Back on the water again…and don’t by an electric car

But mostly I want to hike and row, and fish and read without a gazillion thoughts rushing around in my head. I think that’s maybe like trying to be in the mysterious NOW zone.

To escape the torrid heat in Arizona, we made our yearly trek to Anacortes Washington, last month. Well, it’s sure as hell not hot here. The thermometer hasn’t made it out of the 50s yet. And it’s not just cold, but windy, and rainy, and did I say cold? Periodically a bit of sun teases us and gets our hopes up.

I’m sure the boat appreciated our return, and it looked as good as when we left last October. It didn’t seem to have any trauma or damage from the exceptionally cold, snowy, rainy, windy winter here.

The plan is to leave port when the weather is more inviting and head north for three months. I hope to get photos of orcas and find Cookie, the whale I adopted. Plus, continuing with my seaweed identification and paintings booklet is high on my to-do list. I’ll also be giving out copies of Saving Our Oceans to libraries and random people I see reading. In fact, I also want to put Saving into ebook format.

Next, I hope to get some editing/work done on the book about the runaway 70-year-old woman that we’ll release – if the book ever gets finished and we get lucky!

Then, for my sanity I need to take a vacation from my cell phone. I just don’t think doing so will be too difficult. Somehow my phone number got shared with every telemarketing service in the entire world. I no longer answer the slippery contraption. If you want to talk to me, please leave a message and I’ll return your call. Plus, the news has become too unbearable to read more than once a week. I don’t do the social media stuff like Facebutt. Once in a great while (like twice a year) some unknown energy makes me tweet.

But mostly I want to hike and row, and fish and read without a gazillion thoughts rushing around in my head. I think that’s maybe like trying to be in the NOW. I need to calm down, PERIOD.

I’ll stay in touch. Meanwhile, don’t buy an electric car. See my last blog! Digging for all the needed metals will ruin huge swaths of earth.

Stay safe and keep warm!

Moonlight Mesa Publisher Returns

I’m energized. I’m back!

In answer to the few individuals who’ve contacted me asking whether or not Moonlight Mesa is still in business, I’m happy to say that after an extended absence, I have finally returned – physically and mentally. I’m ready for business again. I basically took a two year sabbatical from publishing/marketing, I guess you could say. In my absence, I did earn my Marine Naturalist Certification, and I worked as a docent at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum! Two very important long-time goals I’ve had.

Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., a tiny, independent publishing company was formed in 2010 and has published a remarkable number of award-winning titles including J.R. Sanders’ two titles (Some Gave All  and The Littlest Wrangler), Robert Walton’s Dawn Drums, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication and The View from My Old Saddle. And a few of my own books, Life Was a Cabaret, Sam’s Desert Adventure, and Northern Escape took awards. Several other published titles received Honorable Mentions.

So what exactly was I doing the last two years? Although I did vaguely blog about these things, I’ll briefly answer the question. Both my husband and I survived Covid, although I was truly terrified about his case which turned to Covid pneumonia. Then we moved…and moved again. We left Arizona with the intent of relocating back to the Northwest, but you know, after a couple of months there I told my husband that I just couldn’t live there full time. Honestly, the area is splendid, but I just couldn’t commit.

I bought a teensy, tiny house in Arizona and a bigger boat to keep in Anacortes. We plan on spending more time on the water traveling – Alaska is on the menu for summer of 2022. We just decided to have more adventure while we still can.

As for Moonlight Mesa’s business…I’ve already done one small event since our return  in mid October, and I’ll be doing another event December 3. I very sincerely doubt I’ll do multi-day events again. Quite frankly, I did that for 8 years and it absolutely wore me out. I liked the short event I just did…I sold plenty of books and wasn’t exhausted and crabby when I closed.”

Funds earned from Saving Our Oceans are donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum

I’m formulating a plan for the summer of 2022 for when we’re traveling. I plan on being an ‘ambassador’ for Saving Our Oceans.  I’ll be taking many copies with me, and I’ll primarily donate these copies and do presentations. I’m not worried about book sales as I know other titles will sell as a result.  I’ll have advertising material for all the titles. It’ll work. I’ve done this before and it was very successful.”

I’m energized. I’m back!

Oceans and Equines

In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night.

When it comes to Moonlight Mesa’s book sales, it seems westerns are out and oceans and equines are in!

What a shock this year was.

