Anara Bella is my real life neighbor and has been for years. But neither of us knew each other until last fall. In one of those weird twists of fate, we met during a Sherrilyn Kenyon booksigning at our local Chapters bookstore. I was standing in line when the person at the cash started having problems with the debit card (does anyone actually carry cash these days?). To pass the time I was fiddling with a Twilight bookmark (I think that’s what it was–it was a Twilight something or other, maybe a deck of cards?). I made some smart-a$$ comment to the lady standing in line in front of me about how they couldn’t put my bookmarks out for public consumption.

“Oh, are you a writer?” the lady asked.

“Yes, I have two erotic romances out with Samhain Publishing,” I replied, thinking I’d have to explain who (or is it what?) Samhain Publishing was.

Imagine my surprise when she replied…”Me too! Only I’ve got three books with them.”

Turned out we live within walking distance of each other. We’ve kept in touch, going out for lunch now and then and we’ve bounced ideas off each other and given each other needed boosts of confidence when we were feeling low. So I’m thrilled to have Anara as my guest today…

Anara Bella

By day Anara Bella’s a mild-mannered writer pounding out stories at her trusty keyboard. But by night she’s the Domestic Avenger (can you hear the deep echoey voice? LOL), ready to fight any and all evil that gets in her way. Okay, so the evil in question are only despicable dust bunnies and dastardly dirty dishes but they are evil. Can’t make the darned things go away either. And besides, the Domestic Avenger thing sure sounds a lot more exciting and fun than the reality because Anara, in fact, lives a fairly uneventful life in the suburbs with her hubby and two adorable cats. A past Brava Novella contest winner, she’s now happily multi-published with Samhain Publishing. To learn more about Anara or her books go to her Website, check out her Facebook and MySpace pages, or follow her on Twitter.

In Brazen or Bust, your heroine decides to change up her look. Have you ever done that? And what were the results?  (Of course we both know you’re perfect the way you are… 😉 )  ~

Hahaha! Laughing hysterically over the ‘perfect’ comment. LOL

I’m afraid I have to own up to the fact that in my entire life I’ve never come close to being daring as far as my looks are concerned. No drastic makeover’s for me, no sirree. Any changes I’ve made have been gradual as befits the big chicken that I am. When I was younger, I was way too self-conscious to try anything new. It was just too scary. And yet, the time to be wild is when you’re young. That’s when you should really have fun with your appearance and experiment while you figure out who you are.

That’s probably why I love Nica, the heroine in Brazen or Bust, so much. It would be great to do the gutsy things Nica does in the book. I had a blast writing her story and living vicariously through her. And Logan’s freaked-out reactions to the sexy change in Nica’s appearance, and her single-minded pursuit of him, cracked me up both while I was writing the book and every time I’ve read it since then.

I’ve heard it said that writers should always have cats. You have two—how do they help you write? Do they inspire you at all, calm you? Or distract you from your writing?  

I’d have to say they’re more of a distraction than anything else. And highly entertaining with all the silly and cute things they do. LOL Both of them are rescue kitties who immediately settled in and took over our home. We’ve had JuJube for almost three years and she still hasn’t gotten used to the interloper we took in a year ago. Thankfully, JellyBean couldn’t care less. She’s a real rascal, totally fearless, gets into everything and is so sweet. Actually, they’re both very affectionate cats and I don’t know what I’d do without them. But they’re favorite thing to do is play, which would be great except they don’t want to play alone, or with each other. They want to play with me.

So the usual scenario is that I’m working away at my computer when one of them will suddenly drop their favorite toy at my feet and expect me to stop whatever I’m doing and play with them. In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now as I’m answering these questions. I have to keep jumping up to throw the toy down the hall, then rush back to my desk and type a sentence or two as fast as I can. Before I know it JellyBean has fetched her favorite little mouse, dropped it back at my feet and is sitting looking up at me expectantly until I have no choice but to get up and throw the toy again. LOL I figure it’s good exercise for me but it’s not so great for my concentration or production levels. Oh, and lookie here, the little rascal’s back again. LOL

Your three books are novellas – what is it that you like about shorter length stories?  Any plans for a full length one day?

There are a number of things I like about novellas, both in reading and writing them. But the main thing that draws me to write shorter stories is the way I can focus entirely on the hero/heroine’s journey to finding love. I love that. No added extras or subplots to distract from it, just the main event, so to speak. Having said that, odds are pretty good that I’ll eventually start writing full length stories, but even then I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing novellas.

