Many a dream can be realised with a little forethought. The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives. The great effort each couple puts into arranging a scenario seems to enhance the quality of the experience. A great source of inspiration for this and other works has been the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.
Seductive Semaphore: Fashion Designer Bethesda and journalist Hector live opposite each other, with windows facing. They make initial contact through visible, provocative gestures. Soon afterwards, they get direct contact when Hector assists Bethesda with her folio. She invites him round to model for some of her fashion creations, and proceeds to seduce him. The seduction continues with a ritual visit to a sports centre, and then to a beach. They leave it open as to whether their relationship could ever become long-term.
The Heroine and the Author: Dreamer Hecate discovers she has a terminal illness. She wants to make the most of the time she has left by being celebrated in literature as a charismatic, legendary figure. She meets Ferdinand, a ghost writer, who is happy to undertake this massive project with her. In the process, She gets an idea of his physique through jogging and the fitness centre. Then there is a seduction scene inspired by the literary models of Sappho and Donne. Being ‘open-minded’, they make a pact for each one to go and have a sexual adventure – his hetero, hers lesbian. Their relationship is enhanced by this extra dimension.
Dreamtime Sensuality: Romona, highly literary and highly inhibited, goes to an exotic island location. She deeply desires a passionate encounter. At the Pension where she stays, she meets Stefano, who fulfils her requirements exactly. The proprietress of the Pension picks up on Romona’s shyness, and gives her reassurance, including some practice in the art of kissing. Romona orchestrates an elaborate beach seduction scenario, and they are both fulfilled. They never meet again, but their exchange of emails and text messages goes on indefinitely.
Dancing with Danger: Verona is a Scriptwriter and Gareth an archaeologist. They both have ‘retreats’ near the coast, and discover their common interests. Verona contrives a half-seduction on a deserted beach, wearing 18th century retro gear – related to their common interests. After some further encounters, they give each other a ‘dare’ to go and have a really risky encounter with someone really dodgy. Gareth finds a young woman on the run. Verona has a rapturous encounter with someone who gets hauled in by the police, suspected of terrorism. She uses her charm on the interrogating police officer to extricate herself. So Verona and Gareth both meet up again, to tell their respective tales.
Hecate read some verses of Sappho, which she felt totally appropriate to his slender grace, so nearly androgynous. She quoted a phrase demanding his fixed, concentrated stare into her eyes. The eye contact was clinched Hecate’s introduction was a quote from her.
Ferdinand responded to the prompt; he knew what he had to do—gradually, at intervals, he removed his garments one by one as she breathily read the hypnotic, seductive phrases.
His garments came off with ease and grace, he obviously had some long-repressed desire to do this. At last, he stood before her, beautiful, naked, and slender. Somehow, his spirit prevailed over his earlier reticence, he shed his shyness with his clothing. Since she saw him in trunks, Hecate anticipated this moment with such relish. If the pool had been empty when they were there, she would have taken them off there, or in the shower. Perhaps something could happen, or even be premeditated in the future, on a deserted beach, secluded amid the dunes.
She handed him a volume of the collected poems of John Donne. “Now, I think you know which one I want you to read me. Hmm…while we’ve been working together, I bet you’ve had some reveries of me undressing, you undressing me.”
“I have to admit that is so and I know which poem you mean, it’s Elegy Nineteen—To His Mistress Going to Bed.
“We really are on the same wavelength darling. I had learned of that poem as a young girl, with a desperate desire one day to enact it. Every word of it struck home as I disrobed alone, for years I yearned for that lovely partner to give me those instructions live.”
Ferdinand beamed, then quoted from near the end of the poem referring to the poet’s nakedness at the beginning of the action. Then he proceeded to read, with his lovely, hypnotic voice.
He really made Hecate’s girdle feel like Saturn’s rings As she undid her sash and cast it down, she felt her abdomen was bathed in heavenly light, visible only to spiritual eyes.
The request to remove her ‘breastplate’ gave her an etheric shudder. Taking off the brooch at the top of her dress felt like casting away a shield, affirming that strife and combat had been replaced by love.
In response to the exhortation to unlace, she felt deliciously nervous as her fingers twitched on her zips and buttons.
As the gown went off following the next command, Hecate felt she had emerged from a perennial cocoon, that she was the sun liberated from the constricting veils of night.
As for a ‘coronet’, Hecate was only wearing a slide, but removing it certainly helped her locks flow freely.
It was great to feel liberated from footwear; earlier on her high heels had felt so sexy. But now her stockinged feet tingled with electric desire.
With her underwear, admittedly she found nylon, calico and silk sexier than linen, but the word, so sensually uttered, really relevant. (from The Heroine and the Author – Story 2)
When David first contacted me about reviewing Dreamtime Sensuality, I must admit that I was a little hesitant. I’m trying to think of a nice way to say this, but I’m not sure there is one…
Over the last few years, there has been an endless stream of crap flowing from a myriad of sources like small press, indie, and even large press publishers. We’re talking stories that are poorly written with editing that is even worse, typesetting that would make Gutenberg spin in his grave, and cover art that makes your eyes cross. I have read (or at least tried to read) many such works. I’ve even reviewed a few. To make things totally clear, I was more than a little gun shy that I’d end up trying to say nice things about yet another book that sucks the life out of everyone who looks at it like some kind of literary Medusa.
Frankly, the fact that David is a man working in a female dominated genre made me—perhaps against my better judgment—agree to do a review.
So, here we are…I just finished reading Dreamtime Sensuality. For the third time in the past week.
The four short stories making up the collection are universally delightful. The characters are all likable and believable, though I can see some Americans finding the characters slightly stiff. Keep in mind the British background. I’ve always been a bit of an exhibitionist and voyeur. Perhaps this is why I so easily related to the characters. Or, just as likely, David has created characters that are so real that they are easy to relate to.
Sometimes, when I review a book, I actually try to give away the story. Call it fair warning. With Dreamtime Sensuality, I have no such temptation. I want to paint a picture for you that will encourage you to read this book because I believe that you will enjoy it as much as I have. Let me just say that the stories are a breath of fresh air in a pile of pungent refugee books.
Next, I would be remiss unless I mention what an easy read these stories are. Yes, they are short, taking under thirty minutes to read, but that’s not what I mean by easy. I mean that the editor earned their money. I found three editing errors, and I had to look for one of them. The average reader isn’t going to find that many. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the work in technical terms.
If I go on here too much longer, I’ll start spouting the stories out to you, so let me wrap this up here and now…
Dreamtime Sensuality gets a hearty FIVE STARS and a Recommended Read from me!
Keep Loving! – Melodee Aaron
Erotic Poetry and Artwork
By HAPPY READING REVIEWS on 16 May 2015
David Russell is a poet with an excellent command of language. In Sensual Rhapsody, he offers twenty-four poems accompanied by eighteen unique pastel illustrations to enhance his words. Russell’s drawings remind me of the work of Gauguin and other well-known abstract artists; each depicting bodies in motion that mirror the fluidity of his poetry. The erotic theme is sustained by the presence of water and swimmers as a metaphor to the attraction of two people who are discovering each other.
Although the poems are titled, the collection is so closely interwoven, it gives a feeling of one long prose poem. The book begins with The First Adventure as the narrator leads us through the emotions of first love, or at least a new love. I am enchanted by the images evoked by lines such as: “Framed in an idyllic memory” and “as the cloud-clad sun disrobed.” And I especially liked Lyric, a three stanza rhyming poem and would have liked to see more done in this form. Both humor and suspense are found in Strip Card Game, the last poem in the book.
As with all poetry, Sensual Rhapsody is a book to be read again and again, discovering new food for thought with each reading. And with Russell’s book, also finding new meaning in the unique illustrations that accompany his words.
A very handsome but shy man yearns to have a one-night stand with a sexy woman.
One day he decided to step out of his comfort zone and gained enough courage to ask a girl out.
This is an interesting short story, told in the first person from the male protagonist’s point of view. I enjoyed how it was somewhat like one of those “tell a secret” confession letters, but still rich in detail and descriptions. There’s quite a bit of internal discussion – as one would expect from a first-person tale – and I was pleased that for a change we got to see and experience everything from the man’s point of view. It was different to how a woman would have told the story, and I found this made the story fresh and quite interesting.
