Sunday, September 25, 2016

Publisher Announces New Release, Cowboy Up Contest, and Upcoming Events

WILD! Our 26' Nordic Tug was home for us for seven
fantastic weeks.
A terrific time was had by all! Well, maybe the cat, Zippy, wasn't all that pleased about being on a boat for seven weeks, but my husband, Tom, and my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Holly, were more than happy.

Tom and Holly in my salvaged rowing boat
in Princess Louisa (Before the remodel job)
As it turned out, the rowing shell I had planned on buying for the trip to "row the Inside Passage," just couldn't double as a skiff to transport Tom, Holly and me to shore. I insisted I had to have a rowing boat  though. "I can't possibly finish the book about rowing if I don't have a rowing boat," I announced. As it turned out, I was extraordinarily fortunate to find a derelict, half-sunk rowing skiff in Friday Harbor that I bought for $100. The same boat new cost $1900. While Tom wasn't very enthusiastic about the purchase, it was almost the perfect answer for my dilemma.

In any case, since returning home to Wickenburg, the cost of the boat has skyrocketed to $ husband, a shipwright by trade, just had to make basically re-doing the entire boat, and then (of course) I had to buy a small trailer for it. I only wish I'd have taken a close-up "before" picture, so the improvements in the "after" picture could be appreciated. The boat is becoming a thing of beauty. I dread the first scratch my dog puts on the new mahogany seats and trim! Heaven forbid when the boat gets dragged over oyster shells and rocks on the beach.

But back to business, and busy we are after closing down for two months.


It seems almost a certainty now that The Old Folks in the Boat  will be available by late November. Once again Vin Libassi is our cover designer. The book will not be officially released until later, but we will have pre-publication copies here at Moonlight Mesa Associates, and we will be offering a holiday discount. Books will be signed too!

We are also looking at another possible boat publication, but it is much too soon to get excited or make official announcements. The nonfiction book is about a disastrous sailing trip to the Caribbean.

If this project works out, it will be a great start to our new "direction" of nonfiction publications. Since Jere D. James is no longer in the writing mode, we are reorganizing to specialize in nonfiction - preferably travel and boating, but we'll consider most anything. After all, one of our top-selling books is Getting a Handle on Herpes, a small ebook we issued several years ago.


As announced earlier this summer, the Cowboy Up Contest has resumed. Entries may be submitted between January 1 and June 1. Fiction or nonfiction. The guidelines are posted on our website:


So far, only the Four-State Blue Grass Festival is on our calendar, but there will be more events added very shortly. Hope to see you at one of them!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ready, Set, ROW!

Very shortly, publisher Becky Coffield will be leaving on a rowing expedition...well, sort of an order to finish The Old Folks in the Boat, the publisher's forthcoming book, and the only publication for Moonlight Mesa Associates in 2016.

Vin Libassi is working on the new cover
"We'll be leaving for the Inside Passage for a two month trip where I hope to row in a new bay or anchorage every day," Coffield said. "Unfortunately, because of the 'tenderness' of the rowing shell I'm taking, I won't be able to row in wide-open waterways and straits. A better rower might be able to do so, and there are days where I possibly could, but I'm not counting on it."

Coffield is not sure how far north she'll get this year, but she would like to make Blind Channel and possibly into the Broughton Islands. "So much depends on the weather," Coffield said. "I don't mind rowing in the rain, but I don't like rowing if it's too windy."

Originally the author had planned to "Row the West" - meaning lakes at numerous western destinations. Coffield and her husband were going to take their wherry and camping gear, and make a summer of rowing. "On our trial run to Lake Havasu, it came roaring back to me how much I am unsuited for tent camping," Coffield said, "especially when it's for a long duration! Not to mention, I really don't like hot weather. The northwest (Puget Sound and Inside Passage) is much cooler and more to my liking."

Coffield plans on ultimately journeying (by boat) to Alaska and rowing there. "I definitely want to row in Skagway," she said. "I also plan on rowing along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Hopefully I'll be able to do a book on these adventures also."

The author and her husband will be traveling on their Nordic Tug 26, WILD! Because the wherry is much too large to transport on the tug, Coffield will be rowing a smaller shell.

Moonlight Mesa Associates, Western Book Publisher, will be closed from July 15 to September 30, while Coffield rows and employees scatter to their summer destinations.


The rules and entry form for the 2017 Cowboy Up Contest have been posted on Moonlight Mesa's website: Entries may be submitted between January 1, 2017, and May 1, 2017. The contest is open to both fiction and nonfiction western work.


"We are seriously looking for western nonfiction," Coffield said yet again. "We are not accepting fiction at this time, but we are definitely in the market for western nonfiction. If you have a nonfiction work you'd like to submit, go to our website and send us an email. Someone here, either Tom, Ben, Jered, Renee, or myself will get back to you as soon as we can. We will even consider nonfiction that's not western!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cowboy Up Short Story Contest to Resume

Moonlight Mesa's first western anthology
Surprise! Moonlight Mesa Associates publisher, Becky Coffield, announced earlier this week that the Cowboy Up Short Story Contest will resume in 2017.

"Since we aren't publishing a western in 2017, we will have the time and resources to resume the short story contest," Coffield said. "It just came to me that this is what I'd enjoy doing."

Information, rules, and deadlines will be forthcoming, according to Coffield. "The important thing," the publisher said, "is for people to start writing. Because of our 2017 schedule, entries can be submitted between January 1, 2017 and May 1, 2017. Winners will be announced some time in the fall. My job at this point is to line up some qualified judges and get the whole thing set up as soon as possible...before I leave town for the summer., which is pretty darn soon."

Coffield went on to say that she didn't know if there would be another short story anthology published or not. "There probably will be, but likely not the first year," she said.

The publisher's first anthology, Award-Winning Tales, is a compilation of top stories from the first two Cowboy Up contests.

"At this point I'm thinking we'll go with fiction and nonfiction western material this time around. I firmly believe that good nonfiction can easily compete with fiction," Coffield said.

Coffield has also given much thought to a novella contest. "I've been thinking about a novella contest for a long spell," the publisher said. "It's something I'd love to do, but the technicalities of distributing royalties, etc. is just too much. Some authors might really promote the book, others not so much. It wouldn't be fair to pay the authors equally. It just gets to be messy, and I avoid messy nowadays."

Contest information will be on Moonlight Mesa Associates website sometime in the next week. For now, writers need to know the submissions may be fiction or nonfiction western, 3000+/-  words in length. $25 entry fee. Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded. The fee charged pays for postage,  judging, and any margaritas needed for judges' meetings to hash things out..

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The End of a Great Run: No More Hardbound Copies of Casey Tibbs

After a long run, and thousands of books sold, the decision has been made not to have any more hardbound copies of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride printed. According to publisher Becky Coffield, there are still some hardbounds out there, but she sent the last copies she had to the author, Rusty Richards. "The book is six years old now. It's pretty much had its time in the limelight. Ordering thousands of more copies is expensive, and since sales have slowed in the last year  it's just not a sound financial decision," Coffield said.

"I think that Dakota West Books in South Dakota may have some books in stock, however," Coffield said. "The owner bought maybe 15 or 20 cases of the book from us two years ago. The hardbound edition is no longer available on Amazon, but the trade paperback is still in print as is the ebook. The problem with the ebook, quite frankly, is there are no photos," Coffield said. "The file was just too big to include photos, and the photos that go with the book are absolutely magnificent."

Rusty Richards has been one of the most wonderful people to work with, according to Coffield. "Rusty personally sold probably 2,000 copies of his book at the various events he attends and performs in." The author, a former Hollywood stuntman for westerns and bull rider, is also a poet and songwriter who used to sing with the Sons of the Pioneers. "He is a true gentleman and has been a real pleasure to do business with," Coffield said. Richards recently won the Chester A Reynolds Award. "I was devastated not to be there," Coffield said. "I was having my bout with shingles at that time. Had the dang things been anywhere but on my face I most certainly would have attended! Rusty is truly worthy of that award."


Moonlight Mesa will be closed this summer for August and September. There will be no staff available, so book orders will have to go through Amazon. "Well, I will have some copies with me," Coffield said, "but since I'll be on the water, getting to a post office will be very difficult."

Instead of "Rowing the West," Coffield has decided she'd rather "Row the Inside," and will be taking her wherry to Puget Sound and rowing in the San Juan Islands, Canadian Gulf Islands, and hopefully further north. "So much depends on the weather. We have a boat we can travel on that can transport the wherry (awkwardly) wherever we want to go, but still, we'll need fairly calm seas for much rowing. I think we'll get in plenty of rowing time, though."

Coffield went on to say, "You know, I hate to admit it, but I've become
Tom Coffield in rowing wherry he built
a softy. After my two days camping in 100* heat at Lake Havasu with no shade, I just couldn't see myself spending a month or two in a tent traveling the West rowing on lakes. It's just too hot for me. My husband came up with this great idea. I jumped on it the moment it came out of his mouth!"

Coffield insists the book, The Old Folks in the Boat, will be in print by the end of the year. "I'm taking a computer and can write as we go," she said.


Coffield said she and staff will definitely be doing  more events in 2016-17. "We've all slacked off. Events are very tiring and stressful, but we have no choice. As Jere James likes to say, 'A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...and so does a woman.'" Coffield plans to start up in October once back in the office. Events will be posted here.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

No Western for Moonlight Mesa in 2017

For the first time in seven years, Moonlight Mesa Associates, primarily a western book publisher, will NOT be publishing a western in 2016.

Even though publisher Becky Coffield had planned on gravitating toward other genres, she was surprised when Jere D. James, Moonlight Mesa's best-selling western author, announced there would be no book in 2016. "I can understand if Jere needs a break," Coffield said. "The author has produced seven books in seven years. Jere does not have another writer helping out like so many of the multi-book authors."

Nevertheless, Coffield was disappointed when the decision was made. She'd already cancelled a forthcoming mule book, and the rowing book Coffield had planned on completing is behind schedule, although she insists it will be ready by the end of the year.

"Right now I'm not sure where we're headed," Coffield said recently. "I think there will be another western in 2017, but no guarantees. I'm concerned that Jere's following may fall by the wayside if another book isn't forthcoming soon. I suppose we can pick up another western writer but I'm not overly enthused about that. I guess we'll see in due time."

Meanwhile, pre-publication orders for The Old Folks in the Boat  keep coming in. "We've had slow but steady orders on this title," Coffield said. "Offhand, I think we've taken orders for just under 200 copies."

The boat, a tandem wherry, was built  by rower Tom Coffield. A wherry is slightly wider than a rowing shell, so it's much more stable. The wherry isn't as fast as a shell, but it's roomier and very distinctive. "We're trying to teach our dog, a Chespeake Bay Retriever, to sit calmly in the boat and not leap overboard in pursuit of ducks, sticks, or other enticing items. It's quite a challenge," Coffield said.

The cover is being designed by Vin Libassi of The cover photo will be taken by Meredith Comfort of Two Comforts Photography. The book will OFFICIALLY be released at the Seattle Boat Show in January, 2017. It will be available a bit earlier, however.

This is Moonlight Mesa Associates' second boating book. The first, Life Was A Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, published in 2005, is still available in trade paperback and ebook, although the ebook format does not have photos. Coffield reissued the book with photos after the first publisher would not do so.

"Maybe we'll have to become a boating-book publisher," Coffield mused. "There's not a big audience for boating books in Arizona, but we sell a lot of them in the northwest. I kind of like this idea!"

