T. Thorn Coyle worked in many strange and diverse occupations before settling in to write books. Author of the Seashell Cove Paranormal Cozy Mystery series, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, The Steel Clan Saga, The Witches of Portland, and The Panther Chronicles, Thorn's multiple non-fiction books include Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Kissing the Limitless, Make Magic of Your Life, and Evolutionary Witchcraft. Thorn's work also appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections.

An interloper to the Pacific Northwest U.S., Thorn drinks a lot of tea, pays proper tribute to the neighborhood cats, and talks to crows, squirrels, and trees.

Bookshop Witch by T. Thorn Coyle

Welcome to Seashell Cove, where the waves are treacherous, and the occupants are… strange. Centaurs just outside town? We've got 'em. Cheeky gnomes? Check. Ghosts? Yeah, we have those, too.

My name is Sarah Braxton, and I'm a witch. I also run Seashell Cove's only bookshop, though my cat Rhiannon will tell you she's the boss. Frankly, that's a toss-up. She certainly runs me. Anyway, just when I was getting the hang of juggling life with my D&D playing boyfriend, my barely-making-rent business, and my cat, weird things started happening.

Like, weirder than usual.

My best friend's partner disappeared, and something is messing with the fae spirits next door. The bookshop's resident ghost is throwing books, and Rhiannon?

She thinks we should investigate…



  • "…a lovely adventure with cats, ghosts, a big strong handsome knight, magical creatures, and plenty of spells aflying."

    – Theda Hudson, Goodreads
  • "Bookshop Witch is the first in T. Thorn Coyle's new "Seashell Cove" series of paranormal mysteries, and it's a fun and engaging beginning! Sarah Braxton, the titular Bookshop Witch, sets out to solve the mystery of her best friend's missing partner, and in the process discovers layered mysteries involving her town, her friends, and her own heritage.

    I'm already looking forward to the next books!"

    – Jack Johnson, Amazon
  • "This first book of a series has everything I would want in a paranormal cozy mystery."

    – Siochánta, Goodreads



My name is Sarah Braxton, and I'm a witch.

You might think that's unusual, but trust me, I am not the strangest thing in Seashell Cove.

That name. Seashell Cove. Makes it sound like some sweet, sunny town, with white sandy beaches, and toddlers splashing and shrieking, getting their fat little toes licked by gentle waves.

That's not Seashell Cove at all.

Seashell Cove is a craggy, windswept stretch of ocean high up on the Oregon Coast. Cliffs with sheer drops? We got 'em. Waves that will creep up on unsuspecting tourists and drag them out to sea to their deaths? We've got those, too. Centaurs that dance around fires in the forest just outside town?


Seashell Cove is dangerous, cold, quirky, and one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

I love it here. I love the town. I love the people.

And I love my store, The Widening Gyre, New and Used Books and Fancies.

That's where I sat, working, on a January Saturday afternoon, with the skies outside the shop windows rapidly turning from dusk to dark.

It gets dark early in Oregon during the winter. Those of us who can, cozy up indoors as much as possible.

I was perched on a tall chair behind the wooden ell that formed the front counter. I was more pretending to work than I was getting actually much getting done. I took a sip from the mug of tea at my right hand. Meh. Tepid already, and how had that happened?

I should've asked for one of those mug warmer thingies for Yule.

Behind me was a long counter topped by wood cubbies half full with book orders awaiting pickup or shipping, alongside a small display of recent releases. On the counter was a display rack of greeting cards made by local artists. To my right was the glowing, outdated computer my tall chair was angled toward. The screen I would rather not be staring at.

Even cleaning was better than this accounting program.

Rain lashed the windows and Main Street was quiet, except for the occasional whoosh of a car going by. I had some ambient "Celtic Winter" music on low to keep me company. Other than my cat, Rhiannon, I was alone. No one in their right mind was out shopping in this storm, and my assistant, Duncan, was taking some much needed time off after the pre-holiday crush.

White twinkle lights surrounded the front windows of the shop, the way they did all winter, shining on the shop name painted in an arc on the glass: The Widening Gyre. From outside, it would look as if the white letters outlined in black and gold floated above the books on display—a mix of antiquarian and the latest issues from independent and traditional publishers, with a section highlighting Oregon writers.

The lights also cast a warm and cheerful glow on the slender black cat currently also on display in a very undignified position.

"Rhiannon…" I started, then stopped myself. There was just no controlling cats—especially one as strong-willed as Rhiannon—and it wasn't as if there were throngs of window shoppers out to see her bathing routine anyway. The postage-stamp-sized parking lot next to the bookshop was empty other than my tiny, bright orange electric Fiat—that I have to fold my not-so-tiny frame into, but it's worth it—and Delta Crabbit's Prius. Seriously, no one was walking in this weather, not even the most die-hard Oregonians.

The only person in the shop was Delta, acting weirder than usual. Always crochety, Ms. Crabbit was one of those people who had been out in the elements for so long, you couldn't quite tell how old they were anymore. She was a white woman of indeterminate age, but I would place her in her mid-sixties if I had to hazard a guess.

I could hear her skulking around the stacks. Almost furtive. I was just about to go check on her when she scurried past, fake-fur-trimmed hood already up on her olive green rain parka.

She raced through the door without saying goodbye, bells clattering in her wake.

If I were the suspicious type, I would think she was hiding something. But I try not to be, and besides, it's hard to say what's actually strange behavior in Seashell Cove.

With Ms. Crabbit gone, I could really feel the emptiness of the store. Even Biff the ghost was lying low.

All the shops on Main Street were in the post-holiday winter doldrums. Pretty much only the tamale place next door was doing brisk business. People always wanted a break from cooking after the holidays, and besides, the handmade tortillas and chips were the best on the coast. Davíd and his mother, Mrs. Vargas, did good business all year 'round.

My stomach grumbled, telling me what I was having for dinner after closing. Maybe I'd shut down early today. There'd only been one customer all afternoon, the persnickety Delta Crabbit. She'd spent way too long back in the used Occult and Supernatural section, before breezing past me as if I had insulted her somehow.

Something in her behavior really bothered me. Ms. Crabbit was always eccentric, but she wasn't usually that rude.

I sighed, staring back at the accounting program on the computer that was going to need to be replaced sometime this year. And where would I get the money for that? It wasn't that The Widening Gyre was in trouble. Not exactly. The store had done well enough over the holidays to keep the lights on and pay for Rhiannon's kibble. But according to the numbers on the screen, not well enough for much-needed raises for Duncan and myself, and for things like fancy electronics.

A head bumped my shin and I looked down from my perch to see Rhiannon's fuzzy black face staring back up at me. The cat blinked her green eyes and then crouched, giving her butt that little wiggle that expressed her intention to leap.

I quickly scooched the chair out from beneath the high counter just enough to give her proper clearance. The cat landed with a heavy thunk on my jeans—dark-washed and wrapped around my heavy hips and thighs. I'm what a certain type of person would call curvy, and what less polite people would call fat. My biggest fans call me Amazonian, because I'm not only big, I'm tall. I keep thinking that one day I'll take up archery, like my current dating interest keeps trying to convince me to.

What can I say? Stefon is also big.

Tall, dark, bearded, and handsome, he's a member of the Society of Medieval Anachronism, which apparently gives him a thing for women with any sort of weapons.

Works for me. I love a dangerous woman myself. My first girlfriend, Cecilia, is a bit of a dangerous type. Though we broke up long ago, she's still one of my best friends.

As for those naysayers who think anyone over a women's size eight is "overweight"? They can take a leap. I like my body, and always have.

Well, that last part's a bit of a lie. My adolescence was as periodically angst-filled as any other normal teen's. Thankfully, I was too busy learning how to be a proper witch after puberty hit to let the creeping self-loathing take over too much of my life.

Spell casting and making out with my girlfriend were much more interesting than all the get-thin-quick hogwash, anyway. The dieters tried to shame me for a while, until they figured out I just didn't care enough to bother, and that I had more boys and girls interested in me than their insecure asses ever would.

"Magic conveys confidence," Uncle Cyrus always taught me, and as a newly magical teen, I did my best to take that lesson to heart.

Besides, not only did I have a hot, dangerous girlfriend in high school, I had a posse of friends who had never fit in and therefore, had all stopped trying sometime before hitting middle school. Gaming geeks, band nerds, theater freaks, queers, and the types who either wrote poetry or blew up science experiments every chance they got.

Or they worked on retro muscle cars, like Cecilia.

But The Widening Gyre wasn't magic. It was just an ordinary business in the middle of a small tourist town during an economic downturn. And computers didn't buy themselves.

"What do you think, Rhiannon? Are you willing to switch to a less expensive cat food?"

Rhiannon simply stared, then blinked again. She kneaded my thighs, gave one turn, and settled into my lap to take a nap.

"Don't mind me," I muttered, then went back to staring at the books.

Books meaning those lines of numbers on the screen. Not the books I preferred. Not the ones stacked on the counter around me, and filling the shelves that needed dusting yet again.

That's right, my name is Sarah Braxton, and I run the best haunted bookshop in Seashell Cove.

The fact that it's the only bookshop in Seashell Cove doesn't matter. It's still the best.

I've run The Widening Gyre since Dad died three years ago. I moved back from Portland about a year before that, when he became too ill to take care of the shop. See, it's a place I've been helping out at since I was a kid. I pretty much grew up here. It was just dad and myself, on our own, next to the rocky Oregon coastline. Oh, sure there's my eccentric Uncle Cyrus, and various other family members. But immediate family? It was just the two of us.

And now there's just me. And Rhiannon. I named her after my dad's favorite Stevie Nicks song, and, who am I kidding? My favorite Stevie Nicks song, too. What witch doesn't love Stevie?

Seashell Cove is nice—despite being seriously weird—and Cecilia moved back a couple of years ago to help out at the classic car garage where she apprenticed in high school, but sometimes I miss the excitement of living in a city.

Portland isn't a big city by any stretch of the imagination, but it was big enough to suit me. Cecilia and I both went up there for school, and I stayed. I loved the live music scene, and the art and activism. People were just so engaged there. Seashell Cove? Well, other than tourist season, it's pretty quiet. And that has its charm, I suppose, though it's not always the easiest thing being twenty-eight years old and living in a place filled with retirees.

"But here we are, eh, Rhiannon? You don't care where you live, do you?"

As a matter of fact, Rhiannon loved the bookshop a lot more than she ever loved hanging out in my Portland house with my four roommates. Here, she could curl up and hide if she wanted to, or sit in the window and get cooed over, and get her head scratched by as many different people as walked through the door each day. And when I took her home, to Dad's house? Well, there was a fireplace, wasn't there?

"It's a cat's life," I said.

But was it my life?

"You make your own magic." That voice wasn't a memory. It was here, live, in the store.

It was my Uncle Cyrus.

I almost peed my pants.