The Window Challenge

I felt like sharing a short story.  🙂

The Window Challenge
© 2003 by Rosalind Morris

One blink later, the windows shattered. A thousand daggers of glass penetrated the left side of my face. The winds, so fierce that I could barely breathe, knocked me onto the floor. The metallic smell of my own blood filled my nostrils, further aggravating my suffocation. ‘So this is how it ends,’ I thought to myself as I lay in the floor hoping that the storm was over. It was not over.

As the walls started to crumble around me, my survival instincts surfaced. I obviously could not depend on help from God Almighty, and I was not going to give up without a fight. Knowing I could not get far with the pain of my face and the force of the winds, I quickly moved to the coat closet, still standing at that time, and closed myself inside. It was a small windowless room where nothing could fall on me except the walls themselves. I was never so glad to have so many thick coats. Shaking, I grabbed them from their hangers and buried myself under them. They were thick enough to cushion the blow as the next wind gust blew in the walls of the closet.

Somehow, I survived the storm. My house did not survive; my dog did not survive. The left side of my face barely survived, but I made it. I woke up three days later at St. Francis Medical. My face had swollen to the point of heaviness. One arm was hooked up to an IV machine, while the other was in a cast. Something wicked pounded in my head. I tried to ask for some help, but I was unable to find my voice. Then the nice nurse walked in and increased my morphine. I was out again in blissful escape. That was how it was for two weeks.

“Why didn’t you leave, son?” The question came from my Dad. All of a sudden, he was beside my bed. My eyes had barely opened when he badgered me with his asinine inquiry. He had thrown away the privileged role of concerned father. We had not spoken for months before the storm.

“Tornado sirens go off within minutes of the actual tornado. Where was I supposed to go?”

“Away from the window would’ve been a good choice.”

“Thanks.”

“Well um listen, I’m glad you are okay.”

“Sure, Dad.” Dad came out with great effort on my part.

“Listen son, I’ve been praying…”

It hurt to laugh, but I could not stop myself. “Really? You’ve been praying?”

“Yes, and I…”

“Wait! I gotta let you in on something, dear old Dad. I did some praying of my own. Right before the glass dove into my flesh, I was talking to God!” I pointed to the bandages on my face with my good hand. “This was God’s answer to my prayer, and quite frankly, we are no longer on speaking terms. Kind of like you and I. Which brings me to this question. Why are you here?” Instead of answering my question, he bowed his head and muttered something under his breath. “You are not talking to Him are you? Because if you are talking to that traitor, you can just get out of here. I loathe Him even more than I loathe you.” My heart monitor began to beep frantically.

“Calm down, Frank. You don’t need to upset yourself. I am here because I love you. I haven’t always done things right, son. That is obvious because you seem to be under the impression that my anger means that I don’t love you. I have been angry with you. I am not happy with all of your decisions, but I have always loved you. I should not have let my anger keep me from calling you. I apologize for that, but I have always loved you. I always will love you.”

“Whatever, Dad.” It came out slightly easier that time, but it still took effort.

“I am even sorrier to hear that you’ve chosen to blame God for this. First of all, you heard the sirens and the tornado. You could’ve moved away from the window son. That was not smart.”

“Well, see that was the deal, Dad. I stood there on purpose. I made a deal with God, a challenge really, that if he protected me from the storm, I would come back to him. I reminded him that he said he would give His angels protection over me, and I asked him to prove it. As soon as I got the words out, I received His answer.” To say that I was bitter would have been an understatement. I could tell that I had totally stumped my father. He had this look on his face like he was trying to conjure the right words to “witness” to me. I thought it best to put a stop to that up front. “Oh, you can save your sermon.”

“Franklin, do you know what happened to Sparks?”

Sparks was my German Shepard. I had him for about five years, and he was truly my best friend. “Sparks? I’ve been so messed up, that I forgot about him. Have you been feeding him?”

“No I haven’t. Son, Sparks did not make it through the storm.”

That hurt. I closed my eyes against the pain. Hot tears stung under my tightly closed eyelids. My whole body shook with sobs, but they did not last long. For a few moments, I let myself dwell on the pain. After that, I sucked it up, more determined than ever never to speak to the God I once knew. What kind of merciful Lord would kill a man’s dog? As soon as I assumed control, my father began to speak again.

