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…
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
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)