Monday, June 1, 2015

The Villains of HIGH MAGA, by Karin Rita Gastreich

The Villains of HIGH MAGA

One of the greatest challenges of writing High Maga was crafting the villains. My first novel, Eolyn, had a formidable antagonist in the wizard Tzeremond. But the antagonists of High Maga, Queen Rishona and Prince Mechnes, raised villainy to a whole new level for me.

Rishona of the Syrnte was born under tragic circumstances. Her parents, Prince Feroden of Moisehén and his Syrnte wife, Tamara, were slaughtered while attempting to return to Feroden’s homeland, where he intended to claim the crown. Tamara was pregnant with Rishona when they were attacked, and gave birth as she died.  Gifted with the extraordinary power of Syrnte sight, Rishona remembers this moment in all its horror.  A forester rescued Rishona and returned her to the Syrnte, where she was raised by her uncle Mechnes. Rishona grew up determined to avenge the death of her parents and to claim her father’s throne in Moisehén.

The Syrnte are a sophisticated and complex culture, ruled by an extended royal family whose wealth, hunger for power, and capacity for corruption know few bounds.  While Rishona learned to thrive as part of the royal family, she also in a very deep way despises them.  In this she takes after her mother Tamara, who also longed to escape the twisted power plays and establish a new life on her own terms as Queen of Moisehén.

By the time we meet Rishona in High Maga, she has tried every avenue available to fulfill her ambitions. Every avenue, that is, except for dark magic.  Out of desperation she decides to summon ancient monsters called Naether Demons in hopes that their fury will help her defeat her cousin, King Akmael of Moisehén. Once the crown is rightfully hers, Rishona intends to send the Naether Demons back to the Underworld and establish a peaceful and just realm.

Rishona’s uncle, Mechnes, is a force of nature.  Brilliant and ruthless, a conqueror of nations, Mechnes excels in violence, manipulation, and sensual pleasures.  Like Rishona, he carries the gift of Syrnte sight; unlike her, he uses it with impunity. For Mechnes, people's hopes and dreams, their ambitions and fears, their strengths and weaknesses, are all meant to serve his own ambitions. Mechnes has no doubt that privilege should accrue to the powerful, and as a powerful man, he believes he deserves every manner of privilege within his reach.

Does Mechnes have any redeeming qualities?  I'd be better off letting you, the reader, decide. As the author, I appreciate Mechnes' fondness for music and his suck-the-marrow-dry approach to life.  He is, if nothing else, charismatic. 

I tend to be a sensitive and empathetic person. Villainy does not come easily to me. One of the hardest parts of writing these villains was allowing them to do bad things to other characters. Both Rishona and Mechnes commit horrific acts that cannot be condoned in any world real or imagined. Writing these moments often made me very uncomfortable. I was also more than a little nervous about the reactions my villains would inspire when High Maga was released.

As it turns out, a handful of my readers have criticized me for the violent acts committed by Rishona and her malevolent uncle. Yet writing is as much instinct as it is craft and strategy. As the author, I knew I had to let Rishona and Mechnes be who they were meant to be, otherwise the novel would have come across as flat and dry, even unauthentic. While I would never condone or endorse acts of villainy, I will always stand by my villains. Without them, High Maga would never have become the complex and challenging journey that I intended it to be.

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

Author web links:

Karin’s web site:
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:

Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

THE LIST - Cover Reveal


The List

College of Charleston series, Book #1

Kate L. Mary

NA Contemporary Romance



The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . .

Body piercing Get drunk First kiss

But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .

Fake ID Skinny dipping Road trip!!!

Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.

But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .

Lose it Get Heart Broken Fall in love


Add on Goodreads

timeline cover NA party

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  “I don’t want to go crazy, Cami. I just want to experience the normal things teenagers experience. While I’m still a teenager. I’ll be nineteen next month, and I haven’t done anything! I have one year.” Cami nodded as a slow smile spread across her face. “Kind of like a bucket list for your teen years.” I grinned and my wet hair bounced around when I nodded emphatically. “Exactly!” Cami jumped to her feet and started pacing the room. “That I can help with! But we should start a list right now. Write it all down, so we can mark it off as we go.” My insides jumped and fired to life, and I got to my feet too. “That’s a great idea.” Cami grabbed a notebook and flipped it open, then grabbed a pink Sharpie. At the top of the paper she scribbled Annie’s Bucket List. “Okay, what’s first?” I chewed on my bottom lip and ran my hand through my damp hair. “Let’s start small. Buy makeup.” Cami nodded and jotted it down, then said, “And some new clothes and shoes. Girly stuff.” She wrote down, buy a dress and heels and I inwardly cringed. Wearing heels seemed a bit unrealistic, but I was determined to do this. Even if I fell out of my shoes and broke my arm in the process. “Get highlights,” I said. Cami giggled while she wrote. “With your hair, I’d get lowlights.” I nodded even though I had no idea what she was talking about. She’d know better than me. Cami looked up and raised an eyebrow. “Get your ears pierced?” “And something else too! Like my nose or my belly button!” I was getting really excited. Bouncing around like Cami. I’d always been intrigued by the way most girls these days glinted under the lights. It was rare, especially in California, to see girls in their teens without multiple piercings. I wanted to be one of those girls. Cami wrote it down before looking back at me. “A tattoo?” I hadn’t even considered that one. Something inside me jumped, but with the painful way it twisted I wasn’t sure if it was fear or excitement. “I don’t know…” “We’ll put that one on the shelf for now. What else? Just fire them off and I’ll write as fast as I can.” I took a deep breath and went for it. She was willing to help, so I shouldn’t be scared about revealing how little I’d done. “Go on a date, go to a formal, go skinny-dipping, get drunk, have a first kiss, stay up all night, take a road trip with a group of friends.” I took a deep breath and peered at her out of the corner of my eye, but she hadn’t even blinked and she was still scribbling away. “Have sex….”


╣About the Author╠

Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She grew up in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California. Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story - especially if zombies are involved - as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes who can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children. Be sure to check out her bestselling BROKEN WORLD series, which is a top 100 book in dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction on Amazon.  

╣Social Media╠



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Autism Awareness Giveaway



This month we are hosting a second giveaway. This one is for a special cause. You may have heard that April is Autism Acceptance month. If you haven't, well, now you know! So a very special team of authors has come together to help YOU donate to the cause...but wait! It doesn't cost you anything to donate! We donate for you! In fact, not only do we donate on your behalf, you ALSO get a chance to win a free kindle or $100 Paypal cash. All you have to do to show you care about this cause--all you have to do to do YOUR part to help spread awareness of the need for autism acceptance--is ENTER TO WIN A FREE KINDLE OR $100! But wait? How can that be? How are we doing this? WHY are we doing this? Very simply, the authors who sponsored this giveaway have all pitched to cover the cover of donations and prize in exchange for you helping us to spread the word! We've actually set it up so that we will donate in MULTIPLE ways. See below for details.

Participation Donations

At no cost to you, enter the giveaway. Here is the donation scale.

0-999 entrants = $50 donation 1000-4999 entrants = $100 donation 5000-9999 entrants = $200 donation 10,000 or more entrants = $300 donation

Purchase Donations

But wait! There's more! If you see a book here you like and decide to grab a copy,

We're put tracking links on all the books, and we're going to pitch in MORE money toward our donation for books bought.

This is completely optional :) We're donating $10 for every 100 books bought, up to a $200 donation.

So take a look at the books provided by our Participating Authors, then scroll on down to the giveaway and enter to win! The more entrants, the more we can donate!

Please help us reach our maximum donation goal of $500!


HUGE VALUE - Many of the books are Just $0.99, Including a 21-book-boxed set! Wow!

Secret Worlds Boxed Set

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Penny Estelle has a story to tell

I'm happy to share author, Penny Estelle's latest novella with the world today

The Bearded Dude in the Puzzle:

Many years ago, in the land of kings and knights, Dozer, a powerful wizard, casts a spell over Scartin, and changes him into a tiny toy wizard and puts him inside the box of a puzzle.

Centuries later, Shelly Taylor, and her two kids, Bobby and Andrea, find their lives in turmoil. They are uprooted from their home and friends and moved to a small town in Idaho.  Their parents’ marriage falls apart, and to make matters worse, for some reason the kids at their schools are shunning them.

Shelly, once an advertising executive, starts cleaning houses to make ends meet.  It is in one of these old homes where the ancient puzzle is found.

As the family works on the puzzle, strange things start to happen.  An evil presence is making its way to the Taylor house, intent on making sure that puzzle never gets put together, no matter the cost, and it’s up to Bobby and Andrea to make sure that it does!


             “Bobby,” Shelly knocked as she opened his bedroom door, “it’s raining.  I have to leave early today, so I’ll drop you off at school.”

            “Okay, Mom.”  Bobby rolled over on his side covering his head with his blankets.
            “I believe your mother wants you to arise.”  Scartin’s muffled voice came to Bobby. 
            Throwing his covers off Bobby sat up in bed, scratching his head, yawning.
            “You look weary, young Bobby.”
            The boy jumped up and locked his bedroom door.  “Ya think?” he asked trying to use his best sarcasm.  More than once, during the night, thunder had crashed, rattling the windows.  “A few times the thunder had woke me up and I find Rip Van Winkle staring down at me scaring know what out of me.”
            Scartin sat down on the chair, eyes wide with wonder.  “I think you might have been dreaming.  I didn’t see Rip here last night.”
            “Ugh,” Bobby groaned.  He pushed himself off the bed and got clothes out of his drawers.  “I was talking about you.”
            After a few minutes a smile lit up the wizard’s face and then a deep belly laugh escaped from deep inside.  “You are jesting.  Now I understand!”
            “SHHHHH!” Bobby whispered urgently waving his hands.
            Andi pounded on the bedroom door.  “Who are you talking to?”
            “Uhm…nobody.  I’m singing!”  Bobby pushed Scartin toward the closet door.  “Joey and I will be here after school to work on the puzzle.  Stay hidden.”
            Scartin was still smiling as he put up a hand to stop the closet door from shutting
            “What?” Bobby asked.
            “Rip and I don’t resemble each other very much.  He’s much shorter than I am.”
            Stunned with the realization there really was a Rip Van Winkle, Bobby stuttered, “O..okay.  Dude, just stay out of sight.”

Get your copy - Amazon 



My name is Penny Estelle and I was an elementary school secretary for 21 years. I heard every excuse and story in the book when kids would be sent to the principal. I promised myself when I retired I would write stories about kids and that is just what I did.

I am retired with my wonderful husband and we live on a fifty-four acre ranch in Arizona on solar and wind. I am the "greenest" person and I know, even if I don't want to be!

I am so excited to have stories out for kids and adults. Hike up Devil's Mountain, A Float Down the Canal, and five stories in The Wickware Sagas - Billy Cooper's Awesome Nighmare, Ride of a Lifetime, Flash to the Past, Bumped Back in Time, and soon to be released, Riches to Rags! All for the tween in your life

I also write under P. A. Estelle. These are stories for the older crowd. At What Price?, Her Cracked Heart, and Dugan's Creek.

Though, a few of my stories are light romance, I would love to take a crack at erotic stories, but I told my hubby I would probably have to go have a few know, for research!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mark your Calendars - Kindle Countdown

Beautiful Monster, a paranormal romance, will be on sale for 99 cents beginning March 21st and ending on March 23rd at midnight EST. It is the first of three in the series.

"Beautiful Monster - grim in that bloody, undead way, but it would be disappointing if it wasn’t!"

