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Author's Corner: Yourself/Books > R J Askew ~ One Swift Summer

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message 1: by R.J. (last edited Oct 29, 2014 02:29PM) (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments Greetings all. I live in St Albans just outside London. I was a journalist and editor with a big news agency until recently. Literary fiction's my preference, esp novellas. I also read and review a lot as well as write. One Swift Summer is a story of redemption set in Kew Gardens. I wrote it in about 2001. I collected a file of rejection letters from agents and the story slept under my bed, gathering dust n dead spiders for a decade. No rush! Pitch: a young photo-journalist needs to refocus her life after seeing one too many wars. She meets Tom after she scopes in on his smile through her camera lens. I hope you will be tempted to have a look at how she is drawn by Tom. I am happy to discuss any aspect of writing, editing, reading. My itch is to do more voice work online, in part to practice for public readings. I used to read poetry in public, but I was never very well rehearsed. Still, it's great to breathe life into creative work. I look fwd to hearing from you. *bows*
One Swift Summer by R.J. Askew

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) It looks interesting RJ - I would be tempted if I didn't have so many on my tbr list at the moment. Good luck with it and welcome to the group.

message 3: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments Cheers CMF .. I am more than happy to be in the Magical Universe .. best place to be! *bows*

p.s. what is top of your list?

message 4: by R.J. (last edited Oct 30, 2014 12:47PM) (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments Halloween nears .. this short started out as a puff for a series of stories I collaborated on. Indie Shadwick is a messed up creative, the power behind Jack O. Savage. But he sucks the life out of her, in part because she knows that other women idolise him, which leaves her insanely riven. She dies under the wheels of a Penzance to London express. But that is far from the end of her .. in fact it is just the beginning:

INDIE GHOSTING - that thousand word stare

Now that I am dead.

Don't look so shocked. You always knew there was no escape. Always said I'd be back for you.

Well, here I am, a-pageanting through your helpless perception. Two poems a-straining on their leashes. Down, you two! Behave.

No point, Jack. Absolutely no point looking around. Not where I am, silly! I'm here. Yes. Behind .. your eyes.

Now that I am dead.

I've taken to it, Jack love. No surprise there, my life being what it was. But this! O this! The opportunities for mischief! Beyond measure, I can tell you.

I tried out my powers on a taxi driver. He crashed. I was shocked, the thought, shocked. I didn't mean him to. But he did. Seeing my pale face in his rear view.

The power is tremendous. Feel it coursing through me now? So dead, I'm electric!

He didn't die, the driver. I didn't set out to kill him. Though I must admit the thought of expediting another's passage does have a certain novelty appeal. 'Take me to Death, my good man. I tip well, damned well.'

The places I've been to, Jack. Wherever I please. Windsor Castle. The old lady. Because she's there. Curiosity. She sensed I was there, quiet though I was. I think she thought I was death come for her at last. I kept very quiet. I didn't move. I just stood there in the back of her mind, watching. The view through her Britannic majesty's eyes. She knew I was there, alright.

I wander minds. Tis my way. I wouldn't exactly say I haunt them. Do you feel haunted now, love? No, thought not. How could you? I love you, Jack. Still do. Said I would and I still .. do. Love you.
So here I am. Loving you from the great beyond, behind your eyes.

Relax. I said I'd be back. Your pulse is going faster than that..

Sorry, Jack. I know how you felt when I passed. I watched how you were. I realise now you meant all those lovely things you said to me. You know, chickens and children.

If only I hadn't been so stupidly jealous. Things would have been so much easier between us. But then would you have wanted them to be? Honestly now, would you?

I excited you, didn't I? In a dull and disappointing world, your Indie gave you a reason to shave. I'm rather proud of that, actually. Slip of a woman like me with a man like you you! God, I loved you. Yes, I was more intelligent than you. Yes, I was ten times more lucky in my creativity than you.

I always used to think it would end, that my luck would pitter-patter out on me. That's what made me so desperate for another bite of you and another and another. The fear of losing you. How wrong I was!

But then how do and of us ever know? Perhaps it was my crazy fear of losing you, my desperate love that did it for you.

Would you have loved me as you did if I'd been Belgium's number one quilting queen, as calm as a crocheted cloud? Methinks not.

Feeling a little better now? Good boy. I do believe you are. You knew I'd be back. You knew your Indie wouldn't just lie down and die like a loser.

We were winners, Jack. Everything we touched, apart from ourselves. But then the love we made. More than most people make in ten lifetimes. God, we were hot.

Now that I'm dead, I've been wondering how we'd have been had we still been an 'us' at ninety. I think you'd have killed me actually. Or my manic upswings might have driven you over the edge. And that now it would be you ghosting around in my lost mind. Doctor I have a deceased poet's being behind mine eyes. The look on their faces.

Speaking of which, I've been fine since I've been dead. No more annoying cerebral oscillations, existential tipping points. No more of anything actually, but I have to say there is a certain joy in not being all over the place. And, another thing, you notice how delightfully quiet it is once you go ex-body. The gratuitous noise in life is truly awful. Oh yes, death is much less raucous than life's monstrous gannet colony. Pecketty-peck. Heed me, read me.

How do I look, Jack? Come on, in your mind's eye. Focus! How do I look in death? I think my hair suits me longer, don't you? If you like it, I think I'll keep it long. What do you say? Tell me.

Jack, I'm going to do something now. Get ready. I'm going to straddle this synapse. Something tells me..

There. How does that feel?

Something tells me that I can still turn you on, even from the great beyond.

How does this feel? Tell me. It's me Jack Savage, your Indie. Still hot for you, hotter actually. There's been no one else Jack, not before and not since, my death that is. Only you. Can you feel how I am for you, rocking back and forth on this synapse of bliss.

That's it, let me feel you still love me Jack. It's been a while. I've been through a lot. I need you more in death than I ever did in life. Can you cope? I know you found it hard to cope with me in life. Can you cope with me in death? I hope you can because I need you Jack. Kiss me Jack. Kiss me sepulchrally.

That's it my Jack. Sort yourself out for me. I need you too, need to know my womanly power over you lives within you. Do it for me, just do it. I want you to. Go on, your Indie loves you so.

The things they wrote about us, about me, about you. Little did they know! Imagine if they could see us now, engaged in this act of haunting love. Not that I want them to. I know you would, you shameless showman you! But then my body is, ach was, not as drop-dead as yours. You might not be be able to write as good a line as I, but the lines of your ribs! I always loved your ribs the most. My butcher's model you. Even now! Even now, you work me up.

Goooooooood boy, Jack, good boy you, o you.

I confess I've thought of borrowing another's body, taking them over, possessing them for a season, coming to you, Indie re-incarnated, taking you. Some beautiful body, stunning you. Would you like that? And then I'd speak to you through her and you would know it was me, come to you. I'd unleash these two poems into your being. You could write them down, be my amanuensis. You are a man, aren't you?

Save here I am, as I am, your Indie. I wouldn't want you wanting another's body, even with me inside it.

Jaaaaaaack! O Jack. Don't look so sad. There's no need to cry. Don't cry. Please don't cry. You don't want the tears of ghost staining the cushions of your soul. Come on Jack.

Oh no. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry Jack. I've upset you. It's all been too much for you. You're still far too alive to cope with my death. I see it. I see it now. I have to go. But I'll be back. Perhaps it will be easier next time. Promise me you won't block me. Promise. Don't block me like some potentially unwanted programme.

The thought of not being able to visit you...


Promise Jack! Or this will not end at all well for you - now that one is dead.

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) R.J. wrote: "Cheers CMF .. I am more than happy to be in the Magical Universe .. best place to be! *bows*

p.s. what is top of your list?"

When I've finished GoT 2 - I will be reading the next in line of my Jeffrey Archer's
Be Careful What You Wish For (The Clifton Chronicles #4) by Jeffrey Archer Be Careful What You Wish For

as I've really enjoyed the first 3 in this series.

....then, possibly

The Secrets of the Notebook A Royal Love Affair and a Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Incredible Family Secret. Eve Haas by Eve Haas The Secrets of the Notebook: A Royal Love Affair and a Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Incredible Family Secret. Eve Haas by Eve Haas

message 6: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 245 comments I have to say One Swift Summer is a stonking story! I really enjoyed it.

message 7: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments Kath wrote: "I have to say One Swift Summer is a stonking story! I really enjoyed it."

THANKS Kath, much appreciated. *bows*

message 8: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments T4bsF wrote: "R.J. wrote: "Cheers CMF .. I am more than happy to be in the Magical Universe .. best place to be! *bows*

p.s. what is top of your list?"

When I've finished GoT 2 - I will be reading the next i..."

I might give one of those Jeffrey Archer's a go .. the last one of his I read was Kane and Abel but that was a long time ago.

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) I read Kane and Abel a long time ago too, and it was that book that made me a fan of his. Before reading that, I was quite convinced that anything that came from the mind of a tory/MP/Jailbird would be rubbish, but I found him to be a very interesting author.

message 10: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments T4bsF wrote: "I read Kane and Abel a long time ago too, and it was that book that made me a fan of his. Before reading that, I was quite convinced that anything that came from the mind of a tory/MP/Jailbird wou..."

