All my life I have been lucky to have creative friends. Authors, poets, essayists, academics, bloggers, incredible writers who I have known in person and met online. Fascinating, wonderful people who I admire greatly, and who have made me a better person and writer through connection.
Someday I’ll tell you more about them.
But for today, lets talk about art.
I’m bad at it.
I know there are strong artistic genes running through me, there’s evidence of it on both sides of my family tree that there’s hidden potential lurking in all sorts of mediums just waiting to be unleashed but… There’s a very good reason I use words to paint my pictures.
Fortuitous then that my oldest friend in the world is an incredible artist. You’ve seen her work already, it’s dotted all over this website, and her progression in creating Heretic’s cover was detailed in a post from a few weeks ago.
But, did you know she did more than just Heretic‘s cover?
Okay, if you know me personally, you probably did know this because I’ve been showing her art off for ages, but for the rest of you this will be new material.
She keeps calling it fan art, but she’s the official Heretic artist. I commissioned the cover from her, soooo…. official art? We’ll call this the official art.
Anyway, lets start with the basics.
Here, again, always and forever, is the cover for Heretic, created by Hope “Silver” Bobb. A cover that I am deeply, madly, and passionately in love with. Heretic is a novel that was written because I was going stir crazy in lockdown. It’s dark and action-packed and steamy and makes jokes about cannibalism and I love it dearly. It’s available on Kindle now for roughly the cost of a cup of coffee ($3.99, €3.55, or £2.99 depending on your currency country). Please buy.
Now for the rest of it.
By now some of you will have read at least part of Heretic, but many of you have not. I’m going to try to give at least a little context for these images without spoiling the story, but we’ll just have to see how that goes.
My two protagonists are a pair of immortal mages named Sira and Jana. Sira is what I’m calling a Lightkeeper, he wields the power of sunlight in many forms (cue dated Doc Ock reference: “The power of the sun in the palm of my hand”), while Jana is a Hellmage and feeds her powers through pain, blood, death, all that good stuff.
Because their powers are diametrically opposed, Sira’s touch burns Jana’s skin. This makes things difficult, because Jana desperately wants to jump his bones, but you’ll have to read to figure out how they get over that hurdle.
It also means Hope got the chance to draw pictures like this, gorgeous piece over to the left.
Now, because Jana’s powers are so intrinsically tied to the body and its workings—or perhaps more accurately, how to dismantle those workings— she is always, acutely, aware of bones, blood, organs and where they all sit in those closest to her.
Which leads us to the idea, and image, of Jana and Sira lounging quietly together like so:
Though, there’s really not much time for relaxation in Heretic. Jana and Sira have places to be, things to kill, research to conduct. Yes, research is involved in my globe trotting, magical adventure. Did you really expect anything else from a PhD in literature?
My two mage frenemies need to search the depths of Pandemonium for some of their answers, and the Duke of Hell who keeps Pandemonium’s library isn’t always gentle. His archives through?
They’re pretty damn sweet.
I love the details down the spine on this one, by the way. Look at the jagged lines of her spinous processes (the sticky-outy bits on the vertebra), and the runes etched through her bones.
And get a load of that book Jana’s reading – what is that all about?
Yes, there are loads of books around her, but that page she’s looking at. What are those critters she’s reading about?
Over the course of their travels, Jana and Sira will encounter multiple beasties and baddies of the more mythical persuasion. The book Jana is holding? Those are just two such monsters they, and you, will meet in the pages of Heretic.
Taking inspiration from medieval bestiaries and other illuminated manuscripts, Hope created a little illumination of her own.
Here’s a better look at them:
What kinds of monsters are they, where did they come from, and are they helpful or hinderances as Jana and Sira work to complete their quest?
What are there names? Names are powerful things in a world of mages and magic.
You’ll just have to read and find out all about them.
Whatever they are, they’re not beasts to be taken lightly.
Not lightly at all.
Cue Jaws theme… dun-duh, dun-duh, dunduh dunduh dunduh dunduh dunduh dunduh daaaaaaaaaahhh!!!
Who is about to get eaten? What is that monster of the deep?
And the teeth!
Gotta love a good set of chompers.
Now, some of you out there will be saying to yourselves, Jenni, I know Hope Bobb. I’ve known her for years. She’s a sweet person, a good person, and who are you to corrupt her by forcing her to read your macabre, raunchy, book, and draw things like this?
To which I would laugh, and show you this bit of foreshadowing, circ. 2010:
Hope has been my creative partner in crime for decades now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s also been a bit darker and twistier than you might think for almost as long, and I wouldn’t change that either. She gave me far more art than I could comfortably fit into one post, so I will be creating a Heretic Gallery page this coming weekend to feature her art properly.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed her work, I pray that you enjoy Heretic, and I wish that you always chase thunder.
If you are curious about Heretic and these characters, click here to read the first chapter.
If you would like to buy Heretic (for the cost of an average cup of coffee) click here.