Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome AJ Nuest as my First Blog Guest!

As a current Wisconsinite, I am happy to welcome as my first guest former Wisconsinite, romance author AJ Nuest, discussing her fond memories of life in our state and the unique accent we Midwesterners have. She also shares an excerpt from "Jezebel's Wish," her latest book available from The Wild Rose Press. And one lucky commenter will receive a free .pdf of "Jezebel's Wish," so please enter for a chance to win!

Wisconsin, doin cha’ kno?
“Where, exactly, are you from?”
This question has plagued me more than any other throughout my life. Born and raised in the unspoiled wilderness of Northern Wisconsin, I grew up blissfully unaware of my northern twang, until I graduated from high school and moved to the center of the universe (aka Milwaukee, WI) to attend college.
But even then, my accent was most often met with mild curiosity. My assumption is most folks either didn’t hear it because they carried the same inflection themselves, or they ignored the way I sounded altogether, instinctively knowing I must be from the Great White North. Still, I got the occasional query, people asking if I hailed from Canada or Minnesota, how come I said words like door (dowr) and out (ouit) so strangely and wasn’t I cute with my quaint country lingo.
In all honesty, I hated the way I sounded. Living away from home for ten years, my ear became attuned to the way others spoke, and when I returned for a visit I was horrified to learn the true nature of my voice. Did I really sound the same as all those backwoods hicks? Did I carry that same disturbing lilt which immediately made the listener doubt my intelligence? Why couldn’t I have been born with an accent like Audrey Hepburn? Maybe I could take lessons and learn to speak like Grace Kelly? For crying out loud, how had I made any friends?
Aside: If you’ve ever seen the movie Fargo, you know exactly what I’m talking about (aboot). Although Frances McDormand portrays a quick-witted, highly intuitive police officer, when you first heard her speak, didn’t you instantly think, “Boy, she’s a couple of watts short of a bulb.” I mean, come on! Who actually says, “Is there a phone down here, do ya’ think?” People from northern Wisconsin, that’s who! Ms. McDormand nailed that accent like she’d been reared a stone’s throw away from my childhood home.
Ten years after my move to Milwaukee, I made an even larger step and moved to Chicago. With nothing more than a job interview and two hundred dollars in my pocket, this country girl was making good on her dream to live in the big city. This is when the questions began in earnest. I literally couldn’t meet someone without them asking where I was from. Being a single, young woman looking for love, I can’t tell you how annoying this was.
I tried to rid myself of the northern drawl. I thought the longer I lived away from home, the more it would fade, right? RIGHT!? No such luck. Twenty-five years later, I still carry the same silly sound.
The other night my family sat down to watch America’s Got Talent. As luck would have it, the auditions took place in Minnesota. So I wasn’t surprised when several of the contestants arrived on stage and answered the judges’ questions with the standard, “Oh, yah” we northerners like to use.
One gentleman in particular carried a very heavy accent, and when he came out in his goggles and bike helmet, everyone in my family laughed. Heck, everyone in the auditorium laughed. The guy had to be a complete doorknob. But, not so..not so, at all. Turns out he performed a special “chain reaction” talent by arranging popsicle sticks so they snapped into the air, and when he received three YES votes from the judges, I smiled and heartily applauded.
You see, now that I’m older I’ve realized something. My accent didn’t stop me from meeting the perfect guy, having two beautiful children or becoming a published author. If anything, the way I speak helps me stand out in an area where people say “warsh” for “wash” and “pin” for “pen”. I know sometimes I sound silly and people may assume I’ve got an empty noggin, but that’s okay with me. The way I speak is a part of who I am.
Now I carry my northern twang proudly, and hope that it never fades. So, go ahead and ask me where I’m from. I’ll smile proudly and answer, “Wisconsin, doin cha’ kno?”

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:
http://ajbooks.blogspot.com
http://www.twitter.com/ajnuest
Email: ajnuest@yahoo.com
Facebook: Tattered Pages http://tinyurl.com/3qvxyn6

Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press: http://tinyurl.com/446f7r3
Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/3b89ogb
Check out the trailer:

Coming June 27: Guest Blogger Calvin Davis discusses "The Phantom Lady of Paris!"

19 comments:

Meg an Aggie in Frisco said...

Howday y'all,

I completely understand the WI accent. Being from Texas and traveling all over the US as a kid camping in the summer, I would meet folks who would ask "did you know JR?"

When I went to college I found out my accent was not to bad, thanks to my Yankee parents. It took months for me to figure out what my dear friend dad farmed. I thought she was saying "rose" ends up she was saying "rice". So being in school at A&M deepened my accent.

Jezebel’s Wish is on my list to buy. I wish the wild rose site had a wish list function... Good Luck

Meg an aggie in frisco

AJ Nuest said...

Hey, Meg! Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm cracking up about the rose/rice confusion. We get that alot around here. My 8 yo daughter always asks why Grandpa has "dinner" at lunch time :-)!

Sharon Buchbinder said...

Hi AJ & Allison--

Great interview and excerpt. I'm downloading the book on my iPad as I write this. AJ, I was born in Warshington, DC and we had braid and butter and if there was trouble we called the poleece. When I moved to Chicaaago for 10 years, I picked up the twang. Now I sound like a subject for Henry Higgins to work on! I did a podcast to promote my textbook for Jones & Bartlett--good thing I was laughing on it, because people will be laughing when they hear my nasal voice! LOL.

Best of luck on your sales for Jezebel's Wish.

Hugs,

Sharon

Sandra Koehler said...

When I travel, people tell me I have an accent. I'm always surprised because I'm convinced I don't have one! Sandy/Alison

Brenda Hyde said...

I've lived in Michigan all my life, except for 4 years we lived in Wisconsin from 11 years old til I was 15. People told me I sounded different, and I'm sure it was that Wisconsin accent:) Actually, the people that live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have a cross between a Wisconsin and Canadian accent and I LOVE it. They sound so cool:)

AJ Nuest said...

LOL! Sharon, that is so funny. And I just have to pause and say THANK YOU for getting a copy of Jay Double-U! I try to pay a lot of attention to accents - for obvious reasons - but yep, folks in Chicago one have a distinct dialect, that's for sure. Thank you so much for stopping in!

AJ Nuest said...

I did't think I had an accent either, Sandy...er...that is until I went back home and "heard" it first hand. Now if someone is on TV, I can pretty much tell if they're from my neck of the woods.

AJ Nuest said...

Brenda, did you say "cool"? COOL? Bless your heart. The last thing I think I sound is "cool". OY! Glad to see you here on Alison's blog! Woot!

wlynnchantale said...

Great post AJ!
Got moved and FINALLY hooked up the Internet. Can't go to long without high-speed. Withdrawals sets in. My hubby's from the AR and every time he calls home his accent gets heavier.

AJ Nuest said...

Telly, my sweet! Thank you for stopping by! That's too funny about your dh. When Lily Belle was about three, she went around for a year talking like an English child. "Hellow, Daddee." My dh and I used to crack up.

bearaboo said...

I grew up in Central wisconsin (my family has property in northern wisconsin...so calm and beautiful up there). When I moved to Tallahassee after graduating college, I worked in nursing homes as a speech therapist. Between my "accent" and fast talking, no one could understand. I was petrified when my boyfriend's (now husband of 17 years) mom would call because I couldn't understand her southern accent! We now live in central Kentucky but I go home every summer to Wisconsin to visit my mom. But, you know, everyone else has an accent...Wisconsin is "normal"!

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

I hear ya about the accent. I was born in Dayton, Ohio, and didn't realize I had an accent until I moved away and people looked at me strangely when I spoke.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Bearaboo! Good to know I'm not the only fast talker from Wisconsin! :-) Jezebel's Wish is actually based in Northern Wis, at my Mom's horse ranch. I know what you mean about that part of the country being so serene. I love it up there!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Sue! I can totally hear the Northern accent whenever I hear anyone from that area. It's so strange, because I never heard it until I moved away from home, but now? It's completely obvious. I guess I should listen better to my own voice. LOL!

AJ Nuest said...

Alison, I just want to say thanks so much allowing me the distinct honor of being your very first guest! I had a blast, my friend! Here's to much more blogging fun in 2011!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi AJ
That is so interesting about the accents, Having been to Las Vegas, on holiday, I think all Americans "talk funny," guess that's because I've got an Aussie accent. Although, while in LV I was surprised how many people asked me if I was English.

Regards

Margaret

Liz Flaherty said...

What a fun post, and I love the great white north accent, maybe because we here in central Indiana tend to sound a bit nasal (though I can't hear that; I just know we do it.)

The book sounds great, too!

Sandra Koehler said...

Thanks so much, AJ...you were a great guest! And if anyone had trouble posting comments, I apologize. I have adjusted the comments setting and hopefully this has alleviated the problem. Sandy/Alison

Amy said...

Guilty--I say warsh for wash etc! And I'm always "fixinn'" to do something! Long live Dixie! :-)