Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My guest today is author AJ Nuest. She's a delightful lady I met through The Wild Rose Press author loop. AJ, welcome to Vintage Vonnie. 

Introducing the 1959 Mallard Canned Ham!
When Vonnie invited me to her blog, I immediately thought I should write a post that would include a “vintage” theme – maybe something cute about local wines or perhaps 18th Century modes of dress. However, I’m not a writer of historical romance…at least, not yet. I’ve not researched specific time periods for all those minute little details…and like or it not, the closest I’ve come to local wine in Northwest Indiana is cornmeal “white lightening” boiled in homemade stills by the light of the moon.
One thing I do have though, which personifies the perfect vintage theme, is a 1959 Mallard Canned Ham. Here she is, in all her glory. We purchased our Mallard two years back this summer, in an attempt to upgrade our outdoor experience from tent camping to sleeping indoors.
Being hardcore campers, my husband and I really struggled over the concept of giving up our nights in a tent. Something about sleeping on the ground appealed to us. Maybe because we spent all week navigating the crowded subways of Chicago and apartment dwelling, escaping into the woods for some one-on-one time with Mother Nature became the ultimate grassroots adventure. Or...perhaps our hesitation stemmed from a simple love of sleeping with the wind in our ears, or waking during a light rain…that soft patter right overhead.  
Once we moved to the suburbs and started a family, however, tent-camping became more and more of a challenge. Those midnight potty runs woke everyone in the tent, the kids were constantly filthy, and let’s face it, the older we got the harder and harder the ground seemed to grow.
So, we finally broke down at bought our beloved home on wheels, and just like Lucy and Ricky we pack ‘er up and head on out whenever the mood might strike. She’s been good to us, our little Mallard. Although we still have to make those midnight potty runs, she keeps us off the ground, gives us a dry place to eat, and is light enough we can tote her behind our SUV and STILL have room for our bikes. She turns a lot of heads, and had we not bought her we probably wouldn’t have met several friendly folks who wanted a peek inside.
Unfortunately, we’ve almost outgrown our little camper. There’s been talk in our house we may soon upgrade to something more modern, like a fifth wheel slide-out with bunk beds and a shower. Strangely enough, this thought saddens me, and I find I want one more year with our Mallard. Yes, we’re vintage, one spot in the roof leaks and we still need flashlights to find our way to the facilities, but I’m not sure I’m ready to bid our little ‘home away from home’ farewell. She’s been around longer than I have, has traveled more roads and probably shared in experiences I can only dream about.
I like that my family has been part of her history, that one of the seats is stained with grape juice and litter of kittens was born in the storage compartment under the closet. So, for now I take lots of pictures, knowing when the next family comes to drive her away she’ll go on traveling, seeing more places and sharing more fun. And I…I’ll be waving goodbye, standing at the front door with a tear in my eye.

AJ, your latest release Jezebel's Wish has garnered some fantastic reviews. I've heard rumors it's a BYOT book...bring your own tissues. Share a blurb and excerpt with us, please.

Jezebel’s Wish Blurb:
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?
Jezebel’s Wish Excerpt:
Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”
“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”
“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”
“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”
Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”
“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”
Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.
He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.
Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.
He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”
“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”
Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.

AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.
Visit her on the web at:
Facebook: Tattered Pages

Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press:

Trailer Embed:


Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for visiting Vintage Vonnie, AJ. Love, Love, LOVE the book trailer. I'll be starting "Jezebel's Wish" tomorrow my tissues on my nightstand. :-)

AJ Nuest said...

Oh, Vonnie! I am so excited to be here! Thank you so much for hosting me! I have a couple of kids home on summer break, and the very important Library Camp starts today, but I should be off and on to visit with everyone most of the day! I love your site. So pretty! ((hugs))

Amy said...

Awh, Aj, just one more reason why we ended up such good friends. Kindred spirits! My husband sold his truck two years ago, Though we'd bought it new, he'd had it for 17 years. Back when trucks had bench seats, and I could sit underneath his arm while he drove us to wherever we were going. I miss that truck so much. He sold it to a friend, so we get see it every other week or so. I think Rob misses it to. Why do we associate such things in our memory to the point we don't want to let them go? I miss ol'blue! Bestest of luck with Jezebel's Wish!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Amy! It's funny because I've been the biggest one to complain about the "lack of modernization" in our little camper. I want a shower, darn it! I'm tired of lugging water to the campsite! But, I don't know, something about seeing her just makes me sad, you know? I'm going to miss that little lady. Thanks for stopping by, Amy!

Randi Alexander said...

AJ, what a cute camper. The little awning is just darling. I think you shoulk keep it, put it in storage for when you two are empty-nesters. Congratulations on your recent release!

P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning - what a great post A.J.! Growing up we had a little camper which was sort of an inheritance when grandma died. Before that, we did the tent camping/sleeping on the ground so the camper was really big deal to us. It was even smaller than your Mallard. The table broke down to a bed where mom and dad slept. My two sisters and I shared the couch that broke down to a bed and our brother slept in the cot overhead. It had a small closet, a stove and a sink - but we loved that thing. I even used it years later when I married but we finally sold it because we just didn't have a vehicle to pull it. But so many memories from that little camp trailer. Your post brought back so many. Thanks for sharing. I loved it.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Randi! You know, I may just try to do exactly that. Turns out, there is a group of vintage camper afficiandos that likes to rehab older models. Working on the Mallard and sprucing her up might just be the perfect retirement project for my DH! (Course, he'd probably rather fly his powered parachute!) Thansk for stopping by!

AJ Nuest said...

Good Morning, PL! I often wonder what my kids will think once they are grown and reminiscing about the Mallard. We've had some good times with her, even though we all can't change our clothes at the same time! But isn't it those types of memories that we will remember most fondly? Your camper sounds exactly like what we have now! Good to know we've got our kids on the right track! ((hugs))

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi A.J.!
You've proved yourself as a writer to me since I got a little choked up reading about parting with your Mallard. We used to camp all the time. My family is better for those experiences. We upgraded to a tent-trailor. Once or twice we rented RVs to see how they felt. Recently, my husband and I and another couple decided to relive the good old days of tent camping. Well, guess what, those days are over! LOL. I'm too high maintenance!
Loved the blog. The subject of RVs is something near and dear to my writer's heart. :)

AJ Nuest said...

LOL, Lynne! I know what you mean. After camping in a our Mallard, the don't quite cut it anymore. It's not so much the sleeping as it is the storage and all around general "stuff" I need to bring. Not enough room in a four person tent for my Keurig Coffee Maker! Thanks for visiting, and for the wonderful complement! ((hugs))

Vonnie Davis said...

A Keurig Coffee Maker??? Ahhh, a woman after my own heart. Calvin has me hooked on coffee. We keep thinking we need to go back to Paris for some espresso and onion soup. We have this favorite cafe on the Left Bank.

Ladies, thanks to all of you for stopping by. I used to tent camp with my kids as a single mom. We have some great memories. My two sons, Eagle Scouts, take a week each summer to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail so I know how they feel about camping. There's something about going back to Mother Nature.

AJ Nuest said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Vonnie! It was a great treat spending the day with you!!