About Angela Stevens

Angela Stevens is an Amazon International Best Selling Author. Her steamy romance novel, Nolan’s Resolution, from the highly popular multi-author series, After Hurricane Nina, hit #1 New Release on Amazon in America, Canada and the UK. Her 5 book debut series, Hockey Punk, is a sports romance series set around her adopted town near DC and revolves around her favorite sport of ice hockey. Writing in both contemporary romance and contemporary fantasy genres, Angela portrays gritty characters with emotionally charged plots and is not afraid to tackle difficult social issues in her fiction. If you pick up one of her romances, you may have to order an extra supply of tissues, but Angela Stevens will always deliver you a HEA and some smoldering hot scenes to get you there.

Journey In The Pandemic by Angela Stevens

The Hype

Taking a journey is always an exciting backdrop for a novel. Even in fiction, we look forward to exploring the exotic location and immersing ourselves in the food, culture, and the unfamiliar. We like to see what unique elements a foreign climate will throw at the poor unsuspecting characters, and how they will survive the mayhem. However, when planning my current travel to the UK, I was skeptical about whether I really wanted the twisty-turny plot that the cover and book description (A.K.A The News and Covid) were promising me. Actually, I hoped it would be boring and uneventful. I hoped that, for once, the star characters would reach their HEA (happily-ever-after) in a predictable and timely manner.

Journey

The Book Description

The Hero and Heroine have been watching the news for months, waiting for travel to the UK to open up and stay that way. It has been 3 years since they have seen their family, and there are pressing things for the couple to sort out over there. As soon as things stabilized with travel H and h couldn’t deny their destiny any longer. With flights booked, and fingers crossed, they set off on an adventure with high hopes that their travel would be drama free.

This is the second book in the series, and although nervous about traveling in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world–or at least a popular dystopian plot–the plucky pair are optimistic. Even though in book 1 they had encountered many plot twists–a hunt for fuel, missing planes, a vanished crew, a pilot inexplicably in Wyoming when they were in Denver airport, a case of the wrong paper work, and a weird side story about the perils of the metric v’s imperial math systems and weight calculation, the main characters believed that this time they were prepared for whatever the author through at them.

The Prologue

After booking flights to England, a whole lot of fun and games ensue. Almost from page one, the reader could pretty much guess how this story was going to turn out. When the threat of quarantining for 10 days had been lifted by a surprising early plot twist– those vaccinated now didn’t have to!–our trusty hero and heroine were lulled into a false sense of security. But of course, by the next page, a whole new set of hurdles to jump over were introduced.

Act 1

Our characters now faced three trials to see if they were worthy of the quest. (Have you noticed, all the best stories have things happen in threes?)
Trial 1: 3 days before flying, a Covid test must be taken. The results received before flying (despite tests results taking 3 days or more to be completed!).
Trial 2: a repeat Covid test to be booked and taken within 2 days of arrival. (Not to mention locating the bizarre, mysterious building that the GPS had never heard of).
Trial 3: the hero and heroine must repeat trial 1 before flying home. And they must do so while taking a side trip to an undisclosed destination across the other side of the country.

This didn’t faze the plucky adventurers. They were more than happy to conform. The last thing they wanted was to endanger any fellow passengers or family they might encounter on their quest in England. They took a trip through the CVS drive through, and by some miracle, procured their results in 24 hours. A little too easy, I thought, the author could have created more drama here. After gathering together important secret documents to prove their victory and filling out an extensive passenger locator form, they headed to the airport. (At this point, I suspected that locator form would become a key plot point later, so I squirreled that away, on the look out for when the characters might whip it out and use it to defy the villain, or perhaps the villain would use it against them.)

The characters journey took them to Charlotte airport where they expected to confront chaos and very slow queues. They had been forewarned of such obstructions by an earlier visit to this location. With test one secured in their baggage, they anticipated the next plot twist, so arrived at the airport three hours early.

Balancing expectations

I expected the worst for the characters. The author had already set up a plethora of dangers for them to face. News story full of travel horrors. People being detained in Customs at Heathrow Airport for more than five hours, fainting from lack of air and access to food and water. Two days before flying, another bad seed was sown, severe fuel shortages due to a lack of lorry drivers, should be expected.

Our heroes made peace with their rocky road. After a little wobble, where they doubted their sanity at taking on this quest, they decided there was no choice, they needed to get to the UK and they were prepared to use a whole year of patience to do it.

Plot twists are over-rated

You know when you pick up a book and expect one type of story but get a whole different one instead, and you read that story thinking any minute now, there is going to be one big plot twist and the story will give you what you expected? Well, this tale is not like that.

Arriving three hours early, the characters were through all the new screening processes at the airport, they had navigated the unprecedented short lines through TSA, and they had arrived at the departure gate in less than twenty minutes. After more than two hours wait, they boarded the plane, which took off on time!

Airplane Angela Stevens

I was still waiting for a twist, but none came. It transpired that the plane was quite empty. Passengers were able to socially distance, and used the extra space to stretch out and have a restful trip. On board food was not only provided, but it was delicious, and they enjoyed a couple of glasses of red wine to celebrate.

They arrived in England an hour early.

Aha! Now there would be trouble. The airport won’t be open and they will encounter zombies in the horrendous queues the news anchor man had forewarned us about. Perhaps that passenger locator form was going to rear its ugly head, too.

But no.

There were no queues and no zombies, just helpful staff, and a straight line through border control, where they received a casual ‘welcome back’ from the guard. They then collected their luggage and were at the car rental before the plane’s scheduled arrival time.

I presumed there would be trouble ahead because the heroes had booked a car for 10 am, but now they were two hours early. Except still their luck didn’t falter. Five minutes later, they were on the motorway, heading north on a four hour car drive to their destination.

Act 2

The characters were on the home straight. But avid readers know this is the part in a novel where things go south. Our hero is lulled into a false high. And then things are turned upside down. So, with rain pouring, they set their jaws and kept a look out for the next plot twist. I was sure it was going to involve running out of gas, but as they crept closer to their destination, the ‘fuel not available’ signs vanished, and beautiful rainbows welcomed them.

Act 3

Never happened.

Instead, the heroes headed unscathed towards a HEA. They found the mysterious building for their covid tests and then performed the second trial. And the results came through in less than twenty-four hours. They saw their family and took care of business. The only challenge they faced was rain and they had no umbrellas.

Summary of the Book

Journey In The Pandemic by Angela Stevens is a very boring novel. The heroes arrived all in one piece, with no hiccups, no delays. And they passed the three trials with flying colors. I have my fingers crossed that the sequel, Return Journey In The Pandemic will go as smoothly. Surprisingly, I have found this author’s lack of imagination quite refreshing. Perhaps there should be more stories where everything has gone to plan. And the stars of the novel do not have to go through hell to get their HEA.

Afterword

Joking aside, I want to thank all the people who made our journey boringly quick and tediously uneventful. Especially in these unprecedented times. Every single person we came into contact with greeted us with a smile. And they helped get us where we needed to be. They did a fantastic job against the backdrop of sensationalized news articles, all while wearing masks for our safety. I for one, would like to knight every bloody one of them. Seriously, they all need a pay raise and, if it wasn’t for covid, a great big hug. It has given me a glimmer of hope. The dystopian-esque novel we’ve been stuck in feels like it is almost over. And I am finally beginning to believe we will reach the end with no more plot twists.

For much more interesting and exciting story lines you can check out Angela Stevens books on Amazon, or sample one of her rom-com stories in the Author’s billboard boxed set Cute but Crazy.

New Release: Blood Ties by @AngelaStevens13

Last week I published my 33rd book and, coincidently, it is for my oldest series. Blood Ties is the next and last (probably?) installment of the Vargr Clan series.

Book 1, The Wolf You Feed was published way back in 2014 under my Angela Stevens name. Technically this was the second book I ever wrote, but was the first series I wrote. A couple of years ago I moved this to my pen name Sadie Collins

How It Began

The Vargan Clan books started out as a trilogy.  Spanning two generations, The Wolf You Feed is an epic series steeped in Native American Lore and Lycan myth. Although a family saga based in the real world, starting in the seventies, the series is fantasy based.

The first 3 books follow the life and troubles of Tore Vargr, a lycan shifter forced to leave his clan and make a life in the human world. Tore believes he has left his troubles behind along with his home, but a family feud follows him, threatening everything he has worked hard to achieve. The story follows Tore and his children as he battles with an all-consuming grief as well as a pack of wolves intent on destroying him.

