Winner! Winner!

Chicken dinner! Anyone know why we say that? Is it just because it rhymes?

Sorry there’s no blog post this week. I’ve been really busy writing and of course it’s football season which eats up a lot of my time since The Teen is playing JV and varsity. And it’s my birthday! Well tomorrow is. And it’s a big one! Yep, that’s right. The big 5-0. So cut an old woman a break! LOL

But I did want to take a few minutes and congratulate last week’s winner!

I’ll  be back in a week or so with another ‘real’ blog post and more winners, but for now, leave a comment. Tell me what’s on your mind, happy birthday, or why we say ‘winner, winner chicken dinner.’ Your choice. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for a copy of Marrying Jonah.* **

Happy reading! And remember, spread JOY everywhere you go!

*If you already have a copy of Marrying Jonah, be sure to still leave a comment. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn, I have plenty of other titles to share.
**Due to the high cost of shipping, any international winner will be sent an ebook. Thanks for understanding. :)
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Let’s talk about THE AMISH

So many times I hear people say and see them post on social media about THE AMISH.

Now the reason this post is here instead on my www.AmysAmishAdventures.com page is because it’s not about the Amish. Any of them.

See when people say THE AMISH it is all-encompassing statement. It’s like saying THE OKIES or THE CAUCASIANS. Can you think of anything you can say after this that would be a completely true statement? I can’t.

The more I learn about the Amish the better I understand how much there is to still know. I consider myself learned where the Plain people are concerned, but I am by no means an expert. And honestly, I don’t believe anyone can be.  (Sorry to those who consider themselves experts. There are definitely some who know more than others.) Yet even Sadie, my Amish friend, sometimes can’t answer my questions about THE AMISH. And she’s Amish!

Why?

I have Amish friends who live side by side yet are in different church districts. There has to be a cut off somewhere. These friends are actually siblings. Yet, one is allowed to have solar power and the other isn’t. And this isn’t the only difference. Never mind settlements that are separated by states, different living conditions, and social interaction.

So many times I see readers say “if a book has a mistake in it concerning THE AMISH, I put it down and won’t read anything by that author again.”

How unfair to the author and the reader both! Especially since the author may be correct and the reader misinformed.

The Amish in Wells Landing (Chouteau) use tractors. I have seen Amish girls in Lancaster play with commercially made dolls, with faces! The Amish I met in Tennessee dress all their children in ‘dresses’ until they are potty-trained. I could never imagine Sadie or any of my other Lancaster friends doing this.

I have read true news stories where Amish have been in trouble for fighting, cutting the beards off their neighbors, and have even gotten divorces. This isn’t the norm, but it happens, at least according to Google and MSNBC.

Recently I wrote about tolerance and values. Today I’m writing about tolerance and understanding.

I love to visit the Amish. I love to research Amish settlements, even if I don’t have plans to set book a book there. Why? Because I want to know more about different Amish communities. I want to come back and share with you what I learned, what I saw, and the people I met.

I research the settlements where I want to set books. Sometimes this research occurs before the outlines are even written. Then I come back home, start writing, and have questions I can’t answer despite my efforts.

It’s extremely difficult to research the Amish. Even more so Amish settlements like Pontotoc, MS, and Ethridge, TN. Lancaster is a different matter. Still difficult, but at least they are not as wary of strangers.

Another concept I find interesting is the popularity of Amish proverbs. But that may need to wait until another day.

What about you? Have you found what you thought was a mistake in a story? Did you finish reading it? Or do you read for the story and don’t concern yourself with minute details? Please be as positive and uplifting as possible! If you can’t, then please don’t mention any names or clues that might damage a reader’s opinion of an author. Remember one man’s trash applies to books as well.

Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. *

The winner will be announced Friday September 8, 2017, on the next blog. Comments will be taken until midnight EDT Thursday September 7, 2017. **

And remember…always spread JOY!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

*If you already have a copy of Amish Brides, be sure to still leave a comment. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn, I have plenty of other titles to share.
**Due to the high cost of shipping, any international winner will be sent an ebook. Thanks for understanding. :)

I’m really behind in announcing winners! Congrats to those whose names were drawn!

