READING from Followers: Christina Bergling

Followers
Sidney, a single mother with a menial day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. She’s determined to make her website a success, and if her growing pool of online followers is any indication, things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might be getting a risky….

When Sidney is attacked on a dark trail late one night, it becomes clear that the horror she loves is bleeding into her real life. She learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Sidney—and her loved ones—are now in serious danger. This follower isn’t just another online fan: he knows her movements, and he knows her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her… and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

Boo-graphy:
Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade. In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small scale. With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer. She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. Limitless Publishing released her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books Publishing published her two novellas Savages and The Waning. She is also featured in over ten horror anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Graveyard Girls, Carnival of Nightmares, and Demonic Wildlife. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.

GUEST MOVIE REVIEW by Christina Bergling: Trick ‘r Treat & Halloween

Trick ‘r Treat vs. Halloween

What is THE Halloween movie? What do you watch after the trick-or-treaters have gone home and the Jack o’Lanterns are burning low?

The knee-jerk reaction might be to say Halloween. I mean, after all, the title of the movie is Halloween. The movie is set on Halloween. The soundtrack has become synonymous with the holiday itself.

While I do watch Halloween every October, not only the original but multiple offerings from the franchise, I respectfully disagree. For me, there is only one film for All Hallows Eve: Trick ‘r Treat.

Every year, after we have spent the October weeks hitting pumpkin patches and haunted houses, on Halloween night after we have extinguished the porch light and put our own weary trick-or-treaters to bed, we turn on Trick ‘r Treat. We stumbled up on the movie by accident one year and assumed it was going to be terrible and campy, and yet we discovered it was sheer festive brilliance.

Trick ‘r Treat is not another horror movie that takes place on Halloween. It does not rely on stock imagery of fog engulfed streets or flickering Jack o’Lanterns. Rather, Trick ‘r Treat is an interwoven set of anthology stories about Halloween. The spirit of Halloween, the traditions and superstitions undermining the holiday are the theme and essence of the film.

Trick ‘r Treat does, of course, unfold on Halloween night. It has costumed children taking flickering Jack o’Lanterns to the site of a tragic local lore. It has drunken adults looking to get lucky at throbbing Halloween parties. It has naughty children betraying the rules of Halloween. All the archetypes and tropes that come to mind around Halloween appear and are cleverly woven together to the spooky lover’s delight.

However, what ultimately makes Trick ‘r Treat my Halloween movie is Sam. Sam appears as an observant, childlike trick-or-treater on the peripheral of each tale. Yet Sam is actually Samhain, the embodiment of the spirit of Halloween, and later the enforcer of the traditions of the holiday. When Sam’s rules are not followed, things get ugly.

Distilled down, Halloween is ultimately a slasher movie. If you changed the title and shifted the timeline and setting, the movie and Michael Meyers could still exist successfully. It would still function in the subgenre. Plenty of the other entries in the franchise wander away from the holiday. Halloween may have the soul of a killer, but it does not have the spirit of Halloween in its essence.

That spirit is where Trick ‘r Treat is different, is more than other horror movies. A manifestation of Samhain trails through the reels as the underlying current of the culminating narratives is Halloween tradition. The film as a whole can be taken as a campy cautionary tale to heed the superstitions and the rules in an increasingly detached and non-participatory world. Trick ‘r Treat pushes us to remember the Halloween spirit, and the perfect time for that is Halloween night itself.

Lest you blow out your Jack o’Lantern too soon and meet Sam with his sharpened sucker in the dark.


Boo-graphy:
Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade. In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small scale. With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer. She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. Limitless Publishing released her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books Publishing published her two novellas Savages and The Waning. She is also featured in over ten horror anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Graveyard Girls, Carnival of Nightmares, and Demonic Wildlife. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.

Followers
Sidney, a single mother with a menial day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. She’s determined to make her website a success, and if her growing pool of online followers is any indication, things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might be getting a risky….

