Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I was inspired to draw this morning and decided that I would design Velanth's rainberries mentioned in Chapter 6 of Realmwalkers. I first began the drawing by doing a rough sketch then outlined it in ink. After coloring it with color pencils using a blend of apple green and teal for most of the berries I hand drew the name in brown & black. Since they are called rainberries, I wanted to make the berry itself shaped as a teardrop. In my mind, these berries are thin skinned and translucent as if filled with water, but the insides are like jelly. Rainberries grow very rapidly whenever it rains in Velanth. Soaking up the rain water, they grow to the size of white grapes, and are safe to eat within 24 hours after they ripen.

The faes of the city of Velanth are experts at knowing when to harvest the berries, mashing them just at the right time for if left too long in the bushes, the berries become toxic. Great care is taken to prevent travelers visiting the outskirts of Velanth. Signs are posted in all languages and word is spread from city to city to ensure no one accidentally eats the berries long after they ripen. This was done after many a griffin rider fell to his death after being intoxicated. The necessary warnings are also on every label when the bottled juice is exported over all of Tiaera.

Eating a few ripe rainberries straight from the bush does no harm. The juice is sweet, of course, producing a mild tranquilizing affect when consumed. Once plucked from the bush, the berries make delicious juice, wine, tea and medicine. For medicinal purposes, a concentrated dose will render the drinker fast asleep. The healer needs to be very careful, however, for an overdose would make the drinker comatose. Once comatose, the patient would have to be cared for until they awaken as this can take anywhere from a few days to a few years.

It is also illegal to misuse rainberries all over Tiaera. Violators can expect to be fined and even jailed depending on the severity of the crime.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Cross and the Cosmos: Swords and Plowshares

5:16 PM 7/1/2012

SPOILER ALERT: This story (the second in the issue to the left) happens well before the events described in our novel REALMWALKERS. If you enjoy Christian speculative fiction and don't mind one of the bigger rabbits in REALMWALKERS' hat being revealed before you read the novel, then go ahead to my blog here. If you don't want that rabbit pulled out of the hat before you read the novel, then by all mean read REALMWALKERS FIRST! :D

- Jack Shepherd (writing in this magazine under another pen name, Johanan Rakkav)