Posts Tagged ‘horror writer’

I don’t know how I feel about summarizing this past year–2021. In some bizarre time anomaly that is the current state of things, it simultaneously feels like I was just reluctantly typing my 2020 in Review and as if 2021 alone spanned five normal years. I am not sure how time can sprint by in a blur while raking in painful slow motion. Yet, here we are.

2020 was simple and easy to review. It was shit. 2021, however, was more complicated as so much continued to be messy and challenging while other components attempted to limp back toward “normalcy.” I found myself weak and damaged.

Floundering is a good word that comes to mind. Yet I did flounder through, and when I look back from a more pragmatic hindsight, I can see progress, accomplishments, and healing mingled with my struggles.

When I compare 2021 to 2020, I can truly appreciate the highlights. Right now (and in this post), I am choosing to focus on the highlights.

Followers Release

Perhaps the largest highlight of my year was the release of my fifth book, Followers, by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Crystal Lake Publishing was a pleasure to work with, especially in challenging times when I could not celebrate or promote a new novel in ways I have in previous years.

Followers is a novel that allowed me to question and play with themes and concepts that have come up during my time in the horror genre. It also got me to stretch and grow writer muscles. I feel like I took a step forward with this book. And it makes me want to take another. (I think I did with my yet unpublished WIP, and I stand poised for another with the next I plan to start.)

Publication is always an accomplishment for an author.

Telluride Horror Show

Telluride Horror Show was back in person this year! Vaccinated and masked but in Telluride!

After traveling next to none in more than a year prior, it felt so good to go somewhere. It was comforting to be in one of my favorite places. Even with the precautions, the event maintained itself. Most of the festivities were able to happen unchanged or simply migrated outdoors.

There was no more appropriate time to go than right after releasing Followers since I included the Telluride Horror Show in the book. While writing and editing and reading and re-reading Followers, I had been dying to walk to streets of Telluride again.

It was the vacation I needed.

And of course, we snuck in an amazing winter hike. Because one cannot survive on horror movies and booze alone… right?

NaNoWriMo

Yes, I returned to the challenge, the torment, the sprint for a second year. Last year, I used the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words in one month) challenge to complete my novel Green Eyes. A novel I am still working and querying a year later.

This year, I was struggling with my relationship with the craft. I wanted to use NaNoWriMo to find my way back to my passion for writing. I wanted to strip away all the collateral parts of writing–the querying and editing and publishing and promoting and marketing–and return to just the act itself. So I turned to a genre I have never attempted, fan fiction.

Fan fiction can never be published for profit, due to copyright infringement. Since I could never do anything with the story, there was no pressure in writing it, just the creation of the story, just the pure act.

So I took my first and one of my favorite horror movies: Scream. I focused on the original movie from the perspective of the killers, with some before and after. I watched Scream a bunch of times and combed through the script. It was an experience, and it accomplished the goal.

I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything with Father Death. I have mused on polishing it up and posting it to this blog. However, it was fun to compose and brought me back to wanting to write again.

Now, I just have to wait and see how it aligns with Scream 5.

High School Speaking

Odd and out of character, one of my favorite author things to do is speak at schools. During lockdown, I even did it over Zoom. But I did miss it, especially during spooky season when everyone wants to talk about horror.

This fall, I got to return to one high school and talk to classes all day long. There were a lot of masks and distance involved, and the pandemic has definitely changed how students behave and interact, but I loved it just the same.

At these sessions, one of the teachers read one of my pieces to the auditorium. It was multiple layers of surreal. Reading my own work aloud is always a trip, but having another person read as I listened and watched the reactions added another layer.

It was not the same as when I have visited before the pandemic, but the world is not the same. We cannot expect things to snap back when years have passed and so much has happened. So instead of noting the differences, I appreciate how fun it was.

Metal Fusion Dancing

One thing that is better, that I do more of since the pandemic is performing, which seems odd. My metal fusion dancing is unrelated to writing. However, it does share a lineage with my love of horror. I often include horror themes, props, or imagery in my performances. For example, Pennywise or fake blood.

I used to dance and perform constantly with my troupe in Tennessee/Georgia. However, it has been slow returning to the activity since moving home to Colorado. I began finally dabbling and finding my way back to the stage preceding the pandemic and lockdowns. Yet as things have opened back up, I have found more opportunities, producers, and shows. I am seeing more traction.

I also continued to dance with my Southern troupe over Zoom and joined an online metal collective. So dance is firmly rooted back in my life.

Onward…

It would be inauthentic to gloss over the depths of my depression in the past year or the ripples my struggles are still sending through my days. However, that darkness does not mean the entire year has been dark. There were plenty of highlights and joy. The best way to keep my head above the waves is to keep my eyes on those points of light and remember the tide will swell and recede.

So it is onward into another year. No resolutions. No expectations. Just the ambition and hope to continue progress and recovery and hopefully grow the ratio of highlights versus darkness.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Holy hell, November is over. Wasn’t it just Halloween? Wait, wasn’t it just summer? Or last November? I’m still in some sort of pandemic time warp where time simultaneously flies by yet drags on. How can it be both?

This year, I arrived at November beaten and bruised (mostly psychologically). I decided that November needed to be a self-care month. Part of my anguish centered around my writing career. I was struggling with finding my passion buried under marketing and promoting and querying and the general business of being a writer. I determined I would participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – a challenge to write 50,000 words in November) for the second time. However, I would use it differently this year.

For my inaugural year of NaNoWriMo, I used last November to complete my WIP novel, Green Eyes. The goal and accountability kept me very motivated and on track, and I did finish the draft of my book. That book now stresses me out as I attempt to query it to agents.

This year, the prospect of what happens after the writing had been weighing on me. Editing and submitting and publishing and promoting and selling. I wanted to get back to the writing, so I targeted NaNoWriMo to just be about the writing. Inspiration handed me the solution. I had my very first idea for a fan fiction piece.

Fan fiction can never be published for profit since the characters are copyrighted. I would never have to worry about submitting or querying it for publication and release. I could write in my little sandbox, and it never needed to go farther than that. I supposed that could be true about any piece, yet with fan fiction, I would never be able to talk myself into more.

So I wrote 50,000 words just to write 50,000 words. I wrote fan fiction just to play and try it out. It was fun. It was liberating. It was no pressure. I even learned some things. In short, it served the purpose I wanted.

For my project, I decided to write within the Scream universe. It seemed fitting to dabble in fan fiction there since it was my first horror movie, where my love affair began.

My story is basically the first movie but centered on Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. It also includes some before the events of the movie and some after. Spoiler alert: Billy and Stu are the killers, so the story details how they decided to start killing people, how they selected their victims, how they constructed their plan, the logistics of how the pulled off the events of the film, and what I think happened after the credits.

To accomplish this story, I wanted to remain loyal to Scream, merely augment it with additional perspectives, give it more depth and explanation. To do this, I watched Scream probably ten times in stuttering 2-5 minute increments.

Then I also found the movie script online to lift necessary dialog. This was a true learning experience. I am not familiar with script writing. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen or read a real script. I am, however, pretty familiar with the film, so it was a trip to see it captured on the page. Where the actors adlibbed or followed the lines. How much is scripted versus directed. These are things I never knew or appreciated.

So I spent the month just writing and living inside one of my favorite movies.

Is it any good? I have no idea. No one has read it yet, including me. What will I do with it? I honestly have no idea. Perhaps I wrote it just for me. Maybe it was just a writing exercise to get my creative juices flowing and my passion rekindled. Or perhaps I will put it out on this blog for free, which is about all I can do with fan fiction.

What do you think? What should become of my little pet project?

While I was not as successful on the rest of self-care November, my NaNoWriMo project did the job. I feel refreshed to approach Green Eyes again. I also have a new original novel idea. Then I have five existing books out there to sell!

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

I know what you’re thinking… Did you write yourself AGAIN, Christina? In this mini vlog, I talk about NOT writing myself as a character in Followers.

