Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it would have been like to be Mary. I mean, there she was, doing her teenage thing and preparing for her wedding, when an angel stepped into her ordinary life. And not just any angel, mind you, but Gabriel himself.

Now that’s enough to scare the fur off just about anyone. After Gabriel greets her, the Bible says, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words.”

How’s that for understatement?

Gabriel is quick to reassure: “Do not be afraid, Mary.”

I’ve wondered how he said those words to this shaking young girl. Was his voice quiet and gentle? Or firm and reassuring?

Words carry so much more weight than the sum of their letters. They convey emotions, paint pictures in our mind’s eye and satisfy our deep longings for connection and understanding.

The right words at the right time are powerful connectors, offering hope and healing.

I needed some encouraging words this week, so I escaped into a Christmas novel. There were ten other things I should have been doing but, I read a book. After I finished it, I felt hope take flight in my heart.

Despite the heartache all around, there is much that is good in this world. That imaginary trip to another time and place reset my internal compass back to hope.

That’s the power of words, of stories. It’s why I do what I do–just as many of you do. We write when it would be easier to do something else. My stories are about hope and love and second chances, because these are the things that mean the most to me.

I was asked to be part of a blog hop called, The Next Big Thing, and talk briefly about a project of mine and give you the chance to visit a few of my friends’ blogs, too. So here’s a quick peek into a story I’m excited about.

The Christmas Gift by Connie Mann

What is your working title of your book?  

It’s called, The Christmas Gift, and it’s set on Jekyll Island, Georgia, during WW2.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I read about The Monuments Men who worked during and after WW2, restoring stolen art and artifacts to their rightful owners. I was completely fascinated.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a romantic novella, so it’s a quick read.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d love to see Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn play Will and Sophie.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sophie Dolinski dreams of being reunited with her missing sister while Captain Will Stoddard, working as one of the “Monuments Men”, dreams of returning stolen artwork to its rightful owners. At this special time of year, will Christmas magic bring them both the precious gifts they seek?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It was the first novella I’ve ever written and my first e-book. It’s available on Amazon for $.99 or free if you sign up for my newsletter.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Only about two weeks, because the story sucked me in and pulled me along.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It would fit nicely alongside other cozy Christmas stories with a happy ending.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was researching stolen artwork during WW2 when I stumbled upon The Monuments Men, and they completely captured my interest.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story is set on Jekyll Island, Georgia, home of the famous Millionaire’s club where folks like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts vacationed back in the day.

If you read The Christmas Gift, I’d be honored if you’d leave a review on Amazon. And if you have a minute, stop by these blogs and see what a couple of my friends are up to: Ann Sanders, Jessica Nelson, Jamie Janosz, Karen Moore, Cheri CowellKaty Lee .

As we approach Christmas, remember the power of your words–whether spoken aloud or written on a card or in a story.

Have someone’s words made a powerful impact on your life? I’d love to hear about it.