Thursday, December 13, 2012

Amber Belldene's Debut PNR Cover Reveal, Q&A & Giveaway ! #BloodVine

Welcome Guest Author 
Amber Belldene 
on her Debut Novel!
See below for her giveaway!

Welcome, Amber! Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
My debut novel Blood Vine will be released on January 8.  It's about Croatian vampire Andre Maras who was forced from his homeland by his ancient enemies, the Hunters.  He has grown weak in exile, as all vampires do when separated from their native soil.  But for the first time in centuries, Andre has a reason to hope, and he is honor bound to share that reason with his fellow refugees.  The problem is, he doesn’t know how to find them.  So he hires a public relations firm to help.  And when P.R. expert Zoey Porter arrives, she disrupts all his plans. 

Ooh, intriguing! Which character is your favorite and why?

My favorite character is Andre, who is the head of a big vampire household, including his two sons and lots of staff who provide blood.  Because of his wasting sickness, he lives in a perpetual state of painful longing for his home—an island off the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.  He’s ancient, gruff, wounded, and fiercely protective of his people.  He’s an awesome dad to his sons, which is something that I adore about him.  And he is stubborn in his refusal never to love again, but not nearly as stubborn as Zoey. 

I love the sound of this! As the author, what surprised you about this story?

Two things:  First, it surprised me how much I fell in love with the star-crossed m/m romance between vampire-ally Pedro and vampire-hunter Lucas, which will continue throughout the series. 

Also, it was a delight the way the world unfolded once I discovered the exile-related wasting disease.  The premise was rich and unexpected, and in many ways the series wrote itself because of that.  I’m preparing to submit the second book, and once I do, I’ll get started on the third story, both of which feature Andre’s sons, Kos and Bel.    

Wow! Go, you! What was the hardest thing for you about writing this story?

One challenge was to learn as much as I possibly could about Croatia without the luxury of going there.  I scoured photos and lists of the flora and fauna, I read text books, I listened to Croatian folk music, and I asked tons of advice from a fellow writer and Croatian, Zrinka Jelic.  But it was worth it, because even though the story is set in my home state of California, these touches of another culture add a dimension that I love.  The cherry on top was when the fabulous San Francisco Bay Area women’s ensemble Kitka gave me permission to use one of their Croatian songs in the trailer.  

That’s awesome! What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

I love to write sex scenes, and I find it hard to write bad guys.  Probably because I tend to see people as good and don’t believe we are easily motivated to do evil.  That means my antagonists end up interesting and complicated, but it usually takes a while for me to learn what makes them tick.

That’s an interesting problem to have! What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I like to joke around about being a naughty priest who writes racy romance.  But the truth is, I don’t think there is anything naughty about sex—it’s a very holy expression of love and our most basic instinct for intimacy.  And it’s really fun.  I do the happy dance everyday that the genres of romance and erotica have made women more comfortable and open about their own sexuality. 

That rocks, Amber, seriously! Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

Well, I know you love the Black Dagger Brotherhood as much as I do, Laura.  I don’t wish I’d written the whole series, but I do wish I’d written Vishous, because I’d like it if he totally belonged to me. Wait, reverse that—with him the owning goes in the other direction. 

LOL! Yes, yes it does. And as long as you leave your hands off Zsadist, we’re okay. True? Okay, now, just for fun:

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?  Dark, please.  Yum!

Salty or sweet?  Salty.

Bed or kitchen table?  Kitchen table, except mine is a little rickety.    

Beach or mountains? Beach.

Give or receive? Both at the same time.
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. 

The view from the parlor at sunset stunned Zoey. A wall of French doors opened onto a narrow balcony and displayed a pink sky, flush against the verdant grapevines that trailed over gentle hills. The landscape was more than enough ornament for the room and Zoey was glad Andre had left the ivory colored walls bare.

He sat chatting with Pedro, and they both stood as she walked in. She had to look a long way up to meet his eyes.  Pedro poured wine into three glasses.

“I should admit I don’t have much of a palate,” she said.

“Don’t worry, we’ll guide you.”  Pedro handed her a glass.

As she lifted it to her nose, Andre watched her. “Hhhmm. It smells so earthy. It’s very unusual.”

“Yes, the grapes are from our family vines on Šolta, before they were burned,” Andre said.

“A fire?”  How tragic, to lose so much heritage. 

Andre sipped his wine before he said, “Yes, that’s why I—why my family came to the U.S.”

“When was the fire?” she asked.

“Eighteen forty-seven,” Andre replied. Her next question had formed on her lips when he added, “It is a very long story. Another time?”


“This wine was produced from the Šoltan vines planted when this estate was founded, and recently spliced onto the vines on my new land.”

“But,” Zoey checked to be certain she understood, “it’s the Zinfandel grape whose name I have no hope of saying in Croatian?”

“Yes, that one.” Andre nodded. “The vineyards we acquired several years ago bear a startling similarity to our vineyards in Šolta and the resulting wine tastes just like the ones we used to make.”

“Were you actually able to taste wines made by your family so long ago?” 

He tilted his head. “Able to taste them?  Oh, I see. Yes, I was fortunate enough to taste wine made from that vineyard.”

Why did she feel like he was evading her question?

She brought her glass to her mouth and glanced up to find him watching. She lowered her lids and concentrated. When the wine hit her tongue, she opened them wide again.

She ran her tongue along the back of her teeth, searching out words for the astonishing mixture of flavors in her mouth. “It’s as thick as blood…and it tastes like sunshine, raisins and peppery licorice.”

The flecks in his green eyes glittered. “Yes, Zoey, it does.” For the first time, he didn’t call her Ms. Porter. “Your palate is perfect.”

He looked delighted with her. She glanced away, her head suddenly light, as if she hadn’t eaten all day. Darting her eyes back to him, his face had gone neutral. She wanted the delight back.

Where can we find you on the web?


One commenter who leaves their email address will win an ebook of Blood Vine after the book releases in early January! What to comment? Did you have a favorite line from the excerpt? Or leave a question for Amber! Open to international! Contest ends Monday, January 7, at midnight EST! Good luck!
Thanks for coming on the blog, Amber! Now, everyone, leave Amber some debut novel love! And thanks for reading!



Shelley Munro said...

Congrats on the upcoming release. Your cover is gorgeous, and your background setting sounds very interesting. Are you a plotter? Just curious :)

Andi Kelly said...

Your book sounds amazing and the cover is gorgeous!! Can't wait to read it. Congratulations Amber!!!

Bonnie said...

Oooo I absolutely love the cover and the excerpt Amber. I can't wait for it to be released. Andre sounds sexy. I'm looking forward to his and Zoey's romance.

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for kicking off the comments for Amber, guys!

Amber Belldene said...

Laura, thank you so much for hosting me. Your interview questions were a lot of fun and really got me thinking!

@Shelley- I was more like a plantser (in between a plotter and a by-the-seat-of-my pantser) with this novel--I had its basic shape, but sometimes it took a surprising turn. Since I wrote it, I've become more of a plotter, but I learned during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that there's a layer of story I personally can't figure out a head of time.

@Andi-Thank you so much! I love the cover too--it really captures the sensual and mystical feeling I strived for in the novel.

@Bonnie- Just thinking about Andre makes me blush. He is very sexy. Sometime you'll have to come out to CA and we'll go sample wine at his vineyard!

Angel Cullen said...

Oh My God!!!
I've been looking for a good Vampire book for a while and this sounds PERFECT!
I'm already in love with Andre ... he seems awesome ...
Can't wait for this book to come out! said...

Congrats Amber, well deserved, I'm so happy for you!

laurie said...

Your book sounds amazing and the cover is gorgeous!! Can't wait to read it. Congratulations Amber!!!

DMC said...

Good choice on the cover...though the other was intriguing, too. I am SO looking forward to reading this book, vampire fan or not, and getting to know you as a writer at a completely different level.
Thanks for sharing with us! Dawn

DMC said...

Oh, and I LOVE the photo of you!

Marian Lanouette said...

Beautiful cover. Good luck with your book and Happy Holidays!

queenofenglish said...

I love the cover, Amber. Can't wait to show it to all of my newsletter subscribers this month.

A question: from the first draft to published novel, what was the biggest change in the characters or the plot?

MM Pollard

Sebrina said...

Another book for my wish list. Thank you so much for the excerpt, sounds very intriguing! I'm hoping it's going where my mind has it headed! *weg*
Thank you again,
♥ Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mimisebastian said...

Amber, congrats on the release! It sounds like a great premise. I was fortunate enough to visit Croatia and the lovely city of Dubrovnik so I look forward to reading your inclusion of that culture! Good luck!

Samantha MacDouglas said...


I love the cover! I am really excited about Blood Vine and can't wait to read it. I love that you have an m/m romance woven throughout the series.

I can tell this is going to be a book I read over and over and over. :)

Amber Belldene said...

@Angel--hooray! I hope Blood Vine is the right vampire series for you.
@Angela & @Marian--thanks for the well wishes!
@Laurie--I'm so glad you like the cover. Can't wait to hear if you like the book too.
@DMC--You're too funny. Thanks!
@QEO--Thanks. That's a great question. I think the biggest change came in the form of deepening the characters--showing more of exactly why Andre, Zoey and Lucas are who they are.
@Sebrina-thanks! I promise it will definitely go there!
@Mimi-So jealous. Andre and Zoey have promised to take me on a trip there soon!
@Samantha- thanks for those kind words. It's amazing how excitement is contagious--yours just make me more so!

Ally Broadfield said...

Love the gorgeous cover! Can't wait to read this one, but for now I'm going to dive into the last part of Teapot.

Jennifer Lane said...

Great to meet you, Amber--future pub sister! Really enjoyed the interview and the excerpt, and I agree with other commenters that the cover is gorgeous.

Laura, I'm right behind you in line for Zsadist! ;-)

Amber Belldene said...

@Ally Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm thankful for knowledgable beta readers who know something about the cultures that fascinate me!

@Jennifer Ha! Glad for you to meet a fellow Zsadist enthusiast. I wonder what makes some of us swoon for him and some for Vishous? I guess it depends on what kind of wounded you like your hero to be. I find daddy issues poignant--hence Andre and his sons!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I have the book on my "want to read" list on Goodreads. Cover is beautiful and the story sound great! Good luck!!

celiabreslin said...

Great cover and excerpt, Amber. Can't wait to see the trailer with Kitka's music.
As for the BDB,I have a soft spot for Wrath. And also John Matthew and Quinn.

Gayle Latreille said...

I liked this one. "The flecks in his green eyes glittered. “Yes, Zoey, it does.” For the first time, he didn’t call her Ms. Porter. “Your palate is perfect.”

Great excerpt and great interview, loved it.

Paula Millhouse said...

Laura - thanks for hosting this blog for Amber today. Your website is gorgeous.

Amber - the cover photo you chose is only improved by your name and your novel's title - it takes my breath away.

I LOVE the excerpt, and can't wait to get my first taste of BLOOD VINE.

So happy for you!
You go, girl!!


Amber Belldene said...

@Stacy-thanks so much. That's awesome! The cover is live and up-to-date on Goodreads now.
@Celia- I love John Matthew too, but I love him for Xhex, whereas, I love Vishous for me, not Doc Jane. :-)
@Gayle- I'm so glad you liked the excerpt and interview!
@Paula-I love the font too, but I can't take credit for the photo--credit for this design belongs to the awesome Art Dept. at Omnific Publishing, whose covers are all subtle and stunning works of art. A part of me did long for Andre on the cover, but in the end I think it's better to leave him up to your imagination!

Arely ZPerez said...

I love how she mentioned it's as thick as blood...and I'm sure Andre did as well ;)


Laura Kaye said...

Look at all my fellow BDB fans! LOL! Thanks for all the great comments for Amber today everyone!

A. J. Larrieu said...

Congratulations on your terrific cover, Amber! I can't wait to read this, and I love Andre's little "I--I mean my family" slip. I can tell this book is going to make me thirsty. ;)

Tricia Skinner said...

I was sold on Amber's cover and the great interview, but Laura's secured my undying loyalty to her blog with one word: Zsadist.

Mary Preston said...

Just fabulous.

I really love this line. "She had to look a long way up to meet his eyes."