Sunday, June 10, 2018

E-Book Sale Alerts!

I've found some awesome e-book deals that are going on, many through June. 

Be sure to check the price before purchase, as some of the sales may end earlier. 


Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George

Jessica is such a great writer, and she kicked off a series of fairy-tale retellings with this book, a new twist on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."

Regular e-book price: $7.99
Sale price: $1.99

Get Princess of the Midnight Ball here.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George

It's never fair to pick a favorite book by an author, but this one just may be my favorite by Jessica,
and that's because it's a re-telling of a Nordic myth and that it's set in Norway. (For readers who don't know, I have a big Scandinavian & Norse heritage!)

This one is based on "East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon," about the Polar Bear King.

Side note: Shortly after finishing reading it, I just knew I had to write a retelling of my own, based on a Finnish fairy tale. So I did, with Song Brekaer.

Regular e-book price: $7.99
Sale price: $1.99

Get Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow here.

The Hundredth Queen series by Emily R. King

If you haven't heard of Emily's books, you're not alone; she burst onto the
scene about a year ago. But you will be alone soon if you haven't read her work. She's a rising star, and her writing is gorgeous.

The first two books in her series, The Hundredth Queen and The Fire Queen are both on sale.

Bonus: If you buy the Kindle version, the audio edition is available for only another $1.99.

Get them here: 

The Hundredth Queen

The Fire Queen 

When (not if) you're hooked, here are the third and fourth books in the series: 

The Rogue Queen                             The Warrior Queen

If you're a romance fan, you'll want to snag these titles while they're discounted: 

Drops of Gold, by Sarah M. Eden

This one is so good. It grapples with postpartum depression in a time when no one fully understood it, and before it really had a name.

But the book is about finding joy and happiness (those drops of gold!).

E-book sale price: $1.99

Get Drops of Gold here.

A Timeless Regency Anthology: Summer House Party 
Featuring novellas by Regina Scott, Donna Hatch, & Sarah M. Eden

The Regency romance novellas in this collection are significantly longer than the typical Timeless Romance Anthology volumes.

Each story centers around, per the title, a summer house party.

These three authors are excellent!

Get Summer House Paerty here.

Sweeter Than Any Dream, by Annette Lyon

This story is reminiscent of L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. It's set in the Regency period (roughly a century before The Blue Castle), so fans of Jane Austen and the Regency period itself, along with fans of L. M. Montgomery (most famous for Anne of Green Gables) will enjoy this one.

The sale on this one is shorter, lasting only from June 10 - June 14.

Regular e-book price: $2.99

Sale price thru June 14th: $1.99

Get Sweeter Than Any Dream Here.

Happy summer reading! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Love Never Vanishes: Moroni 7 in Finnish

On a recent social media post, I shared some verses from the Book of Mormon that struck me in Finnish more than they ever had in English. I promised to explain, so this is a bit of that.

I think one of many reasons that the Finnish speaks to me in scripture is that while the text is, for the most part, more formal Finnish than you’d hear in casual conversation, it is still modern Finnish. Written Finnish is relatively new, historically speaking, while the English of the Book of Mormon is more like the King James Bible, which was published some 400 years ago, so the language and sentence structure is more in line with what you’d find in a Shakespeare play.

Add to that the fact of words’ meanings changing even in the last 200 years, and you’ve got a situation where the English won’t necessarily be as clear or powerful to the 21st century reader.

Finnish as a language tends to be direct and to the point. Some would call it blunt. Combine that clarity with modern language, and for me, that equates greater understanding.

One small example: When I first began reading the Book of Mormon in Finnish, I was surprised at how often a verse began with the word “katso” (“look”). Then I glanced at the English and realized that “behold” was in the English at those same spots.

And yes, “behold” does means “look,” but I’d never thought of it as an instruction. I’d seen the old-fashioned English word so many times that it had become almost invisible, a transition word that really didn’t mean anything.

Now, “behold” means something different to me: that the writer wants the reader to pay attention, and they’re saying something important. “Look!”

A caveat: I am not an expert in Finnish. While I attended public school in Helsinki for three years and became pretty fluent, that was over 30 years ago, and only in the last year or so have I really be studying to reclaim the language. The translations and notes below are my personal understanding. A native, or anyone with a better handle on the language, might disagree with my interpretations.

Moroni 7

The passage I quoted in the social media post is near the end of the Book of Mormon, written by Mormon’s son, Moroni. Some of the wording mirrors what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 13:4–10. We’ll be looking at the English and Finnish of Moroni Chapter 7, verses 44–48.

Verse 44

In English:
If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

Breaking it down: English first, Finnish next, then my alternate translations/notes:

If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God,
Muuten hänen uskonsa ja toivonsa on turhaa, sillä kukaan ei ole otollinen Jumalan edessä,

“None is” is translated as “kukaan ei ole” (“no one is”), which makes perfect sense. Moroni is clearly talking about people, not things. To me, “no one” sounds more personal than “none is.”

“Acceptable” is translated at “otollinen,” which also means “favorable.”

Before God
Jumalan edessä

The Finnish feels like we’re talking about being physically in front of God, facing him on His throne—again, it feels personal. Literally, it’s almost “in God’s front.” It implies a close physical proximity. The English certainly can mean the same thing, but the same English phrase could also refer to God’s view or opinion about someone.

To me, this section says that only those who are capable of withstanding God’s glory will be able to stand in front of Him. If we aren’t found “favorable,” we won’t be there.

Up next, we learn the qualities of those who will be able to stand in front of God:

save the meek and lowly in heart;
paitsi sydämeltään sävyisät ja nöyrät;
(Except for those into whose hearts are mild/tame/even-tempered and meek/humble)

The Finnish flips the phrasing, putting the heart (sydän) first instead of last and conjugating the word as roughly “into the heart,” specifically referring to a singular third person (he/she). Finnish has one third person pronoun, “hän,” and all singular third person endings are the same, so this could refer to any individual.

That gender-neutral pronoun, “hän,” is similar to “one” in English, except that it’s used in everyday conversation, which, of course, “one” isn’t.

The verse so far says to me that those who can stand before God are those who bring into their hearts the qualities of being mild, meek, and humble.

and if a man be meek and lowly in heart,
ja jos ihminen on sydämeltään sävyisä ja nöyrä
(And if a person takes into their hearts mildness and meekness)

No matter how often you remember that “man” in scripture refers to all human beings, it’s a nice reminder when it's translated as “a person” (“ihminen”).

Then we return to the third person singular individual: if a person has the qualities of mildness, meekness, and humility in their heart . . .
and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ,
ja tunnustaa Pyhän Hengen voimasta, että Jeesus on Kristus,
(And acknowledges, with the Holy Spirit’s power, that Jesus is the Christ,)

The Finnish word for “confess” is “tunnustaa,” which, yes, does mean “confess.” But it can also mean “acknowledge” or “recognize.” 

I suppose, “confess” can mean those things in English, too, but I hadn’t thought of the word in those terms. To me, “confess” has some baggage in English, making that statement feel forced or somehow shameful on the part of the person saying it.

“Tunnustaa” is also related to “tuntua,” which means “feel.” So individuals will not only be acknowledging Jesus, but they will also feel that He is their Christ.

Another element here is how English does a weird thing with the word “of.” So often, we lose the concept of ownership and instead just have two things that are closely related. In this case, “the power of the Holy Ghost” puts Spirit at a distance for me, as if the power is something out in the universe somewhere in an unknown nebula or something.

However, saying, as it does in Finnish, “the Holy Ghost’s power” suddenly makes me picture something new and different, something more, well, powerful. Many languages use the regular possessive in situations like this (for example, The Book of Mormon is translated as Mormon’s Book). In cases like this, I prefer that construction.

Let’s combine the two concepts (first, acknowledging Christ and second, doing so with Holy Ghost’s power): In Finnish, I get the sense that acknowledging Christ is something that takes strength. Perhaps this means actually seeing Him, being in His presence, as we acknowledge that he is our personal Savior.

In that case, it would make sense that we’d need heavenly power, that from the Holy Ghost, to withstand Christ’s glory to make such an acknowledgment.

he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

hänellä täytyy olla rakkautta, sillä ellei hänellä ole rakkautta, hän ei ole mitään; niinpä hänellä täytyy olla rakkautta.

(He must have love, for if he/she doesn’t have love, he/she is nothing; he/she needs to have love.)

