Lionfish, Tigersharks and Sea Monsters, Oh My!

We’re getting close to Halloween, a holiday that, as a paranormal author, is near and dear to my heart, with its witches and monsters and endless possibilities. Thanks for having me and allowing me to indulge!

For thousands of years there have been legends and myths about sea monsters: Jules Verne, Moby Dick, the Loch Ness monster, whatever’s in the Bermuda triangle, sirens, Charybdis, Jaws, etc. We humans have had a healthy fear of the sea and in the first book of the series, In Over Her Head, I used the mother all of sea monsters–and I mean that literally–as the bad “guy.” Ceto, in Greek mythology, is the mother of them all, including Scylla and Medusa.

So when it came to the second book, Wild Blue Under, I couldn’t have Ceto be the baddy. She already had her turn in the sun, er, sea. What to do, what to do…

Well, when you only have one heir in line for the Mer throne, who better to make trouble but the guy who’s next in line if something happens to the heir?

Meet Drake Cabot. If you paid attention in middle school and know your explorers history, you’ll see Sir Frances Drake and Jon Cabot, both explorers from Queen Elizabeth I and her grandfather, Henry VII’s, reigns, in the villain’s name.

Lofty reputations to live up to, and Drake isn’t doing such a hot job of it.

So when he sees an opening to grab the Mer throne for himself when Rod, the heir apparent, strikes out for land to return Valerie, a half-Mer princess (who lives in Kansas and doesn’t know she’s half-Mer) to the sea, Drake sets out to not only thwart Rod, but to claim the throne for himself.

Sadly for Drake, he isn’t what you’d call adept at overthrowing a monarch, but he sure tries hard. He also isn’t the best judge of character.

Case in point:

     Drake zipped across his limestone foyer with two tail flicks and grabbed the electric ray by the neck, shaking it until the thing went limp. “You worthless hunk of chum. Do I have to do everything myself?”

     Oh, Hades, he’d just strangled his chief operative into unconsciousness.

     As the barnacle colony on the lintel abruptly shut up, Drake flung Gonzo’s inert body onto the pile of useless octopi outside his lair. Those damn suckers hadn’t been able to tear the netting between the manatee enclosure and the outside sea so he’d had Gonzo zap them as incentive. In his self-importance, however, the brainless torpere had ramped up the juice, killing the cephalopods.

     The ineptitude boggled the mind.

     Sighing, he started to shut the door when an eye blinked at him from the sandy floor. Oh, Hades.

     Drake flipped that stupid flounder over with the tip of his tail, the spotted body wiggling in a way it’d never been designed to. Tough. That’s what it got for thinking the entrance to his lair was a smart place to set up shop. Incompetents. That’s what he was surrounded with. Clownfish.

     Yanking the door shut with enough force to dislodge the conch family living rent-free on the roofline, Drake shoveled a fin-full of sand over the pile of ineffectual invertebrates.

     Why was it so hard to get manatees, those stupid sea cows, out of the way? All he’d wanted to do was set them free so they could scour the coastline for food and other floating sacks of blubber to their hearts’ content, thereby keeping them out of his business.

     A few inconspicuous rips here and there in the netting should have done the trick; he couldn’t believe the damn octopi had failed. Hades, if they could pry apart mollusks, a group of them should have been able to make crabmeat out of simple Human netting. But no.


     Drake kicked his tail, swimming above the reef. Sea anemones fluttered their tentacles, little fish darted after their next meal, a crab climbed to the highest peak and broke into song—until he got a look at Drake.

     Drake flicked a sand dollar at the crab, missing it by inches—that, the damn crustacean, and the whole scene, just making a mockery of his anger.

     At least JR was on his side. Despite the fact that Rod had made contact with The Hybrid, the albatross was the perfect hired hand. He’d do anything for the right amount of money, or whatever cause he was championing that day, and wouldn’t have a qualm about seeing it through to the end.

     Sure, it had required a bit of clandestine sleuthing through his father’s office, and a lot of finagling to shift that amount of diamonds from the kimberlite vault to the albatross, but it’d been worth it to land one of the ASA’s best operatives as his henchman.

     JR just better come through.

Drake, for all his bad-boy status, was a fun character to write. He has his moments of utter, What the heck??? But he also has his reasons. Anyone want to try to guess what they are?

Wild Blue Under comes out in November, followed by Catch of a Lifetime in February. The first book in the series, In Over Her Head, came out in June, 2009.

To celebrate the release of each book, I’m giving away a romantic beach getaway. All information is on my website, as well as a sneak peek at my new series, coming Fall 2010 from Sourcebooks.

Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell

Wild Blue Under 

Judi Fennell

Sourcebooks, Inc.

November, 2009


Rod Tritone is all set to take over the Mer kingdom when his father retires, until the ruling council tells him he has to marry first. The council gives him legs for the duration of his mission, as well as his future queen’s address and phone number.

She’s Valerie Dumere, the daughter of a Mer father and a human mother who raised her in landlocked Kansas. When devastatingly handsome Rod Tritone shows up and tries to tell her about the kingdom under the sea, not only does she think he’s crazy, she’s determined that’s the last place she’d ever want to go.

Then a vicious squad of seagulls tries to stop the Mer Prince from inheriting his throne and Val finds out about her true nature. Now she has to make the choice of a lifetime—stay on land, or follow Rod to his underwater world…

What people are saying about Wild Blue Under:

“Fennell returns with another underwater adventure, her second story about the Tritone brothers. She’s proving herself to be a solid storyteller, and this tale is an enjoyable and pleasant read.”

-Devon Paige, RT BookReviews

“Wild Blue Under” is the second book of author, Judi Fennell’s Mer Trilogy, and the first of hers I have read and definitely won’t be the last! This book was such a fun, delightful read.” -Jaime, Revenge of the Book Nerds

“Judi Fennell is a bright star on the horizon of romance.” –Judi McCoy, author of Hounding the Pavement

“The best Mer book I’ve ever read.” –Rowena Cherry, author of Knight’s Fork

“Bubbly fun! Judi Fennell whips together talking birds, princely peril and a sexy Mer man in this sparkling ‘under the sea’ tale.”  –Virginia Kantra, USA Today best-selling author


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.

10 Responses to Lionfish, Tigersharks and Sea Monsters, Oh My!

  1. Lisa G

    Let’s hear it for the manatees! Love the excerpt! Can’t wait to read more! Got to get my hands on a book and soon!

  2. Judi Fennell

    *snork, Wanda!

    Olivia, I get to stay home and give out candy, so I’ll probably wear the blue vampire dress just ’cause it’s so much fun to wear!

  3. Wanda

    Can’t wait to get my hands on Rod… er… the book about him I mean. Loved Reel so I’m pretty sure Rod is going to be a joy too.

  4. Olivia Cunning

    Great excerpt. I think Drake should take a course in anger management. LOL!

    I’m going to guess Drake got slighted by a woman because of the hero, Rod.

    So what are you going to dress up as this halloween? Mermaid? Flounder? Genie? Spongebob?

    I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing. I really enjoyed In Over Her Head.

  5. Lisa Brackmann

    I second Vivian’s guess!

    Villains are always fun, IMO — IF they have some dimensionality to them. I get so bored by Evil Genuises of Crime…give me some flaws and humanity. You did that with Ceto, so I’m looking forward to see what you do with Drake!

  6. Vivian A

    Well I’m not a Pam, but I’m jumping in anyway.

    Love the sea critter references Judi. Having spent one summer scraping barnacles off a wooden boat, still in the water, and free diving – I know the freeloader feeling. Drake seems to be quite the character, plus I have to admit that few things aggravate me as much as ineptitude, or failure of those to deliver what they have promised. Sounds a bit of a loose canon, but I can sympathize with him.

    Why is he screwed up? 9 out of 10, I’ll say, Family. Nothing messes with a person like those who love them most.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

  7. Judi Fennell

    I’m surrounded by Pams. 🙂

    Pam S: I’m so glad you liked IOHH. I had a blast writing that one, but I’ve really enjoyed writing all of them, including the first book in my genie series that I just finished. I was asked this question a lot at the conference this past weekend, who is my favorite hero/heroine/story? I have to say that my favorite is the one whose story I’m writing at the moment. If I don’t love my characters/story, then how can I hope the readers will? Each one of my characters has his or her own specialness for me and I’ve enjoyed getting to know each one. Same with the stories. With the one I just finished, I didn’t know how it could be as punny/funny as the ocean-based ones, but, OMG, I lmao as I was writing it, so, yep, just as much fun!

  8. Pam S

    Hi Judi!

    I really enjoyed In Over Her Head and hope to get the rest of the books in the series as well. They’ve been on my wish list for months now – can’t wait for all of there releases :)! Which has been your favorite to write so far?

    Hope you had a good time at the conference.

    Congrats on all the great reviews you’ve gotten in btw!!

  9. Judi Fennell

    Good morning! Well, late morning! I was at a paranormal readers’ conference all weekend and am trying to get up to speed today. Thanks for having me, and thanks, Pam, for stopping by!

  10. Pam Keener

    The book sounds awesome. Good luck with it.
    Love & Hugs,

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