Friday, December 30, 2011

Midnight's Sweet Kiss - New Release - Amazon exclusive



My new release, Midnight’s Sweet Kiss, is now available at Amazon.

Blurb
Sophie Kurtz finds herself stranded in New York after catching her fiancé kissing another woman. But thanks to Noah Conley, a knight in shining armor, or rather, a kindhearted, attractive cab driver, her night turns around.

Excerpt
Sophie grabbed her airport carrier and dragged it behind her to the nearest bar. While not her scene, she had an affinity for bright colored drinks with fruit hanging off the rim. Late as it was, she decided on something less showy and ordered a mojito with its velvety mint garnish and clean, smooth taste.
Three mojitos later she was less pissed at Kyle, and just pissed in general. She moved to New York to start fresh with a new job, a new place, and a new life. It would be the start of an amazing year that included a walk down the aisle with her man of three years. Only now the plans didn’t look quite so promising. If she could somehow take herself out of the one to blame category, she would, but it all fell on her shoulders. No one twisted her arm to make the big move. She’d decided on her own and it was a bit late to change her mind.
Sophie tried Kyle’s number one more time and after cursing the voicemail message, paid the bartender. If she spent another minute in the airport, she was going to lose it. Luggage carrier in tow she headed outside into the cool December air and hailed a cab.
To her relief, one pulled up before her foot touched the curb. At least she could count on something. The cab driver opened his door to get out but she waved him off.
“Just pop the trunk, I’ll take care of my stuff.” There was no sense both of them being cold. Plus, all of her possessions were in the suitcases. It gave her comfort to load each one in. They felt like old friends.
She gave a final look back toward the airport and then scrunched into the cab. Ready or not she was on her way. She hoped Kyle would be thrilled by her surprise. And she hoped he had a real good reason for not picking her up.
“Where to, miss?”
The seductive deep voice from inside the cab sent shivers along her spine. She looked up and met steel gray eyes in the rearview mirror. They were deep-set and hypnotic and trained on her.
“Uh, Miss? I’ll need your destination.”
Sophie blinked to break her trance-like stare. “My fiancé’s place,” she blurted and felt her cheeks blaze red.
The driver’s dark brows arched. “I’m not familiar with that location. Maybe you could give me a street name?”
Heat spread from her neck on up. “Sorry, it’s on the corner of 9th and Davidson,” she replied with a shaky voice.
What was up with the knot of nerves forming in her belly? She might’ve been with Kyle for the last three years but it wasn’t like she’d never looked at another man.
A charming grin tugged the driver’s full lips. Even with his body half concealed by the front seat, her senses responded, and not with any subtlety. It was like he’d been chiseled out of a clay mold of perfection. His navy blue shirt fit him snug around the chest, and there was a slight vee in the collar area that made her want to hook her finger there, pull down, and check out the rest of him.
She returned her attention to the mirror and back to his eyes. They scanned the road, moving ever so slight from one side to the other and then for a brief moment at her. His gaze had her transfixed. With his take-me-I’m-yours looks, he could tell her to strip and she’d obey in a heartbeat.
You’re taken, she reminded herself and glanced down at her ring. It was a princess cut, though the diamond was larger than she preferred. Kyle insisted on the size despite her preference for something modest. She wasn’t naïve. He’d bought it big to impress people with how much he’d spent on it.
“So, I take it you just flew in?”
Again shivers flecked her skin. How did his voice have such a commanding effect over her? “Yeah, I mean, yes,” she said and wondered if he ever made his girlfriend wait hours for him to show up. She didn’t think so. For right now, or at least while she stayed mad at Kyle, this dark-haired dream was the ultimate sex god and could do no wrong. Olivia would be jealous.
“Is this your first time in New York,” he prompted.
“Yes.” Sophie sighed, though not because of his question. She was homesick and starting to doubt her decision.
“I thought so.”
“It’s pretty much stamped on my forehead, isn’t it?” She drew her bangs back to give him a better look.
He chuckled. “Nah. You just don’t seem like a New Yorker.”
“Not even close. I’m from Oregon. What gave me away, the scared shitless look on my face?”
“No, but there is that. It’s just little things.” He glanced her way and shrugged. “I don’t have much else to do from up here, so I try to get a read on people. I’m usually good at it too, but you’ve stumped me.”
She arched her brow. “How so?”
“You strike me as someone who likes things calm and easy going. You won’t find those things here,” he replied.
Boy, wasn’t that the truth. “I’m impressed,” she said and smoothed a wrinkle out of her skirt. “I do like things calm and simple, but not stagnant. I thought change would be good, a way to start over. New house, new job, new life.” Each time she listed them it made her more apprehensive.
“Sounds daring,” the driver responded.
“I guess.” She glanced out the window as a reminder of where she was. All the months that she’d readied herself for this move had been bearable because she’d still been home. Now she didn’t have that comfort to fall back on.
“To be honest,” she started, “moving here wasn’t my choice.” Her eyes widened at the frankness of her own comment and she tried to backtrack. “I mean, at first it wasn’t. Now I’m cool with it. My fiancé’s work is here and if I want to be with him then this is where I have to live.”
Wow, the way she explained it made her sound like she’d been held at gunpoint. Where was her enthusiasm? This wasn’t a life sentence. Was it? The cab shrunk around her while her ring grew three times its already ostentatious size. Was she having her first official nervous breakdown?
“At least you’ll have someone to help you through it. That makes a difference,” he offered.
“Sure does,” she agreed and rolled the window down for some much needed air. “I don’t mind a challenge.” Since she couldn’t even convince herself, she switched the conversation onto him. “So do you do anything else besides drive people around?”
“I drive them crazy,” he joked and started to laugh.
She snickered along with him. Handsome and charming, what were the odds? “I meant, is this a full time gig?”
“For now,” he said. “It keeps me away from desk jobs and starched uniforms. I’m allergic to both.”
“Same here.”A chill ran through her and she put the window back up. Head cocked to the side she asked, “Do you like driving a cab?”
He rolled his shoulders. “Most days. Driving relaxes me.”
“Even in this traffic?” She wouldn’t last ten minutes behind the wheel here.
“Yep. It helps remind me to slow down. It’s easy to miss things.”
Sophie liked his carefree philosophy. It differed from Kyle’s nonstop rambling about how successful he was in his career, and how everyone admired him. He’d spend hours on the phone with her rattling on about business mergers and conferences until her hand tingled from holding the phone to her ear so long. It was nice to hear someone be casual about their job, and not make money the topic of every conversation. She didn’t have the nerve to tell Kyle how much it bored her, and often worried she’d fall asleep with him still talking.
In the next breath she felt a tinge of guilt. Sure she was mad at Kyle for not calling to say he’d be late, but it wasn’t fair to find fault with him. She’d feel even worse when he explained what kept him. He was going to be her husband soon, and she’d need to show interest in the things he did.
“We’re coming up to your stop,” she heard the driver say. His interruption was more than welcome. “Is there somewhere in particular you want me to drop you off at, or right at the corner?”
She grabbed her purse and poised her hand over the seatbelt buckle. “Yeah, the corner will be…”
Sophie’s words faded off at the sight of Kyle in a steamy lip lock with some redhead in a tight little skirt, his hands freely roaming.
Her chest tightened.
“I didn’t catch that last part,” said the cabbie.
From the corner of her eye she saw him turn her direction, follow her gaze out the window, and then turn back to her.
“Oh.”

Midnight’s Sweet Kiss. Available now.

Ann Cory

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Release - The Balancing Act



My f/f book The Balancing Act - part of the Sapphic Signs series - is now available from Torquere Press :)

Michelle and Gracie became fast friends on the gymnastics team, and were inseparable. That friendship intensified into romance, and they never looked back. More than Gracie’s confidence took a tumble during an important competition, resulting in an injury that has kept her in and out of surgeries, and their once red-hot relationship has never been the same.

But Michelle’s love for Gracie keeps her determined to find balance and revive the passion they had for one another both on and off the beam. She must come clean about where she’s been going during her spare time, while Gracie decides to have one final surgery.

