Monday, May 16, 2011

First Day of The Shattered Glass Tour and Giveaway

Today is the first day of Elaine Bergstrom's
Shattered Glass tour,
please welcome her for a guest post and giveaway!

Why A Good Sexy Novel Is Better Than Men … or, Could you go to sleep, sweetie, so I can write something better?

It has come to me rather late in life that I am bored with ordinary men. When I was in college, future engineers, executives and army officers pursued me (I follow their careers in the alumni magazine, so I know what I passed up and I am still thankful) and I spurned them. I needed something more interesting, less boring. I pursued someone because it was more fun than being pursued, and he spurned me. Then, one night while I was discussing my intended’s many shortcomings with a girlfriend, a man – a boy actually, since he was just 18 to my then 21 – crawled out from under her dining room table where he happened to have been living for awhile (it was the late ‘60s, so anything went) and said, “You are really full of yourself, aren't you?” He had a broken arm and his black-rimmed glasses were held together in the center with electrical tape. He rode a motorcycle. He had three cars and one set of license plates to pop on whichever one started in the morning. I was hooked.

And yes, life was interesting for a time. But 25 years and two kids later, we divorced. Long before we legally called it quits, I’d retreated into a world I still find far more comfortable – the one in my head. And I suspect a lot of women – and men – are happier there, too, even if they aren’t writers.

I was a voracious reader of romances in the early years of my marriage. They fueled passion when it was running low on octane. And is there anyone who does not close their eyes sometimes and think of the perfect man? I didn’t do it often, but when I did, no one satisfied. So I made him, the immortal Stephen Austra, in Shattered Glass

Helen was lost in his eyes—eyes so perfectly black that the pupils were distinguishable from the irises only by their greater depth. She found herself looking for her reflection there, certain that, like Alice at the mirror, she could break through into another dimension. She knew in that moment not love, not passion, but rather obsession. She would go where he asked, do anything he asked, and gladly. And she waited.

But he made no requests. Instead he smiled—somewhat shyly, it seemed—and held out his hand. “How do you do. My name is Austra. Stephen Austra.”

His English had a too-perfect enunciation, as if he had learned it as a second language. His voice was musically inflected, with an odd, lilting cadence.

Helen’s arm felt heavy but she found the will to raise it. “I’m so pleased you came. I’m Helen Wells.” As she took his hand she panicked, as if in reaching for a familiar item she had touched instead something unknown and exotic. The feeling was too fleeting to analyze, but having grasped even this small part of him, she was oddly reluctant to let go. She saw a frown cross his face, as if he had felt it, too.

He did, and it isn’t long before he becomes a necessary part of her life, helping in her work, in her recovery from an illness, in awakening in her passion she did not know she possessed. He can read minds, so he knows what this woman wants without her asking, and he is smart enough to listen to her internal voice. Their love is wild and it changes her, in more ways than emotional. Though he is not a vampire in the traditional sense, he can make her immortal, too. But love has to be tested to endure, and that requires some darkness to balance all their light. Enter my favorite character, Charles Austra.

When she had finished undressing, he gripped her bare shoulders and swung her around so her body faced the light. “Beautiful.” he murmured. “I knew you would be. I have listened to your desires. You are the one. We escape this world together.”

She opened her mouth to make one final protest.

“Silence!” he ordered. His hands stroked her shoulders as his lips closed around one nipple, his tongue brushing until it hardened. He moved to the other, then back to the first, the sucking now followed by a light nip. It was no more than so many had done, yet her stomach fluttered in unfamiliar arousal, and a passion such as she had never known began to build in her, hungry and demanding. With one hand he grabbed her hair and pulled her face up to his while he forced the other between her thighs, seeking, then stroking, as perfectly as she would herself. He kissed her temples, her eyes, her mouth, first lightly then fiercely, and moved his lips to her outstretched neck. Her fears, her needs, her life were forgotten as she shuddered in a fulfillment of glorious intensity.

Charles carelessly leaves bodies in his passing, corpses of women who die smiling. He is tempting fate and when he learns his brother Stephen is living nearby, the danger begins to grow – one that threatens Helen and everyone she holds dear. But, God, I loved Charles. I cried when Glass was finished – out of joy for what I had created and also sadness that the novel had ended. So of course, I wrote five more. Charles, still filled with that same terrible darkness, appears in two of them and will show up in future books.

I tended to write my first novels at night, slipping into bed far too late to function at my day job the following morning. And it wasn’t long before my husband noticed something, a comment I gave to Patrick Austra’s lover in my latest novel, Beyond Sundown:

I move around the sofa, crouch in front of him and kiss him. He opens his mouth to say something and I kiss him again, much harder, then pull him to his feet, and though he likely outweighs me by a good ten kilos, I toss him over my shoulder.

“Patrick, damn it! I’m getting much too old for this!”

