Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Amber Belldene, author of the Blood Vine series, talks about mixing ministry and the paranormal

Hi there! Thanks for having me on your blog today to talk about my new release, the final installation in the Blood Vine series: BloodReunited!

You asked me a really interesting question: “As a priest and paranormal romance writer, how do I answer my critics?”

I’m delighted to have a chance to share my thoughts with you! To tell the truth, I’m a minister in a very open minded denomination, the Episcopal Church, so I don’t get a lot of direct criticism. When Blood Vine released a year ago, I braced myself for the attacks, and they never came. I’m sure there are people who disapprove of my writing for any number of reasons—it might be the sex, the vampires, or just snobbery about romance not being a worthy genre (in their uninformed opinions)! But, because we Episcopalians are used to disagreeing about lots of things, I haven’t been directly attacked by anyone.

I also write with a pen name to protect my privacy and the people I serve. Frankly, they don’t need to be thinking about the sex scenes I write when I’m up in the pulpit preaching or helping them through a crisis. I have a straight-forward personality though, and what you see is what you get, so folks might not be entirely surprised *grins sheepishly* I do try to be discreet. Of course, some parishioners know because they’ve stumbled across me online, and lots of my colleagues have become fans.

I truly believe writing romance is a spiritual calling—from the heartfelt struggle of a hero and heroine to be worthy of each other to the promise of a happy ending, the story of falling in love is holy. More than that, romantic and erotic love are excellent metaphors for God’s love, passionately and freely given to all of us flawed humans. God as Father is a perfectly good metaphor, but for those of us lucky to have been totally adored by a lover, I think that’s an even better one. I know it makes some people uncomfortable to think of God so intimately, but it’s a tradition that goes all the way back to the Song of Songs in the Bible.

The fact that some Christian denominations oppose paranormal fiction just seems strange to me. I simply don’t believe we are being seduced by demonic forces when we enjoy a story about a vampire. I love my characters so much that it pains me to admit this, but vampires aren’t real. Fiction is fiction. So, it can’t hurt us to read about them.

I’ll go even further to say imagination is a critical component of faith. The Bible is proof of that. It’s a collection of stories written to describe indescribable divine mysteries that are by definition beyond words. Of course those storytellers had to use their imagination! To me, reading paranormal fiction is like spiritual training. It stretched my vocabulary, my mind and my heart, helping me to ponder divine mysteries.

When I wrote Blood Vine (Book #1 in this series), one of my editors said “This is very mystical.” I had to think about what she meant for quite a while. Eventually I realized I was reaching for beautiful imagery and symbolic language to describe what I believe about the world, and sex, and love. All of these things are beyond words, and beyond understanding, and yet we are graced with the indescribable experience of them. Paranormal fiction somehow makes me more aware of those mysteries, and the beauty I might otherwise forget to pay attention to in the world.

Blood Reunited 

Blood Vine Series 

Book Three
by Amber Belldene
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date of Publication: January 28, 2014

Book Description:

Book Three in the Blood Vine Series.

Brooding vampire halfling and biologist Bel Maras is determined to create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his vampire family. His work becomes essential as the Hunters intensify their global and bloody campaign. When Bel's cure fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta Ilirije can help. But seeing the ice-cold Uta reveals something shocking--she is his bonded mate.

She may be a dangerous warrior, but Uta feels her failures acutely. She has been unable to protect her kind from Hunters, and vampires are dying out. Worse, she tied Bel to her long ago in an accident of blood, then abandoned him for his own good--a choice he has never forgiven. Many days, she is convinced Bel and the vampires would be better off if she just walked into the sun.

Biology has fated them to be mates. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.

Blood Vine
Blood Vine Series
Book One

Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date of Publication: January 6, 2013
Number of pages: 206

Book Description:

In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can't forget. After her husband's suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?

Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey's PR expertise to reach them. After his wife's death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?

Available on Amazon

Blood Entangled
Blood Vine Series
Book Two

by Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
ISBN: 9781623420437
Number of pages: 318

Book Description:

KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.

Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?

Available on Amazon

About the Author:

Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
Twitter: @amberbelldene

Tour wide giveaway 

One Print book with magnet and wine glasses- open to US Shipping
One ebook pack with magnet and glasses –open to US Shipping
4 ebook sets of the series

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for asking me a very thought provoking question! I'm delighted to be on your blog, and happy to answer any questions folks might have about what I've written :-)

  2. Sounds like an amazing series!
    Thanks for the chance to win!


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