Introducing "A New Name" (ft. LOTS OF SNIPPETS!!!!!!)

I'm working on something big, guys. Something that has so far been the hardest book for me to write. Something that has been on my mind for a couple years, and is just now making headway.
At only 20,000 words, I know it's too early to be this hyped...but GUYS I love this story so much!!! And I want you all to love it too!! So I decided to give you a little glimpse at what I'm working on.


"A New Name" is a futuristic/dystopia story based on the Biblical book of Daniel. In it, the main character, Danielle (or Ranilla...which she later changes to Ray for reasons you will see) is taken from her home in the Outside and thrust into the godless system of the City. She is joined by Shana, Mishia, and Abendy in her steady and faithful obedience of her Savior. When this faith is forced into the open, she doesn't back down like the Authorities hope, but instead stands firm against all persecution.

Is it perfect? *snorts* Of course not. I mean, come on! When has an author's first draft EVER been perfect? (Especially when its not even finished!) Yeah, that's right, never.
But do I think it's worth a special introductory blog post? Absolutely. If you don't follow me on Pinterest and are a fellow pinner, be sure to find me on there...because I save lots of pictures and quotes on there for "A New Name" and most of my other stories. If you aren't a fellow pinner (good for you! Stay strong! Resist the urge!) I'll include some of my favorite pictures and quotes from my storyboard in amongst the snippets.
Also, if you haven't seen this post come up in your feed, I wrote a Beautiful People post on my main character Ranilla over at my writing blog. So be sure to check out that after reading this. ;)
Alrighty, let's jump right in with the very beginning of my book: the prologue. Ready?

My name was Danielle. I watched it form soundlessly on my parents’ lips as I was dragged away. The pain of losing my parents left me helpless in the arms of a city officer. I watched my fear of the future mirrored in their own eyes, and the anger held toward a government who would dare take unwilling children from the arms of their loving parents.
       The burly officer shoved me into the back of his sleek, black car and wrestled the seatbelt around my flailing arms.
       “Please let me stay!” I begged, the tears streaming down my face and dropped off only to melt into my dark clothes. “I don’t want to go away!”
       No one answered me. The car started and pulled away from my house. I felt deep down inside that I would never see my dad and mom again. The tears continued to flow and I covered my face and let myself weep. I ceased to struggle, knowing it was hopeless.
       In all my fifteen years, I had never prayed as earnestly as I did now. God, I don’t understand why You’re letting this happen. Please tell me. I need the assurance that You’re still with me, even in the midst of this nightmare. You’re all I have now.
       During a moment of sweetness that I had never known, I heard a quiet voice assuring me, I am all you need.
       Peace enveloped me in the silence that followed. I sat; suddenly still, overwhelmed by what had just happened. God had spoken to me out loud for the first time in my life. I wasn’t alone.

Go Ranilla! :)


God, why did you let this happen? I cried heavenwards, my eyes shut against reality...the reality that, at this point, was still a definite blue color. The cold glass, pressed against my forehead, did little to erase the frown that refused to leave my face.
       I tried the name again. Ranilla…R-a-n-i-l-l-a…slowly, I spelled it out, and then said it slower. “Ranilla,” I whispered aloud. Suddenly, a smug grin pulled at the side of my mouth and I snuck a look at the officer sitting in the front seat. He wasn’t watching me at all.
       A thought had occurred to me while whispering my name. The government might cheat me of my family and given name, but I could take a little back of my own by stretching the rules. I could make this name into a Christian name. An undercover, disguised Christian name. I almost bounced in my seat, so full of glee at the thought.
       “Ray,” I whispered in triumph. “I’ll be Ray for short. I’ll be God’s Ray of sunshine in this dark world. With His strength, I’ll part the cloud of evil around me. Through me, His light can shine on others.”
       With this new name came a new resolve. A new mission. Already, the pain of losing my parents faded into a dull ache. I would do them proud by standing for what I knew was right. Shutting my eyes, I smiled. Oh, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy…but I knew God would be with me. With Him, who would stand against me?



The overwhelming loneliness crashed over me as soon as the door shut behind me in my temporary home. While I waited for the adoption center staff to bring my old clothes back, the tears I had swallowed down poured out along with my despair. Doubt and fear assailed me in a flood that threatened to drown any ounce of faith I still held.
       So I did the one thing that always calmed me down.
       I prayed.

Zechariah 2:5❤❤❤


       I stepped inside and absorbed my surroundings. A bed took up most of the wall on my right side, and a nightstand next to it. A desk, a dresser, and a smaller door I assumed was my closet filled the opposite side. All the furniture and accessories were tasteful shades of blues, greens, grays, and browns. Facing me was a window that gave me a gorgeous view of the Outside. Tears stung my eyes and I walked to the window, basking in the familiar landscape I missed so very much.
       I heard Cade join me and turned to him. “This room… I love it.”
       For the first time since meeting my new brother, I saw Cade smile. “Good.” He swept his arm in an expressive motion around my bedroom’s contents. “I’m sorry it’s so...” he struggled for the right word.
       “Masculine?” I supplied.
       “I was going to say manly,” he said with a shrug, “but close enough.”
       I had noticed the gender-specific decorations. “I don’t mind. Blue and green are my favorite colors.”
       Cade pulled the metal desk chair from where it sat tucked away and sat in it the wrong way, crossing his arms across the backrest. “It used to be my brother’s bedroom.”

Isaiah 12:27 Nothing can stand between us and God's plan.


“So do you get a gorgeous view too?”
       “Like in my bedroom?”
       I nodded. “I’d hate to have the better room. After all, I’m kind of an imposter.”
       “You’re not an imposter!” Cade was quick to say.
       I shot him one of my most expressive looks that had gotten me in trouble before at the adoption centers. “Right. And my ancestor’s are apes.”
       “Aren’t they?” Cade gave me a crooked grin.
       “Wow. Way to compliment a girl, Cade!” I shook my head and headed toward the door. “And if you get me started on creation versus the theory of evolution debate, we’ll be here all night – possibly all week depending on how prepared you are to defend the theory of evolution – and we’re supposed to be eating lunch next, right?”
       Cade’s face turned a satisfactory shade of dark pink and he slunk over to the doorway. “I’m really good with words, huh?” He shoved his hands deep into his jeans’ pockets and sighed. “Sorry.”
       I had to smile. “It’s ok.”
       “Friends?” My new brother did his best puppy-dog eyes imitation.
       “For now,” I yielded with a laugh.
       Cade extracted a hand from the depths of his jeans and stuck it towards me. “It’s been a pleasure, Ranilla, I look forward to having you as a part of our family.”
       I rolled my eyes. “Please don’t call me Ranilla. It’s not my name, and I don’t like it. At all.”
       One eyebrow lifted, expressing volumes. “So…what should I call you?”
       “Well, since it’s technically illegal to be called by my real name, Ray will have to do.”
       “Ray it is then,” Cade answered, doffing an imaginary cap to me. “Shall we go?”
       “Age before beauty.”
       “Ladies first.”
       “Oh, please,” I scoffed.
       “At this rate we’ll both end up in trouble for being late for lunch,” Cade warned. “Mom gets touchy about that.”
       I gave a solution by pulling my new brother through the door at the same time as me and we ended up in a pile on the floor just outside, laughing until our stomachs hurt.
 
(Editor's note: Yes I had way to much fun with the dialogue between these two...just wait, it gets better. XD)


“Dex?”
       “Hello, Mother.”
       As he bent down to hug her, the familiar scent of the perfume she always wore was as comforting as the feeling of her arms around his neck. No matter how old he became, nothing would ever make him feel safer than being in his mother’s arms.
 
