Saturday, 14 August 2010

Please Don't Forget Me...

Please remove your shoes before entering. You are about to step into the hallowed area of my romantic heart.

For those who don't already know him, I’m going to introduce you to the fictional sachem of my heart, one of the most beautiful characters I’ve ever read. This character is so beautiful, rich, luscious, ethereal, while somehow managing to be one hot bad-ass—I think of him and I hear Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, I see ancient red and gold tapestry, taste dark wine, feel cool grass beneath my feet, drown in deep brown eyes, kiss full sensuous lips, make passionate love in the still wee hours of the morning in Hollywood Forever Cemetery (yes, you heard me—a cemetery). I spiral helplessly into powerful orgasmic pleasure when he takes me, when he enters me and when he…bites me.

The character who is the high priest of sensuality, the prince of passion, the god of love in my fantasy world?

He is called Donte Fedelta. He is a vampire. A five-hundred-year-old Italian vampire. And he is one of the main characters in Z. A. Maxfield’s book, Notturno.

Donte is the classic tall, darkly handsome continental. An elegant, cognac drinking, expensive cigar smoking Italian count who is described as having a demonically beautiful face, long and angular, hooded eyes, high cheekbones, wine darkened lips. He is who Bela Lugosi only wishes he could be.

I fell in love with Donte before I even read Notturno, with nothing more than a scene from an excerpt. In this scene—at the very beginning of the book—Donte follows the main character, Adin Tredeger, into the cramped restroom aboard an airplane. The beautiful Italian vampire ravages Adin in this small space in one of the most erotic encounters I’ve ever read. Needless to say, it catapults the story into a startling, highly sensual, exquisitely disturbing start.

The pièce de résistance is when, after having his way with the dazed Adin, after leaving his mark and drinking of Adin’s blood, the gorgeous vampire straightens his clothes and politely, gently beseeches, Por favore, non dimenticarmi—please don’t forget me.

What makes this delicate plea so remarkable is that Donte has no intention of letting Adin forget him; but, being true to his aristocratic bearing and his genteel nature…well…he must of course ask, anyway.

At those words—so unusual, so delicate after such a forceful, titillating sex scene—Donte Fedelta owned me, lock stock and barrel.

The fact that this enigmatic creature can get into Adin’s mind and, just by a touch of the hand, is able send him into shattering climactic paroxysms is not a bad gift to possess. In one scene, both highly sexy and hilarious, Donte does just that in a restaurant. After Adin is helplessly sent into an orgasm with Donte’s touch—practically by mental ventriloquism—in a scenario that even Sally who met Harry could not match, the engaging vampire innocently asks, Complet, mon cherie, Adin? Priceless.

Who understands the mysterious mechanics of our minds? Certainly not me. I only know this fragile beauty, all bound in a big, strapping, jet-haired, dark-eyed, powerful man’s body arouses me, turns me on. The delicacy, the elegance, with which this character speaks, acts and thinks, offset by his immensely frightful, demonic power is the stuff good characters are made of.

If a man can be created who is so compelling that the reader finds themselves believing in vampires—no, begging to be devoured by a vampire—he is a well-written character.

When the reader is able to feel the character’s cool skin, taste his lips, see in vivid color as he (in one memorable scene that sticks stubbornly in my mind) rushes down the stairs of his villa, dressed in a white shirt and slacks, a golden robe billowing behind him, he is a marvelously fleshed-out character.

Such small details perhaps seem insignificant. Or are they? For such minute features to fix themselves in one’s mind so strongly that they can almost reach out and feel the silky texture of the robe, hear the soft swoosh of the fabric as the character walks is masterful artistry. Furthermore, if a character was not so colorfully, intimately projected, would the reader ever even notice these seemingly unnoticeable touches? Probably not. But when one is so hungry for the unforgettable character, feasting on every word, every nuance, every microscopic detail that is part of the man, these things are absorbed and cherished.

Since, as always, this is not a book review, I won’t divulge too much of the plot, except to say that Adin Tredeger is an authority on antique erotica and he has acquired a five hundred year old journal which is a written and sketched account of an Italian count’s forbidden affair—amore vietato—with a young lover named Auselmo.

The journal is titled Notturno and the author was none other than Donte Fedelta. I won’t tell you how Donte was ‘turned’ vampire or why. But the vampire wants his precious book back—as it is his only physical memory of Auselmo who was murdered—and he relentlessly follows Adin to retrieve the journal.

Thus begins a richly woven love story of Donte and his mortal love, Adin.

That is all of the story I’ll tell you; however, I will say that the journal entries themselves are some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read. I found myself mesmerized by the beauty of Donte’s thoughts, his erotic mind. These luscious entries, so fluid and exotic, could stand alone, separate from the book. I had to shake myself while reading them, reminding myself that some beautiful vampire did not really write them—that he was indeed only a fictional character.

