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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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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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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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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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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!

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BOOKSHOPS & BREWPUBS: Portland, Oregon

We’re in Portland, Oregon, preparing to exhibit at the conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).  Outside of exhibiting, we strive to apply the “Bookshops & Brewpubs” philosophy to our travels–in Portland, so far so good!  Powell’s City of Books was today’s destination.  In all candor, “city” is no exaggeration!  Hardly left time for the second portion of our philosophy…  #indiesfirst #acrl2015 #drinklocal

Brewpub Powells1 Powells2 Powells3

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Photographs by Wilbur D. Jones Jr


Coastal NC folks: stop by for a look at works by our busy and talented Wilbur D. Jones, Jr. 

Photographs by Wilbur D. Jones Jr.

4-8 p.m. February 25, 2015

Hannah Block Historic USO / Community Arts Center

120 South Second Street / Downtown Wilmington

This exhibit of photographs spanning seven decades by a globe-trotting Wilmington native will be on display fromFeb. 25 through March 26, 2015. The exhibit will open with a reception from 4 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 25 in the USO/Community Arts Center, featuring beer, wine, hors d’ouevres and music by Duke Ladd. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited and admission is free. The photographs are the work of Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., a Wilmington author and military historian. A retired Navy captain, former assistant to President Gerald Ford and World War II historical tour leader, Jones took photographs in dozens of countries all over the world from 1956 to 2014. His wide variety of images cover the people he encountered, landscapes and cityscapes, cultural sites and the aftermaths of wars, both ancient and modern. While his historical specialty took him to numerous World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific, some of which are featured in the show, Jones’ photographs span a much broader range. Examples include street life in Hong Kong and Japan in the 1950s, ruins of medieval castles along the Rhine, and the present-day waterways and domestic life of Holland. Jones’ travels have taken him to 30 countries on four continents, plus most of the major island groups in the Pacific, and to dozens of the world’s greatest cities, from Amsterdam to Tokyo. He is a member of the Cape Fear Camera Club and of the Wilmington Art Association.


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Game of Thrones

978-0-7864-9416-3Game of Thrones Presentation at the Company Theater near Boston! Award-winning author Valerie Estelle Frankel discusses Game of Thrones, inspiration for her five books including Women in Game of Thrones. Learn how George RR Martin’s prophecies and the classic heroine’s journey foretell the ending. Daenerys’s surprising path becomes clear as she “wakes the dragon” and harnesses a surprising magic. Is Jon Snow destined to be her lover, her nemesis, her sacrifice, or all three? And what of Tyrion? Or Arya? What does Varys really want? Discover the deeper meaning of black dragons, golden roses, seasons, heraldic colors, and all the symbols of ice and fire. Share your secret longings and fears for the upcoming season, as we prepare for the oncoming storm. Saturday, February 28, 2015 – 8:00 pm. The event is on sale–tickets are down to $10 for a short time.

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Throwback Thursday


Looking forward to tomorrow’s 35th anniversary celebration but also looking back.  Weren’t we a lovely bunch five years ago?  (We still are.)  And hey, authors—hope you’ll join us—RSVP ASAP!

On April 1st, 1979, founder Robert McFarland Franklin departed Plainfield, New Jersey, heading south in a Volkswagen bug towing a U-Haul. With wife Cheryl behind the wheel, Robert began company operations on a yellow pad in his lap.

Thirty-five years ago, libraries provided almost the sole market (but a robust one!) for the heavily-researched books that McFarland made its specialty. Over the decades, the company won ever-growing numbers of devoted readers who appreciated the care McFarland and its authors lavished on our books. Our authors, a throng of thousands now, teach us something new every day.

We’re having an open house Friday, June 20, from noon until 5:00. Join us for tours, conversation, punch, finger food, art and books.

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Beer Release & Trivia Night is here!


Senior management launches new product.
Senior management launches new product.
Commemorative pint glass.

