Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Short Life Story

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I walked around the classroom with all of the other two-year olds, circling the room. Why are we doing this? The teacher tells me to go back to the 3 year old’s class but then she sends me back to the 4 year old class because I can already read. Where am I supposed to be? I hope I get to marry Paul, but Cheri is prettier than I am. I am so surprised I won the math race and I feel special how all the 2nd graders are celebrating me winning. I can’t believe Kent picked me up in front of the whole class. How embarrassing. Why is Ms. Mercier so mean to us? And she’s so pretty too. But then she makes us speak French and if we cry she threatens to tell our parents. I got a 107 on the history test! I never do good on tests. I did 100 pull-ups for PE. No one else did more than 10. I feel so important! Kids in Jr. High are so mean and snobbish. How do the girls know how to do their hair and makeup? And the boys are so cute, I can’t talk to them. Theresa is my best friend but she likes to smoke and drink, and all my friends are having sex. But I just kissed a boy for the first time and it was weird because I am only a freshman but he’s a popular sophomore. Nana died, my light in this world, and now I want to die. I love California, but my mom is forcing us to Maryland. My friends actually like me for me. My heart has been bleeding for two weeks since Ken left me my junior year. College is painful and Benjamin says I ruined his life. My long-life friend has no time for me now, and I feel so far away from Jesus, so I will marry Justin. He has no love for me, only for his co-worker and his dogs. More guys leave me year after year. Now I am pregnant, but he has run away. I am done trying to control this. A year later, someone who knows what love is finds me, and now, eleven years later, we have three precious gifts of God who love me too.

8 Books that Inspired My Writing

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1. The Holy Bible: New American Standard. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1977. Print.                 The Bible is God’s Word and it's accessible to all. It is a guide to living and includes everything from the meaning of love and understanding truth to finding freedom from slavery, and acquiring eternal salvation and peace through forms of poetry and prose. The Bible provides a complex narrative of literary devices: parallelisms, plot points, metaphor, parables, similes, foreshadowing, dialogue, repetition and symbolism, all which are applicable to  literary writing and further promote our creative techniques.The Bible has become the cornerstone of my writing by offering a variety of language styles and points-of-view. It is the standard by which all mediums of my writing have been realized as it provides paradigms of poetry, narrative, and lyrics. Containing many antagonists and protagonists, this book has helped me to create, more passionately, my own characters  and incorporate more effectively the many thematic elements dealt with in the Bible such as family relationships, adversity, good and evil, people's nature, life, death, love, and hope.

2. Koontz, Dean. Intensity. New York: Ballantine Pub, 1995. Print.                                                Koontz is a #1 bestseller who has published nearly 100 (check) novels, most of them thrillers.               Intensity follows a young woman, Chyna, who uses survival techniques from her volatile childhood to hide from a cold-blooded villain, Vess, who slaughters her best friend, Laura, and Laura’s family. With much courage, she pursues the killer and finds that he is holding a teenage girl in his basement. Vess eventually discovers that he’s being pursued, confronts Chyna, and handcuffs her to his table, unsure and surprised by her seeming bravery to follow him. Through much endurance, faith in God, and a love for a stranger (the girl, Ariel), Koontz uses Chyna to teach us about true love, protection from evil through faith in God, and the destruction of evil as good prevails.                                                                Koontz has set for me the paradigm for fictional creative writing. His prose is unique in style and narrative, and his characters are well-developed, likeable, relatable, and convincing. The stories are linguistically rich and compelling and reveal aspects of evil while prevailing over it with truth and goodness. Though he writes fiction, he incorporates truth, victory over evil, and love based on his faith in God. I strive to emulate some of his thematic elements because they coincide with my own faith. I also seek to create characters and storylines that hold my readers’ attention like the ones Koontz creates; through vivid description, credible language, and intriguing characters, he gives us hope and triumph over evil. Like Koontz, I strive to depict both good and evil and how, through faith and the pursuit of truth, we find hope, peace, and love. He has also taught me how to intensify tension and conflict in my stories.

