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17676 words into my untitled novel

A great deal more progress has been made in my latest novel.

I’m currently writing chapter 8, which is just shy of 5k words alone. It’s the biggest chapter in the novel without a doubt. It’s based on the 15 year anniversary show of Arabella’s.

This is one of the lines written in chapter 8:

Above all, he loves fear. Arabella knows this because the more frightened she feels, the wider his smile becomes.

Naming the book

Well, I still don’t have a name. However, there are a few names being thrown around.

My partner is calling the book something whilst I’m calling it something else. It’s funny and everything, but I really want a name already!

I’m sure we’re close to a name now though, it won’t be long!

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Book Review: “Watchers” by Dean Koontz

Some great moments of suspense. Ultimately let down by the ridiculousness of the story.

I enjoyed stretches of the book. However, I couldn’t help but realise how ridiculous the story actually was – a talking dog who learnt to read and spell.

I read the remainder of the book to solve the mystery of the dog and the Outsider but, I was left disappointed.

** (2 stars)

Dean Koontz Watchers

Have you read this novel? What did you think? Am I being harsh?

1199 words written. 537 edited. “Untitled” book progress.

In my writing session today I managed to write 1199 words in chapter 8 of my next novel. 537 words edited too.

This was the last line written…

Untitled novel last line

A quick update on my writing

I’m not afraid to admit, this book is a welcomed challenge. But it is that, a challenge.

The first challenge, my time is limited to write. It’s a real shame as I really want to get this book written and into the editing phase.

Secondly, it’s a different kind of book. The narrative is unique and the voice is dissimilar to my other novels. However, the story itself is mysterious, gothic, dark and suspenseful, which I love.

It has great potential this one. It’ll be similar to DECEPTION in the way that readers will need to pay attention in this one.

Book title update

No luck yet. However, I have a few that are floating around.

None of them feel right, but I’ll continue to write this story and see if one jumps out at me suddenly.

Why do you guys think Arabella feels far from safe?

Book Reviews – Holiday Edition: The Taking of Annie Thorne, I am Watching You, The Twisted Tree

I’m now back from my honeymoon in The Maldives, which was amazing!

I wanted to read more, but I was busy snorkelling and exploring the island of Kuredu. A beautiful place. A quick review of that: dreamy. Highly recommend!

However, three books were consumed and I’m most of the way through a fourth novel (a classic apparently) by Dean Koontz!

Three books and a five star rating below.

TOP READ: The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

Highly recommend. Well written. Dark. Gritty. Mysterious. Addictive.

Joe, a witty yet troubled man, returns to his hometown. It hasn’t changed much. In fact, much of what Joe went through back then seems to be happening again.

I found this book super easy to read. That’s what I liked about it most. The writing was brilliant and because it was so easy to read, it made me read it really quick. Shame really because I wanted more. The story flowed and the characters vivid.

C. J. knows how to build tension. She knows how to create mystery. She most definitely knows how to create a dark atmosphere. That’s what I felt in this book. Arnhill (the hometown) is a dreary place. It was the perfect setting though for this book. The balance between the present and the past offered a great deal of suspense and mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed unveiling the story of Joe’s past and what was to come. And I most definitely did not see the ending coming. Some really nice touches to conclude the book.

Another point, there were some really though provoking quotes in this book which make you just stop and think about your own life. A nice touch also.

I’ve seen some negative reviews for this one, which I am surprised about!

It was a brilliant read, highly recommend.

4.8/5

I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Chilling from the start. A great premise which didn’t disappoint.

Two teenagers being teenagers whilst on their way to London. A normal day, a typical trip for teenagers wanting to feel like adults. But it all turns dark. Very dark.

The differing lives we follow all offer an interesting perspective. Plenty of secrets and there are many suspects in the build up to the horrifying conclusion. It was an addictive read and an extremely fast paced story.

Although the many perspectives were at times confusing (a couple being told in first person the others in third) they offered some difference in progressing the story.

3.7/5

More about this book.

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 19.04.53

A chilling, dark and gothic short story.

For a 180 page book, it goes into a lot of detail about the characteristics of the locations and characters. Although detailed, it didn’t detract from the narrative, it only aided it.

It’s dark, gothic and chilling. An enjoyable short story.

3.3/5


I’m also reading Dean Koontz’s ‘Watchers’. Review will be coming soon!

Book Review: “A Watched Pot” by Mr Blue

A darkly humorous thriller.

A Watched Pot was a devilishly dark and humours read, which made me chuckle and really drew me in.

The most rewarding reads are those ones that slowly drip feed all the key information into the story beyond your realisation that it’s going to be significant later in the story. A Watched Pot did exactly that. It was a clever narrative and really easy to read. It may have only been short but I really got involved in it. The twist at the end was great. I won’t say too much more on this!

The only way it could have been better is if the writing was stronger in places. I noticed a couple of errors, but it didn’t take away from the read itself, which is why this is still a 4 star review.

I reviewed A Watched Pot after the author provided me with a free ecopy.

**** (4 stars)

A Watched Pot

Book Review: “Kill Someone” by Luke Smitherd

This isn’t a bad 2.5 star review, it just wasn’t for me.

I finished reading this book today. I started reading it a while ago and unfortunately I wasn’t entirely compelled to read it all that often, which is why it took me so long to finish.

The premise is great, I was drawn in quickly. What a bizarre circumstance to find yourself in. A sick game that you can’t escape. Well, you can, but at a cost. The plot and set up of the story was very similar to the Saw movie franchise.

I didn’t connect with the main character at all. I wasn’t concerned for him or really care about him. I was more interested in the reason behind this mad scenario. I could however really imagine, see and even hear both The Man in White and Klaus.

The writing had flicks of greatness, but I thought a lot of it was repetitive. When I reached around 40% of the book I did find myself skim reading, but I was too far in to stop now.

The ending was quite disappointing too.

I hope the author reads this review and takes it constructively. It wasn’t a poor book, it just wasn’t for me. I’m confident that many other readers will enjoy this thriller.

*** (rounded up from 2.5 stars)

Kill Someone Luke Smitherd

Book Review: “Silent Victim” by Caroline Mitchell

The different perspectives made the narrative shine.

I enjoyed the story. I wasn’t blown away by the plot itself, but I did enjoy the differing perspectives in which the story is told. This is what made this book stand out.

The writing I thought was nice and easy to read, it flowed, and because of the differing voices, the character development was really effective.

The stand out development was from the point of view of Luke. We could really get inside his mind and experience his harrowing plan unfold to devastating effect.

And because the different perspectives were so personal to each character, you didn’t always know who to believe!

As I say, the plot as a standalone isn’t the most original. Saying that, the opening premise of the book is, that hooked me in right away.

Finally, something I didn’t like was a moment where one of the characters has a realisation about an event in the book. The connection they make is almost impossible to make that connection. It made me say, “Oh come on, really!?”

All in all, a good read!

**** (3.8 stars)

Silent Victim Caroline Mitchell - T. J. Blake's book review

Writers are ‘losing control’ over their characters. But is this really possible?

I tweeted about a problem writers are facing. A seemingly ruthless and universal issue that shows no mercy. The problem? Misbehaving and disobedient fictitious characters.

What is losing control over your character?

Many writers talk about occasions when their character does something that they (the writer) simply didn’t expect or allow.

Maybe their character absolutely loves eating apples, but no matter what, the author just can’t stop their character from eating goddamn bananas.

I don’t know about you but this process of a character changing or doing something against your will is completely ludicrous. There is simply no way that a fictional character can dictate their own actions against you, the author, their god.

Fictional characters DO become real beings though… in your head and on paper

Sure, fictional characters become real, living, breathing, walking, talking beings in our heads, in our words and in our stories. They, however, cannot make a single decision without you. For a start, they’re a floating individual or group in your head. They don’t have their own mind, like a real person. Only in their fictional world.

As a writer, you are the character. You make their decisions and you control their behaviour. So if there is any behavioural change to your character, then that’s down to you as the writer and god of your fictional universe, not the character.

