The Red Pen of Doom

Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.

The best Fabio romance cover OF ALL TIME

What is the most amazing, over-the-top Fabio romance cover of all time? We are talking about Fabio here, so there is an embarrassment of riches.

How can we pick one masterpiece when everything the Italian Master of Romance Covers has done is so good?

I wanted to do crazy sci-fi and fantasy covers first. But they are surprisingly monotonous, with the difference between (1) a great cover and (2) a campy cover and (3) an insane cover being a matter of taste. The wilder options for sci-fi and fantasy covers include:

  • Old Bearded Man in a Robe with a Magical Staff,
  • Young Man With His Magical Sword, or
  • Spaceships and exploding stars (dinosaurs are optional).

captainraptor (tony medeiros)

Frankly, they kind of bored me, though I will search harder for amazing sci-fi and fantasy covers, especially of dinosaurs in spaceships, which are apparently a thing.

Fabio, now, is easy to find. His body of work is as broad as his chest. He has hair like Samson and a chiseled chin.

On to the covers:

Fabio cover 2

Here’s a prototypical Fabio cover. You’ve got the full glory of his hair and her hair. You’ve got enough clothes on both of them to be decent, but enough off of them to be suggestive. They’re on a beach, and he has some kind of Pirate or Native American Warrior armband thing. Does it get any better than this?


A photo-realistic Fabio must be better than some boring old painting, right? No. This cover is a photo. But it is lacking. For one thing, it’s not a real novel, but a photo shoot for American Top Model, and the model is wearing clothes. More importantly, Fabio is wearing a shirt, which I believe is against the law or something. This looks more like a prom photo than a true Fabio masterpiece.


Here we get Fabio the Friendly Ghost, and different, in a Patrick Swayze way. But it doesn’t work.

Fabio the Viking

Fabio the Viking is clearly inspired by Conan the Barbarian, not that there’s anything wrong with that. He does look a bit giant here. Incredible Hulk Fabio is not that appealing, though. Sure, he’d would be the first man to pick if we were choosing sides for a game of Cut Off The Other Teams’ Body Parts – but we are playing a different game. This is not his finest romantic hour.

fabio the rogue

Here we go. The wind is making his long locks flow, he’s got a wicked sword and he looks tough-yet-charming. This is my favorite. His attire is appropriate for a bit of piracy or, if he just buttons up that shirt, a night on the town. We have ourselves a winner.


This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.


About Guy Bergstrom

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot.

18 comments on “The best Fabio romance cover OF ALL TIME

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  5. Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)
    July 20, 2012

    I know we’ve only just met, but you’re already making me laugh at the end of a long, hard day (get your mind out of the gutter).
    As Allie said – “Most fun I’ve had all day.”
    TKS for a good time.
    Wait, I didn’t mean … you know what I … oh … never mind.


  6. Pingback: Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller | The Red Pen of Doom

  7. Jaye
    April 15, 2012

    Too funny! Love this post. I have to tell you, I met Fabio once. Heck with the hair and the chest (okay, not heck with them, they are very pretty) but the man has a wicked sense of humor and that’s the best. I can easily imagine someday on the cover of a Senior Sexy Romance novel. He’s funny enough to do it.


    • Guy
      April 15, 2012

      Fabio is funny and self-deprecating. Love his Old Spice commercials. He gets it. Not a pompous dipstick, but a real human being, and never boring. Interesting man.


  8. Allie Pleiter
    December 16, 2011

    Absolutely the most fun I’ve had today.


  9. Laura K Curtis
    January 4, 2011

    Laura the Curtis raises a glass to Elise the Logan for having a gold pen inscribed copy of Pirate!


  10. Elise Logan
    January 4, 2011

    You have missed the Mecca of the Johanna Lindsey/Fabio pairing. The epic and never-to-be-duplicated perfect marriage of totally over-the-top Johanna Lindsey plus the very best Fabio covers. Witness:

    Note that it is organized like someone has OCD. Plus, it includes some of my personal favorites (despite owning, as detailed on Smart Bitches, my very own AUTOGRAPHED copy of Fabio’s Pirate, autographed in no less than gold paint pen): the absolute glory of Keeper of the Heart. Which combines standards of sci-fi cover with romance Fabio cover.


    • epicblackcar
      January 4, 2011

      I have bookmarked Johanna the Lindsey’s shrine to Fabio and will blogroll the thing, when I get around to making a roll of blogs or whatever.

      This is awesome. Laura the Curtis would dig it.


  11. Laura K Curtis
    December 29, 2010

    By which time it will be Mulletfest 2011. But that’s ok. It’s never too late to start an annual event.


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  13. Laura K Curtis
    December 28, 2010

    But you neglected to put up the best part of the Viking and Rogue books…the fold-outs inside the covers! I have one here, just for those who don’t realize the full glory of the books he wrote himself. A marketing masterpiece! Here’s one. I think this was Rogue: And they even printed an inscription in each book so it looked as if he’d signed it in Sharpie. Awesome!


    • epicblackcar
      December 28, 2010

      Where have you been all my blogging life? YOU ARE GOLDEN, Laura the Curtis.

      I raise my glass of bourbon in your direction.


      • Rebecca G
        December 28, 2010

        Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me of that little detail, Laura. I had completely forgotten about the fold-out picture.

        EBC: Fabio’s hair is in no way, shape or form a mullet. Mullets are short on top and on the sides but long in the back. Fabio has long hair all over. His hair is, in fact called “Fabio hair” and all other men with long, flowing locks have “Fabio hair,” too.


      • epicblackcar
        December 28, 2010

        The fold-out photo is amazing. It’s so over the top and campy, it circles back to cool. I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

        Mullet: I completely agree. In the late ’90s, when the Internet was young, I memorized the contents of a website called “Mullets Galore” and could identify, on sight, each form of mullet:
        * The Camaro Cut
        * The PermaMullet
        * The Rat Tail
        * The German Porn Star
        * The Mud Flap

        This subject is too deep, and too interesting, for the comments section.

        But I just got back after taking an accidental elbow to the face, so Mullet Fest: 2010 has to wait.


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