I found the dialogue a little stilted, almost oddly formal in places considering it was a sexual experience – for example “At last, your courage has fused with your admirable circumspection”. I wondered if this was written on purpose – to add to the air of an old film, or perhaps the unreality of a fantasy come to life. The slight off-beat language jarred me now and then, but wasn’t strong enough to make me want to stop reading, and certainly didn’t dampen my curiosity about how it would all end up.
I was also a little surprised at the dichotomy of the protagonist. In his opening sentence he declares “Yes, I’m a narcissist and proud of it”, yet he’s too shy to ask a woman out for a date. He’s spent months exercising and buffing his body up to perfection, but can’t gather the courage to ask a still-life model out for dinner and a date. While this paradox confused me, it also intrigued me. I’ll admit to still being a little confused even by the ending, but as this was his first experience and he later explains further about his shyness, I came away with the feeling that the protagonist was a lot more complicated than we could get to understand in the briefness of the story.
This was a very different style of story and probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Still I have to admit I really enjoyed it. I liked the different perspective, the feel of a romantic confession and the fact it was unlike practically every other story I’ve read. It’s fresh and different and that alone made it well worth the read. There is one very tastefully written sex scene, quite graphic but nothing I found remotely offensive. I think readers interested in a take on a man’s sexual experience and fantasy, or those who enjoy “confessions of” style tales should find this quite enjoyable.
Originally posted at Long and Short Reviews.
This novelette tells a story of emerging or perhaps re-emerging sexual vitality, as told from both male and female perspectives. While it describes adults, it has the quality of being both a projective look by adolescents, toward their sexual future, and retrospective looks by adults, toward their earlier, and now re-awakened sexuality.
Much of the sexual energy is diffused in the telling of the story, and the climax (which is both literal and figurative) is really a plateau. The reader could stand on it, along with the protagonists, feel satisfaction at having reached this place, and then gaze out and wonder, “what new sexual adventures await these two sexual adventurers?” It’s certainly not “deep” as one commentator suggested, but the novelette is introspective, and does build to a satisfying conclusion. It is work of surface textures, well suited to the milieu of swimming. Definitely well worth reading. The author also has poems and original artwork that build on this motif of sex and swimming, at eroticpoems.org.
Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to ‘spread their wings’ and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other’s minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other’s depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even does into ‘dreamscape’, making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced …
David Russell doesn’t hold back in Further Explorations. I enjoyed reading about Cedric and Janice. They share so many of the same qualities, thoughts and experiences. Reading about characters with a lot in common was a breath of fresh air, as most wo/man pairs are drawn together by their differences, opposites attract and all. Cedric and Janice, on the other hand, are drawn together as if they are one being no matter how much physical distance is between them.
As Cedric and Janice take off to different parts of the world, we get to experience the depth of their understanding of each other, their wild experiences, and how they communicate with one another. For example, Chapter 15 was especially memorable because their instinct told them that their beings had fused, that they were in absolute synch wherever in the world each of them was, whatever the physical distance between them.
Further Explorations is a great read because David really focuses on getting into the character’s mind. This novel does a great job communicating the experiences of Janice and Cedric, and pulling your mind into their connection. David’s descriptive writing is rich and any woman who loves a slow burning read will enjoy Further Explorations.
In the heyday of the Hippie Counterculture, Jim, a disaffected postgraduate, goes on a rural retreat in quest of his identity. He finds a cool alternative abode, which initiates in a bizarre relationship with the housemother, Celia, who turns out to be an undercover police officer, but also with dubious connections. Things develop, including a delicious one—off with Celia, and Jim is drawn towards the edges of nefarious activity. He ends up waiting for his Barrister, convinced he will clear him.
Jim Herrington ran across an ad in his Alternative Organic Living magazine. He was on a sabbatical of sorts traveling the country side via hitchhiking escaping university life momentarily. The ad was for a room to rent. He appeared at the door and after a few brief questions, which on some level impressed the interrogator, Celia, he was admitted to residency there.
