For many years I have been fascinated by the 1837 poem “Tamara” by Russian author Lermontov – my own amateur translation below – and discussing this one day with long time friend and colleague Irv O. Neil (see his recollections of New York) we came up with the idea of a collaboration as in the 90’s – the “old days” when we both worked for Leg Show magazine (to me the 90’s is only yesterday!)
By his own admission Irv became equally entranced by the poem and worked on top form to create his longest novella yet, drawing on his own memories of 70’s New York and weaving the poem into a story of the seemingly innocent librarian who transforms by night into the seductive persona of Tamara in the poem.
Ebooks have allowed individual writers to publish their own creations in epub or pdf form but too often the last-minute choice of stock photography bearing little if any relation to the content together with indifferent typography does nothing to sell the amazing and inventive writing inside. You can’t tell a book by its cover, sure, but you can go a long way to attracting a roving eye to one out of the many thousands of books on offer. Traditionally publishers spend a lot on getting the cover right and it is justified by the increased sales, but for the most part femdom writing is excluded from mainstream publishing and left to the individual ebook. It’s understandable that authors’ budgets would be too stretched to commission an individual cover for their own books but for once, at least, I wanted to give this great story a great cover, in the style of our old collaborations.
The model is imaginary -maybe a southern Russian or central Asian beauty, dressed in figure-hugging leather and carrying a whip, at the dramatic moment when she surprises the principal character -E.Z. Shepherd -who is at his desk looking for a missing page of research.
Interested to read further?
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In the deep valley of the Daryal
where the Terek growls in the gloom
high reared a black tower
tight against a black cliff.
In that high and narrow tower
lived Princess Tamara.
Fair as a heavenly angel,
evil as a demon.
And through the midnight mists
a golden light shone forth
to guide the eyes of the traveler
and invite him to his night’s rest.
And the voice of Tamara was heard
a voice of passion and desire.
It cast an irresistible spell,
a power, beyond all understanding.
To the voice of the invisible enchantress
came the warrior, the merchant and the shepherd.
Gates opened before them
and a dark eunuch ushered them in.
On a bed of downy softness,
sewn with brocade and pearls,
she expected her guests and before her
sparkled two goblets of wine.
Passionate limbs embraced
lips pressed to lips
and strange wild moans
resounded through the whole night.
As if in that desolate tower
a hundred fair youths and girls
had come together for moonlit wedding
Or a great funeral feast.
But as soon as the light of dawn
had spread its rays over the hills
silence and darkness instantly
ruled once more.
Only the Terek in the valley of the Daryal
broke the silence with its thunderous flow
waves crashed against wave
wave against wave.
And with a sob a voiceless body
was hurriedly removed
A white form showed at the window
and a voice was heard…farewell!