|Author Marianne Evans|
CFP: Marianne Evans is a fellow Pelican author. She has multiple new releases. Marianne is also a Michigander! She writes in the Inspirational Contemporary category.
Need a bit of encouragement today? Let me tell you about the moment I became a ‘Professional Writer.’
I had written a contemporary romance. After writing 'The End,’ I was excited to see where an attempt at publication might lead. Within weeks I learned about Romance Writers of America (RWA). From there, I discovered they had a chapter in Detroit.
Sign me up!
Soon after joining the chapter, I found out Greater Detroit RWA would be hosting it’s bi-annual conference, Tapping the Source. I couldn’t wait. There would be break-out sessions where I could learn from talented and successful authors as well as a critique session where an agent would read ten pages of my manuscript (pre-submitted so she could read and comment beforehand) and deliver one-on-one feedback within a group of eight or so fellow authors.
That’s when reality set in.
My critique session began. To put it politely, my submission was slaughtered. Her concluding words were, “This will never get published, but at least you can say you wrote a book.”
Yeah. I have no idea how I held it together during the lunch break that followed.
From there, the decision was mine. I could roll over and quit. I could surrender a dream, or I could get busy making my publishing dreams come true, no matter what that agent had to say.
I joined a critique group. I attended workshops and conferences. I networked with other writers and discovered I wasn’t alone. The pathway to publication is paved by broken hearts that mended…and persevered.
20+ books later (and the book that agent soundly bashed became my second sale to Kensington Publishing) I’m glad I stayed true to the call God gave me, the dreams He placed in my heart to create a ministry meant to uplift, encourage, and highlight the greatest gift of all. Love.
Country music bad boy Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction, and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up and comer, Pyper Brock, and instantly sparks ignite.
Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation, so despite a rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, she soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. Decades ago, her father, in a drunken rage, tossed her and her mother onto the streets. No way will Pyper make the mistake of falling for a man whose done battle with the bottle.
What happens when Chase’s quest to win Pyper’s love breaks down chains of resentment and eases the long buried wounds of her childhood? And what happens when Pyper’s father shows up in Nashville, clean, sober and seeking a chance to apologize?
Can Pyper follow a pathway to peace when it comes to her father? Can she fully trust Chase? Above all, can a sin damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness?
They convened in the great room. When Amy crossed the threshold, Chase watched her run gentle fingertips against the edge of the fireplace mantle, where silver-framed photos rested. For a time she lost herself in family snapshots, formal portraits of Zach, Pyper…
And within her eyes crested an ocean of sadness that twisted his stomach, because he didn’t think they were going to like what he had to say.
“Excuse me for being torn between two sides here, but I don’t think you should have treated him so harshly. Why are you painting him with the lines of a brush that’s decades old? What right do you have to do that? It’s not fair, and it’s not worthy of the people standing in this room—the one’s I’ve come to know and care for so much.”
Pyper crossed the room, headed for her mother’s side, but she drew up short and stared at Chase. Zach stood not far away, brows furrowed, arms crossed, gaze pinging from one person to the next as he visibly attempted to sort things through.
Tyler stepped into the tense and building void. “Chase, you’re right to be loyal to him. I don’t discount the ways he helped you find your way, but I need you to hear us out on this. You need to understand that—”
“No. There’s no need for an explanation. I get it. You’re all about second chances; you’re all about redemption; you’re all about that feel-good, all-encompassing word forgiveness, right up to the point when it involves someone who’s hurt you deep. Well, I know Mark far better than you, and I respect him. He worked hard to overcome. I can relate to that struggle because life forced me to walk his same walk. He’s a troubled, flawed man who tells me he’s working hard to be what he needs to be, what he wants to be. I had my doubts about his arrival, and I know how he hurt y’all. But after his witness today, after the way he accepted his cross with grace and humility, I feel he deserves a chance. Why did you lash out at him without knowing thing-one about the demons he’s slain?”
“Demons!” Pyper rounded on him. “The demons he’s slain? Chase, that man is a wrecking ball! Any demons he faced, he brought on himself!”
“Absolutely, and those demons will lurk over you as well, Pyper—over all of you—if you storm off and refuse to give him the time of day. That kind of judgment I don’t want or need. It’s toxic, unfair, and it certainly isn’t Christian.”
Pyper’s cry mixed pain and anger; the realization registered then evaporated.
Temper erupting, he pressed forward through lightning strikes and storm clouds he could taste in the air. “The man you hate so much—and don’t even try to hide from that truth—is the man who helped me, and nothing but God led Mark Samuels to Nashville. If you can’t see that, then you don’t understand all the words you use about seeing His hand in our lives, and recognizing His actions, His interventions.”
Pyper’s eyes filled, and Chase rebuked the resulting stab of pain.
“That damaged man found healing; that damaged man repented and worked hard to restore himself. I’ve learned a lot from his journey, and he pulled me scratching and clawing from a black hole. I’m sorry for what he did. Truly I am.” His gaze roved Pyper’s precious face, then moved to Amy. “What he did to you and your mama is reprehensible, but you should look at who he is now.” Chase focused on Tyler and Zach as well. “All of you need to see his redemption rather than his past. He’s covered by grace. He’s loved. He’s forgiven. Right?” His gaze landed square on Pyper’s bewildered face. “Just. Like. Me.” He invaded her space. Fire burned in his chest, stirring an all-over ache as he strove to drive home his point. “Or do you believe Jesus would leave an honestly repentant man cowering in the sand, covered by sin?”
Marianne Evans is an 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 laude her work as “Riveting,” “Realistic and true to heart,” “Compelling.” Her Christian women’s fiction debut, Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home.
Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. You can connect with Marianne at www.marianneevans.com.
GIVEAWAY: An ebook copy of Forgiveness. Leave a comment about perseverance to enter!