Morning, everyone!  I'd like you all to give a warm welcome to Laura Bickle, who's sharing The Hallowed Ones with us today.  I'm again on a cover squee -- look at it!  It just sucks you right in and makes you want to start turning pages.

The Hallowed Ones

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a de-cree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

  I have read one Amish romance / fiction and it was wonderful.  This one sounds ten times better, to be honest.  I love the fact it is darker than many.  And Laura is going to talk to us about darkness today.  So with much ado, I turn the blog over to her.  
Relative Darkness
By Laura Bickle

Darkness is different for every person, in every place.

I live in a city. Even when the moon is new, it never gets completely dark here. From my window, I can see my neighbors’ porch lights, headlights on the freeway, and the illuminated sign of a hospital. There’s enough light to see by if I forget to take out the trash. The glow from the city blots out all but a handful of stars.

But I have no illusions about my safety. I would probably not walk alone down the street in this grey gloom. If I did, I’d be vigilant. I’d scurry out and back, watching carefully over my shoulder. I wouldn’t linger – I’d be relieved to make it back to the pool of light surrounding my porch.

For the protagonist of THE HALLOWED ONES, darkness is something else altogether. Katie is an Amish girl living in a Plain community. There are no lights in houses, no cars with sweeping headlights. No electricity. Her night, in the rural countryside, is soft and total. She can see the stars and the broad river of the Milky Way above her.

Katie has never feared darkness. She and the night are old friends. In winter, she completes her farm chores long after the sun has set. She has never feared anything the shadows hold – not the deer, the bats, nor the rabbits. Not even coyotes. She knows everyone in her community by name, and has nothing to fear from any of them.

She has never feared the night – not until now.

Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields near her house, followed by rumors of violence and the disappearance of large numbers of people in the world outside her community. Something is out there, something that kills under the cover of night. Unsure why they haven’t been attacked, the Amish Elders make a rule: No one goes outside their gates, and no one is allowed in.

When Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elders’ decree, secretly bringing the stranger in to her community. But what else is she bringing in with him?

Katie will come to understand the threat of darkness, both from within her community and Outside. She will discover that the night holds many things to fear, both from the unknown and the people she has trusted her whole life.


Frankly, the more I hear, the more I wish I wasn't buried under deadlines and could set everything aside and read it now.  Let's take a peek though, together.  (FYI Laura provided the full Chapter 1, but for spacial reasons, I've cut it at an excellent hook.  The opening is brimming with beautiful descriptions and simply warms your heart.)


We were a good-size settlement of Plain folk, about seventy families, spread over half a county. We had heard rumors of other Plain communities that were shrinking, owing to the youth and the spell of Rumspringa. And there were tales of other communities that grew so fast, there was no farmland for young families. But not ours. Ours had remained the same size and shape as far back as anyone could remember. There always seemed to be enough land for everyone to have at least forty acres to farm, if they wanted it.

And everyone seemed happy, unaffected by the schisms that seemed so common in other Amish settlements. The Bishop said that was because we stuck to the old ways. Everyone knew what was expected of us. There was no renegotiation of rules every time some new technology flew up a bonnet. The Ordnung was the Ordnung. Period. And we had been rewarded for following the Ordnung: there was always enough work and food and spouses and land for everyone. God provided for his people.

The pumpkin patch that my little sister tended was nearly as ripe as Sunny with distended gourds. There was one particularly large monster of a pumpkin that Sarah had a special fondness for. Twice daily she squatted beside it, whispering to it and petting it. Whatever she was doing seemed to be working — the pumpkin was easily over a hundred pounds, with another month to go before it would be severed from the vine.

Mrs. Parsall leaned against the bumper of her old blue station wagon. She pulled her keys from her pocket, gave me a one-armed hug. “You take care of yourself, kiddo.”

I grinned against her shoulder. But something dark against the blue sky caught my attention. I squinted at it, first thinking it to be a bird. But it wasn’t a bird at all.

I stepped back from Mrs. Parsall, pointing at the sky. “Look!”

A dark dot buzzed overhead, growing larger. It was a helicopter, flying so low that I could hear the whump-whump-whump of its blades. It was painted green with a white cross on the side, seeming to wobble in the blue.

Mrs. Parsall shaded her eyes with her hands, shouting to be heard above the roar. “It’s Life Flight.”

“It’s a what?”

“It’s a medical helicopter. From a hospital.”

“It shouldn’t be doing that, should it?”

“Hell, no. It — ”

The helicopter veered right and left, as if it were a toy buffered by a nonexistent tornado. The breeze today was calm, stirred by the helicopter blades and the roar. I thought I saw people inside, fighting, their silhouettes stark through a flash of window, then lost in the sun. The helicopter made a shrieking sound, the whump-whump-whump plowing through the air as it bumped and bucked. It howled over us, so close that I could have reached out and touched it if I’d been standing on the roof of our house.

Mrs. Parsall grabbed me and flung me to the ground. I shoved my bonnet back from my brow in enough time to see the helicopter spiral out of control, spinning nose over tail into a field. It vanished above tall tassels of corn.

For a couple of heartbeats, I saw nothing, heard nothing.

Then I felt the impact through my hands and the front of my ribs, bit my tongue so hard I could taste blood.

Black smoke rose over the horizon.

“Oh no,” Mrs. Parsall gasped.

I scrambled to my feet, began to run. I heard Mrs. Parsall behind me, the jingle of her purse strap. I dimly registered her voice shouting into her cell phone. I ran toward the fire, across the grass. I swung myself up and over the barbed-wire fence, mindless of the scratching on my hands and in my skirt.

I plunged into the stalks of corn, taller than me, following the smell of smoke and the distant crackle of fire. I was conscious of the brittle yellow stalks tearing at me as I passed and realized that they were too flammable this far into the season. If the fire got loose in the corn, we’d have no way to stop it.

But my immediate concern was the people on the helicopter.

I ripped through the field and shoved aside blackened stalks of corn to view the site of the crash. The heat shimmered in the air, causing my eyes to tear up. I lifted my apron to cover my nose against the smell of oily smoke.

Fire seethed above me in a black and orange plume, curling around the husk of the dead helicopter. The bent and broken tail jutted out from the ground at an odd angle. The cockpit had broken open, flames streaming through the broken glass.

And I swore I saw something moving inside.


About the Author  
Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at:

Follow the Tour!


Labels: , , ,

1 Response so far.

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Claire! I'm so excited to meet you and your readers!

Post a Comment

"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



GoddessFish Promotions

Goddess Fish Partner

Night Owl Romance

Night Owl Romance
For The Latest In Romance Reviews

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Coffee Time Romance

Coffee Time Romance
Blogging About Romance