Cinderella — A Love Story

Okay, this is my baby!!!  It was the first major writing project of my career.  The original version was a stage play that I titled Cinderella — A Play in Two Acts. I wrote it in 1980.  In 1981, I started the novel.  I took each scene in the play and wrote a chapter around it, thereby fleshing it out.  I tried for years to get it published without any luck.  In 1984, I got fed up and stuck it in a drawer, where it stayed for 17 years!!!!! Then, in  2001, the Audio Book Club announced their Second Annual Short Story Contest.  I had a good feeling about it, so I dug out my manuscript, made any necessary corrections, retyped it per their format and submitted it.  In December, I received a reply from Traci Cothran with the delightful news that, while I didn’t win the contest, my book had scored in the top five finalists.  Wow!!!!!  I was elated and began to search again for a publisher.  I still had no luck until the Fall of 2007 when I began searching one day for a children’s book publisher for my other book Pegasus — A Dragon’s Tale.  I found, instead, Amazon’s first Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  I entered Cinderella but didn’t make the semi-final round.  My prize, however, was an account with Create Space — a print-on-demand self publisher.  I was over-joyed!  Finally, a chance to publish my book the way I wanted it, without hearing the usual schpeel from a bunch of boneheads with no taste in anything good!!!!!  For anyone who’s tried main-stream publishing you know what I’m talking about.  Hearing comments like “It’s good, but it’s not what we’re looking for” are more than frustrating — they’re downright infuriating!!!!!



Anyway, after getting my original proof copy back from Create Space, I decided to have it illustrated, instead of just plain text.  After trying several well-known illustrators I opted for an art student.  I tried at the college level first, figuring they’d jump at the chance.  When no one responded I tried my high school theatre teacher.  Tony suggested one of my former teachers, who was now head of the school’s art department.  I contacted Barry and, while he couldn’t promise anything, said he’d mention my request to the class and see what would happen.  A few days later, Barry contacted me again with the name of a student interested in doing my illustrations.  Her name was Stephanie Zuppo.  Steph and I soon got together and the first afternoon, while sitting at my kitchen table, she created the pic you see above.  Ella.  I love her as much as my niece Kameela does, she’s just so precious!!!!!  I can’t thank Barry enough for connecting us — Stephanie is positively BRILLIANT!!!!!  She’s now a Senior at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and I can’t wait till she completes the art for my second book.  In the meantime, she has been working on redoing the art for Pegasus.  Check out her website at to see all her amazing work.  Meanwhile, I thought you might all like to check out the version of Cinderella I had as a child, the book that started my obsession.  It was published in 1961 by the Whitman Publishing Company as one of their Top Top Tales series and illustrated by Catherine Barnes.

Wasn’t that beautiful?  Keep checking back here for any future updates on the publishing of Cinderella — A Love Story.  I will put them up as soon as they become available.  Meantime, if you’d like a sneak peek check out  You can also leave me a review.  Enjoy!
June, 2011

13 thoughts on “Cinderella — A Love Story

  1. It is lovely! I always loved Cinderella too. Your illustrator did a beautiful job on your cover.

    You are very talented to have done so much in such a short time. We will see your name on a Broadway play one day! Good luck with your writing and always believe in yourself.

    Janice Spina

    • Hi, Janice, nice to hear from you. So glad you liked the Cinderella book — unfortunately, it’s not the one I wrote. It’s actually the book I had when I was a child illustrated by Catherine Barnes. You’re right, she was a brilliant artist! My version of Cinderella will be out sometime this year, if all goes well.

      It’s funny you mentioned a Broadway play. The original version of my own Cinderella book is a full-length, two-act stage play. I’ve had a few copies printed by CreateSpace but haven’t put it up for general release sale yet because I want the novel out first. There’s a special twist to the story that’s a bit of a surprise and I don’t want to spoil it. You can read a sneak peak of the first three chapters though at and leave a review. 😉

      Thanks again and I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the site!

      Best wishes,
      Gina =)

      • I forgot to mention, the b&w artwork at the top is by my illustrator Stephanie Zuppo. The pic is her original concept drawing of Ella.

  2. Pingback: Author Exposed Part II: Gina LoBiondo | The Neophyte Writer

  3. I love Catherine Barnes and am trying to find out more information on her. I am based in London. Is she am American illustrator? Does anyone have a biography of her or know where she is now? Any information much appreciated.

    • Hi, Charlotte, nice to hear from you! I’ve actually been trying to find out about Catherine Barnes, too. I did a little searching today and came up with some interesting info on the following website. Here’s the link —

      I hope this helps some. I’m actually going to write to one of my college professor’s who owns a used book store and see if he has any further information. I will keep you posted if I find out anything else. Have a happy new year!

      Best wishes,
      Gina =D

    • Hi, Charlotte, I did more research this morning and found this article —

      Sadly, I learned she passed away in 2009, ironically not too far from where I live (probably an hour’s drive away). It’s a shame I never got to meet her, she was an awesome artist. It took me over 25 years to find her Top Top Cinderella book but I did find it in Australia! I’m hoping to add some of her other books to my collection as I’m able.

      Anyway, have a wonderful new year for 2016 and feel free to keep in touch.

      Best wishes,
      Gina =D

  4. Good Day Ladies,
    I am the oldest nephew of artist Catherine Sullivan. Many of her original portraits, illustrated books and Christmas cards are displayed in a room decorated in her and my parents memory in our home. If ya’ll wish to research further, have questions or would like specific photos, please contact me.

    Yes, she was an awesome artist!

    Bill Monroe
    Austin Texas

    • Wow! so good to hear from you, Bill! I didn’t realize it when I wrote my page, but I actually have two of your aunt’s versions of Cinderella. I wish I could have met her before she passed — I live in PA so she was fairly close by. Please keep in touch if you’d like.

      Best wishes,
      Gina =D

    • Hello,
      I came across this feed while searching for my great Aunt Catherine’s work. I am her grand niece from her husband Roger Sullivan’s side of the family. I would love to get in touch with her nephew Bill Monroe to share stories and pictures. My name is Cynthia Murray and live about a 40 minute drive south east of the family Glassboro estate that I remember to be as romantic and whimsical as her enchanted illustrations. My email is
      Hopefully this link is still active!

      • Hi, Cynthia, nice to hear from you. I just sent off an email to Bill, hopefully he will get in touch with you. I have 3 of Catherine’s Cinderella versions and love them. She was an amazing illustrator and I love her work. I just wish I could have written her before her passing. I live outside of Philly, so we’re almost neighbours. ^_^ Feel free to keep in touch.

  5. My sister and I were going crazy trying to find the name and artist of this book from our childhood. After hours of searching I finally found it and I’m so happy you uploaded all the pages as well! Nostalgia at it’s finest and gorgeous illustrations almost ahead of its time. Thank you.

    • You’re most welcome, Christina! I really need to update this page as I have a different illustrator for my own Cinderella book, but this was my favourite book growing up. Even after my mum got rid of mine in a yard sale, I never forgot it! It took me over 30 years but I found this copy in Australia and was so happy when it arrived home. I, too, didn’t remember the name of the awesome illustrator but have since learned that Catherine Barnes did two other versions of Cinderella, both of which I’ve added to my collection.

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