Monday musings: Life inspired writing inspired life

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By Autumn Birt

I love adventure, especially traveling. One of my remaining bucket list trips is cave rafting in New Zealand (seriously).

The only thing that makes a trip more interesting is throwing in some local history and artifacts and I’m pretty much in love. Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu was an experience that will live with me and color my writing. How could following an ancient pathway of stones and steps through mountain passes and by a handful of stunning ruins, each unique, to end at one of the wonders of the world not show up in a story somewhere, especially when you are a fantasy writer?

My hobbies of hiking, kayaking, and sailing have lent a realistic air to many of my books. I know what it is like to carry everything you need on your back for days at a time, slogging through mud and crawling over steep ledges. I’ve ridden horses, though prefer motorcycling over long distances. I know the feeling of stepping into a new land and feeling equally lost and fascinated.

Those are the easy details that permeate my writing, often without me realizing it. But it was a conference in Miami in 2010 that not only changed my worldview but inspired an entire series.

The guest speaker was a proponent for an Everglades National Park, but had given up because he didn’t think the Everglades would exist in fifty years. Slide by slide, he unrolled more scientific details on climate change and historic trends in past climate changes than I’d ever seen. He ripped away the idea that the seas would rise slowly and lethally. Instead, he showed the ancient benchmarks where the land dropped feet at a time due to storms. A storm surge would arrive, inundate everything, and never leave.

The future we have crafted due to past actions is not going to be predictable or follow a smooth chart laid out by scientists doing the best they can with predictive modeling. It will be messy, chaotic, and cause havoc we can only guess at. Working as I did in sustainable agriculture for a government agency, my mind whirled with how would governments respond? How many such storms as Katrina in the US would it take for an area to be abandoned? How many would it take to weaken a government to the point it could be overthrown or bought?

Throw in increasing droughts, lack of clean water, and a pandemic or two, and you have a world in chaos.

It took years with those ideas planted in my brain to finally grow into the post-apocalyptic series, Friends of my Enemy. A twisted tale of a dark future rife with conflicted relationships, it is nevertheless one of my favorite things to have written, even though it is so far different from the epic fantasy books I usually prefer. It is my nightmarish dream and imbued with a bit of hope for mankind in our not-so-distant future.

Plus, the unruly roots sprouted out of that conference eventually lead me to quit my job.

I’m not a prepper or survivalist by any means, but when the future looks unstable, the government you work for is not responding to mitigate anything of what might be coming, and you are going to be in your late 60s by then anyway, grasping life and seeing the world while you can still enjoy it feels so much better than saving for retirement because some guy in a suit said you should. Ok, I might be a bit of a rebel at heart too.

And, you know, it doesn’t hurt that I live in a self-contained, all-terrain adventure vehicle. I’m totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 😉

Autumn Birt

is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though!

She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in The Rise of the Fifth Order. Book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Check out Exclusive Stories page to pick up free short stories.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page and Amazon Author Page.

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Fantasy Thursday: Spark of Defiance #excerpt

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This week’s excerpt is from book 1 of the Games of Fire fantasy series, the sequel to the Rise of the Fifth Order series

By Autumn Birt

Chapter 14: CONFRONTATION

“We are looking for three of our people,” Phet said from the back of his horse. “They travel with an infant and one whose heritage is unknown to us.” Spark of Defiance: Games of Fire Book 1 - epic fanstasy

“They are here and asked for refuge,” Teyak said without elaboration. He’d been selected to speak for the Nifail, but the youngest chief of the steppes did not stand alone. Three imposing warrior chieftains stood at his back. Zhao, Ria, and Laireag watched as well, using the safety invisibility offered. Safety made all the more secure without Kattan accompanying Phet to potentially sense the use of Air Elemental power.

“It was by my request that you sought them,” Phet argued.

“Yes, we sought them. We never agreed to give them to you,” Teyak said.

Phet shook with anger, unable to answer. “That isn’t the agreement made,” another man answered. “We offered coin for their return. They have escaped just punishment.”

“They told us of this ‘punishment,'” Teyak replied. “We, the Nifail, do not think it is so just. Punishing a mother and father for having an Elemental child is not justifiable.”

“I am surprised to hear that, considering the Nifail do not hold those born with gifts in high esteem,” Phet said.

“That is none of your concern,” Teyak retorted.

“And how we treat our gifted people is not yours,” Phet challenged.

A hiss ran through the Nifail watching the exchange. Teyak glanced at those behind him, returning his gaze to Phet with a half smile. “We disagree. When you hunt your people onto our land and they seek protection with us from you, I would say it has become our concern.”

Teyak’s statement was met with grunts of agreement from the Nifail. The horses of the Tiak danced under the tension of their riders.

“We will go, but we will return tomorrow. Hopefully, you will rethink what you have said this day,” Phet said.

“Go. It would be best if you do not return,” Teyak said with his hand on his knives.

The small group of Tiak turned and galloped through the high grass while the other chieftains clapped Teyak on his back.

“Oh Zhao, what have you started?” Ria asked, releasing his hand.

Zhao let the illusion of invisibility go as he shook his head, too distressed to answer.

“I wonder where they are going?” Laireag asked, gaze remaining on where the Tiak had disappeared.

“It might be best to wonder how many there are. It would, at least, give us an idea of how the fight will go,” Zhao answered glumly.

“That is an even better reason to go. I’ll be back,” Laireag said with a grin. Laireag’s form flowed upward as he transformed into a raven. The black bird winged into the sky, chasing after the riders. Ria’s gaze followed him.

“I was hoping you’d be better, you’d both be better by now. It’s been six months,” Ria said, green eyes sincere. She turned and walked toward the crevasse hidden deep within the encampment of Nifail along its rim.

“I didn’t mean for this! Are you over the war and what happened?” Zhao asked.

Ria paused, turned to speak, and then kept walking. Zhao followed, torn between apologizing and curiosity at what Ria almost said. Finally, she sighed.

“I didn’t see the fighting the way you did. I was on a boat with Ci’erra looking for the Sphere of Fire. I didn’t watch anyone die, not a Priest and not Beite. I only came back in time for the funerals. So yes, Zhao, I suppose I am doing better than you and Laireag, or Darag. I’ve been busy trying to keep the Orders from separating and from the former Priests and Priestesses distrusting Spirit Elementals and the Kith. I built a home too. But I didn’t do anything to help my friends,” Ria said in a rush that left her eyes shimmering with tears.

Zhao pulled her into a hug. “You came now.”

“After you are already in trouble!” Ria said with a bit of a laugh.

About the fantasy Spark of Defiance

Six months after a tragic war, the world of Myrrah has found peace. But many of the heroes have not.

Wandering to avoid memories of lost friends and past actions, Zhao returns home to fulfill a promise to see his sister. And to proclaim to the elders of his people that their treatment of Air Elementals is wrong. But he doesn’t find welcome and the reason why is not what he expects. It is far worse.

Caught once again in events greater than he can handle alone, Zhao struggles to prevent a personal conflict from erupting into a larger battle. But friends are distant, and more than a few are struggling with new problems of their own.

Read more about it on this fantasy author’s website.

Get a free copy of Born of Water, book 1 in the Rise of the Fifth Order series, on any platform. 

Autumn Birt

fantasy and science-fiction author Autumn BirtAutumn is a bestselling author in multiple genres. She is the author of two epic fantasy adventure trilogies on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order and Games of Fire. Games of Fire has received tremendous critical reviews and book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy was released in full in 2015 and is quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, despite saying she was taking a short break to write a non-fiction book on writing techniques to go along with the courses she teaches at www.UltimateFantasyWritersGuide.com, a new story is already starting to build.

If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as traveling, hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release a new fantasy story in 2018 too.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Start with her BestSelling Reads author page.

 

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Sword and sorcery Thursday: Spark of Fire

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This week’s teaser comes from book 1 of the Games of Fire sword and sorcery series

Spark of Defiance: Games of Fire Book 1 sword and sorceryBy Autumn Birt

Chapter 12: SEARCH FOR HOME

Keifa’kana stooped over the bassinet of his newborn daughter. His silhouette against the gray light of the windows behind made him look far older than a man in his prime gazing at his firstborn.

“Congratulations, Keifa’kana,” Behk’sah said quietly, not wanting to disturb the infant nor his ruler. Keifa’kana nodded, eyes not leaving his daughter. “I hear my sister sleeps? The birth was difficult?”

“Yes,” Keifa’kana said, standing upright at last. From his pose, Behk’sah would have thought it had been Keifa’kana who had struggled most of the night to deliver the child. “Come, see your niece. It must be why you are here since Kita’sah sleeps.”

Behk’sah joined Keifa’kana, looking down on the fragile child. She twitched in her sleep, tiny fingers uncurling to grasp dreams or air. She was perfect. “Have you chosen a name yet?” Behk’sah asked.

“Lyra’shoo,” Keifa’kana answered.

“The Shoo clan will celebrate: a daughter to bear the next Kana’s children.”

Keifa’kana tensed next to him. “She is not three hours old. I do not wish to speak of her bearing children, Behk’sah.” Keifa’kana’s eyes left his daughter long enough to stare hard into Behk’sah. Behk’sah didn’t know what to say, so stood quietly. “Lest you forget, I will most likely be dead before she is old enough to even marry.”

“I did not mean to sadden you on this joyous morning.”

“It is fine, Behk’sah. You chose not to marry. You probably do not think of such things.”

Behk’sah resisted the urge to dig his nails into his palms. He should have been banned from marriage as Jeif’taku had been, as all of the most powerful Ashanti were. Great power over the five elements was admired, but dangerous. Too dangerous to risk stronger children. Children powerful enough to recreate the war that had damned his people to these short lives. Behk’sah thought again. He wasn’t too old to marry and have children. Perhaps there was a purpose to the oversight of the strength of this gift.

“I can see her aging,” Keifa’kana said, interrupting Behk’sah’s thoughts. “I’ve never stared at a child long enough before to see it, but it makes sense. We live our lives in less than eight years. Of course, I can see her grow. In a month, she will walk. By a year old, she will stand higher than my waist, almost too old to play with her sibling if Kita’sah and I are lucky to have another.”

Behk’sah’s tentative thought to marry and have children strong enough to challenge the world faded as he stared at his friend and ruler. There was no need to wait until both of them had died in a few years. They, he, had power enough.

“You don’t have to watch her die,” Behk’sah said into the morning silence.

“You mean to say you think Leifa was right? Our home is in the spirit realm and this, this place, is our punishment until we stop fighting?” Keifa’kana asked, gaze unsettled like a man who is desperate.

“I think she is right that our home is in the spirit realm and that as our history states, we once nearly won all of it and Myrrah. But no, I will not accept death to return,” Behk’sah answered. Keifa’kana waited for Behk’sah to continue. “We do not have to return as a defeated race. We were rulers once. We can return home as conquerors once again.”

Spark of Defiance: epic sword and sorcery

Six months after a tragic war, the world of Myrrah has found peace. But many of the heroes have not.

Wandering to avoid memories of lost friends and past actions, Zhao returns home to fulfill a promise to see his sister. And to proclaim to the elders of his people that their treatment of Air Elementals is wrong. But he doesn’t find welcome and the reason why is not what he expects. It is far worse.

Caught once again in events greater than he can handle alone, Zhao struggles to prevent a personal conflict from erupting into a larger battle. But friends are distant, and more than a few are struggling with new problems of their own.

Read more about Spark of Defiance and Autumn Birt’s other sword and sorcery tales on her website.

Sign up to Autumn’s mailing list to get your free e-copy of Spark of Defiance. 

Autumn Birt

Autumn is a bestselling author in multiple genres. She is the author of two epic sword and sorcery/adventure trilogies on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order and Games of Fire. Games of Fire has received tremendous critical reviews and book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy was released in full in 2015 and is quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, despite saying she was taking a short break to write a non-fiction book on writing techniques to go along with the courses she teaches at www.UltimateFantasyWritersGuide.com, a new story is already starting to build.

If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as traveling, hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release a new fantasy story in 2018 too.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Start with her BestSelling Reads author page.

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Monday musings: literary goals for 2018

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By Autumn Birt

Wikimedia Commons

2018 began with the release of my thirteenth book as well as a nomination for Best Book of the Year from Fantasia Reviews for my twelfth. There is nothing like that culmination of events to light a new year fire under my keyboard.

Plus, that new release ended my second epic fantasy trilogy, one that was set in the same world as my first. I’m ready for new things. I hope my readers are too—because they are coming!

When I wrapped up A New Goddess, I had no specific books in mind to write. Actually, I was going to write a non-fiction book on writing. But one morning I woke up from a dream where I needed to write a new series to balance what I’d published.

By that night, I’d begun to outline a new trilogy titled Black Throne, Black Blood, complete with two intro novellas. An idea that I’d ferreted away merged over the course of that day with another. Alone, they were interesting. Together, they were dynamic and inspiring!

But I couldn’t jump right into it. See, I have a business partner and we are building something together and the world of that story just might be a fit for something we’ve been planning. So, I need to hold off a couple of months until I know for sure.

Writers have a really hard time putting on brakes.

One of my favorite things about inspiration is it is not a limited resource. Actually, I think creativity is highly expansive and a little explosive. Being inspired to write but trying hard not to continue crafting a world lead to a desperate search for something else to focus on. Which had the end result of birthing another series idea.

I outlined the second series pretty quickly with some brainstorming from my husband. It too has an intro novella and at least four books with it. It is a mad combination of influences from ancient Celtic and Native American myths mixed with the desperation of my near future dystopian series, Friends of my Enemy. And I’ll secretly admit here that a short story I wrote as part of my college honor’s thesis that was probably the original seed. Boy, has it grown into a monster!

I’ve already begun the novella for this dark, urban fantasy series. And while I don’t have the name to the novella as yet, the series will be the Caillte Ré, which translates to “dark time.”

I’m hoping by the time the first novella is finished, I can switch to the first one in Black Throne, Black Blood. I’d like to have both novellas out before mid-year and be working on book 1 of the Caillte Ré along with the second novella in Black Throne, Black Blood.

Yes, I’m planning on writing two series at the same time. I’ve done it in the past. We’ll see how it goes this year!

And though these series are two entirely different worlds and characters, I see a linking theme between them of exploring the role of darkness. Where my current epic fantasy series is noble bright, my new books won’t be so clearly cut. I see them as darker, sexier, more adult, and far more complicated.

I can’t wait to share them with the world!

Autumn Birt

Autumn is a bestselling author in multiple genres. She is the author of two epic fantasy adventure trilogies on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order and Games of Fire. Games of Fire has received tremendous critical reviews and book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy was released in full in 2015 and is quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, despite saying she was taking a short break to write a non-fiction book on writing techniques to go along with the courses she teaches at www.UltimateFantasyWritersGuide.com, a new story is already starting to build.

If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as traveling, hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release a new fantasy story in 2018 too.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Start with her BestSelling Reads author page.

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