DISCIPLE continues...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

HIGH MAGA by Karin Rita Gastreich

The Accidental Trilogy
By Karin Rita Gastreich
This month I’m celebrating the release of the audio edition of High Maga, book two in a trilogy that chronicles the struggle of one woman, Eolyn, to restore a millennial tradition of magic. Before we wrap up the tour, I want to talk a little about the third book in the series, Daughter of Aithne, which I completed this spring and plan to release by early 2016.

Daughter of Aithne brings Eolyn’s journey full-circle in a way I didn’t foresee when I wrote the first book. Indeed, “book one” wasn’t intended to be the first of a series. But about a month after I signed the contract for Eolyn, ideas began to come together for a sequel. High Maga was born and painstakingly developed over months and years to come. Decidedly darker than its predecessor, High Maga captures a period of Eolyn’s life when her journey becomes exceedingly painful, her choices complicated and accompanied by loss.

You can read High Maga, understand it and enjoy it, without having seen book one or going on to book three, but I’m going to be honest: you won’t understand the full meaning of the events in High Maga unless you complete the series. I’ve often said it’s unfair to hold a reader hostage in this fashion, but as an author I’ve come to realize that certain themes are too complex to receive due treatment in just one novel.

Eolyn is a story of hope; High Maga of destruction. In Daughter of Aithne, we see the building of a new future as circumstances at last come together to allow Eolyn and her cohorts to imagine a world different from the one they inherited.

This is something we don’t see often in fantasy. Most fantasy characters must accept the world as given. They may have the strength and courage to overcome the challenges of that world, but they are rarely allowed to implement real changes in the fabric of the society to which they were born.
So in order to introduce women warriors, fantasy authors create societies in which women-at-arms are acceptable, at the very least as an exception to the rule. To make a woman part of a matriarchal power line, we imagine worlds where matriarchy has existed for centuries, with no real or effective challenge to that status quo.

These are a couple examples of wonderful fantasy worlds where our women characters have been able to flourish. But what about the other possibility? What about the struggle for change that breaks open opportunities never before available to women? And not only for that exceptional character who proves she can do it just like the guys, but for all women everywhere?

I didn’t realize it when I started Eolyn, but these were some of the questions that motivated the series. What if women – key women, of a particular character – were given the opportunity to change the world? Would they imagine it differently from the men before them? Or would they subscribe to the same power structures, the same intrigues, the same tools for resolving conflict?

There are many possible answers to these questions; and a thousand stories waiting to be written to address them. Eolyn, High Maga, and most of all, Daughter of Aithne are just three examples.
Looking back, it’s hard for me to imagine how I ever wrote that first book without envisioning the second and third installment. It’s taken two novels to set up Daughter of Aithne correctly, but soon it too will be on the shelves, and Eolyn’s journey will be complete. On some level, Daughter of Aithne is the book I’ve always wanted to write. I’m very much looking forward to its debut.

In the meantime, I hope you will read Eolyn and High Maga. As with all true change, the triumph of Daughter of Aithne can only be fully appreciated in the context of the struggles that came before. To help you get started, all ebook editions of Eolyn are on sale this month for just $2.99. And as part of this blog tour, we’re running a giveaway for free copies of High Maga. It’s easy to register; just click the Rafflecopter link below.

Thanks so much for your interest in Eolyn’s journey. I hope you enjoy her adventures just as much as I have.

HIGH MAGA [audio edition]
Karin Rita Gastreich (author)
Darla Middlebrook (narrator)

Sisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a craft once forbidden to women. When war strikes at the heart of the kingdom, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.

In hopes of defending her people, Eolyn tries to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.

Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.

“War propels the book forward, and the characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst.” –Publishers Weekly

Purchase Links

About the Author:
KARIN RITA GASTREICH writes tales of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. Inspired by a lifetime of exploring lush forests and breathtaking landscapes, Karin’s stories blend elements of epic fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. The worlds she creates are a strange amalgamation of medieval Europe and colonial Central America, with misty forests, vast savannas, and steamy jungles. They are populated by brave heroines, noble heroes, and twisted villains. From ancient woodlands to uncharted seas, readers will experience gripping battle scenes, heart wrenching loss, hard-won triumphs, and the ultimate magic of love. Karin’s fantasy novels Eolyn and High Maga are available from Hadley Rille Books. Her short stories have appeared in Zahir, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and World Jumping. She runs an on-line discussion forum about women in genre fiction at Heroines of Fantasy. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at krgastreich.com.

Author web links
Karin’s website • Heroines of FantasyFacebook • Twitter: @EolynChronicles

About the Narrator:
Darla’s voice is a versatile instrument used with skill. It is a voice filled with intelligence and warmth. Her sound can range from mature to youthful female, and she can also produce convincing male timbres. Narrative is presented in a conversational, down to earth, matter-of-fact manner and also displays a broad emotional range across a large repertoire of characters (female, male, young, old and "creature"). All of that while still conveying a sense of wonder when telling the story.

With experience of 34+ years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, more than 20 years as a stage & film actor and over 20 years as a trained singer with knowledge and insight into the mechanics of the voice and speech, Darla Middlebrook brings a wealth of experience to bear to develop character voices (male, female, mature, extremely elderly, creepy, bright exotic, etc) with an impressive emotional range.

Currently, Darla is one of many voice actors who narrate podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books.

Narrator Web Links
WebsiteFacebook • Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice

Rafflecopter Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 4, 2015

After DISCIPLE...


If you're working your way through my gritty fantasy series, Disciple, did you know that there's a prologue?

I wrote Fire's First Kiss as an exclusive gift to my Kickstarter supporters waaaaay back when I was publishing Part I. It's a novella covering the events leading up to that secret mission across the mountains.

It's only $1.99 but you'll never see this on Amazon or for sale anyplace else. You can only get it through my newsletter because it's only for Disciple fans. Sign up now and get the link!

Back cover
Before Kate was sent on the secret mission across the mountains, she faced her first big challenge as an apprentice healer at the original battle of Ansehen. Kiefan was there too, champing at the bit to prove himself to his father. And Anders was skating the edge of giving up and seeking is fortune elsewhere.

Want more from the "Saints of War" universe?
Dreamspinner Press published the m/m romance that I wrote after finishing Disciple. It's set in the borderlands, fifty years before the events of the series.

Back cover
Heathric Felahóf never wanted to be a thief, but his cousinʼs scheme is the only option to keep the town's children from being taken as slaves to cover the year's taxes. So a few men slip over the border into the neighboring kingdom, steal a flock of sheep, and escape before the magically gifted Rangers learn of them. The second time, they're not so lucky, and trouble follows the bandits home.

Adal Sperling has given up on finding a lover who truly wants him. One of the Rangers charged with protecting his people, he pursues the sheep thieves over the border and stumbles across Heathric, a gentle shepherd who only wants to take care of his family. But opposite sides of border incursions is a rough way to fall in love, and the laws of Adalʼs kingdom are clear: the border must remain closed to Heathricʼs people.


Stay tuned for announcements of what's coming in the fall!
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