Once Upon A Time… is NOW!!!!

Not only is that line the opening of almost every fairy tale and the title of one of my favorite new shows, but it’s also the title of my new series.
What new series?
The series I started years ago that gave me my tagline: Fairy tales with a twist. The first release, Beauty and The Best is the story I had asked many of you to vote for a few years ago when it was in both the American Title III contest and the Gather.com/Simon & Schuster First Chapters Romance. (The links are to those contests if you’re interested.) I thank all of you for your support, and because so many of you have asked me what became of that story, I’m THRILLED to finally be able to offer this book to readers.
At the moment, it’s only available in electronic format, but I am working on setting it up for print. Not quite sure how long that process will take, but if you’re interested in reading the story on your eReader, laptop, PC, or smartphone, the links to do so are below.

Once upon a time…

 a long time ago,

there lived a beast of a man,

locked within a castle

with no one to love him.

 

This is not his story.

 

This is the story of another man,

locked within himself,

and the Beauty

who sets him free.

Here’s a sneak peak. You may remember this opening line from Chapter One:
There’s a naked man in my kitchen.
The thought registered just as the terse, “Who the hell are you?” had Jolie Gardener spinning around faster than a figure skater on speed.
He had the nerve to ask this? He of the broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and other, nice, um, parts…
Really. A naked man. In her kitchen.
Well, technically, she was in a naked man’s kitchen. Even more technically, she was in a naked Todd Best’s kitchen—and there wasn’t one hint of self-consciousness or embarrassment on his part.
Of course with that body, there shouldn’t be. The guy should flaunt his nudity for the world to see. Which, at present, consisted of one single, solitary person: Jolie Gardener, aspiring writer and personal chef extraordinaire.
“Well?” His hands slammed to his hips.
“You’re naked,” she squeaked, which, really, was the only way to state that kind of obvious.
“I’m what?” Mr. Six-Pack Abs glanced down.
Jolie tried not to—so unsuccessfully it was pitiful.
“Shit,” he muttered. “I am. I, uh, fell asleep last night…”
As butter sizzled in the new super-slick omelet pan on the top-of-the-line range, Jolie’s gaze alternated between some rock-hard abs and a scruffy eight a.m. shadow while her fingers danced along the speckled granite countertop in search of a napkin, placemat, oven mitt… something.
Mercifully, they scooped up a thick dishtowel that, in her world, would constitute a very plush, very luxurious hand towel from The Ritz or The Four Seasons, but which, here, apparently, was used to soak up water from designer flatware. She dangled it in the di rection of Mr. Au Naturel. “Here.”
He placed an empty bottle of Jim Beam on the island countertop with a clink, then took the towel with a grunt. “So, who are you, what are you doing in my kitchen, and would you mind turning around?”
She turned. “I’m the new girl the agency sent over.”
“Hell. There better be some aspirin left,” he muttered beside her, his bare (of course) feet making no sound on the limestone floor.
She peeked over at him.
His eyebrow soared skyward.
Right.
###
Back cover blurb:
Fine is a relative term… right?
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…
******************************************************************************
Praise for Judi Fennell’s stories:
“Fun and flirty. Judi Fennell will make you believe in … the magic of happily ever after.”Jennifer Estep, USA Today best-selling author
“Readers will adore the joy and humor and romance from Judi Fennell’s creative pen.”    ~ Jill Barnett, New York Times best-selling author
“Fennell’s light & lively writing is full of humor and cleverness.” ~ Publishers Weekly
Buy Beauty and The Best here:
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Genie Knows Best Launch Day + a Free copy of I Dream of Genies

While Amazon and B&N have been shipping copies of Genie Knows Best already (got mine!), the ebook downloads are finally available and for this week only, you can get a free copy of I Dream of Genies as well. Come discover a whole new world! Format links for both books are below and you can see excerpts and outtakes from the story on my website at:

www.JudiFennell.com

Genie Knows Best

Kindle

Nook

Other formats

  I Dream of Genies

    Kindle

    Nook

    iBook

    Other formats

 

 

 

 

 

And check out these websites for my blog tour where we’ll be giving away copies of Genie Knows Best.

