Monday, 30 January 2012

Goodreads - Save Your Books!

I was surprised to find an email from Goodreads this morning, stating that as from 30th January 2012, they were no longer allowed to import book information from Amazon, so the information on some books will be missing. Goodreads was excellent, in that they told me the exact book on my shelves, which would lose some of it's information. Getting that info back was easy. Go to your account and click a few buttons. I was pleased to find that I was actually saving a friends book. All I had to do was get the image of the cover from her website and load it on to Goodreads. Easy.

Amazon haven't given Goodreads much time to complete this task and it looks to be another website war. It's not as though there are only a few of us mere mortals using the internet is it? Goodreads, in my opinion have handled it very well. I will still buy my books from Amazon and review them both on Goodreads and Amazon. I don't see the big issue. Goodreads is a site that brings book lovers together and if I read a friends review I really like, I jump straight on Amazon and download it. To me it's a great mutual relationship. It's a shame it had to end.

If you haven't been on your Goodreads account for a while, it's worth logging on to see if you need to save any of your books. Below is the statement of explanation on Goodreads.

Dear Rebecca,
At Goodreads, we make it a priority to use book information from the most reliable and open data sources, because it helps us build the best experience for our members. To that end, we're making a major change.

On January 30, Goodreads will no longer display book information that comes from Amazon.

This includes data such as titles, author names, page counts, and publication dates. For the vast majority of book editions, we have imported this data from other sources. Those few remaining editions for which we haven't found an alternative source of information will be removed from Goodreads.

Your data is safe.

Your ratings, reviews, and bookshelves are safe, but your data may be moved to a different edition of the book. If we can't find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author
Luckily, you can help us find alternate sources for book editions and rescue those editions.

Rescuing a book is easy.

Just click the "Rescue Me!" button next to each book edition that needs help, and fill in the information on the following page. A few keystrokes can help preserve these book editions for millions of future readers.
Thanks for helping Goodreads remain the special place it is!
The Goodreads Team

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Yesterday I started to use an iPhone app called instagram. Instagram is a photo effect and sharing app. You sign up as you would do a blog, Twitter or Facebook and then you share wonderful images and parts of your day in beautifully edited images, its so simple to use.

Like Twitter and any other social network site, you follow people to see their images. If you look me up you will find me under username rebeccajbradley. I'm now completely addicted to what an iPhone can do with photographs and effects. I've downloaded a couple of other effect/editing apps and I'm having a whale of a time with it.

Photographs are a great way to say something. Have a look at Instagram and find me if you like it.

These are a few of the images I've created and shared. - Please bare in mind I am only an iPhone photograph beginner.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Follow Friday Feature

Today I'm participating in a blog hop. It's been a while since I did one, so I thought, as I'm not at work today and have a bit of time, I'd give this great, book related hop another go. It's chock full of book enthusiastic bloggers so what could be better? Full rules for the hop are on Parajunkees blog and is co-hosted by Alison Can Read. Featured blogger this week is Book'd Out.

The hop always involves a question. This weeks question is;

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

This year I'm attempting to widen my reading choices and try books I wouldn't normally pick up, so this question is a  bit at odds with that plan, but one that I don't think I'll be able to get my head around is dystopian. I'm not sure I could say why particularly. I think it's the doom and gloom and grimness that is portrayed throughout. Even if there is a triumph at the end, the whole imagery of the idea just sets me off running in the opposite direction. You probably think that strange as I write crime, murder, but it's set in reality and in reality the cops go home to places you and I are familiar with. There is a sense of reality and calm in there somewhere and that's what I like. It's all choices I know. 

I hope you join in with this hop. Welcome to any new followers who pop by. It really is great to have you here and I hope to see you again. 

Now time to go hopping! 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Recently Read - Me Before You

I've just finished reading, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I can still feel the prickle on my cheeks from the drying tears. I sobbed at this book like I have never sobbed at a book before and had to share it with you. 

The back cover blurb doesn't do the book justice;

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

But the quote from The Independant on Sunday does;

Gorgeously romantic and partner-ignoringly compulsive.

It absolutely is. I read the second half of the book in a day and though I may have been sobbing uncontrollably (Luckily I was in the house and not sat on a train where I had been reading some of it yesterday) it also had me laughing out loud throughout. It's a book that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride as Lou starts to work for the Traynors and the handsome, life-loving son Will, who is now a quadraplegic after a terrible accident. It is told with humour and sensitivity and catches hold of the way public disability is perceived. It will make you think and grabs hold of you hard and doesn't let go. 
If you only read one book this year, make this the book you read. I can't recommend this book enough. Please, just read it. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

What Do You Have Waiting To Be Read?

I love reading, as I know many of you do. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to inhale the amount of books I want to read, but it doesn't stop me trying.

