Focus Friday #3 / Giveaway Winner Announced!

Hey Guys,

I apologize for the sparseness of my posts these days, but life has been throwing me for a loop, as it tends to do. First and foremost, I’m preparing to start a brand new job after 4+ years at the same place. Change is always a little scary, but exciting too, and it seems 2017 is going to be my year of change.

Bring it on.

That being said, I did not forget about the Writer’s Gift Basket Giveaway! The details of the contest were posted here:

I have to say that I received a lot of really good entries, and that I wish I could give something to everyone. But unfortunately there can only be one winner, and there was one prompt in particular that instantly got me excited to get writing.

The winner is Ellie P, owner of
Her prompt is as follows:

When the angel rang Claret's doorbell, she was immediately annoyed. He's early, Claret thought.

Congratulations, Ellie P! And thank you once again to all my readers, followers, re-bloggers, and contest entrants. You are all very much appreciated, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

My take on her prompt is below the cut (Part One of Two)


When the angel rang Claret’s doorbell, she was immediately annoyed. He’s early, Claret thought.

Claret swung the door open, prepared to let him have it. But his perfection was so striking she momentarily forgot her anger. Imagine Michaelangelo’s David in full color, with twinkling cerulean eyes, climbing off his pedestal, finding some designer duds, hopping the next flight from Florence, and using his marble fist to knock on your door. That’s how they all looked. All that she’d met anyway. She wondered if she’d look like that too, or if only the ones chosen to interface with humans were pretty. Like their very own spokesmodels.

Taking a moment to regain her composure, Claret shook her head, drew in a breath, squared her shoulders and said, “I wasn’t expecting you guys for another hour.”

“I do apologize, Claret.” His voice was dulcet, soothing. Like Morgan Freeman reading a nursery rhyme. “We’ve been running on a tighter schedule these days.”

Claret crossed her arms over her chest. “Who are you? And where is Anthony?”

“Forgive me for my lack of manners. My name is Michael.”

Michael extended a hand, and Claret eyed it warily for a second. Angels usually weren’t ones for human formalities such as handshakes. In fact, she didn’t think she’d actually touched an angel, ever. Hesitantly, she took the offered hand, noting the strength of his grip. She felt her knuckles pop and yanked her hand back, stifling a wince. Michael didn’t seem to notice.

“As I said, things have been busy,” he continued. “Anthony was already assigned to another recruit.”

Ah, that word. Claret had been recruited exactly one year ago today, upon being offered admission to the year-long angel training program. Translation; she’d been deemed “worthy”, taken from everyone she loved, and chosen to die as some twisted reward. She’d thought she had a little more time left on earth, but Michael had come early. One hour early, to be exact. She’d been in the middle of savoring her last meal on earth; spaghetti bolognese, the way her mom used to make, paired with a glass of her favorite drink, sweet tea. She had a slice of gooey chocolate cake waiting for dessert, one she apparently wasn’t going to get the chance to enjoy.

“Why so many recruits these days?” Claret asked.

“Ah, the answer to that question is well above your grade, my dear. You don’t even have your wings yet.”

She didn’t like the way he called her my dear. But before she could correct him, Michael uttered those three dreaded words.

“Are you ready?”

A wave of panic washed over Claret. She’d had a year to prepare for this very moment, and yet now that it was here, she felt like she didn’t have enough time. In her twenty years on earth, she felt as though she still had so much more living to do. She’d never get married, or have children. She’d never see the world outside of Providence. Never get a stamp on her passport, or even fall in love. Her entire body trembled at the thought.

“You’re afraid,” Michael observed.

“I’m not,” Claret snapped, angry that he could read her like a book.

“It’s alright to be afraid, Claret. I was too.”

He reached out and patted her shoulder in a way clearly meant to be comforting, but that came across as slightly awkward, as though he hadn’t had a chance to comfort anyone in… well, who knows how long? Claret looked at him, surprised. “How long have you been…”

He drew his hand back. “I don’t remember. There was fear, and then… light. Once you cross over, you’ll soon recall little of your life before, but it won’t matter. Because you’re going to a better place. A place where you can make a difference in more profound ways than you could ever dream.”

Claret bristled, unconvinced. She ran her hands through her thick auburn hair, exasperated fingers massaging her now-aching head. “I’m leaving my life on earth behind, a life I’ll likely soon forget, to go to a place I’ve never even seen. I may never return home, unless I become a transitioner like you, or a guardian, which Anthony told me is an ‘exceedingly rare calling’.” Claret air-quoted. “Why should I be excited about this?”

Michael’s lips twitched into something akin to a smile. A slightly reproachful one. “You were chosen for the angel program for your tenacity, Claret. Your faith, however, is a little lacking.”


“Come now. There’s much to be done.”

With that, he turned and began to walk away, clearly expecting Claret to do the same. Hesitating, she took one last moment to snap a mental picture of earth, to savor all it had to offer. The weeping willow branches rustling nearby, the cool wind in her hair, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of a child’s laughter floating on the breeze from the next block over.

Drawing a final deep breath, she shut the door behind her, and followed Michael into the light.


10 thoughts on “Focus Friday #3 / Giveaway Winner Announced!”

  1. Oh my gosh, I so love this! My fave parts are “using his marble fist to knock on the door,” “Like Morgan Freeman reading a nursery rhyme,” “You don’t even have your wings yet” (!); and of course that “gooey chocolate cake,” which I guess I won’t get to eat, either! But I love it all! You definitely have a way with words, Jessica, and I can’t wait for Part Two. Thank you so very much for awarding the prize to my goofy prompt! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Crossed Eyes and Dotted Tees and commented:
    I won this little contest! Thanks so much to Jessica Baker, whose blog “The Daily Rejection” (Don’t you just love that title, fellow writers?!) featured my winning writing prompt plus Part One of her fabulous story. It’s included here, below. Thanks again, Jessica, in advance, for my prize – the great gift basket you carefully assembled!

    Liked by 1 person

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