T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing Passion

Writing

Working Hard, Loving Harder: Pool Boy Dives In

I’m pleased to announce the seventh entry in the Working Hard, Loving Harder series!

Sexy young pool maintenance man Alistair arrives at a client’s home. There to sort out a problem with the swimming pool, Alistair is surprised to find Jake, the university student son of the family, laid out sunning himself naked at the poolside. The distraction proves to be too much and soon their mutual attraction leads to cold drinks and sun screen application. Next it is the short journey from the sunbed to the bedroom but along the way passion and the beginnings of real affection appear in equal measure.

Available now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Working Hard, Loving Harder: The Carpenter Needs Wood

The series continues with book six: The Carpenter Needs Wood!

Carpenter Andy arrives at a new client’s flat to build some fitted wardrobes and bookshelves. The client, Tony, goes off to his job, leaving Andy to work in peace, but before he gets much done he meets Tony’s gay flatmate Chris on his sleepy way to the bathroom – naked. This unexpected introduction certainly breaks the ice and before long the two lusty young men are getting to know each other more intimately.

As the week progresses Andy does a fine woodworking job and enjoys the company of Chris too. This is more than just a physical attraction, and by the time the work is done the carpenter is ready to sweep his new lover off is feet. This he does by arranging a date in a novel but truly romantic way.

Available now from Amazon, Amazon UK and All Romance E-Books.

The Martian by Andy Weir

I just finished this book, and it was a gift of a read to a confirmed Science Fiction addict and space nerd like me. It’s not just that is was a great nail-biting story but it grabbed my attention as a self-publishing author and it should serve as an inspiration to all my self-pubbing friends.

NASA astronaut Mark Watney has been left stranded, presumed dead on the Martian surface, when the crew of the Aries 3 mission has to abandon its base during a sandstorm and launch themselves back towards Earth. Satellite imagery later reveals Watney’s activities around the base and news that he is still alive is soon a global sensation.

While Mars makes repeated attempts to kill its only inhabitant, NASA puts together an audacious rescue plan to bring him home.

The book became, for its author, that Holy Grail among novels: a debut mainstream best-seller. American Andy Weir was a computer scientist who began writing The Martian back in 2009. His aim was to make it as technically accurate and realistic as possible and so he studied astronomy, orbital mechanics and the history of manned spaceflight. The level of technical detail is quite staggering and it should be included as the emergency manual on all future missions to the Red Planet.

After being persuaded by literary agents that the book was unpublishable, Weir uploaded it to his website in 2011 and made it free to anyone who wanted it. Fans begged him for a Kindle compatible version and so in 2012 it was listed on Amazon for 99cents per copy. The book then sold thirty-five thousand copies in three months and rose to the top of the eBook, science fiction best seller list. Now the publishers were interested.

In January 2013 the audio book rights were purchased by Podium. Two months later Crown Publishing Group paid six figures for the print rights and in the same month Twentieth Century Fox bought the film option. In May 2014 it was reported that Ridley Scott was negotiating to film it with Matt Damon as Mark Watney.

I rarely write book reviews where the publication story gets more lines than the fictional one but to us indie authors the tale is an inspirational one. The story itself is phenomenal. Yes, it may be a little geeky in places and I would like to have seen some stronger secondary characters in it, but otherwise it is one of the best pieces of ‘pure’ science fiction that I’ve read for many years.

Working, Loving Harder: Carpets Get Laid

I’m pleased to announce the fifth story in my ‘Working Hard, Loving Harder’ series: Carpets Get Laid.

When Josh Spencer arrives to fit new carpets in the home of Ian Jacobs, he is immediately attracted to his handsome client. Ian seems keen to help the sexy carpet fitter and so the two men start to discover more about each other. It soon becomes clear that by the end of this job, it will be more than just carpets that get laid.

The book is available now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and All Romance E-Books.

Musings on the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet 2014 (Or: Losing my Writer’s Meet Virginity!)

 

Just a week ago I was still a ‘Meet’ virgin, but no more. I’m just glad that if I had to lose my cherry that it was at the UK Meet in Bristol last weekend.

It was a weekend of many firsts for me. I went along with my own set of objectives in mind, but I couldn’t have known just how transformational such an event could be. All I’d wanted to do was:

  1. Increase my knowledge of the business.
  2. Get myself better known among my peers.
  3. Increase my social network.
  4. Sell some of my books.

It’s fair to say that those objectives were reached by the time we stopped for the first coffee break on day one.

During that mid-morning break I had my first epiphany of the weekend. A large number of the delegates attending the meet were readers. It was one of these who came up to me and told me how much she loved my books and how reading ‘Dear Santa, Dear Dad’ had resonated with her because of her relationship with her own father. Now, I’ve grown use to online reviews and comments both good and bad, but nothing can prepare you for the first time that a real person praises your writing face to face. By the time this lovely lady had finished I was trying to hold back my own tears and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Every word I write matters to me, but surely the greatest joy for an author is to find that your words also matter to those who read them. That one encounter made the whole weekend worthwhile for me and yet it was only the start of things to come.

Another expected benefit for me was the positive impact that the weekend hadon my lovely long-suffering partner, who I’d dragged along with me. First of all we were both blown away by the incredibly warm, friendly people who made us both feel part of the ‘gang’ right from the start. For him also came the realisation that it was not just me, all writers appear to be equally as mad! Best of all was seeing and hearing the reactions of my peers, both writers and readers towards me. In his mind this gave value to my work and somehow vindicated my efforts.

Apart from the personal benefits, the programme for the weekend delivered a wealth of useful, practical and valuable content. The panel lead sessions were all delivered by experts and generated lively discussions. Whether you were a seasoned author or an unpublished writer, a reader or a publisher, there were many things to be shared and learned.

We all know that writing can be the most solitary, even lonely of occupations.Possibly the most beneficial outcome of the UK Meet was the feeling that we really are not alone. We do not work in isolation. We are all part of an amazing collective. In any other business we would be strident competitors and yet there is a shared love which truly embraces the most disparate of characters in mutual support and understanding.

The whole weekend was well organised and full of awesome content. There was a lot of fun to be had and plenty of networking opportunities too. All this and yet it was organised and managed by a small team of hard working fellow authors. I have been to professionally run business conventions where valuable lessons could have been learned from the amazing UK Meet team. There we no low points in the event at all, not even the usual post lunch slump, because there was just too much to be awake for. I’m sure that just like any smooth running operation there was a lot going on beneath the surface (writers can be Divas too) but they kept the swan gliding gracefully throughout.

All good things do end but even on the last afternoon I had yet another epiphany experience while listening to the outstanding final key-note speaker Aleksandr Voinov. His words served to pull together all the threads of the weekend and reminded us why we write. I have come to this game in the second half of my life and there are stories to be told, passions to be directed and causes to be fought for. Yes I achieved my objectives, had a lot of fun and made some very real friends. I can’t wait for UK Meet 2015 to come around.

I have come home with a goal blazing before me. Writing about passion, with passion.

I want to write

I need to write

I will write.

Taught to Love – A Romance of Unlikely Parts

Today, 4th June,sees the release of Taught to Love by Dreamspinner Press!

 Taught to Love is about the developing friendship and subsequent romance between Ken, a handsome widowed father and Rob, his son’s young gay teacher. Father and son are living with overwhelming grief following the death of the wife/mother in their lives, and teacher Rob awakens the father to his son’s difficulties at school and then agrees to deliver some private tuition for Sam. For Rob, of course, this has the added benefit of more time spent with Sam’s sexy dad!

Both Father and son benefit from Rob’s genuine support of them both and Ken begins to appreciate the difference this selfless young man is making in their lives. With the surprising encouragement of Sam who is concerned about his dad’s loneliness, the young teacher allows himself to be drawn ever closer to the object of his desire. The relationship then quickly develops from appreciation to affection and ultimately to sex.

Get it now:

DreamspinnerAmazon.com – Amazon.co.ukAll Romance E-Books

Working Hard, Loving Harder: Window Cleaner’s View

I’m pleased to announce the fourth story in my Working Hard, Loving Harder series: Window Cleaner’s View!

Young James Cooper is cleaning windows to cover for the regular guy who is in hospital. James has also been receiving therapy following his troubled early retirement from the Army. Whilst cleaning a customer’s windows James spies a sexy young guy indulging in some solo fun watching a gay porn movie in his bedroom. Soon the two guys get together and horny student Steve no longer needs porn to stimulate him. The attraction is purely physical at first but as the two men learn more about each other it appears that the connection is more than skin deep.

Window Cleaner’s View is now available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and All-Romance E-Books.

Bunnies Aren’t Just For Easter

Or: How The Plot Bunnies Stole My Life

The inside of a writer’s head is a scary place to be. Whether focussed upon the current Work In Progress (WIP) or planning a future project, the corridors of the mind can be overrun by that ubiquitous creature, the plot bunny. Definitions for the term are many and varied, but it is most commonly used by writers to refer to that state of mind where they have more plot ideas than they can use. It can also refer to that condition where your characters or your plot have taken on a life of its own and refuse to bend to your will. More of that later.

The term plot bunny has really been popularised by the NANORIMO movement. I’ve even seen it claimed that the term originated here, but there is clear evidence that it was in use long before the writers claimed November. In fact most people now believe the term to have its origins in the famous John Stienbeck quote : Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Some writers see the wild plot bunny as a plague. It’s true that untamed and undirected they can drain a writers energy and clog up the creative flow to the point where Work In Progress can become Work With No Progress.

Personally I love my plot bunnies. They are a valuable resource which, with the application of a bit of careful animal husbandry, can fuel creativity enormously. Bunnies like attention and when they wander, all cute and fluffy into your brain you must welcome them lovingly. Provide a home for these little friends and nourish them, but then allow them to do what they know best, grow, find mates and multiply. If you are dismissive, unwelcoming or just careless, you will scare them away. Plot bunnies are timid creatures who are easily scared off and are very hard to entice back again.

 

For me, the plot bunny comes in as many forms as there are breeds of pet rabbit. One might be a song, a phrase or a quote. Another might be a person who I have seen or met. Buildings, places and events also inspire me. It may be that none of these can be used in the current WIP but it is essential not to discard or lose them.

Plot bunnies by their very nature will stroll into you headspace at the most inconvenient moments. You may be busy writing, eating dinner, out with friends or even sleeping. It is all too easy to tell yourself that you will remember this new idea later, but in my experience that rarely happens. You need to record every fluffy friend the moment it appears, or risk losing it for ever.

Personally I find a notebook to be the easiest way to store all these random thoughts and I dip into it frequently. This notebook has proven to be a treasure chest for plot ideas and there is great joy to be had from introducing two or more disparate plot bunnies and watching them breed. Do beware of sharing this behaviour with the uninitiated unless you are prepared for the pitying looks and confused responses. The brain of the writer is someplace akin to that part of  town you don’t venture into after dark, or if you do it is with the car windows wound up and the doors locked!

How can you expect your nearest and dearest to understand your mood when your characters have stopped talking to you? Have you ever tried to explain to your Significant Other how your story is not progressing because your main character is refusing to do what you want them to? This is the plot bunny reverting to its skittish wild rabbit origins.

Of course it’s not all so stressful. I clearly remember a new character walked on to the page while I was writing my first novel. I hadn’t planned Mrs Perkins in any way at all, but suddenly she opened the front door and there she was, a named and fully formed character who I had never met before! Mrs. P. remains one of my best loved plot bunnies and I thank the goddess of the burrows for delivering her to me.

I know that bunnies in pots are not a popular image but let me suggest a way to overcome that view. How about having a Plot Bunny Pot? Write down all your plot bunnies on pieces of paper and put them in a pot or box of some sort. When you’re in need of inspiration, start pulling out the ideas and arrange them in front of you. Unexpected matchings will breed new ideas. New characters and settings will be born and the writing will flow.

Be kind to your bunnies. Give them a good home but don’t fence them in. Let them run free and make friends with each other. Care for your plot bunnies and they will reward you with a constant flow of new ideas to feed your stories. Just remember that when you are chatting with your plot bunnies, do make sure that you’re alone.

 

Working Hard, Loving Harder: Draining the Plumber

Here we are at the third book of Working Hard, Loving Harder! This time the sexy workman is a plumber called in to replace some kitchen taps.

Brian works from home, so when his next door neighbour Ann needs a minder to keep an eye on their plumber at short notice he rushes around to help in her hour of need. Not only does Jack the sexy plumber grab Brian’s interest, but he wastes no time in seducing the willing samaritan. As soon as the work is finished the two horny guys move next door to Brian’s house where the workman teaches his lover just how a plumber likes to be drained. This proves to be no one night stand either, and so an even hotter second date is arranged.

Draining the Plumber is available from All Romance E-Books, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Sparks Fly

I’m pleased to announce the next entry in the ‘Working Hard, Loving Harder’ series, which began with The Gasman Cometh. Cover art and blurb below!

Young Alex Evans is not at all happy when he is expected to cut short his morning lie-in to welcome the electrician which his father has called. The lad’s mood soon changes however when he opens the door to a fit young sparks called Greg who openly flirts with him from the outset.

Greg, for all his flirting, is no pushover but the boy charms him and soon they are naked in Alex’s bedroom. There is still a big surprise awaiting Alex in more ways than one but before long the sparks fly!

Sparks Fly is available from All Romance E-Books, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.