It’s actually kind of funny that I don’t already write longer stories because my very first book was a category length Contemporary Romance. And believe it or not, I’m currently in the process of fixing up that first book in hopes I’ll be able to get it published soon. I still love the story, and I’d love to get it out there for others to read. It just needs a little work and TLC. For now, that’s probably the closest I’ll get to putting a full length story out there.

Want to do lunch again?
~  I’d love to. Anytime!! =)

Three contemporaries, one paranormal. Any plans for future paranormals? ~

I do have plans for another paranormal. I’m just now fleshing out the bare bones of a sequel to my first paranormal, The Trouble with Curses, which was Rafe and Selena’s story. In the Hunter family Rafe is the slayer and his sister Larke is the visionary who helps Rafe find the vampires he slays.

The sequel will delve deeper into some of the things that were brought up in The Trouble with Curses but it will mainly focus on Larke’s story. Larke’s husband was murdered by a vampire and she’s wanted revenge ever since. Now her visions tell her that the vamp in question has come back to town and she’s intent on killing him herself. She hits a snag, however, when she runs into the Hero who is just as determined to stop her from doing it. For his own mysterious reasons, of course. =)

If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself? 

Oh wow. There are a number of things I’d love to go back and tell myself. First off, to be thankful for my height instead of being embarrassed by it like I was back then. I was so self-conscious it was unreal. Also, to not care so much about what other people think and just do what I want with my life. And a biggie would be to not get married so young. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is great. But I really wish that I’d just moved out on my own, and given myself time to grow up, experience life and just enjoy being young and single with no responsibilities for a while instead of settling down so quickly. Actually, that’s advice I’d give to any teen.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do just to kick back and relax?

I’ve been an avid reader my whole life so reading is always at the top of my list of favorite things to do. But since I started writing I find that to really get the break I need, I have to do something that isn’t related to books. So, I’d have to say watching movies has taken over as one of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of the day. But you know, I still read a lot. LOL

What’s your favorite memory from when you were a child? Have you ever used it in one of your own stories?

Most of my favorite memories are connected to my cousin, Sylvia. I’m an only child but whenever school was out my cousin would stay with us because her mother was a single parent working full-time. Sylvia’s the sister I never had and I love her more than I can say. Anyway, on our own we were both pretty well-behaved kids, but when we were together we could really get into trouble sometimes. Like the time we almost lit my mom’s brand new blanket on fire with a lamp. LOL

One of my favorite memories was when we used to try and stay up until we were sure my parents were asleep. If we managed it, then we’d try to sneak outside. I have no idea why this was so important to us, but bear in mind, we were very young so it seemed like a very risqué thing to do at the time. LOL Anyway, every time we’d try, something would happen to stop us, like the floor would squeak, we’d bump into something, or whatever. Terrified of getting caught we’d run back to bed and forget about it for that night. After who knows how long of attempt after attempt, we finally pulled it off. We tip-toed all the way to the front door, quietly unlocked and opened it, stepped outside, looked around… and realized we had no clue what we should do out there. So, we scooted back to bed and never tried it again. The thrill was in getting out there, I guess.

We still laugh about it to this day and just writing about it now has put a huge grin on my face. A really happy memory for sure. And yes, I used a version of it in The Trouble with Curses as a memory that Selena has of her childhood. Just my little way of remembering one of the silly, fun times my cousin and I had together as kids. =)

Leah again:  When I interview my guests, I send them a series of questions and tell them to choose which ones they want to answer from each section.  Anara was asked to choose one of the three following questions: she answered all three.  Talk about an overachiever, LOL.

Sandy Caribbean beach in February or Scottish castle in June? ~  Blissful sigh. Both sound fabulous to me. This really is a toughie. If you’d asked me this question six months ago when I was sick to death of winter, I’d have gone with the sandy Caribbean beach. But since you’re asking me when the temperatures are sweltering outside, I’ll go with the Scottish castle. How fun to roam around in that castle imagining the past and the people who had lived there.

Leah: Bet she’d change her mind if it was a Scottish castle in February, LOL

Open toed shoes or closed toe? ~ Open-toed for sure!

Mani/pedi or massage? ~ Can’t I have both? *pouts* Okay, if I have to choose one I’ll go with the mani/pedi. Kinda goes with the open-toed shoes. What can I say? I like to flash my toe rings. LOL

Brazen or Bust

Plain Jane Nica has a sexy new look and a brazen new attitude to match. Blindsided and dazzled, Logan doesn’t stand a chance…

Perpetual tomboy Nica Morelli has wasted years mooning over Logan Donovan. Always viewed as nothing more than an honorary little sister, it’s way past time to make him see her as a desirable woman. A sexy makeover is just the way to do it, and with the new brazen attitude she’s adopted there’s no stopping her. Now, sexed-up Nica is armed to the teeth and taking no prisoners.

Logan doesn’t know what hit him. One day Nica’s the plain, trustworthy girl he’s known since they were kids, the next she’s a sex kitten doing startling things to his libido. Turned on and tied up in knots, he doesn’t know what to do with the intense emotions she’s generating now. And taking the enticingly tasty bait she’s dangling in front of him isn’t an option. If only the forbidden wasn’t quite so tempting…

Warning: This book contains hot ‘n steamy graphic sex brought about by the flagrant use of seduction, near-nakedness and lavish amounts of tempting, teasing and tequila.

Want to read more about Brazen or Bust? You can read an excerpt on Anara’s website. (Pssst, Anara’s shared a second excerpt that you can only find by following this link! See what having friends in the right places can do for you?)

Want to buy it? You can do that too — just click right here.  Want to win an e-copy of one of Anara’s backlist (The Trouble with Curses, Batteries Not Required, or Ready or Not)?  Tell us if you’ve ever changed things up — or if you haven’t what you would like to change–hair color? Hair cut? Total wardrobe overhaul?  Did/would you go Brazen?  Or was it a bust?  (Contest will close next Monday night at 11:59 pm Eastern Time)

Anara Bella’s Brazen or Bust
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20 thoughts on “Anara Bella’s Brazen or Bust

  • July 21, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Great interview ladies.
    I really liked the high school question.geesh,the things I'd tell myself not to do 🙂

    When I was younger I cut my almost waist length hair reallllly short.I liked it for about a week(didn't take an hour to style,the weight). I haven't had that short of hair again.
    A total wardrobe overhaul–could go for that 🙂

    Brazen or Bust sounds great.Gotta love these warnings for

  • July 21, 2010 at 5:27 am

    YEAH! Another Ontarioan! That is so awesome, how you guys met!

    I LOVE changing my look. If The Mr. didn't harp on me for dying my hair so much, I would change it's colour all the time! I've done the drastic hair cut too – it was bum length, and I cut it to about 3" long. I don't recommend the look for someone with curly hair! lol

    I would LOVE to do a wardrobe makeover, but I need to lose about 60lbs first!

    Congrats on your new release Anara!

  • July 21, 2010 at 5:49 am

    How cool that you found each other. I enjoyed the post!!

    So, the only thing I've ever done is to color my grey hair, and only back to my original color…not very brave…huh??

    What I would like to do is go completely GOTH!!!! Hehe!!!

    in Germany

  • July 21, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Great interview, Leah and Anara! I like the sounds of your stories! 😉 As for drastic makeovers, like elaing8, I've only done hair, these days, it's mostly out of laziness… I grow my hair for a few years, and then when I get tired of it/it gets long enough to donate, I have it chopped. It's a lovely free feeling immediate after, and I love how easy it is to take care of when it's short, but keeping it short requires maintenance too, and I'm too lazy for that 😉

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  • July 21, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Another reminder of what a small world this really is. It's great that you two found eachother like you did and continued to be friends.

    I love the excerpt and hope to read this book. I'm intrigued, being a former tomboy myself but I quickly learned that changing your look can be so much fun! (especially hair coloring, it's one of my favorite things to do).

    Thank you so much for sharing and have a wonderful day.


  • July 21, 2010 at 7:38 am

    I have done hair, makeup and a new clothes. I would have to say it was bust. I am most comfortable in jeans and a sweater. My hair is very thin and does not do anything no matter what I try. I am not a makeup artist so when I get the makeover done and it looks awesome I can never repeat it. I wish I could wear sexy clothes and look hot all the time but I am not comfortable like that.
    I congrat any women who can do it. With three kids and a hubby I dont have time to try any more or patience.

  • July 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I loved your childhood memories of your adventures with Sylvia. Just before my hubby came home from Iraq last year I let my kids talk me into coloring my hair a blonder shade and my husband loved it but I didn't when it grew out so I'll keep my own hair color but I do like to get it straightened with a flat iron, it looks so much better.

  • July 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I'm finally here! Just got back from a dentist appointment and the left side of my mouth is all frozen and weird-feeling. Should be interesting trying to eat my lunch. LOL

    Okay, gotta throw some food at the hubster but I'll be back. =)


  • July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Thank goodness for chance meetings!! Wow, another Canadian, eh? Did I do that right? LOL, I got a quick lesson from Vivian Arend on the use of aye, huh, and eh..(pirate, American,Canadian).

    Loved the interview, I really enjoyed it. Had to laugh about the "Domestic Avenger" fighting the evil dishes and dust bunnies. Around here its perpetual struggle with kids and DH keeping this place livable.

