My Lord Ghost

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Today, we are excited to announce the release of My Lord Ghost, book two of The Grace Sisters Trilogy. Sweet, warm and alluring, My Lord Ghost is the new romantic novel by award winning author Meredith Bond that promises to captivate your heart.

Buy now! My Lord Ghost is available on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Also, read on and find out how you can join My Lord Ghost Giveaway Contest and WIN!

My Lord Ghost by Meredith Bond

About My Lord Ghost

Series: The Grace Sisters Trilogy, Book 2
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance

She only wanted to save his soul. He needed to save her life.

Laia Grace wasn’t raised in society and besides, meeting men was so much fun! But when the naive Regency miss introduces herself to the wrong person, her father decides that it’s time she grew up. If only he knew that the house he was sending her to had a ghost in residence.

Marcus is haunting his own home, living in the secret passages and priest holes while he tries to deal with the horrific events that led to his brother’s death. But when an angel shows up and coaxes him into telling her his story, he discovers a reason to live.

Will he be willing to risk both his own life and his heart to save her?

Grab your copy today! Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Giveaway

Join My Lord Ghost giveaway contest!
Get a chance to win A Dandy in Disguise eBook by Meredith Bond (Book One of the Grace Sisters Trilogy) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Other Books by Meredith Bond

Be sure not to miss Book One of The Grace Sisters Trilogy by Meredith Bond.

A Dandy in Disguise by Meredith Bond

A Dandy in Disguise
The Grace Sisters Trilogy, Book 1

If you gamble with your future, you’re bound to lose. Rose doesn’t realize this when she puts her money down. She’s new to society, and mistakenly thinks everyone is who they claim.Fungy doesn’t know who he is anymore, but Rose makes him want to be the best he can be. But is he the best man for her? A turn of the cards might have the answer.

Available now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance eBooks

About Meredith Bond

Meredith Bond Author ImageMeredith Bond’s books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart”, Meredith’s paranormal romances include her Storm series set in during the English Regency, her post-Arthurian fantasy series, The Children of Avalon, and a series of traditional Regencies—without magic—called The Merry Men Quartet. Her newest series, The Grace Sisters, is a spin-off from The Merry Men Quartet. She has also written two non-fiction books: Chapter One: A Fast, Fun Way to Write Fiction and Self-Publishing: Easy as ABC.

Want to know more? Come visit Meredith at her website, http://www.meredithbond.com/ or chat with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meredithbondauthor/) or Twitter (@merrybond). If you’d like to be one of the first to know of Meredith’s new releases and get a free short story every month, join her email list here http://meredithbond.com/blog/newsletter-sign-up/

Visit the Official Meredith Bond Website: http://www.meredithbond.com

Connect with Meredith Bond on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Tumblr

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Book Unleashed

The Future of the Book

I have recently started a publishing course and it has reminded me of some of the questions that face the publishing industry in the digital age. I don’t claim to have any of the answers either but I think that it is worth revisiting the big questions every once and a while to look at the different ways they can be answered and to remind ourselves of the discussions. One of those big questions is the future of the book. What is the future of the book? Does the print book have a place in this increasingly digital world or will we see print culture disappear?

The second question is a big question because it hits people where it hurts. The only reason we don’t hear about the second of my two questions as often as we hear about euthanasia and abortion is because, as much as it pains me to say this, not everyone reads or cares about books. Yet as we enter the age of the eBook academics and publishers alike find themselves wondering about the future of the printed book.

What are the advantages of the printed book? Let’s envision a textbook because there is little real difference between a digital or print novel and other than nostalgia no one is going to fight the future of the print book battle over a trade paperback. You, of course, are free to disagree with me but I expect a reason why not just a cri de coeur. So back to our example. Looking at an ancient history textbook. Assuming this is a recent textbook, the book will be divided into sections, well illustrated and visually appealing. If you open it at a random page, you will see a seamless integration of text and image. The text will be broken into easily readable sections about different but related events in ancient history. The images will relate to and enhance the story the text is telling. There will be explanatory footnotes on the bottom of each page. If you own the book you can take notes right on the page. If not, you can still insert stickies to mark important pages and mark passages. Print textbooks are set up to present information easily and you can jump back and forth with little trouble.

