From Concept to Cover: The Journey of A Ripple in Time

At the beginning of the summer, I had the great pleasure to meet a fellow author on the twitverse, Julia Hughes. Julia was running a promotion for her novel A Ripple in Time and I was immediately intrigued by its blurb: “After one hundred years, the Titanic has a new love story.” Julia and I started tweeting, also thanks to a common friend, Randall Peterson who was promoting her book and mine. A friendship was born out of 140 characters at a time. Later, Julia saw my drawings and asked me if I wanted to work on the new cover for A Ripple in Time, which meanwhile had had more than twenty thousand downloads in mere five days. I was flattered that my naïf art had caught Julia’s attention. Her proposal arrived at an odd moment for me, I was leaving to go back to Italy for a long stay due to family reasons. My mind was stretched in several directions at once, but Julia assured me she was in no hurry. Nevertheless, I don’t like to have people waiting on me when I accept to work on a project, and so once Julia told me what she wanted on the cover, I started playing with my tablet. One of her requirements was that the cover must have dandelion flowers and seeds. I had never drawn a dandelion flower before and I scouted the web for good images I could use as reference. It turns out, I love drawing dandelions and dandelions seeds. Below are my first and second mock covers and the banner.

A Ripple in Time Dandelion_thumb

A ripple in Time cover 2_thumb

A Ripple in Time Banner_thumb

Once the backdrop was done, I asked my cover artist and dear friend, Alessandro Fiorini to come onboard. I gave him the specifics of what Julia wanted on the cover: a sundial, a winged figure, and of course the Titanic.

Alessandro told me he was going to give it a try and contacted me a few hours later with this:


I thought it was a solid work and sent the image to Julia. Once we received the okay from her, Alessandro and I started working on the details. Despite a particularly hot Italian summer, internet failures, and life in general, a few weeks later we were able to send Julia the final cover. Below is one of the final tries and the banner.



Working with Alessandro is always a treat and Julia is one fabulous patron of the arts and it was an absolute pleasure to create a cover for her imaginative novel.

From Concept to Cover: The Journey of A Ripple in Time

Friday Snippet #20

I’ve been working on X for several weeks now and it’s coming along fine. Kind of darkly fine, but fine nevertheless. All in all, almost 5k.

Julius extended his free hand and gently laid one finger on the boy’s arm, waited a moment to let the kid react to his push. “Here, let me help you.”

His voice was hypnotic and even Allegra—although she should have been used to it by now—was affected by it. The boy visibly relaxed before her eyes and emitted a slow whoosh sound.

“There’s something strange with him—” Julius released his hold on her hand to fully connect with the boy.

Allegra never liked it. It didn’t seem proper he looked through someone else’s eyes. Eyes that weren’t hers. Her uneasiness was short lived as she watched Julius recoil in pain the moment he switched from her sight to the boy’s. “What is it?” He didn’t answer her, but terror showed on his features and she felt pain herself. “Julius? What happened?” The boy seemed to react to the wave of emotions emanating from Julius, brief elation lit his face to be replaced by fear and finally a calm that was utterly out of place.

“Allegra,” Julius croaked, feeling the air with his hands, looking for her.

She had never seen him looking so lost and realized she couldn’t bear it. “I’m here.” She reached out and pulled him in a tight hug.

He let his breath out in a rush. “It’s all twisted.”

“What’s all twisted?” She stroked his back, her fingers massaging his tense muscles, but it didn’t feel right. Then, it hit her. They were touching, but she could sense he wasn’t connected to her. She didn’t even know he could do that. It hurt her.

“I was a monster.” His body started shaking. “You were a monster. The house, the backyard… everything was wrong.”

Allegra was confused and upset to see him out of control, but he was beyond reading her aura and for once she had to explain her feelings. “You’re scaring me.” His instability feeding hers in a vicious loop, she couldn’t help sobbing and despising herself for it.

Friday Snippet #20

Mapo Tofu: The Tofu Dish With a Million Different Spellings

Mapo TofuMapo tofu has been a staple in our family dinners for a long time. Both my husband and I love it. In the past year, I had to renounce this savory dish because I discovered I’m intolerant to soy. Now, our local Costco has finally decided to sell tofu and my husband’s eyes went all dewy at the memory of the mapo tofu I used to make. I couldn’t refuse him.

What I had in the pantry:

1Pound Firm Organic Tofu

Half pound Jimmy Dean

Mapo tofu spices*

Hot pepper flakes

French Green Beans (just because we must eat something green)

How I made the mapo tofu:

I cooked the ground pork in a non-stick pan and then added the tofu cut in small cubes, the mapo tofu spices, and the pepper flakes. Let it sauté for fifteen minutes at very low heat. Meanwhile, I cooked the French green beans in a steamer, once soft (we don’t like it raw), I served them with a sprinkle of reduced sodium soy sauce to accompany the mapo tofu. Dinner was served in record time after our daily dog walk. Still as good as I remembered. I’ll know tomorrow if it was a good idea to eat it.

* Mapo tofu spices can be found in every Asian supermarket. In case you don’t have any nearby, try adding one or two tablespoon of cornstarch, pepper, and soy sauce to the tofu. Not the same thing, but at least the color looks right.

Mapo Tofu: The Tofu Dish With a Million Different Spellings

Writer Into the Wild: a Self-portrait

The Northwest has been graced with more sun than it’s legally allowed south of Vancouver, BC. Therefore, I’ve been stocking up with vitamin D by writing outside in my backyard. The glare it’s so distracting, the day so beautiful, the grass so green, I started playing with my cell  phone camera. Then, once my skin had irremediably spotted all over, I went inside to retouch the pic with Paint.NET: slightly alteration of the light and the mere hint of ink sketch filter.

Autoritratto di Scrittrice in Giardino

Writer Into the Wild: a Self-portrait

Make Your Own Fairytale #4

Worked with Paint.NET on my most recent Monday drawing to create a new fairytale prompt. Lately, the editing of Prince is taking all my time and energies, and drawing helps me direct my mind somewhere else. Despite the fact that yesterday drawing was messy, there’s something about the colors and the composition I like. Changed both light and saturation, and finally I applied the ink sketch and photo filters, plus text.

The Queen and the High Window

Make Your Own Fairytale #4

Friday Snippet #19

Busy editing. That’s the short sum of this past week. The longer and uncensored version is available before a cup of tea, if you’re so inclined. Otherwise, I’ll spare you boring details.

From X, because it’s still amusing me to work on it.

“Are you ever coming back?” Julius had stopped abusing the metal gate, which prompted Allegra to plunge her hand past the spider webs and look for the ring with all the keys attached. A quiet Julius was a busy Julius.

Allegra found what was looking for, gave the child another glance to ensure he was still there, was surprised he hadn’t moved at all, and went back to the entrance where she found Julius attempting to climb the gate as she had worried. “Can’t you stay a minute without me? It’s not that you aren’t used to—” She didn’t know how that accusation had slipped through her words, but a vivid image of Julius touching Sofia’s slender arm played in her mind, followed by what he had said to her afterward, “Her eyes see colors in such a different way than yours.” She had never asked him if he meant it as a compliment to Sofia or to her; the memory still put her in a foul mood, but the hurt look on his face made her immediately regret her words. “Found the keys and a child.”

He was surprised by her statement and didn’t reply to her barb. “What child?”

Allegra fumbled through the keys, she couldn’t remember which one was the gate’s, and tried several before finding the right one. “That child.” She touched his right cheek—she could have make contact with his hand as it was customary, but somehow that didn’t occur to her—and turned toward the house to give him a clear view of the porch, the bushes nearby, and a small child half hidden behind the greenery.

Friday Snippet #19

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Mostly because I’m not able to post three pictures straight. Or so it seems… Here’s the third image connected with the previous post. I photo manipulated the same detail of the temples and the jungle with Paint.NET. Ink sketch and oil filters this time, but without color and light enhancements.Temples Inked

The Gift That Keeps On Giving