Official site for the high/dark fantasy books of authors Barb Hendee and J. C. Hendee, including the Noble Dead Saga (a.k.a. The Noble Dead series), the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and TNDS: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

JC’s Haunt…

I prefer not to use the ND site for personal topics, since most don’t appeal to readers specifically, but now and then there’s an exception. I’ve been following activity on one of several Noble Dead fan pages on Facebook, aside from our own official page. A few people have looked about for art done by fans for the characters of the Noble Dead saga. Back in the early days, when we ran a small forum on our first ND web site, this type of artwork popped up now and then.

While browsing the group mentioned above, I looked up from where I sit at the dining room table (where I often write). I re-noticed one of our oldest artworks on the wall that isn’t a print from one of our books… or a general artwork we just like. It still mesmerizes me for how I…

Wait, I’m getting too far ahead. Let’s go back to the beginning…

I was at a Norwescon convention with Barb back in our earliest days of the Noble Dead saga (before we could call ourselves “professional” fulltime writers). Barb was in a panel and I didn’t have one for that time slot. It had been a long weekend, there was one more day to get through, and I was worn out, mentally and socially. So I snuck away for another pass through the large dealers room, hoping to get lost for a while.

I’d already been through there a number of times. Once you’ve done that, there’s really not much new to see, so I was just wandering. I turned another corner in the aisles, not truly noticing all the books, games, posters, costumes, weapons…  Well, I noticed the weapons, but none of them fit my personal preferences or practices at the time.

I can’t remember what stopped me or made me turn back. Perhaps it was just too crowded ahead. Exhausted as I was, I retreated the other way and nearly stepped on one of three leaning stacks of posters at a booth that sold such. You know kind, if you’ve been there – book covers to movie posters to old Frazetta prints, etc. At the front of the middle leaning stack was an image that hadn’t been there before.

It was someone I knew intimately, though I’d never met her face to face. Like any stylistic work, it wasn’t perfect or exact, because that isn’t what such works are about. But it was at least 80% accurate for how I’d seen her for a long time. I don’t know how long I stood there, for it was both a disturbing and fixating moment. Eventually, I had to leave, and it wasn’t easy. I hid that print at the back of the stack before I did.

I later showed Barb that print, and I’m not sure she really saw what I did at the time. She couldn’t have, for like me, she’d never met this person; unlike me, she didn’t see who I saw at first. But we were tapped out for that weekend and couldn’t afford to buy that print. We also had local friends in the area to catch up with, one of whom was at the convention: Patrick Swenson of Fairwood Press.

By the end of the convention, amid packing and checking out of the hotel, I was still obsessed. I kept it to myself, or thought I did, but not so well. In the process of departure, Patrick showed up to say goodbye… and he gifted that very print to Barb and me. It became a prized possession.

When we returned home, I put Barb through another of my picky, long shopping sprees to find the most affordable but suitable frame, matt, glass, etc. I assembled and prepped everything by hand. That picture has remained with us, wherever we’ve lived. I’m still looking at it as I write this. For you see, that image is an utter impossibility.

It was created by Yowkow Fujiwara half a world away from anywhere I’ve been. From what I could learn, it was virtually “painted” using a stylus and pad input into a computer… and you’d never know from looking at it. It was completed in 1995 or earlier, and that was too many years before this woman appeared in my mind for him to ever know of her. The work was titled “Bloody Mary,” but that didn’t matter.

This was — is — will always be my definitive portrait of Magiere, that woman who was in my head when I first wrote of… for… her.

This is my haunt for this Halloween, I guess. It’s not often that I allow anyone inside my head, but this is your chance. All authors have visions of the characters they write about/for, but in today’s more “journalistic” approach to prose, we seldom (never) have the room to describe them in details to match. This time, you could possess — or be haunted by — that vision of mine.

There are a number of places where you could acquire this print for yourself. I have no vested interest in you doing so, and the links below are just a few where you can find my Magiere at an affordable price. There are other sources you can search out with the information provided herein. Happy… Creepy… Halloween from me and Magiere.