Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Publisher to Release Gunslinger Revenge in November

GUNSLINGER REVENGE

Publisher Becky Coffield has NOT been
attending to business!
Well, you know you're getting behind when calls and emails start coming in asking where the new titles are that have been announced in the back of an earlier book!

This morning a very nice librarian emailed Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. asking where the next Jere D. James book was, that she had a client who was waiting for it, and she could find no mention of it anywhere on the web. She had a good point - it was only yesterday that I finally added the title to Books in Print.

So, what happened? Usually Jere's books are out in August or September - this one has been delayed and we've not talked about it much. First of all, I blame everything on the fact that no matter what you say, time is moving faster and I'm not!

That being said, we've also been wrestling a lot around here with where we are headed with our small company. As a few of you have commented in various emails, we are not doing near the number of events we use to do. This has caused a drop in sales on all fronts. After six months of cogitating our options, however, we've decided to move forward and to continue publishing - just not western fiction so much...with the exception of James' books - if the author plans to continue producing westerns, that is. We also will be doing more events at different venues next year, moving from three Wickenburg events to probably five or six events in different locales. That should perk things up, revive us, and get us back on track.

The other issue is that Jere pretty much dragged heels and got the manuscript to us late, and we had to reject it because, quite frankly, it was a great story but too short. Our minimum, bare minimum (for fiction) is in the 50,000-word range.

Happily, at long last we are preparing to release Gunslinger Revenge  in November.

As of yet, the cover is not finished either, but my cover man has a good excuse.

I think many people will be quite surprised by Gunslinger Revenge. The book mainly features gunman Richard Moody and a new upstart deputy, Daniel Cleary. Jake Silver is in the book, but this go-to character we've all come to love takes a bit of a backseat to Moody and Cleary, at least in the first part of the book. What is even more surprising, however, is that Jere D. James is seriously thinking of revealing his/her true identity at the end of the book. The author has only one more month to make that decision. Once the book is in print, it cannot be retracted!

Is this a good idea or a bad one? Is it even important? I don't think so. I'm urging Jere not to go down this road.


THE OLD FOLKS IN THE BOAT

The Old Folks in the Boat looks like it won't be available until December or January. The book is finished, but the cover photo won't be taken until October - then there's the issue of the cover designer getting things put together.

It's still uncertain whether the book will be officially released at the January 2016 Seattle Boat Show or not. We'll decide that later this fall, I suppose.

Finally, the office will be closed during September as we make our way, late, to the San Juan Islands and north. We're planning on taking two titles along and also doing some advance advertising of The Old Folks in the Boat, looking for pre-orders. The book will likely retail for $12.95.  Lots of photos. Vendor queries are welcome!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Moonlight Mesa Publication to be a Documentary!

 The subject of Moonlight Mesa's signature biography is being featured in a documentary film by filmmaker Justin Koehler!

Rusty Richards, personal friend to Tibbs and author of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride, wrote the only authorized biography of Casey. As publisher, I can vouch for the fact that most people who knew Casey, who rode with Casey, and who ran with him are dead! Casey died in 1990 at the age of 60. His contemporaries, if living, would be in the 85-age range. I'm sure a few are still around, but I found a number of them in the obituaries.

In a recent Denver Post article, Mr. Koehler says he interviewed lots of people to get his information for the film. I am amazed that so many are still living, but I do know from selling the book at many venues, that there are countless stories out there about Casey - stories that even Rusty never heard. At almost every event we do, someone comes up and tells us another new story about Casey - some are not so nice, either!

I'm quite happy about the movie being a documentary. I would hate to see Casey misrepresented in some Hollywood extravaganza, and I think it would be easy to "overdo" the man. I know, however, that Rusty had hoped the book would be picked up by a major movie producer, but no matter how good the book is (and we have sold thousands of copies) the fact is that Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride is a genre book, and a small genre at that.

We wish Justin Koehler a ton of success with this film. We're all very anxious to see it. It's a long-overdo, terrific project, and Casey deserves all the attention and praise the movie brings! But we hope Mr. Koehler gives Rusty Richards a bit of credit if he used Rusty's book as a reference for the film. I think Rusty would be very pleased with  the recognition. I know we would be!




Friday, July 10, 2015

Gunslinger Justice Ends With a BANG!

Yikes!! Guess who forgot to release the reviews for Gunslinger Justice, the sixth book in the Jake Silver series. This title has only been out for almost a full year. My BAD!!! Heavens. I need to fire myself!

So, better late than never, here's a reivew by Barbra Lee.

