The Writer’s Tag: Take Two

Writer's Tag: Take Two, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Writer, writing, am writing
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!

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
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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).

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.)

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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.

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
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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.)

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
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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

 

 

Hallotober Tag

Hallotober Tag, Halloween, Samhain, October, Autumn, tag, blog post. Aspasia S. Bissas, spooky, aspasiasbissas.com
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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
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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
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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

Book Tag: The Classic Book Tag

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

Book Tag: Spring Cleaning Book Tag

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