When Sidney is attacked on a dark trail late one night, it becomes clear that the horror she loves is bleeding into her real life. She learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Sidney—and her loved ones—are now in serious danger. This follower isn’t just another online fan: he knows her movements, and he knows her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her… and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Christina Bergling: Halloween Land

Halloween Land by Kevin J. Kennedy

I read horror books all year round. Every season is horror season for me. However, fall time puts me in a particularly festive and nostalgic mood. When the days get darker and colder, when the leaves crunch and the pumpkin spice flows freely, I want to read a specific kind of spooky. I want to read something with a Halloween vibe.

Halloween Land by Kevin J. Kennedy delivers the nostalgia-laden plot that I need beside a crackling fire with a stiff whisky and some mellowcreme pumpkins lifted off my children. The novella is bite-sized, like the candy, and I was able to binge it in one sitting.

Halloween Land introduces us to two teenaged children, Zak and Wendy, as they search for fun and frights on Halloween night. A traveling carnival has appeared in their town for the night, and the two feel compelled to explore it. They don their costumes and push their way through the crowd to get inside. Yet they quickly discover that the carnival is not normal. Instead, it is a gateway to something far more terrifying.

I know Kennedy more than the average reader. He and I co-authored the post-apocalyptic horror novella Screechers. I am also featured in several of his horror anthologies. I personally know how deep of a horror lover Kennedy is and how much genre knowledge he has. That passion, focused on Halloween itself, is very evident in Halloween Land.

Like any deep horror author, Kennedy takes his favorite toys out of the box to play with in his world. This produces a reliance on tropes and archetypes, appearances of familiar characters and ideas. Especially when we approach concepts steeped in motifs, like Halloween itself or a carnival. Kennedy blends horror with Halloween and a carnival in Halloween Land. This blending relies on the tropes you would expect to see in such a recipe, but I was not exasperated to see reliance on these archetypes. Rather, it was like coming home to familiar friends, smiling at the comfort.

The subtitle of Halloween Land is “A Coming of Age Story.” That aptly describes the journey of Zak and Wendy and sets the tone of their adventure. The two dressing up and heading to the Halloween carnival has a distinctly Goosebumps vibe to it, especially since Goosebumps laid the foundation for all my later horror indulgence. That tickle of my childhood only amplified the nostalgia already conjured by the Halloween and carnival imagery.

Yet Halloween Land does not remain in childlike fantasy. When Zak and Wendy cross the threshold into Halloween Land’s other dimension, we too step into Kennedy’s world of monsters.

I am familiar with Kennedy’s world of monsters. I have written there. When we were writing Screechers, I handled the human survivors while Kennedy concocted the mutated monsters. He imagined fantastical beasts. I cannot fathom what all is lurking in his imagination. I will not betray Halloween Land with spoilers, but the same sort of blood-thirsty beasts are unleashed from his mind. With the appearance of these monsters, you can expect epic battles and harrowing fights for Zak and Wendy.

Halloween Land is the quick, easy read to sit down with to get you in the Halloween mood. It is the story to curl up with when you are feeling nostalgic and want to go to the Halloween carnival and also hint at your own youth. Halloween Land is horror comfort food to be consumed in one sitting, perhaps by a fire with a stiff drink and some leftover candy (like I did). Get in line to see if you survive the Fun House!


Boo-graphy:
Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade. In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small scale. With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer. She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. Limitless Publishing released her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books Publishing published her two novellas Savages and The Waning. She is also featured in over ten horror anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Graveyard Girls, Carnival of Nightmares, and Demonic Wildlife. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.

Followers
Sidney, a single mother with a menial day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. She’s determined to make her website a success, and if her growing pool of online followers is any indication, things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might be getting a risky….