Dex would totally say this! XD
Cade came back and sat down. “Mom has someone in the living room waiting to meet you,” he said with just enough mystery to leave my curiosity begging for more.
       “Oh?” I feigned indifference. “Can they wait until I’ve finished my sandwich?” Perhaps I was still holding on to the hope that this was all a nightmare, but this was beginning to feel like one of those dreams where you’re trying to eat something and you never really get around to doing it because other things keep happening to you.
       “Can you wait until after you’ve finished your sandwich?” he asked with a grin.
       He was far too perceptive for his own good. “I’m starving,” I said.
       “I have a feeling that hasn’t stopped your curiosity before.”
       I set down my food and sighed. “That’s just not fair. How could you possibly know that?”
       Cade waved around his hands in the air, and then snapped his fingers. “Magic,” he answered, wiggling his eyebrows up and down.
       I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. I give up.”
       He stood up and walked toward the door. “Coming?”
       My sandwich could wait. My curiosity couldn’t. Cade had guessed right about me. “Yes,” I answered in defeat. “I’m coming.”
Aw, Cade. ^_^
 
His sister knelt by the window, her face raised to the sunshine pouring in pointing toward the Outside, and her eyes closed. Confused, Dex opened the door a little more. Now that he was closer, he strained his ears to hear what she was murmuring to herself.
       “…I pray again that You would help me be strong. I don’t know what Your plan is for me, and why You chose to have me brought here, but I know that whatever happens, I want it to bring glory to Your name.”
       Even more befuddled, Dex frowned and let the door swing open more. What was she doing? Was his adopted sister a raving lunatic? Or worse, someone who still practiced the ancient ways of sorcery? Was she trying to call forth some spirit of the dead? He gave an involuntary shiver.
       “I pray for the other Christians in the City,” she continued, “and I pray for the Christians who are still safe in the Outside. Keep my parents safe from whatever forces of evil surround them.” Her voice broke here and she cleared her throat before continuing, “I don’t know how You work, but I pray that somehow, You can let them know that I’m safe and doing my best to be strong no matter what, just like they taught me.”
       Dex pulled out his recording device to catch the next part.
       “This family You put me with…I don’t know what to think about them yet.”
       He froze, thinking maybe she was now talking to him. When she didn’t turn around, he lifted his finger off the button that would stop the recording and let it continue to document her words.
       “They seem nice, and maybe I can get used to the idea of living with complete strangers, but I ask You to help me reach out to them and save them from Your wrath. They need to know the truth so badly. Help me be Your light in this family who need You so very desperately. Help me show them how much they need You. Help me turn their hearts to You. Amen.”

 
He was sure the book, whatever it was, would put his new sister under suspicion. After all, if it wasn’t forbidden or illegal, why would she hide it? Dex pulled the book out from under its plump sanctuary and looked at the cover.
       The title made him frown in confusion again. Love Rekindled. The picture behind the words made him raise an eyebrow. A couple stood in front of some kind of old-fashioned house with roses growing up the sides. The man, of course, was unrealistically handsome with rippling muscles showing through his tightly fitting business suit, and the lady, likewise, was far too beautiful for her own good.
       A romance novel? Why was Ray hiding that? On a whim, he opened the book at a random page. After glancing toward the door to make sure his brother wouldn’t stumble across him reading a romance, he began to read.
          Sustain me with cakes of raisins,
          Refresh me with apples,
          For I am lovesick.
            His left hand is under my head,
          And his right hand embraces me.
          I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
          By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
          Do not stir up nor awaken love
          Until it pleases.
          The voice of my beloved!
          Behold, he comes
          Leaping upon the mountains,
          Skipping upon the hills.
          My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
          Behold, he stands behind our wall;
          He is looking through the windows,
          Gazing through the lattice.
       “What?” Dex mumbled aloud as he read the first thing he saw. “Not only is that weird, but creepy too.” Against better judgment, he flipped a page and kept reading.
            Behold, you are fair, my love!
          Behold, you are fair!
          You have dove’s eyes behind your veil.
          Your hair is like a flock of goats,
          Going down from Mount Gilead.
          Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep
          Which have come up from the washing,
          Every one of which bears twins,
          And none is barren among them.
          Your lips are like a strand of scarlet,
          And your mouth is lovely.
          Your temples behind your veil
          Are like a piece of pomegranate.
          Your neck is like the tower of David,
          Built for an armory,
          On which hang a thousand bucklers,
         All shields of mighty men.
         Dex shuddered. “It’s getting weirder and weirder.” After reading the next two lines his face flushed bright pink and he closed the book with a thud. “Ok, that was too much information. I did not need to know that.” He shoved the romance novel back under Ray’s pillow with a grimace. “Ew. Girls like the weirdest stuff. One thing I’ve learned from this little escapade: never again will I read a romance. Gross.”
       At the sound of footsteps making their way up the stairs, he hurriedly tried to fix the bed covers around the pillow and where he had sat down. He tiptoed as fast as he could over to the closet and pretended to be look around on the floor.

I had to escape, there wasn't a chance in hell I was just going to hang around the institution for the rest of my life. I had to escape, I had to know who I was. "Black Rose" meant nothing, I had to find out who Madison Blackwood was meant to be. I needed to know what kind of life they had taken away from me.
 
(Editor's note: Kudos to you who recognized the excerpts from A Song of Solomon...if you didn't, that's ok. I don't really read that book of the Bible either. XD)
Welp, there you have it. Excited yet? I hope so. I tried to keep it mostly free of spoilers by just giving you facts that you would already know from reading the summery on the back of the story's cover one day. Hopefully I succeeded in that. ;)

Which was your favorite snippet? Favorite quote? Who is your favorite character so far? Let me know in the comments below!
 

Comments

  1. I about died laughing so hard at the song of Solomon part! That was priceless! I've read through that book of the bible twice. Once because I wondered why no one talked about it. The second because it was on my Bible reading plan. XP

    Anyway, this story sounds epic!! I'm so excited for it! :D

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    1. I have to admit, that's one of my favorite scenes in my book so far...which is saying something since I love a lot of the scenes. ;)

      Yay! That was the goal of this post! Join the team! ;)

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  2. Ha-HA, I did indeed recognize the excerpts from a Song of Solomon! Mostly because we thought comparison of hair to a flock of goats is amusing. :D AND when I was flipping through my Bible a couple of nights ago, I read a bit of it. That scene was hysterical, though!

    I seriously love all the snippets. I wanted them to just keep going and going! *cough cough* when are you publishing? *cough cough* Kidding... mostly.

    I don't have a favorite character because I love them all. So... more snippets please??

    <3
    Zane Jones



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    1. Good for you! The second passage is easier to recognize, so that's partially why I snuck it in there...that and the fact that it made the reaction even funnier. ;) Thanks!

      Aw, you're so sweet! :) To answer your question though, the earliest this will be ready to publish is by the end of next summer...but I'm looking forward to it!

      Maybe...B-) I may post sporadic updates throughout the creation process if I get too excited again. ;)

      Your enthusiasm gives me happy author shivers though, so thanks again for your wonderful comment!! ^_^

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  3. Oh my gosh!! This story sounds INCREDIBLE. Seriously. Rebekah, these snippets are amazing and your writing is wonderful!!
    Very interested in this story. :) It seems heartbreaking and yet you have the Light in it in such a realistic way I can already tell just AHHH YES, REBEKAH. =D

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    1. You're so sweet! ^_^ Thank you for this encouraging comment! It means more to me than you could possibly realize! :D

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  4. Rebekah!!!! THIS SOUNDS AWESOME!!!
    I can't wait to read it! :D

    ~ Abby {novelsdragonsandwardrobedoors.blogspot.com}

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    1. I'm so glad you think so! :D I can't wait for you to read it either! ;)

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  5. Ahhh!! Oh my word Rebekah!!! This story is AWESOME!!!! (and I know that word is very overused, but I mean it in the truest definition. ;)
    I did recognize the song of Solomon, that is hilarious. ;D I also love all the snippets, and your characters seem very well thought out.
    And how on earth do you write such funny dialogue?!
    Keep up the great work, I can't wait to read the book when it's done. ;)

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    1. Wow, thanks so much! This comment melted my heart. ^_^

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  6. Okay so you just raised my curiosity and excitement to dangerous levels. YOU NEED TO FINISHING THAT DRAFT AND LET ME READ IT OR I WILL DIED AND YOU WILL BE SORRY. Gahh! Your book sounds so cool!!!

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    1. Hehe...that wasn't at ALL on purpose...*evil author laugh*

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  7. Love this!!! From what I've read so far this book sounds fantastic!! Can't wait to read it :)
    -Janelle
    {https://rozandnellie.blogspot.com/?m=1}

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    1. Thanks so much! You're encouragement means so much to me!! :)

      Delete

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