Cover Reveal: IN THE BEGINNING Month9Books Charity Anthology

You guys, I'm so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Month9Book's IN THE BEGINNING Charity Anthology. My short story, First Wife, the story of Leah, Jacob, and Rachel, is one of the stories included. Mark your calendars for October 25th, because you'll want to pick up a copy of this anthology--and the proceeds go to a great cause! In the meantime, check out this post for some amazing excerpts. Oh,  and enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three egalleys of the book.

Today Month9Books is revealing the cover
and some excerpts for their Charity Anthology IN THE BEGINNING! Which releases October
25, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers
to receive an eGalley!!

On to the reveal!

Title: IN THE BEGINNING: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales

Editors: Laureen P. Cantwell and Georgia McBride

Author: Stephen Clements, Nicole Crucial, Mike Hays, Sharon
Hughson, Marti Johnson, Elle O'Neill, Lora Palmer, & Christina Raus

Pub. Date: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback & eBook

Find it: Amazon

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, edited by 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.

Anthology Excerpts:

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 BABYLON, by Nicole Crucial:

Only those will enter Heaven whose names
are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

These were the first words I heard, in
the beginning of time.

But Sefer, the protest comes, Revelation
wasn’t written until the first century.

My answer is that time is a funny little
plaything to God, or so I imagine. That first sentence was the wind that
breathed life into my chest, the binding of my pages, the ink in my soul. It
knitted together my stardust-atoms from across centuries and millennia and
planes of existence.

And when the first dregs of
consciousness swirled at the pit-bottom of my spine, I yawned and opened my
eyes to paradise.

From CONDEMNED, by Elle O’Neill:

To his surprise, as he heard the metal
door grind to a stop, there was a popping sound, like the flash-lamp did when
they experimented in Classic Photography at Routlege. Except no camera
appeared—not that he could see anyway—but rather a digital time clock, bold red
numbers, already beginning their descent, in striking relief against the black
paint covering the walls.



Of course they would include the
fractions of a second, he thought. He was now fighting a tiger against a racing
clock. For all that they were merely numbers, he saw their dwindling trickle as
if he were watching grains of sand pour through the hourglass of his fingers,


The tiger looked at him. It didn't
glance his way. It directed its massive head at him, its eyes trained on
Barabbas ... and they didn't turn away.

Another man, in another arena, stood
calmly while the tiger advanced. His breathing was even, he did not watch the
clock, and he looked with love upon the prowling beast. When it snarled, he
slowly exhaled; when its whiskers glanced his weaponless fingers, he blinked
gently as the hot breath of the tiger dampened his skin.

From LAST WILL & TESTAMENT, by Mike Hays:

I’ve found money, I’ve found food, and
I’ve found myself in plenty of trouble on plenty of occasions, but I’ve never
found another human being just lying around. That’s what happened when I found
a person-shaped ball of olive drab and camouflage clothing—which would have
been more at home in the reject pile down at the army surplus store—under our
decrepit, worn sign for the, “Extraordinary League of Witch Assass_ _ _.”

It’s true. I found a boy about my age
sleeping at the end of the Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins driveway.

From UNWANTED, by Lora Palmer:

“Let me see you,” he whispers. “Let me
truly see you.”

I swallow down the fear this moment
brings, the anxiety that once he does see me, he will no longer accept me. No,
I must stop thinking this way. My husband is not like Jacob, dazzled by the
superficial beauty of my sister. My husband, my love, will see me.

Taking courage from this, I let out a
shaky laugh as he helps me stand. I long to see him, too.

“All right,” I say.

He lifts my veil, his deft fingers
moving slow, relishing the anticipation of this moment. At last, he lifts the
linen over my face and lets it slip to the floor behind me. We stare at each
other, stock still, in stunned silence.

It was Jacob.

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

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

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive an eGalley of IN
THE BEGINNING, International.


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