Book Tag: The A to Z Bookish Survey

stack of books, Aspasia S. Bissas
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I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of a new story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe and inspired by true events! Details and cover reveal to come–make sure to follow or subscribe so you won’t miss out…

In the meantime, it’s always fun to take part in a book tag, and this one found its way to me via A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings

Author You’ve Read The Most From:

Isabel Allende. Love her work. Close second: Ilona Andrews, if only because the Kate Daniels series has so many books in it.

Best Sequel Ever:

I’ll go with Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. You can’t go wrong with more Alice.

through the looking glass, Aspasia S. Bissas
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Currently Reading:

The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus (I’m trying to read more Classical Lit).

Drink Of Choice While Reading:

Water or tea, I guess, which are my drinks of choice most of the time anyway.

tea and reading, Aspasia S, Bissas
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E-Reader Or Physical Book?

Mainly physical books, but an e-reader is perfect for travel or commuting (or school–I wish I’d had one when I was lugging around textbooks every day).

e-reader or physical books, Aspasia S. Bissas
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Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Been Friends With In High School:

Marco Alisdair from The Night Circus, or maybe Klaus Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It caught my eye in a secondhand shop and was the first book of hers I read. Now she’s one of my favourite authors.

Chile, Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
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Hidden Gem Book:

Find a book by an indie author. Does the book’s description sound interesting? If yes, then enjoy that hidden gem!

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Aside from learning how to read, maybe it was the first time I read a difficult book and really got it.

Just Finished:

The latest (and it seems, last, alas) Kate Daniels book (Magic Triumphs) by Ilona Andrews.

so many books, aspasia s. bissas
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Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

If the story is interesting to me, I’ll read just about anything. That said, however, I have no interest in abusive relationships portrayed as “romance.” I’m also tired of dystopian fiction–I think we’re all getting enough of that in reality.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Probably Ulysses (it felt like the longest, anyway).

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

The Good: Every time I finished a Harry Potter book, and ultimately when I finished the entire series.

The Bad: When I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and was left wondering wtf I just read (Harry’s name might be on the cover, but this book does not deserve that title).

The Ugly: A series I finished not too long ago that was so bad I’m still reeling. I posted about it here.

book hangover, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Number of Bookcases You Own:

25 (which is one reason why I’m not a fan of open concept design–I need walls!)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I’ve re-read a number of books, but the one I probably re-read the most was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Every time a new book came out, I’d read the entire series again. Since Deathly Hallows (the last book) came out, I’ve re-read the entire series a few more times.

Preferred Place To Read:

Somewhere quiet and comfortable with good lighting.

reading in a cozy spot, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

Not a single quote, but a passage from Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews:

“In basic terms, a fractal is a system that doesn’t become simpler when analyzed on smaller and smaller levels….It doesn’t end….It can’t be explained by mathematical analysis, so humanity, as it so often does, declared it to be a mathematical curiosity and swept it under the rug. Except the fractal occurs again and again….Left to its own devices, nature defaults to a fractal. A human settlement is a fractal. It is a complex system with randomly interacting components that is adaptive on every level. The pattern of the evolution of a single cell to complex organism is a fractal. The way man approaches his quest for knowledge is a fractal. Think of it: biology, the study of living things. A simple concept…”

A straight line appeared on the floor.

“As man accumulates knowledge, the volume of information becomes too much. He feels the need to subdivide it.”

The line split into three branches marked with labels: zoology, botany, anatomy, then split again. Botany grew horticulture, forestry, plant morphology, plant systematics. Zoology splintered into zoological morphology and systematics, then into comparative anatomy, animal physiology, behavioral ecology…It kept building and building, splitting, growing, branching….

“And that’s the crux of our problem…Man can’t handle the chaos.”

I went in expecting a good story. I came away with insight into life, the universe, and the limits of the human mind (along with a good story). Not bad.

Fractal, branching fractal, the complexity of everything, Aspasía S. Bissas
Image via “Fractals in Nature,” Cosmos

Reading Regret:

That I didn’t keep a record of the books I read when I was younger. Not only have I forgotten the titles of books I read and loved (and will likely never be able to find again), but I’ll never have an accurate count of how much I’ve actually read.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

I can’t think of anything in fiction, but there’s a series of science books I started a while  back that I would like to finish (not going to happen anytime soon, though).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Not necessarily my top three, but three from my list of favourites (and I’ll try to stick to ones I haven’t already mentioned): Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (graphic novel trilogy) by Van Jensen.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Reading. It doesn’t matter what or how or when–just read. Your life will be better for it–I promise. (But do yourself a favour and branch out a little–if you always read a version of the same thing, it’ll get boring after a while).

reading is magic, Aspasía S. Bissas
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Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I don’t usually pay too much attention to new releases because I don’t mind waiting to get a book (I happily read books that are 10+ years old), but there are a couple coming out that I’m excited about: The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Elder, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and Sacred Smoke by Amy Blackthorn.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Eating while I read, although I don’t do it much anymore. But I have stained a few books over the years (oops).

X Marks The Spot

Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Wars by Timothy Findley

Your Latest Book Purchase:

The last book I got was an e-book, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana.

latest book buy, Aspasía S. Bissas

ZZZ-Snatcher Book:

Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late:

Unfortunately it was the last book in that series I ended up hating (see “Major Book Hangover,” above). I was almost finished the book, so I decided it was worth losing sleep to find out how it all concluded. I spent most of the night reading (there was more left than I realized) and then I was so upset at the horrible decisions the author made that I couldn’t sleep at that point if I tried. I stayed awake all night, reading and then thinking about how much time I wasted on such an awful series. I would really like that sleep (and my time, money, and peace of mind) back.

books, Aspasía S. Bissas
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What’s the last book you bought? Have you lost any sleep lately to stay up reading? What’s the 27th book on your shelf? Share your answers in the comments below, or leave the link if you post this tag on your own blog 🙂

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: It’s your last chance to take advantage of Smashwords’ summer sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at half off. Don’t forget Blood Magic–always free!

Book Tag: Reading Habits

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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…

 

My Life in Books Tag

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It’s time for another book tag post! I snagged this one from Dreamland Book Blog. Feel free to give your own answers in the comments. Or, if you decide to post it on your own page, share the link 🙂

1. Find a book for each of your initials.

I haven’t read American Gods yet, but I did read Anansi Boys, which is its sequel. I probably should have used that one instead. Either way, I like the trifecta of gods, vampires, and werewolves.

american-gods

A: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

salems lot

S: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

bitten

B: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

2. Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?

One of my favourites: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende.

island beneath the sea

3. Pick a book set in your city/country.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. Not only is it set in my city, but part of it is set close to my neighbourhood.

alias grace

4. Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

I’m going to have to give two answers for this one. First, a fictional place:

prisoner of azkaban

Who wouldn’t want to go to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and the Burrow? Some of the other wizard places are also intriguing, although definitely not Azkaban.

And secondly, a real place:

Enchantress_of_florence

Florence, Italy (and Tuscany in general, of which Florence is the capital). Museums, art galleries, cathedrals, history, great food, and beautiful views. I’m kind of wondering why I’m not already there.

5. Pick a book that’s your favourite colour.

Sadly, the cover of my copy of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds isn’t this beautifully designed (credit to Kjell Roger Ringstad), but it is red.

war-of-the-worlds-cover-by-kjell-roger-ringstad

6. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

I had very fond memories indeed of all of Gordon Korman’s books–until I recently re-read them. Most of them don’t stand up. But No Coins Please, the story of an 11-year-old con artist, is still funny. If you can find a copy, I recommend it.

No_Coins,_Please

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

I’m having the worst time getting through a biography of Vladimir Nabokov (I have to read it a few paragraphs at a time in between other books–it’s dry, dense, and long, but at this point I’m too invested to give up). As for fiction, I found James Joyce’s Ulysses tough (I did finish it, though).

ulysses

8. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

Well, it was Ulysses. I would love to read Shakespeare’s complete works. Or classical lit, like Homer and Sophocles. Guess I’d better get started on that…

william-shakespeare-complete-works-2 the-oedipus-plays-of-sophocles-oedipus-the-king-oedipus-at-colonus-antigone odyssey

I hope you enjoyed this post. What would some of your answers be? Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? Tell me in the comments…