Joanna Gawn's Blog

September 30, 2015

Today’s the day! Dark Perfume is released on Kindle! *happy dance*

Dark Perfume 3D paperback Mock Up (cropped)

For those of you who pre-ordered (thank you, thank you!) Amazon should be sending you your Kindle book at some point today, if they haven’t already done so. If you didn’t pre-order but would still like to buy a copy, here’s where to find Dark Perfume at your Amazon store (and a thank you, thank you to you, too!)

We’ve had a hugely busy afternoon with our Facebook Event, which you’re welcome to visit anytime if you fancy leaving a comment, taking a slice of virtual cake, or enjoying a glass of  make-believe bubbly. :)


We’ll continue taking names for the Free Etheric Clear Quartz Crystal Session right up until 23:59 GMT+1 on 1 October, and Joanna will prepare those sessions as soon as she can.

If you’d just like to have a look at all the excerpts we’ve shared from the stories, including the four author readings on YouTube, then you’re welcome to stop by our Dark Perfume website page. The excerpts are neatly integrated into a slideshow near the bottom of the page, and there’s an additional link to take you to the YouTube readings.

Extract from The Legend of Marina Cove (1)

If you’d like to stay in touch with our work more frequently, we share flash fiction, poetry, Recommended Reads, Cordello Quest A-Z Series posts and more here on our blog. If you don’t want to miss a post you can either ‘Follow’ us, or sign up to receive our updates by email. :)

So from two tired-but-happy co-authors here at ‘Dark Perfume Central’ … bye for now!

Joanna & Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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Published on September 30, 2015 10:00 • 2 views

September 22, 2015

We’re back with some more excerpts from ‘DARK PERFUME: Tales of Light and Shadow’ – yay! We hope you enjoyed the snippets that we shared last time. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

First up we have ‘Forget Me Not’:

Extract from Forget Me Not

In my garden, the pretty little forget-me-not flowers grow like weeds. They are innocent and pure (if a little keen on self-propagation). However, when I saw ‘Forget Me Not’ as a Writers’ Circle story prompt, I saw the words as a sinister warning, and the story grew from there …

The next excerpt is taken from a story of 3000 words, ‘Shadows in Time’. 

DP Shadows in Time extract with date

It was originally written for a competition, the brief being to write a ghost story which evoked all the scary, spine-tingling feelings such stories are meant to elicit … and so Maria’s story was born.

Continuing the spooky theme, our next excerpt is from ‘Of Ghosts and Moonlight’.

Extract from Of Ghosts and Moonlight

This began as a tale about a derelict house, written for a Writers’ Circle meeting. It needed a lot of rewriting to make the story ‘work’, but we’re pleased with the end result. We hope you are, too!

Finally, we have two ‘author readings’ – short extracts that Joanna has read and then transformed into YouTube videos.

‘The Legend of Marina Cove’ was written for local paper, The Torbay Times. The cove featured in this tale of romance and transformation is loosely based on Fairy Cove, in Torbay. Listen to this excerpt here.

‘Lonely Places’, on the other hand, celebrates the majestic moorland and the people who are in tune with Nature, who need the open spaces and the natural rhythms of the land to feel ‘right’. Listen to a little of Jake’s story here.

A quick reminder about our Facebook Release Day Event, with optional clear quartz crystal energy session for those who like working with light, crystals, Reiki, and other subtle energies. Click or tap here to read about and/or Join the Event.

If you’d like to pre-order DARK PERFUME now, so that Amazon sends your copy directly to your Kindle (or Kindle app) on 30 September, please follow the appropriate link from those listed below.

Pre-Order from Amazon UK

Pre-Order from Amazon US

Pre-Order from Amazon CAN

Pre-Order from Amazon AUS

See you on Launch Day!

Joanna & Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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Published on September 22, 2015 01:40

September 9, 2015

Today we’re sharing with you some excerpts from our new volume of short stories ‘DARK PERFUME: Tales of Light and Shadow’. (If you missed our original announcement, you can read it here.)

We also include a little background on each story!

