Cover Snark: Surrender In Pieces

Recently, I came across a cover so incredible, so impossibly fuchsia and so bedecked with WTFery, I had to order a copy for my very own. When it arrived, it was more than I'd hoped. There were pieces of the cover illustration that were so baffling, it was a mercy that I didn't notice them all at once when looking at the image online. I might not have survived the onslaught of that much Old Skool perfection. 

So of course I scanned in the cover, and sent it to Elyse, Carrie, Amanda and RedHeadedGirl in pieces. Because I'm a horrible, horrible person. And now, I shall do the same to you, because, really, this cover should NOT come into focus all at once. There is earth-shaking power in this much wonderment.

Sarah: Here are two of the pieces of the cover I'm going to send you in sections.

First, what is this? Like, really, do you know what that is?

A cloud of white things with strings hanging down, sort of like jellyfish, on a bright pink background


Sarah: Then, aside from the signature which proclaims this A Fine Fine Pino Cover, what's that?

RedHeadedGirl, I know you do SCA events, right? Anyone wear that? Or is it a BIG GIANT METAPHOR (BUT FOR WHAT I CANNOT TELL)?


A close up of a curved piece of metal with giant spikes sticking out, over some chain mail maybe?

RedHeadedGirl: Okay, well, that first one is either some stupid-ass baby's breath, or nuclear explosions.  Was the cover produced during the Cold War?

And as for that….thing… it looks like a spaulder or a pauldron that's not….. I can't tell if it's actually sitting on the shoulder?  or some incredibly fucked up rerebrace?  And the spikes…. uh…..  yeah, no one in the SCA has those, but we're not actually trying to kill people. 

It is butt-ugly, whatever is going on there.

Sarah: Just you wait. THERE IS MORE. Any other guesses as to the magical pink creatures of fluffy doom?

Elyse: Jellyfish? Semen floating in the hot tub?

That other thing is like something you wear when you go into the ThunderDome.

Amanda: I second both of those things.

Regarding the second image, I literally thought it was someone going to town on a peach. Just embedding a bunch of knives it in to get at the pit. Feel free to make that as sexual as you want.

Carrie: I've got it. 

He is a medieval warrior, brawny and boisterous.  His war party ends up in Japan (after many complicated pages, as you can imagine.  There are horses, there are boats, there are pirates and pillaging, not all at the same time).  He is separated from his band of brothers and must seek an alliance within the royal court is he is ever to return home.  There, beneath the cloud swept rosy sunset skies of the Japanese gardens, he falls in love with a Japanese Princess.  Daughter of the Emperor and his European concubine (a slave, captured in war, such a tragic back story!), our heroine has flawless porcelain skin, “almond eyes” (it's old school with many unfortunate implications, so sad) and red hair that, when our brawny hero embraces her, wafts out over the lily pond like a sheet of flame, burning as brightly as their forbidden passion.

Sarah, I regret that I cannot figure out how to work a tree house into this narrative.  Trees, sure. A house, in a tree, in which they live…not yet.

Sarah: You have met the initial challenge well! I GIVE YOU MORE!


A fuchsia and white painting of some dude in old armor on a horse with  the couple embracing alongside the horse I have no idea why and they're half naked of course


Amanda: Wait…is this a ménage romance? Should we notify Elyse?!

RedHeadedGirl: IT'S FUSCHIA


Carrie: The story, attempt #2:

Young Sir Ravenhair was knighted just one week ago by Arthur, King of the Britons.  Yet already he and his beloved one-armed inflatable woman have escaped kidnapping, pirates, and shipwreck.  Cast upon the inhospitable shore of Cornwall, his shirt and her hairpins ripped away by the wind and waves, they struggle to avoid starvation, hypothermia, and punctures as they make their way back to Camelot.

The grim but honorable Lord of The Mustache rides ceaselessly through the lands of Briton, including but not limited to Cornwall, seeking the Holy Grail.  But when he finds Sir Ravenhair and his inflatable love wandering lost in the woods, strange new feelings overcome this noble knight.  Can these three medieval lovers survive the elements, bandits, and demonic bunny rabbits?  Can they overcome the stern censure of a society that forbids a committed, loving, sexual relationship between two men and a female inflatable sex doll?  And what role does the Lord of the Mustache's horse have to play?

(Should I be copyrighting these emails?)

Elyse: Ménage romance with a fuchsia warrior ghost! Or were you referring to the horse? 

Mustache rides. Hee hee!

