One More!

Well, it seems a little story I wrote recently for an online competition was awarded an Honourable Mention! *happy dance*
You can read my story below.
Thanks to fellow author Anneli Purchase for running the contest.🙂

Anneli's Place

The writing contest produced some very good entries. It was hard to choose only three. I ended up choosing four, and still I had to add a fifth – Joanna Gawn –  for an honourable mention. This does not mean hers was the fifth best. It’s just that I had to make the cut somewhere.

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I liked Joanna’s story very much. Here it is. Congratulations Joanna.

The buildings seem smaller than when I left thirteen years ago. Yet the land runs forever. I’d forgotten. The city does that to you, narrows your vision, restricts your focus to the height of things, not the breadth.

Hannah Mallory and I played on that ridge every time Dad and I visited. Hannah and I were innocents back then, drinking fresh lemonade in the shade of the trees while the sun baked the earth a pale gold.

I think of my town car back in…

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Recommended Reads: The Tassamara Trilogy by Sarah Wynde

The Tassamara series is one I’m very happy to recommend to readers of urban paranormal fantasy – particularly if you enjoyed the TV show ‘A Town Called Eureka‘!

I originally blogged my review of A Gift of Ghosts here but I am including that review in this post, too, for the sake of completeness.🙂

When reading each of my reviews in this post, please bear in mind that they were written independently of one another, immediately after reading each book!

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A Gift of Ghosts (Tassamara, #1)A Gift of Ghosts by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description

Akira Malone believes in the scientific method, evolution, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. And ghosts.

All the logic and reason in the world can’t protect her from the truth—she can see and communicate with spirits. But Akira is sure that her ability is just a genetic quirk and the ghosts she encounters simply leftover electromagnetic energy. Dangerous electromagnetic energy.

Zane Latimer believes in telepathy, precognition, auras, and that playing Halo with your employees is an excellent management technique. He also thinks that maybe, just maybe, Akira Malone can help his family get in touch with their lost loved ones.

But will Akira ever be able to face her fears and accept her gift? Or will Zane’s relatives be trapped between life and death forever?

My Review

A Gift of Ghosts is a book I enjoyed on many levels.

The lead characters are strong, with doubt and uncertainty as much a part of their relationship as the attraction.

I thought the conflict between Akira’s scientific, analytical approach to her gift, and the reality of her experiences, was realistically portrayed. As she learns more about her gift, and its apparent limits, we in turn discover more of her past, such as who broke the bones in her hand – and why.

There’s plenty of humour, too, not least from the cast of ghosts in attendance. Akira’s interaction with the ghosts brings an unusual and quirky feel to the story.

No dull moments, no wasted scenes, just a really enjoyable, intelligent read. So glad it’s the first in a series… the sequel, A Gift of Thought, awaits!

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A Gift of Thought (Tassamara, #2)A Gift of Thought by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description

At seventeen, Sylvie Blair ran away from the small town of Tassamara, Florida. She joined the Marines, traveled the world and made a life for herself, but she never forgot what she left behind. Now a close protection security consultant (aka bodyguard) for a spoiled teenager in Washington DC, her empathic gift helps her keep her charge safe, if not out of trouble. When her past catches up with her, though, in the form of her telepathic high school sweetheart, Lucas, she’s forced to face her regrets even as she tries to decide whether his ridiculous stories about ghosts and Mexican drug cartels are signs of insanity or somehow true.

For Dillon Latimer, meeting his mom comes too late—it’s been five years since the drug overdose that killed him. But a little thing like death isn’t going to get in Dillon’s way when he decides that his parents would be much better off together. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for ghosts to influence the world of matter, especially when every choice Sylvie makes takes her deeper and deeper into danger. Can Dillon keep his mom alive long enough for her to live happily ever after with his dad?

My Review

Another great read from Sarah Wynde! I really do enjoy her writing, and the world and characters she’s created within (and beyond) Tassamara.

I liked finding out more about Zane’s brother, Lucas, and his past; and also more about Dillon as he continues his existence as a ghost. This isn’t Akira’s story (her tale was told in A Gift of Ghosts, the first in the series) but I was pleased to see her character pop up again here!

The only trouble is, the more I read of this series, the closer I get to finishing it…

A very strong 4 stars.

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A Gift of Time (Tassamara #3)A Gift of Time by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description

She thought she could see everything. Time is proving her wrong.

Ten years ago, Natalya’s ability to remember the future cost her the life she wanted when her vision of her fiancé’s death tore them apart. Ever since, she’s considered her precognition more of a curse than a gift. How can she live in the present when the future looms so large?

But when the night she’s long dreaded finally arrives, Natalya’s vision and reality diverge. She and her ex, Colin, are drawn into a web of the unexplained, led by a mysterious little girl. Who is Kenzi? And where did she come from? The little girl might be the reason Fate has spared Colin’s life, but could she also bring Natalya and Colin together again?

