Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book roundup

Summer Reading: Photo by Kris Molendyke, shamelessly lifted from Google+

I created a roundup of links of reviews for "Be Brave, Be Strong," mostly because I wanted to have them all in one place and a reference I can link in my sidebar. Sales were good in June and July and dropped off quite a bit in August, which I expected to happen once the "new release" wave leveled off. What's surprised me is that "Ghost Trails" sales have picked up quite a bit and the older book is now selling at nearly the level of the new book, thanks to Kindle sales. That at least has been a affirmation of so many indie authors' mantras that books are worthy projects because books are forever a source of income. The two together are at least keeping me in gas and groceries as I wrap up a few magazine articles and freelance newspaper columns that won't result in payments until months down the road.

Amid the few freelance assignments I've picked up, I have been working on a third book project. Several, actually. And I admit I've hit walls with my nonfiction projects. One needs a lot more research, and the other just isn't quite resonating with me right now. On the encouragement of a couple of online writer groups that I browse, I've very recently started dabbling in fiction. I don't have high ambitions that this will result in anything great. Honestly, fiction isn't really my thing but conceptualizing a narrative that takes place completely in my imagination has been fun. I have an idea for an adventure story set in Southeast Alaska, and visualizing the landscape has been a rewarding escape on these warm August days.

I really enjoy what I've been spending my days trying to do, but it's been challenging. Anyone who believes that freelance writing is a self-indulgent hobby of a lifestyle has never actually tried to convince people to pay them for words. I love words but even I have a hard time believing that words have the kind of worth that can be traded for gas and groceries and bicycles. So I agonize about how to convince others that they are, including you, the readers of this blog, who I am currently trying to talk into buying my books. I promise I won't start "spamming" my own blog on a regular basis, but if my Diet Pepsi fund runs particularly low, I may continue to try.

So for now, the links:

Cycling Utah published an excerpt of "Be Brave, Be Strong" in its August 2011 issue — to my surprise, the entire Great Divide Basin chapter. That's a lot of words. But I'm always happy to contribute to my first-ever freelance writing gig. I've been an occasional contributor to Cycling Utah since they "paid" me to ride the Salt Lake Century way back in 2004. The excerpt begins on page 30.

Reviews from cyclists and friends:
Bill Martin, Montana endurance mountain bike racer
Dave Chenault, 2011 Alaska Wilderness Classic finisher
Kent Peterson, 2005 Great Divide Race singlespeed finisher
Danni Coffman, super awesome chick in Montana
Jim Speakman, cyclist in Scotland

Reviews from book reviewers and readers:
Flying With Red Haircrow
Tara Chevrestt, "Book Babe"
Amazon reviews
Goodreads reviews
Smashwords reviews
Librarything reviews

Where you can buy the paperback book:
Signed copies direct from me for $15
Signed copies of both "Be Brave" and "Ghost Trails" for  $25.95
From Amazon, on sale for $12.20
From Barnes and Noble, also $12.20

Where you can buy the eBook:
For Amazon Kindle, $8.95
For Barnes and Noble Nook, $8.95
For iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, $8.95
For other e-Readers, $6.71 (files can work for all eReaders; use coupon code XF85Q to get 25% off)
PDF eBook that can be viewed on any computer, $7.16

Finally, if you're interested in previewing the book, Goodreads is offering a free preview of the first 12 chapters. That's about half of the book. My hope is that if you make it that far in, you'll want to read the rest. That preview is located here.


  1. so he appears in the picture to be a rather small yet rigid fan of yours? nice.....

  2. Any chance Ghost Trails will ever be offered in a PDF? I would just steal my fathers paperback, but I'd like my own version and, obviously, to pay you for your great work.

  3. i just read 'be brave be strong' on a cross- country car trip and it was excellent. I lost all track of time and was in another state by the time I looked up again (don't worry- wasn't driving at the time). Picked up ghost trails at the same time (on kindle) and can't wait for the flight back across country! I will willingly keep you in gas and groceries and diet pepsi if you keep delivering the goods like this!

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  5. Jill:

    The "Signed copies direct from me for $15" link points to Kindle version instead.

  6. Bought 'em both. Hope others are doing the same!

  7. Curse you! I picked up your book last night; I was treating myself to some Thai food, and figured I wanted a new book to go with it, and have been meaning to snag yours. So I started reading. The restaurant closed, and I moved out to my car. Finally at 10:48pm, I finished the book, and got to leave the darn parking lot! I had *work* to do last night, darnit!

    (Seriously: Nice book!)

  8. That last comment made up my mind! I just ordered Odyssa book, but I think I need one of yours!

  9. I live in Canada and the shipping costs as much as the book - boo. I'll be in California in October, any chance you can send it to my hotel there?

  10. JP — Thanks, link should be fixed.

    Olga — I've been wanting to read Odyssa, too. I've read a bit of Jenn's blog since her amazing AT effort and she's a good writer. Let me know what you think.

    Andrea — Yeah, that's the price of shipping these days. I don't mark it up at all, but I do regret I have to charge so much just to break even. I'd be glad to send a book to California. You can use that address in the link and leave a message with the date you want it sent. Or e-mail me directly at

  11. Oh, and for the first anon, here's the link to Ghost Trails PDF:

  12. And to the Thai Food reader: Thank you! That's a seriously nice compliment. I think most readers who have interest in the subject matter (i.e. epic bicycle adventures) will find the book to be a quick and entertaining read.

  13. Amazon Canada has "Brave" with free shipping:


  14. Thanks Tom! Now let's hope it arrives before I go away on vacation :)

  15. Jill--I finished Be Brave, Be Strong last night and I just cannot say enough about it. I read it at my husband's urging and could not put it down. Not only are you an amazing cyclist, your writing is equally fantastic. I was transported. I cheered with you, I shared your frustrations, I cried with you. Oh! It was so good!

    My husband has been trying to convince me to mountain bike ("off road" would be more like it; we live in very flat central Iowa!) and, after years of biking on paved trails with a few side turns onto gravel and dirt, I think I may be inspired to try it.

  16. I finished Be Brave a few weeks before CTR. It was everything I could do to focus on getting ready for CTR instead of starting to plot for a TD attempt next year.

    Awesome read. Thank you.

  17. Thank you Katherine and Eszter.

    Eszter, so are you considering riding the TD next year? It's funny, this year I found myself thinking a lot about a Colorado Trail trip. Funny thing is, I'd really like to attempt it on foot, self supported, a fast-pack sort of thing. As for TD, as time passes more and more I want to go back. Who knows? But I'd be even more inspired/tempted if a lot of strong women decide to give it a go.

  18. Yeah, I've got TD on the brain. I keep trying to turn the thoughts off because I have a million other things to do in the next 6 weeks, but the inspiration is definitely there. I've got to get some ducks in a row before I can fully commit to it.

    Rumor mill seems to be indicating that we could have a women's race on our hands next year. Could be fun. :)

    CTR would be beautiful either on foot or on bike. I'd love to go hike the wilderness sections that we have to miss on the bike. That being said, there's so much stinkin' fun single track on the CT that I'd have a hard time walking it.

  19. Hey Jill!
    Not too much google? just sayin


Feedback is always appreciated!