Now I haven’t really been fair in picking a textbook for my example because this is where eBooks are weakest. So instead of outlining what is currently on the market on Amazon, I’m going to juxtapose the ideal eBook based on the technology currently available as well as the industry standards currently in place. Again envision your Ancient History textbook. Now, say the reading for the week is on the Battle of Actium. You might be able to watch a clip from the movie Cleopatra enacting the famous battle or tap a photo of Augustus and be taken to a site to learn more about how Octavian earned the name Augustus. Then say you were reading along and you got to a footnote. You could tap on the footnote, the information would pop-up, and then you could dismiss it and be back reading the page. Then say you remembered something about Cleopatra in an earlier chapter. You could search for the information, jump to the relevant page, and then return to your original page. Finally, for notetaking, you could write directly on the book just like the paper version. All of these capabilities exist, they simply have yet to be packaged together. Once they are should print be obsolete? I don’t know, how much do you trust your computer?

For more information check out

Institute for the Future of the Book

Future of the Book | IDEO

Job Security in the Age of Consumerism

So we are constantly told that we live in the age of Capitalism. But what does that really mean? It means that our culture is based on Consumerism. The economy flourishes because we buy and sell products. As Marx would have it, wage earners work for corporations, who produce the products we buy. Capitalism exists on the assumption that people will always buy products and that the market will continue to expand.

While the first part of this statement seems logical enough. There is a demand for things, therefore, companies produce things. The second part is deeply flawed. There is no such thing as a market that will expand indefinitely. Eventually, the global demand for say, toothpaste, will be met and there will be no new market for the company to expand into. This actually happens long before the toothpaste company takes over the globe because there are many other toothpaste companies out there fighting for the same market share. They will end up destroying each other. Many speculate that the result of a free economy will eventually be a world similar to Atwood’s MaddAddam series.

Corporations will fight it out until there is only one for each type of thing. Once that happen they will turn their attention to taking over the government to further expand market share. At this point, the compounds already developing in the states will expand and the middle class will disappear. The bleak future painted in Atwood’s novel trilogy is already happening in some areas as jobs that have traditionally supported people for a lifetime are becoming contract positions. It is now expected for people to move jobs repeatedly whereas before it was a sign of a poor employee.

In the universities, tenure is disappearing to be replaced by one-year contracts, often without any form of job security. This is affecting the universities as adjunct faculty don’t do any of the extras that tenured faculty are expected to do like mentor students, run groups, develop curriculum and write letters of recommendation. With less support from faculty, students don’t perform as well. But really that is an entire other article.

The idea of job security now seems laughable. Most jobs are one-year contracts and while someone can still be with a company for years they can no longer can seniority or raises because they are constantly working contracts. This new type of employment is a result of the Capitalist structure of our economy and help concentrate the wealth at the top. It places the onus to fund retirement back on the individual instead of on the company and allows them to cut costs.

What do you think? Do you see the same trends in your sector? What if anything do you think people can do about this worrying trend?

Are Would and Will Converging?

I was recently writing a copy-editing test and it caused me to contemplate the difference between would and will. Grammatical would is the subjunctive and will is the active voice. They would eat the pizza is the subjunctive future. Tells the reader that the subject “They” is going to eat pizza in the future unless something happens. They will eat pizza is the active future. The subject “They” is going to eat pizza. There is no uncertainty here.

Yet this is a very fine shading of meaning. It has been argued that while grammatically the line may be clear that in common usage there is no longer a difference between will and would. While the editor in me cries about what this says about people’s understanding of the language I think this is correct.

So once something becomes common practice is it still wrong? Some people say a resounding yes and others say no. It is true that a lot as one word is common usage but is still routinely marked as incorrect. Yet this is a simple spelling mistake and not really the same as the underlying shift in speech patterns that the amalgamation of would and will implies. Using would and will interchangeably suggests that the subjunctive is disappearing from our vernacular. It is true that to use the past subjunctive I have to look it up because it is something I never use expect when translating Latin. It has died out in English.

Perhaps this coming together of would and will is the subjunctive’s last gasp in our language. That would be a sad thing as we need a way to think about possibilities. It is dangerous to see the world only in sureties especially the future. I suppose the word “could” might replace would in the future but they don’t really mean the same thing.

What do you think? Is our language evolving to think of things as sureties instead of possibilities?

The News: We are what we Read

As a follow up to the last article about the news, Bob Hill commented that newspapers, television broadcasters and bloggers are first and foremost out to make money. So what happens when our primary sources of information are all companies and individuals who are selling a product?

We end up with branded stories. The now becomes important because it is the only thing that hasn’t already been covered by the competition. It becomes important, not just to cover a story, but to report it first. In the headlong rush to be first and therefore gather the most readers much is lost. Reporters who are constantly hurrying to turn in a story rarely stop to contemplate the larger picture. They constantly hunt scandal, tragedy, and corruption on the theory that these stories make the best copy.

This rarely true in its entirety, though those stories are important. Readers are left wondering if the now is the only thing that matters? The house fire with the quote from the neighbour and the picture of the burning house. The politician’s speech with the picture of him at the podium while the latest policy change is relayed. The weight gain or loss of the latest celebrity. The score of last night’s football, baseball or hockey game. The price of gold. Does this snapshot define our country? Perhaps a better way to approach this question is to ask: can someone foreign to our shores learn about us from our news? The way it is currently presented, the answer is no. No more than we can learn much about the people of Turkey from the news that their leader has succeeded in stopping a military coup.

Yet, the wider story could tell us a lot. Take that recent coup in Turkey as an example. Erdogan used social media to call on his people for help. There is little coverage of the matter, but presumably the people answered his call since the military had seized Ankara but were later repelled. Then the world heard nothing. Order was restored and order is boring.

But less conventional coverage says that Erdogan used the coup as an excuse to purge the universities and install his own people in the place of well respected academics. He also attacked politicians and diplomats in the name of national security. The wider story appears to be much darker than the snippets covered by the mainstream media which portrayed an embattled leader fighting off military extremists. This is one of the reasons better news coverage is needed. Without the whole story it is very hard to form an opinion on anything as pieces of the picture are always missing.

Editorials attempt to fill in this interest in the larger picture. Editors look over the vast array of facts that come through their desk and try to string it into a more coherent picture than the piecemeal approach of traditional news stories. So there is an attempt to balance the public cry for instant information with a need for accurate views of the larger situation.

Without context, many stories are hard to understand. Still, how much does the responsibility for this lack fall on the journalists and how much of it is a result of the current cultural belief that the internet means instant access to information. In a consumer driven society how much push back against consumer demand can be reasonably expected? Is it any surprise that the news has devolved into what the public claims to want instead of trying to train the public to be more responsible readers? What do you think?

The Changing Face of the News

The News literally means new things. What it has come to mean it a factual report delivered by a journalist from a trusted source. The News is a list of facts collected by an individual reduced to a sound bite or short article and presented for mass consumption. I have been reading The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton. De Botton attempts to deconstruct the mass media world of the news and explain why consumers react to it with such apathy.

If you go to the home page of the CBC the top headlines for today (August 15, 2016) are a live feed from the Olympic games, a story about a mother being charged after dead children were found under a neighbour’s porch and a billionaire family’s dream becomes a nightmare. The homepage is divided into CBC News and CBC Sports as well as must watch videos. So you are presented with a lot of information in different formats and expected to choose what interests you. In many ways, this is a good thing. You get the news you want and avoid what you don’t want. For example, you only hear about sports if you’re interested.

