About J.S.Watts

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J.S.Watts
J.S.Watts is a UK writer. She was born in London and now lives and writes in East Anglia. In between, she read English at Somerville College, Oxford and spent many years working in the education sector. She remains committed to the ideals of further and higher education despite governments of assorted political persuasions trying to demolish them. Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Brittle Star, Envoi, Mslexia and Orbis and have been broadcast on BBC and independent Radio. She has been Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Magazine and Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her debut poetry collection, "Cats and Other Myths" and a subsequent multi-award nominated poetry pamphlet, "Songs of Steelyard Sue" are published by Lapwing Publications. Her novels, "A Darker Moon" and "Witchlight" are published by Vagabondage Press.
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22 May 2015

Present and Past

Present and past come together in a variety of ways today.

In the immediate present, the seventh and penultimate blog post in the week-long Witchlight Blog-Tour has been published. The Battered Suitcase Press Blog is kindly hosting J.S.Watts' contemplations on the subject of present and past.

In the recent past, author Susan Roebuck hosted the fourth blog post in the Witchlight Blog Tour, Travelling Across and Up and Down The Page. Susan's own novel, Rising Tide, has also been launched this week and to celebrate the launch of both Witchlight and Rising Tide there is an opportunity to enter a free online raffle giveaway to win copies of the books. The rafflecopter event begins tomorrow (which is in the future at the time of writing this) and runs until 31st May. See Susan's website and blog for further details.

Back to the present, though, and here is the beginning of J.S.'s post on Present and Past:



I am really pleased that this current stage of the blog tour celebrating the May launch of my paranormal novel, “Witchlight”, is being hosted by the Battered Suitcase Press blog of my publisher, Vagabondage Press.

Vagabondage are the people who, in the past, have had sufficient faith in me and my writing to publish two of my novels, first “A Darker Moon” and now, in the present, “Witchlight”. It gives me the opportunity, in the here and now, to thank them for their past trust and the mammoth and ongoing effort involved in designing, publishing and promoting a book and to say, “Thank you, guys. You rock!”

I love the way present and past so often come together, sometimes positively, sometimes not, but inevitably in an intriguing and fascinating way. Two sections of existence’s timeline, separated by months, decades or centuries, but influencing one another and combining to create and shape new events and occurrences.

Writing, whether a letter, a blog post or a novel, is a way of capturing the present and fixing it so that, however long ago something was written, it will always seem the present for someone reading it for the first time. My present thanks to Vagabondage for their past efforts will be available for you to read in your present for as long as this blog remains on line, even when this moment, as I am experiencing it, has long since faded into the past.

There is a coming together of past and present in “Witchlight”. The novel’s lead character, Holly, is content with her present at the start of the novel, but it turns out her past has been holding out on her...



To see the whole of the post and read the conclusion, go to Battered Suitcase Press at http://batteredsuitcasepress.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/present-and-past-guest-post-from-js.html

The eighth and final post of the tour will be published tomorrow, when we return to J.S.'s Goodreads Blog, the starting point of the tour a week ago.

21 May 2015

The Witch's Cat


J.S.Watts was unavoidably called away from her computer when the sixth blog post in the Witchlight blog-tour was due to go live. Fortunately a rather special blogger stepped in to the breach to save J.S. and thus the sixth blog post has been published on Candy's Raves on the agreed date.

The post introduces us to Barny, the witch's cat from "Witchlight"... Sorry I've just been instructed to change that to read, the main character from "Witchlight" and a cat with his own witch. Read on and all will become clear...





My human, who writes as J.S.Watts (though I just call her Yiaow), is having a busy time writing posts for the blog tour to promote her new novel, “Witchlight”. Yesterday I tried to help by bringing her a delicately chewed mouse. For some reason, she didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture. Today, I’m going to try a different approach and write a blog post for her while she’s out buying carpet cleaner. She’s bound to be grateful.

Before we get much further in to this post, though, I’ve got to say that I don’t think much of the accuracy of its title. Cats have witches. Witches don’t, per se, have cats, in the same way that humans don’t have cats. Though, of course, according to Yiaow’s novel, witches are humans born with the “abracadabra gene”, so it’s all a bit complicated. Oh well, I guess it gives me the opportunity to tell you about the most important character in her new novel, Barny the cat (though I do feel she should have given him a properly respectful feline name).

First, however, and to put important things into context, I need to tell you about me.

I was only a kitten when I chose Yiaow for myself from amongst the supply of human helpers I was proffered at my temporary residence. Even as a youngster I could detect talent. I don’t mean she’s a good writer, I have no idea, but I knew she was right for me and, if she was going to waste time writing, at least she would be writing about appropriate things.

Yiaow proved her worth and my judgement almost immediately by incorporating me into several of her poems. When she picked the one I thought did me most justice, “Cats and Other Mythical Creatures”, to be the almost title poem of her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, I knew I was in the cat-as-muse stage of my career.

Next, she started on the artwork for the collection’s cover. She wanted a picture of a cat-dragon, but,
even with the help of a human friend, she couldn’t capture the image exactly as she wanted it. I just sashayed up to her and pointed out that a photograph of me was what the image needed and everything was concluded most satisfactorily. This was the cover-model stage of my career.

Then she wrote me a walk-on part in her novel, “A Darker Moon”. Technically the role was for a female kitten, but in written fiction anything is possible and the little black and white Evie wrung hearts during her brief scene.

Yiaow, however, was to let me down badly...





To see the whole of the post and read the conclusion, go to Candy's Raves at http://candysraves.com/2015/05/the-witchs-cat/

The seventh post of the tour called "Past and Present" is due to be published on Friday on the Battered Suitcase Blog and J.S.Watts will be back in her writing chair..

20 May 2015

Say Hello To Holly

The fifth blog post in the week-long Witchlight Blog Tour has been published. Goodreads author Ute Carbone has generously hosted it on her website. Thank you, Ute.

The post is called "Say Hello To Holly" and it introduces Holly Jepps, the lead character of J.S.'s new paranormal novel Witchlight. The beginning of the post is as follows:



I’m over the moon that the wonderfully generous Ute Carbone has invited me back to her superb blog to talk about (or should that be write about?) my new paranormal novel, Witchlight.

Witchlight is being published this week by Vagabondage Press in both paperback and e-format and Ute’s kind invitation provides me with a brilliant opportunity to introduce you to my novel’s lead character, Holly Jepps. I become very attached to all my characters, but there’s something about Holly that has made her especially special to me and I hope readers of Witchlight are going to like her as much as I do.

Witchlight is a paranormal tale, with a touch of romance. Like Harry Potter, Holly discovers she has previously unknown magic powers, but as she is thirty-eight rather than eleven, all similarities end there. Holly lives on her own with her much-loved pet cat, Barny. She’s a talented personal counsellor, hasn’t had a smooth-run, romantically speaking, and leads a normal, unexceptional life, until one day, and without warning, her fairy godfather turns up to tell her that she’s a witch with inherited magic powers. Needless to say, this comes as something of a shock to Holly, who suddenly has a lot of adjusting to do.

They say that writers always put a little bit of themselves in their characters. To a greater or lesser degree, I agree and that partially explains why I feel such a close affinity for Holly. Whilst I have never been gifted with even the slightest hint of magical powers, I am aware that there is probably more of me in Holly than in most of my other characters. Admittedly I’m not going to see thirty-eight again anytime soon, but Holly is a short, independent woman living on her own in Cambridgeshire, England: a description that pretty much fits me too. Holly lives with Barny, her beloved black and white cat. My life is ruled with a paw of iron by Dickens, a black and white lad who is proudly feline to the tips of his very fine whiskers...



To see the whole of the post and read the second half, along with Ute's introduction, go to Ute's Blog, "Coffee With Friends" http://www.utecarbone.com/coffee-with...

The sixth post of the tour is due to be published on Thursday on the Candy Raves website. It's called "The Witch's Cat" and it has been written by a very special blogger.

19 May 2015

Travelling Across and Up and Down The Page

Today is the official launch day of J.S.Watts' new novel Witchlight in paperback and e-versions. The online launch party is taking place this evening (UK time) and the fourth of her blog posts in the week-long Witchlight blog tour has been published. Author Susan Roebuck has generously hosted it and has also published a wonderfully positive review of Witchlight at the same time.

The post is called "Travelling Across and Up and Down the Page" and a little flavour of it is provided here, but you really need to go to Susan's Blog to read the entire piece and her wonderful review of Witchlight.



When Susan generously invited me to write a guest post for this blog I naturally asked if there was a particular subject she’d like me to write about. “How about your journey to date as a writer?” Fair enough, I thought and so here I am, pen in hand (I invariably write first drafts of anything long hand), wondering where I should begin this summary of what is, in effect, a lifetime’s journey.

I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. I used to say that my earliest significant writing moment was when I was roughly seven or eight and a poem I had written was placed (second, I think, but I may be wrong) in a cross-borough poetry competition. My mother, however, claims to have physical proof that my first poetry success was at the earlier age of four or five, when a poem I wrote about the beauty of nature was one of two chosen to be read out in school morning assembly. Apparently, for blackmail purposes, she has the original poem in question written in my infant scrawl.

Needless to say, I wrote a number of poems and short stories (and a play, if I remember correctly) during my school days and some even won some prizes. There was a brief lull in my writing activity when I went to university and the pressure of late night essay crises and analysing others’ writing won out over my own creative processes. By the time I graduated, however, my writing was once more on the up and I was back to writing poetry again.

For a while I was doing quite well in terms of the publication of my poems in UK literary magazines, but then, as my non-writing career took off, paid work got in the way. Indeed, the further my career progressed, the less writing I did. I never stopped writing poetry altogether, but the time and commitment needed to keep sending the poems out to magazines (and deal with the hundreds of rejections that come back, as well as the occasional joyous acceptance) weren’t there. Writing became, for me, a totally private pursuit. I always told myself, though, that “one of these days” I was going to see if anyone would publish a poetry collection by me and, maybe, whether I’d got a novel in me...



You can see the post in its entirety and read its conclusion at Susan Roebuck http://www.susanroebuck.com/2015/05/t...

Wednesday's post (the fifth in the Witchlight Blog Tour) will be hosted by author Ute Carbone over at her blog, Coffee With Friends: http://www.utecarbone.com/coffee-with... It will be a wonderful opportunity for people to get to meet Holly, the lead character of Witchhlight.

18 May 2015

Pigeonholes Are For Pigeons: the delights of cross-genre writing

The third post in the Witchlight Blog Tour is generously hosted by Brook Cottage Books. In it J.S.Watts talks about cross-genre writing. Read the opening paragraphs here...




As a reader, I enjoy reading genre books of all varieties, but I always get a little thrill when I come across a book that strays beyond traditional genre boundaries, or merges two or more genres. Margaret Atwood’s wonderful novel “Alias Grace” comes to mind: a book that simultaneously manages to be historical fiction, literary fiction, a mystery novel and an insightful piece of writing on human romantic and sexual relationships. Or there is Marcus Zusak’s “The Book Thief”, with its blend of history, emotion and magical-realism. It keeps me, the reader, on my toes, makes me think harder and often manages to deliver the unexpected.

As a writer, therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that my writing tends to be somewhat fluid when it comes to genre boundaries. For example, my poetry, whilst literary in style, frequently has mythical or science fiction themes. My short stories often straddle two or more genres: fantasy and horror, horror and crime, science fiction and fantasy, fantasy and literary fiction, and my first novel, “A Darker Moon” has variously been described as horror, gothic romance, dark fantasy, mythical fantasy, magic-realism, literary fiction and dark fiction. At least everyone agrees that it is dark. I guess I write what I want to read and try not to limit myself to pre-imagined boundaries.

Guess what! My new novel, “Witchlight”, ploughs its own furrow as well. It’s definitely fantasy/ paranormal, as it’s a story of witches and magic in modern-day England, but there’s also humour and a touch of romance, as well as some dark undercurrents. Like Harry Potter, my main character, Holly, discovers she has previously unknown magic powers, but as she is thirty-eight rather than eleven, similarities end there...



You can see the post in its entirety and read its conclusion at Brook Cottage Books

Tuesday's post (the fourth in the Witchlight Blog Tour) will be hosted by the author Susan Roebuck over at her blog http://www.susanroebuck.com/index.html. Tuesday is, of course, the day that Witchlight is officially launched in paperback and e-editions, so there may well be some books up for grabs on Susan's blog! There is also, of course, the online launch party to look forward to on Tuesday as well. It's going to be a busy, but very exciting day.

17 May 2015

A Moment of Change

The second post in the Witchlight Blog Tour is generously hosted by the Bristol Book Blog (BRSBKBLOG). This is how the post begins...


I was about to write that there are two things which fascinate me, but that would be wrong. Many, many things fascinate me and find their way into my writing, but for the purposes of this post there are two things I am going to focus on: the way life can change (for better or worse) in a moment (a blink of an eye, a beat of a heart, the ring of a phone, the ping of an email) and how the things that fascinate me in life invariably end up in my writing, even though my life is pretty mundane and I frequently write about fantasy, science fiction and horror.

So there I was today, working away at something I had planned to do (I have quite a lot on my to do list at present. My new paranormal novel Witchlight comes out in paperback and e-book formats on 19th May) and suddenly my email pings and there is a message from my publisher saying there’s a last minute opportunity to do a guest post to help with the promotion of Witchlight. Will I respond to it? Of course I will. I’ve committed months of my life and untold emotion to the creation of my new book and I want to do right by it and the characters I have created: see it, and them, on their way out into the big bad and uncertain world as best I can. Then I realise that the deadline is very, very close. The piece has to be submitted before 1st May and today is the last day of April and it’s already almost 5pm. I have less than seven hours in which to write this piece and submit it, cook and eat some dinner, go to Thursday band practice (I’m a French Horn player and no, don’t ask), finish what I am currently working on, sort out the cat, prepare for tomorrow’s three back to back events and go to bed at a reasonable time because I’m up early tomorrow morning.

So here I now am, at my keyboard, original work on hold, this evening’s plans interestingly shaken up in the cocktail mixer of life (and no, I doubt that I’ll have time for a real cocktail when 6pm comes round) typing away at this piece. Half a day of plans thrown up in the air at the ping of an email.

Life was ever thus. I’ve always worked in environments where plans can change in a moment and have long recognised that life itself can change dramatically when the phone rings with good (or bad) news, you make eye contact with someone you did not expect to, your number comes up (in the lottery or in a not so good way)...



You can see the post in its entirety and read its conclusion at BRSBKBLOG http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/...

Monday's post (the third in the Witchlight Blog Tour) will be hosted by Brook Cottage Books over at http://www.brookcottagebooks.blogspot...

16 May 2015

First Blog Of The Witchlight Tour

The first blog post on J.S.Watts' eight day Witchlight blog-tour has gone up on J.S.'s Goodreads Blog! Here it is in full:


"Welcome to the first post of the trans-Atlantic Witchlight blog-tour.

If you have been anywhere near my website or Facebook page (or my Goodreads profile, or anyone that’s read one of the special pre-release e-copies, or indeed just me) you will have probably realised that I have a shiny new novel coming out on Tuesday 19th May. It’s called Witchlight. It’s a paranormal story of witchcraft and witchery and it’s going to be available in both the UK and the US in paperback and e-formats from my publisher, Vagabondage Press (and Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and ibooks and…and…). Needless to say, I’m very excited.

Much of my excitement will inevitably be unleashed at the online launch party that’s taking place on 19th May via Facebook, but before then, and starting with this post, there is an eight day blog tour to promote the novel. Various kind and generous people have agreed to publish an assortment of guest posts from me, each one exploring a different aspect of Witchlight and my writing. The itinerary for the tour has already been published on this blog and on my website here, but you may want to note that the post on Goodreads author Sue Roebuck’s blog, scheduled for launch day itself, will involve a giveaway or two. Similarly, there will probably be some prizes on offer during the online launch party and, if that isn’t exciting enough, e-copies of Witchlight are currently available at an extra special pre-launch sale price (get your copy before 19th May).

Witchlight has been described as “Harry Potter for grown ups, with all the magic and all the humor, plus a cocktail hour and some romantic intrigue. J.S. Watts' lyrical prose, British wit, and irrepressible protagonist make WITCHLIGHT a rollicking read”. It’s a wonderful (and generous) summary, but it is just that – a summary.

In their way, the guest posts on the blog tour are all summaries as well, snapshots of Witchlight in different poses, but I’m hoping that the accumulated impact of the blog tour will provide people with a real taste of Witchlight as a whole, as well as my growing excitement, which I really am having difficulty controlling. Then again, I’m the author. The book’s my baby. I’m allowed to be excited. I would love it, though, if you could come to share my excitement with me.

J.S.Watts

The second post of the tour is called "A Moment of Change" and will be posted tomorrow, 17th May, on The Bristol Book Blog, otherwise known as BRSBKBLOG, which you can find at http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk "