Peering into . . .

the inner workings of Alison Miller Woods

Author Interview: Sara Burr, UNDERGROUND ROSE January 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison @ 12:08 am
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Today I am featuring a brand new release from Sara Burr. It is an upper-middle grade/young YA fantasy about witches called UNDERGROUND ROSE. You can find it here. I also have a fun interview with her that we will get to. But first, the book.


After her surprise discovery of a mystical gift, fourteen-year-old Rose Wilson thinks her life is ruined. It turns out she comes from a long line of gifted women, and despite her protests, Rose’s mom ships her off to her grandmother’s house to spend the summer learning about her family’s well-hidden secrets. To make matters worse, Rose is expected to carry out this tradition alongside her mousy, bookworm cousin, Megan. What a waste of a summer.

With some effort, Rose and Megan manage to find common ground and by the time they get home, they’re working together to adjust to their new life. But everything is turned upside down again when their families are exposed by witch hunters who call themselves The Witches’ Hammer. With killers on the loose, their tiny town isn’t safe anymore. Rose’s entire family is fragmented and forced to flee through a network of hiding places, dubbed The Witches’ Underground Railroad.

 As she journeys to the sea, Rose learns more and more about who she really is. The closer she gets to her destination, the more danger she encounters, until she is forced to make the ultimate decision: follow her family’s edict of non-violence and become an orphan, or save her mom’s life.

Oh, fun! And how about a really cool moment from the book:

A pool of blood already surrounded Amber’s head, and she was as pale as a ghost. Her breathing was shallow and labored.

Rose started parting her wet hair, little by little, trying to find the wound. Finally, after the longest minute of her life, she found it. The wide cut was right on the crown of Amber’s head – how could she have missed that? – and it was bleeding fast.

Fighting not to gag at the metallic smell, Rose put her hands on the slippery gash and pushed, like the lady said, but the blood just seeped through her fingers. The bleeding wasn’t stopping. Was she doing it right?

Feeling completely helpless, she began to sob.

She didn’t dare leave Amber again to go back to the phone.

“I don’t know what to do!” she cried out. “Help,” she croaked, knowing no one could hear. “Please help.”

Suddenly, she felt something strange happening, deep inside her chest. A comforting warmth, like hot chocolate on a freezing cold day, heated her from the inside out. It spread and expanded from her chest, bubbling and tingling like a fizzy drink, growing like wild morning glory vines, covering every part of her insides.

Was it coming from her heart?

It grew until she felt like she couldn’t contain all that heat for one second longer. Then, when she thought she might just explode, the heat-vines raced down her arms. An effervescent mixture of blue, pink, and purple light exploded from her hands, and surrounded Amber’s head like a quivering, transparent cocoon.

Rose sucked in a breath and blinked in disbelief.

She was frozen – afraid to move or even breathe. She stared with her mouth agape, her emerald eyes wide, as the bleeding slowed.

What the heck is happening? she thought. Is this a dream?

She didn’t understand what she was seeing. Was it … magic?

The glimmering cocoon continued pulsating from her fingertips, surrounding Amber’s head. Rose didn’t dare let go, for fear of undoing this miracle.

Then Amber started to stir.

This was not something Rose wanted to discuss. What kind of a freak would Amber think she was? Reluctantly, she removed her hands.

The vines of warmth snapped back into her, like a recoiling measuring tape. Then, the peculiar sensation was gone. No more heat. No more colors. She looked at her hands in a mixture of awe and disgust.

What was that? she asked herself.

She didn’t know, but she was glad it was over.

A few short seconds later, Amber opened her eyes. Her face so pale her freckles looked three dimensional and her icy blue eyes were even more clear than usual.

Now, for the interview. As usual, I like to ask questions based upon the letters in the title of the book.


Underground:  In the book, Rose has to go ‘underground’ to hide from some dangerous people. If you had to go underground, what three things would you take with you and why?

My family. I could never run away from the bad guys without them.

My Kindle. ‘Cause Rose was bored the whole time. She played a lot of cards. My Kindle has a lot of books on it that I’ve never had time to read.

My laptop. So I could keep on writing. I go crazy if I don’t write. Also, Facebook and Pinterest, although I guess it would be really hard to stay anonymous if you were using social media. Maybe I could just be a lurker.

R is for “Relationships: What types of things (without too many spoilers) do your main characters learn about their relationships with others?

Well, I think Rose learns that she’s too quick to judge, not just people, but their intentions and emotions. She learns a lot about empathy and how to see what’s under the surface.

I think Megan learns to put herself out there more, and to speak up for her own needs better.

And I think Amber learns to be there for Rose, when it’s always been the other way around. She’s always leaned on Rose, and it’s nice to see that switch toward the end of the book. It makes Amber more powerful and Rose more vulnerable.


O is for “Origins” – What is the story behind this story? How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I had this job working in a call center and it sometimes got kind of boring in between calls, so I brought a notebook and started writing just for fun. I knew the three main characters, Rose, Amber, and Megan. And I knew that the story would start when Amber had an accident and Rose discovered her magic by healing her. But I didn’t know what would happen next.

So, I wrote what I did know; it took me three chapters. At the end of those three hand-written chapters, I went to bed one night, and while I was trying to go to sleep, it just came to me. Two words: Underground Railroad. And I knew the rest of it from there.


S is for “Struggle”: What sort of things do your main characters struggle with and did you learn anything about yourself as they worked through their struggles?

Yes, it mirrors my life a lot. My characters continually thought they were free of their struggles, only to be struck down by adversaries again. During the time that I wrote this book, and again the time I edited, my life was very much like this. I am happy to say that we all finally came out on top.

E is for “Exciting: What is the most exciting thing for you about your book and the story or the process of it coming about?

They say writing is a form of wish fulfillment. I completely agree. The places that Rose visits in the Underground Railroad are places that I fondly remember from my childhood. Although I am not from Washington or Oregon, I had a lot of family there and spent many happy summers there.

In between the first draft and the second, I got to visit the Oregon Coast for the first time in many years. After I left, I was online looking at real estate. Circumstances made that an impossible dream, but I’m happy that Rose ended up there.

Thanks, Sara! (I LOVE the Oregon coast too…) 

Here is a little about Sara and where to find her. Happy Reading!

Sara Burr

Sara has been entranced by the written word for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a school teacher, she fell in love with books as soon as she could read them. She wrote her very first story, about a girl who ran away and hid in her cousin’s lilac bush, when she was just eleven. Although her stories have grown more complicated and less petulant since then, Sara still loves to entertain kids with her words.

When she isn’t writing, Sara has a big family to keep her busy: a husband who is her other half, and four children who are wonderfully individual. They live next to a beautiful lake in a tiny town with no street lights. Sara spends lots of time taking care of little superheroes. She likes to camp with her family, enjoys traveling, and hopes to see the Northern Lights someday.






Book Feature: HAVEN WAITING by Tifani Clark January 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison @ 12:10 am
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Haven Waiting Cover (1)


Last August, I had the chance to interview Tifani Clark about her book, Shadow of a Life (interview here and you can find the book here).  It was the first book in her Soul Savers series.  Well, today I am featuring the second in the series, Haven Waiting! (You can find it HERE.)  

The book:

Fifteen-year-old Jamie Peters is a Soul Saver. She helps ghosts finish their business and move on. When a mysterious map comes into her possession, she knows a new adventure is waiting. With the help of her friends, Peter and Camille, she follows the map. Her friends hope to find treasure, but Jamie suspects there is more to the map than riches. She never imagined the map would lead her to Haven—and a book of spells.

Haven Mills was accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Unlike the other women hung during the trials, Haven wasn’t as innocent as she claimed to be. In one moment of weakness and desperation, she did something sinister—something that has been bringing evil to the world for centuries.

Jamie promises to help Haven, but the reality of what that promise entails comes back to haunt her as she fights not only for Haven’s soul, but for her own as well.


That sounds awesome! It is definitely going in my ‘to read’ pile. 🙂

A little about Tifani:

Tifani - Author Photo

Tifani Clark grew up on a farm in southeastern Idaho (yes, that’s where they grow all the potatoes) as the middle of five children. She had a lot of space to imagine and daydream and often pictured herself as a character in one of the many books she read. She was habitually found pretending to be Scarlet O’Hara. Tifani loves mysteries and hates it when one goes unsolved. She is married to the love of her life and is the mother to four fabulous children. When not writing, she enjoys playing the violin and piano and traveling to new places. She especially enjoys visits to national parks and places of historical significance.

Where to find her: 



Haven Waiting Blog Tour (and Tifani’s blog):






Book Feature: OBSIDIAN THREADS by Charlie Pulsipher December 14, 2014


Today I am featuring the second book in The Lost Shards series (Young Adult, Sci Fi/Fantasy) by Charlie Pulsipher entitled Obsidian Threads. I am actually reading the first book in the series, The Crystal Bridge (On sale for $.99 right now) and I am fascinated by it. I am loving the characters, the story line, and world building. So I am really looking forward to getting this book too! Here is the synopsis:

Rho has awakened. Its acolytes will tear worlds apart to release their deity from its prison. Any hope of Rho’s defeat lies with two people lost in a strange universe. Kaden and Aren must learn to harness all their unique gifts if they are to rival the god of darkness reborn.

They will not fight alone. A brilliant geneticist, a furry dwaro, two less than friendly elves, dragons, and a spunky red-haired computer stand with them. But if Kaden and Aren fail to reach their full potential, all of reality will be devoured until nothing remains but Rho.


(Yay!) You can find this awesomness HERE

Charlie Pulsipher


Author Bio: Charlie Pulsipher is a were-hamster and lemur enthusiast living in Southern Utah with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy, and sometimes both at the same time. He’s obsessed with surviving the inevitable zombie-pocalypse. It’s coming. Tell your friends.

 He spends his time away from the keyboard hiking and camping in stunning Southern Utah. He also enjoys woodworking, painting, drawing, and pretending to have super powers.

He neglects his twitter account.

 His velociraptor impression is worth seeing. Ask him to show you. It just may be the coolest thing about him.

(I have actually seen the velociraptor impression and it is full of awesome!)

You can find him at these places:


Book Feature: ENDLESS by Jaclyn Weist December 5, 2014

I love young adult books and I adore fairy tale retellings. I am excited to feature a friend’s new book today and am looking forward to reading it!


Sydney lives her nightmares every night. While other teenagers are dreaming of boys or traveling to exotic places, she must run a staircase with no beginning or no end, or a terrible debt will never be paid.

Just before her seventeenth birthday, the dreams change. She is no longer alone.

But her nightmares don’t end when she wakes up. Her stepmother and stepsisters threaten to ruin everything she holds dear. She must protect the secret that both she and her father have magic or they will use it to their advantage.

As Sydney learns to control her magic, what seemed impossible before—escaping her stepmother and those ever-present stairs—is now at her fingertips. When she learns the ultimate plan of her evil captor, Sydney must stop her at all costs, or she will forever be trapped inside her nightmares.


Yay! Sounds fun. The book, not the nightmares. 🙂 I even have a little excerpt for you:

Dad came to my room to say good-bye before he left. He promised that everything would be perfect and he’d be back as soon as he could. What he didn’t see were the looks of death I was getting from Julie and her daughters, who were standing behind him.

As soon as he was out of sight, they all turned on me. Julie ordered me to repaint Kaylee’s room and give Sarah a manicure. I kept silent, hoping the days would fly so I could get to my party. Unfortunately, time didn’t obey, and seemed to drag on forever.

I was also ordered to clean the entire house from top to bottom before I could go to bed. … I just kept telling myself that all the cleaning was to help my dad, and not because Julie made me do it.

It was past midnight when Julie finally gave up making me use toothpicks to clean out the edges of the stove and around the tile. She sent me to bed with a promise that I would be doing the same thing the next day.


You can find the book here:   ENDLESS

And you can find Jaclyn here: 




Jaclyn Weist




Book Feature: FRACTURED by Karen J Hoover August 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison @ 8:25 am
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Fractured Blog Tour Banner



I am featuring a YA fantasy book today that I loved. The take on the fae and the mythology of it was a fun, unique twist. The heroine, Sianna, is damaged, scarred, brave, and amazing. I am hoping to feature an interview with the author sometime soon and you will get to hear more about this book, but for now–just know that you really want this book! 🙂

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

Book title: Newtimber: Fractured
Author: Karen E. Hoover
Release Date: June 21st
Tour Dates: July 15th – August 15th
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Trifecta Books
Tour Host: Silverbow Promotions 


Book Synopsis: 


There was absolutely no way a black dragon hovered outside of

Newtimber. Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a round object that looked

like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell, hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a

slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.


The citizens of Newtimber change. The old man down the street

stretches into a screaming tree. Sianna’s skateboarding friend, Matt, transforms into a giant green

dragon. Pegasus. Sirens. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies. Creatures from the myths of every culture come to

life through the people.

Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and she gains

the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension of the fae, using it to free her father from

prison and enlist his aid in battling the evil bent on taking over the world.


One person to heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an

impossible task, but with the help of her new friends, it could happen.




Get your copy of the book now! 


~ Amazon ~ B&N

Goodreads  ~ 


~ About the author ~


Karen E. Hoover has loved the written word for as long as

she can remember. Her favorite memory of her dad is the time he spent with

Karen on his lap, telling her stories for hours on end. Her dad promised he

would have Karen reading on her own by the time she was four years old … and he

very nearly did. Karen took the gift of words her dad gave her and ran with it.

Since then, she’s written two novels and reams of poetry. Her head is fairly

popping with ideas, so she plans to write until she’s ninety-four or maybe even

a hundred and four.

Inspiration is found everywhere, but Karen’s heart is fueled

by her husband and two sons, the Rocky Mountains, her chronic addiction to pens

and paper, and the smell of her laser printer in the morning.


Follow Karen! 



~ Get The Sapphire Flute (The Wolfchild Saga, Book One) by Karen, FREE! ~

 ~ Amazon

~ B&N ~


Book feature: THE SHAMAN’S CURSE by Meredith Mansfield July 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison @ 12:10 am
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Here is another book I am really excited about. I have read excerpts from this world and it is a wonderfully complex dual magic system fantasy world (along with different cultures). I have read another of Meredith Mansfield’s books and loved it. Really glad this one is out AND on sale for the month of July!

INTRODUCTORY SPECIAL: $0.99 for the month of July only

Shaman's curse cover


Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend–and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that–a dream. She’d better be.

Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know–or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.

Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.

 Enjoy an Excerpt:

Vatar reined his horse back behind his friends and turned his head slowly to scan around the endless circle of the plains that merged with the sky at the far horizon. The earth was all golden brown now, the grasses prematurely dried up by the lack of rain. Here and there, the green smudges of trees dotted the savannah, marking the waterholes. The darker blue-green line of the Great Forest marked the eastern horizon. Another line of trees, much closer, marked the course of the river. Everything seemed normal, but that spot between his shoulder blades still itched with a premonition of undefined danger that grew stronger the closer they got to the river.

Ariad slowed down to match Vatar’s pace, allowing the other two boys to go ahead. “Lions?”

Vatar shook his head. That was one danger he could dismiss out of hand. His connection to the Spirit of the Lion told him the nearest lions–in the shade at a distant waterhole–were sleeping off a full meal. “None we need to worry about.”

“What then?” Ariad asked.

“I don’t know. Something . . .” Vatar caught himself before he said too much. It was one of his mother’s oldest admonitions–almost as old as “Don’t touch the fire!” From the very first time he’d tried to describe that infrequent feeling of danger, she’d warned him not to mention it to anyone but her and Pa. Even his little sister Kiara didn’t know about it.

Vatar was already different enough–dark-haired and strongly-built among the tall, lanky, fair Dardani. Though she was Dardani now, his mother had come originally from a far-off city on the sea coast. The Dardani would accept his hair color and height, but not anything that even hinted at forbidden magic. Other than a few old stories, Vatar had no idea why his people had such deep-seated superstitious fear of magic, but he knew full well that it was one of the few things they’d never forgive.

Vatar didn’t think the itch between his shoulder blades was magic, any more than his ability to sense lions. That was his connection to his clan’s totem spirit–just like Ariad could sense eagles. But Mother’s caution was second nature by now. He forced one corner of his mouth up in a half-smile. “Maybe I’ve just heard one too many of Pa’s stories about Themyri ambushes.”

Ariad barked a laugh. “Haven’t we all? To hear our fathers tell it, the river is almost as dangerous as the Great Forest.” He shuddered a little at the reference to the one place all plains-dwelling Dardani feared most and made a surreptitious sign against magic and evil spirits. Being Eagle Clan, Ariad’s hand curled in an imitation of an eagle’s talons.

Where to find it:


Barnes & Noble



The related short story “Becoming Lioness” is free in all those places and more.

A little about Meredith Mansfield: 

Professionally, I’ve been a financial analyst and a visual basic programmer. I also have a paralegal certificate, although I’ve never worked in that field. It’s anybody’s guess what I’ll be when I grow up.

Imagining stories and writing have always been an important part of my life. It’s one I finally got to spend a significant amount of time on while I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. 

Connect with me on my blog:


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