Joanna Gawn's Blog
December 12, 2017
Can you believe it’s already December?! Where has the time gone? Well, a good deal of that time (along with lovelight!) has found its way into the final novel of our Lazuli Portals Trilogy … the book currently known (to you, at least!) as LP3.
We do have a title for the book … and, for the first time, for each of its chapters, too! For now (when Jo’s health and Ron’s ‘free time’ permit) we are still working with our beta readers, and on editing and polishing. Then will come formatting, proofreading, and preparing the book for its Kindle and paperback homes.
The artist who designed the beautiful covers for The Cordello Quest and Mosaic of Light (the fabulous Stuart Cooper) is keen to work with us again, but is not available until after the New Year. Designing and creating a cover from scratch – one which clearly represents the essence of the story – takes a lot of time and dedication! So please, stay hopeful that he will be able to create another fabulous cover for us!
What we can tell you now is that the book’s title is three words long. Just like The Cordello Quest and Mosaic of Light. Three books, each with a three-word title. 3 3 3. Hmm, strange coincidence … or is it synchronicity?! Those repetitive triple numbers rear their head again, something Keira finally learns more about in LP3!
So with the newsy bit out of the way, we have some micro fiction to offer you, little stories of fewer than 250 words each which we’ve crafted in response to the snowy image below. (Believe it or not, despite their similarities, Ron and I wrote these stories independently of one another!) We hope you enjoy them!
[Image © www.Copyright-free-photos.org.uk]
The Evening Before
As the last of the sun’s offerings tinkle the settled snowy branches, the air stills and silence falls over the ancient walkway. Looking up, the new moon sits there trying to make its own mark on a perfect winter’s scene created by the earlier snowfall. The wonder of this quiet solo walk is lifting the dread of tomorrow, which had pervaded my mind all day.
A wave of extreme cold suddenly shoots through me, hitting my back and exiting my chest, prickling the hairs. Wide-eyed I look around. Nothing has moved. Snow sits securely on the firs around me.
Along the pristine snow path in front of me a series of footprints rapidly appear. Nothing visible to make them. They shoot on around the bend.
I stand in shock. No movement. No sound.
The light is fading. Nervously I look over my shoulder from the direction I had walked. Nothing.
Wait… Where are my footprints? The path is covered with unmarked snow.
My shoes hold traces of the snow kicked up by my steps and are sitting with snow all around them. As I look down, snow replaces my feet and a warmth spreads up my legs as they disappear. I can not move but do not feel ill at ease as my lower body is lost from view.
The footprints in front of me are disappearing as they retrace themselves.
Tomorrow has come early. I am off to my past again.
[242 words © Ron C. Dickerson]
Cold and Crystalline
The only sound is that of my boots squeaking along the snow-covered forest path, and the soft whoosh of my breath where it puffs into a cloud just in front of me. The freezing air is ice on my tongue, tasting of purity and newness.
I stop walking and hold my breath, listening to the cold, crystalline silence. Right here, right now, it’s just me and this white world.
Behind me, my footprints track my past. Ahead lies a path of unbroken snow: pure possibility. I wait, poised, at the fulcrum of time, glad of this stillness, this pause. I gather it in with all my senses, exploring the shape and texture of it, wishing I could commit it to memory.
But memory is the past, and this precise moment will not be experienced again, for even memory is not a perfect replication. In any case, if I spend time back there, then I miss what is happening now. And look, the moment is already changing, a twig cracking somewhere ahead, followed by a russet blur scampering up the shadowed spine of a tree.
Even here, nothing remains the same. Even here, each moment is impermanent.
Releasing my breath, I resume my walk. My Boxing Day afternoon awaits: young nieces and nephews will arrive soon, faces flushed and eyes bright with excitement, their high voices a tumult. Now, my spirit rested and serene, I am ready to return home and immerse myself in the happy hubbub.
[246 words © Joanna Gawn]
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October 27, 2017
This post is the first in a planned series sharing tools and techniques that I’ve been using for mindfulness and meditation. We hope you enjoy them!
The tool I’m sharing with you today is one I found several years back, and have used a fair bit.
The moving scenes (videos on a loop) can be used with their accompanying audios (or relaxing music, in some cases) or muted, so that you have purely the moving image as your focus.
There’s a selection of timers to choose from, or you can set your chosen scene to run until you decide to Stop or Pause it. Once the scene has been running for a little while, the timer fades until you want it again.
In addition to immersing yourself in the dozens of natural scenes, the Calm app offers a large number of tailored guided meditations, including Sleep Stories and meditations for children.
One section is shown below. Some require a subscription, but my own feeling is that the app offers plenty for those who wish to stick to the unpaid version.
I’ve used both the desktop version and the Android phone version. Scenes can be downloaded to mobile devices for offline use, which is handy for travel or when data usage is a factor.
September 29, 2017
Hiding From The World
The grass fringing the lake is my sanctuary. It offers me stillness, isolation from the noise and busyness of the world. For now, that is how I want it to be. Just me, the forest, the mountain, the waders and birds of prey … and the lake. Even the sky is my friend today, its cloud leaking onto the higher reaches of the mountain. I feel it reinforcing my separation from everything else.
