Monday, November 10, 2008

What’s In A Name?

What's in a name? A lot.
Shakespeare wrote about it and I experienced it. Our wonderful editor, Deb Werksman, let me know that we needed to come up with a new title for Book 2 in the Mer series, formerly Whale of a Tail. So, okay, now what do I do? That name had been around since the book’s inception and it’s kind of stuck with me.

Knowing I was too attached to it to see past the trees, as it were, I sent it out to my online community. Fast and furious, the titles came rolling in. They were great! The Top 10 that went in for final consideration were:

Going Off The Deep End
Going Overboard
Hooked On You
In Too Deep
Off The Hook
Out Of The Blue
Splash And Burn
Swept Away
Tide up in Knots
Wild Blue Under

The winner was……… Wild Blue Under from author, Lisa Brackmann.

I love it and I’m thrilled because it was already in the blurb for this book, so no major changes to that.

Now, for another fun part to this story. Another online friend came to my email too late, but hadn’t realized it. She submitted a whole bunch on my blog that play off the fact that my hero for Wild Blue Under is The Heir to the throne. The titles are hysterical! I’m now thinking of a series to go with those titles because, honestly, I can’t just leave those hanging out there in cyberspace. So, I’m officially claiming them, but feel free to enjoy them!

While I’m on the subject of names, my last name comes up a lot in conversation. You’ll notice that it’s pretty darn close to “fennel,” the herb. (And, no, my husband’s name isn’t Herb.) According to Iowa State University and a quick look at Wiki, it can also be classified as a spice. Where am I going with this, you ask? Thanks for asking.

Fennel, the spice, is pronounced: FEH-nel, with the accent on the first syllable.

My last name is pronounced: feh-NEL, accent on the last syllable. I’ve even got the extra L to remind you.

So, to tie it all together: Fennell: like fennel, but with an extra L for extra spice.


  1. So smart of you to engage the help of your friends, because yes, it is sometimes very hard to think clearly when you're asked to rethink something that has become a part of your life. Others can certainly take a more objective point of view. I think your friends did you proud. And speaking of names, my spellchecker wants to change mine, Harlin, to Hairline, every time. Not flattering at all!

  2. I just recently renamed a book with the help of my online friends as well. It's a great resource to have when you can't see it as anything other than what you named it in the first place.

  3. I also am using Lisa's name in the story since she came up with the winning title - that was some of the incentive, I think, for people to give me names. She's going to be a dolphin. A VID - Very Important Dolphin. :)

  4. Judi, how marvelous that the new title fit--both the book and the series--so very well. Looking forward to traveling the seas with your books.

  5. Great titles, and great that you had people out there to help you rename it! I came a little too late to the online thing for it to be any use for title ideas. I went about this whole publishing thing backwards!

    I can understand the name thing. My pen name is Cheryl Brooks, which anyone can pronounce, but my real name is Cheryl Hoerter. Any guesses as to how that one is supposed to sound?

  6. And may I just say, that I am THRILLED to have won! I think this might be the first contest I've ever won! But I had some help - "wild blue under" was a line from Judi's own blurb on the book - I read the blurb and said, "Well, this may seem very obvious, but why not...?"

  7. I thought it was interesting that you told us how to pronounce your name! I would have pronounced it as the spice, Judi. :)

  8. I was totally prouncing your name like the spice, Judi...oops! I write with my maiden name, which I've always loved, because my married name gets mangled every which way. This is what happens when you fall in love with a cute Polish guy.

    LOVE "Wild Blue Under"! I'm terrible at coming up with titles...fortunately, Deb and my agent are much better at it!