Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Will western writer Jere D. James ride again?

Moonlight Mesa Publisher
After a two-year absence, Jere D. James is signaling that another western may be forthcoming in 2019.

Whether Jere will continue the Jake Silver series or adopt a new character remains to be seen. We're holding our breaths here at Moonlight Mesa, awaiting a final announcement by the author. Let's face it, our western sales have slumped since Jere "retired" from westerns after Gunslinger Revenge. My bet is that the author will bring a new main character into play...maybe all new characters.

We have a small bet here in the office: Renee says that Jere will follow up on Richard Moody, the popular gunslinger in the Jake Silver series. Tom's wagering that the author will start another series entirely. I'm betting that a female will be the lead character in any new book. Several readers have commented in the past that Jere seems to know females unusually well.

So...we're kind of excited about this prospect, to say the least. Since our calendar for 2019 is EMPTY at this point, we're don't need an answer right now.

NO YOGA, but maybe a DREAM

After reviewing the first three chapters of the proposed yoga book we'd been tempted with, reluctantly we had to take a pass. Unanimously we felt it wouldn't work for us - and if it doesn't work for us, we can't make it work for the author.

However, one project that has been dormant for quite some time is showing signs of revival.  Dream is a fiction piece about a woman who literally is lost in her dream (dementia).  From what I can tell this is the idea, anyway. It's a bit confusing at this point, but I can see the potential. We were contacted by the author in late May, assuring us she had not abandoned the tale. Since no contract has been signed, we'll just have to patiently wait.

Everyone else who has queried us has been put on hold until we return in September.


We're preparing to close up for the summer around the 19th of June for a two month book tour in the Pacific Northwest. I had a special banner made up to hang on the boat since we're featuring three water titles (appropriate since we'll be on a boat). We're taking a few copies of all the books, however.

It's already hot here...Arizona HOT. I'm ready to head north! I've a lot of inlets I'm wanting to row and may add those adventures to the last half of The Old Folks in the Boat and reissue that title. That's a lot of rowing and writing to accomplish by fall if we're going to update.

Will I make it up Jervis Inlet this year? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Publisher snags an esoteric topic for publication?

I don't know what's gotten into me of late. Possibly my decision to accept a query on a yoga book stems from my being utterly and absolutely unproductive for the last few months (other than all my volunteer hoopla which takes up a lot of time and energy). So yes, strangely enough I received a query for a yoga book currently in its very early stage of creation, and somehow it simply struck me as interesting and unusual. Why not?

Even my miniscule staff here at Moonlight Mesa, after staring at me stunned into speechlessness for many long seconds, began to grow a bit enthusiastic about something totally new - and something none of us knows anything about. Absolutely nothing, to be exact.

Until a contract is issued and signed, I can only refer to the author by her first name - Hannah. There's no title yet, but I have to say that Hannah submitted the most enthusiastic, sincere, and persuasive letter introducing herself and her ambitious goal in writing the book. We'll know much more when the first few chapters arrive which I won't see until September since I'll be on my little tugboat trying to sell our rowing book...another niche market item. If Hanna's chapters are as good a read as her query, we're in business.

There are already a number of excellent yoga books in print - I checked on Amazon. To me, however, the beauty of Hannah's book is that she's a beginner, not a well-toned, meditating practitioner of this ancient art. Whole new approach and attitude. As I say, time will tell. I'm wondering, though, if we'll all end up becoming plant-based eaters once we're immersed in this topic! Some how I think of yoga and plant-based eating as partners.

So, that brings us to our two most recent publications,  The Old Folks in the Boat  and our muley book, A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule.


I don't know why, but I'm a bit surprised that our muley book is selling pretty well with no advertising or marketing, and our rowing book is NOT. Are there just more wannebe mule riders than wannebe rowers? Possibly. Both are small markets, no doubt. At least those who have read the rowing book tell me they loved it - but there aren't very many of them yet!

As usual we'll close the office up in July and August while we spread to cooler parts of the country. And as usual, I'll be on my tiny tug up north with books to sell - this year the focus is on the rowing book, but I have advertising along for all our titles.

I'll also be looking for "seniors" who love what they do and do what they love who are willing to contribute a chapter about themselves and their activities for our publication now in limbo: What Are You Waiting For? I refuse to write people's chapters for them. You'd think in a time when everyone in the country says they want to write a book, that writing a chapter would be a breeze. Hmmm.

In case no one here gets another blog out before July arrives, we here at Moonlight Mesa Associates hope you have a wonderful, fun-filled summer - or at least a productive one. Or restful  -  just whatever you want it to be.

Gunslinger  back in the water after launch in Anacortes, WA.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Moonlight Mesa Publishing Resuming After 3-Month Volunteer Frenzy

Egads. It's been three months since anyone around here (me included) has bothered to write a blog. Not sure anyone even noticed, actually.

The past three months have been horrendously busy - that's my excuse. Too much volunteer stuff is what it boils down to. Granted, the volunteer stuff is FUN, but it's not exactly lucrative.

So, now...down to business.

A Beginner's Guide to Own a Mule

We do have one vendor so far for this engaging book...it also received a positively killer review, but I guess you'd have to be into mules to really appreciate it, and that's a micro-sized audience despite the growing popularity of mules.  Still, it's a start. We'll be running ads in some "mule magazines" and I'll soon be calling on feed and tack stores that also carry a small smattering of books.

We only have two months to really get this title launched as we'll be closing our office again in July and August while everyone disperses to cooler climes. Of course, I could do the smart thing and hit up a bunch of mule shows and probably sell boxes of books, but I probably won't...at least this year. As for me, I'll be on my itsy-bitsy tugboat peddling our other new book, The Old Folks in the Boat.

Gunslinger at anchor

The Old Folks in the Boat

 This is a northwest book if there there was one. Somehow in the cramped quarters of our little Nordic Tug I'll be stashing lots of copies! I just have to remember the bad Canadian exchange rate and sell the book for enough Canadian money to at least pay for the printing.

Reception of both books on Facebook was zero to none - not too surprised. To be blatantly honest, I only do Facebutt, I mean Facebook, to help spread the word of the mule ride that Moonlight Mesa sponsors and that I organize, run, direct, or whatever it's called when you're in charge of everything. You can like us, by the way, at Boyd Ranch Mule Ride on Facebook, should you be so inclined.

Speaking of rowing, if the wind would ever ease off, I'd be up at the lake in a heartbeat rowing! It seems when it's nice and calm I'm stuck in the office. Drats. Maybe April will be better.

No New Titles on the Horizon

At this time, we have absolutely no new titles under consideration. The response to my senior athlete book was also zero to none. I'm not about to write people's chapters for them! So I guess we're in limbo, but that's okay and it feels kind of good not have deadlines and squabbles. I will, however, likely begin another boating book this summer...Inlets of British Columbia. I'll row quite a few and linger at anchorage enjoying the beauty of cool air, the sweet smell of water, and the lonely cry of  seagulls flying high. Just wish Jere James would pen another western for us and it would be perfect!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Publisher Announces New Titles, New Awards, and New Projects.

A New Year! A New Start! And a NEW REASON TO CELEBRATE!

At long last our 2017 titles are actually in print. I  have copies here in my office! I can see them. I can feel them. I can read them. Welcome  to A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule:

AND also to The Old Folks in the Boat.

Now, we only need to sell them. Minor detail. Both books will be available on Amazon in January. (And hey! We have signed copies right now in our office!)

We also have something to "crow" about already this year! Robert Walton's multi-award-winning historical novel, Dawn Drums, just won the People's Choice Award for historical fiction entries! That makes five awards for this sensational book!

And now, we're officially announcing our first 2018 project: What Are You Waiting For? Seniors who love what they do, and do what they love. Work on this title begins next week. We are aiming for a publication date in late fall...maybe. After this year's fiascoes, who knows! The earnings from this title will be 100% earmarked for our scholarship fund for youth activities. We're excited about this  decision, too.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy, and prosperous new year in 2018!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Publishing News: Ups and Downs Never End

One would think, after ten years or so in the publishing business, that there wouldn't be that many new snafus plaguing us. If one thinks that, one's thoughts are erroneous!

The Old Folks in the Boat  is still NOT in print. It's been over a month now that we are waiting for a new proof copy. The photos in the first proof were so poorly done, that we had to resubmit the title with our complaint. Ingram, of course, took their sweet time to examine the book to finally declare that the problem was indeed, as I told them, a result of insufficient ink.

I'm still waiting for the new proof copy and it's been over three weeks now. We may have to cancel our signing in Seattle at this rate.

The issue here is that when a book has 44 photos, it's rather important that they are clear and of a good resolution. Photos are a major part of this work. I can't even begin to describe the fits I've had trying to deal with the "customer service" people. They are certainly courteous and nice on the phone, but nothing gets accomplished. Lip service only.

It's so strange that we had none of these print problems with photos when we were able to use XP. Once XP died, we had to go with Windows 7. It's a  far inferior program, at least for us.


While The Old Folks in the Boat  is languishing, our second title of the year, A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule, looks as though it may cross the finish line this month! We are awaiting a proof copy (printed). The pdf proof copies don't tell the whole truth!

The final cover took a bit of time, but as always our cover designer, Vin Libassi, came through. Of course, Windows 7 has snags so we can't show both front and back cover pages.


Although Jered will be dropping by to fill any book orders this month, the rest of us are deserting the office. It has been a dreadfully stressful last two months trying to get these two books into print. Even though I still don't have hard copies of the titles, they are now in the works and should be finalized this week. At this point it looks like both new titles will be released in February at the Gold Rush Days event. I don't see our rowing book selling like pancakes here in the desert, but the mule book should do reasonably well.


It seems that Robert Walton's brilliant Civil War novel, Dawn Drums, may win this year's People's Choice Awards! Six days are left in the contest. If anyone wants to help us out, please vote for this outstanding historical novel. All you have to do is go to https://www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting You'll need to scroll through the pages to about page 14 or wherever it says historical fiction. The titles are arranged alphabetically.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful holiday season. I hope you all enjoy Christmas and the New Year! From the few of us here at Moonlight Mesa Associates, we wish you a Merry Merry and a Happy Happy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Publisher Sees Big Progress on NewTitles

Finally! After more than two years of wrangling around, Moonlight Mesa's long-awaited rowing book has been uploaded to the printer where it is currently being validated. Next will be a proof copy (if the validation goes okay). It's taking a long time, though, which is generating some concern.

Moonlight Mesa's cover designer (Vin Libassi) surprised everyone with this final cover, but everyone feels that it reflects what the book is truly about. Ultimately it's not just about rowing...it's about doing things you want to do before you're a goner. That's putting it pretty simply and bluntly, but hopefully the book will be one that is inspiring as well as humorous and informative.

AND, it's official that The Old Folks in the Boat  will be released at the Seattle Boat Show at the Captain's Nautical Supply location both Friday and Saturday, February 2nd and 3rd. Coffield will be on hand both days to sign copies and talk rowing!

To top things off, The Old Folks in the Boat received a terrific review by author Robert Walton.


Moonlight Mesa's second project for 2017 is nearing completion. Only one chapter remains to be written in A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule. The cover design is now in the works. As always, the publisher's main designer, Vin Libassi, is doing the cover for this title. Other art work for the book is slowly coming in. At least one vendor has already pre-ordered copies! How about that!

"This year has been a bit of a stress," publisher Becky Coffield recently said. "Our 2017 books are coming out in January of 2018. We just couldn't get things together for some reason. Well, I suppose one reason is that I had to row 200 miles to finish the rowing book."

So far only one project has been selected for 2018. Coffield said it's supposed to be a "collaboration" by about 20 authors. "We'll see how many follow through," she said. Because so many are involved in the project, profits from the sale of the book will be earmarked for Moonlight Mesa's scholarship program.


Since Moonlight Mesa Associates is slowly transitioning to nonfiction, a total website make-over is planned, probably during December. A news release will announce the change locally. "I want to somehow get word to PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association), Arizona Authors Association, and other groups that we are looking for nonfiction," Coffield said. "So far we're wide open to ideas. I know nonfiction is a whole other ballgame. It's not easy, but it's what our demographic wants, especially since Jere D. James has retired from westerns."

Coffield herself plans on penning another nonfiction title, likely a boating/travel book. "Now that's research I enjoy," the publisher said. "What's not to like about being on the
tugboat for months traveling around?"

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Publishing Changes Now Underway

Good grief! Horror of horrors! Every publisher's nightmare!


I can't believe the snafu that happened on our webpage that I only discovered yesterday. What is really disappointing, is that NO ONE told me about it, or questioned it, and it's been months.  Of course, it shows we are not enamored of working on the website. Our bad. But this makes me wonder if anyone even looks at the website! Unfortunately, the website had to be renewed, so there went several hundred dollars. I'm questioning whether it's  all that helpful in selling books. Most of our books are sent out by Amazon and a few vendors who buy from Ingram.

I worked until late last night trying to straighten things out. This is a major accomplishment. I am not a techie and have no patience or interest with this kind of stuff. I know this, though: I will not continue to use register.com. They now have it so I can't upload photos that I can add a link to. I have to more or less go through the back door to get book covers onto my site. They would like me to upgrade to a more expensive platform I guess. Ain't gonna happen. Okay, time to move on.

Oh, I did delete a few pages on the site and added a New Releases page. I like that!


We finally threw in the towel after weeks and weeks of struggling with color photo issues for The Old Folks in the Boat. Against my designer's wishes, I made the photos grayscale...and they look GREAT. In fact, I think I like them better than the color! (My cover man confessed he did too.) We are now in the final proofreading stage of this publication. At this point it's nit-picking more than anything else. A word here, a word there.

The back cover remains a mystery at this time. To add blurbs or not to add blurbs, that is the question.

We have no endorsements or reviews. Crap. I do not have time to send copies out. We need this book out and NOW.  Advance copies will be sent to several outlets, however. The book will be available from Moonlight Mesa but will not be formally released until the Seattle Boat Show in January.

Marketing is woefully behind. I'm not sure what I've been doing, but apparently it's not been working. OH! I've been rowing.


It's now official. Moonlight Mesa is no longer accepting fiction submissions. Whew. That was hard to put on paper. And, of all times, we received two fantastic queries in September that normally we would have snatched up, but we are committed to changing course. Part of this stems from the decision to relocate to the San Juan Islands as soon as possible, which will likely be in late 2018 or 2019. I don't think westerns are a good fit for the area. We will, of course, keep all our westerns in print and maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.


A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule will be sent to the printer late this year and officially released in January 2018. It is our final project for 2017.  After much discussion, the decision has been made to release the book in  hard copy first and maybe later as an ebook. 

This book is a wild card for us. The audience is extremely small - we know that. But we couldn't resist the temptation to try it anyway. We had tremendous success with the herpes book we published (Getting a Handle on Herpes) that we had virtually no expectation for, so we're gambling again.

We've changed the format to keep the price DOWN. That'll help.
We'll see how this goes.

Until next time...