Please help me welcome Ann Cory into the Moonlight today. Ann is the publisher of a host of novels. Seriously! Over 30 novels! She’s published with Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing, Liquid Silver Books, Resplendence Publishing, Total-e-Bound, Cobblestone Press, and Whiskey Creek Press. Visit her website to check out her blog, her contests, her links and of course all the books she has to offer: http://www.anncory.com/index.html
ANN: Hubby and I keep things pretty low-key on Valentine’s Day. We like to make dinner together, something fancier than a typical night’s dinner. This year we slow-cooked a nice cut of beef, did up some harvest vegetables, a nice salad, a bottle of Pinot Noir and crème brulee. Movie wise we like Notting Hill or Shall We Dance. This year we watched The Proposal. The movie was very fitting considering my hubby is Canadian and we went through the immigration process.
GRACEN: Many of us feel that Valentine’s Day is just one more day that has been overly commercialized and isn’t something that should only be celebrated once a year, but at least once a day.
ANN: I feel the same way about it. Since we’ve been married, we don’t exchange gifts. Instead we take the money we would’ve spent on one another and put it to our vacation fund.
GRACEN: Since this is the time of year when many people (teens included) feel the need to find a significant other, what suggestion(s) do you have for our readers as to what trait(s) should be added to their list?
ANN: I think one should look for someone at heart value rather than face value. People who are loving and caring show it in their expressions, their actions, and say it with words. I truly believe it’s the little things that count. The little things make the best memories.
GRACEN: There are many relationship superstitions out there such as, “rain on your wedding day is bad luck,” are you superstitious when it comes to love or relationships? Why or why not?
ANN: I’m not an overly superstitious person, but I do stay away from places where I sense a lot of negative energy. I’m very sensitive to the energies around me, and those negative energies can latch onto people and create problems that weren’t there moments before. When hubby and I were house hunting, one house had a very uncomfortable feel to it. I knew if we lived there we’d feel burdened over time. I’ve always wanted to find out what happened in that house.
GRACEN: Do you believe in ghosts?
ANN: Oh yes, very much. I’ve seen a few in my life, including my grandpa. We were very close and he visited me not longer after he passed away.
GRACEN: Please tell us, if you have any funny, strange or silly things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Valentine’s Days. Any rendezvous fiascos that you now find humorous to tell? Have they ever been inspiration for some hi-jinks in your stories? Which ones? (Sharing may help others not feel so bad if it happened to them, as the saying goes, “misery loves company”)
ANN: Well…on our second Valentine’s Day while we were still dating, we went to a winery where they were doing a wine and chocolate event. They had some fruit and fondue. I was trying to be flirty with the way I was eating and ended up with the fruit down my shirt. It was a mess and I was embarrassed. I did sort of change it around a little for my story Breakfast at Tiffany’s where she turned on the blender without the lid on and ended up wearing the smoothie she was trying to make. Things get fun from there.
GRACEN: For years, romance readers have experienced flack from non-romance readers saying or implying, “that’s just porn for women.” What can you say that might help non-romance readers understand the current essence of the romance genre?
ANN: To me erotic romance is a way for women to get in touch with their feelings, their emotions, and their bodies. To be confident in their sexuality and explore their innermost desires and fantasies. To feel bold enough to go after what she wants and to take charge. That differs greatly from porn which is more about instant gratification. I don’t enjoy porn, but I very much enjoy a well written erotic romance story.
GRACEN: Now, let’s get to your writing, Ann. What genre is your work considered to be? Why this genre? What was the draw for you?
ANN: I write both contemporary and paranormal romance. I love writing romantic comedies as well as writing about shifters, vampires, and ghosts. I started out writing horror, so I’ve always enjoyed dabbling in the darker side of things. But sometimes I need a breather from the darker tones, so I lighten things up. Dark and sexy vampires are my favorite.
GRACEN: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
ANN: I’m an author of contemporary and paranormal romance – seduction style.
GRACEN: Do you prefer romantic gifts (flowers, chocolate, jewelry, etc.) or romantic acts (massages, dinners, fun night out, etc.)? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
ANN: I love romantic acts. I’m not big on gifts unless they’re books – can’t ever have too many of those. My favorite romantic acts are massages, lighting candles and putting on soft music, slow dancing, and fancy dinners my hubby and I make together. I find that has more meaning to me than an object. I believe a good portion of my stories are more about the things the characters do for one another to show they care rather than gifts. Even if there is a gift involved, it usually is a symbol that has a hidden or deeper meaning that still requires a selfless act to accompany or follow it.
GRACEN: What school of thought are you when it comes to romance, love at first sight or that love takes time? Does this show through in your writing? If so, how?
ANN: I believe people can connect instantly, but that true love takes time to grow. The love at first sight thing seems too cliché to me. My hubby and I hooked up online while playing the game Hearts. We didn’t even meet each other face to face until seven months later. He lived in Ontario, Canada and I lived in Oregon so it was a long distance relationship. It started with playing Hearts then went to instant messages, emails, and on Christmas he called me for the first time. I believe our relationship is strong because we took the time to get to know one another. We learned to have great communication because it was all we had at the time. So, a strong connection is important, and anything else is just a bonus.
GRACEN: When reading stories, many of us find secondary characters to be as interesting as or more interesting than the main characters. Are there any secondary characters that you plan on giving their own story? Or any that readers have requested have their own story?
ANN: I don’t often write about multiple characters, generally I focus on the main couple, but there are a few occasions where I’ve written briefly about another couple and a reader has asked if I’ll continue a story with them. I haven’t done that yet, but am open to it.
GRACEN: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the most romantic and why?
ANN: I would say Baldric from The Howl and the Pussycat. He has a gentle vulnerability about him, and he’s in tune with Jacqueline. He wants to be her hero, her protector, her everything…and he’s not afraid to say or show it.
GRACEN: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the least romantic and why?
ANN: I think all my heroes have a smidgeon of a romantic in them, but Levi in Breaking in Levi took longer to let his romantic side show.
My newest release is titled Beauty’s Beast.
It takes a strong woman to love a beast.
After a planned week away goes bust, Mercedes Black takes to the road. Years of unexplained memory lapses have ruined her relationships with men and left her future uncertain. That is until a good-looking stranger appears along the desolate highway, and she offers him a ride. The moment he enters her car, an internal switch is turned on and her body craves his touch. Figuring she has nothing left to lose, besides her memory, she gives in to her impulses.
Nox Messina has never been the same after volunteering for what he thought was advanced medical research. For years he has been on the run. Tired of being hunted, he decides to take down the doctor who ruined his life, and to insure that no one will stand in his way again. His plan for vengeance gets sidelined when an exquisite beauty offers him much more than a ride, and he can’t refuse.
As their feelings deepen for one another, they discover the man Nox plans to kill plays a crucial role in their future. Not only does he want the beauty for himself, but he wants beauty’s beast out of the way for good.
Mercedes drove along Highway 101 with the window down. A gentle breeze passed through the car and left a hint of salt on her lips, but she barely noticed the beauty around her. Her planned week to get away and seek adventure ended up a bust. Instead, she drove around feeling sorry for herself. It got so bad she considered sending out invitations to her very own pity party. Sadly, there wasn’t anyone to invite.
Restless and unsure of where to go, she decided to just drive. Hell, she’d drive all night. She didn’t have to be anywhere and no one missed her. The deserted highway reminded her of a ghost town. It only lacked the rolling tumbleweed. At least the full moon and the ocean would keep her company.
As she passed through a small blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town, patches of dense fog drifted in. To be safe, she flipped on the fog lights, not wanting to hit some poor animal trying to cross the road. Off to her right a figure caught her attention. She glanced into her side mirror and did a double take.
A man appeared in a small clearing within the fog. Mercedes slowed her speed and then came to a stop while she accessed the stranger from a safe distance. What was he doing out there? Had he been walking there a moment ago when she passed by? It seemed a risky night to be out walking on the road alone. Should she offer a ride?
She sucked on her bottom lip. She’d never picked up a hitchhiker before, and after seeing a movie about a murderous one, it sounded like a dumb thing to consider. On the other hand, for all she knew the guy’s car ran out of gas, or broke down and he was on route to the nearest gas station. From her angle, she didn’t see a backpack or gear with him.
“It can’t hurt to ask if he needs help,” she said aloud.
Mind made up, she put the car in reverse and stopped a foot away from him. The stranger turned, his face half concealed by the dark. Her body buzzed and an odd sensation swept through her.
For what seemed like an eternity, she waited in the car, her blinkers casting a faint red glow amid the fog. Her breath slowed. Why did he wait? Maybe it had been a mistake to stop and she should drive on. No telling what sort of crazies walked around out there. Scenes from the horror movie replayed in her head.
A procession of heavy knocks against her window made her gasp. Hand to her chest she waited for her pulse to resume and rolled down the window a crack. She almost convulsed at the deep green eyes staring back. The interior lights highlighted every chiseled line of his face.
He squatted to eye-level. “Evening, miss. Are you lost?”
Her throat went all raw and cottony. She forced down several swallows before she could speak. “Um, no. I wondered if you needed help.”
“Nope, I’m good.”
“Are you sure? Because I can offer you a ride if you’d like.”
He shrugged. “I don’t mind the walk. It’s a peaceful night.”
The whiskey rough lilt in his voice sent thrills throughout her body and made her pulse speed up.
“It’s not very safe, with the fog and all,” she reasoned. “I read it gets really thick around here.”
His chuckle filled her with warmth. “I’m somewhat of a risk-taker. But I appreciate you stopping.”
“Wait. I-I’d like to give you a ride. Please?” Mercedes heard her own voice beg and wondered why it mattered so much to her that he got in the car. She’d never given a strange man a ride before. Why did this one make a difference?
He smiled and fine lines bracketed his eyes. “Okay, you convinced me. It couldn’t hurt to give my legs a rest. By the way, nice wheels.” Her candy apple red Mercedes garnered more attention than she did.
“Thank you.” She resumed breathing while he walked to the other side of the car.
He opened the door and ducked down. “Hope you don’t have a problem with me sitting up front. I find I get lonely in the back.”
She stopped herself from saying he could do anything he liked. “No, of course not. Up front is great.”
As the stranger situated himself in the seat, she took in his rugged, handsome face. If she could order the perfect man from a menu, then she was looking at the ultimate feast. He was the epitome of everything she’d ever wanted in a man: Good-looking, strong, built like a steel truck. Powerful hands. Dark hair that hung to the peak of his shoulders, and a full mouth she wanted to savor.
There was more, though. Traits that went beyond the visual. The signals he sent out drew her in. They were dangerous, hypnotic, and erotic rolled together with an energy that zapped away her inhibitions.
She moistened her lips. “How far did you want to go?”
He turned in the seat to face her, his eyes smoldering. “As far as you’ll take me.”
BUY LINK: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8_view_item.html?m8:item=175-201-107-442-5