Thursday, October 27, 2016

Blog Tour – In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales Anthology feat. Mike Hays with Giveaway #Giveaway #AuthorInterview #Anthology #Retellings #BibleStories

Hey Y'all! This is an exciting day here on ACME Teen Books - Kids & YA Too!

 We have a special guest, 
Author Mike Hays
 visiting from 
In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales Anthology
presented by Month9Books!

I chatted briefly with him and here's what he had to say:

Mike, thanks for taking time to visit.  I have just a few questions for you.

Describe your book in 140 characters(like a tweet).

A newcomer has a curse that makes him an outcast, but does it also make him a perfect fit for the Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins?

How did you choose this subject to write about?

I had this idea bouncing around in my head about a nearly extinct witch hunter organization called Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins (ELWA), inspired by the Witchfinder Army in GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I envisioned a tween/YA world built around the ELWA as this old, obsolete organization set in a sprawling mansion and consisting entirely of one elderly witch assassin who hasn’t had to deal with witches in decades. He decides to bring in an apprentice (Geoffrey) to pass along the craft and things kind of snowball from there. Last Will and Testament is a short story about a wretched homeless kid with a special power who Geoffrey finds sleeping on the property and tries to convince to stay and join ELWA.

Tell us about your characters - did they 'talk' to you?

Characters rarely talk to me (How rude of them, right?) but they do allow me to tag along with them through their story. I develop a pretty solid picture in my head and in my notes of who each character is. That way, I have a pretty good idea how they’ll act in certain situations, although sometimes they do surprise me...

Was one part of the story more difficult to write than the rest?

The beginning is ALWAYS the hardest part for me. I don’t know if it is because the beginning hook is so important to grab the reader or because the story isn’t complete formed yet. Usually, I’ll start with a bad beginning just to get the story rolling and go back to wrestle with the hook until I’m satisfied. Even then, it usually changes again in the hands of beta readers, critique partners, and editors.

Think fast: Chocolate - milk or dark?

CHOCOLATE MILK!!!! Chocolate in any form is okay by me. However, chocolate milk has been my friend from childhood, through school, and into my late-middle-age years. Yes, I’m 52 and still drink chocolate milk whenever possible.

So what new projects do you have in the cooker? 

I am shopping a middle grade fantasy adventure about a good vs. evil battle inside a retirement home and a middle grade historical fiction about a group of Mississippi River boys and the sinking of the SS Sultana steamboat, which is the worst maritime disaster in United States history. The new book I’m working on, also a middle grade fantasy adventure, involves a plot by an evil, educational testing company mogul to completely eradicate John Henry and the other tall-tale legends once and for all. I’m also tinkering with something new in the Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins world.  

Mike that all sounds super exciting and I and my readers as well, cannot wait to hear more from you!


Mike Hays
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). 

There you have it gang, straight from the Author's mouth.  So enjoy reading about each of these stories and be on the look for 

In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


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

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks
add to goodreads

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.


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.
Meet All of the Authors:

Stephen Clements
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
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:  
Mike Hays
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). 
Sharon Hughson
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. 
For more information: visit her Author page at Roane Publishing or Amazon.

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
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.
Twitter | Goodreads

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 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.
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Ciao Bellas,



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