Girl of Many Scars Ponders the Year Ahead…

karate-2578819_1280

So, my neurologist approves of Cribbins. She read it, enjoyed it and now looks forward to reading more of my work. How cool is that? Also, my annual MRI results came back showing no new lesions or scarring, which means the disease modifying treatment I had for MS is working. There’s no new disease activity!

My last relapse was back in February 2016, which means I’ve been in remission for over two years now. But even though I’ve been in remission for all that time – and probably look fairly normal to the casual observer – it’s taken till now for my body to get back to normal. Well, as near to normal as it can be with my immune system shot to shit.

This time last year, when I was fast approaching round two of treatment, I tried going to the gym because I was fed up of the sedentary lifestyle MS had forced on me. But one session wiped me out. Like, totally floored me. I wasn’t ready for that sort of physical exertion.

But now, a year after my second round of treatment, I’m fighting fit and raring to go!

Now don’t get me wrong, I hate every single torturous, sweat-dripping second of going to the gym, but I do it because, firstly, I can and, secondly, it gets me closer to having the sort of physical fitness I’d like. So I force myself to go.

Which brings me to another goal of mine: creative productivity.

Till lately I always thought I was a ‘one-book-a-year’ type of girl. That’s always been the typical turnaround and, I dunno, I guess I thought I needed that long for an idea to fully develop and transfer itself onto the page. But now, I’m questioning that overall theory and actually want to prove it wrong.

It might turn out that trying to up my speed doesn’t work and, much like last year’s attempt at going to the gym, will turn out to be a big fat no-no.

But what if it does work?

What if I’ve been imposing unnecessary restrictions on myself?

After all, I’ve never fallen victim to writer’s block, and have enough notes in my ‘ideas notebook’ to fuel the next twenty books or more.

I won’t know until I try, will I?

But will a speedier turnaround affect the overall quality of my work?

No. I self-edit the hell out of my work before I have it edited properly and that’s a part of the process that won’t change at all. I just need to condition myself to be faster and better at getting the first drafts done.

I guess with every new project most writers tend to listen to their inner demons too much, giving credence to self-annihilating questions such as: What if no one likes it? What if it’s the biggest load of shit anyone’s ever read in the history of shit books? What if it’s not as good on paper as it is in my head? What if it doesn’t live up to the last book? What if I offend someone? What if no one ‘gets it’? What if the protagonist is a total cockweasel who no one likes? What if it’s a massive one-starrer and destroys the brand I’ve worked my arse off to build up over the years?

Well, I’m gonna extend my middle finger to my inner demons from now on because, well, who’s got time for that shit?

If MS has taught me anything, it’s to push myself and strive for more. It reminded me how valuable time is and that nothing in life is guaranteed. You can be happy and carefree one day, but the next, without any warning, your world can easily be blown apart.

I got through the dark days of MS, and who knows maybe I’ll enjoy another 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, hell, even the rest of my life without another relapse, but the not knowing makes me more determined to succeed in all of the things I’m passionate about…you know, just in case.

MS has made me stronger. It’s taught me to challenge myself more than ever. The treatment has caused merry hell with other aspects of my health, but on the whole I feel pretty much back to my old self. I get flare ups of old damage now and then – a subtle reminder of what happened. And that’s okay, because I never want to forget. I never want to reach a point where I’m blasé about the days when my MS was active and aggressive just because it’s become a distant memory.

Multiple sclerosis is actually latin for ‘many scars’ and, personally, I prefer that term. It sounds more badass.

So, on that note, I’m R. H. Dixon, a girl of many scars. And next year I WILL release four or five books.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Land Spirits & Viking Warlords…

It’s been a while since I last checked in, so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of the project I’m currently working on.

As you know, Emergence, A Storytelling of Ravens and Cribbins are all standalone horror, but this time around I’m working on a series. The first few books will have a nostalgic vibe – think along the lines of It, Stranger Things and Stand By Me. The story will follow the main character, Sullivan Carter, from the mid-90s, when he’s a teen, right up to the current day.

So far Book 1 in the series is all drafted up and I’m halfway through drafting Book 2. My aim is to complete the first four in the series before launching them early next year. It’s a pretty hefty project, but one I’m having a lot of fun with.

To give you an idea of what it’s all about, here’s a summary for Book 1:

When 14-year-old Sullivan Carter and his younger brother, Colton, are forced to hide from school bullies in the cundy (a water conduit in Castle Eden Dene), they are attacked by a terrifying creature which goes on to haunt their dreams.

Rumour has it that some older teens have been performing strange rituals at the cundy and Sullivan believes that he and Colton are now being hunted by an ancient creature that’s been in East Durham since the 900s, when Scula the Danish Viking warlord ruled the area.

When Colton hears voices that draw him back to the cundy, he tells Sullivan he thinks one of them belongs to their dead mother. Sullivan must now step up, reaching beyond his own grief, in order to defend them both against the wily creature.

Or sacrifice himself in order to save his little brother.

Till next time,
R

P.S. The main character from the new series got a sneaky shout-out in Cribbins, so do watch out for that. (John Gimmerick from Emergence did too, I couldn’t resist).

P.P.S. You may remember the cundy from Emergence. My hope is that eventually  Sullivan Carter’s, John Gimmerick’s and Sophie Harrington’s paths will cross. They’re all from Horden, my hometown, after all. And they’re all of a similar age. I’m thinking I could do something pretty cool with that.

Please Give Ravens Some Love ❤️

So, A Storytelling of Ravens is up for an award (incidentally, and coincidentally, a Raven Award from Uncaged Book Reviews). If you have a few seconds to vote, it’s really easy and doesn’t require an email address or that you sign up or anything like that, just check the box and click ‘vote’. Simple as that. A Storytelling of Ravens is in the 5th category down on the page under “Favourite Horror/Psychological Thriller” and is at the top of that list.

So please, if you can, help Callie, Thurston, Smiler, Pollyanna and Uncle Dean get an award…they worked their socks off for that performance. And Whispering Woods grows restless and chatters excitably about it because, well, that’s just the way it is, sweetheart 😉

You can vote HERE

Ravens was also recently reviewed by Horror After Dark  ❤️

Posted in Uncategorized

Hereditary…

Hereditary-2018-movie-posterI went to see Hereditary last night and can see how it might be a Marmite film. Out of a group of 5 of us, I think I was the only one who loved it.

From other reviews many people have said they found it too slow, but for me it wasn’t. I found the pace was essential for character development, which I’m a huge fan of in horror.

Hereditary is one of those films you’ll be thinking about the next day. It had so many undertones. It’s not scary at all in a ‘OMG scary ghost!’ way, it’s WAY more subtle than that. The horror is the uncomfortable feeling of piecing together what’s really going on. And depending what you take from the film, since it’s very subjective, it’s both sad and unsettling.

So yeah, it depends how you like your horror. If you like subtle, psychological gut-churning stuff you’ll probably like it. If you prefer loads of ghost/monster thrills and jump-out-of-your-seat scares, probably not.

Oh and on two final notes, Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne gave outstanding performances! And I found the cinematography to be excellent 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins Launch Day!

Who is Cribbins?

So, Cribbins went live at about midnight GMT. So exciting! It’s a modern ghost story with a bit of a twist. Single mother Sophie Harrington is being haunted by her old neighbour Ronnie Cribbins. She’s also recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and believes her first episode can be linked to the time Cribbins began his terror campaign.

I was diagnosed with MS myself back in 2016, so I’ll make no secret that that’s what influenced Cribbins. Before my diagnosis I didn’t really know what MS was, so I thought it’d be pretty cool to write a book where the main character has MS, to sort of raise some awareness of the autoimmune disease. That thought process then developed further and I began to think it’d be even better if I could take MS as a central theme and weave it into a ghost story somehow.

The idea for the story came about one night when I was staying at my folks’ house, in what used to be my old bedroom. I was in the middle of a relapse and had been to the hospital that day for a second round of IV steroids. I was totally wired with steroid insomnia and just couldn’t get to sleep at all. As I lay there in bed, tossing and turning, suddenly I could hear really loud snoring coming from the house next door. Now, this isn’t overly strange since my folks live in a terraced house and it’s pretty normal to hear stuff going on next door, but the creepy part was that I then convinced myself I could feel the wall breathing against my feet, at the bottom of the bed. And it kept a definite rhythm with the snoring.

Thoughts of dark forces began to take shape and by morning I knew I wanted to write about a vengeful spirit next door who would infiltrate the immune system of my main character, thus causing all kinds of hell for her.

In a way it was quite a cathartic project for me, to be able to personify MS as Cribbins so that ultimately it became the same monster.

Cribbins himself is a fictitious character, however certain quirks and traits of his were heavily influenced by someone I used to know. And the name was borrowed from a gravestone in a cemetery I walk my dogs past every day.

So yeah, that’s pretty much the story behind Cribbins.

It’s now available to buy as an ebook on Amazon HERE
And as a paperback HERE 
It’s also available to read on Kindle Unlimited

Also, the first review is already in! Yey! Thanks for that, Mark ❤️

Next time I have some exciting news to share about the new project I’m working on.

Till then, pleasant dreams,
R

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: 3 weeks to go…

32261005_1331275220305370_8958669981176823808_nBeing my own billboard 😄

Excuse the no make up shot, but hey writing’s not always glamorous  

#thethingswedo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: 4.5 weeks to go…

8

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: 5 weeks to go…MS Awareness Week

MS Awareness Week

13

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: 5.5 weeks to go…

11

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: Brand New Cover…

When the proof copy of Cribbins arrived in the post, I decided I didn’t like it! So, fast forward lots of stress, here’s the brand new cover…

COMING SOON...FRIDAY 1ST JUNE 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

Cribbins: 7 weeks to go…

15

Posted in Uncategorized