A Vampire’s Kindness (Fiction)

Interview with a Vampire, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Festina Muhaxheri on Pexels.com

Note to the reader: the following text is transcribed from a document found in the crawlspace of an old row house in Montreal, Quebec. The owner of the building sent it to a local historical association, who are now sharing it in hopes that someone might have more information.

Interview with "Mara," a young woman who claims to be
a vampire 
By J.S., editor at large 
April 5, 1918.

J.S.: Could you please state your name for the record?
M: You can call me Mara.

J.S.: Is that your real name?
M: Real enough. It's the only one I have left.

J.S.: Could you tell me what you said when we met 
earlier tonight?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: When we met, I asked what a young lady was doing 
out alone in the middle of the night. How did you 
respond?
M (smiles): I told you that I am a vampire.

J.S.: A vampire--like Mr. Stoker's Count Dracula?
M: As far as I know, he is fictional. I am not.

J.S.: What would you say to those who don't believe in 
such creatures as vampires?
M: Your lack of belief doesn't make me any less real.

J.S.: How long do you claim to have been a vampire?
M: Most of my life.

J.S.: How long is that?
M: Isn't it impolite to ask a lady her age?

J.S.: Do you drink blood?
M: Of course.

J.S.: Where do you get it?
M: Wherever I can find it.

J.S.: From animals?
M: No.

J.S.: Do you have a reflection?
M (gets up and walks to the lavatory. She stares into 
the mirror over the sink): It would seem so.

J.S.: Can you turn into a bat?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: How many other vampires are there?
M: More than your kind would care to consider.

J.S.: My kind? You mean mankind? Human beings?
M: Yes.

J.S.: Do you pay attention to human events? What do you
think of the Great War?
M: I wish I could be there, in the thick of it.

J.S.: Do you mean as a nurse?
M (laughs)

J.S.: Why do you want to be at the front? Isn't it
dangerous?
M: The danger is why. It's all death and chaos. 
People die, people go missing--no one gives it
a second thought. Vampires do well in times of war.

J.S.: If that is the case, why aren't you there?
M: Someone else is there. He's looking for me. I do
not wish to be found.

J.S.: Who is there?
M: You should worry about the illness instead of
my acquaintances.

J.S.: The illness? Are you referring to the
Spanish Flu? There are rumours of epidemic.
M: The rumours are correct--the influenza is 
spreading rapidly. I can smell it in the air.

J.S.: You can smell it? That must be handy.
M: It helps us to choose.

J.S.: What do you mean by 'choose'?
M: Most of us prefer blood from healthy specimens.

J.S.: And the rest?
M: We find those who don't have long. Some consider it
a kindness.

J.S.: Why are you telling me this?
M (does not reply)

J.S.: I don't have the Flu.
M: No, you have something deeper. In your bones.

J.S.: Oh, really? What does that smell like?
M: Like sour chalk and dry rot.

J.S.: Rot is right. You expect me to believe such 
nonsense?
M: What about that ache that never seems to go away?
It's been getting worse, hasn't it?

J.S. (reluctant to respond)

J.S.: I have an appointment to see a doctor.
M: He won't be able to help you.

J.S.: How do you know?
M: They rarely can.

J.S.: Then what can anyone do for me?
M: I could prescribe you herbs, but they won't help, 
either.

J.S.: A vampire and an apothecary? That is quite the
combination.
M: I learned my trade young and found that it
pays to keep humans healthy.

J.S.: Is that it, then? All you can offer are 
ineffectual balms?
M: I can also offer you a kindness.

J.S.: You mean death.
M: Some prefer it to suffering.

J.S.: What if I refuse?
M: It's your choice. You have time to decide,
but not much.

J.S.: Where are you going?
M: I have other business to attend to. I'll return
in a fortnight. Tell me then what you've decided.

J.S.: Will it hurt?
M: I can make it so it doesn't.

M leaves and I finish recording our exchange.
I don't know why, perhaps for posterity.
I am unsure how to proceed.

 

Aspasia S. Bissas's books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw
Want to read more about Mara? Download my books FREE!

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, 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

 

Challenge Accepted: 10 Questions for Indie Authors

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

This challenge was posted by Annelise Driscoll.

The rules are simple:

1. Copy and paste the questions into a blog post.
2. Answer the questions.
3. Leave a link to your post in the comments section below!

Bonus! You don’t have to be an indie author to do this challenge. All writerly types are welcome!

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

1. Are you a country mouse or a city mouse?

City, all the way, especially in a city like Toronto, where we have tons of trees, green space, and wildlife– it’s the best of both worlds (my only complaint/regret is how few stars you can see at night because of all the light pollution).

10 Questions for Indie Authors, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

2. Where do you like to write?

Right now it’s the couch with my laptop, but anywhere comfortable and quiet will do.

3. What’s your favorite writing snack?

My writing is fuelled by iced coffees and matcha lattes.

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

4. Do you like music or silence?

Silence. I’m too easily distracted by anything else (and the rhythm of music throws off the rhythm of my writing).

5. What’s your favorite procrastination technique?

Probably Pinterest. But I can’t procrastinate too long before my anxiety starts ramping up and I have to write or edit to shut it up.

6. What does your desk look like?

At the moment it looks like a bunch of pieces, unfortunately. It seems to have been broken in the last move and I haven’t wanted to unwrap and look at it to find out for sure. Since we’re about to move again, it’s time I finally face it and figure out what to do next (anyone know a good carpenter?)

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

7. How do you arrange your bookshelves?

Fiction is arranged alphabetically by author and then book title (although I will keep series in order, rather than sorting by title). Non-fiction is arranged by topic/genre and then alphabetically by title. Boring, but it’s easy to find what you want.

8. What inspired you to go indie?

I decided to go indie when I realized that being well known is more important to traditional publishers than being a good writer.

9. How do you feel about book dedications?

I’ve read some good ones, and I enjoy dedicating my books, so I’m all for them.

10 Questions for Indie Authors blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

10. What kind of monster would you most like to be?

It would be disappointing if I said anything other than vampire, wouldn’t it? Luckily that’s always been my monster of choice. Although vengeful spirit is not without its charm…

How about you? What kind of monster would you want to be? Share your answer to this or any of the other questions in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Read an Ebook Week Sale: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, and Tooth & Claw by Aspasia S. Bissas
Don’t forget– the Smashwords ebook sale starts tomorrow!

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine blogger award, aspasia s. bissas

Peter Wyn Mosey nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Even though sunshine and vampires don’t usually mix, we’ll make an exception this time. Thank you, Peter– for the nomination and your kind words about me 🙂

How this Works

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.

• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award [I’ll be honest, I’m not going to do this. The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules and Standards Committee can take it up with me. Hopefully word will find its way to the nominees] and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award winner! Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Peter’s Questions and My Answers

1.If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I’d love to fly and sing on key (both superpowers, as far as I’m concerned), so I’ll pick a songbird (preferably in an alternate universe where humans treat animals with respect and compassion).

2. What was the first ever creative effort that you remember really being proud of?

I wrote and illustrated a “short story” (it was probably two sentences) when I was very young (can’t remember exactly how old, but under 6). It was about a flower that killed you if you picked it. Clearly, I was honing my literary style right off the bat.

3. If you could choose between true happiness, or a greater creative skills, what would you pick?

Happiness is very tempting, but it’s also very empty. What’s to strive for if you’re already truly happy? Where’s your motivation to grow, learn, improve? In the end, I’d rather have greater creative skills while I keep seeking happiness.

4. Does politics have a place in the arts?

All art is political.

5. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

One of my cats, usually.

6. Where and how do you do most of your writing/ art?

Right now I do about two thirds of my writing on my laptop in the family room and the other third in my head while I’m busy with other things.

7. What famous work do you wish you had created?

Harry Potter. Or pretty much any painting or sculpture because I have no talent for it and I wish I did.

8. Is there anyone in the world that you actually hate?

I wouldn’t say hate, but close, and not an individual but a type of person– the ones that  actively work at making the world worse, usually for their own gain (sometimes because they enjoy it). I also have no use for those that enable them.

9. Where is the furthest you have been from home?

Geographically, Greece. Culturally, I think Cuba.

10. Would you prefer to wake up early, or stay up late?

I do both anyway, so I’d prefer to be able to do it without getting tired.

11. If you could give a new writer who was setting up a blog one piece of advice, what would it be?

Get to know your fellow bloggers 🙂

I'm a sunshine blogger award winner, aspasia s. bissas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My Nominees

These 11 blogs represent a sample of the many great sites I follow. I have eclectic tastes, so the list ranges from writing/author blogs, to travel blogs, to food, spirituality, history, environmental, and pop culture. Thanks, everyone, for giving me something to look forward to reading every week!

A Dollop of History

All Wit No Brevity

Annelise Driscoll

Blackwings666

Bon Repos Gites

Cheche Winnie

Gather Victoria

Honor the Gods

In Diane’s Kitchen

Margaret & Neal, Wandering Together

Michael Seidel

Bonus: Alex L. Weston, whose blog has been quiet for a while, but who I wish would start writing again.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award Winner, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Questions to My Nominees

1. What (or who) is inspiring you lately?

2. What’s making you angry?

3. What did you have for breakfast?

4. What creative skill or talent do you wish you had?

5. Do you believe in magic?

6. What fictional character do you relate to?

7. The last book you loved?

8. If you could live anywhere for a year, where would it be?

9. What do you wish would come back in style?

10. A favourite line from a book or movie (I’ll also accept plays, songs, and TV shows)?

11. Who’s your favourite vampire (if you say Dracula, you have to specify which version)?

Feel free to share your answers in the comments even if you’re not a nominee 🙂 If you were nominated, please comment with your link once you’ve posted (I really want to read your answers!)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Book Tag: Reading Habits

adult blur book business
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Just something fun for today. Tag snagged from Dreamland Book Blog.

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

architecture bed bedroom ceiling
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I mostly like to read in bed, but any comfy spot with decent lighting will do.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

gray book with gray lace bookmark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I prefer to use bookmarks, but I hate losing my spot, so anything will do in a pinch, including other books. I wish publishers would go back to including ribbon bookmarks inside hardcovers.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

When I need to take a break I like to stop at the end of a chapter, but if I can’t, then I try to stop at a spot I can remember to go back to.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

clear glass teacup with coffee beverage
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

If no one else is around, I’ll always read while I’m eating. I’ve messed up a few books doing that, though.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

information sign on shelf
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Here’s the thing with multitasking–you might get more done, but you won’t get anything done well (feel free to stitch that on a pillow). If something is important enough that I want to appreciate or retain it, then I need to skip other distractions. People who say they can do ten things at once and concentrate on all of it are impressively self deluded.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

books stack old antique
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I usually have two or three going: my main book, one I read a bit at a time between main books, and an ebook.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere I can. Reading at home is nicer, though–comfier chairs and fewer interruptions 🙂

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

two boys reading a book
Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Unless I’m reading to someone, I read silently.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Funny enough, I’d never skipped ahead–until two weeks ago. I was reading a novel that was getting upsetting and for the first time that I can remember, I peeked at the end to see how it turned out (it ended the way I was hoping, thankfully). Then I went back and read it all the way through. I don’t know what it was about this book that made me feel the need to check the end.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

pile of assorted title book lot selective focus photographt
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I hate the sound of a cracking spine (not to mention the end result), so I try to keep them like new, but I’m not always successful.

11. Do you write in your books?

bible page
NPhoto by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

No, because I’m civilized. I did highlight/underline passages in my textbooks when I was in university, and I sign copies of my book for anyone who asks, but those are the only exceptions. If I want to take notes, I do it separately. For anyone who likes to annotate the books they read, consider ebooks–they’re ideal for that.

12. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time?

Whenever I can, which mostly seems to be before bed or first thing in the morning.

13. What is your best setting to read in?

black ceramic mug on round white and beige coaster on white textile beside book
Photo by Isabelle Taylor on Pexels.com

Somewhere quiet, comfortable, and with good lighting. I like reading at the beach too, but it’s rare I get the chance.

14. What do you do first – Read or Watch?

Almost always read. I did watch the first Harry Potter movie before I read any of the books, though, which is what got me interested in the books (and ultimately led to a slight obsession).

15. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book?

books classroom close up college
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I like physical books (although the paper dries out my hands like mad). Ebooks are also good (and great for travelling), but as a writer I’m staring at screens all day long, so I try to limit my screen time when I can. (If I can find the charger, I’ll start using my Kindle again–those screens are very easy on the eyes.)

15. Do you have a unique habit when you read?

Not that I can think of, although I do have a tendency to (over)share what’s going on in my books with my SO, which probably drives him crazy (he’s very patient about listening to me talk about the trials and tribulations of fictional characters he’s never heard of, though).

17. Do book series have to match?

books
Photo by Emily on Pexels.com

I assume this is referring to the covers/formats matching. Yes, I’d rather all the books in a series match, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t.

 

How about your reading habits? Tell me your answers in the comments (or let me know if you’ve posted this tag on your own blog).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

The Writer’s Tag

person having tea while working
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Another tag snagged from the lovely blog A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings 🙂 If you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to be a writer (or what I do), this post is for you.

1. What type of writing do you do?

Over the years I’ve written pretty much everything, from magazine articles to poetry to blog posts to novels. If I had to choose only one type, though, it would be novels. I have a lot of stories inside me, waiting to come to life.

abandoned ancient antique arch
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2. What genres/topics do you write about?

My writing is a mix of literary fiction, gothic fiction, and fantasy, with hints of horror and magical realism. My clouds tend to have dark linings.

3. How long have you been writing?

I started when I was about six and never really stopped (although there were a few long breaks).

Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas

4. Are you published?

Yes! I went the independent route with my novel Love Lies Bleeding and short story Blood Magic, but I would consider traditional publishing if the right publisher came along.

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
Photo by Gru on Pexels.com

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I wrote (when I was around six) was a tale of woe about a flower that doomed anyone (in this case, Mary, Queen of Scots, although I have no idea how I knew about her) who picked it. Clearly, my literary influences started early in my career. I also drew said flower with a pen and coloured it with a pink highlighter. Side note: I still have a particular fascination with Tudor history, although I haven’t written about it since.

6. Why do you write?

I don’t feel I have much of a choice. That’s what I love, it’s what I’m good at, and it’s what I feel I was meant to do. As already mentioned, I have stories that need to get out.

kafka

7. How do you find time to write?

You find time for the things that are important to you. If someone “can’t find the time” to write (or to do anything else), it really doesn’t matter that much to them.

8. When and where is the best time/place to write?

For me, the best times are in the morning and late at night. Where doesn’t really matter as much, as long as there isn’t too much noise.

coffee computer cream cup
Photo by Nguyen Nguyen on Pexels.com

9. Favorite foods/drinks while writing?

It used to be iced coffee; unfortunately I’ve had to cut it out. Between the sugar and the caffeine, it wasn’t doing me any favours (alas). If I do drink anything now, it’s tea, but mostly I don’t eat or drink while I work (I have no idea how those crumbs got all over my keyboard).

10. Your writing playlist?

Silence. I’ve tried to listen to music while I work, but I can’t. Music interferes with rhythm and the lyrics get into your head, unconsciously influencing how and what you write. I don’t know how anyone can concentrate with music (or the TV) on–it’s some kind of super power.

11. What do friends/family think of you writing?

I think it ranges from “that’s cool” to “whatever” to “but what does she do all day?” My partner is completely supportive, though, which is what really matters.

close up of hand over white background
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

12. What parts of writing do you enjoy the most?

I love it when the words come together and flow out of you. Best feeling in the world. (It’s also pretty satisfying when you’re stuck and finally figure out the perfect solution). That’s why first drafts are fun and after that, it’s work .

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

I wish I could be one of those writers who can get a book out every year (speaking of super powers). I’ve got a limit on how much I can write or edit in a day before my brain turns to mush. Hopefully the results are worth the wait.

14. What do you write with/on?

First drafts are usually by hand. The editing starts as I transfer the manuscript to my laptop, where I use MS Word.

silver macbook pro
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

15. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I’ll think/meditate about it. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I love anything that keeps my hands busy while freeing my mind; that’s how I do a lot of my writing, including overcoming writer’s block. Sometimes I’ll also talk about it with my partner–he’s pretty great at helping me figure things out.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

Deadlines are motivating. My anxiety is highly motivating (it gets worse if I don’t write for a couple of days). Mostly having a story I need to get out motivates me 🙂

woman reading a book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

17. Author(s) who inspired you to become a writer?

I think the existence of books inspired me to become a writer more than any specific author. My love of stories started early, so maybe I should give the credit for my current vocation to Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, and the Brothers Grimm.

19. Writing goals this year?

Aiming to finish my next novel and get it ready for publication (follow me to make sure you don’t miss any news or updates).

20. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

Never to give up (I’ve heard that from a few people). Stephen King’s advice to “kill your darlings” isn’t bad either.

 

What do you think? Do you have any questions or comments? What are some of your thoughts on the writing process? Share in the comments…