First up, here’s an extract from Shifting Parallels, the first of the 33 stories in DARK PERFUME (please click on the image if you can’t read the text clearly; you can return to this page by clicking Back on your browser):

Extract from Shifting Parallels

Shifting Parallels’ was inspired from seeing a photograph of a park half-hidden in the early morning mist. The feelings evoked by that scene – the secrecy and mystery, a question of what might be revealed if the mist cleared – all led to this tale narrated by George and Sophie.

The short quote below is taken from ‘Prism’.

DP Prism extract with date

A good friend on Facebook mentioned the word prism in one of her posts and, having a bit of a ‘thing’ for words which contain a ‘z-sound’ (weird, I know!) I decided to write a story around it.

Next is an extract from witchy tale ‘Lovestruck’, which was initially written to be read aloud at our local Writers’ Circle, the title being one of two suggested for that week. I didn’t read it though … instead, I entered it for the annual competition, where it was awarded “Runner Up” in the Humour category! Lovestruck continues to be one of my favourites. The characters wrote the tale themselves; it was one of those stories that flowed faster than my fingers could keep up!

Extract from Lovestruck

Our next blog post will include further text excerpts, and also two short audio readings read by me (Joanna). These will be taken from short stories ‘The Legend of Marina Cove’ and ‘Lonely Places’. We hope you’ll enjoy them! :D

We’re still finalising the details of what we’ll share with you on Launch Day, 30 September. This will incude a Facebook Event: there will be more teasers from the stories, and you’ll be able to ask questions if you want.

For those who like working with crystals and other subtle energies, we’ll also be offering an ‘etheric’ clear quartz crystal session as part of the Event, so we hope you’ll decide to drop in and enjoy the Launch with us!

Read more about the Facebook Event here.

This blog now also has its very own DARK PERFUME page. It’ll be updated periodically as we approach Launch Day. :)

If you’d like to pre-order DARK PERFUME now, so that Amazon sends your copy directly to your Kindle (or Kindle app) on 30 September, please follow the appropriate link from those listed below. (If the link for your country isn’t here, please leave a comment below and we’ll try to locate it for you!)

Pre-Order from Amazon UK

Pre-Order from Amazon US

Pre-Order from Amazon CAN

Pre-Order from Amazon AUS

Until next time!

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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Published on September 09, 2015 06:00 • 1 view

August 27, 2015

We have been working hard to bring you a new ebook of short stories … and it’s very nearly ready!

Dark Perfume 3D paperback Mock Up (cropped)

Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow is a collection of 33 tales of … you guessed it: light and shadow! ;-)

Among the stories in this volume

*~ you will delve into our legends of other worlds;

*~ you will discover love lost and found, hope reborn, and emotional courage;

*~ you will read of telepathy, prophetic visions, magic, otherworldly power, and subtle energies;

*~ you will witness individual conflicts of light and shadow.

While some of these tales cover our familiar themes of healing and natural magic, or of personal or spiritual growth, not all of the stories have a happy ending … that’s simply how the characters played it. We dance to their tune!

Perhaps they like to keep you, our readers, on your toes …

… or perhaps the light simply balances the dark … a delicate dance of yin and yang.

Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow is a little over 51,000 words of story (that’s around half the length of The Cordello Quest, and about 190 paperback pages.)

DP promo banner with date

Dark Perfume will be released on 30 September 2015. You will be able to pre-order your copy so that it’s automatically delivered to your Kindle device or app on launch day!

(Remember, you can read Kindle books even if you don’t have a Kindle device. Amazon offers free Kindle-for-PC software, as well as apps for your tablet or smartphone!)

Dark Perfume is priced at £0.99/$0.99 for pre-order customers, which we think is fantastic value. We do not guarantee this price beyond launch day.

Dark Perfume Tablet Mock Up (cropped)

We plan to share with you some extracts from the new book over the coming weeks, so do keep an eye out for further blog posts, and check our social media ‘haunts’ on Facebook and Twitter

You can pre-order your Kindle copy of Dark Perfume right now:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon AUS

Joanna & Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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Published on August 27, 2015 04:00 • 1 view

August 13, 2015

Hope … where would we be without it?

Sometimes, our thoughts and beliefs lead us into darkness and worry, into fear and difficulty. Sink too far down this road and it can take a while (and some effort) to break free. At its worst, hopelessness can be utterly devastating.

But sometimes a lack of hope can be turned around with a little inspiration and encouragement. We hope this is the case for you, if you’re in need of a bit of a boost!

As hope is such a key theme in The Lazuli Portals series, you might like this extract from The Cordello Quest. This is one of the many sections that ‘wrote themselves’. :-)

Keira has arrived in Cordello and is having a bit of a crisis of confidence. Well, that’s understandable given how she got there, leaving Jason behind in their own world! Lord Charls has been giving Keira a tour of his manor’s gardens, which she has thoroughly enjoyed.

But then her worry circuit kicks back in …

Then I assessed my current situation. Would I even be able to return to my own world? Would I be trapped here in Cordello? Would Karn achieve his ambitions, desecrating and taking over Cordello? I frowned, as I remembered the reason for my being here. My feeling of well–being vanished in an instant, and as if Charls was tuned into my emotions, he turned to me, a quizzical expression on his familiar face.

“You are worried, Keira, are you not? Please – enjoy the gardens, and experience each moment fully. Allow such moments to lift you back to your natural state of optimism and happiness. Pleasure helps you to lift your vibration and to keep it high.

You are helping us, in no small way, simply by being here – fulfilling your part in our legend gives our people hope. Never, ever underestimate the power of hope.

Your presence will automatically expand the quantity and quality of lovelight that we can share and store. If you, too, can keep your energy high, that will spread to others, also.”

Charls gently touched the petals of a golden–yellow rose as he passed. “Accept what might be, and feel the peace of the moment. You can become peaceful right now – just by intending so.”

Do you find any of those words from Lord Charls particularly helpful? Does one suggestion resonate more with you than the others?

We hope (pun intended!) you’ve enjoyed this post. Please Comment, Like, and/or Share if you have – and please also let us know whether you’d like us to write the next letter in this series (or not!!)

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Words and image copyright Joanna Gawn

Earlier posts in this A-Z Series: A, B, C, D, E, F and G

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Published on August 13, 2015 07:33 • 2 views

July 28, 2015

One of us made a big decision recently … and the outcome is some Bonuses for you!

I (Joanna) have closed my Reiki and energy-healing business, Winter Jasmine Reiki. Because the time was perfectly right for me to let it go, the decision was incredibly easy to make! Now I will be able to focus more of my time and energy on my writing – and on improving my health.


However, there were a number of free resources on the Winter Jasmine Reiki website that I didn’t want to lose when the website was taken down … the free Quartz Crystal Reiki attunements, and information about Orbs of Life (similar to lovelight spheres), Hand Mudras (so easy to do!), and how Reiki feels to me. There were also a few energy-infused images which I wanted to keep.


These resources were originally added to my Winter Jasmine Reiki website so that I could “be of service” even when I was offline – my feeling about that hasn’t changed!


It seemed a natural and logical step to incorporate them into our Lazuli Portals website. It’s a beautiful way to integrate my practical experience with Reiki and subtle energies with the lovelight and lightworking concepts highlighted in The Lazuli Portals Trilogy (and in some of our short stories and micro-fiction).

You can access these Bonuses right now – and at any time you like – in our new Bonus menu on


We hope you will take advantage of them, and enjoy using them. :-)

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

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Published on July 28, 2015 03:11 • 1 view

July 16, 2015

The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary RelationshipsThe Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Details from Amazon

Create the Love of Your Life–Keep the Life in Your Love

Since it was first published, The Soulmate Experience has helped thousands of people around the world create relationships that are intimately connected on all levels–emotional, intellectual, sexual, and spiritual–and a continual source of love, inspiration, and joy.

 This “practical guide” is really two books in one:

 Part 1 gives both singles and couples powerful tools for creating extraordinary relationships. Chapters like Loving Your Body, Reducing Your Baggage, and Raising Your Soulmate Potential will help you let go of anything that might be preventing you from experiencing deep connection and intimacy.

 Part 2 shares the secrets for keeping the love and passion in your relationship fully alive, every single day. Through chapters like Turning Expectations into Invitations, Transforming the Energy of Jealousy, Exploring the Edges, and Connecting on a Soul Level, you will learn how to approach even the toughest challenges in ways that actually bring you closer together. And Playing Leapfrog will show you how to lovingly guide each other to unlock your full potential in every area of your lives.

Whether you’re single and searching for your “soulmate,” or want more excitement and connection in the relationship you already have, the groundbreaking ideas in this book–and the inspiring stories of real people putting them into practice–will open you to a whole new world of possibilities. Because The Soulmate Experience is more than just a book. It’s a great way of living life.

What I thought of it

This book is so much more than a “how to” guide for couples committed to (or seeking) a happier romantic relationship. While the main focus is on how to fully connect with your signficant other, the insights and wisdom within this book offer a much broader scope.

After all, *every* relationship we have (including the one with self) is about ‘connection’, to one degree or another. Yet most of the time we react from old patterns, based on core beliefs that are flawed, outdated, and/or perhaps even harmful.

What if you could change your experience so that you approached every conversation with openness – and a willingness to learn something from it? What if you could live more synchronistically, more in tune with yourself and what’s at the heart of your relationships? What if you could learn to feel full acceptance for each person you interact with – and yourself?

It is possible to feel a profound and lasting connection to those you love, but it does take work!

There is real wisdom in this book … a real understanding of what it takes to keep a relationship vibrant and alive, exciting and expanding, and filled with joy and deep connection. Of course Mali and Joe understand that not all soulmate connections need be romantic. Speaking from Ron’s and my own experience, there can be just as much learning, transformation, and reward in a non-romantic connection, especially if there is a special context for it.

Mali and Joe deliver their guidance, insights, and suggestions in a clear, easy-to-read narrative, as though they’re holding your hand as you read the words. Some of the ideas may be ones you already know. Some may be stretching your “comfort zone expansion” too far. Others will resonate at the deepest level, and you will discover a chance to transform your beliefs and your perspectives, to be fully present in your relationships, and to see the world in a new way. You will become someone who can *be* a soulmate, and as you consciously work on and understand your relationships, you may find that life is a richer experience as a result.

This fits nicely with where I am right now – dealing with my limitations and “stuff” with the support, trust, and love of those who are truly committed to being there for me (and I with them/vice versa). Soulmate relationships are such a special gift – with this book, you may find ways to honour and cherish them even more deeply than you do now.

So … please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! Is this book one which appeals to you? Do any of the ideas or topics resonate with you? We’d love to hear what you think!

~ Joanna

Tweet us @LazuliPortals.

Mali and Joe’s official Twitter account is @TheSoulmateExpce.

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Published on July 16, 2015 03:11 • 1 view

June 25, 2015

Mountain panorama by Jono

Ron and I have been experimenting with writing prose-poetry, having learned a little about it at a workshop we attended with our local Writers’ Circle. While what we’ve written may not meet the stringent requirements of the form, we had fun crafting each piece, and hope you enjoy them.

I must point out that neither of us has ever climbed a mountain, so our writing is based purely on what was evoked by our imaginations when we saw a photograph of a mountain-top at the workshop.

The beautiful photographs included here are with the generous consent of my mountaineering brother-in-law (of whom I’m extremely proud!)

Jono near summit

Summit by Joanna

Seek the air, suck in a breath, feel its fragility.

Cry out, hear the echo of it rebound, stretch, on and on.

Touch the crackling crystals, taste the iced isolation.

Sense the stillness, the pressing presence of the end of the earth.

Listen, listen, to the vast voice of the land of snow and silence.

From ascension comes awe, as though we meet the heavens here, and render them real.

Jono on summit

 Summit by Ron

No time to enjoy the view then; on, driven to the next climb.

A sunrise, a sunset, the walk to work or lie-in; the treadmill of life in non-decreasing form.

Three white lines on road’s black canvas touch far away; until you get there.

Round and round the ring he prances, weight moving on and off; still on and on he must go.

Falling, always falling; down, always down – and with nothing below.


Images © Jonathan Astin.

See more of his fabulous ‘ruahine-tramper’ photographic collection, which includes images of New Zealand, on Flickr.

A big thank you to Jono for permitting us to include these images here.

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Published on June 25, 2015 03:11 • 3 views

June 4, 2015

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first two books of this fabulous trilogy, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, I was concerned that my expectations for The Book of Life were *far* too high.

I needn’t have worried … in fact, I can’t imagine how the finale to the series could have been bettered.

Again, the story embraces magic, alchemy, science, history, romance and power.

It’s a rich, mouthwatering banquet of skilful storytelling and superb prose and dialogue, with threads of powerful magic caught and woven among them all.

As each new surprise was revealed, I was delighted as a reader, and filled with admiration as a writer. Just as I thought the story or the magic and imagery couldn’t get any better … they did.

Diana, Matthew, Sarah, and Ysabeau are, of course, strong characters, just as they have been from the beginning. I found a new affection for Gallowglass, and for the fiery Corra.

My highest praise comes when I say I wish I’d written a book. I wish I’d written the entire series. C’est magnifique.


You can follow the author, Deborah Harkness, on Twitter: @debharkness

View all my reviews on Goodreads


Over the summer months (June, July, August) we’ll be reducing our blogging frequency to once every 3 weeks, to give ourselves a bit more space to relax – and a bit more time to work on novels and short stories. :)

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Published on June 04, 2015 08:44 • 2 views

May 28, 2015

We started our Cordello Quest A-Z blog series back in 2013 with an introduction to Ascended Reikans. Later, as part of a promotional guest post, we ‘interviewed’ one of our favourite characters from The Cordello Quest: the wonderful Ascended Reikan, Lady Aida.

Staircase to Heaven

Image: Exsodus /

We thought it’d be fun to share her interview again, right here on our own Lazuli Portals blog, so that our newer readers have the opportunity to see it.

So here we go! :-)

An Interview with Lady Aida

Joanna: Hello, Lady Aida, thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions.

Lady Aida: I’m pleased to be here, Joanna and Ron. Thank you for having me.

Joanna: First of all, what’s it like being an Ascended Reikan?

Lady Aida: It’s extremely rewarding. My assignment has been interesting, to say the least. Being able to offer guidance to awakening humans is a joy.

Ron: Lady Aida, when you were writing in your journal – the one used by Keira when she was in Cordello – did you have any idea that it would become so important?

Lady Aida: No, not at all. Writing the journal was simply my way of making sense of my learning, and tracking my own development in the use of crystals, lovelight and intuition. I was heartened to see that Keira gained so much from my own experiences.

Joanna: When you were working with crystals, did you ever have a favourite?

Lady Aida: I would not have been able to choose, my dear. Their frequencies are different, and each has its own value. It would be like asking me to choose a favourite niece or nephew. I do have a fondness for the quartz crystals, however, and appreciated the warm tones and shades of the Tiger’s Eye.

Ron: Of all the places you’ve seen, do you have a favourite?

Lady Aida: Cordello, without a doubt. True, I have travelled to many worlds, seen many wonderful things. And I was very fond of Reika, of course. But . . . Cordello is home, and I am always glad to return to its green valleys and to my own people.

Joanna: What is your favourite colour?

Lady Aida: I have no favourite, dear. All colour is light, and to choose from among the light is not possible.

Ron: If you could be any animal, what would you choose?

Lady Aida: I believe I would choose to be an eagle. Soaring high, with wide perspectives and clear sight. I am fond of flying, as you know.

Joanna: A final question for you, Lady Aida. Do you have a favourite word?

Lady Aida: Oh yes, dear. It is Love.

Joanna: I should have known you’d say that! Thank for your time, Lady Aida.

Lady Aida: It’s been a pleasure. Goodbye.


Do you have a favourite character from our Lazuli Portals series? If so, who is it?

If you enjoyed this post, please Like it, Share it, and/or leave a Comment below.

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

Cordello Quest



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Published on May 28, 2015 03:11 • 2 views