Cover Reveal: Get Ready

Tooth & Claw cover reveal part 1 Aspasia S. Bissas
What does the new cover look like? Stay tuned to find out…

I have a new short story! Mara, Dominic, and their vampire associates arrive in Marseille, France in 1909, only to find another predator already on the loose. The story is set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe (although you don’t need to read LLB first) and was inspired by real events. Best of all, it will be available FREE!

Stay tuned for more details, how to pre-order, and the title and cover reveals….

(PS: In the meantime, don’t forget to download my other FREE short story Blood Magic, and while you’re at it, pick up Love Lies Bleeding too!)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Where to Find Me Online

where to find me online

A quick update today to let people know where they can find me online. I post different things on different sites, so feel free to follow me in as many places as you like. See you around…

AspasiaSBissas.com: My website is the best place to find info about me and my books, news, reviews, events, posts, and random fun bits. You can also subscribe to my posts or sign up for occasional email updates.

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Tumblr

You can also find info about my books here, including where they’re sold.

 

Book Tag: The A to Z Bookish Survey

stack of books, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of a new story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe and inspired by true events! Details and cover reveal to come–make sure to follow or subscribe so you won’t miss out…

In the meantime, it’s always fun to take part in a book tag, and this one found its way to me via A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings

Author You’ve Read The Most From:

Isabel Allende. Love her work. Close second: Ilona Andrews, if only because the Kate Daniels series has so many books in it.

Best Sequel Ever:

I’ll go with Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. You can’t go wrong with more Alice.

through the looking glass, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Tasha Kamrowski on Pexels.com

Currently Reading:

The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus (I’m trying to read more Classical Lit).

Drink Of Choice While Reading:

Water or tea, I guess, which are my drinks of choice most of the time anyway.

tea and reading, Aspasia S, Bissas
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

E-Reader Or Physical Book?

Mainly physical books, but an e-reader is perfect for travel or commuting (or school–I wish I’d had one when I was lugging around textbooks every day).

e-reader or physical books, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Been Friends With In High School:

Marco Alisdair from The Night Circus, or maybe Klaus Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It caught my eye in a secondhand shop and was the first book of hers I read. Now she’s one of my favourite authors.

Chile, Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

Hidden Gem Book:

Find a book by an indie author. Does the book’s description sound interesting? If yes, then enjoy that hidden gem!

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Aside from learning how to read, maybe it was the first time I read a difficult book and really got it.

Just Finished:

The latest (and it seems, last, alas) Kate Daniels book (Magic Triumphs) by Ilona Andrews.

so many books, aspasia s. bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

If the story is interesting to me, I’ll read just about anything. That said, however, I have no interest in abusive relationships portrayed as “romance.” I’m also tired of dystopian fiction–I think we’re all getting enough of that in reality.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Probably Ulysses (it felt like the longest, anyway).

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

The Good: Every time I finished a Harry Potter book, and ultimately when I finished the entire series.

The Bad: When I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and was left wondering wtf I just read (Harry’s name might be on the cover, but this book does not deserve that title).

The Ugly: A series I finished not too long ago that was so bad I’m still reeling. I posted about it here.

book hangover, Aspasía S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Number of Bookcases You Own:

25 (which is one reason why I’m not a fan of open concept design–I need walls!)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I’ve re-read a number of books, but the one I probably re-read the most was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Every time a new book came out, I’d read the entire series again. Since Deathly Hallows (the last book) came out, I’ve re-read the entire series a few more times.

Preferred Place To Read:

Somewhere quiet and comfortable with good lighting.

reading in a cozy spot, Aspasía S. Bissas
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

Not a single quote, but a passage from Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews:

“In basic terms, a fractal is a system that doesn’t become simpler when analyzed on smaller and smaller levels….It doesn’t end….It can’t be explained by mathematical analysis, so humanity, as it so often does, declared it to be a mathematical curiosity and swept it under the rug. Except the fractal occurs again and again….Left to its own devices, nature defaults to a fractal. A human settlement is a fractal. It is a complex system with randomly interacting components that is adaptive on every level. The pattern of the evolution of a single cell to complex organism is a fractal. The way man approaches his quest for knowledge is a fractal. Think of it: biology, the study of living things. A simple concept…”

A straight line appeared on the floor.

“As man accumulates knowledge, the volume of information becomes too much. He feels the need to subdivide it.”

The line split into three branches marked with labels: zoology, botany, anatomy, then split again. Botany grew horticulture, forestry, plant morphology, plant systematics. Zoology splintered into zoological morphology and systematics, then into comparative anatomy, animal physiology, behavioral ecology…It kept building and building, splitting, growing, branching….

“And that’s the crux of our problem…Man can’t handle the chaos.”

I went in expecting a good story. I came away with insight into life, the universe, and the limits of the human mind (along with a good story). Not bad.

Fractal, branching fractal, the complexity of everything, Aspasía S. Bissas
Image via “Fractals in Nature,” Cosmos

Reading Regret:

That I didn’t keep a record of the books I read when I was younger. Not only have I forgotten the titles of books I read and loved (and will likely never be able to find again), but I’ll never have an accurate count of how much I’ve actually read.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

I can’t think of anything in fiction, but there’s a series of science books I started a while  back that I would like to finish (not going to happen anytime soon, though).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Not necessarily my top three, but three from my list of favourites (and I’ll try to stick to ones I haven’t already mentioned): Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (graphic novel trilogy) by Van Jensen.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Reading. It doesn’t matter what or how or when–just read. Your life will be better for it–I promise. (But do yourself a favour and branch out a little–if you always read a version of the same thing, it’ll get boring after a while).

reading is magic, Aspasía S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I don’t usually pay too much attention to new releases because I don’t mind waiting to get a book (I happily read books that are 10+ years old), but there are a couple coming out that I’m excited about: The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Elder, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and Sacred Smoke by Amy Blackthorn.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Eating while I read, although I don’t do it much anymore. But I have stained a few books over the years (oops).

X Marks The Spot

Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Wars by Timothy Findley

Your Latest Book Purchase:

The last book I got was an e-book, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana.

latest book buy, Aspasía S. Bissas

ZZZ-Snatcher Book:

Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late:

Unfortunately it was the last book in that series I ended up hating (see “Major Book Hangover,” above). I was almost finished the book, so I decided it was worth losing sleep to find out how it all concluded. I spent most of the night reading (there was more left than I realized) and then I was so upset at the horrible decisions the author made that I couldn’t sleep at that point if I tried. I stayed awake all night, reading and then thinking about how much time I wasted on such an awful series. I would really like that sleep (and my time, money, and peace of mind) back.

books, Aspasía S. Bissas
Photo by Dom J on Pexels.com

What’s the last book you bought? Have you lost any sleep lately to stay up reading? What’s the 27th book on your shelf? Share your answers in the comments below, or leave the link if you post this tag on your own blog 🙂

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: It’s your last chance to take advantage of Smashwords’ summer sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at half off. Don’t forget Blood Magic–always free!

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, You Can Still Cope with Summer

how to beat summer heat
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Toronto is going through its usual series of summer heat waves, where temperatures reach well into the 40s (104F+). It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s miserable. There’s an inescapable burning orb in the sky, buzzing insects in your face, and a pervasive smell of fake coconut (AKA suntan lotion, which is actually one of the pleasanter smells one encounters at this time of year). Summer can be rough, even intolerable, for a lot of people. Being of Greek descent you’d think I’d love the sun and heat. You’d be wrong. Born and raised in Canada, I’m far more tolerant of low temperatures than high ones, but even my ancestors had a word for people like me:

Ancient Greek Word of the Day: κακοθερής (kakotherēs), unfitted to endure summer heat (via Tumblr)

So what do you do when you and summer just don’t get along?

  • stay inside as much as possible during the day
  • when you have to go out, hats, parasols, and sunscreen are your friends
  • if it’s hot and you can’t cool down at home, the library is perfect (by the way, Love Lies Bleeding is now available at the Toronto Public Library! If your local library doesn’t carry it, ask them to start 🙂 )
  • movie theatres, coffee shops, museums, and art galleries are all good places to cool off for a few hours
  • look for nighttime entertainment and activities, such as concerts and festivals
  • reading is always a good (and portable) option. You’ll find endless articles about beach reads, but check out this article on alternatives to beach reading for sun haters.

Thank you, not you meme

 

Are you looking for books featuring characters that avoid the sun as much as you do? I’ve got you covered:

Ebook sale on books by Aspasia S. Bissas

Get Love Lies Bleeding for only $1.50 (seriously!) until the end of July–and don’t forget your FREE copy of Blood Magic.

