Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Daughter of Aithne by Karin Rita Gastreich


Ten Real Creatures That Inspired the Magical Beasts of The Silver Web
As a tropical ecologist, I’ve encountered many amazing plants and animals that made into my fantasy trilogy. Here are ten of my favorites:
1.    Milk Tree
On the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, local farmers talk of a “milk tree” that produces drinkable sap. They are probably referring to a species of Brosimum, found throughout the Neotropics. I’ve always thought it was pretty cool that people could drink milk from trees, so I had to have a milk tree in Eolyn’s world. Brosimum’s counterpart in The Silver Web trilogy is the Berenben tree, and its milk can be drunk directly or used to make cheese.
2.    Golden Orb Weaver
Also found in the Neotropics, the Golden Orb Weaver is a large spider that spins yellow-gold silk for its web. The golden orb weaver inspired a diverse set of spiders in Eolyn’s world. Each of these spiders produces silk with unique properties that are used for different magical purposes. The maga’s ward, a magical cloak that masks the magical abilities of women practitioners, is woven entirely from the silk of spiders.
3.    Terciopelo Viper
Also known as the fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper), the terciopelo is a common viper in Central and South America. The Spanish name, terciopelo, means “velvet.” The terciopelo’s deadly counterpart in Eolyn’s world is the slip-away velvet snake.
4.    Lynx
Lynx, the guardian of secrets, appears in The Silver Web as nonother than Lynx. After all, why would I need to make such a magical creature even more magical? Lynx is Eolyn’s guardian during her childhood in the South Woods, and continues to be her companion throughout her adult life.
5.    Mushrooms
Just like some of the mushrooms that we know, the mushrooms of Eolyn’s world are associated with many mystical properties. The Nightshade Mushroom, for example, is a powerful poison. It can also be used for spells of concealment and deception, and it is one of many ingredients in a special potion that allows mages and magas to fly. 
6.    Snow Leopard
Native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, this beautiful animal is listed as threatened by the IUCN. In Eolyn’s world, the comparable Snow Tigers are native to the Paramen Mountains, which lie south of Eolyn’s home, the Kingdom of MoisehĂ©n. Snow Tigers are symbolically important for the Mountain Warriors, many of whom can shape shift into these massive predators during battle.
7.    Leeches
I’ve had run-ins with leeches in the forests of southeast Asia. They are not fun! The persistence and grotesque behavior of these creepy-crawlies inspired the Lost Souls of the Underworld. The Lost Souls prey on the recently departed as these souls try to make their way through the Underworld to the Afterlife. Lost Souls are leeches and vampires, sucking the life force from anyone they manage to trap, crippling or destroying his or her ability to reach the brighter realms of the Afterlife.
8.    Praying Mantis
Among the most dangerous creatures of Eolyn’s world are the Naether Demons. Accursed predators that occasionally escape their Underworld prison and wreak havoc on the living, Naether Demons were inspired by the elegant and deadly praying mantis. Naether Demons aren’t insects, but they share the same jade-green color, clawed forearms, and vacuous eyes. And they are huge! Not a beast you want to run into in a dark alley.
9.    Sage
The mages and magas of Eolyn’s world rely on Winter Sage to protect them against all manner of evils, but mostly against the dangers of the Underworld. Winter Sage is burned at the time of death to help the recently departed cross the treacherous lands of the Underworld. It can also provide limited defense against attack by escaped Naether Demons.
10. Flame-Throated Tanager

This beautiful tropical bird is endemic to the Osa Peninsula, a small tract of lowland rain forest in the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. While tanagers are not sparrows, this bird nonetheless inspired the Tenolin sparrow of Eolyn’s world. The Tenolin sparrow is one of the few songbirds where both males and females sing. It is known and loved for the beautiful, complex duets performed by mated pairs. 


Daughter of Aithne
by Karin Rita Gastreich

GENRE:   fantasy


Betrayed by her own prodigy, Eolyn stands accused of treason. As power-hungry nobles dismantle her life's work and honor, the desperate queen forges a risky alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. Determined to defend her son's claim to the throne of the Mage King, Eolyn prepares for her last and greatest battle, this time against her own sisters in magic.

Across the Furma River, Taesara of Roenfyn is drawn out of seclusion and into an ever-more vicious game of intrigue and war. Subject to the schemes of a shrewd uncle and the mysterious ambitions of the wizards of Galia, Taesara struggles to assert her own destiny, even as she takes up arms to defend her daughter's inheritance.

In the climactic finale to The Silver Web trilogy, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a violent conflict between powerful women, opposed to each other yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of war.

"An enticing and elegant series finale, filled with magic and turmoil." -KIRKUS REVIEWS


Taesara stiffened as Penamor took her chin in his fingers and subjected her to cold inspection. After a moment, his frown deepened and he shook his head. “Only the Sisters of the Poor could take a woman at the height of her flower and turn her into a dried-up weed.”

Taesara bristled. “There is no place for vanity within these walls.”

“Apparently not. They’ve made you skinny and sallow. Though it is nothing, I’ll wager, that a bit of sun and some proper food cannot remedy. What are these rags they dress you in?”

She stepped away, clenching her jaw. “This is all I need. All anyone needs, to live at peace in this world.”

Penamor snorted. “Indeed.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’ve come to fetch you home.”

“This is my home.”

“This was your temporary refuge. A foul place, but one of your choosing. We were generous enough to let you stay, first your father and then I, as we put the outside world in order. Now it is time for you to return.”

“I am not going back.”

“Oh, but I think you will.” Penamor spoke with an odd tone, at once menacing and full of promise. “War is at hand, and you will be the one to lead it.”

Taesara forced a laugh. “You know I will have no part of it. Eliasara would die at their hands if we so much as—”

“They do not have Eliasara,” he said. “We do.”

Shadows flashed through Taesara’s vision. She stumbled and caught hold of the back of a chair. A chasm opened inside her heart, swallowing the vines and trees with which she had concealed her love and pain during all these years. The bitter anguish of the day she was separated from Eliasara returned full force.

“Where is she? Where is my daughter?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands all her life. Her pastimes include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Twitter: @EolynChronicles

Purchase link for EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB:

Purchase link for SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB:

Purchase link for DAUGHTER OF AITHNE, Book Three of THE SILVER WEB:


Karin Rita Gastreich will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post, I enjoyed reading your list :)

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

Nikolina Vukelic said...

I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

Karin Gastreich said...

Thank you, everyone! And thank you for hosting. :)