Wear a mask and get vaccinated!

What he said!

honor the gods

This has been a public service announcement from Marcus Aurelius.

Readers, if you’re eligible for the vaccine and haven’t already done so, please get the shot/s.

We can’t make the world a better place without your help.

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Remix background: Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius by Eugène Delacroix, 1884. Collection of the Fine Arts Museum of Lyon. Image source: (X). Image license: The author died in 1863, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

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Currently Reading

Currently Reading, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

I’m happy to report that my re-read of Gods Behaving Badly was a good one. I’d mentioned that I was concerned I wouldn’t enjoy it as much this time around, but I’m happy to say it has mostly held up. It would’ve made a great series, and I’m sorry that the author never pursued that route.

I’m now moving on to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. This is one of the rare cases where I’ve seen the movie before reading the book. Since I love the movie, however, I’m really excited to finally be getting to the book.

Have you read Practical Magic and/or watched the movie? What did you think? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

(PS: In other news, I got my second covid shot. Who would have thought that something like a vaccine would be cause for celebration in our lifetimes? But then again, who would’ve thought we’d be going into year 2 of a pandemic? We owe a debt of gratitude to all the researchers and scientists– and volunteer test subjects– who worked so hard to get us a vaccine as quickly as they did. And also to everyone stepping up and getting the vaccine. Being vaccinated not only stops the spread and protects those who legitimately can’t get vaccinated, but it also prevents new variants.)

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.