Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for the
In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales Anthology
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Happy Book Birthday!
In the Beginning (Oct. 25, 2016) –Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.
IN THE BEGINNING, ed. Laureen Cantwell and Georgia McBride Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements A troubled orphan named Habakkuk dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to mind-breaking evil until his master's zealous defiance of the king's law seals their fate. Babylon by Nicole Crucial Far above the earth, in Second Eden, where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer, the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she'll fulfill her destiny, she and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live. Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world will be shaken. The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson Based on the story of the demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land and yearns to discover the kind of man he's meant to be, only to be hijacked by an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of its host. The Deluge by Marti Johnson A non-believer shares the story of Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness, and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom. Condemned by Elle O'Neill Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life. First Wife by Lora Palmer In a first-person retelling of the saga of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah's sister Rachel. Emmaculate by Christina Raus Based on the story of Mary's Immaculate Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.
In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales Publication Date: October 25, 2016 Publisher: Month9Books
From THE DEMON WAS ME, by Sharon Hughson:
The ghastly black fog overtook me. Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.
“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you resist something as ethereal as air?
Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister. It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A foreign power clutched at my mind.
I screamed. I rolled to my side and squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.
Another dark wave of laughter echoed through my skull. Convulsions gripped me.
Against my will, my limbs flailed in every direction. A spike pressed into my mind. I cradled my throbbing head. My body, a tumbleweed in the wind, spun on the ground.
From EMMACULATE, by Christina Raus:
The Ten Commandments are pretty straightforward. Killing? Bad. Lying? Nope. Adultery? Don’t even think about it. But is real life really that straightforward? If you tell your boyfriend that you’re going golfing, when really you’re going out to cheat on him, is the lying or the adultery worse? What if you stab the guy you’re having an affair with? Isn’t being a murderer worse than being a cheater? I think the stabbing is worse than the lying and the cheating combined. So, it was kind of unfair for God to group killing, lying, and cheating all together under one umbrella. They all seemed really different.
I was an adulterer. I couldn’t deny that. I was also a liar. A very, very good liar. But I wasn’t a murderer.
From THE DELUGE, by Marti Johnson:
The stench of mildew and mold is heavy in our nostrils, and my lungs feel as though they are on fire. My breathing is audible in the lulls between the thunderclaps. My mother huddles, shivering, propped between two rocks. She is coughing painfully, and I can hear her teeth chattering.
It is hard to breathe because the air itself is full of water.
A deeper shadow has fallen across the side of the mountain on which we are sheltering. I pull aside the brambles, and gasp in amazement when I realize what it is. “Look!” I call to the others, and point at the sight. The ark has risen with the water, and now bobs up and down. It sits high in the water. We hear nothing from it but the creaking of the wood timbers and the sound of the branches and rocks on the hillside scraping against its hull.
From DANIEL AND THE DRAGON, by Stephen Clements:
Your god is a liar!” roared the wizened man in thin black robes, as he pounded his breast with his fist.
Habakkuk stood by the gates of the temple as his master picked a fight with a sanctuary full of the slavish followers of Bel, a bloodthirsty demon god. A fire raged in the fanged maw of a giant, stone head sunken into the back of the temple, there to receive the offerings rendered unto Bel. He had seen this before in other temple raids with his master, though not on such a massive scale, and not at the heart of the demon cult in Babylon itself. The fire raged as the greatest offering that the Babylonians—who adored Bel above all other gods—could sacrifice to their deity was their own newborn children, rolled their screaming, helpless bodies down a stone, handshaped altar into the fire. They offered the fruit of their wombs to their dark god, who devoured the innocent souls sacrificed to him in eldritch rituals.
To tell you a little about myself, I've been there, done that, and tried not to get run over or shot. I'm big on travel, having made it to four continents, 18 countries (two of which involved a war), and I'm always going to more. I earned my Bachelor's and Master's in Political Science at the University of Memphis. Being a Memphian means there's a certain amount of dirty you can never scrub off your soul, no matter how much you try.
My greatest literary inspiration was Lord John Julius Norwich, who changed my life forever when I read his Byzantium trilogy as a teenager. His writing was so brilliant, and the subject matter so inspiring, that I've been a Byzantophile ever since, and it has shaped everything involving my brain. When I got the pleasure of sending him a copy of To Save A Life, my already large ego expanded exponentially. Here I was, a new author, and my literary hero said he wanted to read my book!
I enjoy good history books, political commentary, and good fiction. I make my own wine, smoke the hookah, and believe you should never trust someone with no vices.I once drank liquor out of a hobo's jacket in Transylvania and Red Bull from a Turkish cabbie. I've lived.
Nicole CrucialNicole Crucial (Nikki) has spent most of her life in central North Carolina with her family and furry friends. She is a writer, social media aficionado, feminist, and cat lover, among other things. She is also a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (even though she's ambivalent about the beach), studying creative writing, communication studies, English, German, and publishing.
In addition to blogging about eclectic topics, she writes short stories, young adult novels, and poetry. Nikki's work is featured in the 2015-2016 Second Story Journal, Runestone Journal vol. 2, and Month9Books's In the Beginning anthology.
Mike HaysRead. Write. Repeat.I like stories. Reading them, writing them, watching them and researching them. I like stories.
Mike Hays is a husband, father, and microbiologist from Kansas. Besides writing, he has been a high school strength and conditioning coach, a football coach and a baseball coach. He writes from a boy point of view and hopes to spread his particular style of stupid-funny inspiration through his books, blogs and social media.
His debut upper middle grade historical fiction novel, THE YOUNGER DAYS, was released by the MuseItYoung imprint of MuseItUp Publishing in March of 2012 and was the recipient of a 2012 Catholic Writer’s Guild Seal of Approval Award. He is a member of the Catholic Writer’s Guild, has published three football coaching articles, co-authored several scientific papers and is the co-inventor of two US patents.
Nurtured through a troubled teen-hood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. As soon as she learned to read, Sharon devoured every book she touched. Eventually, she discovered that fantasy stimulated her “creative brain.” The more “real-to-life” a story was, the less she enjoyed it. Reading was her portal to elsewhere.
As the years rolled on, the words beckoned to her. She wrote skits or articles, and still the make-believe stories clawed for escape. To release the beast, Sharon finished her English literature degree and started writing fictional stories.
When she isn’t writing, Sharon works as a substitute teacher in local middle and high schools, and enjoys outdoor activities when it’s sunny and scrapbooking family memories when Oregon sunshine (rain) makes its appearance. She lives near the Columbia River with her husband and three cats.
I'm a YA writer and avid fan of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and dystopian stories. My debut novel THE MIRRORMASTERS, a YA sci-fi/fantasy, is now available from Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press). I live in beautiful Bucks County, PA, with my wonderful husband and our mischievous cat. In my spare time, I sing in a praise band, Chalice Sounds.
Christina Raus is an MFA student with a focus in fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where she is working on her first novel.
Her short story "Emmaculate" will be published in the YA charity anthology IN THE BEGINNING (Month9Books), out October 2016.
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