Thursday, March 6, 2014


My guest today is a writer who loves pop culture and manipulating language. Her writing comes with lots of fun one-liners, puns, and double entrendres. Her stories always make me laugh and leave the me feeling good. 
I'm happy to welcome romance author, Judi Fennell, back for a visit to Over Coffee.
  • So, inquiring minds want to know: what was your muse drinking when she came up with hunky men being maids?
I was at my friend's house and her housekeeper was a guy. A young, pretty good-looking guy. So I just started the thought process from there. Sadly, she doesn't have that guy anymore. I'm guessing one of his clients scooped him up since, seriously, who doesn't want a man who can clean a house? Lol!
  • I really like Mac. She’s a woman after me own heart. I love the way she suckers her highly successful brothers in a poker game and the losers become maids. Priceless. This series had to be a lot of fun to write?
Yup, this series was a blast because of the characters. The timeline, however… not so much. The stories all take place within the same month and these siblings are close. So that means a lot of interaction between them which means scenes that get written and then published that can’t then be UNwritten so I have to fashion the next book around those scenes and so on through all four. 

But, yes, exploring the siblings’ relationships with each other and how they look out for each other was a lot of fun. It’s a very interconnected series since the opening of each book takes place at that poker game, but from the different sibling’s point of view, depending on whose story it is.

  • You've written and been published mostly in the light paranormal genre. What drew you back to contemporary romance?
The stories are what drew me to contemporaries. I have a Beefcake, Inc series about male strippers and it was that story that came to me. The characters are the same, well, minus the merman tail and/or magic, but they’re still men we want to fall in love with. It’s just a different venue for sharing their story. But just as challenging—I might not have to make up a whole new world, but I have to fit the characters in the real world, so that’s a new world that I have to build. And it’s been fun with four siblings, each with their own place in this town I've created.
  • You've been traditionally published for several years plus you've also had several indie published books. So you've been on both sides. What’s the advantage, in your opinion, of doing both?
The advantage to readers and to me of indie-publishing is that I get to write the stories I want without having to worry about traditionally publishing’s P&L statements. The downside is I’m the one who has to invest in editorial. The stories have to stand on their own and be as good as the ones published through a traditional NY publisher. The advantage there is the up-front money and distribution and mass market print books that keep the costs down for readers. The good news is, though, that with indie-publishing and traditional publishing, readers have a variety to choose from and a quicker delivery time between books.
  • Given your success, what do you still struggle with?
I still struggle with making the story cohesive. Making sure I have all the elements my readers have come to expect with my stories. That doesn't go away. If anything, the pressure is greater because there are a lot of people reading them. You’re only as good as your last book; I don’t want to put out a bad book. That’s always in the back of my mind. Luckily, my characters like to talk over that seed of doubt and I've learned to trust them.
  • Give me a triumph--something you're proud of accomplishing.
Writing-wise, winning the awards I've won (Prism and Golden Leaf), having ten books out with traditional publishers (as of February 2015 and hopefully more to come), and having a great fan base who keep clamoring for more stories. Life-wise: raising my kids and showing them that hard work and perseverance can make your dreams come true.
  • Any words of advice?
Yup: read a Judi Fennell book. Oh, you mean to aspiring writers? Keep writing, join a professional writing organization and put your work out there for critique—and seeing this as the business it is. Oh, and of course, write the damn book. J



What happens when three irresistibly sexy brothers lose a poker bet to their enterprising sister? They get hired out for her housecleaning venture. Now, the Manley Maids are at your service. Satisfaction guaranteed. It’s what a woman wants...
Resort entrepreneur Sean Manley was all set to buy an historic mansion at a great price, making a name for himself while making millions, when the seller and a poker bet change the game. Now he’s in the place as a hunky male maid and there’s one more complication: Livvy Carolla.
The house is Livvy’s inheritance. Her plan? Unload it to the highest bidder and use the cash to start her own bakery business. One look at “the help” and she’s hot to take him with her. Until she finds out he’s got a secret agenda.
But when Sean falls for the free-spirited, strong-willed Livvy, he has new ideas for the estate—and Livvy’s part in it. If all goes well, they’ll both be getting what they want. And then some.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Take a chance...

Guest post by Kat Sheridan for the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG).

I published my Victorian romance novel, Echoes in Stone, on a dare.

I finished it five years ago, but never published it. Maybe I thought it wasn’t good enough. Maybe I was afraid of failure. Or success. I picked at it, passed it through beta readers and a really good editor, and made it as strong, as compelling as I knew how.

But still, I couldn’t bring myself to make that leap. To share “my baby” with the world. What if I made a total fool of myself? I was terrified of promotion. Of bad reviews. Of being found out as a fraud. Not a writer.

I belong to a group of historical romance writers who meets every three weeks for coffee, pastries, and goal setting. Every meeting I dutifully set new goals for my work-in-progress, and wrote new pages, but was never really finishing anything. Then one member of the group decided that instead of allowing me to set my own goals, she would set one for me.

Publish something. Anything. She challenged me. She dared me.

So I closed my eyes, screwed up my courage, called in favors from every friend I knew…

…and jumped.

One friend gave me a final edit. Another pointed me to a great cover artist. Another offered to upload the book for free as a thank you for past help I’d given her. Sia had me as a guest on her blog and lined up others for me. Friends tweeted and shared and banged the drum for me.

Sales aren’t spectacular. It’s a debut novel by an unknown author. But I’ve made sales. That very first, tiny little royalty check? It was like winning the Golden Ticket to the Wonka factory.

Many years ago, Hubs talked me into going on one of those 3D virtual rides in Las Vegas. I was utterly terrified and queasy even before getting on the ride. My fears were echoed by a little boy in the same waiting line, who kept chanting “Scary, scary, scary…” When the lights came up after the ride, he jumped out of his seat and yelled “Do it again!” And I turned to Hubs and yelled the same thing.

And that’s how I feel about the book I’m working on now. That giddy feeling that comes only from putting your work out into the world, no matter how much you want to throw up? Do it again!

So tell me, if you’re not published yet, what’s holding you back? And if you are published, what made you take a chance?

Coming up Friday: Judi Fennell and her fun new series Manly Maids. You don’t want to miss this one!

Kat Sheridan is a former project manager whose very serious exterior hides a secret romantic. She is fond of books, bourbon, big words, coffee, and shiny things. Kat splits her time between the Midwest in the summer and the South in the winter, sharing her home with the love of her life and an exceedingly dignified Shih Tzu. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at