Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Happy new year, Misfits! I hope 2020 is treating you well, so far.

I started a new thing, over in the Merry Misfits Book Club on Facebook. This year, instead of picking one book to read, like traditional book clubs, or letting you choose your own books according to a theme, which I tried last year snd it didn’t work, this year, I’m picking a theme, giving you a choice between two that fit the theme, with the option to read neither and instead try one of my books.

It’s hard to say so early in the year if it’s working out any better yet. It’s certainly quieter, though I can’t tell if it’s the structure of the choices or just the madness of January. Who knows? All I know is I finished my book well ahead of when I’d planned to, and now I’m gonna get into it.

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Two years ago, I found out about the One Word trend, where you choose a word to be your focus for the coming year. I did not achieve my goal last year, for a variety of reasons, so this year, I’m hoping that I can accomplish a new one, and perhaps the previous one, as a result.

So, my One Word this year is STREAMLINE.

Thanks, NASA

To me, streamlining refers to removing blockages and complications to allow the free flowing of of a project- removing everything that detracts from maximum efficiency.

This applies to my personal life, as well as my work. I have been severely reducing, decluttering, and organising my life, and I’ve found it a wonderfully freeing feeling, allowing me to focus my attention and efforts on things I love, rather than acquiring heaps and heaps of things I hope will make me happy, and only ending up weighed down by a mound of crap.

For my professional life, streamlining means detailed planning of my social media strategy, writing blog posts and newsletters in advance, and automating Facebook and Instagram posts. The theory is that with social media posts (note: NOT engagement) done way ahead of time, I can focus on writing, editing, working with my team, reading for pleasure, and responding to interactions on my social media posts. I won’t be playing catch-up with myself, I won’t leave months and months of silence, I won’t need to be prodded by Breanna a week into the new month about what the Book Club theme is. I can be active, engaged, and relaxed in the moment.

Yes, it meant a HELL of a lot of work in December 2019, but I’ll be so much happier January-November of 2020, enough that I may be inspired to devote December 2020 to doing the same thing again.

Fingers crossed.

So what am I actually working on?

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen my love of mermaids and my flood of posts relating to Siren Song. I have finished my first round of major edits and it is in the hands of my betas. I’ll need to make their edits, polish again, send it to my editor, implement her edits, compile the illustrations, format, and publish.

I’m aiming for a publication date sometime in May, during MerMay.

Watch this space for information regarding preorder and publication updates.

In addition, I have a number of inter-novel novellas and short stories set to be released here on my website to tide you over until the novel comes out.


What about you? What is your One Word?

If you have been around here on my blog for a while, you’ll know that I published my two fairy tale retelling novels almost a year ago, exclusively for Kindle. I had a bunch of -I think- rational reasons for not wanting to publish in hardcopy, but the people kept asking. So here’s the breakdown of the pros and cons for digital versus paper books.

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Hey there, Misfits! It has been some time since I penned a blog post. Mostly, I’ve been super busy, I’ve been travelling, I’ve been celebrating my birthday, and also trying to overcome some challenges in my personal life. And also because secretly, I really hate blogging.

But anyway, enough moaning. I’m here this morning to talk about an increasingly controversial cause near and dear to my heart: National Novel Writing Month, or as we call it, NaNoWriMo. Continue reading

The theme for May’s book in the Merry Misfits Book Club was ‘A book from a niche genre, or a genre you don’t normally read’. I chose Afrofuturism, and the internet as a whole seemed to recommend this book.

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