Posted in Australia, Gemstones, World Building, Writing

Delightful Gemstones

NB: This blog post talks about aspects of my book The Ancient Wish. If you have not read it, please be advised that there may be spoilers discussed here.

Throughout The Ancient Wish, Max is leaning towards a career as a geologist. To emphasise this she encounters several instances of different types of rocks as she travels through Abnyr.

The first ‘magical’ stone is encased in the medallion gifted to her by Roo. This is described as being amethyst, whether it is an actual amethyst is not specified, however Max decides it looks like amethyst since it’s a purple crystal.

The Ancient Wish
by S. A. Beattie
Amethyst: inspiration for the medallion on the cover of The Ancient Wish

Other semi-precious stones Max identifies are sunstone, which is a beautiful orange/brown colour with glittering flecks of gold;


carnelian, a rich orange stone,


and malachite a rippled green stone which is quick striking once crafted.


Of these stones you might be aware that amethyst is the birthstone for February with birthstones being:

January = Garnet

February = Amethyst

March = Aquamarine

April = Diamond

May = Emerald

June = Pearl

July = Ruby

August = Peridot

September = Sapphire

October = Opal

November = Topaz

December = Turquoise

There are differences, with June being Alexandrite, October also being Pink Tourmaline, December being Blue Topaz, and November being Citrine. I don’t claim to know them all, but I do know these can differ from country to country.

Either way, I’ve put together a series of gorgeous journals/notebooks under Lady Beattle Journals, with covers of original fluid art representative of birthstones. Click on any of the linked gemstones above to order a journal of your birthstone.

Do you have a favourite gem or birthstone? Or have I missed one that really should be available as a journal? Let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Australia, Locations, World Building, Writing

Fairy Cave, Buchan Reserve

Being a fantasy fan, both as a writer and reader, I understand the point of view of wondering where an author gets their ideas, or settings for their story. Living in Victoria, Australia, there’s countless places to set a fantasy story. Have you read the infamous Picnic at Hanging Rock, or watched the TV series, or the mystical movie? How gorgeous was the landscape? I am so blessed to live here! So, I felt it my duty in a way to set a story in the land that I love to help show off how amazing the country really is.

You probably remember, in The Ancient Wish, the protagonist Max, is a sixteen-year-old girl attending high school. Her world is obviously set in Australia, in the state of Victoria in a town on the outskirts of the city of Melbourne. The first few chapters of the story show how Max would spend her time at school and with her family before she inadvertently wanders through a cave and ends up in Abnyr.

Since it’s the school holidays, Max’s family travels to their favourite camping site in the Buchan Reserve, something they have done as a family for years. Because the location holds such fond memories, and Max has been going to see the caves from when she was little, she’s just as excited to return to a place that has always been fun and full of treasured moments.

Location of Buchan Reserve in Victoria Australia

The Fairy Cave and the Buchan Reserve are all real places located in East Victoria in the region known as Gippsland, and traditionally owned by the Gunaikurnai people who hold the Aboriginal Title. They are beautiful tourist destinations should you be visiting Victoria.

When plotting a portal fantasy, the biggest question I ask myself is, how are the characters going to reach the other world? Everyone knows of the famous wardrobe to Narnia, Platform 9¾, and even magically conjured up doorways with a lot of lightning, but I wanted something different.

I also wanted something that was real, that everyday people could physically go to, touch and in that special part of their imagination wonder if maybe, just maybe the portal really was there.

My choice became a cave because I wanted something enclosed, as well as an unusual location that wasn’t easily accessible to just anyone. When I began researching caves in Victoria, I found the caves of Buchan Reserve, which became the perfect location for a magical portal.

Inside the Fairy Cave

I’ve always found caves to be fascinating places, all hidden below ground, they are portals unto themselves. It’s incredible to realise that the stunning formations of these secret spaces took millions of years to establish. They’re gorgeous places to visit, and a good environment for an author’s imagination to run wild.

You might have seen on the news at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020, Australia was hit pretty hard by bush fire. I can’t begin to explain the level of loss, and I’m thankful my own family and friends were spared the heartache. Fire is indiscriminate, and in December 2019, the Buchan Reserve was affected by the devastating fires, which damaged many of the park’s assets, including some heritage listed structures, forcing the park to close. In spite of this, the rebuild has started and they hope to reopen to tourists by summer 2020.

How magical does this look?

If you happen to be in the area, I strongly recommend visiting this truly inspiring site. I can’t promise that you’ll come across the Direbright, but you will be amazed at the absolute beauty of these incredible caves.

Have you visited the Buchan Reserve, or the caves? Let me know in the comments below.