Beautiful Monster - The Exchange (book one) is the story of Lev Baronovsky, a soulless creature of the night and his predicament. The love of his life, a mortal, has just died and in three days will pass to the other side. Without a soul, Lev cannot cross over with her and the thought of spending eternity without his beloved is unbearable. Is seventy-two hours enough time to find a way?

With the help of his brother, they must find the only one who can help - the vilest creature of all, Boris. But Boris has selfish plans of his own.

I've worked in the publishing industry for 25 years as an editor and an author. I'm represented by the Serendipity Literary Agency. I've been traditionally published, but Beautiful Monster is my foray into the world of self-publishing.

Get your copy from Amazon 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Need a little romance? Author, Sandi K. Whipple has the right book for you.

Dancing with a Cowboy

Lucy Baumgardner, working partner in a law firm in Philadelphia, works too hard. So says the senior partner, who just happens to be her father. When she’s forced to take a two week hiatus, she assumes two weeks of pedicures, massages and poolside relaxation with a glass of wine won't kill her. But things aren't always what one expects.

To her horror, city girl Lucy ends up stuck on a working ranch with no phones, cell service, or WiFi. Her acute shock dictates she will not play cowgirl for two weeks. Making matters worse, Stace Levin, the very handsome owner /operator, does nothing to make things easy for her. Her days are filled with manual labor and one mishap after another, amusing Stace to no end. Surprisingly, he finds her not only amusing, but smart, stubborn, and very beautiful.

Knowing it’s for only two weeks, Lucy slowly succumbs to the ranch lifestyle. Every day something happens to change her mind about the good looking cowboy, Stace. One day he’s a pompous ass, and the next, well… Those inviting arms, and his generous warm lips and mouth can sure as hell change one’s mind about the guy.

Buy it now Amazon 

Loving Adonis

“Loving Adonis” is a novel about multiple characters and family ties. At a very young age, heartbroken Angie loses her parents. Her older brother had run away years before and now she is left entirely alone. Her aunt, whom she never knew existed, takes her in, raising her as the daughter she never had. Upon graduation from college, Angie pursues ownership of a flower shop business, pouring all of her energies and honing her focus into developing her independence. Fate, however, is at work in preventing a solitary life for Angie. As a supposed fill-in for an employee, another owner of a well-established business is introduced to Angie. Upon meeting the handsome Gary, she is shocked at her reaction to him and privately nicknames him her "Adonis". Surprised by the electric chemistry that neither can ignore, and with some reservations and trepidations, they embark upon a relationship filled with heated encounters that leave Angie breathless. Weeks filled with passion, love-making, playing, and sharing have begun to cement a commitment between Angie and Gary. But fate again steps in to test Angie on the day she accidently observes Gary embracing another woman. Too stubborn to confront the apparent cheating incident, Angie’s jealousy rises and clouds all reason and logic. To make matters worse, within a short time later, Gary overhears several conversations between Angie and two other men! Suspicions now mount in the minds of both and their false pride puts their relationship in danger. Both are too stubborn and hurt to confront one another. Struggling through days of loneliness and refusing to communicate, Angie is struck once again by the hand of fate. Family members suddenly begin to emerge from her past. Uncovered ties are realized and the dynamics of these family bonds add new perspectives and ingredients to Angie’s daily life. When the lovers are forced to confront one another about their suspected unfaithful behavior, the shaky bonds and shattered commitments are surprisingly strengthened by the truth. This is a story of new love found, lost, and regained. But that’s not the end. The story is intensified with past love found, the power of friendship and family ties. Interwoven between the pages is inspiration to search for the power of love.

Buy it now - Amazon

Twisted Engagement

Lilly, a successful entrepreneur decides marrying David would be a mistake. After breaking the engagement, her best friend, Sue, convinces her to go away. Lilly sells her business and leaves New York to regroup. She ends up in a small town called Everley Flats, Colorado. When she finds comfort and a new love, she believes all her dreams have come true. Glenn, a hotel owner, is everything she ever wanted. Lilly decides to stay in Everley Flats and rents a cottage at the edge of town. She and Sue spend days shopping to fill it and make it homey. .

