Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Celebrating and Talking with Author Amber Belldene

I am still loving October—and to further celebrate I have a special guest author Amber Belldene
Author, Amber Belldene
here today, she writes fabulous vampire romance—but it’s more. A touch of urban fantasy, lots of tension, adventure, and romance. My type of book.

Today she is celebrating the release of her books in a boxed set!  The Bloody Vine Series – this is fabulous--all her books for one low price. (Believe me, they are worth it).   An interesting fact; at least for me, reading her books always makes me long for a nice glace of wine, because stories center around a vineyard and some very special grapes. If you don’t want a red Zinfandel after you’ve read her stories, I will be surprised.

But, I also love her ability to write no matter what. So I asked her about how she juggles the business and creative side of writing. She has young children and full time job and she’s a…(you have to read further to find out, it’s pretty awesome)

How do you keep your creativity strong while dealing with the business side of writing?

AB:  What an interesting question, M.V.!  The business side, in terms of writing something that will sell, totally sparks my creativity.   

Writing genre fiction is one of those things in life that is both a privilege and responsibility.  By that I mean, there are so many rabid romance readers out there, giving so many of us creative, wordy romantic authors the honor of reading our books.  But they also have a set of expectations about those books.  Trying to think of something that excites and challenges me, and which also meets the expectations of romance readers, is like a puzzle—I twist and turn around ideas until I can see how they would fit, and it feels enormously creative.
I’m very driven to write, to the point of being compulsive, so I don’t find productivity too hard.  I even find social media pretty fun, and am probably just enough of an exhibitionist to imagine people think glimpses of my life are funny on Twitter.  But, I do sometimes fail at responding to emails in a timely way or drop the ball on blog posts.  And when I get thick into drafting or revising, I basically disappear from social media, which isn’t very business savvy.  

MVF: *nods* I understand this. I actually have to drop off line a bit more…if I am on social media too much, I’m procrastinating. I like that you look at this very realistically and as a fun challenge!

When time is limited how do you find or carve out time to get things done?

AB: My kids are young and they take naps and follow a pretty routine schedule.  I basically write while they sleep—morning, naps, and bedtime.  I’m lucky my husband helps out lots around the house, and that I occasionally have days off from work which can be mini-writing retreats. 

But the truth is, like a lot of writers, people ask me, “How do you have time?” And the answer is that I don’t. When other people are at the gym, watching TV, or enjoying a hobby, I’m writing.  My priorities are simple: my family, my job, and my writing.  Though, since I’ve signed with an agent I’ve committed to making time to exercise everyday and I’ve gotten a Fitbit, because taking care of myself is essential for all three of those priorities to work!

MVF: Again, I like this attitude, finding the time no matter what. And young kids—I know that gets wild. So good everyone pitches in!  I’ve heard about Fitbit…..I’m almost afraid to ask…

Everyone hits a block in writing or creating; how do you get through or solve it?

AB: I guess I’ve been lucky that I haven’t hit a block so far.  Sometimes I drag my feet at digging in for revisions after I’ve gotten notes from critique partners because the task feels so daunting, but once I start, I bury myself in it all the same.  Maybe it helps that even though I’m really geeky and have all sorts of nerdy interests, I write from the gut, not the head.  Up in my head is where I worry about my career and whether what I write does my vision justice, but in my gut it’s just me and the characters and the story flows.

I usually have the problem of having too many ideas and not enough time, and when I get stuck mid-project, I never stall out—I just dig in until I can make progress because not writing makes me nervous! 

But I’m still pretty new at all this, so maybe I will hit a block eventually.  Never say never, right?

MVF:  All right, I’m jealous, about the no writer’s block.  But everyone has a different journey. Just reading your answers, I think brainstorming with you would be a lot of fun. I wish you lived closer. I figure if I just hang out with you—maybe stand next to you all this good stuff will just flow into me. *grin*  I’m shameless. Keep writing!!
The Bloody Vine Boxed set

Amber these were fascinating and wonderful answers, now lets talk about your books. Like I mentioned before you have the Bloody Vine Series in a boxed set--  Tell us a bit about each one: 

Blood Vine: 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. Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again, but Andre needs her help.

 I have to leap in here and say, I *adored*  Blood Vine,  Amber made me cry in it—because of what Andre and Zoey went through in their past. A fabulous romance—of two people who find each other. *below* is an excerpt from book!

Blood Entangled: 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 but unattainable woman sleeping in his bed. 

Blood Eternal, short.
Blood Reunited: Vampire biologist Bel Maras must create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his family. But when it fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta can help. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.

And the newly released short story Blood Eternal: Distance has grown between blood mates Pedro Torres and Lucas Bennett. Before an eternity of bonded misery becomes their fate, Pedro undertakes a plan of seduction, hoping it will close the gap and bring his lover back to him forever. 

Zoey settled on his lap as well as she could, given her feet didn’t touch the floor, and picked up her cards. Turning over her shoulder, she said, “You can see my hand.”

He compared her cards to his own. “Play mine.”  He passed them to her, and she had to flex her toes to keep steady.  He placed one of his hands on each of her hips. 

She wriggled a little to find her balance and felt him harden between her cheeks. He wanted her to concentrate on playing cards with that magnificent thing underneath her?  Fine. She was up to the challenge.

His hand was only marginally better than hers; he had a pair of threes.  In the corner of her eye, Andre tilted his head toward his chips—an invitation to bet them freely.
“I’ll raise,” she said. “A green. What’s this worth, anyway?”

“That one is worth one hundred dollars,” Andre replied.

Zoey sputtered. “You guys don’t mess around.”  She tapped the table with the edge of the chip reluctantly, then pressed it down onto the table with her thumb, saying,  “One hundred of Andre’s money it is.”

Watching her with narrowed eyes, Kos said, “I fold.”  He swung his head to look at this brother with equal interest.

“I’ll raise you two more green ones,” Bel said, trilling the last words and  throwing in three of his own chips. Was he mocking her?

“Call,” Zoey said, quicker than she meant to. Bel’s head jerked up and his eyes also sharpened on her. Now she had his attention.  Tossing in the two chips she owed, she discarded three cards and he wordlessly dealt them both more. Nothing but a jack high to go with her threes.

A muscle pulsed in Bel’s jaw. He could have been Andre’s identical twin, but his torn black jeans and converse sneakers made him look younger. Still, a tell was a tell.
Holding up a chip and cocking her head, she asked, “I suppose this black one is worth five hundred?”

“It is,” he replied, crossing his arms. “And it hardly matters to you, since it’s Andre’s money.”

“Oh, it matters to me. I don’t like to lose.”  She threw two into the pile.

Andre’s breath tickled her ear when he whispered, “Are you a card shark?”

She shrugged and tried to keep a smile from her lips.

As Bel watched her, rubbing a thousand dollars worth of black chips together between his fingers, Andre wrapped his large hands around her hips. He worked his thumbs up under the bottom edge of her blouse and rubbed feather-light circles on her lower back. Damn. Her heart raced, and it wasn’t because of the bluff.

Author Bio:  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 during sermons—an irony not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal priest and student of religion.  Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it seems perfectly natural to her because she passionately believes desire is divine. She lives with her husband and twin kiddos in San Francisco.

You can find her and her books here:

Thank you for stopping by Amber!  I find it absolutely fascinating you are an Episcopal priest, you carry a unique perspective. I intend to have you back here again! 


  1. great post! AND As a 'gut" writer, too, I totally get it. Lots of luck with the boxed set. Sounds like some great reads.

  2. MV, thanks so much for having me! I wish we lived closer too!

    Yes, it was totally the wine that brought us together on Twitter months (or was it years ago?). It was great to meet you in person in New Orleans at RT and I look forward to more time to connect and brainstorm in the future at another conference!

    Jillian, I'm glad you enjoyed this post! It's SO fascinating how many different ways to write there are. It was very freeing when I threw out the conventional wisdom to just trust my own style!

  3. Amber it is such fun to have you here! And I so blame Andre for the wine... (he is one of my favorite heroes you written!) and yes I look forward to the next conference!

    And Jillian--so glad to see you! *waves* <3