October 24, 2016

Blog Tour – In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales Antholog feat. Christina Raus with Givaway


Hello Readers!  Welcome to our Tour Stop for the

In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of
Biblical Tales Anthology

presented by Month9Books!

We have author Christina Raus on the blog today for sharing some writing tidbits!

Follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


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.

add to goodreads

In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher:  Month9Books

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What I Wish I Hadn’t Known


When I first started writing, I did not write. I planned. I drew family trees. I mashed random first and last names together to see which combinations sounded like they might belong to a character I’d probably never create. I designed towns—decided street names, drew maps, imagined scenic walking routes—but I never, ever wrote. Writing was what people did when they knew what they were doing. I thought, Once everything’s decided, once the ending is determined, once the themes and motifs are all settled, then I’ll start to write.


In my mind, the idea of writing without a plan was equal to driving while blindfolded: reckless, dangerous, inevitably disastrous. If I was going to get behind the wheel, I wanted to have my driver’s license in my wallet, my mirrors adjusted, a spare tire in the trunk, my seatbelt on, and the registration in the glove compartment. I’d spent my life studying for my writer’s permit. Hopefully, you already know that no such permit exists. But if you, like me, needed to be told more explicitly, YOU DO NOT NEED A PERMIT TO WRITE!


I wish I knew it was okay to know less, to see the blank page as opportunity instead of some glowing rectangular vacuum waiting eagerly to tear my ideas apart, to see the blinks of the cursor on my computer screen not as uncertain but as patient.


I still plan. I take a notebook with me wherever I go. I am always bullet-pointing ideas and testing plot points. But I also write. A lot. Freely, maybe even a little recklessly, never knowing exactly where I’ll end up. I’ve learned to trust the unknown. I’ve learned to make the questions my friends—my rowdy, unpredictable, sometimes annoying friends, but my friends nonetheless. Will my protagonist find true love? Eh, possibly. Is this whole subplot garbage? Most likely. Twenty-five thousand words—where is it going? What might it mean? At one point, not knowing would have paralyzed me. I would have considered myself unprepared to continue. I would have doubted my ability to write at all.


When I first started workshopping seriously, I received criticism for a short story that I never expected. One of my peers argued that my story was “too well planned.” There was no magic, no spark. I’d planned it so thoroughly that the readers could see my every move. They knew where I was going. The hours I’d spent outlining and constructing ended up working against the piece. The piece wanted to breathe. It wanted some freedom, some room to surprise. My desire for complete control had prevented the story’s success.


Questions and uncertainties allow for risk, and risks, I’ve learned, are what give stories soul. The unknowns are the heartbeats, the opportunities to surprise your readers and even to surprise yourself. I wish I’d given myself more freedom earlier. I wish I’d trusted myself with the blank page. Who kn