Blood Vine Series
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Our Interview with author Amber Belldene:
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life would like to extend a warm welcome to Amber Belldene, author of the Blood Vine Series.
Hi! Thanks for having me on Paranormal Romance for Life! I’m so excited to tell you about my new release, Blood Reunited, which is the third book in my vampire series Blood Vine.
We are excited to have you and hear what you have to say. Amber, first please tell us where you are from, and from where/who did your love for writing come from?
Originally I’m from Tallahassee, Florida. And though it’s been a long time since I lived there, I still think growing up in that beautiful, warm place so near the Gulf of Mexico was formative for me—my family has deep ties there, going back to a small fishing town. I always loved reading, but I remember when I was maybe eight learning that my grandfather’s cousin was a mystery novelist. It astounded me that someone related to me could write and publish books—that was the equivalent of being like Wonder Woman and She-Ra combined (although I personally preferred to play with He-Man). That day, I told everyone I was going to be a novelist too, and I would use my grandmother Belle Dean’s name as my pen name. That’s where my nom de plume Amber Belldene comes from. But I forgot about this plan for more than twenty years, until I started writing again shortly after my twins were born.
Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
I wouldn’t say my journey to publication was hard exactly. I was lucky to find a great small press to work with early on and have had an excellent experience with Omnific. But there are still hard moments. Some of them come with juggling my vocations of wife, mom, priest, and writer. Also, I think anyone who takes her writing craft seriously or makes time to read other authors has moments of panic, when we are sure we are no good, and that we will never write as well as so-and-so. Then, I have other moments, where I read something I wrote and I know no one else in the whole world could have dreamed up that particular turn of phrase, and I feel totally high on what I can make words do. Mostly, I’m somewhere in between, working my butt off and making sure to keep learning.
How do you overcome i-suck-at-this, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
Long before I became a writer, when I first felt called to become a priest, I had to learn to ignore that voice. But I do still have moments of insecurity. I push through them and keep working or let myself rest if I need that instead. And of course I rely on my critique partners when I need encouragement or reassurance. But that voice is important, as long as we don’t let it control or frighten us, it keeps us learning and growing!
What is your dream vacation?
Oh, this is an easy one! I’d love, love, love to visit Croatia, where my vampires are from. There are several tours you can take to see historical sites and also visit vineyards. From there, I’d like to go to Turkey and retrace the journey Bel and Uta, the hero and heroine of this book make, in search of the vampire homeland. When I was researching this series, I learned so much and spent hours gazing at pictures online. Readers tell me I really captured the feel of place I’ve never actually been, but still, I’d really like to go.
Describe your writing style in five words.
Lush. Irreverent. Explicit. Passionate. Funny.
What movies are you currently excited to see?
Are those the things you watch in a theater on a big screen? Seriously, with toddler twins at home, I never go see movies. Occasionally I watch them at home with my husband, but we tend to stick to T.V. Series instead. Right now we are watching Dracula, and we also like True Blood, Agents of Shield, Game of Thrones, and the show Vikings on the History Channel.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Alexis Hall’s awesome lesbian paranormal noir Iron and Velvet. The main character’s words drip with his snarky voice and it’s hilarious, hot, and keeps me turning the pages!
If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
I already have another career as an Episcopal priest, and I truly love it. I never want to stop preaching and teaching, although I would of course like more time to write. Every once and a while I have a day when get to do both in the perfect ratio!
If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
Stay Home and Write Day. Definitely. Let’s start lobbying for it right now!
For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
Blood Reunited is the third book in the Blood Vine series. The series focuses on the Maras family of vampires, who are in exile from their homeland in Croatia, a state which causes them to fall ill to a wasting disease. Hunters know this, and have been driving vampires from their homes for centuries, but at the start of this book, the Hunters’ campaign grows more violent, and only the biologist Bel and the ancient Uta can stop theme.
