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Love Lies Bleeding quote by Aspasia S. Bissas

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

Vampire’s Garden: Hawthorn

Vampire's Garden: Vampire-Repelling Plants, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

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 eleventh 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: Crataegus monogyna (and other species of Crataegus)

Common Names: thornapple, May tree, whitethorn, hawberry, mayhaw, fairy thorn, quickthorn, Bread and Cheese Tree

History: Native to temperate areas around the world, hawthorn is part of the Rosaceae (Rose) family (you can see the resemblance in the berries, which are similar looking to rosehips). Folklore about Hawthorn abounds, and these are only a few examples: In Ancient Greece, branches decorated altars of Hymenaios (God of marriage), and were carried during wedding processions. It is believed that Jesus’ crown of thorns was made of hawthorn (in parts of France it was claimed that the plant would groan and cry on Good Friday). The Celts thought it could heal a broken heart. Before the calendar was changed from the Julian to the Gregorian system, hawthorn bloomed on 1 May, and May Day/Beltane celebrations included gathering the flowering branches (the only time it was allowed). In Great Britain and Ireland it was believed that uprooting or cutting down a hawthorn brought bad luck (with some attributing the failure of the DeLorean Motor Company to their cutting down a hawthorn in order to build a factory). Hawthorns have strong associations with fairies, and lone trees were thought to be especially powerful and most beloved of the fair folk.

Vampires: Starting in Serbia and spreading throughout the Balkan region, it was believed that only stakes made of hawthorn or ash could kill a vampire. In Bosnia, people would wear hawthorn twigs to funerals, dropping them as they left the cemetery; if the deceased rose as a vampire, they would have to stop to pick up the twigs, allowing the living to return home safely. The thorns were also placed in a recently deceased person’s clothing to “pin” them to the coffin and keep them from rising.

Language of Flowers Meaning: Hope

Cultivation: There’s a hawthorn for almost any hardiness zone, from Zones 4 to 11 according to the USDA, and as far north as Zone 1 (just below the tundra) in Canada. Hawthorn will grow in full sun or part shade. They’ll tolerate most types of soil, although they prefer rich, well-drained soil. They’re also drought tolerant. Growing hawthorn from seed is difficult and time-consuming– it’s easier to transplant a sucker or seedling. It’s possible to graft one type of hawthorn onto the seedling of another type. You can also use hawthorn as rootstock to graft other plants, mainly medlar and pear. Flowers generally bloom from May to June. Hawthorn is used as a hedge plant and as ornamentals– just be mindful of the thorns. Once established, hawthorns need little attention, other than fertilizer in spring, and some water during prolonged dry periods. It is also resistant to road salt and air pollution, making it ideal for urban areas.

Uses:

Medicinal: The flowers, leaves, and berries of Crataegus laevigata and other species have been used since the first century CE to treat heart disease. Science is starting to back up hawthorn’s use for treating a variety of cardiovascular issues, although more studies need to be done to confirm results and determine things like dosage. The dried fruits of Chinese (C. pinnatifida, shān zhā in Chinese) and Japanese (C. cuneata, called sanzashi in Japanese) hawthorn species are used in traditional medicine as a digestive aid.

Caution: Taking too much hawthorn can cause cardiac arrhythmia and low blood pressure. Some people may also experience headache, a racing heart, and nausea. Do not use if you are taking digoxin. It’s best to be safe and avoid hawthorn if pregnant or breast feeding.

Culinary: The “haws” (berries) can be used to make jam, jelly, sauces, or wine (although since they’re an important winter food for wildlife, you might prefer to leave them on the plants. The young spring leaves and flower buds can also be eaten cooked or raw. In Mexico, the fruit of a local hawthorn species is made into candy called rielitos.

Wildlife: Hawthorn is a source of food and shelter (especially in winter) for birds and mammals, as well as an important source of nectar for insects. It also provides food for the larvae of many butterflies and moths.

Bonsai: Many species of hawthorn can be used for bonsai, including common hawthorn (C. monogyna), Japanese hawthorn (C. cuneata), thornless hawthorn (C. nitida), and ornamental varieties like Crataegus lavigata ‘Paul’s scarlet’.

Other Uses: First Nations people of Western Canada used the thorns as fish hooks and for minor surgeries.

Mara’s Uses: Although Mara would likely use hawthorn in tonics for her clients, its traditional use against vampires might leave her a little reluctant.

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! ♥

Wikipedia: Crataegus

Vampires: Hawthorn

Six Ways to Stop a Vampire

WebMD

Mt. Sinai

How to Grow Hawthorns

Hardy Fruit Tree- Hawthorn

Gardening 101: Hawthorn

Hawthorn- a Foraging Guide

Hawthorn- bride of the hedgerow

Hawthorn- Tree of the Wee Folk

Hawthorn as Bonsai

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Read An E-book Week Sale

Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 50% Off...

Read An E-book Week is well underway, and now’s your chance to get Love Lies Bleeding for only $1.97. (While you’re there, don’t forget to also pick up your free copies of Blood Magic and Tooth & Claw!)

Fun e-book fact: Angela Ruiz, a teacher, created the first “e-reader” in 1949. It consisted of text printed onto spools that were operated by compressed air. Text could be magnified, and there was even a light so it could be read in the dark! Find out more here. (More e-book facts here.)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

6 More Writing Tips from Writers

6 More Writing Tips from Writers, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Writing is an act of perpetual improvement; the more you do it, the better you’ll become. But to really master your craft requires effort beyond regular practice. Luckily writers are some of the most generous people around when it comes to offering advice. Maybe a little too generous, though, as the amount of advice available can be overwhelming. To help you cut through the noise, I’ve gathered a few of the best tips on how we can all keep improving…

Get Feedback

It’s scary to show your work to other people, but unless you’re writing for yourself and only yourself, you need to know what readers think. Leah Mol suggests that, instead of asking something general (“did you like it/what did you think?”), ask readers to keep track of the places where they got bored, where things didn’t make sense, or whether there was anything they’d like more of. I would also add not to take any negative comments personally.

Just Write

6 More Writing Tips from Writers, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com

Cut It Out

“Say you finish a draft of a story and it’s 2,786 words long. Tell yourself it now needs to be 2,500 words long and cannot be a word longer. While the new word count is completely arbitrary, it really forces you to go back through the work and be as choosy as possible, tightening it as much as you can.” –Hollie Adams

“Progress doesn’t always mean more words on the page. Some of my most productive sessions are spent in a frenzy of cutting, chopping, and downsizing, so that I actually end up with less material. Chances are there’s a lot of scaffolding and guff hanging around your first draft which you should get rid of to produce a cleaner, more powerful work.” -Richard Joseph

Live a Little

It can be difficult finding time to write, so it seems counter-intuitive that taking time away from the keyboard is actually good for your writing. While imagination and research have their place, they aren’t a substitute for personal experience (think of the difference in taking a virtual tour versus seeing the same place in person). Staying home is necessary right now, but once it’s safe, get out into the world. See, listen, try, do. Pay attention and take notes. The more you experience for yourself, the better your writing will be.

Be Passionate

6 More Writing Tips from Writers, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com

Don’t Stress Yourself

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Writing is hard, and made only harder when you feel pressure to comply with rules or follow tips. Write in your mind, if you don’t have the time to write on paper. Plan your stories. Visualize them. Tell them to yourself and others. Stow them away for when you do have the time. And never beat yourself up for not writing, because the negativity will infect your voice.” -Aga Maksimowska

Above all else, remember that writing is hard, so be kind to yourself. Are there any writing tips that have helped you? Share in the comments…

Looking for your next read? Get my books:

Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas, Blood Magic by Aspasia S. Bissas, Tooth & Claw by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, free books, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, gothic, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer a good paperback to an ebook, 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! ♥

Want more writing tips? Check out my other posts on the subject:

6 Writing Tips from Writers

Writers’ Advice on Writing

10 Authors on Not Quitting

Should You Write What You Know?

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas