Monday, May 23, 2011

The Writing Life Guest Post with Elaine Bergstrom and a Shattered Glass Giveaway

The Writing Life ... is it fun yet?
Guest post by Elaine Bergstrom

Finishing a first novel is not unlike pregnancy and childbirth, although gestation and delivery take far longer. But the end product is a designer baby ... your plot, your dialog, your steamy and horrific scenes all molded and brought to life entirely by you. It’s fun. It’s terrifying. It’s the hardest and most wonderful work a writer will ever do. Like Jane Wilder in Romancing the Stone, I cried when I’d finished my first novel, Shattered Glass. This vampire novel is about addiction and obsession, and by the time I wrote the final sentences I was both addicted and obsessed.

Writing my first novel was hard because I was new to the process, and not completely sure what I was doing. But I was convinced that I had the right instinct, and I hoped others would love my baby, too. Fortunately, readers did love the romance between the immortal Stephen Austra and the young gifted painter Helen Wells as much as I did.

And they let me know. My very first signing had a young man who held out my book with trembling hands and said, “Please sign this, I love all your books.” OK, maybe he was a bit confused, or maybe he was psychic. Nevertheless, I got letters, too, and wonderful comments from fans about Glass, and later the other books in the Austra series. Just after my husband and I split up, I got an email that had as the subject line, “You’re practically a religion in my house.” She then said she’d been afraid to write and bother me. Bother me! I printed out and posted her comments on my refrigerator door so I could read them every day.

Another came from a man about to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary. Is wife-to-be had been reading Shattered Glass when he proposed to her. She’d lost her copy. He wanted to buy another and have it autographed to give as a wedding present. Another wrote of the savage hotel room scene near the end of the novel, “You raped the reader, I loved it!” For that same scene, I got my one negative comment, this from a man who accused me of writing “torture porn.” Yes, the novel, and all of them, are for adults, but my characters use seduction as a weapon as much as they do teeth and body. If I had wandered into TP, more people would have noticed.

This is the digital age. Fans can contact authors directly, whereas in the past they often had to go through publishers that often only send fan letters to writers just a few times each year. Writers can comment on their craft and their characters and share news on websites and blogs. And, in a move that will alter the future of publishers and bookstores, writers can publish their own works directly. This is what I have done with Shattered Glass, which I released with the 12,000 words that had been cut from the original book (for length) returned to the story. There is also a new Austra novel, Beyond Sundown released by Elaine-the-Publisher just last month. These are also in e-format as well as in print and the rest of the Austra series is available for kindle. The novella, The Violin, will be released for all e-formats later this spring. And there will be more from me. having declared my independence from traditional publishing, I have never had more fun writing – hope your reading is fun, too. My email is on my website, Feel free to write anytime!


Elaine Bergstrom was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the product of 16 years of Catholic education which, she is sure, has strongly affected her work. Her first novel, Shattered Glass, was among the first vampire romances and created a family of vampiric immortals -- powerful, eternal but with some odd constraints on their natures. It was set in her hometown and the church she attended as a child. It was nominated for a Stoker, received critical acclaim and has been followed by four other related novels, as well as Under the pseudonym Marie Kiraly (her grandmother's name), she has written two Dracula sequels: Mina...the Dracula Story Continues and Blood to Blood. She resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she runs a novel writing workshop, freelances as a TV and film critic and writes grumpy old lady letters to her congressmen and local papers.

Book Blurb:

Stephen Austra – glass artist and immortal – is the head of a family that acquired wealth and fame for its marvelous creations of stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals and churches. While restoring a historic Midwest church, he meets a young painter, Helen Wells. Their attraction is immediate and intense, but she is more than just a potential lover. She also has the capacity to save his race, if he can only keep her and those she loves safe from the dark force that is stalking both of them.


Helen had removed her braces and pushed her porch swing violently in an attempt to dissipate her anxiety. When the door swung open, she looked up at Stephen, her eyes brimming with anger and dread. “Now,” she said, the word both a question and a demand.

Stephen recalled her own words: “She is not a child, yet how like a child she acts.” He caught the swing and leaned his face close to hers. She drew back, startled by his fierce, unfamiliar expression. “Now.”

Her tension would be a distraction and he knew it would have been infinitely better had she begun as he had, with someone who understood and would yield willingly. For that he had hoped to wait until they reached New York or Chavez. But the act could not be postponed. She waited with fatalistic anticipation, and in response he grinned. “Well. Helen, must I remain here and take potluck, or shall we go for a drive?”

It worked. She laughed, though uneasily and only for a moment. “Take me somewhere you used to go.” she ordered less apprehensively.

“Very well. But you shall make the choice for me.”

“Do you think I would be jealous otherwise?”

“No. I want you to be attracted to the one you choose.”

She became confused. “It would be a man.”

“And this need not be sex.” His voice had already moved to a more compelling timbre. In spite of his misgivings, tonight had begun to excite him. “You hunt with me and I shall feed as much on your pleasure, your response to what occurs, as I will on the blood of the one you choose.”

She found him buying cigarettes at a gas station; no older than herself, with features still softly feminine. Captured by Helen’s eyes, eyes that were not entirely her own at that moment, he accepted her offer of a ride home, sitting without question between her and the silent driver, unable to be polite as he stared at her body with frank longing. But Helen felt no dread, for some consummate force had taken control of him, holding him helpless. She glimpsed swift snapshots of his life, savored his private dreams, and understood that Stephen could arouse my emotion, but because she was here and feared it most of all, he had chosen desire.

She brushed her fingers across the inside of the young man’s wrist, feeling his pulse quicken, innately knowing when to give that unspoken command. ―Look at me, think only of me.―
A small sound of shameless joy escaped him when she rested her hands on the sides of his face, and she wondered at his rapture while, behind him, the other -- the forgotten one -- pressed close, his lips on the young man’s neck.

Stephen felt no struggle, no adversary here. This was the sort of first choice he had expected she would make -- pretty and safe, young as she was young, with emotions infinitely refinable -- and far more satisfying than he had anticipated.

As Stephen stole that small bit of life, Helen felt the life explode within him and, with it the power! Her mind emptied of all save its presence, and she marveled at what they had done and how much more they could do.

Would like to win Shattered Glass?

One winner will receive an ebook copy

Just leave a comment or question for Elaine

Be sure to include your email
(posts without email addresses will not be considered for the giveaway)

A winner will be announced Wednesday June 1


meggerfly said...

I love that you put up your fan mail on the fridge!

rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

Kalex said...

I would love to read it.

Rain Maiden said...

This looks really good. Elaine I was wondering if you go back and read reviews on your work? I don't think I could read them if I was. writer.

Dot S. said...

I think many of us, readers, think of the authors as unapprochable. Thank you for setting us straight. I'd love to win this book. Sounds wonderful.

SandyG265 said...

I think it's great that authors are making some of their out of print books available again.

kara-karina said...

Thank you for a wonderful guest post! I'll have to read this book now! :))

tammy millet said...

I have read all your books! you are great!! really loved the Austra series ty for writing them

Judy said...

This looks like another great read. I really enjoyed the post.


LadyVampire2u said...

Your a new author to me but I now have you on my wishlist here. These books sound awesome and I would dearly love to read them. Thanks for the chance.
My question: "What influenced you to write a paranormal series?" Just curious.

LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

If you were to make the newspaper front page, what would the headline read?

Sounds awesome!


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Miranda Grissom said...

Awesome post, it got me really excited about Shattered Glass! Sounds like a book that I would love! :)

Meredith said...

Great excerpt! I love that she writes to her politicians! Even if they are "grumpy"!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Sorry couple days late on the winner but here she is:

Rain Maiden said...
This looks really good. Elaine I was wondering if you go back and read reviews on your work? I don't think I could read them if I was. writer.

Elaine Bergstrom said...

I can tell you that my first comment from a publisher was just awful. My agent had suggested I write the gaming magazine TSR and submit what is now Chapter 8 as a short story. The editor hated it. Worse, he got insulting. I filed that under, just you wait, you a**. I think it is one of the best chapters in the book, odd how a few people hate the edgier parts, but life is not sweetness and light (especially not immortal life). And I think if no one has anything bad to say, as a writer I have not done my job. Thanks for all the great comments! Keep in touch. Elaine