Friday, January 17, 2020

#124 Inside the Emotion of Fiction "YELLOWSTONE YONDERING" by Kristen Joy Wilks

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.  Contact CRC Blog via email at or personal Facebook messaging at

****Krisen Joy Wilks’s YELLOWSTONE YONDERING  is #124 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? Yellowstone Yondering. My working title was Furbaby Foibles or Yellowstone Adventure, but my publisher wanted something more romantic. They suggested Yellowstone Yearning and we compromised with Yellowstone Yondering in the end.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Yes! Yellowstone Yondering is  published on January 17th 2020 by Pelican Book Group ( for their Pure Amore imprint (
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? March 2017 to November 4th 2019. I outlined this story in March of 2017 and then I did the rough draft in April and May of 2017. I spent 509 hours and 54 minutes working on Yellowstone Yondering … if I kept track accurately. I sent it to my critique partner and did revisions according to her input as well as revisions on my own. I sent it to my publisher on August 2, 2018 (Right) and heard back from them on December 22, 2018. They offered me a contract, but only if did not let the grizzly bear eat any dogs! We went through a round of edits and I got my Galleys on October 24th,  2019. After going through the story one more time and making a few changes, I submitted my Galleys ten days later. The book was completely done on November 4th, 2019 (Below Left)

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo? I do most of my writing early in the morning, cuddled up in a big chair-and-a-half in the corner of our living room. There is a reading lamp that isn’t so bright it will wake up the family (our boys often have friends over who sleep on the couch). I wear a snuggy around my shoulders, pull my Star Trek quilt over my legs, and sit sideways in the chair with my computer on a lap desk and a cup of coffee beside me. Sometimes, if friends have stolen her spot on the couch, our Newfoundland, Princess Leia Freyja (Below Right) will steal my chair and I’ll have to bribe her with a dog cookie to get my spot back.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? 4:00 AM, silence, coffee with half-n-half and no sugar, directly onto my laptop unless I got stuck. If facing writer’s block, I will sometimes write scenes either into a totally blank document or onto paper with a pen.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? Well, I write RomComs and so I will go with the underrated emotion of humor. I think I laughed the most as I was writing this scene where my heroine ignores the park rules as she looks for her lost dog, again, and the park ranger hero confronts her.

