Iditarod fundraiser

It's a book! I made it! Available here!

OK, so, the book. This started in June when an Alaskan author named Seth Kantner (one of my heroes, but that's the subject of another post) came to Juneau to promote his latest book, "Shopping for Porcupine." That also happened to be the same day my parents flew into town to visit me. I dragged them almost directly from the airport to the bookstore to attend Kantner's signing and slideshow. As he flipped through photos of his hard life in the frozen wastelands of the Arctic, I kept glancing over at my mom and dad, expecting to see perplexed looks on their faces. But, like me, they seemed enthralled. I decided two things that evening: I needed to go back to the Iditarod Trail - if not in 2009, then someday. And I needed to get my 2008 experience on paper - not just the quick first impressions of the blog, but everything I could remember.

Before that night, I had already been working on essays of other past adventures, some of which I consider turning points in my life. When I started working on the Iditarod story, I noticed a lot of similar themes that cropped up in some of my old stories. The complimentary details seemed worth drawing together. I moved toward fusing the two projects - like parallel journeys at different points in time. The result is this book: My personal story of the Iditarod Trail and the far-reaching trails that led to it.

I finished it in September and didn't really feel compelled to add much to it. But I wasn't sure what to do with it. There was a sense that maybe it was worthy of publication, but I know myself well and I knew I was just going to bury it in a computer folder and forget about it as I avoided all of the work of trying to get a piece of creative nonfiction published. Years would go by and eventually the computer's hard drive would fizzle out and that would be that.

As I mulled just posting it on a blog (not this one, because this blog is already really long without the addition a 75,000-word post), I came across the idea of self publishing. I have lots of mixed feelings about self publishing, as I'm sure lots of authors do. But I put it together as a book and needled a little covert copy editing out of a friend and was fairly happy with the result.

All was uploaded and done about two weeks ago, but I've been hesitating because I wasn't sure this was what I really wanted to do. But now I don't just want to think about it anymore. This is how all of my best decisions are made. :-)

If you click on this link, you can purchase the book and help support my next big winter racing effort. By buying my book, you get a stack of new and interesting "Up in Alaska" material that you can read in bed, and I get a small royalty that I can put into my new-coat-and-peanut- butter-cup fund. The link will take you directly to the publisher's marketplace site. I understand shipping may be a little high, especially if you don't live in the United States. If that's the case, I am trying to get this listed on, but it will take several weeks at least. You can also download the PDF.

Finally, some of my friends and people I've met are depicted in this book (first-names only in most cases.) I worked really hard to depict the events as accurately as I could, but in the end, I'm relying almost entirely on my own memory. So I apologize in advance if you feel misrepresented in any way.

Also, if you come to this blog solely for the pictures, I am also thinking about putting together a fundraising calendar. And if you come to this site solely to compare your bicycle punishment to mine, don't worry, I'm still training hard and will be back to typing about that soon enough. :-)


  1. Done and done.

    I ordered your book and can hardly wait to dig in.

    I hope you make a pile of money to fund some more adventures!

  2. awesome, I am looking forward to get the book listed at amazon so I can get it shipped to austria.

    cheers herbert

  3. It's about time Jill! That is absolutely awesome. I will be ordering one ASAP. Maybe a couple for gifts.

    So, when will the coffee table book with all those cool photos be coming out. If Jim Brandenburg can do it you certainly can.

  4. Way to go! I am sure it will be an epic read. I am excited to start turning pages.

    You are a very gifted writer -- keep it up:)

  5. Well Done Jill!!
    That's brilliant can't wait to read it.

    Really well done!

  6. richard5:10 AM

    Congratulations Jill! I'm looking forward to reading the book and can't wait for the calendar. Great idea.

  7. sweet! You are an inspiration to writers and bloggers everywhere :) I look forward to getting your book and the calendar when/if you make it.

  8. Ordering this as soon as I get home from work tonight..great job, Jill!

  9. GET OUT OF TOWN! You are a sneaky, book-writing blogger, that's what you are! BIG props J-Dog!

  10. Congrats! I hope this book is successful for you. Perhaps this can help you transition away from a desk and confining work schedule to a more free wheeling lifestyle?

    All the best....


  11. Dang and my credit card is maxed out due to a family emergency. Will have to try and get the account built back up for this book.

    Read the preview and it just begs to be finished.

  12. GREAT! I guess that answered my question from earlier this month(about publishing photos as a calendar to help raise money). I put it on my Christmas wish list.

  13. karen7:48 AM

    Wooo Hoooo, way to go. I wish you all the success you deserve.

  14. How bout you just sneaking the publishing of a book in there. My donation to your Reeses fund has been made. Cannot wait to check it out. Ride on!

  15. I'm really looking forward to reading it! I'm sure it is excellent. Now I just need to find some time.

  16. dinglearm8:33 AM

    I can't wait to read the book. I really enjoyed the account you posted ont he blog.

    WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Anonymous9:03 AM

    nice work! congrats -- this is a big accomplishment. keep up the blog...we love your thoughts and photos!

  18. Tferris9:25 AM

    Excellent!! I can't wait for it to arrive!

  19. Wow! Very nice. Your pictures are just so beautiful. I like the calendar idea too. :)

  20. Jill, this is amazing! Congrats on being an author, with a book and everything!

  21. this is cool. i still think that when it snows, you should start skiing. but some of us just have to "maintain against the grain."

    you should start mailing pieces of your work to outdoor mags.

    you're like, extreme and everything!

  22. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Thank you so much for offering the book, I just placed my order. And if you do the calender I will get that as well.