3. Pike, Christopher. Remember Me. New York: Pocket Books, 1989. Print.                                    Remember Me is about Shari, a teenage girl, who wonders why her family is ignoring her. Before long, she learns that she is dead and that the papers have ruled her death a suicide. Determined to expose her killer, she follows her friends around in an attempt to uncover the truth. Pike’s story seeks to entertain his audience by offering a normal girl facing a supernatural experience. Everyone can relate to the supernatural aspect that he comments on as we all go through spiritual events that shape who we are. Pike offers a way for readers to enjoy an unusual journey with a teenager, an escape into the unknown.   Pike’s story has been an inspiration to me because he crafts plot lines that are unique and engaging. His linguistic style is simple but precise as he draws characters who battle with the same insecurities we do. His murder mystery is geared toward young adults, but I still continue to read this as well as his other books, because they offer me ways to hook the audience. His narrative style is exciting, fast-paced and rich in friendship dynamic; I aim to offer my readers a similar experience in terms of appealing storylines and characters.

4. King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Print.     King offers us a personal anecdote about his own tribulations with writing before becoming a bestseller. Through humor and painful truths, he makes himself vulnerable in order to cast an empathetic ear to our own plight with creative writing. He also provides a practical run-through of the necessary tools of the trade, what he, in fact, calls a “toolbox” while also looking at those stumbling blocks that inhibit our work’s progress and how to overcome the “block”.  King’s book proves invaluable to those interested in the craft of creative writing. The advice comes from a long-time success who has faced rejection and then found a way to overcome it. The information is useful and reliable because it is first-hand. His knowledge is extensive and the reader has the privilege to improve their craft of writing based on King’s pertinent advice.  Though I do not actually read King’s novels, his non-fiction book has made a huge impact on me. I first read it when I began the MFA in CW program, and since then I have used it as a reference as I go about penning my own stories. He says with regards to writing, that we can approach it with dread, tension, or despair, but whatever the case, to “Come to it any way but lightly” (106). Writing, I agree, must be taken seriously because we are imparting a our knowledge through words and creating a lasting impression on others. Then he states, “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?” (152). Amen.

5.Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. NY: HarperCollins, 2001. Print.

Lewis explores the chasm between good and evil, and surprises us by unfolding the unexpected ways in which evil operates. A fictional book that deals with reality, this work exposes the reality of evil through the dialogue and banter between a demon and his nephew. This piece of writing is comparable to Koontz and the Bible in that it highlights the very real influence of evil and its true nature. Evil lurks in places we are comfortable, in the daylight, at the office, not just in the dark. A confessed Christian, Lewis uses spiritual wisdom to warn us about recognizing truth from lies, uses humor  to help lighten the context, and addresses the moralities and idea of faith that we all must answer to. Lewis’s work has helped me to find new ways in which to explore the many facets of evil while bringing my reader to an understanding about God and faith and what it means to have wisdom. Through this piece, I have been able to better create my own stories and more effectively engage the reader through a very real and credible element given to my writing.

6. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.  NY: Vintage Books, 1982. Print.                                                        Invisible Man uses the first person point-of-view of a nameless narrator who embarks on his journey of adulthood with much optimism only to find true discomfiture at the very obvious racist, self-centered nature of people and the quick realization that he is never truly seen. Ellison’s novel is truly enlightening because it explores biases which, in one shape or another, we all face at one point in our lives. It deals with those who don’t have time for the narrator, much less care about him, refusing to “see” him for who he is. Simultaneously, the narrator himself is unable to understand himself. This is a novel that asks us to do our own soul-searching as it addresses the realities of discrimination in the workplace, the detachment of society and the inability to fit in with anybody, to be understood. The themes inherent in the novel are familiar and ones in which I intend to continue exploring in my own stories. 

7. Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. NY: Signet Classics, 1987. Print.                                                       This novel explores the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-criminal, who finds a new way of life when a priest forgives him for stealing from him, and then holds him accountable to change into a better man. Hugo’s goal is to shed light on the common themes of mankind: faith, redemption, hope and spiritual change. His unabridged edition deeply contemplates the moral deficiencies of man while holding fast to the possibility and actuality of spiritual transformation. These issues are evident in all of our lives and they are problems that we must all submit to and determine our course of action. This novel has caused me to look deeper into my own thoughts as I embark on creative pieces. Life is profound and meaningful and Hugo inspires me to seek these truths to their very roots.

8.Blake, Lily.  House at The End of The Street. NY: Hachette Book Group, 2012. Print
This book contains a plot heavy-laden with unexpected twists. Mystery and suspense are at its core, which is what makes this novel so spell-binding. The characters are complex, the storyline is intricately sewn together, and I found myself drawn into the shadows of this complicated and intriguing world. Blake has a way of crafting characters through simple language but in a way that has you holding onto the armrest and digging your fingernails into it as you turn the pages.

How In The World Can I Write a Novel?!

Writing Advice from Bestselling Author, Christopher Pike:
Any advice for young writers?Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it. Write to publish, to make money. That will push you. 90% is having the fire, 10% is the talent. I see tons of talented writers who do nothing.

What advice do you have for budding authors?
Write every day, even if it’s only for half an hour. Don’t outline too much, don’t think too much. Just start writing and keep writing. Eventually, if you have talent, your own voice will emerge.
Writing involves hard work more than genius. Writing is rewriting. Of course, it’s true: we all read these articles about a person who sits and writes their first book and it sells ten million copies. But in the real world that doesn’t happen too often. And usually those authors who succeed too soon never learn to write. My books were rejected for seven years before I got published, and I consider myself lucky.

9 Interesting Facts About the Author

1. My favorite TV show when I was growing up was Punky Brewster. My favorite TV show these days is Castle, though I do still watch Punky.

2. I once auditioned for Days of Our Lives.

3. The first job I ever had was as a movie theater concessionist and usher. And it was also my second job. . .
4. I have performed in a handful of play productions. I held one lead role as Mother in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and starred in Cinderella: The Glass Slipper, It's a Wonderful Life, and Robin Hood.

5. I don't like to cook and no one taught me how to cook, but oddly, when my husband isn't home to do it and I force myself into the kitchen, I am actually a pretty good cook. In terms of baking, I get requests on a regular basis for my chocolate chip cookies.

6. Famous people I have met: Harry Connick Jr.: He is a very kind and soft-spoken man who I got to meet at a signing in Virginia back in the '90's. I also met the band members of Danger Danger --they opened for Alice Cooper in '89. I met Peter Beagle, writer of animated movies The Lord of The Rings and The Last Unicorn, at a signing.

7. Favorite verse: 1 John 3:18 "Dear Children, let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and truth"

8. My hair caught on fire in a New Orlean's restaurant.

9. Owing to my odd fascination with memorizing my friend's license plate, which was stolen later on, I spotted the stolen plate at a McDonalds and got two men arrested on Mother's Day.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Intent Book Trailer

Sallie's Book Reviews and More: New Thriller Intent Is a Terrifying Tale of Small ...

Sallie's Book Reviews and More: New Thriller Intent Is a Terrifying Tale of Small ...: “ A thrilling ride of desire, doubt, hope, and uncertainty where faith is tested and the truth isn't what it seems .” In her de...

Contact Information

For speaking engagements or just to contact the author:

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Contact Links:

Author Bio

Krista Wagner graduated from National University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.  She has been an English Instructor since 2008. She has also written the screenplay version of Intent.

A mother of three and wife of TJ, Krista has been writing since she was seven. She started out writing songs and plays and then graduated to poetry during her teen years. In high school, she was on the staff of her literary magazine, co-authored her own zine, and began to write numerous short stories, mostly dealing with dramatic instances like murder or kidnapping.

She enjoys suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family.

Her debut novel, Intent, was completed during a 2013 summer road trip.

She is currently working on a middle grade fantasy novel, The Gold


A dramatic thriller that takes you on a spiritual journey, where faith is tested and the truth is not what it seems.


Intent is available in paperback and Kindle at the following locations:

TouchPoint Press.Com



 Listen to the exclusive interview about Intent here: 



"Another shot of lightning hit and illuminated some kind of blurred movement about ten feet away, between the dumpster and a car parked next to it. Raylee froze. Something felt really wrong. A dim light pole stood next to the sidewalk, adjacent to the dumpster. It towered several feet over the parking lot like a foreboding giant. The whispering grew slightly louder and sounded like it came from the blurry darkness behind the dumpster.
Raylee had no intention of playing inspector. She’d seen enough scary movies to know how these things turned out. Nevertheless, she found herself mesmerized. She strained to see through the darkness and the sheets of rain to get a glimpse of what she thought might be there. If she could just figure out what it was, she would feel a little better.
Raylee stood next to her car and stooped to glimpse below the dumpster, but there was nothing underneath it. What had she expected to find anyway? A snake? A mouse? A human being?
But deep down she knew it was the latter, because she could have sworn someone had been watching her. She felt it."