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)

Personal Development by @AngelaStevens13

Lately, I have been focusing on personal development in my art work, expanding my skills, and really trying to extend myself. I invested heavily in some amazing tutorials and the payoff has been phenomenal. I am now exploring much more complicated scenes and am finally coming to grips with digital painting and overpainting, which I have been wanting to learn for years. Here is my first ‘painted from scratch’ effort.

Ladybug Angela Stevens
It’s no Rembrandt, but I’m loving it! And the added bonus is that my personal development quest is keeping me sane during a major writing slump. 

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

The lack of motivation and inspiration for my writing started as a niggle, manifesting as fewer words per day, then missed writing days, which turned into missed writing weeks, and now sadly, missed writing months! I no longer wake up, grab my laptop, and start writing before I have had my first cup of tea. It’s frustrating and I’m not sure how to make it come back. I started to beat myself up over it, and even made myself sit at the computer and stare at the screen for hours on end. ‘I don’t believe in writer’s block; this is a discipline thing,’ I said to my apathetic self, but shaming didn’t help either. 

So, I tried distraction in the form of digital art tutorials. If I couldn’t be creative in one way, then perhaps I could in another. What do they say, every cloud has a silver lining? Or was it more about, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Either way, I shifted my mindset. ‘I can’t write’ became ‘I am taking a break to work on personal development.’ 

It still sucked that I was not putting pen to paper, but I was being kinder to myself, and it convinced my internal demons that I wasn’t wasting time.

Just When I Wasn’t Looking

A few weeks ago, I was looking at the book covers on a fantasy series of mine that has been out a while. It is under my Sadie Collins pen name, and book 1, The Wolf You Feed, was the second book I ever wrote. I have always wanted to have more illustrative covers for this series, so as part of my writing procrastination personal development, I decided to finally tackle this and create new art work for the books. The plan was to let my imagination run wild and create a scene out of each book.

Here is the one I created for the first book. It depicts Tore, the central character, meeting with his father, the old school, austere, Lycan clan leader.

Personal Development Angela Stevens
Boy did I have fun! I spent way too much time on these, but in my defense, there are 6 books in total in the series, and then two boxed sets, so almost two weeks building each of the core scenes wasn’t so bad. They look so pretty, and I’ve finally uploaded them to Amazon! 

Vargr Clan Series

A Glimmer of Hope

While creating these scenes, I remembered that a couple of years ago, I’d started a seventh book for the series. Deadlines for other books, and a heavier emphasis on my romance stories, meant the book was pushed aside and forgotten. Curiosity got the better of me and I dug it out of my files. Maybe there was enough there for a short story that I could put on my website.

I was surprised to find that I had 50 thousand words. Hmm, not a short story then. Honestly, I was astounded that I had put the thing away with so much of it written. Before I knew it, the day had passed and I’d read through the whole lot. Then something happened… I began typing. A couple of days later, I had written a new chapter. It was like pulling teeth, slow and painful, and I really didn’t want to do it, but it was a chapter. A few days after that there were several more chapters. 

I’m proud to say, I finished the story… all 82 thousand words of it.

It was not plain sailing; in fact, it was quite the struggle. I really had to push myself to get there, and I can’t say I enjoyed the process. There was a lot of deleting, a fair bit of soul searching, and more than once, I stared at the blank page for hours on end before giving up for the day. But I did finish, and I am now knee-deep in the editing process. 

My writing slump isn’t over yet, far from it. I still can’t get myself to start something new, but I have finished drafting this book, and I have set myself a deadline to get it published. The pre-order goes live Sept 1st, so I have to get all the editing done. It is a glimmer of hope, and I am calling that a win–albeit a tiny one.
  

Blood Ties Angela Stevens

Learned A New Skill

This last book is called Blood Ties, and the opening scene involves my skinwalker warriors hunting an escaped mishipeshu, a mythical creature that is part panther with dragon scales on its back. It has a serpent-like tail and a mane of black feathers, oh… and horns. A kind of Heinz 57 type creature. Needless to say, Deposit Photos was decidedly lacking in photographs of such animals. Okay, no problem.  I could create my own fantastical creature. I am tickled pink how well it turned out. Below is the mishipeshu that appears on book 7’s cover.

Mishipeshu Angela Stevens

So the moral of the story? Personal development is not writing procrastination; it is exercising my creativity, and it’s well worth the investment. It might not have rid me of my writer’s block, but I am one step closer to finding my way back. I’m just hoping the second step comes soon.