the moon tells no lies
To put an end to a family curse, midwife and witch Amelia Graeme is determined to live a quiet, lonely life at the edge of the woods. But when something crawls out of the mud-stained shadows and snatches a child from her bed, Amelia’s surprised to find widower Ford Jenkins on her doorstep, asking if her magic can get his daughter back. Despite her fears, Amelia must open her heart and her home in order to unravel the secrets lurking in the wood–before something swallows them whole.
An adult witchy novel dripping with horror and romance, The Moon Tells No Lies sits at 109,000 words. Read on for more insights into Moon and the three companion Witches at Whitehill stories…
inspirationFor my mother, who fought her own curses.
For my honey-haired sister, my second soul mate
And for the man who always sees me.
Alt-J’s “Hunger of the Pine”:
sleeplessly embracing / butterflies and needles / line my seamed-up join / encased in case I need it / in my stomach, for my heart / chainmail
Aisha Badru’s “Splintered”:
we are splintered / and we are rotten / deep within the walls that we’ve forgotten / all the answers / to all our problems / lie within the one who tries to dodge them
Griffin Dune’s Practical Magic, Robert Egger’s The VVitch, Oz Perkins’s Gretel and Hansel
Adult WINTERWOOD (Shea Ernshaw) x Gothic MEMORY OF WATER (Karen White)
Somewhere–in the deep, in the dark–there’s a fae dwelling. Plank-bark walls and a crown of moss, mushrooms marking a flagstone path to the front door. Two little girls delighted in tying the hatched windows; they’d made sure they were west-facing so the golden shards of light could pour in. But now it must be in shambles, growing cobwebs in the corners, holding a bellyful of broken glass.
The mourning cloak caterpillar was chewing on a thistle leaf, back spires undulating as it crawled up the stem. The eyelets would become lacy wings with enough time. I cupped it into my palm and felt the magic at work, tingling in its feet. My sister was the one who thought to build it a home.
When Mama wasn’t looking, Charlotte and I ran into the woods to add fern carpeting and a little twig chimney. We propped our chins on our fists to watch the mourning cloak sit there in its jar–in the middle of its little house. A faerie was supposed to emerge. A butterfly with white frosting edges and pretty blue gumdrops on its wings.
Maybe the bark was corrupt; maybe the moss leached something through the lid. We shouldn’t have put it in the woods. Nothing good ever comes from the woods.
Something writhed inside. Feeding. Growing stronger, forming teeth. We watched it rear and shriek in the only way caterpillars can. Silent. Silent screams in the middle of a deep, dark wilderness.
Wasp larvae ripped through its flesh, roiling out of their violent birth and into the house we unwittingly built for them.
Charlotte screamed, dropped the jar. As it exploded against the ferns, the wasps burst out. Wriggling shrapnel struck our legs, fell into our socks. Gasping through our tears, we stomped on the things. Trampled them. And we squished our mourning cloak too.
That was the day Charlotte and I witnessed the horror of nature, understood the sickening twist of a stomach infected. Years later, when I performed a simple scrying spell to find Ford’s daughter, I’d feel that lurch again.
I would be the mourning cloak.
Below, learn more about the
Witches at Whitehill
the earth remembers
The first American Graeme sprouting new roots in spring.
Based on the ancestral backstory in Amelia’s tale, Earth is the story of Caitrìona escaping Scotland under suspicion of witchcraft only to find herself wrestling with a powerful coven in the new country.
the sun burns the edges
A pair of sisters burning the past in the sweat soaked nights of summer.
Occurring after the events of Moon, this final story explores a honey girl darkened by the woods, a sister ensnared by tradition, and a caravan tracking down whiffs of the Devil.
the moon tells no lies
Amelia Graeme embracing the mingling of life and death in autumn.
The original Witches at Whitehill tale.
the stars see all
A young witch finding her spark in a bleak midwinter.
The formative tale of Amelia’s grandmother: a femme fatale waking to hot bodies in cold rooms; men lured out into the snow by something not quite human; frosted spiders’ webs, crystalline flakes, and nature’s geometry gone a little uncanny.
Winter is a cruel mistress.