Tag Archives: magic

Recommended Read: The Copper Promise (Copper Cat #1) and a Personal Update

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!

The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat, #1)The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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? 🙂

Personal Update

My recovery continues in fits and starts. Following a welcome short break in Cornwall with my husband earlier this month, I finally succumbed to the virus going round – with its attendant, disruptive cough – so that’s really not helped the spoonie situation all that much!! 😛

As a result, our third novel progresses more slowly than a dozy snail, but I’m trying to keep in touch with it and add a few paragraphs whenever I can. Since my previous update in early February, I’ve written chapter 27 and started chapter 28, which has tipped the word count past 67,300 words. Yippee! 😀

Hopefully I’m not making too much of a hash of it as I progress! Being a pantser (figuring things out as I go, for the most part) only time, Ron’s continued, valued input, and lots of editing will tell! 😉

Occasionally I craft something short to read at Writers’ Circle. I missed the last meeting – a workshop – as I didn’t want to pass on the virus to other members of the group, particularly those in their 70’s and 80’s! I’m hoping to make it to next Monday’s meeting. 🙂

So that’s where I am right now – hanging in there, making the best of things, and hopefully getting the right balance between rest and activity (mental/creative, as well as physical!) so that I can get stronger and feel better! (Fingers crossed!)

I’m learning to hold less resistance – there are so many things I would like to start, progress, complete, that I don’t currently have the energy for, and in the past I’ve been very frustrated by that. But I’m getting better at giving my body the rest it demands: going with the flow, and with accepting and allowing how things are – thank you Lord Charls of Cordello for the reminder!

With lovelight blessings,

Joanna ~*~


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


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. 🙂


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:


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

Dark Perfume: Extracts from some of the tales, and what comes next!

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! 😀

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

Introducing…Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow (our new book!)

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

Recommended Read: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)

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. 🙂

Recommended Read: The Magician’s Apprentice

The Magician's Apprentice (Black Magician Trilogy, #0.5)The Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info from Amazon

In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer – much to the frustration of her mother, who would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.

When treating a patient at the residence of the local magician, Lord Dakon, Tessia is forced to fight off the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage – and instinctively uses magic. She now finds herself facing an entirely different future as Lord Dakon’s apprentice.

But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. Events are brewing that will lead nations into war, rival magicians into conflict, and spark an act of sorcery so brutal that its effects will be felt for centuries . . .

What I thought of it

The early chapters didn’t focus much on magic … and with the large cast of unfamiliar characters, I found it a little hard going at times. That may have been due to my fatigue, which made it difficult to read all that many pages at a time (which can be a factor when trying to get ‘into’ a 700-page book!)

But it was definitely worth sticking with it.
As a prequel to the Black Magicians Trilogy, which I have also read, it did its job well, covering:
-The story of how Kyralia and Sachaka (and their neighbours) came to be as they are.
-How blood gems came to be used.
-The taking of power to boost magic.
-The power of magical knowledge, and – more importantly – the benefits of sharing it.
-The building of the fort between the two lands.
-The first glimmer of the idea of a Magicians’ Guild.
-The development of the use of magic in healing (fascinating to me as I use Reiki).
-The Traitors’ backstory.

By the end of the book, I was feeling satisfied. If I have the stamina I might read The Black Magicians Trilogy again, sometime … I’m sure it would be enriched through my knowing the ‘history’.

I have to end by saying that writing a seven-book series – all of epic length – really is a huge, huge accomplishment. Trudi Canavan always writes skilfully, and her epic world-building – not to mention her characters – always deliver. I’m sure I’ll be back for more!

Have you read this book? Which of the Trudi Canavan books (or series) is your favourite, and why?

If you haven’t read it, has this post piqued your curiosity? 🙂

~ Joanna
View all my reviews

Dancing In The Snow: A Christmas Poem


Dancing In The Snow

Soft as breath, flakes drift and swirl
cold to touch but feather-light.
We dance and spin, eyes closed
our snow-kissed lashes white
cheeks flushed winter-bright.

Echoes trail, sweet harmony
voices raised in carols clear.
We dance and spin, eyes closed
their music all that we can hear
our private symphony, drawn near.

Chords fall quiet as twilight comes;
we hum last lingering refrain.
We dance and spin, eyes closed
while day gives way to night again
and darkness shrouds our sleepy lane.

Snow retreats, and stars reveal
their distant sparkle reaching deep.
We dance and spin, eyes round
as team pulls sleigh in sky-crossing leap.
Our magical secret: one to keep!


Poem © Joanna Gawn 2014 | Image © Stuart Miles

We’ll be sending a bonus short story ~ A Little Christmas Sparkle ~ to our Newsletter subscribers tomorrow.

Please sign up to our free Newsletter ~ Lazuli Portals News ~ if you’d like to receive it.

Whatever festival(s) you celebrate at this time of year, we wish you peace, happiness, joy, and wellbeing.

We’ll be back in the New Year! Have a good one!

Joanna & Ron | The Lazuli Portals