#RWA13 Author Signing!

RWA Literacy Autographing

What better way to revive RtR than by recapping one of the biggest romance reader events of the year! After struggling with my reading mojo for months, when I heard that this year’s Romance Writer’s Convention was being held in Atlanta — and that they were having an event for the public — I knew I had to go! With over 400 authors (and easily double that many attendees!), the #RWA13 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing was hands down the BEST bookish event I’ve ever been to!

I didn’t know what to expect, but I did do a bit of research the day before by making a list of which authors I had to meet. On the day of the event, in true Georgia summer fashion, the weather was erratic — rolling clouds, sticky, humid temps… it looked like it was going to open up and start pouring at any minute — but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I made it to the hotel with ten minutes to spare and right before the thunderstorms began (whew!). When I arrived, I stopped dead in my tracks — literally. The line to get into the atrium was insane! Silly me for thinking that I was just going to waltz in, when in fact I should’ve arrived hours before as opposed to mere minutes. Luckily, once they opened the doors the line moved quickly and before I knew it I was in a room filled with people just like me — bookish, rom-loving fans. The air was electric!

Even though there were hundreds of people mingling about and standing in line to meet their favorite authors, I was able to make my way around and meet all the authors on my list! Talk about fangirling — I altered between squeeing my love, tumbling over my words, to being speechless. I can say, though, that there were a lot of “Oh my god!” and “It’s such an honor to meet you!”

The Authors

The best part is, every single author I talked to was SO NICE and genuinely happy to be there, interacting with fans! Then again, why wouldn’t they be? They write happily ever afters for a living! Everyone knows that romance lovers are nicer people ;) In addition to meeting all my favorites, I also scooped up copies of each of their books — complete with personalized autographs!

Book Haul + Autograph

When I finally made my way to the checkout line, my final haul was 8 books, including a reprint of the first romance book I ever read. A respectable amount, I’d say — especially considering how many I could have ended up with. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I hadn’t come prepared with an empty suitcase!

Despite the crappy weather, I’m so glad I went and got a chance to mingle with “my own kind.” Now that I’ve gotten my convention feet wet, I’m already planning how I can attend the next event… RT Con, anyone??

 

Happy Release Day — Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker

happy release day - green

"Thrill Ride" by Julie Ann WalkerToday marks the release of Thrill Ride, the fourth book in Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights Inc. series and by far my favorite so far. If you haven’t read it yet, run to your computer/local bookstore and buy it NOW! If you’re still on the fence (though why would you be?) hopefully my RT review will help sway you, and if you’re unfamiliar with the series, check out my review of the first, second, and third book. Oh, and FYI, even though characters reappear in each story, the series doesn’t necessarily need to be read in order.

So cheers, Ms. Walker. Here’s to happy sales and more sexy, brooding, bad-boy Black Knights to come!

Guest Post: What’s in a Cover by Julie Ann Walker + Giveaway

What’s up, all you romantic suspense junkies out there? Julie Ann Walker here, tickled pink to be joining you today, and talking about those smokin’ hot covers we all love to drool over on the shelves of our local bookstore, or on the screens of our favorite e-Readers.

Now, it’s said you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But, hey, I can’t be the only one who’ll buy a novel based solely on the bad-ass hunk on the front, now can I? And publishers know this, they depend on it, in fact. So today, for you, I’m pulling back the curtain on my own covers. Letting you in on the secrets — and the thinking — that goes into making a book “shelf-ready.”

Here’s how it will work. In the first cover of each set, you’ll see where my publisher started. And what will follow will be a shortened version of the round-robin, quick-fire questions that resulted in the final product. So, without further ado, I give you some covers for Black Knights Inc

In Rides Trouble covers

Q: Does this cover look a bit dark and dreary to anyone else? We want readers to skid to a stop when they see this on the shelf.
A:  Hmm. Maybe we can punch up the color. Make the title pop!

Q: Does the placement of that knife look dangerous, or is it just me?
A: Hell yeah it looks dangerous! If he squats the wrong way, he’s liable to slice into his femoral artery or cut off something much more important! *snicker*

Q: This series plays up the motorcycles, right? So, why the heck can’t we see the danged bike?
A:  Let’s move the cycle up. More bike and less city!

Q: Does this guy look just a bit too polished? I mean, he is supposed to be masquerading as a motorcycle mechanic, after all.
A:  Let’s dirty up his T-shirt a bit. Make him a grittier!

Rev It Up covers

Q:  Do we really like this red background? I thought we decided to go for a color scheme that was a little more neon?
A:  Let’s do a blue background with hot pink lettering!

Q:  Anybody else think the city is too distracting? We don’t want anything taking attention away from the handsome hunk!
A:  Let’s push it back, and off to the side! Let the hunka-hunka-burnin’-love shine!

Q:  What’s with the dead tree branch in the upper right-hand corner? It makes this look like a dystopian novel.
A:  Gone!

Q:  I don’t know about those tattoos. Romance readers tend to equate tattoos with a paranormal series, and this is romantic suspense.
A:  Gone and gone! *sad face* <– (That was my sad face, by the way. I love me some kickass tattoos!)

Thrill Ride covers

Q:  Does that lettering in the title match the lettering in the other books in the series?
A:  Nope. It’s a bit different. Let’s change it for consistency’s sake.

Q:  Once again, is that big building in the background taking too much away from the delicious piece of manliness?
A:  Perhaps, let’s nix it. Manliness for the win!

Q:  This cover is vastly different than the previous covers. Don’t we want people to recognize “the brand?” Shouldn’t be try to keep the covers the same?
A:  Let’s see what we could do to make the cover better match the previous covers. Oh, yes! Just look at those abs! *MEOW!* <– (Again, that was MY meow.)

And there you have it, folks! How a book cover goes from point A to point B. Now, I want to hear from you. Did my publisher make the right decisions? Or would you have kept some of the original concepts?

Thanks to Spencer for having me on today. It’s been a blast!

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today 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 three books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels(August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012).  Thrill Ride debuts April 2nd, 2013. For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.

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Thrill Ride giveawayThank you, Julie, for joining me here today.

But wait, there’s more! The wonderful Julie is offering one lucky reader a signed ARC copy of Thrill Ride (which releases on 4/2)! All you have to do is leave a comment telling us which of the Black Knight covers you prefer — the original or final copy. I’ll choose a winner on Monday, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won!

Thrill Ride giveaway winner #UPDATE: Congrats, Danny! Please go to my contact page and send me your address to claim your signed ARC of Thrill Ride!

Review: Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker

A picture summary of Rev It Up, by Julie Ann Walker:

If pictures aren’t your style, check out my RT review of the third Black Knights Inc. story, which features:

  1. A sexy surfer — who isn’t a fan of those? (Answer: no one!)
  2. Sleek, chrome motorcycles — this is what the Black Knights are known for, after all.
  3. The gritty streets of Chicago — descriptions of the city leap off the page.

Of course there’s more to this action-packed story than that, but tell me you’re not hooked after getting a peek at that surfer’s bod board! Also, if you’re new to the series, here’s book one and two if you’re the type who prefers to start from the beginning (like I am).