First off, sales were appreciably lower this year because I did no book events whatsoever but spent seven months on a boat in the San Juan Islands instead of in my office…which I sold anyway. Well, actually it took us 3 months to find a boat we could (a) afford, and (b) was clearly a solid, strong, comfy traveler. We found a gem in Portland, Oregon. A 43′ Tolly Craft…50′ overall. In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night. The following day was a piece of cake…no swells, no wind, just about perfect. Even had whale sightings.

The whole day wasn’t perfect, however. Due to covid, Neah Bay was closed to all boaters, so we had to continue down the Straits of Juan de Fuca with the wind springing to 25 knots, and small craft advisories up. The rollers became enormous, making steering extremely difficult. Finding a good anchorage took way longer than anticipated. It was exhausting.

Anyway, it was a good summer for my husband and me since we’d both had covid in February and survived – his case much, much worse than mine – like emergency room visit bad.

On to business…As for nonfiction sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Riding a Mule was amazing and led all other titles by a landslide. However, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication had, as always, steady and consistent sales. Saving Our Oceans sales were highly gratifying. Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride did well also.

Basically, all of our nonfiction titles have catapulted past fiction titles.  Although I took The Old Folks in the Boat off the market, I still sold copies to a several bookstores, one in Anacortes. Life Was a Cabaret – A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean sold there also. Indeed, every nonfiction title saw some movement.

What doesn’t sell in the Northwest are westerns. Go figure. I mean…no interest. Jere D. James, our primary western author, retired from writing but I think he’s contemplating another title. Another western? I have no idea, but I’ve a hunch it’ll be something different. Jere’s westerns literally made our business, especially Saving Tom Black…I’ll publish anything this author writes, fiction or non.

I’ve had several queries in the past few months, but right now we are not accepting any. We’ve decided to stick with nonfiction when we do resume looking at manuscripts.

The Littlest Wrangler, our best-selling young reader book has been out of print for the last 7 months due to a snafu and my absence, but it will be back in print this month. It’s an award winner as is Sam’s Desert Adventure, our other young reader book.

And, I’ve already made plans for how I will “legally” promote our titles next summer while traversing through Canada en route to Alaska. 🙂 I’ll share the details in a blog before we head north again.

Where Are the Whales?

People are hungry to see the orcas!

Despite being situated in the Salish Sea for the past six months, it’s been difficult to keep track of the whales this year! I thought that since I was an official docent at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum, I’d be more up-to-date…this has not happened. Reports from the Center for Whale Research, however, have been super informative, but being in the right place at the right time to actually see a whale is infrequent.

However, that being said, there are still whales around! In fact, we were excited to see a small pod of orcas pass by the Anacortes Ferry terminal yesterday when we returned from an outing to Friday Harbor. Unfortunately, whale watching boats were NOT keep the required distance from the whales. Bottom line: People are hungry to see the orcas! A small pod swam along and you’d have thought that a miracle had occurred by the reaction of the onlookers…and perhaps it was a miracle.

There have been a number of sightings of the Biggs Transient Orcas, but the Southern Resident Pod (the northwest fave) has been a bit more secretive. J-pod has recent been seen in the area, but K and L pods have pretty much stayed on the west side of Vancouver Island. Smart move, really: more fish and fewer boaters there by far. What pod was seen by the ferry terminal, I have no idea. I love the whales and worry greatly about their well-being, but I do not have the wherewithal to memorize their dorsal fins, saddles, scars or other markings to recognize individuals.

However, both my husband and I were thrilled upon seeing two orcas just a short distance north of the Columbia River Bar as we headed north from Astoria, Oregon. In fact, I even forgot how majorly queasy I was felling when I sighted the two. The next day we saw a small group, probably Minkes, about three miles off the Washington shoreline north of West Port. I wasn’t seasick that day…the ocean was like a lake, and the whales were happily spouting as they likely gobbled silver salmon which seemed to be plentiful in the area judging by the number of fishing vessels. Honestly, we’d never seen so many whales in our sojourns up and down the west coast. It made me feel hopeful for these amazing fellow mammals.

We’ve now been in the Northwest for six months and on our newest vessel for three months. The rains have started…that means a lot of boaters have retired their boats for the year and anchorages will be far less busy. This could also very likely mean that more whales will be around. Perhaps we’ll get lucky more often!

I encourage you to join the Center for Whale Research located in Friday Harbor, Washington. It is also a 501c3, so your donations and membership are tax deductible, and you can be kept completely up-to-date on the whales. Also, check out the Friday Harbor Whale Museum gift shop for unique gifts. This is one way to support the only whale museum in the United States!

Time for an About-Face for Shirking

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

I declare I do think some people have minds like traps…something gets in it and it doesn’t go away. Once again I’ve been caught.

Here’s some facts I’ve been called on:

In September I declared I would row 500 miles before the end of the year. Didn’t quite get there – actually I was a long way from 500 miles. Try 189. Well, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak! Besides, the north ramp at Lake Pleasant was closed and that is the BEST, most scenic area for rowing, kayaking, and swimming.

And I’ve been asked where JOT has disappeared to and what’s going on with it…It’s been so long since I’ve talked about JOT (Just One Thing) that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done little to nothing in recent months. I think the pandemic wore me out. I was too busy reading Fox News and the New York Times email articles to pay attention to much else.

For those with short memories, JOT (Just One Thing) is a grassroots alliance encouraging people to forego one single-use plastic item to help with plastic pollution and wastage. There are a number of people who have signed up to participate in the JOT movement, however, but I’ve failed to do much communication since I failed to keep their email addresses. Again…likely a pandemic fault. However, JOT is alive and well and will be energized again…Care to join? Send me your name and I’ll add you to our list. No fees or dues or donations ever. Just a commitment on your part to yourself.

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

A new pod of Blue Whales has been discovered in the Indian Ocean. In addition, Blue Whales are once again being detected in the Georgia Island area (north of Antarctica) after 50-years of absence. These whales were hunted almost to the very brink of extinction by money-driven cretins. (Please don’t tell the Japanese or the Norwegians since they have a penchant for slaughtering whales.)

And, there have been numerous sightings of the northwest’s Southern Resident pod of orcas this fall and winter…likely this is because there are far fewer boaters plowing through the waters disturbing them.

So…I’m seriously back to work even though I don’t plan to publish anything this year. Despite having become a bit of a hermit, I aim to live with gratitude and enthusiasm. No more shirking, procrastinating, and negativity. I’m tired of that.

 Besides promoting JOT and trying to sell books, I’ll  be blogging about the NRDC and their successes in sustaining the environment (like helping defeat the Pebble  mine in Bristol Bay), along with the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and their efforts to revive wild salmon stocks (yes, more bridges are now being torn down), as well as other marine and nature organizations issues (like closing Marine World and getting those poor whales out of swimming pools!). I’ll be heading to Washington State in February for a month of resuscitation. I know I’ll come back fired up – and probably be yearning to move north…again. 

Check out Saving Our Oceans or any of our other scintillating titles!

It’s not Too Late to Avoid Another “Catastrophic” Problem, But Time is Running Out

People need to know the truth about critical freshwater sources and issues.

2020 will no doubt be a year that no one will forget. Will we want to forget? YES. The pandemic has jerked people around endlessly: Masks, no masks, advice to get outside, advice to hunker down, close schools, open schools, close schools.

*The weather in 2020, particularly in hurricane country, has served up fear and excitement…rather like a horror movie might.

*Riots and protests: democracy at work or terrorism in play?

*Unemployment and evictions have abounded.

*The stock market has offered its thrills and chills.

*And, of course, the election has been a nightmare for everyone regardless of who wins. The election may last longer than the pandemic!

When the pandemic was first declared, we at Moonlight Mesa expected an onslaught of book orders. After all, we reasoned, people were being confined at home (hunkering down in place I think they called it) and would tire of daytime television in short order. Wrong. Spring book orders languished horribly. Then, come late spring and summer when we traditionally have our slower months, sales unexpectedly bloomed. Best summer sales ever.

Fall arrived, but so far sales have failed to be as robust has usual.

But overall, what’s been selling for us? Nonfiction. Nothing else: NONFICTION.

Unfortunately, while the sales of all our nonfiction books have been very respectable, sales of Saving Our Oceans have greatly disappointed us, and we feel this book is one of the most timely, important books we’ve yet published. There are several likely reasons for this poor response – one being that the vast majority of people DO NOT LIVE BY OR NEAR THE OCEAN and aren’t really engaged with the issues. This is understandable – but not excusable when one considers that the ocean provides 70 to 80% of the oxygen we breathe.  And, the other issue (no surprise) is that people who actually live in coastal states may already be aware of many of the issues that Saving Our Oceans covers.

However…there are chapters in Saving Our Oceans  that should be read by everyone no matter where they live. People need to know the truth about freshwater sources and its critical issues (which the book also covers). Because we feel this information is vitally important, future blogs will offer chapters from the book. It’s not too late to avoid another catastrophe that will put the pandemic to shame in comparison, but time is running out.

(Or, you can buy the book. It’s priced at just 12.95 to expedite sales. All proceeds are donated to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, both in Washington State.)

Photo by NRDC.ORG

Major Changes to Publishing House

Three primary areas have become the publisher’s center of attention: The Ocean; Whales; and the Rights of Nature.

Becky on her mule, Reba Peru.

It’s become apparent to many of Moonlight Mesa’s blog followers and customers, that the publishing house is no longer the same company that used to avidly only promote western books and authors. “There is no question that we’re on a different path,” admitted publisher Becky Coffield. “The change is a difficult, time-consuming, uphill struggle, and one we’ve been trying to win using emotional appeal – not tactics. It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it’d be. Somehow that’s got to change.”

It’s tempting to say that the biggest cause of struggle is Moonlight Mesa’s rural location – being housed on the borderline of a dinky seasonal community and a small cowboy town. This hurts, but it’s not the only issue. Not being a coastal state, Arizonans generally tend to be indifferent to the issues that Moonlight Mesa’s publisher finds to be a priority. “This is to be expected, I suppose. Arizona has issues and problems of its own to deal with that are troublesome: drought and potential water shortage; rapid growth due to a massive influx of newcomers; and border issues to name a few. Expected, but disappointing,” Coffield said.

So, what is the pubisher’s focus? Three primary areas have become the publisher’s center of attention: the Ocean; Whales; and The Rights of Nature. That is, of course, a simplification, but it generally sums it up.  Coffield is also a supporter of NRDC, CELDEF, and GARN.*

For starters, as chairperson of the JUST ONE THING Alliance, Coffield decided to house the small, grass-roots movement on Moonlight Mesa’s website as its own domain. (www.justonething.life) She has also recently added Moonlight Mesa’s publication, Saving Our Oceans. (www.saving-our-oceans.com) as a domain on the website.

“Though the addition of these two domains to Moonlight Mesa’s website does not in any way help book sales or the company, the fact is it’s a step in going where I have to go,” Coffield said.

Coffield became an ocean/whale devotee after spending six years blue-water sailing on a Cal 2-34, traveling around 25,000 miles, then living on the Oregon Coast for many years. Originally from the Northwest, Coffield has spent years boating in the San Juan Islands and traveling the Inside Passage to the Broughton Islands and S.E. Alaska. “I’ve had fantastic whale encounters in S.E. Alaska,” Coffield recalled. “And, of course, a person can’t help but love the Southern Resident Pod that hangs out in the San Juans.” Coffield is currently endeavoring to complete a Marine Naturalist Certification.

It’s become apparent to all who know the publisher that she (and her husband) are  fish out of water living in Arizona – The big question is “for how much longer?” She’s choosing not say at this time –

Meanwhile, look for the saving-our-oceans.blog in the very near future.

*CELDEF: Community Environmental Defense Fund

NRDC – Nature Resource Defense Council

GARN – Global Alliance for Rights of Nature

Blog submitted by Renee Witty

Another First Place for Moonlight Mesa Author

Lee Anderson on his rescued thoroughbred Concho

Congratulations go to C.L. “Lee” Anderson whose book, The View from My Old Saddle, has been awarded first place in the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Contest.

The View from My Old Saddle was entered in the Pets and Animals category by Becky Coffield, publisher at Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. The cover design is by Moonlight Mesa’s long-time graphic artist, Vin Libassi.

This is Anderson’s second time competing in this contest. He was a finalist two years ago with his first book, Developing the Art of Equine Communication,” which has been an extremely popular title. Another equine book, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule, has also been a finalist in this contest and currently is Moonlight Mesa’s top-selling book for 2020.

Originally Moonlight Mesa Associates started as a western book publisher – but after seven successful years and the retirement of the company’s highly popular author of the Jake Silver Series, Jere D. James, against all advice Coffield began making the transition to nonfiction, and it has proven to be an excellent decision. The company’s top-selling books are now all nonfiction:

Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride, by Rusty Richards

Some Gave All – Lawmen Who Died with their Boots On, by J.R. Sanders

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule, by Becky Coffield

We managed to survive 7 years and 25,000 miles aboard a 34′ Cal 2-34

Developing the Art of Equine Communication, by C.L. Lee Anderson, paperback and ebook

Life Was A Cabaret – A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, by Becky Coffield

Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold (ebook only)

Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield

The Old Folks in the Boat, Becky Coffield (currently not available online – email publisher for copy)

“Book sales overall have not been spectacular in this Covid/Election year, but we certainly could have done worse,” Coffield said. “Our move to a new location took longer and had more setbacks than we ever imagined, so that didn’t help either.”

Open Letter to the IWC (International Whaling Community)

Before a person finishes reading this blog, more than a thousand pounds of plastics is dumped into the ocean.

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for the recent IWC minutes/report. Although I am not a member of any particular IWC committee, I am deeply interested in preserving the oceans, whales and sea life. I may currently live in Arizona, but I spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest and still spend months at a time there on our small tugboat.

Last year we published Saving Our Oceans. There is a chapter in the book about the IWC and your organization is mentioned several times throughout. Unfortunately, due to all the brouhaha over Covid-19 and the uprising in the United States over “police brutality” this book has not sold as well as hoped and anticipated. (The funds from the book are earmarked for the Friday Harbor Whale Museum and for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition.) It has been an eye-opening realization for me that most people don’t really seem to care all that much about whales, ocean pollution, etc. In fact, before a person finishes reading this blog, more than a thousand pounds of plastics is dumped into the ocean. The people who do care seem to be intensely concerned, but these people wouldn’t need to read the book – they already know the issues.

The apathy of many people toward the ocean is understandable. Even though the Saving Our Oceans was written to introduce people to the issues of plastic pollution and the slow death of the ocean and its inhabitants, people who do not live by the sea have their own problems to deal with. People who live in Kansas or Oklahoma might care, but they have their state’s immediate issues.  Other topics are also covered in the book, from plastic pollution and the failure of recycling, to dying aquifers around the globe, fresh water pollution, the Rights of Nature movement, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, etc. 

I was extremely disturbed to read that the Japanese withdrew from membership from the IWC and are continuing to slaughter whales. Disgraceful and barbaric. Their dolphin massacres are totally shameful. So is the captivity of orcas. It’s beyond belief that so-called “civilized” people do these things. 

Again, thank you for your information.

Sincerely,

Becky Coffield

Too Much Noise

Too much noise. There is simply too much noise for people to think clearly and calmly.

I’m not talking about honking horns, sirens, and social media conflicts. I’m talking about the social upheaval and unrest that’s descended not just in this country, but around the globe. Some is justified. Some not. I’m not going there, however. We’re all living in the midst of this terrible social angst and no one needs yet another voice from the wilderness dishing out unsought opinions. I’ll keep my thoughts about George Floyd and his untimely, unnecessary death to myself. I’ll refrain from railing about the lawless looting, vandalism and destruction of so many people’s dreams. Commentary on the innocent dead left in the wake of the massive and brutal uprising will not be discussed. And most certainly Covid-19 is not going to rear its ugly head here.

Despite the brouhaha raging in cities across America, I find it odd that I’m still mostly oiled birdjust concerned about plastic pollution, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, diminishing salmon runs, and the continuous destruction of nature and our earthly habitat.

I’m still plugging for the Rights of Nature. I recently renewed my membership to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and I’m applauding CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) for providing invaluable assistance to those fighting for the right to live in communities that aren’t damaged by greedy developers and industrial chemical tycoons.

However, I must confess that I’m a bit conflicted (is that a real word?) that I still eat red meat a few times a week. I love cows. I used to own a small herd of Texas Long Horns. I never butchered them except for one who was very mean and surly. Okay, I did eat her. I found wonderful homes for the other beautiful animals when we moved though.

I feel a bit bad that I no longer have any interest in being a political activist. Been there done that back in the Viet Nam days. I feel even worse that I’m not busting my ass getting more businesses and people involved in the JUST ONE THING Alliance. My thinking is that people have too many other things to deal with right now to be concerned about plastic pollution, captive whales held in swimming pools, the Rights of Nature, growing dead zones around the globe, aquifers worldwide drying up, the JUST ONE THING Alliance – and the list goes on.

Perhaps it’s my job to keep these things remembered until the noise stops.

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