Writers and Cats

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. TS Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen King, Ann M. Martin, Ernest Hemingway, Colette, Neil Gaiman. Ursula K Le Guin, Haruki Murakami
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

Writers are well known to have an affinity for cats (multiple books have been written on the subject)! As a cat lover, I get the appeal. Cats are good company, generally unobtrusive, frequently entertaining, and the perfect distraction when you need a few minutes away from the keyboard. If you’re lucky enough to have a lap cat, they’ll make sure you get work done by helpfully pinning you in place for hours (and they keep you warm too). My home would feel pretty sad and empty without my three kitties.

Cats can also provide literary inspiration, especially to poets. T.S. Eliot wrote an entire book about them (which then inspired a musical and, unfortunately, a movie). Jorge Luis Borges wrote these words:

Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.

-“To a Cat” by Jorge Luis Borges

It seems that what the ancient Egyptians started, writers are happy to carry on. I know I am.

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith apparently preferred cats to people (relatable)
s king cats
Stephen King
ann m martin cats
Ann M. Martin
hemingway cats
Ernest Hemingway, whose Key West home is now a cat sanctuary.
colette cats
Colette
n gaiman cats
Neil Gaiman
le guin cats
Ursula K. Le Guin
murakani cats
Haruki Murakani

Do you have cats (or other pets)? Tell us in the comments…

Don’t forget to take advantage of the July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at 25% Off (there are no cats in the story, but there are plenty of fanged predators…)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off...

Further Reading:

Iconic Writers and Their Cats

10 Writers and Their Cats

Famous Writers and Their Cats

16 Famous Writers and Their Cats

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Vampire’s Garden: Bloody Dock

Vampire's Garden: Bloody Dock, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Rumex sanguineus, vampire, vampires, herbs, herbalism, garden, gardening

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained when she was still human, she continues to study plants and have a garden. This post is twelfth in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Botanical Name: Rumex sanguineus

Common Names: bloody dock, bloody sorrel, bloodwort, red-veined dock, redvein dock, red-veined sorrel, wood dock

History: A member of the buckwheat family, bloody dock is native to Europe and parts of Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalized in parts of North America and can be found growing in ditches and unkempt areas. Bloody dock gets its name from the deep red veins running through the leaves (and the Latin name ‘sanguineus’ means bloody or blood-coloured).

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: None (although it may share the same meaning as dock/Rumex crispus: “patience”– which, with its bloody appearance, may read as somewhat more menacing!)

Cultivation: Perennial in USDA zones 4 to 8 (can also be grown as an annual). In mild climates it stays evergreen. Grows best in full sun to part shade. Reaches 18″ (about 46 cm) both in height and width (flower stalk can reach 30″/76 cm). Prefers average to moist soil (does well around ponds or in water gardens). The flowers are tiny and unremarkable. Keep plants attractive by removing old foliage in spring and removing flowers (this will also prevent self seeding). Propagate by seed or division in early spring; sow seeds directly into the ground. Fertilize annually in spring. Can have issues with slugs, rust, and powdery mildew. Can become invasive if allowed to go to seed.

Uses:

Medicinal: High in vitamin C, as well as beta carotene, iron, and potassium. A decoction of the leaves can be used externally as an antiseptic and astringent to help heal cuts, burns, rashes, wounds, and other skin irritations and inflammations. An infusion of the root can help stop bleeding.

Caution: All parts of bloody dock contain oxalic acid, which can irritate the urinary tract and cause kidney stones. May cause skin irritation for particularly sensitive people. Those allergic to ragweed may also be allergic to bloody dock.

Caution 2: Oxalic acid is toxic to dogs and cats. Do not let your pets eat or chew on bloody dock. It’s apparently safe for wildlife and livestock.

Ornamental: The attractive leaves are ideal in borders or herb gardens. The flowers are insignificant and should be removed to maintain the attractiveness of the leaves (and to prevent self seeding). If the plant does go to seed, cut it back hard afterwards to rejuvenate it. Pairs well with plants that have light green or purple foliage or red or blue flowers.

Culinary: Bloody dock is one of the first spring greens in the garden. The young leaves have a slightly sour, lemony flavour, thanks to oxalic acid (present in all parts of the plant), which can cause kidney stones and blood mineral imbalances. It can also cause contact dermatitis in some people. Eat in moderation or avoid altogether if you’re particularly sensitive or at risk. You can boil the leaves in several changes of water to reduce the oxalic acid, if you want. Older leaves are too bitter to be palatable. Serve young bloody dock leaves like spinach (after boiling, drain, and heat with olive oil or butter and garlic, or add to any dish you would use spinach in). They’re also a nice addition to soup. Leaves can be eaten raw in small amounts. Bloody dock can be grown as a microgreen. Once seeds have turned brown they can be eaten raw or cooked.

Natural Dye: The roots can yield a dark green, dark brown, or dark grey dye. No mordant is needed. The leaves produce a medium green or dark brown dye, depending on mordant.

Mara’s Uses: Although, she might include bloody dock in her medicinal tonics, Mara’s main interest in this plant would be as part of her experiments in creating a blood substitute.

Further Reading:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Wisconsin Horticulture: Bloody Dock

Bloody Dock: Not as Macabre as it Sounds

NC State Extension: Rumex sanguineus

Red Veined Sorrel

Herb: Red-Veined Dock

How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest (including as a microgreen)

Dyeing with Dock

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Happy World Goth Day!

Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, black heart, gothic

It’s World Goth Day today, so break out your black eyeliner and Sisters of Mercy CDs, and head to the local cemetery for a discussion on why we’re celebrating goths in May instead of the obvious choice of October.

I thought I’d mark the day by sharing some pictures of real vampires I found. Enjoy!

Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire cat Loki
Her name is Loki
Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire deer, water deer, chinese water deer, fanged deer
Chinese Water Deer via Reddit
Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire dog
Scary vampire dog spotted on Reddit
Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire monkey, fanged monkey, golden monkey, golden snub-nosed monkey
Male golden snub-nosed monkey
Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire cat Monk
Monk the Vampire Cat
Happy World Goth Day, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, goth, gothic, vampire, vampires, vampire cow, vampire cow meme

What are you doing to celebrate World Goth Day? Share in the comments…

Want more (non-animal) vampires? Get my books!

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: Thanks for everyone’s support after this post, where I shared that my entire family contracted or was exposed to COVID, while my SO had his own sudden health crisis. I’m happy to report that everyone is fine now. My sister, who’d been vaccinated shortly before this all happened, never got COVID, even though she lives with three people who had it. Vaccines work.

Happy International Haiku Day

Happy International Haiku Day, blog post and poems by Aspasia s. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Bob Ward on Pexels.com

Haiku by Aspasia S. Bissas

Darkness unfurling 

Weary, bruised, the sun retreats 

Rest for tomorrow

It’s International Haiku Day today! You might remember being taught in English class that a haiku is a poem consisting of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Traditional haiku are about nature or “ephemeral beauty,” but not every writer follows tradition.

My first poem (above) was inspired by a challenge to write a haiku about “unfurling” (I wrote it before I realized we weren’t supposed to use the word “unfurling” in it– oops). The next poem was inspired by a friendly dog that used to show up in our yard, looking to play. It turned out he belonged to the neighbours (he and they have since moved).

Happy International Haiku Day, blog post and poems by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

Haiku 2 by Aspasia S. Bissas

Sad dog in our yard,

Barking an invitation.

Where do you belong?

Poetry not your thing? I’ve got you covered– download my novel and short stories:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords (all formats), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Find out more about International Haiku Day here.

Find out more about haiku poetry here.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas