me feel nauseated!! I don’t know. It just sounds so odd. We aren’t people with a foreign language…we just love Jesus…

— Kristy is much nicer than I am.

Charity 0 / Kristy 1

2. Have you ever wanted a shirt that says, “I tithe online” when they are passing the basket at church?

Kristy – Nah. I much prefer tees with literary quotes vs. sarcasm. I’d wear my Wuthering Heights tee every day if people wouldn’t tease me about it.

Charity – Hmm. Well, I supposed it’s not so much sarcasm as the fact that we actually do tithe online!! So, I always feel awkward and judged  when we pass the basket. Self conscience much?!

— Kristy’s keeping it classy!

Charity 0 / Kristy 2

3. Taylor Swift fan? Why or why not?

Kristy – YES. Here’s your answer for that one:

Charity – Oh, nice! Now, how the heck can I compete with that???

— Getting a good ol’ southern butt whoopin’!!!

Charity 0 / Kristy 3

4. Best pick up line?

Kristy – “Hey — I hear it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Care to find out if it’s true?” (Sorry – I don’t know much about pick-up lines. I met my husband when I was 17. He took me to my first NFL game and I was gone in love after that. No pick-up lines required. But I’d think a guy quoting Jane Austen would be a Chick magnet)

Charity – Ha! I don’t know about that….Sounds like a weenie to me!!! haha. I would probably be scared if he was quoting Jane! 😮

My son, when he was about 11, thought one of my friends was really pretty. So, he was all primed and ready. She showed up at the house one day and my son walked past her and dropped a sugar packet. He picked it up and handed it to her saying, “Hey! I think you dropped your name tag!”

— I win for having a cute child! ha!! 🙂

Charity 1 / Kristy 3

5. Do you have a panic attack when you accidentally leave your cell phone home?

Kristy – YES – I’ve turned around more than once when I was already in rush-hour traffic to go back and get it. I must have my phone so I can write chapters wherever I am. (Not while driving though. Let’s stay safe, people!) I write the first drafts of my books on my iPhone, so I can’t risk leaving it at home.

Charity – Well, I am right there with you. What the heck did we do when we were teenagers??? I didn’t even have a cell phone until I was out of college AND I WAS STILL one of the few that had one. It was GINORMOUS!

I am confused, however, how in the world you can stand typing the entire draft of a novel on your iPhone. I want to throw it against the wall when I have to type on it with my sausage fingers.

— Tie. iPhones are a must have at ALL times!

Charity 1 / Kristy 3

6. Have you ever raced a golf cart?

Kristy – YEP. My grandparents literally lived on Country Club Lane. They were addicted to the game and bought their Snow Bird condos according to where the best golf courses were. I learned to drive a golf cart almost before I could walk. (I think I won that question…)

Charity – shut up.

— You sure are BLESSED!

Charity 1 / Kristy 4

7. What’s the weirdest food that you like?

Kristy – My grandmother was German and made amazing, authentic German food. I apologize in advance for the little old ladies I’d knock out of the way at the Disney Epcot Biergarten German Buffet. Can’t be helped… I ❤ pork schnitzel, spätzle, sauerkraut, warm German potato salad and Bavarian cheesecake! (German food is my love language.)

Charity – 😮

— Uh, you can have it…

Charity 1 / Kristy 5

8. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Kristy – I don’t know how to answer this one. All I can say is that I love Jesus. I want to know Him so much more. I want to serve Him. To tell others about Him. To dig into Scripture. (I started verse mapping at the beginning of Lent and it’s changed my life! I’m working through Acts right now and what I’m earning is just incredible.) I just keep thinking that He’s changed everything about my life in the last two years and I am so grateful that He’s using our family’s grief and loss for His good. If I can tell someone about that journey — and the Savior who has conquered death for them too — that’s a place of grace I want to be in every single day.

Charity – absolutely beautiful. That’s how I feel too. He wooed my heart and I’m IN LOVE!!! ❤

— God ALWAYS wins!

Charity 1 / Kristy 5

9. Have you ever been to Great Wolf Lodge?

Kristy – No. But I grew up around Cincy and went to King’s Island every summer. I even remember the awesomeness that was the Smurfs ride in the 1980’s. You can’t top that ride. 🙂

Charity – Hmm. I haven’t ever been there. I live near Busch Gardens, so I grew up going there. HOWEVER, Great Wolf Lodge is stinkin’ amazing! It’s like a cruise ship that you don’t get sea sick on! It’s its own little island…has Starbucks, Dominos, Buffets, etc… You never have to leave. Go to the waterpark and walk back to your room for a nap. Glorious.

— I believe the questions was “have you ever been to GWL” so… I WIN!

Charity 2 / Kristy 5

10. Does cheese give you the devil’s breath?

Kristy – Not sure. I am CRAZY about taking care of my teeth. I brush all the time. Floss a lot. Carry dental hygiene awesomeness in my handbag – regularly. If I was going to have cheese breath you wouldn’t get the chance to notice. I think it’s pretty Colgate minty.

