J Ellington Ashton Press Interviews M Cid D’Angelo!

Interviewer: Amanda Lyons (JEA Press)

Inner Voices Author Interview

  1. Your book Dead Reckoning just came out through JEA, it’s clearly a very involved novel with some twists and turns. Can you tell us a bit about the process of writing it?

There are two narratives in the story, the main plot as well as an analysis by a narrator. The novel itself is a psychological horror story, an intense study in the lives of two normal people who are subject to an intangible “evil” haunting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This meant I had to play two roles in the writing of the novel – a factual presentation as well as a storyteller. Both sides augment each other, and it was paramount to establish each section in that way, and not to wander off on tangents.

  1. Much like House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski this one involved some other bits and pieces, things that build the story up and make it more involved, did you have to do any research for it? What made you choose the style and story?

The novel is set up in two sections, actually. The main narrative is a straight-forward tale, day-to-day life, of the main characters – Annie Mitchell and Stewart Eddinger. The second section is broken up into addenda material, that is, special and “extra” material that is not part of the main narrative, but expands and enhances the tragic events surrounding the main characters and the oceanographic project they’re working on. It’s a video diary in its way. The novel is meant to be visual in a highly literary way.

Most of the addenda material is taken from a variety of sources and shaped for the use of the novel itself. There is, despite the horror/supernatural elements behind it, a scientific approach. This is a novel steeped in oceanography and marine biology. It is a novel that has seen years of my personal interest in these fields of study.

  1. Do you often write stories of the supernatural? If so, what supernatural topics interest you as a writer? Any that rub you the wrong way or you think are done to death?

There is always, at least, a slight tinge of what we would term “paranormal” or “preternatural” in my stories, even the literary ones. When I was younger, I wrote much speculative fiction, but as I’ve gotten older, these elements usually become a backdrop to the main narrative rather than the plot itself. Dead Reckoning is a straight-up supernatural/horror novel, however and was written when I was younger and still given to that phase.

I enjoy ghostly stories and hauntings mainly. I’m not big into vampires or werewolves or pulp fiction monsters; these have been trod over again and again in many forms. Some of these stories have been innovative and clever, but most are usually rehash.

  1. What other genres do you write? Tell us a bit about some of your other publications.

I am a published short story author, and I also have some nonfiction articles in hobby/special interest magazines like Lost Treasure (a metal-detecting magazine) and Military History. Most of my short stories tend to be literary, that is, sans sci-fi/horror/fantasy etc., and are closer to works written by literary authors such as Joyce Carol Oates and Dylan Thomas. These short stories can be found in a myriad of online and in print university-based literary journals.

  1. What’s your take on writing as an industry? Should authors be giving the same value to indie markets as they do to traditional publishers? Are they equal?

I have a nostalgic heart for the traditional markets. I’ve had literary agent contracts and one of my other novels, Dark Running, was slated to be picked up by Simon & Schuster some years ago. That deal fell through, however, and made me rather bitter! It made my agent at the time very bitter too. However, the Big Houses can offer substantial advances and a high profile that Indies and Small Presses cannot. This outlook is changing, though, I believe. Many small presses and Indies are gaining power and recognition.

  1. Do you find promotion and submission difficult? What do you think can be done to make things a bit better for writers like yourself? What would you tell newer authors based on your own experiences?

Promotions for me are difficult because of budgeting. Money is the main qualifier here. Some people can shamelessly promote themselves and have a good financial base (paychecks, family, loans etc) to push their books. I believe I’m too frugal to actually make a dent in effective promotion and rely on others and word-of-mouth ay too much. Submissions, on the other hand, are not an issue. I submit in sprints, usually, but also during specific times of the year when markets are more open to submissions. I’ve relied somewhat on my platform as a traditionally-published short story author too – but so far, I haven’t seen any progress toward book sales or literary contracts in that vein. I’m known, but I don’t seem to be a demand! ;)

  1. How long have you been writing? Was it always something you wanted to do? Have your experiences been good thus far?

I remember wanting to write short stories when I was in my single-digits, and have written continuously ever since. I enjoy the act of writing – the creation – but I feel that I haven’t been as successful as I should be, especially when it comes to making a living.

