Tag Archives: RIP

Covers of the Week #19: Elaine Duillo Cover Artist

Legendary romance cover artist Elaine Duillo passed away in June. We celebrate her life and career byt spotlighting her beautiful illustrations for some beloved books.

elaine duillo cover artist

Artist: Elaine Duillo

The Queen of Historical Romance Covers

Elaine Duillo was the undisputed “Queen of Historical Romance” cover artist. She was a major force in the competitive field of pulp fiction artwork, where women were few and far between. Duillo painted hundreds of book covers and was an inductee of the prestigious Illustrators Hall of fame.

All that, plus Duillo was the matriarch of a talented artistic family.

Sadly, she passed away on July 30, 2021, at 93.

This amazing artist influenced generations of illustrators and revolutionized romance cover art. She helped give rise to the pop culture phenom Fabio. One of the covers I chose, Defy Not the Heart, features Fabio and was a favorite of Elaine’s. It is also my all-time favorite cover.

Although she created many gorgeous stepbacks, or “tip-ins,” as those in the industry called them, Duillo was not a fan. She believed the eye-catching covers she designed were meant to be seen, not hidden away. Yes, to that, I say. Display those gorgeous illustrations displayed proudly!

Sweet Savage Flame Remembers Elaine

Sweet Savage Flame laments her passing. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family. We celebrate Elaine Duillo’s life as she brought much joy and beauty to countless tens of millions of readers worldwide.

Her legacy lives on through her stunning cover art, which will continue to inspire and captivate future generations. Thank you, Elaine, for your incredible contributions to the world of romance novels and cover art. Rest in peace.

The Covers by Elaine Duillo

Here is a small sampling of my favorite romance covers painted by the late, great Elaine Duillo for this week of Monday, August 16 – Sunday, August 22, 2021.

The Covers

  • Golden Roses, Patricia Hagan, Avon, 1983
  • Defy Not the Heart, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1989
  • Damsel in Distress, Shannon Drake, Avon, 1992 (outer cover)
  • Rainbow’s End, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1991.

This Side of Heaven
This Side of Heaven, Katherine Robards, Dell, 1991, (Interior stepback)

Your Opinion

What are your favorite Elaine Duillo covers? What do you think of this week’s tribute? Do any of the covers stand out to you as a favorite?

Do you have a recommendation for a future Covers of the Week theme? Let us know, and we’ll try it out.

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

Sweet Savage Flame Podcast Is Up

Valerie Parv & Emma Darcy RIP

Australian author Valerie Parv recently passed away at the end of April, joining her fellow Harlequin/Mills and Boon colleague, Emma Darcy, who passed away late last December. Combined, these two women accounted for over 100 million books sold worldwide. Despite being global phenomenons, their accomplishments did not receive the acclaim they deserved.

At our Sweet Savage Flame Podcast, we honor the memory of these two romance legends, Valerie Parv and Emma Darcy.

Valerie Parv 1950-2021

Emma Darcy 1940-2020

Access Our Podcast

The podcast can be accessed at the site below, or on Spotify, Google, and many other forms:

WordPress Podcast Site

emma darcy

Belated Farewell to Emma Darcy

Farewell to a Talented Author

After writing my review for Emma Darcy’s Don’t Ask Me Now, I found out the sad news that she had passed away four months ago, on December 21, 2020, at the age of 80. Emma Darcy was a pseudonym for the husband-and-wife duo of Frank and Wendy Brennan.

Emma Darcy’s Life

Wendy was born in Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia, on November 28, 1940. She was a bright student and achieved success in college. She was the first female computer programmer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Wendy and Frank married in 1964, and after having children, Wendy chose to leave the workforce and stay home to raise them. Frank was a businessman and a pharmacist.

Both were lovers of reading and they decided to join forces to write books together. Frank and Wendy wrote several books which they submitted to Mills and Boon. The legendary editor, Jacqui Bianchi, aka bodice-ripper author Teresa Denys, accepted their submissions but asked for them to be tweaked a bit before publication. In 1983, the couple released their first book as Emma Darcy, the Mills, and Boon/ Harlequin Presents Twisting Shadows.

Frank and Wendy wrote 45 books together before Frank passed away in 1995. After his death, Wendy continued to write as Emma Darcy, even branching out to write longer contemporary works and mysteries. In total, Darcy published over 100 romances, in addition to her other works.

Her family was filled with talent, as author Miranda Lee, Wendy’s younger sister also wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin.

Emma Darcy was Australia’s greatest-selling romance novelist, with over 70 million copies of her books sold.

Wendy Brennan

Emma Darcy’s Books and Legacy

From 1993 to 2004 Emma ran the Emma Darcy Award Contest in association with the Romance Writers of Australia. This competition offered to provide financial support for writers who needed help to finish their manuscripts, and the winner’s work was automatically submitted to a Mills & Boon editor for possible publication.

Emma Darcy was a wonderful writer with an attentive eye for details and emotion. Many of her plots included love triangles or couples already in relationships who were facing adversity. Some of my favorites books of hers include these Harlequin Presents: Don’t Ask Me Now; Marriage Meltdown; The Shining of Love; Bride of Diamonds; and Fantasy.

I have added an Emma Darcy page to the Contemporary/ Category Romance Authors list that you can access at the header Menu under Authors or by clicking here: