Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour, eARC Review, & Guest Blog Post: Wild Angels Anthology from Totally Bound

Lily Harlem lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat. With a desk overlooking rolling hills her over active imagination has been allowed to run wild and free and she revels in using the written word as an outlet for her creativity.

Rosalie Stanton lives in Missouri with her husband. At an early age, she discovered a talent for creating worlds, which evolved into a love of words and storytelling. As the granddaughter of an evangelical minister, Rosalie applied herself equally in school in the creative writing and religious studies departments, which had an interesting impact on her writing. 

Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.

Burning Rubber by Lily Harlem

When trouble rides into town, what girl can resist the ultimate bad boy?Handling men isn’t an issue for me. I’m not a girly girl and my best friends are the machines I spend my days fixing, tweaking and servicing. So when the Wild Angels roll onto my forecourt and need my help, I’m happy to be of assistance.But I’ve always been a magnet for trouble and when the leader of the pack, Gid, questions my ability, I can’t help the sassy backchat. Seems it doesn’t bother him too much and before I know it, I’m climbing onto his beast and hanging on for the ride.

Witness by Rosalie Stanton

She’s the only thing good about his former life, and he’s been asked to end hers.Serenity Jones never expected her homecoming to be heralded with a double-murder, or that she’d be the lone witness. Yet when she points the finger at the president of the Lucifer’s Legion Motorcycle Club, she finds herself the target of more than just an investigation—she’s a liability, one Lucifer’s Legion is determined to erase.Serenity has dreamed of her reunion with Dash ever since she left her hometown behind. Never did she imagine it would be on the other side of a blindfold, or with her life in the balance. 

Grounds for Divorce by Helena Maeve
Overworked and jaded, Kayla is convinced she’s had her fill of bad boys when her boyfriend’s debts catapult her into a stranger’s arms.A woman with a reputation, Kayla has long given up on true love. She’s thirty-three going on ninety-four, mother of one with a boyfriend who makes no secret of settling for her. When she’s not doing the books at the local strip club, she’s warming up the stage. Holding off the loan sharks is par for the course, until the night outlaw biker, Booker O’Connor, rolls into town.

Guest Post: Pressure by Rosalie Stanton

If you’re an author, chances are you thrive under pressure. At least, that’s my gamble. It’s something in the way our brains work. The thing that allowed us in school to crank out a fifteen page term paper at two in the morning the night before it was due and get a big fat A for our efforts. The reasons people procrastinate are varied, but for authors, and based on pretty much every conversation I’ve had, I’ve concluded we do it because we know that’s what will guarantee the work we submit is the best. When you’re up against the clock, you simply don’t have time to second guess yourself, or self-edit, or angst over whether or not something on page 13 meshes with what you’ve written on page 78. Getting to the end is the most important. Everything else is gravy.

This is my hypothesis. And even if it’s not true across the board, it is incredibly true for me.

In the case of my contribution to the Wild Angels Anthology from Totally Bound, I needed the deadline alongside the challenge of doing something I’d never done before.

As an author, there is nothing quite like the rush—or the heart-stopping, panic-inducing fear, give or take—of taking on a project that falls so far outside your wheelhouse, it might as well be in a different state. Combined with the deadline, the fear of “I’m going to really screw this up” didn’t get the megaphone it usually does when I try something different.

The result was not what I expected.

There are authors who write for readers, authors who write for money, and authors who write for themselves. If you’re really lucky, all of those things are intertwined. Because, friends, there is nothing quite as devastating as bleeding into a manuscript you end up disliking. I would rather write a thousand books I love that don’t make a dime than a thousand I hate that make a killing. I don’t know whether or not I’m in the minority there, but being able to proudly stand behind my work is one of the things I value most as an author. And sometimes, it’s easier said than done. Sometimes, the way you feel at the moment—say, if you’re really depressed—has a way of branding itself on your work. You don’t recall the work specifically, you recall the way you felt when writing it, and if you felt like crap, you might consider the work crap. That has happened to me more times than I can count. I’ll reread it later and find myself thinking, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. But the first impression—the crap impression—is the one that remains.

Writing something outside your wheelhouse is intimidating, and sometimes the scope of just how intimidating it is can lead you to believe your work is crap.

For me, though, the process for writing Witness was the opposite. Outside my wheelhouse or not, I refused to be intimidated. Or rather, too intimidated. A healthy amount of fear is good when undertaking anything you find important, I think…because if you’re afraid, it means you respect the work enough to want to do it justice. If you think it’s cake, you might not give it your best shot.

I approached the project armed with a deadline, fear, and drive. I didn’t have time to let myself talk worry about how it sounded, and every time doubt niggled at me—the sort that convinces you what you’re writing isn’t fit for print—I reminded myself I wasn’t the editor of the anthology, and she would have the last word. I’d trust her.

The result is something I am very proud of. Something that challenged me. Something I enjoyed writing, even if I was afraid of it. As an author, I don’t know if there is a better feeling—that of facing down a challenge and not being the one who blinks.

The moral of this story, I suppose, is to not let fear talk you out of a worthy challenge. Stepping outside your wheelhouse is something every author should do every now and again. Try a genre you haven’t tried, and don’t let yourself think you can’t do it just because you haven’t. There’s a first time for everything, after all. This anthology was my first in this genre. I don’t yet know if it will be my last, but I’ve learned to not say never.

Review by Ramona

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

How could I refuse Wild Angels a Anthology when it's three MC books in one? But if you're looking for fluffy romance novels, don't bother to read these. There aren't any doe-eyed billionaires here dropping cash on simpering women. Both main characters in all these books are real, tough, and have a taste for vengeance called in the old-fashioned way: paid in blood. 

While I do enjoy said fluffy romances, there is something about a love story with an edge that gets me. Especially if they're as well-written as these are. 

Burning Rubber, for example, is about a lonely woman in a lonelier male-dominated world of mechanics. This allows her boss to abuse her talents; after all, who'd believe she could do a better job than most men? Even the local MC refuses to take her word for it, except for the lone Gid, who's understandably drawn to a gorgeous  woman hiding a sharp mind of a man. I have no bones to pick with this, er, sweet story, except for a slight slip of Britishisms like "grand old age," "fiddly," and "riding pillion" - which made sense when I found out Lily Harlem is based in the UK. Otherwise, the story is hot, passionate, and so very erotic. 

When old friends meet and pose danger to each other, it would probably follow the storyline of Witness. All Serenity wanted to do was come home. Unfortunately, witnessing a double murder puts her on Dash's radar, who wants nothing more than Rennie. But he's vowed to kill her to make a case against his MC President go away. What happens when these two former best friends meet after years apart? To the very end, Rosalie Stanton keeps the reader at the edge while Rennie and Dash fight against their baser instincts and the will to survive. It just keeps you guessing how the story will finally unfold. Of course there's a happy ending, but just how these friends reach that conclusion makes up more than three-quarters of this book. 

Biker + stripper = Grounds for Divorce. No, neither of them are married. It's the name of the strip club that Kayla both dances in and manages the books for. Life is slightly that much worse when her loser boyfriend/manager Zach computes that a night she spends with the bikers as their plaything would help to pay off some of his debts past due. While Kayla doesn't have a choice, Booker, Hell Hounds biker, definitely does. And how he chooses to treat Kayla means looking at her better than a piece of meat; definitely something she's not used to. She just needs to decide which man has more to offer her. 

None of these novels are light reading, which means that they deal with real-life problems and more, but despite that, they're perfect for those times you want to get some of your own back. The antagonists are severely dealt with and revenge is more than sweet. Payback time is here!

In Wild Angels Anthology, the men and women may be fallen angels, but still angelic nonetheless. Underneath all that gruffness, there are hearts of gold. 

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