This is an excerpt from the first chapter from my new Christian fiction slice-of-life novel. It's still in edits, release date to be determined in the future. But I wanted to give you a quick glimpse.
In the following scene, the main character, Sean, was training with his coworker, Keith, at a Call Center during a severe thunderstorm. Their supervisor is named Jessica. She is mentioned but does not appear in this scene. The training was interrupted when the building lost power. When they heard a tornado unleashing destruction very close to their building, Keith said a prayer at what he thought was a low volume, but Sean heard him and was offended. With tensions understandably high at the Call Center (with everyone stuck where they are until the danger passes), Sean and Keith try to maintain a civil dialogue to pass the time.
This is told from Sean's point of view in first person narrative.
(Beginning of excerpt)
“Yes, I am a Christian,” Keith replies slowly. “What about it? Why does that bother you so much?”
I release the armrest and clench my fist in my lap.
“It bothers me because I don’t see how anyone can believe in a fairy tale like that.”
Keith waits to respond again. In a way, I’m grateful. It gives me a chance to calm down a little. The tornado sounds are gone now. All I can hear is the rain lashing against the sides of the building and occasional thunder. Most of our coworkers are out of sight, probably still under their desks. I can hear some of them whispering now and then. I don’t see Jessica. She must be out of the Call Center. At the same time, someone must have a live feed from a news station, a female meteorologist is telling people how dangerous this storm is and to stay inside or get into a storm shelter. That’s not doing us a lot of good right now, but maybe it’ll help someone else.
Just then, Keith slowly leans forward in his chair. He’s actually pretty calm.
“You’re an atheist then?” he finally says.
“If you don’t believe in God, that’s your choice,” Keith continues. “And I respect that.”
That’s surprising to hear.
“But let me ask you something, Sean: Why does it matter to you if someone else does believe in God?”
What? Did he really just ask that? Is he stupid? This is making me madder.
“It matters to me if I see someone is choosing to be a mean, selfish hypocrite, yeah.”
“So all Christians are mean, selfish hypocrites to you?”
I stare at him, my irritation simmering. I take a few deep breaths.
“There is no evidence of any supreme being ever existing,” I tell Keith. “But there is plenty of evidence to support rational and scientific explanations for what used to be attributed to superstition, gods, and other silly belief systems.”
“Science has helped us understand a lot of things,” Keith acknowledges. He’s serious at first. Then he smiles, amused. “We know the Earth isn’t flat, for example.”
I sigh. “We know a lot more than that.”
“Do we know everything about everything?” he asks.
If the power ever comes back on, I’m asking Jessica to sit me with someone else.
“No, of course not,” I reply. “But we’re learning more all the time.”
“Granted. Will that be enough?”
What is he talking about? “Enough for what?”
“Enough to satisfy human knowledge and curiosity. Will we ever know it all?”
He’s carried this debate further than I thought he would. Maybe this isn’t such a bad way to pass the time.
“No, I doubt we’ll ever know it all,” I suggest. “Humans will always have questions and seek knowledge.”
“I agree,” Keith adds. “But is intellectual knowledge enough to satisfy us humans? Can we live off of knowledge alone? Or do we need more?”
That’s an interesting question, I have to admit.
“I suppose we need emotional satisfaction also,” I answer.
“How do we attain that?” Keith inquires.
I give that some thought.
“By accomplishing goals we set for ourselves.”
“Like what — school, work, marriage, and family? Things like that?”
“I guess. I mean, not everyone wants to get married or have kids. But there are all kinds of goals people can set for themselves.”
He looks as intrigued by this discussion as me. It’s also relieving to hear the rain finally dying down outside.
“And what if a person fails to achieve their goals?” he asks me. “Are they a failure and doomed to be miserable for the rest of their life?”
“Obviously not,” I counter. “If one goal doesn’t work out, a person can always make up new dreams to follow.”
“New dreams,” Keith repeats, nodding. “What’s your dream, Sean?”
(End of excerpt)
My apologies for going almost a month without a new post. Despite the craziness affecting the world during the COVID-19 virus crisis, I have actually been busier than ever!
On March 5th, I was inspired to start a new Christian fiction novel. It is not related to Mindfire, the Jordan of Algoran series or my upcoming steampunk trilogy. I didn't expect it, but I was compelled to undertake it immediately. Fortunately, I have had plenty of time to write and concluded the first draft of the story on April 8th. Now it is going through edits and revisions before I send the manuscript to my publisher Ambassador International.
This last Monday (April 13, 2020), I began a Christian science fiction short story. It is part of an upcoming anthology from my publisher. It has been planned for some time, but my editor contacted me and asked if I still wanted to be a part of this project. After some thought and prayer, I decided that I did want to do it. I completed its rough draft yesterday (April 17, 2020). It is also going through edits and revisions before being submitted.
I ask my wife, Angel, to read through all of my stories and offer her input before I submit my work to the publisher. It is important to me to include her in every part of the author process, from first draft to publication. She does not co-write with me, but she provides insights that I find extremely valuable.
Besides all this, I have been collaborating with the Design Team at Ambassador International on the cover for Jordan's Deliverance, Book Three in the Jordan of Algoran series. Once that work is done, I will make an announcement for its cover reveal. Believe me, you're going to want to see this one!
Once I send in the manuscripts for the new stories, I will resume work on the Christian steampunk series.
I am giving more detailed updates and personal messages in my newsletter, which I have decided to update weekly, starting Monday April 20, 2020. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, you can do so at this link! You'll get a free short story just for subscribing.
Thanks for reading this! I'll update again as soon as I can.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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