The Latest on Carolina Book Beat: Samantha Bryant

Going Through The Change

Samantha Bryant (broadcast 04-07-2015) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with co-hosts Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and Mur Lafferty and guest Samantha Bryant, Hillsborough author of debut novel Going Through the Change [Goodreads]. “Going through ‘the change’ isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated–super-heroic changes.” And! A (brief) special guest review, as Mur’s daughter a.k.a. Princess Scientist reviewed Ursula Vernon’s forthcoming Castle Hangnail. Enjoy!

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The Latest on Carolina Book Beat: 2015 Speculative Fiction Preview


2015 Speculative Fiction Preview (broadcast 1-5-2015) — Co-hosts Mur Lafferty and Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and! special guest Paul Nagy preview the year to come in science fiction and fantasy.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: The 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award Eligibility List

The Old Gods Waken by Manly Wade Wellman, read by Stefan Rudnicki

The 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award Eligibility List (broadcast 12-15-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with host Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, primarily occupied with short descriptions of each of the 80-ish novels eligible for the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy. A cover image gallery of the novels, including additional titles added after this broadcast date, is available at

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Ursula Vernon

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Ursula Vernon (broadcast 12-01-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with co-hosts Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and Mur Lafferty, interviewing author and illustrator Ursula Vernon. Hugo Award winner Vernon is the author and illustrator of the Danny Dragonbreath series of children’s books, and (as the pseudonymous “T. Kingfisher”) stories and books for adults. We also discuss our “best reads of the year” in science fiction and fantasy and (of course) run down the local event and book calendars.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: James Maxey


James Maxey (broadcast 11-03-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with co-hosts Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and Mur Lafferty, interviewing Hillsborough author James Maxey. Maxey is the author of superhero novels Nobody Gets the Girl and Burn Baby Burn, epic fantasy series Bitterwood and The Dragon Apocalypse, and a short fiction collection There Is No Wheel. In studio he talks about his new novel Bad Wizard, the story of Dorothy Gale ten years after she returns from Oz. Maxey will host a launch party for the novel on Wednesday, November 5th at the Orange County Library.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Richard Dansky

Richard Dansky (broadcast 10-13-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with host Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and new series co-host Mur Lafferty, interviewing guest Richard Dansky, Durham game writer and author, about his work with Ubisoft/Red Storm, his novels Vaporware and Firefly Rain, and forthcoming RPG book Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition. 90 minutes.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Tony Daniel

Islands Poster

Tony Daniel (broadcast 9-29-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode after the summer break, with host Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and guest Tony Daniel, author and editor, in studio to talk about Islands, his radioplay adaptation of a novella by Eric Flint, which was cast, recorded, and produced locally by Baen Books.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Wilton Barnhardt and Jeff VanderMeer


[Note: due to a technical problem we do not have a podcast recording of this show. My sincere apologies to our guests and to our listeners.]

Wilton Barnhardt and Jeff VanderMeer (broadcast 7-7-2014) — A double-feature show with guest host Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and (for the second hour) co-host Paul Nagy.

The show kicked off with an hour with NC State professor Wilton Barnhardt, who has two readings early this week to kick off a nation-wide tour in support of the new paperback release of his NY Times bestselling Southern novel Lookaway, Lookaway, optioned earlier this year by HBO for a comedy series. He reads at Flyleaf Books at 7 pm on Monday night, and at McIntyre’s Books on Tuesday at 6:30 pm. Barnhardt talked about the unique, almost-experimental structure of the book — one point of view chapter each from 11 members of the Johnston and Jarvis families — and some of the research and reactions to the book. He also gave a short reading from the book, a discussion between Duke and Gaston. Later, he gave an amazing retelling of his start in writing, post-graduation from Michigan State, getting his foot in the door at Time-Life through the various temp agencies they employed, applying for secretarial jobs while also working on articles here and there, until finally landing a regular gig as the NASCAR reporter for Sports Illustrated. He also talked about his teaching history, from UC Irvine to Warren Wilson and his current position at NC State’s MFA program. Finally, I put him on the spot by asking for 5 of his most influential and/or favorite books: The Ambassadors by Henry James, Light in August by William Faulkner, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, Sentimental Edudcation by Gustave Flaubert (which he credits as being his “aha!” moment of connecting historical fiction with satirical farce), and John Dos Passos’ USA Trilogy.

After a short excerpt from the Macmillan Audio edition of Lookaway, Lookaway, and thanks to Paul’s help, I was able to welcome Jeff VanderMeer into the second hour of the show via phone. VanderMeer has 4 readings in the Carolinas in just over a week, starting and ending with Wednesday events (9th and 16th) at Hub City in Spartanburg, SC around readings on Thursday (July 10th) at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books at 7:30 pm and Saturday (July 12th) at Asheville’s Malaprop’s. And! He will be my guest via phone this week on Carolina Book Beat at 11 AM. (Do check out his conversation with Frank Stasio on WUNC’s The State of Things which aired last week.) We talked about SharedWorlds, the summer teen writing camp at which he has taught for several years now, about his recent (and multiple award-winning) creative writing book Wonderbook, and of course his Southern Reach trilogy: Annihilation (published in February), Authority (published in May), and Acceptance (to be published in September). A key conversation point was on the distinction between an “unreliable” narrator and one who is purposefully careful with the details he or she reveals at which time. Speaking of narrators, we also talked about the audiobook editions for The Southern Reach, read by Carolyn McCormick and Bronson Pinchot for Blackstone Audio.

After the guest interviews, Paul and I talked about the nominees for the Manly Wade Wellman Award and went through the upcoming book events calendar with a particular focus both on new science fiction convention ConGregate (in Winston-Salem this weekend) and a multi-creator signing event at Chapel Hill Comics on Saturday evening to mark the sale of the store by long-time owner Andrew Neal.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Monica Byrne


Monica Byrne (broadcast 6-2-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with hosts Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and Paul Nagy, with Durham author and playwright Monica Byrne in studio to talk about her debut novel The Girl in the Road.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Jay Posey

Jay Posey (broadcast 5-5-2014) — A “focus on speculative fiction” episode with hosts Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and Paul Nagy, with Durham game designer and author Jay Posey in studio to talk about the just-released Morningside Fall, the second book in hist post-apocalyptic Legends of the Duskwalker series after his debut novel Three last year.