Sweet Romance and Pink Apples

I’m so excited to announce that Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop is back! It’s up for sale in the kindle store and will be available in all e-markets as well as print very shortly! (Hopefully by the end of the week, if not before.) Yes, it’s back and it has a brand-new look. And a brand new ‘apple rating.’

But first the cover. Drum roll please…

I love this new look! I wanted something sweet and kind of soft to represent this new endeavor. I think this one has all that and more!

Okay, Pink Apples…

What do pink apples stand for? My ‘new’ heat level I’m calling sweet-ish romance.

When members of the industry—authors, editors, and agents—talk about a sweet romance, they’re referring to love scenes. Or lack of them. Sweet romances by definition have no ‘on the page’ sex. There might be implied relations, but these happen behind ‘closed doors.’ (Take ‘sweet as apple pie’ out of the equation. That’s referencing my style and tone.)

When I first started writing romance, I wrote love scenes into the books. Those were the kind I read so they were the kind I wrote as well. I’ll not tell you that writing a love scene is comfortable. But this was all I knew and if I wanted to write romance, I would have to get over my hesitation and write the scenes. For me that meant making the scenes necessary. Necessary in they had to be emotional, move the plot forward, and enhance the overall story.

Then I started writing Amish and inspirational stories and the two different kinds of books didn’t quite go together. What to do? My new style didn’t contain love scenes and I had firmly entrenched them into my previous books. In trying to find a solution, ‘sweetish’ romance was born. (Remember how God told me to be brave? I struggled with what He meant by that. Did He mean be brave and continue what you are doing? Or be brave and take a chance? I think He meant take a chance.)

Sweet-ish romance is a delicate balance. There are parts that could be classified as love scenes, but they are emotionally strong and physically vague. They are not a play by play of what happens between a man and a woman in private, rather a small nudge to let the reader know what’s happening without going into every detail.

Also language. Yes, there are a few curse words in my sweet-ish romances, but I was careful not to take them too far. (No f-bombs here.) Nor did I want my characters to take the Lord’s name in vain. I took out these references and replaced them with something less offensive.

I can’t say that ‘sweet-ish’ is the right heat level for every reader. There are some who will prefer the strong love scenes and some who will wish they had been removed altogether. But for the middle-of-the-roader, I believe you will find something here you’ll like.

There will still be other heat levels in my line-up. Amish and inspirational will continue to be Green Apples. Sweet romances will go on being represented by Yellow Apples. Red Apples will indicate books that do contain bedroom scenes, though I will express again, these are nowhere as sexy as today’s typical romance. (My husband calls them 2 ½ shades of gray.)

I’m also working on better explanations for the apple rating system to help readers navigate what’s right for them. Be looking for it in the weeks to come.

I hope you enjoy this ‘new’ heat level. And I hope that readers of clean romance will give it a try. If you are one of these readers, I would love to know what you think. You can contact me through the CONTACT ME page here on my website.

Thanks for reading!

 

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! :)

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Aren’t changes usually associated with the Spring? Spring has definitely sprung here in OK and changes are all around. My blog is no different. This week I should be talking about the Reading Challenge, but I had to adjust the schedule due to the news I’m about to share.

You may  or may not have noticed that some of my books are currently  unavailable. Here’s a list of affected titles:

The Wildflower Bride

Southern Hospitality 

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop

Blame It On Texas

With a few more changes waiting in the wings. But for now, here’s what’s happening.

The Wildflower Bride has gone out of print. Bottom line is a cover change. Thanks to our wonderful friend the Internet, books go out of print from the publisher and yet are still available from third party sellers and even distributors who have stock in the warehouse. You’ll still see the 12 in 1 volume, The 12 Brides of Summer, for sale, but you’re also going to have the opportunity to buy the e-novella in a special 1-in-1 version that hasn’t previously been released. I don’t have plans to put this book out in print, but I do have a few 4-in-1 copies that were compiled for Walmart, and I’ll be giving a few of those away in the upcoming weeks. Here’s what to look for:

The Wildflower Bride is a Green Apple rated book.

Blame It On Texas: Due to a change with the publisher, I now have the rights back to this contemporary, western novella. It too has undergone a small cover change, but the most exciting thing…? I am making this book available in print for the first time! Keep in mind that this is a novella so it’s short, and I’m doing everything in my power to keep the price as low as possible for my print readers.

Here’s what to look for:

Blame It On Texas is a Red Apple rated book.

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop is in the same boat with Blame It On Texas. I am currently working to get it back onto the cyber shelves, but these things take time. And I never have enough of that! <g> It’ll most likely go up in e-book first and then in print. The good news is since I am offering this book myself, I’m hoping to be able to get the paper in at a much better price than before.

Here’s what to look for:

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop is a Red Apple rated book.

And that brings me to Southern Hospitality (and Southern Comfort) … the two books in the Hot Southern Nights Series will most likely be off the shelves for a bit longer than the others on this list. Southern Comfort is currently available, but will be disappearing in the next few weeks. It’s going to take a bit before I can get these back out, but never fear, they will be back and with their companion book, Southern Charm. But that’s a whole ‘nother story!

I don’t have covers or anything to show you, but when I do, I’ll be sure everyone knows what’s coming. In the mean time, just be patient and I promise to make it worth your while. And so everyone knows, The Hot Southern Nights Series is a Red Apple rated series.

With the republishing of the Hot Southern Nights series, my pen name will be a thing of the past. I hope this isn’t confusing for anyone. If you ever have a question about a book, when something will be available, or even its rating and what that means, don’t hesitate to send me over an email. Since I write different genres and different ‘heat levels,’ I feel it’s extremely important to make sure you know the rating of the book you have in your hands. Since I work with different publishers the quickest way to check a book’s rating is right on my website.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks for a reading challenge update. I’m doing my best to get caught up after reading my RITA books. I’ve knocked one more challenge book off my list, and I’m working on another two.

How’s your reading going this year? Are you living up to the challenge? Do you have a question for me about one of my re-releases? Leave me a comment below. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of Small Town Summer Brides which includes my novella, The Wildflower Bride, as well as three more novellas by other great authors!

And as always, thanks for reading!

 

 

And don’t forget…Marrying Jonah releases tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

peek-at-healing-a-heart

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 Amazon icon bw Amy Lillard B&N icon bw  Amy Lillard apple icon bw  kobo-icon-black-white Amy Lillard BAM icon bw  indie bound

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!

amy-sig-4

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.

date-a-cowboy

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!

amy-sig-4

 

 

blog-winner-meme

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.

peek-at-healing-a-heart

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!

amy-sig-4

blog-winner-meme

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!

Amy

CLICK BELOW TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LOVE POTION ME, BABY

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! :)

 

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

amazon icon Amy Lillard  Amy Lillard B&N icon  apple icon Amy Lillard  Amy Lillard kobo icon  Amy Lillard BAM icon  Amy Lillard indie bound icon

Why Romance

I recently read a post on Facebook where a Christian author was complaining that it was getting to the point where Christian books should be labeled as to whether or not they contained described and/or graphic sex, profane language, excessive on camera violence etc. Her chief complaint was that since these books were written for Christians, they shouldn’t have any of that in it.

romantic blogI didn’t think too much of it. IMHO, Christian books should reflect the world they portray. If any author writes a book that has a drug dealer in it or dirty cops, gang bangers or rock stars, chances are–even if the characters redeem themselves by the end of the book–there’s going to be some language along the way. It just seems natural to me.

But I realize now that she was just trying to protect her genre. And how did I figure this out?

A friend of mine just wrote a fantastic book. It’s gritty and raw. It’s the story of a disillusioned rock star and a graphic designer with a brain tumor. Her book does not end happy. No HEA equals no romance in my world. But so many people are calling her book a romance. (Don’t get me wrong: it’s a fantastic book, most probably the best thing she’s ever written. It’s brilliant.)

Yet to me, it’s not a romance.

But it goes beyond that. I get a Bookbub and eBook Soda email each day. On one such email I received an ad for a book that was a forbidden stepbrother priest romance. Huh? And it was in the inspirational category. Whaaaat?

I’ve prowled around on amazon and I’ve seen the warnings, “This book contains (enter undesirable behavior here.)” Rape, bondage, incest. And these are labeled romance! Some have husbands and wives cheating on each other, hitting each other, and even the unmarried heroes and heroines having sex with other people in the book. Not. Romance. Not to me anyway.

This makes me as indignant as the author who wants to keep Christian fiction clean. I want to keep romance…romantic.

When I first started writing romance there were certain rules that had to be followed. The hero and heroine couldn’t kiss anyone else in the book. I was even turned down once because my hero was in a relationship at the beginning of the book. Never mind that the reader knew before they even did that the relationship was for convenience only and would never stand up in the face of love. The editors didn’t like it.

The words used to describe the actual sex act were nicer. Cleaner, maybe even a little euphemistic, but hey, this is romance, woman’s fantasy. It should be romantic.  It needs to be romantic. The relations between the couple should be beautiful. The way love should be.

Language was also cleaner. I can remember when the ‘s’ word couldn’t be used in Harlequins. And the language in single title books, might cross that line from time to time, but definitely not on a regular basis.

So what does this have to do with you?

In July the first book in my new series will be released. It’s a contemporary secular romance. Heartwarming, which means it’ll leave you with the warm fuzzies, and western which means it takes place in Texas and there are cowboys involved. But the main thing is that it’s a little old school.

Yes, it has described love scenes, just a couple. They are beautifully written and very much necessary to the plot. In fact, without the first one, there is no story. There is a touch of language, but you can count the words on one hand, maybe two.  And what is used keeps the book firmly in the PG-13 category. Not above.

My main focus for this tale, as it is with any of my books, is the story. I wanted to bring the reader the best story I could.

I love Seth and Jessie. Their love is nearly impossible and has to be weighed against the needs of the Langston family and Jessie’s need to get away from the town that won’t allow her to outlive her undeserved reputation. It’s a poignant story about second chances and unrequited love. But it won’t need any warnings. Unless I say:

Warning: this book contains sweet love scenes between a small town sheriff and his brother’s girl. It may cause feelings of wistfulness and nostalgia. After reading this book people have been known to want to move to Cattle Creek and take up residence. Unfortunately it only exists in the author’s imagination but you can visit again in the next book in the series.

Until then, check out my new website dedicated to the Cattle Creek series.

www.CattleCreekSeries.com