To the exclusion of all else…

Countdown to HIGH MAGA

Detail from the cover of Sword of Shadows. Artwork by Thomas Vandenberg.

I have been thoroughly focused on two tasks lately:

  • finishing final proofs of Sword of Shadows in preparation for the July 19th Kindle release, and
  • polishing up my new manuscript, The Hunting Grounds, in preparation for the next round of queries and submissions.

When classes are in session, I can go for days – some times weeks – without finding space in my calendar to write. So this summer has been such a luxury for me, writing-wise. I expected the two projects mentioned above to take the entire season; but as of today, they are pretty well done. And my imagination is now set free to ponder what new project I should take up next.

One drawback of all this devotion to the current works in progress is that some things have been neglected. Like house cleaning. And blogging. I’ve also fallen way behind with my on-line writers group. (Sorry!) My critique partners have been waiting waiting waiting for me to respond to their reviews and reciprocate. Some of them are probably starting to wonder if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

I feel bad about that, but what can I say? The fervor of the moment just swallowed me up. I’m excited about these projects; so excited it’s been impossible for me to set them aside for any significant length of time.

While I’ve been caught up in writing, my Uptown Author friends have been busy scheduling a series of events throughout the Kansas City area. Over the next few months, you’ll be able to find us at Prospero’s Book Store, Inklings Book Store, Kansas City Comicon, and Reader’s World, among other locations. You can see the full list and schedule on my Appearances page.

I’ve also scheduled a couple of virtual book tours to celebrate the upcoming release of Sword of Shadows. Goddess Fish Promotions, who did such a great job with my tours for Eolyn, is coordinating a Sword of Shadows Book Blast for July 20th and a virtual book tour starting September 5. I’ll have more information about both those events as we get closer to the dates.

Last but not least, this week I started a Goodreads Giveaway for Eolyn, Book One of The Silver Web. Five signed copies are up for grabs. To try your luck, enter below or visit the Goodreads giveaway page.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich


by Karin Rita Gastreich

Giveaway ends July 25, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Those are the updates for now. Thanks so much for stopping by. Now, it’s back to brainstorming for my next WIP…

Cover Reveal: Sword of Shadows

Sword of Shadows Kindle 3_reduced

Happy Summer Solstice! I’m celebrating today with the cover reveal for SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB.

As part of the cover reveal event, today and tomorrow only, the Kindle edition of the first book in the series, EOLYN, is FREE! Download your copy and discover the power of the magas today.

About Sword of Shadows (Book Two of The Silver Web)

Lands ravaged. Dreams destroyed. Demons set loose upon the earth.

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

Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks 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 story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst.” -Publishers Weekly

Cover art and design by Thomas Vandenberg.

Pre-order your copy on Kindle.

Haven’t read the first book in the series? Download a free copy of EOLYN and start the adventure now.

Sword of Shadows was first published in 2014 by Hadley Rille Books, under the title HIGH MAGA. Those of you who have read the first edition will find a few changes in this new version. The opening chapters have been tightened, and I’ve rewritten several scenes from the point of view of the novel’s arch-villainess, Rishona, Queen of the Syrnte. Best of all, the new edition includes a preview of the third and final novel of the series, DAUGHTER OF AITHNE, set for release in Spring 2017.

About Eolyn (Book One of The Silver Web)

Eolyn cover flat2 reduced 1 22 16In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the vast and impenetrable South Woods. When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war. Desire draws Eolyn toward Akmael’s dark embrace, but fate binds her to Corey of East Selen, a cunning mage whose ambition challenges the limits of love and loyalty.

Can she trust either man?

Hunted in a realm of powerful wizards and brutal deceptions, Eolyn must find her own path to freedom or she will burn on the pyre.

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

A “dream-like, fairy-tale ambiance…immersive political machinations and grand battle scenes.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Masterfully written.” –The Kindle Book Review

EOLYN is available FREE on Kindle, June 20 and 21st. Download your copy today!

Summer Love


The Dollbabies get together to celebrate love and friendship.

My sunshine months continue with a marvelous stay on the East Coast. I spent a weekend on Long Island attending the wedding of a good friend, where I was reunited with several of the Dollbabies. This is the group of extraordinary women that I meet with each year for a week of writing and relaxation at Virginia Beach.


Not a fan of flying anywhere for just a couple nights, I extended my stay to spend a few days with fellow author, editor, and all-around amazing person, Terri-Lynne DeFino. Terri’s home is a veritable sanctuary, a large yet somehow cozy house nestled in a riverside woodland. There are fairies here, I’m certain. And gnomes. There are also bears, coyotes, and turkeys (though I haven’t seen any yet). And four lovely cats (I’ve definitely seen those).

