Beyond Your Blog    

Short Stories-a short-term commitment

posted May 14, 2019, 10:37 AM by Janie Watts   [ updated May 14, 2019, 11:41 AM ]

If you enjoy writing short stories, this is for you:

Interview with Chattanooga Writers Guild

posted May 2, 2019, 1:55 PM by Janie Watts

Thanks to the Chattanooga Writers Guild for featuring me in their May newsletter spotlighting a member.  I had a blast answering these questions, not necessarily about my craft.  Here it is:
Janie Dempsey Watts
What was the best concert you’ve ever been to? I fell in love for the first time when I was 13--with George Harrison of the Beatles. So when I heard a contest on a Chattanooga radio station to win tickets to a concert, I filled out 50 or so entry slips every night and mailed them in, about 500 total. Not surprisingly, I won two tickets to an upcoming concert in Jacksonville, FL. I found another Beatlemaniac, and she convinced her father to drive us there, despite Hurricane Dora which had just passed through Florida. We arrived to find the hotel windows taped up, but we settled into our hotel rooms. A few hours before the concert, we heard screaming coming from somewhere near the hotel. Following the sound of the fans, we found a group swarming around a limo parked in a driveway next to the hotel. Soon the four Beatles came out, walking towards the limo. We went wild! I was closest to John, and I jumped across the limo’s front hood and stretched out my arm as far as I could to touch his sleeve as he passed. Then someone pulled me back. The Beatles climbed into the limo and slowly drove away through the throng of fans. Later, at the concert we cried and screamed through every song. George, my first love, was actually in person although he looked smaller than I had imagined. From my spot in the audience, far from the stage, I sent him all my loving.
What does your writing area look like? My writing area is filled with stacks of relevant research materials such as newspaper clippings, photographs, notebooks, and yellow legal pads where I’ve scribbled notes. Always I keep several black fine-tip ballpoint pens and yellow pencils. Sometimes I have an object that reminds me of what I’m working on at the moment. And two framed photos of my late mother are on my desktop to cheer me on. She was the most creative person I’ve ever known, and always encouraging.
Where is your favorite place to spend a beautiful spring day? Certainly not behind a desk. On sunny days, and even on chilly days, I find peace walking back to visit my horse in the pasture. I enjoy listening to the birds and looking for rabbits. I am inspired by nature, and the land where Native Americans once roamed and hunted.
Where is your favorite place in Chattanooga? The Bluff View Art District. The feel of it reminds me of Paris--the sculpture garden, shops, and restaurants. I like to walk through the passageways and pretend I’m somewhere else. I find the area so intriguing, I included it in my second novel, Return to Taylor’s Crossing, which spans from 1959 to the present. One of the main characters, Abednego, stays there at a B & B as he seeks to find his first love, who he was torn apart from during a racially motivated attack when they were a young couple. There’s even a fictional Bluff View art shop featured.
Which award are you proudest of? There are two honors that stand out. My second novel, mentioned above, won third place in the Yerby Award for Fiction. Frank Yerby was a successful African-American author of 33 novels. At the Augusta Literary Festival, I lined up with other finalists to await the results. My heart raced as we waited. When my name was announced, I could not believe it! They gave me a fancy wood and brass plaque which now graces my office.
The other honor that I will always cherish is from the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy. They chose my first novel, Moon Over Taylor’s Ridge, as their community-wide read in 2013. I was especially happy that this novel was used to encourage literacy in our community. And they also gave me a lovely crystal book weight inscribed with their logo, a shooting star. I feel reading can help everyone rise above their circumstances and aim high. 

An unexpected gift

posted Apr 6, 2019, 12:42 PM by Janie Watts

The other day when I least expected it, a reader (who also is a fiction editor) send me a note about my short story collection, Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers. Here's what she said:

"You certainly have a gift for storytelling and the difficult art of short story writing. Loved the crazy lady depiction in Ruby Yacht...but such a sad story. I have several favorites, Under Milkweed Leaves, River Run, and Backyard Messages. Thank you for writing this wonderful set of stories, you really capture humanity in it's beauty, desire, pain and ridiculousness."

I so appreciated her taking the time to write and to share her favorites. Her note made my day!  Thank you, dear reader.

