Challenge Accepted: 10 Questions for Indie Authors

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

This challenge was posted by Annelise Driscoll.

The rules are simple:

1. Copy and paste the questions into a blog post.
2. Answer the questions.
3. Leave a link to your post in the comments section below!

Bonus! You don’t have to be an indie author to do this challenge. All writerly types are welcome!

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

1. Are you a country mouse or a city mouse?

City, all the way, especially in a city like Toronto, where we have tons of trees, green space, and wildlife– it’s the best of both worlds (my only complaint/regret is how few stars you can see at night because of all the light pollution).

10 Questions for Indie Authors, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

2. Where do you like to write?

Right now it’s the couch with my laptop, but anywhere comfortable and quiet will do.

3. What’s your favorite writing snack?

My writing is fuelled by iced coffees and matcha lattes.

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

4. Do you like music or silence?

Silence. I’m too easily distracted by anything else (and the rhythm of music throws off the rhythm of my writing).

5. What’s your favorite procrastination technique?

Probably Pinterest. But I can’t procrastinate too long before my anxiety starts ramping up and I have to write or edit to shut it up.

6. What does your desk look like?

At the moment it looks like a bunch of pieces, unfortunately. It seems to have been broken in the last move and I haven’t wanted to unwrap and look at it to find out for sure. Since we’re about to move again, it’s time I finally face it and figure out what to do next (anyone know a good carpenter?)

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

7. How do you arrange your bookshelves?

Fiction is arranged alphabetically by author and then book title (although I will keep series in order, rather than sorting by title). Non-fiction is arranged by topic/genre and then alphabetically by title. Boring, but it’s easy to find what you want.

8. What inspired you to go indie?

I decided to go indie when I realized that being well known is more important to traditional publishers than being a good writer.

9. How do you feel about book dedications?

I’ve read some good ones, and I enjoy dedicating my books, so I’m all for them.

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

10. What kind of monster would you most like to be?

It would be disappointing if I said anything other than vampire, wouldn’t it? Luckily that’s always been my monster of choice. Although vengeful spirit is not without its charm…

How about you? What kind of monster would you want to be? Share your answer to this or any of the other questions in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Read an Ebook Week Sale: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, and Tooth & Claw by Aspasia S. Bissas
Don’t forget– the Smashwords ebook sale starts tomorrow!

Off My Bookshelf

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I’m getting ready to move, an event that’s overdue, stressful, exciting, and exhausting. My days are consumed with organizing and packing, with the last couple of weeks focused entirely on books (and no, I’m not done yet). But as I’ve been sorting through them all, I realized I’ve ended up with a small collection of signed copies, which I’ve decided to share here, along with their stories. Enjoy…

The Recipe of Love is a cookbook by the owner of a (sadly, now closed) Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto, Addis Ababa. Aster, the owner, was a big part of the warmth and appeal of Addis Ababa and I didn’t hesitate to buy a copy of her book the first time I was there. Of course she was kind enough to sign it. It’s still one of my favourite cookbooks.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

This obscure little book on photography used to belong to a friend of my SO’s family, Lillith Black. When Lillith was 98, I spent some time reading to her at her nursing home (it was only for a couple of months before she died, unfortunately). My SO’s dad ended up with a few of her things and gave us some of her books, including this one. As I was getting ready to pack it a few days ago, I took a look inside and realized the author had signed it for Lillith. Book friends never really die.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book was a fun find. Written by Terry Jones and illustrated by Brian Froud, this is “Lady Cottington’s” album of pressed fairies (think pressed flowers but slightly grosser). I wasn’t expecting to find this at a hospital fundraising book sale, and was even more surprised when I got home and realized it was signed by the author.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I few years ago I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Anthony Bourdain (RIP) and Eric Ripert. Afterwards they were selling books, including some that were signed. Get Jiro! was one of the few Bourdain books I didn’t already have. Everyone seems to focus on his TV career, but for me his writing was where he really shone.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I bought The Blind Assassin on a whim at a secondhand shop (I’m not normally a Margaret Atwood fan– heresy, I know– but the story sounded interesting). I didn’t get to it for a couple of years and it was only then that I noticed it was signed (I even checked online to make sure it was really her signature– definitely looks authentic). I really need to learn to look inside books right away.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

This next book is my favourite, not only because I loved reading it, but also because of what happened the day I got it. My friend had convinced me to go see Salman Rushdie give a talk. This was sometime after the fatwa had been lifted and I think he was starting to do more events. That talk ended up being inspiring in ways I hadn’t expected. Rushdie touched on what it was like to be a writer and what his process involved…and I could relate. I loved writing and wanted to spend my life at it, but I was new enough that I still had doubts that I had any chance at it, or that I really “belonged” among real writers. But everything Rushdie said that day made sense to me and confirmed what I was doing. This isn’t to say I’ll ever be anywhere close to the talent that he is, but, yeah, I made the right choice with my life (maybe not the sensible choice, but the right one). Afterwards I bought a signed copy of The Enchantress of Florence, and every so often I peek at what other authors are saying about being a writer– just to make sure I’m still on the right track.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I have a couple more signed volumes by fairly obscure authors, but I’d already packed them by the time I thought to do this post. How about you– what are the interesting books in your collection? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: I have signed copies of Love Lies Bleeding available for $21 (S&H incl.; price is for North America). Contact me if you’re interested.

Aspasia S. Bissas's books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw

 

 

 

 

 

Dracula 2020

Dracula! Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Have you had a chance yet to watch the new Netflix/BBC Dracula? I was pretty excited to watch it, especially given the involvement of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. These two have done some amazing work on shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who (Moffat in particular is responsible for some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, ever, and is the writer of the brilliant episode “Blink,” which introduced the nightmare-inducing Weeping Angels).

So, yes, excited for Dracula.

And it was…meh. Some great moments that didn’t seem to go anywhere. Weird pacing. Pointless scenes. And I wasn’t enthralled by Claes Bang’s portrayal of the Count. I mean it was okay, but just okay…much like the rest of the show.

As a reminder of how scary (and fun) Dracula can be, here are some of my favourite portrayals of this most classic of all vampires…

I have to start with the original, Stoker’s Count. Although Stoker wasn’t the first to write about vampires, his character (and book) started an ongoing obsession with vampires, inspiring countless variations over the decades. Many of what we now consider essential characteristics of vampires: aversion to sunlight and garlic, lack of reflection, supernatural powers, vulnerable to a stake through the heart– all came from Dracula. A few have been discarded over the years too– how many modern vampires have hairy palms or need to keep the soil of their homeland handy? If you’re a vampire fan and you haven’t read Dracula yet–drop everything and get yourself a copy.

dracula

Nosferatu is an early, unauthorized, movie based on Dracula. The names were changed (Dracula became Count Orlok, for example) but that wasn’t enough to keep Stoker’s widow from suing (and eventually giving up after the film company went bankrupt and copies of the movie got out anyway). You can’t beat Nosferatu, or Max Schreck’s Count, for atmosphere, dramatic visuals, and general creepiness.

orlok
Count Orlok, Nosferatu

Although Bela Lugosi may be the definitive Count Dracula (and no one is disputing that he did a great job), Christopher Lee gets my vote for best film Dracula. Imposing and intense, it’s hard not to agree that Lee is pretty awesome in this role (I’m not sure he really needs hypnotic powers– he’d do fine all on his own).

I have to admit I’m not a fan of Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (although after watching Gatiss and Moffat’s version, Coppola’s ranks a little higher now), but I do enjoy Gary Oldman’s performance in it. He seems to embrace the character, especially when he surreptitiously licks Harker’s bloody razor, which is my favourite moment of the entire film:

Here’s the entire scene if you want some context:

One of my absolute favourite portrayals of Dracula is in Buffy in the episode “Buffy vs. Dracula.” It’s a great episode overall (who doesn’t love Xander as Renfield?) and Rudolf Martin does a fantastic job as Dracula. Aside from the show, Dracula makes an appearance in several Buffyverse comic books (scroll down the link to “Appearances” for the full list). It’s well worth tracking them down (if for no other reason than to find out whether Spike ever gets the eleven pounds Dracula owes him).

buffy dracula

And lastly (on what is by no means a comprehensive list), what’s not to like about Community’s Troy attempting to put together a cool Halloween costume by becoming a “sexy Dracula”? 😉

What did you think of Netflix’s Dracula? Who’s your favourite version of the Count?  Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine blogger award, aspasia s. bissas

Peter Wyn Mosey nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Even though sunshine and vampires don’t usually mix, we’ll make an exception this time. Thank you, Peter– for the nomination and your kind words about me 🙂

How this Works

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.

• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award [I’ll be honest, I’m not going to do this. The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules and Standards Committee can take it up with me. Hopefully word will find its way to the nominees] and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award winner! Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Peter’s Questions and My Answers

1.If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I’d love to fly and sing on key (both superpowers, as far as I’m concerned), so I’ll pick a songbird (preferably in an alternate universe where humans treat animals with respect and compassion).

2. What was the first ever creative effort that you remember really being proud of?

I wrote and illustrated a “short story” (it was probably two sentences) when I was very young (can’t remember exactly how old, but under 6). It was about a flower that killed you if you picked it. Clearly, I was honing my literary style right off the bat.

3. If you could choose between true happiness, or a greater creative skills, what would you pick?

Happiness is very tempting, but it’s also very empty. What’s to strive for if you’re already truly happy? Where’s your motivation to grow, learn, improve? In the end, I’d rather have greater creative skills while I keep seeking happiness.

4. Does politics have a place in the arts?

All art is political.

5. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

One of my cats, usually.

6. Where and how do you do most of your writing/ art?

Right now I do about two thirds of my writing on my laptop in the family room and the other third in my head while I’m busy with other things.

7. What famous work do you wish you had created?

Harry Potter. Or pretty much any painting or sculpture because I have no talent for it and I wish I did.

8. Is there anyone in the world that you actually hate?

I wouldn’t say hate, but close, and not an individual but a type of person– the ones that  actively work at making the world worse, usually for their own gain (sometimes because they enjoy it). I also have no use for those that enable them.

9. Where is the furthest you have been from home?

Geographically, Greece. Culturally, I think Cuba.

10. Would you prefer to wake up early, or stay up late?

I do both anyway, so I’d prefer to be able to do it without getting tired.

11. If you could give a new writer who was setting up a blog one piece of advice, what would it be?

Get to know your fellow bloggers 🙂

I'm a sunshine blogger award winner, aspasia s. bissas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My Nominees

These 11 blogs represent a sample of the many great sites I follow. I have eclectic tastes, so the list ranges from writing/author blogs, to travel blogs, to food, spirituality, history, environmental, and pop culture. Thanks, everyone, for giving me something to look forward to reading every week!

A Dollop of History

All Wit No Brevity

Annelise Driscoll

Blackwings666

Bon Repos Gites

Cheche Winnie

Gather Victoria

Honor the Gods

In Diane’s Kitchen

Margaret & Neal, Wandering Together

Michael Seidel

Bonus: Alex L. Weston, whose blog has been quiet for a while, but who I wish would start writing again.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award Winner, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Questions to My Nominees

1. What (or who) is inspiring you lately?

2. What’s making you angry?

3. What did you have for breakfast?

4. What creative skill or talent do you wish you had?

5. Do you believe in magic?

6. What fictional character do you relate to?

7. The last book you loved?

8. If you could live anywhere for a year, where would it be?

9. What do you wish would come back in style?

10. A favourite line from a book or movie (I’ll also accept plays, songs, and TV shows)?

11. Who’s your favourite vampire (if you say Dracula, you have to specify which version)?

Feel free to share your answers in the comments even if you’re not a nominee 🙂 If you were nominated, please comment with your link once you’ve posted (I really want to read your answers!)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Happy New Year (+ 10 Things to Leave Behind as We Move Forward)!

Happy New Year (+ 10 Things to Leave Behind in the New Decade) blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Let me start by wishing everyone the very best in the new year and new decade!

The 2010s seemed to drag by, especially these past couple of years. To be honest, the last decade wasn’t a good one for me. Although some great things happened, I also lost my mom. Longtime friendships ended for no good reason. Things I’d been counting on working out, didn’t. Things I’d been hoping would happen never did. My much-loved car got totalled. And, oh yeah, my house was destroyed (sadly, I’m not being melodramatic– thank you, ice storm of 2013).

But all of that is in the past now and I feel a change in the air. Things are about to get good.

Happy New Year (+ 10 Things to Leave Behind in the New Decade) blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

As we look ahead to a (hopefully) brighter future, I’ve put together a quick list of things we all need to leave behind as we start a brand new decade…

  1. Regrets. Unless you’ve got a time machine and can go back and change things, let go of ‘what ifs’ and ‘should’ve dones.’ On the other hand, if there’s something you can still do– go for it. It’s never too late.
  2. Facebook. There are many reasons to quit Facebook (this article goes into some of them). Although the site is helpful in promoting my books, I’m seriously thinking of leaving (or at least shifting my focus to other social media sites).
  3. Outdated thinking. When the wheel was invented, there were undoubtedly people who didn’t see the point of the new invention; those people quickly got left behind (where they were probably picked off by sabre-toothed tigers). Things change, including the way the world thinks. It’s time to reconsider the beliefs we hold on to that are holding us back.
  4. The myth that working hard = success. People who have done well in life like to claim that hard work is what got them there. If you look closely, though, what you’ll find is that they actually owe their success to good connections, plenty of help, and a lot of luck. I mean a lot. Hard work might help you maintain it, but if all you needed to succeed was to work hard, the 1% and the 99% would have switched places a long time ago.
  5. The idea that there’s only one way to live. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to life. What works for you won’t necessarily work for anyone else (and vice versa).
  6. Conspiracies. You haven’t discovered mind-blowing super secret knowledge that everyone else is too blind/asleep/indoctrinated to see– you’re just delusional. Bonus fact: real evidence isn’t found on the internet.
  7. Cats vs dogs. This isn’t a thing. All animals are awesome.
  8. Anything vs anything else. We create artificial divisions to give us a false sense of belonging and it’s stupid. We’re all in this together: it’s time we started acting like it instead of going out of our way to create problems. We don’t have to be identical to get along and work together.
  9. Plastic. The entire planet is choking on the stuff, and recycling isn’t working. There are more and more alternatives to plastic every day, including products made of green materials, and products that come in plastic-free (or no) packaging. Seek those out.
  10. Bizarre humanoid singing-and-dancing CGI cat creatures. Let’s all just pretend that never happened, shall we?

What do you think– anything to add to the list? Share in the comments. All the best in 2020!

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Happy New Year (+ 10 Things to Leave Behind in the New Decade!) blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com