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Publisher Contract Cancellations

The long-awaited mule book that we've been promising for 2016 will indeed be in never. Although I was looking forward to having two nonfiction titles out in 2016, we have cancelled the mule book. The author was not meeting our deadlines, and although the book was well written, it was not what we expected. This is a very good reason why everyone needs a "get out of contract clause" in their contract. In point of fact, the author asked to be let out of the contract. We were quite happy to oblige. No harm. No foul.

So how often has this contract cancellation business happened? With Moonlight Mesa Associates, this is a first as far as I can recall. However, with every author we sign, we would willingly let someone out of a contract unless we had already committed a lot of time and money to the project, in which case we would need to be reimbursed. I can't think of anything worse than publishing a book from an unwilling author. Doesn't make much sense, especially because we depend on our authors to help sell and promote their work. However, if we had time and money in the project, I doubt I'd be so easy-going about the idea.

I suspect the idea of "getting out of a contract" is fairly rare. Most authors seem to be thrilled to have a publisher, and usually publishers just drop authors whose books don't sell. When we cancel a book because of lack of sales, which we have done, all rights revert to the author. We have cancelled only two books that I can recall. We have, however, removed books from the Ingram electronic catalog, which effectively makes a title unavailable to vendors, but even then we usually keep the removed titles in print and sell them ourselves. There is a $12 yearly fee to keep a book listed in the Ingram electronic catalog. If the book doesn't sell online for two years running, we simply drop it from the catalog. Most publishers don't wait anywhere near as long as we do. We keep a poor-performing book available in the catalog only if the author is actively engaged in promoting and selling it.

So, why would an author not work at promoting or selling his/her book? The problem lies in temperament. Most authors make terrible salespeople. I don't know if this is because writing is a"solitary" activity which attracts people who aren't gregarious or extroverts or what. This may not be the case at all, but it is a rare author who sells with as much gusto as they write.

Several of our authors do superb jobs at both writing and selling. A prime example is Lee Anderson, author of Developing the Art of Equine Communication. Lee is an outgoing, extroverted guy if there ever was one. Rusty Richards, author of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride, is another natural at selling. What both of these people have in common is that they are both showmen: Lee appears at numerous western shows and events in Arizona; Rusty is a western singer and performer. 

Robert Walton, Dawn Drums, is another author who is successful at selling his work. Again, Robert is an active, outgoing personality and very much a showman. J.R. Sanders, author of Some Gave All and The Littlest Wrangler, is a more sedate, quiet person, but he has been quite successful at promoting his books because he knows his audience! And finally, Jere D. James, author of the seven-book Jake Silver Series, is a salesperson.

Our other authors either run out of steam, get distracted, or find the work of selling books too difficult and often depressing. Nothing is worse than having an event and selling only one or two books. It smarts, but it happens to everyone one time or another. The truly committed don't throw in the towel. My opinion for what it's worth!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Great Buys on Ebooks with COUPONS!

Currently Moonlight Mesa is offering five titles available as ebooks at a greatly reduced price. The offer has been on for some time, but somehow I didn't realize I had to actually INFORM people about this. I guess I figured people would find out by osmosis or whatever.

So, if you have an e-reader, currently there are discounts on five of our titles. These titles are available via Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and literally a host of other e-reader providers. The Kindle discounts are coming soon.

For P.A. Arnold's Getting a Handle on Herpes,  the coupon code is TL29P

Award-winning suspense 
Robert Walton's Dawn Drums has a code of EC94S

Steamy western romance
Paula Silici's A Way in the Wilderness (western romance), has a code of LQ99G

For Northern Escape, R.L. Coffield's novel,  the code is HF46X

And the wildly popular Saving Tom Black  by Jere D. James has a code of GP78V

Some of these coupons expire April 1; others expire April 30.


Happily the annual mule ride sponsored by us went off extremely well. Shingles and all. So, moving on....


Gold Rush and the Mule Ride behind us, once I finish getting tax crapola ready for the CPA, work will resume on our forthcoming publications. Serious work. Stay tuned!