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Let’s talk covers after a wrong cancer diagnosis


My lovely dad

Well, I’m in a really good mood because my dad isn’t in the final stages of cancer of the gall bladder as he’d been told he was by the doctor, so instead of thinking there were only two weeks left I can look forward to lots more conversations and hanging out with him as he finalises his memoirs and talks about life in Botswana and Lesotho. Very cool!

That means I can write a blog post on a lighthearted subject like my latest cover experiences instead of crying into my pillow because dad was apparently dying. It’s a wonderful thing to be told you’re dying and then suddenly you’re not!

Daughters of Sin collage

The five covers in my Daughters of Sin series

Anyway, it’s been quite a week with DH away on a motorbike trip in South Australia’s beautiful Flinders Ranges while I’ve been looking after the kids – unfortunately forgetting that school holidays started this week and not having a plan for Miss 11. (I’m sure nobody told me school holidays had started which makes me feel really silly because I work as an editor for the Curriculum and Assessment Authority so am immersed in education all day long meaning I should be the last person who didn’t know that!) But I didn’t and I suppose that’s what happens when your husband has spent two years too injured to fly then gets his reprieve and is told he can after all, so to celebrate suddenly heads off on a big trip like this; and then the same week your dad is told he’s dying of cancer and you’re trying to get his memoirs (that he’s been working on for fifteen years) finalised and printed before it’s too late and in time for a big splash and launch (with lots of wine and chocolate, as planned) that everyone can enjoy – before the two to six weeks remaining that was what the original prognosis was, is up.


The elegant cover done by Dar Albert

Back to me and my covers

Anyway, there it is! And now we can cut back to me again because suddenly life’s good once more and here we are, on a Tuesday night on a cool Autumn Melbourne night, after a glass – or maybe two – of red wine. (Yes, I know, it’s a week night but I’ve needed something as I anticipated the phone call from my sisters in South Australia who rushed over to be with dad who is now in hospital but is going to be all right.)

And now that they’ve just given me the the low down on dad I am just so relieved, so that’s what I’ll talk about: the box set cover I had designed for my Daughters of Sin series which helped take my mind off everything.

I was going to talk about my Africa book and dad’s memoirs with lots of pics of Botswana and Lesotho in the old days but I’ll do that in a more considered blog post rather than in one that’s been written from the hip (if you can say that) and covers are fun and frothy and that’s what I need right now – something fun and frothy since the house is very quiet right

It’s been quite an interesting experience – this whole covers thing for my Daughters of Sin series – because I commissioned a cover for each of the five stories in the series, and now that the final story has just been published, I have to do what all authors do – make a box set of the complete series to sell at a discount.

The Daughters of Sin series

In case you haven’t read any of the Daughters of Sin series, it’s five intrigue-laced books about four sisters (two nobly-born (and their mother) and the nobly-born sisters’ two illegitimate half sisters) competing for social success during the Regency era with an espionage plot running through them all. The initial story – Her Gilded Prison – is (I confess) an older woman younger man, rather poignant story, with a twist at the end, written for Ellora’s Cave, while the second book is about a debutante being mistaken for a lady of the night.


The cover done by Fiverr

By the end of Dangerous Gentlemen I realised that intrigue rather than erotic romance was more my milieu so in a second rendition (the one up there and published now) I toned down the heat in the first two books (which nevertheless are still quite steamy) while the final three books are more intrigue laced with suspense and lots of romance as they detail how the lives of the four sisters intertwine after one of them marries a suspected traitor. Ambition runs rampant, whether it’s beautiful and vain Araminta, Lady Debenham, who needs to rid herself of an inconvenient encumbrance, regardless of the cost; or sweet Kitty, her half sister who as a celebrated stage actress yearns for respectability, or her hardworking sister Lissa who must forgo London revels because she’s a governess but whose abilities as a portraitist bring her into the bosom of the ton – and earns her the love of the evil Lord Debenham’s hardworking secretary, the resourceful and besotted Ralph Tunley.
Each of the five stories has their own cover and the cheapest way – I found – of creating a box set is (if you can’t do it yourself on Photoshop) to get someone on Fiverr to mock up the five books as a box set. They can do this for about $20 using the original covers.
However, as book one – Her Gilded Prison – was my least favourite cover, I wasn’t convinced this was the way to go. So I commissioned the designer who’d done all the other covers to come up with something completely different for the box set cover and this is what she came up with, above.

I must mention that it took a few days for her to get back to me and in the meantime I’d commissioned someone from Fiverr to do it for me and this is what they came up with. While I like it, I don’t think it has the elegant look that my designer Dar Albert achieved.

More covers to come

In my next blog post I’m going to put up three more covers done by different designers at Fiverr, as well as a friend who’s talented in Photoshop, so you can compare costs and expertise. Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to work on making sure dad’s memoirs look as good as they deserve to look, and put up some pics and extracts.

And if you want to check out the Daughters of Sin box set, this link will take you to every retailer’s platform. Check it out.




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