guest post, writing

FEATURE GUEST POST: What is Spiritual Suspense? with Author Krista Wagner

Happy Friday! It is my great pleasure to welcome fellow author Krista Wagner onto my blog. She has a great book to share, but first, here’s her informative post about Spiritual Suspense…

What is Spiritual Suspense?

Spiritual Suspense contributes significantly to the literary canon because it explores life-changing moments. Specifically, the reader can relate to the intensity of events, emotions, and spiritual changes. Frankenstein started this trend in 1818, which later became popularized in the YA genre because of the need to control one’s environments and the difficulty of dealing with life and death. C.S. Lewis, over sixty years later, enhanced the delivery of the spiritual and suspenseful world through the addition of fantastical elements, appealing to the vulnerabilities and impressionable nature of youth.

Spiritual Suspense stories trigger the audience’s adrenaline by intensifying pivotal moments in a plot.  In these novels, the protagonist deals with unsuspecting turns and mysterious twists within a world where there is always a villain, but where good ultimately wins out over evil. The main character (s) experience significant growth spiritually, mentally, and emotionally–life-identifying changes.  The relationships of the protagonist are also seriously affected positively or negatively.

Notable books include: nearly all of Dean Koontz’s novels such as Intensity, The Bad Place, Lightning. His stories are filled with characters combating darkness and adversities and then brings the light into the darkness where good is victorious. He also emphasizes the intellectual capacity of his characters who show discernment and make choices judiciously. There are also the classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series.

All of these writers appeal to the cognitive growth of children and young adults by having them deeply examine their own choices and the impact of those choices.

thegold1600x2400The Book

“What do you do with a secret that’s make-believe?”

The Gold is a middle-grade fantasy about a bullied ten-year old girl who stumbles upon a talking pebble.

In her latest novel, author Krista Wagner introduces us to Ten-year old Amanda who is constantly teased and tormented in school. Her home life is less than satisfactory where her widower father, often away on business trips, leaves her in the care of her indifferent teenaged sister. Worse, not a day goes by when Amanda doesn’t miss her mom. To escape reality, Amanda creates fantasy stories, but when she discovers a talking golden pebble, her imagined world turns into a new-fangled reality.


“Her breath got stuck in her chest, and if she had heartstrings, like the characters in her book always did, then they were being pulled right now!”


Buy link:

About the Author

Mother of three and Adjunct English Instructor Krista Wagner has been crafting short stories of dramatic events like murder and kidnapping since she was in high school and has been writing in general since she was seven years old. Wagner received her B.A. in English from UMBC, her M.A. in English Composition with a Literature Concentration from CSUSB, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University. Her debut novel Intent, a spiritual dramatic thriller, was published by TouchPoint Press in 2014. . Her psychological thriller Rian Field was released January 2016. Outside of her professional life, Wagner enjoys watching suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family.

Connect with Krista and her books:


So, how’s the blog tour going?


We are about half way through the blog tour for “The General’s Wife” and it is going really, really well! I cannot say enough good things about Goddess Fish Tours and their services. Everything has been smooth and seamless. The bloggers have been great and everything that Goddess Fish Tours promised has been delivered. What more could one ask for?

The Regulars. There are some folks I see commenting regularly on the tour. That’s fantastic. It does warm my heart to see them each day of the tour. I love the questions some ask and that others are just encouraging and seem to enjoy the content they are getting.

The Consistency. Everyday when I get up the blog post is already up. Fantastic! I don’t have to wonder when it’s going to be up or if it’s the wrong day. No, it’s up and running already. I love that.

Marketing. Goddess Fish Promotions is doing an outstanding job of tweeting and putting out Facebook posts regularly (daily, multiple times a day even) about the tour stops and even about the book. They are on it.

