Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Finally Final: Publisher Declares Nonfiction Titles and Horseshoe Art Are Scheduled for 2016

It's now official: Moonlight Mesa Associates will be publishing two nonfiction titles in 2016. No westerns are on the horizon at this time.

"If Jere James comes up with a new book, I'm sure we'll want to publish it," Coffield said, "but regardless of that, Moonlight Mesa has scheduled two nonfiction works for 2016."

The Old Folks in the Boat  will likely be out in late 2016, as will A Beginner's Guide to Owning a  Mule. "The title of the mule book is still  not certain," Coffield said, "but basically it looks to be a good guide for those wanting to buy and ride a mule who've never before owned one." Coffield also plans on publishing an ebook-only, but has not yet chosen the book. "We've had several submissions," Coffield said, "and they're all good, but we'll only do one in 2016 - if we even get to it. It's low on my priority list right now."

Saving Tom Black was Jere D. James
 first runaway top-selling western
Currently Moonlight Mesa has five nonfiction titles in its library: Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride by Rusty Richards; Some Gave All  by J.R. Sanders; Developing the Art of Equine Communication,  by Lee Anderson; Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold; and Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, by Coffield. "Our nonfiction titles sell extremely well," Coffield said.

The question Coffield is continuously asked, however, is when will the next Jere D. James western be out. "Jere has a dedicated following," Coffield said, "I'll give the author that. As far as the next western, I have no idea, and I don't think Jere does either, at least not at this time. James has written seven top-notch westerns in seven years and may need a break."


The Moonlight Mesa webmaster will slowly be revamping the company's webpage. "I'd like to take it down entirely and start over, but this is not a good time of year to do a remodel," Coffield said, "especially with our holiday specials." Several pages from the site have been deleted, according to Coffield, but new material will be added.  "We will be adding  'horseshoe art' to the site shortly. Every piece shown is individually made. No Chinese imports. Genuine used horseshoes," Coffield said. "The poop is scraped off and the nails pulled before welding."


Don't forget the holiday special now on Moonlight Mesa's Book Order Page. You can buy all SEVEN Jere D. James westerns for $56 + s/h. "That is a give-away," Coffield said. "The books are $8.00 each, that's 1/2  off the normal retail price. Shipping cost via Priority Flat-Rate is $11.35; media mail is about $7.00. "We don't like shipping books media mail, especially during the holidays. It might take weeks for a person to receive their order. If we add insurance, then you might as well just pay for the flat rate price and get the books in two days," Coffield said, "not two weeks."

"We can take your VISA/MASTER CARD over the phone and the books can go out that same day," Coffield said, "or you can send a check."

"We do have a limited supply of books at this price, so best to order as soon as the idea strikes you," Coffield advised.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Publisher Going in New Direction - This Time for Real


After several delays, Jere D. James’ long-awaited new western will be available within the next few days, according to publisher Becky Coffield.

“I do believe Gunslinger Revenge  may be the last of the Jake Silver titles,” Coffield said. “I know I said this after the last book, Gunslinger Justice, but this time it looks like this series has ended.”

As a result of the end of the long-running, popular western books, Moonlight Mesa will be offering the complete set of Jere D. James’ books for a holiday discount. “People can buy all seven books for $56 plus shipping and handling,” Coffield said. “Originally we quoted $59. This  makes each book only $8, which is a heck of a good buy. For those wanting fewer books, the price will be reduced to $10 per book while the holiday supply lasts. “Our website will be updated shortly to reflect these special prices,” Coffield said. “Email or call to reserve your copy. Prices are only good when ordered from our website.”

Gunslinger Revenge features the popular gunman Richard Moody and introduces young, upstart U.S. Deputy Marshal Daniel Cleary and, of course, U.S. Marshal Jake Silver.

The “bad” guys in this novel are far worse than just about any of the other villains James has before introduced.  Floyd Baker and Jarvis McKinney lead Moody and Cleary back into Mexican territory where James makes good use of perhaps his most popular villain ever, Diego Fuentes.

James has a unique way of wrapping up this series, but still leaves a reader wondering if there might not be another Jake Silver Adventure in the future. For now the author says no more, but Jere has said that before.


For the first time ever, publisher Becky Coffield is considering withdrawing all titles from Kindle. “This is one of the most frustrating things I’ve had to deal with since being in business,” Coffield said.

According to Coffield, Kindle is all but ruining sales for small, independent publishers because of their “lending” policy and the “give-away” of almost 700,000 ebooks. “Why should Kindle be allowing people to “lend” a book to others for up to 14 days for them to read free? This is fine for the buyer, but authors and publishers deserve to be paid,” Coffield said. The publisher went on to say, “My other gripe is the hundreds of thousands of free books on Kindle. Our sales have plummeted since this practice has begun.”

Coffield plans on putting all books on Smashwords, which sells to all e-readers on the market and also to thousands of retailers, libraries, etc. “I use to be very skeptical of Smashwords,” Coffield said, “but not anymore. Smashwords also sells to Kindle, but I don’t think the lending is part of the sale. In any event, we’ve about had it with Kindle.”


Fall events are now far and few between since the Chamber of Commerce in Wickenburg cancelled a good portion of their Cowboy Christmas Poetry Event.

“We have signed up for the annual Blue Grass Festival, Coffield said, “but we lost the poetry event which was a very nice venue for us. Right now we’re scrambling trying to find another event to do before the end of the year.”

In November Coffield plans on traveling to Tubac to “check it out” for a possible event in 2016. “I think it may be our demographic,” Coffield said. “I’m anxious to find out. It’s a very expensive event to do, so we need to make sure it’s for us.”

It’s a fact that Moonlight Mesa has cut back on events in the last two years.“We just all got tired,” Coffield said, “but it’s pretty obvious at this point that if we want to stay in business, we need to get off our behinds and start actively selling books. I think having some different titles on our calendar will help motivate us.”
One new book that Coffield has high hopes for is The Old Folks in the Boat. “The book is funny, inspiring, and informative,” Coffield said. “But unfortunately, we are postponing publication to late 2016.” 

Besides the rowing book in late 2016, Moonlight Mesa has recently been seriously considering accepting a mule book (title not yet decided on), another title for ebook publication only, and potentially a title dealing with Alzheimer's.

“Each of these titles is very challenging, to say the least,” Coffield said. “We have looked at outlines for the two nonfiction books (the mule book and the ebook) and they look very promising. The Alzheimer’s book is actually a fiction novel, but it has great potential.”

Coffield went on to add that “...unless something pops up that is bothersome, I think at least two of the new proposals could possibly be ready for print in late 2016, along with the rowing boat. This is the kind of ‘shot in the arm’ that we need.”

Coffield admits to wavering on any more westerns. “We need to have books that appeal to a larger audience,” she said. “The western is extremely popular, but the readership is actually quite small. Also, if we have a mule book, we will most likely return to the Mule Days Event in Bishop, California. That’s a great outing for us.”

“Even though the Jere D. James westerns are popular, our high-selling books are the nonfiction titles,” Coffield admitted. “We just do well with the fiction books because there are so many Jake Silver titles, and the author does have a nice following.”

According to Coffield, Casey Tibbs—Born to Ride, Some Gave All, Life Was a Cabaret, and Developing the Art of Equine Communication, along with the ebook Getting a Handle on Herpes have actually been the top-selling works overall. “We can’t ignore the facts,” said Coffield

Sunday, October 4, 2015

PUBLISHING NEWS: Good, Disappointing, and Too Soon to Tell


How about this for a change? Gunslinger Revenge  will actually be released as scheduled (November), although the OFFICIAL, OFFICIAL release will be in February at the annual Gold Rush Event in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Here's what I think is also great news: for the holiday season we are promoting the 7-book Jake Silver Series for a total of $56 plus s/h. That's $8.00 a book - a helluva buy. The sale begins November 1 most likely if we can get sufficient inventory.

In all honesty, Jere D. James has delivered another outstanding action-packed Western with Gunslinger Revenge. The author brings back gunslinger Richard Moody, desperado Diego Fuentes, U.S. Marshal Jake Silver, and introduces young U.S. Deputy Marshal Daniel Cleary. The combination of characters makes this book irresistible. Sharp, often humorous dialogue will entertain readers just as much as the grueling hunt for the murdering, thieving Floyd Baker and Jarvis McKinney that leads Moody and Cleary into Mexico.

This is still a Jake Silver Series book, but readers will find that Silver plays a secondary role in the novel. Still, when he enters the fray, there is no doubt who the man is. The three main characters (Moody, Cleary and Silver) make for terrific chemistry.

The cover, an original painting by our designer Vin Libassi, is unique to this series.

The ebook version of Gunslinger Revenge will be available by the end of November or thereabouts.

What's the best of all, however, is that Jere D. James has at least verbally committed to writing more westerns for Moonlight Mesa Associates. No date yet on the next publication.


NOW, for a disappointment: The Old Folks in the Boat  will not be released until LATE 2016. We had hoped to have the book ready by January of 2016, but the author has convinced us to hold off while more material is added to the book. The author intends on completing two more sections in the coming months. After listening to the author's ideas, all of us agreed to wait.

We're extremely disappointed about the delay, but ultimately it will be an even better book than it is already.


Meanwhile, we do have another new project in the wings. Actually two new projects, but they are both out so far it's pointless to talk about them right now. In the more immediate future, we do have another ebook coming out in 2016. More about this later!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Publisher to Release Gunslinger Revenge in November


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 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!