Saturday, September 27, 2014

Western Novella Contest a Possibility & Author Awards Galore

After a year...make that two...of thinking about a novella contest, we are almost on the verge of announcing the 2015 Cowboy Up Novella Contest. The Cowboy Up Short Story Contest had a good three-year run, and we read hundreds of fabulous western short stories. We even produced a terrific anthology based on the first two years' winners (Award-Winning Tales). We read so many stories that after three years they began to sound familiar. And our panel of judges got worn out.

However, we've come to the conclusion that there are a lot of creative people who need an opportunity to have their voices heard. None of us was anxious to revive the short story genre, but the more we've discussed a novella contest, the more enthused we've become. A novella would allow an author to truly develop characters and plot.

I will be making an announcement in early December on this issue. If we proceed with the contest, it would run in 2015 and an anthology containing the top three novellas would be published in 2016. We currently have three judges lined up, but I hope to have five  by the time of the contest. There are a lot of preparations and decisions we must make before we can proceed...if we proceed.


September has been a bumper month for contests! Robert Walton, author of Dawn Drums, recently received notice from the New Mexico Book Awards that his historical Civil War novel is a finalist in TWO categories: Historical Fiction and also in Young Adult. Final results will be announced in November.

Sam's Desert Adventure by Jonah Arizona is now up for its THIRD award in children's literature. The young reader for ages 8 - 10 is a finalist in the annual Harvest Book Awards. Top winners will be announced in October.

Finally, J.R. Sanders' Some Gave All is en route to the Oklahoma Western Heritage Awards. Sanders' book has become Moonlight Mesa's number one selling nonfiction title this year. Some Gave All, a nonfiction account of lawmen in the old west who died in the line of duty, has received multiple, outstanding reviews. The book has 40 original photos and tintypes, and an extensive bibliography. This is a wonderful book for western history buffs and for those who like true-life adventure. The beauty of this book is that the author tells not only about the victims, but also about the crime, the criminal, and the judicial outcomes.


September 2014 has been the best sales month in the brief history of Moonlight Mesa Associates. To be honest, our success this month was due in large part to one of our distributors buying 22 cases of books. Dave Strain of Dakota West Books purchased 20 cases of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride along with 2 cases of Some Gave All.  In addition, Ingram sales were outstanding, and Kindle sales were up also.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of our sales occur September through April. Period. Summers are traditionally excruciatingly quite slow, which is why the small staff here takes off in all directions for four or five months.

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