A Letter of Thanks …

Dear Reader,

By now you’re most likely aware that Amy Matayo won the ACFW Genesis Award in the Contemporary Romance category (my category). Congratulations, Amy! While I was initially disappointed I didn’t win, that feeling didn’t last long. It really is an honor and a blessing being in the top three of the popular category.

I was also very glad that I didn’t have to give my Thank You speech, and that surprised me. I’d previously thought it wouldn’t be that big of deal, but when the day came I wasn’t nervous about winning, I was nervous about speaking. I even woke up early that morning of the banquet (4:30 a.m.) and my first thought was, I have to edit my speech! My mind kept me awake, ruminating on how I could cut the speech down to fit in the two minutes allotted to me.

But how could I cut it down? How could I eliminate a single name–a single friend, supporter, encourager from that list? Or how could I edit out my feelings? That would have cut out the heart.

But cut I did, and my roommate Shannon Vannatter was kind enough to sit through my test run. I even choked up at the end. If I, the ice queen, choked up on a dry run, how would I ever make it through in front of 700+ people?

Anyway, since I didn’t have the opportunity to muddle through my speech on stage, I figured I could publish it here on my virtual stage without cutting names or the heart. Without the support and prayers of so many, I would not have been up for such a prestigious award in the first place, and I want all of you to know how much I value you!


Uffda! (That’s for the Minnesotans)

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Thank you, Lord, for giving me this gift and for surrounding me with so many friends and encouragers as I run this writing race. You’ve blessed me with a tremendous crowd of witnesses who are always cheering, and helping me throw off the doubts and discouragements so that I keep pressing on!

I’d like to thank all of you with ACFW for providing an encouraging home base for the Christian writer, a place for us to learn and grow. And thank you to the ACFW Minnesota NICE chapter for their unwavering support.

Thank you to my Tuesday writing retreat group, Sharon Hinck, Stacy Monson, Chawna Schroeder, and Carol Oyanagi……. If not for your insights into this manuscript, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Thank you to my very first readers of that very first dreadful manuscript: Debbie Berglund, Lisa Laudenslager, Jill Alton, Pr. Steve Perkins, and Sandy Pippo. If not for your enthusiasm for that first novel, I never would have continued.

Thank you to the ladies at Inkspirational Messages. You all inspire me to be a better writer and a better person.

Thank you Nicole Petrino-Salter for being an encourager and prayer warrior and friend.

I’d like to thank my Sunday Night Book Club for your honesty, for having no trouble telling me when my stories get preachy.

Thank you Stephanie Prichard for being a diligent and hawk-eyed critique partner, for not  letting me get away with anything, and for harping on creating scene goals. I’m learning!

Thank you to Beth Erdahl. We’ve been friends for forever, haven’t we? Thank you for reading through that first manuscript even though you don’t normally read books without pictures. 🙂

And a big thank you to the best critique partners ever: Shannon Vannatter, Lorna Seilstad, and Jerri Ledford. You continuously challenge me to be a better writer, but best of all, you’ve become lifelong friends.

Special thank you to my sister, Gayle Balster. You have bravely read each of my early manuscripts and keep asking for more! Now that’s love. 🙂

Big hugs and thank you to my children, Sarah, Bryan, and Brandon, who have all caught the writing bug in one form or another. You’ve never complained when I’ve hidden away in the office, forgetting about meals. Okay, maybe not never. There was that scorched spaghetti meal you won’t let me forget …

And finally, a huge thank you, hug, and kiss for my husband Marvin. You have always been my most vocal cheerleader. Seven years ago when I told Marvin I was writing instead of looking for a job, he told me, “It’s about time.” 

Comments 15

  1. Ah, Bren. You’re the best. It’s no wonder you have so many friends, writing and otherwise. And there are just a few I say this to, but I mean it with my whole heart: It’s just a matter of time, my friend. God’s got the contract all wrapped up in His time. Love you. Thank YOU.

  2. It’s easy to help you with reading, as your books keep my attention. That’s why I always ask for more. Andy by the way, can’t wait to read the next one :)!! Love you always!! God’s timing is always the best.

  3. Thank you for the mention. I love reading your books, and look forward to the day when I see them in the bookstore and you are a published writer.

  4. This made me “AWWWWW”.

    … I’m assuming you forgot me due to a freak accident, I’m sure. Ha!
    In all seriousness, this is great. I’m so proud of you (role reversal much?).

  5. Brenda,
    I take great joy in following your journey. I am certain all the people you are thankful for have been blessed by your writing, for sure, but more importantly by the woman you are. Thanks for listening to God’s voice for your life.

  6. I’m proud of you, too, Brenda! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your labor, and never felt that what I was reading came from a new author trying to publish that first book. Keep it going Sis!


  7. Coming in late here (been out of town). It’s exciting for me to experience this big, big step with you, and I’m anticipating taking off into the wild, blue yonder next for you! What help I’ve given you is nothing compared to the help I’ve received from you, so hugs and a huge thank you back to you!

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