Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Countdown to Launch!

I'm back from San Francisco, where the book was received VERY warmly! If you want to read about the conference (which was stellar), please follow this link.

The launch I'm talking about is the book launch. I’ve just gotten confirmation that my book will have its official launch on Monday, April 14. Please – if your schedule allows it, join me at CCC for this event. (C'mon, you know your taxes will be done by then!) The shindig will begin at 7 p.m. in the Keeter Auditorium where I’ll talk a little bit about the project and why popular culture is worthy of serious examination in the first place. I’ll discuss a bit from the book - and where else can you go to talk about vampires on a Monday night in Shelby? Also, a reception will follow. Hopefully, strawberries will be involved for any Kaylee fans out there and it is my sincere hope that no malevolent Chumash spirits will crash the party.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and, if you ask nicely, I’ll sign your purchase. Heck, I’ll do that if you ask harshly! But please take Giles’ advice and do not speak Latin in front of the books.

Again, mark your calendars! Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Keeter Auditorium at CCC. Tell your friends and better yet, bring them along!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Luck o' the Irish!

As John Belushi once said, "More like the BAD luck of the Irish!" Potato famine, failed rebellions (including the Easter Rising of 1916), civil war, etc., etc. (Although he was Albanian, so what did he know?) Nevertheless, today is the traditional wearing o' the green; a day where otherwise sane Americans go around talking like the Lucky Charms mascot.

I've been in Dublin for St. Patrick's Day - very different. Not better, not worse - just different. And Dublin's only kinda/sorta Irish these days. I guess it depends on what "Ireland" you want. Dublin is more European - if you want the romanticized stone walls, green fields dotted with sheep, harp and pennywhistle music floating out of a pub - go west, young man.

Let me make it clear: I love Ireland. I love the moodiness of the weather, the poetry of the speech pattern, the sense of history being right there, and the boundless optimism in the face of odds that would have long ago made most people tuck their heads down. And the Celtic Tiger of Ireland's financial success and growth was centuries in coming. As for being Irish-American, well, it's a doubtful claim for me at best. While I can legitimately claim Celtic ancestry (as can most Southerners; the Scots-Irish were the primary settlers out this-a-way), it's so far back that I'm just plain ol' 'Merican and I like it that way. Still - there's something about the Irish.

The band Black 47 (named after the worst year of the potato famine - which wasn't a "famine;" there was enough food in Ireland to export. It was a deliberate starvation) writes some great stuff. Some of it's loud and raucous, like the ri-ra of a good Irish ceilidh, some of it's mournful, and some of it's angry. If you really want to observe St. Patrick's Day (he was Welsh, anyway), check them out.

I'll be off to San Francisco for the National Popular Culture/American Culture Associations conference beginning tomorrow and I expect to be posting about the conference, the attendees, and the city over on the other blog; the one that's devoted to academia and Joss Whedon. Please follow the link and bookmark unfetteredbrilliance.

From W. B. Yeats poem about the failed Rising of 1916:

I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Faith and Choice

Hallelujah and pass the chocolate! Not only is the book done, I've held my baby in my hands! I nearly tripped over the square box - writing has not made me one lick more graceful - and I tore into it like a five-year-old on Christmas morning. I didn't post immediately because I had a nefarious scheme afoot to thank my fine, tireless, and noble editors/proofreaders/
cheerleaders/wardens for all their efforts and I wanted their copies to be surprises. Keeping the secret was nearly fit-inducing and that plan almost worked - we had a great time regardless. In all honesty, I can't thank them enough for all their efforts over the past, oh, let's say eighteen months.

I know I'm biased, but I have to say, it's beautiful. By the way and for heaven's sake, don't bother to point out any typos you may find; I've already come across a couple and I've decided to view them as freckles. When God created the world, He looked at His work and proclaimed it very good, He never said it was perfect. Therefore, a couple of typos are in keeping with that general theme.

I'm not sure what happens from here - it's not like a parade is planned (although I'm fully in favor of that idea, but only if they have elephants. Have to have elephants in a parade). Official publication is still set for June; I simply got advance copies. McFarland is sending me copies of notices that are running in publications such as Booklist, which is pretty cool. WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG AHEAD! Of course, you don't have to wait until June to buy your very own copy - while Amazon has the book available for pre-order (I think I'm listed at something like Number 2.1 million, but hey! I'm on the list!), you can buy now if you order directly from the publisher. Go here and tell 'em Dale sent you. I hope to have a book launch at the college in about a month (after spring break, at any rate - plans are very preliminary at this point) at which time I'll talk about why popular culture is worth the bother of studying in the first place. Then the biennial international Whedon conference (Slayage 3) in June nearly coincides with the official publication date, so I'll probably be stalking the crowd. (I know, nearly pitiful, but hey! it might be a l-o-n-g time before I do this again.)

It's been a long, uphill climb and I skinned my knees a couple of times clambering over the rocks, but I have to say that the view's spectacular from up here. Hey, look! I can see my house . . .