The day has arrived!  The McFarland Anniversary Scottish Ale will be released starting at 5:00 at Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant.  Purchase a pint and keep a McFarland commemorative pint glass, and grab a dinner special from Boondocks.  Trivia starts at 7:00, with a focus on local history, Scottish lore and general book pop culture.  Trivia will be in teams of five, so come up with a team name and be ready for fun!

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Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant Commemorates McFarland’s 35th Anniversary with Special Brew on June 17

McF_glass_promoWEST JEFFERSON, North Carolina – June 12, 2014 – Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant has crafted another brew with both local ties and old country roots.  In honor of the Jefferson-based publisher’s 35th anniversary, a special McFarland Anniversary Scottish Ale will be released on Tuesday, June 17, starting at 5:00.  Purchase a pint and keep a McFarland commemorative pint glass.  Boondocks will be offering dinner specials.  Tuesday trivia night starts at 7:00, with a focus on local history, Scottish lore and general book pop culture.

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McFarland Celebrates 35 Years

mainofficeOn April 1st, 1979, founder Robert McFarland Franklin departed Plainfield, New Jersey, heading south in a Volkswagen bug towing a U-Haul.  With wife Cheryl behind the wheel, Robert began company operations on a yellow pad in his lap.

Thirty-five years ago, libraries provided almost the sole market (but a robust one!) for the heavily-researched books that McFarland made its specialty.  Over the decades, the company won ever-growing numbers of devoted readers who appreciated the care McFarland and its authors lavished on our books.  Our authors, a throng of thousands now, teach us something new every day.

We’re having an open house Friday, June 20, from noon until 5:00.  Join us for tours, conversation, punch, finger food, art and books.

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Ashe County Literary Festival

Local folks: it’s a beautiful day in the mountains and we’re currently at the Ashe County Literary Festival here in town–come see us at the Ashe Arts Center.  While you’re at it, add this to tomorrow’s agenda–at 10:00 am our very own Stephen Shoemaker and Janet Pittard (Stephen Shoemaker: The Paintings and Their Stories) will be at the Ashe County Farmers’ Market with books on hand.  Be sure to stop by for a visit!

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Boondocks Brewing, McFarland Host Book Launch for Local Artist Stephen Shoemaker on Wednesday, Feb 27

North Carolina artist Stephen Shoemaker and Our State magazine writer Janet Pittard have teamed up to write Stephen Shoemaker: The Paintings and Their Stories.  A West Jefferson, NC,  native, Shoemaker is known for his dramatic railroad paintings and scenes of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant in downtown West Jefferson will be the site of the book launch, where together with publisher McFarland, they will be welcoming the public to meet the authors on Wednesday, February 27, at 5:00 PM.

Criticized for doodling too much in class, Shoemaker took his first art lessons at age 10 with Flossie Farr and Archie Black in the old block building across the street from the West Jefferson Elementary School.  Since, he’s gone on to be featured by UNC-TV, Our State magazine, and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, among other outlets.

“The art and stories are about things that most people can identify with,” said Shoemaker recently. “The book is basically about local events and growing up in this area.”

The art book includes Shoemaker favorites such as his Virginia Creeper series, and also includes pieces created especially for the publication.

“There’s a lot of lively storytelling, but the book also sheds light on an artist’s thought processes and how inspiration is drawn from our region’s unique culture and history,” said coauthor Janet Pittard.

According to Shoemaker and Pittard, the joint project has been more than two years in the making.  Working with McFarland, who also had released The Art of Florence Thomas, was a natural fit.  McFarland is known for its topnotch, serious books aimed at the library market, and was experienced with the ultra-high design and printing standards required for art books.

The book launch is open to the public, begins at 5:00 and will run until approximately 7:30.  The authors will be autographing books, and McFarland will have copies on site for sale at a special launch price.  Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant will be providing entrée discounts for diners who buy a book and stay for supper.  Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant can be contacted at 336-246-5222 or online at  McFarland can be reached at 336-246-4460 or online at