First Look at My New Book

First Look at My New Book, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, gothic, paranormal, horror
Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

Although there’s still work to be done, some parts of my new book (no title yet) are ready to share! I thought I’d give you all a taste of the opening chapter. This book continues the story started in Love Lies Bleeding, introducing some new characters along the way. Fair warning, if you haven’t read Love Lies Bleeding yet, this excerpt contains spoilers. (And a trigger warning for anyone sensitive to violence.)

Spoilers Ahead

Mara was hungry and lonely. Hungry, she could take care of.

She was in London. She’d been there for what felt like months, but really was only a little over a week.

Nigel and Dominic were dead.

She’d killed them.

They’d deserved it, she reminded herself as her anxiety started to spike. Dom had betrayed her, and both of them were threats to her and Lee. Even more than vampires usually were.

Her mind, as it so often did, latched on to Lee. How was he doing? Was he all right? Did he forgive her for leaving, for abandoning him?

It was for the best, all for the best. Always for the best.

An image of a bashed-in skull appeared in front of her. Nigel’s unseeing eyes staring, judging. She blinked and Dominic was there, lying on the ground, a dagger with a broken handle buried in his chest.

No, she muttered; not real.

 But it was real. Or had been. She could still feel Nigel’s skull shattering under the iron poker, could still feel the handle of the blade breaking off as she tried to twist it in Dominic’s heart.

She knew it had happened; she just couldn’t believe it. Maybe because it felt as though they were still with her. Or maybe because she hadn’t bothered to check to make sure Dom definitely wouldn’t be coming back. Either way, she’d felt as though she was being followed ever since.

Part of her hoped Lee had tracked her down, not only because she desperately wanted to see him, but also because the alternative didn’t bear considering.

Was Dominic still out there? Was he her ghost, her shadow, her hunter? Leave it to him to keep chasing her from beyond the grave.

Or had all her victims broken free, the restless shades of her centuries of slaughter? She’d come home and unlocked their tombs.

The edges of her vision started tinting red. Right, she was hungry. Blood first, ghosts later.

The bars were always good for an easy meal. The streets were already full of rowdy patrons heading to the next place, or getting into brawls, or stumbling home, heads fuzzy and defenses down. It wouldn’t take much to get one to follow her instead, to wander off into a dark corner of the city where prying eyes didn’t reach.

She’d have to play the game a few times tonight, if she wanted enough to be sated without taking too much from anyone. It wasn’t how she usually fed—how she used to feed—but she was trying something new. Feeding without hunting, without killing. Without the thrill. No matter how much blood she drank this way she was always left empty. But she survived, and it kept any more ghosts from haunting her.

Rising voices caught her attention: a man and a woman’s. The man’s voice was laden with threat; the woman’s, distress. Mara’s pulse quickened. Maybe she’d be playing a different game tonight, one where a predator would get bled. It was always nice when people got what they deserved. And so rare.

She approached the area where she’d heard the voices, making sure to look innocuous. Just a girl out late, alone, quick steps and head down—no threat to anyone. Or so they’d think—so they always thought—until it was too late to think at all. But when Mara reached the spot, an unlit path next to a park playground, she found a woman standing calmly facing the other direction. No one else was around. Had they already left, or had Mara misheard and gone to the wrong place? She stopped, confused. The woman turned to look at her.

Too late.

(© Aspasía S. Bissas)

Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. If you haven’t read Love Lies Bleeding, or my free stories “Blood Magic” and “Tooth & Claw,” download them now:

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

🧿

Vampire’s Garden: Bleeding Heart

Vampire's Garden: Bleeding Heart, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Bleeding heart plant, garden, gardening, vampire, vampires
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained when she was still human, she continues to study plants and have a garden. This post is fourteenth in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Caution: All parts are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. Coming into contact with the plant can also be irritating to skin.

Botanical Name: Laprocapnos spectabilis (AKA Dicentra spectabilis)

Common Names: Bleeding Heart, Lady’s Locket, Lady’s Heart, Lyre Flower, Fallopian Buds, heart flower, lady-in-a-bath

History: Native to northeastern Asia. There is a Japanese legend that claims the flower sprang from the blood of a brokenhearted suitor (read it here). Another version has the princess’s heart bleeding eternally for her lost suitor. After being introduced in the UK, it became so popular that it was once called “the finest hardy plant of the 19th century.” And then it fell out of fashion for being too common (fickle Victorians). Bleeding Heart is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve circulation, treat bruises and sores, and as a painkiller.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Compassion

Cultivation: Zones 2 to 9. Perennial. Prefers shade or part shade (you can get away with full sun if you live in a northern area). Bleeding Heart likes rich, consistently moist, well-draining soil, and appreciates organic mulch to help with moisture retention and nutrients. Plant in spring or fall. Bleeding Heart usually goes dormant in summer– you can cut back the stems once the leaves have turned yellow or brown. Continue to water/keep moist while dormant. To get better blooms, work slow-release fertilizer and compost into the soil around the plant when it first emerges in spring. Grows to about 1 metre (3 ft) tall and 30 cm to 1 metre (1 to 3 ft) wide. Propagate by division every few years. Bleeding Heart is deer and rabbit resistant.