I have left the electronic world behind, turned my back on its insistence, its urgency, its pleading. I cannot be found. I cannot be called back. This is where I need to be. Before it is too late.
Here, I can breathe, and my lungs expand with ease. The mirror in my cabin reminded me this morning that I haven’t shaved for three days. But despite the stubble, the face looking back at me seemed younger. The V of lines on my forehead had vanished, and my shoulders seemed lower and looser. It had taken me a while to figure out what else was missing … then I realised it was the haunted look in my eyes, the pain I’d carried with me for ten years absent for the first time. Instead, I saw a clarity, a brightness, a hope.
I will have to go back sometime; the boat passing by with its chattering teens illustrates that quite clearly. This is not my own paradise. This cannot last forever. I will have to go back soon.
But not today.
Words © Joanna Gawn
August 23, 2017
We’ve finished writing the first draft of the 3rd novel of The Lazuli Portals Trilogy!
(Yes, finally! Hooooraaaaay!)
As far as I can tell, I started this one in January 2016 – although I’d written the occasional scene before then, not really knowing if/how they’d fit in, or even what the book would be about!
I remember doing a lot of research before starting to write chapter one, because it’s the finale of the trilogy – this was my last chance to neatly tie up any loose ends from The Cordello Quest and Mosaic of Light.
Then, as this 3rd novel evolved, a huge number of questions arose, most of which I had no clue how to answer … until later chapters revealed the reason or the resolution. So there’s been a great deal to keep track of (lists, spreadsheets and diagrams all over the place!) I’m not usually a ‘planner’ – the story reveals itself to me as I write the scenes – but to write this book without a lot of notes (many ending in question marks!) would have been impossible. It’s definitely been the hardest to write – but perhaps also the most rewarding.
July 14, 2017
Despite the importance of lovelight in The Lazuli Portals trilogy, I’ve found it difficult to write about it for this blog post series – I don’t want to give away too much to potential readers who haven’t read the books yet! (Spoilers are something I really do prefer to avoid!)
Hopefully we’ve still done it justice.
June 30, 2017
Time is illusion
Your Future slips into Now
Your Now is soon gone
Tick, tock, never stops
Measure of life passing by
Each second treasured
Words © Joanna Gawn
Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net (please see blog post of 5 May for direct link)
June 7, 2017
May 5, 2017
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six……Why do seconds take so long when you are waiting? She said she would be here at three o’clock. Just a few seconds more.
My dream, my angel.
Well, yes actually; both. An angel that appears in my dreams. Her last visit was only a few hours ago in my waking-dream time and she said she would return when I was fully awake – now! at three this afternoon.
Warm air drifts past my neck and the hairs rise on my arms. I am sweating and my eyes start peering around, popping out of the sockets. Nothing except the feeling and expectation of more.
I feel a touch where no one except me has touched before. I see no one. Nothing. But I feel the presence.
Close my eyes, focus internally, back to dreamtime.
The touch becomes firmer, almost a grasp, and I am responding. I smile and squint through tight lids.
A golden aura, crimson and silver wings from the clean uncluttered shoulder line. Blond hair falling around the neck. Blue eyes looking directly into mine. The lips, oh those lips. I lean forward to meet them and the draft of air increases to a breeze. I am drifting before it with no power of my own, losing all. Feeling the lips. A sigh behind draws my attention and I glance back seeing my own image.
The breeze increases. I am gone.
Words © Ron Dickerson
Image from domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net (we will use it again later, for some haiku by Jo!)
March 31, 2017
I hope you enjoy this Recommendation! For those of you kind enough to wonder how I’m doing, I’ve added a personal update at the end of this post.
Thank you for your concern and support!
Book Description from Amazon
A trio of reckless adventurers unleash a terrible danger in this thrilling, high-fantasy romp.
There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel: some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay.
For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Carverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.
But sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes it pays to listen. Soon this reckless trio will become the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.
What I thought of it
I consumed the last 200 pages of The Copper Promise as though they might go up in dragonflame at any instant…
And after following sassy Wydrin, the princeling, and the knight through their escapades, who’s to say that might not happen!
There were SO many things to enjoy in the start to this series, but I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to get entangled in specifics.
Quite simply, The Copper Promise is a magical book, one I found totally absorbing, and pure joy to read. From a writer’s standpoint, I’m guessing writing the book was a hell of a ride, too!
I’ve since read The Iron Ghost, the second in the series, and that was just as good! The trilogy ends with The Silver Tide, which awaits me on my Kindle.
Have you read any of the Copper Cat series, and did you enjoy it?
February 9, 2017
The title of this micro-fic piece is apt, because my best-laid plans have not turned out as I’d thought they would! December was a challenging month for me in terms of pacing (something which is essential for people with #spoonie health conditions) but I’d expected that after some rest, I’d be ‘back to work’ in early January, as usual. I was looking forward to getting back into things!
The Universe has had other plans.