November 28, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/27)

Also known as a battlement, the crenelated parapet (女墻) was widely used in Medieval Europe and China, as in the Great Wall of China.

Keito (計都) is Gyousou's kijuu.

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November 21, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/26)

The Taiho is also the province lord of the capital province, hence his close connection to the provincial Rikkan. The Rei'in (令尹) is the Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Provincial Rikkan.

The Chousai (冢宰) serves as the Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Rikkan. In the governments of dynastic China, the Chousai was the Minister of Heaven and served as the minister-in-chief or prime minister. But in the Twelve Kingdoms, the Chousai need not be a member of the Rikkan. And there is the Taiho.

I think the Taiho better fits the literal meaning of prime minister. In Japan, the Chief Cabinet Secretary "coordinates the policies of ministries and agencies in the executive branch," a good description of the Chousai. Though in many kingdoms, the Chousai ends up running the government on a day-to-day basis.

I can imagine Keiki and even Youko being actively involved with the Rikkan while Shouryuu and Enki delegate most of their bureaucratic responsibilities. With the right people in charge, both approaches work.

In Japanese politics, the portfolio of the Chief Cabinet Secretary includes the duties of both the White House press secretary and the American vice-president. When Shinzo Abe resigned earlier this year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was elected prime minister by a large margin.

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November 18, 2020

The Path of Dreams

Although they've met only once, at a train station in Japan, Elaine Chieko Packard and Connor McKenzie have been haunted ever since by passionate dreams they cannot control. They determine to resolve the tension between the moral strictures of their faith and their own overpowering emotions by eloping, a decision that triggers an entirely unexpected series of events.

In the days and months that follow, they find themselves reliving, in both dreams and reality, many of the same conflicts their parents and grandparents once did. They won't be able to move forward with their lives until they have addressed the unsettled obligations of the past, "turning the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."

The Kindle and paperback editions can be purchased from Amazon, and the ePub version from Smashwords, iBooks, and Google Play. Please visit the website for more details and to read the novel online.

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November 14, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/25)

This chapter begins with a good example of how pronouns in Japanese reflect social relationships. Shouwa uses the honorific –dono with Heichuu, even while bossing him around. She always refers to Taiki by his title, Taiho, and never a pronoun. But she addresses Kouryou as anata, the plain pronoun "you," which presumes a lower social status than herself.

The Taisai (太宰) heads the Ministry of Heaven.

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November 11, 2020

Angel Falling Softly

Rachel Forsythe's once perfect life is now anything but. The younger of her two daughters is dying of cancer, and neither God nor medical science can offer her a cure.

Milada Daranyi, chief investment officer at Daranyi Enterprises International, has come to Utah to acquire a medical technology company. Bored with her downtown hotel accommodations, she rents a house in the Salt Lake City suburbs.

Then the welcome wagon shows up. To the neighbors, Milada is a beautiful and intelligent young woman. But Rachel suspects something more about her, and makes an unexpected and dangerous discovery: Milada is a vampire. Fallen.

And the only person in the world who can save her daughter's life.


Maralise at Blog Segulla calls Angel Falling Softly

a good read. I would even venture to say that it's a great read. I was captivated by the tight and nuanced writing in Woodbury's most recent release from Zarahemla Books.

With some qualifications, Doug Gibson of the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner declares it

better than 99 percent of Mormon fiction out there. It takes our beliefs out of comfort zones, inviting analysis and debate. No matter what happens, we've learned something.

According to Angela Hallstrom, author of Bound on Earth,

Angel Falling Softly is more than a good read. It is a provocative meditation on life and death that will leave readers both satisfied and unnerved. It kept me reading, and it kept me guessing.

And Stephen Carter, editor of Sunstone Magazine, says it's "one of the best Mormon novels ever written,"

proof positive that Mormon fiction is not dead. And even if it was, Woodbury has called it from its grave, bestowed it with immortality, and given it a mighty fine set of literary fangs.

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November 07, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/24)

The traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar. Days begin and end at midnight, and months begin on the day of the new moon. Years begin on the second or third new moon after the winter solstice. As a result, the Chinese New Year falls between January 21 and February 20.

In terms of the weather, Taiki is referring to central Japan around Tokyo and Osaka, where most of the population lives. The Tohoku (northeast) region totals up some of the heaviest snowfalls in the world. Hokkaido is basically Minnesota with volcanos and earthquakes.

A hanjuu (半獣) is literally a "half beast." The other half is human. Like kirin, they can switch between human and animal forms.

The treatment of hanjuu varies throughout the Twelve Kingdoms. In Kou, hanjuu are harshly discriminated against, one reason Rakushun travels with Youko to En, where he can attend university. Youko abolished the anti-hanjuu laws in Kei and promoted Kantai, a hanjuu bear, to general in the Palace Guard.

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