The Bibliography of M Cid D’Angelo

As of 2016


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

“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)

“A Far Away Place” (CC&D, Accepted Withdrawn, 2007)(I)

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

“Thumbs Up” (Midway Journal, Spring 2010)(I)

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

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

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

“Don Quixote de Las Vegas” (Moronic Ox, December 2010)

“Chad and Willie Break a Leg” (The Legendary, Spring 2013)

“In the Garden” (decomP magazinE, Spring 2013)

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

“Band of Gold” (The Legendary, Spring 2014)

“The Road from Tahlequah” (Niche Literary Magazine, Summer 2014)

“Girl in the Window” (Stepping Stones, 2014)

“The Light” (The Sirens Call Magazine, Summer 2014)(II)

“Lonesome Road” (Silk Road Review, 2015)

Dead Reckoning (J Ellington Ashton Press, 2015) (Top 10 Finisher Best Horror Novel 2015, Critter Award, Preditors & Editors).

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Dead Reckoning Top Finalist!

I am happy to announce that my seaside horror novel, Dead Reckoning, has placed as a Top 10 Finalist for Best Horror Novel 2015 in the Preditors & Editors Critter Awards.

The novel was inspired by the innovative and “outside the box” works of Mark Z Danielewski, author of House of Leaves.

Two marine biology students attempt to reopen a cursed oceanographic project off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Annie Mitchell and her partner, Stewart Eddinger, get more than they bargain for when they find themselves haunted by intense impulses, hallucinations, and an intangible evil that seems to be the biblical Leviathan incarnate.

Critter Awards


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Promotional Online Posters

I’ve always felt these needed to be apt.

A promo poster I’ve made and you’ve seen me throw around. This is a very apt graphic; it directly hints the overall character and theme of the novel, Dead Reckoning. The symbolism is strong here: the water, of course, a lead female character struggling; the frightening aspect of drowning; the psychological horror at its base.


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Early Writings (part 4): First Submissions

wings on fire

It is easy to look back at my writing and succinctly draw it up into three major stages that are common to most arts: the Apprentice, the Adept, and the Master.  To fully understand these rigid categories in a highly diversified and arbitrary career, one must look at certain stages.  It is true that an artist can surmount a mastership level and regress to an Adept or even an Apprenticeship when they rediscover themselves, but all-in-all, that is rather ambiguous in its own definition.  The levels of advancement are based more on experience than perhaps the work itself.  My stages were rather straightforward.  I could argue that my earlier writings the introductory phase – was a stage by itself, or that it was merely an extension on what is considered my longest stage as an apprentice.  Yet, becoming an apprentice was rather more formal than it had been prior to that point.  For the years I was dabbling in styles and plots, my writing had always been rather for fun, for amusement, rather than a serious study.  My apprenticeship, much like my stage as an adept, was marked and clearly seen.  I can almost define them by the date the transition occurred.

The beginning of my apprenticeship did not benefit from going to a school or achieving a master to learn from; instead, it was based upon two very important events – one physical achievement, the other, rather esoteric.  Painters have gone to art schools to begin their apprenticeship; athletes begin a sports regime under a coach; mine began with the completion of my first novel-length manuscript, Galleon: Portrait of a Treasure Diver.  The second initiation factor was a dream that featured a young woman standing on a beach asking me if I’d join her.  The dream itself was separated from the fact of it being a sexual one, as it termed that my writing side – the artistic side of me – was female.  I joined with her.