When Sidney is attacked on a dark trail late one night, it becomes clear that the horror she loves is bleeding into her real life. She learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Sidney—and her loved ones—are now in serious danger. This follower isn’t just another online fan: he knows her movements, and he knows her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her… and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

GUEST POST: Christina Bergling

When Halloween Takes Over

When I was a child, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I anticipated its arrival with far more excitement than I reserved for Christmas, even with Santa and the promise of presents. I wanted to climb into the soothing darkness of the season as I crunched on the dead carcasses of the leaves on the street. I wanted to slip into the false skin of a stranger for the night while collecting a hefty sack of cavity inducing treats from my neighbors. The culmination of these autumnal festivities was the most fun I had all year.

Halloween was relegated to the day itself in my youth, perhaps extending some happy, preparatory tendrils into the preceding weeks. I did not control the celebration then. I merely indulged of it—as deeply as I was permitted. I was always anxiously waiting for the next year, planning my next costume, writing my next spooky story.

Yet as the manacles of adulthood and its responsibilities fastened around my metaphorical limbs, I was placated with the ability to embrace Halloween whenever and at whatever intensity I desired. Skeletons and macabre trappings were liberated from orange totes in the garage into permanent placement as standard household décor. Network television schedules no longer dictated when seasonal favorites like Halloween or Hocus Pocus graced my screen as I could play a DVD and later stream whenever I wanted. Eventually, I could even order mellowcreme pumpkins (don’t judge) year-round—on Prime. It could be Halloween whenever I wanted, and with that initial rush of that freedom and control, it was Halloween all the time.

In short, I was the high school goth girl all grown up.

Truthfully, if possible, I may have tried to overdose on Halloween and horror and all the macabre. Thankfully, I had a high tolerance and maintained a solid addiction, even as I brought a family into my home to dilute it. As cohabitation compromise, Halloween migrated (somewhat) back to its season. My foolish husband futilely strived to contain it within October (insert my eye roll in black eyeliner).

Enter my career as a published horror writer.

Halloween season is horror season. Hence it is horror writer season. As the leaves die and the air crisps, people get in the mood for something spooky. They are more interested in reading about someone being stalked by a killer or haunted by a ghost. They want to enter that darker world as the days around them grow shorter. Enter a new reason to pour accelerant onto my already steadily burning devotion to Samhain.

Horror writing, and more the unfortunate required marketing thereof, offered the opportunity to do all sorts of fun new Halloween activities and traditions each year. At first, it was thrilling to be able to do all things dark and spooky and witchy and claim they were for the greater professional good, the same exhilaration as writing a pleasant expense off on your taxes or eating a free meal on the company tab. Yet, as with all things, on a long enough timeline, the excitement wore thin through to mediocrity, and fun thickened into obligation.

Halloween began to take over.

Here are some of the new Halloween traditions that overtake my Octobers:

31 Days of Horror Bingo

There is no better time to binge-watch horror movies than during Halloween season. The mood is right. The movie release calendar is poised to support such indulgence. Numerous horror movies are set on or around Halloween. It is simply meant to be.

#31DaysofHorror is a social media activity to mark watching a horror movie every day (or night) in October. The execution varies account to account. Some do a differen theme or element every night. Others prescribe a particular film each night. Others just view any horror movie each day.

I took 31 Days of Horror and turned it into a game. I added bingo to it. For my #31DaysofHorrorBingo, I create a new bingo board each year. Every tombstone on the board has some horror trope or element.

The rules are as follows:
1) One movie per day.
2) One movie per tombstone.
3) Blackout wins.

Now, the rules do not really matter, and no one really wins. However, it is very fun to play and connect with others as they play along. It is interesting to see which movies other people use for each tombstone, which movies people have to watch every October (we all have them). 31 Days of Horror Bingo becomes a way to do something isolating (watching a movie alone) as a social and larger community activity.
This is all fantastic, but it does require a movie every single day. Not only does it require a movie every day, it necessitates a certain movie. The selection becomes increasingly restrictive as the month goes along and the tombstone options dwindle. What is usually a fun game can turn into a requirement and a chore on some frantic days.

