The following are some of the publications I’ve written or created, along with links on how to find them and buy them.
On My Own
The following books and items earn me royalties and help me pay my way in the world. They’re available as eBooks and downloadable PDFs.
Paces of the Sun: The Decans in Poetry
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans divided their years into stretches of 10 days, possibly borrowing the concept from the Babylonians or other cultures more ancient still. Every ten days, the Sun would enter a new stretch of the sky and travel about a degree of arc each day. As it did so, it counted off thirty-six ten-day periods in a year. Early astrologers assigned these time periods their own particular characteristics and tutelary deities, and their own particular magic.
The Sun’s Paces consists of thirty-six poems celebrating these thirty-six Decans or Faces — three ten-degree regions make up each sign of the Zodiac, and each plays host to a particular set of forces and intentions. The poems are styled as a series of hymns to the patron deities of these time-periods: at one time of year, the Three Fates with their spun thread and shears, and at another Vulcan at his forge.
With strong imagery and clear language, author Andrew B. Watt opens up a world that’s both deeply in step with our own deeper needs as human beings; and deeply out of step with the modern world. To read these poems is to take a step into a larger universe, where time’s hidden cycles have much more to teach us than the ordinary progression of January to December. There is a whole hidden world here that few of us truly know.
Festae: Poetry for the Roman Calendar
This is a collection of nearly fifty odes in honor of the ancient festival days of Rome. A collection of hymns to pagan deities and sprites, it’s intended to help set and define a calendar of annual offerings and mindsets — to participate in public life through acts of private devotion.
It’s also an attempt to understand and express ideas about what we can or should find holy in our lives and work — our relationships with other people and with other beings, and our relationship with time itself.
The book contains at least three poems for each month of the year, tied to specific days or weeks. The poetry thus offers the reader opportunities for celebration and contemplation, and for inward and outward acknowledgement of the holy and the profane.
The Mansions of the Moon
Over the months of 2014-16, I wrote twenty-eight poems for the twenty-eight Mansions of the Moon, an alternate zodiac system specifically describing the Moon’s movement. Attested to in Hindu, Arabic, and late Babylonian sources, as well as medieval Christian writings, the Mansions of the Moon act as a kind of daily cycle of revolving energies in astrology.
The Moon is sometimes called “The Treasure House of Images” and these poems celebrate that title by looking at the twenty-eight Mansions as points in space and time — each of which has its own angelic name, a visual cue, and a collection of forces that it brings to bear on human life and livelihood. Ancient and medieval writers believed, or at least recorded, that when the Moon was in particular parts of the sky, certain kinds of activities were favorable… and some others were not.
These twenty-eight poems explore these Mansions of the Moon from a devotional and intellectual and spiritual perspective. Available on Amazon.com for $4.99.
The Tai Chi Poem
In 2014, I composed sixty-two sonnets describing the process of moving through the tai chi form that I first learned in 1998 in northeastern Connecticut. That sonnet sequence is now available as a downloadable Kindle file from Amazon.com.
Like most of my sonnets, these are Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnets, in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme running ABABCDCDEFEFGG. Some portions of the sequence may be useful to tai chi teachers for creating effective mnemonics for their own students, but I don’t recommend trying to learn tai chi from reading the poems aloud or reciting them. Some things are better left to professionals rather than me. I also think the poems are quite beautiful on their own. My goal, overall, was to create something akin or in the tradition of the traditional martial arts and tai chi manuals, a combination of simple diagrams and poetic descriptions of the movements. The work is dedicated to my teacher, Laddie Sacharko of Star Farm Tai Chi.
Poems for the Behenian Stars
A collection or chapbook of eighteen poems, dedicated to and celebrating the fifteen Behenian or ‘root’ stars celebrated in Medieval and Renaissance astrology, plus three modern additions. These stars of the first magnitude were the keys to understanding latitude and therefore navigation. By identifying their rising points, zeniths and setting points, a traveler could identify where, in relation to north and south, in the Northern Hemisphere they might be; and use the rising and setting times as guesses to the time of year and how far east or west they might be. Astrologers defined them in different ways, as angels sending certain powers and energies to Earth, to bring about changes in the natural, mortal, and intellectual realms according to their nature. Beautiful poetry, recently described as being “like the Orphic hymns in beauty and care.” Published 2017.
Work For Hire
For a lengthy period of time, I worked for White Wolf Games Studio in Stone Mountain, Georgia, as a freelance writer. I worked on their Exalted line of games for the Storyteller system designed by Mark Rein•Hagen, and the Scion line of games using the same system. These are the books that I helped write as either author or contributor:
Houses of the Bull God
This was one of my major White Wolf Games productions. I think I wrote 20,000 words of this book, about the land of Harborhead, and about Ahlat the bull god and his warrior maiden followers. My production editor, Geoff Grabowski, tore me a new one on writing. He said in his first-draft notes to me, “you’re a good writer. But there has to be a potential adventure in every sentence. Rewrite this.” In my 10,000 words, he added maybe 4,000 words of notes. I rewrote about 40% of the contracted words — as Stephen King advised, I also did a third draft where I cut 15% of my words and added 10% back in. Overall the book turned out much better than I had any business expecting. Available on Amazon (I get no royalty). Published 2004.
One of the last things I wrote for White Wolf Games, published in 2007 (available used on Amazon). It’s the story of the children of old pagan deities being awakened to their history and parentage…. just as their parents go off to fight world-destroying evil. You’re in charge of saving the world from its ordinary, day-to-day perils. Your parents are off saving the world from extraordinary peril. There’s no help, there’s no back up. You can’t call 911.
You are 911.
This was a lot of fun to write. As I recall my work was to develop the “parents” — my knowledge of mythology put to use, to write descriptions of the deities of several pantheons active in the world, siring children to be the demigod heroes who are the player-characters.
Exalted: Bastions of the North
As I recall, this book I wrote somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 words for. I wish I’d saved my contract. The Northern (Haslanti) League in the realm of Air is struggling for survival — trapped between the demands of the Empire and the challenges of living on the ice floes and in the wind-swept greenfields of the north.
Some Amazon pages don’t credit me for helping to write this book; some do. I don’t get royalties either way, so it’s fine. Somewhere in the middle of writing this particular book, published in 2005, I began to find that the skills necessary to write gaming supplements were not always the same as the skills necessary to be a good game-master. As a gaming writer, I had to focus on creating stories suitable for all gamers within an existing canon; as a game master, I had to develop the stories my gaming group wanted to explore and play. Those two things didn’t always match well, and I began focusing particularly on my writing from about this book onward.
I worked on a number of other projects, but I’m going to have to dig out the evidence and convince Amazon that I was a credited author or contributor before I go on announcing and declaring my participation in various projects. Feel free to watch this space for further publications — both ones that I did “for hire”, and projects for which I continue to get paid when you buy them.