Cure for a Broken Heart?

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck

For one week The Cundy is on sale for 99p (99c). It’s a promotion that’s been lined up for a while, but one I don’t have much drive to market at the moment. So don’t worry, no hard sales pitch. If you want to grab a bargain, go for it. If not, no worries.

The Cundy is a story that inspired a lot of rawness of emotion in me. And right now it seems in some way cruelly apt. See, last week I lost my little boy.

I’ve never given birth to kids, but I adopted two furry ones (Marvin and Delilah) who I’ve always classed as my son and daughter. And why wouldn’t I? They’re clever, funny, insanely loving and have the same traits as the best kind of people. They’ve been with me pretty much 24×7 since they were 8 weeks old, respectively, and because I talk to them every day about anything and everything, they have a wide understanding of vocabulary. So much so, my husband and I have to talk using code words often. I mean, you can’t go throwing words like ‘sausages’, ‘dinner’ or ‘hungry’ about without inciting a bouncing-off-the-walls kind of excitement.

Marvin was only 8. Was taken from us much too soon. Me and him, we were autoimmune buddies. He was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease around four months after my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. But we got each other through the bad times. We had it covered. Or so we thought.

My husband and I took him to the vets with what we thought to be a stomach bug that was triggering the beginnings of an Addison’s crisis. We’d seen the symptoms many times before. We thought his monthly injection a few days early would make everything ok. Little did we know that his illness and medication had damaged his kidneys.

In the vet’s surgery last week, our world was blown apart. The vet told us that Marvin’s kidneys were shutting down. He was in a very bad way. His kidney levels were so high, they were off the chart. With no option for dialysis or transplant, we were advised to take him home and spend the night saying goodbye. It all happened that quickly.

I think it’s fair to say that I’m traumatised. Reeling with shock, numb with grief and utterly heartbroken.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Sometimes I find it cathartic to write about the bad stuff. I dunno. I’m willing to give anything a go if it’ll ease the pain.

And I wanted you to know that I’m still working on the next book (The Shadow of a Shadow). Every day’s a struggle right now though and I don’t know when it’ll be ready. Delilah takes priority. She’s grieving and sad too, and needs guidance from me in establishing a new routine, whatever that will be. I will get there though, I’ll keep chipping away at the manuscript till it’s done. In the meantime, if I’m quiet for a while, you know why.

Rachael x

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Alexa, Turn on the ******* Light!

“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.” – Dracula, Bram Stoker

It’s April already, which means I’m another year older (ugh), the Game of Thrones grand finale season is imminent (eek) and The Cundy has been out for a whole month!

Aside from constantly bickering with Alexa, or so it would seem, about her never fulfilling my requests (like turning on the damn lights, playing whatever music I ask for and answering simple questions), what else have I been up to since March?

Let’s see.

I got a new haircut (nothing particularly scary about that, at least I don’t think). Held a launch event for The Cundy. And was excited to learn that not only will Twisty the Clown from American Horror Story be at Sheffield HorrorCon next month, but so will Corey Feldman. Corey Feldman! He was, like, my first ever celebrity crush – The Goonies, Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, The ‘Burbs – so I’m thinking, maybe I owe it to my childhood self to go and meet him. Ha!

I’ve also been working hard on the next book.

The Shadow of a Shadow (current working title) is going to be an atmospheric and gruesome ghost story based in Whitby (a fishing village in North Yorkshire where Bram Stoker’s Dracula washed ashore on the Russian ship Demeter).

Whitby is, undoubtedly, one of my most favourite places in the UK. I’ve spent many fabulous, often drunken (as pictured below, riding the Whitby whale) weekends there for the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend and I’m a huge fan of Dracula, so it stands to reason that I would base a piece of my own fiction there.

I’ll give you more in depth details next time around (I’m still working on the summary).

So far The Cundy has gathered some great reviews, for which I’m both relieved and grateful!