After discovering a Royal electric typewriter in my closet (left by a former tenant) while living in South Lake Tahoe, CA, I began devising a new story.  The novel was somewhat a redraft of the earlier Depths, but this time was far more focused.  Galleon: PoaTD concerned a young SCUBA diving instructor who discovers three sunken Spanish ships in the Bahamas, and his struggle to raise their treasure.  It was my ambition, having been inspired by Benchley’s The Deep, Kip Wagner’s personal account of salvaging the 1715 Plate Fleet in Florida in Pieces of Eight, The Treasure Diver’s Guide by John S. Potter Jr., and other sources, to fashion a realistic novel detailing a group of Mel Fisher wannabes who run afoul of every conceivable problem trying to find sunken treasure in the Bahamas.  The main characters consisted of Michael Palmer, a young SCUBA diving instructor employed by a resort in the Cayman Islands; Catherine Mitchell, a pretty tourist girl and love interest for Palmer; James Anton, Palmer’s father figure and all around best-buddy; and Harry Jameson, the bad guy out to pirate the treasure.  This story I argue in being an ambitious work to publish, on the mere fact that I was actually fantasizing of becoming a treasure diver myself one day.  The characters were pretty much the same as those from Depths, but they had stronger motivations and were out to achieve a goal.  Palmer starts things off by finding a gold doubloon on a beach just after a raging hurricane.  The find lures him into finding out where it came from, and there he discovers the legend of a Spanish galleon wrecked nearby.  During his research, word leaks out about a serious treasure hunt, and this comes to the ears of the antagonist, Jameson, who spares no time or expense in asserting his evil greed.  Clashes with not only the bad guys, but with the authorities as well, places Palmer and his friends in one jam after another, until, during a climax with a second hurricane, they defeat Jameson and spirit the treasure out of the Bahamas.

A fun, ambitious work; in some ways I wanted it to be published, but I rather had my doubts that any publisher would find it that good.  There were no rewrites to make mention of; I was rather naïve when it came to perfecting works at that time.  I enjoyed the journey of Galleon, and kept it close to my heart as my first completed novel at a whopping 241 pages.  It bothered me, however, that I still hadn’t achieved the length of a novel in the scope of where Benchley lay, but, try as I might, I couldn’t get any more out of the story.  I enjoyed the fact that Catherine Mitchell was a stronger female love interest than those I had attempted before, and that my female leads were becoming stronger characters, rather than just dressing in the window.  It’s interesting to note that at the end of the novel, Catherine and Michael aren’t together, and have somewhat a detached separation.  It reads more like their brief love affair was to be experienced for what it was, rather than something to build upon.  Palmer, being chased by the authorities for committing some outrageous criminal acts in his pursuit of the treasure, has to run off with an older brother; Catherine Mitchell ends up pocketing the treasure herself and leaves the Bahamas with her family.  She gives the horizon a wistful look as she stands on the dock, where she can spy a receding boat that contains a fugitive Palmer, disappearing into the sunset.  These two main characters are young – possibly in their late teens.  There are other adventures waiting for them; they do not need to stay together.  Another note is that Palmer’s father figure/best friend, James Anton, gets killed toward the end by a group of sharks and not by the villain.

Galleon: PoaTD was a milestone in my literary career not only because of the completion of my first novel-length manuscript, but in the fact that I was very learned of the subject matter, and did extensive research.  The scope of the novel was a send-up, no doubt, of Benchley’s The Deep, but it was an honest attempt to create an intense, original action/adventure.  I labored to make the work as realistic as possible, and sought to outdo my earlier fantasies and meager imagination with concrete research.  I then attempted to write a new novel with oceanic themes concerning pirates.  This project was described as “a pirate captain becomes obsessed with a treasure chest he buried,” but it never got beyond the first two or three chapters.  It was tentatively entitled The Island, but I didn’t much care for it as it was like Benchley’s third book.

After moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1981, I found myself in a new environment with new adolescent perils.  My writing ambition had become stronger, and I was serious enough about it to attempt getting a short work published.  An inspiration came to me through one of my SCUBA diving magazines of a sculpture that featured a diver going toe-to-toe with a shark in open water.  I naively put together a short story based on the same premise about a diver who runs afoul of a shark in open water and reflects about his experience after he escapes it.  Who was the intruder?  The man or the shark?  Thus, the short story was called “The Intruder” and was promptly sent off to Reader’s Digest as an Adventure in Real Life.  It, of course, failed.  “The Intruder” marked my very first professional submission, and was rather dubious in its concept.  It went under the guise of being a true story, but was, in fact, totally fiction.  A couple of weeks later, not to be daunted, I put together another slap-dash work entitled “Derelict”, which was about a man-eating fungus on a derelict spacecraft.  It was sent off in a highly-ambitious move to Playboy, after I attempted to put in a rather lurid sex scene within its pages.   I had never read Playboy, other than peruse its artistic photographs.  Writer’s Digest had touted that the magazine was one of the most highest-paid, garnering up to $400 for a published work; it too, came back.

During a haphazard time trying to fit in at high school, I eventually began working on a fantasy novel in serial, called Dragons of Eden.  Not to be confused with Carl Sagan’s work, my fantasy concerned a young squire living in a kingdom besieged by an evil sorceress.  Writing it, I was very influenced by Mallory’s King Arthur stories and Greek mythology.  It was a lengthy work for its scope, but I lost interest after a time and it never became finished.  It came before my Tolkien period, and I found it rather difficult to write because of my lack of reading fantasy works in that vein.  It was, in retrospect, an attempt to put together a Tolkien-based work, but without having read Lord of the Rings.  I instead drafted a new ocean-based novel that resurrected my earlier fascination with The Bermuda Depths and my short story, “Fathoms.”  Typing away on a Smith Corona manual typewriter, I put together a far more reaching scope of a novel than what I had put together before, rivaling Galleon.  This new work introduced the same elements from before, but drew them out and strengthened character-to-character relationship and motivations with a gloomy setting.  The result was a novel about the hunt for a sea serpent, and some rather sinister supernatural and fantasy elements.  The characters were: Nathanial Jacobs, a young man looking for his dead father; Richard Logan, a marine biologist who becomes obsessed with his oceanographic project; Dewitt Johnson, another biologist in charge of the project; Sondra Logan, Richard’s conservative and melodramatic wife; and Paul Simpson, a senior scientist with a hidden agenda.  This is an important draft, because I now have a female character who is no longer background dressing, although she is a minor character; Sondra Logan becomes a strong female lead who is supposed to be the sober and practical component to the marriage she shares with Richard.  At a loss what to call the project, I had a dream in which my sister handed me a book with the title Winds of the Deep on it in bold black on yellow letters.  There I pursued the draft, drawing out all the elements that I’d known before and hammering out totally new ones.  The work was a little more haunting than my previous effort with the juvenile “Fathoms,” but it found itself strengthened from my experiences with Depths and Galleon and a lifetime of reading stronger works.  During it, also, I had discovered some works by Stephen King (particularly Salem’s Lot), and found a deep fascination for that writer’s prose.  WotD was far deeper in scope than any previous work, and played heavily on the fantasy edge more than horror.  The ending of the novel, after young, lost Nate has his surreal love affair with the ghost of Jackie Bartholomew, culminates in the loss of the two biologists by a fire-breathing sea serpent.  Nate is washed up on shore alone and all but dead.  The novel I completed at 269 pages (or thereabouts), and felt it was time to try my hand at the publishing game of books.  My mother found some wayward article from a shady vanity publisher and persuaded me to send it to them.  After a couple of weeks, a fellow called me and offered to publish the work if I paid them $3000.  I, of course, refused, knowing how limited my own talent was and that it was not right.   My mother was confused.  How come I had to pay them?  I tried my hand at science fantasy too, envisioning a post-apocalyptical society of long-eared aliens with Star Wars-style technology cavorting around the search for an ancient artifact that would reveal that there had been another race of intelligent beings sharing the same world (humans).  This novel was tentatively entitled Odyssey, and concerned a hotshot jet pilot named Puck and a group of other pixyish-looking beings that could easily populate a video game.  Though I feel there is some strength to the milieu, the story never quite got off the ground and suffered from disorganization.  During a brief stay in Phoenix, Arizona, I was inspired to begin writing a sequel to it that featured much of the same characters and technology and was heavily inspired by the Mad Max/Road Warrior films.  This piece too never quite got beyond the dream stage and eventually was abandoned.