“How about your house? Do you know what’s happened with it?”

‘There’s brilliance for you!’ I thought to myself. “Well, considering the fact that it was hit by a tornado and the windows burst out and the walls blew in, I am assuming that it’s no longer standing.” My smart aleck reply made him mad, but he tried to hide it.

“Your house is now a pile of wood. It took them eighteen hours to locate you in all the rubble. They found your dog crushed under the weight of your full wall bookshelves. The doctors say that even though you had tried to bury yourself under a stack of thick coats, the blow from the oak that fell directly into your closet should have broken more than your arm. You were in a comma for two days. They did not expect you to come out of it. When you came out, there were questions about your brain function. We were not sure if you were going to be able to speak again. Is any of this registering, Frank?”

“Yeah, you proved my point. I asked God to protect me, like he claimed he would, and he didn’t do it. He let me get hurt, destroyed my house, and killed my dog.”

“You have totally missed it, Franklin!”

“Oh well by all means, Dear old Dad.” For some reason the ‘dear old dad’ reference was phenomenally easier than ‘dad.’

“You are still alive. You can communicate as if a tree had never fallen on your head. You are not bleeding internally. God kept His end of your bargain, Franklin. He brought you through the storm.”

Somehow, amidst my anger, I heard what he was saying to me. The storm did not take my life. It took my dog and my house, but I was still alive. Coats or no coats, I could have easily died before the rescuers arrived eighteen hours after the storm. The reality of the situation hit me. I wanted to yell and scream about what God had taken away from me, but it no longer seemed important. I was suddenly grateful to God, but for some reason I resented the emotion.

“I think you should leave, Dad. I need to be alone.”

“Franklin, you’ve been running from God for years. Don’t you think it is time to stop?” When he asked me that question, the Spirit of God came into the room enveloping me. I had known His presence from my youth, so it was a familiar sensation. Pride told me to push Him away, but it was a love that I could not ignore. As the walls of my house had crumbled, the walls in my heart did the same. Like shattered window splinters, my pride had blown away.

What’s in a Name?

pexels-photo-634045.jpegPeople often ask me where I get names for my characters.  I’m sure every author’s process for this is different. For me there are character names, especially first names, that just come to me as I start writing. For instance, Center Perkins and Stephen (pn. Steff-en) Campbell, two of the characters in The Wages or the Gift flowed easily from my pen and onto the page, in their first sentences.

Stephen “Steph” Campbell sat on the edge of his waiting room chair,  leaning forward with his hands propping up his head. His eyes moved faithfully around the room as he watched his best friend, Center Perkins, traipse.

I don’t know why, but I assume I had already thought about their names in the dream I had that inspired this very scene.  Ebony Reynold (pn. Ray Nold) came with a little bit more forethought, as I had the idea a week or so before I started writing that it would be interesting if there was a character that was a white girl named Ebony.  Now those of you who have read the book know that Ebony is not a white girl, but when I started writing this novel, that name had been recently on my mind.  I thought it would be a great name for the super model in this story.

There are a lot of names in The Wages or the Gift, and while most of them kind of happened organically, not all of them did.  The name Mathan Cigainero came from two places.  I got Mathan from reading through Jesus’s lineage from Mathew Chapter 1.  You know: the “begats”.  There was a man named Matthan in verse 15, and for some reason when I saw it, I thought to myself, “Hey what if I took out a t?  Then I would have Mathan, which rhymes with Nathan, which is different but not too far fetched.”   And I liked the thought. Mathan’s last name came from looking up names in the phone book.  I wanted to find a four-syllabled name, and when I saw Cigainero, it was a perfect fit.

Sometimes, I enjoy unorthodox names.  For instance, in Wrong Number, one of my upcoming novels, the main character’s name is Cardigan Dupree.  I think it may just be one of my favorite character names so far.  Why I chose to name the lady after a comfy sweater, I don’t know, but I love it. 🙂

I will end this with the full quote referenced in the title.  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Gotta love Shakespeare!  He came up with some wonderful names come to think of it. 🙂

Discussion points:  If you read this article,` I would love to hear from you! If you feel so inclined leave a comment about the article or any of these discussion points.

  • What is your favorite character’s name of all time, and why is it your favorite?
  • In The Wages or the Gift, what character name/character did you like best/least and why?
  • Tell about a non-traditional name you think would make a good character name.

 

 

 

A spirit-filled thriller romance from Rosalind Morris – David Bergsland’s Reality Calling

Woo hoo! My first book award! Thank you, Father! To check out the full review, click the link on the blog post. Please share and help me spread the word.

 


I just finished a spirit-filled thriller romance from Rosalind Morris called The Wages or The Gift and really enjoyed it. That says a lot because I quit reading thrillers a couple years back because of boredom and I’ve not enjoyed romances since my early teens in the late fifties. But this one is different.

Source: A spirit-filled thriller romance from Rosalind Morris – David Bergsland’s Reality Calling

Fun Interview Share (And other items…)

Checkout this interview that I did with www.ilikeebooks.com! It’s been a couple of weeks since the interview, but I have been trying to decide the best way to approach announcing it.  I think in addition to making an announcement on my blog of interviews, live talks, author chats, and the like, I am going to add a media section to this blog to archive all such instances.

In other news, I got a new review that truly touched my heart.  This is review is from a friend of mine who is not a Christian, and does not at all care for the message of my novel.  However, she still enjoyed the story, and she said a lot of nice things about my writing.  Hats off to Kathleen, for being able to put aside her personal preference and still appreciate the book.  I think that’s awesome, but that is not what touched my heart. Keep in mind that I did not tell Kathleen anything about my writing process, so what I am about to point out is a major compliment.

She recognized my research!

That made me so happy.  As a person who reads a lot of reviews.  (Okay, I just let you in a little secret about me.  I occasionally go onto Amazon and read book reviews.  Lots of times I read reviews from books that I really liked, or books that are currently on the bestseller’s list.  Often times I read five stars and the one stars to two star reviews. And see what naysayers are saying about otherwise renowned works of fiction.)   Even with most five star reviews, I don’t see many reviewers noticing the research that went into creating the novel.  I did so much research for The Wages or the Gift.  (Not my favorite pass time.  I do it when necessary.) It was so cool that someone noticed my hard work. 🙂 I am impressed, thankful, and humbled that someone actually noticed that aspect of my story.

 

Going Live Tonight…

I am going live again tonight at 7:00 PM Central.  I was invited to speak on my love of bringing stories to life for a group called WNL Virtual Author Promotions.  I think I will be able to share the video after I am done, but I am not sure.  I also am not sure if the group is public enough that anyone can watch the live feed.  We shall see.

Every Single Word…

One day, a long time ago, I was talking to my best friend about reading.  Yes, I am that nerdy.  I love reading and talking about reading and reading some more.  Anyway, I was talking to her, and I confessed that I have skipped portions of books on occasion.  Not large portions, mind you, just a paragraph or two.  She told me she never did that because she knows that the author agonized over every single word as they were writing the book. That thought had never crossed my mind.  I’m not positive, but I think I had already started writing The Wages or the Gift when we had this conversation.  I was somewhere close the beginning of the first draft.  I remember thinking that I am not sure that I “agonized” over words.  I mean there is always the desire to make sure my writing is engaging, vivid and tells the best version of the character’s story that I can possibly tell; however, I was not agonizing over every single word.

That was then.

It took me five months, writing every day to finish that first draft.  It was an incredibly fun process for me: my first novel.  Allow me to provide a bit of insight into my writing process.  I am not the kind of writer who outlines her novels. I literally get an idea, start writing and let the story flow until it’s completion.  This became a great issue in college when I was learning about the play writing process, but that is another story.  (One that I will be writing about in the near future most likely.) Anyway, the benefit of writing like that is the story unfolds before your eyes just like it would to the reader.

After I finished the first draft, I did what comes next.  I printed several copies, and gave it people to read.  My first editor, aka Jen, got a copy.  My mother got a copy.  And I think a couple more people got a copy.  But I used mostly, Jen’s and my mother’s copies for the second draft of the book.  That took me more than five months, of course, and I made corrections, additions, and subtractions based on their notes and my own reread.  However, I still did not agonize over each word.  So then I start sending the book out to publishers. My book was accepted to The Writer’s Edge, a company that Christian publishers use to find new Christian fiction manuscripts.  Which was super exciting, and I got a few noteworthy nibbles, even one from Bethany House, but I did not get any bites.

Fast forward a bit to finally getting a publisher.  When I got my manuscript back from my editor, a professional editor this time, I had to go through it again and make the changes needed.  So there I was revising the book again.  Still I did not agonize over every word.  After I finished it, it took another couple of months to get the book back again from my publishers.  This time, I noticed a few layout discrepancies.  So I went through it with a fine tooth comb, making sure any errors were discovered and corrected.  The agonizing began around that time.  Unfortunately, during this process, my publisher went out of business.  Sad day.  Honestly, at that point, I decided instead of looking for another publisher, I would just do it myself.

This is now.

Doing it myself meant I could not use the layout my publisher designed, so I had to completely redesign my book and my book cover.  As I redesigned the book and cover, that’s when I really started agonizing over every single word. I thought back to what my best friend had said to me all those years ago and laughed.  She was indeed correct; it just took me a while to get to that point.

Now that The Wages or the Gift is published, it’s time to start “agonizing” (possibly) over the second draft of my second novel.  I guess the cycle never ends.   More next time.  Thanks for stopping by my blog!

 

An update on my progress…

Tuesday morning, the day after I wrote about waiting for the proof copy, I got a message saying that the book was in Tulsa.  I was overjoyed of course, completely giddy.  That day I went to pick it up on my lunch break, and I have been reading it since then.

I am currently on Chapter 5, making my way through to 27 once again.  I am looking for any printing mishaps or other errors that I can catch before I declare it ready for public consumption on a massive scale.  There have been a few uh oh’s here and there, but I will say this, I am enjoying reading the book.  Though I have been reading this story for years, I still enjoy it.  I hope that’s a good sign.

I am hoping to finishing going through it this weekend, and to make the necessary updates next week.  Then I will make sure all the distribution channels are in order and launch!  So excited about this!  Yes, there will be a launch party (possibly more than one), and I will be doing book tours as well.  I want to make the book available on “Black” Friday as I think this would be a great Christmas present.  So friends, plan your list of who you would like to give the book to and get your copies in time for the Holiday season!

 

The Wages or the Gift is coming soon!

Hello Readers!   

Welcome to my author page.  

My journey as a writer started a long time ago.  In fact, I hardly remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a “writer”.  I started writing stories in elementary school.  The Wages or the Gift is my first novel, and I am super excited to reveal it to the world this month.  Currently I am waiting for a “proof” copy to arrive.  After I get it and work out any kinks.  I will launch the book.  The plan is to have it out in time for the Christmas shopping season.  

Here is some information from the back cover:

Death is sin’s recompense, and for Prestige Modeling Inc., payday has arrived. But who’s signing the check, a revenge hungry madman or a higher power?

Mathan Cigainerro and Jamal Asaad find out in The Wages or the Gift. Each man suffers from encounters with a high-society rave organization called Phase 126. Prestige Modeling Inc. is a lucrative front for the biannual party. When supermodel Ebony Reynold, a born-again believer, stumbles upon evidence that could threaten the entire operation, she and her friends find themselves on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth and shine light on two desperate souls. 

Basically, it is a Christian Suspense novel set in the fashion world.  This book was a lot of fun to write.  The story started with a dream.  I had a dream about two young men in a hospital waiting room.  I believe in my dream they were twins, and although one of the young men in the first scene of my novel is a twin, the two in the waiting room are merely best friends.  

Some people may be wondering why I chose to write this novel in third person.  I know first person is very popular these days, but I actually really enjoy third person omniscient. So basically, I did it because I wanted to. 🙂 Seriously though, it works well with the story.  My second novel is in first person.  First person worked better with that story.  That’s what it comes down to usually.  Write what works best for the characters and the world you’ve created for them.  I think readers appreciate that.  I know, as a reader, I appreciate it.