Crocheting

Years ago, my mother-in-law decided to teach me crochet. My first reaction was to protest. With a full-time career and an overwhelming schedule as a lab manager, I hardly had time to cook for the family, let alone sit on a chair for hours and crochet, but she insisted I would learn without effort. With incredible patience and perseverance, she managed to teach me the basic stitches. Her compliments encouraged me to crochet a blanket.

My first afghan is 30y old: Unfortunately, I forgot how to stitch this pattern.

Things didn’t go easy as she chose a complicated pattern where I had to continuously concentrate on the task and count stitches. My first blanket took forever. I had to undo and repeat every time she detected a mistake, which often revolted me, but when it was eventually finished I was quite proud of myself.  We started a smaller afghan with a much easier stitch, one that repeated itself. I got the hang of it. Over the next five years I crocheted afghans for every relative in the family, baby blankets for every young friend expecting a baby, and a mix of these that were auctioned at the church festival, for a total of almost thirty pieces.

After I took an early retirement to pursue my dream of writing novels, I didn’t have time to crochet. Fifteen years later, I realized I completely forgot how to crochet. When I found a note in the church bulletin announcing a crochet hour every Thursday morning, I showed up with my old crochet bag. I explained that I was ready to learn again. The group of ladies reassured me they would teach me in no time. “It’s like riding a bicycle. It’ll come back right away.” Surprisingly it did. They taught me an easy stitch lemonade, and a few others.

One of the old ladies reminded me of my mother-in-law with her short white hair and her way of saying, “Doesn’t look right. You better undo it, dear, and repeat.” At Christmas time, more than two-hundred afghans and blankets are exhibited in the church hall and then shipped to the veterans and to the hospice.

The afghans ready to be shipped to the veterans or the hospice at Christmas time.

Now that I finally mastered a couple of stitches, I find crocheting immensely relaxing, and an excellent therapy for my hands, especially after a whole day at the computer.

My work in progress.

10 benefits of crocheting you won’t want to overlook

  • It’s a stress buster. …
  • It helps with depression. …
  • It’s good for your body. …
  • It keeps your mind active. …
  • It’s creative. …
  • It contributes to mindfulness and relaxation. …
  • It increases self-esteem. …
  • It helps others.

Can I teach you to crochet?

Of course during the day I write, and publish. Here are two books newly released during this month.

#NewRelease SAILING AWAY PLANS (Love Plans Series, book 1) A romantic comedy, realistic, sexy and emotional: Dr. Winston quits work to start a new life in the Caribbean, on his new boat, in a new clinic, but love strikes at the wrong time.

#NewRelease DATING PLAN (Love Plans Series, book 2)  Happiness finally seems within grasp for Matt and Brenda until the bullies in her daughter’s class pull her into their web again.

The ‘Wake Up in the Morning with a Smile’ Virus

Happiness and goals: these are gifts we give ourselves.


It’s been four years now and I’m still smitten with the happiness virus. Mine is fed by giving in to my love of writing. Such happiness is not to be cured but should be spread. Fortunate is she who has found her love and followed it. My advice to others: if you have something—a talent or maybe just a strong desire—that causes you to awaken with a grin, embrace it, cultivate it, and share it. It might be good for others, too.
Writing is my happiness. Sharing is my privilege. As of December 2012, I have composed four and a half novels (and published two of them), penned numerous novellas, spent a week in and about Greensboro, North Carolina for the sole purpose of research (it’s the home zone of most of my stories), purchased and/or downloaded dozens of research books, and cut and pasted countless rows into my Excel database of storylines for THE FAIRIES SAGA. I compulsively jot random plots, quotes, and themes into notebooks or tap them onto my smartphone, saving them for (possible) inclusion in future works. Writing is still my happiness.

November 12, 2012, after my return from Greensboro, NC

Goals are gifts we give ourselves and my next one is to travel to Australia in January 2014. Part of FAIRIES DOWN UNDER, the fifth in my series, transpires in January 1788 with the arrival of The First Fleet, the ships laden with prisoners transported from England to Australia. I want to endure the climate at the same time of year as did those hardy men and women, touch and smell the exotic flora, tread those historic sites, investigate the museums, and barefoot those seashores. It’s also a great time and place for research since I’ll be leaving Alaska in the icy gloom of winter to spend a couple of weeks in sunny, summertime Sydney.
Give yourself a gift, a small goal, not one of monetary gain, but of seeking happiness. Singing, sewing, serving others: do what truly makes you happy. A song written for the church choir, a cap crocheted for a new baby, a book of poems for your mother, mowing the lawn for the old couple next door. These are simple gifts; gifts to yourself, and also for others.
Happiness is ours to create, culture, and ultimately, to share.

I left room for my mega novel FAIRIES DOWN UNDER, still in process.

NOTE: I originally wrote this blog almost nine years ago. I think it still applies today. Well, except my ‘fifth’ novel is still not written. I skipped past that one for now, but I DID go to Australia for the research! There are thirteen in THE FAIRIES SAGA series now, and I’m at forty novels written and/or published. Do I still love to write? Absolutely!


Doctors in Love 2: Download to your KU Library or buy today for 99cents on a Countdown Deal!

Plotting Around Cell Phones by @_NancyRadke

Cell PhoneThe first books I wrote, the Sisters of Spirit series, were written before cell phones were even thought of, much less used, by everyone. That’s not very many years ago and I wrote them on a typewriter.  When I went to publish them, I had to bring some of them up-to-date by adding modern things like the cell phone and the personal computer, which I switched to while we still needed to open it in DOS (the disk operating system).

Not Easy To Do

The addition of cell phones changes a plot. Instead of being out in the wilderness without a phone, the injured hero just calls rescue. Now the plot must be changed so that there is no coverage, or his phone is broken during his fall, or the battery is dead.  Authors are forced to use these excuses so that they can keep the hero in trouble longer. In my latest Brothers of Spirit book, Terminal Pursuit, the hero has thrown his phone out the car window onto the highway so he can’t be traced, and is wishing that the phone booths that used to be on the street corners were still there. He threw his first phone into the river earlier in the book, along with a bomb that had been placed in the car.

Terminal Pursuit

Into The Future

I found a TV show called Tunnel especially interesting. The detective hero is sent 30 years into the future. He doesn’t know what has happened to his typewriter, what a computer is, or what the things are that folks are carrying around with them. How can a picture get on their phone? He hasn’t heard of DNA or CCTV (closed circuit television). He doesn’t have a driver’s license and has to bum rides and borrow money. But his detecting methods still work.

I was in my seventies before I got a cell phone. I don’t use it every minute of the day. And I don’t carry my phone on me as it is heavy and pulls my jeans down. It sits wherever I’ve left it, and I have to run through the house to answer it. If I’m outside, I’ll miss a call. I can deposit money and do online banking on the phone. But I just found out that you can get a pinpoint GPS with your phone, which I then added to the latest book I’m writing, a cozy mystery called Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood. This book is part of the Authors’ Billboard anthology called Murder is to Die For. The anthology will be available a week from now on 9-17-21. Technology grows faster than I can write.

Writing A Book Takes Time

So when you read a book and the technology isn’t up-to-date, just realize how long it takes to write a book sometimes. Modern technology might not have even been around when the author was plotting the book. Things like drones, or computer phones as part of your wrist watch. That last was first envisioned by the author of the Dick Tracy comic strip; the detective had a two-way wrist radio. The real watch far surpasses the wrist radio, but I remember thinking that we’d never have anything like that. Now my daughter talks to her wrist all the time.

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)