T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing Passion

#dreamspinner press

Proud to be a Dreamspinner.

Over the past weeks and months, I’ve been a mostly passive observer while my publisher Dreamspinner Press has been going through a challenging time. As an unabashed advocate of the company I’ve been dismayed at the way in which so many people have taken to social media in order to elevate these challenges into a full-blown drama. We all know how much our wonderful community loves a good drama!

Wherever I see discord, I like to step back and look at the facts. Armed with what is known rather than what is surmised, or even fabricated, I try to be a voice of reason and to mediate on the subject. Looking at the strength of feelings being expressed in this matter, I have no doubt that my view will not be popular but I am always open to reasoned, fact-based debate.

Dreamspinner has been the flagship publisher in our genre for some years now. DSP has given so many authors, including myself, a great start in their writing careers. For the most successful, it has provided significant incomes too. From the very start I have been really impressed by the way the company has grown and developed. Dreamspinner has been a beacon of excellence and a source of income to authors, editors and cover artists alike.

The world of publishing has seen many challenges and if Dreamspinner is to survive in the current business climate, it must continue to adapt and evolve new processes and seek out new markets.

I am shocked at the way the community has appeared to turn on Dreamspinner like a pack of hyenas willing it’s demised so that they can feed. I have heard and read gossip, conjecture and complete untruths about what is going on. Most of this is from people who are not directly connected with the company. I have witnessed untruths being told and immediately verified by others who have no pertinent knowledge at all but are simply wanting to be seen as up to date with the cool gang!

Let me make my feelings clear: Firstly, I believe that Dreamspinner may have become a victim of its own considerable success. Secondly, I believe that if any company is capable of riding the current challenges, Dreamspinner is. Third and finally I honestly believe that if Dreamspinner fails, then it will mark the end of our genre as we know it.

If we do not give DSP the time, trust and support which it needs right now, we will all be losers in the end. Contrary to popular belief, DSP is still accepting manuscripts, still producing books and yes, it is still paying its authors including interest paid on all delayed payments. What puzzles me most about the negative chatter is that very little of it comes from current DSP authors. I’ve read way too many posts which include the phrase “I have friends who are authors” causing me to wonder why such people are qualified to comment at all.

Every current DSP author receives a detailed weekly update from the company. Progress is detailed and challenges made transparent every Tuesday without fail. At the end of each update, authors are invited to question the senior staff about any issues and their direct emails are given. The update ends with a note to say that none of the information is copyright and that PDF copies are available to share. It puzzles me that there is still talk of poor communication when actually the opposite is true.

If you’ve not deserted me yet, then here is my voice of reason for what it’s worth. Dreamspinner Press is clearly working really hard to rise above its current challenges. If you have a specific question or an issue, then the first port of call should be the company and not social media. In a very competitive commercial climate, any serious company must keep some of its processes under wraps for fear of attack or advantage given to other companies. We should not be demanding information which company may not be able to give. The unfair negativity and idle chatter doing the rounds at the moment is likely to become self-fulfilling. If the company were to fail now, I have no doubt that the blame could be laid at the feet of the ‘neggies’.

WE need Dreamspinner Press because it is the only company presently capable of guiding us into the future of the genre, whether we are directly connected to it or not. On the other hand, Dreamspinner needs us too to let’s show some faith and let those who have nothing good to say, just say nothing.


T.J. Masters.

Advent Calendar: Day Fourteen

Release Day: Dear Santa, Dear Dad

December 14th is the release day for my Christmas story. If it looks familiar then that is because I originally self published it back in 2013. My wonderful publishers Dreamspinner Press have kindly agreed to release this 2nd edition in time for the festive season this year.

Two days before Christmas, widower Steven drives to the North of England to meet his estranged son, Andy, hoping for a reconciliation. Steven rejected his son when, as a nineteen-year-old student, Andy came out to his parents. Andy now enjoys a happy and fulfilling relationship with Peter, who initiates contact with Steven by forwarding an almost childlike letter to Santa, in which Andy asks for a father who loves him.

Dear Santa,

I hope you’ve stayed fit and healthy since last year. Are all the reindeer looking forward to their long night out again? I’ve tried to be good all year, so I hope you don’t mind if I ask for just a few special things this Christmas.

First I would like my amazing man, Peter, to have everything he wants at Christmas and throughout the year. He deserves so much for being so kind and loving and for being the greatest thing that’s ever happened in my life.

