Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Guest Blog and Contest- Judi Fennell

I am so excited to have Judi Fennell, author of Wild Blue Under, as a guest blogger!

I get asked a lot about the inspiration for my Mer series. It's pretty evident that In Over Her Head, the first book in the series, was inspired by The Little Mermaid. I'd been writing twists on fairy tales (Beauty and The Best was in the American Title III contest) and wanted to twist The Little Mermaid. Easiest way was to make the hero a Mer man. Off and running, er, swimming--er, writing I went.

When I wrote In Over Her Head it was simply to entertain myself. Well, and also with the hope someone would buy it, but I wasn't under deadline, I wasn't thinking of a series, I wasn't creating a whole world. I was just writing a story which became In Over Her Head, and giggled to myself the whole time.

Then the story hit the Gather.com online contest, climbed through the ranks and it looked like I had a shot of winning. (It made the Top 5.) The story didn't win, but when it made the finals, I knew that I wanted to show the judges (editors and Borders) that I had more than that one story in me. That this world I'd created was as big as the ocean it's set in. So I had to come up with more stories.

The thing is, for as much as In Over Her Head has been compared to The Little Mermaid, it really isn't. In The Little Mermaid, the mermaid comes out of the ocean. All I did was pick up the idea of an undersea world of Mers and use that. But when it came to Wild Blue Under, I did bring the Mer out of the sea. It was the most different thing from the first story that I could think of because I didn't want to write the same story all over again, and there are only so many times and ways you can have a Human experience the Mer world and keep it fresh.

It just so happened that around the time I was putting the story idea together, the movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was playing for the umpteenth time on television. It's a favorite in my household, so I sat down to watch--and saw the actress who made me realize I had to write the next book based on that movie.

"Who?" you ask.

Ethel Merman, of course. I mean, she has MERMAN as her last name! It's a comedy! It's cross-country, in pursuit of treasure. How could I not?

I find a lot of inspiration in television and movies, and like to include little nods and/or jokes in the story I write about. There's one in Wild Blue Under.

That was one of the tough calls for me to make as an unpubbed author--do I put those kinds of references in my stories? Will people get them? Will an editor not like it? I took a chance with In Over Her Head and it turns out the Johnny Depp line was what sealed the deal for my agent. Yes, she gets my humor. My editor obviously does, too, which is so validating for my earlier uncertainty.

As a reader, do you like little "nods" or "pokes" to pop culture references?

And please stop by my website, www.JudiFennell.com to register to win one of two remaining Romantic Beach Getaway Weekends to celebrate the release of the Mer series books. The next drawing is November 30 at the Atlantis Inn in Ocean City, NJ (www.AtlantisInn.com), and the final drawing is February 28, 2010 for the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL (www.HibiscusHouse.com).

WILD BLUE UNDER—book 2 in the Mer Series—in stores November 2009!

The underwater kingdom is his as soon as he claims his queen…

Rod Tritone has the looks and charm to snag any queen he wants for his Mer kingdom, but unfortunately, it's not up to him. As fate would have it, the one woman destined to rule with him is terrified of water…

She lives in land-locked Kansas and has no idea she's a princess…

Valerie Dumere thinks Rod is gorgeous and irresistible—but why does he keep insisting she has another side to herself that only he can show her?

Somehow, Rod has to prove to her who she really is. But when she finds out the truth, will she ever forgive him?

About the Author

Judi Fennell is an award-winning author. Her romance novels have been finalists in Gather.com's First Chapters and First Chapters Romance contests, as well as the third American Title contest. She spends family vacations at the Jersey Shore, the setting for some of her paranormal romance series. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA.

Visit These Other Blog Tour Stops:
10/26/09 -- Romance Junkies
10/27/09 -- Revenge of the Book Nerds!
10/28/09 -- Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE
10/29/09 -- Love Romances & More
11/02/09 -- A Bibliophile's Bookshelf
11/03/09 -- Pop Syndicate
11/04/09 -- Wendy's Minding Spot
11/05/09 -- Starting Fresh 
11/06/09 -- Anna's Book Blog 
11/09/09 --Fresh Fiction
11/10/09 -- Fang-tastic Books
11/11/09 -- Cheeky Reads
11/12/09 -- A Journey Of Books
11/13/09 -- Passion for the Page
11/17/09 -- Literary Escapism
11/19/09 -- Love Romance Passion

Thanks to Danielle, from Sourcebooks, I can giveaway 1 copy of  both In Over Her Head and Wild Blue Under!! (there will be 1 winner)


~Answer Judi Fennell's question, As a reader, do you like little "nods" or "pokes" to pop culture references? (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 Tweet about the contest and leave the link in your comment (make sure to put @purplg8r)
+1 Become a follower (or if you already follow me, let me know!)
+1 Follow me on Twitter (make sure to leave your Twitter name)
~~For each thing that you do, please leave a separate comment or you will only be entered once!!
~~The contest will end on Tuesday, November 10th at 11:59pm
~~This contest is open to US and Canada only.


  1. Wow - look at you listing all the other blog posts I'm doing (makes my head spin just thinking about it!)

    Thanks again for having me and I'm so glad you like the series!

  2. Hi Andrea & Judi :)
    Thank you for the great guest post.
    Congratulations to Judi on Wild Blue Under being released today!
    All the best,
    PS - email's in Blogger Profile

  3. An agent/editor who gets your humor is a priceless thing, Judi... I love all your sea-puns!

  4. As a reader, do you like little "nods" or "pokes" to pop culture references?

    Yes! I recently read Susan Sizemore's Wolf at the Door, and I remember grinning at a few of those in her book. I guess pop culture references do "date" a book, which could be a draw back if you read it several years after it's published. But, overall, I think it's funny. =)

    Diana Owen-Emerson

  5. +1 - I tweeted about the interview/contest: http://twitter.com/bookofsecrets

    Diana Owen-Emerson

  6. +1 - I became a follower of your blog.

    Diana Owen-Emerson

  7. +1 - I follow you on Twitter (I'm bookofsecrets).

    Diana Owen-Emerson

    That's all!! Thank you. =)

  8. Pop culture references are fine in novels as well as in films and TV shows!


  9. Congrats on your new release!

    Just blogged about this on Win A Book.

    Don't enter me in the contest, though.

  10. Pop culture references are fine with me.

    I'm a follower

    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  11. I actually prefer subtle jokes/nods which refer to classical literature, because I don't often keep up with pop culture.

    My favorite example is the flagship of the fleet in China Mieville's The Scar. The ship is called Morning Walker and is a reference to C. S. Lewis's Dawn Treader.

    But it depends on the genre too. In urban fantasy, contemporary romance, chick lit, etc. pop culture references might work better.


    mdperera at hotmail dot com

  12. As a reader, do you like little "nods" or "pokes" to pop culture references?

    I do yes, but only if its a contemporarily set book, or a fantasy/scifi book that is a 'parody' of our real world is some way (in one scifi romance I read, the author had the characters drink 'Classic, refreshing, true to retro-tasting Dr. Coke-Pepsi!' which made me giggle).

    I mean its fun and interesting to read stuff and be like 'I know that!' especially when dealing with a subject that is obviously not based on true reality.


  13. +1 I'm a long time follower!


  14. Yes, I like the "pokes" or nods to pop culture..

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  15. I AM A FOLLOWER...

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  16. Thanks for the feedback everyone and best of luck! You'll have to check out the next book in this series, and my genie series, which is coming out next fall. Lots of pop culture references and language manipulation there. :)

  17. I think this is the first time your background has actually loaded for me - I love it!

    I love this guest blog! It's so fun to get more background.

    I think the nods and pokes are a case by case thing. Not each individual one (though sometimes...), but the book. Sometimes they're great and really fit with the book, other times they're really distracting and even if I get it I just can't get it to fit in. Sometimes I don't get it but it doesn't affect the flow, other times I get it and it still drags me out.

    As for dating, I just finished reading Northanger Abbey which has lots, and the fourth book in the Enchanted, Inc. series had one, too. Possibly more, I just remember one catching my attention. At the time I wondered about dating and such, but then I realized what else I was reading and realized that sometimes that doesn't matter.

    I am a follower of your blog as well.


  18. I love reading more about Judi's world of Mer and can't wait to read this one. I love the pokes or current references in a book especially in this kind of book, one with humor, passion and lots of excitement. I hope I win this one!

    I'm a follower of this blog. Thanks for hosting Judi on her blog tour.


  19. As a reader,I do like pop culture references.

  20. +1 I am a follower

  21. I like the nods of pop culture


  22. New follower


  23. If it's not overdone the little nods to pop culture can be fun!


  24. I am a follower.