  23. Wow, sorry I skipped the calendar idea and went right for the coffee table book.

    I'll get the calendar also.

  24. I can't wait for the delivery of the book.

    The ideal Xmas present!!

    The Netherlands

  25. Ordered it. Downloaded it. Readin' it.

    Good on ya, Jill!

  26. Aaron5:13 PM

    I'm with table book, good idea!

    It looks like I'm about the 28th advance want-one-of-them-calendars people too.

    I'm sure your book will make an excellent gift, so if she knows who she is and who I!


  28. Awesome Jill! The Daughter is getting one for sure.

  29. Woo hoo, you did it! Ordered 1 4 me and 1 4 my folks - so inexpensive, too (for a fund raising venture). Can't wait to get and read it!
    I imagine (and hope) you're secretly writing another at this very moment... ;-D

  30. Awesome - I'll order one for sure, but only if you promise to send it to 10 publishers before the beginning of 2009, OK? Way to go, Jill. You're going places - for sure. Hell, ou are already there!

  31. Congratulations Jill!

    Perhaps one of these days we'll see you on the Talk Show route : The Today Show, The Tonight Show , Letterman and so on.

    You'd make an awesome guest interview as you are living and writing about a great adventure.

  32. Anonymous10:27 PM

    You're inspiring in so many ways. Ordered one for myself and one for a friend. Can't wait to read it!

  33. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Cheers for making it downloadable as an ebook... not only is it going to save some trees, but it will also make the book accessible for your supporters on the other side of the world... Can you make the calendar downloadable as well? Please? Pretty please? ;-)


    I knew this would happen one day. You are a phenomenal writer and an amazing inspiration! I can't wait to order it and indulge in my crazy yet amazing sister's stories!! I also can't wait to see it rise to the top of the New York Bestsellers, Oprah's Bookclub, and the rights to your own movie!

    I am so proud of you, and I love you very much!

  35. Hi Jill, you are growing day by day. This is a great news. Congratulations.

    Regards from Spain

  36. Mom Roes4:21 AM

    Jill - This is so wonderful!! You are such an inspiration to a lot of people. Keep up the good work - can't wait to get a copy to read. We love you

  37. dinglearm5:56 AM

    A calendar sounds like a good idea, but it limits the number of pictures..I would go for the calendar...but the coffee table book sounds awsome... I would have trouble picking ONLY 12 pics for a calendar.

  38. Glad you took my advice... Well, along with hundreds of the same. Curious about the self publishing thing. Just didn't feel like dealing with the hassle of queries and rejections? Self publishing can be a viable path. A number of big sellers and great authors were picked up from the self publishing circuit, as I am sure you know. Best of luck. Count me in for an order. Hope you sell a million and sign with Harcourt.

  39. So, you've got 40 comments now. Most of the commenters have blogs. I smell a marketing opportunity. I have posted a picture of your book on my blog,, and a plug. Hope you don't mind. I also hope everyone else will do the same.
    I, for one, would like to see you quit your day job and become an adventure writer. Somebody's gotta live the dream.

  40. Count me in. Great job, Jill!

  41. i buyed yer pdf book and stayed up late readin it. it was good. but i expected more gossip, frankly.

    the main thing that caught me while readin it was the moments of revelation and the descriptions of incredible visual dreamscapes that one encounters when pushin on through to the other side. that's why i exercise - for the endorphins + visual beauty.

    i know you work but it seems that it would be good to get up there a week early and preview the course.

    also, have you ever considered wearing a cape? my wife won't let me wear a cape around town so i only wear it when i'm in the privacy of my own home. oh well.
    if you make me a cape i'll wear it.

    how about doing la ruta de los conquistadores? its a going on now in costa rica. i now have a rough plan to do it next year, god willing.

    thank you! thank you! happy, happy!

  42. Great news! Ordering hard copy immediately.

    Please please be my 2009 calendar!

  43. jill

    hi my name is cole and i own i would love to review your book on our website. we get 650,000 hits a month. email me if its something you would like to do.



  44. i agree that a calander would be nice but i think the coffee table book idea would be much more fitting. a hundred pages of photos with interspersed comments, essays, and/or stories would much more capture what you have to offer than a 12 month calander possibly could. your photos are great, but most of them don't speak for themselves the way that your writing does. (is it possible for writing to "speak" for itself?)

  45. Jill I am getting a little antsy because I have now been two days without a vicarious bike ride on your site. If this continues I may end up actually going to ride my own bike :) Oh yea and I look forward to reading the book. Congrats.

  46. Thanks to all for supporting this humble blogger. :-)

    Thanks Craig and donut guy for posting links on your blog. Any help in making this viral is a'Ok with me.

    Asa, that pretty much counts as my first book review. Thanks for reading. Not really sure what to take out of it. It's a book about my life. Were you looking for gossip about Lindsey Lohan? Wish I could provide it. Then I really would make decent money as a writer.

    Thanks again to all.

  47. Hi Jill,
    I'm an academic physician (formerly at Harvard and Stanford) who found your blog while looking for the best health writers. I think your writing is great! I would like to feature you in the Biking Community on Wellsphere, a top 10 health website that has well over 2 million visitors monthly.

    If you would like to learn more, just drop me an email to

  48. Anonymous9:37 AM

    I say you should do both - calendar and a picture book. I just ordered the book. Can I get it autographed soon?

  49. Congratulations on getting your book done. I'm excited to read it. I think you should definitely do a calendar as well.

  50. Great book Jill. Loved it! Just finished reading it and it barely had a chance for a rest before Sara started reading.


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