Friday, January 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Judi Fennell & Giveaway

Over the past few days, I featured the romance novels IN OVER HER HEAD (my review) and CATCH OF A LIFETIME (my review) by Judi Fennell. While these romantic books weren't my usual fare, I still managed to enjoy (and appreciate) Ms. Fennell's creativity in writing these undersea adventures. Today, I am so glad to welcome (a fellow Penn Stater) Ms. Fennell to Booking Mama!

Talking Heads

No, not the musical group, and perhaps, more aptly, this blog post should be named, Who Isn't Talking These Days?

If you've read my books, you know that I’ll not only try to make you believe in Mers, I'll also try to convince you that there are talking birds and fish and even lizards. But will I be successful? That's the question.

One of the things I try to do with my stories is make them different from one another. In In Over Her Head, we have a Human go into the sea. In Wild Blue Under, we have a Mer come onto land. And, now, in Catch of a Lifetime, I have a Mer come on land, but who wants to be back in the sea and her Human wanting nothing to do with going into the sea, but having to. So that's different, right?

But each story has several talking creatures. I knew when I was writing the stories that the talking creatures were going to be a stretch, but I figured, if you're going to be okay with the Mers, then they have to have fish to talk to. And if fish talk, why wouldn't birds? And if birds do, why not other creatures? It seems that I was heavily influenced by Hugh Lofting's Dr. Doolittle, which I read voraciously throughout elementary school. (I'd love to see where those library books are today that I signed out ad nauseum every other week.)

So, when it came time to write Catch of a Lifetime, I knew there were going to be talking creatures. But I didn't want the same talking creatures. Luckily, the setting for this story - Florida - lends itself to different animals than the other two stories. One of my favorites in the story is Stewart. Stewart is an anole, or what I called a chameleon growing up. I had pet chameleons/anoles. My favorite was Oscar. (My sister had Felix.) Oscar would sit on my shoulder or on top of my head for hours and not hop off. He could change color depending on the temperature, and he had a really pretty pink dewlap that he'd puff up on occasion. Oscar was my longest lived anole and I missed him when he died.

But Stewart is nothing like Oscar. Stewart, as his name suggests, is a cross between Stewie on Family Guy (yes, I have teenagers; I can't help but to have met Stewie, who is actually my favorite character on that show) and the Geico gecko. Just don't let Stewart know those were the inspirations for his character. He won't be overjoyed to be modeled after a baby, and he really has issues with that gecko. Sadly, one of Stewart's diatribes about the gecko didn't make it into the final story, but I laughed the whole time he screamed it at me.

In case you aren't familiar with Family Guy's Stewie, let me tell you a little about him. He's a toddler whose sarcastic wit knows no bounds. Sadly, he talks only to himself and the dog (and the audience of course), but he comes up with some one-liners that get me every time. Same with my anole, Stewart. (Please do not call him Stewie. It makes him stew…. You knew I had to say it.)

Stewart is very self-important. That's because he's Stewart. You see his reasoning, right? He's been chased by housecats, lost more than a few tails to Human children (anoles can "leave" their tails to escape predators), and, frankly, he's not too enamored of many beings. However, when a royal Mer shows up in his Human's backyard, Stewart is all over her like a lizard on a hot rock. He wants to help her--can you imagine the coup it'd be for him to be an acknowledged assistant to a royal Mer? Why, he'd be famous. (Or so he thinks.) Trouble is, the Human has a kid, and kids equal trouble.

Sure enough, the kid wants to capture him and make a pet of him. Nothing doing for Stewart. He'd be perfectly fine if all Human children took a long walk off a short pier. And that's exactly what he tells this kid to do.

Who knew the kid would actually listen?

Ah, Stewart. The perfect antihero, but you just can't help but love him, even for his pretentiousness.

Here's an intro to Stewart:

Angel picked up her notebook and opened it to the page comparing Mer and Human offspring. Aside from the obvious differences of food, shelter, and legs, she hadn’t listed much else. Treats, cajoling to get their way, being the light of their parents’ lives… all the similarities supported her idea of using children to advance the purpose of the Coalition.

She clicked her pen to add Michael’s flotation tactic and paper animals to her list when, “Could it really be? Angel Tritone?” almost had her jumping out of the chair.

She turned around. Then back. Who-in-Hades had said that?

“Psst! My dear girl!” Something small and brown waved green front legs at her from atop the wall. A lizard. An anole, to be exact, the brown coloring camouflaging him against the stone. He must have turned his limbs back to green to catch her attention.

“How are you?” The dewlap beneath his chin turned a vibrant orange as the green color slowly slipped over the rest of his body. “I’m Stewart. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about your studies. Is this one of them? I could help, you know. I have been living amongst Humankind for quite a few selinos.” Stewart’s gesticulating hand moved as quickly as his words.

“They’re not all as nice as this gentleman, if I do say so, and that child worries me. Why, before I ended up here, I’d gone through three tails at the hands of children. Three!” A shudder rippled down his body. “Vicious creatures, I tell you. Worse than any house cat. Well, perhaps not cats.”

Angel glanced at Michael, who was happily spouting water from his mouth like a whale, and opened her notebook to shield the talking lizard. Bad enough Michael knew about Mers; the fact that animals could speak was just as top secret. “Hi, Stewart. I can’t really talk right now.” She motioned to Michael.

“Ah yes. Bipeds.” Stewart gave her a thumbs-up with a tinydigit. “But I can be of assistance, you know. I’ve had extensive fieldwork in the strolling habits of Humans and ways to avoid them. Plus, I did my dissertation on escape tactics from the captivity their young find such delight in subjecting anoles to.” He shuddered, a brown line of pigment zigzagging over his back.

“I’ll take up residence in this lovely gardenia bush for the duration of your stay.” Stewart shook his elongated head, then tapped the side of it with another bony digit. “But how silly of me. That won’t be long at all, will it? You’ll be leaving tomorrow because of that tail thing your kind has to deal with. I’m quite glad that doesn’t apply to anolis carolinensis. I’d hate to think of my life being governed by tail issues. Whenever my tail becomes a problem, I simply leave it. How utterly horrifying to have to live your life according to your inability to do so. How do you stand it?”

The tail was nothing compared to Stewart’s loud, godlier-than-thou attitude and the threat of her study being interrupted by an overzealous, self-important lizard.

© Judi Fennell, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2010


Stewart does get to play his part, though not quite as heroically as he’d like.

If you’d like the chance to maybe meet Stewart, check out my website, for the chance to win the last of three romantic getaway weekends, this one at the Hibiscus House B&B in West Palm Beach, FL. (


Mermaid Angel Tritone escapes a shark by jumping into single dad Logan Hardington's fishing boat. All his young son Michael wants for his birthday is a mermaid, and if his dad will only play his cards right, now he'll have one...

Angel wants to give Michael his most beloved birthday gift (a real live mermaid) while also getting to know his father and getting him to help her in her mission to stop humans from destroying the oceans. Logan has never met a woman who cared as much about the same things he does, and she's never met a man who understood her deepest commitment to humanity and nature. When an enemy of conservation shows up and tries to kill Angel, Logan has to choose between continuing the life he's known, or following the woman he loves to the bottom of the ocean...

The third novel in Judi Fennell's mermaid series, a fresh, exciting, and different entry in romance fiction!

Judi Fennell is an award-winning author. Her romance novels have been finalists in'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. For More information, and a chance to win a romantic ocean getaway, visit

I'd like to thank Ms. Fennell for stopping by with this "teaser" of a guest post.

Thanks to the fine folks at Sourcebooks, I have two copies of CATCH OF A LIFETIME to giveaway! To enter, please leave a comment (with a valid email address) telling me your favorite form of marine life. This contest is open until February 11, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winners the following day. Giveaway is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing address only. Good luck!


scottsgal said...

My favorite marine life aside from the perennial favorite dolphins are sea lions. We swam with them in Mexico and they are a riot.
msboatgal at

Judi Fennell said...

Hi Julie! Thanks so much for having me!

bermudaonion said...

Judi sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for the guest post!

Beth F said...

These books sound like so much fun. Great guest post!

elaing8 said...

This series is on my TBR list.
Favorite marine life,dolphin.

throuthehaze said...

My favorite marine life are sea horses.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

These books looks great, would love the chance to win! I really like seals, they seem to have such a sense of community. On vacation in CA, they all sun out on the rocks together.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, ladies. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you!

tetewa said...

I've been looking forward to reading this one, count me in!

BookHounds said...

Please enter me -- my favorite fish would be an angel fish -- they are heavenly.

Maryinhb at

Kara said...

My favorite marine life would be whales. Gentle giants.

ktulanko AT aol DOT com

Sandy Jay said...

My favorite marine life would be the dolphins. I'd love to swim with them. I can't swim but I'm sure they'd figure that out and not let me drown. :)

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Lee P said...

My favorite marine life is starfish. Thank for the interesting review and giveaway.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

a real librarian said...

Great post!!!

My favorite marine life, dolphins. They are just too cute!


Simply Stacie said...

Definitely the Dolphins!

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Judi Fennell said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! My favorites (after Mers, of course, are the dolphins. I've swum with them twice in Discovery Cove in SeaWorld. I highly recommend the package they offer. And it's the only place I can snorkle without fear of something eating me LOL

katsrus said...

Hi Judi. I love sharks. They are beautiful and dangerous at the same time.

mindy said...

seals i think they are adorable thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

Andrea said...

I loved the first two books in this series and would love to read the third!

I love dolphins and sea horses!


Peaceful Reader said...

Just thought I'd pop over to tell you that I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award! Come over and check it out.

Jamie said...

Sharks. I would not want to run into or swim into one, but they are very cool from a distance.

Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews said...

Great post and thanks for sharing with us!

My favorite marine life is sea otters because they are so cute!

Thanks for the cool giveaway!


Linda Henderson said...

I have to admit I'm partial to dolphins and seals. They have always been my favorites.

seriousreader at live dot com

Judi Fennell said...

Ah, I forgot sea otters! And how could I forget them? They're only my FAVORITE of all animals, land or marine.

This was so much fun! And I can't forget a:



Go Lions!

Alicia said...

I like the sea anemones. They're usually bright & weird.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com

Beth (BBRB) said...

Seahorses! So adorable!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Mystica said...

Dolphins are so very friendly!


Emma said...

Favorite marine life is dolphin.Catch of a Lifetime sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

Nickolay said...

My favorite Marine life is Turtles!


Deb said...

Dolphins, whales, starfish, turtles...I love the ocean. Wouldn't be fair to pick just one :)

deborah150 at hotmail dot com

Dawn M. said...

Penguins! Although I'm a fan of dolphins, sea horses and sea otters, as well. :0)

Heh. Stewart sounds like a lot of fun to read. Kind of reminds me of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid. *grin*

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

D Q said...

My favorite marine life are sea horses.

Tara said...

Dolphins all the way!

boomdier181 AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

My favorite form of marine life are Cetaceans (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

ReferenceQueen said...

This sounds great. I'd love a chance to win it.

ReferenceQueen said...

Count me in...sounds great.