However this living arrangement was a little more than he bargained for. Seven people, to include him, lived in the house. There were tasks to be done in the communal areas but not necessarily by assignment and a few rules to live by. But for the most part he felt the place would work for him and it was great to be living in a “natural unpressurized context.” Conversely nothing was really as it seemed and though he felt this as time moved on, he still ended up caught in the undercurrent of madness.
The house was heady with drugs, probably liquor, chatter, music and visitors. Celia ended up taking him on a wild ride. Sometimes she engaged him through conversation, sometimes through flirtation along with unidentified rage based on the concept in her head that things were not organized or nothing really outlined. Patrick, one of the inhabitants, attempted to enlighten Jim with this explanation – that things were organized:
“…but all according to the unwritten codes of instinct; the psychic equilibrium of this establishment depends on our not spelling out too many things to each other. You see, any failure or intuition about people’s functions, possessions or territory, here, can lead to the most extreme psychoses…”
This statement alone fits the procession of the story. Celia turned out to be the most psychotic of them all. Or was she – as she embraced sex and conversation as a weapon to elicit things she needed, living in the fantasies of her imagination until finally Jim became entwined in a crime for which he was arrested, anchored only in suspicion and association.
The hero, Percival arranges a date through a contact mag. He and Darlene have a rapturous scenario, handled with superb finesse and supreme command of the wardrobe. He finds some hints of her complicated past. Before and after the encounter, he is eyed up and accosted by malicious-seeming men. The sense of an underlying hornet’s nest is scary, and immediately detracts from the euphoria, which does finally prevail.
“…I needed to be refreshed again. It had now been quite a while since that last fabulous foray which had so beautifully realize my dreams, and convinced me unreservedly that I had overcome that fumbling clumsiness to attain “tactile fulfillment”. It had flushed me with a surge of my unrealized teenage – all those things I’d missed in those formative years, now the gaps and fissures filled in…”
In attempting to get understanding of just who the main character was, I had to try to get into his head and the above paragraph from the book does shed some light on his preferences. Wardrobe fetishes, boredom and insecurities are what motivated Percival to contact Darlene who ran an ad in a ‘contact’ magazine.
After throwing out Sandra’s telephone number (from the previous book, An Ecstatic Rendezvous) during spring cleaning, his desires began to rise and he felt it was again time to set up another encounter. Turning pages in a contact magazine, he chose Darlene.
In more or less a narrative format, he travels, by bus, to his rendezvous with Darlene and encounters different things on his way which the reader is privy to via his internal dialogue. Darlene seems to understand him on some level and they enjoy themselves. As he was leaving he met a man that seemed to be observant of the comings and goings out of Darlene’s place and gave him a cryptic warning.
A short read, this book took my head to another level. I have never run across a man quite like Percival with his mental, tactical and mechanical method of release. Just for this reason, I found these books to be interesting reads; gave me something to think about as I attempted to relate.
Perry has a desire for the right woman to spend some time with, enjoying each other’s company, a romantic interlude that would lead to that one fabulous encounter, bringing complete ecstasy.
Rowena is a therapist who has endured a repressed childhood. She loves dressing up and feels that the clothes have a way of caressing her body. She wants him to open up his mind to his dreams.
He begins to ache for Rowena. He finds her dark, sultry and somewhat reserved. He finds hard professional women sexy, and she happens to be just the one he believes could bring out that strong urge that he needs to release. Rowena wants him to incorporate his dreams into a healing process. She is able to help him release his inner self as the two have some romantic interludes that lead to total satisfaction. By giving into what their hearts and mind desires, they are able to find that one medium that captures their souls. After everything is over, will they be able to face the world positively?
Ever wonder what romance is like from a male perspective? How about a naughty fantasy? I know I have. So, I was delighted when I read the summary for David Russell’s erotic short. He commanded the words with bold images, and sensual words that brought the story to life. I could feel the silken caresses and smell the perfumed air. I felt firmly entrenched in the hero Perry, who like most of us has an improper and mostly implausible desire for someone out of his reach.
b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’