Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cowboy Up Short Story Contest

The third annual Cowboy Up Short Story Contest came to a close this week. Despite the fact that the publisher put a major restriction on the type of story that could be submitted, entries were about the same as last year. "We at least broke even," said publisher Becky Coffield. "I don't think we made any money, but I don't think we'll lose any money, either."

This year contestants could only submit a suspense/mystery/thriller type Western. Stories could be as long as 3500 words, however, up 1000 words from last year's rules. "It can take longer to develop a suspense or mystery," explained Coffield.

Finalists will be announced October 1, and the grand prize winners will be announced by November 1. The stories are being read and scored by four judges, consisting of two men and two women. "Normally we have five judges, but at the last minute our young one had to withdraw due to college and work. I liked having a young guy on the judging panel, but that's the way it goes," Coffield said.

There will be plenty of changes for the forthcoming 2012 and 2013 contests. The final decision will be made soon, but the publisher is thinking of running a short-short story contest, with entries only allowed to be 1000 to 1500 words tops. "That's a challenge, to write a story that short," said Coffield. Entry fees would be less...probably only $10 per story, and awards would also be less...maybe three winners each receiving $100. "I'd like to do an anthology of these short-short stories if possible," Coffield said.

The other idea is to announce the 2013 contest early, which would be a novella contest. Three novellas would be chosen for publication in a Novella Anthology. "If we decide to do this, I want to give people a lot of time to think and write, so we'll actually announce it this year," Coffield said.


Moonlight Mesa's fall event schedule begins this weekend with an Arts fair in Pinetop, AZ. "If the weather holds, we should do well, but the weather is a big factor in the high country. I've heard it's supposed to thunder. Bummer," Coffield said.

So far the publisher has not signed up for anything in October, but there are two events scheduled for November: Cave Creek's Wild West Days and Yuma's Dr. Curall's Medicine Show and Old West Extravaganza. "I think both shows could be really good," the publisher said.

As for December, the publisher is looking for a show that's close to home.


For those wanting a Vin Libassi original designed mule t-shirt, they are now officially on sale. The first batch of shirts come in only two colors: tan and chocolate brown. Sizes are M, L, LX. "These shirts are utterly adorable!" Becky said. "In fact, if you own a mule, they are irresistible!"

The order form for the shirts is on the publisher's website:


For anyone who's interested, there will be a fantastic mule ride March 7 to 12, 2012, in Wickenburg, AZ. For information and to register, go to Click on events and read all about it!

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