Reading Challenge update–September

Ah, September…my favorite month! Yeah, I’m partial. After all, this is my birthday month. But this is about the Reading Challenge. Have you been reading? I thought it might be a good idea for me to take inventory of my reading. Especially since everything I’ve read in the last few weeks I’ve written myself. Here’s where I stand:

1- #13 A book about another century 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake by Jade Lee

2-#10 A Book published before I was born 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

3-#6 a genre I don’t normally read Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

4- #8 A book you’ve been meaning to read for a while True Grit by Charles Portis

I do believe it’s time to step it up or I won’t make the 10 book challenge. Just a reminder, here’s the list. And the object here is not how many books you can read, but to stretch a bit and read books that you might not normally read.

reading 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

Right now, I’m editing the next two Wells Landing books, but after that… I’m going back to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. What are you reading?

The Casual Vegetarian

So I’m getting all registered for the RT Convention in 2017. And by ‘getting all registered’ I mean that I gave Stacey the link and told her to sign us up. She calls me back and tells me that we’re all ready to go. Hotel reservations, conference fee, registration for the Giant Book Fair. “And,” she says, “I put you down for a vegetarian meal.”


“I’m not a vegetarian,” I say. “I just don’t eat meat.”

She laughs. “That is a vegetarian.”

Well, I suppose. I mean not really. Right?

So I googled the definition for vegetarian.

Vegetarian (n) a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.

Well, dang! Stacey was right! (She made me write that!)


I quit eating meat recently and only because my doctor recommended that for me, uhum…like two years ago. But better late than never right? After giving it a trial run, I discovered that I do feel better and more energetic when I cut meat from my diet–no pun intended. But I don’t consider myself a vegetarian. I just don’t eat meat. See?

Vegetarianism is serious. You know, save the whales, Green Peace, and vegan leather (which is just a fancy way of saying vinyl).

Let me tell you, no meat is no small thing in a town that was built on oil and beef.

Now I grew up in the Deep South. I can eat veggies with the best of them: squash, beans, greens, okra. Yum. But there isn’t a good alternative when it comes to fast food. Sure most places have salads on the menu, but it’s a hit or miss–sometimes they’re edible, sometimes not.

But today I went to my favorite fast food Tex-Mex place, Taco Bueno. After all, it’s pretty easy to eat meatless Tex-Mex. This is how the order conversation went.

Me: Can I get a Muchaco with no meat, please?”

Bueno: A what?

Me: I would like a Muchaco but I don’t want the meat on it. Just beans.

(A muchaco is a pita taco with beans, meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato. Really good!)

Bueno: Do you want the lettuce on it?

Me: Yes, just leave the meat off.

Bueno: You want me to put the cheese and tomato on it?

Me: Everything but the meat.

Bueno: You want me to leave the meat off?

Me. Yes!

He just couldn’t believe that I didn’t want the meat! And he gave me the strangest look when I went to pick up my food. And believe it or not, they actually got my order correct! I had no idea ‘without meat’ would be so complicated.

It might have been a little easier if I said, I’m a vegetarian. But I’m not. I just don’t eat meat. Oh wait…Right. The definition places me firmly in the vegetarian camp. So I guess I am. But only casually. I like milk and eggs, and leather shoes. Just call me The Casual Vegetarian.

And if you’re going to be in the Atlanta area next May, be sure to check out the Romantic Times Convention! I’d love to meet you there!



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 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 #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 #AmyLillardBooks  Amy Lillard readers group Amy Lillard romance author #AmyLillardBooks  Amy LIllard red rating Amy Lillard romance author #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

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