Tag Archives: inspiration

Natural Inspirations Series: Greeting The Sun

image for greeting the sun


Bright ribbons of orange-gold vein the morning sky as it breathes lightly over the quiet sea. The headland is almost dusky, a mythical island rising from the waters. The fiery streaks criss-cross like airplane contrails, yet no human hand has caused this; only the delicate brushstroke of nature, needing no further enhancement, no fake colour palette to add to its natural, authentic beauty. Rising above the cloud, the sun-tinted sky grows and shifts to its own music, its own rhythm.
And then … then the sun breaks free, peeking above the rim of cloud and flooding the sky with new light. Higher and higher the bright orb creeps until the day is awakened. The sky nudging the sea is flamed with a soft rose-hued apricot, a broad smudge of lavender . . . depthless aquamarine light resting above it. Shot through with pastel colour, the sky sighs as the blazing sphere of the sun takes over.

© Words Joanna Gawn. Image from Pixabay.


The Importance and Fun of Story Titles

The title of a story or book is like a headline. It either grabs you in some way (not literally, of course) … or it doesn’t. Take the following ten titles – what images, feelings, or questions do they bring to mind?

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Enchanted Wood
  • A Game of Thrones
  • The Kite Runner
  • A Discovery of Witches
  • Swallows and Amazons
  • The Winter Ghosts
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Gone With The Wind
  • The Hobbit

In my opinion, choosing a title for a book or short story can be almost as much fun as writing the story itself!

It got me thinking about how Ron and I came up with the titles for our published books and short stories.


The Cordello Quest

Cordello Quest

In the course of writing our first novel, the name Cordello popped into my mind from nowhere. That, of course, became the magical parallel world in which Keira unexpectedly finds herself.

It wasn’t until we’d finished the first draft and realised we wanted to ‘make this a proper novel’ that we considered what we’d call it! Having Cordello in the title seemed an obvious decision!

It took us a little longer to work out the rest of the title, one which we felt honestly conveyed the heart of the story.

The word “quest” conjures up a journey, a search … and, by extension, a seeker; that seemed to reflect both the story itself, and the alchemical process of writing our first novel together. We knew The Cordello Quest was perfect as soon as we hit on the combination. It was a keeper!


The House of the Stormwind and Other Short Stories

The House of the Stormwind and other short stories

We love this title, which was taken from our short story of the same name. The word stormwind was inspired by Welsh rock band Dare, who remain a firm favourite of mine!

I like the way House of the Stormwind inspires a sense of elemental power and mystery – perfect for a house which is seeking resolution to ‘the Stormwind curse’! The title certainly captured the imagination of some of our readers!

This title seemed a good fit for the book as a whole, right from the point we started bringing this collection of tales together.


Crystal, Fire and Water

Crystal, Fire & Water bold 1600

Our free ebook contains many micro-stories and four short stories of around 1000 words, but none of their titles felt right for the book. Perhaps that’s because Crystal, Fire and Water contains so many individual and diverse stories written over a number of months.

In this instance we therefore decided to entitle the book based upon a few of its themes: the fire of the trainee magician and of Three Matches; the water in which Keira and Jason see lovelight; the crystal cave which draws Keira’s attention and imagination inward.


Mosaic of Light

MoL Light Front JPG

The title of our second novel was a natural consequence of the story’s own progression. Although I don’t plan the novels, for once, I knew ahead of time that there would be a “mosaic of light” featured in the novel, and that it would be key to the story’s development.

So this time the title was fixed long before the first draft of the book was finished. Being a lightworker, it also felt really good having the word “light” in the title. Our cover designer certainly seized on that when he was crafting Mosaic of Light’s cover!


Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow

Dark Perfume 3D paperback Mock Up (cropped)

Dark Perfume is not the longest story in this collection of tales, but we believed it gave the right “feel”. (It also piqued Ron’s imagination when it came to designing the book’s cover, and I think he did a grand job!)

Light and Shadow also suggests to readers that in this volume of short stories, darker tales lurk between the lighter-hearted ones.

Here’s a screenshot of Dark Perfume’s Table of Contents.

Dark Perfume ToC

Of the 33 titles listed, are there any that you particularly like?

Many of the short stories we publish were originally written for Writers’ Circle meetings, where the word limit is 1000. Our year’s ‘schedule’ gives us a choice of two titles for each meeting; it can be surprising where a word prompt like this can lead for different writers.

Of those particular tales, some have retained their ‘original’ titles e.g. Rose Gold, Behind Closed Doors, Ebb Tide, The Wanderer. Other stories felt more comfortable wearing a new title e.g. The Wanderlust Girls, and The Quiet Invasion.

It can be fun to pick a title (either at random or by design) and let a story flow from there, just to see where it takes your imagination. It can be just as much fun to write an entire book and then ponder what to call it. 😉

At the end of the day, it’s all about the words, your imagination, and the pictures you make in your mind …

Which Lazuli Portals titles are your favourite(s), and what other book titles have teased at your imagination?

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

Cordello Quest A-Z Series: I is for Inspiration (includes photos!)

Our second novel Mosaic of Light has passed its first birthday! So we thought you might enjoy seeing some photos of the real-life woodland which inspired the fictional Tickerholm Woods featured in the book.

(Yes, The Cordello Quest A-Z Series is moving on, just as Keira and Jason have! So you may see more Mosaic of Light-related posts as this series progresses.)

