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.