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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
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
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.
Stephen Clements earned a Masters in Political Science from the University of Memphis, served a stint in the US Army with a heaping long tour in Iraq, and would never recommend Baghdad as a vacation spot. When he got out, he cornered and married a mean, beautiful woman, and they have three corgis and one murderous cat. He has three books, with a recent short story in MEMPHIS NOIR. He loves history, theology, travel, and making wine.
Nicole Crucial is a creative writing student at UNC Wilmington. Her hobbies outside of reading and writing include social media, Netflix, yoga (sometimes), costuming, organizing things, and spoiling her cat. She loves writing about fantastic worlds because she is certain that she would not survive in them. You can visit her website at: http://www.nicolecrucial.com.
Mike Hays is from Kansas, a tried and true flatlander by birth. He relishes the fact his adult self can now make stuff up and not be sent to the principal’s office for it. His life is built around stories—whether as a dad, a molecular microbiologist, a high school sports coach, or as an author— stories are key. He writes mainly from a boy point of view and hopes to spread ideas and stupid-funny inspiration through his books, blogs, and social media. His upper middle-grade historical fiction, THE YOUNGER DAYS, is about a family’s survival in the fallout from the violent Border War over “Bloody” Kansas. Connect with him on Twitter (@coachhays64).
Nurtured through a troubled teenhood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. She has published romance and women’s fiction, but her dream is to write young adult fantasy, a genre she credits for keeping her alive during her parents’ turbulent divorce and the chaotic readjustments that followed. Sharon fuels her imagination with recollections from years of motherhood and a lifetime of experience working with young people, at church and in public school. She resides in Oregon with her husband, sons and three cats, where she spends her non-writing hours substitute teaching, reading, playing piano, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking her family’s memories.
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 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 writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Her debut novel, THE MIRRORMASTERS, is forthcoming from Clean Reads. Bucks County, Pennsylvania is her home, where she resides with her wonderful husband and their mischievous cat. She has earned a graduate degree in Psychology and works at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. In her spare time, she also sings in a praise band, Chalice Sounds.
Christina Raus earned her BA in Creative Writing from Western New England University in 2015. She received the Max Y. Litman English Prize for literary analysis and written communication upon her graduation. She has written articles for Lioness Magazine, a digital publication for female entrepreneurs. Originally from Massachusetts, she currently resides in New York, where she is attending Sarah Lawrence College and working on a novel. She is expected to graduate from Sarah Lawrence’s MFA in Creative Writing Program in 2017. “Emmaculate” is her first fiction publication.
LAUREEN P. CANTWELL, Editor:
Laureen grew up in eastern Long Island and eventually found her way to Memphis —“the rock ’n’ roll side of Tennessee,” where she worked as a librarian at the University of Memphis and grew to love the darkness of the city—and Elvis. While there, she proposed and co-edited an anthology of short fiction, Memphis Noir, part of Akashic Books’ renowned Noir series published in November 2015. That adventure led to a conversation with Georgia McBride at a library conference, and to the thrilling experience of working with In the Beginning and putting together a charity anthology full of complex stories suitable for a young adult audience. She currently lives in Western Colorado and works as a librarian for Colorado Mesa University.
GEORGIA McBRIDE, Editor:
Georgia lives in North Carolina with her kids and husband. She has three dogs, one bird, and a fish. She loves to read, watch movies, listen to music, and go see films. She is a publisher, producer, writer, and editor. She has never met a piece of bacon she did not eat, or a cup of coffee she did not drink.
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Stories (INT)
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by Margot Livesey
Donald believes he knows all there is to know about seeing. An optometrist in suburban Boston, he is sure that he and his wife, Viv, who runs the local stables, are both devoted to their two children and to each other. Then Mercury—a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past—arrives at Windy Hill and everything changes.
Mercury’s owner, Hilary, is a newcomer to town who has enrolled her daughter in riding lessons. When she brings Mercury to board at Windy Hill, everyone is struck by his beauty and prowess, particularly Viv. As she rides him, Viv begins to dream of competing again, embracing the ambitions that she had harbored, and relinquished, as a young woman. Her daydreams soon morph into consuming desire, and her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession.
Donald may have 20/20 vision but he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed and how these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. By the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv’s ambitions and his own myopia.
1 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Mercury by Margot Livesey
Though there is a horse cover of this novel, the horse doesn’t actually factor in as much as one would imagine. I’m OK with this; I’m not really a horse or horse book fan. What I wasn’t OK with was the extremely slow plot development, the plethora of characters, or the fact that these two married people seemed to be living in different worlds, neither of them expressing to the other their discontent.