−Not tonight!− I tell him and carry him upstairs as if he were a child and dump him on the bed, hard enough that the frame shakes and the springs squawk in protest. “Take off your pants!” I order.

He looks at me with surprise and, for a moment, anger, then the truth of what I am doing comes to him and he laughs. “So is that damned Catherine killing someone again and you’ve gone feral? It that what this predator and prey game is all about?”

He knows me too well. Fortunately, he takes my nature with a certain tolerance.

I suspect there will be more darkness to come. I love the power writing gives me over my characters. I love their passion, I love their twisted romance. And my fans validate my own desires – they love them, too.

But when I see couples in their ‘80s walking hand-in-hand. I think how lovely. And it is, but how often does love last? People grow old. Fire and passion may fade to a slow steady warmth. But I want more. I am an optimist. If I could live forever as my characters do, I would. As Helen says at the end of Blood Rites:

I no longer feel the nagging constraints of a human body. It is in harmony now with my mind and my soul. I think that if I had not been prepared for the sudden physical changes, I would have thought I died. Then, as now, my body hardly seems to surround my soul at all.

My skin is paler and smoother. And when the winter winds are silent, I climb to the open ridge above the cabin where I can look down on it and up to the stars. I sense Stephen moving silently up the ridge looking for me. I open my mind and call him to me. The shadows of the moon turn my hair silver and our naked bodies to liquid marble. I need not will my body to feel for it feels so perfectly-- his hands, his lips.

I no longer regret the human life I have lost.

I would take it from everyone I love.

PS – since I have been so forthcoming about my personal life, I need a disclaimer. In the past few years my ex and I have shared a house where we co-parent our handicapped daughter. We are the best of friends, and I cherish that.

About Shattered Glass

Paperback: 386 pages

Publisher: Elaine Bergstrom (January 24, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0982970609

ISBN-13: 978-0982970607

Book Description:

Helen Wells, 19, is a gifted painter, struggling to create a legacy before the illness that left her crippled claims her life. Stephen Austra is a brilliant glass artist, and an immortal. When they meet, their passion is immediate and intense. But as their love grows, Dick Wells, Helen's uncle and a homicide expert on the local police department, begins investigating a series of savage murders committed, he is forced to believe, by something not human. Soon all three will be drawn into a struggle with a dark presence from Stephen's past, one that lays claim to the life of the woman he loves and one that, for all his power, he is helpless to control. This novel, first published in 1989 to critical acclain is being reissued in a special updated -- and uncut -- version, and includes 12,000 words not found in the original edition. It is the first of 6 books in the Austra series.

To see more books in the Austra series visit:

Would you like to win an ecopy of Shattered Glass?

Leave a comment on this post with your email

One winner will be announced next Wednesday


Jen B. said...

That's great that you and your ex ended up friends. In a way, it is a kind of love that so many people never find. The book sounds really interesting. I love good, spooky murder stories. I am currently reading a Karen Rose book. Thanks for the giveaway.

June M. said...

This sounds like a good story. Congrats that you and your ex have found a way to continue to co-parent you child together.

GFC follower: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Anne said...

I hadn't heard of this series before. Sounds good, I like paranormal and mystery together.

Estella said...

Awesome that you and your ex can get along and co parent your child.

Your story sounds very good!

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Tore said...

Its great you and your ex are friends. I work for an attorney and I see so much fighting going on during divorces and child cutody. I know it doesnt have to be that way. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

Julie S said...

That's amazing to hear that you and your ex can still get along and take care of your child together.

This sounds like a really cool read.


lindalou said...

OMG! This book sounds great... A paranormal romantic mystery.... Thanks for the giveaway!
Linda T., USA

Tanya1224 said...

What a story. I'm so glad that you remained friends. I know how some of that feels. Books are a great take me away from here remedy. I love to just sink into another world and get away from reality sometimes. Authors are great at doing that for us ;) Thank you.
I'd love a chance to win your book, please count me in.

meggerfly said...

This book sound great. Thank you for sharing your story. I have the utmost respect for couples who can remain friends after they break up, creating a comfortable environment for their children.

rootml1 At hotmail DOT com

Beverly said...

Sounds amazing - would love to win. Please enter me - old gfc follower. Thanks for hosting.

Elaine Bergstrom said...

Thanks for all the comments on my post, especially those on my ex and I. He has spent the last few years making up for the when he essentially did nothing. I didn't mention it here, but I started writing Shattered Glass just weeks after he went through treatment for alcoholism. I was attending AlAnon meetings and heard all these incredible stories about addiction. When you write a novel, you sometimes don't realize what the theme is, but overcoming addiction (to blood and fear) is a big part of the story. Hope you all enjoy it.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

Who's to say what makes a family. It's wonderful that you and your husband were able to do that for your daughter.

Your book sounds really good!

Thanks for the giveaway!