“A feat which most authors strive for is to have the people they create come “alive”, and connect with the reader on some level. Dixon manages to do that seemingly effortlessly. Overall, I felt this was an extremely well described, atmospheric novel that showcased a boy coming-of-age to perfection. R.H. Dixon has a true gift with her words, and personally, I plan on being in line for each new release she comes out with.” – Horror After Dark

“This is a book that will scare the living … right out of you. I love the way Dixon tells a story, and brings the reader right in, emotions running high, heart pounding excitement, and serious character development. I couldn’t stop reading this book, even though in some parts, you just want to look away, but you can’t. Magnificently heart-pounding story.” – Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews

“Once again, Dixon weaves her magic with grounded and vivid characters who evoke feelings of empathy, frustration and hope in equal measures.The Cundy is completely immersive and effortlessly well-written, with unflinching characters and colourful dialogue. Download it now!” – Goodreads Reader

If you’ve already read and enjoyed The Cundy (or any of my other books for that matter), please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. As an indie author without the backing of a large publishing house, I really do rely on reviews and word of mouth to get noticed. Even just a few words will do!

And if you haven’t read The Cundy yet, you can find it HERE

Till next time,

Rachael

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The Cundy Launch Event…

Some pics from the launch event yesterday at Hartlepool Central Hub on York Road…

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Glossary for The Cundy…

The Cundy is based in the northeast of England and so to keep it as real as possible, I stayed true to local dialect and terminology. I think international readers will easily be able to pick up on and identify all of the meanings from the context alone, but for the sake of clarity, and because I thought it would be a fun thing to do, I decided to compile a list of some of the words and phrases that I used in The Cundy and explain them anyway…

Brolly – Shortened term for umbrella

Comprehensive School – Also called Secondary School in the UK. Year 7 (age 11/12) through to Year 11 (age 15/16)

Cundy – Water conduit/tunnel/passage

Curtains – Drapes

Dinner – Lunch (in certain areas of northern England, dinner is the midday meal)

Fanny – Slang word for female genitalia. Also a popular derogatory insult for someone who’s overly fussing about something: “Oh stop being such a fanny.” Or used as a verb in the same context: “He’s fannying about with his hood ‘cause he doesn’t want to get his hair wet.”

Football – Soccer

Gannin’ – Going (I only used this once in the entire book, so that it wasn’t too jarring, but in Horden if you’re going anywhere, you’re gannin’)

Jumper – Sweater

Junior School – Also called Primary School in the UK (age 6/7 to 10/11)

Mam – Mother/Mum/Mom/Ma

Me – Me and also used for My. Me is always used in the usual, correct manner: “Me and you.” But also used in place of my (in dialogue only, not the written word): “Have you seen me bag anywhere?” (Again, I only used this once in the whole book, to give a flavour of authenticity, when Kevin England says: “I’m gannin’ home now, I’m soaked to me nads.”)

Nads – Gonads (I’m sure it’s probably shortened to the same word everywhere else, but it’s a fairly common word in the northeast when referring to testicles)

Pet – Common term of endearment, usually used by the older generation, like ‘Would you like a cup of tea, pet?’ You could expect to be called a whole range of other things like flower, flowerpot, hinny, pet lamb, chicken, love, sweetheart too. This isn’t exclusively used by people you know either, it will most definitely be used by your gran, but also random strangers who, say, bump into you in the supermarket: “Sorry, flower, didn’t see you there.”

Swot – A derogatory term used to poke fun at a particularly studious person. Typically, kids call each other swots (or at least they did in my day)

Tea – Dinner (in England we love drinking tea – mine’s milk with one sugar, thanks – but in certain areas of northern England our evening meals are also called tea).

Torch – Flashlight

Trainers – Sneakers

Trousers – Pants

Wank – Masturbate (of the same ilk, it’s a popular derogatory insult to call annoying/obnoxious people wankers and tossers)

I use British English, so of course there are spelling differences between that and US English, for instance blonde, grey, pyjamas, maths and colour etc, but if there are any specific terminologies that I’ve missed, feel free to point them out and I’ll add them to the list. Again, I feel that staying true to the area adds flavour to the novel and keeps it real, and I hope that you (if you’re not from the area) enjoy the local lingo.