 

More about Bravery…

Every year around Easter my husband, the Major, watches all of those splendid Cold War Biblical movies that had casts of thousands and would be impossible to make today. I tease him about watching them, but I secretly like them too.  Except for that one part in the Ten Commandments where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac.  First of all I hate this story in the Bible. Go ahead. Tell me it’s wrong to hate, but it’s disturbing to me as I am sure it is to most of you. Why would God give Abraham a son and then ask him to sacrifice him? I know, I know, I’ve heard all the arguments about devotion and obedience, but it seems unnecessarily cruel. But that’s just me. I’m human. I don’t always understand God. Not in the case with Abraham and certainly not when it comes to writing.

These days I feel a little like Abraham, asked by God to sacrifice his son. Just a smidge. Yes, I exaggerate. I’m a writer; it’s what I do. See, writing a book is emotionally a lot like giving birth. It takes months of worry, prayer, hopes, dreams, and preparations before this tiny miracle comes into the world. Then you have to give it over to the world–editors, readers, critics, and reviewers. Let me tell you it’s no easy feat. Even for the über-confident, there are always doubts.

Then you have me with God whispering in my ear to be brave. I thought I knew what it meant. Now I’m wondering if I was wrong.

Did He want me to change all my books to inspirational? Then why did the thought fill me with dread? Every time I caught sight of my writing schedule, I broke out in a cold sweat. Why?

I made it all the way through Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop before the solid doubts set in. Was this what I was supposed to do? Or was it hard and that alone was filling me with concerns?

Every writer is warned throughout their writing life that the darlings will have to be killed. Those wonderful beautiful words that were strung together so eloquently will have to go. Be ready for it. Was that what this was about? Hanging on to my words?

Stephen King takes it one step further.

Yes, there is a danger in falling in love with one’s own words. But this was about more than that. I had spent a lot of time working on my rating system and getting it together for readers. Was it going to be confusing for readers to have a couple of my books still secular? And that’s not even completely correct. Some I could only take to the ‘sweet’ level–no bedroom scenes. But would that be enough? It wouldn’t be for the readers who wanted a ‘clean read.’ And it seemed a little…unfinished to me. See, I have a thing about ‘wholes,’ things being complete.

What was I supposed to do?

Ugh! I didn’t know! So I prayed about it, talked to Stacey, prayed some more. I walked, ate too many Rice Krispie treats, and prayed more. I even made my announcement of the changes to come. Then it occurred to me: was my uncertainty a sign? Had I misunderstood? Or was I just hoping that I did? Was this my sacrifice? Did God want me to accept his instructions, but not carry them through?

I’m still not 100% certain. I guess that makes me one of millions. There’s not much many are 100% about. So I’m in good company. But all plans of rewrites have been put on hold. I feel the need to go forward, not back. But more Christian/inspirational books? That’s definitely still on. I’m still not 100% certain what these books will be about. There are a lot of factors to be considered, contracts, time, and the ever-changing market.

Amish, historical, contemporary–I have stories in all three that I could write, but for now, I’m working on my contracted Amish books and Chase’s story. I’m still hoping to get that out before the end of the year. What will its rating be? I don’t know yet. It seems a little counter-productive to make it a green apple book when the others in the series are, and will remain, red apples. See? There’s that “whole” thing coming up again. And I’m not sure how–well, I can’t give everything away. Rest assured, I’ll let everyone know the rating when the time comes.

What about you? Have you ever had this happen, where you have been uncertain of what God wants from you? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you! Remember please to keep it positive and spread JOY.

Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. *

The winner will be announced Friday September 1, 2017, on the next blog. Comments will be taken until midnight EDT Thursday August 31, 2017.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

*If you already have a copy of Amish Brides, be sure to still leave a comment. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn, I have plenty of other titles to share.

I have 2 winners I need to announce today–one from last week and the second from the week before. But…my right hand (you don’t have to tell Stacey I called her that) has been working a lot this week and I have to get with her. Never fear, those winners will be chosen. And even announced. Sometime. Soon. Until then, thanks for reading! :)

The Beatles Had It Easy

It’s inarguable that the Beatles are one of the greatest bands in rock-and-roll history. They’ve sold 178 million albums in the US alone and this number continues to grow as they are still selling today. In fact they were recently honored with another thirteen platinum and gold records. The White Album has gone platinum nineteen times over and is considered by some to be the greatest of their works.

These statistics are staggering. Few have had such success in the music industry. So why do I say they had it easy?

I mean no disrespect. I own my fair share of Beatles recordings and grew up listening to Help, Eleanor Rigby, and Yesterday. But at the time of their rise to stardom, rock-and-roll was in its infancy. The sound was new and young. Coming up with something new out of something new isn’t a big feat. Kudos to them for coming up with something new and pleasing to a broad audience. And for years. They had an open door to slip through, but it was their genius that kept them going.

Fast forward to 1970 and Black Sabbath hit with their new sound of heavy metal.  It was an extension of rock-and-roll and yet not. See after the Beatles, the sound changed. Some stayed with the old ways and others went to new sounds. Black Sabbath paved the way for others still. Today my son comes in and talks about Industrial Metal, Techno-metal, and other branches of this sub-genre of ‘metal’ music. But it all started with those four guys from Liverpool.

What does this have to do with writing? More than you might think. I hear readers and reviewers all the time complain when a writer breaks the rules. Christian fiction shouldn’t have sex, cursing, or drinking being one of the major grumbles.

Like the Beatles and Black Sabbath, all writers are looking for something new. None of us want to be published and be just another book on the shelves.

But writing didn’t start in the sixties. Nor did any of the genres. People have been writing books of all sorts for thousands of years. Yes, it’s true. There’s nothing new under the sun, but still we try. Yet there was a time when an idea was new or at the very least fresh. When I started writing romance, I had a smart-mouthed heroine and a conservative, red-haired hero with freckles! Keep in mind this was twenty years ago. No one had done that. At least not to my knowledge. I felt like I was on the cutting edge. But these days, that edge is getting wide enough to build a house on. Not so edgy anymore.

In the last few years we have seen the rise of ‘urban fantasy romance,’ shape-shifters, Amish, Christian speculative, and a host of other attempts at something different. But in order to be innovative, rules have to be broken. When some rules are broken it completely changes the genre. Romances must have a happy ending. If they don’t, they fall into love stories. Even Nicholas Sparks will tell you that he doesn’t write romance. But more on that in another blog post.

So why can a writer break some rules and not others and still be in the same genre. I’m not quite sure. Some things just are. Like romances end happy, cozy mysteries aren’t bloody and graphic, and in mainstream fiction anything can happen.

To say Christian fiction is such a broad term. Can it be considered a genre? Well, what is genre? Dictionary. com lists it as a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like. (see the complete definition HERE.) Unfortunately, books aren’t divided like plants and animals. There’s no kingdom, phylum, or class to go along with genre. That leaves the reader floundering, trying to determine what books they might like. This is even harder if you want to only read clean fiction. (More on that later.)

Combine this lack of definition with the writer’s strive for something new and different and a lot of times you will end up with a dissatisfied, and maybe even offended, reader.

You might not like it, but please respect the author for their originality. Or at the very least for giving it a go. It takes a lot of false bravado or true bravery to put a book out for the world. Like the tone-deaf contestant on American Idol, some feel their work is fantastic when it needs a complete overhaul, but most put something out and hope and pray that it doesn’t get ripped to shreds. I wonder if the Beatles had their doubts. It seems unlikely now so many years and platinum albums later, but I bet they did.

What about you? Do you want to read something fresh and new or are you happy with status quo? No answer is wrong. Feel free to comment, but as always be kindful to others, their feelings, and opinions. Spread JOY.

Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. *

The winner will be announced Friday August 25, 2017, on the next blog. Comments will be taken until midnight EDT Thursday August 24, 2017.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

*If you already have a copy of Amish Brides, be sure to still leave a comment. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn, I have plenty of other titles to share.

 

The Good Christian

What makes a ‘good’ Christian? I’m asking, not telling. We hear that all the time, “So-and-So is a good Christian.”

I was raised to believe that being a Christian meant to be Christlike. Or at the very least to put every effort into striving to be Christlike. Yes, we are human and yes, we all fall short.

I even asked the question in my last blog. Because I have written things that are not considered ‘clean reads’ does that make me less faithful, less Christian?

It’s not an easy question to answer. And it’s possible that it doesn’t have an answer.

Give this a thought. By saying that someone is a ‘good Christian’ we are passing judgement. Hmmm…but we shouldn’t judge. Does this only apply when we judge to the negative? I don’t know. Though by passing even a positive judgement, we are creating a scale by which our friends, family, co-workers, even strangers are gauged. If So-and-So 1 is a good Christian, then it’s possible that So-and-So 2 is not as good, or maybe better. See what I mean? Even if it’s a positive statement, it can still pit two against one another.

But this post didn’t start out to be about judging. It’s about the differences in people and beliefs. And how we shouldn’t gauge others by our own beliefs. Wait…I guess that is judging. But how can we stop this behavior? How can we say I agree to disagree? Or maybe it’s why can’t we? Why does religion/beliefs/God have to be “my way or the highway?” Shouldn’t we let God be the judge of all things? The Good Book tells us to. And besides He knows more of what’s in each and every one of our hearts. To me that is the most important thing to remember.

Nothing brings out our judgement more than politics and traffic. Politics, I’ll steer clear of, but traffic? Why can’t we follow the golden rule? Someone may be driving slow because their car started giving them troubles and they are just trying to make it to the nearest gas station. Or maybe another is driving too fast because their spouse is sick/at the hospital/been in an accident and they are trying to get to them. When these things happen to us, we expect people to understand and yet we are often times not understanding in return. What a shame!

The internet can be the worst! It’s one of the greatest accomplishments in our lifetime and yet it may well be the breakdown of the family and social structure. People go online and splash mean and hateful comments to anyone who doesn’t hold their same view/dogma/upbringing then get angry when others don’t bow to their wisdom. Why can’t we read, dismiss if we don’t agree, and go on to the next post? Why must we stop and take the time to tear someone down before we proceed to un-friend them then talk about them in a PM on messenger?

Is it so hard to say, Live and let live? Why should it concern us if it doesn’t directly affect us or doesn’t hurt anyone else/the environment/a defenseless creature?

There are things on social media that bother me. My husband’s in law enforcement. I get offended a great deal by some of the mean comments put up. I grew up in Mississippi. Yes, I have an opinion on the Confederate flag. No, I’m not going to share it. It’s not worth the trouble and the heartache either stance would give me–not to my hometown friends or the ‘friends’ who are actually business acquaintances and grew up differently than I did. I have an opinion on global warming, North Korea, yellow meat watermelons, and the best breading for fried green tomatoes. Most of these I keep to myself, or I decide if it’s worth someone getting upset if I say something that might go against their own beliefs. Because I don’t want to stand behind my own thoughts? Not hardly. I simply don’t have the time to be on the computer all day, fending off rabid opposite-believers and defending my every word/thought/belief. I would rather write books that make people happy and bring joy into the world.

I can’t say that I follow this all the time. I wish I could, but like most I have good days and bad. I have times where I’m impatient, anxious, angry. But those are the times when we should take a deep breath and work harder toward that understanding peace. After all, we are only hurting ourselves.

And, yes, I would like to think of myself as a “good Christian,” but not if it means someone is less of one.

Thoughts? Comments? What do you think? Remember to please keep it positive; negative and/or aggressive comments will be deleted. This is meant to be a safe and open place. Spread JOY!

And please leave a comment. Share your thoughts and be kind. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. *

The winner will be announced Friday August 18, 2017, on the next blog. Comments will be taken until midnight EDT Thursday August 17, 2017.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

*If you already have a copy of Amish Brides, be sure to still leave a comment. If you are fortunate enough to have your name drawn, I have plenty of other titles to share.

 

The Thing About Bravery…

The last couple of weeks have been jam-packed for me. I completed edits on four (yes, four) projects, turned in A Love for Leah (Mississippi Amish Book #2) to my editor, and finished my first-round rewrite for Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop. I still have a few more edits to do on the next Kappy King mystery and outlines for the next three books in my queue, but being busy is good. And I am grateful.

But I can’t say that it’s always easy. I went from finishing up all my contracted work to an indie project rewrite that I have been fighting against ever since I knew this was what I needed to do. Even before. Change isn’t easy ya know. And that’s when the doubts set in.

Writers are notoriously insecure about their craft, but these were doubts of a different kind. Am I doing the right thing? Why is being brave so hard? Is it just that I don’t want to change my stories? Heaven knows it’s easy to fall in love with our own words. But it’s not only that. The doubts come from another place, a place that should never be. A place that was created when I was younger and going to church every time the doors were open, even though I was a young teen and the only one in my family/household at the time who was attending. A place that came into being when the people I trusted to get me through what then was the toughest point in my life, turned on me, made me feel like less, and sent me searching for something different. Not God. He is always there and always true, but the church and the people that I surrounded myself with.

I’ve been reading, but not commenting, on social media where readers are discussing why they feel Christian writers are writing “not so clean” books with cursing, bedroom scenes, and other potentially offensive material such as drinking. This is something that’s been on my mind lately as I am focusing my efforts in continuing as an inspirational author. Yes, I’m changing the books that I am able to. It’s going to be a long road to get there. And I will not be able to do this to all of them. Does that make me less of a writer? A Christian? A person?

Some are asking why do authors (like me) have books like this at all. That’s a question I’ll answer later, in another blog post, at least for my own tale. For now, let’s look at the broad picture.

The big question is, why? The answer is everyone is different.

We say ‘the church’ like it’s the only one. Like where each and every one of us goes to Sunday School was directly established by Jesus with no deviation. And it’s not. It has changed. The church has split, grown, and evolved. Good or bad, those are the facts. Even the Anabaptist had a split and within that split even further. That’s why we talk about Old Order, Beachy, car Mennonites, and more.

 

Everyone has a different tolerance level for certain things. What bothers me might not bother others and vice versa. I actually had a reader get upset with me because, in an inspirational book, I had dancing and the characters drank a beer. I found no problem with either one of these things, especially since the book was set in Texas. But she did. She didn’t want that in an inspirational book and felt like the inclusion made it not so inspirational. But I didn’t have cursing or bedroom scenes. They went to church and prayed and tried their very best to do what they felt God wanted from them. Was that not enough?

Not for this reader. She stopped supporting my writing–all of it–dropped from my street team, and otherwise wrote me and my writing off. This is her prerogative. I can’t say that it didn’t hurt my feelings, but I accept her choices. Yet is it not also my prerogative to write the books as I see them? How clean is clean?

I’ll admit I’m struggling a little with these rewrites. I want to make my reader happy. I want to take stories that came to me a long time ago and make them into stories that reflect what I care about now. But I’m terrified. I go back to being that fourteen-year-old who only wanted to love God and be a part of something bigger and yet the actions of others had them turning against me.

What if I write something that offends someone? What if they get mad? What if I’m not good enough?

I’m not saying this for you to comment that you won’t be offended, you won’t get mad, and I am good enough. I’m writing this to say, of all writing, have an open mind. If it bothers you, don’t read it. But that doesn’t mean that you should completely give up that author or trash them in an Amazon review. One of my favorite authors wrote something in a book that horrified me. This was years ago. I didn’t finish the book. Right now, I’m reading another book by that same author. Tolerance.

Writers write. Most write for money whether they make a living from it or not. If they didn’t write for money, they wouldn’t charge for their books. They want you to buy their books. So they try to write something different to stand out from the rest and toes are stepped on. See, the Beatles had it easy, but that’s a post for next time.

Have you read a book that had something in it that offended you? Did you finish it? Do you still read that author’s books? I’d love to hear your thoughts, but please keep it as uplifting as possible. If you can’t be positive, please don’t include names or other clues to tip off to what book/author you are referring to. Please don’t ruin that author’s chances with another reader. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure applies to books as well!

Please share by leaving a comment below. I’m giving away a copy of The Amish Brides to one lucky person who comments this week.

Remember…be kind, loving, and brave.

What Happens When You Stop Arguing with God (part 3)

I had all my plans firmly in place. Then God gave me a big “hold up.” Commit, He said.

Sure, God. I commit. I’ll write my Amish books, then Chase’s story, then work on this new series. Oh, and that other secular series I just submitted to a different publisher.

Commit.

That’s not what You want? Okay. I’ll write my Amish books, Chase’s book, then turn all of my contemporary romances to inspirational romances so my current reader can enjoy them. That’s a good idea, right?

Commit.

You mean…Chase’s story?

I mean, commit.

It was a holy smack in the back of the head. Just like good ol’ dad.

Commit.

It has taken me a while to come to terms. To see the light, as it is. To stop arguing with God and listen for a change.

Commit.

It’s going to take me a lot of work, but I am willing to commit. I am willing.

So today starts the beginning of a new era for me. And a lot of backtracking. Today, along with working on the second Pontotoc Amish romance, I have promised to commit, to begin changing all my titles from contemporary secular to contemporary inspirational. I’m working toward something a little different. I’m calling it ‘light inspirational.’ No language, no sex, no drinking (or at the very least no glorified drinking). My entire line up will be books dedicated to a wholesome story, God, and/or a fun read, and any combination of the three. The books will be about millionaires, love potions, blue collar heroes, and more. But the message will be the same: Love is good! God is better!

I have to stop here and say (before she rebels) that Stacey has been trying to get me to write more inspirational for years. Yes, years. And, yes, Stace, you told me so. The balance of my friends have encouraged me to write for the inspirational market, but finding the courage to do so? That took a holy hand to the back of the head.

Thanks, God. I’m listening. I’m not arguing. I commit.

Leave a comment to be entered into today’s drawing for a copy of Amish Brides. This is your last chance to enter for this post. Thanks for staying with me for the three days. Have you ever ignored advice only to later go back and follow it? Maybe after the way you thought was best didn’t work? Those I-told-you-so friends can be a pain, but they are the best! 

Be watching for the re-release of Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop. It’ll be the first title I flip. After that I have a schedule which I will post at a later date. The secular copies of these books will be available until I start to work on each one. So if you prefer the original version be sure to snag your copy today. Some covers will change, others will not. Sorry if this is confusing, but if a book has been changed from secular to ‘light inspirational,’ I’ll note this in the information about it on the various retail websites. 

And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Winners of the three part blog will be announced Saturday morning, June 17, 2017. Last chance to comment is midnight June 16, 2017, CDT. Any comments made after that will not be included.

What Happens When You Stop Arguing with God (part 2)

My mother reads all my books cover to cover. It’s actually quite a thrill for me. I also feel that if she loves them, the rest of the world surely will. (I use my mother as a gauge because she is a very faithful Christian. If the books – you know, the ones with bedroom scenes- don’t bother her so much, why should they bother anyone else? Uhum, maybe because everyone is different. Or gasp, she’s my mother. Again, a blog for another day.)

But as I’m trying to building these two separate parts of my career–the secular and the Christian it became more and more clear. I held out as long as I could, then I came up with a pen name. I almost immediately regretted it. It is HARD and next to IMPOSSIBLE to be two people. In today’s world of social media most folks will know your real name anyway so who am I trying to fool with a pen name?

So after a short run with Amie Louellen and Amy Lillard I decided to take all my books and make them Amy Lillard books. (This is when the Sweet As Apple Pie brand was born.)

People would understand, I told myself. This is a business. This is my dream. That’s the beauty of publishing these days. I have options. And I also got a new contract for my contemporary cowboy romances. The books of my dreams! The ones I had been dying to write for eleven years. It worked out even better that the publisher wanted to put them out under the Amy Lillard brand. Hot dog! I was on my way.

Well, the truth of the matter is I have been ‘on my way’ for a while now. I have published many Amish books, a few mysteries, some Christian novellas, and a string of contemporary romances. You know, my dream. Besides who am I to write contemporary Christian romance? I’m a spiritual person, but I’m not like other people who have these fantastic church families. I’m not like my sister who teaches at VBS and manages to bustle three children into church each Sunday. It’s just not like that for me. I’m more of the sit on the back porch and contemplate God in the clouds and the beauty of the world He created. Who am I to talk about people who walk faithfully with God when I stumble more than move forward?

Then God told me something. Be brave. Those words rang in my head clear as day. I was walking in our neighborhood park, trying to get some exercise. Be brave, God said. Yes, I could be brave. I could write contemporary inspirational. I could do super-sweet romance, one step down from inspirational yet with no sex, no language. I could do it regardless of the people who have told me otherwise. Or my own doubts. I am just as good, just as worthy as anyone else.

So I prayed as I finished my walk. “I’m not sure what this means, Lord, but help me feel this same way, this empowered, when I get back home. Help me know what this means and what I’m supposed to do with it.”

It took a day or so, but I finally figured it out. God wanted me to come up with a new contemporary Christian series! Hey, I can do that! I’m never without ideas of one sort or another. In fact I have a great series that I can just flip to be Christian. It’ll be fantastic! So I’m going to write Amish, write this new series, and write my other contemporaries.

I had it all planned out…or so I thought.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of What Happens When You Stop Arguing with God…

Leave a comment today to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. I’m giving away one copy each day of this three part blog post, so be sure to come back tomorrow.

Have you ever had everything planned out but God said, “hold on there a minute…?” Let us know and get entered into today’s drawing.

Winners of the three part blog will be announced Saturday morning, June 17, 2017. Last chance to comment is midnight June 16, 2017, CDT. Any comments made after that will not be included.

What Happens When You Stop Arguing with God? (part 1)

Sometimes I crack myself up. Because I’m so funny? Hardly. Because I get told something time and again by many friends and colleagues and I don’t believe it until God smacks me in the back of the head? Yup, that’s the one.

What? God doesn’t smack you in the back of the head? Well, good for you. It means you’re listening. Me on the other hand…

The answer is infinitely!

I know what you’re thinking, That’s all well and good, Amy, but what does this have to do with me?

I’m going to tell you.

First let me back up and tell you a story. Some of you may have heard this from me before so I’ll give you the condensed version. When I first started writing, I wanted to write romance. Because I had been reading ones with full bedroom scenes, it didn’t seem strange to write one like that. It was just the way romances were written. Right? Then I discovered that romances could be ‘sweet’ or not have detailed love scenes. I even tried my hand at a couple of those, but the market was tight. I went back to ‘the usual way things are done.’

Most everyone who has ever read my blog knows that I started writing Amish as a suggestion from my then-agent, Mary Sue Seymour. Thank heavens I listened and tried my hand at one. But it wasn’t the same as my fun contemporary sexy romps…Why not? I was writing, stories that satisfied me and my reader, I was getting good reviews, fan mail, the works. Why wasn’t it the same?

I don’t know. Maybe because I kept telling myself that it wasn’t. Who knows?

Now, I had been writing for (Amy cups hand over her mouth to muffle the words) 19 years before I got my first book in print. It’s almost embarrassing. Why did it take so long? I can string more than two words together. I can make people cry/laugh/love/believe. I had great stories, memorable, characters, and I had won awards. I knew language, metaphors, and MLA vs. Chicago style. Why did it take me so long?

This is a question for which I don’t have the answer. All I know is in January of 2011, I signed a contract for my first contemporary romance and in September of 2011, I signed my first contract for an Amish series. That’s one writer, nine months, and two completely different directions. (BTW I fully believe that the 9 months thing is an omen, but that’s a blog for another day.)

The contemporary came out from a small, digital-first publisher and things move a little faster in that world. Brodie’s Bride saw the printed page over a year before Saving Gideon. But here they were, two wonderful books, two completely different sub-genres, and both romance.

Just after I signed the contract for Saving Gideon, my friends (writer friends, that is) started giving me advice. Get a website. Change your twitter handle. Come up with a pen name or make all your books inspirational.

But I don’t want a pen name. And I don’t want to write only inspirational. I want to write what I want to write. And Amish of course. I want to write contemporary romances and books about the Amish. My readers will understand.

So that’s what I did. I had a drawer full of books that I had written over the last, ahem few years. I pulled them out, dusted them off, and got them onto amazon.

Everything should be perfect right? In a heartbeat I had twenty-five books on the cyber shelves. I was rocking. On my way at last.

Or so I thought…

This is part one of a three part story. Come back tomorrow, same time, same place, for the next installment…

Leave a comment today to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Amish Brides. I’m giving away one copy each day so be sure to come back tomorrow.

Have you ever fought a decision you knew you should make? Have you argued with God? Let us know and get entered into the drawing! I can’t be the only one…

Winners of the three part blog will be announced Saturday morning, June 17, 2017. Last chance to comment is midnight June 16, 2017, CDT. Any comments made after that will not be included.