Several Grant County authors were honored in the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards organized by the New Mexico Book Co-op.

Alethea Eason, Kris Neri, EJ Randolph, and Kate Rauner topped the Fiction e-book category with their collection of eight Stunning Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction published with the Borderland Writer’s Co-op. Editor and author EJ Randolph invited Silver City authors to contribute to Stunning Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Eason, Neri, Rauner, and Randolph each contribute two stories to this collection. Stunning Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction is available at Amazon books. Visit the Borderland Writer’s Co-op at www.borderlandwriters.wordpress.com

Randolph was further honored as a finalist in the Fiction e-book category with her science fiction novel Spiders & Spice. The story follows diplomat Kate Stevens, still ravaged from PTSD as a result of her last alien encounter, who is sent on a mission to wrangle another alien culture. This novel is available on Amazon books.

Catalina Claussen’s short story collection Being Home: A Southwestern Almanac was named a finalist in the Fiction Anthology category. This quirky collection of humorous made-for-radio stories is set in the Mimbres Valley and illustrated with her daughter’s photographs. Claussen was also named a finalist in the Young Adult category for her novel Holding on to Hope. Told in first-person from multiple perspectives, this novel explores the broken U.S. immigration system and its impacts on three teens living on the southern border. Both books are available from Progressive Rising Phoenix Press and all major retailers. Visit Claussen at www.catalinaclaussenbooks.wordpress.com

Doug Fine’s American Hemp Farmer from Chelsea Publishing was a finalist in the Nature/Environment category. In American Hemp Farmer, author, NPR contributor, and solar-powered goat herder Doug Fine gets his hands dirty with healthy soil and sticky with terpenes when growing his own crop and creating his own hemp products. Fine shares his adventures and misadventures as an independent, regenerative farmer and entrepreneur. Visit Fine at www.dougfine.com

New Rain: A Visionary Novel by Eve West Bessier was a finalist in the New Age category. New Rain is a romantic comedy filled with adventure and metaphysics told primarily through dialogue. Sola Alturas, a young sales rep for Interstellar Data Systems, arrives on the planet Caifanii ready to earn the largest commission of her career. Her briefing materials, however, fail to mention that a revolutionary movement called the Mhalanai Trust is pushing for global transformation, while the corrupt Caifanii government pushes back with violence. Visit West Bessier at www.evewestbessier.wixsite.com

Bonnie Buckley Maldonado’s Denizens of the Big Ditch was a finalist in the Poetry New Mexico category. In this collection Maldonado explores the 1860’s wave of Anglo Americans that swept over SW New Mexico, including the US cavalry and seekers of precious minerals. As a result, the lives of people of color in the area were forever changed. An Indian fighter, a black woman entrepreneur, and a local madam are just a few of the characters who appear in Denizens of the Big Ditch. Visit Buckley Maldonado at www.bonniebuckleymaldonado.com

In the Sports and Recreation category Marc Levesque’s Gila Lost and Found: Search and Rescue in New Mexico was recognized as a finalist. Through real-life stories, Gila Lost and Found dramatically captures the often-heroic efforts of highly trained New Mexico search and rescue (SAR) volunteers to save lost, injured, or stranded individuals in some of the most rugged and remote backcountry of the Southwest. 

The number of entries in this year’s awards program was up 64.2% over 2020 and 1,676 books were judged. Judges this year came from all over the country and comprise teachers, librarians, book reviewers, historians, archeologists, and avid readers. All books were judged by at least three judges and every book that received an average score of at least 80% was selected as a finalist. 

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