The archaic English gets in the way here. Sure, we know that “he must needs have” means “he must have,” but having it stated so clearly in Finnish is a good reminder.

Also, remember that it’s not “he” in Finnish. It’s “hän” which can refer to any individual. We must all have charity.

The word “charity” in English, as we saw with “confess,” carries baggage that I don’t think was intended. In Finnish, it’s translated simply as “love.” It’s the same word you’d use when talking about a parent or child or your best friend, so it means a lot more than doing a big service project for people in another country. It’s caring for those directly in your sphere and loving them all in word and deed.

I love how “wherefore” is translated. It could have been simply “niin,” but instead, it’s “niinpä.” Those extra two letters (–pä) add urgency and emphasis to what comes next, almost saying, “No, really, you must have love. It’s a requirement. That’s just the way it is.”

Verse 45

Here’s where we get into the direct parallels with 1 Corinthians: defining and describing charity. Again, in Finnish, the word used is simply “love.”

And that fits for Latter-day Saints, because we believe that charity is the pure love of Christ—a definition that comes from this passage in a bit. To me, swapping “charity” out and adding “love” helps emphasize that meaning.

Also note that each time something is listed as a characteristic that charity/love is not, the Finnish adds another emphasizing syllable. “Not” could be just “ei” here, but it’s “eikä,” making it roughly “also not” and with a “really, it’s not” sense.

I’m going to break this verse down phrase by phrase, with the English on top, the Finnish beneath, and my translation of the Finnish in parentheses after that, along with any other notes or thoughts.

And charity suffereth long
Ja rakkaus on pitkämielinen
(And love is long-minded)

and is kind
ja lempeä
(and kind/gentle)

and envieth not
eikä kadehdi
(doesn’t envy)

and is not puffed up
eikä pöyhkeile
(isn’t arrogant)

seeketh not her own
ei etsi omaansa
(doesn’t seek for his/her own)

This is another verse where the archaic English stands in the way of an otherwise clear meaning. The imagery of actively searching something out comes across clearer to me in the Finnish.

is not easily provoked
ei vihastu helposti
(doesn’t get angry easily)

thinketh no evil
ei ajattele pahaa
(doesn’t think bad things/of badness)

and rejoiceth not in iniquity
eikä iloitse vääryydestä
(doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness)

but rejoiceth in the truth
vaan iloitsee totuudesta
(only rejoices in the truth)

beareth all things
kaiken se kestää
(everything, it endures)

The word “kestää” doesn’t have a simple English translation. It definitely means “endure,” but it means much more than that. When you “kestää,” you are holding on. You have strength.

Inanimate things can “kestää” (or not), too. If you’re walking over icy snow, and then suddenly it breaks and your boot goes through, the snow didn’t “kestää” under your weight. So “kestää” implies a strength and resilience that “endure” doesn’t.

believeth all things
kaiken se uskoo
(everything, it believes)

hopeth all things
kaiken se toivoo
(everything, it hopes for)

endureth all things
kaiken se kärsii 
(everything, it endures/suffers)

“Kärsii” implies pain, so while it does mean “endure,” it’s a different kind of endurance than the kind implied by “bearing” all things.

Verse 46

Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
Jos siis, rakkaat veljeni
(If so, my beloved brothers)

if ye have not charity, ye are nothing,
teillä ei ole rakkautta, te ette ole mitään,
(you don’t have love, you are nothing)

for charity never faileth.
sillä rakkaus ei koskaan katoa.
(for love doesn’t ever vanish/disappear)

This is one of my favorite parts. The LDS women’s organization, Relief Society, has “Charity never faileth” as its motto, which took on much greater meaning for me when I thought of it as “Love never vanishes/disappears.”

Wherefore, cleave unto charity,
Pitäkää sen vuoksi kiinni rakkaudesta,
(Hold on tight because of that to love)

which is the greatest of all,
joka on suurin kaikista,
(which is the greatest of all)

for all things must fail—
sillä kaiken täytyy kadota—
(for everything must vanish/disappear)

An interesting note: 1 Corinthians 13:8 in the King James Version of the Bible reads like this (emphasis mine): 
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Where in English we have “faileth” and “vanish away,” Finnish uses the same word: “katoa,” meaning “vanish away.” 

Love from God will never leave you alone. It will never disappear.

Verse 47

But charity is the pure love of Christ,
mutta aito rakkaus on Kristuksen puhdasta rakkautta,
(but authentic love is Christ’s clean/unpolluted/innocent love)

How cool is this one? This is the one time that the English “charity” isn’t translated directly as “love.” I imagine that’s because the next needs to be more specific; it’s distinguishing types of love.

And real, genuine, authentic love is Christ’s love. Christ’s love is clean and pure and innocent.

and it endureth forever
ja se kestää ikuisesti
(and it endures/lasts/holds on with strength eternally)

Remember what I said about “kestää”? We see it again here, and it means so much more than enduring with gritted teeth.
and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day,
ja kenellä sitä havaitaan olevan viimeisenä päivänä,
(And whoever is detected to have it on the last day)

it shall be well with him.
hänen käy hyvin.
(He/she will be well/good/fine.)

Verse 48

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart,
Rukoilkaa siis, rakkaat veljeni, Isää koko sydämen voimalla,
(Pray then, my beloved brothers, to Father with your all of the heart’s power.)

Note that the -kaa added to the first word (“rukoila,” meaning “pray”) is another intensifier, making it an important instruction.

that ye may be filled with this love,
että täyttyisitte tällä rakkaudella,
(that you may be filled with this love)

which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ;
jonka hän on suonut kaikille Poikansa Jeesuksen Kristuksen tosi seuraajille;
(which he has bestowed to all His Son’s, Jesus Christ’s, followers)

that ye may become the sons of God;
että teistä tulisi Jumalan lapsia;
(that you may become God’s children)

Again with the possessive “of.” For me, if a sentence is put into regular possessive, it’s more powerful. I can become one of God’s children. Wow.

Also note that the Finnish says we may become God’s children. Not just sons.

that when he shall appear we shall be like him,
että me hänen ilmestyessään olisimme hänen kaltaisiaan
(that we, when he appears/is revealed, may be what in his likeness)

WOW AGAIN. We can be like Him when He appears! The Finnish “ilmestyessään” is more active, and can also mean “when he is revealed” Much more powerful for me. than merely appearing.

for we shall see him as he is;
sillä me saamme nähdä hänet sellaisena kuin hän on;
(for we’ll be able to see him in the way that he is)

Hard to explain why the Finnish affects me so much on this one, but it does; the idea that we’ll be able to see God as He actually is amazing—and it’s a reminder that our tiny mortal brains have no clue what God is really like. That whatever mortal blinders we’ve lived with will be removed, and we’ll be able to see eternity and God as they really are.

that we may have this hope;
että meillä olisi tämä toivo;
(that we may have this hope)

that we may be purified even as he is pure.
että meidät puhdistettaisiin niin kuin hän on puhdas.
(That we may be cleansed as he is clean)


Now for something rather vulnerable. (As if discussing my faith weren't already!) For anyone wanting to see the whole thing altogether, hear it, and/or follow along: Below is the full Finnish text of this passage as well as a recording of me reading the passage in Finnish.

44 Muuten hänen uskonsa ja toivonsa on turhaa, sillä kukaan ei ole otollinen Jumalan edessä, paitsi sydämeltään sävyisät ja nöyrät; ja jos ihminen on sydämeltään sävyisä ja nöyrä ja tunnustaa Pyhän Hengen voimasta, että Jeesus on Kristus, hänellä täytyy olla rakkautta, sillä ellei hänellä ole rakkautta, hän ei ole mitään; niinpä hänellä täytyy olla rakkautta.

45 Ja rakkaus on pitkämielinen ja lempeä eikä kadehdi eikä pöyhkeile, ei etsi omaansa, ei vihastu helposti, ei ajattele pahaa eikä iloitse vääryydestä vaan iloitsee totuudesta, kaiken se kestää, kaiken se uskoo, kaiken se toivoo, kaiken se kärsii.

46 Jos siis, rakkaat veljeni, teillä ei ole rakkautta, te ette ole mitään, sillä rakkaus ei koskaan katoa. Pitäkää sen vuoksi kiinni rakkaudesta, joka on suurin kaikista, sillä kaiken täytyy kadota—

47 mutta aito rakkaus on Kristuksen puhdasta rakkautta, ja se kestää ikuisesti; ja kenellä sitä havaitaan olevan viimeisenä päivänä, hänen käy hyvin.

48 Rukoilkaa siis, rakkaat veljeni, Isää koko sydämen voimalla, että täyttyisitte tällä rakkaudella, jonka hän on suonut kaikille Poikansa Jeesuksen Kristuksen tosi seuraajille; että teistä tulisi Jumalan lapsia; että me hänen ilmestyessään olisimme hänen kaltaisiaan, sillä me saamme nähdä hänet sellaisena kuin hän on; että meillä olisi tämä toivo; että meidät puhdistettaisiin niin kuin hän on puhdas. Aamen.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

News, Updates, & Links for March 22, 2018

Below are the links & information from today's newsletter. To hear the news first, SUBSCRIBE.


WHEN: Wednesday, March 28, from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (MDT)

WHAT: Join the authors of the collection: interact, ask questions, and win prizes!

WHO: Annette Lyon, Nancy Campbell Allen, and Elizabeth Johns, the three authors included with Victorian romances in the collection.




Olivia Wallington is firmly established as a spinster, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the perfect man. Ever since her father’s death, Olivia has been forced into seclusion by her mother. When her brother and his wife come for a visit, they discover the extent to which she lives under their mother’s thumb. 

With their help, Olivia sneaks out to attend a local ball, where she meets Edward Blakemoore. For a few divine moments, all of her dreams seem possible. But even someone like Mr. Blakemoore would be hard pressed to get past Mrs. Wallington’s fortress of protection—or past Olivia’s pride.



I'm regularly writing over at Medium now!

Anyone can access up to three articles for free each month, and subscribers get to read an unlimited amount. I recently subscribed (a whopping $5/month) and think it's so worth it.

Some recent posts:



The latest Timeless Regency Collection is now available!

This is the first in the Regency line to include only the three founders of the Timeless Romance Anthology series, Annette Lyon, Sarah M. Eden, and Heather B. Moore.




Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to chat with Tennery, co-host of Top of Mind, a show on BYU Radio, about Celeste Ng's latest best-selling novel, Little Fires Everywhere.

Such a great book! We had a fabulous conversation without any big spoilers.

Check out Little Fires Everywhere here.

Listen to our discussion here.


This novella will be released soon.

Keep an eye out for the link.

(The plot features a ghost!)



Don't miss Sarah M. Eden's latest, a Victorian romance called Ashes on the Moor,

or Julie Coulter Bellon's newest contemporary romance, Love's Journey Home.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Going There: Mansplaining and Real Men

I touched on this recently on Facebook, but because the horse isn't fully dead yet, here's a more thorough another beating: The term "mansplaining" exists for a very good reason.

No, not all men do it. That doesn't mean it's not a real occurrence, on a regular basis, for many women. I'd wager that nearly all women can point to a time when they've been mansplained.

Probably in the last week.

 It's not the same thing as "womensplained," an alternative I've had two men suggest lately to show how "mansplaining" is an insulting term them. (First off, if that were true, which it is not, welcome to the club. English has dozens of words to denigrate women and precious few to insult men with.)

A lot of women may have an insulting way of interacting with men; I'm not saying they don't. However it may be happening, it's different from mansplaining. The truth this, I don't have a heck of a lot of pity for men who are mansplaining all over the place and then whine that a woman might have spoken to them in a way they didn't like.

For anyone up in arms about the term, please go read Deborah Tannen's NY Times bestselling book about conversational styles, You Just Don't Understand. The book does not use the term "mansplaining" (the term didn't exist when the book came out), but it does go into the differences between how women and men speak—real differences backed by science.

The author is a sociolinguist with a specialty is in conversational styles across gender, nationalities, in the workplace, between various groups, and even wrote has a book about mother-daughter conversations. Tannen's work isn't all stuff about gender interactions.

The fact is that the way women and men speak, and the motivation behind their speech is different. And yes, it's on a continuum. For example, my speaking style is not nearly as "female" as that of many women I know, and I know some men whose speaking style leans toward the female side of the spectrum. But in general, the gender differences shed light on the phenomenon of mansplaining.

Go read the book. Seriously. But back to mansplaining itself.

No, not all men do it. 

My father and my brother are great examples. They both (spoiler alert) deeply respect and admire the women in their lives. My dad's a retired professor. He made a living teaching people. He could easily have been patronizing when I was a kid and, indeed, asking him dumb questions. But he never once made me feel that way, no matter what dumb thing I asked. Dad was a safe, respectful place. 

He also didn't jump in to answer an unspoken question, assuming I was inept, a very common way mansplaining shows up. 

My brother doesn't mansplain either. At times I get the sense that he's so proud of his wife that he thinks she's smarter than he is (which may or may not be true—they're both pretty dang smart and both have advanced degrees), but he never lets his wife's Ph.D. (and her knowledge in a field that isn't his specialty) get in the way of his masculinity.

Guess what? That makes him more of a man

In my experience, it's the insecure men who get up in arms about hearing women mention mansplaining. Insecure men are most definitely the ones who do not understand the concept. They don't believe women when they say it happens, and that it happens often. They're the ones who insist that the term is sexist.

Oh, and those also are the men who insist on explaining to women what mansplaining means. (They're mansplaining mansplaining. Let that sink in a bit.) I've seen this many, many times. 

Real Men, on the Other Hand

Real men respect women in word and deed, and that's counting times when no one is watching. Real character shows up in private moments, in small numbers. It's much easier to be gallant and inclusive and outwardly respectful in front of dozens or hundreds, when you can plan your words and then open your arms to receive public adulation. 

Which brings me back to my dad. He does what he believes in his core is the right thing to do, no matter who will or will not ever know about it. And I can guarantee that much of the good he's done is known by no one but him and Lord. He does it anyway. I know this because I've inadvertently learned of some of the things he's quietly done, things I shouldn't have found out about. 

For every one of those I discovered, how many others has he done that I don't know about? Hundreds of thousands, I have no doubt. 

Real men don't need to announce their awesomeness to the crowds. 

Real men don't need to demand that women stop using a term that precisely describes a regular frustration and source of pain. 

Real men don't want women to be in pain. 

Real men listen to women and intentionally change their behavior, if needed, to avoid causing women pain, especially those in their personal sphere. 

Real men stand up for women who are being put down, patronized, or demeaned. 

Real men hear terms like mansplaining, and instead of being offended, they listen and try to understand. 

Real men take a close look at their own behavior to see if they've been guilty of mansplaining, even unawares. 

Real men make a determination to do better, if needed. 

Real men defend those who need protection, and yes, that's often women. 

A Real Man with a Hat 

An awesome is example was a Facebook post from a couple of years ago, one the author surely thought was just a funny situation he'd share. To me it was so much more: Dan Wells* told a story of how his young son (maybe 11 at the time?) mansplained to his own mother something that the son was obviously wrong about. The story was hilarious. That's why Dan shared it. 

But I saw something much deeper in the account. Guess what, men? Dan gets mansplaining. 

He sees it. He understands it and why it's a bad thing.

Even better, I'm quite sure that his son will be taught by word and by example that you don't behave like that. 

His daughters are lucky to have a father who is so open to trying to understand other points of view, who has compassion for women. Who feels protective toward them. Who expects his daughters to do great things, just as much as he'd expect it from a son.

That story wasn't the only time I've seen that side of Dan (I could list several other examples), but it's fitting for this post because he himself used the term "mansplain" in the story. He gets it. 

 I should really give a shout out to his parents, because their other son, Robison Wells** (one of my dearest friends), is just as awesome in this regard. He's never mansplained to me or anyone around me.

Small things, people. They say so much.

Warning: The first person who tries to defend mansplaining, say it doesn't exist, or insist that women do it too (or anything like unto those things) gets their comment deleted and may be blocked. I do not have emotional room in my life right now for jerks.

*Dan is known for his trademark Indiana Jones-style hat. I've known him for years, but if he's not wearing it, I'll probably (and have) walked right past him, not realizing it. 

**The Wells brothers are both writers, and they're both excellent writers. Go buy their books by clicking their names above. You'll thank me later, so you're welcome.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Why Suomi 100 Means So Much to Me

(TL;DR: scroll to the end to snag Song Breaker for free. Today only.)

One hundred years ago, on December 6, 1917, Finland declared independence from Russia.

For centuries before that, going back at least to the twelfth century, the Finnish people were governed by other nations.

Finns had their own language, culture, and identity. They even had their own mythology, one that in many respects is similar to Norse mythology, but is truly its own.

Those stories, passed along through the oral tradition, as was the Iliad and other folk hero stories through the ages, were collected and published as the Kalevala, a book that has influenced modern culture and literature in ways most people don't realize, from inspiring Longfellow's Hiawatha to several of Tolkien's languages and the wizard Gandalf himself.

Finland is very much like Scandinavia in culture, climate, state religion, and many other respects, yet a lot of people don't consider it part of Scandinavia, instead referring to it as a "Nordic" country. (Never mind that the other Nordic countries are all considered to be Scandinavia.)

A big reason for that is likely the distinct language, which is part of a teeny tiny linguistic group, the Finno-Urgric languages, which is basically made up of Finnish, a few small ones like Estonian, and Hungarian.

But there's more to Finland that makes it unique and special and deserving of independence.

The Finnish people have endured things that most of us can't imagine. They've fought Russia multiple times (sometimes when it was part of the great Soviet Union).

The most recent was during World War II, when Stalin decided to invade Finland, using as his excuse the need to have more land between Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and Hitler. In reality, he wanted more land for his empire.

Soviet forces crossed the border on November 30, 1939 in what Stalin believed would be a few days of minor skirmishes, a week at most, until the mighty Soviet army got the tiny Finnish one to surrender. Indeed, more Soviet troops crossed the border on the first day of the war than the Finnish army had total.

But the Finns would not be dissuaded. The United States, United Kingdom, and many other Allies promised help. The Finns hung on using brilliant tactics born of necessity, waiting for help that never arrived.

On March 13, 1940, when a ceasefire was finally in effect, Stalin made the Finns pay for making him a fool on the world's stage by putting heavy reparations on them and taking some of their land.

But Finland remained free.

And during the course of the Soviet Union's rein, Finland was the only country bordering Russia to never fall to Soviet or Communist rule.

Finns have a word that describes a national characteristic, one that has no good English equivalent.

The word is SISU, pronounced SEE-soo, and the best descriptions I've seen blend courage, guts, endurance, determination, stubbornness, and more.

The best approximation I've found in GRIT.

Whatever you call it, SISU is why the Finnish people finally, after centuries, finally got to have their own homeland and finally got to govern themselves.

SISU is what has kept them free.

I'm half Finnish. I've lived there. I've learned the language. Finland is my second home.

And I attribute much of who I am, and the things I've accomplished, to inheriting a bit of Finnish Sisu.

Today I celebrate 100 years of Finnish independence by putting candles in my windows and flying the Finnish flag.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy 143rd, Maud!

On this day 143 years ago, Lucy Maud Montgomery was born.

She was (and is) best-known for Anne of Green Gables, but she wrote so much more: hundreds of short stories and poems and dozens of books.

A few bits of trivia regarding the Anne books: 

Note that the last two (Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside) are the ones that are out of order. When readers clamored for more, she wrote those two in natural gaps in the timeline.

But that's why, after reading the emotional and romantic Anne of Island, reading Windy Poplars next is a total let-down. Her fans didn't read them in that order. She just found a 3-year gap during Anne and Gilbert's engagement that she could come up with more material for.

After House of Dreams, which is about Anne and Gilbert's early married years, she skipped ahead to when they have a bunch of kids (Rainbow Valley).

She followed that up with Rilla, which is about Anne's youngest child as a teen during World War I.

RANT: Don't both watching the supposed Anne movie set during WWI. It literally has nothing to do with anything LMM ever wrote and violates the timeline by jumping ahead almost 20 years. Remember, Anne's youngest child (she has six, after one stillborn) was a teen during the Great War. Anne wasn't childless chasing after Gilbert in Europe. Someone had a story, slapped on familiar character names, and figured it would make money. GRRRR.

I've written about her several times at the posts linked to below. 


Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday Flash Sale!

This volume is a collection of (PG-rated!) contemporary romances, all with a Christmas theme, from bestselling and SIX award-winning authors: 
  • Cindy Roland Anderson
  • Annette Lyon
  • Julie Coulter Bellon
  • Sarah M. Eden
  • Heather B. Moore
  • Jennifer Griffith


E-Book Sale Alerts!

I've found some awesome e-book deals that are going on, many through June.  Be sure to check the price before purchase, as some of th...