One of my favourite elements within this wood is the little stream, with its crystal clarity and its gentle flow (although that depends on rainfall, of course!)

Those of you who’ve read Mosaic of Light will be aware of the significance of the stream!




Of course, the trees themselves are a big draw, too. 🙂 Their energy always feels soothing to me, all stress simply melting away when I’m surrounded by them. This helps me to strengthen my connection with the flow of life and universal energy.

Some of the paths are quite steep and winding: it’s those trails which inspired Keira and Jason’s re-entry to the woodland from the heath.


Then there’s the fresh growth unfurling almost before your eyes. 🙂 The smaller plants in the woodland remind me that Nature has its own timing, and finds a perfect balance in the ongoing cycle of renewal and release, growth and decay.


In spring, bluebells adorn the grasses, nodding their delicate heads of blue in the welcome sunlight. Their time is short, lasting for just a few weeks before Nature moves on and the canopies burst into full leaf. The brevity of the bluebell season teaches me to appreciate what’s present in the here and now. Don’t you think they’re beautiful? 🙂



Can you feel the tranquility and life-force energy (lovelight) held within this special place?

Do you have an inspirational woodland spot? Feel free to post your own photos in the comments; let’s have a virtual woodland walk, and share the calming and revitalising energies these natural spaces offer us!

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

* * * To see the earlier posts in The Cordello Quest A-Z Series please follow this link. * * *

H is for Hope (The Cordello Quest A-Z Series)

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

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Words and image copyright Joanna Gawn

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

Recommended Read: The Soulmate Experience by Mali Apple & Joe Dunn

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.

Friday Fictioneers: ”Blazin’ a Trail” and “Never Too Old”

Every Friday, writers from around the globe join to write tiny tales in response to a photo prompt posted on Rochelle’s blog. It takes discipline to write a piece using only 100 words!

This week’s photo prompt has been supplied by Bjorn Rudberg

Copyright - Bjorn Brudberg

Joanna’s story ~ Blazin’ a Trail

It took me thirty years to find something in common with my old man. ‘Til then I was out in the world making my own mark, needing to find a way to be different from him. I wanted to blaze a trail through a separate universe.

Seems the apple never falls far from the tree, though.

I can’t play guitar worth a damn . . . ‘specially since I lost a finger.

But money laundering? Turns out Pa and I make a good team. And with that body now hidden in our cellar, looks like our bond will be gettin’ tighter than ever.

[100 words]

* * *

Ron’s story ~ Never Too Old

“Try it like this, man; quick chords, then breakout.”

I studied the old man’s gnarled, flying fingers creating tumbling notes as the maestro lovingly plucked the strings with glue-hardened nails. The deep, round emotions opened my mind and allowed in new ideas.

“Ok, I see; a bit like this?”

My eyes moved to the night-sky-painted ceiling, and I allowed my own fingers to stroke out my stretched cords. Looking across to the old man’s eyes and seeing not the approval I sought, but astonishment.

“Hey junior, that’s a cool twist, seems us is both doin’ some learnin’.”
[97 words]


* * *

The tales written by other writers who’ve taken part this week can be found by clicking the blue frog below.

If you’d like to read any of our earlier stories, they can be found here and on our old blog.

We hope you enjoyed these tiny tales! If you like writing and want to take part in Fictioneers, please visit Rochelle’s blog for the “how to” guide. 🙂

If you’d like to connect with us on Twitter, we are @LazuliPortals. 🙂


* * *

B is for Battle

Crystal Man with Sword

This post is the second in an A-Z series linked with the first novel in our series: The Cordello Quest.  Please Like, Share or Comment if you enjoy the post, so that we know to write the next letter in the series!

(Did you miss A is for Ascended Reikan? Read the first in our A-Z series here.)


A battle is not always a physical exchange of power, not always with sword hefted and lance raised. Battle is not always about brute force or carnage or bloodsoaked ground.

Sometimes battle is between minds . . . or even within mind: between thoughts which encourage and lift and inspire, and thoughts which drain and upset and block.

Some battles are simply the fight for acceptance over resistance: knowing when things can’t (or even shouldn’t) change and being honestly okay with it. Winning that little skirmish, and trusting that the way things are is okay (at least for the moment), can make life’s challenges much easier to overcome.

Most of us have this war of words and emotions as we do our best to live this human existence! (If you don’t, congratulations!)

In The Cordello Quest, there are many inner and outer battles, some physical, some mental or emotional. They’re every bit as important – perhaps even more so – than the outer battles waged and won (or lost). Mastery of ourselves is a lifelong pursuit!

Perhaps the key ‘battle’ scene in The Cordello Quest takes place in the town square of neighbouring country, Vornen. In the battle for light, the momentum is on the cusp of shifting from sword and soldier to one of mind and natural magic – if only the key characters will listen and act upon the wisdom arising from the quiet, still voice of intuition…

Oh, this series of posts is difficult to write without spoilers! 🙂 We hope you’ve enjoyed ‘B is for Battle’ – please let us know! Please share it if you enjoyed it. 🙂

What is your biggest – or hardest – ‘battle’? Is it an inner one – or an outer one?

~ Joanna & Ron

Image courtesy of  sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Free ebook: Crystal, Fire and Water.

Available for Kindle and other e-readers.

Find out more here.