Sue makes many trips between New York and Colorado to spend time with Lilly, and in the interim, falls for Glenn’s friend and hotel manager, Jim.

Once both couples become relaxed and comfortable, strange things begin happening. Lilly and Sue are nearly run over after leaving a department store, on several occasions the doors of the cottage are found unlocked and open, and they discover they’re often being followed. After many discussions, it’s decided the open doors were due to forgetfulness, and the vehicle that nearly ran them over, well… it was just a negligent driver.

Lilly spends her time culminating her new restaurant in Glenn’s hotel. Sue is back in New York, and Glenn’s been out of town on business. Lilly is alone in the cottage and excited while preparing for Glenn’s return. She hears a knock on the door and races to greet him. When she opens the door, she’s shocked to see her ex, David, standing in front of her.

David forgives Lilly for running away, and tells her he’s come to take her back to New York. He explains how they will be together, and how they will be happy. When Lilly demands that he leave, David gets physical. His assault leaves her not only bruised, but so frightened she finds it difficult to breathe. David tells her he’ll be back for her, and leaves.

Lilly drives to Glenn’s hotel to wait for him. She can’t believe her eyes when she see’s Glenn exiting a limo with a beautiful woman who put her arms around Glenn and kissed him. Devastated that he has another woman in his life, and too afraid to return to the cottage, Lilly runs to her friend Sue in New York. Unable to locate Lilly, Glenn is relieved when he discovers she is safe with Sue in New York.

Now, all the strange going-ons are explained. It soon comes to light that Lilly’s ex, David, has an unsavory past. To make matters worse, he’s been the one secretly following and spying on her. What he plans for her, well… those things were never in her dreams.

Glenn and Jim have the girls flown to Montana and drive them up into the hills to Jim’s fishing cabin. Now, hiding out with Glenn, Sue, and Jim, Lilly thinks she’s safe. Only the police know where she is. She was wrong. When David kidnaps Lilly and drags her into a hillside cave, she understands how twisted he is. The driving forces of devoted love are what it will take to save her.

But it now - Amazon

And now, here's a little bit about Sandi in her own words:

I've always maintained my work ethic with a strong emphasis on professionalism. But now that I'm retired, I have surprisingly new desires. I want to acquire skills and abilities in the written word. I consider engaging in putting my imagination into words for others to read, as time well spent. My friends, and the readers of my work are important to me.

I absolutely love romance novels. As a young girl, I used to sneak my foster mother's True Romance and True Confession magazines. They always had several short hot & steamy romance novella's. I chuckle now when I remember her saying, "you're too young to read that trash". What? If it was trash, why was she reading it? Now there's a way to set a good example, yes?

When I'm not reading a book, and even sometimes when I am, I love listening to music. I enjoy Classical, Light Jazz, Easy Listening, Country, and of course the Oldies but Goodies of the 50s and 60s.

In 2007, I was in a wheelchair for eleven weeks, and I was reading two and three Romance novels a day. I shared my disappointment with a friend about a novel I read, and she suggested, actually dared me, to write my own. So, I wrote "Loving Adonis", and stuck it in a drawer. A few months later I wrote "Twisted Engagement", and it too ended up in a drawer.

Some time later, (we're talking years, not months) I took "Loving Adonis" out of the drawer and worked on it again. When I asked a few friends to read it, imagine my shock when I was asked how long before my next novel would be ready. So, after some fine tuning, "Loving Adonis" and "Twisted Engagement" became available for everyone to enjoy.

October 15, 2014 my third novel, "Dancing With A Cowboy" was released. I laughed out loud, and cried real tears while writing it.

I think reading and owning a book are two of life's many pleasures.