Summer/Winter Sale!

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

The Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale is on now until the end of the month! Whether it’s summer or winter where you live, a good book is the perfect accompaniment every day. Get Love Lies Bleeding now for 25% off! And don’t forget that Blood Magic and Tooth & Claw are always FREE…

Love Lies Bleeding: a novel about delusion, obsession, and blood…

Happy Reading,

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

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day by Neil Gaiman: Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gifts of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over. Via Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com

Download some fiction 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 (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

3 Reasons You Should Ignore Your Inner Critic

3 Reasons You Should Ignore Your Inner Critic, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

To be creative, especially if you’re creative for a living, is to be in a constant state of worry. Will anyone be interested in my work? Will they like it? What if they hate it? The worst is when the worry morphs into self-criticism and you start doubting yourself and everything you do. My own inner critic nags at me that my books aren’t any good, that I should never have pursued writing in the first place, and I should just quit now. If I let them, my inner demons would probably take up as much space in my head as my plots and characters.

But my inner critic is a liar, and so is yours.

Your inner critic is nothing more than an amalgamation of doubts, anxieties, and insecurities. We inadvertently feed our critics because smart creators know there’s always room for improvement, so we think we should pay attention to what our critic tells us. We definitely shouldn’t,

Why you should ignore your inner critic

  1. It’s counterproductive. Your inner critic is both a poor judge and a compulsive liar. If you need some honest feedback to help improve your work, ask a friend or colleague, or join one of the many groups (both online and in real life) where your fellow creatives and/or interested volunteers will be happy to help. You could even hire someone like an editor to assess your work. But your inner critic will never offer anything useful, and you’ll waste your time focusing on the wrong things.
  2. It undermines you. If you keep thinking that you’re not as good as you could/should be, or telling yourself that you suck, then even if you don’t really believe it, eventually it will chip away at your confidence. Before long you’ll be second-guessing everything you produce– and might even end up too stressed to finish a project. If you do manage to complete something, your eroded confidence in your abilities will make it impossible to pitch your work to anyone or promote it. If you’re not convinced your work is great, how are you going to convince anyone else?
  3. You might end up believing it. There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to pursue your creative skills as a career, as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons. Unfortunately I’ve known too many talented people who’ve quit because they convinced themselves they weren’t all that good. Even worse, most stopped being creative for fun too, and that’s truly a shame. The world is better with your art/writing/music/whatever in it, and to let your inner critic convince you that you shouldn’t bother is a loss for everybody. No one is inspired by accountants, no matter how awesome they are at their job (apologies to all the amazing accountants I know), but that photo or poem or sketch you shared with friends or on social media could get someone through a bad day, or encourage them to start creating.

How should you deal with your inner critic?

An article on the Brockton Writers Series site suggests mindfully addressing your inner critic. The author offers some good suggestions, such as waiting the emotions out (they will pass) or agreeing with your inner critic and going forward anyway (for example, you’d say something like: “I should just quit now…and I will go ahead and write another paragraph.” Basically: acknowledge your inner critic, and then do your thing anyway. In other words: ignore it.

What’s important at the end of the day is to keep at it, no matter what that nagging voice in the back of your head tells you. Whether you’re creative for love or money, go ahead and ignore your inner critic. Or tell it off. Or sit and have a polite conversation with it– whatever you need to do. As long as you don’t believe it.

How do you deal with your inner critic? Share in the comments.

And while you’re here, don’t forget to download 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

Free Books and an Ask

Free Books and an Ask, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, Book quote "As the night progressed nothing seemed to slow her down." Love Lies Bleeding, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, gothic, horror

Have you read and enjoyed any of my books? If so, please leave a rating and/or review!

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

A novel about delusion, obsession, and blood.

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Paperback available from Bookshop – when you use this link, a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself.

Blood Magic

Myth and magic collide in this story about choices, transformation, and retribution.

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Tooth & Claw

A dark fantasy story about memory and delusion, violence and consequences; inspired by real events in Belle Époque France.

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Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas