In God's Waiting Room the only way to avoid death was to face her life in a coma

Book Cover



Barbara Morello O'Donnell and Howard Rankin PhD

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In God's Waiting Room is a story about a women on death's door, trapped in a 2 week coma while on a journey into the unknown, tempted by Satan to sell her soul, taken by an Angel to a place of healing where she experiences a miraculous healing and sent back to her body and then wakes up.


Adventure, Horror, Mystery, Religious, Suspense / Thriller, Family, Drama, Religious, Mystery

Short Summary

Successful artist stricken with deadly flu virus is rushed to ER. Within hours she is placed on life support and not expected to live. Family and friends are shocked to learn that such a healthy, vibrant woman is about to die. Her sister rushes down from Canada to meet up with Barbara's boyfriend.

Barbara wakes up out of the coma with a miraculous healing and after years of recovery from the massive stroke she sustained while on life support, becomes the founder of See Horse Miami, a faith based equine assisted learning organization, helping women with substance abuse find hope and healing.



Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message, Happy Ending, Philosophical Questions, Twist,,Happy Ending,Philosophical Questions,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Barbara Morello O'Donell

Age: 47

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Underdog, Aspiring, Engaging, Funny, Insecure, Power-hungry, Sexy, Adventurous, Beautiful, Charming, Desperate,Adventurous,Charming,Engaging,Heartthrob,Sexy,Skillful,Romantic,Confident

Additional Character Details

Name: Howard Rankin

Age: 60

Gender: Male

Role: Logical

Key Traits: Engaging, Gracious, Skillful, Sophisticated, Confident, Decisive, Educated, Empathetic,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Gracious,Educated,Sophisticated,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: Carla Dassie

Age: 42

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Gracious, Heroic, Honorable, Leader, Modest, Beautiful, Empathetic, Engaging,Selfless,Skillful,Faithful,Engaging,Empathetic,Charming,Honorable,Heroic

Additional Character Details

Name: Mike O'Donnell

Age: 50

Gender: Male

Role: logical

Key Traits: Charming, Educated, Engaging, Heroic, Outspoken, Sexy, Badass, Confident, Heartthrob, Honorable, Leader, Skillful, Sophisticated,Adventurous,Badass,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Sexy,Patriotic,Skillful,Romantic

Development Pitch

Everyone who reads the book or listens to the audiobook can't put it down. It is relevant to current events with the COVID-19 pandemic. The true story engages people on many levels, e.g., what happens in a coma, are angels and heaven real, miracles, a love story with Mike & Barbara who is not expected to survive, all woven into an incredible journey of the unknown. In the movie, just like in the book, the opening scene would start with Chris, Barbara's 15-year-old son, looking for his mom Barbara in the ICU. He had been transported with his mom by ambulance after he called 911 as she had collapsed. After waiting for some time in ER, Chris went for a bite, but when he returned to where he thought she was, he discovered her in a different room. Chris was shocked; he couldn't recognize the figure lying in front of him. Then the realization came, washing over him like a wave breaking onto the shore. This was his mom. The next scene starts with the first coma dream. Barbara is lost in time with no idea who she is or where she is at. Thunder cracked, wind and rain drive her aimlessly down a street. Suddenly, Barbara is aware she will die if she doesn't find electricity to shock her heart. The next scene is in real-time; while in ICU, the doctor and Mike are having a conversation about saving Barbara's life by cardioverting her. Each scene from that point is about a jaw-dropping journey while unconscious, followed by the real-time events in the ICU.

About The Author

Barbara was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, to a Swiss immigrant father and Canadian mother and grew up in Mitchell, Ontario. In 1979 Barbara attended Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, and received a diploma in Interior Design. She went on to study fine art and art history at Wilfred Laurie University in Kitchener Waterloo and the University of Toronto. Her love for art, design, and architecture was a natural fit to become one of Canada's first female professional architectural rendering artists. She worked as a world-renowned watercolor rendering artist for twenty-five years, producing high-quality paintings for a prestigious clientele. Barbara moved to South Florida in 2004 wither son Christopher Morello where she continued working as a rendering artist and later married her fiancée Michael O'Donnell in 2014. Her first book, "In God's Waiting Room," came about as a result of losing partial vision when struck down by the 2009 H1N1 virus combined with a massive stroke while on life support during a two-week coma. Unable to return to her profession, she embarked on a new mission, writing her incredible story of what happened during her coma experience. Barbara with her husband Mike are the founders of faith-based See Horse Miami's Equine Assisted Learning Program. With her second chance at life, she has been on a mission to help children and adults find a relationship with Jesus, understand the importance of prayer, and discover their God-given purpose through the use of horses. Her second book, "Barbie's Sea Horse," was inspired by her grown-up children to reach the youth through fantastical illustrations. Her goal is to help them approach challenges with a spiritual perspective instead of a worldly one. The Sea Horse character Toes in the book Barbie's Sea Horse is based on the real therapy horse at See Horse Miami. A sweet Palomino quarter horse, Toes really does perform tricks, give kisses, and plays soccer. He warms the hearts of the many women and kids who have interacted with him, bringing joy, laughter, and finding a unique bond. For more information about our ministry work or our Equine Assisted Learning Program, please visit

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: self

Year Published: 2018

Hard Copy Available







Barbara, a 48-year-old architect, falls into a coma and experiences surreal experiences during the coma that change her life, choices, perspectives before life and bring her closer to God.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

Not exactly. Barbara is the protagonist of the story, not an emotional role. Regarding genre, I don't think horror, thriller, and mystery match the narrative tone.

Draw of Story

The fantastic universe created by the author's unconscious mind is quite fascinating. It opens a lot of visual possibilities for exciting scenes.

Possible Drawbacks

The book is a report about the coma, Barbara's mental adventures during that period, and the perspective of a science expert about each of these journeys. The narrative is limited to Barbara's health condition evolution, which advances to something positive until she wakes up, and her trips during the coma that ends up telling a fantastic story in a dreamlike universe. Besides, it looks like a report about the coma experience, which may not be so interesting for those looking for something more fictional.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The book is a report about the coma, Barbara's mental adventures during that period, and the perspective of a science expert about each of these journeys. The narrative is limited to Barbara's health condition evolution, which advances to something positive until she wakes up, and her trips during the coma that ends up telling a fantastic story in a dreamlike universe. Besides, it looks like a report about the coma experience, which may not be so interesting for those looking for something more fictional. What goes on in a person's mind while she/he is in a coma? Many people are curious about it, and listening to stories of those who experienced this event is an attraction in itself.

Fanbase Potential

The narrative would need to define its intention better towards the audience to attract it indeed. As a book, it looks like a memoir on Barbara's part, with scientific reports analyzing the coma experience and a religious side that explores her reconnection to God. This book gives room to many interpretations and paths to be followed by the adaptation, possibly making it difficult to reach a large audience.

Awards Potential

In case the narrative focuses on the fantastic realism created by Barbara's mind in a coma, the film could win technical awards due to the countless visual and artistic possibilities that these scenes would offer.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

Howard's scientific analysis interspersed with Barbara's religious analysis makes it more original. The book offers two points of view on the protagonist's memories about her period of coma.

Lead Characters

Although the book already begins with an extreme event, which is the entry of Barbara into a coma, and we see a little of her family's suffering, we do not have much pre-coma time to understand the dynamics of this family or to create great affections for Barbara. A few more day-by-day scenes could help us to follow this character more precisely. Certainly, she is a woman with internal conflicts that arise in these fantastic visions that she experiences during the coma, but her personality could be more remarkable. The family, despite constantly appearing as a background, also does not have unique or striking characteristics.

Uniqueness of Story

It is not a rare gem. The book could intensify Barbara's drama a little more in this inner world of self-knowledge and the search for evolution.

Possible Formats

Film: Studio, Indie, Unscripted

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

The book presents different possibilities for adaptation. It could become a non-fictional product, a doc (in chapters or as a feature film) that thoroughly explores various perspectives on comatose patients. The doc could use Barbara as the basis for this study on the subconscious. The adaptation could still move to a more religious side, where Barbara experiences life after death events and comes in contact with angels and demons while her family prays for her recovery. The adaptation could also be taken on a more dramatic path, with a more modern narrative, with a surrealist scenario and struggles happening inside the mind of an unconscious patient. With Barbara as the protagonist and official narrator of her story, the film could take place mainly within the mind of Barbara during her coma, only to later reveal what was going on. The possibilities are innumerable because the book does not have a defined goal, a defined theme, or a dramatic narrative structure. It mixes fictional narrative (with a surrealist look) with religious and scientific reports and still presents a new beginning in life after the coma. The book could function more as a source material that would hugely feed the adaptation with facts and details. Although Barbara is telling her own story, we know very little about this family, about her own personality. We discover, through her subconscious - which is quite interesting - that Barbara has a problem of self-image and some internal conflicts that she carries. However, we could know more about this protagonist. There's another critical point that affects the narrative's structure. Right before entering the surrealist universe of Barbara's subconscious, we learn exactly what was physically happening to her body during medical procedures. We get to know which sounds of this hospital room ended up influencing part of her mental journeys. It makes the trips themselves lose their dramatic force. Part of what we see in those subconscious pictures directly connects with Barbara's outside universe, reducing the spiritual strength of the narrative and the drama of the story itself. The book is engaging, has relevant information, and explores a subject that is a source of curiosity for many, but the narrative needs a little more progress to be considered.