Tag Archives: short stories

How To Get The Most Out Of The Lazuli Portals!

Hint: We’re about more than simply writing and publishing our stories!

So we thought we’d compile a post to weave together all the colourful strands of our design so that you can get a better idea of the broader picture! (Maybe there’s something here that you’ll discover for the first time!)

While ‘The Lazuli Portals’ is our partnership and business name, the words also represent the trilogy of novels that we’ve been writing: books about spiritual awakening, featuring stone circles, crystals, parallel worlds, synchronicities, and life-force energy. When it comes to writing, this is our first ‘calling’, and where our writing journey began.

You can find out more about our books here.

You can find out more about us, and how we teamed up, here.

If you are particulary interested in soul connections, then we have our interview with Soulmate Experience here.

Aligned with following that calling, we also offer some ‘bonuses’ on our website, little extras that Joanna created when she was running her Winter Jasmine Reiki business. Now that she’s focusing solely on writing, all those freebies have been incorporated into The Lazuli Portals website.


There are

:: free Reiki self-attunements (Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz, and Clear Quartz)

:: images infused with life-force energy (to give you a boost)

:: beautiful images featuring quotes from the books

:: information about orbs of life (similar to the lovelight orbs we mention in the novels) and

:: information about hand mudras and a free little ‘taster’ of the Gyan mudra energy

(and more!)

Also linking with the Lazuli Portals trilogy of novels are our Cordello Quest A-Z blog posts relating to concepts, ideas, and characters within the trilogy. So if you’re a fan of the novels, and like to explore ‘around’ the books that you read, you might enjoy those! So far we’ve written for the letters A-K, beginning with A is for Ascended Reikan, and ending with K is for Kaleidoscope. L is for Lovelight will be coming soon!

Much as we enjoy writing about life-force energy, spiritual growth, and crystals, we are sometimes tempted in other directions, such as paranormal suspense; we also write flash fiction, poetry and haiku. If that’s up your street then you’ll find lots of micro-fiction and poetry on our blog.

In addition, our little ebook  Crystal, Fire and Water is free for Amazon Kindle and also available through Smashwords for other ereader software.

Crystal, Fire & Water bold 1600

If you enjoy short stories, then our collections The House of the Stormwind and other short stories and Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow are also available.

DP Prism extract with date

For those of you who are fans of YouTube, then we do have our own channel, which usually gets updated when we launch a new book. Our clips include readings from our stories, and also an interview.


If you enjoy book reviews, then take a look at our Recommended Read blog posts, some of which relate to fiction, others non-fiction. We may be expanding this series in the future to include guided meditation tracks and healing resources – and possibly colouring books for grown-ups! We don’t receive any financial recompense for any of the books or products we review: they’re simply shared because we want to.

Reiki for Life: A Complete Guide to Reiki Practice        The Winter Ghosts    Marchwood Vampire Series, Book 2    Earth Angel Series Boxset: The Earth Angel Training Academy, The Earth Angel Awakening & The Other Side

What about if you want to get in touch with us? Well, obviously you can leave a comment on any of our blog posts – but we’re also on Facebook and Twitter, sharing items we think will uplift, interest, or amuse. Or you can contact us privately through the contact forms on our website or blog, or reply to us when we send you a Newsletter (you can sign up for that here).

If you’re local to Devon/Cornwall, maybe you’ll see us with a stall at a mind-body-spirit fair! We’re happy to sign our books for readers buying from us in-person. 🙂


Ron at Harewood House, waiting for opening time!

Joanna on Day One

Joanna on Day One at Crocadon Sawmill MBS Fair

Phew – putting all that together makes us realise what a lot we’ve achieved over the last few years! Are there any in the list that you didn’t know about – and are now glad that you did?!

We hope at least some of what we’ve shared with you above will be useful to you. If you have friends or family who’d enjoy our ‘offerings’, please do let them know about us! We’re independent authors, so every positive share or recommendation is valuable to us!

Many thanks for reading!

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals


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

A Q&A: Joanna & Ron at Jera’s Jamboree

We love visiting Shaz over at Jera’s Jamboree! It’s a great blog – filled with book reviews, photos, interviews, and giveaways.

Jera's Jamboree

Shaz invited us to take part in a Q&A – how could we refuse!?

Pop over to her blog now to discover our answers to the following questions, and much more:

If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?

Does your book tackle a social barrier? ie bullying, sexuality, internet stalking. How have you incorporated it into the story?  

Which authors have influenced your writing?

Here’s the link to the post. We look forward to seeing you there!

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals

Our next post will be a duo of seasonal Bitesize Tales on Monday 21st December.  After that, we’ll be taking a blogging break until the New Year.

Dark Perfume: Tales of Light and Shadow ~ Release Day!

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

Of Ghosts and Moonlight, and Shadows in Time: Five Excerpts from Dark Perfume

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

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