Category Archives: Fantasy Fiction

Dragon Hoard

Dragon Hoard

Cathleen Townsend’s Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie offers the reader the variety of adventures one expects from a well-edited short story collection, but manages to do so while also organizing the book around off-beat and entertaining twists on fairy tales and folklore. The appearance of characters from outside the standard slate of characters adds even greater variety and interest to the mix.

There’s also some refreshing variety in how Townsend tweaks these old tales, with fresh treatments of character, setting, and time. In some cases, such as the title story, “Dragon Hoard,” the faerie character is an old school dragon doing what dragons do, only in a modern setting. Bored with sitting on a vast treasure, the dragon consults a stock broker with the intent of leveraging his fortune into political power. (I wondered if the recent election may have inspired this delightfully wicked tale, but it was published in 2015.)

“Troll,” my favorite, features a very un-troll-like troll who yearns to enjoy a sunrise. Despite his love of beauty for its own sake, he’s still a troll, and knows the sunlight will transform his body into stone. The touching ending reminded me of John Hurt from The Elephant Man. A close second was “Faerie Travel,” an urban fantasy about a young runaway who meets beautiful but deadly faeries and a grubby and devious human.

In “BabaYaga.com,” we encounter a character from Russian folklore who’s set up shop in America. The old witch has partnered with a laughably sleazy salesman who learns that magic plus computers can be a deadly combination. I had to Google Baba Yaga to figure out the ending (bird tracks?), but you know, when the story interests you enough to make you want to learn about folk traditions outside your usual cultural sphere, that’s an added benefit. Another story worth special notice is “Gargoyle,” which manages to be both charming and sad.

Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie delivers a different kind of ride, offering scares, laughs, and tears. And, for the next few days, it’s free! Highly recommended.

Manly Wade Wellman: The Voice of the Mountains

Manly Wade Wellman

My article on Manly Wade Wellman, once known as “the dean of fantasy writers,” is featured on the Abbeville Institute’s blog:

Manly Wade Wellman never penned an autobiography, despite the fact he published 500 stories and articles, won the World Fantasy Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award, and even edged out William Faulkner to win the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award in 1946.

Yet, in one of his most famous short stories, Wellman did reveal how he must have seen himself throughout his career, from a crime reporter for The Wichita Eagle, to Assistant Director of the WPA’s Folklore Project in New York City, and finally as “the dean of fantasy writers.” In “The Desrick on Yandro,” the protagonist, John the Balladeer, has to sing for his supper to a group of “ladies and men in costly clothes.” Confident and entertaining despite his modest attire and outsider ways, John charms the crowd with forgotten classics, including “Rebel Soldier.” Like John the Balladeer, Manly Wade Wellman was a rustic but worldly singer of old ballads, as well as a walking, talking ambassador and promoter of traditional Southern culture wherever he went.

Read the rest at the Abbeville Institute, and Like here.

Unbound II: Changed Worlds now in paperback!

Unbound II

This anthology is a mind-blowing collection of science fiction and fantasy tales. Here’s what Ben A. Sharpton, author of 2nd Sight, had to say about this unique anthology: “I enjoyed M.C. Tuggle’s “Hunting Ground” for its unusual antagonist… CHANGED WORLDS (Unbound Book 2) is a great read for those wanting to spice up their lives with something new.”

Unbound II: Changed Worlds is now available in paperback from Amazon and from the publisher, Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications.

Kindle version also available at Amazon.