Charity – Step Down. I’ve got this one. Here’s the proof:

One glorious Black Friday morning as my husband and I were out during our favorite day of the year (like 4:00am and we had already been shopping all night), a man was handing out cheese samples. I partook. As we were walking out to the car, my hubby kept complaining that they needed to clean out their dumpsters. No matter how far away we got from the mall, he would say, “Man! What in the world?! Those are the worst smelling dumpsters!!” I’m like, “I’ve got nothing. Not smelling it.” It finally became VERY apparent that the dumpsters were falsely accused.

This was not the last time the devil’s breath came upon me from cheese.

— Ol’ dumpster mouth wins!

Charity 3 / Kristy 5

—– Kristy’s Questions!! 😮

11. The greatest TV show of all-time?

Kristy – LOST. I may be a fan of the amiable and elegant Downton Abbey, and a crazed #OnceUponaTimeAddict , but LOST will always have my Sawyer-Jack-Dharma-polar-bear-Oceanic-Six-smoke-monster-The-Others-flash-forward-Not-Penny’s-Boat-“See  ya in another life, Brotha”-loving-heart. (LOST fans will get it.)

Charity – NICE! I do like LOST a lot. It was really good (except the crappy last season). But…I’m going to have to go with….Survivor! Yup!!! I also love Once Upon a Time, Blacklist, and Turn.

— tie!

Charity 3 / Kristy 5

12. How we decided on our kids’ names…

Kristy – By watching football games. (If you’re having a boy and you need a name — those games are golden for choices.) All of our boys are named after college/NFL players’ names from games we watched while I was pregnant.

Charity – AWESOME!! I love a good football kinda gal. My sons and I LOVE football. My husband, not so much.

However, my boys got their names very differently. I was a single mom before I got saved. I named my first born Benjamin (Son of my right hand) because I knew it would be me and him against the world.

Once I was married, my husband and I had another son and while I was pregnant, we were watching an episode of “Brat Camp” (a STUPID reality show where they send their bratty kids into the wilderness with these counselor guides to help them grow up). Anyway, one of the biggest “brats” was named Isaiah and we both were like, “I LOVE IT!”

— hahaha. Football is good, but….naming your child after the biggest “Brat” at “Brat Camp”? I’m taking it!

Charity 4 / Kristy 5 (Feel that? It’s me ABOUT TO PASS YOU!)

13. What’s your World-Champion-worthy talent that few people know of?

Kristy – I leave people in the dust while playing TCM classic movie trivia. If you’re betting, don’t raise me your car keys or you’ll be walking home. 🙂

Charity – I am sorry to say that I am about to be tied with you.

— Bam!!

Charity 5 / Kristy 5

14. What’s your worst habit?

Kristy – Thinking with a British accent. Yep. And then speaking with a fake British accent because you were thinking with one. This happens… All. The. Time. Cheers!

Charity – Oh my!! ha ha. Well, I think my worst is biting my nails… ew

— Tally Ho!

Charity 5 / Kristy 6

15. Would you rather go for a year without make-up -or- have to wear the same pair of shoes for a year?

Kristy – Sorry to my beloved heels… Chapstick alone wouldn’t get me through. I’d have to wear my Chucks for 365 days and smile with some cherry red lipstick while doing it. 🙂

Charity – AHHH! This is a HORRIBLE question!! If it wasn’t for my eyebrows, Displaying IMG_5938.JPG it would be a no brainer.

However, my eyebrows have decided that they should stop halfway across my eyes.

As you can clearly see, I need to draw those bad boys in! (and clean my make-up off better…obviously).

This is too hard! I’m totally torn.

I think…..

I’m going to have to go with the eyebrow halfsies so I can change up the shoes.

— Blah.

Charity 5 / Kristy 7

16. What’s your spirit animal?

Kristy – My favorite animal? The ever cute and well-dressed (in tuxedos!) penguins. But as for my true spirit animal? The Honey Badger. They may not look fancy, but those guys mean buisness at whatever they do. They’re absolutely fearless, wicked-smart, relentless… I love their tenacity. never give up on what you’re called to do in this life. Wow!

Charity – 😮

Girl, I have NO IDEA what language you are speaking. I think it’s that darned British coming out again!! hahahahahaha.

I don’t really like animals…so, there’s that.

— All. Yours!


Charity 5 / Kristy 8


Thanks SO MUCH, Kristy! I had a blast 🙂 Balloons-for-Birthday-Party I am looking forward to finishing up the book and getting my review written out!

UH OH!! UH OH!!! You guessed it as soon as you saw those balloons come out, didn’t you my smart, little readers!!!?? Kristy is giving away a signed copy of her newest book, A Sparrow in Terezin!!!

All you have to do is head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering!!!

*Only U.S. Rez (We do love the rest of you too!!)

** All entries will be checked. Any falsified entries will be disqualified.