Followers is available now on Amazon.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

My book Followers is a horror novel, but it is also about the horror genre itself. I have loved horror most of my life and have constantly been asked, “WHY HORROR?… HOW CAN YOU LOVE HORROR?” (insert my eye roll in black eyeliner). That question grew legs for me and became, could you love the horror genre if horror was real in your life? I explore that in the pages of Followers.

To do that, I needed a horror lover. Enter Sidney (familiar namesake, anyone?)

Of course! She was my first final girl. My Sidney uses horror as therapy, as medication, as distraction from the pain and disappointments in her real life (as much as she uses the online followers she is collecting). But to go on her horror journey, real and in the genre, I wallowed in my own love of horror. From name dropping on characters like Sidney, Wes, Pamela, Tony, Seth, and more to attending a horror film festival, Followers is about loving the horror genre.

Allow me to provide some excerpts of the nods to horror within Followers.

She tabbed away from her browser and into her active document. The bloodbath in her movie began to overshadow the chocolate-flavored recreation she had posted all over social media. She skimmed the last paragraph in the document, running her finger through the air over the words and mouthing the sentences silently as she read.

Even considering new classics like Final Destination and Saw, to crown the best bathroom scene in horror, we have to circle back to the beginning. Psycho is where it started, where the slasher genre itself started, and where this article has to end as well, she typed.

@Romero4eva: #FinalDestination is based on a woman changing planes based on her mom’s intuition! #truestory #FDlivetweet #horrorisreal
“Holy shit,” she mumbled between popcorn bites. “Did you know Final Destination was actually loosely inspired by real events?”
“I had heard that,” Wes replied, typing. “But did you know it was originally supposed to be an X-Files episode?”
“No! How do I not know all this?”
“This is why we live tweet, Sidney.”

@ChuckysBabysitter: The Bus! Gets me every time! #finaldestination #FDlivetweet #finalgirlscreams
@HorrorL0ser: BOOM! #youcantcheatdeath #finaldestination #FDlivetweet
Allison: That scene is so infamous. I remember my jaw dropped when I saw it in the theater.

“When was the first time you saw this movie?” Adam said as they sat.
The thick seats folded down and creaked under their weight. Dim lights peeked out from the thick curtains lining the wall. The wide, gray screen loomed anticipant in front of them.
The actors ran madly up and down the aisles, shrieking as their steps ground popcorn into the flattened carpet. They paused to mock and interact with the patrons. Magenta swung her wide hips as her frizzy hair bounced on her shoulders, dragging her feather duster over any face within reach. Riffraff loomed in a corner, leaning out menacingly as new people entered the theater.
“Sleepover in junior high,” Sidney answered between bites of popcorn.
“Ha! What were your first impressions?”
“I was confused but very intrigued. You?”
“My mom showed it to me, of all people.” Adam smirked.
“How old were you?”
“Early high school, I guess.”
“That seems weird,” Sidney giggled.
“It was. But my mom was weird. The best kind of weird—a horror lover. I have some strange stories. I’m surprised you never live tweeted this one.”
“Everyone live tweets Rocky Horror.”

“Hey, man,” Adam said as they approached Wes. “Look, I didn’t attack Sidney last night.”
Wes spun towards him, arms still pinned around his chest.
“Is that an actual line from Scream?” Wes replied. “It sounds very Billy Loomis.”

As the familiar festive plot unfolded, she reminded herself to swipe over the trackpad and tweet. If she did not post, was she even really watching?
@FinalGirlScreams: #SilentNightDeadlyNight was ahead of its time with killer psychology. Even if it portrays #PTSD horribly. #12SlaysofChristmas #horror #finalgirlscreams
@L1v1ngDead1te: Wouldn’t be the holidays without #12SlaysofChristmas with @FinalGirlScreams!
@Romero4eva: @FinalGirlScreams I watch this one every year. For the antlers!
@ZombieonElmSt: @FinalGirlScreams great choice! Xmas classic #christmashorror #12SlaysofChristmas

The first taste is free… if you want more, you’ll have to read Followers for yourself. You can find it now on Amazon! See how many more horror nods you can find.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

What happens when online followers show up uninvited into real life? Find out in this reading from Followers. Out this Friday from Crystal Lake Publishing!

