Wednesday, October 10

Win a copy of THE FINNISH LINE!

And promo week continues...

I'm pleased to be able to share with you my new book, SASS: THE FINNISH LINE, which was just released last week!

THE FINNISH LINE is the story of Maureen (Mo) Clark, a Nordic ski jumper who travels to Lahti, Finland on a student-athlete exchange to work on her jumps - and to escape the shadow of her former Olympian dad. While Mo does get to indulge in a romance with gypsy jumper and superhunk Leevi Patrin, she faces some heavy issues in the story, including prejudice and the sexism and politics of the IOC, who still cannot see fit to include her sport as an Olympic event.

That last part, unfortunately, is not fiction.

When I began writing this book, the Olympic Games were underway in Torino, Italy. I learned that Alyssa Johnson, one of the top women ski jumpers in the world, was in Torino, but only as a forerunner (testing the jump before the competition.) She had to sit on the sidelines and watch the men - including her younger brother - compete. When asked why women jumpers continued to be excluded, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper said in a NPR interview, "It's like jumping down from, let's say, about two meters on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view." Give me a break.

My character Mo came to life after I had a chance to meet and to watch the athletes at Women's Ski Jumping, USA - a team that trains in Park City, Utah (Mo's hometown) - five of whom have been named to the US Ski Team. I watched their competitive spirit, their drive, and their frustration and disappointment as they fought for inclusion into the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, only to be denied once again.

Nikki Stone, Olympic gold medalist in aerial skiing said of THE FINNISH LINE, "Linda Gerber truly brings the world of ski jumping to life. She has crafted the perfect blend of fun, sporting adventure and a compelling first-time romance. Convincing, intimate, stimulating!"

Here's what you can do to win a copy - reply to this post. Tell me what you think of the IOC's decision to exclude women ski jumpers from the Olympics. Tomorrow I will randomly select three of you to receive a signed copy of the book.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn more about women's ski jumping, or better yet, to show your support of these amazing women athletes, check out WSJUSA.


SASS: NOW AND ZEN, Puffin 2006
DEATH BY BIKINI, Puffin 2008
DEATH BY LATTE, Puffin 2008


Rhonda Helms said...

That is SO, SO wrong. I can't believe that kind of archaic thinking is still allowed. What, is this the 1950's? UNBELIEVABLE.

Gee, maybe these women should be chained to the kitchen stoves where they belong. Because we all know women are too delicate to do any REAL sporting activities, right? Thank GOD those men have the foresight to keep us delicate flowers away from anything dangerous. Heavens, I get the vapors just thinking about it!!

/end sarcasm

Rhonda, steamed!!! (gee, can you tell? hahahaha)

bevrosenbaum said...

Wow, I really can't believe there is no women's ski jumping--and for that reason! Something is *really* wrong with the Olympic organization...

It's so cool that you get to see inside all these worlds! Best of luck with the books!


Anonymous said...

OK, that is unbelievably wrong, and kudos to you for spotlighting it!

I worked for the IOC during the Atlanta Games. I'm a sucker for anything Olympics-related.

Can't wait to read this book.

Gerb said...

C'mon, Rhonda. Tell me what you really think. : ) And you are absolutely right.

Bev, I should clarify that that's not the ONLY reason given for the exclusion. And you know, your Canadian team is leading the charge against the IOC, still fighting to get women into the Vancouver games. I met one of your jumpers in Zao, Japan - Katie Willis. I'd love to see her in the Olympics!


TinaFerraro said...

Hi, Linda,

I've long had this fantasy about being an Olympic ski jumper. (Of course, the fact I am female and haven't skiied since high school are just two of many deterrants.) In any case, your book sounds wonderful and I'll be sure to pick it up.

TJ Brown said...

Wow... I did not know that.

And Gerb, I read Now and Zen recently and LOVED it. I wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea, but it totally was. Can't wait to read this one!

Gerb said...

Amanda, I love the Olympics, too. Not so thrilled with the IOC, though.

