MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY
By Hank Fielder
Massage therapist Joe Wells is in a little over his head with his first job at the posh Magic Touch Sports Spa. He’s also secretly falling for his friendly, sexy coworker, the top-notch masseur Andre Swift. All the clients clamor for Andre, and so far none have taken to Joe.
On the verge of being fired, Joe saves the life of a mysterious kitten belonging to a white witch, who grants him a wish: a magic touch that could save his job and maybe even win him Andre’s love and respect. As Joe’s stock at the spa rises to crazy and barely manageable levels of success, demand for Andre’s services drops off. Will Joe lose Andre to an out-of-control spell? Or worse—Andre’s love might prove to be only a result of the magic, just like Joe’s sudden talent.
Guest Post with Author Hank Fielder
“On the Subject of Work”
I’m excited to be here, guest-posting on Tammy’s Two Cents, and introducing my new novella “Make Someone Happy” to readers of Tammy’s wonderful blog.
“Make Someone Happy” is an urban fantasy and it involves a little bit of magic. But the story is grounded in the lives of two regular working guys, Joe and Andre.
The subject of work is fun to write about because an author can draw not only from his or her experience, but you can also research a field you and your readers might like to know more about.
You can interview people who work in the field you want to write about, or you can do your research online or through your own reading-up on the topic in magazines and books dedicated to the subject. There must be a hundred other ways, too.
For example, my grandparents were bakers and I find that bakers are always popping up in my stories. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of heartfelt emotion behind this impulse. And through osmosis (growing up with bakers) I have a wealth of details on this subject.
Sometimes these details are looking for a place to go; how about having them come alive in a story? In doing so, I can pay tribute to family, especially those who have passed on but live in the hearts of a younger generation.
But I don’t limit myself to writing about bakers every time. I like to violate that “write what you know” rule, at least as it applies to personal experience.
Joe and Andre, the heroes of “Make Someone Happy,” are young massage therapists. I started thinking about them after a friend gave me a gift certificate to a spa. It wasn’t long before I was wondering about the lives of the young massage therapists I met at the spa.
What if one therapist was an experienced pro, and a Prince Charming to boot (Andre)? What if a newer, younger massage therapist (our hero, Joe), was inexperienced and in over his head at a posh spa -- but falling desperately (and secretly) in love with the Prince?
That’s what happens in “Make Someone Happy.” A magical wish for a “magic touch” to save his job leads to some serious consequences for Joe -- also some funny ones, I hope!
I researched most of what I learned about massage therapy on the Internet. I based the rest on personal experience and on my gut feelings. Suddenly I was writing “what I know.” Or at least what I just learned.
One of Joe’s biggest fears is getting fired from his job based not on his lack of effort, but his lack of experience. It isn’t really fair that a few bad reviews by a few cranky customers have put his livelihood -- and his proximity to his love object, Andre -- on the line.
Here’s where real-life was my greatest teacher. I had all the research I needed when it came to this kind of trouble in a job. And frankly, haven’t we all had our ups and downs in the workplace (hopefully not too many downs!)?
A friend used to say to me, “It’s called work, not fun, for a reason.” Though the truth is, I have had lots of fun at work and that’s where some of my best friendships were made.
Unfortunately, I also know what it feels like to fear that you’re going to get fired -- and then it happens!
The wonderful thing is, of course, that it’s survivable (millions can attest) and something much better usually happens because of it. Not the very least is leaving a bummer situation in your rearview mirror. But when you’re on the hot seat, it’s uncomfortably warm.
The magic spell Joe delves into -- to keep his job, to keep his budding romance with Andre on track -- has everything to do with this sometimes hard fact of life. I aimed to make this reality light, funny, magical, and above all romantic.
But back to the subject of work. What about writers at work and the work of writing?
Unless you are one of the few writers (painters, musicians, anythings) lucky enough to be born with a trust fund or you’ve come up with a smash hit, you will probably need a “real job” to support your craft.
I always considered myself lucky to have a job and even though there were times when my heart wasn’t in it, I always tried to do well (wanting to contribute, be appreciated, wanting to eat, etc.) but I took solace in my storytelling as the source of my true goals.
I have never had any illusions about always needing an alternate full-time source of income to support myself as a writer. So how do you make the time and the commitment to work on your craft when a forty-plus hour work week can drain a lot of energy?
Like most people, I like to goof off and have fun in my free time -- traveling with my partner, playing softball in our local LGBT league, swimming, dancing, going out, and partying a bit. I also love to read and spend hours at it. I watch TV. I stare into space.
I would say I’m a bit lazy, even. But I wrote several novels and stories (some published, many rejected) while working a full-time job.
I’ve had some modest success, and I’m thrilled with it, because I feel I’m just getting started. To have a publisher interested in your work means it’s going to come alive -- readers are going to find it.
Not being an expert, and speaking only for myself, that means that I make a commitment to myself to make the time (mornings before work, evenings after work, weekends) to get the work done even in those times when it feels more like “work” than fun.
Having said that, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t in a greater sense truly, deeply “fun.” And this isn’t dependent on those stellar moments when you make a sale or someone tells you they loved your story; in fact, failure and rejection are part of the process. They mean you’re still in the game.
So maybe my new story, “Make Someone Happy,” is in part about the fear of failure and rejection -- at work, but also in life and in love.
It gives nothing away about the ending of the story to say, lightly, that finding a spark of magic in good times and in hard times is not only possible...it might already be there for the having when we believe it’s so.
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