The Writer’s Tag: Take Two

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Writer, writing, am writing
Photo by Judit Peter on Pexels.com

It’s been a while since I posted a tag, and I thought it would be fun to revisit an old one and see if anything has changed. If you’re curious about what I (or writers in general) do, this post is for you…

What Type of Writing Do You Do?

Novels are still my favourite way to express myself, although short fiction is growing on me. I also enjoy getting poetic when the mood strikes. For non fiction, I love being able to share my thoughts and passions in a blog post.

What genres/topics do you write about?

It’s funny because for the longest time I read either horror or literary/classic fiction almost exclusively, and that was what I tended to write. But in recent years I’ve been increasingly drawn to fantasy, especially anything involving magic or non-human characters. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person (maybe just that I’m a recovering English Major), but I think it’s safe to say my writing from now on will mostly be in the realm of dark/urban fantasy.

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Writer, writing, am writing urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, magic, magical
Photo by Athena on Pexels.com

How long have you been writing?

Most of my life, although I’ve taken a few long breaks. Even before I ever wrote anything down, I would tell myself stories to help me fall asleep (something I still do), or just to pass the time.

Are you published?

Since you asked…

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

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Although it’s not the first story I wrote, it’s the first one I remember that made an impression. In grade 6, we were given an assignment to write a modern re-telling of a fairy tale. I went with Red Riding Hood. I’ve forgotten most of it now, but it had something to do with Red smuggling drugs in her basket (I believe the wolf was a cop). I didn’t think it was anything special, but my teacher did. He came to see my parents and told them to never let me stop writing. I wasn’t exactly planning my career at that age, but I’m pretty sure that was the moment when some part of me decided that I would be a writer. Thanks, Mr. Coyne!

Why do you write?

To quote my answer from the last time I did this tag: 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.

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Writer, writing, am writing. Quote: There is no greater agony than bearing an untiod story inside you by Maya Angelou

How do you find time to write?

How does anyone find the time to work, or to do anything else that matters to them?

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

Morning or early afternoon, somewhere comfortable, quiet, and without distraction (she said, staring pointedly at her cats).

Favorite foods/drinks while writing?

I don’t eat while writing, and if I drink anything, it’s usually water or tea. And people say writing isn’t exciting.

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Your writing playlist?

Silence. See above re: the excitement of being a writer. But seriously, music interferes with the rhythm of your writing, and the lyrics get into your head, and probably onto the page without you even realizing it. The people who can work with music or the TV on have some kind of super power.

What do friends/family think of you writing?

I think most of them wonder what I do all day. But the rest are encouraging/supportive, and that’s what matters.

What parts of writing do you enjoy the most?

My answer from last time hasn’t changed: 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).

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.
Photo by Aleksandr Neplokhov on Pexels.com

Parts of writing you find challenging?

Writing quickly is impossible for me, and we live in a world where people expect endless new content. If anything ever makes me quit, it’ll be that.

What do you write with/on?

I used to write first drafts by hand, and I’d love to get back to that– but I’m slow enough as it is. Now everything goes straight onto my laptop, unless I get some unexpected inspiration– then I use my phone to get it down before I forget.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Lately this isn’t as much of a problem as lack of focus. But when I do get stuck, I’ll think about it, or push it to the back of my mind, while I do other things. That usually gets results. Talking about it with my partner also helps a lot. I think the worst thing to do for writers block is to stress over it and try to force a solution.

How do you motivate yourself to write?

A combination of deadlines and anxiety can be extremely motivating! But the truth is, if you’re not into it, nothing will motivate you. The best motivation is passion.

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

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

I don’t think there was any one specific author who inspired me to become a writer, but there were a few who inspired my love of stories, reading, and books, so thank you to Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Lewis Carroll, and L. Frank Baum.

Writing goals this year?

This year is almost over, but my goal for 2022 is to publish my next novel! Watch this space…

Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

Keep going, don’t give up, and it’s never too late (now I just have to keep following that advice…)

Do you have any questions, comments, or thoughts on writing? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: Happy World Kindness Day! Much ♥ to everyone online and off who has shown me so much kindness and support. You guys rock!

A Vampire’s Kindness (Fiction)

‘Tis the time of year for ghouls and monsters and vampires, so I thought I’d share this short piece again, for those of you who haven’t read it (or who feel like re-reading it). Enjoy!

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.

Want to read more about Mara? Download my books 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, 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! ♥

Cheers,
Aspasía S. Bissas

Hallotober Tag

Hallotober Tag, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year– and to give it some of the appreciation it deserves, I snagged this tag from A Geek Girl’s Guide. Feel free to post it yourself (please share your link) or leave your answers in the comments 🎃

What’s your favourite thing about October?

Wow, I have to pick only one thing? In that case, what I like best about October is that everything about it feels like home to me. It speaks to my spooky, pumpkin-loving, pagan soul.

Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?

I used to be. I’d decorate the house, carve a jack o’ lantern, and do all kinds of Halloween-themed cooking and baking. I’d have people over and shell out (give out candy). The last few years…not so much. I’m hoping to get back to proper celebrations in future.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Nothing will ever scare me more than the original Alien movie. As far as I’m concerned it’s the perfect horror film.

Hallotober Tag, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, alien, aliens, horror, horror movies, xenomorph, ridley scott, ridley scott is an asshole

Would you rather a cosy night in watching horror movies or a big night out in a costume?

I would never willingly choose a big night out. A cozy night in with The Nightmare Before Christmas and a few other spooky/scary movies is perfect.

Which has been your most favourite costume to date?

Confession time: I haven’t liked wearing a costume since I was a kid (I won’t bore you with reasons). But when I was a kid, I went as a fortune teller a couple of times and remember having fun with it. (I should also add that costumes back then were always ruined because it was so cold where I lived. We couldn’t go out without extra layers under the costumes, as well as gloves, hats, scarves, a winter coat, and– worst of all — snow pants on top.)

Hallotober Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, costume, constumes, cold halloween, snowy halloween, ruined costumes
Welcome to my childhood Halloweens. Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?

How about some divination instead?

How do you celebrate Halloween?

I haven’t lately, but I used to go all out with the decorating and cooking and handing out candy, among other things.

Hallotober Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, pumpkin jack o lantern, witch
Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

What’s your least favourite horror?

Anything where regular humans are the monsters. There’s enough of that in real life.

Do you have a favourite trick or treating memory?

When it got dark and dinner was over and my parents would   f i n a l l y   let me go out.

What’s your favourite thing about Halloween?

The feeling in the air.

Hallotober Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, witch, magic, magick, spooky
Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Scary costume or Silly costume?

Scary. Always.

What’s your favourite Halloween candy?

Chocolate, although I’m the weirdo who also likes candy corn and those molasses candies that exist only at Halloween.

Hallotober Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, molasses candy, halloween candy, candy, toffees, weird halloween candy, weird halloween toffees

Who is your favourite black cat, real or fictional?

I love all black kitties because they are awesome, but I especially love my black kitty, who chose our home to be his home ♥

Hallotober Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com, cat, cats, black cat
Black cats rule! Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

What’s your favourite thing about Hallotober? Share in the comments!

Looking for a spooky read? Download 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! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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!