Happy Hallowe’en!

Happy Hallowe'en! Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Halloween, Samhain, jack o'lantern
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone familiar with me, my work, or this blog that this is my favourite time of year. I love the energy in the air, the myth and magic surrounding Hallowe’en, and the general spookiness of it all. It’s also my favourite time to cook and bake, so I’m sharing a couple of recipes that perfectly capture the season.

I wish you all a memorable night tomorrow, full of high spirits (and maybe definitely some candy)! See you on the other side…

Jack o’ Lantern Soup

Whenever we have a jack o’ lantern, I make this soup. It makes use of the pieces of pumpkin you carve out, and it’s mildly pumpkiny and delicious. (Recipe originally found in Ancient Ways by Pauline and Dan Campanelli.)

Happy Hallowe'en! Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com. Halloween, Samhain, jack o'lantern, pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin seeds, recipe, recipes.
This picture makes me realize how much I need to work on my food photography.

pieces of pumpkin cut from your jack-o-lanterns
water
butter
1 chopped onion per cup of mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk per cup of mashed pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt per cup of mashed pumpkin
dash pepper per cup of mashed pumpkin
1/4 tsp curry powder, or according to taste, per cup of mashed pumpkin
cinnamon or nutmeg

Peel the outer skin from the pieces of pumpkin and boil them in water until very tender, about 20-30 minutes. Mash pieces with a potato masher.

Meanwhile, in a pot of appropriate size, melt some butter and saute chopped onion(s). When onions are ready, add the mashed pumpkin. Add milk, salt, pepper and curry powder. Cook until heated through. Bowls of the soup can be garnished with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg just before serving.

Pumpkin Seeds

While you’re at it, you should also save and roast the seeds from your jack:

Rinse and drain seeds (if they’re really wet, you might want to pat them dry with a towel) and place in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt (you can also sprinkle with a bit of cayenne or chili powder). Stir well. Spread on a large, greased baking sheet. Place in preheated 325F (160C) oven for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. Best served warm.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

A Vampire’s Kindness (Fiction)

‘Tis the time of year for ghouls and monsters and vampires, so I thought I’d share this short piece again, for those of you who haven’t read it (or who feel like re-reading it). Enjoy!

Interview with a Vampire, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Festina Muhaxheri on Pexels.com

Note to the reader: the following text is transcribed from a document found in the crawlspace of an old row house in Montreal, Quebec. The owner of the building sent it to a local historical association, who are now sharing it in hopes that someone might have more information.

Interview with "Mara," a young woman who claims to be
a vampire 
By J.S., editor at large 
April 5, 1918.

J.S.: Could you please state your name for the record?
M: You can call me Mara.

J.S.: Is that your real name?
M: Real enough. It's the only one I have left.

J.S.: Could you tell me what you said when we met 
earlier tonight?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: When we met, I asked what a young lady was doing 
out alone in the middle of the night. How did you 
respond?
M (smiles): I told you that I am a vampire.

J.S.: A vampire--like Mr. Stoker's Count Dracula?
M: As far as I know, he is fictional. I am not.

J.S.: What would you say to those who don't believe in 
such creatures as vampires?
M: Your lack of belief doesn't make me any less real.

J.S.: How long do you claim to have been a vampire?
M: Most of my life.

J.S.: How long is that?
M: Isn't it impolite to ask a lady her age?

J.S.: Do you drink blood?
M: Of course.

J.S.: Where do you get it?
M: Wherever I can find it.

J.S.: From animals?
M: No.

J.S.: Do you have a reflection?
M (gets up and walks to the lavatory. She stares into 
the mirror over the sink): It would seem so.

J.S.: Can you turn into a bat?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: How many other vampires are there?
M: More than your kind would care to consider.

J.S.: My kind? You mean mankind? Human beings?
M: Yes.

J.S.: Do you pay attention to human events? What do you
think of the Great War?
M: I wish I could be there, in the thick of it.

J.S.: Do you mean as a nurse?
M (laughs)

J.S.: Why do you want to be at the front? Isn't it
dangerous?
M: The danger is why. It's all death and chaos. 
People die, people go missing--no one gives it
a second thought. Vampires do well in times of war.

J.S.: If that is the case, why aren't you there?
M: Someone else is there. He's looking for me. I do
not wish to be found.

J.S.: Who is there?
M: You should worry about the illness instead of
my acquaintances.

J.S.: The illness? Are you referring to the
Spanish Flu? There are rumours of epidemic.
M: The rumours are correct--the influenza is 
spreading rapidly. I can smell it in the air.

J.S.: You can smell it? That must be handy.
M: It helps us to choose.

J.S.: What do you mean by 'choose'?
M: Most of us prefer blood from healthy specimens.

J.S.: And the rest?
M: We find those who don't have long. Some consider it
a kindness.

J.S.: Why are you telling me this?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: I don't have the Flu.
M: No, you have something deeper. In your bones.

J.S.: Oh, really? What does that smell like?
M: Like sour chalk and dry rot.

J.S.: Rot is right. You expect me to believe such 
nonsense?
M: What about that ache that never seems to go away?
It's been getting worse, hasn't it?

J.S. (reluctant to respond)

J.S.: I have an appointment to see a doctor.
M: He won't be able to help you.

J.S.: How do you know?
M: They rarely can.

J.S.: Then what can anyone do for me?
M: I could prescribe you herbs, but they won't help, 
either.

J.S.: A vampire and an apothecary? That is quite the
combination.
M: I learned my trade young and found that it
pays to keep humans healthy.

J.S.: Is that it, then? All you can offer are 
ineffectual balms?
M: I can also offer you a kindness.

J.S.: You mean death.
M: Some prefer it to suffering.

J.S.: What if I refuse?
M: It's your choice. You have time to decide,
but not much.

J.S.: Where are you going?
M: I have other business to attend to. I'll return
in a fortnight. Tell me then what you've decided.

J.S.: Will it hurt?
M: I can make it so it doesn't.

M leaves and I finish recording our exchange.
I don't know why, perhaps for posterity.

I am unsure how to proceed.

Want to read more about Mara? Download my books now….

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! ♥

Cheers,
Aspasía S. Bissas

Weekend Update

Weekend Update, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Autumn, Thanksgiving, indie books, indie authors, writing, am writing, Love Lies Bleeding, vampires.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

I’m excited to share some good news. BiblioBoard has chosen to add Love Lies Bleeding to Indie Ontario and Indie Canada! This means Love Lies Bleeding will be featured and promoted in libraries as a local indie book. Check it out:

https://library.biblioboard.com/content/e42510ca-c32c-4550-b4d7-6f9082f2432b

BiblioBoard, Indie Canada, Indie Ontario, fantasy, dark fantasy, Love Lies Bleeding, Aspasia S. Bissas, indie authors, vampire, vampires, libraries.

The submission process was a long one, so it was great to find out that Love Lies Bleeding made the cut. And now, assuming this pandemic will ever end, I can look forward to participating in events and signings at libraries around the province and country.

If your local library (or bookstore) doesn’t carry Love Lies Bleeding, not to fear. Let them know you’d like to see it on their shelves. (If they ask, you can tell them it’s available through Ingram.)

Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas. book, books, fiction, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, gothic, paranormal, supernatural, horror, romance,, aspasiasbissas.com

In other news, I’m making progress on the new book. Part of what’s slowing it down is that I keep adding to it lol. I think the changes will make for a better read, though, and I hope you’ll all agree when it’s finished. This book is going to offer more insight into characters from Love Lies Bleeding, as well as introducing a major new character, and bringing back newbie vampire Trina, whom you’ll remember from Blood Magic. I’m really looking forward to being able to share it with you.

Finally, I just want to wish my fellow Canadians 🍁 a Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe and enjoy your feast with family and/or friends (or solo, because a quiet holiday can be the best kind of holiday).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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