The Reviews. Reviews make every author a little nervous. Not because we don’t believe in our work. But because this is our art, this is a piece of ourselves. Will the reviewer “get it”? Will they understand? I have had two so far on the tour – both glowing reviews of the book. I couldn’t be happier. And I am so thankful for the bloggers/reviewers who really took the time to read the book and to “get me”.

The Bloggers. And I appreciate all of the bloggers who have hosted me. They have all been courteous and efficient with, again, getting the post up, moderating comments, and the like. I have been impressed by their sites and have felt inspired to perhaps open my blog up to be a part of tours like this. I don’t know…something to think about.

Please continue to follow along and make the most of this experience with me. I am certain I will be using this blog service in the future for other releases.

The General's Wife, writing

“The General’s Wife” Blog Tour


Well, it’s that time…I’m going on tour again! Blog tour, that is. I will be virtually hopping all over the internet starting TODAY, September 19th, until Friday, October 14th. These stops will include a variety of posts.

Spotlights. These stops will be a blogger’s way of highlighting the book. They will have the short synopsis (the kind that would appear on the back of the book), the cover, the buy links, and some info about me. Some may have an excerpt from the book.

Interviews. Some stops will have interviews with me. And believe me, some of these bloggers dig deep! So if you want to learn more about me, you won’t want to miss these stops!

Guest Posts. I have been busy writing guest blog posts for some of the bloggers. They wanted to get some insight on what it’s like to be an author, to write, find inspiration, at the like. These are fun.

Reviews. These will be rather interesting. These are bloggers who have read the book and will give their feedback on it.

Prizes. There will be a grand prize given along the way. Be sure to follow the tour for more details.

So, without further ado, here’s the line up:

September 19: Long and Short Reviews
September 20: The Reading Addict
September 21: It’s Raining Books
September 22: Reviews by Crystal
September 22: With Love for Books
September 23: Christine Young
September 23: Tina Donahue Books – Heat with Heart
September 26: A Writer’s Life
September 26: Jessica and Gracie’s Tree
September 27: Louise Lyndon Romance Author Hear Me Roar
September 27: LibriAmoriMiei
September 28: EskieMama Reads
September 28: The Avid Reader
September 29: Doorway to History
September 30: Fabulous and Brunette
September 30: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
October 3: The Book Connection
October 3: History and Other Ponderings
October 4: Unabridged Andra’s
October 4: CBY Book Club
October 5: Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company
October 5: Readeropolis
October 6: Book Lover Promo
October 6: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
October 7: Reading Is My SuperPower
October 7: Two Ends of the Pen
October 10: Danita Minnis
October 11: Nickie’s Views and Interviews
October 12: Where the Story Comes First
October 13: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
October 13: Full Moon Dreaming
October 14: Books,Dreams,Life

If, of course, you haven’t picked up your copy of “The General’s Wife”, you can learn more about it, and even purchase it here.


The Perfect Writers Retreat


I just came home from the perfect writers retreat. And I’m not just saying that because I co-hosted it. I have read through the evaluations and they would serve to support that assertion. It was the first retreat thrown by our little writers critique group, but if we have anything to say about it, it is only the first. There will be more. Will we do things differently? There will be some tweaks. But no changes. Because everything ran smoothly and our guests really enjoyed what we had to offer.

The Venue. We chose a Bed & Breakfast in Murfreesboro, TN: Carriage Lane Inn. It was wonderful. Absolutely perfect. There were so many cozy writing nooks indoors and out-of-doors. And the atmosphere and decor were perfect to set the mood for creativity. Will we host it here again? I truly hope so. The only thing I’d like to do differently is to reserve the entire venue, expand the retreat to the entire grounds, and make it bigger.

living-roomThe Timing. The season was great. If anything, we could do it later in September or early in October. It was cool enough to write outside, but even cooler (not too chilly) would be even better. But much later and we run into Fall Breaks. We did run into minor issues, I think, being so close to a major conference (ACFW). We could have planned to be at least one more week away. It still worked out well.