Gunslinger Justice Ends With a BANG

Jere D. James, author of the Jake Silver Series, has ended the highly popular six-book series with Gunslinger Justice. Set in Arizona and Mexico in the late 1800s, James gives the reader an original, fast-paced, clever plot and unique characters. The ending of this book is utterly unexpected and stunning.


In Gunslinger Justice, the sixth and final book in the Jake Silver Series, Western author Jere D. James produces a fast-paced, original plot and unique characters, including Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Silver,  gunslinger Richard Moody, the cunning Vincent Cooper, and Mexican kingpin Diego Fuentes.

Gunman Richard Moody, thinking he has left his nemesis Vincent Cooper dead in the Superstition Mountains, heads to Mexico to avenge the death of Jake Silver at the hands of kingpin Diego Fuentes and his army of desperadoes. Unbeknownst to Moody, however, Silver is very much alive. Fuentes has proven to be a resourceful albeit violent man, and has held Silver as a "captive guest" for many months.

James  portrays Fuentes as a complex character, charming and philosophical yet mercilessly violent. Just when one begins to like Fuentes, the man commits a heinous act against someone. And now, Fuentes tells Marshal Jake Silver that he can at last earn his freedom if he kills Richard Moody, the man who "stole" Fuentes' woman who Moody and Silver traveled to Mexico to rescue from captivity.
Jake's dilemma is intriguing and the author does an excellent job delving into the marshal's conundrum. Jake wants his freedom and to return home, but he knows he can't outdraw Moody, and he doesn't want to kill his friend even though Moody, like Fuentes, is an assassin.

As Fuentes and his small army travel north from Guerrero Negro toward the border with Jake, Moody is riding south to avenge Jake's death by killing Fuentes. By sheer chance the two men meet in a cantina in Ensenada. Here is where the author shines in ability. James is able to introduce humor as well as incredible tension in the following chapters. Moody and Silver make a desperate attempt to escape, only to be hunted down in the desert by Fuentes and his desperadoes. After leaving the Mexican enough water to make it on foot to a settlement, the two find themselves once again in dire straits.

But the author is not content to stop with this showdown and escape attempt. The plot thickens further when Moody discovers that Vincent Cooper is in fact not dead and that his sister, Katherine Reed, is in mortal danger. Needless to say, Silver won't let his friend handle the problem by himself.

Readers of Jere D. James' books know to leave the entire night free. James has a knack for seizing and holding one's attention from the first page to the last. And that's the worst thing about these historical novels - they are impossible to put down.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Editing Kind of Summer

I'd rather be riding my mule than editing!
I don't normally do a lot of editing. I don't like that task  at all. It's very tedious work if it's done correctly, and alas, I see by what's in print nowadays that most of the time it's not done correctly - or done at all in some cases. Even some of the "big" houses have gotten a bit lazy when it comes to editing.


Paula Silici, Editor
The chief editor for Moonlight Mesa, Paula Silici, does a fantastic job of editing, and she is a ruthless stickler when it comes to passive voice, point of view shifts, etc.


We've used another editor who ignores everything except for errors with "lie" and "lay." None of us can seem to keep that straight.


We have a (an?) historical editor who does a good job when I can get him to actually sit down and research for us. 

And then there's acquisitions editor Ben who helps out, and finally there's me, or maybe I should say  there's I. ??

Two massive projects are currently sitting in my computer. The first is a rowing book...The Old Folks in the Boat. After hours of tearing out sentences and whole paragraphs because they provided just TOO MUCH irrelevant technical information, the book is now too short for our likes, so back it goes to the author who now must spend more time developing and fleshing out what remains or come up with reader-friendly information, and hurriedly, as the book is scheduled for a January release. We've already made arrangements for the book to be released at the Seattle Boat Show - we've taken pre-orders - we're working on ads. This isn't normally the way things are done, I'd like to add. Not to mention I have yet to find a photographer who is willing to get up to the lake at 6:00 a.m. for a cover shoot.

The second project, Jere D. James' western (his 7th book for us) needs, as usual, extensive editing and rewriting. And, of course, we need it done by November. Getting Jere to sit down and rewrite is extraordinarily difficult and, as of right now, finding the author is impossible. If Jere's books did not sell so well, I might wash my hands of these projects.

The problem with editing, is that the editor has to be very careful not to change the author's voice. I try to make as few, as few changes as possible for this reason. In fact, if a manuscript needs a lot of editing, we no longer accept it. Authors get frustrated and angry about corrections being made to the creation that they think is perfect.  Passive voice, point of view shifts, sloppy or boring sentence structure are just not acceptable, however. When I have to start making those corrections, too often the author's voice is lost...and sometimes that's just fine and dandy. We end up practically rewriting the book. We just won't spend our time doing this anymore, nor will Paula.

The argument is that the "average" reader doesn't recognize these writing sins, so it's not necessary to correct them. I have news for anyone who believes this. Our demographic is 50+ and educated. Granted a person may not technically know what point of view shifts are, but they easily recognize when it's hard to keep track of who's thinking what. Passive voice puts people to sleep.

Winner of the Tony Hillerman Best
Fiction Award for 2014 and 1st Place in the
Arizona Authors Literary Contest.
Probably the moral of all this whining is that serious writers really should  consider having their manuscripts "professionally" edited before submission if they want a shot at publication. The less time and money I, or any other publisher for that matter,  have to spend getting a manuscript ready, the better! Remember, everybody writes books nowadays, so make yours stand out by having it polished to perfection.


We've been very fortunate in that J.R. Sanders' books were practically perfect upon submission (Some Gave All  and The Littlest Wrangler). Lee Anderson's book, Developing the Art of Equine Communication,  needed only minor corrections. A Way in the Wilderness  was near perfect, as was Getting a Handle on Herpes. Robert Walton's Dawn Drums  also was near perfect with only minor tweaks needed. So, it can be done.

Now I just wish someone was around to edit this blog!



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Moonlight Mesa Associates to Offer Scholarship

 Moonlight Mesa Associates is very excited to announce that the company is in the beginning stages of starting a scholarship fund. Because most of this micro-sized publishing company's help (that's 2 people) take off in the summer for more lucrative jobs, the scholarship plan will not be finalized until fall.

However, I want to say that I am committed to this idea. It feels right, and I'm positively inclined to do this. The two of us who are around in the summer months here in Arizona, have bandied about various ideas, but I'm tending to want to start the scholarship program in 2016, even if we have to take money out of our own personal pockets to do it - which we may have to do.

I'm also thinking about the scholarship being awarded to a student heading into a trade school. I don't know exactly why, but I just think these kids get overlooked. Trade school is expensive - way more expensive than most people realize - and we'd be nowhere if we didn't have tradespeople! I'll have to wait for staff  input, but my vote counts more.

At this point I am unable to state categorically how much of each book sold will be donated to the fund. My one concern is that the books distributed by Ingram may not generate enough profit, after vendor discounts and printing fees, to be able to be used. That would leave us with just the Kindle and other e/book sales, and Moonlight Mesa's personal sales. That, of course, means we would need to pump up our events and get our butts in gear.

We have been at an all time low as far as energy output goes for the past two years. Doing events is expensive, stressful, and exhausting. I've avoided all events for  two years except for those here in Wickenburg. Travel is expensive when pulling that living quarters trailer loaded with books, tables, and event furnishings. Then there's a house-sitter to pay...and inventory that may not get sold. Events are dicey, to say the least. Bad weather usually means DISASTER. If it's too hot it means DISASTER. 

Nevertheless, I'm hoping that in a year from now we can announce the winner of the Moonlight Mesa Associates Scholarship Award!


ROWING BOOK ON SCHEDULE

Happily, the rowing book we've been hoping to publish will be out in very early 2016 - hopefully in time for the Seattle Boat Show in January followed by Gold Rush Days in February. I'm not expecting this book to be a top-selling title here in Arizona, but I think we can sell plenty of this title in the northwest and other coastal areas or "aquatic" areas where rowing is popular.


JERE D. JAMES SAYS NEW BOOK WILL BE READY

Western writer Jere D. James, author of the Jake Silver Series, insists the new book will be ready for 2016. So far I've seen only a few chapters, though. I won't say I'm worried, but I am worried. If we don't have the book in hand by September, we simply cannot get it print ready in time for our big event of the year - Gold Rush. Jere's response to all this is, "No problem-o." 


CONTEST STILL BEING CONSIDERED

I know. I know. I've said NO NO NO, but the idea of some sort of contest is still being brought up around these hallowed halls from time to time. The contest will not be a short story contest, but it could be a novella, or even a full length work. Jeesh. I wish somebody around here would make up their mind and get this organized!




 TOP-SELLING BOOKS STILL NONFICTION

Live and learn, but our top-selling books for the past few months have been, hands-down, the nonfiction titles. J.R. Sanders' Some Gave All  has taken the lead in books sold through Ingram,  with P.A. Arnold's Getting a Handle on Herpes the top-selling e-book.

Arnold's book is only available in ebook format, and Sanders' book is not available in ebook format.

Lee Anderson's Developing the Art of Equine Communication  has also had some good sales.

If you are a nonfiction author in search of a publisher, we'd love to consider your work.




Thursday, April 9, 2015

Books, Mules, and Tom Selleck

So, what do books, mules, and Tom Selleck have in common? Well...everything...and nothing.

For starters,  book sales got off to a good start in 2015 with the Gold Rush event in Wickenburg plumping up our account a bit, although things have dramatically slowed in the past two months. This is kind of a seasonal thing, but it's a bit worse this year since I've been out of the office for literally two months.

The months of February and March were consumed with Gold Rush and the annual Mule Ride that Moonlight Mesa sponsors and organizes. It's becoming a big job for just one person, let me assure you, and I'll be delegating out jobs next year. This year's ride, however, was fantastic. We had great weather, great trail guides, super cooks, and wonderful people attending the annual ride.

Now, as for the Tom Selleck part! I wrote Tom (or whoever gets his mail) in February requesting an autographed photo of him to give as an award for the Western Attire Contest at the mule ride. I even invited Mr. Selleck to our mule ride as our guest, and I offered to let him ride my very own mule! Alas, he didn't show up, but his photo did. The winner of the Western Attire Event gushed, "I'M SLEEPING WITH TOM SELLECK TONIGHT!" as she held her beautifully framed photo high in the air.

However, getting down to business...not that there is any right now what with my gallivanting about on my mule and rowing my wherry up at Lake Pleasant in the mornings, but things are about to change.

WESTERN: Jere James has at least started another book. The author is four chapters into it and ready to take over the spare office computer to work on the book at nights. Whew. I was getting a bit worried there, but I've seen Jere easily crank out a book in six weeks once momentum is gained. Jere's book would most likely be released in late 2015 with a 2016 copyright date. We'd like it available for some fall shows...IF IT'S FINISHED.

ROWING BOOK: This book is definitely slated for 2016, and may prove to be even more popular than our first boating book, Life Was A Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean. The rowing book has great potential, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

SALES: All three nonfiction books have had some nice sales so far in 2015. Lee Anderson's Developing the Art of Equine Communication  had a particularly good January. In fact, Lee will be at the Verde Equine Festival doing a presentation April 17.  J.R. Sanders' Some Gave All  has had a good March. Sanders will once again be at the Santa Clarita Festival in April, while Rusty Richards' Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride  continues to be steady. James' books (fiction) sell well every month, but our other titles are languishing, despite their numerous awards and terrific reviews. This is very unsettling and inexplicable, really.

Meanwhile, I'm consumed with curiosity about whom to write to requesting their photo for next year's mule ride! I'm thinking it might be that hunky guy who was in Cowboys and Aliens. Any other suggestions?






Monday, February 2, 2015

A PUBLISHER'S PREROGATIVE!

All I can say is, it's my prerogative to change my mind! After flatly stating we would no longer be publishing westerns, I have to temper that statement. It appears as though Jere D. James will, after all, write another western! The author announced his decision in mid January, but has given no indication as to when the book will be finished and ready for submission, although we do know it will be "sometime" in 2015. We've also had several submissions from other authors, which makes me wonder if anyone read the blog where I swore off western publishing!

While we will almost assuredly accept James' new submission (based on the popularity of the previous books) I can't offer much promise to other writers. The best way, however, to get a book placed with Moonlight Mesa Associates is to make absolutely certain the manuscript has been professionally edited before it's submitted. The time and expense involved in editing are far greater than actually getting the book into print. While we do have an in-house editor, when manuscripts are filled with too many errors, in the past we've sent them to our editor-in-chief in Colorado. Nowadays,  we simply return the manuscripts to the authors. And be prepared to submit a marketing plan, also. We ask our authors to participate in the marketing/selling of their books.


ON THE LOOKOUT

The rowing book we  planned to publish this year will most likely be deferred until 2016, leaving the current year's calendar completely bare unless Jere James' book is ready. One title per year just doesn't work well, so we will be on the lookout for western nonfiction primarily, but will also consider nonfiction in general. I'd like to publish one title strictly as an ebook again. So, if you have a shorter manuscript, that might be the way to go.


MARKETING CONUNDRUM

Despite the classes I've taught about marketing, and the articles I've written on the subject, the issues around marketing to a more global audience continue to be a conundrum, if not downright insurmountable. We will be launching a magazine marketing effort in 2015, however, in an effort to stimulate sales and attract a broader audience. I'll keep you posted as to how that goes.


EVENTS

If you're in the area during February 12 to 15, please stop by our booth at the annual Gold Rush Days Event and say hi. Better yet, stop by and buy a book. Jere D. James will be signing books as will R.L. Coffield (award-winning suspense writer).

Also, watch for J.R. Sanders' article in the February issue of American Rifleman.

Finally, if  you're a mule rider, join us for the Annual Boyd Ranch Mule Ride from March 11 to 15 in sunny Wickenburg, Arizona. Information is available at www.arizonamuleriders.com