September 17, 2018

Magic Harvest Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway


Magic Harvest
Author: Mary Karlik

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Ink Monster LLC


Young fae girls are disappearing.

Layla has never belonged to the fairy realm – at least, half of her hasn’t. She’s never known anyone with human blood, not even her father. When she was three, the dragon Fauth attacked the fairy festival, murdering her fae mum & stepfather. Frankly, some fairies think she should’ve been eaten too.

As she grew, despite being called names like “fuman” for being a half-blood, she’s discovered that being half-human isn’t terrible. She may lack magic, but she is immune to iron sickness, and she can wield a sword with elven skill.

Magic in the human world is disastrous.

Sixteen years later, when Layla’s half-sister is kidnapped and taken through a portal to the forbidden human realm, Layla rushes to the rescue. She’s older and stronger, and she’s not about to let her last living family member be taken from her without a fight.

Only someone who belongs to both worlds can find the truth.

The portal spits her out in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but neither her sister or the kidnapper are anywhere to be found. Stuck in a world she only knows from school books, Layla forges unlikely alliances to find her sister. As she becomes tangled in the dark world of fairy trafficking, magic harvesting, and murder, Layla will have to find the strength within if she is to survive and save her sister.

Esme and Isla scrambled to the high branches above her. Esme cried out, “Layla, run!”

And then, as if a window had closed, a dead calm filled the air and with it came an ominous sensation, as if it were heralding something cold, empty, and evil. Layla stopped and turned in all directions, searching for the source of the presence.

A gray horse broke from a copse of trees. Black fog swirled at the creature’s feet. Mounted on it was a figure wearing a brown monk’s robe with the hood pulled forward so that its face was shadowed.

Wickedness emanated from the man on the horse as he slowly and deliberately leveled a nocked arrow at Layla’s chest. For two heartbeats she couldn’t breathe.

Then he tipped his bow higher—to the trees.

Layla screamed, “Fly!”

But Esme and Isla didn’t fly. They hovered as if frozen in mid-air.

He released the arrow.

Completely helpless to stop it, Layla held her breath as she tracked it into the sky. It arched above Isla and Esme and Layla blew out a heavy sigh. He’d missed.

But, as quickly as that thought raced across her brain, a net exploded from the tip of the arrow. Layla fey-sized and flew toward them. But it was if she were flying through molasses and everything was happening in agonizing slow motion.

The net spread wide above the fairies. Still, they didn’t try to flee. Esme looked up and shrieked, and as the net fell upon them, Isla curled into a ball and covered her face with her wings.

Layla forced every ounce of her energy into her muscles, but couldn’t reach them before the net tightened around their bodies. From the pit of her stomach she bellowed, “Use your magic.” Then, she realized the net had to be at least partly iron. Their magic was useless.

She neared, almost close enough to touch the net. Her head spun as her mind struggled to reconcile what was happening. Isla remained curled with her face hidden. Esme knelt with her

hands wrapped around the ropes of the net. Her face was contorted in terror, her mouth wide open in a silent scream.

Powering forward, Layla lunged for the net just as the hooded man gave the line a jerk. Then he reeled it in, crashing the fairies through the leaves from one branch to the next.

Layla chased them like a helpless kitten after a string. Before she could reach them, the horseman gave a final tug, snapping the net to him. He slung Isla and Esme over his back like a bag of fruit, casually patted the side of his horse’s neck, and cantered back into the trees.

Disbelief rattled through Layla. This cannot be happening. But it was. Esme and Isla had been taken and it was up to her to save them.

She flipped the bow over her shoulder, shoved the arrow back in her quiver, and pulled the sgian-dubh from her boot. A warrior cry erupted from her as she held the knife ready to strike, and flew hard and fast after him. When she neared, he spun the horse to face her and flung up a wall of wind.

Human-sized, it had slowed her. Fey-sized, as she was now, it sent her tumbling backward into the solid trunk of a critheann tree. The impact rattled her bones like pods in a gourd. Her breath whooshed from her and she spent precious seconds flailing her arms and wings while trying to suck air into her lungs.

When she was finally able to breathe enough to fuel flight, she charged into the wind after the horseman. The force was too strong. It was like trying to fly through a stone wall. If she couldn’t get through, she had to go over it. She shot straight up to the tops of the trees. As soon as she broke free of the forest canopy, she was able to increase her speed and search for the horseman through gaps in the leaves.

Before she saw him, she felt his sinister presence. The cràdh awoke and filled her chest. It told her that without magic, she could not win against him and that she’d fail her sister. Layla pushed the parasite’s words away and listened to her heart instead as she folded her wings and

dropped through the trees toward the horseman and the net that hung over his back.

Layla’s lungs burned as she struggled to catch up with the horse. As she closed in on the net bouncing on the horseman’s back, she saw the spikes protruding at intervals along the twine and sensed there was terrible, evil magic mixed with it.

She grabbed the net with her free hand and prepared to saw the twine with her dirk. A tingling sensation crawled up her arm, tightening her muscles in its path. As the bracelet released its protection against the net’s magic, it danced on her wrist, causing her hand to knock against Esme’s leg. If she hadn’t seen it, she would never have known she’d touched her sister’s skin. It was ice-cold. But more than that, it was hard, as though it was inanimate, as though it was porcelain. The kind of porcelain dolls were made of.

Layla’s mind struggled with the impossibility of what was happening. Her sister and Isla were prisoners of the magic in the ropes that held them. And to free them from the net, she had to first stop the horseman.
Mary Karlik has always been a dreamer. When she was a teen, she read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and then sat in every wardrobe in her Nanna’s home, trying to open the door to Narnia. She didn’t find it, but she did discover her voice as an author: one filled with her young adult self, and grounded in her roots as a Texan and her Scottish heritage, nourished by obscure Scottish folklore.

You can find her Texas roots in her YA contemporary romance Hickville series , which has been described as “100% solid storytelling,” and begins with Welcome to Hickville High, a “lovely story about growing up.”

She digs deep into her Scottish roots – there is magic there, she just knows it – for the forthcoming YA epic fantasy Fairy Trafficking series, beginning with Magic Harvest.

She makes her home in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of Northern New Mexico where she is a certified professional ski instructor, but she also loves visiting Scotland where she is currently studying Scottish Gaelic at the University of Highlands and Islands in Skye. Mary also earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, has a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University, and is a Registered Nurse.

Mary currently serves as the President of the Young Adult Chapter of Romance Writers of America and looks forward to raising a glass or two of gin and tonic with her fellow writers every year at RWA’s national convention.


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