by Tom Bielawski
Note from Tracy Hickman: Tom Bielawski is one of our authors taking part in our ‘Scribe’s Forge Online Writing Workshops and Seminars.’ We thought you might like to hear about his experience both in our workshops and his journey as a new author in modern publishing.
I really feel honored to be a guest blogger on Tracy Hickman’s website. I read Dragonlance Chronicles and the Darksword Trilogy during my youth and those works are what laid the foundation for my love of speculative fiction and my desire to write fantasy. Thank you, Tracy, for giving me this opportunity.
I am a student at Scribesforge, a career law enforcement officer, a Marine who served “in every clime and place,” a husband, a father of two, and a “CF Dad.” As I type these words I am in the process of concluding my second and final year in Afghanistan as a police mentor. I will hang my hat on what I’ve done here and go home to pursue my writing career.
Writing my first book was a lengthy process, I won’t tell you how lengthy. Having found the world of Facebook, I eventually found Tracy Hickman, one of my all-time favorite authors. I was amazed at how approachable to, and interactive with, he was with his fans. Through that medium, Tracy introduced me to the Scribesforge online workshop where my goal of completing my book and sharing it with the world went from “someday” to “now.”
One of the important concepts that I learned from Tracy at the “Forge” was thinking of writing is a true craft, and that a writer is a skilled craftsman. Thinking of myself as a craftsman writer really helped me put that label on who I am: I am a writer. And it helped move away from that “someday” trap we all know and hate.
Another important concept from the “Forge” is: “being read” vs “being published.” It may seem like splitting hairs, but it is not. You cannot be successful if no one reads your work, whether you publish in traditional print or otherwise. Scribesforge, helped me make my book something which people enjoy reading!
I found that my biggest obstacle to becoming that “craftsman writer” was conquering the world of distraction, in whatever form that takes. The following is my take on a discussion on this very subject in the forums at Scribesforge:
“Working over here and finding time to work on my novel amidst the distractions of here and the distractions from 7000 miles away (at home) is a challenge. The distractions had been my worst enemy when it came to overcoming writers block.
One day I was feeling pretty homesick. And I realized that only thing that is keeping me from my dream of writing for a living is writing. Even though I was pretty blue and out of sorts, and in no mood to write, I found that the emotion I was feeling at that moment moved onto the pages with surprising ease. With the raw emotions of my problems, both foreign and domestic, sitting on my shoulder I just forced myself to write. I found that the dialogue seemed more believable and, well, more emotional. Which was appropriate for the emotional strain my character was under. My descriptions became simpler yet more poignant, which was the point I was trying to make in that scene anyway.
Necessity forced me to find a way to overcome my blocks and I used my mental enemy to my advantage. It still works for me because, like everyone else in this world, I still have the things in life with which I must face and reckon. But, I have found when I make myself sit down in front of the computer, those very issues make my writing just a little bit better.”
Learning how to defeat the distractions of my life was integral to actually finishing my novel, and sharing these experiences with other writers really helped. But, most important was the support of my family and my relationship with God. Without those, I couldn’t have overcome the distractions which have haunted me these many years.
The success of my first book, “A Tide of Shadows,” has been very encouraging. The feeling of seeing my name and my work for sale on Amazon for the very first time was indescribable. Better was the feeling when people actually bought my work; better still was the feeling when people continued buying my work!
“A Tide of Shadows,” is the first installment in my series of epic fantasy called “The Chronicles of Llars.” In this book Carym of Hyrum is a well respected village hero. But a turn of events forces him into a confrontation that leaves an agent of the church dead, and Carym wanted for murder. But Carym receives unlikely assistance from a group of outlaw criminals, a group to which his best friend now belongs. While he has been saved from the executioner’s axe, he must repay the outlaws for their help by undertaking a dangerous quest to find a vial of water from the mythical Everpool. Meanwhile, a dark wizard in league with an evil god leads an army bent on the conquest of the entire Northern Continent. He, too, seeks the Everpool, but for far more sinister purposes and his powerful minions hunt Carym at every turn. In order to reach the Everpool Carym must learn to deal with his new powers, dodge monstrous hunters, guard against betrayal, and resist the evil temptations that threaten to overwhelm him like a Tide of Shadows.
My second work is a science fiction novella called “The Centaurus Legacy.” This is a fast paced, action driven, novella filled with intrigue and suspense, set in the universe of lauded 22nd Century lawman, Marshal Hendrick (Heck) Thomas. Marshal Thomas suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the law when a criminal mafia mastermind with connections to the government links him to a series of heinous crimes. With the Bureau of Investigation and the Commonwealth Fleet in pursuit, Marshal Thomas must find a way to avoid capture by corrupt officials, clear his name, and prevent the dangerous Centaurus technology from tipping the balance of power forever.
For more information about my books, stop by my webstite: www.tombielawski.com or look me up on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you, Tracy, for providing me with the tools to turn my dream into reality.