Monday, May 19, 2014

The Power of Words

Marianne Evans
Hi, friends! I'm Marianne Evans, honored to return to Seriously Write as a monthly contributor! Annette Irby, the editor extraordinaire I credit for making my book Hearts Communion shine and earn wonderful honors, invited me to join the team and offer words of encouragement. I hope you enjoy the journey and I look forward to our time together! God bless!

The Power of Words
By Marianne Evans

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) 

“Words can build us up, words can break us down, start a fire in our hearts…or put it out.” From the Song ‘Words’ by Hawk Nelson 

Words fascinate me. A plaque hangs on the wall near my desk reading: “I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” The quote is from James Michener. I’d like to take matters a step beyond that truth.

No matter what God gives me to do, no matter what He calls me to become, encouragement and uplifting others is a vital component of my life. Our words possess a level of impact we may not fully recognize as we communicate with those around us.

I’ll never forget my first writer’s conference, Tapping the Source, sponsored by Greater Detroit RWA. I submitted ten pages of my manuscript for review. Hopes high, best foot forward, I entered the small conference room and sat across from the diminutive, yet high-energy agent from New York. Other writers joined me. Nerves tight, prayers lifted, I waited.

And I was slaughtered.

 Merciless, she ripped the submission to shreds. Specifics escape me but for the end note: “This story won’t be published, but at least you know you can write a book.”

Words can build us up…words can break us down…

Sucker-punched, I held it together. At lunch, I sat with another "victim" who had been treated with equal severity. We talked. Planned. No way would this moment be the last say when it came to our dreams. We established a critique group. We worked, learned, attended conferences and refused to give up.

Start a fire in our hearts…or put it out. 

From ashes rose best friendship. To this day we’re ‘sisters-by-another-mister.’ She’s the constant reminder in my life of the power of encouragement, of sharing and supporting. Together we survived the machete of poorly chosen words. The agent had every right to disregard my work. Writing is subjective.

But what about impact?

Yes, the woman’s words ripped a hole in my heart. But that hole left just enough room for a miracle. I fought back. I refused delivery on her verdict. I lived, I learned, and I grew. I won. Perhaps that slaughter was necessary in order to accomplish God’s purpose.

Get bitter, or get better.

The story she critiqued became my second sale to Kensington Publishing in a career now stretching across twenty-plus releases. So, my encouragement for you today? Never let someone run roughshod over your dreams. Persevere! (Tweet this!) Learn from life’s bitterest circumstances, then regroup. Give yourself to God in prayer and keep moving forward as He calls.

I don't want to say a word, unless it brings the world back to you." From the song 'Words" by Hawk Nelson.




Nothing fills Jodie Sullivan’s spirit like sharing contemporary Christian music and scriptural insights on her morning drive radio show at KWJD. Lately, though, life is conspiring against her. She’s overwhelmed, drained and depleted by the circumstances that have led her from the big city to Angel Falls, Texas and Heart’s Haven apartment complex. 

Kevin Mitchell is the freshly installed groundskeeper at Heart’s Haven—a place famous for angelic intercession and loving connections. His uncle owns the facility, and he’s ailing. Kevin is more than happy to chip in, and as he prepares the grounds for a spring wedding, he meets Jodie and they begin to work together to make Heart’s Haven sparkle. Kevin begins to believe the stories of Heart’s Haven, and its aura of romance, are true.

But just when lasting connections form between himself and the lovely, if troubled DJ—right when he succeeds at coaxing Jodie’s heart to bloom, tragedy strikes in a double dose that will test the bonds of their faith, and the love they’ve found…


Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Devotion earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award from Greater Detroit RWA as well the Heart of Excellence Award from Ancient City Romance Authors. She also earned wins for best romance of 2012 from the Christian Small Publisher's Association and the Selah award from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Fiction Writers for best novella of 2013. Happily married and the mother of two, Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.

40 comments:

  1. Awesome! I'm so glad you persevered, Marianne, and chose to push past that dreadful edict. Your words and your life shine as a lighthouse of encouragement and blessing for so many, myself included. xxoo

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    1. Thank you, Dora! I appreciate your support more than I can ever say! We need to meet up again, face-to-face!! :-) <3

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  2. Welcome, Marianne! "Get bitter, or get better." We all have a choice, don't we? Encouraging post. I look forward to more.

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    1. Thanks for the welcome, Sandra! I'm delighted to be part of the fun at Seriously Write, and I love that you picked up on that idea - bitter/better - the choice is all up to us! Blessings to you.

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  3. Inspiring story, Marianne! So glad you decided to persevere and how cool that God brought you and your critique partner together out of this! I'm looking forward to hearing from you, too!

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    1. Hi, Angie! :-) Thanks for the welcome! At the time, I never imagined I'd be looking back at that day through a lens of gratitude. God is so good! And, I'm so grateful for my critique partner and sister of the scribe, Lisa. She's amazing. :-) God bless, and thanks for the encouragement!!!

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  4. Thanks, I need to hear this right now :)

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    1. Dana, you're a treasure. You and I have let each other know, on countless occasions, that we are never "alone" in our writing bubbles! xo <3 Thanks for the visit!!

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  5. Hi Marianne, so glad you decided to push forward. Think how much joy your words have brought to readers.

    I agree? Ms. Annette adds so much to stories.

    I love reading Seriously Write and it will be great to see you here every month.

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    1. Terri, what wonderful compliments! Thank you! I'm so grateful for your support! God bless, and I'm glad you stopped by!!

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  6. So glad you've joined us, Marianne. Thanks for sharing your nuggets of wisdom and encouragement. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the song! This is the first time I've heard it ... and I think I'll be using it in the future.

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    1. Dawn, you and the ladies of SW have created a fantastic gathering spot - thank you for that!! I'm so glad you enjoyed the song. As soon as I heard it, I downloaded it to my iPhone and love the uplift! <3

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  7. Great post, Marianne. I remember some of those feelings.

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    1. Ahhh, yes, Liz....seasoned veterans. Has a nice ring to it, eh??? xo <3 Thanks so much for the visit!!

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  8. Oh girl, you make my heart smile. You have the gift of encouragement ! Thank you, I needed to hear this today.

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    1. Laura, the heart smile is returned 100-fold. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'm glad the post touched you!! I can't wait to see what God gives me for next month!! <3

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  9. Wonderful post, Marianne! I think as writers we have all experienced one type of 'slaughter' or another. Having the courage to look past it and move on is what makes a successful author!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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    1. Amen, and amen, Susan. It's up to us...and, like the wise-person said: Get bitter, or get better. The getting better part is a whole lot easier said than done, but it was more than worth the struggle! I'm so glad you stopped by!!

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  10. Great post- good for you! Good for your readers!

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  11. Beautifully said, as always, Marianne! So true... A very wise man once said "the power of death and life are in the tongue." He was right then, and he's still right now. :) I only recently discovered the James Michener quote you spoke of, and fell in love with it. I knew we thought a lot alike, and I'm thrilled to be in such wonderful company.

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    1. Ah, Delia, my Lady of the Haven - you're amazing. Love to you, my sweet and gifted friend!!!! It was actually my crit partner/BFF Lisa that I mention in this story who gifted me with the Michener plaque for my birthday a couple years back. It's a treasure. :-D xo <3

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  12. Welcome, Miss Marianne and dear friend! Great post on the power of words. And God's word can sure cover the ones that hurt. Lovr,, love you.

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    1. Awww, T, love ya' right on back!!! <3 Thanks for the visit - it means so much!

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  13. Very encouraging post. Thanks, Marianne. Reminds me of my first contest critique. Totally inspired me to try to lace any critique with encouragment no matter what, especially when dealing with someone's dream.

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    1. Hi, Jody!! I so appreciate you taking the time to visit and share your heart - and all I can say is: GOOD FOR YOU! <3

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  14. I have the same Michener quote hanging in my office! I think we must have talked to the same agent at one point. Glad you found the supportive fellowship of a kindred writer to help you find your 'wings' to soar creatively. That's what keeps me afloat too.

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    1. OMGoodness, Nancy - seriously?? :-D The same quote?? How awesome is that??? Love it!! Support makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it?

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  15. What a great story, Marianne. One I certainly took to heart. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Margo! Thank YOU for taking the time to visit and share your support!! I appreciate you!!!

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  16. Marianne, great post! I'm thankful you didn't give up on your writing. And I agree 100% with your comment about Ms. Annette.

    Seriously Write is a wonderful blog and I'm looking forward to reading more posts by you.

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  17. Wonderful encouragement. I want to share how touched I was by your story. Congrats on moving past the hurtful words. I wish you all the best.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa!! I'm so glad you found encouragement!! Thanks for the well wishes and support!

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  18. Congratulations, Marianne and thanks for the thoughtful article! You are such a great word-crafter!

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    1. Takes one to know one, Miss Tanya!! :-D xo Thanks so much for your visit, my fellow Havenite!!! God bless you in abundance!!

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  19. Hi, all!!! To the wonderful visitors who shared comments and encouragement, I want to let you know, I see you and hear you!! I'm working on moderation issues (mine and mine alone, LOL! Man is it tough being the "newbie" :-) )) and I can't wait to touch base with eacj of you and respond one-on-one!! Your spark ignites my fire, and for that I'm incredibly grateful! xo

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  20. Lot of good advice, Marianne. Get bitter or get better has to be the best. We can let works destroy us or rise up and show them. Glad you didn't listen to the shredder.

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    1. Thanks so much, Diane -- my hope and prayer is that others might feel just as you did about not listening to the voice of negativity. The shredder. Love the image!!! <3 Blessings!!

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