Monday, May 9, 2011

Aloha to AJ Nuest and JEZEBEL'S WISH

During my Mother's Day lunch, we talked about where my older son may go to college in 4 years.   Although my parents prepaid for a Florida school, my son has considered following his father's footsteps to Purdue in Northwest Indiana.  Perhaps today's guest, AJ Nuest, can convince me that snow is better than sun ... 

Born in northern Wisconsin as the middle child of three girls, I now call Northwest Indiana home, along with my loving husband, two beautiful children and several pets.

From AJ's blog - the snow is beautiful!

Kim: I imagine that your home in Northwest Indiana must inspire your writing. Can you share a favorite, sight, sound, and smell of America's midwest?

AJ:  Without a doubt, the Indiana sky is a great source of inspiration for me. When I first moved here, after spending ten years living amid Chicago’s skyscrapers, I was awestruck by the sheer vastness of the view. A person can literally see ten miles in every direction. I’ll never forget the day I a storm approached from the West. My husband and I just stood outside, watching the rain come. The darkening thunderheads, the sheets of water, the approaching lightening…watching that storm roll in was a humbling experience. During the summer, if a person stands really still and just listens, the corn whispers, like it’s trying to share the secrets of the universe. And the winters bring incredible beauty. A world covered in crystalline sheets of ice that glimmer like God has scattered diamonds for our amusement.

Kim:  I was charmed by your Christmas gift each year:

I can't remember a time when I didn't write. Either poetry, song lyrics or a daily diary entry, jotting down my thoughts has always come naturally to me. Each year I found a blank book waiting beneath the Christmas tree, and after I left home for college, I bought them myself.

Have you bought a blank book for your children ? Do you refer back to your journals for inspiration or ideas?

AJ:  Yes and yes. My daughter, Lily Belle, has inherited her mother’s passion for words, and uses them to her full advantage. I figure about two more years and she’ll be able to negotiate her way out of pretty much any troubling circumstance. At just eight years old, she has already written and illustrated two of her own stories. She gets just as excited by the blank page as I do, so she’s gifted a journal every year for Christmas. As for reading through my old entries, something should be said about the unrequited yearnings of a sixteen year old. Nothing is quite as forlorn, so full of angst or deeply emotional. Every once in a while I stumble across the exact emotional element I need for a story. Those journals are a great reference guide for seeking the inner workings of the heart.

Kim:  How did you break into publishing?

AJ:  I sat down at my husband’s old hand-me-down laptop and wrote a story. Two months later I was done, but had no idea what to do with my manuscript. I spent a week at the library and searched out various publishers, submitting everywhere I could. But not until I finished JEZEBEL'S WISH did I find The Wild Rose Press, and I must say they have been a great house to work with. I love everyone there. Wonderful staff, supportive authors…really, I was truly blessed the day my story was contracted with them.

Kim:  Tell us about JEZEBEL'S WISH.

AJ:  Set in the wilderness of Northern Wisconsin, Jezebel’s Wish takes place predominately at her mother’s forty-acre horse ranch. Jezzy flees Chicago after a traumatic accident that has left her deeply shaken. Add in a dash of survivor’s guilt, a slice of dark secrets, a wish best left unspoken, and you’ve got the recipe for a great story:

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she's stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she?

Kim:  What's next for AJ Nuest?

AJ:  I currently have a contemporary romance under consideration at The Wild Rose Press, and am also finishing the last few chapters of an edgy inspirational entitled, Flicker. After that, I have three more stories planned. A romantic suspense, a fantasy series in three books, and then a bit of a period piece involving a unique love triangle I hope to collaborate on with my mother.

Mahalo, AJ, for visiting us at SOS Aloha!  Readers can enjoy an except at this link and purchase it at this link.  To learn more about AJ, visit her on the web:
Facebook: Tattered Pages

In honor of AJ's visit, I am giving away an e-copy of JEZEBEL'S WISH to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the Midwest, journal writing, and/or horse ranches.

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 15, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 16. 


Kim in Hawaii

Horsing around in Hawaii ....


  1. Thanks to Kim in Hawaii for hosting me on her blog today! It's great to be in tropical Hawaii for the day!

  2. Hey AJ - riding horses in Hawaii looks so fun! Lots of horse ranches in Idaho. My husband would love to take a weekend and stay at one. My problem - he'd make me rides horses and I haven't been on a horse since I was 18. Amazing how much bigger they look now. Jezebel's Wish sounds like a terrific story. Congratulations and many sales.

  3. Thanks, P.L.! I never ceases to amaze me how far away the ground looks from atop a horse. It doesn't SEEM that far when I'm standing next to the horse...but on top...whoa!

  4. I was lucky and got to read this book and really enjoyed it. The parts with The Reverend brought back all the wonderful times I had with my Blue. This book is a wonderful read and if you love horses don;t miss it.

  5. Hey AJ,

    Greetings from Ann Arbor, MI! The closest I've been to a horse, was a retired racehorse by the name of Sloe Gin Fizz or Fizz and I think he was seventeen hands high. Beautiful animal. My two younger sons were learning to ride. Maybe once we move, they can take up lessons again.

    Oh, could you send the cabana boy by, my drink is a little watery.

  6. I've heard great things about The Wild Rose Press and glad that it worked out for you with Jezebel's Wish!


  7. Hi Debra! Thanks so much-once again-for taking the time to read Jezebel's Wish. Funny as it sounds, I truly fell in love with The Reverend while writing that story. There sure is something to be said about the connection between humans and animals. There's nothing like it in the world. Glad you enjoyed the story!

  8. A WATERY DRINK! No, no we can have none of that, Telly! Whew! I'm so glad you told me. I didn't know your boys took riding lessons. How fun! Now where is that buff, young man? Oh he's over there, flirting with the waitress...wait, here he comes. :-)

  9. Hi Pat, I would highly recommend The Wild Rose Press to any author - seasoned or new. Their professionalism and communication with their authors is outstanding. I was so, so lucky the day I found them.

  10. That looks like my kinda fun! Love horses though I don't get a chance to ride anymore!
    Looking forward to reading your wonderful story!

  11. Hi Mary! Thanks so much for stopping by. I was saving a chaise lounge for you. "Now, Garcon..." snaps fingers in the air. "Where'd he get off to now?"

  12. As I was reading this interview, I thought you were about to say "hand me down ... typewriter." Instead you said "laptop". Wow - the dynamics of a writer's life has changed in some ways, but not in others. Glad that you took the plunge and wrote your story on whatever medium was avaiable!


  13. Have never visited a horse ranch, but my family had a couple of horses while I was growing up.

  14. LOL, Sue. Yep, you're right. The really bizarre thing is that my 8 yo daughter inherited that laptop! The same who stood in stunned horror when I told her that when I was a little girl, we couldn't pause live TV. How in the world did we ever SURVIVE!

  15. Hi Estella! I'm lucky my mom still owns her horse ranch. It's an awesome place to visit - my kids just love it there! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. I love the horses. My best friend in high school and I loved to go to dud ranches. She loved all the wranglers. Quite literally. I have to say that my daughter had a scholarship to go to college but she chose instead to go to one more expensive with no scholarship.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  17. LOL, Debby! Too funny about your friend and her wranglers. There is definitely something enticing about a man in a cowboy hat. Thanks for dropping in to say hi.

  18. I was an avid rider and the pix brought back great memories. Jezebel's Wish is intriguing.

  19. Hi Bianca. I know, Kim did a great job with the blog post. I love all those horse pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Love the thought of writing a journal, but always start forgetting after a week or so. As for horse ranches, I am allergic to horses so that is not a good idea for me. But the book sounds great and I would love to read it. Best of luck with it.

  21. I must say that horseback riding seems kind of fun though I've never done it before. I would love to visit a horse ranch and try it one day :)

  22. Nice blog.
    Jezebels Wish sounds like a great read. A handsome Vet and a princely stallion, you have to be on a winner there.I have to confess I am not into horse back riding myself,too chicken, but I admire people who are.



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