Among other things, I write dark romance novels which range from steamy to graphic. Sometimes it’s a tough job.

No, really…


My husband is a HUGE Tennessee Vols fan (college football team) and frequents a Vols fan board. Our computers are on a U-shaped desk running around three walls of a room, so we’re constantly surfing and talking. The other night he was on the Vols board, where one of the ladies posted pictures of half-dressed male models.


Tom:  Look, honey. You could use these in your stories.

Erica:  Um… they don’t really do that much for me.

T:  None of them?

E:  Nuh-uh. Well, if I had to pick, this one’s OK.  (picture on Vols board of random guy in white swim trunks and sunglasses)

T:  Yeah, if I had to pick one of them to look like, that would be the one.

E:  He’s the most normal looking of the bunch to me, not too muscular, just balanced. He’s got a handsome face, too. He’d look good in a suit…or a polo or jeans and a t-shirt.

T:  (silence…silence…silence)

E:  Yeah, he’s real good-looking. I could use him.

T:  Looks like he’s got a small thing. Bet he doesn’t like women. He’s probably gay.

E:  TOM!

T:  (mutters) Well, he probably is…

E:  Besides, I’ve already got a whole folder of guys that I’m using for character models. Just look.  (Erica opens folder on computer and Tom’s mouth drops open.)  See, take this one for instance…


E:  Do not. I use them to work with. It’s art.

T:  It’s porn.

E:  Not.

T:  He’s huge.  (pauses thoughtfully)  Well, he might have a six-pack, but I’ve got a keg.

E:  (burst of laughter)  You do not.

T:  I could probably kick his butt. You think so?

E:  (still laughing)  Sure, honey.

T:  I fight dirty. I bite.

E:  Yeah, well lucky for him I’m using someone else in the piece I’m doing now.  (goes to another picture)

T:  Another big one. More porn. You’ve got all porn.

E:  Not.

T:  So, if that’s not porn, you’re telling me that I can save pictures of naked women on my computer?

E:  As long as you’re using it for work.

T:  Only work?

E:  Yeah, work.

T:  Damn.  (closes eyes and shakes head)

E:  Some of the guys in my pictures have clothes on. See, look at this one. Suz sent it to me. It’s Rob Rose. He’s a cover model, and he keeps his clothes on.

T:  Now, I can see why women would think he’s good-looking.

E:  Yeah, he’s nice looking, but not attractive to me.

T:  S-u-r-e.

E:  He’s not! He’s too classical. Too unapproachable to me. Suz loves him though.

T:  If I could look like another guy, I’d look like him. He’s got a nice body. His boobs are bigger than most women’s —

E:  TOM!!!

T:  (mutters again)  Well, they are…

E:  Anyway, I think this guy’s really attractive.  (goes to another picture)

T:  Another one with long hair. You must like guys with long hair. My hair’s short.

E:  I like short hair. The one I just showed you  has short hair — the one that’s in the piece I’m working on.

T:  Doesn’t matter. They’re all gay.

E:  They are not!

T:  And I can kick their butts.



You can help us settle this by voting. (Select more than one, if you like.)


1. Research is vital for novelists. This means keeping current in subject matter.

2. The pics aren’t porn. They’re art.

3. Tom needs to get over it. I mean, it’s not like these guys are my desktop wallpaper or that I spend HOURS studying the files every day.

4. All the above.




Thanks for the pic, Pixomar

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7 Responses to RESEARCH – The Steamy Romance Novel

  1. Obviously the answer is #4. I loved the banter between you and your husband. Made my morning.

  2. corajramos says:

    #1 – Yes
    #2 – True
    #3 – True (tee hee)
    #4 – True and Yes (and love the banter)

  3. Erica Miles says:

    This is great! Another #4 vote. Thank, you, thank you, thank you!

  4. […] NAKED: Writer Erica Miles shows her husband her file of naked men. Research, she claims. […]

  5. Laird Sapir says:

    lol. This is awesome, and my vote is, obviously, ALL OF THE ABOVE! Get with it, Tom. It’s RESEARCH!!! 🙂

  6. […] I loved this. It made me laugh out loud. It’s Erica Miles‘ conversation with her husband about the lengths she goes to in researching a steamy romance […]