Uses:

Houseplant (not recommended if you have pets or young children): If you can recreate the preferred growing conditions for Bleeding Heart, it will grow as a houseplant. Ideally it prefers a room temperature of about 18C (65F).

Cut Flower: Flowering stems will last up to 2 weeks in a vase.

Crafts: The flowers are ideal for pressing. From Almanac.com: Pick flowers early in the morning after the dew has dried. Put the flowers between paper and place between the pages of a thick book. After a couple of weeks you’ll have perfect flat, papery hearts.

Mara’s Uses: With its red shoots, heart-like flowers, and “bleeding” name, Bleeding Heart would definitely be on Mara’s list of plants to try for her herbal blood substitute.

Further Reading:

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! ♥

Bleeding Hearts Flower Care- How to Grow Bleeding Heart

How to Grow and Care for Bleeding Heart

Almanac

Bleeding Heart: An Old-Fashioned Charmer

Wikipedia: Laprocapnos

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

Haiku: Relativity

Haiku: Relativity, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, poem, poetry, haiku, monsters, demons, vampires, things that go bump in the night
Photo by Joanne Adela Low on Pexels.com
Relativity

Your eyes like ashes

The fire inside you long cold

Your stare turns on me

AspasíA S. Bissas

Poetry not your thing? Check out my fiction…

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

🧿

The Problem with Angelus

The Problem with Angelus, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Angel, Angelus, Buffy, vampire, vampires, gif

I’m still (re-)watching Buffy and Angel, and there’s something that’s been bothering me about Angelus…

Spoilers Ahead

First, we need some backstory.

in Buffy and Angel mythology, a vampire is made when a vampire exchanges blood with a human before killing them. The human’s soul leaves the body (presumably going off to the afterlife), and the soulless shell reanimates, inhabited by a demon that looks like the human, and has their personality and all their memories, but with an aversion to sunlight and a thirst for blood.

Angelus started out like any other vampire, but after killing the wrong girl he was cursed with a soul. Suddenly his body housed a demon and a human soul. This unnatural combination led him to spend a hundred years wallowing in guilt and remorse over what he’d done as a vampire, before finally deciding to become a broody, but useful, member of society. Oh, and he also started calling himself Angel.

But the curse had a loophole. If Angel were to ever experience a moment of true happiness, the soul would go and Angelus would return in all his murderous glory.

Over the course of both Buffy and Angel, we get to see both Angel and Angelus, and much as I enjoy the dichotomy, something about it bothers me. Angel is solitary, reserved, and thoughtful, but ready to kick ass when necessary. Angelus, on the other hand, is cruel, revels in violence, and is as meticulous in stalking and torture as the most evil serial killer. So how is this the same person?

The shows simply claim that it’s the difference between soul and no soul, but I’m not sure I buy that. The presence (or lack) of a soul doesn’t completely change your personality. At one point Angel claims he was a bad person as a human too, but from flashbacks we see he was mostly a shiftless, carousing layabout and terrible son. That’s pretty far from a cold-blooded killer (not to mention the other major personality shifts we see between Angel and Angelus). The Buffy episode “Doppelgangland” even tacitly confirms that a vampire’s personality is basically the same as the human they inhabit.

When vampire Spike gets his soul back (earned, not cursed), his personality doesn’t significantly change. He might be less likely to finish off a mortally wounded human once he gets his soul, but if you watched an episode featuring him without knowing which season it was from, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell whether he has a soul or not. Another vampire, Harmony, never gets a soul, but shows no significant change in personality before and after becoming a vampire. She even loves unicorns.

The Problem with Angelus, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Angel, Angelus, Buffy, vampire, vampires, Harmony, unicorns

In the Angel episode “Eternity,” Angel is drugged so that he feels a chemical high (which they call “happiness” for the sake of the plot), Until the drug wears off he’s right back to being Mr. Murder-Death-Kill, as though a switch were flipped. You’d think he’d still be able to exert his own will, at least a little, to keep Angelus from completely taking over. He didn’t even lose his soul that time. Yes, it’s a TV show about vampires and demons, but it doesn’t make any sense. Not to me, at least.

Maybe having a soul forced on him was traumatic for Angel, causing his personality to fracture. Maybe the demon inside him is particularly strong and malevolent. Maybe it really is only human guilt that keeps Angel from totally going off the rails. Maybe I’m way overthinking this.

What do you think about Angel/Angelus and his split personality? Do you have your own theories about the difference a soul makes? Share in the comments…

Want more vampires? Download 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, 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

🧿
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