6 Words About Vampires

bela

As a writer, I love words. As a vampire fan, I write about vampires. It seems natural to combine it all into one post; and so, I bring you words about vampires…

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Related: “Sanguisugent” (adj), blood sucking or blood thirsty. Wikionary says “sanguisuge” is obsolete, but I think it’s due for a comeback.

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I’ve written about revenants, if you’re curious to find out more. The word itself was coined in 1814 by Laetitia Matilda Hawkins in Rosanne:

“‘Well, but what is it? What do you call it in French?’ ‘Why, revenant, to be sure. Un revenant.'”

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“Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomèd mine—
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.”  -John Keats, “Lamia”

Fun etymology: Lamia literally means “swallower, lecher,” from laimos “throat, gullet.” (Source). Read more about them in my post here.

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The first use of “undead” was c. 1400, but its use as a noun to mean vampires and other creatures dates from 1904. (Source)
“It’s a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.” -Ilona Andrews, Magic Bites
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I know the word exsanguinate from the X-Files episode “Eve,” but it was first used around 1800, coming from the Latin exsanguinatus, meaning bloodless or deprived of blood.
“My first word of the new year was ‘exsanguinate.’ This was probably not a good omen.”
-Charlaine Harris, Dead to the World.
you had me at
And of course, we can’t forget the word that all the others relate to:
vampire

The earliest form of the word “vampire” dates to only 1734, although stories of monsters that rise from the dead and attack the living can be found even in ancient times. The idea of blood-gorged walking corpses goes back to at least the 1100s. There’s some debate as to where the word comes from, but it most likely has its roots in the Old Church Slavonic “opiri.”  (Source)

“It was too much, the weight of it all was too much. Maybe that was why emotions were deadened in vampires; the alternative was to be overtaken by them, crippled, left stranded and isolated and trapped by unbearable sensation. How could they hunt if they felt sympathy, empathy, love for their prey? How could they —how could she —live with themselves?” Aspasía S. Bissas, Love Lies Bleeding

Yes, that’s a quote from my own book (I’m sneaky that way). Get my books to find even more words about vampires:

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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! ♥

Did I miss your favourite word about vampires? Let me know in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

A Few Problems with TV’s “Supernatural”

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Spoilers Ahead

I’m not exactly a fan of Supernatural, the long-running (and recently concluded) series featuring the monster-hunting Winchester brothers (Sam and Dean) and associates. I am, however, a fan of several of the characters, which is why I’ve stuck with the show. I’m currently re-watching older seasons in anticipation of catching up on the last couple I haven’t seen yet, including the series finale.

The thing is, no matter how much I try (and I have tried), I just can’t pretend this show doesn’t bother me on numerous levels. I’m not trying to ruin anything for the fans out there (who I’m sure far outnumber detractors like me), but someone needs to say it. Supernatural has problems. Here’s four of them.

  1. “Librarians”

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In season 8 Supernatural introduced the “Men of Letters,” a secret society that, among other things, made a point of amassing and preserving vast stores of occult and magical knowledge. Sounds pretty cool, right? You’d think so, but apparently the show’s writers disagree, as multiple characters repeatedly refer to the Men of Letters as “librarians.” And it’s never a compliment.

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First of all, fiction is full of librarians who could hold their own in the Supernatural universe. Secondly, the show itself establishes that the Men of Letters were also men of action– they just put a little more thought into their actions than the Winchesters and their fellow “hunters” tend to. More importantly, though, is that real-life librarians deserve better than this kind of casual derision. Yes, they spend an inordinate amount of time with books (not sure why that’s a bad thing), but they also help people and improve lives on a daily basis (here’s a story from last year as just one example). Librarian as an insult? You’re only showing your own ignorance.

2. Mary Shelley Didn’t Create Frankenstein

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Season 10 brought us the ill-conceived Styne family, an ancient clan into all kinds of evil, including murder, Nazism, and really poorly stitched body modification (seriously, this is your thing– learn how to sew). But– big reveal– it turns out the family’s name was originally… Frankenstein (groan), and that their family friend Mary Shelley, after spending a few days at their estate and seeing what they were up to, wrote her book to try to warn the world. In other words, Frankenstein isn’t a work of Shelley’s vibrant imagination (and one of, if not the, first works of science fiction), but rather non-fiction based on something she witnessed.

Seeing as how women writers throughout history have been consistently ignored, suppressed, forgotten, and denied credit, for Supernatural to come along and discount the achievement of one of the few who did receive her due… let’s just say that Supernatural owes Mary Shelley a huge apology.

3. The Writers vs. Castiel

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Introducing angels to the show is generally acknowledged as being one of Supernatural’s smarter moves. Castiel especially turned out to be a great character, with some decent development over the seasons. Unfortunately, the writers backed themselves into a corner with angels. Debuted as incredibly powerful beings who can destroy a human just by existing in their natural state, the writers subsequently were forced to find ways to make angels far weaker than they started out. As the Winchesters’ protector/friend Castiel gets the brunt of this– the writers spend the rest of the series finding excuses to take away his power. Poor Cas loses his mind, gets stuck in purgatory, is put under the control of another angel, and even becomes human, among other things. Even when he is at full strength, the writers ignore the extent of his abilities, inexplicably render them useless (“I can usually heal anything, but not this…”), or simply pretend he doesn’t exist. He can be summoned by phone or by prayer, yet he often “isn’t answering,” or more often, the Winchesters don’t bother calling. There are so many times when Cas could easily have dispatched demonic enemies or fixed an unfortunate situation (like, say, bringing Charlie back to life), but it’s inconvenient to the story, so he’s nowhere to be seen. What all this amounts to is a lot of poor and/or lazy writing that ultimately lowers the quality of the show. F for effort, guys.

4. Sucky Vampires

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Vampires aren’t the focus of Supernatural, and it’s a good thing because the ones on this show are awful. From the hideous rows of fangs to their bland personalities, I have to wonder why the show bothered including vampires at all. Mercedes McNab, who brilliantly played student-turned-vampire Harmony on Buffy and Angel, shows up as a vampire in one season 3 episode of Supernatural. Her character mostly spouts exposition and whines about being hungry before Dean finally beheads her. Other vampires throughout the series are similarly unremarkable (although there was one storyline that had potential, about vampires taking advantage of the Twilight craze, but it ultimately missed the mark). Even Benny, who befriends Dean in season 8 and actually gets a story arc, serves mostly as a source of tension between Sam and Dean. Not every vampire is going to be a Dracula or a Spike, but it takes some skill to make all of yours forgettable.

There are other problems with Supernatural (like Sam and Dean’s casual willingness to murder innocent people just because they’re possessed– remember when they used to at least try an exorcism first?), but I’ll leave it here. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my points? Share in the comments…

Want to read something that’s all about the vampires? 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
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! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Book Tag: This or That

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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).

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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.)

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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.

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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.)

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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

 

 

Free Shipping!

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Bookshop is offering free shipping starting today and going until Monday. They give a portion of each sale directly to independent bookstores, and if you use This Link to buy my novel, Love Lies Bleeding, I’ll also get a bonus (best of all, they don’t charge more than any other online store).

What happens when a predator loves its prey?

Centuries-old Mara is dying a slow death when she meets Lee, a young man whose life has never belonged to him. Thrown together, they’re forced to fight those who would destroy them and survive a slew of enemies they never expected, even as Mara falls into a downward spiral of delusion and obsession. Will she make a devil’s deal to save both their souls? With pasts like theirs, can they ever have a future?

Books make great gifts and buying through Bookshop is the perfect way to support independent bookstores, as well as authors ♥

Happy shopping,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Book Tag: The Classic Book Tag

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It’s been a while since my last book tag, and as an English major, this one is right up my alley. Between required reading for school and personal interest, I’ve read more than my fair share of classics. Unfortunately, looking back, I now realize they were written by mostly British (or Canadian/American) white men (and a few women). Pretty sad. I hope schools have since expanded their definition of classic lit to include more women, more world lit, and a lot more authors of colour. I’ve been working on improving the diversity of my reading material, but I know I still have a long way to go. I think we all have a lot of reading to catch up on…

(By the way, this tag was snagged from A Geek Girl’s Guide. Feel free to post it on your blog, or share your thoughts in the comments below.)

A classic you read in school

Surprisingly, I couldn’t get into Hamlet like I did with other Shakespeare works I read, until I saw a screen adaptation. Then it finally came to life for me. I guess sometimes you really need to see a play being performed.

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

A classic you read outside of school

Read it, loved it, recommend it. Dumas has a very readable and engaging style of writing.

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

A classic you didn’t finish

It’s probably debatable whether Gone with the Wind is still considered a classic, but it was when I read it. It’s also the only classic I can remember not finishing. For what it’s worth, Mitchell is a good writer and GwtW is interesting, if cringe inducing. The funny thing is that I stopped reading it only a couple of pages from the end. I have no idea why I didn’t just finish it, but I think it was because I’d seen the movie around that time and I already knew how it ended. I guess Rhett didn’t give a damn and neither did I. Maybe one day I’ll go back and read those last couple of pages. Maybe.

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

A classic you haven’t read

I have it– I just haven’t read it yet (the downside of having a sizable TBR pile).

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

A classic you want to read

Considered the world’s first novel (and written by a woman), and yet I somehow never heard of it until recently. The Tale of Genji is now on my short list of must-reads (which is actually still pretty long, now that I think of it).

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

A classic you’ve read multiple times

Did you know that you lose your Canadian citizenship if you haven’t read Anne of Green Gables? Okay, maybe not, but if you haven’t read this classic, you’re missing out. Sorry.

Book Tag: Classic Book Tag, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

Wondering what sort of books get written by English Majors who warp their minds reading a dubious mix of classics, horror, and fantasy? Click to find out…

Books by Aspasia S. Bissas

Love Lies Bleeding: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books, Amazon
Blood Magic: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple Books
Tooth & Claw: SmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboApple 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