Second I would love to have a black Labrador puppy to love and care for.

I know my last request is the hardest one of all, and I am sorry for asking, but I wish I had a dad who loved me.

Thank you for reading this, as always. Please say hello to all the elves for me!

Merry Christmas,


Andy isn’t quick to forgive his father, but the bad weather conspires to strand them all together over the holidays. Father and son experience a steep learning curve, not helped by Steven’s realization that his son’s lover is older than he is. But proximity and familiarity have a way of breaking down barriers, and if all three men can work together in the spirit of cooperation, this Christmas might be one that changes their lives forever.

  • Release Date: 
  • Type: Novellas
  • Words: 14,437
  • Pages: 48
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63477-062-0
  • File Formats: epub, mobi, pdf
  • Available now from DreamspinnerPress.

Writing Goals 2015

During 2014, there was a lot I wanted to write. Unfortunately, life interfered in some unexpected ways and my plans withered. This year I’m determined to start off with a different head and set firm but attainable goals to further my writing career.

I could of course set some goals and keep them to myself, but that gives me too much wiggle room to make excuses to myself for not getting anything done. If I publish my intentions publicly, then I can be held to account over them – and, hopefully, I can also be encouraged and supported along the way.

As a Life Coach I have a strong feeling for meaningful goal setting. We often overuse the term ‘journey’, but it’s a meaningless word unless we have a destination to aim for. Once the destination is chosen, we can plan an effective journey to get us there. All my goals are meant to be challenging, achievable and measurable.

People often talk about ‘SMART’ goals, which are supposed to be:

  • Specific – A positive, inspiring statement of intent.
  • Measurable – Both the end goal and the steps along the way.
  • Agreed – Congruent with your personal values and believes, and also written down or published in some way. (The ‘A’ can also mean ‘Action-oriented’)
  • Realistic – Use evidence-based planning when setting your goals.
  • Timed – Have a start date, an end date and step goal dates along the way.

I need to treat writing as my full-time job. To that end, and based on my past efforts, I’ve decided to set the following goals for the coming year.

1) I will write a minimum of 500,000 words during 2015

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But I know it’s achievable, and I’m breaking it down into the following steps:

  • Four planned novels of 80k words minimum each, which gives me 320k words in 12 months.
  • Two planned novellas of 50k words each, bringing my total to 420k words.
  • The remainder will be composed of short stories of 10-15k words each and blog posts, on which more below. 

2) Maintain and develop blogging habits

  • Post 1-3 blog posts per week across various sites, both my own and as a guest blogger on other sites.
  • Investigate podcasting and then build this into my blogging schedule, with an initial podcast to be uploaded by 1/4/2015.
  • Produce promotional videos and upload them to YouTube.

3) Develop more effective use of integrated social media streams

  • Refine my current use of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gaydar and Recon to promote the T.J. Masters ‘brand’.
  • Add Instagram and integrate into my existing streams.
  • Update and promote my author profile on the Dreamspinner Press website. This is a great tool, which I haven’t made the best use of yet. I’d also like to interact more with other Dreamspinner authors via the publisher’s Yahoo group by contributing to discussions there, rather than just watching from the sidelines.

4) Solidify the core ‘brand’

  • Monitor, update and refresh my websites
  • Monitor indie sales via Amazon and All Romance E-Books.
  • Add Smashwords as a sales/promotional point.

5) Finally, the following aims aren’t defined in terms of solid goals, but they are all things I’d like to explore over the course of the year:

  • Audio book offerings
  • Foreign market translations
  • Contributing to the UK Meet and EuroCon
  • Non-fiction writing (Social media guides and a blog-to-book project)
  • Print on Demand offerings
  • Cross-fertilisation with other author blogs and social media.
  • Making better use of writing technologies and software – e.g. Dragon, Livescribe, a digital voice recorder and Scrivener.

I’ll be setting myself definite steps along the way to mark progress. For anyone interested in seeing how it goes, I’ll be updating regularly on here, possibility with a monthly review of my progress.

For anyone who still thinks that a target of half a million words in one year is crazy, just do the maths! That works out to less than 42k words per month, less than 10k per week, and just under 1400 words a day. On a good day, I can quite easily write 5-7k words, so I do believe that it’s achievable. This is my job, after all, and I need to work at it.

For now, I can express all of these goals as three simple New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Write every day
  2. Read every day
  3. Engage every day

Happy New Year! 

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

UK Book Sales: Where Are We?

Some 8 months ago I was blogging about the competition between printed physical books and their electronic counterparts. When sales tracker Neilsen published figures for UK book sales at the end of 2012 we had a few surprises, but mostly pleasant ones. Best of all the figures provided the quantitative evidence that our gut feelings about the state of book selling in the UK were not too far from the truth.

For anyone who assumed that book sales were in decline, think again. British publishers reported record sales of £3.3bn during 2012, a rise of 4% on the previous year. This total can be broken down into e-book sales of £411m and physical book sales of £2.9bn. Yes, the e-book sales grew by 66% but print book sales only fell by 1% on the previous year.

The growth of digital sales is due to the rise of e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle series along with iPads and Smartphones. But any fears that they rang the death knell of the printed book seem to have been completely unfounded.

Maybe it came as no surprise that E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy were the best sellers of 2012. They occupied the top 3 spots in the chart with combined sales of 10.5 million copies. As a writer of erotica it seems that I cannot mention what I do without the inevitable comparative questions or comments. Those who know me well also know my opinion of those books both from a literary point of view and the quality of the content. I do, however, believe that they hold a pivotal place in the development of the industry. All praise to ELJ for her success and her millions but aside from that, she has got millions of people TALKING about books. More importantly, she has people READING books. Of course, she has also helped authors like me in a big way by causing erotica to be more widely read and accepted. Currently a quarter of all fiction is read on e-readers and this has made it possible for readers to engage anonymously with any material even in public.

The future of publishing is looking positive and I am pleased to think that the demise of the physical book is still a very long way off. Luckily my publisher, Dreamspinner Press, like to publish books in both physical and digital forms.

Much still needs to be done to ensure the survival of good quality books and bookshops too. There is certainly work to be done around the pricing of digital books. It is worth taking a look at the best seller charts for their content and variety. What must now be done is to ensure that once readers are drawn into book, whether it is through the Fifty Shades route or via the latest celebrity chef glossy tome, that there is a next step available to them. We must now work hard to provide good quality further reading opportunities for all.

You can click here to see the sales charts described above.


Publication Day

There is nothing quite like the feeling of setting a goal and completing all the tasks to achieve it. When that goal is a life-long dream, the feeling of achievement is amazing.

For me that goal was to become a published author, and today (1st February 2013 – mark it on the calendar!) that goal has been reached. I was out of bed at 5.30 this morning to check the publishers’ website. Sure enough, there it was under New Releases on the Homepage, shining out in all its glory thanks to the amazing Reese Dante cover art: Taking The Gardener, my first published novel!

The book is available as a paperback or as an eBook in a variety of formats. Over the next few days it will also appear on Amazon as well. I’ll post updates regularly here, so keep an eye out if you’re interested keeping track of availability news.

In terms of difficulty, the writing was the easy part, then came the incredibly meticulous editors at Dreamspinner Press. I always strove for good quality writing, and their editorial team definitely supported me in that goal.

Now for the hard part. To become successful these days, any writer needs to put on the marketing hat. You need to sell books and encourage reviews, and that’s a very different kind of endeavour to writing the book in the first place.

For any of you who do me the great honour of reading the book, please also leave a customer review on the Amazon page too. You’d earn my eternal gratitude if you spread the word and asked your friends to do the same.

The best goals are never an end in themselves. This book needs to sell copies, obviously, but I’m already working on another novel and I’ve got plans for a sequel to Taking the Gardener. New goals are set and the next journey begun. Want to come along for the ride?

UPDATE: The book is now available in both Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon. (UK readers can find the Kindle edition on Amazon.co.uk).

Taking a Deep Breath

Well, we’ve arrived at the eve of publication! Tomorrow, February 1st, Taking The Gardener will be unleashed upon the world. The ebook and paperback versions are already available to order on Dreamspinner’s website. The ebook will also be available to download from Amazon, and after a few days the paperback version will be available on there as well. I’ll update regularly on here over the coming days with announcements about availability.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who reads the book!

Coming Soon!

The editorial process moves on apace, and Taking The Gardener is on course for publication in February. This week marked a significant step when I agreed on the design for the front cover with Reese Dante, the very talented artist who did my cover art.

My publisher is Dreamspinner Press, who have been extremely professional and author-friendly at every stage of the publishing process so far. I’ll post a more concrete release date as soon as I get one!