Monday, September 12, 2016

Sword of Shadows by Karin Rita Gastreich (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from author Karin Rita Gastreich, who shares her answer to my question...

ELF:  What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?

KRG:  Dance has always been an important part of my life. As a girl, I started out with classical training: jazz, tap, and ballet. In college, I was introduced to modern dance. I belonged to my university dance troupe, performed regularly, and even choreographed a few numbers.

Throughout grad school and into my career as an ecologist, I kept up modern dance. While living in Costa Rica, I studied at the Taller Nacional de Danza and participated in some of their performances as well. When I moved back to my home town of Kansas City, I began studying flamenco.

Dance is a perfect integration of grace and power. Mastering a dance is never easy, and whenever I succeed in tackling a new choreography, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. More importantly, dance has led to many great friendships and wonderful experiences over the years. I especially enjoy the camaraderie of performances and the excitement of being on stage. 

When I began writing The Silver Web, I decided to make dance, music, and other forms of art part of the magical system in Eolyn’s world. I wanted to give Eolyn the experience of being in a dance troupe, so I invented Corey’s Circle, a group of traveling performers that gives Eolyn a home when she first returns to her people. In Eolyn, Book One of The Silver Web, Corey’s Circle dominates about a third of the story. In book two, Sword of Shadows, music comes to the forefront as a form of magic that helps Adiana cope with the terror of war and imprisonment.

My experience as a dancer even helps me in the process of writing. I consider writing a form of choreography, except one uses words instead of movement. Much like when I used to choreograph dances, I often listen to music when choreographing a scene. The same creative process that once helped me link steps together now helps me weave dialogue and action into a single whole.

For me, dance really is a form of magic, one that has brought many blessings into my life, and one that I hope to share with my readers through the stories I write.


by Karin Rita Gastreich



A hush of wings on the windowsill interrupted Eolyn’s thoughts. She looked up to see a Great River Owl, its proud silhouette outlined by moonlight.

Eolyn rose to her feet in surprise, keenly aware of its penetrating gaze, though she could not see its round eyes in the dark. A breeze ruffled its feathers. Its aura was impossibly familiar: intense shades of gold, burgundy, and forest green, shot through with streaks of deepest indigo.

She held her breath and let it go in a whisper. “Akmael?”

More than a question, it was a hope, a fear, an invocation.

A shimmer passed through the owl, followed by a flash of white light. Suddenly Akmael was with her, the heat of his hand upon her throat, the strength of his fingers intertwining in her hair, the demand of his lips upon hers, warm and full of passion. The magic of the South Woods blew through the window in a humid gust, swirling about them, begging Eolyn to remember who she was and what she once meant to him.

Akmael kissed Eolyn until she had no more breath to give. Then he paused and held her close, their foreheads touching as her fingers traced the familiar prominence of his cheekbone, the line of his jaw, the curve of his full lips.

All she could hear was his desire, carried on the rhythm of his heart. She dared not speak, for if she did, she might stumble upon words of caution or prudence or common sense, and none of that had any place here. Not when he was so near, nearer than he had been in such a painfully long time, closer than he might ever be again.

This is a gift from the Gods, Akmael had once said. To deny it would be an insult to them.

“Eolyn, I—”

She hushed him with a kiss.

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 for over twenty years. Her past times 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


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