Viv and Donald Stevenson have been married nearly 10 years, have two kids, and vastly different careers. Donald left his surgical career after the death of his father to become an optometrist. Viv left a fast paced job in New York City to work with horses at a friend’s stable. What was once a pleasant relationship becomes filled with secrets and comes to feel perfunctory. Viv falls in love with Mercury, a horse that seems to give her a new lease on life and a chance to capture her lost childhood dreams.
The book starts off very, very slowly. To be honest, it didn’t ever truly pick up speed. The characters all felt boring to me. The only one who had a modicum of personality, Donald’s friend Jack, lost it after he started a relationship with a woman. Even the Stevenson children do nothing to bring levity or humor to this droll story.
One thing that bothered me a lot is the extremely heavy use of foreshadowing. Several times a chapter, the narrator would say something like, “But how could we know what was to come later?” or, “Looking back, I wish I would have known…”. It took me way out of the story and I just plain didn’t like it. I would like to just experience what is going to happen as it’s happening, thanks very much.
As a married person, I can see how the tedium of everyday life can cause stress on a marriage. But if you want to make it work, why not talk it out? Viv and Donald ignore each other, speak under their breath, and do nothing to make the other aware of how they’re feeling in any way. Instead of trying to talk to each other, they hide in their work and confide in others. I guess this does happen, but as a happily married person I found it very sad and immature.
I finished only about half of Mercury and couldn’t complete the rest. It just didn’t grab my attention on any level.
About the Author
Margot Livesey is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Title: Touch Me
Author: Skye Malone
Series: Book One of the Demon Guardians Series
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wildflower Isle
Publication Date: September 16, 2016
Cover Artist: Karri Klawiter
six-foot-two, and easily the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. And he
smiles like he knows me. Like he’s saying hello.
— Excerpt from Touch Me (Demon Guardians #1) by
Skye Malone. Copyright Skye Malone. All rights reserved.
Have you heard about Disney’s heartwarming newest film release? It’s called Queen of Katwe and will be in theaters September 30, 2016. I’m happy to share information about the movie today, and tell you a little about an unlikely hero of my own.
Queen of Katwe is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, Queen of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar winner and Tony Award nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
In the film, a young girl named Phiona becomes an unlikely champion when, through the support of her mother and a local missionary, she learns the game of chess, then excels at it and advances farther than anyone thought possible. We have all met an unlikely champion in our lives at some point. I’m lucky to call mine my husband.
My husband, Jared, was first born with some health issues. He was a sickly baby and then at 7 years old, he was found to have scoliosis. It was such a severe case that he had to undergo multiple back surgeries just to correct the extreme curves. He had metal rods implanted and then removed from his spine, as well as staples down the length of his back–this was before the days where laser surgery was routine. Going into surgery, he was told there was a chance he might not walk again if anything went wrong. This was at 14 years of age. After an 8 hour surgery, then 2 weeks of hospital recovery including ICU time, Jared was sent home to recover for a few more months. When he finally returned to school, he had to wear a back brace–which is always fun for a high school boy who was already on the small side.
My husband made it through all of these struggles wonderfully, and when we first met and started dating, he laid it all out on the line for me–bravely, as if saying, “This is what I am, take me or leave me.” I loved him for it then and there, and now nearly 12 years and 2 kids later we are still going strong. Jared is a champion because he’s living his everyday best life and providing for us, though sometimes he still experiences pain. He refuses to sit around and let others do for him, or try to portray that he has any disability. He is a hero to our two boys, and to me.
I hope you’re now thinking about your own unlikely champion, and you will take them to go see Queen of Katwe, opening tomorrow!
For more information, visit the Queen of Katwe website.
Sometimes, you decide that one or even many rooms in your home are in need of a new look. Or perhaps you’ve just moved into your own place and want to put your personal spin on its’ decor. You want your home to look its’ best and reflect your style, but you need to do it on a budget.
This is absolutely possible with Replica Furniture Melbourne. Here you can shop for the hottest trends in furniture at a fraction of the price. Some popular designer replicas featured are Philippe Starck, Hans Wegner, and Noguchi.
Pieces are are of the utmost quality and are sure to pass for the real thing to your friends and family. Whether you need to update your living area, bedroom, kitchen and dining area or outdoor patio, you can find the right item to fit your style. Real, natural materials are used, just as in studio pieces, so you will know your new furniture purchase is a solid buy. And there is a money back guarantee for most items, so you really don’t have anything to lose.