The Wolf You Feed

The Vargr Clan Trilogy Not Shifter Stories

Spoiler alert: The series is not romance either–hence republishing under the new Sadie Collins name. In truth, the genre is difficult to pin down. The Vargr Clan trilogy furrows its own path while exploring grief, prejudice, alcoholism, and a whole lot of messy stuff. But it also examines family bonds, unconditional love, and the literal and metaphorical fight Tore Vargr engages in to find his way.

The first book of the trilogy is named after a Native American proverb. And this proverb sums up the series best…

There is a battle of two wolves inside us all.
One is evil: it is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, lies.
The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, truth.
The wolf that wins?
The one you feed.
–Cherokee proverb

Blood Ties Angela Stevens

Readers Wanted More

Although the trilogy was published in 2015, readers wanted more. So, I added another book. The Splits in my Skin is a detour book that explores what happens to Johan, Tore’s son, in his missing 2 years. It was never meant to be anything but a ‘little extra’ for readers. Trouble was, people still wanted more and readers were so invested in Tore’s children they wanted all their stories, too.

The Black Walker Warriors that appeared in the series were also getting a lot of love, so I wrote Blood Or Destiny to tell Eva and Pilan’s story. That left a bit of unfinished business, and readers demanded Rune’s tale, so Blood Brothers happened. After I finished that in 2018, I still had some loose ends to tie up and started Blood Ties.

Why the gap?

Honestly there is no excuse, except life got in the way. Deadlines for my romance books and other new projects got in the way. I pushed aside the manuscript and, eventually, forgot about it.

While tidying my files as part of my writing avoidance tactic, I stumbled onto the manuscript, found I had 50k words already, and decided if I did nothing else this year, I had to finish the book. So, I did. Well, that’s an exaggeration. I practically had to tie myself to my desk chair and force out every last word.  But I finally did it.

The Series is Complete

Blood Ties completes what has turned out to be a second trilogy in the Vargr Clan Series. This book is also probably the last ever–though I have a huge soft spot for those warriors, and well… who knows? Perhaps in the future, if I can ever get my brain to function again, there may be more.

The reading order for the series is as follows:

The Vargr Clan Series

The Wolf You Feed, Bk 1
Hold On, Bk 2
An Unbreakable Will, Bk 3
The Splits In My Skin, Bk 4
Blood Or Destiny, Bk 5
Blood Brothers, Bk 6
Blood Ties, Bk 7

And if you love to binge read then there are 2 anthology versions available for purchase. These anthologies are available for Kindle Unlimited members.

Click here for The Complete Vargr Clan Trilogy (Bks 1-3)
Click here for the Vargr Clan Duology (Bks 5 and 6)

My Trip to Santa Fe by @AngelaStevens13 #Travel

My Trip To Santa Fe

I just got back from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s the first trip we have taken in two years because of… well, you know. When they opened up travel again, both me and hubby had had our Covid vaccines, so we took the chance and flew. I must admit, I hadn’t really thought about visiting Santa Fe as it wasn’t a place I knew much about, but as it worked out we did want to visit NM.

Sante Fe DragonVisiting all the states is on our Bucket list

You see, me and my other half have been working on collecting states since we came to live in America. Before July, I was down to my last five: New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Three years have passed since we last added to our total, so when we decided to actually try for a vacation, I immediately got to planning to tick off more states on our bucket list. I am a great planner, but also a last minute one. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the year to be last minute, and my first choice for a trip to visit Portland and Oregon-with a trip around Olympic park-also appeared to be the whole of Americas first choice, too. Of course, I was planning our trip two weeks before we wanted to fly, and the rest of America had reserved their spots before me, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that there was literally nowhere to stay.

So, in the end, I was left scrambling. We had one week and it was carved in stone, as it was the same week my daughter and her family were heading off to the beach. So it was the only week I had no babysitting obligations. I really wanted to hit one of my missing states and with Oregon and Washington out of the running, I only had 3 left to choose. Hawaii was not even in the running–too far, too little time available. Alaska was also not a winner, as I have heard the best way to do that is a cruise and the last thing I wanted was to be on a cruise with Covid still lurking. So, New Mexico it was, and well, Santa Fe was the only place I had heard of that I could pronounce.

Santa Fe, A jewel in America’s crown

Canyon Rd Sante Fe

 

Well, I have to say, if you want to take a trip anywhere in North America, you should definitely consider Santa Fe. IT IS AN AMAZING PLACE! I did worry it would be ridiculously hot in July, but it was much nicer weather there than here in North Carolina. It was 85 degrees dropping to 55 at night. And the air was so fresh (no humidity!) and clean. I also worried that the scenery would be a bit bland. I knew it was a desert, so I was kind of thinking sand and maybe a cactus, but it was far from it. This is because Santa Fe is a high desert, surrounded by mountains. The area has a never-ending, inky black sky with a gazillion stars.

Santa Fe Plaza

The town center is so picturesque, and full of flowers that reminded me of England; Snapdragons, hollyhocks, lavender, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, lupins, and petunias everywhere. The buildings are all adobe, their walls a soothing terracotta and their paintwork a beautiful faded turquoise blue and they make you feel like you are in another world.

The city is a wonderful mix of Indigenous people, Mexicans, Spanish, and Americans and they seem to have a achieved a harmony that most of America is far from reaching.  As such, the place is friendly, rich in culture and a haven for artists. The eclectic mix of art, food, and culture join forces to make Santa Fe vibrant and so interesting.

Do yourself a favor, book a food tour

Burrito Sante Fe

One of our favorite things about traveling is the food we get to try. Santa Fe does not disappoint. I can honestly say we have had some of the best food I have ever tasted, there–and I have travelled all over the world, and have been lucky enough to eat in some amazing places. So, of course, we were excited when we found they offered guided food tours. It was so much fun. We ate a course in 3 different restaurants while being given a history lesson, and meeting some fantastic people to share it with. I would highly recommend doing one of these in any city you visit. It is always one of the first things on our list when exploring new places.

Santa Fe had only just opened up a few days before we travelled. I feel so happy that we were able to see it at a time when everyone was emerging from the Covid crisis. People were so excited to be open again, and the Santa Fe locals welcomed everyone with such joy and enthusiasm.

I’ll be back!

Maybe it was because I was well and truly ready for a break. But I found our 5 days in Santa Fe was one of the best we have made in America. I loved it so much that I will definitely be back. Perhaps to experience their winter season as they apparently have fantastic skiing there. So, if you are thinking of taking a trip, grab some sunscreen and head to Santa Fe. If you’re a foodie, history buff, love experiencing cultural diversity, or are into art, Santa Fe has everything you could need. And you will be welcomed by some of the friendliest and nicest people in America.

If you are planning a trip anytime soon, you will probably be needing some book recommendations, too. You can’t go wrong by paying a visit to our specials page. Our talented authors have some special offers, or take a look at our boxed sets. You cannot get more bang for your buck than that! Authors Billboard have a huge selection from sweet, to funny, to suspenseful romances.

Angela Stevens also has a great selection of contemporary sport romances, romantic suspense novel. Click here to learn more. She also writes fantasy books under her pen name of Sadie Collins.

Fear of Cockroaches by @AngelaStevens13

I have a pathological fear of cockroaches. The sight of one turns me into a gibbering wreck. My heart rate goes a million miles an hour, and I forget how to breathe. A fear of cockroaches is all consuming; when catching sight of their long, streamlined bodies tiptoeing across the wall, ceiling, couch… YIKES! …my reptilian brain takes over and the normal rational one shuts down. I make for higher ground and hyperventilate from the top of the kitchen table while my husband almost wets himself laughing.

But a fear of cockroaches is no laughing matter. For the entire time those mini-nightmares are on the loose, I’m paralyzed. All I can do is watch in horror as their scurrying, disgusting bodies run.

The running terrifies me the most. They are fast; faster than anything should be. And they don’t just run.

Brace yourself… they fly, too.

Fear of Coackroaches

Why, oh, why does the cockroach fly?

I mean, seriously, what was our maker thinking when he made them?  Hmm, let’s do armor, because the humans will have to whack ‘em multiple times before they squish ‘em. Oh, and feelers that wiggle, that’d be cool and disgusting. Let’s do an instantly recognizable silhouette that will look menacing blown up against a wall lit by a single lamp. They need to be super silent, like Ninjas—no, better than Ninjas… better than stealth bombers. They should have a built-in cloaking device they deploy until they are right in front of a human. Ohhh, think I’m gonna also make them immediately bolt when a human spots them. So yeah, I hereby bequeath thee, the land speed record and… hmm, what else would be terrifying…? Flight! Yup, flight it is

Did The Architect not understand the roll of a good supervillain? They need to have a flaw, damn-it!

Cockroaches have no flaw!

My fear of cockroaches has led me to study them. It’s Catch 22, the more I do, the more petrified of them I become. But in my extensive research, the only thing I have found that they are supposed to be terrified of is…

–DRUM ROLL PLEASE–

… citrus.

Citrus Fruit
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, are a cockroach’s kryptonite, but does it makes them turn into quivering wrecks and runaway? Or, do they instantly combust when they come into contact with a bit of orange peel? Nope, they just don’t like the smell, and they walk around it. Seriously, that is not a flaw OR a weakness. That is a cop out!

Especially when roaches have ALL of these strengths:

  • They leave tracks of bacteria
  • can live a week WITHOUT a head
  • are nocturnal and run away from light
  • can live 3 months with no food and a month with no water
  • leave chemical trails in their feces that other cockroaches follow so they can find each other and create a swarm
  • There are 5,000 species
  • like to feed on human and pet food
  • play dead. Seriously. For up to forty minutes, they hold their breath and play dead, then flip off their backs and scurry away when the coast is clear.
  • can withstand radiation and could survive humans in a nuclear blast!
  • can survive underwater. THEY DON’T DROWN, PEOPLE!
  • Female American roaches live up to 700 days and every time they lay an egg case, they have 14-36 eggs in them, and on average they lay 18 egg cases in their life time.

So, where the hell is the cockroach’s weakness or flaw?  There should be one. Superman has his Kryptonite, Achilles his heel. God, you made your villain too powerful, this is not how it was meant to be. Jeepers, is it any wonder why I am scared out of my wits by these abhorrent creatures? I’m British I have a stiff upper lip—except where cockroaches are concerned.

I’m not easily scared

I don’t make a habit of having irrational fears. I can deal with spiders. It doesn’t matter how big they are, I’m able to stay in the same room as them and am even happy to watch them stroll across the ceiling or capture them in a glass and release them outside. Other stuff, too. For instance, snakes. Zero problem. I have three cats that think it’s fun to bring me a snake every few days and leave it to slither across the living room. No problem, I can quickly catch them and set them free.

Most critters in fact: lizards, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, birds. The cats have tested me out numerous times, bringing me live ones as presents, and each time I have no issues putting them back outside. But cockroaches… Ugh! Even as I type the word, my palms are growing sweaty, and I feel physically sick. This is a bit of problem when writing a blog that requires me to mention the damn word as often as possible in order to satisfy the SEO.

So, why am I confessing my Achilles heel? Because I am on the edge of a mental breakdown. This week, I have had three of these beasties turn up in my house, and I am going batsh*t crazy. I just can’t even fathom why this is happening. Firstly, my home is spotless. I am over-the-top tidy, and I clean as a hobby. Secondly, I am meticulous about putting foods in sealed containers and you can use my cooktop as a mirror. Thirdly, the trash is emptied daily, and I don’t have any clutter. Fourthly, I’m a minimalist, and everything has its place.  So why in heaven’s name have they chosen to move in!!!

Fear of Cockroaches
Actual footage of me from yesterday after I spotted no. 3.

For all the years that I have lived in America, I think I only saw a cockroach once—that was up until two years ago. But when I moved to North Carolina, I have seen seven. SEVEN IN TWO YEARS! In MY HOUSE! And three, of those seven, sightings have happened this week.

Katsaridaphobia is real, people!

My hubby thinks I am losing my mind. He might be right. I know it is irrational but I can’t control the fear, and I am literally one scurrying mahogany body away from moving out permanently. I may have to go and live in the Sahara, or the North Pole, or anywhere that can guarantee me no freaking cockroaches.

Tomorrow, the exterminators are coming, and I am praying they can seal up my house because I really need a good night’s sleep, and so long as there is a chance that there may be even one roach somewhere in my home, I am not going to get any sleep.

So, if any of you have any words of wisdom, or tried and tested ways of preventing these terrifying monsters entering your home, please, please, please pass them on, because my Katsaridaphobia is holding me hostage.

If you guys would like something to take your mind off my article, I have over thirty cockroach-free books to choose from, including some excellent author’s billboard box sets at just 99c. You can find them by clicking here.