Monday, June 29, 2015

Interivew with Nicole Sager

Today I have an interview with the talented author of both the Arcrean Conqest and the Arcrean Companion Novels series: Nicole Sager! Her newest book, Burdney, has is hopefully releasing today! It's the second novel in the Arcrean Companion series, and I'm looking forward to reading it - and Hebbros, the first book in the Companion series!

When a villain's grand scheme takes flight, who will rise up to clip their wings? 

Years after an act of betrayal lowers a dark cloud over Burdney, Lady Agatha seeks vengeance and respect, while her sister, Aeryn, chases after freedom and peace. When a young slave named Epic arrives at the Mizgalian castle disguised as a nobleman in need of shelter, the conflicted youth soon finds himself caught in a web of intrigue that reaches further than anyone suspected. In a race against time and doom, Blunt the minstrel must travel to Burdney for the vindication of a condemned friend. When his travels take an unexpected turn - and sometimes even go in circles - the Arcrean bard must learn to trust that God is always in control.

Secrets and deception lie in wait around every corner, until a conspiracy is revealed that will wage a battle for hope and justice on the grounds of Burdney.
Hi, Nicole! Thank you so much for stopping by! It's a pleasure to have you. Could you share a little bit about yourself and your novels?      
Hi, Micaiah! Thank you for hosting me today! I'm a homeschool graduate in my mid-twenties, and I've lived in three different states. When I'm not writing I'm usually drinking coffee and/or reading (I personally own over 500 books!), and I've also dabbled some in musical theatre. My novels are Inspirational Fantasy and are magic-free and family-friendly. I currently have two series on the market - The Arcrean Conquest Series and The Companions of Arcrea Novels - and both take place in the same medieval "realm."

I have read The Arcrean Conquest series (recently I finished The Isle of Arcrea), and I enjoyed all three books, but especially the last two. What inspired you two write about such a place as Arcrea? More specifically, what sparked the tales for The Fate and The Isle?
The name "Arcrea" was actually given to me by my little brother! He must have been 8 or 9 at the time. I had just finished another series (not yet published), and was trying to come up with something totally new. He had created this imaginary world called Arcrea, and one day he told me that if I wanted to write about it I could. I already knew that I wanted my next hero to be Druet, so when the land of Arcrea became available I simply dropped him inside it and his journey began from there! The plots for Fate and Isle sprouted from the pages of The Heart of Arcrea. There were so many characters whose stories I needed to explore, and because prayer is such a huge part of my writing journey, I felt that each story simply flowed out as I needed it, in answer to those prayers. God is good.

How do you come up with your characters? Did you model any of them after other characters, friends, family...or are they completely your own?
Some characters have been modeled after real life people! I personally know Bruce of Kulbroe-Nog, as well as little Meg (you can visit my Facebook page for a picture), and I know Deridre from Burdney. Luke from Hebbros reminds me of my brother, and my sisters tell me they see themselves in Renny and Elaina. Most of the time I just try to create a cast who are all unique from one another in some way (physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc.). There are other times when characters simply introduce themselves and beg to have their stories told.
What character from the series do you connect with most and why?

Such a hard question! Usually I have one character per book who sticks out to me, but I guess overall for The Arcrean Conquest I would have to say Falconer. He was intended to be a small character (villain) who appeared only in Book 1, but somewhere along the way he decided his story should end differently. Now he's had an appearance or honorary mention in every book! I think I came to know him best because with each book I had to dig a little deeper into his story, and understand the motives behind his thoughts/actions. The other character who I must add holds a special place in my heart is Druet. There's just something about him that makes me smile.
Now, Burdney - what inspired this adventure and why (and how) did you choose the characters that you did for this particular story?
This one is interesting. The story of Burdney has its roots in the tale of Hebbros, when brief mention is made of "Lady Agatha of Burdney Hall." I never expected to do anything more with that character/place, but when I finished Hebbros, I had several characters who reappeared in the Epilogue to let me know their story hadn't quite finished (sounds weird, I know, but you gotta trust me). In the following weeks, ideas started coming to mind until finally inspiration stuck in the middle of church! Everything connected - the Epilogue characters, Burdney, Agatha and her connection to Hebbros - I was so excited!
MK: That sounds incredible!
What went into the writing process for Burdney?
Ah. The writing process. I've spent over a year on Burdney. I take a LOT of notes, some that are humorous to look back on because the idea never makes it onto the pages. But it gets me thinking. I like to find pictures online of models/actors that remind me of the characters, and I spend a lot of time just thinking about where the story/characters need to go, and how I'm going to get them there. I map out who they are and how they're connected to the others, and if possible I write a point-by-point "schedule" for as far into the plot as I can think. So yes, the process: There was a lot of staring at the screen, staring at my notes, and starting into space; there was a little research, a little typing, and even tearing out a third of the book to replace it. Oi.
What books and authors inspired and influenced you most as a writer? Why?

I don't know that there are any in particular. I've found that any author I'm reading at the time will influence my writing in some way. I do remember reading a book, Christmas Carol, by Kauffman, and noting her narration about the characters' surroundings. Some authors have taught me through their writing how to create pictures with my words; others have been examples in wit and meaningful dialogue, while still others have shown a capacity to make every scene count in the bigger picture. I even learn more and more about grammar and punctuation as I look at how other authors use them!
What has been the most challenging part of writing? What has been the most rewarding? The most fun?
The most challenging part has to be writer's block, when the plot just isn't there. Also, realizing I need to go back and rewrite something (like that third of Burdney I mentioned earlier) can be really discouraging. The most rewarding part comes when I've overcome the writer's block, made the changes, seen how much better it turned out, and then I get a review saying the book was a blessing or encouragement in someone's walk with Christ. I guess the most fun has been sharing in the readers' excitement, hearing about kids who play-act that they are the Arcrean characters, and knowing that I get to keep writing as long as God allows!

Now, sillier questions...
So, coffee or tea?

Coffee! With Crème Brulee creamer! It's shameful the amount of coffee I'm capable of consuming when I write or edit!
Favorite book?

This is an unfair question. Haha! Aside from the Bible, I think I'll just have to settle with saying my two favorite authors are MaryAnn Minatra and Lori Benton. Both are authors of Historical Christian Fiction.
If you could spend the day in any book's world, what book would you choose? What character from the book would you want to spend time with while there?
I have to say I'd want to visit Arcrea. *sheepish grin* I would love to visit such a place and pour that experience into my future writing! Specifically, I would love to visit Burdney. I really fell in love with the setting for this book as I wrote it. I would love to explore the nearby ruins with Aeryn, and run up the sagging steps with her to pretend we could fly into the clouds. She has such an imagination, and a passion for living!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Micaiah! I've really enjoyed your questions. Readers, feel free to visit me at any of the following links!

Well, that was fun! :) Be sure to stop by the above places to find out more about Nicole and her books!



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two Tags - The Liebster Award and Best Blogging Buddies

Hey, Adventurers! My good friend, Mikayla, from The Bubblegum Ballerina nominated me for both the Liebster Award and for "Best Blogging Buddies".  I was really excited to be nominated (especially for two!)...

Also, check out Mikayla's post! I had fun reading her answers (and it made me laugh!). :) Oh, and a huge thank you to Mikayla for nominating me!

The Liebster Award:


Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.
Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
Come up with 11 questions for your nominees.

The questions:

What is the funniest thing you've done this week?

The funniest thing? Well, I got a new hat this weekend (one of those big ones that block the sun off of your shoulders too.) It's cute, and I like having it, so I was wearing it even inside, and since my (as my sister said) 'radius had increased' I was hitting people with it on accident. XD

Are you on summer break? If so, what are you doing with your free time?

I am not on summer break...yet. I have about a month of school left, and then I'll get about half of July and all of August off. During that time, I'll hopefully be reading more, and in August we're road-tripping a few thousand miles to see my grandparents in Iowa!!

What is ONE of your favorite songs?

Only one!? ;) 'Just the Same' by Chris August. He's a really good artist, and his new album is lots of fun!

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

Go eat some breakfast... ;) Have school finished with for the day so I can read, and watch a really good movie with a cappuccino (or a blended coffee from Wake Up Call...though, maybe not this very second).

In the mountains!

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I recently finished The Isle of Arcrea by Nicole Sager, which was really fun, and I'm in the middle of One Summer's Desire, a novella by Abigail Prigge (which the author sent me a copy of!). I'm also rereading The Fate of Arcrea with my younger brother; we're reading through the whole series together. :) Other than that, I'm also (yes, also!) reading Eric Liddell by Catherine Swift, Quiet in His Presence, and I'm slowly crawling my way through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

What's your favorite part of blogging?

Seeing the finished product (pictures and all!) on my blog and receiving comments on posts. :)

What are some of your blogging goals?

Get better; write more (lengthier and better) reviews; hopefully get more followers; update the way my blog looks; blog about my(eventual) travels! :)

What's the hardest part about blogging for you?

Coming up with material sometimes to post on and the actual 'getting it done' process. I don't set aside enough time for blogging. Also, not having very many followers can be disappointing for me - and for everybody, I'm sure!

What is your favorite word?

I've been fascinated by the word 'fjord'. And maybe 'adventure'. :)

Could you share a miscellaneous fact about yourself for us?

I sometimes start laughing about nothing - but really it's something that I've read or seen and I'm thinking about it. :) Or something I'm imagining... ;)

Sweet or un-sweet tea?

Sweet tea.

Now onto the "Best Blogging Buddies" award!


You must make a post to show your award on your main blog.
You must tag the person who nominated you in your post.
You must nominate all of your best buddies, and those whom you want to become best buddies with, who, to your knowledge, have not been nominated for this award. (Wha...?)
You must ask your buddies at least 15 questions in your post.
You must answer all of the questions your buddies ask you on your post.


What was the last book you read?

And finished? The Isle of Arcrea by Nicole Sager. But if you mean the last book I was reading, it would be The Fate of Arcrea with my brother last night.

What is the last movie you watched?

A movie I have not watched in years: What a Girl Wants. And it was a lot cuter than I thought! I'd recommend watching it!!

What is the last song you listened to?
Something my sister had playing on iTunes radio that I do not know the name of... Before that there would be more songs I wasn't paying attention to. The last song I really remember the name of (because I saw it) was something called 'Vagabonds'. XD I was listening to MercyMe's album last night too. :)

What is the last subject in school you did?

Home Ec. I sewed...a corner. Yeah. They're having me practice. ;)

What is the last thing you had to drink?

Iced water.

Last person you emailed?

Mikayla H., and Abigail Prigge, the author of One Summer's Desire.

Last blog you were on?

One called The Daisy Tree, reading this interview.

Last sentence you wrote on a story?
(This is more than a sentence, but it was fun to share!) :)

He laughed softly, sounding and looking so much older than when I had last seen him three years ago. He held himself more erect, more stately even. “I’ve much to tell all of you, Madeline. It’s all been dreadful, these past few years. Many of the men I came to be friends with have been killed, and I was suddenly starting to think that there was no hope for an end. Thank God-” But he didn’t finish. He looked past me, and suddenly sprinted forward.

Mama and Father stood there, looking shaken, yet more joyful than I’d ever seen them.
Who is the last person you talked to?
My mom.
Last thing you smiled at?
A GIF on Pinterest of a baby trying a lemon for the first time and the video below.

Last photo you took? (Please insert it!)

Well, the very last photo I took was deleted (yeah...), so here is the one before that. I found these at the store and thought it was so weird I had to take a picture!

Who came up with that!?

What is the last thing you would want to be doing right now?

Hmm...well, it's morning so...maybe working out. ;)

Last color you painted on your nails?

A very, very light color that was even lighter than French pink.

Last person you hugged?

My mom!

Last picture that made you smile?

Can I share a video with you all instead? The other night my brother showed this to me, and I was laughing so hard...

The vacuum can 'eat and yell at the same time', people. ;)

I nominate both Julia Ryan from Writing for His Glory and Jessica Joy from (Almost) Perfectly Pink to do both awards! And anyone else can do the posts too! :)

Here are my questions for the Liebster award:

1. Have you ever read the Arcrean Conquest series by Nicole Sager?
2. What is your favorite quote?
3. Do you like The Chronicles of Narnia? If so, which book/movie is your favorite?
4. What is your favorite type of ice cream? Have you ever tried Cheesecake Brownie ice cream (so good!)?
5. What are your summer plans?
6. What is on your summer to-read list?
7. What song is currently your favorite?
8. Have you ever watched The Help? If so, did you like it? (I thought it was really good!)
9. Have you ever gone white water rafting? If not, would you like to? (I want to!)
10. What's your favorite class in school?

My questions for the 'Best Blogger Buddies':

1. Do you like to wear big, cute, summer hats?
2. Iced tea or lemonade?
3. Adventure or mystery?
4. Did you get to see Beyond the Mask in theaters? If not, be sure to buy it when it comes out! It was a fantastic Christian, adventure/action movie!
5. Science or math?
6. Would you rather swim or go biking?
7. Do you like iced or blended coffees, or neither...or something else?
8. Have you ever listened to Chris August? His new album, The Maker, is fun!
9. Do you prefer the movie or book version, normally?
10. 1800s or 1900s?
11. What is your favorite TV show?
12. Have you ever watched Signed, Sealed, Delivered from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries? If not, it's amazing!

And that's all! Thank you again to Mikayla for nominating me!

Friday, June 19, 2015


Hey, all! My good friend, Mikayla, over at The Bubblegum Ballerina is hosting a giveaway! Be sure to enter here!!! She's giving away a copy of Chris Tomlin's CD, Burning Lights, and a paper style. And, while you're over there, check out some of her other posts and give her a follow!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When Calls the Heart - Season 2 Review (A Few Spoilers!)

**SPOILER ALERT: There are a few spoilers for those who haven't watched all of season two yet! I didn't reveal too much, but those who haven't watch this last season may not want to know everything I've said.**

Watching the second season finale of When Calls the Heart (which aired on 6/13) left me raising my voice in indignation and horrified phrases of "I thought that was going to happen!". Needless to say, the ending was a cliffhanger. A major one. One that made me realize what Mr. Bird meant when he said the season ending was the 'best thing' but also the Hearties' 'worst nightmare'. I can't reveal the details, but the writers are doing a pretty good job keeping us on our toes!

Throughout the season there have been many (many...) ups and downs, but maybe those ups and downs needed to happen. Jack and Elizabeth, the charming Mountie and our head-strong heroine, have faced trials this last season (I'm sure those trials aren't the last we'll see!) and have grown. Where is character development if there is no battle and triumph?

Speaking of characters, I adore some of the newer ones. Take Lee Coulter, for instance. He's the new timber mill owner, who totally beats Gowen at a game of Poker and totally wins over Rosemary. From the beginning, I liked him. I loved the way he and Rosemary interacted, and it was so nice to see her with someone she genuinely liked! They make a great pair; and they make a really good team. That last episode where Lee gets Molly to act as though they're courting to get Rosemary jealous? Loved it. Rosemary's 'advice letter' to herself (with a little help from Abigail)? Oh, yes. Was I laughing/smiling? Of course! Seriously, though, can we keep Rosemary and Lee around?
I'm sure many people have begun to grow fond of Rosemary, myself included. I probably would've been pretty skeptical if someone would've told me so in the end of season one. Like Rosemary? Never, I dare say! But I would've been proven wrong, because this season her character has developed into someone I really hope sticks around! Yes, sometimes she shows a bit of her more selfish side, but I really have enjoyed her this season! She's probably one of the main sources of good laughs! She's so dramatic - and it's really funny to watch. And Lee...well, he takes it in stride, and I think he kinda loves it.

Then, we have all the intertwined stories developing in Hamilton, an expansion to our dear TV series. It's the place of Elizabeth's childhood, where old friendships members lie (I do hope we'll see more of it in season three!). Some of those family and friends don't quite take to Jack as much as Elizabeth and Julie, her younger sister, have. And Tom Thornton, Jack's brother? Well, he seems to be a bit of a scoundrel when we're first introduced to him - or, maybe I should say, 'troubled youth' - but he...well, he kind of comes around eventually. He was an interesting addition to the cast, and hopefully we'll see more of him next season.

Julie, being her head-strong, naïve self makes for some shake-your-head moments. I do think Julie needs to be able to go out on her own and make some of her own decisions, but I also think she's been coddled, or undisciplined, for most of her life, so now she doesn't really know much about how to really live responsibly, and her parents are facing consequences of her somewhat-free-reign upbringing. That might all be resolved in...dare I hope?...season three. But! I can see her side of things...

The whole Jack-Elizabeth-Charles (maybe even Faith) love triangle could've gotten a bit frustrating. It wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting it to be when the season started, though. I was grating inside (before the season started) waiting for Jack and Elizabeth to break up and end up with Rosemary and Charles. But things turned out better than I expected. Can I just say: those trailers make things seem so much worse than are!!! Okay, so sometimes...most of the time. ;) But there can be certain exceptions...

I think my favorite episode of the season has to be the finale episode. The interaction between Jack and Elizabeth was kind of fun (especially the part in the mine!), and I liked the Lee-Rosemary scenario. But it also left us with questions, which is good storytelling! "What is Elizabeth going to say to Charles?" Almost more importantly: "What is Jack going to say!?" "What IS going on with Bill Avery?" "What is the pastor (whom I kind of like) hiding?" "Where has Julie gone?" etc. etc.

Speaking of Bill Avery, the pastor, and Nora: Bill's been acting shifty, so I cannot tell whether I should believe what he said to Jack or stick with what I've been thinking (which I won't say!). The pastor? He and Abigail are kind of cute together. They make a pretty good pair. But he is hiding something, and I have a little bit of a feeling it will shatter a little piece of Abigail's trust in him when and if she finds out what that 'something' is. And Nora? She is...kind of creepy. And she's teamed up with Gowen, so we know she's trouble. ;)

I enjoyed the storyline of Clara, Abigail's daughter-in-law. She's been a good addition to the series, and I hope we'll see more of her also in the season/s to come!

In this season, the focus of the story really shifted from Elizabeth and her students and the people of Coal Valley to specific characters and their own personal stories. We don't see a lot of Elizabeth teaching the children this season. But that was okay, because we really wanted to see what was happening in the specific characters' storylines, and that was the writers gave us!

This series is really good, and I hope it continues!

To draw this rather lengthy review to a close (albeit, I could say more!), I want to thank the cast and crew for making a show that's fun - and clean - and great for the whole family to watch! You guys are making a great show and, to Michael Landon Jr., Brian Bird, Daniel Lissing, Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin, Pascale Hutton, and Kavan Smith and the rest of the cast (and crew, o' course), I hope we'll see you all back for a season three!

When Calls the Heart's Hallmark website:
When Calls the Heart store:

Special shots from the episode!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Quote of the Week

"I heard a profound comment once that fear and faith have one thing in common: They both ask you to believe in something that hasn't happened yet."

- Danny Gokey, Hope In Front of Me

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Bee and a Caterpillar - Photography

First of all, HAPPY JUNE!!! We are almost halfway through the year - can you believe it? This year has gone by so fast...

Also, I thought I'd drop in and share with you these pictures I got of a bee and a caterpillar - both while on vacation in the Seattle/Poulsbo area (though, on two different trips)! I was happy to grab these pictures while I could! :)

We found this little guy (well, multiple 'little guys', but this is just one caterpillar) at a park we went to in/near Poulsbo.

Showing the difference in size (of the caterpillar to my sister's finger...): ;)

And this bee I found on the sliding-door screen of a friend's house! He stayed still while I took the opportunity to take some pictures of him. ;)

Look at those weird blue eyes...

I'll have another post up as soon as...well, let's just stick with soon (hopefully within a few days). ;) It'll include some more pictures,  a bit of randomness, and a few updates of what I've been up to lately!