Don’t spend thousands on decorating your home when you don’t have to–it’s time to give replica furniture a closer look!
Someone Must Die
by Sharon Potts
When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd’s safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI’s investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can’t answer.
Aubrey picks apart the inconsistencies to expose the first of many lies: a ransom note—concealed from the FBI—with a terrifying and impossible ultimatum. Aubrey doesn’t know what to believe or whom to trust. The abduction is clearly personal—but why would someone play a high-stakes game with the life of a child? The more she presses for answers, the more Aubrey is convinced that her mother is hiding something.
Desperate to save her young nephew, Aubrey must face harsh truths and choose between loyalty to her family and doing the right thing. And she’d better hurry, because vengeance sets its own schedule, and time is running out.
MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I haven’t read as many kidnapping/mystery/thriller type books in recent years as I used to. I believe it’s because I found the books to be getting repetitive and myself as a reader getting harder to actually surprise. This novel unfortunately had both of those aspects going on, and I struggled to finish it.
The story begins when 6 year old Ethan, who’s just recently united with his grandmother, is kidnapped while under her watch at a carnival. The grandmother, Diana, had only a few months ago made amends with her son, so losing his only child was a devastating blow to their shaky relationship. Diana’s younger daughter, Aubrey, comes back home to be there for her family and try to help the authorities in any way she can.
It took me a couple of weeks to finish this book–it just never really grabbed me. I didn’t truly feel a sense of danger or thrill conveyed through the author’s writing. I didn’t care for the style that much–the dramatic ending sentences of chapter, which I’m sure were supposed to be darkly foreshadowing, felt overdone to me. I was actually reminded of the way chapters end in the Goosebumps series of books I read about 20 years ago–not good if you’re trying to write for adults.
There are several avenues the investigation goes. Diana is involved with a man running for judge, Ethan’s other grandparents are ridiculously rich, Aubrey’s ex boyfriend is even mentioned as a possible person of interest, but it takes some digging to find out that the kidnapping is connected to a past Diana still suffers everyday. Of course, the police don’t learn this information; Aubrey investigates on her own and interrogates her mother without their help.
Many things about this book felt unrealistic and disjointed to me. The ending was also very lackluster and kind of sudden. I made myself finish this book because I started it, but I can’t say there was too much I liked about it.
About the Author
Sharon Potts is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of five psychological thrillers, including In Their Blood—winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award and recipient of a starred review in Publishers Weekly. A former CPA, corporate executive, and entrepreneur, Sharon has served as treasurer of the national board of Mystery Writers of America, as well as president of that organization’s Florida chapter. She has also co-chaired SleuthFest, a national writers’ conference. Sharon lives in Miami Beach with her husband and a spirited Australian shepherd named Gidget.
At some point in their career as a homeowner, many people find that they’re dissatisfied with the look and feel of their residential property. If you’re feeling this way right now, it’s time to implement the changes necessary to take your home to the next level of comfort, functionality, and visual appeal. Luckily, there are several simple strategies you can implement to achieve these outcomes. Some of them include:
1. Buy New Blinds.
Having nice blinds improves the aesthetic appeal of your windows while simultaneously shielding you and your loved ones from excess light or visibility to the neighbors. Since this is the case, it’s a good idea to buy new blinds every now and then. You can purchase your product of choice from companies like Next Day Blinds Winchester. This organization has a website which can be accessed at Nextdayblinds.com.
2. Create More Space.
Physical clutter in your home is unaesthetic. Additionally, it can create a sense of anxiety and disorder that detracts from your ability to enjoy your home. As such, it’s a good idea to implement strategies that will enable you to create more space at your private property. There are numerous techniques you can use to realize this goal, one of which is to simply getting rid of your old furniture. You can donate this furniture or dispose of it through a yard sale.
3. Implement A Meditation Practice.
If you’re serious about getting your home in great shape, be sure to implement a meditation practice. Doing so will afford you the opportunity to designate a specific room or region of a room to a calming practice. This strategy will help you learn to associate your home with the peace and calm that is induced through the meditation practice. Additionally, you can decorate your meditation space with calm, cutting edge color schemas that optimize your sense of tranquility while also enhancing the visual appeal of the room.
In addition to enhancing the ambiance and aesthetic appeal of your home, meditation can improve your health by reducing stress levels, enhancing sleep, and optimizing the functioning of your respiratory system.
4. Let The Professionals Help You.
If you really want to make your home a haven, be sure to let the professionals assist you. By hiring an interior decorator or contractor, you can attain assistance from industry experts who have extensive experience in the home optimization process. To ensure that you select the best home designers on the block, be sure to do online research so you attain a clear, thorough understanding of the company’s reputation, specialties, pricing, level of customer service, etc.
Individuals who are interested in taking their home to a new level of exceptionalism should know that they can start the optimization process immediately. To attain the best results quickly and correctly, it’s a good idea to think and act strategically. Some of the strategies that you may find particularly useful include buying new blinds, creating more space, implementing a room for meditation, and letting the professionals help you. Once you implement these techniques, you’ll likely start to love the look and feel of your home!
DISCLAIMER: Sony Home Video provided me with some of the materials I used in this Blog Post/Giveaway. The opinions I share are my own.
When I was a little girl, I loved the original Swan Princess film. Recently released on September 6 is another addition to this fun, beloved franchise–The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today!
In the brand new original animated film, Princess Alise is training to be the perfect royal but in her heart all she wants to do is sail the seven seas as a swashbuckling pirate! After setting sail, Princess Alise is shipwrecked and washes ashore on an island where she meets Lucas, a young boy who has been living there by herself. They have to work together to survive and get back to civilization!
Would your child like to WIN a copy of The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today of their very own? To enter, simply have your child take the quiz below to find out if they are more pirate…
Leave your answer in a comment and one lucky winner will receive a DVD copy of the film!
My big boy took the quiz and yeah, he’s proud to be a pirate. He’s now asking me if he can play in the forest all day! (You’ll know what I mean when you take the quiz.)
Please leave your results below and one winner will be chosen by September 25!
CLICK THE PHOTO TO TAKE THE QUIZ
Buy The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today!
Follow The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today!
I am excited to share my thoughts on the faith based, heart grabbing film GREATER, releasing in theaters on August 26, 2016. The movie stars Neal McDonough and newcomer Chris Severio as Brandon Burlsworth.
Brandon Burlsworth is perhaps the greatest walk-on in the history of college football. Brandon had always dreamed of playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, but was considered too short and too fat to play Division I. Undeterred, Brandon took a big risk and walked on in 1994.
Written off by fellow teammates and coaches, Brandon displayed dogged determination in the face of staggering odds. An extremely devoted Christian, Brandon never cursed or drank. He was genuinely humble and low-key. He worked harder than anybody, on and off the field, becoming the first Razorback to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree while still playing. The overly-fat kid who was once an embarrassment to his teammates and an annoyance to his coaches, ended up becoming the most respected player in the history of the program, changing the lives of all he touched.
Eleven days after being drafted into the NFL, Brandon was tragically killed in a car accident, crushing all who knew him. Brandon was “too good to be true”. How could something like that happen to this guy? The age-old question slammed down upon all with terrible force: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Brandon’s story is more than mere football. It is the ultimate expression of the question “Why?” Greater will provide hope and inspiration as it strives to wrestle with this challenge and find reasons to trust. It is “Rudy” meets “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
To me, this was the story of the rewards from never giving up, learning to be faithful, and the bond between brothers. Brandon is extremely close to his older brother Marty, who at 17 years older is something of a father figure to Brandon. Marty inspires Brandon to succeed, celebrates with him when he does, and consoles him when he doesn’t.
I enjoyed seeing Brandon push himself to be the best. He did whatever it took, whatever his coaches told him and more to achieve his dreams. I have two young sons and I hope that they will take these same lessons with him in their lives, both on and off the sports field.
I liked how the film didn’t just focus on the football aspect or the faith aspect of Brandon’s life; we also get to see how he sometimes struggled socially, liked to be by himself, and even battled with obsessive compulsive disorder. I believe this is so important to show, because there are so many kids out there with issues like this who need to know they’re not alone and they can be successful just like Brandon was.
Both my husband and I were very touched by Greater and had tears in our eyes by the end. Yes, it’s a faith based film and to some that will make it a little corny or sappy in some parts, but the actors’ performances get you into the story and feeling their emotions.
I recommend the film Greater to sports fans, parents, and anyone who loves a story with a lot of heart.
I have a special giveaway for my readers courtesy of Grace Hill Media. Two winners will receive a promotional Brandon Burlsworth GREATER jersey, with his number 77 and in the Arkansas colors, as modeled by my son here!
Giveaway is for US only and will end 8/31/2016. Please leave a comment telling me who you’re rooting for this college football season!