Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Last year, a big trend was the One Word Challenge, where we chose one word to define the coming year. I chose Focus because I had so much that I wanted to do, and my life was so chaotic that I felt I really needed to buckle down if I ever wanted to get off the ground.

Well, I focused for all I was worth and I accomplished a huge amount. I launched my website, I took a bazillion classes about starting and running a business, I joined three viral builders that gained me literal hundreds of followers on Facebook, I published two novels and a short story, I helped friend launch her business, I started a Patreon (and then promptly dropped it, lol! Baby steps!), and I even took a much needed trip to the UK to reconnect with friends and get my head straight.

And breathe.

Having a one-word affirmation helped massively. So this year, I’m doing it again, and focusing on GROWTH.

I will grow as a writer by publishing at least three more novellas and another novel. Hopefully, it’ll be off to betas by May, though I’m still optimistic about late March.

I will grow as an entrepreneur. As a self-published author, everything is on my own shoulders. Planning, researching, writing, editing (I do have a wonderful and affordable editor, but I do the first few rounds myself), cover design, formatting, collaborating with other creators, promoting, and finally, marketing. Thankfully, as I publish digitally at the moment, I don’t have to deal with printing and shipping, but when I do, that’ll be my job, too. So I have to really work on how to market myself effectively, which will require an almost complete rewiring of my extreme introvert brain, lol, and possibly a complete overhaul of all of my marketing platforms. Pray for me.

I don’t wanna do mailing lists 😦

I will grow spiritually. In the spring, my family circle decided to leave the community of pagans that we met with regularly. It wasn’t a clean or amicable break, so we kind of drifted aimlessly for a while to try to figure things out. Eventually, the decision was made to form a new group, and that will crystalise very soon. Additionally, my bestie and I have been kicking around the idea of a pagan podcast. We’re both very excited to get that started.

I will grow in my discipline and self-care. I know it sounds funny to say you’ll grow by reducing, but it works in a roundabout way. I’m a super low energy person on a good day, so it’s going to take a lot of effort and determination to give my body the exercise and nurturing that it requires. I need to eat better (and less), work out regularly (even if it’s just a sun salutation), meditate more, and look after my skin better. And yes *deep sigh* drink more water.

I hhaattee drinking water

Right now on Facebook, I have a discussion going about what I can do to better engage with people, and the responses have been pretty interesting. If you’re interested in helping me out, please head over there and let me know. Or I guess, you can write it in the comments below.

It’s been quite some time since my last blog post, and while I feel a little bad for setting my blog on the back burner, I’m heartened by knowing that the reason for my absence was due to a big event in my life.

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We’re officially past the halfway mark of the ‘12 Meses, 12 Libros‘ challenge, and I’m pleased to say I’ve stayed more or less on schedule, which I honestly did not expect to be able to do.

Do yourselves a favour, and pick up a copy here.

This month’s theme was reading a book based on the cover, and I chose The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert, because look at this glorious bastard. I picked it up at Target on a whim, and boy, does it break the old adage. Good cover, good book.

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No, not revenge. Well, maybe.

Plot, at its most basic principle, is the series of events that make up your story. You could have the most well-rounded and complicated characters, and the most detailed setting in the world. But without plot, it’s just not a story.

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As you’ll recall from my 6 previous Reading Nook posts, I’m doing the ’12 Meses, 12 Libros’ Challenge. This month’s topic was a book from a genre I’d never read before, I chose travel, and went with the #1 recommendation from people who have opinions: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

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Continuing with my ’12 Meses 12 libros’ challenge, this month I read Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw. If that sounds familiar to you, you may recognise it by the name of the musical based on it–My Fair Lady. So, if you’re not a fan of musical theatre, skip this post, because there will be gifs.

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One of the most important aspects of storytelling is creating a vibrant world. In many ways, the setting is a silent character and a driver of plot. Even if your story is set in modern-day Chicago, not everyone who reads it will be in modern-day Chicago, walking the streets, so you need to be able to make them feel like they are.

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