Tina, that's so cool. Did you jump in HS? I tried the baby bump (not even a full hill) to get the feel for the form, etc., while I was working on the book and I was terrified of the jump. LOL

Oh, thank you, TJ. I'm glad you liked Now and Zen! I hope you enjoy this one as well!!!


Rhonda Helms said...

LOL yeah, I'm outspoken.

BTW--I loved Now and Zen, too!!

Wendy Toliver said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Gerb when she was in town doing research for THE FINNISH LINE. (I live close to Park City.) What's amazing about her books is the research and the heart that goes into them. Did you know she lived in Japan and that's why NOW & ZEN is so genuine? She went over and beyond on her research for TFL and put her whole heart into the plight of the female ski jumper. I can't wait to read it, Gerb!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

OK, you want to hear something funny? I saw your post about this elsewhere and I thought, 'How cool - Gerb is on TeenReadsToo!' Then I followed the link and saw, 'Nooo, Lauren, she's n our site.' I am such a maroon! Ah, well, Happy New Book!

stephhale said...

Congrats on the new release, Gerb! Your titles are just the most adorable ever!
About the decision....that sucks!

Me said...

How ridiculous!!! "from a medical point of view" Is he serious? From a "medical point of view" it's not safe for anyone to ski jump. Or drive a car. Or walk across the street. Puh-leaze!

On another note, your book sounds terrific. I'm prepared to indulge my Scandinavian fascination. =)


Natalie said...

Linda, your book sounds fantastic! I also loved NOW AND ZEN...having lived in Japan, I found the story to be very authentic. Kudos to you for all the research that went into FINNISH LINE,and I can't wait to read it.

About the committee's decision--unbelievable. Just curious--are there any women members? I'm sure your book will help to raise awareness of this situation, and hopefully bring about a change.

Anonymous said...

Your book sounds fascinating!! Often fiction is the best way to shine a light on factual injustices. Women still have it bad in many countries, which is reflected in the Olympic exclusion.

When I wrote a competitive cheerleading series ten years ago I interviewed and hung out with cheerleaders who resented not being treated seriously. I was at a cheer camp when the Olympics were on and I really gained respect for the girls. So I understand what a challenge and joy it is to get involved in your research.

Good luck with your book!!

Linda Joy SIngleton

Jessica Burkhart said...

It's an utterly awful decision!! I hadn't heard about that and now I'm off to find more info. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The IOC's decision to prohibit women jumping in the Olympics steams me every time I think of it. "from a medical perspective..." eesh! Okay, so I'm thinking that maybe men should not be horse riding in the Olympics because from a medical perspective, that can't be good.

All that aside, I've had the unique pleasure of seeing Gerb's book take shape and I'm thrilled beyond measure (and - embarrassingly - moved to tears) to find it in my local bookstore. FINNISH LINE rocks!!

~Jen McA

Alyson Noel said...

Ditto everything Rhonda Stapleton said! This is outrageous-- but good for you for bringing awareness to it-- and all the best on your book!

Gerb said...

Oh, you guys! Thanks so much for the comments. This is like a party. :)

Rhonda, I'm so happy you liked Now and Zen!

Wendy, ((((hugs)))) thanks so much. You're a great publicist! I love doing the research and meeting fabulous people from Eden along the way, uncooked pizza notwithstanding. :)

Hehe, Lauren. A few things on your mind these days, huh?

Steph, thanks! :)

Terra Lynn, sadly, yes. He was being serious. It should be noted that he "took it back" once real medical people said, "what???" AND that Mr. Franco was part of the FIS, not the IOC. Unfortunately, though the FIS finally got with the program and granted the women a world cup competition, the IOC is still wallowing in some other century.

Aw, Natalie. Thanks. I'm always nervous when someone who actually *knows* what I'm trying to convey in a book. And yes, there are women on the IOC. Go figure, huh? Perhaps their countries don't have viable women's teams yet and they don't want to give away medals... the politics of this thing is just as deplorable as that "medical" quote.

Hi, Linda Joy! *waving* Yeah, I think that's the hardest thing about witnessing something like this. I have such tremendous respect for the athletes and to see them denied something like this is just heartbreaking.

Jessica, yes! The best thing we can do is to be informed. Rally the troops!

Hi, Jen!!! Aw, thank you!!! See you in Canada!!!! : )


Anonymous said...

"From a medical standpoint." What is he, a doctor? Sheesh. Kudos to you for putting this issue front and center. Down with sexism!
Much congrats on the book's release! Can't wait for the next one. :-)

-Nicole M

Sara Hantz said...

Congrats on the release of your book. I LOVE the premise.

And as for the IOC's decision.... that really sucks.....

Amanda Ashby said...

Gerb - hooray that your book has just come out! And wow, I had no idea women had been prevented from ski jumping in the Olympics. Seems weird when they are constantly adding the most weird categories of sports (if there was a sit in front of the tv comp, then I'd be all over it). Anyway, I love the sound of Finnish Line and since I'm going to be a Puffin girl soon, I should probably start reading some!!!!!!

Emily Marshall said...

Congrats on the release of the book! How exciting. I can't wait to read it, and would love to win a copy:) I actually hadn't heard of the women's ski jumping not being allowed. That's rediculous. I remember seeing women's freestyle skiing in the Olympics (I think), and all those twists and such seem harder, so that's just WEIRD they weren't allowed to compete. I would hope that would be changed in the near future. It's crazy stuff like that still happens.

Gerb said...

Thanks, Allyson, Sarah and Nicole!

Amanda... Puffin's a great place to be! I can't wait to read Zombies. What a swing, huh? From the afterlife to the undead? : ) Re: the weird events being added to the Olympics all the time, in the same meeting where they voted to once again exclude women from ski jumping, the IOC added ski cross to the menu. (Kind of a motocross on skis.) I have nothing against ski cross. I think ski cross is great. But come on! These women jumpers are world class athletes. They SHOULD be competing along with the rest of them. The whole situation is shameful.

Emily, I know what you mean. Take skeleton, for example. Seems much more dangerious. Clearly that 'safety' concern was completely bogus.


Ginger Calem said...

Hey Gerb. *s*

What is totally inane about the whole thing is that it's not like women ski jumping isn't an organized sport outside of the Olympic venue. It's not like these women are going to STOP ski jumping if they aren't allowed to compete in the Olympics. They are still going to jump. So the IOC isn't really preventing them from jumping (thereby doing 'what's best for their health-which is phooey anyway), they are simply keeping them from competing in the best competition in the world. Basically, the IOC is robbing them!

I personally love seeing women who excel at athletics and the Olympics is something I savor every minute of every two years. They should be allowed to compete, that's all there is to it. Makes me so darn mad. GGRRRR!

Ok--but I am thrilled with The Finnish Line being out and can't wait to hold the finished product in my hot little hands. High Fives and Congrats!!

See you next week to hug you in person.


Anonymous said...

"not appropriate for women from a medical standpoint?" who does he think he is kidding? Come on, now! What does he say about woman racing cars, I wonder. Anyhoo, like someone else commented, I'm sure it's not technically the *safest* thing for *anyone*--male or female--to be doing (like many of the things we regularly do). But how many Olympic sports would be eliminated if we followed that logic, right?

What a great story idea you've taken and run with! and i love your titles. :)

Gerb said...

Ginger and Renee,

You are absolutely right.

The FIS finally gave in and decided to step into the 21st century. If only the IOC would follow suit!

I have no doubt that eventually there will be a Nordic ski jump event for women at the Olympics. It defies logic and common sense for them to continue to hold out. What makes me tremendously sad is that so many of these athletes will not be able to compete if they keep putting it off. Lindsey Van and Alyssa Johnson for example are in their 20's. Even if they would still be at the top of their game physically in another 7 years (not likely) they can't put their lives on hold to maintain the kind of intense training competing at their level requires. They are world class athletes who should be given the opportunity to compete as any other world class athlete at an Olympic venue. Even if their struggle paves the way for other jumpers down the road, they themselves are being robbed. They have worked so hard for the opportunity, it kills me that ANYONE has the power to deny it.



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