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Nature of the Story in Film and Literature

I was discussing ambiguous endings in horror stories with my peers, especially in film – but it holds for literature as well.

If done correctly, an ambiguous ending can leave a lingering mystery that makes the audience hungry for more – but doesn’t rob them of their satisfaction. Case-in-point: the endings of The Thing (1982) and The Blair Witch Project. Some people didn’t particularly care for the ending in Blair Witch, but I thought it was rather apt.

To toot my own horn, I worked such an ambiguity into my horror novel Dead Reckoning. Many readers ask me much about the unanswered questions in the novel. These questions are of that vein; they allow the reader/viewer to draw their own conclusions, but don’t insult them at the same time or leave it alone like “WTF?”

I suppose an ending that resolves itself completely can be satisfactory too. This depends on the type of story and the theme it’s based upon. A mystery never has to be answered fully; an experience isn’t always resolved. In Alien, Ripley gets the Alien to blast itself away into space through an airlock; the monster is gone and the story is resolved. To tell the truth, ALIENS doesn’t need to be made. ALIEN stopped. It’s a me versus it in a survivalist movie. Now, you get THE THING (1982) and you have two men sitting there watching each other warily because we don’t know if they are a Thing or if they’re human. That’s genius because the WHOLE STORY is about paranoia.

Great stories have great endings. The ending in a brilliant plot reflects the nature of the story.

But, what is the NATURE of a story? Literary or film? We can talk themes. We can talk style or narrative. But what is the NATURE of the story? The nature is what is derived not only from the plot elements, but the tone – the voice of the story. When the storyteller understands the nature of the story – it becomes genius.

I suppose, in its way, a story – whether literary or film – has a very distinct personality within it. It’s elements are tethered together in its nature.

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Fantasy Short Stories and their Respective Rags

Like many well-known literary authors such as Neil Gaiman, for instance, I throw up a speculative genre short story to viable magazines. These are always a hard sell – much harder than getting published in the Mid-American, for example. I get more turn-downs here than any other place and usually because my style is “too literary” for them.

“A Mist on the River”


And the uncouth ones – the rural-minded and lazy locals – call their home Tinney-Town. Tin-knee. So, the rural people of Cor Tinnan are considered savage and stupid compared to the urban people in Cor Brethil, then. No one in the capital city will own up to that, though, even if everyone here on the River knows it’s so.

Oh, but it’s beautiful in Tinney-Town. The wide and great River Tharans dictates the town’s fortunes. It flows gently here, the water, and though its color remains a dark muddy brown in the best of months, it cannot detract from the way the chilly north air kisses the surface when there is no cloak of mist. The trees, the stones, the eddy pools, the trolling fishermen in their small barges ker-plunking their long poles in the shallows, add to that wilder-land majesty of the town’s ancient sylvan evenings.

Oh, Tinney-Town!

Bright sunshine when it’s not raining, which seems most of the time, and bold fireflies sparking the cool summer evenings belie a serenity even after, a long time ago, the passing of the great wizard and the evils that had scoured the land thereabouts. No one remembers those times because anyone who would is dead. Dead and buried.

Anyhow, the moon is on the wan as Adbur takes a small pipe from a friend on the stoop of Brinn’s Tavern and strides into the night. The moon is strong enough to cleave shadows near the docks, casting black fingers from the edging fences down the Waterway Road.