It’s character personality development rather than character defiance

It happens in a story. A character’s personality, behaviour and mannerisms can change, just like a real life person’s personality changes over time. Personality change is the result from life experience. This is something that happens in the real world and fictional universe.

Imagine yourself ten years ago, think about where you were in your life and how it affected you. Were you a different person? If so, why? Maybe you weren’t as confident as you are now. Maybe you say certain phrases that you would never say now. Maybe you now like a certain food that you never liked before. It could be any kind of behavioural change, but it all dwindles down to life experience.

It’s more impressive when writers ensure their character’s personality developments from their experiences. Whether the experience is part of their backstory or are the effects of the narrative we’re following.

Why do writers say their character is defying them and doing what they want?

It’s for effect. It makes it seem to others that they’re so wrapped up in their creative world that they’re part of the universe. Or that their character has escaped their fictional world and joined them in the real world – sounds like the bloody Matrix films now.

Simply put, writers have an overactive imagination. It’s what helps us to come up with the stories we come up with.

I have all sorts of random thoughts in my day-to-day life, creating various scenarios in my head.

Picture this: I walk in the front door after work. It’s dark upstairs. “I bet there’s a axe wielding maniac up there hiding in my wardrobe,” I think to myself. I walk up the stairs anyway without turning the lights on.

My Conclusion

I’ve said it already, but writers are gods of their fictional worlds. They’re in control of every single aspect of their world, including the development of a story and their characters. If a character swears, the writer allowed them to. If they order a pint, it’s because the author wanted them to. If they end up killing someone, it’s cause the writer allowed it.

You may not always agree with your character or condone what they do, say or think, but you created them. It’s because of you that they act a certain way or have a belief in your fictional world.

Sorry fellow writers who say their characters are going rogue, in my opinion, it’s simply not the case. It’s part of your imagination and you like the thought that your character is a real person who makes their own decisions. To some extent they do make their own decisions, but it’s down to you what decisions they make, whether it’s the right or wrong decision. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Living a different life and doing things that we can’t always do in our normal lives.

We can live a different life through our characters.

Get in touch if you are a firm believer in lacking control of your characters

If you’ve ever experienced losing the control of your character and they do what ever the hell they want, get in touch. Tell us what happened!

2019 and ‘DECEPTION’ is still receiving 5 star reviews!

Although I decided to self-publish DECEPTION back in 2016, I’m happy to see that even after three years my readers are still loving it!

A ‘verified purchase’ 5 star review on Amazon.co.uk

5 Star Amazon Review from Georgie

A short and sweet review from Georgie. Chuffed to see that she enjoyed the ride!

DECEPTION’s blurb:

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.

A psychological thriller that will not let you look at passing dog walkers the same.

If you would like to read this novel, you can download it here from Amazon. Click the link and it will take you to the right Amazon (UK, US etc.) for you.

Deception: A Love of Lies by T. J. Blake

If you do decide to read DECEPTION then please let me know what you think!

Blog Takeover – ‘A Morning Stroll’ by Billy Allen from DECEPTION

A Morning Stroll

The skies are grey. Damp, decomposing leaves cover the ground, making my path slippery in places. The wind is cold and sharp against my face. My breath plumes before me then dissipates into the thin air as I walk through it.

I look down to Ella. Her head is down, moist nose sniffing the ground and I wonder how many different scents there must be for her to seek. Ella’s ears dangle, flopping gently against her face. She has the typical spaniel face; her straight white nose has a smattering of brown splodges which descend from between her hazel eyes.

Heel girl, heel. Sit.

Ella turns and sits down in front of me, eager for my next instruction. Her eyes glisten as she waits for my command.

I pull a dog treat from my pocket. “Good girl. Wait.” I kneel down and unclip the lead from her collar. “Wait. Wait. Go on then.” I fling out my arm as I give the command and Ella runs into the distance but returns like a boomerang.

I enjoy my early morning walks with Ella. I like studying our location to see what people have done in the woodland and surrounding landscape. I can identify the age and gender of a person based on a change from the day before. For example, there are areas of the leaf-strewn ground that have been disturbed to reveal the sludgy, underlying mud. This was done by children, they have been using the mud as glue to build their bases and as ink to write on trees around the woods, marking their territory. I scratch it off.

There are scuff marks on every tree in one cluster, the scuffs are from the children’s dirty shoes. As they climbed up the trees they left their mark. They would have been here during the late afternoon, after they finished school, because glimmering slug trails are visible on the trees’ bark and slugs prefer the dark, damp night time. One tree however does not have the shiny lines because they have been rubbed off. An empty beer bottle sits at the foot of the tree, covered in piss. A man came here in the early hours; depressed and lonely, he comes here most nights. He is most likely around the age of fifty and he’s local. He got pissed whilst walking to no particular destination, ended up here, laid down by this tree.

Only a few dog walkers come through here, a dozen or so, possibly a couple more. There’s always one that leaves its dog’s shit on the ground for someone to step in. On this occasion someone had it follow them home via their shoe. Most likely the drunk man who’s a size ten foot, judging by the print left in the relatively big shit on the ground.

I know these woods better than anyone. These woods are mine. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t visit.

As we walk along the higher grounds of the woodlands, I notice more details. Dry fox scat, must be a day old. I wouldn’t have missed that yesterday so it must have been excreted just after I passed. I see balls of ginger fur rolling in the breeze. It’s not from a fox it’s from a pet cat; the fur is too fluffy and light to be a wild animal’s.

I move to the edge of the higher grounds and look over the naked lower woodlands. I scan the meandering dirt paths. The leaves on a few of the paths have been disturbed by the footfall of walkers, but not all. The trees are thinner down there; some of their leaves still have life in them. The dead leaves have blown from the higher grounds but some have been carried by the children to be used in their bases.

Through the stark and leafless trees, I see her; she’s walking her Springer, ‘Bussy’. She has a slight bounce to her stride as she lets Bussy gallop around the lower woodlands.

She has that horse rider look; tight fitted riding trousers and boots, a black woollen jumper and a white shirt.

Her brown hair is woven into a plait and dangles over her right shoulder.

I see her most mornings. 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. From different angles, I catch the glint from her eyes, similar to the sparkle of a star in the night. Her skin is pale but in this cold she has rosy red cheeks that match her deep red lipstick.

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.

As I walk along the woods watching her from the corner of my eye, I once again pass her without saying a word. I wish I could pluck up the courage to speak to her but I simply can’t. She’s the first woman that’s caught my attention since Cindy.

I will not speak to her today. I will one day, but I will do something different to engage her attention. 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 want to find out more about her so I will bypass the lower woodland and exit from the upper woods in two minutes, where she will have to walk up the slope to enter the upper woodlands and then exit onto the road. I will be far enough up the road that she will not see me, but I will see her.

Ella, here.” My dog bounces back to me. “You need to be on the lead for this, little girl.

I turn and retrace the path we have just walked. I reach the middle of the upper woods and then exit onto the road. I wait a couple of seconds and then I see the woman also exit the woods. A natural smile settles itself upon my lips; she must be special to make me smile so unexpectedly.

I walk down the road at the same speed as her. I never do this. The last time I walked down this road was when I followed a girl home when I was a kid.

I had forgotten about the detached three bedroom homes on the left, opposite the woods. This road always seemed like a wall, a divider protecting me from the world full of cruel and heartless people. The woods were where I felt most comfortable as a kid and even now, their reassurance remains with me.

As she reaches the crossroads at the bottom of the road, she hesitates, looks both ways and then jogs across and into the garden of a house. I stop walking and concentrate on which house is hers. There are two detached houses. There’s a fair amount of land for the two homes. A line of bushes separates their front gardens and it’s probably the same around the back. She walks Bussy in my woodlands, so behind the houses must be private land, a farm possibly?

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


DECEPTION: A Love of Lies – available as eBook and paperback!

Deception: A Love of Lies by T. J. Blake