You can pre-order Followers on Amazon.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

My fifth book, Followers, comes out from Crystal Lake Publishing on Friday. It seems like an appropriate time to introduce some of the cast of characters contained within its pages.

Sidney lives part of her life with the people around her but also has a secondary life online. As such, the characters in Followers appear in Sidney’s real and/or virtual life.

Real Life

Sidney

Sidney is the protagonist of Followers. A single mother with a dull day job, Sidney 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.

Sidney loves horror, perhaps too much to see horror blossoming in her own life. Despite all the grief she gets from her mother and ex-husband, she continues to pour fake blood on herself in pursuit of her goal. She uses all the online followers she accrues online to soothe the insecurity she feels from wrecking her marriage. The more she amasses, the more addicted she becomes to the adoration.

Kendra

Kendra is Sidney’s roommate and cofounder of their Divorced Wives’ Club. Kendra may loathe horror, but she supports Sidney’s ambition within it. She only wishes Sidney would be more cautious and calculating with all those strangers online.

Cameron

Cameron is Sidney’s young son, muddling his way through his parents’ messy divorce. Cameron presses his mother’s guilt to persuade her to let him watch horror with her.

Brady

Brady is Sidney’s extravagant photographer accomplice. As Jagged Rainbow Photography, Brady creates all of the fake blood photographs Sidney uses for clickbait on her horror articles. Brady and his husband, Jordan, also step in to help Sidney when she needs emotional support.

Aiden

Aiden is Sidney’s ex-husband. Still bitter from Sidney’s infidelity and the resulting split, Aiden makes interactions very unpleasant. He cites her love of horror as evidence of inferior parenting.

Wes

Wes is Sidney’s horror buddy. He conducts live tweets and also attends horror film festivals with her. His online persona also crosses over with hers.

Virtual Life

Adam

Adam is Sidney’s longest follower. They speak online all day, every day. Though flirtatious, he asks her about her day, and they talk about nearly all aspects of their real lives. Sidney considers him an actual friend.

Oliver

Oliver is a long-standing follower who flirts shamelessly and aggressively with Sidney. He messages daily with compliments and demanding pictures.

Max

Max is a new follower who emerges after Sidney’s blood bath pictures. He begins with the normal follower pattern but quickly escalates with alarming horror references.

Allison

Allison joins Sidney’s live tweet then begins messaging her more regularly. Sidney feels a strange safety messaging with her. They quickly become friends. Sidney finds herself confessing things to Allison she is not telling anyone else.

When Horror Crosses Over

Sidney thinks horror and her followers exist on the other side her screen. Yet the more she plays, the more she pushes on that boundary, the closer both come to her real life. Until they cross over. Find out what happens when Sidney’s online followers bring horror into her real life in Followers… on Friday!

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

It is no secret that I love Telluride Horror Show. We are less than a month away right now, and I cannot wait! In my homage to horror in Followers, I included the Horror Show as one of my settings.

Followers is available for preorder on Amazon.

Learn more about the Telluride Horror Show on their website.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

As I keep saying, Followers is coming on September 24th from Crystal Lake Publishing. What better teaser than the first chapter! Meet Sidney and her photographer friend, Brady, as they make fake blood horror art in the opening scene of Followers.

Followers will be released September 24th by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

The Rest Will Come and Followers (coming next month), what is similar between them? Online horror! In this mini vlog I talk about going from online dating in The Rest Will Come to online followers in Followers.

You can find The Rest Will Come on Amazon.

Followers will be released September 24th by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Emma murders her dates in THE REST WILL COME. Listen to me read one such encounter. find more in THE REST WILL COME.

You can find The Rest Will Come on Amazon.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling