My New Podcast

My New Podcast, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas,, Spotify, podcast

I’ve decided to go for it and give podcasting a try! To start I’ll be sharing my blog posts in podcast form, but in time I hope to expand to talk about all things books, writing, and vampires (I may even share some of my fiction). Go ahead and give the first episode a listen and let me know what you think…

(You can also follow this link directly to my channel and listen there.)


Aspasía S. Bissas

5 Reasons to Love E-Books

5 Reasons to Love E-Books, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas,
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on

E-books seem to bring out strong opinions in readers. Those who don’t like them will say they don’t smell like books do, or aren’t as attractive on a shelf, or that “real books” don’t need batteries. While those may be valid opinions, the truth is that e-books are just as real as hardcovers, paperbacks, and audio books. People have probably been complaining about changes to their reading material since writers switched from scrolls to bound volumes. And while there’s no reason to give up your preferred book format if you don’t want to, consider that there are several reasons to love e-books…

E-Books Are More Comfortable to Use

Comfort might not be something most people consider when thinking about books, but it can be a real issue. For one, books are heavy. It can get tiring, or even painful, to carry a book (or books) around, and if you like to read in bed, some books are simply too heavy to easily lift while you’re lying down. Eyestrain is another issue readers face. If you have an e-reader, the screen is designed to mimic a printed page– and unlike a regular book, font sizes are adjustable. As well, if you have dry skin you may have noticed that paper pages seem to leach every bit of moisture from your hands, which is unpleasant and can harm your skin (I’ve found that lotion doesn’t always help). This (thankfully) isn’t an issue with e-books.

You Can Carry a Library with You

There’s no way I’m the only person who always dreamed of taking their books with them wherever they went. With e-books, the dream is a reality because you can access thousands on your device. Besides the fun of being able to bring all the books with you, there’s a practical side too. Have you ever brought a book to pass the time, but were close to finishing it and had to bring another one “just in case”? Or have you ever had to take up valuable luggage space with books when going on vacation (I would always either take too many or not enough)? Or maybe you’re a student who has to take textbooks to every class. If you’ve ever needed to bring more than one book with you, e-books are the ideal option.

They’re Better for the Environment

As much as I love physical books, I do feel some guilt whenever I buy a new one. Books are made of paper, which means trees are cut down for them. In some cases the trees are farmed, which isn’t as bad. In other cases, forests are being cut down for paper, which isn’t so good. Some post-consumer recycled paper is used to produce books, but not nearly as much as should be. On top of that, books are heavy and bulky– they use a lot of fuel to transport. And they create a significant amount of waste too. Textbooks, for example, get outdated quickly and are replaced with new editions. What happens to all the old books that are no longer wanted? Some might be recycled– a lot end up in landfills. Same goes with unsold books at bookstores– often the cover will be torn off and returned to the distributor for a refund, while the rest of the book ends up in the trash. Although e-readers come with their own set of issues, you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books (see below). Overall, e-books have a minimal environmental footprint.

Books with Benefits

Imagine you’re reading a great hardcover and you come across a quote you really love. So you whip out a pen and underline the quote right on the page. Or you want to remember where you left off, but there’s no bookmark handy, so you fold the corner of the page down. Did you just shudder a little? E-books have some great features for readers. You can underline or highlight passages, bookmark a page, leave notes for yourself (or others, if you want), and instantly look up the meaning of a word you’re unfamiliar with. You can also report any errors you notice, which is a feature my editor brain particularly appreciates! Those aren’t the only convenient features, either. If you’re the type of person who really likes to interact with a book, e-books might be perfect for you.

E-Books Are a Great Deal

E-books are generally less expensive than physical books. Although it’s not always the case (especially with traditional publishers), many e-books are priced affordably, and some are even free. E-books usually offer free samples too (for example, you can download the first 20% of Love Lies Bleeding free). Because of this, e- books are a great way to discover new authors or try out a genre you don’t usually read.

Bonus: No E-Reader Is Required

You might not realize that you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books. Amazon offers a free Kindle app that you can download to a phone, tablet, or computer (or all three), allowing you to read any Kindle-format e-book (also known as mobi files). Apple, Kobo and others offer their own apps, as well. These apps have most of the same features as you would get with an e-reader. E-books also come in other formats, like PDF files, which generally can be read on any device. E-books are accessible to anyone with a device (and since you’re reading this blog post, that means you).

Can you think of other reasons to love e-books? Share in the comments…

Want to give e-books a try? Take advantage of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, on until the end of July (Love Lies Bleeding is 25% off!)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off... Books, book, book sale, ebook, ebooks, ebook sale, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, urban fantasy, vampire, vampires,

Happy reading!

Aspasía S. Bissas

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, 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.


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,

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


Aspasía S. Bissas

Free Shipping!

black friday, free shipping, book, books, fiction, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, gothic, paranormal, supernatural, horror, romance,,

Bookshop is offering free shipping today and tomorrow (June 21-22). They give a portion of each sale directly to independent bookstores, and if you use This Link to buy my novel, Love Lies Bleeding, I’ll also get a bonus (best of all, they don’t charge more than any other online store). Forget Prime Day– support local bookstores instead…

What happens when a predator loves its prey?

Centuries-old Mara is dying a slow death when she meets Lee, a young man whose life has never belonged to him. Thrown together, they’re forced to fight those who would destroy them and survive a slew of enemies they never expected, even as Mara falls into a downward spiral of delusion and obsession. Will she make a devil’s deal to save both their souls? With pasts like theirs, can they ever have a future?

Buying through Bookshop is the perfect way to support independent bookstores, as well as authors ♥

Happy shopping,

Aspasía S. Bissas