Monday, July 14, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Karin Rita Gastreich

Today I am very excited to welcome back Karin Rita Gastreich to the blog to celebrate the release of the audio edition of her "Eolyn!" 

This is one of my favorite fantasy novels, so I'm just thrilled to share it with everyone. Karin was so kind to tell us a little more about one of the places that inspired the settings in Eolyn, complete with pictures! So enjoy, and don't forget to scroll down to get all the info about the audiobook and enter the giveaway. 

The Places that Inspired Eolyn’s World: Talamanca

By Karin Rita Gastreich

The South Woods, Eolyn's home for the greater part of her childhood, is based in part on a region of highland forests in Costa Rica, known as the Talamanca Mountain Range. 

At elevations of around 2800m (just under 9,000 feet), we find a forest that is tropical in its seasonality - in
the sense that it is not subject to the intense winters of higher latitudes - but temperate in its composition. 
Oak trees, some up to 1,000 years old, dominate the canopy. Blueberry, blackberry and wintergreen plants grow close to the ground. Mushrooms sprout up all over the place, many of them edible, others very poisonous. Mixed in with all of this are plants and animals more 'typically' tropical - monkeys and tapirs, bromeliads and orchids, and a spindly form of bamboo. There are nearly 50 endemic species and subspecies of birds in Talamanca - and no, I have not seen them all!

Days in Talamanca dawn bright and sunny, but almost invariably end shrouded in mist and cold rain. Nights are chilly and windy. At field stations we spend them huddled by wood burning stoves, drinking hot chocolate and sharing stories. At bedtime we bury ourselves under as many blankets as we can, hoping to stay warm until dawn. 

For ten years I have taken students to these forests, and I always see the same reactions. Despite the strange intermeshing of tropical and temperate life, despite the bone-penetrating chill of rustic field stations, this is a place that makes them happy, a place that reminds them of home.

Like the South Woods, the oak forests of Talamanca are rich with resources. Everything is edible, medicinal or otherwise usable. The high mountains and dense forests are friendly to those who know how to navigate them, and cruel - even deadly - to those who do not. 

The ancient trees are magnificent. They carry an energy that demands awe and respect, a kind of power that seems to flow from the very heart of the mountains on which they grow. When I am in Talamanca, this is the energy that restores my spirit and inspires my creativity. I like to call it 'magic.' When writing the novel, I made this energy the source of Eolyn’s power.

The Cordillera Talamanca is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's one of those places that should be on the list of all adventure-minded folk. But even if you never get a chance to visit Talamanca, you will encounter something of its essence, adventure, and beauty in the first chapters of EOLYN.

Places that Inspired the Story will be a recurring theme on the EOLYN Audiobook Blog Tour.  For a full schedule of the tour and topics, please visit my web site. 

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

Sole heiress to a forbidden craft, Eolyn lives in a world where women of her kind are tortured and burned. When she meets Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent realm, she embarks upon a path of adventure, friendship, betrayal and war. Bound by magic, driven apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.

"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes will satisfy fans of traditional epic fantasy, with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly

“Magnificently written.” –Kindle Book Review

About the Author:

KARIN RITA GASTREICH lives in Kansas City and Costa Rica. An ecologist by trade, her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance.  Karin's first fantasy novel, EOLYN, was released by Hadley Rille Books in 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is also available from Hadley Rille Books. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl.   She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at and at

Author web links:

Blog for Eolyn:
Blog Heroines of Fantasy:
Twitter:  @EolynChronicles

About the Narrator:

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 narrates podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books.  She is able to produce retail quality audio books from her home studio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Canada.

Narrator Web Links:

Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice

Enter now for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway