Dayle A. Dermatis is the author or coauthor of many novels (including snarky urban fantasies Ghosted and the forthcoming Shaded and Spectered) and more than a hundred short stories in multiple genres, appearing in such venues as Fiction River, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and DAW Books.

Called the mastermind behind the Uncollected Anthology project, she also guest edits anthologies for Fiction River, and her own short fiction has been lauded in many year's best anthologies in erotica, mystery, and horror.

She lives in a book- and cat-filled historic English-style cottage in the wild greenscapes of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time she follows Styx around the country and travels the world, which inspires her writing.

To find out where she's wandered off to (and to get free fiction!), check out and sign up for her newsletter or support her on Patreon.

Desperate Housewitching by Dayle A. Dermatis

A coven of witches in suburbia, juggling families and holidays and jealousy, or fighting with the local homeowners' association with both magic and their wits.

Magic users in Portland, OR, who have a special and unusual relationship with their familiars.

This collection contains three stories each from the fan-favorite Desperate Housewitches series and the popular Portland Hedgewitches series.

So brew up some potion, settle in with your cat, and lose yourself in these stories of glamour and occasional infighting from a master of urban fantasy!


I read the first of the stories in this collection by Dayle A. Dermatis years ago. I read a lot, yet, I still remember these stories, because they made me grin while still making me think. I think you'll find this collection worth the read as well. – Leah R Cutter



  • "Trust Dayle to write a winter holiday story about the solstice and magic. She manages to combine the claustrophobia of a suburban neighborhood with the competitiveness that women sometimes engage in with holiday ritual. Only the holiday ritual here isn't decorating a Christmas tree or singing carols (although there is a discussion of carolers that made me chuckle). Nope. This one is about pagan rituals. The story's wonderful, funny, and a do-not-miss."

    – Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Hugo-award winning author, about “Desperate Housewitches.”



It started with the Samhain decorations.

It would get worse at Yule.

Much worse.

I just didn't know that yet.

"I just don't like her," I said between gritted teeth, furiously polishing a silver quaich, the shallow bowl with two stag's heads as handles that we needed for our Samhain ritual.

"Jealousy is a negative emotion, and it'll suck away your energy if you let it continue," Dana said reasonably.

Dana was my best friend; we'd grown up in this neighborhood together, taken over our respective mothers' places in the coven when it came time, brought in husbands and, in her case, started raising children. She was small and slender and looked like most people's idea of a fairy, with blond ringlets and impossibly wide blue eyes—an image that was shattered whenever she cursed, because she had a hell of a potty mouth.

She was my best friend and I loved her, even when she was right and I stubbornly refused to admit it.

We were in my house, a Gothic Victorian with a widow's walk (unnecessary in a neighborhood not remotely near the ocean, but still charming) and stained glass framing the windows. All the houses on our block are different styles, from Painted Ladies to Craftsman bungalows. There's even a black-beamed, white-stuccoed Tudor the next street over. Some people say our houses slowly conform to the owners.

They wouldn't be wrong.

The kitchen smelled like pumpkin and spices, which made sense, because I was baking for the ritual as well. Of course we'd have the traditional cakes and ale as part of the ceremony, but I also always made extra to send home with everyone.

"I'm not jealous," I said.

Dana pointed out the window, across the street to Philippa's house (Arts and Crafts Movement, and I happen to know it looked like William Morris had exploded inside). "You're telling me that you don't feel threatened that she's probably going to win Best Decorated House this year?"

Of course I felt threatened. I'd won Best Decorated House for the past ten years, ever since I set up residence here. In our coven, I was the one with the best decorations, the best food at potlucks, the best parties, the best poison garden (for show only, of course)…it was my thing. Everybody knew it was my thing, and everybody loved me for it.

And then Philippa had come to town. Pretty Philippa, with her stupid English accent and her high-and-mighty "I'm from England so I know how the rituals are really supposed to go" and her Goddess-damned decorations.