Author Takeover #007: Diana Gallagher , author of: ‘Lessons in Falling’ +Giveaway!!

author takeover


Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

Diana is one of the nicest author I’ve ever interacted with and I’m so glad that she took the time to entertain me! And her book sounds amazing!


The Book..



Lessons In Falling

Expected publication: September 8th 2015 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase it: amazon | bn



About the book..


When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.
That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.
Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.
But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold onto Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own—and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook


Though Diana Gallagher be but little, she is fierce. She’s also a gymnastics coach, writing professor, and country music aficionado. She holds an MFA from Stony Brook University and writes about flipping-related activity for The Couch Gymnast. Her work has also appeared in The Southampton Review and on a candy cigarette box for SmokeLong Quarterly. She’s represented by Tina Wexler of ICM Partners.



The Interview..


Hi Diana!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂


I’m thrilled to be here! I hail from the fine state of New York, where I write between coaching gymnastics and teaching college English. I hold an MFA from Stony Brook University.


Your debut is  Contemporary Romance, is this the genre you originally wanted to write?


I went to grad school planning on writing creative nonfiction, but my mentor kept pushing me to complete a novel that I’d begun in his class. During that process, I realized I really enjoyed writing fiction – especially contemporary. It’s what I’ve always been drawn to as a reader.


How would you introduce Savannah and Cassie to us?

Savannah and Cassie have grown up together. Their friendship is built upon on summers at the beach and nights spent driving around aimlessly and blasting their favorite songs. Savannah is disciplined and driven, while Cassie prefers following her own rules. Although they’re quite different, they’ve always been able to tell each other everything.


The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?

Thank you! I love the cover! Jenny Perinovic designed it, and when it appeared in my inbox, my jaw dropped. I think it fits the novel perfectly. My title, in fact, did change. It was originally WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER (and there’s still plenty of water to be had!)


Who is your favorite character to write? And the not-so-favorite one? Can you share with us why?

I loved writing Savannah, especially when she’s 1) with her dad and 2) in gymnastics mode. Cassie was more elusive at first; she’s reluctant to reveal how she’s truly feeling, so I had to spend some time in her head to figure out what makes her tick.


 What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?

Savannah and Marcos’s romance is rooted in their belief in one another’s dreams. As the novel opens, Savannah’s confidence is all but gone. Thanks to an injury, she’s lost her chance to compete in college gymnastics. In fact, she can’t even manage to pass her driver’s test. Marcos, in turn, aspires to win a scholarship and become an engineer, but he’s faced with the reality that he’s poor and works so many hours that it affects his grades. They push each other to be better than they believe they can be.


We can really perceived that Lessons In Falling will touch some tough issues, like., suicide.. I’m wondering if there’s a certain event or person or a question that inspired you to write it?

I can distinctly recall walking into high school on the mornings after something tragic had happened and hearing the silence. Seeing the teacher’s face. Trying not to speak too loudly. Every year of my high school experience, someone passed away – whether due to an accident or suicide.
Additionally, Marcos faces stereotypes and racism in their town that’s middle-class white with a growing Hispanic population. While the town is fictional, this tension is a reality in many areas of Long Island (where the story is set), and it’s escalated to violence more than once.


While writing the book, did you learn some lessons as well? Share us a bit of your experience

I sure did!
Be keenly aware of your characters’ motivations. When I drafted this back in grad school, I had no idea where it would take me. When it came time for revisions, I had to look deeply into each character to find out what was driving him or her. What do they want? What’s stopping them? What are they willing to do get what they want.
When in doubt, get in someone else’s head. I’m a big fan of freewriting, and when I’m stuck with a character, writing from their perspective always reveals something I didn’t know about them.
-Have fun! One of my favorite scenes is about two-thirds of the way through the book, and it’s one of the first I wrote. What I remember most was how exhilarating it felt to write it. Go out of order. Be messy. Enjoy it.


 Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂

I am indeed hard at work! I’m working on another contemporary YA that features an ensemble cast on a rather unexpected road trip. It’s more challenging structurally than anything I’ve written before, but I’m excited to see how it works out.


Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorite?

Three books I’ve read recently and love are all fellow 2015 debuts:
-IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT, Jen Brooks – a contemporary that flips the genre on its head
-ONE OF THE GUYS, Lisa Aldin – the rare book that made me laugh out loud
-CONVICTION, Kelly Loy Gilbert – an exploration of dark and compelling family relationships



Thanks again, Diana for the Q&A!


Because Diana is awesome as ever, she did a guest post about her inspiration when it comes to the setting of Lessons in Falling. Diana doing a handstand is personally my favorite!


LESSONS IN FALLING is set in the fictional town of Ponquogue, NY. In reality, Ponquogue consists of a bridge, a boat launch, and an eponymous beach:



View from the top of the bridge. The bridge (called South Cross in the book) is the setting for several scenes.


Where Savannah and Cassie worked for the summer. Not a bad view!


Under the bridge, also the setting for some pivotal scenes. (That’s me in a handstand – Savannah would be proud.)


The Giveaway..


One winner will win a book of their choice from Diana’s favorite YA books! 🙂


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What’cha think the interview? Will you be reading this Lessons in Falling? Thanks for stopping by 😀 And don’t forget to share your thoughts!


REVIEW: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath and The Dawn
Renée Ahdieh
SERIES: The Wrath and The Dawn #1
 Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
YA >  Fantasy
416 pages 


Purchase links:
Amazon | Nook


A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


Note to the universe in general: Don’t hate me for not liking this book. Please. I beg you all.

Let’s get one thing clear: I didn’t hate this book. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t particularly hate it either. If we’re talking specifics, lets just say that from the 30% mark to the 70% mark I merely tolerated this book. It wasn’t bad or awful or unbearable or anything of the sort, not at all. It was merely…cold.

The Wrath and The Dawn begins with a nail-biting scene. It’s kind of a risky opening, considering that the reader goes into the story virtually blind and the prologue may give away a little too much right in the beginning, but the author made it work. Somehow.

And thereafter begins the story of Shahrzad, who volunteers to be Caliph Khalid’s bride—Khalid who marries and then kills each of his brides every dawn—in order to avenge the murder of her best friend Shiva at the hands of the boy-king. Little does she know that not everything is as it seems and Khalid is not everything he shows himself to be.

Shahrzad (Shazi) was a force to be reckoned with. With her wit and her sheer charm and her give-it-like-it-is attitude, she manages to leave Khalid with no choice but to keep her alive. But her every breath comes with a price…a price that the King must pay. I loved that Shazi was strong and level-headed and more interesting to me than Khalid ever could be. But in all honesty, apart from these facts, I really didn’t care about her much. She was…cold. There comes that word again. But it’s true. Shazi (like every other character in the book) lacked emotion. Sure her character was smart and self-dependant but to read her inner monologue was fucking agonising. It felt like all her emotions—hate, anger, confusion, infatuation, love, everything—ran on one straight line. She felt like a piece of cardboard and for a book that promises to be pretty much the book of the year, it was both amusing and disheartening to see that the MC itself lacked depth and was abundant in lousiness.

Khalid was a character I was really looking forward to, having read all the quotes of the book beforehand and anticipating a sullen, broody, swoony man. Instead, what I got was a boy who was angry at everyone and everything and then Shazi changed his mind by just being herself and wow I’ve read this in a million books before. In the aspect of Shazi managing to bring Khalid out of his “shell,” it’s the clichéd stuff, you guys. Speaking of shells, HOLY SHIT RHEA HE KILLS THE GIRLS OF THE KINGDOM EVERY MORNING AND THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM BEING A SOCIAL PARIAH GEEZUS FUCK WOMAN. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was about Shazi that drew him to her—I certainly could see that she was smart, but really, Khalid was suspicious of her right until he fell in love with her. And then of course, it didn’t matter at all that she had come to kill him.

Again, the romance was just…sad. And I’m not talking star-crossed sad. I’m talking Oh-dear-Lord-they’re-so-fake-please-God-stop-this sad. A lot of readers, however, have loved the Khalid-Shazi love story and while it wasn’t for me all all, I can understand the appeal. Because there’s this:


“Love is—a shade of what I feel.” 


And this:


I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it.


And my personal favourite:


“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.” 



Honestly? Everything. Like I mentioned before, I read many quotes of the book before I started to read the book, and they were so, so swoony. But when they actually became a part of the book, when I was in the moment with Khalid and Shazi and their unfortunate little love, the same swoony quotes came out sounding bland and meaningless and forced and all wrong. While I am really don’t mind third-person POV, it seemed to me like even that worked against this book. It made me feel detached from not only the characters themselves, but from the narrative and the setting and just everything about the setting.

As for the writing? Renée Ahdieh’s writing reminded me a lot of Lauren Oliver’s writing, in which it was over-discriptive about irrelevant things and had analogies and similies that flew right above my head. Maybe I’m not the right type of reader for her writing (is that a thing?) but I’m still debating about the merits of reading the next book of the series. Apparently, the series is a duology and I suppose I could take my chances on reading just one more book. And if I’m being completely honest, the sneak peek into The Rose and The Dagger did entice me a bit. But as for The Wrath and The Dawn? Complete, epic fail.





ARC REVIEW: You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1) by Juliette Harper


You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)
Juliette Harper
Published May 17th 2015 by Skye House Publishing
A > Humor | Mystery
arc via tour host

3 ★★★1/2

Purchase links:
Amazon | BN 


Wanda Jean Milton discovers her husband, local exterminator Hilton Milton, dead on her new shag carpet with an Old Hickory carving knife sticking out of his chest. Beside herself over how she’ll remove the stain, and grief-stricken over Hilton’s demise, Wanda Jean finds herself the prime suspect in the case. But she is also a member of “the” local Study Club, a bastion of independent Texas feminism 1960s style. Club President Clara Wyler has no intention of allowing a member to be a murder suspect during her administration. Aided by her younger sister and County Clerk, Mae Ella Gormley; Sugar Watson, the proprietress of Sugar’s Style and Spray; and Wilma Schneider, Army MASH veteran and local RN, the Club women set out to clear Wanda Jean’s name — never guessing the local dirt they’ll uncover in the process.
[tour schedule]





Murder mystery and fantastically written female friendship. Juliette Harper seems to be am expert in this. Ever since I read the first book in Langston’s Legacy, her other series, I’ve already been a fan. When I’m looking for a fast and yet, still satisfying read, I read a book from Juliette Harper. That’s why I was so excited when I found out that there’ll be a new series from her. In the same genre!! And I love how Juliette Harper still delivers!

You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet was such a big surprise! I honestly did not expect it to be so hilarious and thrilling at the same time. The first chapter might be one of the most intriguing first chapter that I’ve ever read. I already found out that somebody was found dead and that somebody is already a suspect. And the carpet talk also started. Is it true that You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet? You have to read to find out.

The Study Club was also introduced and its members and I don’t care that I’ve not of age, I really want an in. Every lady in the club looks like a delight to know to. They really seem to have each others back even though one of them is a suspect in a murder case. They solve mysteries in the most sass ways while they’re still being a riot. Every character have her own thing and you’ll instantly feel like you want to know them alll. Juliette Harper is really the best when it comes to writing such endearing characters.

I cannot wait for more of The Study Club ladies! I was totally invested in the whole mystery in here and its terrific how Harper made a very unpredictable plot with a murder in it but still, keeping it light and funny.






Website | Twitter

Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. Like the characters of their debut series, The Lockwood Legacy, Juliette is a merging of their creative energies.

Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan from a long line of hardheaded Scots, knows the world of the Lockwoods like the back of her hand.

“We decided to write under a pen name because neither one of us by ourselves could have created Kate, Jenny, Mandy, and their world,” says Pauletti. “Juliette is a little bit of us both. We want to be her when we grow up.”

“Patti teases me that I just don’t want to own up to writing a book with romance in it,” Williamson adds, “but that’s not true. I like the Lockwood women and the way they tackle everything life throws at them. And before we’re done, they’ll be ducking a lot. I imagine coming into the office every day and saying, ‘Okay Juliette, what’s going to happen now?’ She tells us, and we get it down on paper.”





One (1) winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card (INT), one (1) winner gets Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw and Alice’s Portrait in paperback (US) and one (1) winner gets Descendants of the Rose in paperback (US)
Ends 6/29







Candace’s Book Blog & CBB Book Promotions


ARC REVIEW + GUEST POST: 32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn


32 Seconds

Johanna K. Pitcairn

Published May 26th 2015

YA > Contemporary

267pages (kindle edition)

arc via tour host


4 ★★★★1/2


Purchase links:



To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.
So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.
With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?
What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.
A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.



[tour schedule]

Welcome to my stop for the 32 seconds tour! This book is definitely a must read! Read on through my review and find out why. And don’t forget to check Johanna’s exciting Guest Post about her inspirations when it comes to the book characters and the setting! There’s a giveaway too!




“If you let anger dominate every part of your existence, you will end up doing things you’ll deeply regret. Things that will ruin your life.”

This book could change lives. I kid you not. I was expecting vampires (lol yeah) or something ver paranormal-y. But nope, no vamps or werewolves or something even remotely paranormal-y about 32 seconds… but what I read is thousands better! I didn’t expect to be SO SO affected, but I was. Big time. 32 seconds is like a big slap in the face.

Pitcairn did such a great job in drawing out emotions from her readers whether they like it or not. Whether its anger or sadness it will definitely resurface and you can’t help but face it head on because that’s what the main character in this book is doing. 32 seconds made me realize a lot of things. Running away won’t help anything. You’re not alone. And we all have something good inside of us that is waiting to be unleashed.

32 seconds will definitely touch you, inside and out. This is the kind of book that after reading it, it will linger in you and leave something. As long as you can keep up in Julie’s changing worlds while she’s in her Underworld, you’re in the right track. You may be a JULIE in real life, or you know someone like her in real life. No matter what the case is, her story is absolutely worth reading! There’s a lot of things that can happen in 32 seconds. Always, I repeat- ALWAYS be on the lookout for people or event that can change your life, they’re everywhere.

I’ll leave you a quote here by Julie:


“The shackles of the past didn’t keep me prisoner anymore, and memories weren’t daggers, but mere points of reference. I strive to do the next right thing, and live a happy and healthy existence. Every day comes with its share of good and bad, but I choose to focus on the positive. Life is full of surprises.”






Johanna’s character and setting inspirations!


I’m going to paste pictures of each character, and then I’ll post pictures of the scenery.

Since it’s a YA book, and the story plays in a gorgeous décor, I wanted the characters to be beautiful too, therefore I selected a dreamy cast. I hope I did the characters justice.

