Guest - Amber Belldene

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Guest - Amber Belldene

Good morning! We have an intriguing guest today. Author Amber Belldene is an Episcopal minister and a Romance Author. Today, she's blogging about our favorite subject - the paranormal genre. She's also offering a giveaway so make sure you follow her instructions to enter the drawing. 

Enjoy and Good luck!


A Fang by any other Name

One of my favorite things about writing in the paranormal genre is the way all the romance tropes become fresh—enemies to lovers, a baby on the door step, and my favorite: star crossed lovers.   Romeo and Juliet, kept apart by family rivalry, become a human and a vampire, a succubus and a demon slayer, a werewolf and a werepanther (I haven’t read this one, but it must be out there—the whole cats and dogs thing would be so fun!).

J.R. Ward does a great job with this in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series—vampires are forbidden to interact with humans and must erase the memories of those they encounter.  Except, sometimes the erasing doesn’t quite stick.  My favorite BD brother is Vishous (sorry if you get tired of hearing this about me, I’m seriously hung up on him).  When he erases himself from Jane’s mind, she suffers terrible grief without knowing why.  It’s tragic on the scale of young Romeo and Juliet in the crypt.  Another one of my favorite, dark vampire worlds is Sarah Reinke’s Brethren Series. She created a frightening vampire culture that ruthlessly punishes anyone that rejects violence or dabbles with humans.   

In my novel Blood Vine, there is plenty of “star-crossed” tension between the human heroine Zoey and vampire hero Andre, there’s even some between gay and straight characters, but the primary tension is the series is between vampires and the Hunters sworn to exterminate them. 

Human Pedro and Hunter Lucas have great chemistry, which gets turned on its head when Pedro becomes a vampire.  Vampires repulse Lucas, and yet he can’t help but care for Pedro.  There’s a lot more to their relationship, and I don’t want to give away its complexity, which gets even more hot and thorny in the upcoming sequel Blood Entangled.  But exploring the internal and external conflicts between the characters  was one of my favorite parts of writing Blood Vine.  First there’s the “can I love him?” question, and then there is the “what will it cost me to love him?” part. 

            "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Juliet tells Romeo.   And the same trope can work in pretty much any story.  The challenge with making it fresh in paranormal rests mostly on building a unique world.  Is it intricate enough to spawn varied conflicts?  Or will every set of characters play out the same drama book after book?  I confess there are many series I abandoned when book three turned out to be the same as books one and two. 

            What authors build the best worlds? Who can turn a familiar trope into something thrilling and fresh? I’ll name one more—Gail Carriger’s world in the Soulless series is so brilliant, and continues to unfold seamlessly via plot and character, in every book. 

  I’d love to hear your favorites!  Please share—and anyone who leaves the name of their favorite paranormal author in the comment will be entered in a giveaway to win a copy of Blood Vine

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.


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 longing.  She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.  

Check out my blog for excerpts starring Andre and Zoey.  Today, I decided to share Pedro and Lucas’s first meeting:

Pedro had only seen the yellow-eyed hottie that one time—strolling into the tasting room while he manned the counter. Lucas’s whisky-colored eyes were intriguing, so Pedro made a show of scanning his lean, powerful body.

Lucas returned the look, and the flirtation began. “How long have you worked here?”

“Oh, I don’t. Just helping today. I’m the assistant winemaker.”

Dark brows arched over golden eyes. “Really?  Well, you make amazing wine. It’s a favorite of mine.”
A sincere compliment or a come on?  Pedro didn’t care. It made him warm all over. “Thanks. What do you do?”

“I work in public relations. My brother has a firm.”

That was good luck—Andre had a sudden need for P.R. help. “Have any wineries as clients?”

“A few. Why?”

He slid a legal pad across the bar, and tapped it with a pencil. “We need some P.R. Give me the details, and I’ll pass them along to the winemaker.”  With Lucas standing nearby, Pedro called Andre. “Hey, boss. I’ve got a lead for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Call Ethan Bennett at Bennett Public Relations. They might be a good fit for your branding project.”
“Really?”  The old guy sounded almost hopeful. “Give me the number. I’ll call right now.”

Pedro read it off.

When he ended the call, he found Lucas watching him.

Lucas tipped the last taste of his wine down his throat, his Adam’s apple bobbing before he said, “Did you study winemaking in California?”

“No, in Argentina. I went to university there.”

Lucas winked. “Me encanta Buenos Aires.”

This guy made Pedro’s head spin and his knees weak, like he’d downed a whole bottle of wine himself. “Si? Yo tambien. Verdad, es un ciudad muy spectacular.”  He poured a little more wine into the man’s glass, brushing his fingers where they held the stem.

Connect with Amber:

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9 Responses to "Guest - Amber Belldene"

Lynda K. Scott said...

Good morning, Amber! That's a great excerpt.

Right now, I'm totally enamored with Alyssa Day's Warriors of Poseidon, Cheryl Brooks Cat-Star Chronicles, and Terry Spear's Werewolf books (her jaguar series isn't too bad either, lol). But I have so many favorites it's sometimes hard to settle on one or two or threee ;-)

I'm eager to see what others come up with.

Thanks for being with us today!

Ana Morgan said...

I agree about stories being a perfect vehicle to explore ethical and spiritual values. Romances can be modern day fairy-tales.

Tricia Skinner said...

The Underworld series (for film) played the trope well in the first couple of movies. That Lycans and vampires were slave and master (respectively) cranked up the tension. Have one of each race fall in love? Well, forbidden takes on a whole new meaning when the offspring is feared more than the parents.

Amber Belldene said...

@Ana, I'm so glad that idea resonates with you!

@Tricia and @Lynda, thanks for the recommendations-- I will check those out!

@Tricia, you have your own forbidden love between Angels and Humans in your Assassins series (which I've had the chance to beta--Awesome!)

Unknown said...

Hi Lynda,

Thanks for hosting Amber and her novel Blood Vine today.

Amber, great post. I LOVE the idea of paranormal romance stories retelling all my favorite romantic tropes. Knights In Shining Armor all around!

I'm a fan of the short stories of Sherrilyn Kenyon. Also, when she touches on paranormal and time travel, I love to read Jude Deveraux.

Good luck with Blood Vine - it's an amazing story, and I cannot wait to read Blood Entangled. Hey, you're edging up my list of favorite authors too!


Samantha MacDouglas said...

Ilona Andrews is my favorite. I love her Kate Daniels series, can't get enough. I really enjoyed Underworld as well, Tricia.

Ally Broadfield said...

Shocking admission: I don't read much paranormal. But, I have read (and loved!) Blood Vine, so I hope that gets me off the hook. I do enjoy time travel stories, like Jude Devereaux's "A Knight in Shining Armor." Different settings definitely bring a lot more conflict into the mix.

Celia Breslin said...

Hi Amber. Favorites, eh? J. R. Ward's BDB series, of course. Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark and your Blood Vine vamps are on my list, too. Great excerpt btw. Love Pedro and Lucas.

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