Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

So…it’s been a few months, and I have ticked a couple things off the list, and made some progress; but mostly, I’ve made a mess.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

~This post contains affiliate links. If you’re interested in these books, please consider purchasing through the link provided. It gives me a little bit of Jeff Bezo’s filthy, filthy lucre because writing full time is expensive, and he doesn’t need the money for more joyrides in space. :-)~

Firstly, I did finish three books: Bitter Greens, My Uncle Oswald, and The Price of Freedom. Not much of an achievement, I’ll admit, since it took like 3 evenings to polish off two of them eleven months ago. But hey. They’re done.

Since then, I’ve found a few new distractions.

1. The Price of Freedom, by AC Crispin

So you guys remember I’m writing a series set in 1790s-ish England-ish, right? And Siren Song is a nautical romp, right? Yeah, so I watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies pretty much on a loop. What’s better than that?

I’ll tell you what: The Price of Freedom, by AC Crispin, that’s what. 672 pages of young Jack Sparrow, situated between the events of two series intended for children.


There are a lot of references to the book in this scene–and a really big mistake, too 😉

This book is not intended for children. Adult content aside, my sister described the first half a chapter as ‘relentlessly academic’, which honestly is the strongest seduction for me.

Crispin spent a lot of time on sailing ships to prepare for this book, and it shows. She answers so many questions I didn’t know I had, that this book is equal parts pleasure reading and research. My sister pitched it to me and because I’m a good sport, I bought it for Kindle (the only way it’s affordable), and had a nosey at the first few pages. Obviously, I got hooked. I barely had time to read for fun, but 9 times out of 10, when I haf a minute, it’s this book I’d grab.

UPDATE: I FINISHED THIS ONE between the time I first wrote this post and now. It was amazing (there are some misses between it and the some plot in Dead Men Tell No Tales, but whatever.) I saved SO MANY screenshots as research for my own nautical tales. If you like this period of history or maritime history, this is the book for you.

2. Beta for a friend

Yes, it counts. Pleasure reading doesn’t have a deadline, but beta reading does, even if it’s loose. This friend is one of my most loyal, supportive, and valuable betas and reading buddies. Plus, I adore her universe, so it’s no bother, apart from actually finding time to sit down and polish my Critical Glasses.


Beta reading is cool because you get to read the story before anyone else, and you get a say in how to improve it!

Also, Google Docs doesn’t work well on my phone, so I have to read on my laptop, which is a Whole Thing.

3. Promise of Blood, by Brian McClellan

I discovered this book when I was on holiday in Britain. It is the first in a series self-styled as ‘flintlock fantasy.’ Have you ever heard of anything more me than that? It’s a doorstop to be sure, but one that I have heard is an excellent and immersive read, and honestly I’m calling it research.


I mean…he’s holding a rifle and the series is called the Powder Mage Trilogy. I had to.

5. The Mabinogion Tetralogy, by Evangeline Walton

Another gift. My personal religious path is a modern interpretation of ancient Celtic (specifically Welsh) culture, and a large part of that involves studying the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths. I’ve read it, of course, but this particular edition is a fictionalised reinterpretation of the myths. Like so many of the others, this book was gifted to me by my mother last Christmas. I got really into it quickly…but then I got distracted. Yeah, that old song.



AND THEN, a friend of mine posted this picture earlier today:


Because my TBR list needs to get LONGER

If you don’t speak Spanish, it translates to:

January– A book that you have but haven’t read

February–A friend’s favourite book

March–A literary classic

April–A borrowed book

May–One you should have read in school but didn’t

June–A book from a genre you’ve never read

July–A book you chose for the cover

August–A book over a hundred years old

September–A work from a classic author

October–A famous author from your country

November–A best seller

December–A book with illustrations

Since it’s December, I’m kind of excited to do this. Fresh, clean start for the new year. What are you guys reading right now, or looking forward to reading next? Did you get any fun books for Christmas?

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