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Our Holiday Sale Early Access Starts Now!

We get it: someone in your household wants to bring in a tree while another hasn’t put away the Halloween decorations yet. We suggest using this liminal time to get started with your holiday shopping (and reading). Many of our readers look forward to our traditional post–Thanksgiving holiday sale to fill their shelves, nightstands and gift bags. This year, instead of waiting around for Black Friday, we’re opening up early access to you, our loyal readers and followers, as a way of saying “thank you!” for celebrating with us all year round. From now through Cyber Monday, November 28, get a Santa–sized 40% off ALL titles with coupon code HOLIDAY22! Don’t delay, because when early access ends, the discount will drop to the standard 25%. Happy reading!

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CrimeCon: Out for Queer Blood

Out for Queer Blood
The Murder of Fernando Rios and the Failure of New Orleans Justice
By Clayton Delery
Exposit Books (2017)

Little is known about the life of Fernando Rios. He was 26, a professional tour guide in New Orleans’ French Quarter. He was Latino, working for a travel service based in Mexico City. He had no known family in the U.S. He was gay.

But his death, and the trial of his assailants was headline news in late 1950s New Orleans.

On a September evening in 1958, three white Tulane University undergraduates went out for a night in the Quarter, decided they should “roll a queer,” and went looking for a gay man to assault. They encountered Rios in a bar, offered to give him a ride back to his hotel, and beat him to death in an alley in Jackson Square.

In perhaps the earliest example of the “gay panic” defense, the defendants argued they were within their rights to attack Rios because he had made an “improper advance.” When the jury acquitted the three, the courtroom cheered.

The trial took place against the backdrop of a full-swing “drive against the deviants,” a city-wide campaign against New Orleans’ sizeable gay community, in particular those in its largest “gayborhood,” the French Quarter.

Clayton Delery’s Lambda Award-winning book provides a deeply researched account of the anti-gay hate crime and the trial, and chronicles the social and political climate of a time and place in America where such a crime was inevitable. An interview with the son of one of Rios’ assailants is included.

Delery’s previous book, The Up Stairs Lounge Arson, named Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 2015, examines the 1973 fire in a New Orleans gay bar that killed 32 people—three decades before the 2006 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando—and stands as the deadliest fire in the city’s history. Though arson was suspected, and police identified a likely culprit, no arrest was ever made


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CrimeCon: The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara

CrimeCon: House Arrest streams live this Saturday, November 21!  Don’t miss it!

The Sadist, the Hitman and the Murder of Jane Bashara
By George Hunter and Lynn Rosenthal
Exposit Books (2018)

Robert “Big Bob” and Jane Bashara were a seemingly perfect couple, respected members of Detroit’s upscale suburban Grosse Pointe community. Bob, a businessman, Rotary Club President, church usher, soccer dad, and philanthropist. Jane, the senior manager for an energy firm, who organized charity events with her husband. They had two children and had been married for 26 years.

On January 24, 2012, Bob filed a missing person report with Grosse Pointe Park Police—Jane was missing, last seen by co-workers that afternoon. The next morning, a tow-truck driver discovered her body in the backseat of her Mercedes, parked in an alley on Detroit’s east side. She had died of strangulation, her broken fingernails indicating she had fought for her life.

After a high-profile trial spanning several weeks, with testimony from more than 70 witnesses (including his children, and former mistress) Bob Bashara was convicted in December 2014 on five felony counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

But Bob had not killed Jane himself; he had hired Joseph Gents, his developmentally disabled former handyman, giving him $2000 and a used Cadillac for the job.


During the sensational trial, the shadowy side of Bashara’s life came to light. Posting ads on online BDSM forums (“Kneel and have all your desires and cravings opened to you…are you ready for Master Bob?”) he sought sex slaves to rule over in a “dungeon” in the basement of one of his properties. The substantial cost of attracting and maintaining a harem of submissives, and feeding his own cocaine habit, had furnished the motive for Jane’s murder: her sizeable retirement account.

Veteran Detroit crime beat reporter George Hunter and his wife Lynn Rosnethall’s meticulous account tells the complete story of the crime, the nationally watched investigation and trials, and the lives that were affected.

In August 2020, Bob Bashara died in prison at age 62.

The case was featured on the NBC true crime series American Greed: Deadly Rich in 2019 (S1 E102 “The Dungeon Master”)


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CRIMECON: The Snow Killings

CrimeCon: House Arrest streams live this Saturday, November 21!  Don’t miss it!

The Snow Killings
Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation
By Marney Keenan
Exposit Books (2020)

In 1976–77, over a period of 13 months, four children ages 10–12 (two boys and two girls) were abducted from their suburban Detroit neighborhoods in Oakland County, Michigan—the second-most populous county in the state, and among the most affluent in the country. Each was held by their captors for periods of 4 to 19 days before their bodies were dumped—still warm and dressed in the clothes they were wearing when they vanished—near roadsides at locations miles from where they were last seen. Autopsies found the boys had been sexually assaulted. The murders spread mass fear across southeast Michigan for years, with far-reaching effects on the community.

In what was then the largest manhunt in U.S. history, a multi-agency law enforcement task force—at one point operating with as many as 200–300 detectives and a sizeable USDOJ grant—spent two years investigating the murders, fielding 18,000 tips and following up thousands of leads before shutting down in 1978, having filed no charges nor naming any persons of interest.

In the end, law enforcement and prosecutors shrugged, telling the public they had exhausted all leads and resources and calling the case unsolved (but not closed). Forty-five years later, the Oakland County Child Killings case remains open (and in recent years is quite active again) but still officially unsolved.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, through a couple of incredibly felicitous discoveries, a few strong suspects were identified—all of them known pedophiles, overlooked (or buried) by the initial task force, or discovered through subsequent cold-case investigations by the longest-serving detective on the case, Cory Williams (now retired from law enforcement).

Each suspect is connected to the crimes by damning circumstantial or physical evidence. One, the son of a highly-placed General Motors executive, was freed on unrelated criminal sexual conduct charges a few weeks before the fourth victim was found dead in a ditch—and a year and a half before he himself was found dead of “suicide” under questionable circumstances.

His close associate, earlier convicted on 45 counts of CSC with minors in California, had no family influence backing him and went to prison for life, where he died in 1995, having never again been questioned about the OCCK crimes.


Three others are still living: two are serving life in prison on other CSC charges; one jumped parole in October and remains at large. But none are telling what they must know about the crimes.

All of these men were directly or indirectly associated with a large, highly-organized ring of child exploiters and pornographers operating out of Detroit and in other places across Michigan, including North Fox Island in Lake Michigan, where a wealthy Jeffery Epstein-type figure established a “summer camp” for wayward boys, with the help of government funding, that was in fact a front for a highly profitable child pornography and prostitution operation.

Marney Keenan’s The Snow Killings covers the 45-year investigation in comprehensive detail, and reveals evidence of a multi-faceted, decades-long cover-up in the case, beginning during the initial task force investigation and continuing today among authorities handling the case.











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CONFERENCES: Upcoming MLA and PCA events

McFarland is exhibiting at a number of regional and national conferences in the coming months, and conferees are encouraged to take the opportunity to peruse our books and meet an editor.  Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (Layla Milholen, Gary Mitchem, or Dré Person), or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with an editor.

Popular Culture Association in the South Sept 26-28, Wilmington, NC, Layla Milholen
Association for the Study of African American Life and History Oct 3-5, Charleston, SC, Dré Person
Midwest Popular Culture Association Oct 10-13 Cincinnati, OH, Layla Milholen
American Folklore Society Oct 16-19, Baltimore, MD, Gary Mitchem
South Central Modern Language Association Oct 24-26, Little Rock, AR, Gary Mitchem
Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Nov 7-9, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, Gary Mitchem
Film and History Nov 13-17, Madison, WI, Dré Person
National Women’s Studies Association Nov 14-17, San Francisco, CA, Layla Milholen
South Atlantic Modern Language Association Nov 15–17, Atlanta, GA, Gary Mitchem
American Philosophical Association Jan 8-11, Philadelphia, PA, Dré Person
Modern Language Association Jan 9-12, Seattle, WA, Gary Mitchem

Cinema & Media Studies

Comics & Graphic Narratives


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McFarland 40th Anniversary Sale

We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.

