J.S. Watts's Blog

December 7, 2018

I'm participating in Giftmas 2018, an Advent Calendar styled blog tour featuring a new story a day from participating writers from 1st - 25th December. Its aim is to raise funds for the Edmonton Food Bank (Edmonton in Canada, that is). For ways in which you can get involved (there's a free raffle), or donate please go to Rhonda Parrish's fabulous blog. If you can't afford a donation, but have enjoyed this or other stories in the blog tour, please help us to raise the profile of the appeal by sharing the stories and/or blog-tour details on social media.

My contribution for 7th December is a basic and earthy tale about how some of our favourite Christmas Traditions may have come about...



Christmas Traditions
By J.S.Watts


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house nothing was……...

What do you mean, you’ve heard it before? Ungrateful bugger! You said you wanted a Christmas story. This was going to be a nice traditional one. There ain’t enough respect for the old traditions if you ask me, but no one does; I’m part of the traditions no one respects.

Happens I’m not “sexy” enough. These days it’s all sexy vampires and hot werewolves. Even shapeshifters get a look in. There’s one in that TV show “First Blood”, along with those too cool for their fangs vampires and, I admit, some pretty tasty goings on, but me and mine we’re not sexy at all, even though I can manage a bit of shapeshifting myself on a good night.

There was a time when it was traditional to placate me with cakes and a saucer of milk. Now I have to make do with Santa’s leftovers and look what they’ve done to ‘im: primeval demi-god to cartoon character in less than a thousand years. First they demote the poor bugger to a saint and then they hand him a Coke, stuff him into a red romper suit and make him work with children. Talk about cutting off his……

Balls! That’s what did it. The final nail in the solid oak coffin of a traditional Yule. A perfectly decent pagan festival that survived all the church stuff that got dumped on it, received its fatal wound when mass manufactured deccies ushered in the commercial Christmas. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against commercialism per se, the me, me, me ethos is all very admirable, but when they sold off the mid-winter festival it lost its dark hued soul. Too many traditions have been thrown out with the baby, including me. Some of you ain’t even certain yet as to what I am. Back in the day you’d have known.

Anyways, I’ll ignore the disrespect – for now. Would you like me to tell you a properly traditional Christmas story? One with a bit of sex and violence in it, like in the old days; things that go bump in the night and make the wheel of the year turn a little faster? What d’yer mean, something nice and seasonal and suitable for family reading? We’re talking Mid-Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. You can’t fill up that sort of dark with cutesy robins and day glow reindeer. Even the Victorians liked a decent ghost story at Christmas. They knew there’s a need to give the dark a decent send off if you want the sun to come round again.

Alright, alright, I ain’t got time to argue. It’s a busy time for me too. ‘Oo d’yer think has to burn the turkey, break the brand new toys and help Grandma choke on them mincepies? Look, I’ll tone down the sex (a bit), head butt the violence out completely and tell you the story of how the fairy got on top, err… of the Christmas tree. Ok?

It was the night before Christmas (see – told you so) and I was poking the fire for the Gingko fairy, if you catch my drift. She likes her fire roaring, does that one. The family I was lodging with had just put up one of those new fangled German things that came into fashion about then and we were keen to see if the branches were as bouncy as they looked. We had knocked more than a few pine needles off that tree, let me tell you, when the Fairy Queen comes along and catches us at it.

You can read the complete story and blog at http://www.jswatts.co.uk/2018/12/chri...

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Published on December 07, 2018 02:06 • 5 views • Tags: blog-tour, christmas, ethereal-tales, giftmas-2018, j-s-watts, rhonda-parrish

November 28, 2018

It's almost a brand new month (we're probably escalating for Christmas) and Mark Meier has rashly allowed me to play with his blog yet again (I now realise he hasn't learnt).

Most writers will tell you there are questions they don’t like having to answer: often they are the ones we get asked the most. I'm writing an occasional series of lighthearted blog posts looking at some of my “oh no, not again!” questions and exploring why I, personally, don’t enjoy having to respond to them.

This month sees the second question in the series: “Why Do You Write?” You can read the beginning of me grappling with this thorny writerly issue here:



Most writers will tell you there are questions they don’t enjoy answering. Ironically (or perhaps not) they are often the questions we are most frequently asked.

I’m writing an occasional series of lighthearted blog posts looking at some of my personal “oh no, not again!” questions and exploring why I don’t relish having to respond to them. The second question in the series is, “Why do you write?”

Let me start by turning this question back on you, “Why are you you?” I’m guessing responses to this will loosely fall into one of three generalised categories:
1. The gnomic no-answer: “because I am”;
2. The psycho-babble, spiritual, scientific splurge that is largely incomprehensible and usually ends up sounding as if the speaker is up their own arse;
3. A long and eventually boring list of all the things that make you uniquely you.

And so it is with my responses to the question, “why do you write?”
Because I do (for me, it’s such an intrinsic part of my nature that I struggle to come up with a clear and coherent response);
Because I breathe, am genetically pre-disposed to, have an itch...


To read the blog post in its entirety, please follow this link and go to https://www.meier-writers.com/home/qu...
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Published on November 28, 2018 08:23 • 1 view • Tags: blog, blog-post, difficult-questions, j-s-watts, mark-meier, questions, writing

November 27, 2018

This December J.S. will once again be participating in the Giftmas Advent Blog tour to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank (that's Edmonton Canada, if you're reading this in the UK).

Each day there will be a brand new story from one of the participating writers, starting with S.G. Wong on 1st December. A list of those participating is given below. J.S.'s Christmas story will go live here and on her website https://www.jswatts.co.uk on 7th December.

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Published on November 27, 2018 11:11 • 4 views • Tags: blog-tour, christmas, giftmas2018, short-stories

November 9, 2018

This week has seen an unprecedented amount of blogging activity as far as I am concerned. I don't write that many blog posts and invariably only at the invitation of others. This week I've had three guest posts published.

Today, Ali Jones is kindly sharing my words and a number of my photos on her lovely and relatively new blog, Green Fire Poetry. In particular, I muse on the poem, Song For Autumn by Mary Oliver and on my own approach to seasonal writing.



I’m taking Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem, Song for Autumn, as the leaping off point for this post and will then see where my pen takes me (and, yes, I do always write the first draft of anything, be it fiction, blog post or poem, longhand.)

For me, Song For Autumn, is about resting down your burden: the leaves dream of the comfort of falling to the ground, the trees look forward to birds sleeping inside them, the goldenrod whispers goodbye and the fox is hurrying towards dusk. The poem ends on thoughts of the traditional domestic comfort of a log fire, something to come home to, although for the logs anticipating it, it means certain oblivion. I find the poem a lyrical, accepting and contemplative valetudinary piece...

You can see and read the full post here.https://greenfirepoetry.com/2018/11/0...


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Published on November 09, 2018 04:03 • 4 views • Tags: ali-jones, autumn, blog, green-fire-poetry, guest-blog, j-s-watts, nature, photographs, seasons

November 8, 2018

It always amazes me that some writers balk at the thought of blogging. It's writing after all. Well, I was having this online discussion with Mark Meier about why people don't like blogging and then I remembered that I used to be like that and that I'd written a blog post about it back in 2012 ( which had been posted in 2013) and about my conversion to writing blog posts and here it is. https://www.meier-writers.com/home/st...

With thanks to Mark Meier for letting me on his blog, yet again and to Vagabondage Press for the initial publication of the post.
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Published on November 08, 2018 11:02 • 6 views • Tags: blog, blog-post, fear-of-blogging, mark-meier, writers, writing

November 5, 2018

It's a brand new month and Mark Meier has rashly allowed me to play with his blog again (you'd think he'd learn).

Most writers will tell you there are questions they don’t like having to answer: often they are the ones we get asked the most. I thought I’d write an occasional series of lighthearted blog posts looking at some of my “oh no, not again!” questions and exploring why I, personally, don’t enjoy having to respond to them.

This month sees the first question in the series: “What are you working on currently?” You can read the beginning of me grappling with this thorny issue here:



Most writers will tell you there are questions they don’t like having to answer: often they are the ones we get asked the most. Whether that is the reason we don’t like answering them, or whether the world just has a spiteful and black sense of humour, I don’t know.

Anyway, I thought I’d write an occasional series of lighthearted blog posts looking at some of my “oh no, not again!” questions and exploring why I, personally, don’t enjoy having to respond to them. Other writers may, and probably do, think differently and may actually relish answering these specific questions. It’s just that, for some reason, I don’t.

The first question in the series is, “What are you working on currently?”

It’s a question often asked of writers by other writers. A harmless enough enquiry, you might think, expressing a laudable interest in my work and activities, except:

1 - If I’m working on something sensitive or at an awkward stage in its evolution, I don’t want to talk about it in case I jinx it.

2 - If I’m not actually writing anything at the moment, I most certainly don’t want to admit it or talk about my painful period of writing drought.

3 - (Most likely in my case)...

To read the blog post in its entirety, please follow this link and go to https://www.meier-writers.com/home/qu...
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Published on November 05, 2018 07:56 • 1 view • Tags: blog, blog-post, difficult-questions, j-s-watts, mark-meier, questions, writing

October 21, 2018

I have been been briefly chatting to poet Neil Laurenson over on his blog about my favourite room, the poets that inspire me and the mistreatment of sweetcorn (amongst other things).

You can find the resultant questions and answers (and those of some other poets Neil has likewise been grilling) by going to Neil's blog at: https://www.neillaurenson.com/2018/10...
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Published on October 21, 2018 05:43 • 23 views • Tags: answers, interview, j-s-watts, neil-laurenson, poetry, poets, questions

October 1, 2018

Mark Meier has rashly let me back on his blog again. This week I decided to talk about gardening:

I have spent much of this summer writing my new novel (the first draft is now well over three quarters of the way through, thank you for asking) and trying to reclaim my garden from the wilderness it was becoming. I therefore thought I’d write a post about the benefits of gardening. Well Mark has repeatedly said I can write about anything.

Let me be upfront, I enjoy gardening, but I’m not a real gardener. My mother is one of those. She knows the plants by their Latin names (I barely know their common ones) and regularly digs over the soil as you are supposed to do. I just dig holes to put things in. Nevertheless, I enjoy my garden and recognise its value as a writing tool. What? You didn’t think this post was going to be about writing?

Writing is an extremely sedentary activity: hours sat in front of a computer screen or with a notebook on your lap....

To read this post in its entirety please pop over to https://www.meier-writers.com/home/ho...
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Published on October 01, 2018 10:10 • 4 views • Tags: blog, blog-post, elderlight, gardening, j-s-watts, mark-meier, witchlight, writing

August 17, 2018

It's the end of the week and the last of my current run of blog posts on Meier Writers - The Author Hub. A big thanks to Mark Meier for letting me play around with his blog.

Today I am talking about my multiple works in progress and especially the sequel to my novel Witchlight, Old Light. There is also the third novel in the Witchlight trilogy, Elderlight, which I am writing even as you are reading this, honest, I really am.

Anyway, you can read all about it here: https://www.meier-writers.com/home/pr...
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Published on August 17, 2018 11:37 • 1 view • Tags: elderlight, j-s-watts, mark-meier, novels, old-light, the-author-hub, wip, witchlight

August 15, 2018

Despite already hosting one blog post from me and an interview, Mark Meier has let me back on "Meier Writers - The Author Hub" to blog some more. This time I've chosen to expound on the subject of editing and just how important it is, regardless of what you are writing and where you are writing it. You can read the post here: https://www.meier-writers.com/home/ed...
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Published on August 15, 2018 10:11 • 2 views • Tags: blog, blog-post, editing, j-s-watts, mark-meier, writing