What exactly was available?

webpage background?Undisturbed writing time. Can I hear an “amen”? If that was all we offered, I think we’d have gotten eager writers signing up. A bed, meals prepared, and a nice spot to write undisturbed. What more could you want? Well, I’ll tell you what more we offered…

Mentor or Critique appointments. In the morning, each guest could have a 20 minute mentor or critique appointment with a published author. They could have a 5 page critique of any pages or a mentor appointment to talk about website, marketing, plotting, character development, really anything they wanted. Everyone said they benefitted from this time.

Meeting writersWorkshops. There were two workshop slots (1 hour long each) and three workshops offered in each slot. So, 6 workshops to choose from, but each guest could go to 2. Because there were so few slots for the retreat, each workshop had few attendees, which made them very personable, interactive, and the instructors were able to make them directly applicable to each guest’s novel/career.

Meals. Meals and snacks were prepared and delicious (thank you, Greg!). So, the attendees really just had to show up hungry.

Would we do anything differently?

20160911_094505Perhaps make it longer. We all felt it was a good length. Check in was Saturday morning at 9 am and check out was Sunday morning at 11 am. We all wished it lasted until Sunday evening or even that it officially began Friday evening and lasted until Sunday evening. This is something we might look into the next time around.

20160911_094806Expand it. As I mentioned before, we would love to offer more slots. We didn’t have many slots available. It would be nice to offer it to more people.

A group reading time. One of the guests mentioned in their evaluation that it would have been nice to have a time when all the writers shared a scene from one of their works or from one of their favorite books. That is a great idea! And one we may very well employ next retreat.

20160911_094916All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. And even though I was busy, busy, busy with food prep, and appointments, and workshops, and plotting, I still got two kid-free naps in and some much needed undisturbed writing time. Just wonderful! So, if you are in driving distance of Middle Tennessee, keep your eyes open for our retreat next fall.


Self-Publishing: Getting My Feet Wet


Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, my latest book “Off to War” went up for sale on Amazon. It was exciting, of course, because every time you are publishing is thrilling. But even more so because this is my first venture in self-publishing. As a newbie in this arena, I cannot yet tell you much about the pros and cons from personal experience, but I can tell you some of the reasons why I chose this route.

Why Not? At the core of it, I retain all my rights. I don’t have to negotiate down the road to get my rights back, or wait “x” amount of years for the reversion of rights. They are always, solely mine. And I only profit share with the distributer (a.k.a. Amazon, iTunes, etc.) as opposed to sharing with the distributer and the publisher. The idea with going with a publisher 10 years ago was for the marketing dollars. Well, in this day and age, authors are pretty much doing all their own marketing. So, why not?

Well, why go with a publisher at all? I would always say to a newbie writer to START with a publisher. And my next book will be published with a publisher still. This is the only way you can “learn the ropes” of the industry. I didn’t know, for example, that books go through three editors (content, line, and proofing). I learned a LOT from those editing processes. When I started, I didn’t know anyone really in the industry. Where do I go for a book cover? I didn’t know how to shop around. Being with a good publisher allowed me to learn my way a little as I went to conferences, networked, and grew in my knowledge of the industry.

Don’t you want to be Traditionally Published? Well, no, not really. It’s a nice dream. But, I am not sure that a traditional publisher in this day and age of publishing can offer me much. It’s hard to get in with a big publisher, first of all. The marketing dollars typically go toward the big authors.  So, they’re taking a bigger cut of my paycheck and I’m doing the same amount of work. They do have a wider reach and it would be nice to have a publisher people recognize on your book. But I don’t shop for books based on publisher, do you? You just have to pick and choose what’s important to you.

And that’s really the long and short of it…you have to decide what is more important to you. You have to take a long, hard look at the industry (after you’ve become reasonably educated about it) and pick your path. I’m trying my hand at self-publishing this one book to see how it goes. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But I’ll never know if I don’t try, right?