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McFarland Turns 40

On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.

McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin

McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s.  What to do?  Back to the land!  They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel).  Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op.  I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited.  Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.”  I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto).  They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County.  We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.

I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s.  He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee.  (I was born in Memphis.)

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name.  Founded in April 1979 right here.  I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!).  The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one.  Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times.  We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment.  Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting.  Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).

After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person.  Whew!  So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.

A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and  began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.

My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight.  Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on.  We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).

The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently.  Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel).  We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.

In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors.  Already!  And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard).  The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means.  (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.”  They stayed stacked for years…)  The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons.  (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s.  Lemme be him!)

McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years.  The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets.  He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc.  McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there.  In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters.  High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment.  Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).

Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection.  Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar.  We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.

By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road.  We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits.  We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.

We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher.  (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.)  Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes.  Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D.  We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide.  One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982).  This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print.  We were famous!  (Well, the author was…)

McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene.  (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.)  Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful.  Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).

I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed.  Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna.  When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.

McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size.  Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady:  director of finance and administration.  In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings.  We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…).  We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989.  Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism.  Authors from all over the world.  That part’s fun!  As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.

We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s!  Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves.  On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over):  “Ashe County through the Ages.”  Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990.  Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).

Cheryl and I love Ashe County.  We love the people.  We love the trees, the river.  (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!)  I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods).  The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges.  Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth.  McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented.  When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere.  Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!

The local merchants have become business partners.  Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices.  The restaurants are great for business lunches.  The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter!  Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job.  Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home.  I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning!  Ashe County, we’re for you!

McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th.  We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years.  Come one, come all!

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Holiday 2018 Sale—Get 25% Off All Books!

The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!

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New Catalog and Huge Holiday Sale

It’s our biggest sale of the year! Through the holiday season, get 30% off your order of two or more books with the coupon code HOLIDAY17! Need inspiration? Check out our brand new holiday catalog!

HOLIDAY17 is valid through January 2, 2018, and applies to any book on McFarland’s website. Browse our entire online catalog here

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Women's Studies











Playing for Equality: Oral Histories of Women Leaders in the Early Years of Title IX
Diane LeBlanc and Allys Swanson

Mammography and Early Breast Cancer Detection: How Screening Saves Lives
Alan B. Hollingsworth, M.D.

The Beyoncé Effect: Essays on Sexuality, Race and Feminism
Edited by Adrienne Trier-Bieniek

Click here to browse McFarland’s complete line of women’s studies titles. 

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Upcoming Booksigning Events for Frick*: Baseball's Third Commissioner

Baseball fans and historians in the Atlanta area, meet John P. Carvalho at SABR Magnolia Chapter‘s Hot Stove Meeting on February 4 at Kennesaw State University.  Carvalho (professor of journalism, Auburn University) will discuss and sign copies of his new book, Frick*: Baseball’s Third Commissioner.

On February 21, Carvalho will be a featured speaker as part of of the Discover Auburn Lecture Series. This event takes place at the Ralph Brown Draughon Library at 3 p.m., and books will be available from the Auburn University Bookstore. 




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International Congress on Medieval Studies 2016

We’re in Kalamazoo for the 2016 International Congress on Medieval Studies! Visit our senior acquisitions editor, Gary Mitchem, in the exhibit hall to browse books and discuss your nonfiction manuscript!

Hosted by Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute, the International Congress on Medieval Studies is an annual gathering of around 3,000 scholars interested in medieval studies. The congress features  550-575 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops and performances. There are also some 100 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations and institutions. The exhibits hall boasts nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers and purveyors of medieval sundries. The congress lasts three and a half days, extending from Thursday morning, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m., until Sunday at noon.

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Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2016

SCMSThis week, we’re in Atlanta for the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference! Visit our booth in the Hilton Atlanta to browse books and to discuss your book proposal.

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is the leading scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of film, television, and related media through research and teaching grounded in the contemporary humanities tradition. In addition to hosting its annual conference, the Society publishes the quarterly, peer-reviewed Cinema Journal.

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February Events for African American Doctors of World War I

This month, meet the authors of African American Doctors of World War I (“prodigious… promises to captivate”—Library Journal) at two events in the Washington, D.C. area!

On Thursday, February 18, authors W. Douglas Fisher and Joann H. Buckley will be the featured speakers at the Army Historical Foundation’s first exhibit in The Soldier Experience Series. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the AUSA Conference and Event Center (Arlington, Virginia). Seating is limited, and guests are encouraged to RSVP here. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

On Saturday, February 20th, both authors will participate in the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 90th Annual Black History Luncheon. The Featured Authors’ Book Signing is free to attend and begins at 10:00 a.m., to be followed by a luncheon (tickets required) at 12:15.  Both events will be held at the Washington Rennaisance Hotel, and books will be available to purchase at the signing.

Fisher and Buckley discussed the book in a recent episode of The Macarthur Memorial’s World War I Podcast Series. Listen here, or download the podcast from iTunes.

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Modern Language Association 2016 Convention

MLA2016This week, we’re exhibiting at the 2016 Modern Language Association convention! The largest scholarly meeting in the humanities, the MLA convention brings together thousands of members to discuss new research, participate in workshops, and build their professional networks. This year’s convention, the first to be held in Austin, Texas, takes place January 7–10, with the theme Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future. Senior acquisitions editor Gary Mitchem is onsite—visit him at booth 202 to browse our book exhibit and to discuss your book proposal!

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Historic Amusement Parks of Baltimore Booksigning Events

Author John P. Coleman signing copies of his book, Historic Amusement Parks of Baltimore, at the Ellicott City (MD) Barnes and Noble on December 6, 2015.
Author John P. Coleman signing copies of his book, Historic Amusement Parks of Baltimore, at the Ellicott City (MD) Barnes and Noble on December 6, 2015.

Author John P. Coleman participated in two events this weekend in the Baltimore area where he signed copies of his new book, Historic Amusement Parks of Baltimore: An Illustrated History. Thanks to Ukazoo Books (Towson, MD) and Barnes & Noble (Ellicott City, MD) for hosting these events!

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A Hospital for Ashe County Booksigning

We’d like to thank all of our local friends who made Janet Pittard’s booksigning such a success on Friday night. The Florence Thomas Art School in downtown West Jefferson was packed the entire evening, and we nearly sold out of books!

Copies of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, are still available here, and from local Ashe County retailers.

Janet Pittard signs a copy of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, at the Florence Thomas Art School
Janet Pittard signs a copy of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, at the Florence Thomas Art School



















Author Janet Pittard with McFarland founder and editor in chief Robert Franklin
Author Janet Pittard with McFarland founder and editor in chief Robert Franklin









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A Hospital for Ashe County Book Launch

Tomorrow night, December 4, 2015, McFarland and the Florence Thomas Art School will host a book launch party for Janet Pittard’s new book, A Hospital for Ashe County. The event will be held inside the Florence School at 10 S. Jefferson Ave., West Jefferson, from four to six p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and Mrs. Pittard will be autographing copies.

This newly published book is the story of the generations of supporters, doctors, nurses, emergency personnel and others whose lives are interwoven with regional health care and the planning, building and operation of (the “new”) Ashe Memorial Hospital. This legacy, brought to life through 114 photographs and personal interviews with 97 individuals, traces the development of health care in a remote Appalachian community, from the days of folk remedies and midwives, to horseback doctors and early infirmaries, to the technological advances and outreach efforts of today’s Ashe Memorial Hospital.

For more information about the event, please contact McFarland at 336-246-4460.


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Q&A Session with Author James Bigwood

This weekend, author James Bigwood will visit Silver Screen Oasis, where he’ll participate in a two-day question and answer session. All are welcome to participate at this link, and an account to access the SSO forums is free.

Bigwood’s newly published book, Not Just Batman’s Butler, is the edited, annotated and updated memoir of Alan Napier, famous for his role as Alfred Pennyworth on ABC’s hit series Batman.

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Celebrate Cider Monday at Your Favorite Independent Bookstore!

Toadstool BookshopIt’s Cider Monday!

Founded in 2013 by the Toadstool Bookshops of Keene, Milford and Peterborough, New Hampshire, Cider Monday is a laid-back, bookish alternative to the online “doorbuster” environment of Cyber Monday. Describing the first event, Toadstool said:

“Cider… made from squished micro soft apple products. Delicious! Stop in for a free cup, maybe a snack, see some real people and have a good time checking out what’s in our stores. It’s sure to be a heartwarming experience. We can promise no crashing websites, our ‘servers’ won’t be overloaded and we bet they will even smile at you!

“Cider Monday–soon to overshadow Cyber Monday as THE shopping event of the year. You read it here. If you have a store we hope you too will celebrate Cider Monday. If not, do stop in, and thanks for shopping locally.”

Since then, Cider Monday has spread to bookstores throughout New England (and elsewhere!). Changing Hands Bookstores in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, have even pushed the idea a step further with what may be the first ever Hard Cider Monday. Today, we encourage book lovers everywhere to step inside your favorite local bookstore, enjoy a cup of fresh apple cider, and pick up a good book.

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Robert Ebert Booksigning

Meet author Robert R. Ebert (Champion of the Lark) and others at the Studebaker National Museum’s Automotive Book Fair and Holiday Open House, Sunday, November 15, in South Bend, Indiana! The museum will offer free gifts to the first 100 families, special discounts, and there will be door prize drawings every half-hour. Best of all, admission is FREE! For more information, please call the Museum at (574) 235-9714 or toll free at (888) 391-5600, or visit the website at

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Booksigning with Author Al Conetto

ConettoWWPLTonight, author Al Conetto will read from his new book The Hump: The 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, in the First Major Battle of the Vietnam War at the Walla Walla Public Library. Beginning at 6:30 pm, this event honors the local author and combat veteran in advance of Veteran’s Day, and includes refreshments and books available for purchase. For more information, please visit the library’s event page.

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New Holiday Catalog—And Our Biggest Sale of the Year!

Holiday 2015Our brand-new holiday catalog is in the mail, but we’re giving you a sneak preview this morning—click here for great holiday gift ideas before the catalog hits your mailbox!

And, because it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping, we’re offering our biggest sale of the year! Get 30% off your purchase of two or more books when you enter the coupon code HOLIDAY2015 at checkout!

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North Carolina Library Association 2015 Conference

We’re exhibiting at the biennial North Carolina Library Association conference in Greensboro, North Carolina this week! Our own Dylan Lightfoot and Stephanie Nichols are exhibiting books, and several McFarland authors are among the NC librarians attending the convention.

Author J. Timothy Cole with his books, The Forest City Lynching of 1900 and Collett Leventhorpe, the English Confederate.
NCLA Shiflett
Author Orvin Lee Shiflett with his book, William Terry Couch and the Politics of Academic Publishing


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National Organization for Human Services

NOHSWe’re exhibiting at the National Organization for Human Services conference in Charlotte, North Carolina this week! The theme of this year’s conference, “Diversity Matters,” focuses on celebrating diversity with clients, students, colleagues, programs and communities. McFarland president Rhonda Herman is in the exhibit hall with a display of health and human services books, and is available to discuss your book proposal.

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The Fourth Annual Harry Potter Conference


Today is the fourth annual Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! Founded in 2012, this interdisciplinary conference provides a forum for scholarly presentations arising out of J.K. Rowling’s series. The conference is free and open to the public.

We have a great program of talks and plenary speakers! #HarryPotterConferenceCHC

A photo posted by Harry Potter Conference (@hpconferencechc) on

If you’re lucky enough to be at Chestnut Hill this weekend, there will be a small display of McFarland books at the conference, including the following:

Harry Potter and the Classical World: Greek and Roman Allusions in J.K. Rowling’s Modern Epic

Playing Harry Potter: Essays and Interviews on Fandom and Performance

Teaching with Harry Potter: Essays on Classroom Wizardry from Elementary School to College

Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays on the Feminist Heroine of Hogwarts

The Subversive Harry Potter: Adolescent Rebellion and Containment in the J.K. Rowling Novels

Vader, Voldemort and Other Villains: Essays on Evil in Popular Media

Politics in Fantasy Media: Essays on Ideology and Gender in Fiction, Film, Television and Games

Children’s and YA Books in the College Classroom: Essays on Instructional Methods

Fan CULTure: Essays on Participatory Fandom in the 21st Century

Millennial Mythmaking: Essays on the Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Films and Games

Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths: Essays on the Fiction of Girl Detectives

Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays

Empires of the Imagination: A Critical Survey of Fantasy Cinema from Georges Méliès to The Lord of the Rings

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Martyr of Loray Mill Booksigning

This weekend, author Kristina Horton will lecture at the Gaston County Museum (Dallas, North Carolina) about the 1929 Loray Mill Strike—one of the most notable strikes in American labor history—during which her great grandmother, union organizer and balladeer Ella Mae Wiggins, was murdered. This program is free and begins at 1 p.m. tomorrow, September 26. For more information, please contact the museum.

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The Coltrane Church Booksigning








Author Nicholas Baham signed copies of his new book, The Coltrane Church: Apostles of Sound, Agents of Social Justice, at Bird & Beckett in San Francisco this weekend. Special thanks to the folks at Bird & Beckett and the more than 50 book lovers who attended the event! Be sure to catch Baham at the second annual Howard Zinn Book Fair on November 15 at the City College of San Francisco, Mission campus.


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Author Harry M. Ward Booksigning in Richmond

Author Harry M. Ward will sign and discuss his latest book, Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865—1920, at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 14 as the special guest of the Richmond Public Library’s Main Writers Group. For a peek at his book, and for some colorful stories of the child gangs and newsies that once ran Richmond’s streets, check out this Style Weekly story – you’ll find lines like: “All the women were fine talkers, the men were hard workers and the boys made their living by throwing rocks.”

For information about the event, please visit, or contact Meldon Jenkins-Jones at or 804-646-7223.

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Update from WorldCon

Senior Designer and sci-fi maven Mark Durr reports from WorldCon, this time with pictures!

Author Eric Swedin (Science Fiction and Computing) holds the new McFarland catalog in Spokane
Author Eric Swedin (Science Fiction and Computing) holds the new McFarland catalog in Spokane
Author Valerie Frankel at the Nippon 2017 party. A list of Frankel's books: The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander, The Comics of Joss Whedon, Women in Game of Thrones, Teaching with Harry Potter, Buffy and the Heroine's Journey, From Girl to Goddess
Author Valerie Frankel at the Nippon 2017 party. A list of Frankel’s books: The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander, The Comics of Joss Whedon, Women in Game of Thrones, Teaching with Harry Potter, Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey, From Girl to Goddess
Our very own Mark Durr - he may be in Spokane, but his mind remains in Middle Earth. Here, he's attending the party for New Zealand's bid to host WorldCon in 2017.
Our very own Mark Durr – he may be in Spokane, but his mind remains in Middle Earth. Here, he’s attending the New Zealand 2020 party 
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CALL FOR PAPERS: Medievalism in Popular Culture

medieval185This just in from our friends at the International Arthurian Society, North American Branch…the Medievalism in Popular Culture Area’s deadline submission  is October 1, 2015 (one month earlier than previous years).

PCA/ACA 2016 National Conference (March 21- 25, 2016, Seattle, Washington): The Medievalism in Popular Culture Area (now the combined areas of Arthurian and Other Medievalism) accepts papers on all topics that explore either popular culture during the Middle Ages or transcribe some aspect of the Middle Ages into the popular culture of later periods.  These representations can occur in any genre, including film, television, novels, graphic novels, gaming, advertising, art, etc.   Submissions encouraged about the following topics:

·          The Arthurian World
·          Children’s Books / Shows / Games
·          Medievalism and Science Fiction
·          Medievalism in Game of Thrones, including representations of masculinity, weapons, and vows
·          Robin Hood
·          Medievalism and Teaching
·          Board Games / Online Gaming / Cosplay
·          Medievalism in Novels /Short Stories/ Poem

All papers will be included in sessions with four presenters each, so plan to present on your topic for no more than 15 minutes, inclusive of any audio or visual materials. If your topic idea does not fit into any of these categories, please feel free to submit your proposal.  I would like to encourage as much participation as possible, and depending on submissions, I may rearrange the topic groupings. Panel submissions are also welcome on any topic of medievalism. If you would like to propose a panel, please submit your complete panel directly to Christina Francis (individual papers must be submitted to the PCA online system — see below).

Submission requirements:
Please submit a title and a 250 word abstract to  All submissions must be directed to the online database.  Be sure to indicate whatever audio/visual needs you may have.  Traditionally, all rooms at the PCA/ACA conference provide a projection screen with sound capability.  Presenters are required to bring their own laptops and any special connectors.  Deadline for submission: October 1, 2015 (one month earlier than previous years). For questions, contact Christina Francis. 

Christina Francis
Associate Professor
Medieval Literature & Gender Studies
Department of English
Bloomsburg University

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The Mission of Comic-Con


Comic-Con International San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

McFarland is getting ready to do its part at Comic-Con this week.  Create awareness—check.  Appreciate comics and related popular art forms—check.  We’ll also copiously document all the spectacle that is this event: stay tuned.


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Fan Studies and Comic-Con

With San Diego Comic-Con International commencing in just a few days, it is a timely moment to take another look at recent fan studies explorations by Ben Bolling and Matthew J. Smith (It Happens at Comic-Con), Bill Schelly (Founders of Comic Fandom), Kristin M. Barton and Jonathan Malcolm Lampley (Fan CULTure), and Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse (Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet).

978-0-7864-7694-7It Happens at Comic-Con: Ethnographic Essays on a Pop Culture Phenomenon
This “engrossing” (Midwest Book Review) collection seeks to expand fan studies, exploring Comic-Con International more deeply than any publication before it. Ben Bolling is a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Matthew J. Smith is a professor of communication and director of cinema studies at Wittenberg University, where he teaches courses in media, including television criticism and graphic storytelling.

Founders of Comic Fandom: Profiles of 90 Publishers, Dealers, Collectors, Writers, Artists and Other Luminaries of the 1950s and 1960s
In the 1950s and ’60s, a grassroots movement arose to celebrate comic books and strips, which were becoming increasingly important to American popular culture. “Meticulously researched and thoroughly documented” (School Library Journal), profiled here are the people at the heart of the movement. Bill Schelly has been chronicling the history of popular culture since the 1960s, beginning with his magazine Sense of Wonder. He has written or edited several books, and is associate editor of the Eisner Award–winning magazine Alter Ego.

978-0-7864-7418-9Fan CULTure: Essays on Participatory Fandom in the 21st Century
This “highly recommended” (Choice) collection explores how present-day fans interact with the films, television shows, books, and pop culture artifacts they love. Kristin M. Barton is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication at Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia. Jonathan Malcolm Lampley is a prolific contributor to many popular-culture periodicals and publications.

Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays
The essays in this “useful and thought-provoking” (SFRA Review) volume explore the world of fan fiction—its purposes, how it is created, how the fan experiences it. Karen Hellekson is a copy editor and independent scholar. She writes book reviews for Publishers Weekly and lives in Jay, Maine.  Kristina Busse teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of South Alabama and has previously written about fan fiction and fan culture. She is the founding coeditor of Transformative Works and Cultures.

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CONFERENCE: American Library Association 2015 Annual Meeting


There is much to celebrate today!  Our publishing duty, however, is to equip you with industry intel (some of which is less likely to be in your news feed today).  Therefore, as we witness historic decisions in our country, we’d be remiss not to mention the Annual American Library Association conference, which meets over the weekend in San Francisco.  Themed “TRANSFORMING our libraries, ourselves, McFarland looks forward to several days’ worth of terrific conversations about all things librarianship.

A happy coincidenceassistant sales manager Adam Phillips has THIS hotel view, providing opportunities to share the goings-on of an historic Pride Week in San Francisco.    


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CONFERENCE: Society for American Baseball Research

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It’s back to the future (and Chicago) for SABR and it’s 45th national convention. The Society for American Baseball Research first visited the Windy City back in 1973, returning in 1976 and 1986. And if we’re to believe Back to the Future Part II  (and why wouldn’t you?) this is the year the Cubs break their long drought and finally win the World Series. So if you’re in town for the show, stop by the McFarland booth and say “Go, Cubs, Go!” to Gary and Mark.

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CONFERENCE: Children’s Literature Association

ChLAThe Children’s Literature Association promotes high standards of criticism, scholarship, research, and teaching in children’s literature.  This year, ChLA 2015 encourages “the exploration of both sides of Patrick Henry’s famous ultimatum, liberty and death, in a city of similar extremes….Richmond rebuilt amid the ghosts of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars is the perfect location to explore the high stakes and dark sides of children’s literature.”  Hosted by Longwood University, McFarland is in attendance in Richmond, Virginia, and looking forward to some lively company and conversation in the coming days! #chla15


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BOOKSIGNING: Reflections on the New River


Reflections on the New River: New Essays, Poems and Personal Stories, edited by Chris Arvidson (of West Jefferson), Scot Pope (of Creston) and Julie E. Townsend (of Fleetwood).

From its headwaters in western North Carolina near the Tennessee line, the New River runs north 337 miles, cutting through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia on its way to the Ohio. No big cities inhabit its banks—just a few small towns along the way—and it carries no significant commercial traffic. The age of the New is debated, but it is certainly one of the world’s oldest rivers, predating the Atlantic Ocean. This anthology assembles history, poetry, essays and stories by writers who have been inspired by the ancient and secluded stream, and from those whose lives are connected to its flow. Contributors hail from Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes counties in North Carolina, as well as Virginia and West Virginia

The creators are celebrating Reflections on the New River with a book launch party on Tuesday, June 16th at 5:00 at the Boondocks Brew Haus in West Jefferson, North Carolina.  Copies will be on hand for purchase and its editors and contributors will be there to sign books and read excerpts!  Drinks and appetizers will be available for purchase.  Join us for great company and great stories.  Direct publicity and other questions to Beth Cox at McFarland.



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Daniel Coston’s North Carolina Musicians, Avett Brothers, and MerleFest

Okay, music fans….McF has mentioned MerleFest more than once in recent days—because it’s a BIG DEAL.  The Avett Brothers, for example, will take over the Watson Stage at MerleFest on Saturday night at 9:30–just some of the performers covered in Daniel Coston’s North Carolina Musicians.  If you’re in the NC mountains, go there.  If you’re not, make plans to go there someday.  In the interim, we’ll entice you with the festival line-up.  Happy weekend, everyone!


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McFarland, Music, and MerleFest

MERLEFEST APPROACHES!  Y’ALL READY?  “…Considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, [Merlefest] serves as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans. Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts numerous artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event.

Only a couple days left before the party begins, folks.  Let McF help you prepare!

Doc Watson is pictured on the front cover of Traditional Musicians of the Central Blue Ridge with his son, Merle.  Guitarist and luthier Wayne Henderson (on the back cover), a longtime friend of Doc, will perform and present a demonstration on how he builds his prized guitars.  Joel Walker Sweeney introduced America to a new musical instrument in the 1840s.  Banjo player and teacher Bob Carlin tells that story in The Birth of the Banjo.  And this— The Bristol Sessions is where it all began.  Experts examine the birth of country music.  Happy reading!


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Ashe County Happenings: Girl Scouts and Book Publishing!

A message from some terrific local folks:

“Girl Scout Cadette Troop #10304 had a fun time during their recent visit to McFarland.  (The girls have been working on earning their Book Artist badges.)  We are so fortunate to have such a great publishing company in our own back yard where the very real process of book making may be seen.  We’re grateful to president Rhonda Herman (coming in after-hours!) for showing us around and speaking to the girls about different careers in the industry.  They really enjoyed watching the “chopper” through the equipment window, checking out some of the unique titles on the shelves in the warehouse, and they especially liked rooting through the trash/recycle bin!   Thanks to Rhonda and Rory for letting the troop come by and for being so kind and encouraging to all of the girls.”

We love our community!