~If you're checking in for the Immortal Trust reveal -- please visit Laura Kaye's blog!~

Please give Karin Rita Gastreich a warm welcome!  I had the pleasure of meeting Karin this summer at ConQuest 43, and I've been trying to work out getting her on the blog ever since.  Our schedules (mainly mine) didn't end up with that working out until today, and I'm SO EXCITED! to have her here!!

So let's meet her book, Eolyn! And then you get to hear about High Magic (and how cool is it that she has a Caradoc in her book too?!)

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
ISBN: 978-0-9829467-4-9
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: approximately 118,000
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a brutal purge of the Magas.

Fleeing his wrath, Eolyn, daughter of the last of the Magas and sole heiress to their forbidden tradition, seeks refuge in the South Woods. There she meets the mysterious boy Akmael, and forms a friendship that thrives on shared magic. Destiny leads them down a tortuous path of love, betrayal and war, until one day the Maga Eolyn takes up arms against the new Mage King.

Must Eolyn slay the man she loves in order to free herself and her people?

The answer lies in the extraordinary magic she commands, and in the hidden power of a Maga’s heart.

“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes. . . with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly


High Magic
By Karin Rita Gastreich

In Eolyn’s world, High Magic is a form of knowledge and power that was gifted by the gods to Aithne and Caradoc.

These two lovers of ancient times learned the techniques of Simple and Middle Magic by 'listening' to the world around them: to the plants, animals, rivers, and stones. In this way, Aithne and Caradoc were able to use the knowledge of the natural world to heal and provide for their people.

Their achievements caused dissention among the gods, and a great conflict arose between deities who admired Aithne and Caradoc, and those who felt threatened by them. The gods who supported the practice of magic by humans sent Dragon to grant Aithne and Caradoc the staves with which they eventually mastered High Magic. (This legend is told in my novel, and if you’d like to hear more an audio recording is available on the blog for Eolyn.)

In every generation that has followed, practitioners who become adept at Simple and Middle Magic must petition the gods for their staff. The petitioner generally spends time alone fasting in the forest, and at the end of his or her retreat Dragon appears in the form of an animal of the wild, with instructions as to what elements are to be incorporated into the staff. If Dragon does not appear, it means the gods have denied the initiate's petition to learn High Magic.

The three or four elements that go into each individual’s staff are unique. For example, one maga's staff may be made of cherry wood, with a crystal of amethyst and the feather of a thrush. Another may be made of oak with a crystal of smoky quartz and the wings of a dragonfly. Each staff is thus tailored to its user, and it is difficult --though not impossible -- for one practitioner to use the staff of another.

Staves in Eolyn’s world are said to be 'forged' because the integration of the elements that make them is achieved in a sacred fire prepared by the tutor of the initiate. With a staff, the mage or maga can draw on very deep powers of the earth to accomplish many feats of magic and illusion, such as flight, shape shifting, the invocation of sound wards and vision wards, and the deflection of flying objects such as arrows (which comes in pretty handy). They can also invoke a variety of flames for ceremonial purposes, or as in the case of Mage Warriors, for use on the battle field.

Among Eolyn’s people, magic is an evolving craft. High Mages and Magas try to push magic beyond the traditional limits of their predecessors. Eolyn and Akmael, for example, have certain powers that develop during the course of the novel. One of their ongoing challenges, as individuals and companions, is to recognize these abilities and make proper use of them.

Best of all, High Magic has a mind of its own. So, while certain rules do apply, magic can occasionally slip outside of the boundaries imposed by its practitioners and act in ways that are entirely unexpected.


Akmael set the jewel on a polished oak table, next to the ceremonial mask he had confiscated from Eolyn when they had brought her to him as a prisoner. The silver web sparkled under the flickering light of the torches, and the folds of her mask seemed to waver with the shadows. After a careful search, Akmael found what he sought: a coppery strand of her hair, glowing with her magic and still bearing traces of her exquisite aroma. With a quiet invocation to Dragon, he wove the hair into the heirloom of his mother, snaking it tightly through the intricate mesh. When he finished a sudden white glow flashed through the medallion, fusing the strand of hair to the web and rendering it indistinguishable from the other threads. Satisfied, Akmael stood and lifted the circle by its silver chain. He drew a breath and began a new incantation, one he had worked meticulously by integrating the lullaby of his mother with a spell designed to separate the seam of a Maga’s ward.


Elaeom enem, eleaom enem

Sepoenem fae

Elaeom enem, elaeom enem

Renoenem mae


As he repeated the verse, the stone walls melted around him and soft loam rose to his feet. The web had taken him to a forest, ancient in aspect though illuminated by energies very different from the South Woods. The pale light of the new moon filtered through the canopy. A breeze shifted restless against the trees. He thought he could feel Eolyn’s essence on the wind, but she was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed though not deterred, Akmael lifted the medallion to try again. Just as he spun the web to begin his invocation, a soft rustle in the underbrush detained him. Eolyn appeared a few paces away in the shape of Wolf, her true identity betrayed by the full spectrum of her magnificent aura.

Akmael caught his breath and held very still. The Gods must have favored him, for she did not at first detect his scent. Stepping into the clearing, she searched the leaf litter with her snout, her awareness focused on some favored smell emanating from the damp earth. Her coarse gray fur blended into the shadows. The faint moonlight glinted against her black eyes. She continued oblivious to him, until in a sudden shift of attention she paused and looked up. She sniffed at the air, her muscles tensed. Her ears turned in Akmael’s direction. She growled then bolted into the forest.

Calling upon the shape of Wolf, Akmael charged after her.

As a girl, Eolyn had been a swift runner. As a wolf, she seemed impossible to catch. She hurtled through the bushes, managing with nimble turns a rough terrain unknown to Akmael. Branches caught at his fur and scratched his snout. Tangled roots threatened to trip his paws. More than once she gained enough distance to lose sight of her, yet Akmael kept tight upon her scent and did not give up. His muscles began to burn. His tongue hung limp from his jowls. He panted hot clouds into the air as he pushed his limbs to move faster and faster.

Without warning the undergrowth disappeared. Akmael skidded into a small clearing. The she-wolf paced a confused circle in front of him, her whimpers soft and high pitched. A steep wall of rock had cut her flight short. Upon sensing Akmael, she swung around to confront him and bared her fangs in a vicious snarl. They stalked each other, heads low and tails ominously still, quiet growls and sharp barks building in a tense duet. Eolyn sprang first, striking his shoulders and digging her claws deep into his fur as her teeth sought his neck. Akmael twisted his throat out of her reach, forcing his snout underneath her muzzle, leaving her snapping at his ears instead. Again he ducked his head, barely avoiding the tearing hold of her canines. He had never seen Eolyn so intent on drawing blood. Wedging his paws up through her hold, he pushed against her muzzle and spread his claws over her face. With a sharp yelp, Eolyn stumbled back, breaking their grapple. Recovering her balance, she lunged low, fangs flashing in the moonlight. Just as her jaws snapped shut, Akmael reared up on his hind legs, leaving nothing for her to take hold of. Coming down upon her back, he caught the nape of her neck with his razor sharp teeth and forced her decisively to the ground.

Eolyn went very still, though her muscles remained tense. After several moments she tried to shift her position, scooting a few inches along the ground. He tightened his grip with a low growl, sending a clear signal that the strength of his muzzle could break her neck. Again she paused. He felt her pulse against his jowls, rapid and strong. The intensity of their conflict had left her fur warm and damp at the roots. Her rich musk rose about him in waves, saturating his senses to the point of dizziness. His loins tightened with need. Every instinct of Wolf was urging him to claim her right then and there. Was such a thing possible, he wondered. Did the Mages and Magas of old partake in the pleasure of the Gods even when they shape shifted?

Eolyn’s muzzle sank between her paws. Her ears twitched and she whimpered quietly. Her pulse slowed. The tension drained out of her haunches and into the midnight earth. Interpreting this as a sign of submission, Akmael loosened his hold and stepped away.

In an instant, Eolyn rose to her feet, resumed her human form and kicked him full in the stomach. The force of her strike surprised Akmael. He hit the ground with a yelp, and the shape of Wolf deserted him. His hand went instinctively to where the blow burned against his side.

“You have lost nothing of your strength and skill,” he said, “but don’t you think that move was a little unfair?”

Karin is giving away 2 signed copies of Eolyn to two randomly drawn
commentors throughout the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
KARIN RITA GASTREICH was born near Kansas City, Missouri. After living and working for ten years as a tropical ecologist in Costa Rica, she recently returned to her home town and is now a Professor of Biology at Avila University. Her past times include camping, hiking, music and flamenco dance. Karin's fantasy novel EOLYN was released by Hadley Rille Books in May, 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is scheduled for release in 2013. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Visit her at the blog for Eolyn, http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com and at Heroines of Fantasy, co-authored with Terri-Lynne DeFino and Kim Vandervort http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com   

Blog Heroines of Fantasy: http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com  

A Bewitching Book Tours Guest


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3 Responses so far.

  1. Claire, thank you very much for hosting me on your blog!

  2. I like the excerpt. This sounds like a good read. Thank you.


  3. Thank you, Victoria. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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