My guest today is David Russell, a British author. His accolades are many. Born in 1940, David is a resident of the UK. He writes poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. His main poetry collection is Prickling Counterpoints (1998). He’s also published poems online in International Times. His primary speculative works are High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). He’s also translated the Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Among his romances you’ll find Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). He’s also an indie author of self-published work, which includes a collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015. As if that isn’t enough, he’s a singer-songwriter/guitarist whose main CD albums are Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. You can find many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’.
I’ve had the chance to read Dreamtime Sensuality, a combination of four distinct stories. According to the blurb, “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.
Review: 3.5 stars
I’ll be honest, I found the stories disturbing since they all involve acting on sexual fantasies with a stranger, something I could never see myself condoning. The writing style is interesting and unique–almost poetry and yet prose. David has a good command of the English language, but some might find it difficult to follow and not just because of the British aspect to it. The vocabulary does have words that most of us don’t use on a regular basis. Still, don’t let that put you off. If you’re into voyeurism, sexual fantasies, and delayed gratification, I’m sure this will be right up your alley.
Here is more of David’s work and some reviews provided by the author:
Fools’ Paradise Reviews
Jim Herrington has found himself wandering and hitchhiking across America, trying to find his place in the world after some difficulties in his Academic workplace. Staying at a cross between a commune and youth hostel, he struggles to fit into the alternative, volatile situation he finds himself in. Celia, the “house mother” is a strange, mysterious woman prone to sudden changes of heart, yet Jim finds himself unaccountably attracted to her.
This is a slightly strange book, unlike most anything else I’ve read. Told in the first person in some ways it’s difficult to understand what’s going on, as we can only see things from Jim’s perspective and experience. Also, while much is alluded to throughout the story, I didn’t feel as if some things were very clearly explained, things like why – exactly – Jim found himself at this hostel, what he was running from and whether he was complicit in much of the drug trafficking and such. In some ways this felt to me like one of those “confessions of” stories, and while I did enjoy it, I spent most of the time mystified as to where the story was going, what was fully happening with the plot, and what the thrust of the plot really was. Despite this I wanted to understand, the author’s writing was quick, precise and interesting and so I continued to read in the hopes of illumination. While even upon completion I still didn’t get most of it, I didn’t feel as if I had wasted my time either, reading something completely alternative and refreshingly different.
There’s no traditional romance or erotica in this short story, the sex is held pretty much behind closed doors (there’s no graphic content to it, merely a build up to it and then declaration of the act having been performed) and while it’s clear the main relationship is between Jim and Celia, I didn’t personally find any romance between them. For an erotic short story this surprised me, but seemed to resonate with the first person, slightly disjointed, mysterious tone and presentation of the whole tale. I feel that readers who are looking for something completely outside the box and different might truly enjoy this, but readers wanting just a quick, sexy read mightn’t find what they’re looking for here.
A really different read, but still enjoyable.
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.
An Ecstatic Rendezvous Review
This is a short story, told in first person, about a shy man who is inexperienced with women, yet a self-proclaimed narcissist, and he is seeking a sexual encounter with the woman of his dreams. The narrating voice is quirky and comical, at times, making it a fun read as this man takes you through his rendezvous, an experience he has clearly thought about at length beforehand and meticulously planned. Great read and I look forward to reading other stories by this author! This story has a sequel entitled Darlene.
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.
Well, that’s it. Have a great weekend.