It seems like ages ago we moved to Arizona – actually it’s now been 16 years. I’ve enjoyed it here in many ways…but I don’t think I’ve ever really been happy-happy here.
What do I like about Arizona?
1. Winter weather here can’t be beat. Maybe Florida’s, come to think about it.
2. Our properties have been large enough that I’ve had chickens, horses, mules and dogs during this period. (I had the same in Oregon though.)
3. I started a small, traditional publishing company and published a number of award-winning titles and terrific westerns.
J.R. Sanders’ two books, Some Gave All and The Littlest Wrangler, both won awards;
Lee Anderson’s equine books, Developing the Art of Equine Communication and The View from My Old Saddle, were both award winners;
Rusty Richards biography of Casey Tibbs has been a best-selling title and won an award;
Historian Robert Walton’s civil war book, Dawn Drums, won a total of 5 awards;
Three of my own publications have won awards: Life Was a Cabaret, Sam’s Desert Adventure, and Northern Escape.
There were other books that often out-sold the award-winners, such as Jere D. James Jake Silver Series.
During this time I also learned some hard lessons:
- Insufficient funds for marketing pretty much killed me.
- Often I worked far harder at personally selling authors’ books than some of them did.
- Selling books is the hardest part of the whole publishing business.
We are now at a crossroads, and some of our frustration may indeed be due to Covid, but perhaps most is just due to the fact that my husband and I can no longer ignore that we are fish out of water in the desert, something we’ve both known for a long time but never discussed much. So, we’ve listed our home for sale, even though we just moved to this new location a year ago. Since our mules are now gone, we’ve come to realize even more that we don’t “fit in” here (our license plates even say “We Row”) and we never have been very good members of the cowboy-horse culture here in Wickenburg. We tried, but…
Moving is not easy, but I came to the conclusion that going back to the northwest is what we needed to do after I read an article that asked readers to think of where they’d been most happy in their life…and if they weren’t there now, why weren’t they? As retirees, we don’t have jobs that hold us down; our children are both approaching 40 and are well-established here, so no kids to fuss over. My husband is particularly not happy, and neither is my dog Holly (a Chesapeake Bay Retriever). We instantly realized that where we’ve been our happiest is in coastal environments: Newport Oregon, Wrangell Alaska, and cruising on our sailboat decades ago. I know the winter weather will be a shocker…but we lived in the northwest for decades before we moved and it never seemed to bother us then. I miss snow-shoeing, Nordic skiing, ice skating, the beautiful smell and sight of fir trees, and fall and spring weather (you don’t get much where we now are). We’re homesick.
So what do I do about Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., my little S-Corporation? I think it’s time I dissolved my corporation and became a sole-proprietor again. I’ll certainly keep an account with the printing company so authors can still get their books and the books will still be available online or with vendors, but I just feel like throwing in the towel, going back to free-lance writing, getting my Marine Naturalist Certification, and focusing on sea life, whales in particular – especially orcas. I might even become a radical about plastic pollution and protecting our oceans, and saving our wild salmon! I can spend more time on JUST ONE THING. That would be fun. What I’m doing now no longer is.
I’ll keep my website…I think…maybe. And I’ll be blogging less about books, and more about LIFE. I’m ready. It’s time for a new adventure, and I want to go home.