Review: The Winter Palace by Eve Stachniak

The Winter Palace (A novel of the young Catherine the Great) This novel is described as being the story of the young Catherine the Great, on her way to power in the Russian palace, playing at palace intrigue and alternately watched and helped by a spy, Varvara. Varvara came to the Russian court as an orphaned Polish child, left alone when her parents die. She starts in the wardrobe and then moves up to become spy of the Chancellor, gradually becoming more confident and self-reliant, until she befriends Catherine. I don’t really know anything about Catherine the Great and I do …

Review: From 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love I read this book a couple of weeks ago. Rachel Aaron is a fantasy author who’s written a series, of fairly hefty books, and is a full time writer. This book is based on a blog post in which she explores how she went from writing 2000 words a day, as a professional full-time writer, to writing 10k a day. She’s expanded it, added some more reflective ideas, and there’s a whole second half about how she plans in detail.  Planning is where it’s at for Rachel …

Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood 4/5

Alias Graceis the first Margaret Atwood book I’ve read – The Handmaid’s Tale is on my to-read list for work, while looking at the rest of her list on Amazon, she seems like the kind of author I’d love, especially the dystopian fiction. Aliace Grace is the story of Grace Marks, a convicted murderess in Canada who’s been in prison for nearly thirty years, and is telling her story to a doctor tasked by her supporters with finding the truth to help her obtain a pardon. Grace claims to have no memory of the murder itself, but everything around it is …

Review: Self-Publishing Attack!

The full title of this book is “Self-Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books” and, really, what an offer! To learn the things I need to do to create a steady income writing? Awesome! While this book is pretty awesome in what it offers – and doing it in 141 pages for £2.56 on kindle – it’s also very realistic and honest about what exactly Bell is offering. He doesn’t promise magic, and he doesn’t promise six-figure salaries. What he does suggest is the successful ways he’s found, through his own experience …

From 2k to 10k – Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron’s short e-book on how to increase your writing per hour is, so far, excellent. There’s lots of useful information on how to plot more successfully in advance, how to improve your hourly word count by a little more planning – and last night when I did this I did indeed nearly triple by usual word count from pitiful to half decent! I’m still reading this, but am about 3/4 through, and about to put into practice some of what she suggests, so will feed back on how successful it is!

Review: Strange Meeting by Susan Hill

Susan Hill’s novel set in World War One takes its name from a Wilfred Owen poem – Strange Meeting – but, as she says in an author’s afterword, there’s very little else to connect the novel and poem together. Written in 1971, it tells the story of John Hilliard, a soldier who, in the first few pages, is wounded and returns to England. He spends a little time there, then goes back to the front where he meets David Barton, a new officer yet to experience battle. The two of them become very close; at some points it seems that they’re …