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Early Writings (Part 3)

I, of course, did not have inkling that my writing would be a career, or something to hone as a craft.  Writing for me was based on the facts that I was a rather lonely child who was often picked on at school, and who had found solace in books rather than a social hierarchy of friends.  I had my share of friends, yes, but these people were often far away in some regard, whether physically or intellectually, and I discovered at an early age that I was impatient with them, and they found me strange.  My active mind however, adored intricate relationships and plots on the written page, and always was I moving.  The Godzilla stories became rather trite for me, and my adoration for 50s science fiction movies began to grow after I was 10-years-old.  I began emulating movie plots based on these Bs, and put together an interesting short story called “Whirlpools” – a story concerning bizarre whirlpools and waterspouts in the ocean that were destroying ships.  I can still remember a piece of one of my sentences from that story: “…from underneath the sea, the great hull of the ship moved across a watery sky…”  I feel, even now, that was rather lyrical for a young fledgling writer.  This was during the height of my fascination with science fiction movies, and I cultivated a strong interest in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I read and reread his novels, At the Earth’s Core, The Land That Time Forgot, etc.  Burroughs’ works are not a serious stretch in difference from Jules Verne, of course, but they were highly adventurous and opened a new world for me.  I too began writing stories that featured dinosaurs, with one of them not too unlike what would become Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park many years later.  The titles of my works reflected my yearning to write “profound” and adult-oriented works, particularly a dinosaur story about a helicopter crew crash landing on an island called This Side of Paradise.  I’m not certain what inspired me for that title, but it could have come from anywhere; I had thought it sounded cool and the word, “paradise”, conjured images of a south seas tropical island – a place where dinosaurs no doubt would frequent.  Note that I refer to it in italics, because though incomplete, This Side of Paradise was actually my first attempt at catching Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels at their length.  The plots were still rather shallow, and my characters were all based on the wooden stereotypes that were the staple of the 50s science fiction movie: an older, harried scientist, a dashing he-man hero, and a pretty girl who helped them, but most likely would find herself in trouble and needed to be saved by the aforementioned hero.  Women at this stage of my pubescence interested me, and I knew that they had a purpose; but at 11, this “purpose” still eluded me.  I was rather innocent about sex and many other interests a typical puberty-stricken boy should have.  Still, I could not leave females out of my stories; I liked them and they dressed up the scenery, and usually gave me he-man heroes something to save.  I remember my mother once telling me in disdain that my female characters could be much deeper than what I created for them, but I scoffed.

My character relationships, however, made an abrupt change in course.  This was primarily due to the fact that I was maturing sexually, and my view on females was maturing as well; it culminated in a realization as I watched fantasy television B-movie called The Bermuda Depths.  This movie was produced by Rankin-Bass in 1978 and starred Leigh McCloskey, Connie Sellecca, Carl Weathers, and Burl Ives.  The movie itself is rather cheap, and put together poorly, but the haunting features behind it actually lift it up a few notches.  Weighed down by melodramatic acting and vague scripting, the story captured me and held me fast.  It not only ignited a love for the sea, but it opened up wells of inspiration for my writing.  The elements that made up the movie ignited tendrils of what had begun to grow during my discovery of Nathan’s Portrait of Jennie.  They shared common ground in many aspects, and now visualized (I had never seen the movie, Portrait of Jennie, starring Joseph Cotton and Jennifer Jones).  The female lead characters in the stories made an impact into my writing; yes, they stirred my manhood, but they also created the notion of deeper and involved relationships.  Connie Sellecca’s melancholy Jenny Haniver, a ghost from a shipwreck, so fascinated me that I began writing what would become my longest and most ambitious work yet.  This story, “Fathoms,” was deeply based on The Bermuda Depths, and concerned a couple of marine biologists and a SCUBA diver who were searching for a giant squid.  The story, of course, had the same vague elements of the supernatural in it as the movie it was inspired, but it also introduced a deeper love story involving the lead character and the mysterious girl from the sea.  It numbered an ambitious 33 steno-notebook pages – the longest yet (including my earlier abortive attempt at a novel) – and I spent days writing it.  I remember loving the story and being quite proud of it, although it mirrored the movie plot closely and even had some of the main characters.

Still, I held other literary interests, and within a year, had abandoned Edgar Rice Burroughs.  “Fathoms” had opened something up inside me, and I wanted to delve deeper (pardon the pun) into literary relationships and stronger characterizations.  However, I was still bound by genre-writing, but I found myself far more interested in television shows than books.  This was not always the case, however, as my love for the sea grew, so did my literary views also.  At this time, Peter Benchley’s Jaws was a blockbuster.  My mother forbade me to see the movie, but I was able to check out the book at the local library.  I couldn’t read all of it, finding Benchley’s contrived subplots involving adult-oriented relationships rather beyond my means to understand, but focused my study on the shark attacks and the climax that features Quint, Brody and Hooper at sea.  Yet, though most of the tracts of character interaction in the novel lost me (specifically Ellen Brody’s affair with Hooper, and the dinner party scene), the expositional paragraphs intrigued me.  Benchley had had a knack in evaluating the social setting of the locale, although in later reads, I found them to be rather lackluster.  Make no mistake, Benchley had been a major influence on my early writings, however, he was a writer given much to the late 60s and 70s setting, and much of his opinions and style reflect much of that period, which, to my opinion, were rather bland and contrary.  This was the age of Jacqueline Suzanne and Sydney Sheldon and Arthur Hailey, where contrived soap operas in literature were the norm.  What remains for Jaws, however, was the fact it was altogether new and frightening.  The story, quite frankly, scared the piss out of me.  It spawned a legion of nature versus mankind novels and movies, and I readily ate them all up.  Yet, it was Benchley’s style that intrigued me, and I began to emulate him in my own writing.  This culminated in my most ambitious work to date, a novel-in-progress called Depths.  I had just read, for the first time, Benchley’s The Deep, and the story about treasure diving inspired me more than Jaws.  I knew then I was going to write nothing but the sea, and my stories would be like Benchley’s.  Depths became a rambling, episodic narrative that involved a young man and his friends who get caught up in some sinister plot dreamed up by a vague villain.  That is rather ambiguous, but that story had no clear definition of plot, and I can no longer recall what (if anything) had been motive for the characters other than the bad guy causing the good guys trouble.   I know it had something to do with the sea and SCUBA diving, but, in my efforts to separate myself from Benchley’s works about sharks and treasure diving and drugs, I was an author in search of a storyline.  Needless to say, the novel ran on for 170 pages in a pencil-filled notebook until I altogether found it hopeless and abandoned it.  This was during 1979.  At 170 pages, Depths was by far my greatest epic; its rival was a science fiction novel called Target White – a hodgepodge of episodes featuring contrived plots stolen from Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica – which I wrote at roughly the same time.  Target White featured a protagonist named Ace Solaria, fighting a group of evil aliens much like the Cylons, while immersing himself in Star Trek episodes.  To my credit, Target White was for mere recreation; I had no ambition to make it a serious novel.  After writing a good length of it (approx 150 pages), I abandoned it.

I became enamored of Greek mythology, and wrote several storied featuring a Greek-styled hero named Antelles and scoping an epic novel called Paragon.  Though many of the short stories were completed, Paragon itself languished and died.   In my school days of this period, I came across another young writer who was ambitious enough to want to publish a novel of his own.  Although his name eludes me to this day, I remember him being interested in writing Arthur Hailey-style novels such as Overload and Airport.  He was very detailed in relationships and had a good beat on glamour-novels of the time; it’s funny to think that all I wanted to write about was some sort of robot wanting to kill a space-faring crew on a rocket-ship.  There was some praise as well from this period; a grammar-school science teacher assigned us to write a short story that incorporated science fiction and science fact. I remember her presenting my story (I don’t recall the specifics of it) to the English teacher and both of them being excited about it. Yet, even with these myriad works, my apprenticeship in the literary arts had yet to begin.

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