This is going to be the king of off-topic posts.

I wrote a book. A fiction book for kids. You can find it on Amazon here, in either Kindle or paperback form. I didn't go through a publisher, and just used Amazon's self-publishing option. I get enough rejection letters from editors of journals, and I didn't need one more group of people telling me that what I wrote isn't what they are looking for.

The book is a mystery/fantasy adventure story, and I wrote it for my girls. They're 11 and 9 now, and I'd say the book is good for kids 3rd-7th grade. But you could read it to kids as young as 1st grade or kindergarten. I know there are a ton of advanced elementary school students who read this blog regularly, so I figure the publicity can't hurt.

For my academic co-authors out there, don't worry. I wrote the book over a couple years, a few hours at a time. (For any UH readers, Friday afternoons post-Treebeard's were prime time for writing.) I'm not sure if that made it easier or harder. A couple times I lost the thread of what I was writing because I missed a week. But the regular, limited schedule also made it relatively easy to keep going. I knew I only needed to work those few hours at a time. It never ended up feeling like a burden.

Most of the motivation how much my daughters love books like this. And a little bit of it came from reading a few of their books and thinking, "That's not very good. I could write that." After a while, you realize that you'd better actually do it, or just shut up. So I gave it a shot.

I will say that having done this, I have a greatly enhanced opinion of those who write fiction books like this, even those who write the bad ones that motivated me. Whatever the quality, these people finished a story. Coming up with an idea for a story is easy. But finishing the story, filling in all the details, organizing the flow of it, wrapping it up, and keeping it consistent, that is very hard. Finishing is an accomplishment, so I've learned to ease up on my criticism of books that do not thrill me. At least those authors did it.

And let me tell you, putting fiction out there is terrifying compared to submitting or presenting research. I can usually fall back on some kind of literature to support my research question or assumptions when I do research, but with fiction it is utterly on me. If this book is stupid, then it is because I wrote a stupid story. There is no hiding from that, and it probably explains why it took me close to a year to publish this book.

But my girls and a few of their friends who have read it enjoyed the book, and that finally got me to put it out there. If you know a kid who might like it, or if (like me), you read a lot of your kid's books, take a look. If you like it, nice reviews are greatly appreciated. If you don't like it, then you are an awful person, and probably like to kick puppies or cut people off on the highway.