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.

Book Tag: This or That

Book Tag: This or That, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, read, reading, tag, book tag, time to read, book lover, reading for pleasure, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Vincenzo Malagoli on Pexels.com

The month is going by fast, hurtling us toward the end– finally– of what has felt like a trash fire of a year. As I write this, Toronto is under lockdown (again) as COVID cases all over continue to spike. Gatherings of all kinds are on hiatus, probably until well into next year. Even with the vaccine (thankfully now starting to be distributed), life isn’t going to resemble anything like normal anytime soon  (special shout-out to all the people who could have done something to slow, or even stop, the spread of this disease and instead chose– and continue to choose– to do absolutely nothing).

Book Tag: This or That, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, reading, read, read more, read more books, memes, funny, humor, humour, aspasiasbissas.com

Deep (masked) breaths.

Let’s take our minds off less-pleasant things with a book tag, shall we? Because when an entire year is cancelled, there’s still books…

(“This or That” tag nabbed from Bookmark Your Thoughts. Stop by to give her a like and follow.)

This or That Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, read, reading, book tag, tag, tags, reading tag, books rule, cats, cute, comfy, cats rule, cozy, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Ivy Son on Pexels.com

Read on the bed or couch?

On the couch. It’s easier to get comfy, and handier for drinks and snacks.

Read at night or in the morning?

Right now I’m reading mostly at night because I’m working on my language lessons in the morning. If I could, though, I’d read all the time.

Male main character or female main character?

I love me a good character, no matter what gender. (Same goes for real people, now that you mention it.) I have found that some authors are better at bringing out the humanity in their characters than others, though, particularly when it comes to female characters.

Book Tag: This or That, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, book, books, read, reading, read more women, reading for pleasure, read more books, male authors, female authors, blog, tag, tags, reading tags, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels.com

First person POV or third person POV

First person can work really well with the right character, but it can also be intolerable with the wrong one, so generally speaking, third person POV is the better bet. Third person is also less limiting, allowing readers to connect with other characters besides the main one.

Trilogies or quartets

Some stories can be told in just one book, some need ten (or more) to fully cover everything. Much as I’d like endless books in a really enjoyable series, I’ll settle for whatever number it takes to tell the tale right. (That being said, breaking stories into three parts has a long history and has a more natural flow than four parts, so I’d choose a trilogy over a quartet.)

Book Tag: This or That, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, book, books, read, reading, read more books, library, libraries, bookstore, bookstores, book shop, book shelves, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Tomas Anunziata on Pexels.com

Libraries or bookstores

Bookstores are great for browsing, but nothing beats the peaceful atmosphere of a library. I think libraries have a slight edge over stores (although Bookmark Your Thoughts made the excellent point that bookstores let you buy all the books so you can make your own library at home…)

Books that make you laugh or cry

Cry. I surprised even myself with this choice, but it’s a rare occurrence and a great catharsis when it does happen.

Character Driven or Plot Driven

Character driven! I can’t think of a plot that’s ever been so compelling that it makes up for poorly written characters. As a reader the best way to connect to a story is through the characters.

Black book covers or white book covers

Black covers. For some reason they really speak to me 😉 …

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
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE 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! ♥

 

What do you think– character driven or plot driven? Libraries or bookstores? And what kind of covers do you like? Share in the comments (and don’t forget to leave a link if you end up posting this tag on your blog)…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

 

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

 

Those of us staying home the past couple of months have probably had more than enough of our living spaces. I know I have (especially since we were ready to move before everything shut down and left us stuck). Spring cleaning is usually a good time for a fresh start, and we could all use a fresh start right now. In that spirit, I snagged this book tag from Bookmark Your Thoughts, who got it from Between the Shelves.

1. Getting started: A book series you’ve been wanting to read

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Just some of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. Image found here.

I’ve been wanting to read the Discworld series for ages and finally started. So far I’ve read the first three; put in an order for more– which are taking forever to be shipped as books have been de-prioritized; and realized I already have one of the books but packed it and will never be able to find it until we move and unpack. Fun! At least I have something to look forward to…

2. Cleaning/organizing the closet: The best way to organize books

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I always have been, and ever will be, a proponent of organizing alphabetically. Other systems might work for other people, but this is what works for me. I group non-fiction by subject and then alphabetically by title. Fiction I organize alphabetically by author. When I have multiple books by the same author, I organize the titles alphabetically (except for series, which are kept in chronological order). People who organize their books by colour (or worse, don’t organize at all; or still worse– put them on the shelves backwards for “aesthetics” are agents of chaos and should be avoided).

3. Getting rid of unnecessary things: Book/series you no longer need

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a well-regarded fantasy author, and I had a few of her books. Last year I found out some disturbing things about her (I won’t share them here, but they involve serious allegations by her daughter). I decided I really didn’t need her books anymore.

4. Get some air: Your favorite light-hearted read

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas  Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

I was doubly crushed when Douglas Adams died (RIP) in the middle of writing a third Dirk Gently book, and then when the Dirk Gently TV series got cancelled after the second season (sigh). At least we have two seasons and two books. If you’ve never read them, you’re in for a treat (watch the show too, if you dare).

5. Clean out the kitchen cupboards: Favorite food-themed read

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

This is a tough one. Do I go with non-fiction, like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Fruit Hunters, Tender at the Bone, or pretty much anything by Anthony Bourdain? Should I try to choose a novel that revolves around food, like The Confectioner’s Guild or Chocolat; or go with one where food isn’t the focus, but adds so much to the story, like The Hobbit or the Harry Potter series? And what about cookbooks, many of which are surprisingly readable and entertaining? If you can’t tell, this is my way of not having to choose 🙂

6. Dust the shelves: What’s the fifth book on your bookshelf?

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Sadly, my shelves are all packed (if only I’d known…) I do have a small TBR pile, and the fifth book down is Gods Behaving Badly, which will be a re-read when I get to it. I liked it the first time I read it, but I’m not so sure it will have held up (TBD).

7. Wishing for the end: A 2020 release you’re really excited about

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

I’m not looking forward to any particular new release, actually. If something comes out that catches my eye, I’ll pick it up or add it to my wishlist, but I’m happy to read all the books I already have. Besides, 2020 isn’t a real year and nothing that happens during 2020 counts.

8. Long but satisfying: The longest book series you’ve read

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews isn’t the longest in terms of total number of pages (that would be the series I hated and refuse to name), but it’s the series with the most books (including novellas not pictured here), and one I actually enjoyed.

 

What do you think? Feel free to answer the questions in the comments, or share the link if you post it on your blog (and make sure to link back to the original post) 🙂

Aspasia S. Bissas's books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw
Looking for something to read right now? 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

Book Tag: Reader Problems

Book Tag: Reader Problems, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Renato Abati on Pexels.com

As much as I love reading, I’m not going to lie– sometimes it can be frustrating. Whether it’s too many books and not enough time, or inconveniently getting the feels in public, read on to find out how I deal with the downside of bibliophilia…

(Tag originally found on A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings.)

You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Between my physical books and ebooks, my TBR is probably pretty close to that number! I have a haphazard system where I alternate between something random from the priority TBR pile on my nightstand and something off a list I’m trying to get through. Every so often I’ll also throw in a book that caught my attention and needs to be read immediately.

Book Tag: Reader Problems, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

I used to always finish, no matter what, but I don’t have the patience for that anymore. There are too many good books out there to waste time on the ones you don’t enjoy.

The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge. Do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

I don’t do reading challenges– they seem like a great way to take the joy out of reading.

The covers of a series you love do not match. How do you cope?

If I really, really love the series I might try to find copies with matching covers to replace the odd ones; otherwise, I live with different covers (although it does annoy me).

Book Tag: Reader Problems, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Everyone and their mothers love a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

I suffer in silence (or write a post about it).

You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?

It’s rare* for a book to make me cry, and even rarer for me to cry in public, so I doubt this would ever be an issue. If it happened, though, I’d probably stop reading and go look for a bathroom.

(*The last time was a few months ago when I was reading Elizabeth, the Queen, a biography of Elizabeth I. Needless to say, I was not expecting that. At least I was home.)

The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

Definitely! I might even reread if I haven’t forgotten anything.

You do not want anyone borrow your books. How do you politely say no when someone asks?

I let people know that they’re welcome to come over and read here, but the books don’t leave the house. My SO, meanwhile, has a long list of rules on how to handle his books, which seems to discourage would-be borrowers. But there’s also something to be said about supporting authors by borrowing from a library instead of a friend (and you help support the library too).

Book Tag: Reader Problems, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by KML on Pexels.com

You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I’ve actually never had that problem. I guess I’d try to figure out what was causing my lack of interest in the books and then do my best to solve that. Or I might read something different, like comic books, for a while. I’d also try not to stress about it– the need to read always returns.

There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many do you end up buying?

I’ll put them all on my wishlist and get them eventually, although I might get the one I’m most excited about right away.

Book Tag: Reader Problems, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Abby Chung on Pexels.com

After you purchase all of these books that you’ve been dying to read, how long do they sit on your shelves before you get to them?

I admit it, they can wait for a while before I get to them (sometimes years), but I do get to them. I’m starting to think I’m the only person left who still finds value in old books.

So, what do you think? How do you cope with reader problems? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Why You Need to Read Books

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I always find it strange that people need to be convinced to read. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books. For me, books have always been magic, gateways to other worlds, other lives. They’re adventures and dreams, knowledge and potential, all packed into conveniently portable packages. Forget apps–no matter what you want or need at any given moment in life, there’s a book for it. How could anyone not instantly see the value in that?

00 books are worlds

And yet… According to the Pew Research Center, 26% of American adults have admitted to not reading even part of a book in the last year (and I’m sure the numbers are similar in Canada). Clearly a lot of people don’t realize they’re missing out.

00 lack of books

If magic, knowledge, and adventure aren’t enough to get you interested, maybe I should also mention that:

Yale researchers found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day live longer than those who read magazines or who don’t read at all.

(This reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode where someone was reading a book in parts to their elderly relative, always leaving the story on a cliffhanger to keep the person hanging on well beyond a normal lifespan. #goals)

Successful people read (and they share some of their favourite books here).

People who read short stories are more open-minded and creative, according to a University of Toronto study.

Need a short story to get you started? How about “Tooth & Claw,” available free here, and at other online booksellers…

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

And “Blood Magic,” available free here and at other online booksellers!

Blood Magic, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

You can read more about the benefits of reading books here, or you can just pick up a book and find out for yourself.

00 reading tonight

What’s your favourite thing about reading? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas