Monday, November 3, 2014

The Tale of Two Amys

Born and bred in Mississippi, romance author Amy Lillard, is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma. She also writes under the pen name, Amie Louellen. Amie Louellen has published eight romances, six of which are self-published. Amy Lillard has five books to her publishing credit, one of which is an independent release
Amy is a member of RWA, ACFW, and is an award-winning author. You can reach her at or visit her on the web: * FACEBOOK * TWITTER *

Trendsetter Amy

I have always been something of a…trendsetter. (Now then, doesn’t that sound better than rebel?) I grew up in the age of punk rock and raiding your daddy’s closet for neckties, oversized shirts, and loose belts. When I was sixteen, I pierced my ears to have six earrings on the left and three on the right. That doesn’t seem crazy by today’s standards, but in 1983, NO ONE did such wild and crazy things and surely not in small town Mississippi.

So it’s no wonder that my…adventuresome spirit has carried over into my writing. Back before it was cool to do such things, I had a hero with a tattoo, one with red hair, and a heroine with so many freckles there was no way to count them all.

Today, it seems there’s no shock value. Books are available that make Fifty Shades look Victorian. Erotica, erotic romance, GBLT, and a veritable alphabet soup of F/F/F/M/F/M until I’m not sure what body part belongs to what letter.
But that’s the beauty of self-publishing. It allows for an away-form-the-norm expression that has been controlled by the publishing industry for years. (Quick note: I have nothing against the traditional publishing industry. Nor do I read that far out of my chosen genre. I’m merely stating that the world has to date tried to ‘protect’ us from ourselves, and I’m glad such expression is available to those who want it.)
Yet how far are we willing to push that envelope before it starts pushing back? I don’t know, but even as a self-proclaimed trendsetter, it’s not a direction I’m comfortable going, this uber-sexy trend that a great deal of romance seems to be headed toward.

My latest self-published releases are two versions of the same story: one sexy and the other inspirational. Take Me Back to Texas is the inspy title and Welcome Home, Bethie McGee is the sexy one. But as far as sexy goes, it is *tame*. Standard stuff, filled with emotional touches and sweet kisses. They also attend church in the sexy version. After all, this is small town Texas. But I did a little something different in the inspirational version as well. They drink and dance. Gasp, right? And share a sexy kiss. Double gasp. But I think it’s time for Christian fiction that isn’t so sterilized and sexy fiction that is a little more like real life. At least for most of us. I guess you could say that my goal is to swing romance back a little closer to the right.
And maybe that makes me a rebel with a different cause. No wait…trendsetter. Yep. I definitely like that better.

Here’s a little more about Take Me Back to Texas and Welcome Home, Bethie McGee.
Elizabeth McGee never thought she’d set foot in Loveless, Texas, again. But after the reading of her father’s will, Elizabeth learns she’s inherited her grandmother’s house and all of the personal contents. If that wasn’t enough to knock her off her feet, she soon discovers that JD Carmichael, her lost love from high school, is the contractor who has been hired to finish renovating the house.
JD once had the world by the tail. But after a premature end to what would have been a promising career in professional football, JD wants nothing more than to raise his daughter and enjoy the life he has now. And he surely never thought he’d ever see Bethie Grace again.
Now he’s faced with her every day as they work side by side restoring and cleaning the old house in order to ready it to sell. But the rambling old Victorian isn’t the only thing rattling with memories. Elizabeth finds that she can’t concentrate with JD around. And JD has trouble forgetting the heady effects of her kiss, even if it’s been fifteen years since he last held her in his arms.
Past hurts and betrayals stand in their way. That and JD’s vow never to get married again. But as much as he tries to keep the two halves of his life separate, he finds himself breaking all his rules for Bethie Grace McGee.
Elizabeth has plans for her future. She’s waiting for a loan to buy her very own French bistro on the edge of Hollywood. But JD’s kiss makes her second guess her decisions and think about staying in Texas. Forever.
Check out all of Amy’s books: