Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest Blog- Judi Fennell

Today I am hosting a guest blog by Judi Fennell, author of In Over Her Head.

Hi and thanks so much for having me!

Have you ever wondered if fish talk? In the scheme of things it’s not a very cosmic question—nor common one—I know, but when one sets out to write a story, it’s a good one to consider. Especially if the story you’re writing is about mermen.

Mermen, you ask?

Yes. Mermen.

My debut novel, In Over Her Head, is about a merman and a woman who’s afraid of the ocean. Throw in that she ends up in said ocean after being shot by a sleazy ex-boyfriend, almost gets eaten by a shark, is saved by a merman and sent off on an adventure to recover stolen diamonds to save her life, as well as having to out-swim a sea monster or two, and you can see where talking fish might be a pertinent consideration.

I absolutely loved the Hugh Lofting books about Dr. Doolittle when I was growing up. I read and re-read those stories all the time. I loved the musical with Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, and Anthony Newly, which is a compilation of the many adventures of the good doctor.

So when it came time to create the world for In Over Her Head, a world of Atlantis and mermen and mermaids, it had to have talking fish.

And just like people, each one has their own personality.

Chumley Masticar, or Chum as he’s known to his friends, has attitude. With a capital A.

You would too, if you lost your sucker in an unfortunate boat propeller incident.

Puffer, the (what else?) puffer fish, is a “supercilious little snot” according to Chum (that would be the Attitude), and Chipper is a midnight-blue parrotfish—with a dental problem.

We’ve got sea sponges who do The Wave, squeaking starfish, gangs of barracuda, Hammerhead Harry, talking seahorses… it’s a wonder we Humans never hear any of this under the sea.

But those fish are smart. They know we’re coming and clam up. (I know, bad pun, but once I started writing this story, the fish puns just keep flowing!)

Then we’ve got the talking pelicans. Amelia even likes to chew bubble gum. Dolphin spies, marlin-drawn chariots, flounder informants, moray thugs… it’s a noisy place under the sea.

Luckily, there are no lobsters breaking out in song—though if Disney hadn’t come up with it first, I might have.

I invite you to share some of my world:

What in Poseidon’s water is she doing?

Reel Tritone peered around the debris he’d elected to hide behind. The woman looked as if she was praying. For what? There was no sunken treasure here; definitely none in that old wreck the Humans had sunk, and he’d picked the Afternoon Delight clean before it had hit bottom. The current had done the rest.

“Fish! Those Humans stink!” Chum, his remora friend, swam back after his own surveillance.

“Is it her? What’s she doing?” Reel created a small current with his hand to pull Chum in.

“Cut it out, lover boy. I really hate that artificial sluicing over my gills. You should try it sometime. Like the aftereffects you get from munching on kelp that’s been floating on the surface for weeks.” Chum shook his head.

“Whatever. So, is it her?”

Fish couldn’t really sigh effectively, but Chum tried. “Yes, it’s her. Same as before, only about twenty selinos older. What do you see in her, anyway? I mean, for Apollo’s sake, she’s a Human.”

“I know she’s a Human. But she’s a beautiful one.”

“Oh, for crying out loud. She looks like a shaved seal in that rubber suit. You’ve seen her, what? Twice in your life?” His tail flicked through the water like a dragonfly buzzing the surface. “And you didn’t make all that good of an impression the first time.”

Reel ran his fingers through his hair. Unfortunately, Chum was right. That first time had been close. Close enough to feel her silky skin—and scare the daylights out of her. As far as he knew, other than the one dive she’d made with all those men, she hadn’t been in the water since. He’d wondered about her every day.

Now here she was, in the water—his water—and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He wanted to swim over, help her find whatever she was looking for, ask a question…

Yeah, and then try to explain how he was breathing under the sea. That wasn’t likely to go over well with her kind.

“So, lover boy, whatcha gonna do? Tread here and moon over her for the rest of your life? Now’s your chance.” Chum did smug without arms like Poseidon did tsunamis—big and obvious and more than a little annoying for the recipient.

“You know, Chum, keep it up, and I might let you live up to your name.” He flicked a finger so fast Chum didn’t even see it coming before it tapped him on the, well, the area where his shoulders would be if fish had shoulders.

“Hey, that stung! See if I do your dirty work anymore.”

“It’s not dirty work. They’re fact-finding missions.”

Chum snorted. “Right. Like the time you sent me into that coral claiming there had to be another entrance big enough for you. There was, but unfortunately it led to the surface where a tern was waiting to eat me.” He shook his head. “Why am I friends with you again?”

Reel patted the spot on Chum’s flat head where his sucker would’ve been if not for that unfortunate boat-propeller incident. “Because life’s an adventure, and I’m the best adventurer you know.”

“Idiotic daredevil is more like it, but whatever… It beats begging for scraps from the lobsters. Talk about humiliating.”

© Judi Fennell, June 2009, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Two more stories will be out in November and February. Wild Blue Under (November 2009) is about Reel’s brother Rod and Valerie Dumere, and Catch of a Lifetime (February 2010) is about their sister Angel, and Logan Hardington.

About The Author:
Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to “get outside!” instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did--right into Dad’s hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she’s more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she’s still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends’ books.

A three-time finalist in online contests, Judi has enjoyed the reader feedback she’s received and would love to hear what you think about her Mer series. Check out her website at for excerpts, reviews and fun pictures from reader and writer conferences, and the chance to “dive in” to her stories.

To celebrate the release of each of her books, Judi Fennell and the Atlantis Inn ( and the Hibiscus House ( bed and breakfasts are raffling off three romantic beach getaway weekends. All information is on Judi's website,

In Over Her Head
Sourcebooks, June 2009
ISBN # 9781402220012

When Erica Peck, one terrified-of-the-ocean marina owner, finds herself at the bottom of the sea conversing with a Mer man named Reel, she thinks she's died and gone to her own version of Hell. When the Oceanic Council demands she and Reel retrieve a lost cache of diamonds from the resident sea monster in return for their lives, she knows she's died and gone to Hell.
When they escape the monster and end up on a deserted island, she amends her opinion - she's died and gone to Heaven.
But when Reel sacrifices himself to allow her to return to her world, she realizes that, Heaven or Hell, with Reel, she's In Over Her Head.

What people are saying:
"Nora Roberts? Danielle Steel? Much acclaimed romance writers should step aside. There is a new romance writer in town and she is certainly causing a great splash with her debut novel, In Over Her Head."

"I truly found a pearl in my oyster when I read this delightful tale. I was surprised how good of a book In Over Her Head is. It is extremely well-written, the storyline flows and I was hooked from the first page."

"IN OVER HER HEAD is a delightful, quirky blend of humor, adventure and passion. All in all, this is a fast, fun read and a great way to spend a snowy afternoon or a sunny day at the beach."
-Lynda K. Scott, Star-Crossed Romance

"In Over Her Head is a heartwarming, but action-packed story of two people–one human and the other of the seaworthy body–joined together in an adventure. I enjoyed this story immensely."
-Dawn M. Ekinia, Armchair Interviews

"A delightful underwater adventure... full of good-natured humor and fun. A strong first effort by a promising new talent."
-The Romantic Times

"A playful debut... sincere wit."
-Publisher's Weekly

I have one copy of In Over Her Head to give away:

+1 Post a comment saying that you would like to be entered (make sure to leave your e-mail address or your comment won't count!)
+1 Post about the contest on your blog and leave the link in your comment
+1 Become a follower (or if you already follow me, let me know!)
~~For each thing that you do, please leave a separate comment or you will only be entered once!!

~~The contest will end on Wednesday June 17th at 11:59pm
~~This contest is open to US and Canada only, no PO Boxes.

Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for setting this up!


  1. Sounds like an interesting story. Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  2. I've been reading good review of this - please count me in

    msboatgal at

  3. Hi everyone and thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Would love to have a copy!
    Sign me up.
    jennilovevirgo AT aol DOT com

  5. I've also posted to my blog, and please let me know about any upcoming contests you would like me to post on my blog as well.

  6. Hi! Just posted this on Win A Book.

  7. I'm a follower!

    rachie2004 AT yahoo DOT com

  8. I would really like a chance to read this one!

    rachie2004 AT yahoo DOT com

  9. Love your blog, purplg8r! Nice lay out. :-)

    Judi, you sense of humor cracks me up. Man, who knew it was so noisy under the sea? I was a bit disappointed not so see a lobster break out in song--they sing so well with all that south seas' accents. Oh well, I do like Amelia. :-)

    I enjoyed your article!

  10. Do not enter my name in the contest. I have two copies already. Yep! I Love IOHH. Entertaining, amusing and touching all at the same time.

  11. This sounds like such a fun book - perfect for summer. :0) Count me in!

    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  12. Looks like a good read, please enter me into this drawing.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  13. please enter me in the giveaway
    thank you


  14. I'm a follower


  15. Count me in, too!

  16. Count me in please!!

    ktulanko AT aol DOT com

  17. I also follow you in my Google Reader.

    ktulanko AT aol DOT com

  18. Please enter me. Thanks!


  19. I would love to win this book please enter me.


  20. I am a new follower.


  21. I'm a follower.


  22. I would love to be entered!

    lynda98662 at yahoo dot com

  23. I'm a new follower

    lynda98662 at yahoo dot com

  24. I would love to be enterd. I never read any books about merman. This would be the first.


  25. I posted about this contest in my LJ:


  26. I follow your blog.


  27. please count me in

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

  28. i'm a new follower

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com