The problem is the pair are enemies, fated mates, and rather stubborn about the whole situation. I think the trailer does a good job conveying the history between the two, and their shared mission in the book.
What are two of your pet-peeves?
Honestly, I don’t have too many. I’m a pretty easygoing person. I dislike the word impactful (things have impact, they aren’t full of it!) and I’m not a fan of eating lamb, but those are more preferences than peeves.
To you, what makes a good story?
Characters with compelling conflicts and chemistry. It doesn’t have to be sexual chemistry--cops who are partners can have it too, but I want to see them come alive through their interactions with others.
What usually turns you off about a story?
I’m kind of a strange reader. I know a lot of people stop reading books at the beginning if they don’t like them, but I tend to stop at the black moment. I’ll be along for the ride, but the moment it starts to get sad, scary, or painfully conflicted, if I don’t care about the characters, I won’t keep reading.
If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
What a great question! There are so many romance authors I admire and I have some talented writers as critique partners, which is a kind of collaboration. But actually writing with other romance authors seems a little too much like mixing like with like. I’d want to get way out of my genre and work with somebody who writes gritty detectives like Martin Cruz Smith or Ian Rankin to see what we could come up with together.
What is on your night stand?
Robin Shone’s The Lover, and Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. They’ve both been there a long time, because I do most of my reading on an e-reader, and even more by listening to audiobooks.
What is your favorite book?
Oh geez. I always hate this question. I have a lot of beloved books, but not a favorite per se. One book that affected me greatly and left me reeling for days was The Time Traveler’s Wife. It was so romantic and tragic, with a gritty edge that a lot of romance lacks.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Amber. We really enjoyed the insights. Good luck with Blood Reunited and the entire Blood Vine Series.
Blood Reunited Book Description:
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.
“You young ones are thinking you can know everything.” Uta shook her head in an infuriating display of pity.
“I’ll begin clinical trials right away.”
“Why you are bothering? I am saying it not work.”
Bel fingers twitched with the need to wring her neck and he shot out of his chair.
Andre pushed him back. “Don’t listen to her. You are the scientist. I trust you.”
Bel tipped his head in a bow to Andre before turning back to her. “Well, this has been fun. Let’s do it again in another hundred and seventy years. And in the meantime, have a nice life.”
Uta clicked her tongue. “If I am helping it, we are not seeing each other ever again.”
He exhaled with relief, but a hollow pit opened up in his gut and goose bumps rose up on every millimeter of his body, like even his skin strained toward her.
She blurred to him vampire-fast, narrowing her eyes and running one shiny red fingernail up the length of his hard-on. “Are you longing for me, Bel?” She spoke in a false whisper, loud enough even Lena could hear.
He refused to reply, but it didn’t matter. Her answer pressed through his jeans.
“Good. Now you are knowing how I feel. Ten years since your Lexi is long time. I am having no relief since you are born. Welcome to my nightmare.”
“I should have protected the secret better.” She walked up to the television screen, staring into the empty eye-sockets of a tiny, blackened skull. “I should have scoured their artifacts and made certain no one ever discovered the secret.”
“And exterminated every one of them? We would be no better than them.”
“We are no better. These are revenge killings, Loki. There is no justice to these deaths, and if the secret I guard is correct, no logic in killing the source of precious blood.”
“Perhaps they also took hostages. With everyone in the compounds dead, there is no way to confirm the existence of survivors.”
Uta could not look away from the television. “It is all my fault.”
Loki flipped off the screen and took her hand. “Child, I grow tired of your self-recriminations. You are not Atlas.”
She yanked away her hand. “Atlas was a self-important prick.”
His patronizing smile baited her, but she couldn’t muster up the energy to be annoyed.
“You must tell me everything, Uta.”
“The cost of breaking my vow is high. I will only do so once, in front of the entire Justicia.” She pressed her fingers to her lips, closed tight, and tried not to think of the consequences.
“All right. I already have plans to convene them. Pack your bags. We are going to the Kaštel Estate.”
Kaštel. Where she would be forced to break her vow. And to see Bel—her greatest failure ever.
Blood Vine Series
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Number of pages: 318
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?
He lowered her feet to the ground and dropped down in front of her. His fingers grazed her supple legs as he slipped her panties down to her ankles. Taking a moment to get under control, he folded them and set them next to her feet.
She gripped her skirt in both her fists so that she was almost entirely bared to him below her waist, but her legs were only slightly parted—like she wasn't expecting his mouth on her.
Under a tiny triangle of golden curls, her silky skin was lovely. But he wanted to see more, wanted to see her folds, wanted to see right inside her. He could have gazed all day, as if he'd never seen a woman's sex before. Her skin was softer, her scent sweeter, everything about her was different from other women.
She wriggled under his gaze and he looked up at her. Her brow crinkled with worry. It was so cute.
"Kos, what are you doing?"
She had to know he was going to taste her. It had been ages since he was with a woman who feigned innocence. The nineteen seventies seemed to put an end to that nonsense. He didn't want an inexperienced woman. It was a huge burden—one wanted to make things special for them. Too much work.
Lena obviously wasn't an innocent, but she also wasn't pretending. Maybe years of unmet needs and shame had made her forget this pleasure. He would remind her, lavish her with attention, make her scream and beg.
When he ran his tongue along her seam, she gasped. "Oh my God."
Her knees bent and he placed her thigh over his shoulder. Finally, she was open to him. He was too close for a proper view, but still he noticed the rosiness, the slickness of her most private skin. Then he licked her everywhere, inside and out. He wished his tongue were longer so he could lick her womb. Yes, that's where he wanted to be—all the way inside her. He needed more. He began to tease her open with his fingers.
"No!" Her pulse was too fast, her fists clenched.
"What's the matter?"
"Not yet. Don't put your fingers—"
"Sweetheart, I just want to make sure you're ready."
"Kos, I want all of you. Don't get me ready."
Okay. So, she liked it hard and fast. Not what he would have chosen for her first time in years, but she should have what she wanted.
More pleasure would help. He already knew where she liked his tongue—he delivered long slow strokes and then fast short ones. Her mewls, her breath, the blood pounding in her veins—everything told him how much pressure she liked. Her thighs tensed on either side of his head; she was getting close. He sucked her into his mouth, and just like that, she was coming on his tongue. He held her as her trembles slowly subsided.
"Wow." Her voice was husky.
With a wriggle, she pulled away. He held her hips, lapping at her. "You taste just like honey."
All flushed and disheveled, she was gorgeous. And she was still skeptical, like she thought he was sweet-talking her. He stood up to kiss her, knowing she would taste her salt on his lips, but probably not the honey that was already tempting him back between her legs.
Blood Vine Series
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date of Publication: January 6, 2013
Number of pages: 206
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?
Zoey studied him for a few moments before she said, “You told me you’d fantasized about us together. The quick…way.” For some reason she didn’t want to say fuck now that she was really going to do it.
“Are you sure?”
She was. She nodded.
“Come here.” He didn’t hesitate; in fact, he sounded relieved.
She had worried he would send her away, but she had made the decision for them and he seemed grateful. She came to the side of his desk. He gripped her shoulders and steered her to stand facing the desk. He stood behind her and stepped closer to her body, fitting his thighs against the curve of her ass. Hard already, his erection pressed into the small of her back.
Movement across the room caught her eye. A large mirror hung on the wall opposite the desk, rimmed by a thick gilt frame—another of Andre’s antiques. Even though he was behind her, it afforded her a view of his hands reaching for her breasts and the top of his head as he bent down to put his face next to her hair.
He bit the tendon between her neck and shoulder gently and she gasped, pushing her hips back into him. The feel of his teeth latched onto her neck was the most erotic thing she had ever experienced, and she wanted more.
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.
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