For the second day in a row, we’re featuring a rookie during Celebrity Blogger Week. Amber Belldene is not your grandfather’s Episcopal priest (unless your grandfather’s Episcopal priest was also a romance writer), which is one of the reasons we’re jazzed she’s joined us for our pursuit of the Golden Halo.
Some of you have been wondering if there is a hazing process for new CBs. The official answer is that we do not condone hazing of any kind. Also the rumor that we require a Lent Madness tattoo is greatly exaggerated.
Amber Belldene is a romance writer and the alter ego of a vampire-loving Episcopal priest. She 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 believes stories are the best way to examine life’s truths, and she is passionate about the relationship between sexuality and spirituality — namely, that God made people with a desire for love, and that desire is the heart of every romance novel. Her paranormal romance series Blood Vine is now available from Omnific Publishing and her sexy contemporary novella One Sinful Night in São Paulo, about an Episcopal seminarian looking for love, is scheduled to release later this year. She loves wine, history, heirloom tomatoes and she lives with her husband and children in San Francisco. For more information about her books or to check out her blog go to www.amberbelldene.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmberBelldene or Facebook.
How has Lent Madness transformed your life?
So, I’m not going to lie. I haven’t followed Lent Madness in the past, except second-hand through clergy buddies. But, I’m very excited to take part this year. We’ve hung the bracket poster up in the front office and I’m ready to be transformed!
2. Obviously being a Celebrity Blogger is your greatest lifetime achievement. What perks have you enjoyed as a result of your status?
Well, I’ve sold some romance novels, apparently, because when you look at my books on Amazon you see “People who bought this book also bought…” several books by Lent Madness Celebrity Bloggers. So, that’s cool. I do realize racy romance novels are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the more I talk with people who do read them about God, and holy longings, and sex, and spirituality, the more sure I am God has called me to this surprising pair of vocations. When I talk to readers and writers, I get to “preach” about incarnation and the goodness of creation, which includes us and our sexual desires, to an audience largely unfamiliar with the Episcopal Church. Many of them are excited to hear about a church that considers this to be a part of the Good News.
I love the idea of people engaging with the stories of Holy Women and Holy Men. These kind of examples inspire us to consider what faith has looked like throughout history, and what courage and sanctity look like in our modern context. Novelist-me thinks a lot about heroism, and what enables a person to devote their life to doing good or to take a risky stand on behalf of those in need. I love to teach Moses and then watch Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech, in which he talks about how he too has seen the Promised Land, and he’s not afraid, even though he may not get there. It was almost immediately afterward that he was killed. The speech is so wonderful for asking people to consider what would they stand up for, no matter the risks and I think many of the live of the saints have that quality as well.
“What early twenty-first century Episcopal priest shamelessly invited scandal by writing rated-R (okay, maybe X) romance novels and proclaiming sexuality is a path to experiencing divine love?”