Friday, February 12, 2016

There’s Beauty in the Struggle by Dennis Brooke

Dennis Brooke

How long have you dreamed of getting your book published? Do you envy other writers who seem to experience overnight success? Have you ever considered you might be better off taking a longer road? Author Dennis Brooke shares his personal journey to publication and what he’s learned about struggles along the way. ~ Dawn

There’s Beauty in the Struggle

I have a tale about overnight success in the writing world. Just two years after completing my manuscript I entered an on-line contest sponsored by Marcher Lord Press, a leading spec fiction publisher. It was akin to American Idol on-line and the prize was publication. In each round the merits of each entry were debated on-line until the audience voted for their favorites.

In round one we read the premise and synopsis of 36 entries. Eighteen survived and The Last Apostle was ranked #1.

In round two the first 500 words of our little darlings was posted and a spirited discourse ensued. Eight advanced and mine was still numero uno.

In round three the audience read the first thirty pages. The Last Apostle advanced—again in first place. And the competitor that I thought was best, even better than mine, failed to move up. Publication of my baby was imminent!

Voters then read the first sixty pages of each manuscript. Many openly advocated for my entry. But when the final votes were counted, I had lost. My story of overnight success was only a story—not a reality.

A modern day philosopher said, “Things aren’t going to go your way all the time, and we learned that there was beauty in the struggle.” For five years after that near miss I struggled.

I wrote and rewrote that manuscript. I hired editors, including Jeff Gerke and Mick Silva, to give me feedback on the manuscript. I worked with James Rubart on branding and marketing of the manuscript. At times I participated in critique groups where I learned from the example of others and received excellent guidance on my own tale.

I also entered contests where I developed a thick skin and grew to understand that they are highly subjective. In several situations judges were enthusiastic about my work and remarked that it was sure to be a finalist. But other judges gave it an effective “meh” and prevented it from advancing. I picked up some great suggestions, winnowed out some truly terrible advice, and collected two “Semi-Finalist” awards.

After meetings with many agents, editors, and countless rejections, prayer, persistence, and patience finally won out. I received an offer from a reputable small press that I had met at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. A counter offer from a Seattle area publisher offered better distribution and culminated in the release of my book on February 1.

Frankly, I’m glad that I didn’t win that contest on New Year’s Eve of 2009. The book is so much better because of what I’ve learned about the craft. At times it seemed there was no beauty in the struggle but the results prove that there was.

By the way, that modern day philosopher is Tyler Lockett, a Seahawks player and fellow brother in Christ. His team went from a 2-4 start to reach round two of the playoffs.

My advice: Accept the struggle and enjoy the beauty that results.

What if John, the last living apostle of Jesus Christ, was still alive and well… and living in Seattle?

In A.D. 100, John is restored to the body of his youth and sent on a mission with a warning: to never reveal his true identity. He winds up on a small Greek isle where he faces an attempted assassination, a run-in with the Roman authorities, and develops a relationship with the daughter of the village leader.

Fast-forward to modern day Seattle, where John leads a foundation dedicated to bringing clean water to third world nations. A new television series brings attention to ancient legends about the true fate of John the apostle and threatens to reveal the truth of his identity. John struggles to keep his secret as he grows close to Nicole, a young woman he recruits to lead his organization.

For two thousand years, John has wandered the earth while hiding his true identity. But now, both friends and foes are on the verge of discovering who he truly is―an event that will trigger the end times.

Dennis Brooke is a former US Air Force Officer who counts standing on the Berlin Wall in its last days as one of the highlights of his life. His work and travel have taken him to locales all over the world including Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Strasbourg. He is the former president of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and has been published in over two dozen international and local publications. In April, he and his wife, Laurie, are setting off on a five-year adventure to live in different locations around the world.

You can learn more and connect with Dennis at the following:

THE location for inside info on the book and contests.  

Twitter: @dennisbrooke


  1. Great advice. Hard advice. but you are so right. We want our published work to be the best it can, even if it means waiting.

    1. Very true, Terri. Someday I'm going to get up the courage to compare that "almost overnight success" version with the final product. So glad I waited.

  2. Congratulations, Dennis. You're proof that prayer, patience, and persistence pay off!

    1. Where have I heard that before, Kim? :-) I had plenty of help with the prayer part, and not much choice at patience

  3. Your frustrating yet realistic writing journey inspires me to do as you did, Dennis. Thank you for telling it like it is. We who pin all our hopes on one conference, one contest, or one agent need to hear from more people like you. Thank you.


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!