Emma Watson as Julie Jones:


Logan Lerman as Evan:


Evan Peters as the twins Sky and Sloan:


Kellan Lutz as the ex-boyfriend Mark:


Alex Pettyfer as Julie’s first love, Dan Goldberg:


Taissa Farmiga as Julie’s best friend Kara:


Kathy Bates as the old lady outside the one-dollar store:


Megan Lee as the Japanese exchange student:


Gabourey Sidibe as Susan (and in the book she’s white, but for a movie, I believe Gabourey would just be phenomenal)


Sean Connery as the Shrink:


Jane Lynch as Julie’s mom:


Kyle Chandler as the dad:


And last but not least, Ryan Gosling as the lawyer Richard Gold:



Now onto pictures of the scenery:

Oceanside’s cemetery, where Julie has to face the ugly truth about her past:


Oceanside’s beach, where Julie learned how to surf with her best friend Kara:


Oceanside’s high school where Julie returns to gradually unveil the truth about her past:


The one-dollar store where Julie meets the old lady, and enters the Underworld:


Downtown Los Angeles where Julie goes to see her attorney Richard Gold to discuss her legal troubles:


I was inspired to set the story in California because when I think of the west coast, I think glamour, glitz, sunshine, beautiful people, and lots of superficiality. That décor worked perfectly with my characters, and mainly Julie, who’s struggling internally. She’s a beautiful girl, smart, accomplished, with a successful family. She is meant to be happy. Yet, she’s not. And using LA, and then Oceanside as backdrop for her story just highlights that contrast even more.

For the parallel universe, the Underworld, I don’t really have pictures except this one:


In Greek mythology, the Underworld is defined as the place where the dead go, and souls remain forever there until they become nothing, and disappear. The Underworld isn’t hell, with fire, and relentless pain. It’s more a place of darkness, doom, and emotional emptiness. Julie travels to the Underworld as a result of her internal struggle. Once she comes to terms with her doings, and decides to change for the better, she can leave the Underworld and return to a more meaningful world, where she has a purpose.

Oceanside and LA are used as backdrop for the real world, and the Underworld. Two facets of the same coin. Julie deals with her past and present to change her future. Julie’s story is very much my story. I had to go through a lot of changes too to become the person I am today. I wanted to recreate this world, and dig deep into my own feelings, and my own discovery of self while telling a story, which carries a very strong message of hope, redemption and forgiveness. 32 Seconds is a tale promoting self-empowerment and love!

Thank you for having me!


Don’t forget that it’ll be free for a short span of time!!!






Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter  | Goodreads | The Independent Author Network

Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood–authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”

Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.




Johanna is generously offering up eCopies of 32 SECONDS to 10 lucky winners! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.


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Kismet Book Tours

SNEAK A PEEK: The Accidental Assasin (The Assasin #1) by Nichole Chase


The Accidental Assassin (The Assassins #1)

Nichole Chase

Published December 4th 2014

356pages (kindle edition)

NA > Contemporary | Romance




Purchase links:

AmazonBN | Kobo | iBooks





Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list. 

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?





I have a treat for y’all! Check out this intriguing sneak a peek of Nichole Chase’s action packed and swoony novel, The Accidental Assassin! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!





He reached over and unbuckled the seat belt I hadn’t realized I had put on. Sliding his arm behind my back, he shifted over the center console and moved closer to me. Carefully I used my feet to push up so he could slide underneath me. His body pushed against mine and I could feel every manly inch of him pressed behind me, down to the muscles his button up shirt concealed. As his hands slid around my waist to help steady me, his thumbs pressed against my back and rubbed soft circles, as if he was trying to comfort me—but instead it was accomplishing the exact opposite. I let the weight off of my feet, easing down on to his lap so I could move to the other seat.

“I’m ready.” His voice was husky in my ear and for a second I thought about telling him I was more than ready myself. Thankfully I was able to keep my senses and remember that there was someone intent on killing me in a car not far behind us.

With extreme caution I tried to lift my left leg so that I could step over the console, but my skirt was too tight. Understanding the problem, his hands slid moved down my hips and over my skirt so he could slip it up my thighs.  Goosebumps erupted along my skin as his knuckles brushed along my legs. Once the material was high enough that I could lift my leg, I slid into the other seat and let him take control of the steering wheel.

“Buckle up.” He smiled at me as he took the car off cruise control and hit the gas pedal.










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Website | Twitter | Facebook 


Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy. 

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises. 




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