My write time has been devoted this week to The Hunting Grounds. I thought I was just shy of finishing, but then I decided to expand one of the character points of view. So I’ve added several chapters to my to-do list. But I’m getting close, very close.

My work on The Hunting Grounds has taught me something: every novel I craft is somehow closer to my heart than the last. I remember feeling this way when I first wrote Eolyn. Again when I journeyed through Sword of Shadows, and just as intensely when I completed Daughter of Aithne. 

Now I’m working on my fourth novel, and like every novel before this one, I find myself thinking that no other story has been closer to my heart, more daring in its intimacy. I like to believe this is a healthy sign; a reflection of an instinct that leads me to craft the appropriate novel in the precise moment; an openness to my inner creative life that is at once thrilling and scary.

Thrilling because, shouldn’t we all dig ever deeper as authors? And isn’t this evidence that I’m doing just that?

Scary because sooner or later someone will read, and presumably judge, this latest baring of my soul. What will be their response? Understanding? Indifference? Scorn and ridicule?

It shouldn’t matter, I know. Once we give our stories to the broader world, they are no longer ours, but rather, belong to the reader. They must have the freedom to interpret our tales, just as we had the freedom to write them.

Still, there’s always a little piece of me that cares about what others might think, and whether they will understand. To deny that would be dishonest to myself and to all of you. And at the end of the day, worrying about their response, at least a little, once in a while, probably makes me a better writer.

One thing’s for certain: if you’re strong enough to bare your soul in the first place, you will be strong enough survive that exposure, no matter what the outcome.

You will also find others who appreciate and share this strength, and as time goes on, they will become your soul mates, bringing as much beauty and depth to your life as you seek to give to your stories.


Join us on Monday, June 20th, for the official cover reveal of SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB. 

Sunshine Months


Look who showed up at our table during ConQuesT!

Last week, I took a well-deserved break from internet and all things marketing. Attending cons two weekends in a row was fun, but a little exhausting! All in all, Uptown Authors did well at both Planet Comicon and ConQuesT; personally, my best weekend was at ConQuesT. There was a lot of interest in Eolynand I had a full house (!!) for my reading Saturday afternoon. Many, many thanks to everyone who came to hear my stories.

After ConQuesT, I had some important tasks to finish before I could call spring semester “over” at Avila. Once that was done, summer began, and with it came a long list of summer projects.

This will be the first summer since moving back to Kansas City that I will actually be in Kansas City for the greater part of the season. I have two short trips planned, one in June and the other in July. But most of my time will be dedicated to my home and the happenings in my own back yard.

There’s much to talk about here, but some of it I can’t discuss explicitly. Not until after July. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’m finally taking ownership of the life changes that impacted me last summer. Autumn 2015 was about survival; Winter/Spring 2016 about recovery. Summer 2016 will be dedicated to laying the groundwork for a future I can call my own – very different from the future I imagined just a year ago, but mine nonetheless.

Bombus fraternus 01

Summer projects include monitoring bees at a local prairie restoration site. Meet Bombus fraterus, photographed in action last Friday.

Some very good news today; I am done formatting Sword of Shadows. I’ll be printing up the whole book this afternoon for one last hard-copy edit, and then I think we’ll be ready for publishing. Yes, that means what you think it means – the Kindle edition of Sword of Shadows will be released this summer!! Probably by the end of July. Hooray!!

For those of you awaiting the paperback edition, that may not appear until end August. At this point, the time line for the release of the paperback is determined not by what I can do, but by how long it takes to get back the editorial reviews I’ll be requesting. Editorial reviews can be important for the back cover, so we’ll hold out for those until they are available.

For me, the most exciting part of finishing the current edition of Sword of Shadows is that I was able to include a preview of Daughter of Aithne at the end. Which means we are now at last in sight of releasing the third and final installment of The Silver Web trilogy.

With so many reasons to celebrate, I’ve got something very special planned for this month: The cover reveal for Sword of Shadows will coincide with Summer Solstice on June 20th. Enchanted Tours will run a book blast for the cover reveal, and the event will be accompanied by a giveaway. Please stop by to join the fun.

While we haven’t officially done the cover reveal, Sword of Shadows is available for pre-order on Kindle. (And yes, you can see the cover there!) Sign up to receive your copy the day it’s released!

Wishing all of you a season of warmth and fun.