Back to Lent Month continues with a recently released book, Blood Entangled, from new Celebrity Blogger Amber Belldene. This just proves that we don't discriminate against vampires here at Lent Madness. Or romance novels (take your pick on which member of the Supreme Executive Committee most closely resembles Fabio).
Yes! I have a new book out. It's the second book in my Blood Vine Series, which is racy vampire romance. I know, I know, not exactly what you would expect your friendly Episcopal priest to read or write in her spare time. But the truth is, like many, many women and some men, I am a huge fan of the romance genre and have been since high school. As a member of the romance writing community, I am in awe of the brilliant and passionate women I have come to know. If you haven't taken a look at a romance since the 1980s, you might be surprised by the diversity and sophistication of the genre these days.
That said, I know my book won't be for everyone -- it's got explicit sex, a beautiful winery setting, a lot of absurd humor, and vampires. It also explores deep theological themes like homeland and exile, purity, power, and belonging through the story of two warring tribes (Hunters and vampires) and their journey through their history of violence toward reconciliation.
Back Cover Blurb
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?
Why vampires? Being a priest has given me a love for the language we use to talk about spiritual mysteries (which is a must for a paranormal author) and it’s been so fun to exercise my creativity to describe the mystical world of my vampires. Writing about fantastical worlds turns out, paradoxically, to be an excellent way to explore human truths, because of how we can exaggerate the reality.
Why racy romance? I am very passionate about the relationship between sex and spirituality. To me, sexuality is a gift from God and one of the most delightful ways we experience love — both divine and human. For so long, we have relegated sexuality to the realm of the secret and shameful. I’m all for privacy (it’s one of the reasons I have a pen name) but that’s not the same as secretive. As a priest who writes romance, I hope I can spur more comfortable conversations and openness about human sexuality in people’s lives and in the church.
How does this book relate to Lent Madness?
As much as I'd like to advocate for the spiritual discipline of a romance novel a day during the season of Lent, the truth is, this book doesn't have much to do with Lent other than this:
My characters are just regular folks (and ordinary vampires) who are struggling with vocation, duty, and their own pasts. During Lent Madness we read the stories of holy lives so that we might better understand our spiritual journey. For me, all fiction serves this purpose — any character’s story is an opportunity for us to look at our commitments and motivations, and in the case of romance, a reminder to stay in touch with the passion in our lives. Blood Entangled surprised me by becoming the story of an extraordinary sacrifice, and I’m certain I couldn’t have written it without the Christian story in mind.
Why should Lent Madness followers buy this book?
Well, I’m not sure they should -- only if it piques their interest! And I do recommend starting with the first book, Blood Vine, which is only $0.99 for Kindle right now.
If you don’t buy one of my books, I’d love the LM followers to take a moment to learn a little about the romance genre. Romantic and sexual love is one of the Christian tradition's most potent metaphors for God’s love and I am convinced a great romance can nourish our spirit and our own romantic relationships. If you would prefer to read a great historical romance, or a witty contemporary, or steampunk, or angels, or anything — feel free to get in touch with me online and I’ll recommend some of my favorites!