11/2 Fang-tastic Books http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/11/3 Preternatura http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com/

11/8 Peeking Between the Pages http://www.peekingbetweenthepages.com/

11/10 Fresh Fiction http://www.freshfiction.com/

AAD blog with Jen (Twimom)

11/11 Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee http://siamckye.blogspot.com/

11/15 The Long and Short of It http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/

11/17 SOS Aloha http://www.sosaloha.blogspot.com/

11/18 Night Owl Reviews http://nightowlromanceblog.blogspot.com/

11/21 My Overstuffed Bookshelf http://myoverstuffedbookshelf.blogspot.com/

11/30 Star-Crossed Romance http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/

FIRST OFFICIAL: Copy of Genie Knows Best in my hands!

“They” say a picture is worth a thousand words…

Genie Knows Best, November 2011

 

This one, to me, is worth almost 200,000. That’s how many I had to write to get this thing in my hands.

Why so many? Well, this is The Book That Tried To Kill Me ™, aka: TBTTTKM-2 ™ (kudos to my friend Lisa Brackmann for coining that phrase; hers is the original TBTTTKM.)

I’d written Genie Knows Best and turned it in a few days before my deadline. (yay, me!) Unfortunately, it turned out that my editor didn’t like it. At all. Now, normally, there are a few points we need to change/clarify/fix and I do some revisions and the book is ready. But this one, for various reasons, didn’t work for her. So it was Back To The Drawing Board. Ugh. Can I just say that again? Ugh.

I had to start over. Had to come up with a different spin on the story, a different spin on the world, and a new way of doing things. The only things I kept from the original book were the main characters’ names, the love scenes, the basic idea for the world, and the ending. I love this ending; I truly do.

So, okay, maybe we’re talking 150,000 words.

Was this what I wanted to do? No way. Was it what I had to do? Yep. Am I satisfied with the result? I am. It’s a whole other story about the same characters, whom I love. Kal is an alpha male in a beta role, or maybe even a gamma one. I had fun trying to contain him within The Service he’s been in for four thousand years with the end in sight for him. Samantha Blaine was someone I wanted to help. All she wants is someone to love her for her (and not her inheritance/bank account) and to find herself being used at every turn… well, she deserved a happy ending, too. As did I. 🙂 Honestly, I was never so happy as when I turned this new story in because it’s one thing to write a book under contract and know that it’s going to go into production; it’s quite another to write that book only to have to completely re-write it.

I haven’t really spoken about this bummer of a year writing this book because, of course, you want to put your best foot forward in the marketplace. “Sure, I write books and they all go on to win awards!” is a good image, but the reality is, writing and publication are hard work–and this is why you need an editor. Mine could have tried to fix the original version up with me, but who knows what the result would have been since she had such an adverse reaction to it. She wasn’t “feeling” it, and therefore, she couldn’t get excited about it. Trust me, you want your editor excited about your work.

So, I pulled up my big girl panties, took a deep breath, and started off on story #2 for this couple. And, like I said, I love the result. It’s a fun story, a lot of action with the largest cast of characters I’ve ever written. I had a blast writing the fight scenes (try orchestrating a fight scene with centaurs, trolls, leprechauns, dragons, and gnomes and keeping all those body parts straight!), and loved creating Harv’s lair that was inspired by Riley’s comment in National Treasure, “Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?” And, of course, I got to spend more time with Kal and Samantha and learned more about them, what made them tick. That journey is always fun, so I really can’t complain (though I did, loudly) about having to spend so much time with them.

And I recently turned in Leave It To Genie and am waiting for my editor to read it. You can bet (and the leprechauns in Genie Knows Best already are…) that I’m waiting with baited breath.

Now these ARCs go out to the reviewers and I have another reason to wait with baited breath to see if this version of Kal and Samantha’s story is as well received as Eden and Matt’s was (starred review in Publishers Weekly). That’s this business: hurry up and write, revise, and wait. 🙂

FIRST OFFICIAL: Sighting of Genie Knows Best on Amazon!

I had no idea it was going to be up for pre-order today. To say I’m thrilled is definitely an understatement. This book was a labor of love and I’m so excited for it to hit the shelves.

I’m also excited because I figured out how to do an Amazon page of my books, grouping all of them together. A lot of authors have started doing this – Amazon actually gives us a kickback, which, in this world of shrinking advances and print runs, really helps. Thanks to whomever ordered a Kindle copy of In Over Her Head through my Amazon store.

And thanks, once again, to the incredibly talented Anne Cain for the AWESOME cover! I incorporated Samantha’s cover outfit into the story because I liked what Anne came up with better than my original idea. 🙂