  1. What other books do you have in progress or do you hope to be done with in the next few years?

As of late I’ve been rather aimless and lethargic. Sometimes there are periods of rediscovery and reinvention of what a writer needs to be. I am working on a martial arts/Wuxia/fantasy novel set in ancient China that is reminiscent of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but the first draft has been hit and miss. I’m also working on a pseudo sci/fi book about modern psychic spies working in the US Government and private contractors (ala Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats).

Dead Reckoning

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Dead Reckoning – A Seaside Horror Novel Released by JEA Press!

The phenomenon of PHARAOH transcends pop culture beyond its oceanographic pretenses. In compiling this work, I only hope that whatever darkness surfaced for them – those doomed people of PHARAOH – will not find me. Perhaps Dr. Simpson was right: some things should be left alone. Some of what you read is speculation, for who can know every hour of a day in a life? Most of this narrative I have extrapolated from personal journals, news clippings, online blogs, video diaries, and interviews with survivors. I have attempted to relate the events surrounding this later phase of what is known as the PHARAOH Project in hopes to recreate Annie and Stew just as they would have been: as friends and partners, even as sister and brother of a sense.

Yet, don’t get close to them. Annie and Stewart are dead and dead. This work will be the only thing tying them to PHARAOH before they were lost during the summer of 2003.

Hendrick Vanderdecken

Apple Grove, North Carolina

July, 2008


Jenn Nixon Poster

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Going Forward!

Hello everyone – it’s been some while since I’ve last updated this blog. However, there has been some excellent progress as of late.

First of all, J Ellington Ashton Press (an online indie press specializing in horror and spec novels) has published my seaside horror novel, Dead Reckoning. This novel was inspired from me reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s remarkable and innovative novel, House of Leaves. Two marine biology students find madness and murder after they open a cursed oceanographic project off the Outer Banks. The novel has a format not unlike the film, The Blair Witch Project (1999), and offers graphics and other addenda that fleshes out the main narrative.

Dead Reckoning

Other great news: The Silk Road Review (http://silkroad.pacificu.edu/issues/issue-13/ ) has published my short story, “Lonesome Road” in it’s latest (Summer 2015) issue.

Promo pub

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A Writer’s Musing #28,963 (things I think of wot normal people don’t)


One of my favorite movies is An American Werewolf in London. John Landis, I feel, did a pretty damn good job of revisiting the old classic monster. The monster was not romanticized as werewolves appear to be now (bare-chested monkey-boys wooing milquetoast teen girls). The underlying theme is not so much just a horror movie, but a disquieted study in something that destroys the normalcy of two average young men, and causing a tsunami of terrible consequences for everyone within a 20 mile radius of them. As a writer, I love the underlying tragic theme because it makes the main characters deeper and more profound than what their normalcy would dictate if left alone – however, Landis, as a storyteller, begs much suspension of disbelief from his audience for his premise to work. For example, the main plot-hole I find is why the main character remains in London. These are normal people; they would go home after such tragic events on the moor where one boy is murdered. Instead, in Landis’ script, we have the MC wandering around London detached with nothing more to hold him there other than the cute nurse he’s met in the hospital.

Why am I telling you this?

Good writing, good visualization, means nothing if the plot is tenuous and built on your reader’s suspension of disbelief. Most speculative fiction works demand much – too much – and often miss the mark of a very important and classic literary work. It might work out all right in a movie, however, the plot holes become apparent in afterthought, that is, if the audience doesn’t think too much. Classic speculative fiction pieces like Frankenstein and Salem’s Lot work when the characters and motivations therein are well-thought-out and rounded. In other words, when they make sense.

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Reviewer: JW Hicks author of Rats

What we thought: This novel could be aptly summed up with this tagline taken from the text – It was time to place a haunted past to rest.

I came to this second offering from D’Angelo without having read his first, Dark Running. Thankfully it wasn’t necessary as D’Angelo insinuates the backstory with subtlety.

Artemus Dark, AKA the Big AD, is a metaphysician extraordinaire. In his world the paranormal is an accepted part of life, existing side by side with everyday normality. The Big AD is a psychic investigator par excellence – a self-proclaimed occult scientist who investigates crimes perpetrated by the shade community.

His latest case concerns two psychics being blasted with an identical blast of psychokinetic energy, resulting in mental meltdown. One of the psychics is his old pal Eddie de Winter, the other – Big AD himself. Turns out it’s no coincidence but the result of a direful happening they experienced in the past.

Add to the mix a dark-magic hit man hot on AD’s trail, plus the visions of a spectral zero-Fahrenheit ice-woman haunting his dreams, whispering ‘Come back to me…’ and you have the ingredients for a real terror ride.

Overall, Darkness Becomes You is a thrilling read, though in some places the pacing falters a tad, forcing a speed-read to catch up on the action. But despite this nit-pic D’Angelo’s novel spins the reader into a dark world-scape that both perturbs and fascinates. Darkness Becomes You is a gripping read and a supernatural TV hit in the making.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Paranormal thrillers akin to Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt vampire series and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.


Cover Page03

Avoid if you don’t like: Ghouls, evil spirits and psychic phenomena.

Ideal accompaniments: Halloween treats – Dead Man’s fingers, Marshmallow Ghosts and a Bloody Mary.

Genre: Horror. Noir thriller.

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Bibliography of M Cid D’Angelo

We writers should all be proud of a published bibliography. It takes some while to build a platform, and when we attain it, it needs to be lauded or the main reason why we, as artists, have been trying to make a living is utterly lost.

I submit my current (Fall/Winter 2014) Bibliography for those of you interested in trying to find pieces of my works. Many of these can be found online:

“Reading Between the Lines: Researching Little Known or Unknown Treasures” (Lost Treasure Magazine, November 2001) (PRINT)

“With the might of a shôgun, Oda Nobunaga rose from obscurity to becoming one of Japan’s most formidable rulers” (Military History Magazine, accepted not published, 2002)

“The Light” (Aoife’s Kiss, December 2006)(I) (PRINT)

“A Far Away Place” (CC&D, Accepted Withdrawn, 2007)(I)

“Girl Sunday” (Eureka Literary Magazine, Fall 2009)(I) (PRINT)

“Thumbs Up” (Midway Journal, Spring 2010)(I) http://www.midwayjournal.com/Oct10_Fiction-ThumbsUp.html

“Adagio in the Dark” (Lady Jane’s Miscellany, Summer 2010) (PRINT)

“A Far Away Place” (Urban Mozaik, Accepted not Published, 2010)(II)

“Thumbs Up” (Third Wednesday, Summer 2010)(II) (PRINT)

“Don Quixote de Las Vegas” (Moronic Ox, December 2010) http://www.moronicox.com/don-quixote-de-las-vegas-dangelo.html

“Chad and Willie Break a Leg” (The Legendary, Spring 2013) http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/mciddangelo.html

“In the Garden” (decomP magazinE, Spring 2013) http://www.decompmagazine.com/inthegarden.htm

“Girl Sunday” (Calliope, Fall 2013)(II) (PRINT)

“Band of Gold” (The Legendary, Spring 2014) http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/mciddangelo.html#band

“The Road from Tahlequah” (Niche Literary Magazine, Summer 2014) Follow the link for issue No. 4 – https://nichelit.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/contributor-interview-m-cid-dangelo/

“Girl in the Window” (Stepping Stones, Accepted not Published, 2014)

“The Light” (The Sirens Call Magazine, Summer 2014)(II) http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/ezine.htm

“Lonesome Road” (Silk Road Review, 2015)

Dead Reckoning (J Ellington Ashton Press, 2015)

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Artemus Dark Novels Re-Released on Amazon/Kindle

The thing is, I was rather reluctant to self-publish these. I am at heart a traditional author, however, both Dark Running and its sequel, Darkness Becomes You narrowly missed a multi-book contract with Simon & Schuster in 2008.

Instead of allowing them to sit unread and unavailable in my archives, I have made them once more open to the public.



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