Why Apple Pie?

If you’ve cruised around my website or even hung out with me on Facebook, you’ve probably heard me talk about apple pie. More specifically, that my books are ‘sweet as apple pie.’  And some of you out there are scratching your head and asking yourself, “What do romance novels and apple pie have in common?” Maybe more than you think.

What does Apple Pie mean?

sweet as apple pie meme 2016Apple pie is my explanation of how all my books tie together. So in a sense, apple pie is my voice. All my books whether they are cozy mysteries, Amish romances, or even wacky romantic comedies have the same tone.

What is Apple Pie?

When I say Apple Pie what’s the first thing that comes to mind? American, oh yeah. Warm absolutely. And sweet. You got it.

Once upon a time when talking about romance sweet meant without love scenes. But now, “clean” is taking sweet’s place as the description for a book that doesn’t contain sex. And although only about half of my books are ‘clean,’ they are all ‘sweet.’

What is sweet?

Ever been watching a movie and it’s hard to see because it all happens at night, in the rain and there’s a serial killer on the loose who’s chasing the babysitter at a lonely house on a cliff-side overlooking the ocean? Yeah, well, that’s not my books. That’s not Apple Pie.

I say sweet. Others use warm, heart-warming, cozy, but they all mean the same thing: the warm-fuzzies. My books make you say, “awhhh…” And that’s just the way I like it.

How do you know what’s right for you?

apple blog meme 2Welcome to the Apple Pie Rating System! When it comes to my books, you have three choices: Green Apples, Yellow Apples, and Red Apples.

Of all of these, Green Apples are the most straight forward. Green Apples are clean reads with a Christian world view. In a nutshell, they are inspirational.

Yellow Apples are a little trickier. These books contain no described love scenes. This means either the characters don’t have this type of relationship or it’s off camera, so to speak. These books can also contain a bit of innuendo and maybe a little pillow talk. So if this sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, maybe the Yellow Apples aren’t for you.

Red Apples. Ah, the Red Apples. Yes, it’s true. The Red Apple books contain detailed (or described) love scenes. But to leave it at that is a disservice to my stories and to you, the reader. I jokingly tell people that my books aren’t 50 Shades, but there is still a great deal of sensuality levels between my books and E.L. James.

In a world that keeps getting sexier and less shamed to ‘show it all,’ I pride myself in writing books (yes, even Red Apple Books) that aren’t so much about the physical relationship but the emotional one instead.

If you’re completely against love scenes in books, Red Apple Books aren’t for you. But I hope that the rest of you might give one of my sexier reads a try and see what they are all about.

Where should you start? Love Potion Me, Baby is my suggestion. It’s a shorter book, it contains one love scene, and it’s all wrapped up in a charming romantic comedy. Oh, and did I mention that it’s only $2.99? Hope you’ll give it a try!

Happy Reading!



LOVE POTION meme blog

And don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog post for the drawing. I’m giving away a copy of one of my books at the end of the month. All you have to do it leave a comment.

Not sure what to say? Tell me your favorite color apple. And whether it is for eating or reading! :)


The New and Improved Yellow Apple Rating

I’ll be the first to admit that my writing across several genres and heat levels can present a bit of a problem for readers. Especially those readers who prefer one heat level over another. That’s why I came up with my Apple Rating System, to help readers navigate through the choppy waters of my website.

yellow apple meme for blogRed Apples and Green Apples are pretty straightforward. Red Apples are secular and sexy reads. There are open door love scenes between the main couple, who may or may not be married at the time. Green Apples are inspirational and have no love scenes. Most of my inspy books contain at least one good kiss but that’s where it ends.

And then there are the Yellow Apples.

After having some readers come to me after reading The Trouble with Millionaires (formerly a green apple) and Loving a Lawman (a definite red apple) I made some adjustments to the yellow apple definition.

Yellow Apples are now sweet, secular reads. This means a book like The Trouble with Millionaires which doesn’t contain love scenes (closed or open door) is now classified with a book like Take Me Back to Texas which in the sweet version has no described love scenes, only one that is implied.

