Category Archives: Books

The Latest on Carolina Book Beat: Mark Van Name and David Drake


Mark Van Name and David Drake (broadcast October 19, 2015) — A discussion of the newly-published tribute anthology Onward, Drake! edited by Van Name, with new fiction and non-fiction by Drake, Van Name, Gene Wolfe, Eric Flint, Cecelia Holland, and many more, including Carolina Book Beat co-host Mur Lafferty. Van Name and Drake will also appear at the military science fiction convention HonorCon at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown on Saturday, October 31.

In studio, left-to-right: Mark Van Name, David Drake, and Mur Lafferty

In studio, left-to-right: Mark Van Name, David Drake, and Mur Lafferty

The Latest on Carolina Book Beat: Karissa Laurel and Lynn McNamee


Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel (broadcast July 6, 2015) — North Carolina author Karissa Laurel is the author of this debut contemporary fantasy novel from Garner-based publishing house Red Adept Publishing, and she and publisher Lynn McNamee joined co-hosts Mur Lafferty and Samuel Montgomery-Blinn in studio to talk about the book, editing, publishing, gaming, and more in a “focus on speculative fiction” episode.

About the Book

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her. As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.


(Left to Right) Karissa Laurel, Lynn McNamee, and Mur Lafferty

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

The Esoteric Tarot

The Esoteric Tarot: Ancient Sources Rediscovered in Hermeticism and Cabala by Ronald Decker (broadcast 7-29-2013) Tarot cards in their many forms have evoked a sense of mystery, fascination, fear, curiosity and any number of other reactions based mostly on very little information of what they are, where they came from and what people do with them.  In The Esoteric Tarot Ronald Decker, art historian and retired curator of antique cards at U.S. Playing card Company provides us with the evolution of the Tarot, its symbols, their connotations and their sources.

Although it is clear that the Tarot was not invented by the Egyptians, the love of things Egyptian by those who designed the cards is just as clear.  From astrologers in Asia Minor before AD1000 creating the four suit deck of cards with esoteric symbols as suit-signs, to Italian humanists before 1440 supplementing the suits with trump cards that blended Egyptian, Classical and Christian motifs in the game of tarocchi (still played today), to French savants by the 1750s beginning to interpret the allegories of the trumps along Egyptian lines, Decker takes us through the philosophy and mysticism of a number of cultures as expressed by these cards.  He brings us, also, up to the present day’s increased interest in the Tarot as a tool for better understanding our own psychology and/or a tool for discovering hints about what may happen tomorrow.

Well illustrated this is a fine resource for anyone who is curious to begin to learn something about this deck of cards that has intrigued so many for so long as well as for those already students of the cards and their history to learn still more.  Find out more at Quest Books.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

Long Gone DaddiesLong Gone Daddies

R09_0023 Long Gone Daddies

Long Gone Daddies by David Wesley Williams (broadcast 7-15-2013) A tale told to the cadence of a rocking chair on a porch back of the house on a summer night, fireflies, maybe a guitar strum now and again, a sip of something.  Long Gone Daddies is written like a song for anyone who has ever responded to the rhythm of the road and the wail of southern blues or wished they had the nerve to try.

Luther Gaunt follows the trail of the men of his line before him through the back roads and music joints of the South carrying Cassie, the guitar that seduced them all.  He’s looking for his history and the song waiting for him around the next corner.  He finds it all and more than he wanted when he and his bandmates, Jimmy Lee Vine and Buck Walker, meet up with Delia, who could sing the songs into your soul and wanted to ride them to fame and fortune.

With Memphis as much as a player in the story as any, Williams doesn’t explain the whys and wherefores of the people who live for the songs, he tells their stories the way they would want them told, with heart and a good downbeat.  Along the way he brings us a taste of the lives that benefit us all with their music but one few of us would dare to live.