With Colin, Kenzi, her family, the townspeople of Tassamara, and a set of circumstances that nobody could foresee, Natalya must solve the puzzle of a lifetime. Her discovery that her gift is not the only one at work will change the lives of everyone around her as time becomes precious in a most unexpected way… and the clock is ticking.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book (the third in the series) – it was like meeting up with an old group of quirky friends! I was pleased that Akira and Rose had important supporting roles, and key character Nat is easy-to-like.

But for me, the show-stealers were one little girl, and a sheriff named Colin, which really did add that Sheriff Jack Carter/A-Town-Called-Eureka vibe (definitely a bonus as far as I’m concerned!)

I think this might be my favourite book in the series. If you’ve read and liked the earlier books then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one.

[I can’t find a Twitter account for Sarah Wynde, but she has a Facebook page here.]

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Have you read any of this series? Did you enjoy it? If you haven’t read it yet, does it appeal to you?

~ Joanna

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please do leave a comment, and/or share the post on your favourite social media site(s). We’re so grateful for any support like that!🙂

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The Lazuli Portals will be at Saltash and Harewood House Mind-Body-Spirit Fairs

Hello everyone,

Just a quick post about two Mind Body Spirit fairs that Ron and I will have stalls at this month and next.🙂

The first is at Saltash, Cornwall, this Saturday:

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And the second is back at Harewood House, Plympton on Saturday 3 December:

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If you’re in the area and are interested in crystals, spirituality, lifeforce energy/Reiki, and/or our novels (which combine all of these!) then why not pop in and come and say hello?🙂

We personally sign all books that we sell at the fairs, and we may be able to parcel your books in one of our special wax-sealed bags, too.🙂

Even if you’re not local, we’d really appreciate you sharing this post, if you’re happy to, just in case you have friends or family who are! Thank you!!

With lovelight blessings,

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

www.lazuli-portals.com

 

Farewell (micro-fiction)

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Farewell

I’m standing, but my legs are weak; my strength has bled into the concourse carpet.

I’m smiling, but my lips feel stiff, forced into this shape against their will.

I’m waving, but my hand feels lifeless, wooden, too heavy to move.

I’m waiting, but I don’t want to see the plane ascend, to disappear into that distant sky.

I’m watching, but my vision is hot and blurry, and my lips taste of salt.

I’m present, but the fragments of my heart are shards of loss, scattered and raw.

I’m alone, and I wonder how long each hour will linger, now that he is gone.

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Words © Joanna Gawn

Image courtesy of potowizard via freedigitalphotos.net

K is for Kaleidoscope (The Cordello Quest A-Z Series)

Kaleidoscope may not seem the most obvious choice for the letter K in this series! When I started thinking about this post many months ago, I assumed that when the time came, I would be writing K is for Keira.

But when I sat down to draft the post, Keira just didn’t feel right. Keira, as the central character in The Cordello Quest, appears in plenty of posts already. Kitty (relating to Mosaic of Light) and Kindness were also possibilities I thought of. So I asked on Facebook: “What do you think K should be about?”

There were several comments – all of which I considered –  but Julie S. and Kitty J. both mentioned Kaleidoscope, a word which had leapt off the page when I had been researching K words earlier that day. So although it needed some thought, here we are with K is for Kaleidoscope!🙂

If you’re unfamiliar with the nature of a kaleidoscope, then have a peek at this short Wiki article

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Now I know this will come as a shock (hehehe!) but there aren’t actually any toy kaleidoscopes in The Cordello Quest or in Mosaic of Light!😉

However, the feeling that I had as a child, when using my own little kaleidoscope (I wonder where that went!), was one of wonder and awe – amazement that this small tube filled with mirrors and coloured ‘bits’ could create such beautiful patterns of symmetry and light. And so awe is one of the themes of this post!

Awe and wonder and finding magic in the everyday, even when you understand the mechanics behind it (but especially when you do not!) are for me one of the joys of being alive.

From the stars, planets and moons populating the universe beyond our own world, right down to the petals on a flower opening in response to the light of our own sun, magic is everywhere if you are open to experiencing it.

We may have learned how to explain some of our surroundings with science or mechanics, but the experience of it can still be magical, if we allow ourselves to be wowed … if we take the time to be still and notice it.

In Cordello itself, Keira experiences plenty of awe, not least when she ‘discovers’ lovelight and begins to work with the energy. The power and light she witnesses in one experience leave her quite overwhelmed.🙂

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I feel some of that same quiet wonder every time I switch on Reiki, or call on lovelight (life-force energy) or sit with a crystal and tune into its frequency. Or when I see a kaleidoscopic array of spinning, coloured patterns in my third eye when doing healing work. Even when writing: the process of creating something of form from that which appears to be formless.

If you have read Mosaic of Light, then you might see the mosaic itself as a moving kaleidoscope of colour. I will not describe it in further detail (much as I would LOVE to!) because we do try to remain spoiler-free on this blog! But if you’ve read the book you might understand why writing about the mosaic was a powerfully joyous experience!

I personally feel that life could be a little boring without awe and wonder, without a bit of mystery behind the everyday. You might well agree?

So we leave you with this quote from Mosaic of Light:

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I’ll admit, after typing kaleidoscope so many times, I’m tempted to indulge my childhood nostalgia and add one to my Christmas list!

Did you ever have a kaleidoscope when you were little? What experiences leave you feeling awed – and perhaps mystified in equal measure? I’m sure there are several, and we’d love to hear about them!

With lovelight blessings,

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

Triskeles, Synchronicities, and Inspiration

While we don’t manage many ‘author appearances‘ (living 30 miles apart and having very different lifestyles play their part in that!) Ron and I were able to run stalls at two Mind Body Spirit fairs in Plymouth recently – yippee!

This is how they went …

(NB I regret my phone’s camera has a fault which means that every photo taken in low light comes complete with its own violet halo! I apologise for the image quality!)

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Ron sitting behind our stall before the Plympton fair opened

At both the Estover and Plympton fairs, we met stallholders from events we’d attended earlier in the year.

It’s a lovely boost to see some familiar faces when you turn up in a strange place laden down with your banners and your boxes and bags!

It was fun to reconnect with them, and to strengthen those fledgling relationships. It’s even better when synchronicities occur and we can offer a solution to someone’s ‘problem’!🙂

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Ron chatting with Maureen Rolls, angel and animal communicator, during a quieter spell [www.angelandanimalcommunication.co.uk]

We also chatted with customers we’d met at previous events – we love hearing how much new readers are enjoying our novels and short stories – some of our customers are reading The Cordello Quest and Mosaic of Light a second time (and asking when the third will be ready, eek!)

As for new customers, it’s always interesting to chat with people who value crystals, Reiki, life-force energy, and working with intuition and synchronicity.

The few crystals we place on our table often spark a conversation, particularly the opalite tumblestone and the lapis lazuli.🙂

At the second of the fairs (Plympton) – thanks to a brainwave idea from Ron, ever the ‘practical ideas man’ – the books we sold went home in little paper bags, upon which he affixed one of our business cards with a beautiful wax seal (thankfully without setting off any smoke alarms as the flame burned and the wax dripped oh-so-carefully onto the bag and card!)

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The first of our ‘special Lazuli Portals bags’! Large enough to take one copy of each of our paperbacks!

The design imprinted into the wax is the beautiful triskele, one of my favourite symbols.

The design seemed a good fit for us, what with Ron being Cornish, and the importance of symbols in our novels – and our customers seemed very taken with the idea.

It made the handing over of our books feel even more special! What do you think of it?

There can be downtime at these events – people are not always streaming non-stop through the doors (and not everyone who does is interested in reading!)

So apart from browsing the other stalls, and mingling with stall-holders/friends, Ron and I had plenty of time to chat about writing: the process, our series, and our plans, thoughts, and ideas, as well as the concepts and spiritual learning we weave into our work.

We don’t often get the opportunity to do that in-person, so when the chance pops up, we make the most of it!

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Customers chatting with Elaine Drake at her Aromaware stall [https://aromaware.co.uk]

We also worked on short stories and poetry for reading aloud at Writers’ Circle meetings, taking advantage of quiet moments to get scribbling and typing, or to edit or format other writing projects we have underway.

I used my experiences at Estover (the atmosphere, the crystals I saw, the bustle of customers as they wandered from stall to stall) to form a short story based at a fictional Mind Body Spirit fair.

That piece – entitled Pick and Mix – was read aloud at Writers’ Circle last week. With writers, every experience can be of some creative value!

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Some of the stalls at the Plympton fair, before opening time

We have a few weeks’ break from the fair circuit now. Our next one will be at Saltash, Cornwall, on 12 November.

If you think you might be able to come along, you can find out more here:

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In the meantime we’ll continue to work on Lazuli Portals Novel #3 (which I am able to progress most weeks, health and time permitting), and writing more stories and poems for Writers’ Circle … and anything else we can find time and energy for!

And of course we’ll continue posting on Twitter and Facebook (feel free to connect with us there if you haven’t already!)

We’re giving Instagram a try as well, if that’s more your ‘thing’.🙂

We hope you enjoyed this post. Our next one will hopefully be K is for Kaleidoscope (Cordello Quest A-Z series).

If you want to make sure you see future posts from us, please Follow our blog, if you haven’t already!🙂

Until next time, and with lovelight blessings,
Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

(1) The Faceless Door and (2) Masks and Barriers: Haiku

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The Faceless Door

What hides behind you?
Secrets and lies, hopes and dreams?
Your story untold

–o–

Masks and Barriers

Step inside, softly
Find my reason, search my soul
Accept the real me


Words © Joanna Gawn, inspired by image by bigjom via www.freedigitalphotos.net