Yes, he's a natural. He lives and thinks fast. His mind must be like an Orc's kitchen. Also because he's lived a bit that must fuel his imagination. Quite a life. He's a great storyteller.

message 11: by R.J. (last edited Oct 31, 2014 03:39AM) (new)



Following, always a-following
Following you now
Ticking of spokes
Just a bike!
A riderless bike
All white, just a-coasting along behind you
Bell, white
Saddle, white
Tyres ... white
White, whites, eyes, white
Can you see me? Deep Lee
Sharper now?
Or now?
Moreso on your way a-home
Late at night, No-No-November
To an empty, emptier, emptying red, bed, bled, dead

message 12: by R.J. (new)


Time to focus on marketing. Three years after putting a story on amazon this might seem a little late. Add on the 18-mo I wasted on Harper Collins' and I'm 4-1/2 years out of pocket. I now wonder if a story which has been out and about for a while, but not caught a breeze can redeem itself? Or is such a story like one of those houses you see in the house ads that never sells, month after month because the owners had just got it all wrong time and price wise?

I don't think so. Give an ebook a new title and a new cover and off we go! Bang out a few thou copies via a freebie and... Then what? I know, give that zombie of a website the kiss of life! Ever kissed a zombie website before? Thought not. I have two of them actually and - the second of which probably tells you all you need to know about my social media skills. I watch others here there and everywhere who are like social media gymnasts the way they do the biz, all slinky tweets n sexy facebooks. Alas, my electronic smile is as left-handed as my real one. So social media will never get me that thousandth sale.

How about a bit of old fashion rsss licking on a local level? St Albans has just hosted its first ever literary festival. Whoop! Whoop! Tezza Wogan was the headline act, it was that classy. Squirts n swoons.

Anyway, I pulls my black-faded-to-rust hoodie hood up and slinks into Waterstones on the high street last Thursday night, like a fox in the waste bins. Of the 40 or so peeps there, about 23 read their stuff. This was good. Far better than tapping one's life away, ineffectually trying to ingratiate oneself to other newbie wannabes. I am animated. A couple of the readers are stoked. And, luckily, none of them stinks the place out. I don't like to witness abject jabbering in public. It bothers me. There but for.. y'know.

Anyway, come half time, I close in on one of said readers and start to give it large. The full praise and curiosity attack. The poor guy had probably never been more bigged up in all his life. And I was genuine about it. I loved his stuff. My hand was shaking, such was my enthusiasm.

Fact is, it was great to meet real authors, reading their stuff to real people. I mean it was, erm, - real, I suppose is the only word for it.

I latch onto a woman who wants to know if anyone has published an ebook. You may well imagine my sharky smile as I reach for my handly little silver case packed with biz cards of my new front cover. Damn, did you see that sly glint on my front tooth as I deploy my TV-teeth smile. Not that I actually have TV-teeth, but we can all dream.

Anyway, she hangs on my every word - I cld see her turning puce and choking. I can't believe anyone knows less than me about the ebook biz, but they do. I get home and I sell a tranch of war loan to buy her book. 77p. My review is live by noon the next day. I actually loved the book. Genuinly. No seriously, I loved the book. It is a masterly piece of satire. But the author does not even own a kindle and hasn't a scooby about how to catch the breeze for her story. I cld weep. Esp as she also can't actually buy yours truly's rebranded n relaunched product, as Harper Collins might refer to a book. Da Product. Da Branding. Da Da. Time to relaunch DaDaism Da maybe Da?

Anyway, that was the end of my BIG marketing push. The book signing I planned to go to, and the Sat afternoon seminar, and the local poet's gig on Sunday in some half-baked-potato bar were all sadly missed. But hell, I did manage to hand out that one biz card, so I'm still in with a shout.

Meanwhile, here I am, tap, tap, tapping, rap, tap, tapping my life away from by amply proportioned kitchen - seats eight - in he heart of St Albans, Deadrie the dishwasher churning away happily to my right. Nice dishy-wishy-washer - writing an ebook are we for NoNov, are we? I wonder how Tezza Wogan's marketing push went. I believe he has a book to sell right now, too. Don't we all. Ahm only buy'en 'is if he's buy'en mahn, like. Cue 'Wonderwall - Oasis', ah kid.

message 13: by R.J. (last edited Nov 14, 2014 03:09PM) (new)

R.J. Askew (rjaskew) | 12 comments some tough writing here .. how strong are yous as a reader? ..

FREE nov 14-15 .. grabit n run

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