Witchy Season

In which I profess my admiration for Fairuza Balk and Greta Gerwig


Let’s commence the season of the Witch.

The older I get, the more fascinated I become with why we tell witchy stories. Witches are powerful women who, historically, terrified the ever loving snot out of the powers that be. Mostly men.

Like many teenage girls growing up in the 90’s (in Indiana), the first truly witchy story I was exposed to was The Crucible by Arthur Miller, which is, ironically, a play that isn’t about witches at all. (Read this article by Arthur Miller if you’re interested.)

Literally the same month I was writing lightweight essays on the hypocrisy of John Proctor, The Craft was released in theaters. I watched this movie over and over with my friends. It was our go-to at literally every sleepover. Fairuza Balk still lives rent-free in my head, dragging her toes on the floor as she flies in a rage at 90’s resident bad boyfriend, Skeet Ulrich.

Try and tell me this image doesn’t still scare the bejeezus out of you.

This is an odd juxtaposition of stories about witches, to be sure. There’s much that can be made of the rampant misogyny in Miller’s world—I mean, he’s likening finger-pointing McCarthy era politicians to squabbling, manipulative teenage girls. Because that’s the worst case scenario? Being a teenage girl is the insult? And while The Craft presents a more modern take on witches, including some incredibly gratifying comeuppance for the jerks that wronged them, is it actually feminist? Or is it skewed by the male gaze that produced it?

I don’t have the answers. Greta Gerwig probably does, and I can’t wait for her version of The Craft. (Let’s manifest this, please!)

All that said, is this newsletter intended to be a dissertation on the evolution of feminism in Halloween media? Of course not. But it’s witchy season, and witches are bold embodiments of badass women. So the next time you consider passing on a witchy book, think again. After all, WWFBD? (What Would Fairuza Balk Do?)


This is your monthly reminder that UNCHOSEN is due to release December 5, 2023. In case you missed it, here’s a preview of the GORGEOUS cover art by Ash Ruggirello.

You can pre-order UNCHOSEN by clicking this link. Or, wait until December and order it from your local Independent Bookstore.


Struggling with balancing writing and #life? I’ll let you in on a secret: you’re not alone.

Marla Hooch might be my spirit animal.

Goodness gracious, it is HARD to find not just enough time, but the right kind of time to write. Because it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Am I right?

I’m not an expert at this. At all. I’m still very much learning. But I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years of ways that I carve out writing time while also respecting my “me” time.

  1. Get more help. This one sounds simple, but it can be hard. It’s like the idea of relying on your village--but if you don’t have a village, where do you start? Maybe you could ask your partner to take on meal prep one night to get a little more time? If you have young kiddos, hire a babysitter or even a neighbor’s tween to be a mother’s helper for an hour. People generally love to help others, so you never know what help is available until you ask.

  2. Use a timer. I am forever a fan of this method. Set a timer, ignore technology during that time, and work until the timer goes off. It’s much easier to envision editing for twenty minutes than it is to edit indefinitely.

  3. Commit to not writing when it’s not time to write. This might sound counterintuitive. Aren’t we talking about writing more efficiently? But for creative daydreamer types (and isn’t that most of us?) it’s so hard to shut off that brain! And that doesn’t even factor in the hustle culture effects that we’ve all grown up with. Rest is work. Rest makes us more creative. Embrace the rest.

  4. Join a writing group. This is all about accountability. The old school idea of a critique group that meets every so often and exchanges pages is a classic for a reason. But if you don’t work that way (or have time for it) there are so many other opportunities to connect with writers on platforms like Discord and Slack. You can find writing groups through local organizations like SCBWI. Our local organization, Willamette Writers, is excellent and I’ve met several fabulous critique partners through attending meetings.

  5. Pick a time to write--and stick to it! Don’t write when you’re not supposed to. But also, we are creatures of habit, and if you write at the same time each time you write, it will become easier and easier to engage in that creativity. Having a hard time carving out that time? Try the early morning hours. Rachel Caine famously wrote dozens of books before 8 am at the coffee shop near her office. You might also consider attaching it to another routine. Maybe you go to the gym after work every day? Could you squeeze in a 20 minute writing sprint after your workout at the juice bar?

  6. Treat yo' self. When you reach a goal, no matter how small, give yourself a reward. Maybe it’s that Aztec Mocha you don’t normally go for. Maybe a nice pen or a new journal. Or, for a bigger goal, you could consider a virtual writing class. (Have you ever seen Maggie Stiefvater’s virtual class she put out during the covid era? It’s fabulous!) Writing is such a solitary endeavor, so celebrate the small stuff whenever you can.

How do you try to balance your writing time with everything else?


What happens when you send all the teen girls out into the woods for a year with no resources? Exactly what you’d expect.

In Kim Liggett’s speculative novel, THE GRACE YEAR, Tierney and the other sixteen year olds from her small settlement are sent into the woods for this critical year in order to get rid of their magic and return ready to settle down, get married, and contribute to town life.

It’s a gritty story in the vein of tv’s Yellowjackets that forces the reader to consider what it means to have power and what it takes to right a generational power imbalance. And just when you think this story is about to go down like a bad season of Survivor, there’s a kickass feminist twist that I won’t give away. You’ll just have to read it.

You can find THE GRACE YEAR over here.

That’s it for this month! If you’re local, be sure to check out my NaNoWriMo Planning Workshop at the Cedar Mill Library Bethany Branch on 10/26 at 6:30 pm. It’s free to the public, but if you’re excite to attend, consider pre-registering!

‘Til next time…