I used to only read crime fiction, it's the genre I love, but last year I read some chick-lit and loved it. Then I got a kindle, or the kindle app on the iPad anyway. This has been addictive for me. I can't keep out of the bookstore. I've never had so many books waiting to be read. In eBook alone, I think I have about 50 books waiting to be read. There was a big jump in these just after Christmas when the Amazon eBook store had a 12 days of Christmas special where they put multiple books on offer for 99p. I was in reading heaven.

The outcome is I found books I wouldn't normally read. My favourite title from these is How to teach Quantum Physics to you Dog. I mean, what a great title!

I can't wait to read this. I love science, so I'm fascinated by what could be in this book.

I've decided I really need to widen my reading pattern as well as reading a lot in my chosen genre. Below are some of the other books I've downloaded that I maybe wouldn't have read a year ago as well as a crime fiction book introducing me to an author I haven't read. All in my waiting to be read list.

What do you have waiting to be read and do you dip into books you maybe wouldn't have thought you'd enjoy?

Saturday, 14 January 2012


I've broken the blog.

I wasn't in the least bit happy about it. Obviously.

All I wanted to do was have a look what the new Blogger Dynamic blog would look like, so I tinkered away and clicked a few keys. And Voila, a dynamic blog I didn't like because the header was gone and so was the About me, Follow Me buttons, and Google Friends Connect button. How is anyone supposed to navigate a blog and know where they have landed, and how to get back to it, if it's not all clearly signposted? So, no, dynamic blogs weren't for me. Only, I lost what I had and now, though I have most of it back, I can't figure out how to change the colour of the post title or the posts done this month, bit. I know where to look on the dashboard for the post title colour, but when I click on it, there is only the option to change the font and size, no colour pallette.

So it's still broken.

I have been considering a re-vamp, but that's all it was, a wispy thought that came and went, that I didn't have half an intention of implementing yet. Now though, I'm annoyed. Both with myself and the blog itself. Pah.

I hope that all the odd colours and wonky feel of the place doesn't put people off. It's still me in here. Promise.

Friday, 13 January 2012

What Bookshops Do In The Night

I thought after such a deep post last weekend, I would share something beautiful and light-hearted today. I came across this thanks to @writermels on Twitter.

Please enjoy.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Effectiveness Of Storytelling

The title of this post was between two choices, The Effectiveness Of Storytelling or The Power of Social Media and Press, both of which would still have the same following post. I went with the storytelling title because that is what I do, so it seemed more relevant and the storytelling involved disturbed me and made me think quite hard about my own actions which evidences the power of a well told story. What I'm about to discuss though, shows, in the most far fetched way, the power social media and press reporting have on some events occurring in the world.

I would advise before reading further, that this has an adult rated theme, so if you are below the age of 18, please don't read further. I am going to attempt to tell you about the story that prompted this post. It was a television drama I recorded in December and only watched this week. I will clip my language when it comes to telling of the difficult part in an attempt to not put anything too awful in your head, but it will show the power a story has. The programme was called Black Mirror. Here is a quick potted version with my thoughts.

The Prime Minister wakes to be informed that the princess has been kidnapped. A video recorded ransom demand was posted on You-Tube showing the princess talking, in tears, to the camera. It is acknowledged that this is genuine. The video was removed after 9 minutes but it was too late, people had downloaded it and kept uploading it and the cycle continued.  

It is here that the problem starts. Once something has gone out on the internet, it can not be retrieved. You can delete/remove your own version, but there is absolutely nothing to say who else now has it or what they will do with it. In this instance, the general public are aware of the princesses kidnap and are extending the story around the globe, specifically on Twitter. Control of a situation is already lost.

The kidnapper has one demand and a list of how this must be done and also what must not be done. (here's the difficult bit.) The kidnapper wants the Prime Minister to...erm... do a despicable act...erm.... on live television with set camera specifications, roaming camera and with no stand in doing it for him. Put the word...pig... into the above lines somewhere and you get the gist. 

Yes, this is somewhat ridiculous, but please keep following.

Prime Ministers staff gauge statistics from social media sites and assess that 80+% of people don't think he should do it. They set up a stand in and prepare for filming. A leak in the PM's office leaks it to the press, who film the preparations and the result is the kidnapper seemingly cuts off the princesses finger for disobeying him and posts this on You-Tube. Public sympathy leaves the PM.

It is at this point that the story comes into it's own and where I really squirmed and wondered at the place of social media. 

PM's staff tell him if he doesn't do it, not only will he be the most hated man in the world, but they could not guarantee his safety or that of his wife and baby. 

The climax came, the "hero" has to make an awful decision. I am barely breathing. The unthinkable versus saving someones life, not just anyone, but a royal princess whom the public adore. The information that the PM and family safety could not be guaranteed were the most intense couple of sentences spoken in the hour long programme.

PM does this act, the princes is released. His popularity rises, but his wife never speaks to him again. 

Sounds awful and vaguely heroic if you don't think about the awfulness. 

The twist in the story was that the princess was released into the streets, slightly sedated, half an hour before the television live film. The crazy kidnapper wanted to see if it could be done, and he took his own life. 

Really, I had already thought the story had taken me to the limit, but the twist just left me gobsmacked and in a very contemplative mood. 

This story has stuck with me for days. It was so powerful and well told. It showed that you can take the story out as far as you want, as long as there are points of such believability in it that people can connect on an emotional level.

The social media aspect was very clever and I will now always gauge what I tweet in such significant matters.

Is there a story that you have read or watched, that has gripped you and been so impactive it has made you look at your own actions in some small way?

Apologies if I have upset anyone. This story caught hold of something inside me that I just have to discuss it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

UK Writers

This post is of particular significance if you are a Twitter user. Personally I love and adore Twitter and will bore you with all the reasons why in another blog post at some point in the future, but for now, I want to talk about the hashtag #UKwriters. If you are not a Twitter user, please don't run off and hide under the nearest rock and quiver until you think the awfully invasive T word has disappeared, pull up a seat and see what all the fuss is about and maybe by the end of the post, you may have just a tinkling of interest that may prompt you to check out the phenomena that is Twitter. 

On 28th December I read a post on Rosalind Adams blog about a new hashtag she created, that is circulating on Twitter called #ukwriters. Below is an exerpt from her blog explaining. (I feel she can do this much better than I can.)

@mariaAsmith and myself, @RosalindAdam, thought it would be useful for UK writers to have a tag so we can link up with each other to share news on Twitter. The news can be writing opportunities, competitions, conferences, in fact anything that's relevant to UK writers. 

If you're interested then please tweet ‘I'm in #UKwriters to @mariaAsmith and she'll include your twitter name on her UKwriters twitter list. If you're already on the list and want to follow more UK writers go to Maria Smith UK writers list where you can check it out. Do please use the #UKwriters tag whenever you tweet writing advice etc. Who knows, we might even get it trending.

I think this explains it brilliantly and what I love about it is the ability to share what you are doing and what help/support and general all round friendliness towards writers, there is out there. We all know writing is a very solitary thing to engage in, so for a few characters you can engage with like minded people and know you aren't so alone. Yes we have blogs, but Twitter is quicker and more instantaneous. If you use Twitter, join in, if you don't use Twitter, why not pop by and give it a try, you already know some of the users now. 

For anyone who doesn't know how the hashtag (#) works, it's simple. Add the # to a tweet you are making and your tweet can be easily found by people who are interested in it. 

Here's an example;

Hey, there's a uk competition at blah blah blah. Free to enter! #ukwriters.

Anyone following the hashtag chat will see it and you have informed a bunch of fellow writers of something you think they will be interested in. The hashtag doesn't have to be a part of the sentence. It's simply tagged to the end.

You'll find me @RebbecaJBradley I look forward to seeing you there. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

100k Words In 100 Days Challenge.

Well that step into the New Year of 2012 was a fairly peaceful one for me. No late night partying or over consuming of alcohol and food, but a quiet evening with family and Midnight only just witnessed. I know how to have a good time!

A good start to the first day of a new challenge I'm signed up for. 100 thousand words in 100 days. You can find the details of the challenge over on Sally Quillfords Blog.

It's great timing for me. My first WIP is out on submission and I've had about six weeks to run the second book through my head and make some notes and do some research, so I think I'm about ready to start WIP number two. I love challenges like this one because even though I have to sit down alone at my desk, and I have to come up with the goods on my own, I don't feel quite so alone, knowing there are many of us taking part. If I can get my first draft down in the next three months then I will be thrilled. It may not make a great deal of sense, but neither did the first one when I read it back. There was a plot hole you could have lost a whole village in, never mind fallen into yourself. It's the editing I love. When you can see the framework and you mould it into what you imagined it to be initially. That's if your characters let you go down the initial path and didn't lead you a merry dance into an unknown world.

Anyway, I'm all signed up and I've cleaned my desk space in preparation. What I didn't bank on already, was having massive misgivings about the plot in this WIP. I love the idea, I really want to work the idea, but then I realised I couldn't deal with such a complicated plot as a new writer, so I tweeted that the idea wasn't going to work and that would be the end of that story.

The problem was, after tweeting that it wasn't going to happen, my head had other idea's and just wouldn't let it go. It sent me into the world of research again, told me if I worked hard and allowed the story to flow, we could actually do it. So with no will of my own, it looks as the the story for the challenge is the original one my common sense told me was too big.

Lets see where this challenge takes us shall we?

Is anyone else doing this or something similar?