Now is that as clear as mud?

Let me see if I can explain a wee bit better.

Red Apples contain love scenes, but also may contain a few curse words and sexy banter between the characters. (Just a note here…though these books contain sex, the descriptions and actual writing is very mild by today’s standards. My books aren’t about only the sexual relations between the main characters. It’s just one part of the story.)

Green Apples are inspirational and have a Christian world-view. And no sex.

Yellow Apples do not contain a detailed love scene, but may have sexy banter and a little bit of language.

Hope that clears things up for everyone. Most likely you’ll be seeing a few more Yellow Apples coming through. And as always, feel free to shoot me an email at amylillard918@gmail.com if you are confused about a title. I will do everything in my power to help you decide which of my books are right for you.

Thanks for reading!



I’m Blogging Amish

Today I’m blogging over at Amy’s Amish Adventures about my recent trip to Pennsylvania. Hope you can join me! And it wouldn’t hurt my feelings any if, while you are over there, you sign up to follow that blog. Many thanks!

blogging Amish

Reading Challenge Update: August

I can’t believe it’s already August! It seems like every year goes by faster and faster. I would love to tell you how much I’ve gotten to read in the past month, but it wouldn’t be the truth. I’ve bought a lot of books these past four weeks, but I haven’t gotten around to reading any of them.

Yes, that’s right. I haven’t read a book in the last month. Yikes! Maybe because I’ve spent the last few weeks editing and traveling. But more on that later.

reading challenge

I did get a book started. My #3: a book I’ve read before, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I devoured this book years ago and I’m currently obsessed with the Starz series. My plan is to re-read the first book, read the second book as my #9 (Yes, I started Dragonfly in Amber, but never finished it. Long story. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about it. Hmmm…). And then read the third in the series before the third season of Outlander starts. Since these books are incredibly long, I’d better get busy! After all, I still have the reading challenge to finish!

What about you? How are you doing on the reading challenge? Remember the goal isn’t the number of books that you read, but reading with a new effort, a different goal in mind.

Can’t remember the types of books on the list? Here’s a refresher:

1o book reading challenge

  1. A book recommended by a book seller or librarian
  2. A book published in a different decade
  3. A book you’ve already read before
  4. A book you should have read in school
  5. A book that has been banned before
  6. A book from a genre you don’t normally read
  7. A book that intimidates you
  8. A book you’ve been meaning to read for a while
  9. A book you quit reading once before
  10. A book published before you were born
  11. A book recommended by someone close to you
  12. A book published this year
  13. A book about another century
  14. A book you’ve never heard of before
  15. A book recommended by amazon/internet/cyber friend

And as always, Happy Reading!


Loving a Lawman is here!

At last…

Can you hear Etta James sing? I can! At last Loving a Lawman is on the bookstore shelves! This book was a long time coming and I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.

LOVING A LAWMAN 1 Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

LAL bothSheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .

Here’s a tiny peek at Loving a Lawman.

Jessie sat at the end of the building farthest from the door. Her breathing had returned to normal and her head was down as she contemplated only heaven knew what. Her hands were braced her on her knees, and her hat was pulled low over her eyes.

Seth didn’t need to see them. He knew what color they were, had memorized it long ago—storm-cloud gray and just as dangerous, with dark rings around their irises that made them look twice as big as they really were and sooty lashes that should have belonged to a brunette.

“Jessie?” he said softly. It was the voice he used when talking to frightened mares and skittish colts and red-haired angels who had fallen from grace.

She didn’t look up, just raised her arms out in front of her, wrists lax, hands dangling, anger spent. “I’ll go peacefully. Just get it over with, Seth. Handcuff me and take me to jail.”

Handcuff her.

Now, there was an image Seth could’ve lived without.

He swallowed hard.

Despite his brother’s tomcat morals, and the fact that he didn’t deserve . . .

Well, despite everything that Chase didn’t deserve, including the sassy redhead, Jessie was Chase’s girl. Always had been. Always would be.

“I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

She dropped her hands back to her lap and shrugged. But he still couldn’t see her face, couldn’t read what was going on inside that pretty little head of hers.

Uh-hum . . . did he say pretty? He’d meant . . . well, he’d meant something else, that was all.

AMY LILLARD PINTEREST Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  Amy Lillard readers group Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  Amy LIllard red rating Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

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Barbie, Oh, Barbie

Stacey and I were recently talking on the phone, an everyday occurrence, and as usual, we had gotten off subject and somehow on the topic of Barbie.

Barbie_Logo blog

Now, I should stop here and tell you that Stacey and I had very different upbringings. I grew up in the sticks. The. Sticks. There weren’t any neighborhood kids to play with. Uh, there wasn’t even a neighborhood. As the youngest (at the time) of three, I was most likely to be picked on and I learned to play by myself fast. My older sister is six years older than I am so by the time I reached the Barbie age she had outgrown it. So I inherited her Barbie as well. I cut her hair into a chin-length bob so I could tell them apart–the Barbie’s, not my sister’s.

Stacey grew up as an only child. Like with me and my youngest sister, there is big gap between her age and that of her older sister. But Stacey grew up in a neighborhood. And during this call, she’s telling me about how the main goal at these playdates was to call dibs on naming her Barbie first.


You named your Barbie? Why did you name your Barbie? I ask. Barbie already has a name…Barbie.

At this point Stacey is laughing her head off. Of course she had to name her Barbie when playing Barbies with the rest of the neighborhood girls. Otherwise they would have all had the same name.

I fess up that I did name my short-haired Barbie, Serena, after the evil twin of Samantha Stevens on Bewitched. (I couldn’t figure out a way to dye her hair black or I might have done that too!) And she was evil!

So Stacey would play Barbies with her friends–teacher, mother, wife. Is it any wonder that she grew up to be a teacher? (and a mother and a wife?)

I had also had a Ken doll. Just one. He owned a pair of red swim trunks and a tan-colored corduroy blazer. He wore this on his dates with Barbie. And Serena which caused a big riff between the twins. Especially when Barbie caught Ken in bed (a shoebox with one of my daddy’s handkerchiefs inside for bedding) with Serena! (I told you she was evil.)

Is it any wonder I became a romance writer?

But the most fun thing about the conversation was learning how someone else played with their Barbies. Well, that and the fact that Stacey always wanted to use the coveted name of Jessica for her Barbie.

How about you? Did you have a Barbie? One or two? Did you call her Jessica? Did you own Ken? The dream house? The RV? Take a walk down memory lane…what was your favorite way to play with Barbie?

And check this out…18 Surprising Things You <probably> Don’t Know About Barbie https://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/18-surprising-things-you-dont-know-about-barbie?utm_term=.wiOMEa6A9#.bn0O52Rbo

And so there’s  no confusion, Barbie is a registered trademark of the Mattel Toy Company. :)

Reading Challenge – Update June

Hey, everyone!

Just wanted to take a few minutes and see how everyone is doing with their reading challenge. Remember, the main focus is to read outside of your comfort zone (if only a little) and not so much about volume or number of books.

And speaking of volume…I wanted to come on and tell you how many books I’ve managed to read but edits and the like have cut into my reading time this month. I did finish two books–at least two books that I didn’t write. LOL

reading challenge

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline is a thriller about a psychopath who has targeted a psychiatrist and plans to destroy his life. I count this as my #6, a genre I don’t normally read. I might have just as easily called this my #11 (a book recommended by someone close to you) as Stacey has read almost all of Scottoline’s books, but I’m saving something special for #11. :)

I also managed to read Back in the Game by Lori Wilde. It’s a fun and heartwarming romantic comedy. Yes, I know this is my go-to genre, but I got to meet Lori recently and just adored her! No, I don’t have a place for this one on my challenge list, but that’s okay. Except that now I want to go back read all of her books! And boy, do I have some catching up to do! But if you like sweetly funny, mildly sexy, small town romances, then be sure to check out Lori’s books!

I started reading True Grit by Charles Portis. Yes, this is the book that the movies stemmed from. So far it has been a complete joy–just as the movies are. But I’m not done yet. And of course I have looming deadlines and a very busy working vacation planned so it might be the only book I manage to read this month. It will be my #8 a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

How’s your reading going? Has anyone marked a book off their list? Or have you been reading in your comfort zone? Any good book recommendations out there? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

And for those who are late joining the challenge…

1o book reading challenge

  1. A book recommended by a book seller or librarian
  2. A book published in a different decade
  3. A book you’ve already read before
  4. A book you should have read in school
  5. A book that has been banned before
  6. A book from a genre you don’t normally read
  7. A book that intimidates you
  8. A book you’ve been meaning to read for a while
  9. A book you quit reading once before
  10. A book published before you were born
  11. A book recommended by someone close to you
  12. A book published this year
  13. A book about another century
  14. A book you’ve never heard of before
  15. A book recommended by amazon/internet/cyber friend

Pick any ten and start reading! You’ve still got 6 months to geterdone! :)

Happy Reading!


Vintage vs. Dated

I recently read a review of one of my favorite author’s books and the reviewer stated that she wasn’t going to read the previous books (mentioned in the reviewed book) because the author’s older books tended to be dated due to fashion references. Now one of the books in question is my favorite book by the author and I know that the fashion elements are extensive, but does that truly date the work? It was vintage vs datedwritten in 1991, and the references in the book are accurate for the time.

But all this has made me think. What is the difference between a book written today that takes place in a different time and one that was written during that time? What makes one dated and the other not?

When I first started writing, there were no cell phones. (Yikes!) I would finish a book and start a new project as I shopped the one I had just written. What happened is in my years as an unpublished author, I banked several books that never made it to print until after my first Big Break. Now these books had been written years before and when they got their chance to be a ‘real book’ I had to do things like account for cellphones and make sure I had no references that would render them ‘dated.’ Because that is a big, fat no-no.

I can’t tell you how many times another author has tried to be helpful and suggested that I cut something to keep the book from being dated. But aren’t those just details? Is it possible to take a good story from 1982 and keep it fresh even though the characters have feathered bangs and Jordache jeans? Isn’t it something of a trip down memory lane for those of us, ahem … you who wore Jordache jeans or a glimpse into another time for those who were born after these trends had moved on?

With the rise of amazon.com a great many authors are getting the rights back to their works and republishing after an update. I won’t bore you with all the details about publishing rights and all that, but an author’s backlist can be very important to their current income. But why the need to update?

Is it just part of our society that says ‘old but not really old’ is bad? Where is the line that separates vintage from dated? Antique from needs to go to the trash heap? Or is Vintage just a euphemism for people like me who enjoy the history of objects?

I have a new neighbor in my seventy-year-old neighborhood. He’s remodeling the house—extensively. He’s taking out tile that has been in place for years, original tile just like I have in my own bathrooms. Yes, my tile is not a color that most people use today and I painted and decorated my bathroom around this mosaic tile floor. But it’s got a history. No one puts in tile like that these days. It’s unique and special to me. Dated? Maybe to others.

The world moves so fast these days. Don’t get me wrong. I love the internet and cable TV and having entertainment at my fingertips. But I miss the days of waiting all week to gather around the television with my entire family (Dad included) at 10:30 on a Saturday night to watch the Not Ready for Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live. It was special. If we wanted to watch it, we had to make time to be together to do so. We talked all week about who was hosting, who was going to be a special guest, and what band would play. Are those shows dated now? So I’ve heard, but I still laugh as hard at the Coneheads, Todd and Lisa, and the Samurai skits.

So if you are poking around and see that your favorite author may have written something a while back, give it a try. It might be considered dated. Or it might be a gem. You might just find a diamond and you know what they say. Diamonds are forever.

What do you say? Where do dated and vintage part ways? I’d love to hear from you!