Wednesday, April 11, 2012


JUDI Fennell is my guest today, Over Coffee. She's here to talk about her newest romance and how it came to be. Considering her topic I've decided to add Iced Coffee to today's coffee bar.

There’s a naked man in my kitchen.
(Don’t I wish!)

Sadly, there is no naked man in my kitchen at the moment. Which is probably a good thing, given all the teenagers milling about my first floor with their, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Is the laundry done?” “Can I have money for lunch tomorrow”-isms. Imagine their looks if there was a naked man in my kitchen. Especially one who looks like the cover model on my latest release.
Go ahead. Imagine. I’ll wait.

(You sooooooooo weren’t imagining the teenagers looking at him, now, were you? J)
Ladies, you were just perusing the fine form of Todd Best. Otherwise known as The Best. Name fits, doesn’t it?
So how does the naked man sentence above relate to Todd Best? Well, other than the fact that you probably wouldn’t mind seeing him naked… Todd is the hero of Beauty and The Best, the first release in my Once-Upon-A-Time Romance series. (And for the record, I came up with that title long before ABC put the show on the air. But of course I’m watching that show. It practically has Judi Fennell written all over it!)
Ahem, where was I? Oh, yes. Todd. He’s the hunky hero in the story, but when we first meet him, well, he’s not so heroic. He is however, hunky.
Naked and hunky.
Naked and hung over but still hunky.
Yeah, hung over. “What kind of romance novel hero is that?” you ask.
I’m hoping he’s one you’ll feel for. (No, not feel period, but feel for.) There’s a reason for his nudity and it’s a doozy. So please forgive him the hangover. Our heroine, Jolie, does.
Jolie Gardener is Todd’s new personal chef. The reason he has a personal chef is tied in with the hangover thing, but for the moment let’s just go with it. Jolie’s there, all ready to prepare his breakfast when Naked Guy walks in and gets her all flustered. Things start burning (read all the double entendres into that that you want) and breakfast is shot. So is Jolie’s composure. But from this, um, interesting beginning, a romance is born.

Beauty And The Best

Jolie Gardener, personal chef by day, aspiring romance writer by night,

likes to talk and does it a lot. She has to because if she stops, all the pain, disillusionment, and abandonment of her AWOL mother, question-mark father, and foster-care childhood will rise up like a chocolate soufflé on steroids, sweeping away the fragile infrastructure of her life.

But she's fine. Really. She is.
Or so she thinks. 

Todd Best isn't fine. He knows it. And doesn't care.

After his wife died—the woman who believed in him when he was a struggling artist—he put painting aside, moved from their home, and lost himself in the minutiae of daily life. 
Alone. Private. The way he likes it.
The last thing he needs is some chatty cook seeping into the perfectly bland canvas of his life.
Or so he thinks. 

So when Jonathan, a guardian-angel-in-training, turns himself into a kitten to help these two lonely souls find a happily ever after together, it ought to be a piece of cake.

Or so he thinks… Excerpt

Pick up Beauty and The Best at:

This story holds a special place in my heart. I can’t say it’s my favorite story because, like my kids and my dogs (I’d say husbands, but since I have and only have had one, there’s no contest there), I don’t have favorites. But just as you like your kids for different reasons, so, too, do I have a special reason for liking this story.
It was in Romantic Times Magazine’s American Title contest. Then it went on to be the only romance in the Top 20 finalists of 2700 entries in the & Schuster First Chapters contest. My writing got a lot of exposure (pun not intended, but I giggled, so you might as well, too) to the reading public, so much so that people have been emailing me for years asking me when this story would be published.
I can finally answer, “Now!”
Below is an excerpt from the story that you can’t get on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other online retailer, but if you want to check out the naked man in my kitchen scene, the links below will take you to the Look Inside/Sample feature on the sites.
What you won’t find out is why Todd’s naked. For that, you’ll have to read page—
Nah. You’ll have to read the whole thing because just like love scenes shouldn’t be read out of context, Big Reveal scenes shouldn’t be either. And, yes, I meant that pun.
Bon appétit!

CONTEST: JUDI FENNELL and DANA MARTON are doing a drawing for signed original manuscripts, tote bags, and a few other goodies for readers who LIKE both their FB pages. 

PRISM Award and Golden Leaf Award-winning 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 writing spot, but she’s still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends’ books.
Author of “fairy tales with a twist,” pun-filled, tongue-in-cheek, contemporary paranormal romances, starting with the Tritone Trilogy about Mermen and the Humans who love them, her Bottled Magic Series about genies and magic and falling in love, and now her Once-Upon-A-Time Romances, those twisted fairy tales that were the inspiration for her tagline.

Dive into the romance on her website,, for excerpts, deleted scenes, reviews, contests, and pictures from reader and writer conferences, or check her out on Facebook: