More Bookstore-Cat Love

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats
Photo by Hatice Yardim.

Given that libraries have kept cats as far back as Ancient Egypt, it’s probably safe to assume that bookstores have had resident cats for as long as there have been bookstores. Besides stopping rodents from destroying the books, cats are a soothing presence to (non-allergic) staff and visitors, act as a store’s (or library’s) public face, and add life to what can be a sterile environment. On top of all that, cats and book people are a natural combination. Here’s a small sampling of the bookstore cats who keep books safe and hearts warmed…

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, Otis and Clementines, Nova Scotia

This adorable kitten is just one of many who get fostered (along with the occasional mama cat) at Otis & Clementine’s, in Nova Scotia, Canada. Visitors to the bookstore can play with, and adopt(!), the kittens at this store. Check out their Facebook page for more info on available kitties (kitten season is generally early spring until late October).

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, kittens, Otis & Clementines, Nova Scotia, Canada, adopt don't shop
In case you needed more convincing to visit Otis & Clementine’s
More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, Wild Rumpus, Booker T
Booker T at Wild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus, a children’s bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), has a number of cute animals on staff, but their two kitties are Booker T, who loves to get cozy wherever he can–including in unattended strollers, and Eartha Kitt (below) whose large size hides a tiny meow.

Eartha Kitt at Wild Rumpus

Kona Stories in Hawaii has two adored (and spoiled) rescue cats:

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, Kona Stories, Hawaii, Loki, Kinsey

Loki (back) and Kinsey (foreground). These two are so popular they had to get their own separate Instagram accounts so the store’s account could focus on posting pictures of books.

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, Vanice, Libreria Acqua Alto, Italy

This gorgeous trio can be found at Libreria Acqua Alto in Venice, Italy. This store keeps books in gondolas to protect them from high tide, and apparently the cats like to sleep on the books. Is it just me or would it be worth the trip just to see the felines?

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats, Paris, France, Shakespeare & Co, Agatha
Agatha

While you’re in Europe, you can swing by Shakespeare & Co. in Paris to spend some quality time with their beautiful tortoiseshell cat, Agatha. A former stray, Agatha was found in the Mystery & Crime section (can you guess which author is her namesake?), and decided to adopt the store.

Finally, here are a few unnamed kitties from unknown stores. Do you recognize them? Share in the comments…

More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats
More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats
More Bookstore Cat Love, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas. aspasiasbissas.com, books, bookstores, cat, cats

Looking for a book to read while you cuddle your favourite floof? I’ve got you covered…

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

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

A while back I read a great article about how travelling can enrich your writing. In it, the author outlines how travel is unpredictable, fosters empathy and reflection, and creates authenticity in your writing. Now that travel is slowly getting to be possible again, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of how much it can add to our lives. Here are four more ways travelling is good for creativity (even if you don’t go any farther than the other side of town)…

It breaks up your routine

Even the most imaginative person needs inspiration, and, as many of us have learned these last couple of years, nothing is less inspiring than doing the same things and seeing the same few places over and over again, day after day. Going somewhere new shakes you out of your rut, gives you a fresh perspective, and re-ignites creativity.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Alex Zhernovyi on Pexels.com

It helps you learn

If you go somewhere you’ve never been, you’re bound to learn something, whether it’s a few words in another language, facts about local history, or even a new skill (so many places offer classes and workshops for tourists). What you discover can be the spark you need for your current project, or the inspiration for something new.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It gives you the chance to be a different kind of creative

There are all kinds of opportunities to be creative while you travel, and if you can do so in a new (to you) way, even better (I’ve written before about how creativity begets creativity). Take pictures, write a journal entry (or poetry, short fiction, a song…) about your trip, sketch what you see, take part in a workshop, visit galleries and bookstores, talk to interesting people you meet along the way. Use it all as creative fuel.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

It can help you in unexpected ways

When I was having trouble finding the right image to use for the cover of Love Lies Bleeding, a photo I’d taken in Paris turned out to be just what I needed (I posted about it here). My Paris trip photos also came through for the cover of Blood Magic, and I have a third one in mind for the next book. I didn’t go to Paris to take photos for my covers, but my travels led to exactly what I needed. You never know what going somewhere new could end up doing for you.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Mohamed Almari on Pexels.com

You don’t have to travel to be creative, but it really does help. Even if you can’t make it to another country, try exploring a different nearby town, or visit a neighbourhood in your own town that you’ve never been to. The important thing is to break out of routine and try something new. It could lead you to places you never expected.

Has travel helped your creativity? Share in the comments…

Download my books and find out how my travels have influenced my stories, and not just the covers…

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

Home Library Inspiration

Home Library Inspiration, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, decorating, interior design, home design
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

If I weren’t a writer or in publishing, I always thought I’d be a decorator/interior designer (I’m not sure I have the artistic skills for it, but I could try). Although I’ll never make a career of it, I still love decorating at home. My tastes are eclectic, but I’m most drawn to spaces that are comfortable, warm, colourful, and a little whimsical. Books everywhere are a must. (Minimalism? What’s that?) With that in mind, I thought I’d share some pictures I found online of home libraries that inspire me. Hopefully you’ll find something to be inspired by too…

I love the cozy feel of Vita Sackville-West’s library. And you can never go wrong with a tower.

Home Library Inspiration, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, decorating, interior design, home design, Vita Sackville-West
Author Vita Sackville-West’s Tower Library / photo: Writers´ Houses

Bookcase art, flowers, and a comfy couch– when can I move in?

Floor-to-ceiling books and an old-fashioned library ladder– these are my goals. The arched doorway is a nice touch (although the books wedged in above it are a little painful to look at).

So many books (the climb would be worth it)…

This is just the definition of cozy. I would never leave.

Happy colours, orchids, and built-in shelves. I’m not a fan of the books being used to prop up the coffee table, though.

Based on the way the shelves are set up, this is probably a bookstore, but I don’t even care. I would love a room packed with shelves and featuring a window seat. Great floor too.

This is the perfect reading spot: plenty of books, a comfortable window seat, and a table for working.

Cozy and comfortable. Not to mention those gorgeous sofas.

Everything about this. I need to get a blanket like that for my boring grey couch.

For those of us who can’t afford a Parisian apartment like this one, the look could probably be emulated with wallpaper, paint, and similar furniture. And a whole lot of books ♥

What do you think– do any of these appeal to you? What do you look for in a home library? Minimalism or maximalism? Share in the comments…

What’s a home library without books? Get one for yours:

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

10 Stunning Writers’ Homes

I love old houses (old buildings in general, actually). While I can appreciate the practical benefits of a new house, they can be a bit… boring (and after seeing the “same” new house a thousand times while house hunting, I’m even more bored of them now). Old houses have style. They have personality. They have soul. Throw in a resident writer and you’ve got a house worth living in (or at least visiting– see below for links). Here are 10 writers’ houses that are worth checking out…

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.  Thomas Hardy, Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England.

Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England: The cottage where Thomas Hardy was born. I love the thatched roof and garden.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.  Agatha Christie, Greenway Estate, Galmpton, Devon, England

Galmpton, Devon, England: Greenway Estate, home to Agatha Christie, was designated a World Heritage Site in 2004. Christie set several of her novels in the area.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.  Eugene O'neill, Tao House, Danville. California

Danville, California, USA: Eugene O’Neill wrote The Iceman Cometh and Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Tao House. This looks like a cozy space to work.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Monk's House, Rodmell, East Sussex, England, Bloomsbury Group.

Rodmell, East Sussex, England: Not only is Monk’s House where Virginia Woolf worked on Mrs. Dalloway, it was also where she hosted the Bloomsbury Group.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Emily Dickinson, The Homestead, Amherst, Massachusetts,

Amherst, Massachusetts, USA: With a house like this, I can understand why Emily Dickinson was a recluse. The poet didn’t spend her entire life at the Homestead, but she was born here, and after moving back as a young woman spent the rest of her life here.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Alphonse Daudet, Letters from My Windmill, Draveil, Champrosay, Paris, France, Zola, Proust, Rodin

Draveil (former village of Champrosay), France: Can I just go ahead and move into Alphonse Daudet’s home, located a few kilometres south of Paris? Daudet finished Letters from My Windmill here, and also held famous weekly gatherings of the luminaries of the French arts scene (Zola, Proust & Rodin were among the regulars).

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . George Sand, Nohant, Indre, France, Frederic Chopin.

Nohant, Indre, France: More gorgeous French style at George Sand’s home. Sand wrote many of her books here, as well as hosting artists, musicians, and writers (Frédéric Chopin lived, and composed, here for several years). The house has been classified as a National Historic Monument of France.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Hartford, Connecticut.

Hartford, Connecticut, USA: Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in this house’s billiards room, which also doubled as his study. I wonder if he got distracted by billiards the way modern writers get distracted by the internet.

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Edith Wharton, The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts, The Decoration of Houses

Lenox, Massachusetts, USA: Edith Wharton’s grand home, The Mount, was where she wrote most of her novels, and where she presumably implemented the advice from her first book (co-authored with Ogden Codman), The Decoration of Houses. 

10 Stunning Writers' Homes, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. . Louisa May Alcott, Orchard House, Little Women, Concord, Massachusetts

Concord, Massachusetts, USA: Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. A lot of Victorian interiors can seem fussy or claustrophobic, thanks to the “more still isn’t enough” design aesthetic of the time, but this room feels light and pleasant.

What’s your favourite writer’s home? Share in the comments…

What kind of house would a vampire live in? Get my books to find out…

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! ♥

Further Reading:

Orchard House

The Mount

The Mark Twain House and Museum

George Sand House

Alphonse Daudet House

Emily Dickinson Museum

Monk’s House

Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site

Thomas Hardy Cottage

Architectural Digest

KQED Arts

New England Historical Society

Boston Globe

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Writers and Cats

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. TS Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen King, Ann M. Martin, Ernest Hemingway, Colette, Neil Gaiman. Ursula K Le Guin, Haruki Murakami
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

Writers are well known to have an affinity for cats (multiple books have been written on the subject)! As a cat lover, I get the appeal. Cats are good company, generally unobtrusive, frequently entertaining, and the perfect distraction when you need a few minutes away from the keyboard. If you’re lucky enough to have a lap cat, they’ll make sure you get work done by helpfully pinning you in place for hours (and they keep you warm too). My home would feel pretty sad and empty without my three kitties.

Cats can also provide literary inspiration, especially to poets. T.S. Eliot wrote an entire book about them (which then inspired a musical and, unfortunately, a movie). Jorge Luis Borges wrote these words:

Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.

-“To a Cat” by Jorge Luis Borges

It seems that what the ancient Egyptians started, writers are happy to carry on. I know I am.

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith apparently preferred cats to people (relatable)
s king cats
Stephen King
ann m martin cats
Ann M. Martin
hemingway cats
Ernest Hemingway, whose Key West home is now a cat sanctuary.
colette cats
Colette
n gaiman cats
Neil Gaiman
le guin cats
Ursula K. Le Guin
murakani cats
Haruki Murakani

Do you have cats (or other pets)? Tell us in the comments…

Don’t forget to take advantage of the July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at 25% Off (there are no cats in the story, but there are plenty of fanged predators…)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off...

Further Reading:

Iconic Writers and Their Cats

10 Writers and Their Cats

Famous Writers and Their Cats

16 Famous Writers and Their Cats

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas