A Gift Idea for the Impossible-to-Buy-For Person In Your Life

Original artwork by Dar Albert, Wicked Smart Designs

When I first started writing for Ellora’s Cave, way back when, the covers they gave me for my books sucked like a vacuum.

I’m not being mean. They really did suck.  In those days, the new electronic publishing industry didn’t understand how critical covers were for readers.

Although I cringe to do this, I am going to post a couple of those god-awful covers here, just to prove how bad they really were.

Poser software was “the” thing, back then.  But the results were just awful….

More Poser-generated art, with just a touch more sophistication….

Finally, EC started using stock art, but there was no thought put into it.
This is the cover for a Victorian Historical Romance!

Aren’t they just cringe making?

Then I sold a book to Cerridwen Press, which was the non-erotic imprint for Ellora’s Cave (EC).  The book was Diana By The Moon.

The cover, when EC sent it to me, took my breath away.

Diana by the Moon

Do you remember this cover?  It was so popular, that the stock photo was reused by hundreds of other historical and fantasy authors and cover artists. There are look-alike covers resembling this one everywhere.

But this was the first one, and it was mine.

The cover artist, I found out, was someone called Dar Albert.  At the time I wasn’t certain if Dar Alberta was a guy or a girl.  I had to ask.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was Dar’s first cover for any author.  When I did learn that, many years later, I was astonished, for the cover was simply perfect.

Dar was assigned to a few of my books over the next few years, but not all of them, and I was disappointed when she wasn’t given my covers, because Dar seemed to be able to read my mind.  The covers were never quite what I expected, yet they were exactly what I was hoping they would be.

The history of EC is pretty well documented.  It imploded for a number of reasons.  But I had ended my contracts and worked to have all the rights to my books returned to me about a year before the fallout.

At the same time I was working to free myself from Ellora’s Cave, they unceremoniously severed their association with Dar, too.   So when I sent her an email, diffidently asking if she would be interested in creating my covers for my indie published titles, her answer was an enthusiastic yes.

One hundred and forty titles later, Dar is still designing my covers. You can browse through every single cover, here, on the page where the thumbnails are displayed.

You will see for yourself that Dar is mega talented. She does some fantastic work.  You can also check out the covers she has done for other authors, here.

Why am I telling you this? Well it turns out, Dar is also a fine artist. She does original oil painting, and acrylic work.  The title image for this post is one of her originals.

Dar has at the moment a few spots open to complete original artwork on request, for Christmas.  If you have a favourite subject, or you are searching for a unique gift for a friend or loved one, browse through Dar’s original work, here.  Maybe the search for that impossible-to-find gift will end there.

Dar’s online base is here, and there is contact information if you would like to speak to her about a commission for Christmas.  Tell her I sent you.


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