Calisa Rhose with AJ Nuest ~ Write what you know

Boy are ya’ll in for a HUGE Saturday surprise! I have the multi talented author and my super cool friend–AJ Nuest taking over more than the round pen today! Grab a dish and a drink and settle in. Just don’t try to drink while AJ’s speaking…you’ll only regret it. 🙂

Take it away, my darlin!

AJ_Photo2008_webHowdy All and a great big THANK YOU to Calisa Rhose for hosting me on the final Kindle FREE day of my latest contemporary romance, She’s Got Dibs! Whoo Hoo! It’s great to be here!!

According to a quick search on the internet, Mark Twain is accredited with the phrase, “Write what you know.” As an author who writes across several different genres, all with a strong element of romance, I have to say I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. Who better to write romance than a person with firsthand knowledge of what “romance” truly is?

Sounds great, right? I’m living the dream, writing what I know.

*AJ links her hands behind her head and props her flip-flops on the edge of her desk*

Yeah, except for one very important issue. What makes me the expert? Who died and left me in charge of what is and isn’t romantic? Perhaps what constitutes romance for me is off-the-charts non-romantic for other women. Or vice versa. One never knows, especially because in the zany world of romance publishing, certain criteria apply. In most romance novels the hero is tall, handsome and well built. He is usually someone of means who doesn’t have to worry about paying the bills or swimming through debt. He always smells good, typically has great hair (although I’ll state right here and now I find some bald men extremely handsome—as long as the head is shaved, none of that comb-over weirdness for me) and is an excellent kisser. And while some romance heroes are Alpha, some are Beta and still others are a combination of both, one thing above all is tantamount. The hero must be completely and totally dedicated to the heroine.

Okay, great. But how does one convey this dedication to signify “romance”? Looking back, the one piece of advice I got from my mother was the day she was tearing the sheets off the bed after my father had been sick with the flu. I believe her complaint was something along the lines of, “You know you love someone when you’re willing to scrub their skid marks off the sheets.”

Thanks, Mom, but that’s not really romance novel material, if you know what I mean. So, I thought I’d make a list and compare it with those of my writing peers—see if those qualities you all think of as “romance” compare with that of mine.

So, without further ado, I give you…

AJ’s Top 10 Romance Hero Qualities (from least to most) and why I think they are important.


10. Share his drinks with me. I’m not saying I want to eat off my hero’s plate…or even repeatedly drink out of the same glass. No, no. However, whenever my DH pours himself a cup of coffee, a tall glass of lemonade or perhaps a soda over ice, if I do not already have a drink, he offers me the first sip. What girl could not love a guy who consistently pays such close attention to her needs? My DH does this every time he gets something to drink and I love him for it.

9. Have a good sense of rhythm. I like to dance. If you’re gonna be my romance hero you need to be able to keep a beat and lead if necessary. I can’t stand being waltzed around the floor off-kilter.

8. Appreciate sarcasm. I’m not sure this one needs to be explained. Anyone who knows me will get this. I’m a tad bit snarky. Love me or leave me.

7. Be fond of animals. Animals have a sixth sense about people. One that I trust. My ideal romance hero enjoys being with creatures of the four-legged variety and, more importantly, they enjoy being with him.

6. Likes to spend time with family. Without fail, my hubs is the one who says, “Hey, let’s take the kids to (fill in the blank).” He loves spending time with our family and is the instigator behind all family projects and trips. Love that!

5.  Be partial to a good cuddle. Let’s face facts. Oftentimes life stinks and a person just needs a long tight hug—one that doesn’t contain any sexual innuendo. My romance hero likes to cuddle with me for no other reason than because we’re sitting side by side.

4. Be generous with compliments. Just like I feel it’s my job to bolster my husband’s sense of self-worth and pride, I think it’s his job to make me feel attractive and desired. If I’ve spent two hours getting ready to go out to dinner, the first words outta his mouth once I exit the bedroom should be, “Wow! You look great!” Bingo!

3. Trust me explicitly. I’m probably one of the most trustworthy people you’re ever gonna meet. In fact, my honesty often gets me into trouble because I have a really hard time lying. I just don’t do it well. (Ask me about the surprise party I tried to host once. Miserable failure!) If you have doubts about my integrity take them elsewhere because my romance hero trusts me without fail.

2. Harbor a giving heart. Be as gruff and tough as you want on the outside. If you’re a softie on the inside and consistently sacrifice your happiness for others, then you qualify to be my romance hero.

1. Have an excellent sense of humor. Honestly, I would much rather spend time with someone who was slightly less attractive and made me laugh, than someone who was model perfect and as boring as a rock. Something about humor and attraction just meshes for me. Number one important thing on my romance hero list is an excellent sense of humor…hands down.

So there you have it. My Top 10 Romance hero qualities. Now, do tell. What are yours? Are there any you feel are more important than those on my list? Let me know!

And don’t forget! If you haven’t downloaded She’s Got Dibs yet, today is the last FREE day! Make sure to get your copy!!

I have to butt in here to add one more item to the list. My romance hero will bring me little gifts without need of a holiday, anniversary or birthday. It thrills me when my hubby adds to my miniature dish set collection on a whim. That’s not to say I just want him to buy things for me, but not just on special occasions either. Great list, AJ! 😀

Author bio:

Multi-published, award-winning author and editor, AJ Nuest, lives in a small farming community in NW Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship. The cat is winning.

Book blurb: 

True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents’ plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?

Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancé be their final undoing?


“Dibs.” He extended his hand.

Frowning, she accepted his greeting. “Dibs on what?

“No.” He chuckled. “That’s my name. Or well, actually, my nickname. Either way, it’s what everyone calls me.”

“O-o-okay…” The guy definitely had the smolder covered…and those incredible ice-blue eyes. Yikes!

“And you are?”

“Oh, Tessa Adams.” She laughed.

“And everyone calls you…?”

Her frown returned. “Tessa.”

“Oh.” He scanned her face. “No nickname, huh?”

“Not that I recall at the moment.”

He pressed his full lips together as if restraining a smile, eyes twinkling with merriment, and handed her the notepad. “Here’s your confirmation number. The room’s at the Waldorf Towers over on Park.”

Two suites at the Waldorf? In this mess? What was he, a wizard? “Wow, great. Thanks so much for the help.”

“Glad to be of service.” He retrieved his briefcase and started down the corridor, abruptly stopped, and peered at her over the perfect slant of his shoulder. “And don’t worry, Tessa, I’ll think of a good nickname for you.”

She offered him a blank stare. “Hey, knock yourself out.”

Mischief danced along his lips before a grin broke free and he continued down the hallway.

“What a whack job,” she muttered.


She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010




FaceBook Page:

Author FB Page:!/pages/Tattered-Pages/259835887466

Twitter:  @AJNuest

She’s Got Dibs Pinterest Page:

Obnoxiously long buy link that should probably be shortened: 

She’s Got Dibs is currently available at Amazon through the Kindle Select program here:

Great pointers for what a hero must be, AJ! I’ll let you be in charge whether I live or die! LOL

Thanks for humoring us today and sharing that totally, awesomely HAWT cover!

Posted on 06/29/2013, in Blog Tour, Branding, guest blogging, HEA in real life vs fiction, inspirations, Pen of the Dreamer, Promotion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. As usual, AJ rocked this post! Thanks for the fun babe! And the free book. 🙂


  2. Karen Michelle Nutt

    Enjoyed the blog gals and I picked up my copy. 🙂 Loved the excerpt! 🙂


  3. That last line of that excerpt always cracks me up. “What a whack job!” LOL!

    I love a lot of your qualities in a romance hero. I’d like to add one that’s very important to me: Complete Acceptance. My man has to accept everything about me – from my outgoing personality to my fiery temper and everything in between. I can be a really intense woman with tons of energy…and I’m very blessed that my husband accepts everything about me, without judgement. What a relief!! Who wants to be with someone who tries to change you, huh?

    Great post, ladies!!


  4. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Calisa!! My head is sorta reeling from this final push to get the word out about my last Dibs FREE day! I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you, hon! Thank you so much!!


  5. Loved your list, AJ. I’d probably add … I love a guy who supports me in whatever I do. My Calvin, who is also a published author, loves watching me move ahead in my writing career. He insists on framing and hanging awards when I would stick them in the filing cabinet under “O” for OMG! I’m off to tweat about Dibs…


    • OMG, I love that Vonnie. But then again, I’ve loved Calvin from the moment you first mentioned his name. LOL Great, great item to add to the list! I have to say when Scott shed a tear or two about my latest achievement, I was incredibly touched. Sigh… Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the tweets, toots!


  6. Great blog, ladies! Thank you for sharing. With a nickname like Dibs, how he earned it must be very interesting, AJ.


    • Hi Kay! LOL You’ll have to read the book to find out about that nickname, huh? *eyebrow waggle* Thank you so much for stopping by!!


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