Carrie: I've laid it all out for you in the back cover blurb of my torrid imagination, Elyse!  Horse, guys, one armed blow up doll – they are all involved!  Try to keep up! And that's the title.  The Medieval Mustache Rides at Midnight.

Sarah: RedHeadedGirl, this is the book I'm going to tape back together and send to you because OH MY GOD THE COVER.

Ready to find out what those pink and white puffy things? GET READY.

And please note: this is only half of the cover:

Red Haired woman bent backwards wearing a bright yellow dress while white clouds of something against a pink background seem to emerge from her back side

Sarah: I think they are fart blossoms.

Carrie: He stole her freedom and her farts!  Would her eyeshadow be next?

RedHeadedGirl: What the hell kind of nuclear beans has she been eating?

Sarah: Are you ready for more?

Carrie: Wait, there's more?

Sarah: Oh yes, there's more. Just wait until you see the hero. Ready?

Carrie: Ready…

A red headed woman wearing purple eyeshadow eyes half closed reclined at an impossible angle over the pink cloudy jellyfish things while a guy wearing a shoulder spike is doing something angsty in her lap judging by his facial expression

Amanda: Does she practice regular feminine hygiene care? Because his facial expression says otherwise.

Carrie: It's so sweet to finally see people with disabilities represented in romance.  She's missing an arm, and he's clearly missing almost an entire torso.

Elyse: I'm pretty sure he's wearing jeans

Carrie: Historically accurate, medieval jeans, no doubt.  They come from the same supply cache as her historically accurate shampoo and conditioner.  Nothing can explain the eyeshadow.

Sarah: I think y'all should see the full cover now.

Fires of Surrender - not only is she floating on a fart cloud while he writhes in her lap but there's a horse in the background looking very confused


Sarah: I love the quote: He stole her freedom, her innocence, and her heart! What a man.

Elyse: Is he biting her wrist? Also what magenta paradise is this? It's like The Lisa Frank Dimension.

Amanda: That position is some Cirque du Soleil type business.

RedHeadedGirl: I need it.

Elyse: He is biting her. She's passed out on a cloud of her own farts, and he's biting her.

Sarah: I have found this year's Halloween costume. I'm going to be a fart jellyfish.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    CC says:

    I do believe those are sequins on his medieval jeans! Is this a time travel book? He brought sequined mom jeans and blue eye shadow back into the Middle Ages. As you would.

  2. 2
    PamG says:

    Is it just me, but does she have a disproportionately long waist to crotch measurement & extremely short thigh thing going on?  Whose leg is that, anyway?  Maybe she’s not farting so much as deflating.  Maybe she’s got a bagpipe under all that golden velvet.  I mean her ass seems to go on forever….

  3. 3
    roserita says:

    If that’s the whole cover, where does Lord Mustache come in?  If that part’s a step-back, then the whole thing must be, like, the Sistine Chapel of Old Skool covers, and likely caused a fuschia paint shortage throughout Coverartlandia.

  4. 4
    Maren says:

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s a time-traveling 1980s David Bowie meeting up with 1950s Jane Russell and most of their bodies sent back to medieval times. He should have that thing on his arm looked at.

  5. 5
    Meggrs says:

    RedHeadedGirl, which Kingdom? :)

  6. 6
    Vasha says:

    Sylvie Sommerfield is also the author of The Elusive Swan featured in one of these posts a few weeks ago! She was particularly blessed in her cover art.

  7. 7
    Pheebers says:

    For some reason, this post makes me think of the Spaceballs scene with Rick Moranis where he’s playing with his dolls.

    “I love you!  I hate you! Yes! No! Yes!”

    Why is it that the more craptastic the cover, the more I want to sneak off to the library to see if it’s there?  And I will now be thinking about fart clouds all evening. Many thanks!

  8. 8
    Genghis Mom says:

    But their hands! They terrify me! And I have some good old-fashioned peasant hands!

  9. 9
    KarenH. says:

    What the everlasting fuck????  Are the spikes so that his man bag won’t fall off when the horse makes a break for it?

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:


    I have bags that are so slippery, I’d need spikes that large to keep it on my shoulder. Maybe this guy is giving us the key to a billion-dollar kickstarter campaign: Handbag Securing Shoulder Spikes.

  11. 11
    Jenn says:

    If that’s the whole cover, where does Lord Mustache come in?  If that part’s a step-back, then the whole thing must be, like, the Sistine Chapel of Old Skool covers, and likely caused a fuschia paint shortage throughout Coverartlandia.

    What is that magenta streaking going on behind the horse? And why don’t the guy’s hair color match with the guy on the front? Does the heroine have more than one love interest in this book?  Is this a Lancealot/King Arthur homage?

    And why does the dude on the horse scream Monty Python! That helmet is an exaggeration.

    The horse on the front cover is saying “I can’t believe this is my lot in life…”

  12. 12
    Tamara Hogan says:

    “Farts of Surrender…”

  13. 13
    pooks says:

    I’m horrified to say my first romance book cover may have out-fuchsia-fied this one.

    And now, with turquoise!

    Hellooooo, late 80s.

  14. 14
    Karin says:

    Where there’s smoke, there’s Fires of Surrender.

  15. 15
    Heather S says:

    This cover is awful. I don’t mean that in an “Old Skool cover snark of awesome because fuchsia” way – I honestly love old romance covers. I do. They’re just fun.

    This cover looks like the publisher gave poor Pino a week to paint it, and in the rush he didn’t care about stuff like symmetry and anatomical/proportional correctness. This cover is just painful to look at.

    That heroine is asleep. Or drugged out. One of the two. The lovin’ obviously wasn’t inspiring enough for her to remain awake.

  16. 16
    E. Jamie says:

    Do we get to see the back blurb too because ooooohhh that cover so screams a crazysauce plot or I’ll eat me feet!

  17. 17
    redheadedgirl says:

    Kingdom of the East!

    Fun fact: My SCA name means “Red Headed Girl.”

  18. 18
    Lostshadows says:

    I think the “blue jeans” are really badly drawn chainmail, but for the sake of her thighs I hope they’re jeans.

  19. 19
    chacha1 says:


    That is some bad cover, right there.  Poor Pino, indeed.  The man can actually paint, given the opportunity.

    I think the shoulder spike thing is hilarious.  Was it referenced in the text, or did the publisher just say “give him some kind of medieval-looking torture armor that still leaves most of his upper body exposed”?  Clearly it is slipping seductively down his arm now that he is all slippery with the sweat of stealing her freedom, etc etc.

  20. 20
    chacha1 says:

    p.s. the white puffy things are smoke from the fires of surrender.

    Obviously.  Like Karin said.  :-)  But fart blossoms were a legitimate interpretation.

  21. 21

    Oh please, please take pictures of the fart jellyfish costume, Sarah! :)

    Great work, ladies. Nothing beats good cover snark in the morning—nothing! :D


  22. 22
    LauraL says:

    Makes me remember why I used to have a calico book cover for reading on the bus back in the day. (I love my Kindle.)

    Could those puffs be orgasmic dust of some kind? Our heroine looks like she is resting a bit after her encounter with Sir Spikey Roughpants.

  23. 23

    I’ll kindly ask you to please stop mocking those of us with Jellyfish Fart Syndrome. Finally, a romance for me, and you cruel people have ruined it!

    PS: Where can I find sequin medieval jeans online?  Do they come with a codpiece?

  24. 24
    redheadedgirl says:

    PS: Where can I find sequin medieval jeans online?  Do they come with a codpiece?


  25. 25
    Meggrs says:

    @RedHeadedGirl—sweet! I’m a Westie.

  26. 26
    Melonie says:

    This cover makes me want 2 things:

    1 – More Gwar influenced romance covers

    2 – A trip to the Lisa Frank dimension

  27. 27
    Vivian says:

    Forget the jellyfish farts, I want to know why she has two-toned tits!

  28. 28
    L. says:

    As someone else pointed out, her leg does not seem anatomically correct in connection with the rest of her body. It’s her leg that bothers me the most. Yes, even more than his pseudo-gladiator shoulder pad. Wait, I just now noticed he has only one leg and it’s huge! And appears to have scales. Is he a merman?

    Also, is she about to pass out? (From the passion, of course.)

    Lastly, I think those fart blossoms might be Queen Anne’s Lace.

  29. 29
    Kris says:

    I saw that cover years ago, and I thought that it looked like he had spikes growing from his butt cheek.  Not a whole lot to make the skirt fly up, erotica-wise, with that cover, but oh, the WTF-ery is blazin’.

  30. 30
    Susan says:

    I’m really bothered by the fact that the cover and setback don’t seem to belong to the same book.  Other than the fact that there’s some armor(ish) stuff, a horse, and a suspicious miasma in both, none of the people seem to be the same.

    Is RedHeadedGirl going to read this for us?

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