Excerpt
She caught a glimpse of Michelle walking toward the coach in her navy blue leotard. The tight garment showed off her sinuous muscles to perfection.

Gracie never thought she’d be sitting in this place again. She expected anger and regret to keep her away for good, but she felt neither of those things.

Along the sidelines, Michelle practiced her routine on the floor. Her body moved with the same dancer’s grace she’d always had. Gracie loved how she bent forward, her back arched, with arms above her head. Her legs of pure muscle, the back one extended into a perfect arabesque. She leapt and then spun on her toes with her arms straight and body in flawless alignment.

For a moment she put herself in Michelle’s place. Gracie remembered how she used to glide and turn, flip and leap. Her teammates liked to challenge her to see who could hold a pose the longest without falling.

Much as she enjoyed the floor exercise, she preferred the rush of being up high, to be the envy of gymnastic hopefuls with the way she could hold her body with such intensity. She’d mastered all the dance moves on a small wooden beam instead of a spring boarded floor. Had she known the result of competition night, she might’ve treated her body better, been easier on her muscles, taken better care of her joints, but in the end perhaps she hadn’t been meant to perform in front of a large crowd. Gracie chuckled to herself. She knew this was all her way of analyzing, trying to justify and make the situation right considering there weren’t many options.

A woman in a business suit stepped up the microphone and announced the start of the competition.

The crowd got to their feet behind her and she cupped her mouth, screaming and shouting along with them. She watched her team on the uneven bars and the floor events. When it came time for the balance beam, she saw Michelle seek her out. Gracie nodded and smiled, giving her the thumbs up sign. And then the knots in her stomach doubled.
(copyright 2011)

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smolder Springs Now Available!


Good morning! I’m thrilled to announce that my sexy contemporary erotic romance Smolder Springs is now available from Resplendence Publishing!

Welcome to Smolder Springs. Pampered by day. Seduced by night.

After years in an emotionally draining job, Kaitlin West visits a luxurious spa known for its healing springs and breathtaking beauty. And where her personal guide, Harrison Knight, helps to awaken her long suppressed desires.

Excerpt

Out from the sea of women stepped a handsome man with broad shoulders clad in a partially unbuttoned white shirt and denim shorts. Bathed in sunlight he looked like every wine-induced fantasy she’d ever concocted at two in the morning.

Her head swung side to side in disbelief. If she had had the ability to purr, she would have. No question, he put the smolder in Smolder Springs. Judging by the drawn gasps behind her, she wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Mister dreamboat-in-denim parted from the group and approached in measured strides, his chiseled biceps flexing as he lifted a megaphone to his perfect mouth.

“Welcome to Smolder Springs, ladies. I’m certain you’ll find your time here most rewarding.”

The sight of him had a definite reward factor in itself. Forget buying a souvenir, she’d take him home.

“You’ll each be paired up with a guide who will give you a tour and see that all your needs are met. They’ve been chosen based on answers you filled out online at the time you registered.”

Kaitlin’s smile faltered. She didn’t realize the online form held such merit. Did anyone take that kind of set-up seriously?

“Now I’ll call out your name and the name of your guide. From there your three days of pampering can start. Have a wonderful time at Smolder Springs.”

Her pulse amplified in her ears. What the hell had she put on that form? She searched her memory while names were called out, listening for hers at the same time. It concerned her that no one else veered on the edge of a breakdown. Though, why should they if they’d answered honestly. Had she? Not likely or why the heart palpitations?

Perspiration laced her bra. Why couldn’t she remember? Oh, that’s right, it had been the same night that she’d polished off that third banana daiquiri, thinking it tasted like another.

Not good.

Faces blurred in front of her as guides and guests met and shook hands like old friends during alumni week. Out of frustration she stopped racking her brain. She couldn’t change the answers now, only deny them.

The crowd continued to thin until she was the last woman standing.

Dreamy in denim set the megaphone down on a bench swing and perched his sunglasses atop his head. He gave her a measured once-over and tucked the clipboard underneath his arm.

“I guess that leaves us.” His voice dripped of caramel sauce.

Kaitlin’s lips parted to respond and stayed that way. Any words or sounds she’d planned had tangled up with the butterflies circling inside her stomach. She hadn’t expected to be paired with a man. And he truly was all man.

She figured his age somewhere in the lower thirties range, older but not too old, her personal preference. Rugged good looks bordered on clean cut without the Ivy League polish. Also a preference.

Her eyes drank in every visible part from the firm muscles that hugged his arms and legs, to his thick waist and gently angled face. Her favorite feature was the stunning jade color of his eyes—clear and sharp and mesmerizing. She appreciated the dark tumbling mass of hair that fell around his neck but grieved over his choice of attire and how little it revealed his sculpted, sun-kissed body.

All six-foot-two inches of him gravitated toward her, his broad shoulders even more impressive up close. She tilted her chin to look up at him. Talk about a towering inferno. A sinful smile tugged at his full masculine lips.

When she’d sufficiently scrutinized him from head to toe, her mouth remembered how to work again.

“Uh, hi. I’m Kaitlin West. I think there’s been a mistake on the pairing up part.”

“Name’s Harrison Knight.” He thrust out his strong-looking hand and casually slid it into his pocket when she didn’t reciprocate. “There’s no mistake on the pair up. I picked you myself.”

(copyright 2011)
~Ann Cory

Friday, August 05, 2011

Another excerpt of Smolder Springs today at TRS BLUE


Good morning! Today you will find another excerpt of Smolder Springs over at TRS Blue Blog:) If you get a chance, I'd love for you to stop by! Have a wonderful day!

~Ann Cory

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Smolder Springs - Sneak Peek excerpt


Morning everyone :) Hope you've been having a good week. I'm staying busy with work on the sequel to Immortally Theirs. With August 10th just around the corner, I wanted to post a sneak peek excerpt of Smolder Springs. Hope you enjoy!

Harrison's cock pulsed with each gentle pat of the towel against her curves. He cursed under his breath for staring like a predator, but damn if he could force his attention away.

She let out a whoosh of air that made her hair rustle, and then tilted her head. “I’m curious, why don’t you walk around naked or in a robe?”

“Because I’m here to cater to your needs, not to make you feel propositioned.”

“Oh.”

Harrison bent in toward her. “Unless you want me to proposition you.”

Her cheeks flushed again, darker this time. It triggered that carnal urge he’d felt before and damn if he’d ignore it now. If she couldn’t handle the physical contact then he’d know he’d be making a huge mistake taking her where he planned.

“This time I’m only half teasing.”

“Oh.”

He stepped closer and skimmed his thumb along her jaw, over the bow of her lips and rested it at her chin. The fact she didn’t flinch was a good sign. “Do you mind my touching you?”

“A little. No, not really. Um, maybe.” She worried her bottom lip for a moment. “You frighten me.”

“I don’t mean to.”

“I know.”

Being so close to her made his pulse go all erratic. He inhaled her heady scent, determined to not ravish her the way he wanted. “This may frighten you more but I’m going to kiss you.”

Her eyes widened.

“Any reason I shouldn’t?”

“Uh, no. None.”

“Good.”

She dampened her lush and willing lips in preparation and stared up at him with her hopeful baby blues, sending a shot of lust to his groin. He lowered his head and her eyelids fell closed. A breathy sigh released from her pretty pink lips a second before he claimed them.

They were soft, the way he’d imagined and sweet like honey straight off the comb. Their lips moved together, slow at first, then escalating into urgency. Holding back at this point stopped making sense. He rested his hands at the curve of her back and brought her hips against his thighs.

Her warm body relaxed into him, her breasts firm and full against his chest. She brought her hands up and rested them at his waist. His cock throbbed in response to the headiness of her arousal.

Harrison groaned and pressed into her intoxicating touch. He swore the heat from her could melt his flesh. Without a doubt he was in way too deep, and at this point he wouldn’t grab a lifeline if offered one. He’d drown willingly.

As if to test that theory, Kaitlin’s lips parted enough for him to taste her. Enough to make him enthusiastic for more. Starved, he claimed her lips harder, stoking the passion between them. Breathing in her heat, he didn’t think he’d survive without it. How had he ever? Of course the last five years had been a different kind of survival.

Harrison’s muscles tightened with tension. He couldn’t believe how self-absorbed he’d become, consumed by his past and desperate for an event to help wake him up. And that event was the arrival of Kaitlin.

There was no way he could make these two days only about sex. He wanted her, and he wanted all of her. He didn’t care whether it made sense or not. He didn’t want some other man to awaken her desires. Kaitlin had gotten more than just under his skin. She’d claimed a place in his heart that had been vacant for half a decade.

copyright 2011
Smolder Springs releases August 10th from Resplendence Publishing

~Ann Cory

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smolder Springs Cover and Blurb


Apologies for the crickets for the last few days, I've been busy doing final edits for my upcoming releases, Smolder Springs(August 10th), and The Balancing Act(October).

But I honestly couldn't wait to share my cover for Smolder Springs that I just received! What do you think? I'm loving the colors :) Next week I'll post a sneak peek excerpt. For now, here's the blurb:

Smolder Springs

Welcome to Smolder Springs. Pampered by day. Seduced by night.

After years in an emotionally draining job, Kaitlin West visits a luxurious spa known for its healing springs and breathtaking beauty. And where her personal guide, Harrison Knight, helps to awaken her long suppressed desires.

Smolder Springs releases August 10th from Resplendence Publishing :)

~Ann Cory

Monday, July 11, 2011

Juggling: What Is Too Much?



According to the Juggling Information Service Committee on Numbers Juggling, Albert Lucas juggled thirteen rings for thirteen catches. Wow – that’s impressive. Thirteen sounds like a lot to juggle. Maybe too much, considering it’s a very rare feat and would take a lot of practice.

Many of us juggle far too many things than we should. Not always with success. In fact, usually it involves a lot of sacrifice of important things like exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep, and family time. You know, unless you have magical abilities or some other cool gift.

Most of us attempt to juggle as many things as we can in a day. I know I’m guilty of that, and I’m constantly working to scale back. If you’re always feeling harried, rushed, and like you never have enough time, it’s because you don’t. Why? Because you’re trying to fit in too much in your day. Do all of those things have to be done that day? Can one of those items wait another day? Does your house have to be spotless? Or can laundry wait another day? Do you want to be known for keeping a perfect house or for writing great fiction?

An area you may be guilty of is being a workshop junkie or a submission junkie. Hang on now, I’m all about learning. We are students of life, for life. I am not at all suggesting that you shouldn’t take out time everyday to learn more about your craft, or learn a new hobby. At the same time, it needs to fit in your day. It needs to make sense. You won’t learn well while you're juggling everything else too. And while you may have no shortage of fabulous ideas for stories, the world won’t stop if you save it for another time. If you're worried that you'll forget it, kick out a few paragraphs or jot down a brief outline, and then come back to it when you’ve completed the other eight you want to write.

If you want to be in this job for the long haul, why tax yourself early? Think longevity. Thing quality over quantity.

You know my posts are always written because of something I’m doing, dealing with, working through. I’ve gone the quantity over quality route. I’ve gone the never say no - I can do it all route. Am I a prolific writer? Yes I am. I understand this business and my part in it. But I’m not looking to fizzle out early. This isn’t a fifteen minutes of fame process. I aim to be around a long, long time, writing in many different genres. I will always strive to be better. But I have a life and a family, and they’re more important. Sure, the lives of my characters are important to me. I can put them into some very unsettling situations. In the end, the lives of the people I love (including myself) are more precious.

So before you try and throw another task up into the air, consider how many you’ve got going now. Take inventory and figure out what tasks can be set aside for later. Set a limit that works for you. There’s no need to try and do it all. Even if you can, what does it get you? Stress. Less time. Unhealthy habits.

Rather than take on one more activity, why not take that time to exercise? Make a healthy meal? Read a book. Close yourself off from the world. Unplug and walk away. Turn off the phone. Stop checking emails. You know you just sent that story in yesterday, so let it be.

Put all of the balls down for thirty minutes a day, and tune in to yourself. Yes, you can do it all. Yes, you are all that. Yes, your life is valuable, maybe more than that of your characters.

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Derailed - Getting Back On Track


You know those personal and professional goals that you make with good intentions? You’ve found a balance of all the important aspects of your life and you can almost coast along with your eyes closed? You don’t of course, but you think you can. It’s a great place to be! But what if suddenly, out of nowhere, you get derailed? What if those goals and plans and daily progress get knocked for a loop? Ever had that happen to you?

*raises hand* I have.

In fact, that is part of why I haven’t updated my blog as often. I was enjoying a pretty nice pace and thought I had enough reserves in case life happened. But then…life happened. It only took two days for me to derail, and two weeks to get back on track. But the beauty is that you can always put yourself back on track.

How? Get back in the driver’s seat. You control that wheel. Just because you went left when you were supposed to go right doesn’t mean your entire trip is a bust. You may have to do some work. You may have to work hard. And you may have to fight off self-doubt and insecurities in the process. Remember that the end result is worth it because the end result is your success. You don’t have to throw your hands in the air and stay stuck. Realign yourself. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be back to making it happen. It’s not easy to right yourself, but it’s possible and you can do it.

Here’s my own personal motto that I made up: When your great intentions go astray – get back on track to find your way.

It may sound hokey, but you matter, and how you treat yourself matters. Nothing goes right all the time. It’s how we learn and grow. It’s how we find out what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes a little shake-up can be positive. It depends on how you react and how you recover.

~Ann Cory

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New Article Tomorrow!

Hi everyone! I'll have a new blog article posted for you tomorrow that will help explain what I've been up to. Hope you'll stop by!

~Ann Cory

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taking This Week Off

I'm taking this week off from blogging so I can get caught up. I'll be back to articles and fabulosity next week :) Hope everyone is doing well and staying productive!!

:) Ann Cory

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Fabulosity!

It's time for Friday Fabulosity!

Each Friday I plan to post about some fabulosity that I encountered during the week -whether it's wine, movies, food, books, favorite or new to me authors, and well-whatever strikes me as pretty fabulous. So, let's get fabulous!

In all honesty most of my fabulosity has been about my son's graduation and how proud I am of all that he's accomplished. The week has been full of family activity and celebration. So this Friday's Fabulosity will be short.




It's rare when I'm not reading something. This week I finished a gripping book titled Blue Heaven by C.J. Box. Definitely a must read. Rich in setting and details and packed with nail-biting scenes, I finished it in two days...only because I had so much going on and well...I needed a little sleep :) This is the first book I've read by C.J. Box and I'm interested to read more.





For a truly fabulous wine just perfect for warmer weather, try a Chateau Coussin 2010 rose' from Domaines Elie Sumeire. It has a soft blush tint and a crisp, clean taste, with a refreshing nose. Great for lighter fare, also roast/grilled/poached chicken, and of course cheese :)




And just because the true fabulousness of my week centered around my son, here he is again in his graduation robe.

I'd love to hear what fabulosity you encountered this week! Maybe a movie you saw?

~Ann Cory

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It Just Takes A Little Polish


Do you ever get irritated with all the nonsense in the news about political figures and celebrities who aren't capable of conducting themselves properly? The scandals and the secret babies, the destructive behavior and the just plain moronic behavior...I'm sure you know who I'm talking about with that last one. It all makes for great fiction, but that's about all it does.

Whether you talk in front of the camera or post online, people need to be responsible for their behavior and words. How you put yourself out there matters.

I know there are people who enjoy the gossip mill. And there are people who love drama. I've managed to stay clear of both because I don't gossip or desire drama, I lack the time and interest, and in the end it doesn't serve me to get involved. It doesn't add benefits to my life or well-being. It stirs negativity and hinders creativity. If you can't say something worthwhile and constructive, why bother?

For writers, and really for all professions, words matter. We want our words to have meaning, substance, purpose. There is a lot of power in words. You can empower with words. You can also strip someone of their power with words.

Putting the spotlight on writers, we spend a lot of time editing our work. We edit, edit again, and then edit again before we send our work to an editor who then edits even more. Why? Because we want our work polished before it's presented to the world. We want our best work to shine because it represents us, our brand, and our business. That mentality should extend beyond stories. It should extend into our daily lives.

We can all strive to do and be our best. We can conduct ourselves with grace and dignity. We can make a difference with our words in a way that counts. It just takes a little polish.

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Proud Mama!


The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity! I think I'm almost recuperated here from my son's graduation and his all-night senior party.

The graduation was surreal in so many ways. To see my son walk up to receive his diploma and wearing his graduation robe...wow...even as a writer I can't come up with the right words to express what I experienced. It's a day I thought about when I first found out I was pregnant. It's a day that always loomed as this incredible milestone. And it's a day that I also kept wanting to put off. Only because I'm not ready for my baby to grow up. I'm still not!

The graduation ceremony was lovely. Great inspirational speakers, their school choir sang beautifully, and it was entertaining to listen to the kids recount their four years of high school.

When my son's name was called to receive his diploma, I just clapped and whooped as loud as I could. Did I mention how proud I am? SUPER PROUD!!! It was also fun to see his friends graduate - everyone wearing their robes and big smiles, celebrating their very special day.

Afterwards it was home to change and off to the senior party. I volunteered to help out and I'm so glad I did! The facility where they had the party was incredible! They had it all decked out and there were so many activities for the kids to do. The school puts on these parties each year to keep the kids safe while they celebrate their momentous occasion.

Some of the activities they had set up included: a casino room, movie room, video games, inflatable bouncy room, rock climbing, laser tag, pool games in the indoor heated pool, races, yearbook signing area, and okay I can't remember them all because there was so much for them to do...and the food!!! WOW! These kids were well fed :) lol.

My son and his friends spent most of their time in the casino and he won some impressive prizes. The party lasted until 5:30am. Yeah, very long day. I slept most of yesterday away, lol.

So today I'm trying to get back on track here, but I'm still wearing the same proud mama smile even as I type this :)

WOO HOO to the class of 2011!

~Ann Cory

Monday, June 13, 2011

Support Matters!


Ladies, make sure you’ve got a proper fitting bra, and gentlemen, make sure you’ve got the right fitting belt. What the heck am I on about? I’m talking about support.

We all need it. Even if it’s just a little bit. None of us do well for long when we’re out there flailing around or riding low. Hence those bras and belts! It doesn’t matter what size you are, this is a one-size fits all kind of deal.

Everyone benefits from support. It’s a wonderful gift to give someone. Who doesn’t benefit from a pat on the back or a spirited “well done” every once in awhile? Who doesn’t benefit from the knowledge that they aren’t alone and don’t have to feel like they’re alone when they try a new job, story, or project? Everyone benefits!

And even more rewarding, not only does it feel good to have someone support you, it’s a boost to be supportive.

When you work hard and put all of yourself into your task, it’s nice to know someone is there to cheer you on and help pick you up on the days you question what you’re doing.

I’m lucky to have a wonderful support system at home. I can write anything and I know that my hubby is proud of me. But it isn’t just about supporting my actual work, he supports my business ethics. He finds ways to help make my office more functional by building shelves, installing the right kind of lighting, and creating ways to help me stay organized. He's my tech support and personal handyman. He’s also fun to storyboard with when my characters are running amok, and provides me with emotional support when a deadline looms or I second-guess myself. Yeah, it happens.

Not everyone has support from their family. And you may have close friends who can't provide you with the support you're looking for, but that doesn't mean you're doomed to be a loner forever. Take the initiative and email someone in your line of work/genre/project and see where it goes? You may have to do the initial work to find someone, but after you do, it becomes a team thing. *pom pom swish*

Write a list of traits you're looking for and seek out like-minded people. Strike up conversations and see where they go. You won't know until you try. I mean, unless you know exactly what you're looking for, you tend to try on a few of those bras and belts, don't you? *wink*

It’s important to have someone in your corner. There’s no need to feel alone. Get active in finding your support system. And then get active by being supportive!

~Ann Cory

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Her Warrior Heart Excerpt #2



Her Warrior Heart available now from Resplendence Publishing

The snow started up making her path difficult to see. Raina ignored the feeling of needles stabbing up her leg and carried on. She thought of the queen and how worried she must be, counting on a woman she’d only heard about to save her husband and the kingdom. They were bonded by love and the fear of losing it.

A sob caught in her throat. She couldn’t lose Torin now. If she did lose him, the blame rested on her shoulders. He wouldn’t be near death if she hadn’t chosen him to be with her. It was her foolish idea to stop and make camp. And it was her injury that sent Torin out alone and into the sorceress’ trap. Raina wished she’d taken the poison herself.

Her mind locked on the poison.

A memory about it filtered through, one more detailed than her mother telling her to never touch it. A memory outlining how slowly it affected a person, and that filled her with hope.

In all her healing travels, she’d never had to choose between two lives. Granted she’d never had feelings for someone she healed. Love had gone and changed all the rules. And she did love him. There’d be no more denying or talking herself out of the way she felt. She’d tell him the moment she saw him and not worry about the repercussions. If he left she’d understand over time. At least she’d have been honest. That had to be worth the risk.

A plump pheasant swooped down to the ground a short ways ahead. Her luck was changing. She started after it and dove on it before it got away. Raina plucked the feathers with hurried precision and cut it the way Torin had shown her. She did a quick check of the inside to make sure it looked healthy and built a small fire using scattered twigs found in the snow. Her stomach rumbled while she bound the bird to a stick and made it so she could turn it over the fire. The unexpected food would fuel her for the rest of the journey.

While the pheasant cooked, she checked her wound. Pleased with the healing, she added more salve and changed the dressing. At least something was going right. In the distance she heard a distinct scratching sound followed by a high pitched screech. Please no, she hissed to herself.

A harpie stepped into the clearing leading its enormous dragon. It walked with a limp and had a badly burned ear. Raina knew those small defects wouldn’t be enough to give her any kind of advantage. Out here in the open, she had nowhere to hide. Even if she managed to kill the harpie, she’d still have to battle the dragon. Alone she didn’t stand a chance. She was cold, tired, and famished, and she didn’t know if she’d make it in time to save the king. She’d failed everyone, especially herself.

She released the handle of her dagger and sat back. The creature stalked closer, its eyes shifting from her to the fire. Spittle dripped from its twisted mouth and formed tiny crystals on the snow. Gods, she didn’t want to die a harpie snack. The fire crackled beside her and Raina snuck a look at what would’ve been her meal. Skin charred in all the right places. Meat just tender enough to sink her teeth into.

Raina picked up the stick and waved the pheasant in the air. “You want this? You can have it. Here.”

She threw the stick in front of it and drew her knees up close to her body.

The harpie swiped the stick from the ground and tore the pheasant in two. It swung one half over to its dragon and swallowed the rest of it whole. Raina knew that wouldn’t be near enough to satisfy either one of their appetites. She wished the ground would open up so she could escape.

The creatures clawed at the snow and then returned their hungry gaze to her.

“What are you waiting for? Finish me. Go ahead.” The harpie took a step toward her, cocking its head in all directions. She flinched but refused to run. What good would it do?

“Here,” she said and thrust out her arms. “I’ll make it easier for you.”

The harpie blinked its bulging eyes and made a terrible screech. Breath held, Raina closed her eyes and waited. She didn’t want to think about the inevitable pain.

~Ann Cory

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Fabulosity!

It's time for Friday Fabulosity!

Each Friday I plan to post about some fabulosity that I encountered during the week -whether it's wine, movies, food, books, favorite or new to me authors, and well-whatever strikes me as pretty fabulous. So, let's get fabulous!




I'm going to start things off by mentioning a fabulous book. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I picked this book having heard some mere mention about it and found myself unable to put it down. Talk about being engrossed. The delicious tension and fast moving action. There were times when I did stop that I noticed how exhausted I was, as if I'd taken part in the games as well. You know a book is good when you feel like you're right there with the characters. Seriously, an incredible book!





Fabulous wine - a staple when it's in stock at our local wine shop. Colli Amerini 2006 from Umbria. Delicious with roast chicken, lamb, most red meats with an herb and garlic seasoning - especially barbecued, red pasta sauces, and of course white cheddar cheese. Honestly, if a wine doesn't pair well with white cheddar cheese I don't even bother. The price is more than reasonable. It's a lovely garnet color and the nose is a nice bouquet of spices. Slightly oaky taste but bold enough to stand up to bold meats. Mmmmmmm *clink*





Peppermint tea makes my morning a little something special - you know, besides seeing my handsome hubby's face. Three minutes brewing time and it's a cuppa paradise. Even tastes delicious cold, which with the weather starting to warm up will mean drinking it that way too.




Some more fabulous I encountered over the week included my son's prom. Talk about a dashing young man and his lovely young lady! Apparently they made such a lasting impression on an elderly couple dining at the same restaurant, that their dinner ended up comped.

My son is graduating this Monday - so I've been a fabulous mess. Yep, I'm such a mom. Can't seem to accept my baby is growing up. But he has grown into a fabulous young man and I look forward to being here for him whenever he needs me! Which probably won't be enough to my liking, lol.

Did you have a fabulous week? I'd love to hear what fabulousness you encountered! Please share!

~Ann Cory

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kicking Around Today

Good morning everyone! I'd hoped to have another article posted today, but with two releases back to back this week I'm running behind.

Today you'll find me at Ginger Simpson's Blog
as well as at the THe Romance Studio Party so stop by and say hi when you have a chance!

Tomorrow I'll have Friday Fabulosity and next week I'll give you a double whammy :) Sound fair? lol.

Have a wonderful day!

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Her Warrior Heart now available



My sensual fantasy/adventure/historical romance Her Warrior Heart is now available from Resplendence Publishing.

Raina, a gifted healer known for her magic mead, must deliver her rare medicine to King Valin who lies dying from a poison of black magic concocted by a vengeful sorceress.

On her quest she is joined by Torin, the fierce and handsome warrior she handpicked from a village to join her.

Along the way they are thwarted by harpies, a ruthless warlock, and the sorceress herself, but it is only when Torin falls prey to a spell of black magic that Raina must trust her heart to decide who she will save.

EXCERPT
Sated from the meal, Raina patted her belly and lay back on the blanket. “Thank you for the delicious catch. It was just what I needed.”

“I can only take half the credit. The herbs you added were a nice touch. Your cooking skills have come a long way.” He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his tunic and then inspected the tears in it left by the harpies.

Her heart sank. She’d been consumed by her hunger and forgotten all about Torin’s injuries. Raina sat up and gestured with her chin. “I should tend to those cuts.”

The gold flecks in his hazel eyes brightened against the firelight. “No need. They’re fine.”

“Let me be the judge of that,” she offered and reached toward her salve.

“No.” His tone suggested that they could go back and forth all night, and she wouldn’t get anywhere.

Raina took that as a challenge. She grabbed her salve and approached him, ignoring his pointed stare. “I’m going to take care of these, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

With that said, she knelt behind him and stiffened. All this time she’d wanted a proper excuse to touch him, and now that she had one she’d lost her nerve.

Torin cleared his throat. “Should I take off my tunic?”

“Uh, no, I’ve got it.”

Her fingers fumbled as she pulled the garment up and over his head. The sight of his massive shoulders sent a surge of heat through her, and for a moment she forgot how to breathe. She’d seen him many times before without his tunic. But not from this close. Not in this way.

“Did you fall asleep back there?”

“No,” she snapped. “Just be quiet.”

You can do this, she told herself. Remember you’re a healer, this is what you do.
Raina forced herself to relax. She took a handful of salve and carefully rubbed it into his wounds. To her delight his hard muscles bunched and moved beneath her palms.

Torin groaned. “That feels good.”

It did feel good. So good it almost hurt.

Her breath turned heavy. She was dimly aware of the fire crackling beside them. Its light accentuated the peaks of his muscles. When she’d finished his back, she crawled on her knees to face him. With everything in her she tried to avoid looking at his chest.

She gathered more salve in her palm and curled her fingers up his arm and across his chest. Her hand heated and tingled against his flesh.

Raina made the mistake of looking up at him and saw him staring back at her. Was that interest in his eyes? Her gaze dipped to his firm full lips. Gods, she wanted the courage to kiss him. She wet her lips just thinking about how wonderful it would feel. Torin released a sigh and gently took hold of her wrists, holding them loose enough for her to get free.

“Raina.”

The soft caress of his voice sent a pleasurable shiver through her. She fastened her gaze on his mouth, watching it part and move. Her arousal-hazed mind barely registered the words he was saying.

“Raina, please.”

Her mind exploded with what he wanted to tell her. Maybe he felt the way she did.

Gods, he could free her with his words.

“Yes, Torin?”

Breath held, she waited.

~Ann Cory

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Unladylike Behavior now available


My f/f historical romance Unladylike Behavior is now available at All Romance Ebooks as well as for Kindle.

Scarlett Devane finds her status as a princess disheartening and lonely. Headstrong and defiant, she loathes her father’s many attempts to find her a suitor. She believes the men only want her for the fortune and nobility her status can bring them, and shuns any attempt to marry.

She seeks refuge with her sultry chambermaid as they partake in unladylike behavior in the gardens outside the castle. Desperate to be with the one she loves, Scarlett tries to find a way around centuries of tradition.

Excerpt

There was a subtle hint of naughtiness in the air. Scarlett strolled silently as a cat, careful to not awaken anyone. In her satin robe, the summer’s moon drenched her skin. As she lay among the soft meadow grass, the crickets rubbed their legs and played a midnight lullaby. She waited for her lover to arrive and whisk her away to delicious heights of unladylike behavior.

The sky was filled with sparkling trinkets, a jewelry box of precious gems with a story to accompany each one. She wondered which tale her lover would enlighten her with this night.

Her muscles tensed as a rustle came from the rose bushes. Silently she prayed it was only a small animal, and not one of the meddling guards. The brute-like men were always traipsing about, watching over her like she was an unruly child, rather than a woman with sexual needs.

“My lady,” a voice whispered as light as the wind. “I am here to attend to you now.”

Scarlett smiled and pushed herself up, eyeing the delicious silhouette of her lover. “Come out my little seductress, it is safe. I see no guards at this time.”

The sultry dark-haired beauty hired by her father, King Devane, served as her new chambermaid, and had caught Scarlett’s eye immediately. Her former servant had been an old and dowdy woman, rarely doing her work without fussing over one thing or another. After months of tantrums and stubborn pleas, her father gave in and fired the woman. He hoped she’d find someone to be a replacement mother.

Scarlett knew no one could ever replace her mother.

From Alicia’s first day, the two began with mild flirtations and suggestive whispers. A force neither could explain drew them together, and through it they developed a close bond. The basic tasks expected of the chambermaid gave way to exciting opportunities for exploring desires and convening together outside the palace walls.

It was only in the night, far away from the castle, when she could fully experience the maid’s true handiwork.

~Ann Cory

Monday, June 06, 2011

Success - Fear or Desire?


Do you desire success?

Do you fear the idea of success?

Most people understand fearing failure more than fearing success, but you can fear one or the other or both. You can desire success and doubt yourself. You can achieve success and fear what will happen next. You can convince yourself that you will never achieve the kind of success you desire, so why bother. You can fear success before you ever give it a shot because it’s an unknown, and maybe you don’t do well with unknowns.

Fear is powerful. It paralyzes us. It crushes our dreams. It keeps us from new experiences and adventures.

Fear makes us cling to our tried and true comfort zones. What’s wrong with comfort zones? They aren’t always the best place to be. Sure they’re comfortable, but that’s because we don’t have to think about them. There’s no surprise. There's no challenge. It’s like being on auto-pilot.

Fear makes us play the What If game: What happens if I’m asked to do more than I’m able? What happens if I have to make a choice between family and career? What if people don’t like me? What if people don’t like my work? What if I’m a one-hit wonder? What if even after all of my success, I still fail? It’s legitimate to have these fears and worries and stresses, but you need to have faith in yourself. Believe in your capabilities. You're here to learn and live and experience.

Each of us is capable of success. And I'm not talking about the kind of success measured by others. To be successful you need to be the best representation of yourself. Maybe that means raising personal expectations. Maybe that means putting less limitations on ourselves. Maybe it means a little more work, but it's the kind of work you can be proud of.

You can go as far as you want. You don't need the auto-pilot. You're in charge.

~Ann Cory

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Fabulosity!

It's time for Friday Fabulosity!

Each Friday I plan to post about some fabulosity that I encountered during the week -whether it's wine, movies, food, books, favorite or new to me authors, and well-whatever strikes me as pretty fabulous. So, let's get fabulous!



I'm starting off with my brand new fabulous cover that I received last night for my upcoming f/f historical romance Unladylike Behavior. I love how soft and feminine the cover is :) Here's the blurb: Scarlett Devane finds her status as a princess disheartening and lonely. Headstrong and defiant, she loathes her father’s many attempts to find her a suitor. She believes the men only want her for the fortune and nobility her status can bring them, and shuns any attempt to marry.

She seeks refuge with her sultry chambermaid as they partake in unladylike behavior in the gardens outside the castle. Desperate to be with the one she loves, Scarlett tries to find a way around centuries of tradition.

Unladylike Behavior releases next week!




Another fabulous workout that really works the backside is The Booty Barre with Tracey Mallett. Thanks to a sedentary career choice, I have to make sure that I get myself up and moving everyday. I prefer to dance and do kickboxing to get my heartrate up, but for toning my tush, it's the Booty Barre all the way. It works but I'm not about to lie and say it's easy. I hurt for a week, lol. Trust me though, it gets easier the more you do it.




You know I can't do a fabulous post without mentioning wine - it's unheard of! Another staple wine on our dinner table is Valpolicella Classico 2007 - a delicious Italian dry red wine that is ruby red in color, and rich and intense on the palate. Goes down smooth, stands up well to red meats and hearty sauces, and pairs perfectly with sharp aged white cheddar.




If you're looking for a romantic suspense book that keeps you turning the pages and makes you stay up all night just to finish, then pick up One Scream Away by Kate Brady. The woman knows how to write suspense. Reading it at night didn't help, but I couldn't stop. Fabulous read by a new-to-me author. I'll definitely be reading more books from her.




And finally, over the weekend the family and I went to see Thor! LOVED IT! Great cast, loved the humor and the action sequences. Better than I expected. Did you see it yet? What did you think?


OH WAIT! I forgot to mention someone pretty darn fabulous - MY HUBBY! I could write a novel about all the reasons why he's fabulous, but I won't do that here. Just take my word for it :)

I'd love to hear what made your week fabulous :)

~Ann Cory

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Her Warrior Heart releases June 8th


I'm pleased to share that my sensual historical romance Her Warrior Heart releases June 8th from Resplendence Publishing.

Blurb -

Raina, a gifted healer known for her magic mead, must deliver her rare medicine to King Valin who lies dying from a poison of black magic concocted by a vengeful sorceress.

On her quest she is joined by Torin, the fierce and handsome warrior she handpicked from a village to join her.

Along the way they are thwarted by harpies, a ruthless warlock, and the sorceress herself. When Torin falls prey to a spell of black magic, Raina must stay strong and trust her heart to decide who she will save.

Excerpt -

Sated from the meal, Raina patted her belly and lay back on the blanket. “Thank you for the delicious catch. It was just what I needed.”

“I can only take half the credit. The herbs you added were a nice touch. Your cooking skills have come a long way.” He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his tunic and then inspected the tears in it left by the harpies.

Her heart sank. She’d been consumed by her hunger and forgotten all about Torin’s injuries. Raina sat up and gestured with her chin. “I should tend to those cuts.”

The gold flecks in his hazel eyes brightened against the firelight. “No need. They’re fine.”

“Let me be the judge of that,” she offered and reached toward her salve.

“No.” His tone suggested that they could go back and forth all night, and she wouldn’t get anywhere.

Raina took that as a challenge. She grabbed her salve and approached him, ignoring his pointed stare. “I’m going to take care of these, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

With that said, she knelt behind him and stiffened. All this time she’d wanted a proper excuse to touch him, and now that she had one she’d lost her nerve.

Torin cleared his throat. “Should I take off my tunic?”

“Uh, no, I’ve got it.”

Her fingers fumbled as she pulled the garment up and over his head. The sight of his massive shoulders sent a surge of heat through her, and for a moment she forgot how to breathe. She’d seen him many times before without his tunic. But not from this close. Not in this way.

“Did you fall asleep back there?”

“No,” she snapped. “Just be quiet.”

You can do this, she told herself. Remember you’re a healer, this is what you do.
Raina forced herself to relax. She took a handful of salve and carefully rubbed it into his wounds. To her delight his hard muscles bunched and moved beneath her palms.

Torin groaned. “That feels good.”

It did feel good. So good it almost hurt.

Her breath turned heavy. She was dimly aware of the fire crackling beside them. Its light accentuated the peaks of his muscles. When she’d finished his back, she crawled on her knees to face him. With everything in her she tried to avoid looking at his chest.

She gathered more salve in her palm and curled her fingers up his arm and across his chest. Her hand heated and tingled against his flesh.

Raina made the mistake of looking up at him and saw him staring back at her. Was that interest in his eyes? Her gaze dipped to his firm full lips. Gods, she wanted the courage to kiss him. She wet her lips just thinking about how wonderful it would feel. Torin released a sigh and gently took hold of her wrists, holding them loose enough for her to get free.

“Raina.”

The soft caress of his voice sent a pleasurable shiver through her. She fastened her gaze on his mouth, watching it part and move. Her arousal-hazed mind barely registered the words he was saying.

“Raina, please.”

Her mind exploded with what he wanted to tell her. Maybe he felt the way she did. Gods, he could free her with his words.

“Yes, Torin?”

Breath held, she waited.

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

What If Wednesday!


It's What If Wednesday. Each Wednesday I post three questions. Choose to answer one, two, or all three questions. Why? Well that doesn't matter - it's all about What If? (And it's fun). So here goes:

1) What if you were trapped in a tunnel by hideous and ferocious monsters and your only way out was if a superhero rescued you. Which superhero would you choose to save the day?

2) What if you had the choice between a theme song that played when you left the house or the ability to walk in slow motion all cool-like. Which would you choose?

3) What if you had to choose to keep only one book because they were all going to disappear on some random night. Which book would be your keeper?

Thanks for playing!
~Ann Cory

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's Stopping You?


Let’s say you’ve decided on a project. You have all the tools and materials you need to complete this project. You have set aside the time needed and you’ve done your research so you can move forward. Nothing is stopping you. You’re prepared. And it’s going to be great. Ready?

It’s go time!

Wait, what happened?

Why are you stalling? What’s keeping you from completing the project? Oh…YOU are.

Gotcha.

How many times has this happened to you? An idea comes to you and you’re psyched. You jot down the information, figure out what it’s going to take to complete, and get all pumped up to do it. Maybe you even tell other people about this fantastic project. You’ve got the visual in your mind of how it will look when it’s done. But even after all of that time and preparation, all the planning and dreaming, you aren't any closer to completion.

Don't sabotage yourself. Don't be the one standing in your own way. Be cautious of all the little signs that try and veer you off your path to success. They're bright and pretty and sparkly and sound a lot more fun than doing work ever will. We all want to have some fun in our day, and we should incorporate fun in our day, but even that has to have a limit. We owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward and working toward our goals. We owe it to ourselves to do what we're passionate about.

