Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: a place without a postcard (page 1 of 2)

Kindle Promo Experiment

I’m doing a little experiment with Amazon’s kindle promo features. My book, A Place Without a Postcard, is currently $1.99 for the next day or so when it will slowly go up to its usual $3.99.

Additionally, my poetry collection, Birds Nobody Loves, is on special as well. It’s currently $0.99, but will slowly ascend to its usual perch at $2.99.

I’m trying to see how well this works, so I’m asking if you’ve read either of these books and wouldn’t mind sharing this with people you think might enjoy them to consider doing so. If you haven’t read them, this is a great way to get them.

If you check out Postcard, you’ll even find out why this site is called Coyote Mercury.


A Place Without a Postcard–Free for Kindle Today

A Place Without a PostcardJust a quick announcement: my 2003 novel A Place Without a Postcard is available as a free download in the kindle store today (5-2-14). I hope you’ll check it out and share it with any friends you think might be interested. Thank you, and enjoy.

(The paperback is also reduced to $10.99, though I don’t know how long that will last.)

Kind Words

It’s nice to know that Michele Cornelius, whose awesome stock photo graces the new cover of A Place Without a Postcard liked the book. Enough to write about it even. Take a few minutes to visit her site and check out her awesome work.

Thanks, Michele!

Postcard Cover Art

postcard2013_cover-kindle-lo-resWhen I made the decision to Kindle-ize and relaunch A Place Without a Postcard, I decided to redo the cover. While looking around Shutterstock, I came across the photo that you see on the book. A UFO flying over the desert is exactly the kind of cover image I was seeking for a book about a photographer who makes fake UFO photos and gets lost in the desert.

This photo led me to try to learn more about the photographer, Michele Cornelius. She lives and works in Alaska, and her photos eloquently capture the beauty of that remote place and her deep concern for its wild spaces.

In addition to selling stock photos, Michele also has a great many of her prints available for purchase, and she has a beautiful photo e-book called A Back Road Traveler’s Alaska. Visit her site, Observations of a Backroad Traveler, and check out her work. It will be time well spent.

Also, if you’re looking for good stock photos, she has a lot more than UFO pictures available on Shutterstock.

Relaunching A Place Without a Postcard


Today I am “officially” relaunching my 2003 novel A Place Without a Postcard. It was first published through iUniverse and while the experience was a positive one, I wanted to re-publish it under my own Coyote Mercury Press.

The 2014 paperback version features a new cover, trim size, and layout but the story is the same. I corrected the typos that snuck into the original, cut a few unnecessary adverbs, and restructured some sentences for clarity. I’ve learned a lot about writing in the 11 years since Postcard was first published, and I wanted to apply some of that to the new version, which is more a remaster than a true 2nd edition.

I approached the work with a light hand, though, because I didn’t want to change the story or the characters in any way and so the post I put up nearly a year ago about the upcoming Kindle edition (which has now finally come up) still stands. After all these years, I am still happy with this book, and I hope others will be too.

One of the nice things about publishing through my own company is that I can control the price and so for today, I’ve got the paperback version on sale for $10.99 (usually $13.99) and the Kindle edition for $1.99 (usually $3.99) both through Amazon. Additionally, the Kindle version is free through Amazon’s Match Book program so if you ever bought the old paperback (thank you!) or if you buy the new one you should be able to download the Kindle version for free.

If you bought the book back in 2003 (or later), thank you again, and I hope you’ll let your friends know about the new edition, and if you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll check it out. Thank you.

Kindle-izing and Republishing My Old Novel

I’ve been Kindle-izing my first book A Place Without a Postcard. I started it in 1993 on a legal pad and then began typing it into an old Brother word processor, a beast of a machine that was part typewriter, part printer. It had a small screen and a floppy drive too. It was the transition step between typewriters and computers for those of us who couldn’t afford a computer.

Eventually, I got a ’94 Mac Performa and moved the files to that where I was running Claris Works. Then in 2000, around the time I finished the first draft, we made the move to a PC and it went to Word ’95 and then Word ’98. The master file has been through a lot and so the first step in prepping it for Kindle, a device as unimaginable as the cloud when I began, was to clean the source file, which now resides in iPages on my Mac. So I’ve been making changes to the file that never mattered when it was for print only.

But that was the easy piece and was partly a dodge to avoid the real challenge: rereading my ten-year-old novel. Gulp. I don’t tend to reread my stuff once it’s out there, and I had largely forgotten much of what was between those covers, and I shuddered to imagine what horrors I had penned so long ago. Would I want to change it, make major revisions? I didn’t want to.

But I did read it, and it was fun. It was like reading a book by someone else and other than the odd missing comma or unnecessary adverb, I didn’t find that I had to fight the urge to rewrite large sections or change much of anything. There are a few things I might have done differently had I been writing it now, but I’m happy to say I still like the book, and I still really like those old characters, Paul and Sergio and the coyote Mercury for whom this blog is named. I think I told their tale well and did them justice.

The Kindle edition will be out sometime in the next month or so and I’ll also be updating the paperback to a second edition and bringing it to my own Coyote Mercury Press. I’ll keep you posted and let you know when that happens including the free day when I intend to give away the Kindle edition.

Have you ever gone back to read things you wrote and published long ago? What was that like?

The Decision to Self-Publish

Writing that guest post for Author! Author! on my thoughts about self-publishing got me thinking about the experience and something I didn’t address in that post: how I came to the decision to go the self-publishing route with my first novel, A Place Without a Postcard.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s how I got there.

I’ve been asked many times why I self-published Postcard back in 2003. Rejected by every agent and publisher in the land? Nope.

It had more to do with my own entrepreneurial streak and maybe some inspiration from the indie films and punk rock albums I’ve always loved. A Place Without a Postcard is about neither of those things, but its journey is related.

It started as a screenplay for an indie film I imagined I’d someday make with a bunch of friends and a stack of credit cards. I never did that, but a few years crewing films taught me my talents, temperament and passions lay with the pen. Well, okay, the word processor, but that doesn’t quite have the proper poetic ring to it, does it?

I submitted it as my writing sample to the graduate screenwriting program at The University of Texas at Austin. I got in and it even won me a James Michener Fellowship from the Texas Center for Writers.

Not bad for a quirky story that straddles the worlds of science fiction, mystery and modern myth.

In grad school, I wrote a number of scripts and work-shopped Postcard in a revisions class. Somewhere in grad school, though, A Place Without a Postcard became a story that needed to be a novel and so after I graduated, the screenplay became notes. Because the protagonist is blind through much of the story, I wrote most of it without any visual descriptions. The experience taught me a lot about how we hear and smell the world, and in the end I had a solid manuscript.

By 2002, and after many rounds of revisions, I noticed new things in the publishing world. Print on demand (POD) technology was going to change everything (and I suspect it still will change a lot by reducing the inherent risks of large print runs) by democratizing publishing. POD only required minimal resources and a firm belief in one’s vision. My friends in bands were recording their own CDs. Filmmakers were making and releasing their own films. All without anyone’s permission. Could POD be the key to allowing publishing to go DIY like music and film?

I learned about xlibris and iUniverse, the two main self-publishing POD companies at the time*, and liked what I saw. Their services weren’t bankrupt-you expensive—they were much cheaper then—because only books purchased would be printed, a fact that also appealed to the tree-hugger in me.

In December of 2002, I made my decision and decided to trust myself. In January, my book was available on the iUniverse website and within a month, it was available through Barnes & Noble online, Amazon, Book People and Powell’s (though with weirdly mis-colored  cover art on those 2 sites) as well as most other online booksellers.

Then the selling work commenced. I got interviews in a couple of local papers, a review here and there, did a radio interview, a reading and signing, and even got a small indie bookseller to stock it. I sold more copies that I expected and even made my money back, which they say is hard for a self-pubbed author to do. I met a lot of people and learned more than I could have imagined.

