Tag Archives: science fiction

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.

Unbound II: Changed Worlds

Hunting Ground

Award-winning DAOwen Publications has just released its latest anthology, Unbound II: Changed Worlds.

Unbound II Changed Worlds

It features my story “Hunting Ground,” which is set in a brooding wetland in rural North Carolina. I grew up in the country, and the farm next to ours had a two-acre marsh where I stomped and rambled and dreamed away many an afternoon. It teemed with exotic plants, frogs, copperheads, and dark, mysterious pools. Now those were the days …

In my story, police discover the body of a fracking engineer buried near the marsh where he’d been working, and they arrest an anti-fracking activist who’d threatened him. Buddy Vuncannon, the defendant’s attorney, discovers the marsh hides a bizarre secret that could clear his client — if there were a way he could prove it in court.

My fascination with all things swampy and a Science Alert article about a mysterious stretch of land near Lake Michigan inspired the story. “Hunting Ground” is lively and entertaining, but its topic is serious. Fracking involves pumping a cocktail of chemicals and water deep underground where it cracks open layers of shale to unleash natural gas. The threat to the local water supply is profound.

Exposing the truth about fracking is all well and good, but the real goal is to renew respect and appreciation for nature. No one understands this better than poet/novelist/activist Wendell Berry. In his fiction and essays, Berry argues that the excesses of industrialism, from environmental piracy to the over-concentration of wealth, can be countered only by a rebirth of affection for the local, by which he means love and loyalty for the land we live on and for the people we live with.

Here’s how the National Endowment for the Humanities describes Berry’s literary/political mission:

In the debate that set Thomas Jefferson against Alexander Hamilton—and rural farms against cities, and agriculture against banking interests—Berry stands with Jefferson. He stands for local culture and the small family farmer, for yeoman virtues and an economic and political order that is modest enough for its actions and rationales to be discernible. Government, he believes, should take its sense of reality from the ground beneath our feet and from our connections with our fellow human beings.

And it is my passionate belief that one way we can strengthen or even restore those connections is through a good story. I hope you enjoy “Unbound II: Changed Worlds.”

Dr. Isaac Asimov and the Art and Science of Writing

Dr. Isaac Asimov

I recently read two articles I thoroughly enjoyed and found inspiring. One is on Isaac Asimov’s approach to writing, and the other is “The Five-Step Manufacturing Process That Could Make You A Better Writer,” by Julian Bass, a Lecturer in Software Engineering at the University of Salford. Asimov, who had a PhD in chemistry from Columbia University, would’ve been intrigued by Bass’s engineering approach to writing.

These articles cross-pollinate, and should be read in their entirety. I’ll just give you a taste here.

I was particularly impressed with Bass’s approach, having once worked in the insurance industry as a methods analyst for continuous workflow improvement. Bass summarizes his approach to writing in five principles aimed at minimizing waste and increasing productivity. They evolved from the “Lean” engineering techniques based on Japanese manufacturing methods. Here are Bass’s writing principles:

Flow means to create a regular cycle of back-to-back creativity, a rhythm of finished writing projects.

Value: Good writing will communicate important ideas so that people want to absorb and enjoy them. So, you should try to write in a way that communicates your ideas and makes your audience feel excited, informed or entertained (or all three).

Waste: Finding the value is one thing, but how many projects have you started that ended up sitting on your desk or computer, ignored or forgotten about? That is exactly the kind of waste lean tries to avoid: partially finished work, half-formed ideas and wasted energy.

Pull: You should think of writing, much like manufacturing, as pulling a product towards completion. This means the highest priority writing projects are those nearest to being finished.

Perfection: My writing never achieves perfection, as you can probably tell. But I always trying to aim for quality improvement.

Compare that process to Isaac Asimov’s advice to writers:

Never stop learning – Read widely. Follow your curiosity. Never stop investing in yourself.

Don’t fight getting stuck – By stepping aside, finding other projects, and actively ignoring something, our subconscious creates space for ideas to grow.

Beware the resistance – Self-doubt is the mind-killer.

Lower your standards – Asimov was fully against the pursuit of perfectionism. Trying to get everything right the first time, he says, is a big mistake.

Make MORE stuff – Interestingly, Asimov also recommends making MORE things as a cure for perfectionism.

The secret sauce – A struggling writer friend of Asimov’s once asked him, “Where do you get your ideas?” Asimov replied, “By thinking and thinking and thinking till I’m ready to kill myself.”

It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse of how great minds work, and Isaac Asimov was truly one of the greats. Every piece Asimov wrote, fiction and non-fiction, displays his intellect, his boundless curiosity, and big heart.

Unbound II: Changed Worlds pre-release

Unbound II

From Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications:

Unbound II: Changed Worlds

The Unbound Anthologies are a collection of themed short stories perfect for your reading pleasure. Every year we open a call to authors around the world challenging them to create never before created works of fiction, pick the best ones, and bundle them together for you.

This edition, our authors received the challenge of “Changed Worlds” in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. And now we are pleased to present to you:

Michael Healy’s “Hail Bruce”
Daniel Powell’s “Reclaiming the Elements”
Clint Spivey’s “The Barred Gates”
Lee Clark Zumpe’s “Book of Being”
Dale L. Sproule and Sally McBride’s “The Birthing Blades”
Barry Charman’s “The Knot”
Philip Bran Hall’s “The Hard Stuff”
M. M. Pryor’s “The Witch’s Intern”
M. C. Tuggle’s “Hunting Ground”
K. T. Wagner’s “Mountains to Cross”
M. J. Moores’ “The Reckoning”

While this publication’s release date is January 31st, you may either pre-order the ebook through online retailers or acquire your digital version now through our online store at:

Buy Unbound II – Changed Worlds

Print versions of this anthology will be available through all bookstores January 31st, 2017.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

jules-verne

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary legend. Compiled by jules.

Tina Ann Forkner5 Reasons You Should Still Pursue a Traditional Book Contract
M. L. KellerWhy Writing Advice is Ruining your Manuscript
Melissa TriplettFreelancing for Beginners and Old People
John FoleyThe Legacy of Hard Science Fiction
Christopher MorrisseyA Holiday Film Festival
Brett McKayWhy Every Man Should Read Jane Austen
Kim WinternheimerSubmission Strategies: Advice from a Literary Magazine Editor
Marc AngenotJules Verne and French Literary Criticism

Quote of the day

Margaret Atwood

“Why is it that when we grab for heaven — socialist or capitalist or even religious — we so often produce hell? I’m not sure, but so it is. Maybe it’s the lumpiness of human beings. What do you do with people who somehow just don’t or won’t fit into your grand scheme? All too often you stretch them on a Procrustean bed or dig a hole in the ground and shovel them into it.” – Margaret Atwood