How do you feel about summer? Share your thoughts in the comments…

Cheers,
Aspasía S. Bissas

beating the heat
Photo by asim alnamat on Pexels.com

Vampire’s Garden: Yarrow

white cluster flowers in bloom
Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained in botany and herbalism, she still has a garden and studies plants. This post is sixth 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: Achillea millefolium

Common Names: Common yarrow, sanguinary, bloodwort, plumajillo (“little feather”). nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, staunchweed, arrowroot, field hops, woundwort. An old name for Yarrow is herba militaris.

History: Native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, yarrow has now spread around the world, growing freely along roadsides and coastal areas and in fields and meadows. It’s been used medicinally since prehistoric times, including by Neanderthals. Ancient Hellenes (Greeks) used it to stop bleeding from wounds (the name Achillea comes from the hero Achilles, who supposedly took yarrow into battle to treat his soldiers). Indigenous tribes throughout North America used the herb medicinally for pain relief, fever reduction, and as a sleep aid, among other things. In the Middle Ages it was used along with other herbs to flavour beer before hops became prevalent (it’s still used in beer-making in Sweden). In the Hebrides it was believed that holding a leaf against the eyes would bestow second sight. In China the dried stalks have been used for centuries in divination.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Healing, protection

Cultivation: Perennial in Zones 2 to 8. Yarrow is ideal for native plant gardens, drought tolerant gardens, and wildlife gardens. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but is tolerant of many conditions. Can grow up to 1 metre (approx. 3 feet). Seeds require light, a moist environment, and cool temperatures to germinate, so sow outdoors, barely covered by soil, after the last frost date; or start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost date and keep moist but not wet (it might be easier simply to buy plants or propagate by division). Spreads via rhizomes and can become invasive. Plant (or thin seedlings to) 30 to 46 cm (12 to 18″) apart. Once plants are established they need little watering and no fertilizing, although they can be prone to powdery mildew (giving plants adequate space around them for good air circulation will help prevent this). Flowers from May to July, and sometimes into autumn. Divide plants every other year in spring. Yarrow is considered an excellent companion plant, repelling pest insects while attracting beneficial insects, like predatory wasps, lacewings, and hoverflies.

Uses:

Medicinal: Astringent, anti-microbial, and anodyne. Drink tea made from the flowers to stop bleeding, for muscle aches and cramps, to reduce fever, for an upset stomach, or to help you sleep. Cooled tea makes an astringent facial wash (good for oily skin and skin infections/irritations). A salve or balm made from yarrow is useful on wounds, bruises, swelling, and various skin problems.

Fresh leaves can be crushed or bruised and applied directly to wounds. For nosebleeds, pick a few leaves, rub between your hands to bruise slightly, roll into a plug, and insert gently into the bleeding nostril. Leave in place until bleeding stops.

Culinary: Yarrow leaves and flowers have a flavour reminiscent of anise or licorice, and are somewhat bitter. Use fresh or dried as a herbal seasoning for food, or mix with other culinary herbs like tarragon and parsley. Can eat the greens fresh (use like sprouts or baby salad greens). Steam or blanch leaves and enjoy like other cooked greens. Don’t cook yarrow for long or at a high heat, as cooking destroys its delicate flavour and brings out the bitterness (especially when boiled). Yarrow is a nice addition to desserts, in sorbet and ice cream, or sprinkled over fresh fruit. Yarrow is also used to make some liquors and bitters.

Environmental: Can be planted to combat soil erosion.

Caution: Yarrow is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Do not let them consume the plant in any form. In humans, yarrow can cause allergic skin reactions and photosensitivity (avoid sun exposure when using yarrow). Avoid if you’re pregnant or breast feeding.

Wildlife: Many insects feed on yarrow, including nearly 50 species of moths. Several species of cavity-nesting birds use yarrow to line their nests (possibly because it inhibits the growth of parasites).

Mara’s Uses: Mara mentions Yarrow as a potential ingredient for her theoretical blood substitute: “Bloodwort, Sanguinary–that’s Achillea…” (Love Lies Bleeding, p. 156). Yarrow would also be included in the remedies she sells via her apothecary business.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Further Reading:

Wikipedia

Growing Yarrow

Language of Flowers

Yarrow: 60,000 Years of Awesome

Everyday Yarrow Uses for Natural Healing

HGTV: Yarrow Uses

Cooking with Yarrow

Yarrow, a delicious and nutritious panacea

Medicinal Yarrow First-Aid Salve (how to make)