Planning a Novel – I’m trying out something new!

The development of my previous five books all followed a similar format – first came the initial idea, then the fabrication of the world and the characters within it, and then a basic outline of the story’s journey. This usually took the form of my thoughts combined with the plot outline on my iPhone notes; which seems ridiculous looking back!

With a new book currently in development, I wanted to try something a little different in preparing myself to write it.

Time and patience is the key to writing an effective novel. The initial planning and development of a story is more important than the writing itself.

My novel latest novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, relied heavily on the characterisation and plot of the story. This is what drove the story. The initial idea was very different to how DECEPTION is now, but the time spent on researching and developing the plot is what made it the big hit it is today.

So, how am I changing my novel planning process?

I’m still embracing my mental plotting, but I’m taking the approach of jotting it down on paper, which is why I’ve got my own book planning notebook now!

Novel Planning Notebook T. J. Blake

As dull as the image is above, this little notebook of mine has book titles, plots, quotes, character profiles and backstories inside it. I’ve separated the various elements of the novel up. The notebook currently contains a book title page, character profile page, character background page, key events page, quotes page, writing inspo page and genre theme page.

With the divided pages, I’m able to jot down my ideas in basic note form. All the ideas I note down aren’t guaranteed to feature in the book when I come to write it, but it allows me to plaster my ideas and let me review it over time when the time arrives for me to start writing and put the plot together.

My character profile and background pages were looking very full to begin with, mostly because the protagonist in this novel was the key to the story; it all started with her (there’s an exclusive for you all!).

What’s your planning process?

I’d love to know what your novel planning process is. If you’ve tried many ways to plan your books and have both terrible and great experiences, I’d love to hear them!

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My Dark Fantasy eBook Alive has a new book cover, and it’s FREE on Amazon!

My dark fantasy eBook, Alive, has a brand new book cover. It’s also free to download from January 12th to the 15th!

Alive’s synopsis:

For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.

New cover for dark fantasy eBook, Alive

I’m really excited to officially reveal the new front cover of my eBook dark fantasy short story, Alive.

Feast your eyes on the new book cover!

Dark fantasy short story Alive T. J. Blake

It’s a massive improvement on the last cover for Alive and truly echoes the darkness, fear and suspense of the story.

This amazing cover wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the talent of Jordan Baker from The Bakery Creative. Thank you for helping me and well done for doing a fine job!

Dark fantasy short story

Although it may seem biased of me to say, but I love Alive. It may only be a short story, but it’s one I really enjoyed writing and re-reading. I read it recently and it had me on edge.

Here’s what other readers are saying about Alive:

Read the whole book continuously… ‘Alive’ is a dark fantasy. I must say I enjoyed the book very much as I’m addicted to dark fantasy stories. I love his writing style and I’m a happy reader.– Amazon.com

Read this short story whilst I was on holiday in Cyprus and loved it! The afternoon passed by so quickly as I couldn’t put it down, a great little page turner. A creepy story line with a great twist, would highly recommend.– Goodreads

Download Alive for free from Amazon on Kindle from 12th-15th of Jan!

Alive will be free to download on Amazon for the weekend – starting tomorrow the 12th of January, and lasting until Monday the 15th.

Once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so why not leave a review too!

Books by T. J. Blake and what’s to come 

My writing journey began with my debut release, Endurance (2013), a gory dystopian horror-thriller novel.


After my fast paced debut came my suspenseful mystery thriller, The Author (2014), which was closely followed by the second gory book of The Endurance Series, Endurance: Apocalypse (2014).


I then took a year gap whilst I finished my last year at university. But as soon as I fnished, I was back and I decided to release a tense dark fantasy short story, Alive (2016).

After Alive, I released my latest novel, Deception: A Love of Lies (2016) – this book has received wonderful reviews from readers across the globe!


I’m always working on new book ideas, my latest includes a brand new horror!

My next book to be released is the last instalment of The Endurance Series – which is currently due for release later this year.

To find out more about my books and what’s to come, take a look at Books by T. J. Blake.

Get ‘Deception: A Love of Lies’ from Waterstones or WHSmith

This may be old news to some of you because I posted this on my social media, but my latest psychological thriller,  Deception: A Love of Lies, is available to purchase from Waterstones and WHSmith. 

It’s a great achievement, mostly because my previous books did not make it onto WHSmith, but Deception has! 

It’s currently out of stock on WHSmith, but it’s available elsewhere in paperback and eBook. 

Deception T. J. Blake WHSmith
It’s great that it’s listed on WHSmith, and I am trying to speak to the distributor to see if we can get a description added into the book’s product page, as well as get it stocked in stores.

I’ll also admit, it’s quite pricey in WHSmith. However, on Waterstones, it’s available for a cool £7.50. 

Deception T. J. Blake Waterstones
Deception: A Love of Lies – worth the read? 

If you’re wondering whether Deception is worth reading, then you should see the incredible ratings it’s received on Goodreads from readers across the world. 

I love this book – it’s easily my favourite out of my books, and it’s all because of the main character, Billy. I know I’m slightly biased, but I’m confident that if you enjoy a psychological thriller with intricate characters and detailed characterisation, then you’ll enjoy Deception!

Deception A Love of Lies Goodreads
Grab a copy of Deception today by heading over to Waterstones, Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and see what others are saying about Deception on Goodreads

Be careful when looking at reviews, there’s potential for spoilers! 

Deception: A Love of Lies Reviewed!

Sorry it’s been a while again folks, I’ve had quite a busy New Year so far with life and work – but I’m very happy to see Deception continuing to entertain people.

When people read Deception, one key element particularly stands out to them: Characterisation. It’s a theme in this book that is the key to Deception‘s appeal. With an intriguing main character (Billy Allen) and a beautiful, peaceful setting of Lavingsham, this unique story allows us to become part of Billy’s life. 

The paragraph below taken from my reader’s review sums up the book, and will ultimately tell you if my psychological thriller is a book for you. 

It is a compelling read, drawing you into Billy’s house. T. J. Blake knows how to keep you glued to the story, in dire need of finding out who/what Billy really is. Billy and Eve are quite complex, despite the mixed emotions I had about them. The story comprises authentic characters, interesting turns, and has a good flow.

Read the full review nowhttps://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/deception-a-love-of-lies-by-t-j-blake/

Deception Psychological Thriller T. J. Blake

2 more 5🌟 reviews for Deception

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but I thought this was definitely worth a quick post – Deception: A Love of Lies has two more 5 star reviews! 

They have been posted on both Amazon US and UK. 

Check them out below!

Deception 5 Star Book Review Amazon
Deception Book Review Amazon
‘So what exactly is Deception about?’ I hear you asking. Take a look at the synopsis below and allow yourself to live the life of avid dog walker, Billy Allen. 

“Through the stark and leafless trees, I see her.

I remember the first day I saw her; an instant attraction. I think she’s beautiful. She has such pensive blue eyes; they remind me of a blue sky right before the sun descends. Every time I see her I want to talk to her, I want to get to know her, and I want to be her friend.

She usually completes the lower woodland walk in six minutes and forty-two seconds; she misses the deeper woodlands and goes home, I believe.

I walk down the road at the same speed as her. She reaches the crossroads at the bottom of the road, looks both ways, and then jogs across into the garden of a house. I stop walking and concentrate on which house is hers.

I can’t stare too long but I am intrigued already, I will come back.”

Deception: A Love of Lies Book Cover
FINALLY – there will be a spotlight feature on another blog Thursday, which will be hosting a giveaway of three eCopies of Deception, so keep an eye out for that in the 1st of December. 

My books Endurance and The Author will also be free to download from Amazon on the 1st of December also! 

The Author Mystery Thriller BookEndurance Dystopian Horror Book T. J. Blake

‘As a rating I would give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating and I will certainly recommend this book to other readers.’

The 5 star reviews keep on coming.

Proud to say that Deception: A Love of Lies has not disappointed – another reader, another 5 star review.

deception-amazon-com-ratings

You may see that Deception has all these great reviews but wonder if you would like the book. I can tell you, if you’re someone who enjoys a detailed, realistic, intricate and personal read, then you will enjoy my new psychological thriller. 

Many book reviews can give certain stories away, but the latest reviews do not; and I’m very thankful. 

The latest review is a good one, the reader has understood the story, they’ve accepted it and they’ve most importantly lived with the main character, Billy, throughout the read. If you allow yourself to join Billy, you will enjoy Deception and you’ll most importantly enjoy the ride into Billy’s life in his little bungalow on Lavingsham Close. 

Here are some of the key quotes from the latest review which will help you understand what the book is about and what you can expect from the story itself –

“The book starts with a beautiful setting which unfolds into a gradual storyline full of shocking twists and suspense. The story is about a lonely dog walker who strolls through the local woods on a daily basis. On these walks a beautiful woman catches his eye and he watches her for some time from a distance and seems to become a sort of stalker watching her in the comforts of her own home.”

“Throughout the story I found myself feeling a mixture of emotions- there were parts where I felt shocked and horrified, I could feel little flips in my stomach when the writer dropped a shocking bombshell. Then at later parts I found myself shedding a few saddened tears”

“I was able to learn about each character and their backgrounds, the description used throughout the story was intense and very detailed; I was able to really imagine the surroundings and the characters. I had to chuckle at parts also like that description about the dog poo as these are real life occurrences; it was these things that really brought the story to life.”

“As a rating I would give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating and I will certainly recommend this book to other readers. It was a beautiful read that continually hooked me, it was certainly difficult to put down.”

You can read the full book review on Pen To Paper Review Service‘s Tumblr page – http://pentopaper94.tumblr.com/post/152730859391/deception-a-love-of-lies 

YOU can start reading Deception: A Love of Lies right now – download it from Amazon.com or .co.uk today onto your Kindle or eReader.

img_0249-5

‘It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization.’ – Another 5 star review for Deception

You’re probably asking yourself the question, ‘what exactly can I expect from Deception?’ Well, I can tell you that it’s not your typical thriller novel. I would describe it as an intricately detailed psychological thriller, which will have you following clues and trying to piece the story together; along with trying to understand the behaviour and past of the main character, Billy Allen. 

The latest 5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads, posted by justafarmer4, has given an appreciative nod to the extremely detailed story telling and rare characterisation technique of Deception

This one will keep you wondering from the very beginning.

I don’t often read an entire novel in one sitting, but this one kept me turning pages until 2 a.m.

The story begins with an excruciatingly detailed description of walking in the woods. Extremely, minutely, detailed and I thought, ok, get on with the story already!

Then I realized: this was a most central facet of the main character, Billy. It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization. And it’s done brilliantly because Bill’s attention to detailed observation is who he is, how he has let it take over how he views his life, and it is how it ultimately fails him, thus leading to this twisted tragedy.

His “peeping tom” episodes concerned me tremendously, and initially put me off feeling any sympathy whatsoever for Bill, but they were also an important part of the characterization and understanding the hows and whys of his mental state.

His social skills are so depressed that he has difficulty interacting with other people. Fortunately for him, this dreadful inadequacy doesn’t extend to canines. He carries on lengthy discussions with his own dog, who adores him, and he gets on well with other dogs. And the other dogs like him as well, so that was a major point in his favor for me. After all, anyone who really knows dogs understand that dogs are almost infallible when it comes to which humans are trustworthy. Almost always…

Bill isn’t the only “peeping tom”. Other characters made me feel like a ping pong ball as my sympathy for each swung back and forth while they did their own peeking and sneaking around; well, except for one particularly nasty piece of work who enjoyed terrifying everyone else…no sympathy for him, at all, ever. (Boo! Hiss! Hide yer children and dogs from this bully!)

I’ll wrap this up by returning to the topic of excruciating details. The novel is jam-packed with them, which lends extremely well to the constant misdirection. All of the clues are there, hidden in plain sight. Such a cliché for me to say, but it is indeed very close to “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

This has been one of the more difficult reviews for me to write because I’ve tried to avoid including anything remotely resembling a spoiler. Trust me. Any one of the characters could ultimately be revealed as “the one”. I encourage the reader to take up the book and enjoy the ride or, in this case, the walk through the woods.”

This reader has a great reading of Deception,and fully embraced the book for what it stands for. 

Get your copy of Deception either as paperback or on Kindle/eBook now. 

Deception is compared with Gone Girl

Is there a better way to praise a book? I’m extremely pleased to see that my readers are enjoying Deception, with more 4 & 5 star reviews popping up – but a comparison with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is really impressive. 


I enjoyed reading this particular review, the reader has clearly enjoyed getting to know the characters and thoroughly enjoys the ‘Deception’ of the story. You can see their full review on Amazon. 

If you want to read a psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning your loved one, then Deception is for you! 

Get your copy today on Amazon and Smashwords

‘Deception’ receives a 4.5 star review!

I was very pleased to see that Deception has received another glowing review, a very decent 4.5 star and ‘highly recommended’ rated review. 


I personally really like this review because the reader has clearly understood the book, but most importantly, have understood the characters. They have enjoyed experiencing Billy and Eve’s relationship, and I’m so happy that they said enough in the review, but not too much about the story.

My favourite quotes from the review of Deception from Book Junkie Reviews

“T. J. Blake amazingly depicts the full range of emotions that these characters feel, especially obsession, rage, passion, contempt and confusion.”

“The book is aptly named Deception because it is full of manipulation, unclear motives and people not being what they appear. Read and be enveloped into a world that is wonderful but warped, and be taken along a journey full of exciting twists and turns!”

Read the rest of Deception‘s review now on Book Junkie Reviews.