Celebrity Blogger Week: Amber Belldene

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.

The Rev. Amber Belldene

The Rev. Amber Belldene

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.

What do you hope the Lent Madness public will learn from the lives of the saints?amber
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.
Someday, when you become the answer on Jeopardy, what will the question be?
“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?”

14 Comments to "Celebrity Blogger Week: Amber Belldene"

  1. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    February 21, 2014 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    SEX !!!!! “Nough said. OK! OK! Divine love…OK?

  2. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    February 21, 2014 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Great bio., Sharing the part about being an author with my daughter, because is an aspiring writer herself and I think she will find this interesting.

  3. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    February 21, 2014 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    I love your picture and red dress!

  4. February 21, 2014 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    If you haven’t read Amber’s vampire books, you need to. They are fabulous. I stayed up into the wee hours reading both of them. Can’t wait for the novella!

  5. Christy's Gravatar Christy
    February 21, 2014 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I had to go buy your first book just because of this bio…and the line about an “Episcopalian seminarian looking for love.” That description combined with the title seriously made my day.

    • February 21, 2014 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Aw! These comments are awesome!

      Shawna, thanks! So glad you liked the books!

      Christy–yay! That book isn’t out yet. Hope to have a release date soon. But it’s the first in a whole series about young women priests that I’m working on.

      Maria! Thanks. That costume was my mom and aunt (my entourage at a recent readers’ convention) dressing me up like one of my book covers. They stole greenery from the Hilton’s indoor plants.

      Glenis, that is awesome. I remember when I realized I could actually BE a writer. It was an awesomely inspiring and frightening moment! Best of luck to your daughter!

      Aleathia/Dolores. LOL. It sounds like we’re on the same page :-)

  6. February 21, 2014 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Oops. I guess I replied to everyone in Christy’s box. Sorry!

  7. Steve Caldwell's Gravatar Steve Caldwell
    February 21, 2014 - 6:28 pm | Permalink

    ” ‘Someday, when you become the answer on Jeopardy, what will the question be?
    “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?’”

    But will it preach? Always looking for good sermon ideas to keep people alert and wanting more! I’m retired, so getting fired really isn’t an issue. Jail time is.

    • February 22, 2014 - 9:20 am | Permalink

      Hi Steve, Yes! Lots of things about this preach pretty well without having to worry about an obscenity charge. Here’s an example of a “sermon” I delivered to my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. It was for an audience of woman who read and write about sex, but it’s not rated R or X.

      http://amberbelldene.com/a-sermon-on-romance/

  8. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    February 21, 2014 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Amber, my daughter loved your bio and immediately went to your site to read about your books. She just told me that she has a sample of the book on her Kindle now.

    • February 22, 2014 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      Glenis, thanks for sharing! I hope she enjoys it.

      She’s over 18, right? ;-)

      People sometimes assume I’m writing books for Young Adults. (I think it’s my Inner Youth Group leader). They are very much for adults.

      • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
        February 22, 2014 - 10:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, Emily will be 41 this March, so she definitely is of age!!

  9. February 22, 2014 - 12:17 am | Permalink

    Wow! First Josh Thomas and now Amber Belldene. What more proof do the fundamentalists need to be certain that all Episcopalians are going to hell!? Welcome Amber!

    • February 22, 2014 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks Alan, and LOL. I’m pretty sure the old Episcopal camp song about that was formative for me: “There are no Episcopalians down in hell… They’re all up above drinking beer and making love.”

      Of course we know there are Christians who disagree and even hate the kinds of things I’ve been saying about God’s love as a romance writer. But what has been really interesting is getting to talk to people who have no idea Christians with a broad, inclusive, incarnational theology exist. From women who are shamed by their families for reading romance novels to undergoing a forced exorcism for reading SciFi novels, they hear my message as good news.

      I’m proud of our church, and people have proven curious about it when they meet me, so that’s cool.

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