Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich: Tens List & Excerpt



Karin Rita Gastreich

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
ISBN: 978-0-9829467-4-9

Number of pages: 325
Word Count: approximately 118,000

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

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?”


Name 10 dead people you wish you had known.


It’s hard to narrow it down to ten, but here they are, more or less in order of appearance on the stage of history:


Hypatia of Alexandria – If I could go back to 4th century Egypt, document the work and life of this brilliant philosopher, then put it all in a time capsule and bring it forward, I would. 


Eleanor of Aquitaine – There’s no way this iconic queen of medieval times would be left off my list. 


St. Francis of Assisi – Ever since I was a child, I’ve admired this man’s message of peace and friendship with the natural world.  I think he has much to teach us even today.


Cesare Borgia  -- Evil Incarnate.  Actually, I’d only want to meet Cesare Borgia if I were, say, his dad (Pope Alexander VI, proud father of Evil Incarnate). Otherwise, I’m probably better off having a few centuries between him and me.


Elizabeth I of England – Grit, intelligence, leadership, and a phenomenal instinct for survival.  I would like to have met her in the hopes that some of those amazing talents would rub off on me.


Isabella de Medici – more Medici than her Medici brother.  A patroness of the arts, Isabella was truly a great woman.  I would have very much liked to have attended all of her parties in Florence.


Maria Sybilla Merian – This 17th century naturalist was the first to document that caterpillars undergo metamorphosis and turn into butterflies.  Until then, everyone thought insects spontaneously generated from mud. Her lovely paintings embody the beauty, passion, and violence of the natural world. 


Alexander von Humboldt – What I wouldn’t have given to join Humboldt on his expeditions through South America, when so much was still new and thoroughly wild.


Mark Twain – because I need someone on the list with a good sense of humor, and a love for the Mississippi. 


Rachel Carson – Writer and biologist, founder of the modern environmental movement.  This was the woman who traced the impacts of DDT and broke open a story of ecological poisoning that no one – especially the manufacturers of pesticides – wanted people to hear about.  We need more people like her in the world today.

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, and at Heroines of Fantasy, co-authored with Terri-Lynne DeFino and Kim

Blog for Eolyn:

Blog Heroines of Fantasy:



November 4 Interview
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts & Reviews

November 5 Guest blog (review December)
Always a Booklover –

November 15 Feature/Interview
Bewitching Book Tours Magazine

Tour wide give away 2 signed print copies of Eolyn

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1 comment:

Karin Rita Gastreich said...

Thank you, Laurie, for hosting me on your blog today!