Lasavia Publishing ~ Trailblazers in literature and the arts!


Lasavia Publishing is an independent but global publishing company based in Waiheke Island, New Zealand, with an outpost in Nelson. It aims to publish the highest quality writing for adults and children. In addition to literary excellence and innovation, Lasavia is interested adventurous non-fiction and mixed media work, such as graphic novels.

We have three imprints: 99% Press for fiction and poetry; TP Press for non-fiction; and Beansprout Press for Children.


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Mike Johnson writes:

‘When Leila Lees and I first considered establishing Lasavia Publishing, less than one in a hundred manuscripts submitted to publishers reached publication. The situation rapidly became far worse than that. In 2015 Random/Penguin announced that they would publish one new fiction writer in 2016. Manuscripts submitted to publishers were, and still are, routinely returned unopened. ‘Mechanisms of exclusion’ as Faucault called them, are rife in the present publishing climate, particularly in New Zealand. One of them is the refusal of major publishers to consider ‘Science Fiction’, a term very broad in its application, covering just about everything that does not conform to this country’s particular, and restrictive, form of social realism – anything that mixes genres, or bends them, or crosses genre boundaries, or exhibits excessive imagination.

Publishers distrust the wild card, that which might put readers too far out of their comfort zones, as if comfort was somehow the purpose of literature. Both writers and readers lose out. Real grass roots work is lost or supplanted by celebrity culture. Only small publishers, who don’t have to carry the overheads that big publishers carry, will be light enough on their feet to thrive in the new publishing environment.

The name 99% Press was inspired by the Occupy movement which, so quickly it seems, has become a part of history. In literary terms, many of those 99% are writers whose work is not being published because it does not conform to current publishing parameters.

Tipi Press was conceived in a similar spirit. A lot of literary and social comment never makes it to print because of ideological framing. The same could be said of works that explore the edge of mind body and spirit.

Beansprout Press arose from the awareness of how important it is that children have access to a wide variety of books that foster the imagination and make books fun.’


Recent books published by Lasavia


Lasavia’s first publications have concentrated on new work by the co-founder of Lasavia Publishing, Mike Johnson, since these works were pretty much all ready to go. Future publications, however, will be more diversified.


Dumb Show, A Kiwi gothic story of a family set in a Canterbury farmhouse under siege from within. (Coming soon!) 

Dumb ShowA Kiwi gothic story of a family set in a Canterbury farmhouse under siege from within. (Coming soon!) 

Swamp Gum, The discovery of body at a logging camp in Tasmania sparks an investigation that will expose everybody, loggers, protesters and politicians alike. A compelling debut novel.

Swamp GumThe discovery of body at a logging camp in Tasmania sparks an investigation that will expose everybody, loggers, protesters and politicians alike. A compelling debut novel.

Back in the Day: Tales from Paradise Island, 52 witty tales of life in paradise, on an island.

Back in the Day: Tales from Paradise Island, 52 witty tales of life in paradise, on an island.

Angel of Compassion, a chronicle of Mike’s recent healing journey.

Angel of Compassion, a chronicle of Mike’s recent healing journey.

Hold My Teeth While I Teach You To Dance, a comedy thriller with overtones of espionage and the  supernatural.

Hold My Teeth While I Teach You To Dance, a comedy thriller with overtones of espionage and the  supernatural.

Taniwha, an illustrated children’s poem, written by Mike Johnson and illustrated by Jennifer Rackham

Taniwha, an illustrated children’s poem, written by Mike Johnson and illustrated by Jennifer Rackham







In preparation for publication:

An exciting range here with two strong graphic novels, one from Jennifer Rackham dealing with contemporary life and the other from Sid Marsh set in the land wars of New Zealand in the 1860s.

We also have the first book from co-founder Leila Lees on using stone circles and other spiritual practices. Plus an eco-thriller set in the forests of Tasmania by Rowan Sylva ­– a powerful debut novel.


Into the World

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By: Leila Lees

'Into the world' is an exploration of arrival. To come into the world with wonderment. It explores the interior worlds of shamanic and spiritual journeying, our connection to the natural world and giving practical tools to weave the sacred into the ordinary. 








A Dash of Belladonna

By: J K Rackham

Dearest Snu,
Please sit on something preferably comfortable as I tell you most joyous news. I have been accepted! Accepted to what you ask? Accepted into the secret society that is rumored to control everything? Even better! Into apprenticeship under Mikaere Tuhorangi!

He lives in New Zealand, so we will part for a while, but never fear. My love for you runs deep and as affluent as the sea. I will write everyday. I will write you the most wonderful, fantastical news hopefully with a dash of adventure. Just imagine what kind of potions and poisons I will be brewing every day!

Yours truly,

Charlotte Minerva Underwood





Ocean of Milk

By: Belinda Aycrigg

A woman wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is. Naturally, her family rally

round to help restore her memory and reinstate their daughter, wife and mother to her former roles.

However, as the memories begin to surface, it does not look as though a return to 'normal' life is going to be possible.


Mike Johnson


Mike Johnson was born in Canterbury, New Zealand, and never quite recovered…

Make up a history, a cut up of a life. Create a Mike Johnson out of these selected raw materials. A plausible self, complete with personal details – I am a fictional character I have enlisted over the years for the purpose of writing these mini biographies. I’ve made up this character called Mike Johnson who spent his life with words and who writes books and blogs.

Welcome to my website. To catch up with my latest publications, check out the goodies at Lasavia Publishing, where I am publishing new work and slowly bringing my back list back into publication.

+ Books and Other Major Works

2014 - Hold my Teeth While I Teach you to Dance. Lasavia Publishing Ltd: Auckland. A novel.

2014 - The Angel of Compassion. Lasavia Publishing Ltd: Auckland. Non-fiction.

2004 – Stench, Hazard Press: Christchurch. A novel.

2001 – Counterpart. Harper Collins: Sydney. A novel.

1996 – Dumb Show. Longacre Press: Dunedin. A novel.

1996 – Treasure Hunt. Auckland University Press: Auckland. Poetry.

1991 – Lethal Dose. Hard Echo Press: Auckland. A novel.

1991 – Foreigners. Penguin Books: Auckland. Three novellas.

1991 – Mary Mouse, Manuscript of Children’s Poetry, broadcast on NZ National Radio.

1987 – Antibody Positive. Hard Echo Press, Auckland. A novel.

1986 – Lear: The Shakespeare Company Plays Lear at Babylon. Hard Echo Press, Auckland. A novel.

1985 – Standing Wave. Hard Echo Press, Auckland. Poetry.

1984 – From a Woman in Mt Eden Prison & Drawing Lessons. Hard Echo Press, Auckland. Poetry.

1983 – The Palanquin Ropes. Voice Press, Wellington. Poetry.

1973 – Dialogue. Whitcomb and Tombs, Christchurch. A text for senior English. Co-author with A.T. Johnson.

Pending: To Beatrice Where We Crossed The Line. Second Avenue Press: Auckland. Poetry. Due March, 2014.

+ Anthologized Short Stories

Only those stories anthologized are listed. The list does not include stories, or novel ex cerpts, published in magazines or literary periodicals. Read these stories here >>

2009 – ‘A visit to Te Wharau Bay: A Conversation at the End of the World’ (Random House). The Best New Zealand Fiction # 6. Edited by Owen Marshall

2006 – ‘The Wedding of Psyche’ (Reed Books). The myth of the 21st Century. Ed by Tina Shaw and Jack Ross.

1998 – ‘Towards the bottom of the garden, the plum blossom shows pink.’ (Tandem) One hundred Short Short Stories Ed by Graham Lay.

1996 – ‘The Fohn Effect’ (IPL) Antipodean Tales Ed. by Geoff Churchman.

1995 – ‘Teledildonics’ Lust (Vintage) Ed. by Michael Giftkins.

1995 – ‘When That Shark Bites’ Men Love Sex (Vintage, Australia) Ed. by Alan Close.

1995 – ‘Rutherford’s Dream’ Rutherford’s Dreams (IPL) Ed. by Warwick Bennett and Patrick Hudson.

1994 – ‘The Harmony of the Swine’ Tart and Juicy (Vintage) Ed. by Michael Giftkins.

1992 – ‘The Woman of Tuscany House’ Erotic Writing (Penguin) Ed. by Sue McCauley and Richard Mc Lachlan.

Anthologized Short Stories 2008 & 2009 – Stench film option renewed by POP films.

2007 – Stench film option renewed by POP films.

2006 – Stench film option renewed by POP films.

2005 – Stench option sold to Vicky Pope of POP films ltd. Film in development.

2001 – Short film script ‘Hatto’ wins NZ Film Commission Funding for production in 2002. Value $69 000 dollars

2000 – Expression of formal interest from South Pacific Pictures to convert Stench into a film script.

1998 – Employed by director Ellory Elkayem to write a screen play for Signs of Life based on an original story by Ellory, funded by the NZ Film Commission..

1998 – Independent film maker Karen Rook, purchases an option on Lear (1986) (Project not completed.)

1997 – South Pacific Pictures purchases an option on novel Dumb Show (1996). Mike Johnson given role of script advisor. Project not completed.

1997 – Employed by Reston Griffiths (Park Avenue Advertising) to write a feature film based on an original idea by Reston.

+ Awards and Fellowships

2006 – Wellington composer Carol Shortis wins the Philip Neil Memorial Prize with a song entitled ‘The riddle of her flight’ with the lyrics of a poem from Mike Johnson’s book Treasure Hunt.

2002 – Nominated for the Sir Julius Vogel Award for the novel Counterpart.

2002 – Auckland University Literary Fellowship. Value: $50.000.

2001 – Creative NZ project grant for work on a novel. Value $9,000.

1999 – Francis Keane Award for best short story, ‘Magic Strings.’

1997 – Buckland Memorial Literary Award for the novel, Dumb Show.

1996 – Creative NZ Project Grant for work on a novel (Counterpart). Value $18,000.

1992 – Playwrights Grant for working on dramatizing of Lear: Value: $3000.

1990 – Literary Fund Project Grant for work on fiction. Value $9000.

1988 – Literary Fund Project Grant for work on a novel. Value: $6000.

1987 – Literary Fellowship for twelve months at the University of Canterbury. (Writer in Residence.) Value $40,000.

1986 – Lear. A novel. Shortlisted for New Zealand Book Awards.

1985 – Literary Fund Project Grant for prose writing. Value: $3000.

1982 – Poetry Prize: Te Awamutu Festival of the Arts.

1981 – Co winner of the John Cowie Reed Memorial Competition for a long poem or sequence of poems, with The Palanquin Ropes.

+ Mike Johnson the Teacher

I began teaching creative writing in 1987, during a year as Literary Fellow at the University Canterbury, and have been teaching it ever since. Throughout the 1990’s I taught night classes for what was then The Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Auckland. These classes had wonderful names, like ‘Develop your Creative Writing Potential!’ In 2003 I began working for the English Department at the University of Auckland, teaching across a range of undergraduate creative and academic writing classes, including The Short Story and Contemporary Poetry both at stage 3 level.

In 2005 I worked in the first year of The University of Auckland’s Master’s in Creative Writing program (MCW), which continued until 2008, when I shifted to AUT University, teaching both undergrad and postgrad creative writing, and where, in 2014, at the time of writing this, I am still working.

Leila Lees

New Zealand Healer, Teacher, Poet and Naturalist

Leila is a teacher and facilitator in nature awareness, shamanism and plant spirit medicine. She has a range of vibrational medicine LASAVIA Essences and works with the medicine of our nature allies on an energetic and emotional level.

Leila has supported hundreds of people to access their own inner guidance, enabling people to integrate their intuition and experiences of the non ordinary world into their lives. She has trained shamanic practitioners and established sacred circles.

In traditional cultures each village would have a Wise Woman or Wise Man who’sconnection to the otherworld would guide those in times of crisis or at times of important decision making.  Leila is the wise woman at the fire side who will see a scope of reality just out of reach and bring it into your view.  This is a form of guidance and midwifery where you do all the work but with the guidance of a self assured and grounded companion.  If we sometimes seek to improve our lives and the lives of those around us with self enquiry and self work then Leila can provide the safe environment and guidance to support you in this journey of discovery.

More about Leila here



Writer, illustrator and comic artist. 

Jennifer Rackham grew up in Rotorua and was told by her mother that "she had no talent in art and should give up to save her the time and pain." In order to prove her mother wrong, she continued art in secret and published her art in Japan and in New Zealand. 

Fantasy is her true calling and she's a lover of different mediums of storytelling. 

While studying Masters of Creative Writing under Mike Johnson, she showed one of her short comics to Mike, which started the collaboration work under Lasavia. 

She lives in Auckland with her husband and a cat. 

When she's not writing or drawing, she can be seen meowing at cats around Auckland and hitting giant drums while yelling.

You can see her works here

+ Comics

2010 - Present - Fox Rain - Published online here

2015 - The Department of Nocturnal Affairs - Case of Rena..

2014 - A Dash of Bella Donna - A Curly Potion.

2012 - Alien in Hita - Hita Comics, Oita, Japan.

+ Children's Books

2015 - Taniwha (with Mike Johnson), Lasavia Publishing.


Belinda Aycrigg

Grandmother, Writer, Teacher.

When Belinda Aycrigg first shared with her AUT Masters of Creative Writing buddies that she had been 'dry' and somewhat isolated from society for about thirty five years, they presumed a life sentence or at least an extended spell in rehab.

But no.

After studying social anthropology at Cambridge at the same time as Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Simon McBurney, she did not, unfortunately, go on to pursue a stellar acting career, but chose instead to pursue what at the time seemed to be the more pressing questions of 'Who am I?' and 'Why am I here?' 

The search took her through Buddhism into the realms of the Vedic worldview and an 'other' sort of lifestyle.

During this self- imposed exile from 'normal' society, among other things she became a teacher and wrote about a million plays, give or take, some of which she performed in.

Ocean of Milk is her first adventure in novel writing.

She now lives with her husband in Auckland, across the road from her daughter, son-in- law and two grandsons. And she's still trying to find out who she is.




Rowan Sylva is a New Zealand based debut Author and activist. Born in 1986, Rowan spent several years drifting between different jobs and places. He studied history at Victoria University of Wellington and then went on to complete a Master of Creative Writing at Auckland University of technology. He enjoys exploring remote corners of the world and observing the maelstrom of its great cities.

Welcome to the Alive Poetry collection



This is a venue for poets to get their work seen on our popular website. At the time of writing, I’m a one man band at Lasavia Publishing, and cannot open the thread to all. In the meantime it will work by invitation. If you think you should be invited, email me on And volunteers to help run this blog are welcome!

Here's a penny for this line  
here's a penny for your time

hope it’s not too dearly spent  
hope the penny’s heaven sent

now you’ve a penny  
just like mine

I'll sing a penny  
spend a penny

make a penny rhyme.