Happy Little Book Garden reading set for March 2

posted Feb 4, 2019, 4:20 PM by Janie Watts

Pap Pap Goes to Paris will travel to Chattanooga Mercantile in Eastridge on Saturday, March 2, at 1 p.m. I hope you will join me at this charming store that carries a great selection of children's books. I'll be reading the story and signing copies as well.  All are welcome!
Chattanooga Mercantile
6725 Ringgold Road, East Ridge, Tennessee 37412

Latest news on my books

posted Nov 6, 2018, 6:55 AM by Janie Watts   [ updated Nov 6, 2018, 7:00 AM ]

After a whirlwind early autumn of book events, things are now settling down a bit, and I have time to share a bit. First, my picture book is now carried at a new amazing book store at Chattanooga Mercantile, Happy Little Book Garden and More.  This store is in East Ridge not far from I-75. Next year, I'll plan to have a reading there.
Gift store Seed Goods, down by Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, now carries all of my books.  This store features a diverse collection of gifts.
If you are in the area, please check out both these stores to see my books and all the other possible gifts they offer for the upcoming holidays.
For those in the Ootlewah area, please come see me on Saturday, November 17 at 10 a.m. to noon at the gift store Cottage Treasures. I'll be signing books there as part of their open house.
On Saturday, December 8, I'll be at Grace Episcopal with artist Lyn Martin at a holiday market event. We'll have copies of Pap Pap Goes to Paris and my other grown-up books, too. Lyn will bring some of her art work. 
If you can't come to these events and want a Pap Pap Goes to Paris book, they are also now at Dogwood Books in Rome, GA, Michael's  Fine Arts in Dalton, GA, Starline Books in Chattanooga, Vintage Gathering in Ringgold, GA, Chaucer's in Santa Barbara, CA, and available through Barnes and Noble or
I hope to see you at one of my events, but if I don't, please have blessed holidays and drive safely. 

September and October Book Events

posted Aug 30, 2018, 1:29 PM by Janie Watts   [ updated Sep 13, 2018, 7:19 AM ]

Friday, September 21, Reading at Woodstation Elementary School to primary grades.
Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14, Signing books at Prater's Mill along with author Mike Ragland of Rome, GA.
Friday, October 19, 5 -8 p.m., Signing books with artist Lyn Martin, at Michael's Fine Art and Frames in Dalton, GA.
Sunday, October 21, Book talk on my short story collection, Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers, at Collegedale Library
Saturday, October 27, Rome, GA, Chiaha Festival. Signing books.

Upcoming Events (August and September, 2018)

posted Aug 11, 2018, 3:20 PM by Janie Watts   [ updated Aug 22, 2018, 3:21 PM ]

Star Line Books, Chattanooga, TN, Saturday, August 25, 11 a.m. I'll be reading from Pap Pap Goes to Paris, and so does Ricky. 

Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, GA, Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2, 12 noon to 2 p.m. I'll be at Booth 621 in the Children's area along Sycamore Street and near the Decatur Public Library signing copies of Pap Pap Goes to Paris, and so does Ricky. Look for the booth marked "SCBWI" (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  

I hope to see you at one of my events!

For those who cannot make it, this book is carried in several places. Star Line Books in Chattanooga, Vintage Gathering in Ringgold, GA, Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara, CA and also is available online at and

Pap Pap Goes to Paris, and so does Ricky signings

posted Jul 16, 2018, 2:27 PM by Janie Watts   [ updated Jul 16, 2018, 2:45 PM ]

Merci beaucoup to all my reader friends who have come out to our many book signings since the book was released May 3, 2018. If you enjoyed the story, please post your review on or at or

We have enjoyed meeting readers at Vintage Gathering, The Chattanooga Readers and Writers Fair, and at Barnes and Noble in Chattanooga. Next up: Star Line Book Store reading on Saturday morning, August 25. 

New Interview with Amphibian Press

posted Jun 26, 2018, 4:31 PM by Janie Watts

Marissa Frosch of Amphibian Press interviews me about my journey as a writer. I talk about inspiration, the process, marketing, novels, short stories, and non-fiction works. Grab a cool drink and enjoy!

BOOK SIGNING Barnes and Noble on Bastille Day (July 14)

posted Jun 21, 2018, 1:15 PM by Janie Watts

Pap Pap and Ricky will travel to Chattanooga's Barnes and Noble on 
Bastille Day, Saturday, July 14 from noon till 2 p.m. Artist Lyn Martin has created some coloring pages to share with the children who attend. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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