Tuesday, October 9, 2012

GUEST LAUNCH PARTY + GIVEAWAY: Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker

Please welcome back to the blog New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker whose third book in the Black Knights Inc. series, REV IT UP, hits stores this month! To change things up, Jules humored Danielle (Casa publicist) to an interview…

1. Whoa—3 books, 3 months. Are you a crazy person? Or a genius?
JW: Crazy, definitely crazy.  Although you should probably throw in naive as well.  Because when my agent said, "Jules, you should totally do a back-to-back-to-back release in order to launch this series," I replied, all doe-eyes and goofy grin, "Sure, okay."  Little did I know, it was going to be the busiest, zaniest, most exciting, most harrowing three months of my life.  Seriously, I've lost half my hair... hence the hats you see me wearing around all the time now.  LOL!

2. We all know two of your favorite types of romance heroes are the bad boy (preferably on a seriously tough bike) and the ever-loyal and strong military man. Are there any types romance heroes that you don’t like? Or what’s the next hero “mash up” you’d like to see in romance?
JW:  Hmm.  I like men in general, all their foibles, strengths, weaknesses, eccentricities...  I really adhere to that old maxim men are from Mars; women are from Venus, and it's the differences between the sexes I find fascinating.  So, no, there's no type of hero I don't like.  He can be perfect, flawed, tough, sensitive, handsome, ugly, or any combination of the afore mentioned... just as long as he's inherently good.  We all dream of a good man, don't we?

As for the next hero "mash up," I have to admit I love cowboys.  Stetsons, chaps, big shiny belt buckles that draw the eye downward... *cough, cough*  So maybe someone should do a government spy/cowboy combo.  Or maybe I should! *scratches chin and narrows eyes in consideration*    

3. So, tell us about book 3 in the Black Knights Inc. Series, REV IT UP!
JW:  In a word: angst.  It's a second-chance love story, which always dips more than just a toe into the well of turmoil.  REV IT UP revolves around Jake "The Snake" Sommers and Michelle Carter.  Jake is a seasoned soldier, emotionally wounded by the things he's seen and done, but he loves Michelle, and he's determined to prove it to her.  Michelle is a single mother who's dealt with such loss in her life she's wary and untrusting, especially of Jake, who let her down once before.  So when a threat to her and her son forces her to seek Jake's protection, things heat up, explosive secrets are revealed, hearts are broken and healed... You know, all the good stuff.

4. You recently achieved the dream of pretty much every author out there: you hit both the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists in the SAME WEEK. What did you do to celebrate?!
JW:  Ha!  I wish I could tell you I did something really smashing, like flew to Paris for the weekend, or went on a champagne-soaked shopping spree.  But, the truth is, I found out about making "the lists" just two days before a brutal deadline.  So I sat down and cried a few happy tears.  Then I got up and did a very unattractive victory dance around my living room before going straight back to my computer and hammering out the final chapters to the next Black Knights Inc. book.  But you can bet I poured myself a BIG glass of wine once I finished that deadline!

5. Chicago is the backdrop for the Black Knights; both their headquarters for undercover missions and the home of the custom motorcycle shop. What made you base your story in the Windy City? What do you love most about it?
JW:  Oooh, I like this question.  It's easy-breezy.  So, okay, I decided to set my series in Chicago for two reasons.  One... because it's my home and I know it like the back of my hand.  (They, whoever "they" are, always say you should write what you know.)  And two... because I knew my series was going to be tough and gritty and I needed the setting of the books to reflect that.  Chicago, aka The City of Broad Shoulders, fits the bill perfectly.  It's big and beautiful and sometimes a little bit bad, just like the men of Black Knights Inc.

As for what I love about Chicago?  Oh, where do I begin?  How about with the smell of Garrett's popcorn wafting down the Magnificent Mile, the boom of fireworks bursting over Navy Pier, or the cerulean blue of Lake Michigan on a hot summer's day?  Then there's the crack of the bat at Wrigley field, the taste of a traditional Chicago-style hotdog when the weather turns brisk, and the chocolaty aroma of Blommer Cocoa Factory that saturates downtown during the winter when the wind blows in from the northwest. 

Maybe a better question to ask would be what don't I like about Chicago.  And the answer is March.  At that point, I'm like, "Enough with the snow already!"      

6. You are a regular volunteer at the USO (more about that on a recent guest post at Heroes and Heartbreakers: http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/10/author-julie-ann-walker-on-a-soldier-hero). Do you have tips for readers how might want to get involved?
JW: Absolutely!  For those who don't know, the USO is a wonderful organization dedicated to supporting active duty soldiers and their families through way-stations, gift-baskets, entertainment, etc.  It's a home-away-from-home for the men and women of the armed services, and it's always in need of more helping hands.  To get involved, go to www.uso.org.

7. Of course, we all want to know what is coming next for the Black Knights!
JW:  I recently put the finishing touches on THRILL RIDE, which debuts April 2013.  It's the story of Richard "Rock" Babineaux, the Black Knight's ragin' Cajun, and Vanessa Cordero, a feisty communications specialist.  It opens in the jungles of Costa Rica with Rock on the run from his own government after having been listed as a rogue operator.  It's very steamy, I guarantee!

Then, BUILT FOR SPEED hits shelves November 2013.  This one is Bill and Eve's story... finally.  Readers were introduced to these two in IN RIDES TROUBLE, the second book, and I'm tickled to say they, Bill and Eve that is, will finally get their happily-ever-after...  But only after many flying bullets, a couple of motorcycle chases, and a LOT of emotional upheaval.  LOL!

8. Anything else you’d like to add?
JW:  I'd just like to give a shout-out to the folks at Sourcebooks who've supported and promoted this series from the beginning.  A lot of work, besides the author's, goes into a back-to-back-to-back release, and I've been humbled and awed by the hours that have been put in on my behalf and the behalf of Black Knights Inc.

Also, a big cyber hug - complete with boob-squish and leg-wrap - to all the BKI fans out there who embraced a newbie author and took her all the way to the top.  You guys rock the house!

A big thank you to Julie for stopping by again to celebrate the release of her third book in three months! To enter to win one of two copies of Rev It Up, please tell us in the comments where is your favorite city? (Julie’s is Chicago, and I must admit, so is mine!) Please be sure to leave an email address where we can easily reach you. Giveaway open to USA and Canada only. We’ll choose a winner on Friday, 10/12!


He Never Misses a Target…
Jake "the Snake" Sommers earned his SEAL codename by striking quickly and quietly - and with lethal force.  That's how he broke Michelle Carter's heart.  It was the only way to keep her safe - from himself.  Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance.  But to steal back into Michelle's loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow.  Real slow...

She Aims to Make Him Beg…
Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to "love her and leave her."  But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake's hands.  No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded.  And once he's wrapped around her heart, he'll never let her go...

Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She'll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first two books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) and In Rides Trouble (September 2012). For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.


  1. Julie,

    Congrats on your 3rd release and becoming a bestseller on the Times and USA Today! I bet you're exhausted. :) REVI IT UP sounds great.

    1. Thank you, Tracey. I am a wee bit tired. LOL!

  2. Hi Julie!! Congrags on the releases! I have the first two books so I hope I win this one as well! *fingers crossed* Thrill Ride sounds awesome! I've never been to Chicago but I've heard its a great city! My favorite city would have to be Kansas City. It's close to home and it has a great discount bookstore that I would visit every day if I could afford the gas! Thanks for the chance to win!
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! And good luck in the giveaway! Fingers crossed for you!

  3. BIG, BIG congrat's on your accomplishments. Back to back right out of the chute is wild and you deserve all the bells and whistles for keeping your sanity. Oh, thank you for explaining that hair loss thing!

    1. Seriously, Carolyn. My Lebonese hairdresser, in his thick accent, has been tutting, shaking his head, and saying "this is unacceptable" for months.

  4. Congrats, Julie! Three books in three months and NYT and USA Today? You are amazing!!! Kudos on all of the wonderful reviews and news.

    1. Ha! Amazing? I do t think so. Just cometely, totally, unequivocally nuts. LOL!

    2. That would be "don't think so." I fat-fingered my phone again. Cursed tiny keyboard! *shakes fist*

  5. Congrats on the release... I like the smaller middle of nowhere towns better than a big city.

    1. I grew up in a very small town. And I agree with you that they certainly have their charms. Sometimes I miss everybody knowing everybody else. ;-)

  6. Congrats on hitting the lists! My favorite city is Houston, of course!

    1. Thanks, Shana! It's been a definite trip! And I've only spent a little time in Houston. It was August. I melted. LOL!

  7. Hey Julie - Congrats on all your success. My favorite cities/areas are San Francisco to Napa Valley to Santa Barbara. I also like New York City. For cowboy settings I like Cheyenne, Durango and Santa Fe. Sorry too much information. :)

  8. That's a hard question. My hubby was in the military so I've been to all kinds of cities around the world. But, I'm a Washingtonian girl so it's gotta be Seattle. Delicious food, tea rooms, coffee houses, eclectic art, and the views. Man the views. The mountain and the Puget Sound and Space Needle. Yeah, Seattle. :)

  9. Congrats on the new release. This is a new author and definately a fan of series. I love to read and always looking for new authors.
    My favorite city is Nashville, TN. My husband and I went a couple of years ago to the CMA Festival for about 5 days. A beautiful town and so much going on. Love the music, the food, and the people were great. I have always lived and loved Iowa and never considered moving. I would totally pickup and move to Nashville. But since I have 2 kids and already enrolled in school and love it, I would not uproot them like that. Maybe when the kids graduate I will move there. Thanks for the great giveaway.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

  10. Congratulations on your releases! I like all kinds of heroe especially the alphas. It's important the heroine suits them. I feel the same about cities. I live in a medium-sized town but we're near a big city and some small towns.


  11. I've never been to Chicago unfortunately but I have heard good ghings. I am going to pick my hometown of Pittsburgh (although Paris is up there too lol). It's really noted for being a friendly city. And it hasn't been that "dirty" city for a very long time lol. It has lots of sports teams, churches, colleges, museums, parks, restaurants and just about everything. Love your covers and those bad boys!


  12. I love NYC because of the museums and feel of the city. Of course, after all of that, I enjoy going back home.

    Congrats on the new release and on making the lists.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  13. Congrats on the latest release! Although it's been a crazy busy time, sounds like it was also pretty fun and amazing as well - hope you are enjoying it!

    As for my favourite city, I would pick my hometown of Vancouver, BC, also home of my fave hockey team ;)


  14. Congrats on the new release, Julie. Chicago is such a fun city. I love Garrett's popcorn, too. NYC is my favorite city. It's my hometown and I love that there's something for everyone in NYC.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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  16. I am so impressed that you are able to juggle so many books at the same time. Sounds like a great series. My favorite city tends to be most of the major ones in Hawaii but I think that Prince Kuhio on Kauai is the one that came to mind immediately. Congrats on the release and thank you for the giveaway!

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

  17. Congrats on the release. I have not really done much traveling but would love to go to NOLA...I think that city could easily become a favorite of mine due to the history and all the sights, etc.
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  18. My favorite city is Austin, TX. Congrats on the new release. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jcross719 at yahoo dot com

  19. Congrats on the books! I like NYC.


  20. Chicago. I lived there for a few years and still miss it.

  21. CONGRATS Julie! My favorite city is a quiet and peaceful one and yet probably one of the most well known... or at least it is to people who know where Twilight was based:) Forks!


  22. Apologies for the delay! Our winners are

    June M.

    I'll be emailing you both shortly!