    As far as a makeover, I once had long hair to my waist and decided to have it cut. I realized I looked better with a short sassy cut than a "Cher" look. It turned a lot of heads I must say. I had to change my wardrobe to fit my new style…you know, Sassy!

    Congratulations on the release of Brazen Or Bust. Loved the excerpt and poor Logan is going to be road-kill after Nica is through with him. *chuckle* Can't wait to read it. Much success to you Anara.

    armiefox at yahoo dot com

  • July 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Okay, I ate my lunch and only inflicted minor lacerations to the inside of my cheek. I suspect I'm really going to feel it when the freezing comes out. LOL

    Anyway, I've finally read all your lovely comments and I have to say I'm loving reading all your makeover experiences. I'm also really glad everyone has enjoyed the interview. I had a blast answering Leah's terrific questions. Oh, and Leah, I never said I was anything but an overachiever. I, uh, also suck at following instructions. LOL

    Thank you so much to elaing8, Natasha A, Valerie, flchen1, T, desi, Zina and Armenia for all the congrats and well wishes. You've all made my week and put a HUGE smile on my face. Even if it is kinda lop-sided from the freezing right now. =)


  • July 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Ouch ouch ouch on the dental work this AM, Anara.

    I guess I should mention I have had several makeovers. Long hair to short, like many others here, and color changes too. Straight to curls of course. Come to think of it, whenever I do want a makeover my hair is my first target. And I usually opt for a massive change in February — probably to get rid of the winter blahs?

    As for fashion? Well, I have to have a total makeover whenever I need to go out of the house–I really don't think fuzzy jammies are fit for public wear, are they? Maybe we should make it a trend 😉

  • July 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Hey, works for me! Maybe we should do that the next time we go out to lunch. We oughta cause quite a stir, doncha think? LOL


  • July 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations on the new release. I enjoyed the interview and loved the excerpts.

    The only changes I made recently was coloring my gray and deciding at my age that I wanted to have a 2nd piercing in my ears.

  • July 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Hey, I did the piercing thing too, a few years back. Of course, two piercings wasn't enough for me. Oh no. I'm now the proud owner of four piercings in each ear. Yeah, I was on a roll. LOL

    Thanks, Andrea!! =)


  • July 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    The most dramatic things I do to shake up my look is to color my hair. I normally stick to sedate, normal colors, but two summers ago I decided to go really summery. So my normally dark brown hair went reddish with different highlights of lighter and darker red. It looked kinda cool, but I also agree with those who said I looked like Strawberry Shortcake.

  • July 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Makeover? I’m always working on that one. I get a tiny bit of my bod done, maybe really like it! and then I go to bed and well, tomorrow is another day. As I sleep it seems all the default settings are put back into place …and I can start again! When I get the energy. =)

    So I suppose it’s safe to say – that’s always in progress. 😉

    I think a big part of life, makeover-lust notwithstanding, is to become happy with who one is. Making choices that bring one joy, in little things if necessary, and bigger things too if possible. So hey – perhaps that’s a makeover too! And I’m working on that one as well, and happy to report I’m making progress. It’s certainly making life more fun.

    And yes – I do harbour a secret desire to do ‘brazen’. Maybe just once in my life? Maybe I should take lessons from Nica!

    Susan Saxx

  • July 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Yeah, that's the thing with trying to go dramatic, you're never quite sure just how extreme it'll turn out. LOL


  • July 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    That's great, Susan! I totally agree that makeovers on the inside are the most important for sure. And well worth the work. After all, what could be better than being happy with who you are and finding joy in your life?

    Having said that, I think a lot of us feel the same as you and have the secret desire to do Nica's kind of brazen at least once in our lives. What could be more fun than wowing everyone and turning heads. =)


  • July 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I've always wanted to be a redhead but i've never dyed my hair at all. Everyone love the color. It so dark it's almost black. But I don have boy who has red hair.I just might have to dye my hair someday.

  • July 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Whoops, lost track of what day it was (one of the weird things that happens when the kids are out of school and you work from home.)

    The winner of Anara's contest is:

    Desi! Desi, please email me at contest with your choice of ebook format (PDF, LIT, epub, HTML, PDF for Sony or mobipocket — you can find all the various types on the Samhain website). If I don't hear back from you by this time next Friday — that's August 6th, I'll pick another name from this list as the winner.

    There were 12 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

    1. Desi
    2. Zina
    3. Susan
    4. T (FCE)
    5. Joder
    6. Fedora
    7. Andera
    8. Armenia
    9. Valerie
    10. Elaing8
    11. Pamk
    12. Natasha A

    Timestamp: 2010-07-30 18:14:48 UTC

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