The next time you listen to Patsy or Otis or Elvis or Johnny you’ll remember the Long Gone Daddies and hear the songs a little better.  Find out more at

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

Wellness and Writing Connections  edited by John Frank Evans, EdD (broadcast 3-19-2012)  An informative and intriguing collection of essays, this book offers an engaging introduction to a field of study that includes the disciplines of writing, psychology, medicine, counseling and education.  Beginning with two essays that review some of the research underpinnings for writing to heal, the collection goes on to include discussions of how writing poetry can aid in resolving painful issues, the values to be found in distance writing or in writing  memoirs and more.  Included also is an essay that offers tools and exercises for keeping a personal Healing Notebook.  This is a book with something to offer for most everyone even if they have never written anything more than a grocery list.  Find out more at Wellness and Writing.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

The Mary-El Tarot  Landscapes of the Abyss by Marie White (broadcast 3-12-2012)  In this special almost two hour broadcast we take pleasure in talking with Marie White about the beginnings of this exquisitely rendered set of Tarot cards, the text that accompanies them, the symbols illustrated, meanings suggested and the process of the artist in bringing this to life.  See the publisher’s description below and find out more at Marie White

Book Description from Publisher Schiffer Books:  Exquisite and powerful, if there is a theme in The Mary-el Tarot, it is one of the alchemy of the soul; of finding balance, symmetry, mastery of the self, and becoming your own genius. This long-awaited 78-card deck is stunningly illustrated with traditional oil paints and a depth of symbolism found in the old classics. The accompanying guide, Landscapes of the Abyss, takes the reader through the meanings of each card via the landscape of the Moon and the High Priestess, through the geometry of the temple and the Tree of Life, the Merkabah, and the caduceus! Enter a doorway between heaven and earth, between microcosm and macrocosm, between the world of eternity and infinity. A rare gem suitable for all levels of tarot experience.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

When A Scot Loves A Lady  by Katharine Ashe (broadcast 2-13-2012) A perfect Valentine filled with romance, passion and intrigue is ours with Ashe’s new novel, book one of the of new Falcon Club Series.  The author asks  “What would you dare for the perfect love?” and then tells us tales of those who would dare a lot.  But beyond the page turning storytelling this university history professor also talks with us about the “romance novel”, when it began and what it might tell us about the roles women have been given, or taken, in society both past and present.   Find out more at Katharine Ashe.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

The Postmortal  by Drew Magary (broadcast 2-6-2012) Imagine a situation where a simple medical procedure would halt the process of natural aging.  A person receiving a particular injection would remain at the physical age they had attained when when it was performed.  It wouldn’t prevent other causes of death,  from disease or accident for example, but under favorable circumstance someone could live for hundreds of years.  This is the scenario into which Magary puts his characters thus taking the reader into an intriguing tale of the future where relationships and ethics, politics, society and everything else is turned upside down, leaving us to wonder…would we do it?  Listen in to hear what the author would choose.  Find out more at Drew Magary.

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

Rethinking Aging Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society by Nortin M. Hadler, M.D. (broadcast 1-16-2012)  Dr. Hadler uses his more than 35 years in the medical profession as an honored physician, investigator and educator to bring us an alternative view of aging in our society in the 21st century.  Swimming against the current of medicalizing every step of the aging process, he works to make his readers able to make informed medical decisions “unfettered by worrisome notions of health promotion and unnecessary or harmful forms of disease management.”  He does this with style, documentation and finally…poetry.  For anyone planning on living to a ripe old age this book may steer you clear of a lot of the whirlpools along the way.  For more information go to Dr. Nortin Hadler. 

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

Harry Loves Carrots by Laura Baldwin, illustrated by Andy Marlette (broadcast 12-19-2011)  Based in a reclaimed, two hundred foot chicken house on a historic farm Garden in the Koop not only produces organic seeds, many that are heirloom, but also charming, colorful children’s books like Harry Loves Carrots, Harry Loves Turnips (Not) and others.  Laura succeeds wonderfully in her aim of providing a tool for teaching children about healthy eating while having fun in The Giggling Garden.  Check out Garden in the Koop for more information.