An example: Auselmo, so lovely, like an angel fallen to earth to tease and mock me with his beauty, or this: There were more stars in the sky this summer, Auselmo, because you placed them there me for me every time you smiled.

Adin Tredeger is a delightful, sexy, handsome man with a wonderful dry wit, and he supplies some of the most memorable lines in the book. I ADORE him. He’s a man I’d love to love in real life. And his pairing with this serious but oddly comedic vampire is pure genius. They are a dynamic partnership.

Now, once again, since this is NOT a book review, I’m only supplying this buy link

because…well…because…you might like to read the steamy excerpt—the high-octane, squirm-in-your-seat scene from the airplane bathroom—for yourself. And while you’re at it, there’s a hot trailer as well.

Anyone who knows me knows my weakness for Italian men. I make light of it, but in truth it’s more than just a one-track libido. It’s something, some beautiful man who looms in the shadows, just beyond the light in my mind, a face I know intimately even though I can’t see its features. He’s beautiful, dark, sensual. He’s part of me, he IS me to a certain extent.

Who knows? A lover from a past life? Maybe he’s ME from a past life. Whoever he is, I recognized him the moment Donte Fedelta softly asked, after a torrential bout of love-making in a cramped airplane bathroom, for Adin to please not forget him.

Donte, the ageless, tormented, beautiful, powerful aristocratic vampire in Notturno who, through Z. A. Maxfield’s pen to my heart, became the face to the Italian of my erotic dreams.

And it was as though Maxfield tapped into my consciousness and painted this beautiful creature—monster, Donte says he is—who has haunted my dreams and imagination as long as I was old enough to appreciate a beautiful man.

Donte, please. Just one bite. Just one. I promise. I’ll never forget you, Caro. Oh, wait. He’s not real, is he? Damn.


Lex Valentine said...

Ahh but his words to not forget him have found reality in this world. You've not forgotten him and to you he feels real. It's the mark of a true wordsmith that this is so. Writers who live and breathe their characters can imbue them with this life of their own that takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go. If ZAM was an untalented hack, just writing to make a buck, Donte would not have captured your heart so thoroughly. And it's an amazing testament to your own word crafting that you've shown your love for him so well, painting him nearly as well as ZAM herself.

Karenna Colcroft said...

What a wonderful post, Carol. Your love for the book and the character are so clear!

I loved the "Don't forget me" line because in so many stories, the vampire uses their powers to *make* the human forget them, and yet in this one, Donte wanted to be remembered. Something about Adin struck him in the heart, and he didn't want to be forgotten.

That, to me, was the most romantic line of the whole book.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Lex. That is SO very true about Donte and his mark being left by Zam's words.

Ol' Donte had no idea just how much power his little words would have on me,did he?

And you're so right. If this craft is aimed at just making money, our characters will indeed not catch readers' hearts. To me, that is the ultimate goal.

Thanks, Lex, for stopping by.
I enjoyed your words.

C. Zampa said...

Oh, I think so, too, Karenna! Something about that gentle very uncharacteristic for such a 'monster'...aroused me so. Stuck in my head, set the mood for this beautiful creature from the get-go.

Believe it or not, it STILL gives me shivers.

Thanks for visiting!

Sarah Ballance said...

Wow, that's enough to make a girl wanna like vampires! Beautifully written, C!

Unknown said...

Wow. Lovely post, Carol. Obviously, I'm missing out. I need to read this book. For not being a book review, this is the most compelling thing I've ever read that has spurred me to go read a book.


C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Sarah! Yes, Donte's got me longing for vampires!

Thank you for visiting!

C. Zampa said...

Thanks for visiting, Jaime!

Let me tell you. After the sampling of your Angel Requiem, I can guarantee you that you would cherish Notturno, and beautiful Donte. I am almost certain he would grab you, too!


Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Loved your post, C. A writer has done their job well when the characters are so real you have a problem discerning real life from fantasy. teehee. ZAM really hooked you with Notturno!

C. Zampa said...

She sure did hook me, Lisa. Big time!

Thanks for visiting!

Lauralyn said...

Oh, squee, *blush* my HEART! Wow. Thanks so much. I'm so delighted that Donte captured your heart that way. I think you know I'm equally susceptible to a fabulous male character (The Prince of Midnight being a notable one, geez. Still squeeing over that book, and my copy has fricking Fabio on the cover, so you know how old it is) and I'm so very grateful to you.

Today I'm writing the epilogue to the sequel. And Now I'm like... Geez... NO PRESSURE or anything.

Vigil, I admit, is probably Adin's book, but Donte is there by his side, every step of the way, as Adin learns a valuable and sometimes painful lesson about relationships in order to be worthy of a man who has only had one, even though he's carried it on for five hundred years...

C. Zampa said...

Oh, I'm so glad I was able to do right by Donte! thought, so poignant, that he's only had the one true love for five hundred years. How moving. So that, too, is a testament to Adin's power over our beautiful vampire.
Well, I do not need to tell you how much I'm looking forward to Vigil. Sigh.