In all, it’s a decision I’ve been happy with.

*If I were to do it again, I’d look at createspace and lulu and the many other options out there now.

Thoughts About Self-Publishing

I’ve got a guest post up over at Anne Mini’s Author! Author! blog in which I share some thoughts about the experience of self-publishing my novel A Place Without a Postcard back in 2003. Here’s the link: Thoughts about Self-Publishing by guest blogger James Brush. Go read it, Anne says nice things about me and my book.

If you’ve not visited Author! Author! and are interested in anything relating to publishing, check it out. Author! Author! is a veritable treasure house of useful information for anyone trying to navigate the world of agents, editors and publishing companies, and Anne is truly committed to helping writers succeed in that quest.

And, since we’re on the subject, if you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of A Place Without a Postcard. Here’s the back cover copy:

Paul Reynolds, a photographer who creates fake photos for tabloid magazines, wakes up with no idea where he is or how he got there. He can’t even recall his name. A strange man lurks nearby, breathing heavily and slowly flipping through a book. Paul hears the man’s breath, but he cannot see him. He realizes with mounting panic that his eyes no longer function.

He remembers racing down a desolate West Texas highway. He remembers a cop who pulled him over for speeding. He remembers a shotgun-brandishing cook chasing him out of a diner. And he remembers a life abandoned, but he cannot put together the jigsaw puzzle that brought him where he is: blind, wanted by the law, and in the company of this invisible stranger.

In the backcountry town of Armbister, Texas, where temperatures hover around a hellish 110 degrees, Paul’s memory, intangible as a heat mirage, lies just beyond his reach, and God may be a coyote.

Thanks. Plug over.

Meanwhile on Other Blogs…

I’ve found a lot of great stuff lately, and so, a links post.

Heather wrote a very nice review of A Place Without a Postcard.

Jon Swift included a post I wish I never had to write on his compendium of the Best Blog Posts of 2008 (Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves). Okay, so I picked the post, but it was nice to be invited.

I and the Bird #91 is out on From the Faraway, Nearby, very cool travel/nature/photography site that I intend to start following. Also discovered in this month’s installment of I and the Bird, are some really interesting and compelling sites that will likely become regular reads: Nature Remains, a celebration of the natural world by a gifted writer; the unclassifiable Via Negativa, which is definitely worth a detailed exploration, and Teach me about Birdwatching!!! where I hope to learn more about South American birds.

A few weeks ago, I discovered two really good sites: Flint Hills, Tall Grass and Coyote Crossing. And, let’s face it, blogs with coyote in the name are just cool.

Today, I learned from drivelocity how to put a favicon on my site.

Well. That all makes for a good day of reading.

Fresh Hot Meme

Way back in May, when the world was cool and the grass was green, Heather tagged me. At long last, I respond.

Here are the rules:
A) The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
B) Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.
C) At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1) Ten years ago I was…

Just married, getting used to being a homeowner, trying to decide where to hang my newly acquired master’s degree, running a mailroom in downtown Austin, and starting on the first draft of A Place Without a Postcard, which <shameless plug> you should purchase if you haven’t </shameless plug>.

2) Five things on today’s to-do list:

I actually had one for today: pick up replacement ipod at the Apple store, get passports out of safe deposit box, drop off old light fixtures at Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, get mealworms for the wrens and titmice, get a new journal at Book People.

3) Things I’d do if I were a billionaire:

Purchase an island in the south Pacific and build a network of research stations to better understand and harness its unusual magnetic properties.

4) Three bad habits:

Candy, cookies, cake.

5) Five places I’ve lived:

Portsmouth, Rhode Island; Springfield, Virginia; Subic Bay, The Philippines; Naples, Italy, Austin, Texas

6) Six jobs I’ve had in my life:

Teacher, Project Manager, Mailroom Supervisor, Migrant Film Worker, Pizza Cook, Busboy.

I tag nobody specific, but feel free to use this meme if you’re reading it and feeling like listing.

I’m off to London. I’ll put up pictures when I return.

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