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.  Kayla tried to whistle but nothing came out. She drank two more juice boxes and tried again. Nothing. Her pulse stuttered against her throat as she stared at the zigzagging line of tracks. There was no helping it. Ainsley had braved the thermal zone. If she wanted him back, Kayla would have to follow.
She glanced at the mom clutching her children close as they leaned out for a better look at a steam vent. Kayla was certain the woman would risk anything for them. Ainsley was the only family she had, could she do any less? With a dry gulp, Kayla stepped off the boardwalk.
The tracks grew fainter the farther out she crept. The ground was dry and sandy, only retaining a few of Ainsley’s paw prints scattered here and there where he’d stepped off the rock. Would there be enough tracks for her to locate her boy?
A familiar baritone stopped Kayla in her tracks.
“And remember folks, twenty park visitors have met their doom in Yellowstone’s magnificent hot springs and pools due to accidental tragedy or simply their own epic foolishness. Much like the young woman to your left who appears to be risking life and limb in an ill-considered ramble across the fragile thermal ground. One must wonder,” Ranger Brandt’s lecturing tone cracked slightly with anger or perhaps even a tiny amount of fear, “how she could have failed to read this enormous sign?”
Kayla took another step, following the faint tracks. The tourists crowded around Mr. Brandt all gasped. Kayla ignored them and pressed on, although she did address the ranger even as she crept after the faint tracks.
“Oh, yes. I found out that the Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and most changeable thermal area in Yellowstone.”
“Not that sign. This one.” Ranger Alexander Brandt gestured emphatically toward a large illustrated billboard that showed a small child succumbing to a terrible burst of burning steam.
“Oh, that sign.” Kayla took another step. “I didn’t finish that one because of the horrible picture. It’s just too awful to contemplate so I skimmed. But I get the gist of it. Visitors should rescue any children or small dogs wandering the thermal area immediately because the ground is fragile and incredibly hot.”
She glanced back at him and scowled, pausing a moment to peer closer. ‚Is that glitter in your hair?”
“You’ve got to read the signs! How many times do I have to say that this summer?” The ranger’s eyes looked just a wee bit crazed. “Read the signs. Read the signs!”
“I think you’re avoiding the question. Glitter and … pink? Is that pink?”
While Ranger Brandt did indeed have a bit of color and sparkle in his perfectly styled blond hair, he wore it stiffly. Back ramrod straight, his eyes were icy blue and intent.
“It was rainbow colored, and I do not wish to discuss it further. Now, the sign.”
“I think I summed it up nicely.” Kayla snagged her camera and snapped a few photos of the colorfully bedecked Ranger scowling and indicating the surrounding dangers with an intensity that models in Ranger uniforms were rarely able to fabricate. My goodness, these photos would be perfect for writers of vacation safety blogs! Mr. Brandt gave her a long, cold stare before he began to read.
“Dangerous Ground.” He glanced up, making sure that Kayla was paying attention. “In thermal areas the ground may only be a thin crust above boiling hot springs or scalding mud. There is no way to guess a safe path: new hazards can bubble up overnight, and some pools are acidic enough to burn through boots. More than a dozen people have been scalded to death and hundreds badly burned and scarred.”
“Thank you, Ranger Brandt. I believe someone should update that sign.”
“If it had said twenty visitors, would you have read more slowly and then chosen to forego your perilous search?”
Kayla sighed and bit her lip. Ranger Brandt was not going to like her answer, but she would be honest nonetheless. “I’m afraid my course would be the same. This information provides all the more reason for me to find Ainsley quickly to ensure that he does not fall through or get snorked down by some rabid, dog-hungry grizzly.”
“The grizzlies here in the park are hardly ‘dog-hungry,’ much less rabid. They eat any number of non-canine items, although, wandering pets do most certainly attract bears.”
Kayla eased forward another step.
Alexander flinched. “Miss Dineen. How much does your dog weigh?”
Kayla glanced back, pretty sure where this was going and not liking it. “Twenty pounds.”
“And how much do you weigh?”
“A hundred and thirty-five.” She looked warily down at her feet.
“How do you think your Ainsley will feel if we find him safe and sound, then must send him to the pound because you were burned to a crisp right next to a huge sign warning you of the dangers?”
Kayla met his stern gaze. Oh, my. Surely, these boiling pools could not be smoldering any more than the dark blue eyes that were boring into hers with such fearsome intensity. Yikes, the man looked pretty mad. Perhaps it was safer out here among the thermal hazards.
“But someone saw him and these are his tracks. Ainsley’s here, somewhere close.”
Ranger Brandt glanced down at the place where Kayla had left the boardwalk. “Could you possibly be talking about these week-old coyote tracks?”
“No, I only saw the one set of tracks.”
“That’s because there is only one set of tracks. A coyote walked through here a week ago, right after our last soaking rain. Nothing makes tracks in this area when the ground is dry. Look down.”
Kayla looked.
“You outweigh Ainsley by one hundred and fifteen pounds. Did you make any tracks?”
“No, but I was careful. You know, because of all the terrifying signs.”
Ranger Brandt mumbled something that Kayla couldn’t quite catch. With a shaking finger, he pointed at her and then down at the boardwalk.
Kayla glanced at the windswept beauty around her, noticing the rising steam in the distance and the charred remains of a grove of trees whose roots had been scorched when a new thermal area appeared. Yeah, the infuriating man was probably right. She should get back to the boardwalk. But he didn’t have to be so rude.
“I’m coming, just hold your horses.” Creeping along on tiptoe, trying to stay mostly on the rocky sections that looked more solid, Kayla made her way back toward the glowering form of Alexander Brandt and his wide-eyed tour group.
OK, so perhaps Ainsley had not made those tracks. It was an honest mistake. She paused for one more close-up of the thermal area. The earth beneath her left foot crunched slightly. Kayla gasped and her camera snapped several pictures as she gripped it in terror. She glimpsed a tiny tendril of steam rising from a break in the ground as her foot fell through.
Strong arms yanked her forward and Kayla found herself propelled onto the boardwalk with great force. She hit the weathered planks and rolled, taking photos all the while, narrowly keeping from going off the other side.
Her arm ached and her shoulder throbbed, but the foot she’d almost steamed was remarkably pain free. She pried her fingers off her camera and turned to tell Ranger Brandt exactly how much his newest rescue hurt when she heard a groan.
A cry went up among the tourists and Kayla rolled to her feet. Ranger Brandt must have twisted and fallen forward, off the boardwalk, when he lunged for her. He lay across the very thermal area he had warned her so strongly to avoid, one hand cradled against his side. She rushed toward him and he shook his head vehemently.
“Don’t you dare, Miss Dineen. I just got you out of here.”
She paused, knelt at the edge of the boardwalk and reached toward him. He crawled across the rocky ground, muttering through gritted teeth. His hand was indeed burned badly, bright red in places and white in others, with blisters rising across the heel of his palm. Kayla helped the man stand and he leaned against her, shuddering slightly with the pain.
Before she could apologize or scold him or burst into tears, he simply wrapped his good arm around her for an instant, looked into her eyes, and whispered, “By all that is holy, stay on the boardwalk.” Then he stumbled off to his SUV where another ranger eased him into the back seat, saying something about first aid.
Not sure what to do, Kayla fell back on her default. She slowly lifted her camera from where it dangled around her neck and took another photo. She glanced down at the digital image. Oh, my. Ranger Brandt looked less than enthused. Her stomach rolled over as Kayla realized that the man had not only rescued her again, but had been horribly burned for his efforts. Standing in the middle of the shocked crowd as she watched the other ranger driving Alexander Brandt away, Kayla had never felt smaller or more alone in all her twenty-seven years.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? As you can imagine, there are several funny scenes in this book, including one where my heroine runs straight into a herd of bison after her dog. But I think I enjoyed writing this one so much because of Ranger Brandt’s snarky comment when he added her to his tour lecture, when she explained that she skipped reading the pertinent sign because of how terrifying the illustration was, and of course the reversal of how the character who always follows the rules got hurt even though the reckless character was the one who tiptoed out into the thermal area.
Other works you have published? I have seventeen book manuscripts sitting on my computer, but have only published romantic comedies. One for teens called The Volk Advent, and four others which were all published by Pelican Book Group. They are Copenhagen Cozenage, Athens Ambuscade, Spider Gap, and of course Yellowstone Yondering. I also have various articles, devotionals, and magazine stories published.

Anything you would like to add? Although not typical of Christian romance, my books have gotten a couple of awards. Copenhagen Cozenage took third place in the 2016 International Digital Awards, Athens Ambuscade took first in 2018, and Spider Gap took first in 2019. Spider Gap also won first in the OCW Cascade Awards for contemporary fiction.

Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, transported a gallon bag of cooked bacon inside her purse, and discovered a smuggled gardener snake in her sons’ bubble bath. 
          Her stories, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Nature Friend, Clubhouse, Thriving Family, Keys for Kids, The Christian Journal, Splickety, Spark, and Havok. She writes romantic comedies for Pelican Book Group, including Copenhagen Cozenage, The Volk Advent, Athens Ambuscade, Spider Gap, and Yellowstone Yondering

          Kristen loves to write about the humor and Grace that can be found amidst the detritus of life. Much like the shiny quarter one member of their household swallowed and then found in the pot four days later. If God is good enough to grant us these gems, she figures that someone should be putting them to the page. Kristen can be found tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of implausible tales, or at :
If you would rather enjoy photos of charging bison, Newfoundland dogs, and attacking squid then by all means visit her “What I’m Writing About” board on Pinterest


001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

011 01 17 2019 Nancy J Cohen’s
Cozy Mystery
Trimmed To Death

012 01 20 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Crime Novel
Second Story Man

013 01 23 2019 Alexis Fancher’s
Flash Fiction
His Full Attention

014 01 27 2019 Brian L Tucker’s
Young Adult/Historical

015 01 31 2019 Robin Tidwell’s

016 02 07 2019 J.D. Trafford’s
Legal Fiction/Mystery
Little Boy Lost

017 02 08 2019 Paula Shene’s
Young Adult ScieFi/Fantasy/Romance/Adventure
My Quest Begins 

018 02 13 2019 Talia Carner’s
Mainstream Fiction/ Suspense/ Historical
Hotel Moscow

019 02 15 2019 Rick Robinson’s
Multidimensional Fiction
Alligator Alley

020 02 21 2019 LaVerne Thompson’s
Urban Fantasy
The Soul Collectors

021 02 27 2019 Marlon L Fick’s
Post-Colonialist Novel
The Nowhere Man

022 03 02 2019 Carol Johnson’s
Mainstream Novel
Silk And Ashes

023 03 06 2019 Samuel Snoek-Brown’s
Short Story Collection
There Is No Other Way to Worship Them

024 03 08 2019 Marlin Barton’s
Short Story Collection
Pasture Art

025 03 18 2019 Laura Hunter’s
Historical Fiction
Beloved Mother

026 03 21 2019 Maggie Rivers’s
Magical Mistletoe

027  03 25 2019 Faith Gibson’s
Paranormal Romance

028 03 27 2019 Valerie Nieman’s
Tall Tale
To The Bones

029 04 04 2019 Betty Bolte’s
Paranormal Romance
Veiled Visions of Love

030 04 05 2019  Marianne Maili’s
Lucy, go see

031 04 10 2019 Gregory Erich Phillips’s
Mainstream Fiction
The Exile

032 04 15 2019 Jason Ament’s
Speculative Fiction
Rabid Dogs

033 04 24 2019 Stephen P. Keirnan’s
Historical Novel
The Baker’s Secret

034 05 01 2019 George Kramer’s
Arcadis: Prophecy Book

035 05 05 2019 Erika Sams’s
Rose of Dance

036 05 07 2019 Mark Wisniewski’s
Literary Fiction
Watch Me Go

037 05 08 2019 Marci Baun’s
Science Fiction/Horror
The Whispering House

038 05 10 2019 Suzanne M. Wolfe’s
Historical Fiction
Murder By Any Name

039 05 12 2019 Edward DeVito’s
The Woodstock Paradox

040 05 14 2019 Gytha Lodge’s
She Lies In Wait

041 05 16 2019 Kari Bovee’s
Historical Fiction/Mystery
Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery

042 05 20 2019 Annie Seaton’s
Time Travel Romance
Follow Me

043 05 22 2019 Paula Rose Michelson’s
Inspirational Christian Romance
Rosa & Miguel – Love’s Legacy: Prequel to The Naomi

044 05 24 2019 Gracie C McKeever’s
BDMS/Interracial Romance
On The Edge

045 06 03 2019 Micheal Maxwell’s
The Soul of Cole

046 06 04 2019 Jeanne Mackin’s
The Last Collection:  A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and
Coco Chanel

047 06 07 2019 Philip Shirley’s
The Graceland Conspiracy

048 06 08 2019 Bonnie Kistler’s
Domestic Suspense
The House on Fire

049 06 13 2019 Barbara Taylor Sissel’s
Domestic Suspense/Family Drama
Tell No One

050 06 18 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Short Story/ Crime Fiction
“No Good Deed” from Down to the River

051 06 19 2019 Rita Dragonette’s
Historical Fiction
The Fourteenth of September

052  06 20 2019 Nona Caspers’s
Literary Novel/Collage
The Fifth Woman

053 06 26 2019 Jeri Westerson’s
Paranormal Romance
Shadows in the Mist

054 06 28 2019 Brian Moreland’s
The Devil’s Woods

055 06 29 2019
Epic Fantasy
Wings Unseen

056 07 02 2019 Randee Green’s
Mystery Novel
Criminal Misdeeds

057 07 03 2019 Saralyn Ricahrd’s
Mystery Novel
Murder In The One Percent

#058 07 04 2019 Hannah Mary McKinnon’s
Domestic Suspense
Her Secret Son

#059 07 05 2019 Sonia Saikaley’s
Contemporary Women’s Literature
The Allspice Bath

#060 07 09 2019 Olivia Gaines’s
Romance Suspense Serial
Blind Luck

#061 07 11 2019 Anne Raeff’s
Literary Fiction
Winter Kept Us Warm

#062 07 12 2918 Vic Sizemore’s
Literary Fiction-Short Stories
I Love You I’m Leaving

#063 07 13 2019 Deborah Riley Magnus’s
Dark Paranormal Urban Fantasy

#064 07 14 2019 Elizabeth Bell’s
Historical Fiction

#065 07 15 2019 Lori Baker Martin’s
Literary Novel

#066 08 01 2019 Sabine Chennault’s
Historical Novel

#067 08 02 2019 Margaret Porter’s
Historical Biographical Fiction


#068 08 04 2019 Hank Phillippi Ryan’s

069 08 08 2019 Diana Y. Paul’s
Literary Mainstream Fiction

070 08 10 2019 Phyllis H. Moore’s
Women’s Historical Fiction

071 08 11 2019 Sara Dahmen’s
Historical Fiction

072  08 19 2019 Carolyn Breckinridge’s
Short Story Collection

073 08 21 2019 Alison Ragsdale’s
Emotional Women’s Fiction

074  08 22 2019 Lee Matthew Goldberg’s
Suspense Thriller

075 08 23 2019 Jonathan Brown’s
Mystery/Amateur P.I.

076 09 02 2019 Chera Hammons Miller’s
Literary Fiction w/ suspense, concern with animals & land management
Monarchs of the Northeast Kingdom

077 09 09 019 Joe William Taylor’s
Literary Mystery
The Theoretics of Love

078 09 15 2019 Linda Hughes’s
Romantic Suspense
Secret of the Island

079 09 19 2019 Max Elliot Anderson’s
Middle Grade Adventure/Mystery
Snake Island

080 09 22 2019 Danny Adams’s
Science Fiction
Dayworld: A Hole In Wednesday

081 09 24 2019 Arianna Dagnino’s
The Afrikaner

082 09 29 2019 Lawrence Verigin’s
Seed of Control

083  10 05 2019 Emma Khoury’s
The Sword And Shield

#084 10 07 2019 Steve McManus’s

#085 10 08 2019 Sheila Lowe’s
Mystery/Psychological/Suspense with Scientific Bent

#086 10 10 2019 Jess Neal Woods’s
Historical Fiction

#087 10 11 2019 Karen Odden’s
Historical Suspense

#88 10 14 2019 Kate Maruyama’s
Love, Loss & Supernatural

#89 10 17 2019 Sherry Harris’s

#90 10 18 2019 Linda Mooney’s
Science Fiction Apocalyptic/ Post Apocalyptic

#91 10 19 2019 Jayne Martin’s
Flash Fiction Short Story Collection

#92 10 22 2019 Janice Cole Hopkins’s
Inspirational Romance

#93 10 29 2019 Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s
Short Story Collection

#94 11 01 2019 David Henry Sterry’s
Fiction: Sexual Violence

#95 11 03 2019 Jay Requard’s
Dark Fantasy/Horror

#96 11 04 2019 Caroline Leavitt’s

#97 11 06 2019 Kelsey Clifton’s
Science Fiction

#098 11 13 2019 John F Allen’s
Urban Fantasy Tale

#99 11 16 2019 Damian McNicholl’s
Historical Novel
“The Moment of Truth”

#100 11 19 2019 Stacia Levy’s
Mystery/Suspense Novel
“Girl Crush”

#101 11 24 2019 Charlotte Morgan’s
Fiction Novel
“Protecting Elvis”

#102 11 26 2019 T. L. Moore’s
Children’s Christian Fiction
“Ed On My Shoulder:  Maria & The Candy Trail”

#103 11 27 2019 Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg’s
Coming of Age Literary Novel
The Nine

#104 11 29 2019 Charlotte Blackwell’s
Adult Paranormal

#105 12 07 2019 Mike Burrell’s
Satire Novel

#106 12 09 2019 Phil McCarron’s

#107 12 11 2019 Wendy H. Jones’s
Crime Fiction/Police Procedural Novel

#108 12 13 2019 Sandra Arnold’s
Historical Literary Fiction
“The Ash, the Well and the Blue Bell”

#109 12 16 2019 Amalia Carosella’s
Historical/Contemporary/Duel Timeline/ Women’s

#110 12 19 2019 Laura Bickle’s
Weird Western/Contemporary Fantasy

#111 12 27 2019 Brian Pinkerton’s
Science Fiction Thriller

#112  12 28 2019 Sandra de Helen’s
Lesbian Thriller

#113 12 29 2019 Jo Wilde’s
Vampire Thriller

#114 12 30 2019 Sam Richard’s
Short Story Collection of Weird and Transgressive
“To Wallow In Ash and Sorrows”

#115 12 31 2019 Duncan B Barlow’s
Literary Fiction Novel

#116 01 02 2020 Allison Landa’s
Young Adult Novel

#117 01 03 2020 Pablo Medina’s

Literary Satire Novel

#118 01 06 2020 William Trent Pancoast’s
Historical/Literary Novel

#119 01 07 2020 Jane Bernstein’s
Contemporary Novel
“The Face Tells the Secret”

#120 01 09 2020 Terry Kroenung’s
Young Adult, Historical and Fantasy
“Brimstone And Lily”

#121 01 12 2020 Melissa Yi’s
Fiction Thriller

#122 01 15 2020 Marcie R. Rendon’s
Crime Thriller

#123 01 16 2020 Tori Eldridge’s
Multi Genre Novel

#124 01 17 2020 Kristen Joy Wilks’s
Christian Romantic Comedy

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Chris! It was fun to do this interview with you. I hope you enjoy the book!