Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Treasure Island is a classic for a reason. It has so much: high seas adventure, salty sailor talk, sailing ship vocabulary, a desert island, buried treasure, even a talking parrot. SO MANY pirate story tropes come from this book, the creativity boggles the mind. You all know Long John Silver already, the sea cook with the peg leg who is charismatic, charming, and treacherous. There’s also the good doctor, the hot-headed country squire, and the innocent widowed-innkeeper’s-son-turned-cabin-boy-in-search-of-adventure, Jim Hawkins.

Ahh, the holidays. These days, at least in my household, it’s all Christmas carols, holiday movies, baking stollen and cookies, and frantically wrapping presents so they’ll look nice under the tree. That’s not too unusual. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the origins of Christmas and winter traditions, and how it’s all changed …

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There’s a recipe that’s been bugging me for years, a dish teased by Washington Irving a century and a half ago. I’ve been asking my mother for years to make it, and this year we figured it out together. And I present it to you now as an option for that Thanksgiving turkey.

You know about Magic Beans and Golden, and I’ve introduce you to Gaslamp. So you might be thinking that’s all I’ve got cooking, but you’d be so wrong. Here are my other current and ongoing projects.

In the Georgian Criminal Justice System, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the thief-takers, who catch criminals in the act (and sometimes work with them for a reward), and the Magistrates, who are usually heavily corrupt and often take bribes from the accused and the accusers. These are their stories.

What is a tavern or inn? In Britain, a tavern and an inn are pretty much the same thing. Taverns are places where people, gather, drink, exchange news, and can hire a room for the night. Inns are establishments which are licensed to house lodgers. So pretty similar. Nowadays, they’ve been all but replaced by …

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