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.

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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 knows how many stories I would’ve written if I’d been brave enough to just write? To shift the car out of park and into drive? Now, I give myself permission to write. Even when I worry the words might be wrong, I write. I write and write and write.




Stephen Clements

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 Crucial

Nicole 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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads


Mike Hays

Read. 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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Sharon Hughson

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.

For more information: visit her Author page at Roane Publishing or Amazon.

Website |  Goodreads |  Twitter | Facebook

Marti Johnson

Marti Johnson was born on an American Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She has lived in Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Nevada and California. Marti hiked and climbed mountains as a girl and young teen, and spent many years on horseback in the scenic eastern Sierras in California. She is the author (under her given name, Margaret Johnson) of DARK HORSE SPIRIT: BEYOND REDEMPTION published in 2014, and is currently working on a sequel.

Elle O’Neill

Elle O’Neill loves reading and writing—from her first all-nighter as a seven-year old with autographed copies of David Adler’s Cam Jansen books to her high school and college English and creative writing classes. She believes that you can fall into the world of a book and find yourself. While she sometimes has a hard time separating fiction from reality (or is it that she prefers not to?), she likes to think that’s a whimsical asset. She enjoys reading just about anything, but treasures underdogs and bluestockings—their trials and successes feel close to home.



Lora Palmer

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.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Christina Raus

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.

Twitter | Goodreads


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