Yet are not some stories so important that everyone should know about them. And no I’m not talking about what Kim Kardashian wore to the mall yesterday. Do we not have a civic responsibility to know what is going on in our country and abroad? Yet how can we find out what the government is doing and how their policies will affect our lives if the stories about their actions bore us to tears.

De Botton suggests that the way news is delivered needs to change. The primacy of a recitation of the facts and the focus on specific events is the wrong way to go about it. We need context to provide understanding. For new about our own government context could take the form of the reason for a policy change and the possible effects of that change. For example, Trudeau recently announced that the federal government would provide free tuition for all undergraduate students starting next year. Some context for this announcement might explain how OSAP intends to fund this change, emphasize that the change only affects undergrads, explain how funding will change and explain why free tuition is being offered. One thing news article often fail to answer is the why question. Sometimes it is because there is no answer but when there is an answer it should be included to help with understanding.

In the case of foreign affairs, even more, context is needed. De Botton points out that foreign affairs journalist tend to avoid praising the exotic out of a fear of sounding racist. Yet different cultures are exotic and explaining those differences to your audience helps them engage with the stories. Not knowing what the social norms of a society are causes people to dismiss stories from that part of the world because they do not understand them. The news offers us only a piecemeal view of a culture and it is a frustrating partial picture that turns off many more than it engages. Showing the whole picture is needed to fully capture audience attention.

The bottom line is that the only way for the news to recapture their audience is for them to change their approach. Sociology and Travel Writing is more interesting than just the facts.

How Language Affects our Thoughts

Margaret Atwood’s novel The Year of the Flood talks about God being a result of evolution and language. Once humans conceive of a past, they are stuck in an infinite loop of wondering about what happened before. God becomes the answer, the unknown past, revealed and demystified or at least mystified in an understandable way. The known past, of course, is history. This idea is a direct result of our language which causes us to see the world’s events in a series of inter-related vignettes.

If we envision the present as the end of a string of events that presupposes a beginning of the string: a creator of the world. Thus, the way we have used language to build our world creates the need for gods. Yet this worldview can limit us, as we can only express concepts for which we have words. Going further, we can perhaps only conceive of concepts for which we have the words. If this is true, we must invent a new vocabulary or we will inevitably stagnate as a society. This conversation is already happening, particularly as the LGBTQ movement gains traction, and runs up against the limitations of our current language.

Language, at its most basic, developed so humans could share ideas. This started out very basic with ideas like “Duck!,” “Run!,” or “Let’s eat that,” but eventually civilization developed and humans clawed their way to the top of the food chain. At this point, the human brain appears to have changed as the left and right sides learned to talk to each other. This lead to the emergence of artists, philosophers, and proto-scientists. This is, of course, a vast oversimplification and I’m sure the linguists among you can go on about Indo-European and the creation of different languages because of isolation as people spread out from Africa, but for our purposes, this will do.

In the past, people starting talking to each other and then they started thinking. The problem is that the language we now want to use to address complex issues like higher powers and the difference between sex and gender was basically created to tell each other to run away from predators before we were eaten.  Is it any wonder that the LGBTQ community had to become LGBTQ to define itself? The human mind has a vast capacity for grasping new ideas and concepts, but can only shape them using the available language.

In history to conceive of the past, we first had to have a word for it. To explain the unknown past we created God. As we enter a more scientific era perhaps it is time to create words not for the unknown but for the inconceivable because they are not the same thing. We cannot conceive of the Divine because we lack the language to do so. On a more mundane level, we cannot conceive of LGBTQ, Feminist or Black equality because our language is still missing the correct terms. If you’re not sure what to call someone how can you consistently see them as a person?

Please note, that I am simply pointing out the importance of language to our cognitive ability. I am not making a religious or political statement.