October was very un-October this year. I think it may be the forever summer feel of Santa Clara valley that lingers until the rain starts which was yesterday, the first of November. All my autumnal, witchy feelings were on hold until it was truly cool enough for sweaters and the sky stayed gray longer, past the marine haze from the South Bay burning off. I guess I will save all my witching for this month.
I didn’t burn through as many books in October. I took a break from interviews for the podcast. We are currently scheduled out through March for episodes and I hate to keep them all for so long that they get stale. But I am loving the podcast and despite a moment of panic that it maybe was just me broadcasting into the void, numbers of listeners are creeping up and I have to remind myself that a lot of people don’t even take a podcast seriously until it hits its first birthday.
I finished the new book which now is renamed which I’ll share with newsletter peeps first once we have a cover. I’ve gotten my first round of editing notes back and basically need to gut the middle part (which I knew wasn’t working) and re-write a long section to up the ante some. But it feels good. I’ve embarked on research for a non-fiction witchy book and on research for the next book in the new series. So more writing and pondering this month than reading. But here is what I did finish:
(Links are to Bookshop.org if it is available there or to the independent author’s page and I do not receive any kind of compensation or commission.)
Running Witch by T. Thorn Coyle — my pandemic escapist series and I had the pleasure of interviewing them for the podcast. Sarah and her trusty (and curmudgeonly) bookstore cat further their adventures in Sea Shell Cove as Sarah investigates magical creatures stealing magic and selling it to mundanes who can’t handle the consequences of what they think is a party drug. A serious topic to be sure but handled in a light, and fair-handed, way by the local magical Justice.
The Witch of Key Lime Lane by Gabrielle Keyes – the first book in a women’s paranormal fiction series set on Skeleton Key in Florida. This was a fun bookclub read and very enjoyable. Christine McConnell gets name checked and the main character is a professional chef. I appreciate that women’s paranormal fiction has a romance subplot but the main story is a woman (over forty, at least) recapturing or rekindling her power through magic and friendship with other women. This one is especially fun and well-written and if I had more time, I’d be on book four already. (only available through Amazon so link is to the book website)
Sigil Magic for Writers, Artist’s & Other Creatives by T. Thorn Coyle — a re-read since I was interviewing them. Coyle has a dedicated daily writing practice and discusses that in the book along with sigals to work through common writer or creative “ailments.” I am not a daily writer but I see the wisdom in their approach. Clearly they are doing something right given their prolific output. There is a new, expanded version coming that Coyle funded through Kickstarter.
Missing Witches by Risa Dickens and Amy Torok — this was a serious bookclub read for October and November and is based on their excellent podcast of the same name. The book is broken into the holidays of the Wheel of the Year and included two “missing” witches for each turn of the wheel. Powerful stories of women and queer people who may or may not have identified as witches but whose lives contained magic can inspire us to magic in our own lives. Dickens and Torok are unique voices in the witchy space. I highly recommend this one.
Project for 1000Volt Press by Lisa Allen-Agostini — re-read for editing notes for a Trinidad-set, historical mystery with some political intrigue and Obeah magic due out in 2023.
Werewolf Pack Magick by Denny Sargent — podcast interview read that I’m still working my way through. It’s a follow up to his Werewolf Magick and expands on the new tradition he introduces there. Sargent draws on ancient myth to create an animistic tradition that celebrates and seeks to protect the wildness of our planet and ourselves. It isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own necessarily but it’s a new approach and I see the appeal of the wild magic he is describing.
Ghetto Gastro presents Black Power Kitchen by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, + Lester Walker — keifel and I preordered this and I am so glad. It’s part cookbook, part history, part art book with recipes and interviews and gorgeous photos of the food and places. I’m excited to cook out of this but it’s also an excellent read.
The Gorgon’s Guide to Magical Resistance edited by Laura Tempest Zakroff — out today officially, but I ordered before November 8 and got an immediate ebook download. A great collection of poems, spells, and essays on magical resistance just in time for the U.S. mid-term elections. One highlight is Cory Thomas Hutcheson’s take on the history of penis trees in the marginalia of illuminated manuscripts (a personal favorite form of artistry) and how we might bring that “tradition” into our magical practice.