Small Escapes

I’ve been reflecting lately on the importance of momentary escapes in our lives, when we break away from routine on a small but important scale. The afternoon cup of coffee, for example. Or the evening glass of wine. A walk through the woods at sunset. An unexpected call from an old friend.

This past weekend I had two small escapes worth noting, one expected and one unexpected.

A new friend from Konza Prairie.

My expected escape was an overnight trip to Konza Prairie, a reserve and biological station located in the Flint Hills of Kansas. The site is truly spectacular. The wildflowers are in bloom right now, and the sumacs are beginning to turn scarlet red, leaving splashes of color across a sage sea. We saw bees, butterflies, and beautiful spiders; hawks, turkeys, deer, and bison.  Amy Milakovic and I will be taking a course there in a few weeks, and I look forward to sharing that adventure with you.

My unexpected small escape was sinking into the opening passages of a truly engaging novel.

I’ve read a lot of good books these past few months, but not every story teller can convince you in the first couple of pages that you are in for a great tale. It’s been a while since I’ve come across an author with that particular gift.

The author in question is Susan Carroll, and the novel is The Dark Queen, a historical fantasy set in France during the reign of Catherine de Medici. It has been on my shelf for a long while. I believe I picked it up in the used section of the Boulder Book Store during one of my visits to Colorado. It caught my attention because I had just read a biography about the infamous queen. I brought the novel home, put it on my shelf, and promptly forgot about it for months and years to come.

A new treasure for my reading list.

I have a habit of doing this; snatching up a book in the moment and then setting it aside for rediscovery at a later date. It’s kind of like organizing my own personal Easter egg hunt. Because I have a variety of books I’ve stashed away for later, I’m never quite sure what treasure I’ll find the next time I search my shelf.

In addition to the book being very well written, I feel like I may have come across a kindred spirit in the author. Carroll’s main character, Ariane, is a “daughter of the earth”, a descendant of practitioners of white magic whose craft has long been forbidden and buried beneath the customs of her people. The parallels with Eolyn and the magas are apparent, though of course the stories are very different. Still, reading this book feels like coming home and settling into a familiar place.

Those are some of my small escapes right now.

To celebrate the fall equinox, the Kindle and Nook editions of Eolyn are on sale this week for just $0.99!  Also, don’t forget to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for High Maga, which ends on September 30.

We are in the final countdown to moving to my new web site at krgastreich.com. I’m excited, but also nervous and nostalgic. I’ve been at this blogspot site since 2010, and I’ve really enjoyed it. But I also feel it’s time for a change. I’m looking forward to exploring my new domain and sharing it with you. Plus, the site looks great!  Be sure to join us on October 1 as we inaugurate the new site. There will be more special offers and giveaways then.

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