Release Day ~ Healing a Heart

healing-heart-3d-cover-2It’s here! Finally! It’s release day for Healing a Heart! In honor of the occasion, I’ve added a new excerpt. Hope you’ll stay and read a little more about Healing a Heart. It’s a sweet story about forgiveness, second chances, and leaving yourself open enough to find love again.

As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it’s easy to mend a fence. Mending a broken heart, however, takes time…
 
Rancher Jake Langston prides himself on being the sensible type. But five years after the loss of his wife left him to raise their daughter alone, he indulges in a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. He thought he’d never see the woman again. Four months later, though, she’s standing in his drive with a big surprise.

Bryn Talbot wants nothing from the hunky cowboy who got her pregnant, but her Southern nature demands she at least tell him about it. When Jake’s family persuades her to stay for a while, she’s soon won over by their charms—and by Jake. But with the losses the two of them have suffered in the past, neither is sure if they’re ready to take the leap to forever…

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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  

 

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Leave a comment and be entered into this week’s drawing for an audio copy of Loving a Lawman.

When you read a series, do you always read in order, or do you read them as you find them?

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Should You Date a Cowboy?

Days…There are mere days until the release of Healing a Heart! Can you say Amy is excited? And I am. This book—this series—has been a long time coming, and I love that I finally get to share my cowboy brothers with you!

Healing a Heart is Jake’s book. If you read Loving a Lawman, you probably remember Jake, sweet, grieving Jake whose wife died in childbirth. Now he’s doing the best he can, running the family ranch and raising his daughter as a single dad. His life is in something of a holding pattern, that is until Jessie McAllen Langston enters his name for the most eligible bachelor in Texas. Jake comes in fifteenth, but it’s enough to wreak havoc on his calm and peaceful life. Women are coming out to the ranch hoping to snag themselves a real-life cowboy.

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Now, I love cowboys. I love cowboy movies, rodeos, and everything to do with the history of the Old West. But I didn’t marry a cowboy. Which made me wonder, how many women out there really can handle the cowboy life? Or is it just a romantic fantasy better lived through wonderful romances?

So I developed a quiz to help you determine…

Could you date a cowboy?

Answer the questions below—honestly, of course.

  1. Have you ever dated a cowboy?

A. Yes

B. No

C. Never

2. Would you ever date a cowboy?

A. Yes

B. No

C. Maybe

3. Do you know what a real cowboy is like?

A. Oh, yeah! Ropes, Pick-ups and Good livin’

B. You mean like John Wayne?

C. I have a pink cowboy hat.

4. Do you know the difference between a bull, steer, cow, heifer, and calf?

A, Of course

B. I think so

C. There’s a difference?

5. Do you know what Copenhagen is?

A. Long cut or snuff?

B. A city in Denmark

C. No idea

6. You see a guy in Wranglers, your first thought is

A. Let me at ‘em

B. What are Wranglers?

C. No way

7. What kind of beer?

A. Coors

B. Corona

C. Heineken

8. Do you watch the PBR?

A. Every chance I can

B. Sometimes

C. What the heck does that mean?

9. Does a ride in a pickup out in the pasture on a starry night (while keeping a close eye out for coyotes) sound romantic to you?

A. Sign me up!

B. Maybe

C. Are you crazy?

10. I could spend the rest of my life staring at wide-open spaces and livestock.

A. Sounds like heaven

B. The rest of my life?

C. Count me out!

Give yourself 3 points for every A answer, 2 for every B answer, and 1 for every C answer.

If you scored 30-25 Yes! Go find yourself a cowboy!

24-18 Maybe…but you better think this through

17 to 10 You see a cowboy hat and a belt buckle? Run! Run as fast as you can!

Below 10 did you even answer the questions? Seriously, the lowest you can get is 10

Leave me a comment and let me know how you did. Or at least leave me a comment, even if you don’t want to share your results. (LOL) Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Healing a Heart.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, please feel free to leave a review on your favorite online site or drop a line to my publisher Berkley/Penguin and tell them how much you enjoyed the story. Kind words go a long way!

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Paper in a Digital World

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I reminisce about the days of walking into one of the two books store in our mall and browsing the shelves of books. I loved touching the spines, reading the back cover, opening it, and flipping through the first few pages. But it seems nowadays that is all but a memory.

paper-vs-memeYes, there are still bookstores out there. Bookstores that are thriving. But they are not as plentiful as they once were. I can’t say that digital publishing caused this shift, but shopping in general has changed. These days a person can by almost anything they want off the web. And to debate the demise of bookstores as the fault of digital publishing versus the fault being the rise of cyber shopping is a lot like trying to figure out what came first, the chicken or the egg. Does it really matter? This is what we have now.

I admit that I can’t go into a store without buzzing by the books. The grocery store, Target, Walgreens. Even at the thrift store, the bookshelves are the first place I stop. But the last time I was at a Barnes and Noble, I was doing a signing, not shopping. I can’t tell you the last time I bought a book at a store. I order. All the time.

So where do I find these books? I hear about some on BookBub, eBookSoda, and ReadFreely. I see some on Facebook ads and blogs. If I like what I see and the blurb sounds interesting, then I’ll usually add it to my Nook or Kindle. Never to be seen again. LOL

Seriously though. I have no idea what all is on my Nook…or my Kindle. Not to mention the books on my phone and the ones on my Audible app. I can’t trail my fingers down their spines and touch the title and think, “Oh, I remember that one!” Instead I scroll through my ‘shelves’ and think, “When did I buy that?”

Some books I have in e-format and then I turned around and bought it in paper. I’ve said plenty of times that I prefer paper to electronic, but paper books aren’t as readily available as they once were. (Or is that just me?)

So tell me…how do you find your books? Do you have a service like BookBub? And if you do, do you turn around and buy it paper? Do you bee-line for the books at Walmart? Or make time to head over to Lifeway, Mardels, or B&N?

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my latest contemporary (secular) romance, Healing a Heart. It’s the second book in the Cattle Creek Series and releases February 7th!

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Countdown to Healing a Heart

Guess what? We’re just a little over two weeks till the release of Healing a Heart! Can you tell I’m excited? Excited is a mild word. I’m downright giddy!healing-a-heart-meme-for-website

I grew up with a love of cowboys and all things Western. So I guess it only makes sense that I would want to write books about them too. To me, there’s something inherently special about a cowboy hero. And Jake Langston is no exception.

Jake is Seth’s brother (Loving a Lawman). Jake is the second oldest in the Langston family and runs the family ranch in the absence of Mav, the oldest.

Jake has had a rough spell, beginning with the death of his wife in childbirth and continuing on as he does his best to raise his daughter with the help of his family, namely his mother and grandmother. And he has no intentions of ever getting married again. Ever.

Then a one night stand turns his life upside down.

Even the mighty fall.

Now Jake is torn between his vows to himself and his responsibilities to this new child entering his life. But Bryn Talbot, the mother, is unlike any woman he’s ever met, and Jake finds himself thinking about more than visitation rights and financial support.

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Bryn looked out over the pool to the ranch beyond. The buildings and other fenced areas created an L around the property, and she wondered what they were all used for. She had no idea the ranch would be this . . . sprawling. But it seemed as if that was the measure of Texas. Sprawling.

Even the table they had eaten at was a huge entity that seemed to go on for miles.

But it had been fun. She had worried about sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers. That was what they were to her, strangers. Even Jake.

And that was the weirdest part of all. They were having a baby and they didn’t know the first thing about each other. But come tomorrow, that was one thing they were going to have to work on. Just how did one go about getting to know the father of their child?

She moved a little further out onto the patio, staring up at the billion stars in the sky. Maybe it was because the land was so flat or maybe things really were bigger in Texas, but it seemed that there were twice the number of stars here than in Georgia.

She heard a clicking noise and looked to see Kota padding across the patio. She didn’t know a lot about dogs, but he seemed friendly enough. What was it Jake had said? As long as she didn’t break from the herd. She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but she could guess.

“Come here, doggy.” She lowered her voice and stooped over a bit, holding her hand out toward the pooch. He really was the craziest-colored dog she had ever seen. Mostly black, white, and gray with rusty patches thrown in for good measure. Kind of like a German shepherd that had been liberally flecked with bleach. She supposed he was some sort of herding dog, though she had no idea of the exact breed. Wait, weren’t they just called cow dogs?

Kota came closer, slowing and finally coming to a stop right in front of her. He sat on his haunches and stared up at her expectantly.

“You’re a good dog, right?” She hesitantly scratched him behind one ear.

He tilted his head to the side and she took that as a good sign.

“Yes, you are,” she said, gaining more confidence where he was concerned.

“Nice night.”

She nearly jumped out of her skin. Dog forgotten, she whirled around, hand pressed to her pounding heart. “Jake! You scared me!”

“I didn’t mean to.”

She lurched to the side and apparently Kota considered her breaking from the herd. He nipped at her heel, effectively keeping her in place.

“Ow,” she exclaimed more from surprise than pain.

Concern immediately took over Jake’s expression. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

She shook her head. “He just scared me a bit.”

Jake nodded, though he let out a high-pitched whistle. Kota immediately left Bryn to stand at his side, though she could tell Kota really wanted to make sure she behaved. Well, according to a cow dog’s standards anyway.

“What are you doing out here?” she asked.

“Same thing as you, I guess. Enjoying the evening.”

“Wesley in bed?”

“Finally.” He chuckled “She was pretty wound up at supper.”

“She’s a wonderful little girl.”

A silence fell between them, broken only by the sound of the night. There were no cars or horns. No sirens out here, just the low of the cows and the occasional bark as one of the other dogs heard something it didn’t like.

Kota’s ears stood up and he let out a small whine, but he never left Jake’s side.

“Go on,” Jake commanded.

The dog took off into the night.

She could hear the dogs barking, then things grew quiet once more.

“What are we going to do?” she quietly asked.

“Get married.”

She shook her head. “I can’t marry you.” Though her heart leapt at the prospect. Down, girl. He might be one of the most handsome men she had ever met and the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in the entire state, but she didn’t belong here. And he surely wouldn’t pick up and move to Georgia. So where did that leave them? “I guess we should talk about visitation and that sort of thing.” It sounded cold, like they were talking about something other than a living, breathing child. Something less.

“Why not? I have a good job, enough money to take care of you and the baby, and all my own teeth.”

“This is not why I told you about the baby.”

He took a step toward her. A menacing step, or was that a trick of the shadows where he stood? “Then why did you tell me, Bryn? You obviously don’t want money or a ring. So why come here and tell me when you have no intentions of letting me be a major part of the child’s life?”

“Maybe this was a mistake.”

“You think?” He took another step, this one bringing him close enough that she had to crane her head back to meet his cold green gaze.

“Not the baby.” She waved a hand around as if to dismiss that idea. “Coming here.”

“That’s what I’m talking about as well.”

She swallowed hard as he continued to tower over her.

“So why did you?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered in return.

Something changed between them, shifted, until the night seemed to hold something each one had been searching for but had never managed to find.

“Could it be you want to know if what we shared that night was real?”

“Of—of course it was real,” she sputtered. Deliberately obtuse was not her best look.

“You know what I mean.” He reached up a hand and brushed her hair back from her face. “I don’t remember the purple,” he murmured.

“Rick—my friend I was with that night—he thought it would be fun.”

“Does he always advise you?”

“Sometimes.” When had he gotten this close to her, and why had she only noticed now? It would take only a breath and he could swoop in and capture her lips with his own. Or maybe she should raise up on her toes and see if his kisses were as hot and sweet as she remembered.

And if they were? What then?

She wrenched herself from his embrace, only then realizing that somehow his arms had gotten wrapped around her.

“No.” The one word was breathless with anticipation and disappointment. “You can’t manipulate me this way. It’s not fair.” She backed away from him and fled to her room.

She could not fall under his spell again.

Healing a Heart will be available in paperback and ebook formats on February 7, 2017.

Hope you’ll check it out!

And I hope you’ll leave a comment. I’m giving away a signed copy of Healing a Heart (paperback version) to one luck commenter. Tell me, do you prefer paper or digital books? (I’m a paper girl myself.)

Thanks for reading!

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Reading Challenge 2017

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2017-reading-challenge

It’s that time again. A new year, the perfect time to set new goals, or even recommit to the ones from years before. I vow every year to lose weight, eat healthier, blog more consistently, and/or to not complain when I don’t get my way. Yeah, well…the best plain plans…

Anyway, one resolution that is easy to keep (at least easier) has to do with reading and books. Last year I posed a 10 book reading challenge. Now this isn’t a challenge like some. The point here is not to see how many books you can read in a year, but to stretch your reading legs and get out of your comfort zone a little. Try something new. That’s why there are only 10 challenge books. I couldn’t go the entire year without reading my favorite genre. And I don’t expect you to either. Just to push yourself out of your cozy spot 10 times this year and read something you might not normally read. I’ll be honest; there will be new books you love and new books you hate, but at least you’ll be able to say that you read something you might not have otherwise read.

Below is a list of 15 types of books to help you find new things to read. If you’d like to join me in this challenge, all you have to do is check in here once a month (the second Thursday of the month) and leave a comment. Let me know what you’ve been reading and where it falls on the list. Yes, there are 15 choices in a 10 book challenge. Pick your faves and start reading.

What am I reading right now? Well…I’m between books. But I’m about to start A Man Called Ove. I got it in a Christmas book exchange, and since it’s going to be made into a book soon, I’m calling it my #14.

I hope you’ll join in the challenge! Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog will be entered into a drawing to win a mystery book. And with any luck, it’ll be a book to help the winner read more and read differently in 2017.

Happy Reading!

Amy

Release Day: TITUS RETURNS

Finally! December 27th is here! And I’m so excited to announce that Titus Returns is now available! All online retail outlets should have it available, and it will be popping up in Walmart, the grocery stores, and maybe even Target this week.

Titus Returns is a touching story about one man’s attempt to start over.

After being released from prison, Titus Lambert returns to Wells Landing, unsure how to begin again. He just wants to move past all the pain he’s caused. Mandy, his once-upon-a-time girlfriend, has married another but wonders now if she made a mistake. And then there’s Abbie King. Her twin brother Alvin died in the car wreck that sent Titus to prison. Abbie’s family has suffered since the accident, and Titus longs to help. But he soon discovers that he’ll have to learn to forgive himself if he truly wants to begin again.

Titus Returns is the fifth book in the Wells Landing Series and features characters from past novels as well as a few from the Quilting Circle novellas.

I’m thrilled that I can share Titus Returns with you today! It’s a pleasure and a blessing.

Happy reading!

Amy

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Reading Challenge: Year End Update

Well, I wish I could say that I met my challenge this year. Yes, I know there are a couple more weeks in the year, but it’s Christmas time, I have edits due, and I’m scheduled to finish a book by the New Year. Not sure I’m going to be able to read much in that short period of time. I’ve been reading certain books to work on a new proposal, but I don’t think any of them will count for this challenge.

So 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

5- #12 a book published this year Rescuing the Cowboy by Cathy McDavid

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Yes! Half-way there! Well, at least I tried! What about you? How are you doing in your Reading Challenge? Remember, the goal is not to read as many books as you can, but to stretch yourself and your reading habits by reading books that you wouldn’t have read before.

If you need a refresher, here are the categories:

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

Hope you’ll check in! And get ready…we’re going to do this again next year!

Keep Reading!

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Release Day: MORE THAN A PROMISE

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WELLS LANDING QUILTING CIRCLE NOVELLA 2 Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

promise pic 1At the heart of the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, a women’s quilting circle rallies around a member who is suddenly alone, under unusual circumstances…
 
One of the only women in the quilting circle without children, Mariana Miller prayed to be blessed with a little one throughout fifteen years of marriage. But now, newly widowed, Mariana discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! How will she support herself and the babies, not to mention stay healthy when the doctor puts her on bed rest? As neighbors band together to help, Mariana is more grateful than ever for the Amish community. She especially looks forward to visits from Reuben Weisel, her late husband’s business partner and best friend. Reuben’s quiet strength comforts her—until he proposes marriage…
Honorable and loyal, there’s no doubt Reuben sincerely wants to provide for Mariana and the twins. Never married, he can now be a good husband and father. So long as the bishop approves, to wed him is a sensible choice—and an unexpected gift. But when Mariana discovers there is more behind Reuben’s proposal than she thought, their fragile agreement and fledgling love will be put to the test…

AMY LILLARD PINTEREST Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks AMY LILLARD READERS GROUP Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooksAMY LILLARD GREEN APPLE RATING Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

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Christmas Cards for Servicemen and Women

Every year I vow I’m going to do my part to help those people who are less fortunate. I’ve bought gifts for the Angel Tree, helped with the food drive, provided warm accessories for the Cozy Tree at the elementary school, and a host of other projects. Anything to help. So this year, when I saw this post on Facebook I decided I would do just that–address a card to a wounded serviceman and send some Christmas cheer their way. Perfect!

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I always believe in the good in people, but I’m married to a deputy who only sees the bad, day in and day out. His experiences have made me a bit cautious, so I poked around a little and discovered that the information is incorrect.

The address is not valid and hasn’t been for five years. Any mail sent there will be returned to sender.

But it’s such an awesome idea!

So I poked around a bit more and discovered a few things you can do to help our wounded heroes.

You can send blank holiday cards that they can use to send home to their loved ones. Here’s how:

Gather 3 blank holiday cards (same holiday per bundle and no glitter) along with 3 blank envelopes with postage stamps and 1 short message to the service member (do not include contact information, only first name). Bundle them all together with a ribbon and send to:
American Red Cross in the National Capital Region
ATTN: Holiday Mail for Heroes
8550 Arlington Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22031
Don’t forget Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!
If you still want to send a Christmas card to a wounded or hospitalized service hero, contact your local Red Cross office, Military Treatment Facility, or VA Hospital to obtain the local guidelines. You can also call the  American Red Cross at 301 295 1538 if you have any questions.
(https://www.facebook.com/RedCrossWRNMMC/)
When I went to the site for the Warren Reid National Military Medical Center,  they mentioned that the meme usually goes viral. It just shows how big the hearts of Americans really are, but mis-information is ineffectual to the cause. Here’s a meme if you’d like to share.
And for everyone who wants to bless the servicemen, get the bundle together and take a picture of it. Post it to my Facebook author page and I’ll enter you in a drawing for a copy of Heartland Christmas Brides which includes my Christmas novella, The Gingerbread Bride.
Giveaway ends November 30, 2016, which is also the deadline to send the cards. (This giveaway is in no way endorsed or supported by Facebook.)
Good luck! And thanks for supporting our service men and women!
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