Monday, August 20, 2012

Author Highlight: Gina LoBiondo

Kristi's Book Nook would like to welcome Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and International Book Awards Finalist Gina LoBiondo.
It's a book giveaway!

KBN:How do you promote kids and reading?
GL:My personal experience has been to start getting books for the children in my life (i.e. nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.) as early as possible. When my nephew was little, he went through a phase of not liking to read, which worried his mother. My solution was to start sending him graphic novels, which look like comic books. I sent him all the classics ROBINSON CRUSOE, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, etc. and he loved them! Without realizing it, he was reading and that sparked his interest. He did much better in school and even graduated with honors.

KBN:Tell us about your website?
GL:My website has an introduction to myself and my company and contains stories that I’ve written over the years and photos for my readers to enjoy. Two of the pages are dedicated to my Pegasus book and to my next book, which is my own retelling of the Cinderella story.

KBN:Will you be doing any book tours?
I haven’t yet, but I would love to at some time in the future. I did have my first book reading/signing at a local elementary school in mid March – the kids and I all had a great time and they were very receptive, eagerly asking me lots of questions.

KBN:What are your thoughts on the new technology for reading a book?
GL:I LOVE IT!!!!! I’ve been able to get books I’ve been wanting or recently finding and read them on my computer or my phone! It’s fabulous! I still love paper books as well.

KBN:What advice do you have for parents on getting their kids reading?
GL:Like I said earlier – start them on books as early as possible. That’s what my parents did – when I was little I had more books than the library. Today they’re all over my house! I still read and always will.

KBN:Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
GL:My book is called PEGASUS – A DRAGON’S TALE. I wrote it years ago as a short story with two human princesses who find the dragon’s egg. When my nephew got married and became an instant father, his two kids became my niece and nephew as well. For Kameela’s birthday, I decided to get her a Build-A-Bear, which, in turn, gave me the idea of turning the humans in the story into bears and naming them after Kameela and her brother Dayshawn.
While searching for a publisher, I came across Amazon’s fist Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Through them I received my account with CreateSpace. I found an illustrator who did black and white illustrations but no one seemed to like them, especially the judges at the award competitions I entered. So I hired Stephanie Zuppo to redo the artwork in full color. Stephanie is a recent graduate of the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA and is now freelance. She has a brilliant mind and so much talent – she’s nothing short of a genius. She has helped me with PEGASUS in so many ways and I trust her judgment. Stephanie will also be illustrating my next book as well, which we hope to have done by the end of this summer, if all goes well. Since November, 2011, PEGASUS has won three prestigious awards – the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, the International Book Award and the Gelett Burgess Award. I feel they are due, in part, to the beautiful illustrations.

KBN:How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
GL:Three years from writing to publishing last summer.

KBN:What will kids love most about your book(s)?
GL:The kids love the story itself and the colorful illustrations. Those I read to at the school all sent me thank you notes with their favorite parts of the story.

KBN:What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
GL: I think the parents and teachers will love the main theme of the book, which is the deep friendship of the three main characters, a friendship that transcends both time and species.

KBN:What's your next project?
GL:My next project is a 120-page retelling of the Cinderella story. I wrote it originally as a full-length, 2-Act stage play and the following year took each scene in the play and wrote a chapter around it. It’s, basically, the faerie tale we all grew up with but with a twist that no other version has which makes it unique. I’m hoping to have that out by September. Beyond that I have a sequel planned to PEGASUS, which I hope to have finished and available some time in 2013.


It's a book giveaway!
For a chance to win this wonderful dragon tale all you have to do is Tweet this post and leave a comment about dragons. Don't forget to leave your email address.

Title: Pegasus A Dragon's Tale
Author: Gina LoBiondo
Illustrator: Stephanie Zuppo
Publisher: Nephthys PublicationsISBN: 9780982264829


Prince Dayshawn and Princess Kameela are two young bears who love to play on the grounds of their Kingdom. While out frolicking, Prince Dayshawn discovers a brightly colored egg nestled in some tall grass under a tree. The young bears take the egg home. When the egg hatches a little dragon appears. The Prince and Princess nurture and play with the dragon and name him Pegasus. When Pegasus grew to big for the Kingdom, the King banished him to a land where he could grow and some day find other dragons. As time passed the young bears grow and often wonder what had become of Pegasus. One day the Kingdom was raided, the young Prince and Princess were kidnapped. Tied up and wondering if they would survive they found themselves being rescued by a familiar friend.

LoBiondo has created a fun dragon tale that boys and girls will love. It's a great bedtime story to tell young ones. The underlying story teaches young readers about friendship and bravery. Parents can ask questions and get young readers engaged in caring for a pet, just as an example. The illustrations are small but still give readers a peek into the world of the characters.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Gina. Learn more about Gina at The Neophyte Writer. 
Check out her personal website at as well as the illustrator’s site at

-- and also available as an eBook on Kindle and Nook for $2.99.
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