That said, come join us! Play, play along…

Halloweenwear

Like any good goth girl, recovering or otherwise, I maintain an extensive macabre wardrobe. Many (MANY) of the pieces are Halloween specific. My horror and Halloween wardrobe expanded to such a level that I decided I had to showcase it somehow. Hence Hallowear was born.

Much like #31DaysofHorror, each day in October, I pick of piece of Halloween or horror attire and post a picture of it. The concept was enough the first year. Then it became mundane (and I am no Instagram model), and I needed to level up to keep it interesting. So the pictures needed to be Hallowear and something else. A clever scene, perhaps some fake blood, some festive ambiance.

This year, I aim to get more creative (I am getting no younger or nicer to look at) and pair each outfit with a reading recommendation. Hallowear with Hallowreads.

Like 31 Days of Horror, Hallowear is fun to execute yet a daily obligation. Sure, I would wear these clothes anyway, likely snapping selfies, yet the requirement adds a layer of daunt to it.

Telluride Horror Show

If we are going to talk about horror movies, we might as well talk about horror film festivals. And Telluride Horror Show happens in October. An easy way to knock out a horror movie a day is to spend three days sitting in theaters all day long. If those movies will hit a horror movie trope and mark off a bingo tombstone is always a gamble, but that’s why it is a game.

Telluride is one of my favorite trips. It is a guaranteed annual vacation for me, doing something I absolutely love. It just happens to occur in a month that is booked beyond capacity with activities and obligations.

It also includes its own landslide of marketing rushes for books, finding new followers and connections, and creating content and movie reviews. All good things but just a lot of them.

Even Telluride itself is a marathon, a microcosm of the barrage that is October and Halloween season itself. The movie schedule is end-to-end the entire weekend, and I, of course, want to watch all of them. Then there are other events (campfire readings, horror trivia, pig roast, bar parties) sprinkled between the films. Plus, our group always tries to get out into the mountain scenery. The weekend is exhausting on its own, even more so as the midway point of the October sprint.

Public Speaking

Sometimes, people like to talk to me about my writing. I’m strangely popular with local schools, talking about the writing and publication process and my own journey through both. Yet most people want to have a horror writer come talk in… you guessed it… October. In pre-COVID times, I usually booked my school appearances in October. During the pandemic, I even did these over Zoom.

While speaking in front of teenagers can be unnerving, particularly when it is an auditorium or gym full of hundreds of them, I have not had a bad experience. To my surprise, they at least pretend to be engaged. I keep my talk pretty abbreviated, expounding how my childhood love of Halloween dropped me straight into the horror genre, detailing how writing navigated me through severe depression and suicide attempts, explaining the horrors of the publishing experience. Then I turn the session over to questions. The students come up with interesting and often surprising questions, and the session usually flies by.

The experience is great, and I would never deny it. Nor would I reschedule it. I understand the relationship of horror and Halloween. I appreciate the inherent mood. I will always make time to cram something like this into my stuffed month.

Speaking of public, performances tend to ramp up in October too. Especially when you are a metal fusion dancer of the morbid cabaret persuasion. Oh, a Pennywise dance or Oogie Boogie interpretation? Then the shows for that flavor of performance happens in, you guessed it, spooky season. Pencil a few more wonderful obligations in that calendar.

“The Normal Stuff”

Under all of these festivities and promotions and extras are the “normal” Halloween activities. Every year, I need a Halloween costume. Naturally, it must be more elaborate and creative than the previous year. I have children who also need their own outlandish and detailed costumes (this year we are looking at RuPaul out of drag and Sam from Trick ‘r Treat). They also trick-or-treat every Halloween night, which proves challenging since our neighborhood is not especially participatory. We try to attend a haunted house. We go to a pumpkin patch. We host a Halloween party (back when drunken gatherings of multiple households were a thing).

More than anything, these normal traditions are non-negotiable. These are the foundation of the season, the bliss in my memory and the joy I want to pass down. I am attempting to endow my children with all these traditions, all these things that have made me happy each autumn, all these habits that I look forward to when the seasons shift. I have just stacked so many other Halloween things atop the list that it threatens to crush us all.

A logical or sane person might suggest simplifying, scaling back. My therapist may have said those very buzzwords in previous, more social years. To which I throw back my head and laugh manically. Halloween has taken over my life, but I welcome such a demanding mistress. I relish such a daunting yet blissful end. I could not give up my horror movies or Halloween shirts and books or public appearances or performances or any autumnal tradition. I can come skittering across All Hallows Eve practically a skeleton or zombie myself.

There’s plenty of time to sleep in November. Oh wait… NaNoWriMo.

No rest for the wicked!


Boo-graphy:
Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade. In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small scale. With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer. She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. Limitless Publishing released her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books Publishing published her two novellas Savages and The Waning. She is also featured in over ten horror anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Graveyard Girls, Carnival of Nightmares, and Demonic Wildlife. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.

Followers
Sidney, a single mother with a menial day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. She’s determined to make her website a success, and if her growing pool of online followers is any indication, things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might be getting a risky….

When Sidney is attacked on a dark trail late one night, it becomes clear that the horror she loves is bleeding into her real life. She learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Sidney—and her loved ones—are now in serious danger. This follower isn’t just another online fan: he knows her movements, and he knows her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her… and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Christina Bergling

Meghan: Hi Christina! Thanks for stopping by. I know you’re busy, what with your book release today, so let’s get started right away. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Christina: Not to be the cliché horror author but… EVERYTHING! I have loved Halloween since I was a child, and I probably indulge in every part of it. If I had to select a favorite, it would be the costume. When I was young, I loved dressing up (on Halloween or any other day). The same is still true and likely contributes to why I like to dance and perform on-stage (costumes!). Yet the excitement of selecting a costume held me rapt for months. My mother often made my costume, so I had full creative freedom. Then we made the costume together. It all culminated when I could wear the final product, which of course had an elaborate backstory, to school, then later around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. Then the costumes lived on as long as they fit me. The best was when my mother made me a mermaid costume with a shimmering tale and shiny shells sewn on a flesh-colored bodice.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Christina: As a child, trick-or-treating was the best part of Halloween. While I still enjoy taking my children, we have struggled to find a neighborhood that is really into it. As an adult, my favorite has evolved to horror movies, especially at Telluride Horror Show every October, and/or haunted houses. Telluride Horror Show allows me to watch horror movies with genre fanatics in gorgeous mountain scenery for three straight days. Nothing but horror movies and maybe some horror movie trivia. And I love a good scare at a haunted house. I startle very easily, so the actors (and my friends) have plenty of fun with me.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Christina: Are there other holidays? Halloween is undoubtedly my favorite. It always has been. Christmas with Santa and presents did not even compete when I was young. Halloween always had my heart. Perhaps it was because my heart was always dark. I was always drawn to the macabre and the spooky. I am not sure why, but it resonated with me. Then with the addition of costumes and candy and running around in the dark and fear for fun, I was in for life.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Christina: I am not a superstitious person. However, I am a habitual person. If I do something and I love it, it becomes a “thing.” Traditions are forged very easily in my circle. Halloween has started to take over my life because I seem to add a new tradition every year, and I am completely unreasonable about skipping some or simplifying at all. It is never “or.” It is always “more.”