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OUT NOW! The Cundy…

The Cundy is a coming of age tale set in the mid-90s in my hometown, Horden, in the northeast of England.

I took inspiration from local history, specifically from the time when Scula the Danish Viking warlord ruled the area of East Durham in the 900s. It blends Norse mythology and the occult.

I also took inspiration from the schooldays and pop culture of my own teenage years.

My imagination has always erred on the dark side and as a kid I remember being fascinated by the actual cundy (a water conduit) in Horden dene, so it’s hardly surprising that The Cundy came to be.

If you dare step into the darkness, go and grab a copy on Amazon now – (Amazon UK & Amazon US ). Also available to read on Kindle Unlimited.

At present it’s only available on Amazon. I do hope to make my work available on other ereader platforms in the future, but until then you can always download the free Kindle app to your phone/tablet and read it that way.

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The Cundy: 12 Days to Go…

It’s March! Which means, it’s the month of The Cundy!

Yesterday I went on a field trip to where the book is based and took some photos.

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Buried deep within the dene, this water conduit (known locally as the cundy) always inspired great feelings of excitement and dread when I was a kid. Returning to it as an adult it still managed to inspire a certain unease.

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It’s like the Tardis of tunnels (way longer than you’d ever imagine it to be) and once you’re inside, the darkness completely consumes you. I was so disorientated halfway through, I had to use the torch on my phone to light the way – which, in turn, highlighted loads of spiders that looked like they’d been on steroids!

So if you’re at all arachnophobic then I’d suggest you don’t wander into the cundy.

And if you’re afraid of the dark, enter at your peril.

#TheresSomethingInTheDark

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Me with the beast of the cundy! (aka my folks’ Bedlington terrier, Molly) 😀

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#WIHMX Day 28 – R. H. Dixon

On the final day of Women in Horror Month I’m choosing myself because, hey, I need some love too! It’s a tough gig being an indie horror author.

One of my main strengths as a writer, so I’m told, is creating characters that resonate with my readers. I come from an ex-mining village in the northeast of England and I like to keep my characters as grounded and genuine as anyone you’d ever meet there. I like ordinary people in ordinary situations because, for me, that’s when the impact of any unfolding horror really strikes a chord.

My work is probably best described as psychological horror with underlying supernatural elements.

If you haven’t read any of my stuff already, please, go on, give me a whirl 🖤

And if you do enjoy my books, please share the love and tell all of your horror-loving friends and family. I don’t have the support of a big publishing house behind me for lavish marketing campaigns, so I really do rely on your word of mouth. Thank you!

My latest offering, The Cundy, will be launched in just two weeks (13th March) and my other three novels – Emergence, A Storytelling of Ravens & Cribbins – are all available on Amazon as ebooks (including Kindle Unlimited), paperbacks and hardbacks, and can be ordered into most bookstores as paperbacks and hardbacks.

I delight in what I fear - Shirley Jackson

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#WIHMX Day 27 – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Today I’m choosing author Richie Tankersley Cusick. She wrote quite a few of the Point Horror books, which I devoured as a teen, including the very first one that I ever picked up and read – Trick or Treat.

For that reason, she’ll always stick in my mind and have a special place in my heart.

I delight in what I fear - Shirley Jackson

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#WIHMX Day 26 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Today I’m choosing writer and humanist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her story The Yellow Wallpaper was a semi-biographical piece written when she was suffering from postnatal depression.

The Yellow Wallpaper is a harrowing tale in which Gilman highlights the issue of mental health in a time when women experiencing depression were seen as being hysterical and nervous.

I delight in what I fear - Shirley Jackson

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#WIHMX Day 25 – Sarah Pinborough

Today I’m choosing author Sarah Pinborough specifically for her novel Mayhem which is a supernatural thriller set in the time when Jack the Ripper was on the prowl.

As well as the fact that I do love a good Jack the Ripper mystery, Mayhem totally absorbed me into its setting of London’s gaslit streets and opium dens. I felt like I could well have been there. Loved it!

"I delight in what I fear" - Shirley Jackson.jpg

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