There will always be times when life puts up road blocks. You can’t plan for every crisis. Maybe you have health issues you have to work around. Perhaps a family member came down with a cold or the flu. Maybe your spouse gets laid off from work. Perhaps Mother Nature decides to have her say. Interruptions are a part of life. Teach yourself how to make use of the time that you have. Don't wait for the time. Make any time productive.

If you have only fifteen minutes to spend on the project a day, then make those fifteen minutes valuable. Give those fifteen minutes all of your attention. Baby that fifteen minutes. In as little as fifteen minutes a day, every day, eventually you will complete that project. If you can spend fifteen minutes on the phone, watching TV, playing a game, hitting the snooze button, reading emails, getting off track while researching, or sitting down thinking about how much you don’t want to do something…you have that time.

If you’ve been wondering how you’re going to fit in the time to write when you already have a busy schedule, then set aside smaller increments of time. If it means setting a timer and making yourself write for a minimum of fifteen minutes without distractions in order to get your writing done for the day, then set that timer and have at it. If it means getting up fifteen minutes earlier, then it may be worthwhile.

Say you can type 1,000 words in fifteen minutes. In seven days you could have 7,000 words of your story written. Over time these words add up.

Say you want to build a cabinet or clean out your closet. Don’t make the decision to try and do it all in one day. The task will seem too big and you’ll talk yourself right out of it. It’s easy to do. But by breaking it up into smaller bits of time, you may surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.

If you want something bad enough, you’ll make the time. You’ll never find time, but you can make it, and you can make it work for you.

Do you have a spare fifteen minutes in your day? What can you fill it with?

~Ann Cory

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strengths and Weaknesses



This weekend I updated my strength chart.

What’s a strength chart? A visual chart of my strengths and weaknesses to show me the areas I need to work on. I actually have two separate charts. One is personal and the other is professional. I’m going to focus on my professional chart today.

When I first made the chart, I had a longer list of weaknesses than strengths. Over time the weakness list has decreased. But that's okay, I don't mind having weaknesses. They give me a goal to strive toward.

In life, we are students forever. We can learn and grow each day. We can better ourselves all the time. If you want to try a new career or write in a new genre, or develop new healthy habits through diet and exercise, you take the time to learn. You study, research, and analyze. You create processes<---that's for my hubby, record data, test theories, and put forth the action. You find what works, what doesn't work, and where to improve. We can always improve.

I spend time each day learning something new. I study my craft, read books on the business of writing, research, look up new ways to plot and develop. My brain is a total sponge and loves to absorb everything. I would do well on a game show about random facts and tidbits.

Each of us can list a number of strengths, skills, and talents. Some of my strengths on my chart include: coming up with catchy titles, writing short stories, quick learner, fast typer, constant supply of creative ideas, determination, passion, perseverance, wit, motivational, and writing sensual tension.

And while it's wonderful to focus only on strengths, it's just as important to pay attention to weaknesses. I choose one area of weakness each month and work on it until it’s on my strength chart. This can be areas of grammar, character development, world building, complex plots, or passive voice.

You'd think at some point my weakness chart will be blank. But no...I'm human, I'm not perfect, nothing comes easy for me, and I'm a student for life. There are always areas I can work and improve. A chart is a great visual to show me where to work, and keep me balanced.

Do you keep track of your strengths and weaknesses? What are some areas you'd like to improve?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fabulosity!

It's time for Friday Fabulosity!

Each Friday I plan to post about some fabulosity that I encountered during the week -whether it's wine, movies, food, books, favorite or new to me authors, and well-whatever strikes me as pretty fabulous. So, let's get fabulous!



Fabulous book I finished this week Into the Woods by Harlan Coben. Suspenseful. You think the story is going one way and then it gut punches you into another direction. It's a large book but I managed to read it in a day because putting it down wasn't an option.



As I've mentioned, hubby and I enjoy wine with our dinner most nights. This week we tried a new wine and let me tell you, it moved up into my top fifteen list of keepers! It's a Spanish wine by Jean Leon called Terrasola Crianza 2005. 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache. Mmmm. Even better, it's an incredible price for the complexity, and pairs with all red meats, hearty pasta sauces, and of course the important one - cheese.



You may not have heard about this indie gem Ten-Inch Hero but it's worth the rent. Rated R, really for one small scene of a woman's breasts. The bulk of it is sweet and I lost track of how many times I busted out laughing. Great characters and character development. The movie has heart. If you want something different, give it a try.



If you're looking for a high energy but easy on the body workout that kicks serious butt, makes you sweat, and revs up your metabolism - you should give Kickstart Your Metabolism a shot. I do this workout 3x's a week and I love it. Great music, fabulous instructor, and it's over before you know it. You'll feel the burn but love the way you look afterwards :)



Fabulous news - my novella Unladylike Behavior has found a home. Once I get the cover I'll post all about it :)

Okay, so this week ended up being fabulous. How was yours? Anything fabulous you'd like to share? I'd love to hear!

~Ann Cory

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Perfection


I'm stuck on board games this week. For whatever reason, they work with the topics I want to write about, and allows me to reminisce about games I played growing up.

I loved playing the game Perfection. The object - beat the clock to get all the funky shaped pieces where they belong before the timer goes and the pieces explode in your face. Fun game. Not a fun way to be.

Perfection

While not as terrifying to me as the word "risk" it reeks of negativity. To me the word perfection insinuates failure. It hints that there's something wrong with me. It screws with my confidence and magnifies my flaws, and I'm attached to some of my flaws. My flaws help me learn. They make up who I am. And part of being me means I write. When something threatens my ability to write, I go all Xena Warrior Princess and get my battle on.

I've gotta fight for the right to write!

Perfection comes with a cost.

It can cost you relationships if you expect it in others. It can cost you your health if you try and live up to someone else's idea of beauty and weight. It can cost you a job. It can get you to write the voice right out of your story. I tried so hard to make a story perfect that I lost my voice.

True story.

I tweaked and changed and twisted my words to make them fit something that in the end wasn't my story. I rewrote my characters until they were strangers. And my plot? Forget about it. Gone with the wind. Gone with my voice. Gone baby gone.

Messing around with all the unique and exciting elements to my story resulted in a humdrum and incomplete story. Humdrum because it didn't flow. Incomplete because it lacked voice. I didn't recognize my story anymore. All of my stories have some element of ME in them, yet I couldn't be found. I was a missing piece.

So I had this super clever idea: Start another story.
Guess what? I did the same thing to that story. I butchered it. At no point could I convince myself that it was good, because it wasn't perfect. I don't even know what perfect is. Soon I had ten unfinished and imperfect stories. All lacking voice. Months of work and nothing to show for it. I convinced myself that if I kept reworking the sentences it would be perfect. I lost my way and went down a dead end street. The words that I tried to fit into the story blew up in my face - just like in the game Perfection. I timed out. Game over.

Well...not over. Because like the game, I tried different tactics until I got it right. I worked at it and found a way to make the pieces fit. Nothing went boom.

I don't obsess about my stories the way I used to. I write and I edit and I allow myself to be heard. I know when I need to take a breath and hit send. I know when enough is enough.

I don't need to be perfect. I need to be me.

~Ann Cory

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What If Wednesday!



It's What If Wednesday. Each Wednesday I will have three questions posted. Choose to answer one, two, or all three questions. Why? Well that doesn't matter - it's all about What If? (And it's fun). Plus it gives me extra time to work on tomorrow's topic :) So here goes:

What if you had to give up all of your clothes except one item. What piece of clothing would you keep?

What if you could go go on tour with your favorite singer/band? Which singer/band would you choose?

What if you could shapeshift into an animal. What animal would you choose?

~Ann Cory

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taking Risks - Writing without a Net


Either I play too many board games or I just find they work into what I want to blog about.

Today I want to talk about taking risks. I find the actual word “risk” kind of...menacing. I don’t know why. It’s one syllable, it ends in sk. It’s short and like brisk, it’s cold. You could call my house and instead of breathing heavy or asking me trivia questions about my favorite scary movie, you could say “risk” and I’ll gasp, drop the phone, and run down the hall shrieking. I swear I won't fall. Hmm, sounds like I have a bit of a complex with the word risk. Even when I play the game Risk, I play it safe.

"You've gotta risk it to get the biscuit"
from the movie Fired Up

It's a catchy quote and very true. Sometimes you have to do what shakes you up and what freaks you right out.

When you put yourself out there, a shift happens. Old, stagnant energy gets stirred up and moving. Stagnant isn't good. It leaves you open and vulnerable. It leaves you less prepared to handle the unexpected. If you’re lying around like a pile of leaves and a big gust of wind comes along – you’re mobile, like it or not. You’re going to land somewhere new and have to figure out where to go from there. Learning to take risks and managing the fear behind taking risks will set you up for a better way of handling stress.

Say you want to try a new job. Maybe you don't have all the skills they're looking for, but you have other skills. That new job caught your attention and sounds promising, but you talk yourself out of it because you're used to being stagnant, and change sounds too much like work. You might be missing out on an exciting opportunity. Change really is good, and we’re all very adaptable about change even if we don't like to admit it.

When it comes to writing, the moment we put our work out there and share our creations, we take a risk. When it goes to publishers, editors, agents, reviewers, readers, and our families, we take a risk. But it can’t be too bad because we keep doing it. Maybe your creativity has fallen short...why not try a new genre? Look at the books in your bookshelf. What do you like to read most? Is that the genre you're writing in? See if writing something outside of your comfort box sparks new interest and creativity.

Don't get yourself so stuck that you believe you aren't capable of greatness. Comfortable is nice for a little while, but comfortable borderlines that easy thing, and often comes with a price.

The object of the game Risk is to conquer the world. You use strategy and create a game plan. You attack opponents and defend territories. Little by little you take over the next territory and the next territory. I'm not suggesting that you should go all Rambo, no need to get violent, but say you want to be on the NYT bestseller list, then you better know how to strategize, take charge, and prove your worth. You create a brand, make a business plan, and put your best work forward. You take all the necessary steps, even if they're scary, because you want the success.

Say you have to talk in front of a large group and you're shy. The thing is, you know what you're going to get up and talk about. You have the tools and skills behind you to back up each word. Stand up and say it. Your words may be of great value to someone else. Your experiences may be what propels someone into action when they've fallen stagnant.

Say you have a book to pitch to an agent and you believe that you'll freeze up. Take that risk. You wrote the book, you know it. The characters have slept at your place, ate dinner with you, and hung out to watch movies...though they mysteriously disappear when it's time to do the laundry or dishes. They've argued with you, ignored you, and played "let's hide the plot". You know the book - it's yours - lovingly created and crafted by YOU. YOU are the best spokesperson for your book!

Change can give you a personal, professional, and creative boost. Don't get so comfortable that you forget about that greatness in you. Start with small risks and work your way up. Little steps. Conquer the fear. Kick stagnant to the curb.

Take a risk - the outcome might be victorious :)

Ann Cory

Monday, May 23, 2011

Appreciating the Path



Are you one of those lucky people who traveled a smooth road to success? Whatever that success may be? Cool - thanks for stopping by - nothing to see here. I wish you continued success. Buh-bye.

Are you one of those people who have to work harder? Whatever it is that you do? You've been down the yellow brick road, the bumpy road, followed moldy breadcrumbs, hit a dead end or two, and know that a shortcut through the Gumdrop Mountains is a cruel joke disguised as a pretty portal to paradise? Maybe you've done the real-life version of Candyland, and just when you closed in on your personal castle of decadent dreams - freakin' Plumpy or meddling Mr. Mint snatched you up and forced you back like you were some kind of amateur? *raises hand* That's so me!

I've accepted that I have to work harder. I've accepted that easy doesn't mean better. No matter what, I refuse to give up. That personal desire to succeed drives me, fuels me, and makes me never take accomplishments for granted. I'm determined, perseverant, committed, and stubborn :) <--- hubby is probably nodding at this one.

What about you? Got what it takes to make it? Of course you do!

I've made craptastic choices. I've written stories that make my eyes bleed. I've sent in work that fell a few thousand miles short of my best. I've let people down, unintentionally. I've let myself down. I'm human with a boatload of flaws, but I learn from my mistakes. Not right away, because you know that would fall under easy and I already let you know upfront I don't do easy, but I do learn. And when I learn I like to share.

So I'm sharing that we have to take the stumbles and dodge Lollipop Woods on our journey to The Castle of Dreams. If you've suffered from a rejection of a story you thought had gingerbread cookie goodness written all over it - and now you want to drown your sorrows IN gingerbread cookie goodness - hey go ahead - it won't affect MY hips...oh, what I mean to say is...don't you dare surrender. Don't you dare drag yourself down to the molasses swamp. And don't you dare detour off to Lord Licorice's Lair. Flash a brave smile, brush off the cookie crumbs, maybe stop at Grandma's (I hear she makes awesome sauce) and get back on track.

Be accepting of mistakes. Remember that you hold all the tools you need to improve. Learn from the mistakes and apply them. Looking back can help ground you in the now, and it can ready you for the future. Make each day better. Keep working, striving, reaching, moving forward. Don't forget to pause and reward yourself for all that hard work. We all need to work harder at being good to ourselves and create healthy habits.

So you have to work harder? Big deal! You'll appreciate the end results more. You'll appreciate YOU more.

~Ann Cory

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award


Someone very sweet and wonderful sent me sunshine in my email today :) Who? The amazing and lovely Elizabeth W. Gibson :) What did she send? The Versatile Blogger Award :) What did I do? Well I danced around the house, sillies :) Why? Because it's always an honor to receive an award - no matter the award. AND it's even more special when you receive an award from someone you admire.

So by accepting this award (which I do) I am also accepting the rules that go along with it. I'm supposed to share seven facts about me. I know, snooze right? But since I really really want this award, okaaaaay.

1) I drink peppermint tea every morning. Two cups on a good day :)

2) Cheese is my food of choice because it pairs with my drink of choice...which leads into fact #3

3) Red wine is my drink of choice. Especially when shared with my hubby :)

4) I love musicals - Phantom of the Opera is my favorite with Grease second

5) My favorite book ever is Anne of Green Gables

6) I LOVE rock concerts and frequent them often - never too old to rock!

7) My dream vacation spots are Ireland and New Zealand

And the other rule by accepting this fabu award (which, I do) is to nominate another Versatile Blogger. That's super easy to do! I love to stop by Castles and Guns. The name excites me and their topics thrill me :)

Yay! Thanks again to Elizabeth for the award - I'd say it's definitely a second cup of tea day!

~Ann Cory

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fabulosity!

It's time for Friday Fabulosity!

Each Friday I plan to post about some fabulosity that I encountered during the week -whether it's wine, movies, food, books, favorite or new to me authors, and well-whatever strikes me as pretty fabulous. So, let's get fabulous!



As I've mentioned, I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner most nights. The 2008 Shannon Ridge Cabarnet Sauvignon is exceptional and has made a regular appearance on our dinner table. The price is affordable - always a plus - and goes down smooth. Pairs well with roast beef, roast chicken, and lamb.




This week the family and I watched Secretariat. I had no idea I'd enjoy it. The movie is so much more than about horse racing, it's also about a strong woman who saved her family and her family's farm. There were parts that made me teary eyed, and parts that made me cheer, but it was John Malkovich (love him) who had all of us cracking up. He had the best lines. Diane Lane, James Cromwell, and Scott Glenn also star in the movie. I like movies that showcase a heroine, and teaches others to not give up and to reach for their dreams. Fabulous indeed!




I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cover. The moment I saw the cover to Blood Rights by Kristin Painter, I had to pre-order it. Seriously, it exudes the very essence of fabulosity. Releases in October.




This week I made a fabulous chicken dish. It's so fabulous I don't really have a name for it. All you need is boneless chicken breasts, parmesan cheese, spinach, and prosiutto. Pound the chicken flat. Put a slice of prosiutto across the chicken lengthwise. Add a tablespoon of cooked spinach. Add a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up and heat in a 360 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. Tastes delish!

What made your week fabulous?