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Christina: My favorite monster is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I love the psychology involved in his character. I think he embodies the wild duality in all of us. My horror villain is Hannibal Lecter. Once again, psychology. He is brilliant and yet profoundly savage. That duality, the way he blatantly ignores social convention to define his own ethical code makes his fascinating. Both have a deep intelligence under the evil, monster, and violence in their character. They are not mindless killing machines. They make very calculated decisions, which I think make them all the more terrifying.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Christina: I want to know who Jack the Ripper is. I know there are plenty of solid theories, and I’m not anywhere near researched enough. But I want to KNOW.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Christina: The Licked Hand haunts me. Of all the urban legends I have heard or read, that one left a mark on the back of my brain. To summarize, a girl puts her hand out of bed for a dog to lick it all night. Later, she finds the dog dead and realizes the killer has been licking her hand all night. I have heard many different versions of this same legend, but all versions just cause me to shudder. It used to keep me up at night when I was babysitting or home alone. And I surely never let my dog lick my hand at night.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Christina: I find Ted Bundy very interesting. His charisma and pathological lying make him quite fascinating. Plus representing himself in court and jumping out of the courtroom window to escape and continue his killing spree. His story is consistently so outlandish. The fact that he was able to get away with so much and garner so much attention for being attractive says some very frightening things about our culture.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Christina: Scream was my first horror movie at age 12. My father showed it to me after my parents divorced. While I lacked the genre knowledge to truly appreciate the meta nature of Scream, I adored it. I fell in love with the movie and the genre. I never looked back. I don’t think my father knew what he was starting. I don’t remember my first horror book. I started with Goosebumps and Fear Street and read numerous ones in elementary school. After that, I graduated to Stephen King. I devoured horror books at the library. Books lay the groundwork for my love of the horror genre and my eventual horror writing.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Christina: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum deeply unnerved me. The novel is brilliant and so well written. The premise of child abuse and torture is visceral enough. However, the violence Meg endures is so haunting. I physically flinched. The prose made my nauseous. I love the book and appreciate everything it was able to do to me.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Christina: It might be a tie between the French movies Inside and Martyrs. French horror is extremely bloody. I am glad I saw Inside before I even had children because I do not know if I could handle the subject matter after being pregnant. Martyrs contained so much graphic torture. Ultimately, it influenced me so much that it helped to inspire my torture book The Waning. However, the most traumatic movie I have ever seen is by Dario Argento’s daughter, Asia Argento. The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things is traumatic to a level from which I may never recover. It just is not really “horror.”

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume? (This could be from when you were a child or after you became an adult. Or maybe something you never dressed as but wish you had.)

Christina: My most fun Halloween costume was dressing up as Dora the Explorer as an adult. I had her backpack full of very inappropriate tools. I wandered around the party showing everyone what I had in my backpack and taking way too many shots. When I had my daughter, my family went as the Addams family. I made yarn braids for her to be Wednesday Addams.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Christina: I love Black No. 1 by Type O Negative. I’m definitely partial to it because I know a choreography to it and have performed to it. Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie is another good one. And the theme song from Halloween by John Carpenter is a classic. Ice Nine Kills has a whole album (with another coming out in October) of songs based on horror movies.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Christina: Mellowcreme pumpkins are my favorite. I could eat myself sick on them. And also have. Those peanut butter taffy things in the orange and black wrappers are disgusting though. Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins are also quite delicious. Though candy paired with booze always makes me pretty happy.

Meghan: Before we finish, what are your Top 10 Halloween movies?

Christina:


Boo-graphy:
Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade. In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small scale. With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer. She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. Limitless Publishing released her novel The Rest Will Come. HellBound Books Publishing published her two novellas Savages and The Waning. She is also featured in over ten horror anthologies, including Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Graveyard Girls, Carnival of Nightmares, and Demonic Wildlife. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.

Followers
Sidney, a single mother with a menial day job, has big dreams of becoming a full-time horror reviewer and risqué gore model. She’s determined to make her website a success, and if her growing pool of online followers is any indication, things are looking good for her Elvira-esque aspirations. In fact, Sidney has so many followers that chatting with them is getting to be a job in itself. More than a job, it might be getting a risky….

When Sidney is attacked on a dark trail late one night, it becomes clear that the horror she loves is bleeding into her real life. She learns that real-life horror is not a game, and being stalked isn’t flattering—it’s terrifying, and it could get her killed.

Sidney—and her loved ones—are now in serious danger. This follower isn’t just another online fan: he knows her movements, and he knows her routine. In fact, he’s right behind her… and when he gets close enough, he won’t take no for an answer.