Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: interviews

Interview & Review at AGGASPLETCH

Mark Stratton, poet, blogger and author of Tender Mercies, interviewed me about writing, poetry, birds, my new book and other topics:

Without naming it, describe for me your favorite beverage?

My favorite beverage consists of ice cold hydrogen atoms joined in a 2:1 ratio with a crisp pure oxygen atom. This beverage is best served over the solid state form of itself.

I hope you’ll go read the whole thing, and also check out mark’s short review of Birds Nobody Loves posted last week.

Thanks, mark!

Interview at Wordgathering

Margo Roby interviewed me at her Wordgathering blog today. We talk about Birds Nobody Loves, vultures, grackles, poetry, self-publishing and writing in general. Check it out.

Thanks, Margo!

I’m Interviewed over at Lonestarters

Most Wednesdays, Matthew over at Lonestarters posts an interview with a different Austin blogger. He recently asked me to respond to some questions and today, you can read my responses. The questions were really interesting and got me thinking about this whole blogging thing I’ve been doing these past few years as well as the history of Coyote Mercury—how I started and how it’s changed—as well as about writing in general. Go read it and while you’re there have a look around. Matthew is new to Austin and Lonestarters is the ongoing tale of his adventures of discovery within this wonderful town and it’s good stuff all around. Go say hi (or howdy).

The LA Times Asks Me About the LOST Books

Last week someone from the LA Times asked to interview me about the Lost book club project I’ve been doing on this blog for the past few years.  The article is here, and she even included some of my theorizin’ about where the show might be headed in these last 2 episodes.

I’ll be coming up with a final theory after the next episode and have it up in time for the series finale. As much as I like trying to predict Lost, though, I really love it when I’m wrong if only so I’ll be more surprised by how things play out.

If you’re one of the many people suddenly showing up here today, welcome and thanks for coming by. My Lost reading is only a minor part of this site so I hope you’ll have a look around while you’re here.

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.

My Interview on The Armadillo Podcast Is Up

Episode 12 of The Armadillo Podcast has been posted. You can hear Steven Phenix interview me about living in Austin, writing novels, and Kinky Friedman’s gubernatorial campaign. Check it out.

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